I don’t know about all of you fine folks out there, but the last year has felt like 20 years to me. With everything going on in the world, and with the drama taking place left and right, it feels like WrestleMania 36 took place during the Attitude Era. Here we are, though, at WrestleMania 37, a full year since the wrestling world was changed dramatically, and things are starting to heal. For the first time since COVID, WWE will be hosting actual fans, and what better event to make that happen than the biggest wrestling show in the world?
As you’ve seen with my columns, I don’t like to write prediction pieces too often. There’s no particular reason for it. It’s just something I’ve tried to stay away from if I can possibly help it. This was simply just an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. There’s a metric fuckton to talk about with this year’s WrestleMania card, so that’s what I want to do. If you’re new to my work, I add a little twist when discussing show predictions on the rare occasion I go that route. Not only am I going to predict who wins each match, but I also talk about what would happen if I were in charge. It’s a way to keep track of things and see how close my mind is working with whatever promotion I’m writing about. Sometimes my predictions line right up with what I would do, and other times, they’re wildly different. That’s part of the fun, though.
There are still a few days before Mania rolls around, so more matches could be added, but I’m going to work with the card as it stands right now. Let’s get things kicked off with night one, shall we?
Cesaro vs Seth Rollins
Well, one thing we know about this one is that it will be good. These are two of the best in-ring performers on the planet. They also know each other very well, with their first match together being a Tag Gauntlet for Illinois-based independent promotion All American Wrestling back in 2005. What helps this match feel special is that it’s about as “fresh” as a WWE match can be. In an era where the company runs matches into the ground, Rollins and Cesaro haven’t had a singles match in nearly three-and-a-half years. In this generation, that three-and-a-half years may as well be three-and-a-half decades.
There are two different ways to look at this match. You can view it as who has the most to gain from a win, or you can view it as who has had the most effort put behind them. If it’s the former, you’re looking squarely at Cesaro. If it’s the latter, then it’s Rollins by a country mile. Cesaro hasn’t had a singles push of any kind since 2016, and that led to… him forming a tag team with Sheamus. If you want his last REAL singles push, you have to go back to 2014, when he won the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 30 and became a “Paul Heyman Guy” on Raw the following night. That push led to… nothing. The man hasn’t had a singles title of any kind since dropping the United States Title to Kofi Kingston on the April 15th, 2013 episode of Raw. That’s a long time. A win here over a four-time World Champion would mean so much to his career.
That other viewpoint is very important. As I said, Seth Rollins is a four-time World Champion in his time with WWE, while Cesaro has been a tag team worker for the majority of his time there. Whether you like it or not, there’s a reason for that. By now, we’ve all seen the stories of how Vince McMahon feels about Cesaro as a singles performer. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and with Vince and Cesaro, there’s more smoke than Snoop Dogg and Rob Van Dam driving a tour bus through Colorado. I just can’t help but shake the feeling that it will continue on here. I don’t want it to, but I think it will.
What Will Happen: Seth Rollins Wins
What Should Happen: Cesaro Wins
Damian Priest & Bad Bunny vs The Miz & John Morrison
Ahh, the good old “rumored to be a tag match, then turned into a singles match due to injury, and then back to a tag match at the last minute” play. It would seem that John Morrison’s injury has healed in time for him to participate at WrestleMania. That’s great news for Damian Priest and Bad Bunny, honestly. Priest was more than deserving of being in a match on the Mania card, but you have to assume that, if the match was going to be one-on-one, WWE is spending way too much time, money, and effort on Bad Bunny to simply have him standing at ringside. Now, Priest makes the card, and Bad Bunny doesn’t have to feel the added pressure of performing in a singles match.
As for the result… I’m thinking it goes back to what I just said. Priest is being built up as potentially something special down the road, and Bad Bunny has a ton of attention from WWE management right now for all of the mainstream publicity he’s bringing to the company. Miz and Morrison have been booked to look as bad as possible, so it’s not like anybody there has any qualms with taking a loss here. Priest looks like a star, BB performs a move or two that will be in a million highlight reels, and we keep on keeping on.
What Will Happen: Damian Priest & Bad Bunny Win
What Should Happen: Damian Priest & Bad Bunny Win
Braun Strowman vs Shane McMahon – Steel Cage Match
If there was an award for the worst build to a WrestleMania match, this would win. It ranks right up there with one of the worst builds that we’ve ever seen for a WrestleMania match. The one thing that Braun Strowman has been made to do successfully in WWE is look like a freight train with arms and legs, completely running through any and everything placed before him… except for Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns, but that’s a different story for a different time. With that said, is Braun being booked to look like said freight train here? No. Instead, Braun is a lifelong victim of bullying, and is being called 58 types of stupid by Shane McMahon every week. Even worse, he continues to prove Shane right at every turn. Why? Why are we doing this? In no world is any of this making sense, or making for entertaining television. It’s a feud that is making the face unlikeable and the heel unbearable. Pretty much the definition of a lose/lose situation.
There hasn’t been a Steel Cage Match at WrestleMania in 35 years, going all the way back to Hulk Hogan defending the WWF Title against King Kong Bundy in the main event of WrestleMania 2. The guess here, of course, is that it gives Shane McMahon something to jump off of, or to be thrown off of. That’s fine and all, but even if Shane comes flying down from the top of the cage, it’s still the 824th highest thing he’s flown off of in his time with the company. Sure, he’s 51 years old now and looks like he’s on the verge of having a fatal heart attack just walking around on stage these days, but still… it’s kind of a disappointment.
For the love of all that is holy, I am begging WWE to make this the end of the feud. We don’t need this to last 20 minutes. Just have Braun beat Shane from pillar to post for a while. Somewhere in there, Shane can try to leap from the top of the cage, just for a shot at a “WrestleMania Moment” once again. Whatever. I don’t really care. This entire feud stinks like fricasseed deer anus. Braun wins and, perhaps, goes back to being the Braun Strowman that captivated audiences a few years back.
What Will Happen: Braun Strowman Wins
What Should Happen: Braun Strowman Wins
Lana & Naomi vs Natalya & Tamina vs Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan vs Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose vs Carmella & Billie Kay – Tag Team Turmoil
First things first, Carmella and Billie Kay were announced as being part of the match, but then the tweet sent out by WWE was deleted. The rumor is that they’re still part of the match, so until we’ve heard otherwise, I’ll be keeping them here. This was a last-minute addition to the show, with the winning team getting a shot at the Women’s Tag Team Titles the following night. This match is really showing how piss poor the women’s tag division has been handled recently. Carmella and Billie Kay were thrown together as a team for no apparent reason. The Riott Squad haven’t wrestled in almost two months, and haven’t won a match in over three months. It has been six whole months since Mandy Rose could say she was a part of two consecutive wins. Lana has been booked as nothing more than a punchline for pretty much her entire in-ring career. This will be the eighth month (MONTH, not WEEK) in a row that Tamina has wrestled a match on WWE programming, which is her longest streak in four years. This is just… bad. All this while Bayley can’t even get a spot on the WrestleMania card as of yet. Insanity.
I would think Lana and Naomi are the favorites to win here. Lana has been feuding with Nia Jax since 1977, and every time you think Lana gets the upper hand and might “win” the feud, it just continues on. Lana and Naomi are still very popular with the WWE Universe, and giving them the win here would at least get a nice pop out of a match that really has no business even taking place.
If it were up to me, though, The Riott Squad would be the winners. Not after being out of the ring for months, though. Instead, I would actually build them up and let them pick up some wins leading up to WrestleMania. A novel idea, I know, but it’s just crazy enough to work.
If it were REALLY up to me, the winners of this match would be The Iiconics, who never would’ve been split up in the first fucking place.
What Will Happen: Lana & Naomi Win
What Should Happen: Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan Win
Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods vs AJ Styles & Omos – Raw Tag Team Title Match
WWE seems hellbent on treading into some dangerous territory recently. There aren’t many acts in this generation more beloved than The New Day. The crowd reactions, the merchandise sales, and so on… the WWE Universe has loved them for a long time now. Someone, somewhere… maybe Kofi and/or Woods, or maybe Vince McMahon, or maybe some random backstage stooge… has had Kingston and Woods amp their personalities up a lot, damn near to the point of becoming annoying. They’ve always been obnoxious characters, but it was part of their charm before. Now, it’s reaching the point where you can’t be on social media during an episode of Raw without seeing somebody mention how they can’t stand New Day anymore. I’m not saying a heel turn is in order. I’m just saying that the volume knob needs to be turned down just a bit, or else a heel turn will be something that happens whether WWE wants it to or not.
As far as this match is concerned, the biggest “draw” is seeing just what Omos is capable of in the ring. There is so much mystery surrounding the 7’3″ mountain of a man. He hasn’t wrestled an official match for WWE since working a tag match at an NXT house show in February 2020, and he has never wrestled a televised match for the company. So, unless you were in the crowd for the six NXT live events he’s wrestled on, or if you’re an NXT employee, you haven’t seen what this guy can do at all. As I’ve said previously, it’s probably a good thing that he’s in a match at WrestleMania, even if it’s a tag match where his partner will be doing most of the work. It should, hopefully, indicate that people have watched him train and have faith that he can look like a physically imposing human redwood tree in a match.
I’ve seen a lot of people predict that we’re going to see new champions crowned here. I understand the thinking, but I also understand that Omos is much better off as a bodyguard-type than as even a semi-regular wrestler. If he’s one-half of the new Raw Tag Team Champions, that means seeing him wrestle more. Don’t ruin the mystique. I’ve also seen people take things in the other direction, predicting a New Day victory and AJ blaming Omos for the loss, leading to them splitting up and feuding. That also means seeing Omos wrestle more. Don’t. Ruin. The. Mystique. This is WWE we’re talking about, though. We’ll probably have AJ and Omos win the titles, then go on to be fighting champions, defending the straps every Monday night and then again at pay-per-view events for months on end.
Keep it simple. Kofi, Woods, and AJ can dazzle with their speed and athleticism. Omos can have some spots where he looks like a freak of nature. The champs retain because of the story that is being told… they simply have more in-ring chemistry from working together for years.
What Will Happen: Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods Win
What Should Happen: Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods Win
Sasha Banks vs Bianca Belair – Smackdown Women’s Title Match
In case you missed my column last week, I’ve already indicated why I’m going against popular opinion and saying that this match should not be the main event of night one. I won’t get into all that again.
No matter where on the card the match falls, though, it’s going to be fantastic. Sasha Banks wrestles with an entire bag of chips on her shoulder, always wanting to prove that she is the best in the world at what she does. The pressure is now on Bianca, wrestling on the biggest stage there is in this sport, and you just know she’s looking to prove everything she has been saying about herself right. April 10th will be Sasha’s 167th day as the Smackdown Women’s Champion, which is 59 days more than her five Raw Women’s Title reigns combined. 167 days would also mark the second-longest reign in the history of the title, with only Bayley’s 380-day reign (which Sasha ended for this current reign) being longer. Sasha has broken the “she can’t retain her title” curse, already defending her Smackdown title four times after having a total of zero successful defenses of the Raw belt. With that narrative over and done with, is it “okay” for her to lose the title now?
The line of thinking that I keep seeing from others is that a Bianca victory is basically guaranteed if this match gets the main event spot, because it will be the “feel good” moment for the live crowd to cheer for. My problem with that is simple… Sasha Banks is still a face, and is still one of the most popular performers in all of wrestling. I do think she’ll be wrestling more of a “heel” style here as the veteran who will go to crazy lengths to keep her championship, but let’s not act as if a Sasha victory will have the live crowd showering the ring with garbage as if Hulk Hogan just stabbed WCW in the back to form the nWo. It’s not any more or less likely to be a Bianca title victory if this match is first, last, or somewhere in the middle of the card.
I’ve gone back and forth about this one in recent days. At first, it was all about Bianca winning the title, to the point where it seemed obvious. Too obvious. I started thinking about all the different ways Sasha could retain, from a full-fledged heel turn causing her to use some sort of shenaniganery to just a plain old clean victory followed by a handshake and a hug after the match. The clean victory with the “I LOVE YOU, I RESPECT YOU” post-match just didn’t make much sense to me. If Sasha is going to win the match, something needs to happen to give us a rematch, where the title switch would likely end up taking place. The heel turn would be easy writing to make that happen. It would also make sense for it to be what I mentioned earlier… not an official turn, but Sasha showing that she is willing to go “darker” than her opponent to keep her title. Hooking of the tights, feet on the ropes during the pin, etc… that old chestnut. It doesn’t have to end with Sasha hitting Bianca with a steel chair 47 times in a row, you know?
Even though I don’t believe Bianca is as “ready” to be the alpha on Smackdown just yet (no, that isn’t a shot at her), I think there’s something to be said about that “WrestleMania Moment” that is mentioned ad nauseum during this time of year. Do you remember how emotional she was when she won the Royal Rumble? Amplify that for a title win at WrestleMania in front of 30,000 some-odd fans in what will, undoubtedly, be the toughest singles match she’s ever competed in. She’s going to lose her mind, and it will be compelling television. I’m also intrigued about the idea of Sasha chasing a title that she actually got to hold for five-and-a-half months instead of five-and-a-half weeks, and how hungry she’s going to be to win it back.
What Will Happen: Bianca Belair Wins (New Champion)
What Should Happen: Bianca Belair Wins (New Champion)
Bobby Lashley vs Drew McIntyre – WWE Title Match
I’ve mentioned this in the past, but this match is the type of super tough booking decision that is going to anger people one way or another. Bobby Lashley is on the biggest roll of his entire career, and he deserves a lengthy run as the WWE Champion. If he loses the title at WrestleMania, it will wrap up a 40-day reign, which simply isn’t long enough. On the other hand, Drew McIntyre is also on a roll, and many feel he is “owed” a big WrestleMania victory in front of fans after having his big moment taken from him last year by COVID. You can agree with both points, as they’re both correct, which is why we’re in this dilemma.
Unlike what I said for Banks vs Belair, I think this is a match that you can better figure out depending on what part of the card it’s on. If this is the main event, you have to think McIntyre’s chances of winning skyrocket. If it’s anywhere other than the main event, you would think Lashley’s chances of retaining go up. When The Hurt Business first split up, I was of the thinking that it would be a “swerve” to help Lashley win. You know… The Hurt Business is banned from ringside for the match, so Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander are “kicked out” and aren’t in the group anymore, allowing them to interfere and help Lashley. If it’s a bit, they’re very committed to the bit, as Lashley has been beating Shelton and Cedric around. I don’t think many people believe this is all a plot anymore, which says so much about the 2021 version of Vince McMahon, unfortunately. I can’t believe he really split the group up for no real reason whatsoever.
I’d like to see Lashley retain here. I really would. There’s a lot of mileage that can come out of him destroying people and building up a long title reign. The problem is… I don’t think it’s going to happen. If I were running things, it would, but I’m not, so it won’t. McIntyre finally gets his… wait for it… “WrestleMania Moment” in front of a live audience.
What Will Happen: Drew McIntyre Wins (New Champion)
What Should Happen: Bobby Lashley Wins
That takes care of the first night. Let’s get right into the second night.
Riddle vs Sheamus – United States Title Match
A feud over nothing much at all. That seems to be a really sad trend for WWE booking these days. Sure, it’s going to be a banger of a match, but this is WrestleMania. Call me crazy, but I thought we’d get some better feuds heading into the biggest show of the year.
April 11th will be Riddle’s 49th day as the United States Champion. Is that long enough? Too long? Not long enough? That’s objective, of course. Personally, I think some more juice could be squeezed from his title reign, but he’s going up against one of the hottest wrestlers in the business from an in-ring standpoint right now. Sheamus has been involved in great match after great match after great match, torturing his body with all these physical confrontations. He wasn’t rewarded with a WWE Title match at Mania, like many guessed he might be when this push began, but this could be his reward. If you can’t be in the WWE Title picture on Raw, the United States Title picture is the next best thing. Sheamus deserves this, and Riddle will be just fine with a loss, especially if he puts up the big fight that we all know he’s capable of.
What Will Happen: Sheamus Wins (New Champion)
What Should Happen: Sheamus Wins (New Champion)
Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax vs Tag Team Turmoil Winners – WWE Women’s Tag Team Title Match
If my prediction is correct, this is Baszler and Jax vs Lana and Naomi. Honestly, that’s the only pairing from the Tag Team Turmoil Match that I could even see winning the titles here. Any other winners would signal, at least to me, that the champions are retaining. Lana and Naomi offer an interesting alternative, though. They’re over. Lana has been dealing with their shit for so, so long now. With as weak as the entire division has been booked to look, there’s no harm in putting the belts on Lana and Naomi, who many feel aren’t a super “strong” team.
You know what I’d like to see? Lana and Naomi win the titles because of some mistake that Nia Jax makes… probably involving Reginald. After the match, Shayna Baszler would get in her partner’s face about how she cost them their titles. Right as Nia is about to apologize… BOOM, SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE THE ROOM… Shayna beats the shit out of her. I will gladly send Vince McMahon five whole American dollars to get the emotionless killer version of Shayna Baszler that we know she’s capable of excelling at. Just throwing that out there into the universe. No, this wouldn’t be a face turn for Nia. It wouldn’t even be a face turn for Shayna, although I would venture a guess and say it would be met with some cheers by the fans in attendance.
Who Will Win: Lana & Naomi Win (New Champions)
Who Should Win: Lana & Naomi Win (New Champions), Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax split up after the match
Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn
Fight Forever, indeed. This will be the 13th time Owens and Zayn have competed against each other in a televised singles match since they signed their WWE contracts. If you throw in all of the other matches they’ve competed against each other in (tag, multi-man, etc.), this is the 37th time they’ve squared off in the last six years. Of course, when you throw in their pre-WWE years, that number goes through the roof. They’ve been kept apart (kinda sorta) in recent years, though. This will be their first singles match against each other in three years, so it’s as “fresh” as can be.
Before I say anything else, I have to make one thing clear… I do not give one solitary fuck about Logan Paul or his involvement in this match.
Kevin Owens has been in a weird spot for a long time. He’s a former Universal Champion, but that was four years ago. He’s spent a lot of those four years kind of floating around from feud to feud. He was recently involved in a feud with Roman Reigns over the Universal Title, but most people didn’t really take him as a serious contender. That was more due to the way Reigns was being booked than anything, but the point remains. I think he needs to bounce back. He hasn’t won back-to-back matches since the November 27th and December 4th episodes of Smackdown last year, and both of those matches were won by disqualification. You’d have to go back to three matches in October of last year to find his last legit win streak. The problem is that Zayn is even further down. If you count being in the Royal Rumble and not winning said Rumble as a loss, then Sami is currently sitting on a 1-13 record in 2021. On top of that, his last match of 2020 was when he dropped the Intercontinental Title to Big E, so he’s coming into this match about as ice cold as you can be. Yes, the losses fit the “conspiracy victim” story that has been told, but 1-13 is 1-13, no matter how you want to spin it.
Owens needs to be back in the main event scene, but Zayn needs… something. Anything. I think Sami comes out with the win here through nefarious means, continuing the feud. Owens will get his revenge, but it comes at a later date.
Who Will Win: Sami Zayn Wins
Who Should Win: Sami Zayn Wins
Big E vs Apollo Crews – Nigerian Drum Fight for the Intercontinental Title
More mystery, as nobody knows just what the hell a Nigerian Drum Fight is going to be. Apollo Crews made it sound like a fancy name for your run-of-the-mill No Holds Barred type of match where the rules are out the window. That’s perfectly fine with me. This has been a well done feud, and a match like this at WrestleMania is something they’ve earned.
Apollo has been trying to win the Intercontinental Title for a few months now. His first title shot “ended” in a double pin, only to be restarted and saw Crews take the loss. Two weeks later, a disqualification win for Crews wasn’t enough to become the new champion. Then, at Fastlane, an ugly loss where someone, somewhere screwed the finish up meant that Big E was still the champ. I’m not saying this is on the same level, but this kinda reminds me of Shinsuke Nakamura failing to win the WWE Title from AJ Styles in match after match. Nakamura was never the same after those losses. I would hate to see Crews get that same treatment.
As soon as E and Crews crossed paths, we all figured it was a way to get Crews over as the midcard champion while moving E to the main event scene, not unlike what we recently saw with Bobby Lashley dropping the United States Title and moving right into becoming the WWE Champion. I think that still happens. People thought it would happen for E to give him a main event match at WrestleMania, but that obviously isn’t the case. I think we could see Big E as a Universal Title contender at SummerSlam, though, for sure. What I do know is that Apollo Crews NEEDS this. He needs this win to propel him and make this heel turn seem like the correct decision. Crews takes advantage of the match stipulation to pick up the win.
What Will Happen: Apollo Crews Wins (New Champion)
What Should Happen: Apollo Crews Wins (New Champion)
Randy Orton vs The Fiend
I know this feud has been fun for some of you, but I am in the opposite camp. This entire thing has been a chore to sit through, from start to end. I’m done with the cinematic match nonsense, the black goo pouring from people’s mouths, setting fire to mannequins, and all that jazz.
Did you know Randy Orton hasn’t had a non-disqualification victory in a match since January 4th?
Did you also know that WWE has murdered any chance of Bray Wyatt being taken seriously again, then buried the body, then dug the body up, then Katie Vick’d the body, then chopped the body up, then drowned the body parts in a river?
God, I just want this to be over. Randy Orton has been intertwining some of the best work of his career with having to deal with this garbage, while also having to feud with fucking Soulja Boy on Twitter. That’s not fair to him. Honestly, neither man is really hurt by a loss here. Orton was just defeated by Alexa Bliss, so a loss to The Fiend isn’t going to derail the 14-time World Champion’s career. The Fiend is… The Fiend. He could lose the next 50 matches he’s involved in, and WWE would continue to trot him out there with his faux-supernatural mumbo jumbo as if he was a huge deal.
As weird as this is, The Fiend is the face here. I guess. He was set on fire in a dastardly move. Going all the way back to everything Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton have been through together, it was Orton who did the heel stuff that crossed the line. The Fiend is merely out for revenge right now. I think that’s going to be the key. One way or another, he’s going to get some form of revenge here. The “face” stands tall. Hooray?
What Will Happen: The Fiend Wins
What Should Happen: Randy Orton Wins
Asuka vs Rhea Ripley – Raw Women’s Title Match
I really have no idea what Vince McMahon and the WWE writers are doing with Asuka. She should be one of the most dominant performers that the company has, but tiny little Alexa Bliss basically dominates her in a feud because Alexa has been hanging out with Bray Wyatt. It has been four-and-a-half months since Asuka last defended the Raw Women’s Title, which is stupid on every level. It’s not like she hasn’t defended because of inactivity. Short of a brief period where she was sidelined with concussion symptoms after being kicked in the mouth by Shayna Baszler, she’s been around regularly. WWE’s current obsession with having the Raw and/or Smackdown Women’s Champions also being involved in the Women’s Tag Team Title picture, Asuka has been more focused on non-title singles matches and feuding over tag belts instead. Oh, and she also had a shot at the Smackdown Women’s Title while she was the Raw Women’s Champion. They’re really making this shit up as they go along.
Going into WrestleMania, Asuka is approaching the eight-month mark as Raw Women’s Champion. Four title defenses in the first three months of having the title, and then nothing after that. I just think it’s time to hit the reset button. Whatever this company has been wanting to do with this title, it hasn’t worked. That’s not Asuka’s fault, but she’s collateral damage here. Give the title a new owner, and maybe the fresh blood can help rejuvenate the entire division.
I do have one concern with Rhea Ripley being the new champion… Charlotte Flair. I have PTSD thinking back to Rhea being the hottest act in the company as the NXT Women’s Champion, only to have her momentum stopped dead in its tracks by Charlotte at WrestleMania 36. Well, if Rhea wins the title, who is waiting in the wings for a title shot much sooner than later? Charlotte Flair. I shudder at the thought of the new champion building this momentum, only to lose the title to Charlotte at the first opportunity.
Asuka will be just fine. The reset button could be as beneficial to her as anyone else.
What Will Happen: Rhea Ripley Wins (New Champion)
What Should Happen: Rhea Ripley Wins (New Champion)
Roman Reigns vs Edge vs Daniel Bryan – Triple Threat Match for the Universal Title
Three men who were either told outright that they couldn’t wrestle anymore, or that had something so serious hanging over their head that the idea of them not wrestling anymore was floating out there. Above all else, kudos to all three of these men for battling back from adversity to not only wrestle again, but do it at a level that puts them at the top of the entire business.
When it comes to predicting this match, I’ve only seen two sets of people. You either think Daniel Bryan was put into this match to win the Universal Title and relive the magic we all witnessed from WrestleMania 30, or you think Daniel Bryan was put into this match because WWE didn’t want either Roman Reigns or Edge to be pinned. That’s it. When the rumor first started spinning around that Bryan would be added to the match, my initial thought was that it was so he could win. It made sense. The previous rumor was that Vince wasn’t happy about the Mania card and how it was coming together, so he wanted to make some major changes, starting at the top. Throwing Daniel Bryan into the Universal Title match would certainly qualify as a major change at the top of the WrestleMania card.
The more time that goes by, though, the more I find myself changing how I’m viewing things. Edge’s face character wasn’t working the way it was after he returned. Now that he has turned back into the “Rated R Superstar” version of Edge, things are clicking for him. He couldn’t make this character change against Roman Reigns in a one-on-one match. Not with Reigns’ mob boss gimmick being so incredible over the last several months. For Edge to turn heel, or even start acting more heel-like, he needed a great face to work off of. Daniel Bryan is one of the greatest face characters of all-time. Problem solved. The added bonus is the boost in match quality that Bryan would bring.
The pieces are all falling into place. Reigns shouldn’t be pinned until someone can be “made” from it. Edge’s “Ultimate Opportunist” is back, almost out of necessity to prevent his title shot being “stolen” from him. Bryan is untouchable and can take losses without being hurt by them. The part that really stands out, to me, is the date. This match will be taking place on April 11th, 2021. That is ten years, to the day, from Edge shocking the world by announcing his retirement from the ring during an episode of Raw. Come on… you think that’s a coincidence? It’s a beautiful note to his story, retiring from the business and returning to win the Universal Title exactly ten years later. Somewhere along the line, it was pointed out to Vince McMahon that the dates lined up, and then the gears began turning in his head.
Edge sneaks his way into becoming the Universal Champion by pinning Daniel Bryan. Roman Reigns will come after his revenge, and depending how the match ends, Bryan could even stay involved in the mix should WWE see fit.
What Will Happen: Edge Wins (New Champion)
What Should Happen: Edge Wins (New Champion)
Weekly Power Rankings
- Christian Cage vs Kazarian: While it wasn’t as strong of an in-ring week as we’ve seen recently, this was still a very good match between two veterans. It wasn’t in the same style as a lot of AEW matches are, but that’s what helped to make it stand out.
- Daniel Bryan vs Jey Uso: It seems like these two have wrestled 20 times in the last few months, and every time they do, they make this list.
- The WWE Hall Of Fame Classes Of 2020 & 2021: This was a very different type of Hall Of Fame ceremony than we’re used to seeing. Previous years have seen complaints about speeches being way too long. This year’s ceremony had complaints of speeches being way too short. As a bit of a wrestling historian, I love a lot of the lengthy Hall speeches we’ve seen. This year did nothing for me. It just seemed way too slapped together. With that said, though, congratulations to everyone who was inducted.
- Nick Comoroto: I’ve been waiting for Nick Comoroto to get an opportunity to shine in AEW for months now. He’s been a regular on AEW Dark, but has only made one appearance on Dynamite, which was a loss to Jon Moxley on January 20th of this year. Arriving as part of QT Marshall’s group to take out The Nightmare Family, it appears he might be getting that opportunity. He’s got a unique look and a fun moveset. There might be big things ahead for him.
- Riddle vs Mustafa Ali: As I said, this wasn’t the strongest of in-ring weeks we’ve ever seen. In a stronger week, this match may not have made the list. Not that the match was bad or anything. It was definitely a good one. It just speaks more to the rest of the week than anything that happened here.
- (Writer’s Note: We’re only getting five items this week, instead of the usual ten, because I’m running short on time. After posting this column, I’ll be back in a matter of mere hours for another column, this time a Running Diary for night one of NXT Takeover: Stand & Deliver. I’ll also be back with a Running Diary for night two of Stand & Deliver, as well as a Running Diary for each night of WrestleMania, followed by my usual Wednesday column next week. Mighty, mighty busy.)
This Week’s Playlist: Multiple episodes of “83 Weeks” with Eric Bischoff and Conrad Thompson