Posted April 7th, 2018 by 1Wrestling News Team

By Don “The Predictor” Murphy

The talking is done. The matches have been set. The stories have been told. Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy the 34th edition of WrestleMania, emanating from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. As I said in my NXT Takeover preview, WrestleMania has transcended beyond the show itself. Having been in Orlando last year, it’s a weekend that all fans should experience once in their lives. Between the variety of shows to choose from, the meet and greet opportunities and the influx of fans who share a common interest, it’s become a celebration of the profession we’ve chosen to love. To all of the performers who will grace us with their talent on the main show on Sunday, I give you my heartfelt thanks. But it goes beyond that. To anyone working a show this weekend – whether as a performer, an announcer, a booker, a writer, a production team member anyone – I congratulate you on creating something for the fans coming in for Mania to enjoy, whether it’s a crowd of 10 people or 1,000. And finally, for the fans like me – whether you’re 5, 10, 50, or 90, enjoy the experience that is WrestleMania. This is our weekend – we helped create what WrestleMania has become and for that, I thank all of you. With all of that being said, let’s run down the massive card!

WWE Universal Championship Match: Brock Lesnar defends the WWE Universal Championship against Roman Reigns

Topline Thoughts: OK – let’s talk through what we’ve known since this match became a foregone conclusion at the end of last year’s WrestleMania. We know that Roman Reigns is the chosen one to be the face of the company. We know that Brock Lesnar has beaten every opponent in the last year with the F-5, so that we can get the big moment when Reigns kicks out. We know that the fans in attendance will boo Reigns vehemently, but I also think that they’ve come to terms with the reality that Vince McMahon is determined to get the closing shot of Roman Reigns with the Universal title amidst the overflow of confetti. Beyond that, I would ask anyone watching this match to put those facts behind you and remember this – these two had a fantastic match several years ago and while you may not like the outcome…the journey getting there should be nothing short of sensational.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Roman Reigns wins the WWE Universal Championship

WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles defends the WWE Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura

Topline Thoughts: As a consolation for having the watch the crowning of Roman Reigns, we are being treated to, what is considered by many, to be “the” dream match. If you didn’t see their match a couple of years ago in Tokyo, do yourself a favor before WrestleMania and seek it out as it’s a classic. Admittedly, Nakamura hasn’t had the breakout performance that we’ve hoped for since joining the main roster, but I think the time is now for that performance and a match that will be the standout of the night and a “Match of the Year” contender. In terms of the outcome, I think we’ll get a short Nakamura title run on Smackdown as AJ moves over the Monday nights as part of the upcoming “Shakeup.” And then hopefully, we’ll be treated to Nakamura classics against the likes of Seth Rollins, Finn Balor and Daniel Bryan.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Shinsuke Nakamura wins the WWE Championship

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Charlotte Flair defends the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship against Asuka

Topline Thoughts: This is probably the best told story of the night. The decorated champion with the great family lineage meets the undefeated dynamo with the incredible winning streak. I really hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think the creative team wants to risk depleting either one’s credibility. An easy out would be Carmella attempting a “Money in the Bank” cash-in, only to be defeated by Asuka. The streak stays intact, Asuka wins the title and Charlotte is never beaten. That’s not the payoff the fans deserve and the leadup to finish should be great, but until the Smackdown roster is beefed up with more compelling storylines across the board, it may be the only course of action.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Asuka wins the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship

WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss defends the WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match against Nia Jax

Topline Thoughts: I wasn’t very high on this match when it was first announced, but both have done a great job in telling the story of the bully vs. the victim out for revenge. I’ve been pleasantly surprised about how well Jax has been able to get over as a babyface thus far. It seems logical that Jax would win the title here and put the bully in her place and I think we will get some form of a payoff, but ultimately, I think this is only the first chapter of the story. Bliss will find a way through a count-out or disqualification to hold on to the title, as I think having Jax in chase mode for several months leading to the big moment when she finally wins the title would better serve both parties at this stage.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Alexa Bliss retains the WWE Raw Women’s Championship

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: The Miz defends the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Seth Rollins and Finn Balor in a Triple Threat Match

Topline Thoughts: If this match is anything like the Balor-Rollins match this past Monday, this could steal the show. I will be interested to see if we’re headed toward a Miz babyface turn, given his comments on Monday night, or if this is just a setup for something “over-the-top” heelish. However it plays out, I see Miz keeping the title, as it’s clear they are building to him being the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion.

“The Predictor” Predicts: The Miz retains the WWE Intercontinental Championship

WWE United States Championship Match: Randy Orton defends the WWE United States Championship against Jinder Mahal, Bobby Roode and Rusev in a Fatal Four-Way Match

Topline Thoughts: How fortunate Rusev gets his shot at the United States Championship on Rusev Day. I love him being added to this match. I’m not normally a fan of multi-person matches and this one felt a bit flat before Rusev was added. He is a crowd pleaser for sure, which will be enough to make this match watchable. Afterwards, I think the creative team needs to take a hard look at Mahal and Roode and come up with a different course of action because it seems as if they’ve been stuck in neutral for some time. I see Rusev coming away with the title, moving him closer to an inevitable babyface run.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Rusev wins the WWE United States Championship

WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Sheamus and Cesaro defend the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship against Braun Strowman and a Partner TBD

Topline Thoughts: If there’s one dark spot on the card, it’s this match. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Strowman’s. But, the Bar has worked extremely hard to become one of the best tag teams on the roster today and I think they deserve better than losing their titles to a makeshift tag team for pure entertainment purposes. In terms of who the partner will be, it’s really anyone’s guess. I’ve heard names, such as Elias, Samoa Joe, Rey Mysterio and Big Show as the top favorites.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Braun Strowman and a Partner TBD win the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship

WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos defend the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship against The New Day and The Bludgeon Brothers

Topline Thoughts: This is another match that has the potential to be a sleeper match of the night. The Usos have had stellar matches with both the New Day, as well as Harper and Rowan, and all three teams in the ring together should be a spectacle. I’m also happy that the Usos finally get a spot on the main card, and I am confident that they will make the most of that opportunity. I expect the Bludgeon Brothers to go over here, given the build to get them to this point.

“The Predictor” Predicts: The Bludgeon Brothers win the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship

Mixed Tag Team Match: Triple H and Stephanie McMahon meet Kurt Angle and Rhonda Rousey

Topline Thoughts: This is the match that gets the WWE mainstream attention. It’s interesting that the untold story here is Kurt Angle’s return to WrestleMania. In any case, this should be entertaining, particularly in the build to Stephanie getting “hers.” Going forward, Rousey will need to work on her promo skills, as well as her in-ring performance. I am sure her move set will be limited during the match. I just hope that whatever they have her do is safe enough so that no one gets hurt, as some of her initial physical altercations looked a bit dangerous.

“The Predictor” Predicts: Kurt Angle and Rhonda Rousey defeat Triple H and Stephanie McMahon

Tag Team Match: Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan meet Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

If Owens and Zayn lose, they remain fired from Smackdown Live

Topline Thoughts: Daniel Bryan’s medical clearance was a pleasant surprise and gave another great attraction to this already stacked card. I don’t think we have to wonder about his ability to take bumps, while Shane’s involvement may be limited, given his recent health issues. Despite the feel-good moment, I see Zayn and Owens stealing a win in one form or another to regain their place on the Smackdown roster. There’s always the chance the Bryan and Shane go over, with Owens and Zayn moving to Raw in the shakeup, but as long as it’s been, I don’t see the story being over just yet. Don’t be surprised if we see a Shane McMahon heel turn

“The Predictor” Predicts: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn defeat Shane McMahon and Sami Zayn

Possible Altercation between John Cena and The Undertaker

Topline Thoughts: This match was never officially announced, but I don’t think there would be that much of a build without some form of a payoff. I think we’ll likely get some form of brawl, but my fear is that this will serve to set up a match for next year’s show in New Jersey. That’s fine and if it’s the Undertaker’s last match, the WWE will want to put the promotion machine in high gear. The problem is that 70,000+ people have come to New Orleans for this year’s show and if you’re going to run an angle that promises a payoff next year, you better give this year’s fans some form of resolution, or they will likely react negatively to the segment

Kickoff Show/The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Topline Thoughts: I wish this match meant more, especially since the premiere of the HBO documentary is this coming Tuesday night, but sadly, it doesn’t. If you look at the past winners, none have gone on to do anything to speak of and this is nothing more than a way to get everyone on the card. We don’t even know all of the participants, so it’s tough to pick a winner. So, barring a major surprise, I’m going to go with Elias in this one.

The Predictor Predicts: Elias wins The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Kickoff Show/The WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal

Topline Thoughts: The only thing worth watching in this one is the continued story between Sasha Banks and Bayley. It would appear as if we are getting a Sasha heel turn, but don’t be surprised to see a swerve where Bayley goes to the dark side. This is where my pick lies.

The Predictor Predicts: Bayley wins The WrestleMania Women’s Battle RoyaL

Kickoff Show/Cedric Alexander meets Mustafa Ali for the Vacant WWE Cruiserweight Championship

Topline Thoughts: 205 Live has gotten markedly better in recent months and I’ve enjoyed the additions of Roderick Strong, Hideo Itami and Buddy Murphy to the roster. I would have hoped that this match would have made the main card, but I understand that the show is still a work in progress. I think Alexander has earned his place as the face of the division and I like the groundwork done to create credible challengers post-Mania.

The Predictor Predicts: Cedric Alexander wins the WWE Cruiserweight Championship

Follow me on Twitter: @don424

Category: Wrestling.

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