This is the time of year where all the story lines from the "WWE Universe" come to a head and get settled. The aftermath is the reset that gives us new feuds and surprises. But before we can get to that, we go through the Meca of "Sports Entertainment" or as we older fans like to call it, "Professional Wrestling."
This year, the card is pretty stacked. In fact, it's a better card than the epic WM 30 last year in my opinion. And though there are a lot of fans out there that aren't too keen on Roman Reigns, I like the kid and think he deserves to be in the spot he is in.
There are so many good matches on this card that should be a blast to watch. Four hours for the main show, and another hour for the pre-show.
So let's start out with the pre-show itself. As you may or may not know, the second annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal has been moved to the pre-show to make room for all the other matches on the WM card. A lot of people are upset about this when the Divas match was kept on the card, but I think it makes sense. Last year, it meant something. It was the anniversary of Wrestlemania, and Hogan was hosting. This year, it's a battle royal. Move it to the pre-show, I have no problem with that.
So here are the participants in the battle royal according to WWE.com:
The Miz, Curtis Axel, Ryback, Fandango, Adam Rose, Zack Ryder, Jack Swagger, Titus O’Neil, Darren Young, Big Show, Kane, Erick Rowan, Damien Mizdow, Sin Cara, Goldust, Heath Slater, Mark Henry, Konnor, Viktor, Hideo Itami.
Breaking these down, I would have much rather had the Prime Time Players in the Fatal Four-Way match for the Tag Titles than here, but I get why that didn't happen. And the Ascension are too new to get that opportunity as well. But both teams will job out here. Poor Goldust is on his way out, Ryder and Swagger are nothing but jobbers, and what else could you do with Big Show and Kane?
The Miz and Damian Mizdow should be interesting to watch. I don't think either of them will win, though. I think one of them eliminates the other, and it could go either way. Then whoever was eliminated causes the elimination of the one still in the ring, setting up their feud going into the next pay-per-view.
Hideo Itami won the NXT match to get a spot here. It's cool, but he's getting tossed out. As are Sin Cara, Erick Rowan, Fandango and Heath Slater.
Curtis Axel has finally become interesting. Will he last for a while, or will he be the first eliminated in record time? My money's on the latter, but if he does last a while he's still not winning.
The ones to watch are Ryback, Big Show and Mark Henry in my opinion. Yeah, they're the big guys, which hardly ever win these things. But they're also the ones with the best chance to pull it off here. Big Show because, well, he's the other giant. Henry because I think he's on his way out soon and this would be a nice send off. But the one I think will win is Ryback because they are trying to push him again. He's arguably the most popular competitor in the match. So...
Prediction: Ryback wins.
Next up, the Divas Tag Match: Paige & AJ Lee vs. The Bella Twins
Sadly, most feel like the Divas matches are the bathroom break matches. But let's be honest, AJ and Paige are two of the best female wrestlers ever. And like it or not, Nikki Bella has improved a great deal. Bri, eh. But the other three will put on a great match. And things are going to break down one way or another. Likely, Paige and AJ will win because they've been bested lately, and the tension between them is heated. Still, I predict a 3-way or 4-way Divas title match for the next PPV. For this one...
Prediction: AJ & Paige win.
I mentioned this match earlier...
Fatal Four-Way Tag-Team Championship Match:
Tyson Kidd & Cesaro vs. New Day vs. Los Matadores vs. The Usos
New Day has sadly been disappointing. Not in the ring, but the gimmick that started strong just kind of fell by the wayside a bit. They're all still great in the ring, but I don't see them winning here.
Los Matadores I just don't like. I didn't like them when they were just the Colons either. They just don't excite me. El Torito is fun, but it's not enough.
So this comes down to the two main teams here, The Usos and Kidd/Cesaro. Is it time for the Usos to get their belts back? Maybe. It would make sense so they can feud with the newer Ascension. But Kidd and Cesaro have finally found a place where they are getting somewhere, and they could hang onto them for a while. I think it's going to be interesting to see what happens here, and it should be a fun match. But for me, I think I'd like to see the heels win. So...
Prediction: Kidd & Cesaro retain.
Now we start getting into the bigger matches. First up, the US title.
United States Championship Match: Rusev vs. John Cena
Ok, both of these guys have punked each other out, and Rusev has beaten Cena. Rusev has beaten everyone and never lost that title since he won it. That means that this is by far the most predictable match on the entire Wrestlemania 31 card. It will be an uphill battle, and the match will last longer than anyone wants. But Cena will rise to the challenge and finally defeat Rusev to become the US champ.
Prediction: Cena wins and becomes champ.
The match that had the worst build-up is definitely...
Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins (with J&J Security)
This is an old-fashioned grudge match, and it should be one heck of a match. Despite what the internet thinks, Randy Orton has always been one of my favorites, and he puts on great matches, whether you like him or not. And Seth Rollins was the member of The Shield that no one thought would be the breakout star, and yet here he is, Mr. Money in the Bank. He has delivered. He's great in the ring and great on the mic.
The only problem with this match was the build-up to it, where Randy barely pretended to be part of The Authority and quickly turned on Rollins after saying he was going to. It was handled clumsily and rushed. But they recovered with some great beat-downs, and now we get a fantastic match between the two. And it really could go either way as well. I think if Rollins wins, he's done for the evening. If he loses, maybe he goes for the cash-in. It's hard to say. But I'll put it out there and say...
Prediction: Randy Orton wins.
The show-stealing match of the night will likely be the...
Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Title:
Wade Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan vs. R Truth vs. Luke Harper vs. Stardust
The hype for this match, and all the crazy multi-finisher, mayhem matches that have taken place between these seven individuals has been fun to watch. Not to mention the hilarity of the belt stealing antics of all involved. There are several fan favorites in this match too, so the crowd is sure to be very vocal during this match. There will be great spots throughout, and Ziggler will live up to his name and steal the show. But will he win?
I think one thing is for sure, and that's that Barrett will lose the title. I also don't see Harper, Stardust, or Truth - as fun as that might be - winning.
So that leaves us with Ambrose, Ziggler and Bryan, which is what we've kind of been geared toward. I actually don't think - and hope not - that Bryan will win. Not that the title is beneath him, or that he doesn't deserve it, but I think for one, this would be a step backwards for him, and two, I'm kind of tired of him. I'd much rather see Ambrose or Ziggler win.
Ziggler has held the title before, and it did little for him, let's be honest. So I think it's time for a change. Hence...
Prediction: Dean Ambrose wins.
So we're down to the final three matches - the biggest matches on the card. Let's dive right in.
Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt
We have not seen the Undertaker since last year's Wrestlemania when he lost for the first time at the event to Brock Lesnar. We heard his voice on Raw, but that's it. No appearances. Bray Wyatt, however, we have seen on the mic trashing the dead man, calling him out, playing mind games, and claiming to be the new face of fear. So the face of fear meets the dead man walking tonight!
Undertaker took an entire year off to prepare for this, so let's hope he's healthy and in better shape than he was last year. As for who wins, I don't think Undertaker losing to Lesnar suddenly made him defeatable at Wrestlemania. Only defeatable to Lesnar. So there's no way in my mind that Wyatt wins here. It'll be a knockdown, drag-out fight, but Taker rises from Sister Abigail.
Prediction: Undertaker wins.
Sting vs. Triple H
It's the bat vs. the sledgehammer. The Icon vs. the Cerebral Assassin. The Stinger vs. The Game. And the build-up for this match has been near perfect in my opinion.
This isn't necessarily a dream match that everyone always wanted, but it is a dream match. But the real dream is Sting being in the WWE and wrestling at Wrestlemania. And we have it!
I am a HUGE Sting fan from the 80s on. He was my favorite before he won the world title for the first time, before the NWO, before now. He was the biggest superstar not on the WWE roster in my opinion. And it has always been a dream of mine to see him in a WWE ring, let alone performing at Wrestlemania! Do I wish it was in his prime? Sure, but I'll take what I can get here.
As for how this match goes down, I can't imagine after all this build-up and hype, and it being a legendary dream match, that Sting comes here just to lose. It doesn't make sense. Even with interference I don't see it happening. If Sting were to lose, they'd have to pull off something big, like someone from Sting's past coming into the picture and costing him the match. And given the status of all those guys, it just doesn't work. So while it will be a back and forth match seeing Sting get beat up a lot, the ending is clear.
Prediction: Sting wins.
And that leaves us with the main event. The very controversial main event at that.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns
I like both of these guys. Brock is truly a beast, and he has re-signed with the WWE, which plays into my prediction later. Reigns, despite all the internet crap and fanboys that can't get over their love affair with Daniel Bryan, deserves this spot. He hasn't been shoved down our throats, he earned his spot, like it or not. And while yes, he's a bit green on the mic, he's got every other skill down. And he is a believable opponent for Lesnar. Bryan is not. Bryan would get mauled. Punk would get mauled. Reigns, however, stands a chance.
So this is going to be one brutal match. Lesnar is going to attempt to run roughshod over Reigns, but not be able to. Reigns will keep getting up. He'll have a burst of offense, get the champ reeling, only to be knocked down again. Heyman will likely get involved when he feels Lesnar about to lose perhaps, and Reigns will get distracted, but not get beat. He will push and push and push, until he somehow gets Lesnar down for that 1-2-3.
And one of the reasons I believe it goes down like this is because Lesnare re-signed with the WWE. If he had been done, I can't see him going out a loser. Because he re-signed it means rematch. It means another title reign. And sadly, it probably means Cena beats Lesnar down the line for that title.
But for now, Lesnar is in a position where he can lose to Reigns and it not tarnish him one bit. Plus, Reigns winning leaves it open for Rollins to cash-in.
As I said earlier, I think if Rollins wins his match, he's not cashing in. He may think about it, but ultimately won't do it. Going with my prediction of him losing, though. I think if Reigns wins, Rollins moves in to cash-in, and possibly steal Reigns' Wrestlemania moment. Then this sets up heat on Raw with both Reigns and Lesnar wanting their rematch then and there.
Whichever way it goes down, this is going to be a blockbuster match with repercussions for the next few months leading to Summerslam.
Prediction: Roman Reigns wins title, Rollins cashes in and wins title. Rollins is your champ.
So there you have it, my full predictions for tonight's Wrestlemania 31 event. I think I stand a good chance in being correct on a lot of these. That said, I honestly hope there are some surprises coming my way. Just a few hours away, we'll all find out!
Come back tomorrow to see how right (or wrong) I was! Until then, tune into the WWE Network and enjoy Wrestlemania! I know I will be, with some pizza and coca-cola!