Wednesday, April 7, 2021

WWE WrestleMania 37 Preview & Predictions

It's that time of year again, when WWE throws a whole buncha shit at the wall and calls it WrestleMania!

Actually this year's show looks pretty strong overall.  Yes, the buildup has been atrocious as always, which is why I don't watch the weekly shows - imagine how fucked your booking has to be for RAW and Smackdown to make people care LESS about your upcoming PPVs.  But if the company gets out of the way and just lets these people work, WrestleMania 37 might actually be good.  For one thing this will be the first WWE show in front of a live audience in over a year.  That fact alone ought to make for a red-hot crowd; unlike most years the fans will actually seem happy to be there.  Like Mania 36, the theme is pirates and skull flags, and we're also getting two nights of WrestleMania.  Unlike 36, the shows are in a proper stadium with the bells and whistles one associates with the show of shows.  Plus, and this has me pretty stoked, no Triple H and no Undertaker.  It's the first WrestleMania since number 11 with neither guy wrestling on the card.  That's amazing.  In their place though are Edge (absurdly in one of the main events, but at least he hasn't been around every year stealing top spots), and Shane McMahon (zero defense for this, get him off these 'Mania shows).  Oh and Bad Bunny.  Whatever.  Also absent from WrestleMania are Shinsuke Nakamura (inexcusable), Jey Uso (who will probably be in Roman's corner?), Ricochet (why is this guy still in the company at this point?), and a host of other poor saps.  On the bright side though, each night of 'Mania should be well under four hours.  I'm all for that.  The phenomenon of the live crowd being totally burned out by the time the main event arrives got old real fast.

So let's dive in.  We have two nights and 14 matches to cover....

Night 1

Tag Team Turmoil: Lana & Naomi vs. Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose vs. The Riott Squad vs. Natalya & Tamina

The winners of this match get a shot at Nia Jax & Shayna Bazsler on Night 2.  Yeah, I'm thinkin' this can't be it.  There has to be a surprise last-minute team that swoops in and wins this.  I'm thinking probably Charlotte Flair and Bayley, or better yet, Charlotte and the returning Becky Lynch.  Why not?  It's in front of a live crowd, the pop will be huge.  That seems the likely scenario actually; it's a perfect "WrestleMania moment" kinda thing.  If I'm wrong and there's no surprise team, I guess I'll go with The Riott Squad?

Pick: TBA, or Riott Squad

RAW Tag Team Championship: New Day vs. AJ Styles & Omos

Between Kofi, Xavier and AJ this match should be quite good.  Omos is a big 7-foot question mark, but a match like this is ideal to hide his weaknesses.  Hey, remember when Kofi was the WWE Champ?  Good times.  Anyway, I can't see AJ and his monster heel bodyguard losing here.

Pick: AJ/Omos

Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro

Holy shit, Cesaro has a fuckin' singles match at WrestleMania???  Are they, like, actually gonna do something with him?  That's amazing.  Of course this entire feud is built around the fact that Seth is pissed he got put in the giant swing, but like Edge vs. Booker, fought over a shampoo commercial, this match should be very good in spite of the build.  Hell, it could steal the night.  This is a prime case of, just get out of the wrestlers' way and let 'em do their thing.  I'm gonna go with Cesaro to pull off a minor upset.  

Pick: Cesaro

Steel Cage Match: Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon

Wow, the first WrestleMania steel cage match in 35 years.  And this is the matchup?  Okay....  Like the previous bout, this is being fought over something stupid, namely that Shane called Braun....well, stupid.  How old are these dipshits?  I have no interest in this, but the fact that it's a cage should at least make it entertaining.  Shane will of course jump off the top and try to avoid falling to his untimely demeez.  But Braun will win.

Pick: Braun

Bad Bunny & Damian Priest vs. The Miz & John Morrison

Thank fuckin' Christ they made this a tag match.  When it was Miz vs. Bunny I was quite annoyed; there's no point to a celebrity guest wrestler unless his or her celebrity can rub off on one of the actual wrestlers.  And in this case Damian Priest can use all the help he can get.  Plus, Bunny ain't a wrestler, so keep him on the apron as much as possible.  This is another match I don't care about but it should be reasonably watchable.

Pick: Bunny Priest

Smackdown Women's Championship: Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair

This should be the best thing on Night 1, and it's the one WrestleMania match I've been looking forward to since the Rumble.  Sasha is super ambitious about being in the best match of the night, and Belair is maybe the best athlete on the entire roster.  Again, just get out of the way and let 'em go.  I'd be happy if this main events the show actually.  If this doesn't serve as Belair's coming out, they made a huge mistake.

Pick: Belair

WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley vs. Drew McIntyre

Another one I don't particularly care about, but the match should be very good.  Drew is a good hand, Lashley's been presented as a monster, so these two will likely beat the tar out of each other.  I'll say one thing, it's a lock this is better than Drew vs. Brock from last year.  Remember that horseshit?

Pick: Drew obviously wins his belt back

Night 2

Women's Tag Team Championship: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler vs. TBD

My prediction here depends on how accurate my previous prediction was.  If there's a surprise team in the Turmoil match, they'll win it and likely win here as well (particularly if it's Charlotte and Becky).  If it really ends up being one of the four announced teams, I can't see any of them unseating the champs here.  The former scenario will result in a good match, the latter will not.

Pick: TBA if there is one.  If not, the champs retain.

US Championship: Matt Riddle vs. Sheamus

I hate how they've portrayed Riddle's character, but I'm glad he's actually on a WrestleMania card.  Hopefully this gets some time; Riddle is great and Sheamus can go.  It seems silly to have a title change here; give Riddle some time with the belt.

Pick: Riddle retains

Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn

Man, only five years too late on this one.  Remember their 2015 and 2016 feuds?  Legendary stuff.  Now there's some stupid bullshit involving Logan Paul for some reason?  Zayn's contract is up later this year and I hope he takes his out; the company clearly just doesn't see him as a valuable asset.  But this match should be pretty great, again, if they get out of these guys' way.  Owens is clearly going over.

Pick: Owens

Intercontinental Championship Nigerian Drum Fight: Big E vs. Apollo Crews

Uhh, what the hell is a Nigerian Drum Fight?  Does this seem to anyone else like WWE is about 30 years regressed with this shit?  Also, Big E has already beaten Crews how many times already?  Why is he getting another shot?  This match should be solid though and hopefully will get more than four minutes and won't end with a sloppy-as-fuck rollup.  I guess there isn't much point to this if Crews doesn't win.

Pick: Crews

Randy Orton vs. The Fiend

Sweet fucking Christ, why are we still on this feud?  Hey remember four years ago when these two had the worst feud of the year?  Awesome.  I also love how Randy Orton burned The Fiend alive, and his months-later retribution is a regular wrestling match.  The fuck?  I guess I'll take a regular match though, over whatever theatrical garbage they usually put The Fiend in.  As long as we don't get maggots and worms projected onto the ring.  Fiend obviously wins here.

Pick: The Fiend  

RAW Women's Championship: Asuka vs. Rhea Ripley

At long last we have a chance at redemption for Ripley.  Last year as you'll recall they had her lose to Charlotte for no reason whatsoever and it derailed her push for a full year.  Now she has the chance to be the breakout young star she can be.  And if anyone can make her look like a million bucks it's Asuka.  This is one of the matches I'm most excited about.  The best woman on the roster vs. the rightful future of the division.  Sit back and let 'em make some art.

Pick: Ripley wins the strap

Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Edge vs. Daniel Bryan

Oh look, it's 2014 all over again.  Heel Champion face of the company is scheduled to main event WrestleMania against returning old guy who just won the Royal Rumble.  Fans don't react well to returning old guy, so Daniel Bryan is added to the match to make them care, while returning old guy turns heel.  Vince should just ignore his instincts going forward; they're always wrong.  I really hope this goes the same way 2014 did and Bryan walks out with the title.  I have a feeling though that Vince is sticking with "Edge never lost his title when he retired so let's give him another run."  Yawn.  Bryan's another guy who needs to leave when his contract expires this fall.  Imagine the magic he could make with Kenny Omega or MJF or Moxley.  It is nice to see him main eventing WrestleMania again at least....

Pick: I hope I'm wrong but I think Edge probably wins

Well this is a pretty promising lineup for the Showcase of the Immortals.  I have my complaints but unlike most recent years there are actually numerous bouts I'm genuinely excited about.  Let's hope the company's insistence on stupid booking and bad time management doesn't get in the way.  Two solid three-plus-hour shows would suit me just fine.

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