It took forever for WWE to finally announce the Intercontinental Championship match for WrestleMania 32, despite how anybody with eyes and ears could see that they were heading in this direction. Now that the big secret (ha) is out and the playing field has been determined, let’s take a look at who will be involved in the match and their likelihood of coming out on top with the title in hand.
7. Zack Ryder
Let’s be honest, the only reason Zack Ryder is in this match is because Neville just suffered an injury. Clearly, he was being groomed for a spot here, but since he won’t be able to compete, WWE put Long Island Iced Z in as his replacement.
Speaking as a fan of Zack Ryder, I still can’t deny that he has less than no chance at winning this match. This guy’s career for far too long has consisted of jobbing out on Superstars and Main Event or winning the occasional tag team match as one half of The Hype Bros with Mojo Rawley on NXT—but even there in the minor leagues, he still loses quite often!
Ryder would have been a punching bag and a quick elimination in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, let alone here. It will be fun to see him compete, but it will also be no surprise to see him lose.
6. Sin Cara
Just as I think this match would have been better with Neville in it rather than Zack Ryder, I’m disappointed to see Sin Cara in the mix over Tyler Breeze, who consistently receives no love on the main roster, which is sad.
Even sadder is how Sin Cara is the forgotten half of The Lucha Dragons, when you factor in how little WWE has cared about Kalisto ever since they gave him the United States Championship. That dude has one of the top three titles in the company and he’s still an afterthought, so why in the world would anybody think Sin Cara matters?
Don’t be shocked if Sin Cara’s contributions to this match are to fall off the ladder a few times and do one cool move before possibly being injured. I frankly don’t even think he’ll have a single spot where he starts climbing the ladder and it looks like he could win it.
Poor Cody Rhodes. If there’s one person on the roster that I feel is criminally underutilized—especially in an environment with so many injuries and open spots to be filled—it’s Cody Rhodes. While I’m not fond of the Stardust character and I feel as though it ran its course ages ago, I still would like to believe he has the credibility behind him to be in decent contention here, but he doesn’t.
His is a case of lateral mobility as he wrestled in the exact same match at last year’s WrestleMania. He didn’t win then and he won’t win here, either. At the very least, we can depend on him to be one of the ring generals keeping the action going.
Here’s hoping this loss sparks a change in character and he can do something different, as the Stardust gimmick just isn’t working anymore.
4. The Miz
Another star that is always pushed aside but I feel deserves much better is The Miz. WWE seems to treat him as a backup player that is more valuable for MizTV than anything in the ring, but he’s held every belt at one point or another.
The Miz is a great person to fill up a spot as he’s right in exactly the type of positioning on the hierarchy for something like this. When the two world titles were merged into one, a number of people who used to be in the main event had to settle for upper midcard status and the upper midcarders moved down to midcarders as well, strengthening the roster as a whole. Someone like The Miz won’t be winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship any time soon, but on any given night, if WWE decided to push him, he could win the Intercontinental Championship and be taken seriously.
That being said, The Miz isn’t going to win. His chances are much better than Stardust, Sin Cara and Zack Ryder, and he’ll definitely have a few moments where he’s clawing at the belt, but he’ll fail to pull it down in the end.
3. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph’s positioning in this match is somewhat similar to Stardust’s, but just amped up to a different level.
The only person I trust more than Cody to control the action in the ring and to ensure that this is a fun match is Dolph, who I still think is the best overall in-ring performer in the company today even if he’s in no position to take that accolade and do something with it.
Then again, Ziggler did just have an important match against Triple H on Monday Night Raw where he could have won the right to pick any match of his choosing for WrestleMania. He lost that right, but it shows that WWE values him enough to think he is worth pairing up against Triple H for a competitive contest rather than a squash match.
I don’t expect Ziggler to win, but unlike the others that I already spoke about, I wouldn’t be utterly floored if he did, either. If The Showoff becomes the new Intercontinental champion, I’ll be wrong in my predictions, but happy inside that he’s got another trophy under his name rather than upset that someone who didn’t deserve it was the champion.
2. Kevin Owens
It’s KO-Mania, and Kevin Owens has made great strides in his career in such a short amount of time. I’ve argued for a long time that he should have been The Undertaker’s opponent, but clearly that’s not the scenario ahead of him for 2016 as he’s instead heading into this match with the Intercontinental Championship around his waist. (Technically, it will be already hanging when he makes his entrance, but you get the point)
There’s a tendency for titles to change hands at WrestleMania, but don’t count Owens out. As far as heels go, he has the best chance of any to win the match, and not every babyface can win every match on the card. If Kalisto overcomes Ryback in an upset, Roman Reigns wins the title from Triple H, and so on, Owens could be one of the few heels to leave with his head held high. He’s done it before and he could easily do it again.
However, the story of this match’s announcement was that Owens was cocky and he felt a sense of entitlement to not have to defend his title against the more legitimate opponents. That more than likely spells doom for him, as it’s a much sweeter comeuppance for him to drop the belt at WrestleMania than on the Monday Night Raw to follow or Payback on May 1st.