I waited a while to write this as we were, and still are, unsure if Wrestlemania will go ahead as planned. These are unprecedented times, my friends, and the coming weeks and months will no doubt change as often as the wind. Here in the UK, our top football/soccer leagues have been suspended and it’s looking likely that large-scale events will soon follow suit. I realize there have been similar instances around the globe as world leaders try to do their best in combating this damn virus, but rather than stand still and wait to see what happens, I want to carry on writing and living in the hope that Wrestlemania will go ahead. Perhaps not in a huge area filled with fans from across the globe, but if there’s anything to be certain of when it comes to WWE, they always find a way to ensure the show must go on. With that being said, and continuing from my column last week, let’s look at some scheduled matches for mania and their potential fall outs. This week, the Women’s Title matches.
NXT Title – Rhea Ripley (Champion) vs Charlotte Flair
The match I’m looking forward to the most. Past winners of Royal Rumbles have had their pick of the top titles on offer, and though the biggest matchups usually happened, it was rare (if ever) that a secondary title was chosen. This year, however, Charlotte Flair chose to take on the NXT Champion Rhea Ripley. Even though Flair has chosen a ‘lesser title’ in some people’s eyes, it says more about the caliber of the opponent rather than the title itself. Ripley has been a phenomenal success in NXT and stands out among a very talented group of women. This promises to be something special, but what would the implications of either woman winning be?
Charlotte Flair wins – An outcome that would pose many questions. Though Finn Balor has does very well in NXT after moving from the main roster, I would assume WWE doesn’t want to do that very often as an established name main-eventing NXT could stifle younger talent trying to break through. Charlotte could move to the yellow brand for a short time to continue the feud with Ripley, but I’d imagine it would be short-lived until Ripley avenged her loss and recaptured the title.
Rhea Ripley wins – The more likely outcome, but nothing is certain when it comes to WWE. A win for Ripley would establish her as a star who can hang with the top tier talent in the women’s division. The loss wouldn’t hurt Charlotte too much, but is likely to lead to a continuation of the feud if and more likely, when Ripley makes the move to the main roster. Should Ripley win, I would imagine her NXT days would be numbered and she’d quickly be brought up to either Raw or Smackdown within a few months, naturally having dropped her title in NXT before leaving.
Smackdown Women’s Title – Bayley (Champion) vs. Sasha Banks???
Certainly not a confirmed match, but looked like a certainty a few weeks ago, although the ongoing global situation could have derailed or delayed this storyline. Regardless, it appears the most likely matchup unless they go with a multi-woman match.
Bayley wins – Bayley has done a decent job as champion. Her persona has mellowed since her heel turn. The snarl has gone and been replaced by a smile and smirk. Her attitude has switched from arrogance to one of confidence. I don’t think this story has enough build to make fans care enough about it right now. Had this been in motion since the Rumble, then perhaps it would have more weight behind it. I think Bayley retaining is the more likely outcome but only to allow momentum to build before a higher-stakes match down the line with a much better build behind it.
Sasha wins – As I’ve stated above, I doubt Sasha would win this. This isn’t the epic feud they had in NXT which culminated in one of the best Takeover matches there’s ever been (in my opinion anyway). Sasha’s character hasn’t changed too much since she’s aligned with Bayley, so I think there’s still a way to go here. This could be the start rather than the end of something, but a title change so early in a story could be detrimental to the overall outcome. Sasha should be chasing Bayley for a while rather than winning early, but again, anything could happen.
Another option is to do a match with five or six women from Smackdown, which is a rumor out there, but it still feels like Bayley and Banks will be the focal point.
Raw Women’s Title – Becky Lynch (Champion) vs Shayna Baszler
The outcome of this match will say a lot about how WWE wants to proceed with both competitors. Baszler dominated the Elimination Chamber match and demonstrated a Brock Lesnar-esqe style by conquering all of her competitors in quick succession. Lynch, however, has been the resolute champion that nobody has been able to dethrone. It promises to be an intriguing contest with many possible implications. I think this match is too hard to call.
Shayna Baszler wins –Baszler is a talented competitor and her meteoric rise and approach to her matches does mirror how WWE books the beast, Brock Lesnar. Does WWE continue with this method and book Baszler as the female Lesnar, defeating all before her? It’s a distinct possibility. A win for Baszler would see her catapulted to the top of the division and likely to have a lengthy title reign, but a lot of that depends on if her charisma and mic work can match her in-ring talent. Lynch is a popular champion, but her mic work wasn’t the best when she started out – something she’s improved on a lot in recent years. Baszler would have to do similar should she walk out of Wrestlemania with the gold. A win for Baszler would then start the rumor mill that Ronda Rousey would return and the battle of the former MMA stars would commence.
Becky Lynch wins – A win for Lynch establishes her as the most dominant champion in recent memory. Lynch would have taken on and defeated the best that WWE has to offer. This would not be the end of the feud, but more likely a litmus test to see if both women have chemistry that can be used again in the coming year. Should they put on a great show, I can see them having a program lasting several months with the title definitely changing hands at some point. Should WWE choose to go in a different direction afterward, Lynch would need fresh opponents, so perhaps an influx from NXT, maybe even a rivalry with Rhea Ripley would be in her future. Should Lynch retain, I don’t see her losing the title for a long time, unless there’s a program with Baszler going into the summer months.
So there we have it, the three top Women’s Title matches scheduled for Wrestlemania. I know not all have been confirmed, but it’s a good guess right now.
In closing, I’d like to say that these are just my opinions and you may disagree, and that’s fine. It’s pro wrestling and not meant to be taken seriously. I hope you all take care of yourselves and each other in the coming months. This is a strange time, friends. We’ll get through it if we all work together and look after one another. I wish you all good health going forward. Take care and wash your hands.