WrestleMania 33 Preview: Not To Be Confused With Space Mountain
WOO! It is Rolex-wearin’ time, Tony Blanchard.
WrestleMania is upon us once again, and this year’s card is packed to the brim with matches that are sure to entertain. Nothing’s going to go down in history as the Greatest Match of All Time, but this show might take the award for consistent, quality matches.
So, without further ado:
You must be THIS TALL to climb aboard the ULTIMATE THRILL RIDE® (not to be confused with Space Mountain). Keep your arms, legs, and other extremities inside the ride at all times, buckle yourself in, and let’s get this show on the road.
Universal Championship: Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar
Most fans I know are at the point where we just want this feud to be over. Since Goldberg’s return squash match against Lesnar at Survivor Series, then his elimination of Lesnar during the Royal Rumble, it's been pretty obvious what the outcome of this match was going to be. Brock is going to beat Goldberg and become the new universal champion. It’ll be a quick (easily under 10 minutes), hard-hitting match.
So the intriguing thing here is going to be what’s next for Brock -- he’s conquered his rival, holds one of the top titles in WWE, and still seems as strong as ever when compared to everyone else on the main roster. It’s going to take some creative storytelling to dethrone the beast again.
WWE Championship: Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton
This match has had a pretty good build up, but you’d be forgiven if you don’t remember every single twist and turn along the way. Things really kicked into high gear a month or so ago when Randy Orton committed several felonies -- burning the Wyatt Compound to the ground and desecrating the burial place of Sister Abigail.
Bray Wyatt is in this fascinating position on the roster where he’s good enough that Vince wants him to feud with all of his big name faces (Roman, Cena, Undertaker, Orton), but he never gets to beat any of them. If internet rumors are to be believed, Randy is picking up the win over Wyatt as part of his “payback” for losing to Brock at last year’s Summerslam.
Randy and Bray has potential to be good -- as good as any Randy Orton match can be. Randy seems to always put on a great performance, but he just never seems to go above and beyond. Look for this to be an entertaining match that moves the story forward, getting us a new WWE champion, and a fresh angle for their storyline come Tuesday’s Smackdown Live.
Small Claims Court Property Dispute: Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
WHO’S YARD IS IT YOU GUYS – THE BIG DOG’S? OR THE OLDER BIG DOG’S?
First off: Undertaker looks terrible. I imagine every time he moves there’s something squeaking like a damn tin man or something. You put him next to Roman Reigns and it’s crazy to think anything’s gonna happen other than Roman winning. At that point, it's a matter of whether or not this is going to be The Undertaker’s last WrestleMania, and if so -- then Roman Reigns is basically the biggest villain in WWE history because he effectively retired one of the most popular wrestlers of all time.
As for the match itself: The Undertaker, like I said, is looks like he can probably stand about 15 minutes max of in-ring action before his body just freezes up on him so expect a slow, methodical beat down.
Triple H vs. Seth Rollins
Already one of my favorites of the entire event, and it hasn’t even happened yet. This feud got off to a rocky start (felt like it took Seth about six months to actually think to go after Triple H), but once it found its momentum, it’s done a nice job consistently building.
They've done a good job incorporating Seth's recent, real life (maybe) injury into the storyline, and keeping these two away from each other to actually have the first time they officially square off feel really monumental. Expect the crowd to be especially hot for this one. People want to cheer Seth Rollins -- he looks cool, is one of the most skilled performers in his industry, and has sex with his sister on the regular.
AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon
So this is a match that not very many people were looking forward to, but kudos to AJ and Shane because they’ve turned everyone's opinion around on this. They missed the boat a bit by not having some kind of stipulation which would help cover up Shane’s obvious lack of wrestling ability. AJ is going to have to pick up a lot of the slack in this match to make it look believable, but he made James Ellsworth look semi-credible a while back, so he should be able to do the same for Shane no problem.
Look for Shane to jump off something or perform some other crazy antic that someone of his age and with a loving family should never have to participate in. When the final bell rings, having any outcome other than AJ standing tall would be a pretty big mistake.
John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse
Unfortunately we’ve already seen the best of what this feud has to offer in the promos and the build up to the actual match. We know how the match is going to end -- Cena and Nikki are going to win, and Cena is going to propose to Nikki after the match. That's why Al Roker is the special ring announcer, and they’ve hinted way too much at this outcome in the promos that Miz and Maryse have done.
With everything he’s done over the last year, Miz might be one of the best talkers in WWE right now. I'm looking forward to what’s next for these two, and hopefully it's able to give us a lot more entertaining Miz time on the mic.
Pick: The Bellas
Raw Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte vs. Sasha vs. Nia Jax
This is one of the matches I'm looking forward to the least because it feels like we've already seen it, or a variation of it, every week on Raw for the last three months. I don't doubt that it's going to be an entertaining match, the angle just feels stale.
The main thing that's going to save this match and keep things semi-interesting is a Sasha Banks heel turn to win the championship. That’s the best move for the Raw women’s roster going forward.
United States Championship: Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kevin Owens
This has potential to be another standout match. Seeing these two interact over the last few months has been one of the only highlights of Raw. When Kevin Owens turned on Jericho during the Festival of Friendship, it was probably the most traumatizing moment in wrestling history:
Jericho’s one of the most seasoned veterans on the roster, and Kevin Owens is no amateur either, so loo for these two to cap their story with a compelling finale. The safe bet here is that Jericho is going to put Owens over to kind of get him back to looking like a legitimate threat to the rest of the roster.
Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin has grown by leaps and bounds both in the ring and on the mic since his call up to the main roster last year. Dean, unfortunately, is not the best wrestler so I worry that this match is going to suffer a little bit from being boring, but hopefully these two continue to have a program together.
I think it's a little too early to put the Intercontinental Championship on Baron Corbin, but this gives him a good excuse for continuing to go after that title and others in the future if he can go toe-to-toe with a top guy like Ambrose.
The only thing that could make this match better would be if there was some stipulation -– Falls Count Anywhere, Last Man Standing, etc. I think we would've gotten a little bit better performance out of these two, but at the end of the day it's still going to be a good match that showcases a feud that has sometimes struggled to stay relevant in the limelight amongst everything else going on this weekend.
Raw Tag Team Championship: Gallows & Anderson “The Club” (c) vs. Enzo & Big Cass vs. Sheamus & Cesaro
Here's another match that suffers from feeling like we've seen it before. I don't know how many weeks it's been now that we've watched these teams compete against each other on Raw. With that said, these guys are all good performers (maybe with the exception of Enzo and Cass), but putting those two with the veterans on the other two teams is going to make them look good regardless.
I wouldn't be super surprised if Enzo and Cass won the belts since it's WrestleMania, they've been over with the crowds for a solid year now, and there's really no benefit to having Gallows and Anderson retain (they haven't been booked strong yet -- why start now?) or Sheamus and Cesaro be the new champs (crowds are lukewarm to them at best).
Pick: Enzo & Cass
Smackdown Women's Championship: Alexa Bliss (c), Becky Lynch, Natalya, Mickie James, Carmella, Naomi, ???
For how well Smackdown handled the women to start with last year after the brand split, they have totally dropped the ball over the last few weeks. This division is kind of a cluster fuck. It's just girls all trying to get the belt, but they're all, like, yelling over each other and wrestling anyone they come across, and it really just needs to slow down and focus on a few meaningful feuds at a time. I feel like we never really got the payoff between Becky Lynch and Mickie James, for instance.
Naomi coming back last Tuesday on Smackdown gave this match a pretty definitive ending in my mind. Naomi had to relinquish her recently won Women’s Championship due to injury a month or so ago, but now that she’s back and WrestleMania is in her hometown, look for her to walk out back on top of the division. I really don't have high hopes for this match -- I think it's going to be clumsy while still feeling very rehearsed, but I’m more than ready to be pleasantly surprised.
Cruiserweight Championship: Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: Big Show, Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, Mojo Rawley, Braun Strowman, Tian Bing (He’s Chinese, kinda big deal), and, like, 24 other people, I think.
Beyond just sheer entertainment, there's no real reason to care about this match. The past years’ winners have been random and haven't ever really amounted to anything major. All we can hope for is a surprise entrant on par with last year's big man and resident flat-Earther Shaquille O'Neal.
Pick: One of the participants
Other things to watch for:
There's been a lot of buzz online lately about The Hardys returning to WWE, and it sounds like it's pretty much a done deal at this point. It's just a matter of will they show up at WrestleMania or further down the road.
- Finn Balor has been working house shows for the last few weeks so it wouldn't be a surprise to see him at WrestleMania in some form.
- I’m selfishly hoping they find some way to shoehorn Kurt Angle into something during the show. His Hall of Fame speech was a thing of beauty.