It’s time for the biggest event in sports entertainment each year – Wrestlemania. In the 31st edition of the largest event in wrestling, there are a lot of marquee match-ups, but I’m not sure if it will be able to beat the outcome of Wrestlemania 30 last year in New Orleans when The Undertake lost his first ever Wrestlemania match to Brock Lesnar, and Daniel Bryan – easily the biggest fan favorite in WWE – reigned supreme after beating Triple H, Batista, and Randy Orton all in one night to become champion.
This year’s edition of Wrestlemania takes place in San Francisco at Levi Stadium, the new home of the 49ers. The build up has been lackluster in my opinion, and despite the fights being booked fairly well, it remains to be seen whether WM31 will be worth anything.
I’ll preface this with saying that I am the world’s biggest casual wrestling fan. I only actually watch PPV’s, and maybe a couple of Raw’s a month. I just pretty much read up on everything else. I don’t usually watch NXT, and I never watch Smackdown, or Superstars, or any other brand of wrestling like TNA, ROH, or anything like that. I was pretty into wrestling as a kid during the attitude era, and loved being able to watch WCW Saturday Night when I was young because I couldn’t stay up late during the week on school nights for Raw, Nitro, or any of the weekly programming.
If you tried to start up a conversation with me about wrestling history, you’d probably be better off talking to a brick wall. I only remember the high points, and if it’s not about the absolute top tier wrestlers, I probably don’t know what you’re talking about. After about 7th or 8th grade, I got bored with wrestling. It just wasn’t cool to me anymore.
With that said, Tim Melton and Aaron Daniel got me back into it in 2012 while we were doing the Midnight Meltdown. They would occasionally talk about it, and I had no idea what they were talking about. So I’ve started back watching, and keeping up with story lines ever since. I mostly like to watch it like a soap opera for men, not to actually see the wrestling. It’s all about who is going to betray who next, and what cool gimmick they will bring to the story lines. I would much rather watch a gimmick match than a standard singles match. Give me a ladders, buried alive, falls count anywhere, or hell in a cell match any day.
So I’m glad there is a ladder match to bring it back like the old money in the bank matches before they spun it away from Wrestlemania. The Battle Royal is another match that keeps things interesting. Without further ado, the picks for Wrestlemania 31…
Preshow – Tyson Kidd/Cesaro (c) vs. The Uso’s vs. Los Matadores vs. The New Day – Fatal Four Way Tag Match for the Tag Team Titles
I’m not looking for this match to be worth much. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro are both alright wrestlers, and currently hold the title, but I’m still not really sure where this grouping came from. The Uso’s are playing with a hurt member (Jey Uso), so although I figured them to win the titles back, they may not now. Los Matadores can never be taken seriously and are only there so El Torito can run around and hit people in the butt.
I’d like to see The New Day take off, only because I really like Kofi Kingston. I think him and Big E could be a formidable “strength/agility” combo. Xavier Woods is alright, but he’s more of a cheerleader to them now. I also don’t really like the gimmick of The New Day, despite really liking the wrestlers in it.
Who I’d like to see win: The New Day
Who will win: Tyson Kidd/Cesaro will retain
Preshow – Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Pretty much every main roster wrestler that isn’t in a match otherwise is in this match. The favorites to actually do something are most likely Big Show, Kane, Erick Rowan, Curtis Axel, Mark Henry, Damien San/Mizdow, and the NXT tournament winner – Hideo Itami.
Hideo Itami winning would be a big time coming out party for him and for the NXT brand as they continue to grow that. I think this event could be the coming out party for Damien Sandow as a solo performer again (and finally get rid of that stupid Mizdow gimmick). The Miz storyline has run it’s course, and they are both in this match. Big Show was the favorite last year, before being thrown out by Cesaro. I think he is always going to be a favorite as long as he’s in it. Sheamus could come back and win, to use that to vault himself a little bit. He or Kane could do something stupid for the Authority and end up with the trophy, who knows…
Who I’d like to see win: Damien Sandow
Who will win: Hideo Itami
AJ Lee/Paige vs. The Bella Twins
The problem with the diva’s division isn’t that they are women, or that their fights aren’t as entertaining – it’s that these four are the only four worth watching. AJ’s mic work is top notch, and gives everyone that small glimpse of CM Punk again. Paige has been doing alright and been in the middle of all of the storylines. And the Bella’s are always a crowd favorite for their looks, fighting style, and the fact that one is with John Cena, and the other is married to Daniel Bryan. This match doesn’t really hold anything, especially since there isn’t a title on the line. This will probably end up in some weird, twisted catfight between all 4 of them, or at least between AJ and Paige.
There just need to be more performers like these four, and the diva’s division will be worth watching again.
Who I’d like to see win: The Bella Twins
Who will win: The Bella Twins
Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
The problem with ladder matches is that you know you can eliminate half the field before it starts. They put a few big names in, then have to fill it with nobodies after that. The same can be said here. R-Truth is entertaining, but not an A-List wrestler. Same with
Cody….Stardust, Luke Harper, and kind of Bad News Barrett. The main attractions here are going to be Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, and Daniel Bryan. I’m not sure if Ambrose will walk out with it, he’s a great wrestler, and great storyline, but his next story will be involved in something else.
Daniel Bryan could bring the IC title back to what it should be, but I’m not sure they will put it on him either, so that he can go on and feud with bigger names that really don’t care about the IC title. Put him back brawling with Triple H or something. The big thing is that there is a ladder match again at Wrestlemania. I enjoyed the Money in the Bank matches originally when they were at Wrestlemania instead of their own PPV.
Who I’d like to see win: Daniel Bryan
Who will win: Dolph Ziggler
Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
This is one fight that I’m not really sure where it’s going. I think all of the major singles matches are fairly predictable, but this one isn’t. They could go the route of making their “golden boy” even more golden, or they could continue to put Randy Orton over so that he could compete for the title later in the summer.
I think I’m going to go with Seth Rollins in this one so that he’s in good shape for a possible cash-in. I don’t see the cash-in happening at Wrestlemania. I could see it potentially on Raw the night after, but not on Sunday. That doesn’t mean you can’t tease it. He hasn’t done anything with the briefcase other than use it as a weapon that he just happens to be carrying. He hasn’t even played up the fact that he is holding the contract as much as he could be lately.
Who I’d like to see win: Randy Orton
Who will win: Seth Rollins
Rusev (c) vs. John Cena – US Title Match
I’m actually kind of bored with this whole “Rusev is better than everyone” gimmick, and I’m kind of bored with Cena’s individual feud with him. If Cena doesn’t win the US Title and Rusev just wins with the submission yet again, then Rusev will go from being a heel to just being boring and hated. Cena needs to win this one so that 1) Rusev will finally go to just being a normal roster wrestler, and 2) the US Title can be worth something again.
Who I’d like to see win: John Cena
Who will win: John Cena
The Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt
This might be a good match, and they could go any number of routes with this. I actually think they should have made this a gimmick match. Casket, buried alive, or something like that. It would have worked perfectly into their personas.
I do wish that the Undertaker had at least shown up once in the build-up. I’m waiting for there to be some stupid gimmick with his character that makes us all question what the heck is going on, but the reason it’s weird is because we haven’t seen him. He needs to come off as really strong to make up for losing last year, and to help set up a match with Sting at WM32 (which I guarantee will happen barring some stupid circumstance). Bray can afford to lose to the Undertaker, and the Undertaker can still build up Bray (like I assume they are trying to do) and win the match. Losing to the Undertaker doesn’t damage anything, he’s legendary, and 100% expected to win this match.
If he doesn’t, it’s because he died in the ring for real, or Vince has completely lost his mind.
Who I’d like to see win: The Undertaker
Who will win: The Undertaker
Sting vs. Triple H
This match could be the match of the night, or it could be dreadful. Sting is an old man, and I know he can still wrestle, but Triple H has made all of his recent matches so intense lately, with feuds against Brock, Bryan, the Shield, etc. Sting has a lot to live up to. Let’s just hope he can live up to it. It almost would have been nice to make this a no DQ match so they could go sledgehammer vs. baseball bat. That’s all they’ve teased really, is them wielding their weapons, then not actually doing anything with them.
Sting wins this one no doubt, because it sells the network so people will go watch old WCW matches, and also sets him up well for the Undertaker next year. Also, Sting needs smack Stephanie with the bat at some point.
Who I’d like to see win: Sting
Who will win: Sting
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns
It was a foregone conclusion that Reigns would win the belt about a week ago. Brock was thought to be UFC bound, following in CM Punk’s footsteps of telling WWE to go to hell, and Reigns was picked as the next poster boy for whatever reason. However, with Brock going on ESPN and announcing that he’s done with MMA and with WWE to stay, I think it’s now a 90% chance that Brock retains.
I think it’s perfect to have Brock retain, Bryan win the IC belt, Cena win the US belt, and then have them all start programs with major names so the IC/US title are the focal point day-in/day-out and Brock can work PPV’s with other big, part-time names. I could easily see Brock vs. The Rock at WM32, if not maybe earlier at an event like Summerslam. Brock could also work with Orton or Bryan for good booking.
If Reigns wins, then I think we’re destined to see a Rollins vs. Reigns feud, most likely because something will happen to make Rollins win the title via cashing in. Brock has amazing booking potential, even though he’ll stay part time most likely.
Who I’d like to see win: Brock Lesnar
Who will win: Brock Lesnar