Editor Note: this was originally one post, but I’ve split it into 2 posts. I’ll be doing the same with the betting posts with the first one going live on Friday and the next one going live on Saturday. Enjoy Wrestlemania week!
The Grandaddy of them All. The Showcase of the Immortals. People being allowed back into the venue & potentially the largest gathering since the pandemic. Let’s do this.
Bobby Lashley © vs Drew McIntyre
This should be fun match, but tinged with a sense of what could have been. Drew’s last year as champion would have been stronger were it not for the brief “hot potato-ing” of the title with Randy Orton, and Lashley would be in a more interesting position as challenger had they not disbanded The Hurt Business for seemingly no reason last week.
With this being on the same night as Banks / Belair, there’s no guarantee that this match even headlines. If it does, then I think that Drew getting his title back is a lot more likely. If he doesn’t (and the Smackdown Women’s Title match goes on last) then the result is far less certain.
The bookies are going for a McIntyre win (The Scot is currently 4/7 vs. Lashley at 5/4) but the short odds all round reflect that the match is far from certain.
With this in mind, and how recently Lashers won the title, I’m going to go against the bookies on this one and suggest that Drew is going to come up short. I think this match goes on second to last and Lashley retains – potentially via Alexander or Benjamin looking for redemption. Crucially, this would leave us with Bobby Lashley – WWE Champion vs Brock Lesnar still on the table for – presumably – Summerslam.
Prediction: Bobby Lashley Retains
WWE Smackdown Women’s Title
Sasha Banks © vs Bianca Belair
I’m pretty sure this match headlines night one giving the fans the big “happy ending” most commonly associated with Wrestlemania. “Rumble Winner takes the Title at Mania” is far from a guarantee – especially since the introducing of multiple Rumbles, but I think the women’s Rumble Winner does here.
The bookies very much agree – Bianca is a heavy favourite at 2/7 (Sasha is 9/4) and the short odds are probably best to avoid – unless you can get this as some kind of Acca.
WWE have sensibly positioned Banks as the heel here which is the best version of Sasha. As a heel may well be the best position for Belair too, but there’s a wonderful documentary on Belair on the network which they should be pushing hard prior to this match. Bianca’s is a wonderful story on a very real level and it will be a great scene for her to win the belt here.
With Bayley being *noticeably* missing from the Wrestlemania card, I think we get Belair winning – immediately – by a Bayley attack (or maybe on the following Smackdown after Mania)
Prediction: Bianca Belair Wins
Bad Bunny & Damian Priest vs The Miz & John Morrison
Honestly, if you’re complaining and Celebrity matches like this being on Wrestlemania, then you’ve really misunderstood what Wrestlemania is. The general rule for celebrity involvement is “Celebrity Wins” and with “The Bunny” being a incredibly low 1/14, the result here is very much sign posted.
I have seen comments that celebrity matches are ‘more likely’ to be better than either Triple H or Undertaker matches and – whilst I understand the point – this is objectively wrong. This argument only works if you include “non wrestlers who are still trained wrestlers” such as the McMahons & latter career Rock, Goldberg etc. If you *only* include people who aren’t from the Wrestling industry, you’ve had good matches with Rousey (the first one – the second one wouldn’t count) and Mayweather. Outside of this, there’s a LOT of dross from the likes of Mr T, Akebono & Snooki amongst others.
Bad Bunny is not a pro wrestler, so actually the odds *aren’t* in his favour. However, unlike – say Shaq or Nicholas – it’s rumoured Bunny has been training regularly at the NXT performance centre. He’s taking this seriously and hopefully this is going to be more Pat McAfee vs Adam Cole than it is Maria Menounos or The Miller Lite Girls.
RAW showed Bunny has at least got a good punch on him and with Priest, Morrison and Miz to provide the “smoke and mirrors” this match could – COULD – surprise some people. Myself included.
Preidction: Bad Bunny Wins
WWE Raw Tag Team TItle
The New Day (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) © vs AJ Styles & Omos
Saving off his debut until WRESTLEMANIA is a big sign that WWE has high (no pun intended) for the 7 foot + Omos. There’s a very obvious HBK / Diesel comparison which can be drawn for Omos & Styles and with three experienced hands there to keep the match running, expect Big Lad Jordan Omogbehin to have a good in-ring debut here.
Styles & Omos are heavy favourites here (4/11 versus New Day winning at 15/8). Honestly, I’m surprised that the odds aren’t even shorter for the title change here. Unless this is setting up an almost immediate face turn for Omos (New Day win and then Styles turns on Omos ala. Heenan/Andre Wrestlemania 6) then Styles and Big Un are winning here.
For what it’s worth, Styles turning Omos face feels an obvious end game. Just not for a big yet. Honestly, even though the odds are only 4/11 and I don’t tend to advise betting on short odds favourites, I think the value / return on a title change bet here is omost (pun intended) worth it.
Prediction: AJ Styles & Omos Win
Steel Cage Match
Shane McMahon vs Braun Strowman
When people say “entertaining Celebrity matches” this is actually the kind of nonsense that they mean. Braun is a heavy, heavy favourite to win here and I don’t see any real other result. Braun is 2/9, Shane is 11/4 and “Shane is a jumping and/or thrown off the cage” is 1/33236863.
Regardless of what happens here, there will be people who will hate this match – the number of actual wrestling moves can be counted on one hand – but it’s Mania and that’s not the point. There’s actual good wrestling to be had elsewhere (hopefully) and – when done properly – there’s absolutely a place for this kind of bollocks.
Hopefully this match doesn’t outstay it’s welcome and is some harmless silliness. The longer it goes over say 10-15 minutes, the more I’d worry.
Braun wins here and moves onto something more ‘serious’ post Mania – potentially the winner of the US Title match.
Prediction: Braun Strowman Wins
Cesaro vs Seth Rollins
Whereas Shane / Braun doesn’t live or die on how good the ‘in ring’ quality is, this match really does. Seth Rollins (and his boss suit collection he acquired on Pat Leave) has had a number of good Mania matches (Orton, Lesnar etc) and although the peak of Cesaro’s WWE career has been him lobbing Big Show over the top rope at Mania 30, he’s one of the best bell-to-bell wrestlers who WWE have.
It’s a real shame there’s no specific stakes on the line here; if they’d positioned this as a number on contenders match (or similar) it would be fine – unfortunately WWE’s long lamented inability to tell stories has restricted this one from being any kind of blood feud either – at least not one that’s grabbed the general audience nor one than either of these two deserve.
Cesaro is the favourite here (2/5) and he really *should* be the winner. It would be lovely to think that the Swiss Superman beats Rollins here and then becomes Reigns or Edge’s first challenger post Mania (assuming Bryan doesn’t win the title). But… WWE have consistently shown that Rollins is one of their preferred projects and there have been plenty of missed opportunities with Cesaro. I’m going with history over “what should happen” and backing Rollins here. At 7/4 it’s absolutely worth a punt.
Prediction: Seth Rollins
Tag Team Turmoil Match
Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose vs Lana & Naomi vs Natalya & Tamina vs The Riott Squad (Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott)
With the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal and the Smackdown Tag Team match both consigned to the “Wrestlemania Smackdown” the following week, and Money in the Bank being a long since past Wrestlemania memory, we’re very light on “errr… get everyone on the card in a plausible way” matches that the modern Wrestlemania is most renown for. But, as of the “go home” Monday Night Raw show, the women’s Tag Team Turmoil match has been added to the card.
The winners go on to face Baszler / Jax on Night Two (where I assume whoever it is wins). With Baszler & Jax as the “Prize” I think that Brooke/Rose and Natalya/Tamina are the least likely of opponents for Jaxler, so I’m discounting them from the winners list.
At time of writing (shortly after RAW on Monday) we don’t have any odds for this one yet so it’s harder to make a call. Riott Squad would probably be the better match, but Naomi / Lana feels the really obvious choice – especially with Lana’s history with Jaxler. It’ll be interesting to see if the bookies agree, but this feels the safer bet.
Prediction: Lana & Naomi
Those are our predictions, what are yours? Please leave them in the comments below!