Why I Love Wrestling: Predictions for Wrestlemania 31
Wrestlemania. The granddaddy of them all. The biggest stage in all of professional wrestling.
For the past thirty years Wrestlemania has been the biggest show WWE has put on. It was built upon the backs of guys like Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, The Undertaker, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and The Rock. It continues to be the marquee event in American Professional Wrestling. This year may be one of the most controversial cards in the history of the show. There are big matches with big, BIG consequences, returning stars, ladders, and titles on the line. It should be a good show; Mania usually is. What do I think is going to happen? Read on and find out. Predictions are presented in random order as they card hasn’t been officially released as of this writing. As always, leave a comment down below and let me know what you think.
Daniel Bryan VS Stardust VS Dolph Ziggler VS Luke Harper VS Dean Ambrose VS R-Truth VS Bad News Barrett (c)
Intercontinental Championship Ladder match
Well, that’s a lot of guys in one match. Let’s get this out of the way though, Daniel Bryan should not be in this match unless he is going to win the IC belt and elevate that title back to the heights it enjoyed when it was worn by the like of Savage, Michaels, Steamboat, Razor, Mr. Perfect, etc. But, he won’t win. You see, the IC belt used to be the second biggest title in the company. It was the belt that the best wrestler on the roster had while the Heavyweight title was reserved for Hulk Hogan. And then, somewhere along the way, it became an afterthought. The recent history of the title reads a bit like a joke. It’s been hotshoted around to a bunch of guys who, while being good wrestlers, haven’t done much with the belt. They haven’t seemed to care about being champion. Barrett however, is a bit different. He seems to care and has the ability to elevate the title. Just, not in a match like this. This match is a clusterfuck of epic proportions with no rhyme or reason as to why people are in. Barrett and Dean Ambrose had a feud, then R-Truth stole the belt even though no one has cared about R-Truth for years, then Luke Harper scared R-Truth into giving the belt to him, then Stardust got involved because why would WWE continue the storyline of Stardust against his brother Goldust even though they just had a match to start their feud, then Ziggler and Bryan kinda shrugged their shoulders and were in the match too, and there is a ladder. This is the kind of match that makes me tired. It just doesn’t make sense that all of these guys want the belt because the belt hasn’t meant anything in years. It’s lazy. Anyway, Bryan won’t win. He should and I really hope I’m wrong but he won’t. Given the rest of the talent involved, I’d guess Ambrose walks away champ. He has the potential to make an IC meaningful and it could go a long way in building him up as a future main event player. I’d also guess that Goldust gets involved in someway, maybe even as Dustin, and cost Stardust an opportunity to win.
“The Viper” Randy Orton VS “The Architect” Seth Rollins
This match should be one of the best on the entire card in terms of storytelling and work-rate. Orton and Rollins are two of the very best workers in the industry and the story being told, the young Rollins taking the place of the grizzled veteran Orton, is classic wrestling. This match also benefits from having the top heel in the company, Rollins, make it easy to cheer for the recently returned tweener Orton. Orton is traditionally terrible as a face however, here, he is simply anti-authority. Rollins is so slimy, so sleezy, that it doesn’t matter who he is wrestling as long as he gets his ass kicked. Which is most likely the outcome here. Rollins has the benefit of holding the Money in the Bank contract briefcase so a loss here does nothing to damage his position. He can still cash in whenever he wants, most likely the following night on RAW, and become champion. Orton winning gives the fans what they want and sets up future matches as he makes his way through the rest of the authority. That’s a storyline that could play out until Survivor Series in November if they really wanted it to.
The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale
Since they haven’t announced the entire field of competitors yet, this prediction is purely speculation. The winner of the 2015 ARMBAR will be a returning Shemus. He has been off of TV for quite awhile. Vignettes have been airing for at least the last five weeks announcing that he is returning, sometime. This makes too much sense not to happen. BUT, since this is WWE we are talking about, I think it wise to make an alternate prediction as well. Based on who we know is in the ARMBAR, my guess would be Big Show. Show has spent his entire career being compared to Andre. The Battle Royale was Andre’s specialty match. Show was the runner up last year. It again, makes sense.
“Hero to the Russian Federation” Rusev (c) VS John Cena
United States Championship
I am so hyped for this match it’s silly. Rusev, is awesome. Cena is well… Cena. Their match at Fastlane was good. Rusev looked strong and ended up going over. Cena looked human going so far as to pass out at the end of the match instead of submitting. The build up on RAW over the last few weeks had been really good up until the contract signing. The “Russian” lawyer was an absolute slap in the face to the viewers and another in a long line of examples in WWE history of them simply not giving enough of a shit about their fans. That incident notwithstanding, it is easy to believe that Cena and Rusev hate each other. Cena has continued to ramp up the YAY “MURICA stuff while Rusev has continued to run down the guy he already beat. I really expected this match to get an “I Quit” stipulation and it still might, be it on the go home RAW or at Wrestlemania itself. Either way, I fully expect Cena to get the win here and break Rusev’s undefeated streak and bring the United States championship “home”. (Rusev lives in Kentucky so it’s pretty “MURICA right now) I think this is the wrong finish to book though. Rusev should go over, keep the title, rename it the Russian championship, and remain undefeated until someone could get a big rub from beating him. Someone like Sami Zayn or Finn Balor from NXT. Cena doesn’t need this win but he is probably going to get it because lolcenawins.
“The Phenom” The Undertaker VS “The Eater of Worlds” Bray Wyatt
Last year, Brock Lesnar broke The Undertaker’s streak at Wrestlemania. He had been 21-0 prior to that night. The “streak” had become the biggest storyline at Wrestlemania no matter who The Undertaker was wrestling. Rumor has it that more than once over the last few years, Vince McMahon considered ending the streak. For whatever reason, those times never seemed quite right. On the live Steve Austin podcast, McMahon said that Lesnar was the right guy at the right time to end the streak. I’m not sure I agree but it was an absolutely incredible moment. NO ONE expected it to end. EVERYONE was shocked. So… mission accomplished. Except here we are, with another match at Mania. This time it is Bray Wyatt taking on The Undertaker to claim his place as, “The New Face of Fear.” Wyatt has a bright future ahead of him. He is poised to take over the role Taker has played for the last twenty three years. He can be that creepy, strange, dark character that wrestling has always had and will always need. This seems like a slam dunk prediction because the only reason for Taker to have this match is to put Wyatt over. Taker winning does literally nothing to further his legacy. Wyatt desperately needs this win. It should play out one of two ways. One: Wyatt beats Taker clean. No bullshit, no tricks, just 1-2-3 in the middle of the ring. Two: Taker wins but Wyatt destroys him after the match, possibly putting him in a coffin and rolling him out of the arena. Either way is good; the first one is better. If they book Taker to win clean, Wyatt is done, forever. This match is incredibly important to the future of this company and for once, I have faith in them to do this right.
AJ Lee & Paige VS The Bella Twins: Nikki (c) & Brie
Aj and Paige VS Nikki and Brie is the divas match no one wanted but we got anyway. Look, the main roster divas get the short end of the stick on the best of days. And that sucks. These ladies are incredibly talented performers that deserve time to shine. The ladies on the main roster right now are probably the most talented group they have ever had at one time. They should be featured players and legitimate headliners. They aren’t though. Not even close. This match was thrown together with Aj’s return. The problem here is that Aj and Paige have been friends, enemies, and frenimies multiple times in the past year. The Bella Twins have been in the same situation as well. There has been no cohesion to their characters at all. It’s as if the writers simply don’t care. The most evidence you need is that on the biggest card of the year, the Divas title is not being defended. Because it doesn’t matter. Because for the last few years divas matches were so called”bathroom” or “popcorn” matches. We don’t care because we were not made to care and the writers don’t care because we don’t care because they didn’t make us care. It’s terrible storytelling, terrible writing, and terrible for the future of Women’s wrestling. As for a prediction, Bella Twins win because of an AJ and Paige miscue that leads to them feuding again. Or the exact same thing but with the teams reversed. Either way it won’t matter because the writers will just change it up to fit their weekly idea whenever they see fit.
“The Icon” Sting VS “The Game” Triple H
STING! STIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING! I mean, Sting, in a WWE ring, for the first time in the history of ever. This, is kind of a big deal. Fourteen years ago Vince MacMahon bought WCW and all of their talent. Wrestlers were given an option, come work for Vince or, ride out the rest of their contract at home and then do what they want. Over the years all of the big name stars from WCW have worked for WWE in some capacity or another except for Sting. Sting went to TNA and stayed loyal to TNA. He had a really good run there in the beginning but petered out hard the last few years. He looked done as an in-ring talent. And then Survivor Series 2014 happened. Sting showed up during the main event to cause Team Authority to lose. Apparently, he has a problem with Triple H because… reasons. See, it doesn’t matter why Sting is here. The simple fact is that Sting will have a match against Triple H at Wrestlemania. Will it be good? Probably. Sting and Trips are professionals that know how to work within their limitations. It won’t be a 5-star affair but it will tell a compelling story and have some cool spots. Ultimately, my prediction is that Sting will win. I just cannot imagine a world where Sting would agree to lose in his only Wrestlemania appearance to date. Now, notice the wording there, to date. Rumor has it that depending on how both men finish their respective matches, plans are already in place for Sting to face The Undertaker next year at Wrestlemania 32. It would be a retirement match for both men but would give Taker a chance to retire in his home state of Texas. It’s the match I want the most and hopefully the one we get.
“The Beast Incarnate” Brock Lesnar (c) VS Roman Reigns
WWE Undisputed Heavyweight Championship
This match, more than any in recent memory, is a complete unknown. First of all you have Brock Lesnar. Wrestling fans know that he has one date left on his contract after Wrestlemania and that is RAW the very next night. Whether or not he resigns or jumps back to UFC is, at this point, a complete unknown. His advocate, Paul Heyman, has stated this fact directly in the ring going so far as to say that if Brock wants to unify the WWE title and the UFC title then that is what he is going to do. On the other hand you have Roman Reigns. He is the heir apparent to the WWE throne. He has all the tools WWE wants in its face of the company. BUT, for most smark fans anyway, he just doesn’t seem ready. He’s too green as the saying goes. Maybe next year would have been his time. Maybe the year after. The problem WWE will face with Roman is that he is rapidly becoming the next John Cena, the guy kids love but adults don’t. This hasn’t been a huge problem over the last ten or so years as there hasn’t been much competition for WWE. The landscape is changing though with ROH, NJPW, and even TNA putting on quality shows weekly on American TV. WWE needs the smarks, as much as it may not want them. This match could end up being a total beatdown on Reigns a la Summer Slam where Brock Lesnar destroyed Cena. That is really the only way to send fans home happy because the fans who pay for Mania are the smarks. If Reigns wins, they will boo to previously unthought of levels. They will destroy him the next night on RAW as well. If that leads to him turning heel, great, it’s the character he should be playing at this point. That just doesn’t seem to be the way they are leaning though. Reigns is a face because WWE says he is a face much the same Cena is a face because they say so. Lesnar is as over as it gets and at this point in his career, always will be. He is a heel because WWE says he is a heel. See the problem? They are forcing the fans down a path they don’t want and that never works out well. I have to think that cooler heads will prevail and that Lesnar will win. I cannot imagine WWE wants the closing moments of its biggest show to be a chorus of boos. So that’s my prediction, Lesnar goes over leading to a Reigns heel turn.
So there it is. Wrestlemania is always a good show, sometimes a great one. This card has the potential to be great with some huge matches and possible surprises. I’ll be watching and live tweeting the event. Follow me @geekadedan and join the conversation.