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It’s March 15th and there are only three weeks left to go until WrestleMania 35 arrives on April 7th. Based on some tweets, messages on Facebook and emails I get, some fans seem to think they need to know the whole WrestleMania card already. I don’t agree with that. I think the fact that we know most of the top matches already is a good thing and the rest of the card will evolve in the coming weeks.  and we are officially less than one month away from WrestleMania. It’s 29 days to be exact.

As I have done the last two weeks, I’m going to do a run through of the matches we know about that are official, the ones that are likely and then key players that don’t have anything yet, but they’ll likely be on the show. Since Fastlane took place last Sunday night, we know the direction of several more storylines than we did one week ago.

There was an announcement on Raw this week that Alexa Bliss will be the “host” of WrestleMania this year. She’s healthy to wrestle and has been back working live events on weekends, but the creative team has nothing else for her to do. At least she’s gorgeous and a great talker.

Before we get started looking at this year’s WrestleMania, I want to remind you that I have reviewed every WrestleMania in-depth and you can read them all here in our WrestleMania review section. In 2017, I also ranked the top 33 WrestleMania matches ever with columns telling the story of every match.

 

The Matches WWE Has Announced

Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch

Becky Lynch defeated Charlotte Flair at Fastlane by disqualification when Ronda Rousey went into the ring, punched Lynch and that led to the DQ finish. With the win, Lynch has now regained her Raw Women’s Championship match that she already had after she won the Royal Rumble. Vince McMahon removed her, replaced her with Flair and now that Lynch is back in the mix, it’s the triple threat match for the Raw Women’s Title that’s been expected since mid-January.

The three women didn’t interact on Raw because Charlotte and Becky worked a Smackdown house show on Monday. Ronda did another angry promo and also beat up Dana Brooke, who looked like a fool after expressing her frustrations.

Becky and Charlotte had another promo exchange on Smackdown. I thought Becky had some funny lines while maintaining her confidence. Flair also showed a lot of confidence. The good news also is that Lynch ditched the crutch she has used to sell the knee injury for the past six weeks. Hopefully, that storyline injury is done.

It’s likely that they’ll have some kind of interaction on television at some point in the next three episodes of Raw, but with Lynch and Flair still working Smackdown house shows, I’m not sure if it will be every week.

Who wins? This part remains the same. Becky Lynch should win and she should beat Ronda Rousey to win the match. I think if they have Lynch beat Flair (whether by pinfall or more likely by submission) then that’s a mistake. Rousey has yet to lose by being pinned or submitting, but she has lost in tag matches. Anyway, Lynch should beat Rousey and the end of WrestleMania should see Lynch celebrating with the Raw Women’s Championship.

As for what match goes on last, I would put Rousey vs. Lynch vs. Flair on last as the main event. They deserve it.

 

WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins

Seth Rollins and Paul Heyman had a promo exchange on Raw this week, which was good because Rollins made a valid point that Lesnar has had a tough time with smaller guys (Daniel Bryan, Finn Balor, AJ Styles) like him. Rollins is bigger than those three, but he is athletic like all of them.

The promo led to Shelton Benjamin surprisingly attacking Rollins from behind. That led to a match with Rollins beating Benjamin to show Seth is ready to go. I hope Rollins continues to rack up wins going into WrestleMania. There’s no reason for him to lose a match.

Brock Lesnar was announced for Raw on Monday in Chicago. It will be Lesnar’s first time on Raw since January 28th when he gave Rollins his F5 finishing move six times. I assume there will be some kind of physical altercation during the segment and that Rollins will get the upper hand this time.

Who wins? I think Rollins should win and if it doesn’t happen, that would be a damn shame. I’m tired of Lesnar with that title. With that said, from being a lifelong WWE fan, we all know that they aren’t going to put over every babyface in every match just because it’s WrestleMania. Perhaps Rollins doesn’t get the title win. Maybe WWE will choose to have Roman Reigns beat Lesnar again later this year. I’m not saying I want that, but it could happen. For all we know, Rollins could be moving to Smackdown in mid-April, so if WWE has that in mind for him, then losing at WrestleMania makes sense.

 

No Holds Barred Match: Triple H vs. Batista

Their “Face to Face” segment took place on Raw this past week. Batista was very repetitive as yelled at Hunter to give him what he wants, Hunter said fine you get your match and it’s going to be a No Holds Barred Match.

What I liked about the segment is there was no physical altercation. It’s a good idea to keep them apart, save the physicality for the WrestleMania match itself and keep people waiting to see them lock up. I don’t expect Batista to be on Raw every week for the next three weeks, but he’ll probably be there during one of the next three episodes of Raw.

During the promo on Raw, Batista strongly hinted that this would be his last match and his motivation for the match was to make this Triple H’s last match as well. Batista turned 50 years old in January while Triple H turns 50 years old in July. I believe this will be Batista’s last match since he’s got a movie career that keeps him busy. Triple H will probably keep going for a few more years since he’s obviously going to be involved in WWE for the rest of his life.

Who wins? I saw a stat recently that said Triple H has more losses at WrestleMania than anybody in the history of the event. It may seem like a surprise since he has been pushed so much in his career, but there’s also the longevity factor because he’s wrestled at almost every WrestleMania (except when injured) for nearly 25 years. I think Triple H should win this one. There’s no reason for Batista to win in what should be his last match. They can also have a cool moment after the match with Ric Flair hugging Hunter because Batista’s attack on Flair a few weeks ago is what set up this match.

 

 AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton

The long-rumored WrestleMania match between Styles and Orton became official this week on Smackdown. The concept is pretty simple because it’s all about who the better man is. This will be their first singles pay-per-view match against eachother. They have worked tags and multi-man matches. Their only other singles televised match was in March 2017 on Smackdown.

I thought the promo on Smackdown was excellent. Orton bragged about his success in WWE from being the youngest World Champion ever (24 years old in 2004) to winning 13 World Titles, main evening WrestleManias, winning two Royal Rumbles and so on. Orton even had a funny line about Styles working on his tan in Florida with Dixie Carter since Impact/TNA was based out of Orlando, Florida during most of its run. Styles responded by saying that he was proud of his journey in the indies, he claimed Orton never would have survived and this is still the house that AJ Styles built.

Who wins? Flip a coin. It doesn’t matter that much, really. I think the timing is right for the match with a Superstar Shakeup coming on April 15/16. AJ’s contract is up soon and the belief is he’s going to get paid very well by WWE to stay with the company. I can see him getting moved to Raw to help make Raw a better show. Perhaps Orton gets moved to Raw as well. My pick for this match will probably change a few times between now and WrestleMania. For now, I’ll pick Orton just because there needs to be some heel wins.

 

The Miz vs. Shane McMahon

I mentioned in this space last week that one of them was going to turn heel on the other. That happened at Fastlane when Shane attacked Miz after their Smackdown Tag Team Title match loss. What I got wrong was who did the turn because I thought it would be Miz since he’s been a heel for most of his WWE career.

Shane should do well as a heel because he’s been in that role many times over his 20+ year career as an on screen character in WWE. What I don’t really care about is Vince McMahon’s insistence to get Shane in a WrestleMania match every year. Shane turned 49 years old earlier this year and sometimes when I watch him work, he looks exhausted. I’m not saying he’s out of shape because he looks okay. I’m just saying it’s awkward to watch. There are so many good performers in this company that will have nothing interesting to do at WrestleMania. Can we cut back on the part timers at WrestleMania like Shane McMahon? It would be nice.

This week on Smackdown, Shane explained the heel turn saying he was sick of The Miz and that’s why he attacked him. I thought the explanation could have been better, but the “Best in the World” Shane-O-Mac got good heat for his promo. The Miz was not on Smackdown this week.

Who wins? Miz should win. No doubt about it. He’s the face in the feud and it also makes sense for Miz to win as revenge for Shane’s attack on him. There’s no reason for Shane to win.

 

Other Expected and/or Rumored Matches

WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston

There was an added match at Fastlane with Sheamus and Cesaro easily beating Kofi Kingston. The fans hated it. It took place to get some more crowd support for Kingston. I don’t know if it was really needed, though.

This week’s Smackdown featured a main event segment with Vince McMahon in the ring with New Day members Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods. After Big E and Woods talked about how Kingston has earned a WWE Title match after 11 years in the company, Vince didn’t seem to agree. Kingston spoke up again, he talked about sacrificing his family life (missing weddings, birthdays, etc.) in order to be with WWE and he wants a WWE Title match. Vince claimed that Daniel Bryan called Kingston a B+ player (a phrase that Triple H and Stephanie said about Bryan five years ago), so Vince and Bryan didn’t believe in Kingston.

At the end of Smackdown, Vince announced that Kingston had to win a Gauntlet Match where Kingston must survive against five heels: Randy Orton, Samoa Joe, Sheamus, Cesaro and Rowan. If Kingston wins that, he gets a WWE Title match at WrestleMania although that wasn’t specified as well as they could have said it.

Kingston should win to earn the WWE Title match, but with three weeks of Smackdown before WrestleMania, there could be more twists along the way.

Who wins? I really want Kingston to win. I think the story has been built up really well, the fans are behind Kingston and it would be an awesome moment for him. With that said, what I said about the Rollins/Lesnar match applies here too. They might not put Lynch, Rollins and Kingston over with babyface wins getting major titles, so perhaps Bryan will hold onto the title. I’ll pick Kingston to win here, but it’s not a lock.

 

Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre

Last week, we wondered who Reigns was going to face at WrestleMania. This past Monday on Raw, he was going to face Baron Corbin in the main event match. That match never happened because Drew McIntyre savagely attacked Reigns at ringside. Reigns sold it like he was concussed, so that led to Dean Ambrose challenging McIntyre. That was a bad move by Ambrose because McIntyre defeated Ambrose in a Falls Count Anywhere match and then McIntyre continued the attack after the bell.

I think the way McIntyre was booked on Raw was brilliant. He looked dominant against Ambrose and he weakened Reigns as well. Fans will want to see this Reigns vs. McIntyre. Next week’s Raw should have a brawl with Reigns trying to go after McIntyre as revenge for Drew taking out Ambrose on Raw.

Who wins? Put Reigns over. He’s the face. Simple booking. On the other hand, a win for McIntyre would be the biggest of his career, so that’s something to consider as well.

 

Kurt Angle’s Retirement Match

That graphic above is from WWE’s Instagram. Kurt Angle announced on Raw last week that he’s going to have his final match at WrestleMania. It makes me sad as an Angle fan, but the reality is he’s 50 years old with bad knees and a bad neck, so it’s fair to say that Angle’s “bump card” is full. Angle doesn’t need to take more bumps.

There’s still no clear indication as to who it will be. My guess is Baron Corbin right now just because of reports stating it’s probably not Joe or Cena. Corbin is well liked by management, so I can see WWE wanting to have Corbin retire Angle and that can be something Corbin can brag about for years too. It’s not what I want, but I can see the storyline reason for it to elevate Corbin.

Who wins? I think Angle is going to lose to whoever he is against. That’s just proper wrestling booking to have a guy lose his retirement match. There’s no reason for a guy to win in his last match. Put somebody over and walk away to a standing ovation.

 

Cruiserweight Championship

Buddy Murphy will face the winner of the 205 Live Cruiserweight Championship Tournament to determine the #1 Contender to the title. The finals will see Tony Nese face Cedric Alexander next week. I think they’ll go with the former champion Alexander.

Men’s Battle Royal

The annual battle royal hasn’t been mentioned on television yet, but it’s likely going to happen.

Women’s Battle Royal

Same as above. It hasn’t been mentioned on WWE TV, but it’s expected to take place.

 

Current Champions 

United States Champion – Samoa Joe

I like Samoa Joe as US Champion. There are rumors that he may face John Cena, but I don’t know if it’s wishful thinking or if there is something to it. I think it will be either Rey Mysterio since he beat Joe on Smackdown this past week in a tag team match or a multi-person match with Andrade involved. R-Truth is possible too, but they have done that 4-Way match two times this month already.

Intercontinental Champion – Bobby Lashley

They did a title change on Raw this past week with Lio Rush helping Bobby Lashley beat Finn Balor to win back the Intercontinental Title. When WWE released advertising for WrestleMania, they included an image of Finn Balor in his “Demon” Balor look, so that could mean Balor will become the “Demon” at WrestleMania and beat Lashley to win his title back. That would make sense while also putting an end to this feud.

Smackdown Women’s Champion – Asuka

It could be Lacy Evans, but according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, that idea may be off. I really have no idea where they are going with this. A multi-woman match seems like a good idea. Maybe they should have the women’s battle royal on the pre-show and the winner of that gets to face Asuka on the main WrestleMania card. That would work.

Raw Tag Team Champions – The Revival

The main Raw teams right now are The Revival, Black/Ricochet and Roode/Gable, so any combination of those three teams is a possibility. We already saw the triple threat at Fastlane, which means they need to try something different somehow. I’m not sure what the exact direction will be.

Smackdown Tag Team Champions – The Usos

There has been a lot of social media chatter between The Usos and the Hardy Boyz, so perhaps that will be the match if it’s a 2 on 2 match. However, a lot of Smackdown’s teams have been brawling and interacting on TV, so a mutli-man match seems likely. It could involve 4 teams or even 6 teams and if it was up to me, I’d make it a ladder match. They could steal the show if they do because there are a lot of great Smackdown teams right now.

Women’s Tag Team Champions – Sasha Banks and Bayley

I think it’s going to be Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Title match. They would have Banks/Bayley defend against a Raw team like Nia Jax/Tamina, add in Natalya and Beth Phoenix after what happened at Fastlane and then pick a Smackdown team like The IIconics as the final team in the match. That would be fine with me.

 

Big Names Without An Obvious Match Right Now

John Cena – Apparently he’s going to have a match, but we don’t know when he might appear on Raw or Smackdown again. I have no idea what his plans are.

The Undertaker – The current word on Undertaker is he’ll make an appearance at WrestleMania, but it’s not expected that he’ll have a match. At 54 years old this year, I don’t think he needs to keep wrestling.

Braun Strowman – It feels like the only thing they have planned for his is “comedy” bits with Michael Che and Colin Jost from Saturday Night Live, which is a damn shame. Strowman should be doing more.

Dean Ambrose – It appears as though he is still leaving WWE in April when his contract is up. I don’t see Ambrose having a match on the card if he still plans on leaving. Perhaps he’ll just be in the battle royal.

Bray Wyatt – It’s not known when he might return. Is he healthy? I assume so. Nobody really knows what’s going on with him, though.

Kevin Owens – If Sami Zayn is healthy, perhaps he’ll attack Owens on Smackdown this week (or another week) to set up Owens vs. Zayn at WrestleMania. On the other hand, they have wrestled eachother so often that it may not happen. Perhaps Zayn will return after WrestleMania.

Those are just some of the big names. There are still plenty of others without a clear match at WrestleMania right now. I’m not going to write out a listing of every match because it’s still tough to do right now.

 

Final Thoughts

I think the match quality at this year’s WrestleMania is going to be excellent. It will be tough to keep people interested for the entire five hours (or seven hours if you watch the Kickoff Show), but if you’re watching for great in-ring action, I think you’ll be happy this year. Will all of the results make everybody happy? Probably not, but that’s every year haha!

That’s all for now. I’ll be back next weekend for another look at the WrestleMania card to see where things stand in one week’s time.

 

 

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