Hey BroBible, with Wrestlemania right around the corner, and my excitement level continuing to rise, I figured I’d give you a full viewer’s guide of the matches in order of what I think will TEAR THE HOUSE DOWN, and which ones will be good beer and bathroom break matches.
The card is FIFTEEN matches long (too long) with three on the pre-show which I will not rate because two of them are Battle Royales just to get everyone their Wrestlemania 35 bonus checks and one has zero hype even though it should be great wrasslin’. So pre-show is 5-7pm and will include lot of talking and the 3 matches. The main show is looking like it will be somewhere between 7-11:30pm….I know, I know…awesome.
1. WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Kofi Kingston Vs Daniel Bryan (C)—My top match as far as excitement is the star of NEW DAY (Rocks) taking on IWC legend Daniel Bryan.
The Build: Kofi has wrestled in the WWE for 11 years and has never had a one on one match for the WWE Championship. Two months ago in a 6-way steel cage elimination match, Kofi found himself down to one on one with Daniel Bryan. The fans were not expecting Kofi to make it this far and absolutely exploded as the guys who had already wrestled for 25 minutes, brawled for another 15 back and forth to near fall after near fall. Kofi eventually lost to Daniel Bryan, but the crowd was HOOKED.
Rumor is that WWE changed the main event to their next PPV which was going to be Kofi vs Bryan in order to preserve the matchup for MANIA. Kofi, the 4-time Intercontinental Champion, 3-time United States Champion and 7-time Tag Champion was not considered up to the “A level” talent list. Rumor has it that Vince McMahon got involved, they allegedly threw racial components in there to make it sound a bit like Vince was the heel and the one holding people back. His brothers in arms (New Day) won a gauntlet match against FIVE teams to get Kofi in the dance. Now if you think surely WWE wouldn’t play the race card and have Kofi lose, I’ll point you to Wrestlemania 19 where WWE played the race card and Booker T lost cleanly to HHH.
Why it’s ranked where it is: 1.) Kofi deserves the shot and the heat is going to be CRAZY, this is the second best storyline the WWE has going right now and no one really knows who goes over in this one. 2.) These guys can wrestle a classic in their sleep, I can’t stress has good their 15 minutes were together in the ring the other month, if given 25 minutes like I think it should be, we will have a classic on our hands. I expect a ton of near falls and a ton of action in this one, also think it will be more toward the 9-10 hour (maybe 9:30) as they really build the crowd to the ladies main event
Ok, only 11 more match previews to go I will get shorter w this I swear!
THE BUILD: Honestly, I don’t watch wrestling enough anymore to give you their full backstory, but Charlotte Flair is the most decorated champion in women’s wrestling. I believe she’s a 9-time winner of the Heavyweight Crown, and used to be best friends turned BITTER ENEMIES with Becky Lynch. Meanwhile, Rousey joined the WWE from UFC where she was a champion and debuted in her first match last Wrestlemania. Since then, she’s been a beast in the division, winning the WWE Raw title at Summerslam and holding onto it since then. Charlotte Flair, totally screwed my girl Asuka out of her Wrestlemania moment and won the Smackdown (other show) Title last wk, so both will be on the line. Becky Lynch, won the WWE ROYAL RUMBLE, earning a shot at the title she’s coveted for so long but never won. So first person to win by pinfall or submission wins.
Why it’s ranked where it is: These are 3 of the 4 most popular women in wrestling, they all have the pedigree and all of 2018 were putting on stellar matches leading to this moment where Becky Lynch got her chance against the two best to do it. Rousey is peaking as she grows accustomed to the WWE, and Charlotte Flair is on another level. I expect this to be an absolute brawl, I expect Charlotte to be Moonsaulting onto people on the floor. I expect weapons to be used, I expect submission after submission, I expect them to absolutely tear the house down in a 30-minute Main Event. This is the first time the women have main evented Wrestlemania, they’ll be trying to absolutely steal the show.
The Build: They both think they are the marquee player in the WWE and they just blatantly are vying for that top spot. Two WWE HOF’ers still near the peaks of their careers who have never faced each other despite wrestling for 35 plus years between the 2 of them.
Why it’s ranked where it is: They’re both dialed in this year, both have been incredible in their careers when dialed in. But for Orton, that’s been rarer over the last 5 years. The match has also gotten a proper build up. I expect AJ to fly, to outwrestle Orton, to hit display a lot of what makes him and makes wrestling great for the crowd. Meanwhile, I expect Orton to be the veteran. Expect him to use high impact power moves. Also, expect at least 5-6 attempts at his finishing move the “RKO”. The RKO is considered the most out of nowhere move in wrestling to finish off opponents and they will play that up BIG time in this match. They already did in the build. Expect styles to have reversal for every reversal Orton has. I expect WWE to give them just over 15 minutes here, and it to be a good one.
SECOND TIER—These are matches that like the above still have the CHANCE to tear down the house, but I’m expecting a little less from.
4. Roman Reigns vs Drew McIntyre
The Angle: I went back and forth between this one, the WWE Raw Title, and Triple H + Batista ‘No Holds Barred’, so appreciate those 3 matches are close, and any one of them could be a great match like the three above, but despite this being less marquee than the other two, I’m looking forward to it the most. Reigns is fighting his first singles match in over seven months after having to step away from the ring because of Leukemia and McIntyre is on a MONSTER heel push (bad guy push) destroying everything in his path including Roman Reigns multiple times and his buddies.
Why it’s ranked where it’s ranked: Drew McIntyre has been really good as a heel and both these guys have something to prove—1.) Drew is trying to become a top heel contender in the corporation, while Reigns is trying to return to form and finally win the crowd over who has refused to ever embrace him as a top good guy despite massive title pushes and wins. 2.) I like a good old fashion smash mouth power match and this should be that. Give them 17 minutes to kick the crap out of each other and see what happens. McIntyre has been bragging that they can steal the show and bring something different, and while I don’t believe him there over the 3 above matches, I do think he’s onto something. My only qualm with this match is it should be NO DQ, But Vince’s son and son in law are both booked on Mania and need the gimmicks to get by bc their wrestling is no longer doing it and thus stole that from us….anyway, expect a big time brawl/power match here
5. WWE RAW HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE—BROCK LESNAR (C) vs SETH ROLLINS
The angle: Lesnar won the title 151 days ago as of this writing. He is considered by many, as the most dominant fighter in all of sports entertainment, a real-life UFC heavyweight champion, a former all American wrestler, a KING of the RING winner, and a multiple time heavyweight champion. Brock actually won his first WWE Heavyweight Championship 16 years ago at Wrestlemania where he just barely didn’t break his neck attempting a top rope front flip he’d never once performed on WWE TV and later pinning Kurt Angle. Meanwhile, he matches up with Seth Rollins, a multi-champion in his own right who earned the shot through winning the vaunted WWE 30 Man Royal Rumble. This match is classic Big Man Beast vs Smaller Athletic Wrestler.
Why it’s ranked here: The build is solid as it’s a WWE Heavyweight Title match and Rollins has earned his shot through the Royal Rumble win. Brock works better with smaller opponents who he can toss around but who also can wear him out with athleticism. Too often over the years, they’ve booked Brock as a one-dimensional power machine and he basically throws his opponent around for 5 minutes, they get one hope spot 6-7 minutes in and then he destroys them. I’m hoping due to the event, the competitors and the stakes that we get a rare real match from Brock that’s closer to the 20 minutes these two and this title and this event deserve. If we do, it could be a stellar match with Rollins all over the ring and Brock using his power to try to hold onto his strap. Should be a VERY hot crowd as they LOVE Rollins and Brock always brings the big time match feel.
6. HHH VS Batista NO HOLDS BARRED; HHH WRESTLING CAREER ON THE LINE
The Angle: Over a decade ago these two formed one of the greatest heel factions in WWE history—EVOLUTION. HHH was the best in the business, the biggest heel around, and he brought up Batista and Orton as two future WWE champions. But he eventually turned on Batista when he got too powerful and they feuded for a year. Batista actually got the best of him, never once losing, which is about the rarest thing ever with HHH who had a history of putting no one over. Anyway, I don’t watch enough these days and this feud was put together over the last two months with Batista returning from Hollywood to just attack HHH about whatever. They don’t like each other, they have a history, I think HHH is the good guy now and honestly knowing him, he just wants his losses back vs Batista 10 plus years ago. If HHH loses his career will be OVER.
Why it’s ranked where it’s ranked: The stipulation of “No holds barred” means they can’t be DQd. If Shane McMahon hasn’t destroyed an announce table by this match, we have a top qualifier for it. We will definitely see a sledge hammer. And these guys could have a fun brawl aided by the rules of being able to pummel each other outside the ring and with weapons. They’re two vets that don’t wrestle often but that can work both ways. Honestly, the card is so packed I don’t feel HHH deserves a 25-minute war, but one of the 3 matches in this tier is getting it and it’s probably him. These two have the potential to bore us to death or absolutely put on a classic battle. We shall see.
THIRD TIER: These matches I expect to range from Average to Really Good. I don’t see them either having the challengers for a classic or given the time
7. The Miz vs Shane Mcmahon FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE
The Angle: Shane and the Miz were tag champions together, I think they had a nice run as partners over the last 6 months, but they eventually lost and Shane turned on the Miz in typical heel shit fashion and even beat up his dad. So now it’s personal and all that. They will fight in a no DQ match where you can pin your opponent anywhere….this is a signal to all fans that have watched Shane McMahon matches, that there will be one big spot in this match where he almost dies.
Why it’s ranked here: It’s been built better than all the other matches left so I know it gets the time (15 minutes) and we know at least one spot will give us that Wrestlemania moment. This may be an overbooked mess with interferences and what have you, but it should be FUN. And that’s what it’s all about.
8. Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos vs. Ricochet and Aleister Black vs. Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura
The angle: The Usos have been a historically good tag team. Ricochet and Aleister are EXTREMELY good workers, the other two groups are solid. The Usos find themselves defending against 3 teams where they can lose the titles if anyone in the match is pinned or submitted. Why such a one-sided match? Because In the aforementioned gauntlet match that Kofi’s boys from New Day had to fight to get him a title shot vs Daniel Bryan…they forfeited out of respect for Kofi.
Why it’s ranked here: because I expect this to open the main show at 7 PM. I think that means they give it 12-13 minutes. And I think the USOS and Ricochet/Aleister are really good wrestlers, I expect them to carry the action and make this a fun match with a lot of great near falls. The crowd will be hot as it will be early on the main card.
9. WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION Bobby Lashley (C) vs Finn Bálor (THE DEMON):
The Angle: Both guys have contended for heavyweight gold and they’re pretty decent workers. Lashley is a behemoth of a man and Balor is a little guy that the crowd loves. He said for Wrestlemania he’s bringing out his alter ego THE DEMON. Meaning he will be crazier and have absurd face paint on
Why it’s ranked here: Balor can work a good match, the alter ego adds a bit more hype and expectation of him being nuts. That said, the card is booked with epic matches and I anticipate this is a 9-10 minute match. Should be fun while it lasts but only expecting a good match nothing more
Tier 4: THE REST….
10. Kurt Angle v Baron Corbin
The Angle: Kurt Angle is retiring. For nearly 20 years Kurt has been one of the best sports entertainers in the history of wrestling. A real Olympic gold medal winner, Kurt came to the WWE and was an instant hit. Brilliant on the Mic and even better in the ring, Kurt has all-time classics in every form of wrestling. He could and did give us 30 minute mat wrestling clinics against Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero, he gave us absolute brutal and bloody brawls against Stone Cold, he gave us a bit of it all against guys like Brock Lesnar and Edge…a true champion and to watch his last match ever will be an honor and a special moment. He’s fighting an absolute scrub who no one wants to be his last match, so there is a SMALL chance that we could be in for an EPIC WRESTLEMANIA bait and hook—dream big (The Undertaker arises and kills Corbin, and challenges Angle to his last match)
Why it’s here: Angle is a shell of himself and can barely move. Corbin is lame. It’s here bc it’s a Wrestlemania moment as Kurt is hanging them up as an absolute legend. This match can also propel up if they go full entertainment side and give us something other than a match. As it is, I expect an 8 minute match and a grandiose celebration. I want the whole locker room out there dammit!
11: WWE United States Championship Match: Samoa Joe(C) vs. Rey Mysterio
The angle: it’s a title match between two guys who have been in wrestling forever
Why it’s here: because it’s not 2009 it’s 2019 and both these guys are a shell of what they used to be. They still could give a very capable match, but Rey tweaked his ankle this week and it’s questionable he even fights. Even if he does, I’m not expecting huge things.
12: WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match: Beth Phoenix and Natalya vs. Tamina Snuka and Nia Jax vs. The IIconics vs. Sasha Banks & Bayley
The Angle: They kinda threw this on the card last minute and I don’t really know the combatants that well so this is more a “NA” for me. This could and probably should be better wrestling than the other two, but 4 way matches are tough and this has zero build up unlike the other two and feels like they were just trying to get everyone on the card. Sasha Banks can wrestle, I know that, so we shall see
Ok and that wraps up my preview! As it is we have 3 matches I expect to be CLASSICS (that’s very high for a PPV), 3 I think could be fringe classics, 2 I think could be great, and then 3-4 that are kinda on the average to good spectrum but with one very big potential Wrestlemania moment and an homage to Kurt Angle.