WrestleMania 35 weekend is finally upon us, after nearly three wild months of mild confusion, meddling, and questionable apathy from WWE Creative. But now that the show is finally here, the card is locked in — well, as of the publishing of this story — and WrestleMania 35 is a go. We have multiple belts on the line, a couple of battle royals, and one farewell, regardless of outcome.
Below, find our predictions — in no particular order — on how the matches will go, based solely on our use of logic, history, a Magic 8-ball, algebra, and a great many shots of alcohol while binging the last seven weeks of 205 Live episodes. Will we be correct? Does it really matter? Read on to see who we think will win, what swerves may be coming, and the general outcomes for WWE at WrestleMania 35 this Sunday.
Winner Takes All for the Raw and SmackDown Women’s Championship – Ronda Rousey (C – Raw) vs. Charlotte Flair (C – SD) vs. Becky Lynch
The road to WrestleMania 35 has never had quite so many needless detours. There should be twists and turns, but WWE’s crack staff of 139 writers turned what should have been a straight connect-the-dot from A-to-B to the most insane maze you’ve ever seen in your life.
It started as a hot program between Lynch and Rousey that had little to do with titles and everything to do with Lynch snatching second chance after second chance to prove that she, and not Rousey, was the baddest woman on the planet. And now it’s a triple threat match with two championships up for grabs (thanks to WWE’s complete, total, and infuriating misuse of Asuka).
In the end, the WWE fanbase’s love of Lynch, their growing disdain for Rousey, and the sheer talent of Flair, will make the company’s first women’s WrestleMania main event one for the books, and despite the unnecessary detours, we’re going to arrive at the right destination: The Man will rule the women’s division.
Winner: Becky Lynch via submission (Rousey taps)
WWE Championship – Daniel Bryan ( C ) vs. Kofi Kingston
This is a match that should never have been.
Kofi stepped into the Elimination Chamber match to determine the number one contender back in February as a last-second replacement for Mustafa Ali, and the fans remembered why they loved Kofi in the first place.
It wasn’t pancakes or catchphrases. It was the fact that Kofi remains, as he’s been throughout his 11-year WWE tenure, the definition of the plucky underdog, and the program with champion Daniel Bryan has been made all the more satisfying by all the road blocks that Mr. McMahon has put in his path along the way.
Kofimania may have been an accident, but Vince McMahon knows money when he smells it, and right now – at this moment in history – Kofi Kingston is money, and this will be one of the most exciting 48-hour championship reigns of all time.
I still can’t put my finger on exactly what it is that Vince has against Kofi, though. As good as the build-up has been, Vince’s motivations have been really vague. Please insert eye-roll here.
Winner: Kofi Kingston via pinfall
Universal Championship – Brock Lesnar ( C ) vs. Seth Rollins
So in January, Seth Rollins won the Royal Rumble, got the monster number-one-and-the-bestest-ever pop, chose Brock Lesnar as his WrestleMania 35 opponent and then … nothing happened.
For two-and-a-half months, nothing happened. There is four years’ worth of history between these two, dating back to Rollins cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania 31 to steal the WWE Championship from Lesnar, and not a word has been spoken about it.
As with most Lesnar feuds, nothing has really been done to establish Rollins as a credible threat, aside from a promo delivered to Paul Heyman about Rollins being willing to sell his soul to defeat Lesnar (that train has sailed, Seth – look at the name on your paycheck).
Main events involving Lesnar have been known to shock the last couple of years, but I don’t see it happening this time around.
Winner: Brock Lesnar via about 48 or 49 F-5’s
Intercontinental Championship – Bobby Lashley ( C ) vs. Finn Balor
For this – the Demon is returning?
Lashley and Balor have pretty decent chemistry with one another, and many of their in-ring encounters over the past few months have been fun. But there’s just no heat to this, certainly not enough to warrant Balor breaking out his body paint kit.
Plus, unless they save this match till pretty late in the card, it’s going to look weird seeing the Demon in daylight.
This one’s hard to call. I can’t imagine they would break out the Demon for anything other than a pinfall win to take the title, but most of the story around this feud has had more to do with Lio Rush and Lashley than it’s had to do with the participants.
Winner: Finn Balor via pinfall (following botched interference from Lio Rush)
Women’s Tag Team Championship – Sasha Banks and Bailey ( C ) vs. Nia Jax and Tamina vs. Beth Phoenix and Natalya vs. The Iii-i-i-i-amnotyoursteppingstone-conics
Sasha and Bailey made history when they claimed the second first-ever WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship at Elimination Chamber.
Despite the nostalgic, feel-good participation of Phoenix and Natalya, the young blood of the IIconics, and the potential for accidental broken faces and/or other bones that Jax and Tamina bring to the match, I don’t see Banks and Bailey dropping the belts here, especially with them having yet to fulfill their promise to defend the titles on all WWE brands.
The only way I could see them losing the titles is if there were some kind of dissension between the champs, and WWE is having a hard enough time to build a credible women’s tag team division without splitting up their first-ever champions.
Winners: Sasha Banks and Bailey via pinfall and/or submission … I don’t have a crystal ball here, folks.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
I want to make sure I understand this correctly. Asuka, who was undefeated for a little over two years, doesn’t have a singles match on this card, but the guys from Weekend Update are in this thing?
Honestly, this hasn’t meant anything since the inaugural Andre Battle Royal at WrestleMania XXX, which made Cesaro a made man and saw him floundering in dark matches a month later.
This would have been a perfect opportunity to end Curt Hawkins’s losing streak, but he’s busy with a nothing tag title match for reasons I haven’t quite wrapped my head around.
Your competitors for the match are: Braun Strowman, Colin Jost and Michael Che (they count as one entrant because … because reasons, I guess), Andrade No-Middle-Or-Last-Name, Apollo Crews, Titus O’Neil, Tyler Breeze, Jinder Mahal, No Way Jose, Bobby Roode, Chad Gable, Kalisto, Gran Metalik, Lince Dorado, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Heath Slater, Rhyno, Viktor, Konnor, No-First-Name Ali, Shelton Benjamin, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Otis, Tucker, and EC3.
Winner: Uhhh … Ali? Maybe?
Void-of-Namesake Women’s Battle Royal (Thanks, Snickers)
Asuka wins this one. If Asuka doesn’t win this, she should quit. She should quit anyway, but if she doesn’t win this, she should quit twice. I forget where I was going with that.
Your announced participants to date are: Asuka, Carmella, Naomi, Lana, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, Nikki Cross, Dana Brooke, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan, Mickie James, and Zelina Vega.
I would imagine more participants from NXT will be in the match. Since I expect Shayna Baszler will be dropping the NXT Women’s Championship at Friday’s TakeOver event, I wouldn’t be surprised to see her crash the party and run roughshod over the competition, bringing the match down to Baszler and Asuka, which would create a built-in program for a main roster debut.
Winner: Asuka (or she should quit. Twice)
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
Well, it took a serious health scare to do it (argue real vs. work on your own time, folks – given Vince’s general level of depravity in all other situations, I honestly don’t care), but Roman Reigns is a fan favorite.
If this were for a championship, I would say that there’s no way that Roman doesn’t come out on top. The guy just beat a serious illness, so you can’t have him lose the big match. But this isn’t the big match, and Roman loses nothing by doing the honors.
Plus, if the internet is to be believed (and honestly, folks, when isn’t it?), Vince has big plans in store for McIntyre. The plan probably reads, “Like the Strowman thing, but not, like, screwed up.” But a win over the alleged top guy in the company would do a lot for McIntyre and helps serve McMahon’s never-ending supply of self-fulfilled prophecies.
I’m picking Drew to win via dastardly means with a post-match save from Dean Ambrose so that the two members of the Shield who won’t be F5’d 48 or 49 times can have one last freeze frame moment together.
Winner: Drew McIntyre via shenanigans-to-be-named-later
AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton
Twenty years ago, every rivalry that was spun out of the Elimination Chamber would be meaningful with tightly-constructed, immersive stories.
This is not 20 years ago.
What could have been a real blockbuster program between Orton and Styles has been made to feel like the evening’s ‘Top Guys With Nothing Else To Do’ (trademark World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., LLC, All Rights Reserved). Having said that, I think it could be ‘The Sleeper Match of the Night That’s One of the Greatest Things You’ve Ever Seen Until They Do A Screwy Non-Finish’ (trademark World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., LLC, All Rights Reserved).
These guys are going to wrestle to a count out or a draw, if only because (to be fair), the program has picked up steam in recent weeks, and I think WWE has realized they could get more out of it. This won’t be their last meeting.
Also, if anybody can work out an ‘RKO-out-of-nowhere’ spot we’ve never seen before, at WrestleMania 35 no less, it’s AJ Styles.
Winner: None – Double DQ/Countout/Draw/Non-Finish Nonsense
Triple H vs. Batista – No Holds Barred Match; If Triple H loses, he must retire.
Spoiler: Triple H isn’t retiring.
Also Spoiler: Even though it should be impossible at this point, his entrance will be his most Mid-Life-Crisis-Cringey to date.
The set-up for this is that, on SmackDown 1000, Batista pointed out that Triple H has done everything except beat him. Then they said nothing for 148 years before Batista showed up on Raw to beat up a senile old grandpa in order for Triple H to give Batista a one-on-one match, even though Batista has no reason to ask for this match because he has nothing to gain and oh no, I’ve gone cross-eyed.
Both of these guys can still go, and with this being a bucket list item of sorts for Batista before he closes the wrestling chapter of his book, I’m sure they’ll put on a good show. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it, but honestly, I don’t have any great desire to see it.
Winner: Triple H – Also, expect the announcers to make mention of that art house movie Batista is in later this month that no one will see. I think it’s about chess or something…
United States Championship – Samoa Joe ( C ) vs. Rey Mysterio
A bit of a monkey wrench was thrown in to this one, as Mysterio apparently suffered an injury this past week.
If Joe and Mysterio are able to wrestle as planned, this could be a hell of a match. Mysterio is the perfect opponent for Joe to toss around the ring like a rag doll to make him look like a million bucks – and Joe is already one of the best wrestlers in the world, so one can only imagine how great he could look coming out of this contest.
There’s still a ways to go on Mysterio’s current deal with the company, and given the fact that he’s as healthy as he’s been in years, now’s the time to let Joe have a long run with his first main roster championship.
Winner: Samoa Joe via pinfall
The Miz vs. Shane McMahon
If you haven’t been following the product lately, the Miz is a babyface, and he’s actually pretty good at it.
Honestly, I’m shocked to say this, but this is the best-booked build-up of any WrestleMania match this year. It’s had twists and turns (the good kind), big surprises, betrayal, Miz’s potato-faced dad … it’s had it all. I’m not sure how they’ll work in Shane’s annual jump-off-of-something-tall given Miz’s relatively conservative style in the ring, but all signs point to a really fun match that’s going to end with the heroic Miz (right?) standing tall.
Winner: The Miz via pinfall
Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin – Kurt Angle’s Farewell Match
Can I just save WWE’s team of 143 writers (yeah, they’ve hired four more since I started writing this) some trouble?
Corbin does some underhanded-something-or-other and gets a surprise roll-up win over Angle. No post-match beatdown, just Corbin laughing in Angle’s face, and Angle tries like hell to take it like a man. As Corbin gloats, John Cena’s music hits.
Cena beats down Corbin, tosses him from the ring, and tells Angle, “That wasn’t your last match,” and Cena and Angle will go for six, maybe seven minutes (as we’ve seen on the “Farewell Tour,” Kurt can’t go really long – you may have heard, but he has a broken freakin’ neck) before an Angle slam.
Angle will go out with the win he deserves over the final opponent he deserves, but without the build-up he deserved.
Winner: Kurt Angle, via pinfall
Smackdown Tag Team Championship – The Usos ( C ) vs. Ricochet and Aleister Black vs. The Bar vs. Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura
It seems like a no-brainer that Ricochet and Black would be the odds-on favorites. They’re currently dominating the tag team divisions on three brands right now. Which, to me, is why they can afford to walk out of WrestleMania 35 without the blue-and-nickel belts.
There’s little more for the Usos to do as tag champs, ditto for the Bar, and WWE have been developing Rusev and Nakamura as mustache-twirling ne’er-do-wells for three months now. I’m picking Rusev and Nakamura to win the tag titles here (via chicanery, of course) so that it’ll be all the more surprising the next night on Raw when Black and Ricochet take the red brand’s belts.
Winners: Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura
Raw Tag Team Championship – The Revival ( C ) vs. Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins
Dawson and Wilder have made no secret of the fact that they would rather be wrestling literally anywhere else on the planet right now. And Vince McMahon has made no secret of the fact that he is a complete and total petty asshole.
What better way to be petty than to have the Revival drop the tag team titles to Ryder and a guy who hasn’t won a match since the Reagan Administration?
They’ll win it completely by accident, and the Revival will be made to look like absolute simpletons in the process, but WrestleMania 35 is going to see new Raw Tag Team Champions. It’ll be nice to see Hawkins see his losing streak snapped, but the Andre battle royal is the place to do it; not at the expense of two hard-working wrestlers whose only crime was to be really good at their jobs and to want to do them well.
Winners: Ryder and Hawkins
Cruiserweight Championship – Buddy Murphy ( C ) vs. Tony Nese
In a shocking turn of events, this match has been relegated to the kickoff show. I’m as surprised as you are.
These guys have been tearing it up for months, and it should be fantastic. Murphy has been champion for a long time, and while 205 Live is by no means a floundering brand, Murphy has been the real constant of that show and has rightly earned a reputation as the purple brand’s go-to guy.
A Nese win isn’t completely out of the question, but I don’t see it happening.
Logic should win out on this one, since I doubt anyone has even told Vince McMahon that it’s on the card. My only hope is that they let the kickoff panel prattle on long enough for some of the seats to get filled so that these guys don’t have to tear down an empty house.
Winner: Buddy Murphy
Join us again on Sunday when we recap WrestleMania 35, match-by-match, and see if we were right in our predictions.
All images courtesy of WWE.