Written by Pete Gaskell – Creator of Smorgasbored
So, WrestleMania 33 is upon us – and dare I say it, I’m cautiously optimistic about this one. There’s been some solid building of storylines over the past few months that should culminate spectacularly at the Show of Shows, and plenty of juicy matches to chew into. Of course, no show is perfect – there’s a couple of matches which hold no interest for me, and well over half the Smackdown roster has been casually buried onto the pre-show, but you can’t have everything, can you? Anyway, enough ramble – on to the predictions!
ANDRE THE GIANT MEMORIAL BATTLE ROYAL
This is basically Braun Strowman vs The World, isn’t it? The Monster Among Men has spent a long time munching his way through an array of jobbers in record time, and his reward for this here has been the opportunity to do it again on a bigger stage. It’s a shame, really, as I’d have preferred to see him in a proper match, but he’s going to shine here – there’s only about three or four people who could realistically challenge him, isn’t there? That being said, I’m going for one of them to topple him – as Sami Zayn deserves much better than this too, and I’m hoping a shock win here will lead to a proper push.
Winner: Sami Zayn
SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
A real shame that this has been consigned to the pre-show as I think Smackdown uses its women’s roster better than big brother Raw but without the flashy star power to show for it. I was originally going to say Asuka would make a shock debut here and win the whole thing, but with this being the pre-show I doubt we’d see any fireworks. I expect Alexa Bliss to perform a smash & grab and retrieve the title.
Winner: Alexa Bliss
If the Smackdown Women’s match shouldn’t have been on the pre-show card, then this certainly should be nowhere near it. Neville and Austin Aries could realistically steal the whole night, but I have a feeling they’ll be forced into a small match-up with the proper title clash being reserved for 205 Live. I hope not, as these two could put on a clinic, but I’m giving this to Neville to make up for his disappointment at missing out last year.
TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP LADDER MATCH
Thank God for the ladders, as they’ll bring some excitement to what could have been a very stale clash between teams that are outdoing each other for coldness. The clock is ticking on Enzo & Big Cass as a tag team, so I’m giving them the belts as a last hurrah before Big Cass moves on to bigger and better things.
Winner: Enzo & Big Cass
There were rumours that this was going to be a Hardcore Match with backstage shenanigans, etc. I’m holding out hope this is true, as it’ll add sparkle to what could otherwise be a very forgettable affair. I like Ambrose a lot, but he’s going nowhere fast – the belt has to go to Corbin to begin a push he richly deserves.
Winner: Baron Corbin
UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP
This is the match I’m looking forward to more than any other – Owens & Jericho have been the most entertaining part of Raw for months on end, and the inevitable blowup of their friendship has been spectacular. All they need do now is produce the goods in the ring – and they’re two of the best in the business. Jericho has been on fire of late – is anyone more over than him and his List? That being said, I can’t see him winning here – Owens has incredible potential, and his shoulder looks odd without a belt. That’ll change.
Winner: Kevin Owens
POWER COUPLES COLLIDING
The Miz has been Smackdown’s MVP ever since the brand split, but even his fantastic promo skills can’t really save this matchup from being anything other than the cheap Total Divas/Bellas plug that it is. Cena has let AJ Styles go over him recently, but he won’t be doing that here.
Winner: John Cena & Nikki Bella
RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
I don’t know why, but this isn’t catching my eye as much as the Triple Threat last year – maybe it’s because Charlotte’s mystique is not what it was, or that Bayley hasn’t translated to the main roster that well, but there’s something a bit off with this. Hopefully that’ll disappear when the actual match takes place – Sasha Banks and Charlotte will no doubt push the boundaries with some flashy moves and Nia Jax will be terrifying, but I can see Bayley coming out on top in the end. Cue Sasha Banks heel turn, and months of storylines write themselves.
THE COMMISSIONER vs THE PHENOMENAL ONE
AJ Styles has been the best wrestler in the WWE for pretty much a calendar year now, and he deserves better than what might well be just another setup match for a crazy Shane O’Mac stunt. That being said, if anyone can get a good match out of Shane, it’ll be AJ – he has a talent for making everyone better just by being in the ring with him. Not that I can see Shane being in the ring too long – that rollercoaster on the ramp looks mighty tempting, doesn’t it?
Winner: AJ Styles
THE PHENOM vs THE BIG DOG
The Undertaker is an absolute solid gold legend, no two ways about it. Unfortunately, judging by recent months, it looks like he might be going one too many times to the well – and facing up to Roman Reigns is not ideal for Taker’s creaking bones. Despite Roman’s chilly reception from fans, he’s always a solid in-ring worker, who should be too much, unfortunately, for the Phenom. It won’t be pretty, but I can see Roman Superman Punching Undertaker until he’s red in the face. Will we finally see the long-awaited heel turn?
Winner: Roman Reigns
I have to admit I don’t know the difference between this stipulation and a Hardcore match, or an Extreme Rules match, or any of the more minuscule differences between them. What I take it is that this is going to be a brutal, anything goes event, and I just hope that Rollins is fully fit, as Triple H is not going to go easy on him. Factor in the inevitable appearance of Samoa Joe, and this could turn nasty really quickly. Will Finn Balor appear and save Rollins’ bacon? Part of me still holds out hope that during a beatdown of Rollins, the words “Sierra Hotel Indigo Echo Lima Delta” will echo around the arena, and Reigns & Ambrose rush down the steps to make the save. A man can dream. More realistically, there’s nothing to accomplish with Triple H going over here, so Rollins has to win if he can – hopefully by finishing off The Game with the Pedigree for maximum irony.
Winner: Seth Rollins
This is an odd one – Wyatt and Orton are two of the best in-ring workers in the whole company, but with Wyatt comes a whole array of supernatural shenanigans that won’t wash when it comes to a big ol’ title clash. I expect to see Luke Harper at some point too – it’s a shame this wasn’t a Triple Threat – and possibly Erick Rowan as well. Orton doesn’t need another belt to add to his collection, whilst Wyatt desperately does to ensure some credibility – there’s surely only one way for this to go.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
And so we come to what is more than likely going to be the main event, and I can’t help but feel a little meh about the whole thing. Actually, make that a lot. We’ve already seen these two have a “match” at Survivor Series, and the odds are that we’ll be seeing Lesnar finish Goldberg’s career here to make up for it, but it’s not going to be entertaining. One spear, one jackhammer, one suplex, one F5? I wouldn’t bet on much more than that – Goldberg’s lustre has faded fast and Lesnar has alienated a large portion of the audience with his antics in UFC – we’ll probably be ending on a downer again, folks. My only hope is that Kurt Angle appears right at the last knockings and puts Lesnar on notice.
Winner: Brock Lesnar