WrestleMania. The biggest wrestling show of the year. The culmination of a year's worth of stories will find their conclusions and new beginnings shall be witnessed as well!
This year the 35th annual WrestleMania will take place at East Rutherford, New Jersey. The last time Mania was there The Rock vs. John Cena fought in the main event for the WWE Title in their "twice in a lifetime" encounter, also the final victory of The Undertaker's undefeated streak against CM Punk who also wrestled in his final Mania that time. Fandango also defeated Chris Jericho. Yes that sentence is in fact not a lie!
Now here we are, as of the making of this post there are 15 confirmed matches at the card including the pre-show. Speaking of matches it is interesting that this will be the first Mania ever since Wrestlemania 16 wherein The Undertaker and John Cena won't be involved in a match! At least so far, this might change in the coming days or even in the night itself but it's mindblowing how those two have been synonymous with the event for a long time but not really once you put into perspective that they are pretty much household names.
Will The Beast's reign on the Universal Championship come to an end? Will KofiMania become reality? The first ever Women's Main Event in Mania history! All that and more as I share to you my own thoughts and predictions as well as a complete preview of this year's WrestleMania!
Without further ado, let's get straight to the action!
No Way Jose
Cesaro (2014) - Everything seemed to be promising in the beginning but ended up in nowhere until finding his way to feud and team up with Sheamus.
Big Show (2015) - Still pops up from time to time. He's a veteran and deserves it, nothing else to prove.
Baron Corbin (2016) - Probably the most successful of past winners and that's saying something, he won the battle royal in his main roster debut so that's cool but everything went downhill from there.
Mojo Rawley (2017) - His sidekick Gronk was the only memorable part of the whole match and I don't even watch American Football! Oh and the runner up Jinder Mahal would go on to become WWE Champion. Remember that?
Matt Hardy (2018) - Similar case to the Big Show, another veteran. Just recently returned from a hiatus to reunite with his brother.
With all that out of the way, I think it's pretty safe to say now that the Andre Battle Royal is pointless. The past 5 years I've always had hope that the winner would eventually lead to somewhere other than winning a huge trophy but nope. Same old scenario.
It looks to be even worse this year with comedians of SNL being a part of the match. I personally don't mind if outsiders were to have matches but I prefer if they were at least athletes or look like athletes like Lawrence Taylor or Mr. T, even an old Shaq. But comedians really? As a non-American I'm not even aware of these guys but hey, they'll bring in the mainstream audience I suppose.
It is sad to see how Braun has fallen as well. He used to be on the same level as Brock Lesnar but WWE always has to ruin their big guys. Sad to see the likes of Mustafa Ali, Andrade, and EC3 be in this match too.
I know its a match supposed to be paying tribute for one of the greatest ever but Andre would be ashamed of what its become, if it even became anything. Apologies if I just ranted, its just that I always hoped this match would mean something but any ounce of optimism from me is gone at this point.
It's probably the comedians or Braun but to hell with it! I'm going with my man Otis Dozovic! No other reason than I've been a fan of Heavy Machinery since their NXT days, so why not? Rooting for Tucker too.
WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal
The inaugural winner was Naomi and nothing came of it. What were you expecting anyway? She deserves better we all know that but its the WWE.
Asuka has it the worst out of the bunch here, from potentially defending her SD Women's Title but after losing it just 2 weeks before Mania, now she's just a part of this pointless battle royal.
At least it gives the rest of the women's roster a payday and I guess we'll see some NXT wrestlers throwin in the mix as well possibly some legends or old names too.
At least Asuka gets to win the battle royal right? Pretty please?
Match #3 - WWE Cruiserweight Championship:
Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Tony Nese
From: Melbourne, Australia
Weight: 203 lbs.
From: Ridge, New York
Weight: 196 lbs.
Murphy has find quite the success ever since being a part of othe 205 brand. He finally won the Cruiserweight Title from Cedric Alexander in his home country of Australia in the special event of WWE: the Super Show-Down. He received a monstrous ovation in his first title match of his main roster run!
He is currently the second longest reigning champion of his specific title lineage only behind Neville's 197 days.
A tournament was held between 8 of the best cruiserweights in the roster: Tony Nese, Kalisto, The Brian Kendrick, Drew Gulak, Humberto Carillo, Oney Lorcan, Cedric Aleander, and Akira Tozawa. In the end the former champion Alexander would make it to the finals but lose to Nese.
Interestingly enough Nese and Murphy used to have some sort of partnership but that's all in the past now as this time they will face off each other in the biggest match of their careers yet! Nese has been a part of the 205 roster since the beginning going all the way back to the inaugural Cruiserweight Classic Tournament while Murphy is one of the best reigning champions in WWE today, so both men have a lot to prove come at Mania!
Match #4 - RAW Tag-Team Championships:
The Revival (c) vs. Hawkins & Ryder
From: Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
Combined Weight: 446 lbs.
Tag-Team Debut: 2014
Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder
From: New York
Combined Weight: 447 lbs.
Tag-Team Debut: 2007
Ever since last year's WrestleMania, the RAW Tag Titles have been in an odd situation. Of course we all know Braun Strowman and his 4th grader pal Nicholas fresh from the crowd defeated the team of Sheamus and Cesaro! But the very next day, they gave it away. To vacancy of course because Nicholas has duties in school. That is indeed a wrestling storyline folks, for a moment WWE turned into DDT.
Anyhow at the infamous Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi, the team of Bray Wyatt and Woken Matt Hardy won the titles by beating the former champs The Bar. Since then the belts have received the "hot potato" treatment going to The B-Team (Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas) to Ziggler & McIntyre then to a short lived reunited Shield (Ambrose & Rollins) then to AOP, after that to the odd team of Bobby Roode and Chad Gable and finally to The Revival. That is 7 teams in the span of almost a year!
Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder have been friends for a long time now and they actually started off their WWE careers together as the "Major Brothers" lackeys to Edge's La Familia stable during the Rated R's World Title run. Now they are back and looking to get Hawkins FIRST win since making his return to the company!
Hawkins' losing percentage in his WWE career currently stands at 73.29% making it the longest running active losing streak in WWE history! But that all could change as The Undertaker and Asuka have proved in the past, streaks could come to an end at Mania!
The Boyhood Dream Will Come True!
A part of me is happy that Ryder & Hawkins will get a cool Mania moment but a part of me is sad that The Revival are now at this point of their careers, going from one of, if not the greatest tag-team in NXT to this. It's the main roster curse that only a few have broken over the years.
Match #5 - SD Tag-Team Championships:
Four Way Match
In comparison to the RAW Tag Titles, the SD variation have actually received quite the good treatment. Not the best, but you can't get any worse than the RAW ones but I digress.
The Usos and New Day's set of matches in 2017 really brought back tag-team wrestling on the map at least for the WWE! You can never go wrong if you put those two teams against each other. Finally since making their debuts in 2010, The Usos have gotten the recognition among their peers and fans as one of the greatest tag-teams of this generation, possibly all time! This is their fourth reign with the SmackDown belts, defeating the team of Miz & Shane McMahon at the Elimination Chamber PPV. As a whole they've held 6 total tag-team championships, 7 if you count the FCW Titles in their career!
Another tag-team that have been solid ever since they've been together is Sheamus and Cesaro; The Bar. Ever since teaming together The Bar have been 5x Tag-Team Champions and they are looking to match The Usos record in the main roster by getting a 6th one! I'm sure they'd like to forget that they lost to a 10 year old at the previous Mania.
Last year both Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev were involved in title matches at Mania. Rusev was in that fatal 4 way for the US Title at the peak of Rusev Day against Orton, Roode, and Jinder which the latter won. Nakamura had a match against AJ Styles for the WWE Championship which would lead to a series of more matches with his rival but would never be able to capture the belt. Now they are together after feuding for the US Championship, managed by Lana of course. Never thought I'd see Japanese and Bulgarian men team together but anything is possible in wrestling!
The final team in this match is the fairly new duo of Aleister Black and Ricochet. Two of the latest call ups from NXT. Aleister is a former NXT Champion himself, had a good run their and Ricochet is also a former champion but the NXT North American Champion. It is odd to see them here as they've been somewhat more prominent parts of RAW but whatever. They will pull off double duty though as they're still scheduled to have a match at TakeOver: New York against The War Raiders for the NXT Tag Titles, after winning the Dusty Classic, so its gonna be a busy weekend for them!
Let them keep the belts. They are good champions. None of the other tag-teams really interest me to become tag champs right now, Black & Ricochet deserve to have good solo runs down the line.
Match #6 - WWE Women's Tag-Team Championships:
Four Way Match
There were already Women's Tag-Team Titles in the WWE before during the 80's but it was only a short lineage of 5 champions; Velvet McIntyre and Princess Victoria were the inaugural champions, Desiree Petersen would then replace Victoria as Velvet's partner after suffering a career ending injury. After that The Glamour Girls and Jumping Bomb Angels would trade with the belts until it was deactivated. But these belts currently held by Sasha & Bayley are a new lineage altogether.
Sasha Banks and Bayley's careers have been intertwined since their days at NXT. Their feud for the NXT Women's Championship solidified the division and what would become of it today compromise of some of the greatest talented women in the wrestling scene! Their interactions will not end in the main roster and they've found success on their own but still ending up on the same path. Former enemies, now friends again, they managed to become the first ever WWE Women's Tag-Team Champions at Elimination Chamber outlasting 5 other teams!
Same scenario with the SD Tag Titles, The Boss N' Hug Connection as they are collectively known will take on three teams to defend their belts at Mania. First are The IIconics. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce have been a formidable duo in NXT. A similar tag-team I can compare them too was LayCool, they got the beauty and like to talk smack against their opponents. Individually they are fine as competitors, but they truly shine as a tag-team! They've been a part of the SmackDown Women's Divisions ever since getting called up and this is their first high profile match at Mania! Peyton was a part of the Women's Battle Royal last year along with a slew of other NXT Women.
Up next the titanic tandem of cousins Nia Jax and Tamina. Both are representing the rich legacies of their wrestling dynasties. Whether you like it or not, Nia Jax has been consistently one of the most dominant forces in the women's division in WWE right now! Yeah she isn't on par with the likes of Chyna, Kharma, and Aja Kong and will likely never be, but her presence alone sure creates a buzz among the wrestling community. Tamina is solid too, I'd say she is an underrated wrestler, it's just that she has suffered numerous injuries through the years so she isn't able to properly show off what she has. Nia was a surprise entrant in the 2019 Royal Rumble making her the 4th woman in history in entering the Men's Rumble match! The Samoan Slaughterhouse as they are aptly called are very familiar with the current champs as they've crossed paths multiple times before, it's just up to them now if they can live up to the dominant persona at Mania and become champions themselves.
Last but not the least we have another reunited duo this coming Mania with Natalya and WWE Hall of Famer: Beth Phoenix! Ever since losing the SD Women's Title Natalya has somewhat floundered around, other than teaming with Ronda Rousey whom she is mentoring and eventually fight her in a match she hasn't really done anything of note until her bestfriend Beth Phoenix made her return! The Glamazon is looking for a one last hoorah and have challenged the Women's Tag-Team Champions for the belts!
They have to solidify the belts and I think they can accomplish that moving forward with Sasha and Bayley. Another possible scenario would be Nia and Tamina but let's not kid ourselves, the current champs is the better choice!
Match #7 - WWE US Championship:
Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rey Mysterio
From: Hunnington Beach, California
Weight: 282 lbs.
From: San Diego, California
Weight: 175 lbs.
After finding success in other companies such as AAA, NJPW, and Lucha Underground and participating at the main event for All In, Rey Mysterio found his way to the WWE in 2018 becoming the surprise entrant at that year's Royal Rumble! Then just recently, he would have a great series of matches against fellow Mexican native: Andrade "Cien" Almas.
Samoa Joe on the other hand has maintained his dominant presence among the roster since returning from injury. The US Championship is his first title ever in the WWE main roster and is looking to stay as such at Mania against a smaller, yet formidable and experienced opponent.
In the go-home show for RAW, Rey suffered an injury during his match against Baron Corbin so we are still not clear if he is capable enough to be in the match but whatever the case may be I feel Joe would retain unless perhaps John Cena makes a surprise appearance and replaces Rey! Which would bum me out honestly.
Match #8 - WWE Intercontinental Championship:
Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Finn Balor
From: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Weight: 273 lbs.
From: Bray, Country Wicklow, Ireland
Weight: 190 lbs.
The RAW after Mania last year, Bobby Lashley made his return to the WWE after a long run in TNA/IMPACT becoming a multi-time champion there and even holding all belts at once! He has been involved in some feuds here and there before finding his footing back by teaming up with 205 roster member: Lio Rush! Lio was the missing piece to Lashley. In his own Bobby Lashley has it all; the athletic ability and the size of a heavyweight that favors him the eyes of the higher ups. Although I think we can all agree he isn't exactly in the Ric Flair level of delivering promos, so Lio Rush doing the talking for him has been essential.
Finn Balor on the other hand was a part of one of the best opening matches at Mania last year in a triple threat match between him, Seth Rollins, and The Miz for the IC Title! Later on at the Royal Rumble this year, Balor had the biggest match up of his career yet and quite literally too against Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship! This is his first time challenging for the belt ever since he got a hold of it as the inaugural champion at SummerSlam 2016. While he loss in both of those scenarios, he would eventually find success the next month at the Elimination Chamber PPV defeating Lashley and Rush in a 2-on-1 handicap match for the Intercontinental Championship, his first title win in the WWE since the Universal championship. But just weeks later he would drop the belt back to Lashley at an episode of RAW.
Now here we are, after being out for quite some time, The Demon has risen back! Finn Balor has finally been pushed to his limits and is dead set on re-gaining the Intercontinental Championship to call on his alter ego. For the unaware since it has been a long time, this is similar to a Keiji Mutoh/Great Muta situation wherein Mutoh would only become Muta if the stakes are really high or if he's been angered enough by the opposition. Finally we would get to see The Demon make his long awaited entrance at Mania!
As much as I enjoy the tandem of Lashley and Rush, I think it is time for Finn to have a proper lengthy reign with the IC Belt. He is in long due of being treated as a serious competitor.
Match #9 - Singles Match:
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
From: Pensacola, Florida
Weight: 265 lbs.
From: Ayr, Scotland
Weight: 265 lbs.
Four months later Roman returned to RAW and announced his remission! For the first time in a long time in his career, he received nothing but a huge ovation from the crowd! The fans have put their ire on the side, who they once thought of as a "paper champion" became a true champion in everyone's hearts! I know it's dramatic and all, but it really was a roller coaster ride of events, especially if you've been actively following Reigns' career since debuting as The Shield, its even longer for me as I've witnessed his run as Leakee in FCW, so its great that he finally gets to be the beloved babyface they've always wanted him to be!
His opponent, Drew McIntyre has been under the members of The Shield's skins since making his main roster debut. The former NXT Champion has challenged Roman Reigns and even alluded to his cancer during a build up, just classy WWE for you.
It's pretty crazy to think that Roman has been in the main event of Mania the past four years in a row! Now he is back on the undercard in what is nothing more than an exhibition comeback match against McIntyre. Should be a good one.
Match #10 - Falls Count Anywhere:
Shane McMahon vs. The Miz
From: Greenwich, Connecticut
Weight: 230 lbs.
From: Cleveland, Ohio
Weight: 221 lbs.
It's been an interesting past couple of months for these two fellas. After being decimated by The Undertaker and losing to AJ Styles at Manias 32 and 33 respectively, Shane finally found success by teaming up with Daniel Bryan on the latter's comeback match at Mania winning against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn! He would continue his position as the authority figure for SmackDown until on the Crown Jewel event where things took an odd turn to say the least...
When Miz was injured and incapable of continuing in the WWE World Cup tournament to determine who is "the best in the world" Shane replaced him and defeated Dolph Ziggler in the finals under three minutes! The following weeks Miz would pursue Shane to become his tag-team partner and he finally gave in and quickly found tag-team gold by defeating The Bar for the SD Tag Titles at the Royal Rumble!
But the run wouldn't be long as it all ended just a month later at the hands of The Usos at Elimination Chamber. After the match Miz who was in a sad state, fresh from losing the belts, was attacked from behind by Shane! He even confronted Miz's father George! Who is totally not Spongebob's father in disguise!
For years The Miz was always the one getting personal with his opponents, being the bad guy in almost every scenario, mocking the opposition, but this time the tables have turned and he is fighting not only for his pride but for his family too, especially his father whom Shane disrespected throughout their feud. Personally, what a great story arc it has been for The Miz!
It has become personal between the two ever since and they'll finally face each other at the biggest stage.
Classic old tale of the babyface overcoming the hated heel. Funny how Miz is the good guy in the situation this time around though. He really has come a long way.
Match #11 - Singles Match:
AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton
From: Gainesville, Georgia
Weight: 218 lbs.
From: St. Louis, Missouri
Weight: 250 lbs.
From the day he was born Randy Orton was destined for greatness. He is a 3rd generation wrestler, his grandfather was a regional champion and his father Cowboy Bob was one of the most notable names during the height of Hulkamania in the 80's! But no disrespect meant, Randy has surpassed the legacies of his family and has carried the Orton mantle to a whole new level! He is the youngest man to ever become World Champion and to this day remains one of the top stars in the WWE, twenty years later.
AJ Styles did not come from a dynasty, he wasn't from the richest of families, he was just an ordinary country boy who found wrestling as his ultimate passion. After toiling around in the independent circuit, he managed to make a name for himself in TNA (now known as IMPACT Wrestling) and became synonymous with that company! After a 12 year long run their, he solidified his status as a main event player by going to New Japan and winning the highest prize the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in his debut match there! Then he would make his long awaited arrival at the WWE by being the surprise entrant for the 2017 Royal Rumble and since then has garnered numerous accolades including being a 2x WWE Champion!
One man was given the keys and was surrounded by men who have blazed the path already for him. The other one had to work his ass off to get recognized and finally make it to the "big leagues" as they say. With a single promo war, this has instantly become one of my most anticipated Mania matches and hope it will deliver!
It could really go either way but I feel like AJ still has one or two World Title runs left in him so a victory over Orton would be great but similar with Nakamura last year, we may not see the end of this rivalry at Mania. I'm sticking with my pick though.
Match #12 - Farewell Match:
Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin
From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Weight: 237 lbs.
From: Kansas City
Weight: 285 lbs.
Anyway, shameless plug aside. After announcing that on WrestleMania 35 will be his farewell match, many speculated on who his final opponent might be? Some said Shelton Benjamin or even Chad Gable because of their athletic backgrounds. Maybe even a returning Jason Jordan? He is his son after all! Perhaps the best scenario though is John Cena. Angle as we all know is Cena's very first opponent in his official WWE debut. Many years later Cena would do the honors for Angle by inducting him in the Hall of Fame, so it makes sense that it finally goes full circle for him to be Angle's last opponent of his storied wrestling career!
But who do we get? Baron Corbin. The acting RAW General Manager. I get it, they've been sort of feuding for a while now and have been at each other's throats for the position of GM at RAW. Angle also has past issues with The Authority, mainly Stephanie who Baron is working for but boy was everybody let down. Gotta be honest, including me as well. I know Kurt's glory days in the ring are way behind him at this point but his last match against Corbin does not sound enticing in the least. But to the big guy's credit he is making the best out of this by mocking the fans into wanting to have a better opponent for Angle especially in social media but that's not enough for me to get excited.
Maybe there's still a chance that we'll see Cena down the line or any form of involvement at all if he isn't the one replacing Rey if ever he is unable to compete in the US Title match. We just have to wait and see.
It's a tricky situation. This is Angle's last match ever, realistically older guys put over the young stars as a final service. But Corbin is not your ordinary young star, he doesn't exactly have "future main eventer" written all over him at this point plus like I said we might see Cena help Angle win so maybe Kurt gets on last victory at Mania.
It's just sad though. From stellar Mania matches against Brock Lesnar, Shawn Michaels, and Eddie Guerrero just to name a few and even the mixed tag last year with Ronda vs. HHH & Steph was nice, to end it all against Baron Corbin of all possible options. It could've been better is all I'm trying to say.
Match #13 - No Holds Barred:
Triple H vs. Batista
From: Greenwich, Connecticut
Weight: 255 lbs.
From: Washington, D.C.
Weight: 290 lbs.
These two are very familiar with each other to say the least. Together they've found success as a stable in Evolution with Randy Orton and Ric Flair. Afterwards they'd go on to have more success on their own, eventually Batista making a name for himself in the acting industry while HHH made NXT to what it is today and has helped in the grooming of the future stars of WWE.
Since WrestleMania 13, Triple H has been a consistent part of Mania. He holds the record for most matches in Mania history and has main evented a record 7 times as well tied with Hulk Hogan! He is a 14x World Champion as well as a numerous of other accolades, as Batista himself stated at the 1000th episode of SmackDown, the man has done it all! Except for one thing, defeat The Animal.
Rumor has it that this is Batista's retirement match since he has stated before that he wants his last match to be against HHH. Personally, I have been connected to these two especially Batista since I grew up with the Ruthless Aggression Era of the 2000's. Dave being Filipino descent made me really idolize him as I am one as well, just to see someone from the same country as you in worldwide television at the time was really cool. Now to see him find notoriety outside of wrestling is pretty cool, as an MCU fan myself I say he is pretty great as Drax and I'm sure many share the same sentiment!
Match #14 - WWE Championship:
Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Kofi Kingston
From: Aberdeen, Washington
Weight: 210 lbs.
From: Ghana, West Africa
Weight: 212 lbs.
For 11 years, Kofi has been a part of the WWE and yet he was never in contention for the World Championship despite having all the talent in the world! He's held the Intercontinental, United States, and Tag-Team Championships. Helped in the formation on the greatest group on modern day WWE. But he is still treated as an afterthought, until on February 12, 2019 when Kofi replaced an injured Mustafa Ali in a gaunlet match to become a part of the Elimination Chamber for the WWE Championship. He won and coming into the match quickly became the fan favorite!
We get to the chamber match itself filled with some of the best talent the SmackDown roster had to offer; Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, and Randy Orton. In the end though two men were left standing those being the defending champion Daniel Bryan and Kofi Kingston. He was just inches away from making his dream become reality by finally become the world champion! But no, in the end D-Bry took home the gold.
Because of his gutsy performance though, the fans quickly gravitated their attention towards Kofi. No longer is he just the "third man" on The New Day, he became the main focus of everyone, including Bryan and even Mr. McMahon! Due to that, he was given opportunity after opportunity such as outlasting numerous opponents in a gaunlet match to have a crack with the World Title but would ultimately be treated unfairly by either the higher ups or Bryan himself.
It's a shame what's become of Daniel Bryan. Ever since gaining his fourth title reign as the WWE Champion from AJ Styles on an episode of SmackDown, he changed. He became The New Daniel Bryan. Daniel would turn on the very fans that were proponents into him becoming a main eventer to begin with at Mania 30, he pushed his ideologies which are good and well but enforcing them onto people far from the nicest way possible. He's become full of himself and was not the man of the people we all loved and cheered for, Daniel Bryan became what he once hated, lived long enough to become the villain as they say.
Now he is stomping on Kofi Kingston's chances just like what Triple H and Stephanie tried to do against him all those years ago. But this time however, it's different. Kofi does not only have the support of the fans, but two of his closest friends: Xavier Woods and Big E of New Day. Since their trio was formed, a bond similar to that of blood brothers happened. They've won championships and made a lot of money together!
The support of the boys have for Kofi was made even more evident when they won a tag-team gauntlet match at SmackDown for their mentor to finally face Daniel at Mania for the World Title. At one point during the match, The Usos even forfeited to show respect to their rivals.
A lot is at stake here. It's not only Kofi's legacy he is fighting for, but to all of those that came before him. Daniel Bryan being the villainous champion he's turned into, wants to prevent all of that from happening.
If you would have told me just a year ago that Kofi Kingston and Daniel Bryan would be fighting for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, I would've called you crazy! Plus Bryan being a heel too? It's a sentiment to how great workers everyone is involved in this story, not only the two men themselves.
I think we deserve a happy ending here. I am hesitant to pick Kofi as I know WWE always likes to screw with its fans for the sake of heat, but at this point I don't even care if he loses the title the next day, I just want to feel and see the moment of Kofi Kingston finally becoming World Champion at the biggest stage of his career! It's an organic and immortal moment that would last for ages.
When was the last time we felt a proper coronation moment in Mania anyway? 30 and 31 comes to mind with D-Bry's win over Batista and Orton, then a year later with Seth's surprise cash in on Brock and Roman. Since then we've seen forced coronations and underwhelming stories, it's been a while since I've been invested in a WWE storyline as like I've said I don't follow it as actively anymore, but Kofi Kingston and Daniel Bryan managed to catch my attention again as this feud was not even supposed to be purposefully here, it happened naturally thanks to the support of the fans.
It's been an age old cliche but the beloved babyface going over the dastardly heel, you can never go wrong with it!
Match #15 - WWE Universal Championship:
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins
From: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Weight: 286 lbs.
From: Davenport, Iowa
Weight: 217 lbs.
Anyway, he made a quick job out of John Cena in his comeback match, ended The Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania, defeated his long adversary Goldberg after a shock loss from him months earlier, and now found his way back in the title that is pretty much synonymous with him at this point: the WWE Universal Championship.
I've mentioned earlier about Roman Reigns' sudden leukemia diagnosis, well he was the reigning (no pun intended) Universal Champion during that announcement so WWE had to fill in the spot for the vacant championship. Brock was yet to have a proper re-match for the belt and he faced Finn Balor, the inaugural Universal Champ at the Royal Rumble PPV earlier in the year, he obviously defeated Balor and here we are now.
Speaking of the Royal Rumble, Seth Rollins has won it and made himself the proper No. 1 Contender for Brock's Universal Championship. Since then, the two have been on each other's throats and Seth wanted nothing more but to avenge his Shield brother Roman and finally dethrone Brock off his high horse!
This actually goes all the way back from the aforementioned WrestleMania 31 though. During the main event Lesnar and Reigns were having a hellacious fight for the WWE Championship but out of nowhere, then Mr. Money in the Bank; Seth Rollins cashes in his contract and pinned Reigns to become the new champion!
Now it all comes full circle. This time it's only between the two of them. Lesnar has defeated everyone that was on his way, Rollins is a resilient man and has proved time and time again that he can overcome the odds.
Will we see another champion crowned by the end of the night? Or will Brock once again leave everyone in upset and irate as he takes another victory over another opponent.
As a long time wrestling fan this is the dilemma I'm facing. Which coronation will occur? Kofi or Seth? WWE usually hates doing two or even three if you count the main event later on, in one night. Afraid of overshadowing each other's moments. But if there's a time where you put belts on well deserved babyfaces, it's this Mania. Rollins should lead the RAW brand as the Universal Champion going forward from here, he's always been the top champion material out of his two other Shield compatriots.
I'm not only picking Rollins because of the typical reason "Brock is a part timer, put it on a regular member of the roster" no. That's a tiring argument at this point and well aware of the assets of both men and what they offer to the company. I'm picking Seth because it is the right thing to do and he should be the face of the WWE.
Match #16 - Women's Championships Winner Takes All:
Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Becky Lynch
From: Dublin, Ireland
Weight: 135 lbs.
From: Riverside, California
Weight: 134 lbs.
From: The Queen City
Weight: 143 lbs.
Ronda Rousey, the longest reigning RAW Women's Champion. Ronda transcended women's sports unlike any other! She became a mainstream attraction, the fans, media, and other companies clamored over her due to the success she has received in MMA. There was a point in time where Ronda was the biggest name in all of sports! I know it's hard to believe but trust me, it's true. There were even rumors of her having a match against Floyd Mayweather during the peak of her MMA career! She is one of the reasons why the Women's Revolution happened in the first place, the WWE finally saw the importance of women's talents and wanted to treat their wrestlers that way, call it a PR stunt if you want, but at least it saved us from boring matches and the dark state that was the "Divas Era." I'm not giving Ronda full credit here for such revolution to happen, all I'm saying she is one of the core reasons why it finally opened the eyes of the WWE, if only for a moment.
Her final fights in the UFC were rough and even put her in a rough state of mind, but she managed to bounce back. She's always been a wrestling fan, after all her nickname "Rowdy" is inspired from one of the all time greats: the late "Rowdy' Roddy Piper. Ronda finally made her debut match at WrestleMania 32 and she stole the show! The mixed tag-team match with her and Kurt Angle vs. Triple H and Stephane McMahon was positively received by all and ever since then, the wrestling fans who were doubting here, admittedly including me, quickly hopped on the bandwagon and became fans! It wouldn't take long before Ronda became champion herself, that she did at SummerSlam last year when she defeated Alexa Bliss and since then has defended the title 10 times! That is the definition of a fighting champion right there folks.
Next we go to someone who did not even dream on becoming a wrestler, but it's in her genetics and wanted to continue the legacy of her late brother. Charlotte Flair. Even during her NXT days as a member of "The Four Horsewomen" Charlotte was seen as the odd one out. She did not do the usual transition of wrestling in the indies before finally making it to the WWE. On everyone's mind, it was all handed to her because who her father is. After all if your dad is the greatest wrestler of all time, you have a very influential voice backing you but at the same time large shoes to fill as well. Ric Flair's legacy in wrestling is not just some old timer of the past, The Nature Boy personified what a wrestler was and being a World Champion.
Ever since moving up to the main roster, Charlotte has proved all the doubters wrong. She has shown that she got to the point where she is now, not simply for the virtue of her dynasty, but also because of her talent! You can't deny that she is one of the best consistent performers in the WWE right now, male or female. She is a 7x Women's Champion already, 8 if you count the Divas Title run on her time at the main roster. Her recent victory is quite polarizing for some as 2 weeks leading into Mania she became the SD Women's Champion for the third time beating Asuka. Despite that though, it can't be denied how Charlotte was the face of the Women's Division in the WWE.
Then we got Becky Lynch. The Irish Lass Kicker. The Man. Been a fan of Becky since NXT. Out of the Four Horsewomen, she was the one that stood out to me the most. From being the only girl at her training school to quitting wrestling then coming back and getting to where she is now, it's been quite the journey to say the least. But not the most fun of journeys.
Becky was not a woman who transcended sports like Ronda nor was she from a great wrestling dynasty like Charlotte. She had to claw her way to the top and get recognized by the higher ups and the fans. It wouldn't be long before the fans would put her at such a high regard though, as not only is she great in the ring, but her natural charisma helped her become a massive fan favorite to all ages! After years of failing to triumph, she's finally done it seems like, when the brand split happened, Becky became the first ever SmackDown Women's Champion winning the belt at SummerSlam 2016! But the happy moments were not everlasting as she would eventually lose to Alexa Bliss and wouldn't regain the belt years later. So she got overshadowed again. Ronda Rousey came to the WWE, Charlotte was unstoppable again, Asuka was making waves since winning the rumble, Nia Jax was always presented as a dominant force. While Becky was seemingly left in the corner, away from the spotlight once more.
But that would all finally change for Becky when she had enough. She was tired of being the respectful nice competitor all the time, Becky needed the edge fans have been wanting from her for a long time and it delivered! She wasn't the forgotten wrestler anymore, she was THE MAN. Similar to that of Stone Cold, started out as hated heels and slowly became fan favorites, although I feel Becky was always a fan favorite anyway, that never changed. That is what's great about her. The fans always had her back and fully supported her from the beginning! Even when she was seemingly not wanting the adulation, deep inside she knew she's doing it for the fans too. Becky won the second ever Women's Royal Rumble after losing her second run as SD Women's Title earlier in the night to Asuka and Charlotte in a triple threat.
Mildred Burke, Mae Young, Alundra Blayze, Chyna, Lita, Trish Stratus, AJ Lee, Paige. These women along many others set the standard for American women's wrestling in their respective eras. Now we bare witness to the main event where Ronda, Charlotte, and Becky inspire an entire generation and set the bar for their own era!
I know what you're thinking. All that talk and Ronda wins eventually? As much as the next guy, I want Becky to win, believe me. If she does that is one of the best moments ever in wrestling! But I feel like this is all building up for a Ronda victory.
She is the sole reason why WWE had the all women's PPV "Evolution" to begin with. She gave life to women's wrestling and has accepted her role as a wrestler wholeheartedly rather than be a part timer, even though she truly could because of her past success, but she decided not to.
The rational in me thinks Ronda will win, but deep inside we all want Becky to win. She deserves it more than anyone in the match, but it's been said nobody just "wins" especially a Mania main event just because they deserve it. Plus once again, three coronations in one Mania? The wrestling fan in me thinks WWE is just not ballsy enough to pull that trigger. The last time we truly felt that I feel was in Mania 22 when both Cena and Batista won their respective World Titles.
It's been difficult for me, but I have to stick with my pick Ronda. It may anger some but hey if I get proven wrong and all three of my World Title predictions go the "right" way, then I'm more than happy to join you all in the celebration!
If you haven't read it yet, here is my other preview and predictions but for NJPW and ROH's show: G1 Supercard. I'm planning to continue the Cases for the Greatest article series after Mania so stay tuned for that if it interests you.
Remember, at the end of the day, whether our fantasy bookings or predictions turn out to be right or wrong, it is important to just stay back and enjoy the shows. Give credit to all the ones who made it possible just to entertain us, especially the wrestlers themselves.
Hopefully you're all having a great Mania weekend! This has been Super Mastodon, and Thanks For Reading.
The name is Super Mastodon. Been a wrestling fan throughout my life, and I share my interest with you here, at the MWC Blog.