We are just over two weeks away from WrestleMania 35 on April 7th. It’s actually 16 days from today. Two weeks from today is the outstanding NXT Takeover: New York show, then the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony is the next night and WrestleMania follows that on Sunday. It’s going to be a long with a rumored 14 to 17 matches taking place over seven hours if you count the Kickoff Show.

As I have done the last three 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 mention the key players that could have a role too.

There will also be non-wrestling roles at WrestleMania. Alexa Bliss is the host of the show because creative has nothing else for her to do. The Saturday Night Live duo of Michael Che and Colin Jost will be “special guest correspondents” meaning they’ll do some comedy bits that may be as lame as the skits they did a few weeks ago on Raw.

This week on Raw, we also found out that Elias will be the special musical guest at WrestleMania. He complained about people interrupting him all the time, so it’s fair to assume that there will be some interruption during the show. I think the interruption will come from The Undertaker since Elias has done the Taker “rope walk” spot on TV recently. It could be The Rock since he’s been known to sing sometimes, but there’s no indication he’ll be there. John Cena is another possibility too.

I do my fair bit of news gathering while keeping an eye on rumors. The one thing I like to remind people of every year is that there’s a lot of bullshit out there. Websites like to make up crap just to get views and the next thing you know, some rumor picks up a lot of stuff even though there’s nothing to it. Be careful out there.

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 (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch

As I have mentioned several times, I think this is the main event and the last match of the show. It should be. If it’s not, then that’s a damn shame because I think they deserve it. With that said, things have cooled down a bit since they aren’t interacting every week. That’s in part because Flair and Lynch are working Smackdown live events on Mondays instead of going to Raw.

Rousey did well on Raw in her brief match against Dana Brooke and then the post match hijinks. The post match segment saw Ronda’s husband Travis Browne (a UFC fighter) getting involved. Rousey claimed that Browne is banned from WWE now, which is just part of the story line.

Lynch and Flair got into a brawl on Smackdown. It wasn’t anything special, but it got the job done in terms of reminding us that their characters hate eachother.

I think it would be a good idea to promote some sort of “face to face to face” between the three women to get people more excited. It likely won’t be on Monday since nothing has been announced. The Raw before WrestleMania seems like a good place for it.

Who wins? Becky Lynch should win and she should beat Ronda Rousey to win. As I have been writing for weeks (maybe months?), that’s how WrestleMania should end.

 

WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins

This past week on Raw was the first time Brock Lesnar was on the show since January 28. Seth Rollins ended up beating up Drew McIntyre with a steel chair, then when he went to confront Lesnar, the Universal Champion “Beast” left without a physical confrontation. Later on Raw in the main event, Rollins lost to McIntyre because of Lesnar entering the arena, standing on the ramp and distracting Rollins long enough for McIntyre to win the match.

The build to this match has been okay, but not great. They will need to pick things up to build some more excitement surrounding this match. I still think it will be an excellent match. I’d just like to see better storytelling going into it.

Who wins? Rollins should win the Universal Title. The Lesnar title reign felt tiresome a year ago at this time, yet here we are again.

The latest Lesnar rumors are that this might be the end of his WWE run, at least for now. Lesnar might choose to fight in the UFC again, possibly against Daniel Cormier, so if that fight were to happen in the summer, Lesnar would presumably be out of WWE for a while in order to focus on UFC. There’s currently no Lesnar deal with UFC, but UFC President Dana White seemed optimistic about doing the Lesnar vs. Cormier fight. With all of that said, it wouldn’t shock me if Lesnar wrestles at WWE’s May event in Saudi Arabia because that will be a big payday for him.

 

No Holds Barred Match: Triple H vs. Batista

There was a Batista interview that aired on Raw. They said that he was at his home in Tampa, but it was likely taped when he was at Raw last week because apparently, he’s filming a movie in Europe. He may not be on Raw in person again, but we all know he’ll be at WrestleMania.

I don’t think this feud needs them to be on the show every week. I assume that next week we’ll get some Triple H sit-down interview where he responds to Batista’s claims that Hunter tried to hold him back.

Who wins? I think Triple H will win this match, which is likely Batista’s retirement match since Batista mentioned that in the promo to set up this match. I also think Batista is going to headline the WWE Hall of Fame 2020 next year.

 

 AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton

There was no interaction between them on Smackdown this week. Orton was in the Gauntlet Match while Styles just did a promo. There was some news regarding Styles in the last week because he announced he had re-signed with WWE recently, which is wonderful.

There’s not much of a storyline other than this being a match on the biggest stage to find out who the better man is. Since it’s the fifth or sixth most important match on the show, that’s okay. I hope they get at least 15 minutes.

Who wins? Last week I said “flip a coin” as far as a winner goes. It’s the same thing this week. Putting Styles over a career WWE guy like Orton will give Styles even more credibility just like when he beat John Cena multiple times. I don’t think Styles would be hurt by a loss, though.

 

Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin (Angle’s Retirement Match)

Last week in this column I wrote about who I thought Angle’s WrestleMania opponent would 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 did they pick? Baron Corbin. You’re welcome, except I know a lot of people hate it. I don’t really it either.

When Angle announced it would be Corbin, it was met with groans from the crowd and a lot of complaints from WWE fans online. It’s Friday and I’m still getting a lot of people tweeting me about this, wondering if there might be some change because as WWE fans in 2019, we are used to plans changing all the time.

I don’t know if what WrestleVotes is reporting is true or if they are just throwing out a common sense style guess. I think fans want Angle vs. John Cena because they have a history together and it’s a legendary opponent for Angle to go out against. Ric Flair had Shawn Michaels in his last WWE match as a regular and Michaels had The Undertaker as his last match as a regular. Since this is Angle’s last match as a regular, let’s see him against a bigger name than boring Baron Corbin.

If I had to guess, I think WWE will change it to Cena to make the fans happy. If they don’t change the match it’s because Vince really has big plans for Corbin and Vince knows that this is something that Corbin can brag about for years to come. I’m not even sure if Cena is a lock to wrestle since he has so many movie commitments now. Why risk injury? I can see Cena being on the show, but not having a match.

I’m not going to be that angry if it’s Corbin. To me, I’m just happy Angle is going to stop wrestling because he looks rough at 50 years of age. That’s not a knock on him because he’s one of my favorite wrestlers ever. Since he is one of my favorites, I don’t want to see him hang around too long and look even more awkward in the ring. I’m glad he’s walking away when he is because it’s the right time.

Who wins? I think no matter who Angle’s last match is against, Kurt should lose the match and after the match is over, he’s going to get a standing ovation from the 70,000+ fans in attendance. After all, Kurt deserves that.

 

The Miz vs. Shane McMahon

The Miz did a pretty good promo on Smackdown this week. It was a solid babyface speech from a guy that has been a heel for most of his WWE run. There was no sign of Shane McMahon on Smackdown, so they are saving some big confrontation between them in the next two weeks.

Who wins? A win for The Miz makes the most sense as revenge for Shane’s attack on him. I don’t think it’s that complicated.

 

United States Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rey Mysterio

Rey Mysterio is the challenger for Samoa Joe’s US Title because he pinned Joe in a tag team match two weeks ago. It wasn’t explained by WWE like that, but that’s what we are to assume after Rey said he was told he’s getting a title shot. Rey also re-introduced his son Dominic to the WWE Universe. Dominic was featured a lot in the 2005 angle with Rey and Eddie Guerrero with Eddie claiming Dominic was his son. Dominic is now 22 years old and a trained wrestler that noted he’ll be at ringside for the match. That likely means Joe will attack him or some sort of angle to make it more intense.

I think it would be cool if they added other guys to this match like Kevin Owens, Andrade, Mustafa Ali and even R-Truth deserves a shot. Make it a ladder match. That would be fun to watch. I’m not saying that WWE is going to do that because I have no idea. All I’m saying is it would be interesting to see that.

For now, I’ll just assume they are sticking with the Joe vs. Rey plan.

Who wins? It depends on the build. If Joe makes it personal by trying to beat up or threaten Dominic then it makes sense for Rey to win the title. If Joe wins the match because Rey is concerned about his son then that’s fine too. I’d like to see Joe have a long title reign, but I’m not sure what the long term plan is for a title that has changed hands a few times already this year.

 

Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy vs. Tony Nese

The Cruiserweight Title match is official now with Buddy Murphy defending the gold against his buddy Tony Nese, who defeated Cedric Alexander on 205 Live to earn the title shot. Murphy attacked Nese after the match, so Nese is likely a face now. The match will likely be on the Kickoff Show.

I think 205 Live has done a poor job of developing interesting babyface characters. That’s why the brand doesn’t grow at all. It exists and they have good matches, but they really aren’t becoming a bigger deal due to the lack of characters involved.

Who wins? It might be the right time for a title change since Murphy has held the title since October. Nese has never been the champion before, so I’ll pick him.

 

Andre The Giant Men’s Battle Royal

The battle royal was officially announced Monday on Raw with Braun Strowman as the first man in the match. He’s also going to be the biggest favorite to win the match.

 

Other Expected and/or Rumored Matches

WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Kofi Kingston

The twists and turns continue. For the second month in a row, Kofi Kingston had an impressive showing in a Gauntlet Match on Smackdown. He defeated Sheamus, Cesaro, Rowan (by DQ), Samoa Joe and Randy Orton in the advertised 1 on 5 Gauntlet Match. After it was over, evil boss Vince McMahon told Kofi he had to win one more match to get a WWE Title match at WrestleMania. That led to WWE Champion Daniel Bryan coming out to the ring for a match, he beat Kingston in about five minutes because Kingston was exhausted and that meant no title match for Kingston.

Following Smackdown, the New Day trio did a great video talking about their frustrations. Also, Big E and Xavier Woods each posted videos where they were at a loss for what to do now, so they teased that they might quit. It’s a nice way to get people talking even though we know that’s not going to happen.

Delaying the announcement of Bryan vs. Kingston for the WWE Title has led to some mixed reactions from fans. I have heard from some people who are furious that it is taking “too long” to announce the matches. Other fans think it’s not a big deal because it’s just WWE storytelling where they are building up the sympathy for Kingston.

I think next week will probably be when Kingston is officially named as Bryan’s WWE Title challenger. There might be something where Kingston, Woods and Big E threaten to quit or perhaps Kingston has to win another match. It could even be an “Occupy Smackdown” similar to Daniel Bryan’s “Occupy Raw” five years ago. Since they are using the “B+ Player” phrase again, it does make sense. Either way, I would be shocked if Bryan vs. Kingston for the WWE Title isn’t official by the end of next week’s Smackdown.

Who wins? I think Kofi Kingston should win to become WWE Champion. It would be a cool moment for him. The reason it might not happen the way everybody wants is because WWE might put Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins over in title matches. They might not want to have three babyface title wins for major titles on the same show because that’s too much. Then again, it’s WrestleMania and the fans love a good guy getting that big title win.

 

Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre

Drew McIntyre challenged Roman Reigns to a match at WrestleMania this past Monday. There was no sign of Reigns because he was at home selling the McIntyre on him from last week. It seems like the storyline hinted at Reigns having a concussion after the McIntyre, but they didn’t go that far with it. They just kept Reigns off TV.

It’s likely that Reigns will be on Monday’s Raw to accept the McIntyre challenge.

Who wins? I think the obvious thing is for Reigns to win, but if they were to put McIntyre over then that’s something that could really elevate him. Looking ahead, Money in the Bank is happening in late May and I think McIntyre would be a great choice to win that match whether he’s still on Raw or a Smackdown guy.

 

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Asuka vs. (Winner of Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville vs. Naomi vs. Carmella)

That Fatal 4-Way match was announced in a post-Smackdown video and that match is taking place on Tuesday’s Smackdown. I’m not sure who will win or if there will be a single winner because it feels like Mandy and Sonya will both find a way to be in the match. Maybe there’s a double pin or some result that leads to both women winning. If there is one winner then I’ll go with Mandy Rose. A win for Naomi or Carmella would be pretty random since neither woman has done anything interesting for months.

There was a rumor that Lacey Evans may get a title shot at Asuka, but that’s not happening now.

Who wins? Asuka’s title reign hasn’t been that interesting. I can see Mandy Rose leaving WrestleMania as the Smackdown Women’s Champion because she’s clearly somebody that Vince McMahon will want to push. I certainly won’t complain about it.

 

Women’s Tag Team Championships: Sasha Banks and Bayley (c) vs. Tamina and Nia Jax vs. Natalya and Beth Phoenix vs. The IIconics (Peyton Royce and Billie Kay)

It seems like it will be a Fatal 4-Way Women’s Tag Team Title match at WrestleMania with three teams coming from the Raw side including a returning Beth Phoenix. We can also likely add Smackdown’s IIconics tag team because they beat Banks and Bayley non-title on Smackdown this week.

Who wins? I will probably pick Banks and Bayley to win. There’s no reason to take the titles off them so soon after they won them last month.

 

Women’s Battle Royal

It hasn’t been mentioned on WWE TV yet, but it’s expected to take place. If Lacey Evans is in the match like I assume, then I think she might be the winner.

 

Current Champions 

Intercontinental Champion – Bobby Lashley

I think we’ll see Finn Balor challenge Lashley for the IC Title again, this time with Balor in the “Demon Balor” look. As you can see in the banner at the top of this post, WWE is advertising Balor in the “Demon” gear. That means Finn could be back in his most popular look, which should mean Balor wins back the IC Title. If this is a multi-man match with other wrestlers involved, then that’s certainly fine with me.

Raw Tag Team Champions – The Revival

There is no clear cut, sure thing opponent for The Revival right now, but if they face Aleister Black and Ricochet that would be awesome. The team of Chad Gable and Bobby Roode are certainly worthy of another title shot as well. There are a lot of ways this could go.

Smackdown Tag Team Champions – The Usos

Smackdown has a lot of quality teams right now, so it’s a matter of picking one or several of them. This would be a good spot for a Ladder Match with the Hardys, New Day, Cesaro/Sheamus and Rusev/Nakamura. I think it would be an awesome match.

 

Big Names Without An Obvious Match Right Now

John Cena – It’s expected that Cena will be on the show with the Wrestling Observer confirming Cena will have a role, but it was noted that “who he is facing is still not apparent.” There were plans for him to face Samoa Joe, but Joe’s match got changed.

The Undertaker – I don’t think he’ll wrestle at this show, but as we reported yesterday, he is expected to wrestle at WWE’s next Saudi Arabia show in early May.

Dean Ambrose – It is still expected that Ambrose is going to leave WWE in April when his contract is up, so it’s unlikely that he gets put in a WrestleMania match. I think he’ll be in the battle royal, get eliminated by somebody that WWE wants to put over big and that will be it. Can he return to WWE one day down the road? Absolutely, but I doubt he has a big role at WrestleMania.

Kevin Owens – I have no idea if he’ll be in a match. He had a funny tweet this week about his annual KO-Mania shirt because he’s not on the card yet.

I hope he finds a role on the card, but it wouldn’t shock me if he is left off and in a battle royal.

Guys like Sami Zayn and Bray Wyatt are rumored to be back any time now, but who knows if they will be on the WrestleMania card? It makes sense to save Zayn for the Superstar Shakeup in Montreal on April 15/16 while Wyatt may be out until the Raw after WrestleMania. I don’t really know, to be honest.

Those are just some of the big names. There are still plenty of other superstars without a clear match at WrestleMania right now.

 

Final Thoughts

Here’s a rundown of everything one more time.

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

Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins

No Holds Barred Match: Triple H vs. Batista

Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles

Shane McMahon vs. The Miz

United States Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rey Mysterio

Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin (Angle’s Retirement Match)

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. the winner of Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville vs. Carmella vs. Naomi

Andre the Giant Men’s Battle Royal – Braun Strowman is in it.

Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Tony Nese

Expected matches:

WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Kofi Kingston

Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns

WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal

The Women’s Tag Team Championships: Sasha Banks and Bayley (c) vs. Tamina and Nia Jax vs. Natalya and Beth Phoenix vs. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay aka The IIconics

Plus, there are expected matches for the Raw Tag Team Titles, Intercontinental Title and Smackdown Tag Team Titles. If John Cena has a match that isn’t for a title or with somebody already announced then that’s another one.

There are 17 matches in all not counting Cena. I’m not sure if they will go with that many matches or if they try to cut it down a bit. No matter what they do, it’s going to be a very long night.

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.