All of the hype is done.
All of the preparations are finished.
It is finally time to get down to business when it comes to the unofficial holiday for professional wrestling fans, better known as WrestleMania.
As some of you already know, the 33rd edition of the spring extravaganza will emanate from Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. Sunday night and will air live on the WWE Network, starting at 5 p.m.
Regardless of where you stand on the card, WWE usually delivers something historic when it comes to its biggest event of the year. Hopefully, that trend continues this year.
But before anyone steps through those ropes Sunday night, I have got some predictions to make, and boy, do we have a lot of predicting to do.
That is because WrestleMania features 11 matches. That total goes up to 13 if you include the kickoff matches.
Since we have so much to sift through, let’s not waste anymore time. With each prediction I have included the betting odds, which were provided by Bovada:
WWE Universal championship – Goldberg (c) (+900, 9/1) vs. Brock Lesnar (-3000, 1/30)
Although WWE.com lists the WWE championship bout as the top match, I fully expect Lesnar and Goldberg to go on last at this year’s WrestleMania.
I also fully expect Lesnar to walk out of WrestleMania as the new Universal champion. I think most fans that have been watching expect the same thing.
The only question surrounding this match seems to be how long Goldberg and Lesnar will be in the ring together Sunday night.
World title matches at WrestleMania are typically given ample time to enthrall the masses. WrestleMania main events routinely last more than 20 minutes, but given the track record of Goldberg’s two one-on-one matches since his return to WWE, this will be significantly shorter.
Since I expect this to be the main event, I do not think it will be less than two minutes like Goldberg’s other bouts. In an effort to stretch things out, I think WWE will provide plenty of shenanigans and smoke and mirrors.
That will not only lengthen the match, but may make it somewhat memorable. At the very least, it should be better than their first WrestleMania encounter back in 2004.
The length of the match does not dictate its quality. I have seen plenty of matches go 20 minutes that did nothing for me. A prime example was last year’s WrestleMania main event between Roman Reigns and Triple H.
On the flip side, I have seen 10-minute matches that were fairly entertaining. That is what I am expecting here.
Prediction: Lesnar WINS the Universal title
WWE championship – Bray Wyatt (c) (+175, 7/4) vs. Randy Orton (-260, 5/13)
All signs point to Orton winning his 13th world title at WrestleMania. Even the odds makers believe Orton will walk out victorious.
I also understand the story that has been told between Orton and Wyatt may dictate that, but I am going to go against the grain a little bit here and take Wyatt to retain his WWE championship.
I am going with Wyatt mainly because I believe he needs a signature win way more than Orton, who already has a career full of them.
For Wyatt, it isn’t just a signature win he needs, he also needs a win at WrestleMania overall. So far, he is 0-2 at the big event, losing to John Cena at WrestleMania 30 and to The Undertaker the next year.
He technically did not participate in a match at last year’s WrestleMania, but he essentially lost his talking segment to The Rock and Cena.
Another loss for Wyatt would not only quickly make him the reverse Undertaker, but it would also be another missed opportunity to cement someone as a top-level star at the biggest show of the year.
Winning world titles are important, but getting the duke in a major match at WrestleMania is just as important in my eyes.
Prediction: Wyatt RETAINS the WWE title
The Undertaker (+325, 13/4) vs. Roman Reigns (-550, 2/11)
I feel weird even typing this, but something tells me that Reigns is going to defeat The Undertaker and send the future WWE Hall of Famer to 23-2 at the company’s marquee event.
A lot of fans already have it out for Reigns without beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania, but a win Sunday night would all but make Reigns the most hated man in WWE.
People still boo Lesnar and his advocate Paul Heyman for beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania 30, and the fans generally like those two.
I know it may not make a lot of fans happy, but in reality, it is the right decision if WWE is trying to elevate Reigns, which has been one of the company’s top priorities for the better of three years now.
I know it sounds impossible to elevate Reigns any further than he already has given that he has closed out the last two WrestleManias and is already a three-time WWE champion, but WWE’s eyes, he could use a little bit more of a boost.
I am not sure WWE cares at this point that beating The Undertaker would surely make Reigns public enemy No. 1 amongst die-hard wrestling fans. If it did, it would have plans of making Reigns into a full-fledged heel, which is something fans and pundits have been begging for to the point of exhaustion.
However, I don’t think WWE has any desires of sending Reigns all the way to the dark side. I could be wrong, but knowing WWE’s track record of stubbornness, I don’t think I am.
Prediction: Reigns def. The Undertaker
John Cena & Nikki Bella (-1200, 1/12) vs. The Miz & Maryse (+600, 6/1)
Surprisingly, this has been the most entertaining story heading into WrestleMania. That’s right, a mid-card mixed tag team match caught my attention and adulation more than anything else on this card.
It doesn’t hurt to have Cena involved, who has been WWE’s ace for the last decade.
Because Cena is still the top man until further notice, I fully expect he and his girlfriend to pick up the win here. I also think a proposal is on the way for Mr. Cena and Ms. Bella.
I know, it sounds cheesy for Cena and Bella to wait until WrestleMania to do it instead of doing it away from the international spotlight, but with the way WWE has pushed that Cena will never propose to Bella leading up to the match, it is bound to happen in an effort to put a nice bow on the mushy, happy ending.
Prediction: Cena & Bella def. The Miz & Maryse
Non-sanctioned match – Seth Rollins (-600, 1/6) vs. Triple H (+350, 7/2)
On the surface, this just seems like the long-awaited ending to a feud that has gone back more than a year to when Rollins was still with the Authority in 2015.
Underneath that I believe will be an encounter filled with shenanigans.
With Rollins hampered by an injured knee, I don’t expect he and Triple H to be doing a whole lot between just them two. I expect the likes of Samoa Joe and maybe (keep your fingers crossed) Finn Balor to pop up and turn this into an all-out melee that is sure to turn Camping World Stadium upside down from the fans’ ovation.
Joe is not booked in an official match on WrestleMania, unless he was slipped into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal without me noticing, and Balor has not been on WWE television since last August. I think it could happen.
With that said, I am taking Rollins to “win” this fight. Since it is non-sanctioned, there shouldn’t be any referees around to count to three. I think Rollins will simply incapacitate Triple H and finally topple his mentor.
Prediction: Rollins def. Triple H
Shane McMahon (+550, 1/6) vs. AJ Styles (-1000, 1/10)
Styles will defeat McMahon. As a matter of fact, Styles better defeat McMahon or all of my optimism about this match will fly right out of the window.
And yes, I am optimistic about this match. I believe it will shock a lot of its detractors — and there are many — and put on a very memorable performance.
Prediction: Styles def. McMahon
WWE Raw Women’s championship – Bayley (c) (4/5) vs. Sasha Banks (9/2) vs. Charlotte Flair (11/2) vs. Nia Jax (14/1)
I struggled with whom I wanted to pick to win this match. It looks almost certain that Bayley will lose her title, but my only question was to whom?
Who? Who? Who? Who?
I came up with plausible reasons why Flair, Banks and Jax could walk out of WrestleMania as the queen of Raw.
Flair could re-ascend to her throne and become a five-time champion in the same stadium that her father had his famous “retirement” match nine years ago.
Jax could cement herself as a main player in the Raw women’s division with a dominant win on the grandest stage of them all.
But Banks intrigued me the most because of her ongoing story with Bayley.
I think we could all agree that it looks like Banks will turn on Bayley some day and return to her villainous ways of yesteryear. It seems to be only a matter of time.
Why not begin that heel turn with a win by dastardly means at WrestleMania that not only ends her friendship with Bayley, but also takes her friend’s most prized possession.
From there, you could have Bayley chase a now heel Banks for the championship for many months to come. Seems easy enough to me. It seems so easy that WWE probably won’t do it.
Oh well, I’m predicting it to happen anyway.
Prediction: Banks WINS the Raw Women’s title
WWE United States championship – Chris Jericho (c) (+425, 17/4) vs. Kevin Owens (-800, 1/8)
Jericho and Owens have received a lot of time over the past year to build to this match. Hopefully, they receive a lot of time in the ring Sunday to give their long story a fitting conclusion.
No matter how long the match goes, I expect Owens to win and claim his first United States championship.
Prediction: Owens WINS the United States title
WWE Intercontinental championship – Dean Ambrose (c) (+700, 7/1) vs. Baron Corbin (-1400, 1/14)
Unlike the United States title, the Intercontinental title story was not built up with entertaining chapters that played out over the course of many months.
This essentially began back at the Elimination Chamber in February and has been rather pedestrian ever since.
As far as a prediction, Ambrose has largely done nothing for the Intercontinental championship, which pains me to say because I do enjoy his work. What that means, however, is that it is time to pass it along to Corbin, who could be elevated by winning the title.
Corbin is essentially taking the path that Reigns should have taken back in 2014-15.
Winning the Intercontinental championship will not cement Corbin as a main-event caliber talent, but it will help him and maybe he can grow into being a main-event talent while holding the Intercontinental title.
Prediction: Corbin WINS the Intercontinental title
WWE Smackdown Women’s championship – Alexa Bliss (c) (9/1) vs. Naomi (11/10) vs. Natalya (15/1) vs. Carmella (11/10) vs. Mickie James (10/1) vs. Becky Lynch (19/2) vs. more?
Since WWE has billed this match as Bliss versus every available female talent, WWE has left the door open for some surprises to show up for the match.
WWE also left the door open on the rules, as no one truly knows what they are.
Regardless of the rules, I think Naomi will win so that she can get the nice championship moment in front of her hometown fans.
Prediction: Naomi WINS the Smackdown Women’s title
WWE Raw Tag Team championship (Ladder) – Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (c) (+200, 2/1) vs. Sheamus & Cesaro (+900, 9/1) vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass (-250, 2/5)
Until the ladder match stipulation was added this week, I only carried faint interest in this match.
Now that it is a ladder match, my level of interest has increased, but only slightly.
I think the match will be good, but I’m not expecting anything that I haven’t seen before. If there is one thing I am looking forward to is what Cesaro could have up his sleeve.
This will be Cesaro’s first match on WrestleMania’s main card since WrestleMania 30 back in 2014. I believe he will throw caution to the win in this match.
As far as the winner, I’m going with Amore and Cass to finally, FINALLY win a tag team title match. FINALLY.
Prediction: Amore & Cass WIN the Raw Tag Team titles
Kickoff match – WWE Cruiserweight championship – Neville (c) (-400, 1/4) vs. Austin Aries (+250, 5/2)
I’m still oppose to this being on the kickoff show, but at the very least it will get a decent amount of time to put forth a quality match.
I know the odds are with Neville to retain, and while that seems very logical, I’m going to go with Aries to pick up the win here.
Prediction: Aries WINS the Cruiserweight title
Kickoff match – Andre the Giant Battle Royal (Braun Strowman: -450, 2/9. Field: +275, 11/4)
Even Las Vegas doesn’t think anyone has chance to win this match but Strowman, as he is the only participant it provided odds for. In storyline and in the casinos, it is Strowman versus the field.
The only other person I would even consider to win this match is Sami Zayn and that is only because Raw has put a spotlight on him in recent weeks.
Prediction: Braun Strowman WINS the Andre the Giant Battle Royal