Written by: Michael Hauff (GiancarloH57)
The ultimate thrill ride has finally arrived! Orlando will be the hottest spot on the planet come April 2nd and it is with good reason. WWE has had a strong year and will be looking to cash in on some key storylines. The New Day may be the ideal hosts for an event of this magnitude in the sunshine state. With that in mind, let’s save the pomp and circumstance to the New Day and jump right into the predictions.
**There seems to be a lot of back on forth on matches being on the kickoff show so these matches will be listed in no particular order.**
Be sure to also check out the GTS Report Podcast for more in depth thoughts on the card.
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
(as of this writing it’s a kickoff show match)
Until the go home RAW, the battle royal wasn’t a ton of attention. Over on the Blue Brand it the Battle Royal hype has been ceneterd around one half of the hype bros, Mojo Rawley. In most cases I would be on board with that pick but I think this match goes in a different direction. Most folks are aware that the planned Big Show vs Shaq match is (thankfully) off the table. Those same folks know how hard the Big Show has worked over the last several months to get himself in the best shape of maybe his entire career. I think winning this battle royal is a way for the WWE management to commend Big Show and his hard work. This likely will be a swan song of sorts for Big Show who’s career is coming to a close. For a guy who made his WWE debut more than 15 years ago this is the least they can do.
Winner: Big Show
RAW Tag-Team Championship Ladder Match
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (c) vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Cesaro & Sheamus
This match should open the show as after the New Day, their may be no better team to start a party than Enzo and Big Cass. While Enzo and Cass deserve to be in this match for being so over with the fans, Cesaro and Sheamus also deserve it as they have had a long developing story which dates back to their best of seven series that began at the SummerSlam kickoff show. The champs themselves will get the smallest pop of the three teams but I still think they find a way to hang on to the titles here. Everyone is expecting Enzo and Big Cass to have their Mania moment. Their time is coming sooner rather than later but I don’t think WWE upper management is ready to put the titles on them just yet. Wouldn’t shock me if they pull it off and I’d be happy for them but I’m predicting the Club here.
Winner: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Smackdown Women’s Championship
Alexa Bliss (c) against all the women on the Smackdown roster
(as of this writing it’s a kickoff show match)
On paper this seems like cruel and unusual punishment for the champ. My thought the whole time was that this was given an ‘entire roster’ stipulation as they were unsure if Naomi would be medically cleared. Those who watched the go home Smackdown would be well aware that she made her return and announced that she would be a part of the match. My initial pick in this match was Becky Lynch but now that we have a returning Naomi, I think she’ll win the belt. I’m not completely sold on Naomi but obviously WWE officials are and they attempted to put the title on her already. This will be a feel good moment for the home town girl as she’ll more than likely receive the biggest pop of all the participants.
Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries
(as of this writing it’s a kickoff show match)
The WWE universe let out a collective groan on Monday night as this match was delegated to the kickoff show. I’m praying that they change their mind on this match. If you follow the GTS report on twitter then you’re well aware that I have been consistently saying that this match will steal the show. It doesn’t matter if it’s the kickoff show or on the main card as these guys are that good. The heel turn for Neville has done absolute wonders for his character as he has showcased a ferocity that some fans may have never thought was in him. Aries presents the most legitimate challenger to the championship and he’ll put up a good fight but I think there is still more to gain from this Neville heel run. This will be a back and forth match that will be showered with ‘this is awesome chants’. If given ample time it will steal the show. Neville will find a way to defeat Aries but this will not be the end of their feud.
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Baron Corbin
With the brand split, I was hoping that this IC title wouldn’t be battled for in a ladder match like it had the last two years. Corbin has been booked strong for a while now and this match feels like a hardcore match in names alone. Both superstars here are sadistic, unapologetic, and will look to do serious damage to the other one. The fan in me is really pulling for Corbin here as I love his presence and in ring style. Ambrose should be in the championship picture so dropping the title here seems like the logical thing to do but I have a feeling he wins at Mania. His two WrestleMania matches as a singles competitor have resulted in loses so it may be time for him to pick up a win. For what it’s worth, Corbin like some of these others guys on the card are close to be title holders.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse
Those who read my piece on the Miz revival should have a good idea of which way I’m leaning here. A full-time Miz could benefit much more from a WrestleMania win than a part-time John Cena. The Miz has the most to gain and the most upside than anyone in this mixed tag match. The promos surrounding this match have been hilarious and at times below the belt. I’m hoping that once Cena returns from his hollywood stint that he and Miz can have another program together. This will be one of the shorter matches on the card and I say that the Miz & Maryse come out on top here.
Winner: The Miz & Maryse
Fatal Four Way Eliminaton RAW Women’s Championship
Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
This match has drawn some social media criticism since Nia Jax’s inclusion but I think these women will put on a good showing. Bayley, Charlotte, and Sasha all have such good chemistry so it will be interesting to see how they include the powerhouse Jax. The dynamic of this match changed completely once it was announced that it would be an elimination match. It is going to be very interesting to see just who the last two Women in the ring are. This match will have a lot of big spots that will also probably draw some ‘this is awesome’ chants. Charlotte’s family has some history in this building as it was where Ric Flair was retired by Shawn Michaels. Don’t be surprised to hear Michael Cole play off of that at some point and I think Charlotte gets back to her pay-per-view winning ways.
United States Championship
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kevin Owens
It’s kind of funny when you think about it, two Canadians fighting for the right to be named the United States champion. This has been one of the better storylines throughout this past year and it has resulted in Chris Jericho reasserting himself as one of the all time greats. It will be refreshing to see Kevin Owens get back to his prize fighting ways and I think this match belongs to him. The story within the match itself will do justice to the story of how they got here. Fozzy has an album coming out so it may be time for Y2J to take a bit of hiatus from his in ring duties. Jericho will fight valiantly and drop the title to Owens.
Winner: Kevin Owens
Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles
Say what you want about Shane McMahon but his ability to entertain is always on point. I think both of these men behind the scenes are aware of the criticism this match is receiving from the WWE universe and I think the universe is going to be taught a lesson here. Don’t bet against Shane and Styles. It will be interesting see what crazy moment Shane McMahon tries to pull out of his bag of tricks and Styles is an absolute pro who is probably the best wrestler in the company. It is unclear which brand Styles will end up on and if he’ll be there as a face or a heel but once thing is clear, he deserves this win.
Winner: AJ Styles
Seth Rollins vs. Triple H
This match was loosing some steam in my opinion. I was getting a little tired of seeing Rollins hobble down to the ring. That loosing steam feeling quickly went away after the go home RAW the other night. The promo between Rollins and HHH was so well done. The story was personal to begin with but the promo really helped bring all of that to the surface. It is really a testament to Triple H being that damn good. It will be interesting to see what kind of limitations Rollins has in the match and what they plan to have him do. I think that this match goes almost how SummerSam 2002 went. A returning Shawn Michaels faced HHH in a match with this same stipulation. The heartbreak kid went on to win the match but HHH still had his way with the sledgehammer. I say Rollins wins but Samoa Joe will definitely be running down to help the Game’s cause. Does Finn show up at Mania to help out Rollins? Probably not but until Finn returns, we’ll keep thinking of ways for him to show up.
Winner: Seth Rollins
The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
This is it folks! This is the true end of an era for the Undertaker. A lot of the reports on social media have suggested that the Undertaker who just blew out the candles on his 52nd birthday, is really struggling in the ring. This could finally be the dead man’s swan song. WWE hasn’t always done a great job of putting their younger talent over the older names but Vince is desperate to pass the torch here and make Roman Reigns the guy. Much like HHH/Rollins, I thought RAW the other night helped build this match to an even bigger level. With Undertaker being limited you can expect more of a brawlers match. The majority won’t like it and you’ll hear some boo birds for sure but it is now Roman’s yard.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton
The Wyatt family story is one of the main reasons why Smackdown has been keeping up with Raw. No matter what swerves the writing team tried to throw the fans way, it was a foregone conclusion that once Orton won the Rumble that we would end up here. Bray Wyatt despite being portrayed as this intimidating heel has never won at WrestleMania. This is a tough match to call but by no fault of Wyatt I’m going to pick Orton. It’s like I just said, WWE hasn’t always done great job of putting their younger talent over these older names. I think Orton wins here though because their are strong heels on the blue brand like the Miz and AJ Styles that will be waiting for the Viper.
Winner: Randy Orton
Bill Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar
Welp, it is time for your main event. Bill Goldberg will finally come into a match where he may have to be in the ring for more than two minutes. The Goldberg comeback was a feel good story and a way for his son to watch Goldberg in the ring. That aside though, Goldberg isn’t expected to have an extended in ring stint with WWE so it just makes sense for him to drop the title. Brock Lesnar has been embarrassed by Goldberg and it’s time for him to get the upper hand. The character of Brock Lesnar needs this win more than Goldberg. What I find much more interesting than this match is just who will challenge Lesnar once he wins it. Perhaps it may be a returning Demon King. Like I wrote, I’m just going to keep imagining ways Finn can return. Stay tuned folks.
Winner: Brock Lesnar