Posted April 1st, 2017 by 1Wrestling News Team

By Don Murphy

Since I was ten years old, I have been an avid fan of professional wrestling and WrestleMania has been one of my favorite weekends of the calendar year. Thirty-one years later, I am blessed that I am not only able to attend this year’s show in Orlando, Florida, but that I also have this platform to share my insights with the universe. Admittedly, this WrestleMania, from a match standpoint, doesn’t “pop” as much as it did in previous years, but, I’d advise anyone who is a bit down on the show to remove themselves from analyzing the booking and the storytelling and simply enjoy WrestleMania for its history and what it’s become – a week-long celebration of professional wrestling. And, don’t let the card fool you on paper. There’s potential for some great matches and unexpected surprises. I, for one, think the WWE will deliver a great show – they always do when WrestleMania rolls around. What intrigues me most is deciding which match will go on last. Logically, you’d have to think Goldberg and Brock Lesnar. But, with Goldberg’s limited move set and stamina, will they close the show with a match that will likely last no more than ten minutes, at most? Do they close the show with Roman Reigns and the Undertaker – a match that will likely see a Roman Reigns win and an overly negative crowd reaction. Or, do they go with Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt – a match billed as the main event, given that it was born out of the result of the Royal Rumble, but that has been tarnished by campy storytelling and special effects. Whatever they choose, it promises to be a great show and I look forward to breaking down each match for you. Let’s run down the card….

Main Event: Goldberg defends the WWE Universal Championship against Brock Lesnar

Analysis: I can appreciate a good taste of nostalgia when it’s booked right. Having seen Goldberg’s original run as it happened, this latest storyline has brought back some great memories. But, I really wish Goldberg was in a position, physically, to do more. It’s clear, having watched his matches since his return in November that he’s not in wrestling shape. And, while Brock Lesnar has a bit more stamina, his matches aren’t known for going very long either. So, I have a hard time believing that this match will close the show, or go longer than ten minutes. Plus, as Goldberg’s current contract is close to the end, if not at the end altogether, it’s very likely we’ve seen the end of his run, as Brock Lesnar takes the title. The question then becomes – will Lesnar commit to being a more regular presence on WWE television, or will he continue to be a part-time player, meaning that the championship will have limited exposure? It will be interesting to see how they decide to play this.

Murphy Predicts: Brock Lesnar wins the WWE Universal Championship

WWE Championship Match: Bray Wyatt defends the WWE Championship against Randy Orton

Analysis: It’s interesting that the creative team gave this match such a prominent spot on the Mania card. They originally presented this match back in the fall to limited fanfare. They tried to tell a compelling story by having Orton basically go undercover and join Wyatt before ultimately turning on him. It had its high points, but has recently took a strange turn, with an over-emphasis on fire, special effects and hokey pyrotechnics. As for the match, Orton is a big enough draw that the fans will be engaged, while Wyatt has the ability to consistently turn out good performances. As a one-off, this will be fine, but the bigger question is, where will they go from here, as this will likely signal the end of the feud

Murphy Predicts: Randy Orton wins the WWE World Championship

Singles Match: The Undertaker meets Roman Reigns

Analysis: My wife is a big Undertaker fan, so in her eyes, he’s still the best. For me, I go back to the Mean Mark Callous days of WCW, so the Undertaker still holds a special place in my heart. But, at age 52, and a variety of injuries, it’s time for him to call it a career. Anyone who has watched him these past few weeks can see that he is hurting and all signs point to him doing the honors for Reigns. As for Reigns, the battle of wills between Vince McMahon and the fans continue – the more they reject him, the more Vince pushes him. I don’t think there’s any way Reigns loses this match. I’ll just be interested to see how Reigns wins. Ideally, he cheats, in order to put a much-needed heel turn into motion; however, I fear that they will go with a clean Reigns win, with the Undertaker “passing the torch.” This second scenario will not over well with the live crowd, so I’m hoping the creative team uses some common sense in booking the finish.

Murphy Predicts: Roman Reigns defeats the Undertaker

WWE United States Championship: Chris Jericho defends the WWE United States Championship against Kevin Owens

Analysis: This is the Kevin Owens we’ve been waiting for and it’s a shame they waited this long. He is such a natural heel and has done a great job in bringing out the best in Jericho, in what could be one of his last runs with the company. My one criticism is how they’ve played down the fact that this match is for the United States Championship. Owens has been more motivated by revenge against Jericho for costing him the WWE Universal Championship, than winning the United States Championship. Nevertheless, this promises to be one of the better matches on the show.

Murphy Predicts: Kevin Owens wins the WWE United States Championship

Fatal Four-Way for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Bayley defends the WWE Raw Women’s Championship against Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Nia Jax

Analysis: This match could have built so much better. This could have been presented as Bayley’s shining moment as she finally wins the title and ends Charlotte’s undefeated pay-per-view streak. Instead, they seem to have moved away from the formula that made the Bayley character work so well in NXT. Instead of lacking confidence and struggling to fit in, she’s presented as confident and willing to win the championship, despite a controversial finish. She’s also being presented as gullible, as all signs point to Charlotte being proven right on Sasha’s true motives. If the full heel turn doesn’t happen here, the wheels will definitely be put in motion as Sasha will likely cheat to win the match. I am happy to see Jax get a spot in the match and while she likely won’t win the title, it will be a good showcase for her as the monster female heel.

Murphy Predicts: Sasha Banks wins the WWE Raw Women’s Championship

Mixed Tag Team Match: John Cena and Nikki Bella meet the Miz and Maryse

Analysis: When I first heard about this match, I was underwhelmed as it seemed like Cena was downgraded. I must say, however, that an early candidate for MVP of 2017 has to be the Miz. He’s one of the hottest heels in wrestling right now and both he and Cena have done a great job in building this match. The “Total Bellas” spoofs were very well done and promos were delivered where you got the sense that some real feelings were being conveyed. Plus, given the strong emphasis on the fact that John and Nikki aren’t married, I’d be shocked if Cena didn’t propose to Nikki at the end of this match. My only hope is that they find a way to keep the Miz strong in defeat because, as I noted, he’s been such an effective heel, he needs to be at a prominent place at the top of the card.

Murphy Predicts: John Cena and Nikki Bella defeat the Miz and Maryse

Non-Sanctioned Match: Seth Rollins meets Triple H

Analysis: Triple H and the WWE have bent over backwards to make this match feel bigger than it is. And, it will be a fine match, but lacks the juice it would have had a year ago, or if the WWE had turned Rollins babyface when he first returned. I think the selling point of this match will be brawl that we are likely to see, along with the potential for some run-ins by Samoa Joe and Sami Zayn, with the likely re-emergence of Finn Balor to the main roster. At this stage, Triple H wants to put younger talent over – it’s just a matter of finding the talent that’s in the position to be the top babyface in the company. Rollins had that chance, but having him return as a heel initially, has made his quest that much harder.

Murphy Predicts: Seth Rollins defeats Triple H

Singles Match: Shane McMahon meets AJ Styles

Analysis: The mat purist finds this match offensive and feels that AJ deserves better. The WWE brass feels that AJ has a great honor in being placed with the boss’ son. No matter what you believe and how you feel about Shane, you know that he will go above and beyond to deliver a memorable performance, including some kind of death-defying bump. And, given his less than stellar in-ring presence, he’s in there with the right opponent to carry the load in terms of in-ring performance. I think this will be a fun match and will position AJ to be right at the forefront of the main event picture in the months to come.

Murphy Predicts: AJ Styles defeats Shane McMahon

WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson defend the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship against Sheamus and Cesaro, and Enzo and Big Cass in a Triple Threat Ladder Match

Analysis: The tag team has lacked direction for some time and it’s a shame that there’s really nothing compelling about this match, aside from the late inclusion of ladders into this match. And while the rumor mill has been buzzing about a legacy tag team making their return here, I see this as being laid out very directly, with Enzo and Big Cass getting their WrestleMania moment. I’d like to see above average performance from Gallows and Anderson to help propel them after WrestleMania, but that may be wishful thinking at this point.

Murphy Predicts: Enzo and Big Cass win the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: Dean Ambrose defends the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Baron Corbin

Analysis: If the plan is to build Corbin into a main event player, he’s in there with the right opponent. Ambrose is well-seasoned and is poised to make the best out of his position on the card. Corbin has some raw potential that hasn’t been fully realized yet and working with Ambrose will give him the much-needed experience that’s missing, as he performs for the first time on the big stage.

Murphy Predicts: Dean Ambrose retains the WWE Intercontinental Championship

WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Neville defends the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Austin Aries

Analysis: Neville has found the character that works best for him and his work on the flat 205 Live has been stellar. Aries is a needed component to raise the bar of the competition on the show. These two will bring out each other’s best despite a low placement on the card. I only hope that they can add more compelling acts to the card so that we have a steady pipeline of contenders moving forward.

Murphy Predicts: Austin Aries wins the WWE Cruiserweight Championship

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Six Pack Challenge: Alexa Bliss defends the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship against Naomi, Mickie James, Carmella, Natalya and Becky Lynch

Analysis: Bliss is one of the most underrated talents on the Smackdown roster and while I am not a fan of multi-person title matches, this one makes sense, given the lack of depth at the top of the roster. I had previously predicted the debut of NXT Champion Asuka in this match, but given Naomi’s re-emergence, I see her getting the cool hometown title win ovation here.

Murphy Predicts: Naomi wins the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship

The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Analysis: It’s great that basically everyone gets a spot on the show by adding this match. However, in some cases, it’s burying potentially good matches. For one, the Usos are in this match and will not be defending the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. Second, Braun Strowman is someone who deserves a singles match after being a dominant monster for the past six months. This will give him a good spotlight, but I wish they would work to make this match more than it currently does.

Murphy Predicts: Braun Strowman wins The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Follow me on Twitter: @don424

Category: Wrestling.

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