JC’s Top Rope Report: Wrestlemania 32 Preview and Predictions
Wrestlemania 32 is this weekend. It happens every year: As the days get closer to the actual show, the more excited I get. Even with this year’s bad build, I’m still getting excited. Just seeing all the Twitter posts of everyone at Axxess gets me excited. I haven’t made the trip in 3 years, but I’m quite confident I will next year.
The one thing that this Wrestlemania has going for it is the element of surprise. There is a good amount of unpredictability going into the Top 3 matches and that is helping my interest in the show. The undercard should deliver a handful of good matches as well. So with that said, lets get right into my predictions.
The Total Divas vs Team B.A.D. & Blonde
-Hey at least Emma is getting a Wrestlemania match. She deserves it because of the great work she has done in NXT. I really hope the story about the WWE thinking Eva Marie would get cheered isn’t true. Are they really that stupid? Eva Marie is the female equivalent of Roman Reigns at this point. Anyways, this is clearly just a way to get all the women on the roster a match on the show. Lana will probably land some kicks for good measure. I think the rest of the Total Divas team will turn on Eva Marie, allowing Brie Bella to apply the Yes Lock and make Lana tap out. Brie rides off into the sunset with her Wrestlemania moment.
WINNERS: Team Total Divas
The Usos vs The Dudley Boyz
-Why are these two teams feuding again? This match is honestly the match I care the least about going into this Sunday. The tag team division in the WWE is at an all time low. I’m going to go with the Dudleyz here because I think they would be a good team to feud with Enzo and Cass when they debut. The Dudleyz coming off a loss going into that feud would not make sense.
WINNERS: The Dudley Boyz
United States Championship: Kalisto (c) vs Ryback
-I know there are people complaining that this Title got the 1-on-1 match while the IC Title is another multi-man match. But despite that, I think these two could have a good 10-12 minute match. For all of Ryback’s flaws, he can put on a decent match with the right opponent. The backstory about this match is that Kalisto is the “little guy,” going up against “The Big Guy.” The WWE is trying to develop Kalisto as their next Latino star. I don’t see him losing the Title to Ryback here. Remember last year when the U.S. Title was a focal point of this show and in a big match? Now we have this pre-show match.
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
-If Andre the Giant saw the list of wrestlers competing in this match, he would roll over in his grave. And if you don’t believe me, go to WWE.com. The list is quite sad. This is the third time this match will take place at Mania. The first one was won by Cesaro. Many thought he would get a push as a result, but that never materialized (He’s just to Swiss DAMN IT!). Last year the Big Show won it. This year? I have no clue. A couple weeks ago I would have said Braun Strowman. But the Wyatts aren’t listed as participating in this. You know who else isn’t? Cesaro. And I’m picking him to win here. Maybe the second time is the charm here with Cesaro. There’s a rumor he could be cleared by this Sunday. If he isn’t? I hope they roll out Andre the Giant’s body and end up giving him the win.
The New Day vs The League of Nations
-This match is all about the New Day. I’m sure they will get a big entrance. I don’t know if they will ride out on flying unicorns, but I’m sure it won’t be just their standard fare. The New Day has actually come out on top a good amount in this feud already. That’s kind of surprising. But what else would you expect from the League of Nations at this point? What have they done of note? They beat down the New Day a few weeks ago, but since then they have gone back to looking like goobers. If the WWE got behind the LON fully at the start, then maybe things would be different. I know there are rumors of a big finish to this match. I have no idea what it could be. But either way, New Day is winning here. I expect them to get a strong push post-Mania.
WINNERS: New Day
AJ Styles vs Chris Jericho
-When Chris Jericho is fully heel, he has done pretty well for himself the last few years. Now Jericho hasn’t reached peak 2009-2010 levels of Jericho here, but he has picked up his game the last month. It has added a little extra fuel to the fire of this feud that was slowly fading. I thought maybe they would add a stipulation here. The first few matches in this feud were good, but I think both men are capable of better. If they don’t pull out all the stops on Sunday, where does that leave them? This isn’t a feud that I see continuing after Mania. That means AJ Styles picks up the win. Jericho can get some heat back through his mic work alone. Styles should get the win in his first Mania match (of course we said that about Sting too).
WINNER: AJ Styles
Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Kevin Owens (c) vs Zack Ryder vs Stardust vs Dolph Ziggler vs Sami Zayn vs Sin Cara vs The Miz
-Look at last year’s Wrestlemania IC Title Ladder Match and look at this one. The star power is a little different. And this match is just thrown together. At least last year there was a little bit of build to it. Sure, it was everybody stealing the IC Title. But it was a build. This was thrown together in one week’s time. On the biggest show of the year. When everyone else was injured. Did they just forget?
If the WWE had built this match properly from the Royal Rumble to now, we could have gotten a great Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens match for the IC Title. You start with Zayn eliminating Owens, build off their backstory from NXT, and fill out the rest. But the WWE doesn’t think that way. Instead, we have a match with guys like Zack Ryder and Sin Cara, who barely win matches on TV.
The only two people who have any shot of winning this match are Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Zayn’s first big Title win in the WWE shouldn’t be in a multi-man ladder match. Owens retains the IC Title and gets out of the mess he created for himself. Then HOPEFULLY we get an extended Zayn/Owens program after Mania.
WINNER: Kevin Owens
Triple Threat Match For the Divas Championship: Charlotte (c) vs Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch
-Overall, this match has had the best build from start to finish. And the feud for this match has shaken the stench of the original start to the Divas Revolution. A year ago, all three of these women were on NXT. Now they are in the top women’s match on the card at Wrestlemania. That is some leap for these three. That also goes to show you how talented these women are.
Every women in this match has played her role perfectly. Once she turned heel, Charlotte has taken on her role as the entitled, genetically superior Champ perfectly. Her promo cadence still leaves a lot to be desired, but her overall body of work is getting better. Sasha Banks is the tweener in the match. She’s the one the fans want to cheer but doesn’t shake the attributes that got her where she is now. Becky wasn’t even in the plans to be in this match at the start. But she has definitely opened eyes. She’s getting the crowd behind her as the underdog babyface who has scrapped and clawed her way to the top.
Once these women broke away from that stupid team stuff and focused solely on their individual work, things got better. With rumors that the Divas Title and Division will be rebranded to the Women’s Title/Division (thank GOD!), this match could be big. I’m hoping for at least 15 minutes from these women. Becky should be in consideration for the win considering all the hard work she has done, but this has been building to Sasha’s moment since her debut on RAW. I’d honestly be shocked if Sasha doesn’t win here.
WINNER: Sasha Banks
No Holds Barred Street Fight: Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar
-This match should be fun. I don’t see anyway it isn’t. Brock Lesnar looks like he is having fun in this feud. Imagine if he was stuck in a boring feud with the Wyatt Family going into Mania. Brock would be sitting there listening to stupid BOOGITY BOO promos and would have to worry about holograms coming out of Bray’s lantern.
I think this is a big moment for Dean Ambrose. He constantly gets to the big match but always comes up short in the end. There are only so many times that Ambrose can get to the top and fail before fans just give up on him. I know there are rumors that Vince and Co. don’t see Ambrose as a top guy in the WWE. But given the right push and backing, Ambrose can be that guy. Lesnar will always have that big match aura around him win or lose. He just has the look of a main event guy and his work is good.
If you read my Bold Predictions column earlier in the week, you know who I am picking to win this match. While Lesnar has constantly gotten the better of Ambrose in this build, I think Ambrose gets his Wrestlemania moment with a win in this match. Ambrose can use this win to propel himself to the next level of stardom. If there is any Wyatt Family involvement in this match, I really hope it is after. I could see a situation where the Wyatts attack the loser of this match (in this case Lesnar) and the winner comes back to fend off the Wyatts and help the other as a show of respect. But I’m giving Ambrose the win here. If he doesn’t win, what is left for him?
WINNER: Dean Ambrose
Hell In A Cell: Shane McMahon vs The Undertaker
-Do you look run ins? How about possibly seeing insane bumps/stunts from Shane McMahon? What about long Undertaker entrances? If you answered yes to all three of those questions, then this match is for you. I’m fully expecting this match to be a giant angle. If you are coming into this match expecting wrestling, then you are going to be greatly disappointed. Shane McMahon doesn’t throw great punches. And Taker is old and can barely move around like he used to. Expect a lot of smoke and mirrors here.
While the segment between these two was fun on Monday, it still doesn’t hide the fact that this angle was very poorly thrown together. When John Cena’s injury was bad enough to keep him out of Wrestlemania, the WWE scrambled. And instead of building up a new star on the roster to face Taker, they went to the nostalgia factory and found Shane. They had multiple opportunities to give us a reason why Taker is doing Vince’s dirty work. Their reasons weren’t good. Vince should have told Taker if he doesn’t fight and win then this would be his last Wrestlemania at the beginning of the feud. It just seemed forced at the end of this. The whole build had one good week at the end.
So the question becomes who wins. There are rumors that a brand split could be coming again. You HAVE to eliminate three hour RAWs if that happens. I’ve seen others say that this could be a ploy by Shane and Vince to get Triple H out of power. But that would make Stephanie McMahon a face and that doesn’t work. For the life of me, I cannot see Shane pinning The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. It’s just a bad look. I know it makes Shane’s return somewhat of a waste, but is Taker’s last Mania match really against Shane McMahon? I just don’t see how it works. I’m giving The Undertaker the win here. Also, this shouldn’t go on last. But I’m always a “Title should go on last” guy unless there is a mega dream match happening.
WINNER: The Undertaker
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Triple H (c) vs Roman Reigns
-Here we are one year later, and Roman Reigns is in the exact same spot he was last year. Last year Roman Reigns won the Royal Rumble and went on to main event Wrestlemania. The match exceeded a lot of people’s expectations. A year later, Roman Reigns was WWE Champ, lost the Title in the Royal Rumble, was granted a #1 Contender’s Match for some reason by The Authority, won, and is now facing HHH at Mania. That’s almost as bad logic as the Shane/Taker feud.
The WWE is in a no win situation with Roman Reigns. The fans hate him and don’t want to see him on topic. At least with John Cena he plays into the boos. With Roman Reigns, the WWE wants to ignore them and hope they go away. But they won’t. There was a time where it looked like Roman Reigns was going on the right track. His beatdown of HHH after TLC, then of Vince and his eventual WWE Title win was well done. But then they made it all about Roman Reigns again with the Rumble and things went downhill.
Triple H does not need to be Champion anymore. You could make a case that he should hold the Title until Seth Rollins returns and have Rollins win the Title from HHH. That would absolutely make sense from a storyline perspective. But that would mean HHH would be Champ until the summer. And I don’t want to see that.
The build for this one has been pretty meh. One guy attacked the other (I’m pretty sure they did that every week), HHH cut a couple of long rambling promos, and they had a pull apart brawl on Monday. Roman has been booed everywhere he went. Something needs to be done to change his character. If Roman Reigns doesn’t turn heel here, it’ll just get worse. There are banners at Axxess saying this match will be No DQ. That would make it similar to Austin/HHH from 15 years ago, where a No DQ stip was suddenly added. And I think the show ends with Roman Reigns using Vince McMahon’s help to beat Triple H and become WWE Champion. It’s a double turn that if done right could be tremendous. You could even jump right into a Reigns/Ambrose feud the next night on RAW. There are many more challengers for Roman as a heel then as a face. Roman just winning clean and walking away as Champ will be a huge letdown.
WINNER: Roman Reigns
Until Next Time,
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka