The inaugural post has arrived! Christening the official beginning of this new endeavor. *Now visualizing a coconut being smashed over Jimmy Snuka’s head*
It is the morning of Wrestlemania 33 and I got the fantastic tag team triple threat from last night’s NXT Takeover as background music. Let’s get going with some predictions!
Kickoff Show: Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Never a big fan of the battle royal concept since it really doesn’t get interesting until there is a handful of competitors left. Being that it is on the pre-show, not anticipating a surprising finish or entrants. Braun will probably eliminate just about everyone but don’t sleep on Sami Zayn who could provide a nice feel good start to the show and loop back to Braun from their feud this past fall.
Odds to Win: 80% Braun Strowman, 15% Sami Zayn, 5% of someone else.
Kickoff Show: Neville [C] vs Austin Aries for the Cruiserweight Championship
For a division that got off to a really slow start, it comes to no shock that this match is on the pre-show. However, Neville has been a great shot in the arm for the division and WWE product as a whole. His antics as a villain to generate legit disdain from the crowd is a breath of fresh air. Austin Aries insertion into the title picture has been brought on very quickly and he has built some momentum on his own in the short amount of time. If Austin Aries were to win, I would expect a small package kind of surprise to the overconfident “King of the Cruiserweights” and subsequent back and forth title exchanges in the upcoming months. This would give the division consistently that it has lacked. A Neville victory definitely would not be a surprise either, but I would expect underhanded tactics done out of desperation.
Odds to Win: 60% Austin Aries, 40% Neville
United States Championship: Chris Jericho [C] vs Kevin Owens
An old school build up to this match. These two friends turned enemies have history dating all the way back to Summerslam. They carried Raw with their antics up to this point and I believe will continue to deliver. I could see various finishes, most of which end with Kevin Owens being the victor so that is where I am leaning. I will go as far as to predict he will via KO.
Odds to Win: 90% Kevin Owens, 10% Chris Jericho
Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose [C] vs Baron Corbin
Dean Ambrose is not very flashy in the ring but if you reflect on his work as an overall wrestler this year, it has been real solid which should not be forgotten. Baron Corbin is a popular pick to win since he has had very strong showings booking wise since winning last year’s Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. With perhaps the Baron pick being predictable, I am going to go out on a limb and say the two cancel each other out to build towards an eventual Corbin victory of the title at the next Smackdown Live PPV. This match ends in a draw!
Odds to Win: 50% Dean Ambrose, 50% Baron Corbin
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss [C] vs Becky Lynch vs Natalya vs Mickie James vs Carmella vs Naomi
Assuming all competitors listed will be the final participants, I will say Naomi wins her title back in her hometown. With the absence of Eva Marie since her suspension, I would not be surprised to see her added to this match to generate an enormous crowd reaction and give the presumed winner an even bigger pop when Eva gets pinned for the victory.
Odds to Win: 70% Naomi, 15% Natalya, 10% Becky Lynch, 5% Eva Marie
Raw Tag Team Championship: Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson [C] vs Sheamus and Cesaro vs Enzo and Big Cass
Ladders have been added late to the game which piques interest in this bout. It will be a hard hitting affair, one with two plausible outcomes. The Club winning at the expense of Enzo would be nice heat. Or Enzo and Cass going over with the realest reaction in the room from the fans who will undoubtedly be in their corner.
Odds to Win: 65% Enzo and Big Cass, 35% Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
John Cena and Nikki Bella vs The Miz and Maryse
If John Cena and Nikki win, I hope it is not in a squash to just get to the anticipated post match proposal. The Miz will be cheered for one of the first times in his career and I will be on that boat but not for the assumed reason that he is facing John Cena. The Miz and Maryse should receive an immense amount of credit for the success of Smackdown Live. In this build for the match alone, fans were giving a hilarious satire of “Total Bellas” by this duo. It was not forced and fit their characters to feed the storyline. It is what I love about wrestling as an art form. Losing I think is in the cards but I just hope they are given time to display more of what makes them great in the process.
Odds to Win: 80% John Cena and Nikki Bella, 20% The Miz and Maryse
Raw Women’s Championship: Bayley [C] vs Sasha Banks vs Charlotte vs Nia Jax
Believe it or not, a case could be made for each competitor. But to keep this short, I will say Bayley has the best chance to come out of top considering she has essentially lost a lot in the build up to the match itself. But we do know WWE has an inclination to stick with what is reliable so watch out for Charlotte too. It looks like seeds are being planted for a Sasha Banks turn on her best friend Bayley but it may get a positive crowd reaction. I take the old school thought and think it would be more appropriate to be done in front of a crowd who will give the proper reaction of boos. To further that potential storyline though, I do expect Bayley to pin Sasha for the win which could lead to the aforementioned attack post match or on a later date.
Odds to Win: 70% Bayley, 30% Charlotte
AJ Styles vs Shane McMahon
The set-up for this match has felt rushed. Consensus would lean in AJ Styles favor to win which would service a potential request to be traded to Raw. If Shane-O-Mac would go over, I feel it would be to service his status as a big match for the future. Remember, he ate an F5 from Brock Lesnar from Summerslam which is still a loose end story waiting to be unearthed if the WWE wants.
Odds to Win: 65% AJ Styles, 35% Shane McMahon
Unsanctioned Match: Seth Rollins vs Triple H
With the mystery around Seth Rollins’ health and the match stipulation, the finish of this match has many avenues. Will they play up Seth fighting injury only to lose valiantly to Triple H? Will Triple H rely on Samoa Joe? Or will Seth battle all the adversity and come out on top? Conventional wisdom would be the victor going over with their pedigree but I will go with Seth dusting off the curb stomp to get the win.
Odds to Win: 60% Seth Rollins, 40% Triple H
Roman Reigns vs The Undertaker
Talk about 50/50. I have no clue what to expect which is credit to the WWE for making this match. Roman will be booed mercilessly regardless which could negate the reason for having him turn heel. Gun to head, I will say The Undertaker wins with eyes for next year’s Wrestlemania being his last. Will his potential opponent show up? *Cough*Sting*Cough*.
Odds to Win: 51% The Undertaker, 49% Roman Reigns
Universal Title Match: Goldberg [C] vs Brock Lesnar
Goldberg has had the upper hand at virtually every turn which in the laws of wrestling means Brock Lesnar should be the expected winner. Regardless of result, we have a prospective champion who will be part time which will not sit well with hardcore fans. I will take Brock Lesnar and go out on a limb and say he drops the title on Raw tomorrow night to a returning Finn Balor with assistance from a reunited Club. This scenario sounds too good to be true so I will not hold my breath.
WWE World Championship: Bray Wyatt [C] vs Randy Orton
Will this feud continue after Wrestlemania? Perhaps. Will Sister Abigail take human form and show up? In some fan’s dream. Will Randy Orton’s devious plan pay off? Would fans care if it didn’t? I will take Bray winning to further strengthen his championship run but think it could swing the other way.
Odds to Win: 60% Bray Wyatt, 40% Randy Orton