Posts tagged Stephanie McMahon
This Week in WWE: Fair to Flair, Unfair to The Man
Raw.png

Robert O’Neill: We open Raw with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in the ring as they’ve invited Becky Lynch back to Raw… and here she comes! Becky saw her doctors and they conferred with the WWE doctors and the match at Wrestlemania is on BUT only if Becky apologizes to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Naturally she’s not super thrilled with this idea.

Chris Novak: She’s stubbornly refused to at this point and that makes a good amount of sense. Becky eventually outright refused to, but Triple H issued an ultimatum after she and Stephanie got into a verbal argument. Becky must apologize by the end of the night, or there will be no match. This is right out of the Austin-McMahon playbook. Let’s keep it going.

Robert O’Neill: We keep rolling right along with Boss N’ Hug Connection vs. Riott Squad vs. Nia and Tamina in a triple threat tag team match.

Chris Novak: Grand Rapids popped like wild for Bayley, AND, they did a “WE WANT BAYLEY” chant. I mean, I already liked the state of Michigan quite a lot. This is adding to it though. Sasha eventually got dumptrucked by Ruby on the outside. Sasha evidently still hasn’t been cleared, if this is any indication.

Bayley put up a super valiant effort, but wound up falling to a Nia Jax Samoan Drop. So, Boss and Hug will enter the Chamber first. As expected really. Really fun match here, too, if we’re being honest.

Elias is next. Well… first he gets cut off by an interaction between Finn Balor and Becky Lynch. Then a Seth Rollins video package interrupts him! I don’t know if this is intentional… I have a feeling it is… but it’s still amusing.

Robert O’Neill: Finally, Lucha House Party interrupt him. He sings them a song and they don’t like it

Chris Novak: And Kalisto then eventually decides to strum Elias’ guitar and, sure enough, e’s pretty good at it! Elias offers to do a duet, but then Elias attacks him from behind. He leaves the ring. This was actually a pretty entertaining and engaging segment.

Finn Balor faces Drew McIntyre next.

He match eventually got disrupted after Lashley got involved and went after Finn. Kurt Angle then came down to play the role of cavalry. Corbin then came into the ring and went after Kurt. This pretty much says everything you need to know about the current state of Raw minus Seth and Brock, but this got over with the Grand Rapids crowd hugely.

Robert O’Neill: That got chaotic in a hurry. I feel like we all know Angle is old and bad now but he gets a pass because of how good he used to be. Maybe I’m off base, but that’s the feeling I get.

Apparently we’re now having a Braun/Kurt/Finn vs. Drew/Corbin/Lashley match. Alrighty. After a back and forth match Lashley appears to have the match won as he pins Balor, but Balor had his foot on the rope, but the referee didn’t see it. Another referee comes down to restore order and the match will continue!

Chris Novak: Gotta be honest… don’t know what any of that was. But it happened, and the babyfaces win. OK, cool. Let’s move the hell on.

Ruby Riott vs. Nikki Cross, which should be better than that, is next. So far, unsurprisingly it is. Ruby won with a Riott Kick. It was an okay match, all things considered.

Seth Rollins is next. Likely, so is Paul Heyman.

Robert O’Neill: That was… what it was. I mean, you know how the leadup to a Brock Lesnar match goes by now. Rollins says he’ll beat him. Heyman says he won’t. We have a lot more of this coming over the next two months which is a blessing and a curse.

Chris Novak: Got that right… segment was fine and effective but it likely won’t be too memorable.

Here comes Dean Ambrose, for some reason. Dean comes up and… tells Seth to slay the beast. Well, hey, okay then! Apparently Ambrose will be in action again.

Robert O’Neill: He’s facing EC3 again. Alright!

Chris Novak: Dean won. Okay! If I know anything about how things work, a 3rd match will happen soon. Possibly at… Elimination Chamber on Sunday? Maybe on the Kickoff Show? I don’t know. That was definitely something.

Alexa and Becky had a back and forth backstage. Lex said that Becky shouldn’t apologize, but Becky questioned her motives about it because it would open up a title match. This wound up being a very good segment. Imagine that, when you let two of the best talkers have banter with each other. Rob missing it was funny.

Revival are challenging for the Tag Team Titles (again).

Robert O’Neill: Holy shit. What a match. These two teams threw everything they had at each other and THE REVIVAL FINALLY WON THE TAG TITLES. My god. What a match. It’s not the highest bar to clear but it was the best tag match on Raw in quite some time.

Chris Novak: Wow, Rob. You got your big moment and that’s ALL you got for your reaction?!?! 4/10. You gotta do better at your fanboying.

Becky’s “apology” is next. They have her out here now and they’re trying their damnedest to get her to apologize. She eventually did, and… surprisingly (?) that was it. Becky went to talk and… then, here comes Ronda.

AND NOW… HERE COMES VINCE!

OH MY GOD… Vince says he doesn’t care what Triple H or Stephanie ruled, he’s ruling that Becky’s been suspended for 60 days. That mark would take her OUT of WrestleMania… and who else does he insert but CHARLOTTE FLAIR!

Robert O’Neill: Holy shit. What a way to end things.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: The beginning and tail ends of this show were great. Everything else… was in the middle. So I’ll give this show a B and go from there.

Robert O’Neill: I really don’t know what to think about this Raw. The beginning was quite good, The Revival winning the tag titles was one of the best TV matches of the year so far, and the end was excellent. Everything else though? Hit or miss. The women’s tag match was good, but the Balor/Angle/Strowman vs. McIntyre/Corbin/Lashley stuff lasted entirely too long, and I can’t do eight more weeks of Seth Rollins and Paul Heyman cutting the same promo back and forth. Overall, the good outweighed the bad, though. B-

Smackdown Live logo.png

Chris Novak: We begin things with a recap of the twist from last night’s episode of Raw. And… here comes The Queen herself. Naturally she’s getting a hearty amount of heat. Charlotte cut what was a pretty great heel promo here. She’s immersing herself in the heat and leaning all the way into it. Can’t hate it at all, whatsoever.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah a lot of people have been complaining about Charlotte being added to the match and I don’t see how you can hate it. It’s such a good story being told. Anyway it’s time for a tag triple threat match between the three Smackdown teams in the Elimination Chamber. Just like on Raw, the team that gets pinned enters the Chamber first.

Things go along and the match ends up being pretty good. Naomi comes in late and goes right at Mandy, and picks up the win so the Elimination Chamber will open with Mandy and Sonya vs. Bayley and Sasha. Cool.

Chris Novak: Only right, especially since those four started last year’s Elimination Chamber Match, the first Women’s Elimination Chamber match, of course. So, nice bit of storytelling there. Little things!

Robert O’Neill: Time for McMiz TV with tonight’s guests: The Usos!

Chris Novak: This, unsurprisingly, turns out to be super entertaining. We even got a Toledo Mudhens reference, so that’s fun. There’s plenty of banter here, as The Usos said it was disrespectful for Shane and The Miz to call themselves the best tag team in the world, while Shane said that the only thing ‘real’ was that they were champs. The Usos superkicked them for their troubles and left.

We got another Miz & Mrs. ad, which is tremendous.

The Gauntlet Match is next!

Robert O’Neill: Love to start the main event with 70 minutes to go!

Chris Novak: The New Day’s representative, filling for Mustafa Ali is… KOFI KINGSTON! So, Kofi’s in the Chamber on Sunday. Fantastic.

So the first segment of this absolutely ruled. Kingston played up to snuff with Bryan and they booked him extremely well. New Day were thrown out of the ringside area, but after Rowan got involved, the ref sent him out too. Bryan was going to hit him with the Running Knee, but Kingston got him with Trouble in Paradise and got him with the 1-2-3 (kid)!

Kingston then went on to eliminate Jeff Hardy in the Gauntlet… and now, here comes Samoa Joe. Kofi continues to fight hard here but wound up in the Coquina Clutch. But Kofi used the same finish Finn used on him in London (and the Piper-Hart finish from WM VIII!) to eliminate him too!! Joe then proceeded to beat the shit out of him and choked him out with the Coquina Clutch after the elimination. Naturally this would make him easy pickens for AJ Styles, but Styles would fight Joe off and away from the scene first.

Kofi still wants to fight after being hit with the chokehold, and fight he does. They do a countout spot with him… and… he jumps into the ring to beat the 10 count. Kofi eventually taps out to the Calf Crusher after simply an incredible performance.

Styles then loses via the RKO OUTTA NOWHERE by Randy Orton. An exclamation point on an incredible main event match. Orton will now go in the Elimination Chamber last.

Robert O’Neill: What a fun match. Kofi looked like a million bucks, and the story that needed to be told was told. I’m glad they don’t do gauntlet matches too often, because every time they do them they feel good and special and fun.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: I enjoyed this show a whole lot. The Gauntlet Match was incredibly good and everything else served its purpose heading into Sunday. A- for me here. Real good stuff.

Robert O’Neill: Like Raw, Smackdown is hard to grade! The gauntlet match was excellent and took up more than half of the show. The women’s match was fine, and the Shane/Miz/Usos segment accomplished it’s intention. That’s really all that matters, right? So what if it was only a two match show? I’ll give it an A-

First Black Champ - What are the women doing that they men ain't?

The TLC pay per view is a wrap and for the most part it was better than advertised. But why were the matches underwhelming on paper?

Then we talk the United McMahon front angle and what it means for 2019. The NXT call ups, Wrestlemania predictions, awards and GuaranDAMNTees galore on this weeks #FirstBlackChamp podcast!

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Five dream matches we want to see at WWE Evolution
Courtesy: WWE

Courtesy: WWE

Throughout the last week, speculation ran rampant as to what Stephanie McMahon's "historic" announcement would be to kick off Monday Night Raw. Stephanie, Vince and Triple H opened the show to confirm that the first-ever all women's PPV titled Evolution would be taking place on October 28th on Long Island. 

In addition to the finals of the 2nd annual Mae Young Classic, all women's championships from Raw, Smackdown, NXT and NXT UK will be on the line. Also announced were WWE Hall of Fame superstars Trish Stratus and Lita, which could give us a few clashes between past and present that we may not get a chance to see again. Here are five matches that I'd personally like to see on the big show.

 

Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte

Courtesy: WWE

Courtesy: WWE

While it would make sense to have the most high profile name in your company win her first WWE championship on this show, I'll go another route here. This match is rumored to be on the book for WrestleMania 35, but with Stephanie McMahon wanting to build up the Evolution event as the annual WrestleMania for women, a showdown between the two biggest superstars in the division is the perfect match to headline the show.

The IIconics vs. LayCool

I'm not the biggest fan of The IIconics, as they come off as a (not as good) 2018 version of LayCool to me. Because of that, the build to this one would be fairly easy to pull off, with Billie Kay and Peyton Royce playing up the ages of their adversaries. And of course, who wouldn't love to see Layla El back for one night? 😍

Nia Jax vs. Kharma

Having torn up the women's scene in Japan and TNA during the 2000s, Amazing Kong made her WWE debut as Kharma in 2011, although her run would be short-lived following a pregnancy and unfortunate miscarriage. The 2012 Royal Rumble notwithstanding, Kharma never competed in a WWE ring.

Nia Jax's run thus far has been what Kharma's should have been. This probably wouldn't be a good match, but two of the most powerful women in WWE history could be fun if kept short. There's also another opportunity for WWE/GLOW cross-promotion, which WWE hasn't been shy to take advantage of.

Beth Phoenix vs. Asuka vs. Jazz

While the previous match *probably* wouldn't be good to watch, a triple-threat between arguably the three most dominant women ever could steal the show. These superstars all are bruisers inside of the squared circle, and assuming that Beth Phoenix and Jazz can still go full throttle, this could be a show-stealer.

Sasha Banks vs. Bayley

Courtesy: WWE

Courtesy: WWE

We've seen this one before several times in NXT, but both Sasha and Bayley's time on the main roster has been kind of lackluster. With their feud starting to heat back up on the road to Summerslam, the ultimate finale in their series should take place at Evolution.

From the first-ever Women's Hell in a Cell match to the first-ever Women's Elimination Chamber, WWE's eye is always on making history during this Revolution period. The first-ever Last Woman Standing match on the main roster should be reserved for these two.

Honorable Mentions

Trish Stratus vs. Sasha Banks
Becky Lynch vs. Lita
Asuka vs. Ronda Rousey
Charlotte Flair vs. Beth Phoenix
Ronda Rousey vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Sonya Deville
Trish Stratus/Lita vs. Alexa Bliss/Mickie James
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks

Brock retains, the Deadman returns, & Rousey delivers in an epic Wrestlemania

Robert O’Neill: WELP. It’s 4 PM. That means it’s time for Wrestlemania 34!

Chris Novak: [Extremely Scott Hanson voice] Seven hours of sports entertainment starts… RIGHT NOW!

Robert O’Neill: John Cena is in the crowd, because he’s attending Wrestlemania as a fan. I love it.

Chris Novak: Okay! So. The Andre started things off here. And Matt Hardy won thanks to Bray Wyatt. Looks like they’re going to go with these two as a pairing, which is fine with me. Either it means that Bray will be with BOTH Matt and Jeff Hardy. OR it means that Jeff is gonna get a singles run. EITHER WAY, this works well for me. Bray needs a refresh, and working as a babyface may very well help his cause out.

Robert O’Neill: Happy for the Laughing Man!

Chris Novak: Oh, cool. Here come the cruiserweights. They get to work in front of a damn-near full crowd, because they did the smart thing and let the crowd in super early. This is fantastic, to be honest. Ali looks like Sub-Zero, which is a heck of a look. Cedric gets the dub! I thought Mustafa was gonna win, but Ceddy is far from undeserving. Crazy to think what’s happened in the last two years for him ever since that match against Ibushi at the CWC. Good for him.

Robert O’Neill: Awesome stuff. If you don’t watch 205 Live, do you.

Chris Novak: WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal Time!

Robert O’Neill: Well, that was fun. I have various nitpitcks about it, but all in all it was a cool way to get everyone involved. The Bayley/Sasha stuff continued and Naomi had a surprise victory, which was cool.

Chris Novak: Made… not a lot

Robert O’Neill: BURN IT DOOOOOWWWWWNNNNNNNN. IC TITLE TIME. Here we go.

Chris Novak: Seth is a freaking White Walker. All hail.

Robert O’Neill: Why would Miz send the Miztourage to the back in a triple threat match? It’s a No-DQ match! Don’t be noble, be smart!

Chris Novak: Dad Miz is gonna do it all by himself. Okay, Finn, your entrance was awesome. Super-duper awesome.

Robert O’Neill: Really cool and important stuff by Balor. I like it. This match has also been predictably awesome so far. I don’t think any other match could have better opened the show. Rollins won after a pretty insane stretch with callbacks to a lot of other moves they’ve done in the past few weeks, and all three Shield members are grand slam champions now, so that’s neat.

Chris Novak: That was a fantastic opener. I’ll have to hum over the others, but that’s easily a Top 10 opener of all time at Mania.

Robert O’Neill: Time for ASUKA and Charlotte!

Chris Novak: Charlotte comes out on a throne to “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (her father’s theme!) and then her music plays. That entrance was so damn good. Here comes Asuka, who has 3D graphics in her entrance! They’ve got the presentation down pat so far.

Robert O’Neill: Every entrance has kicked ass so far tonight. Charlotte and Asuka are going pretty nuts. I liked Asuka countering the moonsault into a triangle choke and Charlotte doing a SPANISH FLY. Holy crap, Asuka tapped out. I’m stunned.

Chris Novak: That one will be controversial… An unbelievably good match, though. The streak’s payoff would’ve been hairy either way. They broke it the best way they could’ve here.

Robert O’Neill: A ref came down and said something to John Cena, and Cena went in a dead ass sprint to the back.

Chris Novak: I guess ‘Taker is coming!

Robert O’Neill: Jinder won the fatal four-way to become the US Champion. That was out of nowhere. Quick match. It is what it is.

WWE

WWE

Chris Novak: Alright, that’s the biggest dud so far on the card. Expectedly so. Don’t get not putting Rusev over. Anyways, Steph/HHH vs. Ronda/Angle is next.

Robert O’Neill: Triple H and Stephanie had a cool entrance. Angle’s entrance was Angle’s entrance, and Ronda looked like she was gonna kick someone’s ass.

Chris Novak: Holy shit, that pop when Ronda came into the match! What a professional wrestling match!! That was everything that pro wrestling should aspire to be. Ronda looked AWESOME in this match. The spot with her punching Triple H repeatedly was great. And then the armbar on him too! Eventually, Steph and HHH go for double Pedigrees, but Kurt sends HHH flying, and Ronda puts her in the armbar! She tapped! WHAT. A. MATCH.

Hahahaahahaha and now we get New Day-Usos-Bludgeon Brothers. What a hoot this show is.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah, I can’t believe how good that Ronda match was. That was Wrestlemania in a nutshell right there. It was a spectacle and it damn well delivered. I’m interested in seeing where Ronda goes from here.

Can we talk about the New Day’s entrance?

Chris Novak: Died laughing watching the little people in pancake suits. Okay, so… that match was abbreviated. The right call was made to have The Bludgeon Brothers win, though.

Robert O’Neill: Absolutely. Really don’t gain anything from having the New Day and Usos feud again, no matter how good it was.

WWE

WWE

Chris Novak: And… here comes The Undertaker… NOPE THAT’S ELIAS

Robert O’Neill: I WANT TO WALK WITH ELIAS

Chris Novak: Oh… welp. Uh… here comes that man.

Robert O’Neill: The pop when the gong hit is why Undertaker still comes back. Also holy shit this is happening.

Robert O’Neill: They did exactly what they needed to do. John Cena talked shit all month and Mean Mark showed up with receipts.

WWE

WWE

Chris Novak: Oh man. That Bryan entrance was special. Oh and here comes Owens and Zayn from behind! That was some fun. And surprisingly, a Bryan win! Thought that Shane would cost him the match. But! They didn’t overthink it, I guess. Alright, we’re doing Nia-Alexa next.

Robert O’Neill: Bryan got the victory but that match didn’t seem as good as it could have been. It’s not his fault though. The moments made were amazing.

Chris Novak: Hopefully this ends well...

Robert O’Neill: I liked Nia/Alexa. People complained about it but it was fine. Nia won and Alexa took a bunch of crazy bumps.

Chris Novak: Okay, sure. I guess that worked in the end. Intrigued to see Nia’s title reign from here on out. Think she can very easily be built up into a babyface monster.

WWE

WWE

ANYWAYS NOW IT’S TIME FOR NAKAMURA-STYLES!

Robert O’Neill: THEY HAVE A FULL BAND FOR HIM!

Chris Novak: Awesome entrance, with Nita Strauss of Alice Cooper performing “The Rising Sun.” Let’s sit back and watch this.

Robert O’Neill: That was fine. It was never going to live up to the expectation people had. I liked AJ winning with one Styles Clash, because he rarely does it, so it SHOULD be important and lethal. AND SHINSUKE TURNED HEEL AFTER THE MATCH

Chris Novak: THAT… that was surprising. Apparently heel Nakamura is superior. So, this should be fun to watch going forward! Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. The Bar’s entrance is tremendous.

Robert O’Neill: So Braun Strowman teamed with… a child! And won the tag titles. All hail Nicholas!

Robert O’Neill: Well, here we go. Roman vs. Brock.

Chris Novak: Yeesh...

Robert O’Neill: Boy, oh boy. I have some thoughts on that main event. First of all, the crowd with their stupid ass chants got incredibly annoying in a hurry. Like, get over yourselves. Lesnar winning was a genuine shock and taking six F5’s to do it makes Reigns look strong. But you know what else makes him look strong? Winning. And capping off the story you started three years ago instead of chickening out. Is Lesnar not going to UFC now? I guess we’ll see.

Chris Novak: Got a lot of thoughts to air out here. I don’t know if all of them are safe to right now. I’ll let this simmer, and come back to it later.

Final Thoughts

Robert O’Neill: All month long it seemed like this would be an all-time great Wrestlemania. Was it? I mean, it depends on your definition. It wasn’t in the top 3, but I think you can make an argument for it being in the top 5, despite a couple bumps in the road. The first two hours were excellent, and Ronda Rousey had the match of the night despite everyone saying she wasn’t gonna be good at this. The two title matches were confusing, but I’m very excited for Styles vs. heel Nakamura. I have no clue what happens with Lesnar and Reigns now, but I’m glad that some new mid-card feuds were ignited as well. Overall, I think I would give Wrestlemania 34 a solid B.

Chris Novak: It’s a Top 10 WrestleMania for me, although the last hour really aided it in not being a Top 5 WrestleMania for me. Everything else pretty much knocked it out of the park, with only *some* questionable decisions along the way. B+ show for me.

Wrestlemania Predictions

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

T.C.: With the Andre documentary being promoted, I’m surprised that this one is on the pre-show this year. While there haven’t been many competitors announced so far, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say the most likely of the announced participants to win would be Dolph Ziggler. It’s a safe pick, and he isn’t doing much else (the story of the last three years of his career).

Prediction: Dolph Ziggler

Robert: These things are always super hard to predict. Maybe Bray Wyatt comes back as… not Bray Wyatt and wins it? Maybe Dolph Ziggler wins, squanders the opportunity, and complains about it for the millionth time? Maybe Big Show wins again? I truly don’t have a read on this. I guess I’ll take Bray.

Prediction: Bray Wyatt

Chris: Honestly, like always, I have no idea where this is going to go. It’s the match with the least amount of build so far, and I guess that makes sense, in a way. It would be cool if Mark Henry showed up and won it. But, I doubt it. Now that I know he’s in the match, I predict Elias will win, and then give the performance of a lifetime later on in the show.

Prediction: Elias

WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal

T.C.: With the Sasha Banks vs. Bayley feud coming to a head, I can see a situation where they both brawl to the back, effectively eliminating each other. Initially I was going to say that Ruby Riott would walk away the victor here. However, I think we get a main roster debut of Ember Moon, who should be dropping the NXT Women’s title about 24 hours earlier.

Prediction: Ember Moon

I’m almost more excited for this than the women’s Royal Rumble, if only because it probably won’t be littered with legends. It’ll be a lot of NXT and WWE women, as it should be. I think Bayley and Sasha Banks will prevent each other from winning, and it’ll be someone from Smackdown as a result. Becky Lynch? Sure! Let’s go with Becky Lynch.

Prediction: Becky Lynch

Chris: FKA the Moolah Battle Royal, but Moolah is trash. So, they changed the name. The only substantial hype this match has going into it revolves around Bayley and Sasha Banks. Which might tell you that they probably SHOULDN’T be in the match, and instead have a standalone match on their own. Oh well, I guess. Those two are the only ones who I could see winning this whole thing. If they want to tell this story the right way, then Bayley has to win it to drive Sasha over the edge.

Prediction: Bayley

WWE Cruiserweight Championship tournament final: Mustafa Ali vs. Cedric Alexander

T.C.: Cedric Alexander has been getting a push towards the Cruiserweight title since about December, but several issues out of his control have prevented him from climbing that mountain top. I predict that he’ll finally have his moment, a WrestleMania one, this Sunday.

Prediction: Cedric Alexander

Robert: Do you watch 205 Live? No? Why? You need to. It’s incredible and these two are two of the best. This match should really get the crowd going, and I hope they don’t give it the first slot when people are still getting in the building and getting situated. Give it the middle or last preshow slot and let ‘em rip for 15 minutes.

Prediction: Mustafa Ali

Chris: If you haven’t watched any of 205 Live in the post-Enzo Amore era, do yourself a favor and do that. It’s absolutely sensational, and they’re putting on a stellar in-ring product on a weekly basis. Mustafa and Ceddy are two CWC originals, and they definitely deserve the spotlight they’ll be given. Part of me has wondered what’s taken so long with Cedric, but I think he’ll have to wait a little longer. Mustafa Ali is my pick to win the CW Title.

Prediction: Mustafa Ali

WWE Universal Championship - Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns

T.C.: I honestly believe the whole “Brock Lesnar is returning to UFC” thing is a red herring, but we’ll just have to wait and see. I’d like for them to go the route of having Brock win here, as it would add some unpredictability. But we all know that Roman will come out victorious here. Hopefully, we can get Heyman teaming up with Reigns at the end, which could freshen up his character going into his title reign.

Prediction: Roman Reigns

Robert: If you have a problem with Reigns or this feud’s build, I don’t think we’ll agree on much. I’ve loved it. And I’m going to love Reigns winning and the title being back in the fold on a weekly basis.

Prediction: Roman Reigns

Chris: Roman Reigns wins here to get the Universal Title, thus ending this three-year feud and sending Brock back to UFC in a few months. Easy call.

Prediction: Roman Reigns

WWE Championship - AJ Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

T.C.: This one has match of the night written all over it, and they should be able to deliver a clinic in about 12-15 minutes. Nakamura is the favorite here, and he should be getting the W when it’s all said and done.

Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

Robert: It’s still wild that this is happening at Wrestlemania, isn’t it? Styles and Nakamura have been all over the world and now they’re finally meeting on the big stage. I think Styles has been a great champion, but it’s Shinsuke’s time.

Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

Chris: As good as both these guys are, I hope that everyone’s heightened expectations of this match doesn’t hurt them if they “fall short.” That being said, they will probably put on an A-grade match. Nakamura gets his crowning moment, and wins the WWE Championship.

Prediction: Nakamura

Intercontinental Championship - The Miz (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor

T.C.: Rumors have been going around over the last week regarding Samoa Joe getting added to this match, making it a Fatal Four Way. For sake of this post, I’ll act like that won’t happen. Instead, I have Finn Bálor pulling away with the Intercontinental championship in his first reign.

Prediction: Finn Balor

Robert: This is a sneaky contender for match of the night, if only because how well these three work together. Pick any two and we’ve seen at least one great match, so there’s no reason that shouldn’t carry over into a triple threat. I think Miz needs to retain and become the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time, because he’s made that belt mean more than anyone in decades.

Prediction: The Miz

Chris: I’m lowkey telling you what my match order prediction is here as well, so pay attention here if you must. Miz, Rollins and Balor have all stepped their games up in the past couple months. Rollins in particular has looked awesome, and Finn has, too. We know how good Miz is by now, so that’s no surprise. I suspect these three will help put on a damn good opener to start us off. I don’t think there’s gonna be a title change, though. By hook or crook, Miz will retain his IC Title.

Prediction: The Miz

United States Championship - Randy Orton (c) vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Bobby Roode vs. Rusev

T.C.: The logical thing to do here would be to place the United States championship on the most popular guy in the match. I’ve been watching the product since 1998, and full time since 2002...so I’m used to the WWE not going the logical route. Look for Randy Orton to win and retain his title.

Prediction: Randy Orton

Robert: It’s pretty wild that Wrestlemania falls on Rusev Day, huh? Anyways, adding Rusev to this match really saved it for me. Orton and Mahal don’t do anything for me, especially after watching it all last summer. Roode is fine, but his slow style makes him hard to watch. With all that said, with how much crowd support Rusev has, they HAVE to give him the title.

Prediction: Rusev

Chris: This match looked like a bit of a dud. Then Rusev showed up! I’ll keep this short and sweet here: Rusev is the guy to win this match. You don’t put him in it if you don’t give him the title. At this point, it’s a must.

Prediction: Rusev

Raw Women's Championship - Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Nia Jax

T.C.: I don’t expect this one to be long at all. I could see a scenario where Nia Jax blacking out on Bliss, getting hit with a disqualification by the referee. Moments later, Ms. Money in the Bank, Carmella takes advantage and cashes in on the unconscious champion and goes home with the Raw Women’s title.

Prediction: Alexa Bliss by DQ, Carmella cashes in MITB

Robert: As someone who has been with Alexa since day one, I’ve enjoyed her title run(s) far more than most people. WWE is getting to the point, though, where they need to do something with Nia instead of having her lose to everyone. There’s always one head-scratching decision per Wrestlemania though, and I’ll use mine right here.

Prediction: Alexa Bliss

Chris: Gonna keep this short and sweet, too. Nia Jax HAS TO WIN. She has to win and must win in a squash-type deal. If they have this match be lengthy, it will be a disservice to both of these ladies and the program. I know people want long women’s matches, but Nia-Alexa is not the type of feud to do that. And it’s not the kind of match, either. If Alexa somehow retains, it would be a monumentally poor decision. That’s no knock on her. Just the story that they’re telling here. Although she could definitely use time away from the belt, in my opinion.

Prediction: Nia Jax

Smackdown Women's Championship - Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Asuka

T.C.: This one is sure to give Styles vs. Nakamura a run for their money, as both women definitely know how to put on a show. It would be foolish for the winner of the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble to lose her title match at WrestleMania. With that being said, look for Asuka’s streak to make it out of New Orleans alive and well.

Prediction: Asuka

Robert: This is probably the most realistic shot we’ve seen where Asuka could lose her streak. I don’t think she will, but Charlotte at Wrestlemania would certainly be a good time and place to drop it. However, I think Asuka prevails.

Prediction: Asuka

Chris: Yep… I think this is the penultimate match on this Mania card. It’s been a while since Charlotte has had the spotlight on her, considering her run on SDL has made her lose all her luster. I think that changes come Sunday in NOLA. Her and Asuka put on a fantastic match, but it will be Asuka who wins the SDL Women’s Championship.

Prediction: Asuka

Raw Tag Team Championships - The Bar (c) vs. Braun Strowman and TBD

T.C.: I don’t care what other fans have said about this feud, I’m enjoying it, and I’m enjoying seeing Braun Strowman add more range to his character. You can risk placing the tag titles on Braun temporarily, and then vacating the titles the next night on Raw. Pull the trigger, WWE.

Prediction: Braun wins by himself

Chris: So, first prediction: Samoa Joe is Braun’s partner. Second prediction, Strowman and Joe win the Tag Team Titles.

Smackdown Tag Team Championships - The Usos (c) vs. New Day vs. Bludgeon Brothers

T.C.: The biggest story in this one even before Fastlane, was how the Usos have never competed at a WrestleMania. It’s time for them to get their moment, and I see one of the twins getting the pinfall over a member of the New Day. This way, you keep the Bludgeon Brothers safe, and they have the case for another title shot going into Backlash.

Prediction: The Usos

Robert: Can’t wait for this one. The build has been awesome and we already know what the New Day/Usos feud was capable of. I think it’s time to get some fresh blood in though and give the titles to the Bludgeon Brothers.

Prediction: Bludgeon Brothers

Chris: Finally, at long last, The Usos are on the main card. This should be an outstanding showcase, and a deserved one for the SDLive tag division. I can’t decide if they’re going to throw The Usos a bone or crown new champs. But then again, what’s the point of hyping up Harper and Rowan all these months then? Bludgeon Brothers, for the win, and our second title change of the night.

Prediction: Bludgeon Brothers

Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon

WWE

WWE

T.C.: There is no way Stephanie McMahon isn’t tapping out to Ronda Rousey at the end of this match. Would also be kind of neat to get Shayna Baszler and Sonya Deville in to celebrate with Ronda after the match.

Prediction: Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle

Robert: They’re not going to have their biggest female attraction of all time lose her first match.

Prediction: Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey

Chris: This is an easy one. I don’t think this will last very long at all. Angle and HHH duke it out for the most part, HHH eats some offense from Ronda, and Ronda rips Stephanie’s arm off to give her and Angle the win.

Prediction: Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle

Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

WWE

WWE

T.C.: If Owens and Zayn lose here, they won’t be reinstated back to the WWE roster. As of now, there’s no room for them over on Raw, and I’m honestly tired of them playing Frogger between rosters. Look for them to come away with not only their jobs, but their first WrestleMania wins.

Prediction: Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens

Robert: This is going to be special, obviously. Daniel Bryan returns to the ring in the same place as he had his biggest career win. The goodwill probably won’t last long, though, as I expect Owens and Zayn to win via some sort of shenanigans from Shane McMahon. I don’t trust him.

Prediction: Owens and Zayn

Chris: Daniel Bryan makes his in-ring return, and what a moment that will be. In the same building where he won the WWE Title four years ago, no less. Bryan and Shane’s tenuous relationship has me thinking that shenanigans are going to happen here. So, I think Owens and Zayn get their jobs back after Shane turns on Bryan and costs them the match.

Prediction: Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens

John Cena vs. The Undertaker

WWE

WWE

Robert: Assuming this happens, it’s probably going to be pretty dumb. Once you get past the spectacle of two of the WWE’s best of all time fighting on a huge stage, it kinda becomes a dud. Maybe it’s because Undertaker is about five years removed from his last good match or because Cena’s been annoying during this whole build, but it really doesn’t do anything for me. I guess I’ll pick Cena to win? I don’t know. Neither party gains anything with a win or loses anything with a loss.

Prediction: John Cena

Raw, Smackdown put forth strong go-home efforts before Wrestlemania

Robert O’Neill: Wrestlemania go-home Raw! Villanova vs. Michigan! It’s a loaded television night!

Chris Novak: “Ronda Rowdy.” Oh, Kurt.

Robert O’Neill: Kurt Angle’s constant battle with the English language aside, that was a hell of a way to open the show. The build to Angle/Ronda vs. Trips and Steph has been virtually perfect. I can’t wait for it.

Chris Novak: The segment was what it was, but I do agree with you. They’ve done a solid job here of building this up, I will say. Steph throwing Ronda through the table was a nice touch and a nice batch of revenge after Ronda sent HHH through the table at Elimination Chamber.

Robert O’Neill: Bayley vs. Sonya Deville was a pretty good match. Sonya continues to improve. After the match, Sasha saved Bayley from a beatdown and Bayley wasn’t appreciative in the least. Could it be that Bayley is the bad friend and not Sasha?

Chris Novak: Well, no. Sasha wanted Bayley to raise her hand, which is the pettiest thing.

Chris Novak: Okay, that was an AMAZING MATCH between Seth and Finn. The go-home show for Mania just produced a 4.5-star match, and I’d be tempted to even go a tick higher. Just absurdity. Seth is so good again, and Finn is still a very good in-ring worker. Loved ALL the callbacks they had in that match, too. Goddamn. That has me hyped.

Robert O’Neill: Seth and Finn should fight forever. Good lord what a match.

Chris Novak: They’ve put on nothing but good matches since they started feuding. I’ll say that much.

Chris Novak: I’m not certain what the point of this Cena stuff is right now. I guess they’re just gonna have Undertaker show up impromptu on Sunday? Weird build to this whole thing. Having Taker not show up the WHOLE way towards Mania is a misstep, in my opinion. But hey, we’ll see what happens Sunday, I suppose.

Robert O’Neill: I find myself having mixed feelings. On one hand, yeah, it’s kinda dumb to have no build (look at Undertaker/Bray Wyatt). On the other hand, these are two of WWE’s biggest stars of all time. How much build do you really need? Would it have been that much better if Undertaker came out and cut weird cryptic promos on Raw the past few weeks? It’s 2018. You know what you’re getting from him

Robert O’Neill: Goldust and Matt Hardy first wrestled each other in WWF in 1999. It’s 2018 and they had a match on Raw. I love stuff like that. .

Chris Novak: Okay, Braun and “BRAINS” Strowman was an incredible bit. I still have no idea who Braun’s tag team partner is going to be on Sunday. But this was hilarious.

Robert O’Neill: Braun’s comedy stuff has been amazing this year. From the MMC to working with Elias to this. He’s great.

Chris Novak: Haven’t been much of a fan of this whole Alexa-Nia feud. But they both seem like they’re cool with it in interviews? Whatever. Nia needs to win on Sunday in emphatic fashion for this to work. If they try to drag this out with a long match, it’s a mistake. If they have Alexa go over, it’s an even worse mistake. I’m not wholly optimistic, either.

Robert O’Neill: I’ve been team Alexa since day one, so I’m biased here, but having her retain the title probably isn’t smart.

Robert O’Neill: Rhyno is built like a refrigerator with legs.

Chris Novak: He really, truly is. I for one cannot wait for Elias’ performance on Sunday. I’m wondering who’s going to make a cameo. Jeff Jarrett? The Rock? Both? Either way, even without a match, Elias has something that you feel like you can’t miss and that you feel like is must-see TV. They’ve done a great job with him and building him up to be an attraction. It’s great stuff.

Robert O’Neill: The final segment between Roman and Brock was kind of tame but given how they’ve built up to it, I really can’t nitpick it too much. It’s a match I’m incredibly excited for, and I think it’ll be even better than the first time they met.

Chris Novak: Y’know, you say it’s tame. But I enjoyed it a lot. They played off the locker room stuff they alluded to earlier on in the feud. I don’t know if it was great to have Brock get the last laugh (again) but they did its job and there’s legitimate heat on Brock. It’ll be 50/50 in New Orleans, like you’d expect. But they won the crowd over with this feud. Point blank, period.

Quick Results
Bayley def. Sonya Deville
Seth Rollins def. Finn Balor
Matt Hardy def. Goldust
Elias def. Heath Slater
Asuka & Dana Brooke def. Alexa Bliss & Mickie James

Final Thoughts

Robert O’Neill: Welp. The Road to Wrestlemania has concluded, and frankly I think both shows did a great job taking that final step this week. Everything got lined up nicely for Sunday night, and I think every match on the card has a certain level of intrigue and importance. As far as this show specifically, Rollins/Balor could very well be the TV match of the year so far (depending what you think about Rollins’ marathon gauntlet match performance) and I always appreciate seeing Goldust in action. The Cena stuff could have been better, but it is what it is. I think bookending the show with Ronda/Kurt/Steph/Triple H and then Roman/Brock shows the level of importance of those two matches. B+

Chris Novak: A B+ for me too. The Seth-Finn match was exceptional, and everything else hit all the right notes. I think they took time to take in every possible situation going into Mania, and gave it all the appropriate time. It’s certainly one of the better go-home shows in recent memory, which 1) Says a lot about recent memory and 2) Shows that they have the depth of talent to pull such a feat off. Good going.

Robert O’Neill: Away we go! Final show before Wrestlemania, and Daniel Bryan is here to open the fun.

Chris Novak: Makes a bunch’a sense to open with this. Bridgestone Arena looks sold out and they’re going bananas.

Robert O’Neill: Bryan and Shane being friends makes me most uneasy.

Chris Novak: Yuck… it’s Charlotte-Nattie again.

Robert O’Neill; Well, they pretty much did the same thing as last week with Charlotte and Natalya, complete with a tease from Carmella. It was a bad match because Natalya is awful, but the Charlotte/Asuka stuff afterwards was solid.

Chris Novak: Hey, Happy Rusev Day, Rob.

Robert O’Neill: Can we talk about Aiden English rapping?

Chris Novak: We should. He had bars. Rusev getting the win here has me intrigued. They don’t USUALLY do that if the guy is going to win at Mania but… they have to belt him right? Oh, there’s Orton with an RKO outta nowhere again. Once again, they have to belt Rusev right? Right???

Robert O’Neill: Yes. WWE has done dumb stuff in the past, but if they don’t let Rusev win on Sunday they may lose the crowd *very* early in the night.

Chris Novak: Not gonna lie, pretty fun 8-man tag featuring the Andre Battle Royal guys. Solid stuff all around here. Corbin getting the win was a nice touch, I suppose. They’re doing the best they can with the Andre buildup, and to their credit, a lot of guys are getting work from it.

Robert O’Neill: Primo was in this match! That was wild. The Andre will be fine I guess. It is what it is. Back in the day they had a 30-man battle royal before Mania started and it was a dark match. Thanks to the Network, they don’t have dark matches anymore.

Robert O’Neill: Kevin Steen and Sa- El Generico are in the arena! They weren’t invited to this show!

Chris Novak: Nice touch to have them show up before Mania. Sami cut a promo like an effective heel. Who would’ve thought THAT would happen? They’ve done a good job in the last 2-3 weeks in building up this feud after it dragged on and on.

Robert O’Neill:My biggest post-Wrestlemania wish is that they continue to use Benjamin and Gable correctly like they did the past few weeks. They can be in higher card Smackdown matches to get guys over. They’re very good in the ring. Styles and Nakamura are going to blow the roof off the Superdome and I’m here for it.

Chris Novak: Hell of a main event, hell of a way to send us off. They built up Nak-Styles entirely through mannerisms, and it worked well. I, for one, can’t wait for this match on Sunday.

Quick Results
Charlotte Flair def. Natalya
Rusev def. Jinder Mahal
Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, Mojo Rawley & Primo def. Tye Dillinger, Zack Ryder & Breezango
AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura def. Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable

Final Thoughts

Robert O’Neill: In my opinion, Smackdown had less work to do than Raw. I mean, Nak/AJ, New Day/Usos, and Charlotte/Asuka practically build themselves. Not to mention the fact that Smackdown’s build benefits from having Daniel Bryan’s first match in three years. As a result, this show focused on building the “lesser” stuff like the US Title fatal four-way (RUSEV DAY), and the Andre Battle Royal. It was successful. B+

Chris Novak: It’s a B+ for me, as well. Like Rob said, a lot less work to do. But they still succeeded in it. I think more Tag Team Title stuff would’ve been helpful, but they already did enough in the past few weeks to get me excited and amped up for that. WWE’s hitting all the right notes right now. Hopefully that leads to an awesome show on Sunday.

Re-booking the Wrestlemania card

WrestleMania is the WWE’s equivalent of the Super Bowl. What is seen as the technical “season finale” of the WWE, the spectacle has been known to reel back in the most casual of fans, who sometimes only truly bother with the product that one Sunday night every spring.

Let’s be honest here... the WWE could do so much better with booking their product. Things that SHOULD happen logically rarely ever do, and we end up with something completely different. Here, I’ll take a look at how WWE should book the upcoming WrestleMania show in contrast to what will most likely happen.

Due to a limited amount of announced participants in the two battle royals, I won’t be covering them in this piece.

Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship

With any avenue of entertainment such as movies and television, it’s unlikely that every viewer will be on the same page as far as a storyline goes. The art of professional wrestling is no different in this sense, as evident of fans’ disdain for the push that “The Big Dog” Roman Reigns has received the last four years. Ever since The Shield’s initial breakup in 2014, Reigns has practically been in the main event scene of Monday Night Raw, In a rematch from WrestleMania 31 that was thwarted when Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase mid-match, Reigns looks to get back to the top of the mountain and win his first ever Universal Championship.

What Should Happen: The build for this match has been decent, but does anyone really care about the match. In a perfect world, to add a bit of surprise factor it would be in the WWE’s best interest to let Lesnar go over in this match. The next night on Raw, Reigns could challenge Lesnar to one last match, to prove that he can beat The Beast. If Brock was willing, you can have him drop the title a week later in what would be Lesnar’s first match on Raw since 2002.

What Will Likely Happen: Since winning the Universal Championship at last year’s WrestleMania event, Brock Lesnar has defended the championship an outstanding four times, including a pinfall victory over the challenger at last year’s Summerslam event in a Fatal 4 Way. At this point, the writing was pretty much on the wall with a Reigns vs. Lesnar rematch at the big event. It is expected that Reigns will finally defeat Lesnar, and Lesnar will take some time off presumably to train for a return to UFC.

AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship

I think we all expected this one to happen once Nakamura was called up from NXT last year. The right call was made to have Nakamura win the 2018 Royal Rumble, and to keep the strap on AJ Styles leading up to the big event. While I think the internet’s criticism of Nak’s in-ring skill has been unfair, this should be match of the night in what will be the first battle between this two in a WWE ring.

What Should Happen: Although I wouldn’t be mad with whoever wins, it only makes sense to have the Royal Rumble winner go over at WrestleMania. With a Smackdown Live event coming up in Japan this summer, this makes the outcome even more likely, as they’ll want to market Nakamura returning to his home country with the WWE Championship.

What Will Likely Happen: Not only does this have match of the night written all over it, it is also a definite match of the year candidate. I fully expect WWE to go the route of Nakamura overcoming Styles in a bout that I’m hoping gets at least 20 minutes. However, I can also see them holding off on giving him the championship until it gets a big closer to that big show in Japan.

The Miz vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor for the Intercontinental Championship

WWE

WWE

It’s no secret how big of a Miz stan that I am, and I fully believe he has potential to be a top 3 heel all-time in the business once it’s all said and done. He has been at odds with authority figures from both Raw and Smackdown Live since 2016, and that did not change after Kurt Angle placed him in a Triple Threat match for his championship at the Showcase of the Immortals.

What Should Happen: For the last few weeks, The Miz has been hyping up how he’ll hold the record for most combined days as Intercontinental Champion. And the higher ups honestly should allow him to reach that milestone during this current reign. If he loses at WrestleMania he’ll fall about 20 or so days short of that, so give him a few more weeks to hold that belt, and he can drop it to one of his two challengers in a rematch at Backlash.

What Will Likely Happen: If anyone remembers correctly, Finn Bálor still hasn’t received his rematch after he had to vacate the Universal Championship 24 hours after winning it at Summerslam 2016. A reign with the Intercontinental Championship would be a great way to jumpstart that push again, as Finn hasn’t seemed to have much direction as a character since returning from injury last spring.

Randy Orton vs. Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Rusev for the United States Championship

At Fastlane, Randy Orton was finally crowned a Grand Slam champion after winning his first United States championship over Bobby Roode. Jinder Mahal was involved in this feud leading up to that match, and in turn was added to the rematch at WrestleMania.

What Should Happen: Prior to this match being made a Fatal 4-Way, I’m sure there wasn’t a soul out there who really cared about this this match. Now with the addition of Rusev, it’s time to take advantage of the hottest gimmick in the company. Better late than never, I guess.

What Will Likely Happen: Orton winning the United States title at Fastlane definitely seemed like it was meant for him to drop it quickly. On the 3/26 episode of Smackdown Live, seeds were planted for a Rusev vs. Jinder Mahal feud going forward, and it should be for the title over the next couple of months. This would allow Randy Orton and Bobby Roode to also continue their program separately.

Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax for the Raw Women’s Championship

I’ve been looking forward to this showdown ever since Bliss formed a “friendship” with Nia Jax last year. Kudos to the Raw creative team for giving this feud a slow burn, which climaxed in early March when Alexa Bliss was .

What Should Happen: It’s about time for Alexa Bliss to drop the title, and Nia Jax is the perfect one to reign over the women’s division on Raw for the time being. However, her doing so as a babyface doesn’t make much sense. Seems we’re at a crossroads here as SOMEONE has to walk out of the Superdome with the belt. If I were WWE I’d have Bliss cheat to win against Nia Jax, which sends Jax into a raging post-match attack on the champion. Cue the Women’s Money in the Bank owner Carmella, who runs down to successfully cash in her briefcase (it’s imperative that the first women’s briefcase holder to win their first cash-in), and make the switch over to Monday Night Raw.

What Will Likely Happen: Even if Carmella doesn’t get involved, I still can’t see Alexa Bliss walking out of WrestleMania with the championship. The whole Mickie James and Alexa Bliss friendship just seems too random for there to not be something up Mickie James’ sleeve. And it’s possible that Mickie will turn on Alexa, costing her the championship.

Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka for the Smackdown Women’s Championship

WWE

WWE

After making history and winning the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble match, Asuka challenged Charlotte Flair for her championship at the Fastlane event in February. Another possible match of the night candidate, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that these two will have the best women’s match in WWE history at WrestleMania 34.

What Should Happen: Stop me if you haven’t heard this before, but Asuka hasn’t been defeated since arriving in WWE. And if they’re smart, they’ll keep it that way until at least later this summer. Especially with that Tokyo show coming up that I mentioned earlier.

What Will Likely Happen: Just how you can’t have the first ever Women’s Money in the Bank winner lose her cash-in match, the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble winner can NOT lose her championship match. I’m expecting Asuka to still go over, but Charlotte ending the streak at WrestleMania wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

The Usos vs. The New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship

New Day and The Usos engaged in one of the most exciting feuds in 2017, and I was thoroughly interested in seeing it start back up again (this time with the mutual respect angle) until the Bludgeon Brothers were implemented. Honestly, Harper and Rowan haven’t really mattered to audiences since the end of their run with Bray Wyatt, but they fit well into this feud at the moment.

What Should Happen: For the last several weeks, the story here has been how Jimmy and Jey Uso have never competed on the main WrestleMania card, which would mean that they’ve never had the chance to experience a WrestleMania moment since debuting in 2010. Not one competitor on the card this year deserves the honor more than these two, especially with how they’ve reinvented themselves the last couple of years. Time to let them have it here, they can drop the belts at a later date.

What Will Likely Happen: Every once in a while, WWE will slap the titles on a team that garners minimal reaction from audiences (hello Cade and Murdoch, Deuce and Domino, Primo & Epico). Surprisingly, Harper and Rowan have not held tag team gold on the main roster level. Also, they’ve been made to look like unstoppable forces since being repackaged, and there’s no need to kill that momentum at this time.

The Bar vs. Braun Strowman and TBD for the Raw Tag Team Championships

On the March 12 episode of Raw, Braun Strowman interjected himself into a #1 contenders tag team battle royal to determine who would face The Bar at WrestleMania. The story throughout the last 3 weeks has been about Braun finding a partner...who will that be?

What Should Happen: Daniel Bryan aside, Braun Strowman is by far the most over superstar on the roster, so naturally fans feel that he deserves better than this. But to be honest, it’s been a fun program so far. Logic hasn’t always been present when it comes to professional wrestling, so why start here? By letting Braun go over by himself, he can then be given an ultimatum by Kurt Angle to either find a partner by the next evening or risk being stripped of the championships.

What Will Likely Happen: Some rumored partners for Braun Strowman over the last few weeks have been Big Cass and Samoa Joe. However, if Braun is forced to decide on a partner prior to the start of the match, Elias is the only one who makes sense. Either way, Braun Strowman will be walking out of New Orleans with his first championship.

Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali for the Cruiserweight Championship

The Cruiserweight Championship has been vacant ever since former champion Enzo Amore was fired back in January. Shortly afterwards, a tournament was announced for the vacant championship that will end on the Grandest Stage of Them All. I honestly was expecting Drew Gulak to defeat Mustafa Ali in their match, as Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak already had the seeds planted during the whole “Zo Train” angle. However, it’s understandable that the company would want to distance themselves from that whole debacle.

What Should Happen: I expect this one to be on the kickoff show, but hopefully these two competitors get more than enough time to show off their stuff. I was expecting Alexander to defeat Enzo Amore back at the Royal Rumble, but unfortunately he didn’t get his opportunity then. He should get it at WrestleMania.

What Will Likely Happen: I don’t see Mustafa Ali defeating Cedric Alexander in the finals, as Alexander’s push has been in motion since December. It’ll be smart to stay the course and allow that push to pay off.

Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs. Stephanie McMahon and Triple H

WWE

WWE

Dissension between Kurt Angle and The Authority has been brewing ever since Angle was brought back as Raw general manager after WrestleMania 33, which had seemed to hit its peak when Triple H asserted himself into the 5-on-5 at Survivor Series, turning on Angle in the process. Insert Ronda Rousey - who had her own not so friendly encounter with The Authority at WrestleMania 31 - and you have an obvious showdown.

What Should Happen: With what is being touted as the biggest free agent signing in WWE history (and it’s hard to argue with that), the only logical thing to do is have the team of Rousey and Angle go over here. This is Kurt Angle’s first match at WrestleMania since he originally left in 2006, as well as Rousey’s first match ever. The sight of both Triple H and Stephanie McMahon tapping out simultaneously would be a joy to see, but realistically we’ll have to settle with Stephanie doing the honors.

What Will Likely Happen: There is literally no way that they’ll go any other route here with this match. If so, I’ll go on Instagram Live and eat one of my socks.

Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

Salute to long-term booking with this one. This one has been in the making ever since Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn were drafted to Smackdown after WrestleMania 33. Over the past few months, the inclusion of Daniel Bryan has been ambiguous, as he’d not been officially cleared to compete yet (although I believe they’ve known for a while, but kept it under wraps until recently). Now with Bryan back in the fold, we can finally get the payoff necessary, and one we’ve always dreamed of.

What Should Happen: While it would be a shocker to have Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens take the L here, I’d love the see the possibilities with these two trying to regain their jobs on Smackdown (as well as Raw), to no avail. Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon haven’t been on the best of terms recently, and a feud between the two could be in the works. Would love to see how Owens and Zayn get involved with that down the line.

What Will Likely Happen: With the stipulation of Owens and Zayn being rehired if they win, you’d have to end this one with Shane McMahon eating the pinfall and the unruly duo getting their jobs back. Going forward, there’s still so much to touch base on as far as the rocky relationship between Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon goes, and the two being on the losing end at WrestleMania is a good start.

Undertaker vs. John Cena

WWE

WWE

As of now, the match hasn’t been announced yet. The build has been VERY subpar, but for a match between two icons that hasn’t happened one on one in 12 years, you can rely on that more than anything. Will Undertaker be the Phenom or return as the American Bad Ass?

What Should Happen: Although John Cena has been on the losing end a LOT since returning from hiatus on Christmas, he can afford another one here, and it gives him a natural story for his next feud following WrestleMania. This SHOULD be the last match Undertaker has in his career, and what better way to ride off into the sunset with a victory....which brings me to my next point.

What Will Likely Happen: For one of the most old-school minded competitors on the roster, I can see Undertaker willing to do the honors here as it’s his last match. Undertaker’s record at WrestleMania doesn’t mean that much anymore after the streak, so it wouldn’t hurt at all, and it will still give John Cena a good rub going into his next program.

Excitement levels for Wrestlemania matches

It’s Wrestlemania Week, and things are shaping up. In terms of match quality, this maybe the strongest card to date. While there might be some matches that are placed on the card for its storyline, each match brings something different to the plate. Let’s see how each match sizes up and which match can bring us the most excitement at Wrestlemania 34.

WWE

WWE

Universal Championship -- Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns

Roman is the most polarizing figure on the WWE roster and while he gets his boos, his work level is amazing and he has given us great matches in 2017. His first match with Brock was a good bout no matter the negative reaction he was receiving. This match may be short but Roman & Brock can give us a great hard-hitting affair.

Excitement level: 4

WWE Championship -- AJ Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

It’s AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, even without a proper build, this is one of the most anticipated matches in the WWE Universe. Let’s get to it.

Excitement level: 5

WWE

WWE

Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle vs. Stephanie McMahon & Triple H

This match is a reminder to the WrestleMania 31 incident between Rousey and The Rock along with McMahon and Triple H but with Angle in The Rock's place. Angle fits as he has had problems with Triple H since Survivor Series. The big factor is Rousey as this is her first in-ring wrestling match.

Excitement level: 3

SmackDown Women's Championship -- Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Asuka

Streak vs. Title, this is something that we have been waiting for since Asuka’s main roster debut. This can eclipse Wrestlemania 32’s triple threat match as the best women’s match in Wrestlemania history.

Excitement level: 5

Raw Women's Championship -- Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Nia Jax

Look, I’m not going to lie, I wanted Sasha & Bayley to be in this spot because of their history, feud and in ring wrestling ability. Bliss/Jax’s feud is built upon weight shaming and it looks one-sided. Hopefully this match goes quickly and Jax wins the belt.

Excitement level: 2

Intercontinental Championship -- The Miz (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor

The Triple Threat between these men last year was a preview on how great this match can be. Seth & Finn’s technical prowess w/ the character work of The Miz will give us a great match on a stacked card.

Excitement level: 4

United States Championship -- Randy Orton (c) vs. Bobby Roode vs. Rusev vs. Jinder Mahal

A match that should be on the kickoff show, I really hope its on the pre-show. This feud started because of a countdown list and it has gone nowhere since. Randy is the clear star of this match because of his name but this isn’t a match everyone will be running to especially on this card. I almost gave this a 1 but with the inclusion of Rusev, it jumped up a notch.

Excitement level: 2

Raw Tag Team Championship -- The Bar (c) vs. Braun Strowman & TBD

The Braun Strowman angle is pretty interesting even though he buried the tag team division. The mystery partner element is also a nice twist because we all want to know who can compliment Braun against the Bar(PLEASE LET IT BE NEVILLE, then I will upgrade this to a 4).

Excitement level: 3

Cruiserweight Championship-- Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali

If the WWE wants us to take the cruiserweight division seriously, they need a spot on the main show. Cedric Alexander has been the most consistent worker for 205 Live and Mustafa Ali has been the heart of 205 Live especially with his recent performance in the Cruiserweight Tournament. This match can be the fire the division needs for WWE’s audience.

Excitement level: 4

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

The only wrestlers announced for the match are Matt Hardy, The Revival, Mojo Rawley, Baron Corbin and Tye Dillinger. I’m sure it will be exciting but there is no real payoff for this match.

Excitement level: 2.5

WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal

Superstars from Raw, Smackdown and NXT will compete in the event. Sasha Banks, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Naomi, Natalya & the Riott Squad have entered so far and it’s the first one ever. Sasha & Bayley’s feud is the major component in this match and we know what they can do in the ring.

Excitement level: 3.5

WWE

WWE

The Undertaker vs. John Cena

Thank God for Cena’s promos the last few weeks, the build of this match before his promos was dreadful because we did not want to see John against an seemingly retired man in the ring. Will the undertaker come out in his original undertaker outfit or will he ride down in his American Bad Ass gimmick?

Excitement level: 4

WWE

WWE

Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

With Owens and Zayn now "fired" from SmackDown after beating up McMahon -- and then Bryan two weeks ago, this sets up a perfect tag team match between both sides. The return of Daniel Bryan alone equals a 5 for excitement.

Excitement level: 5

SmackDown Tag Team Championship -- The Usos (c) vs. The New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers

The Usos vs. The New Day can have a high profile match at Wrestlemania and we wouldn’t complain. The addition of the Bludgeon Brothers spices things up, bringing a monstrous factor to the match that we haven’t seen in a tag team match in quite some time.

Excitement level: 4

Ruthless Aggression Ep.4

Rob and Chris are in to talk Raw 455 and Smackdown 130, including Triple H and Stephanie renewing their vows

Super-early Wrestlemania predictions
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It’s the Road to Wrestlemania, and things are shaping up. While last year had a clearer road, this year might shock us with some of its matches. We know of one match already (AJ vs. Nakamura) but the others are still in the process of forming on TV. I honestly believe that this card would make a great Wrestlemania that highlights the New Era.

Main Matches

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AJ Styles v Shinsuke Nakamura – WWE Championship

Already known but we have been waiting for this for 2 years on American Soil.

Brock Lesnar v Roman Reigns – Universal Championship

The inevitable main event that will show Roman being the only person to kick out of a F5 and win the title, we know how this is going to go.

Charlotte v Asuka – SD Women’s Championship

Asuka’s streak of running through the RAW roster has me wondering that she is going to jump to the other side and face Charlotte. Plus we haven’t seen a high-profile women’s match like this in quite some time.

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Bayley v Sasha Banks – RAW Women’s Championship

If Sasha turns heel and wins the Chamber match, this is what we need to see. Wrestling fans have been waiting a long time for Sasha to turn heel and have a Dean/Seth type of feud with Bayley, this is money written all over it. 

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The Miz v Seth Rollins v Finn Balor – I.C. Championship

Remember the Triple Threat between these men last year? It tore the house down. Seth & Finn are in limbo with no feuds heading into Wrestlemania, this would be a great spot & position to see the technical work of Seth & Finn w/ the character work of The Miz.

The USOs v Bludgeon Brothers – SD Tag Team Championship

Usos DESERVE to be on the main show, they were the best tag team in 2017 and they gave us classics throughout the year. Finding a suitable opponent is kind of tough as they beat every tag team on SD Live besides the Bludgeon Brothers.

Bobby Roode v Randy Orton v Dolph Ziggler v Rusev – United States Championship

Bobby Roode has been flourishing ever since he made it to the main roster. Add in the fact that Randy Orton needs a Wrestlemania spot and with RUSEV becoming the most OVER person in the WWE, they will be added as well. This should be a fine match that would have Rusev coming out on top and everyone screaming RUSEV DAY.

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Kevin Owens v Sami Zayn – (GM Stipulation)

This angle has been going on since Summerslam and we need a fitting conclusion with all parties included. Add a stipulation that if Kevin or Sami loses, Shane or Daniel will have to leave Smackdown and we have ourselves a must-see match.

Braun Strowman/Ronda Rousey v Triple H/Stephanie McMahon

All eyes would be on this match because this would most likely be Ronda Rousey’s first match in the WWE. Braun needs a spot at Wrestlemania to solidify the great year that he had.

John Cena v Samoa Joe

I don’t want to see Undertaker v Cena. The masses may want to see it, but I don’t. Samoa Joe has been the most consistent heel in the WWE that isn’t named the Miz, he’s due for a high profile match at Wrestlemania and Big Match John would be the one to give it to him.

Cedric Alexander v Drake Maverick/Rey Mysterio

If the WWE wants us to take the cruiserweight division seriously, they need a spot on the main show. Cedric Alexander has been the most consistent worker for 205 Live and they should bring in Rey Mysterio to create a big match atmosphere.
 

Pre-Show Matches

The Bar v The Revival v The Club – RAW Tag Team Championship
Nia Jax v Alexa Bliss
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal