The biggest WWE event of 2019 is almost here. WrestleMania 35 goes down this Sunday live from MetLife Stadium, and it’d bound to provide memories that will add to the huge lineage of wrestling’s most significant show ever. But what can we actually expect from the 35th annual WrestleMania? Here are my predictions, match-by-match, as well as other observations on the card.
Cruiserweight Championship Match
Buddy Murphy (C) vs. Tony Nese
Likely to open a lengthy night of action will be the battle for 205 Live’s most prestigious title. Buddy Murphy’s long reign as Cruiserweight Champion is at risk against Tony Nese, who is unquestionably in the biggest match of his career here. Performing so close to home, Nese will be the crowd favourite, and I expect him to win the title as a way to start the night on a happy note.
My Prediction: Tony Nese
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
For the sixth time, we have a battle royal in the name of Andre The Giant. It has had more misses than hits when it comes to boosting the profile of its winner, but this means that WWE can afford to take a chance with the victor, partly since we won’t know all of the participants until the bell rings. Nevertheless, while some believe that this could set up Curt Hawkins finally ending his long losing streak, the focus on Braun Strowman and his issues with Saturday Night Live stars Colin Jost and Michael Che suggests that they will be the centrepiece of this match, especially since Jost and Che will actually be participating. Look for Braun to win, perhaps by lastly eliminating the SNL boys in a nod to the manner in which Andre The Giant himself won a battle royal at WrestleMania 2.
My Prediction: Braun Strowman
Women’s Battle Royal
There are several major matches for WWE’s women at WrestleMania this year. Those who weren’t included in such bouts will be thrown into this battle royal. Naomi winning last year didn’t exactly make a big difference to her career fortunes, so it’s fair to say that the result is not high on WWE’s list of priorities. I’m going to suggest, based on rumours of a big push, that Lacey Evans comes out on top; whether it leads to anything remains to be seen.
My Prediction: Lacey Evans
Women’s Tag Team Championship Match
Bayley & Sasha Banks (C) vs. Natalya & Beth Phoenix vs. Nia Jax & Tamina vs. The IIconics
I can’t see The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection losing their titles just yet. Beth Phoenix returning is cool, though as a likely one-off, so that rules her and Nattie out from winning. Nia and Tamina triumphing would leave an even worse taste in the mouth than Jinder Mahal capturing the United States Championship at Mania 34. Which leaves Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, though they’ve barely been on television prior to the Mania build. I do expect The IIconics to win the titles at some point – but not here.
My Prediction: Bayley & Sasha Banks
Intercontinental Championship Match
Bobby Lashley (C) vs. Finn Balor
Balor won the IC crown in a handicap match against Lashley and Lio Rush at Elimination Chamber, only to lose it in a singles rematch eight days later. The underlying story is that Finn has yet to pin Lashley one-on-one. Since it could be argued that Finn has yet to peak in WWE, and that The All-Mighty is as cold as an average refrigerator right now, that tells me we’ll get a title change here. It’s not guaranteed, but I would nudge towards Finn getting his first WrestleMania win here. Oh, and he’ll be The Demon too. Expect a new champion to be crowned.
My Prediction: Finn Balor
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match
The Usos (C) vs. The Bar vs. Rusev & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ricochet & Aleister Black
As I noted in my Preview feature, this seems to be a way to squeeze all eight onto the card more than anything. It should be a fun match, though it’s certain to be a cool-down between bigger attractions (I should mention that the order of matches I’ve listed here are just guesswork). Ricochet & Black could make a big impact as new champions, but I’m predicting a successful defence for The Usos here.
My Prediction: The Usos
Walking With Elias
Elias has humbly announced that he will be the leading musical act at WrestleMania, and has sworn major ramipercussions on anybody who dares interrupt him at MetLife Stadium. Which means he’s bound to be interrupted by somebody. Though The Rock would be a hugely welcome returnee here, I’m guessing that The Undertaker makes a surprise appearance here to disrupt The Drifter. If we’re lucky, we might get a brief match out of it (which UT would obviously win), but either way, Taker will leave Elias laying. At the very least, Elias ain’t getting through his gig unscathed.
United States Championship Match
Samoa Joe (C) vs. Rey Mysterio
Since his return last October, Rey Mysterio has looked and performed better than at any point since 2009/2010. Indeed, the masked marvel looks to have plenty of life left in him, hence him getting a title opportunity here against Joe. But while he’s challenging for a prize he’s never won, this may be a feel-good moment too far on a night that could produce many of them. Joe will retain, but Rey will win the title at a later date, perhaps as soon as SmackDown on Tuesday. All of this is based on the assumption that the match actually happens, mind you: an ankle injury suffered by Rey on Raw may prevent this bout from taking place altogether.
My Prediction: Samoa Joe
No Holds Barred Match – If Triple H Loses, He Retires
Batista vs. Triple H
Batista is back for one final match, a retirement bout he has long campaigned for, which ultimately formed the storyline for this contest. Since Batista is finishing up (with a probable 2020 Hall Of Fame induction to follow), with Hunter’s career only being put at stake 13 days to showtime, and since The Game has never beaten The Animal on a major stage, the outcome should be obvious: HHH is going over. It should be a powerful brawl, and as long as it doesn’t operate at a snail’s pace, it should capture the attention of the crowd. If all goes well, this may be the surprise hit of the night (I say “surprise” for those who aren’t interested in seeing these two veterans going to battle).
My Prediction: Triple H
Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles
What felt like a star-studded filler match has received a helping hand from some superb promo exchanges, which means that this will have a better chance of leaving a lasting impression. AJ is the crowd favourite, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Randy triumphed, partly because a heel victory via unscrupulous means is more likely to allow WWE to extend this rivalry. This is one of the tougher matches to call, but I’ll nudge slightly towards The Viper. The match itself could be anywhere from decent to outstanding depending on time and how energised Orton is feeling.
My Prediction: Randy Orton
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
Don’t underestimate the significance of this match. This represents a massive career turnaround for Drew, given that he was released five years ago having moonlighted as a member of comedy trio 3MB, and for Roman, his recovery from leukaemia makes this an even bigger achievement for him. It should be a good battle between two warhorses, and you could make the argument to put either man over. But I’m going to pick Reigns, with McIntyre extracting revenge somewhere down the line.
My Prediction: Roman Reigns
Kurt Angle’s Farewell Match
Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin
Kurt Angle is bowing out from in-ring competition, and many expected (or assumed) that Angle would be facing a top-name opponent. Instead, he’s wrestling Baron Corbin. No matter how you spin it, it’s a letdown, though Kurt struggling through basic performances makes me understand why WWE would make the occasion more low-key. Nevertheless, having weighed up the various possibilities, I’m predicting that Angle submits Corbin to the Ankle Lock very quickly, and says he expects better from his final battle, only for John Cena to answer the call for an impromptu bout. It won’t last too long, but it will be sufficient enough for Angle to leave with his head held high. Oh, and Angle will pin Cena too.
My Prediction: Kurt Angle (twice)
Falls Count Anywhere Match
The Miz vs. Shane McMahon
This match has arguably the longest build, dating all the way back to Crown Jewel in November. I (and most others) believed it would be Miz to turn heel on Shane to dissolve their tandem, but instead it was McMahon who went to the dark side for the first time in over a decade. This has been set up pretty well, and no doubt it will feature some crazy spots to make it a real spectacle. In the end, though, relatively new babyface Miz should win here, and if his dad George gets a shot or two in on Shane a as payback from Fast Lane, even better.
My Prediction: The Miz
Universal Championship Match
Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Seth Rollins
Will Lesnar leave another WrestleMania as Universal Champion, or will Seth Rollins win his first heavyweight title in nearly three years? The story here is that Lesnar has struggled against smaller, lighter competitors, retaining his title by the skin of his teeth, with Rollins potentially holding the key to going that extra step and dethroning Brock. It will be a fun match, and I would like to see a new Universal Champion crowned here. But Lesnar has triumphed several times in matches that we were certain he would lose, and in a battle that could go either way, the smart money is on Brock to retain once more.
My Prediction: Brock Lesnar
WWE Championship Match
Daniel Bryan (C) vs. Kofi Kingston
Part of the reason why Seth’s odds of becoming a champion aren’t sky-high is because fans are way more invested right now in seeing Kofi Kingston complete a journey that, when it began in February, seemed to be a massive long-shot. Yet Kofi could be about to win the WWE Title in an incredible, organic underdog storyline. The downside is that it doesn’t feel like a grand-stage title match, but in this case, the unlikely mid-career is getting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Daniel Bryan retaining here would go down very badly (how ironic); to conclude the story properly, Kofi has to win, and I’m confident that he will, even if his title reign isn’t a long one.
My Prediction: Kofi Kingston
Double Women’s Championship Match
Ronda Rousey (Raw C) vs. Charlotte Flair (SD C) vs. Becky Lynch
Historically, a women’s match is ending WrestleMania for the first time ever. And the match itself has been the leading Mania storyline dating back to its accidental roots last November. I’m expecting this to live up to the hype with a frantic, exciting and perhaps even bloody three-way scrap. And it can only have one possible outcome: Becky Lynch is coming out on top. She’ll defeat Charlotte by submission, allowing Rousey an excuse while laying the groundwork for the one-on-one Becky vs. Ronda showdown in the future.
My Prediction: Becky Lynch
Alexa Bliss as the host of WrestleMania will be fun, though I doubt her segments will be more than a nice segue between matches. In terms of other possible cameos, I could see Hulk Hogan appearing in some form, though I have no idea how (maybe a quick backstage interview might be the safest and quickest way to use him). Any other returns or debuts are realistically limited to an NXT call-up in either of the battle royals. And yes, the show will be long.
There are tons of matches, and there will be enough variety to ensure that the right moments stand out. There is the potential for iconic title changes, excellent matches, big surprises and historic milestones. Though the build-up hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, Mania 31 proved that the hype doesn’t dictate what happens on the night itself. No doubt, it will feel arduous at points, and some matches will misfire. Overall, though, I’m optimistic that WrestleMania 35 will be a critical success. I can’t see it being one of the all-time great Mania shows, but unless WWE does something really stupid (like having Lesnar, Bryan and Ronda all winning, with Corbin pinning Angle too), WrestleMania 35 should offer enough to ensure that it will be remembered for positive reasons. We’ll find out for sure this Sunday!