Hi folks! Usually I wouldn’t write a preview as others manage to do theirs incredibly well, but I’m sat at home twiddling my thumbs and figured why not? So here’s some of my thoughts on the historic event in this WWE WrestleMania 36 preview.
Why will it go down as one of the most unusually unique WrestleMania’s of all time? Because it’s unprecedented. Never in recent times has the world being brought to such a standstill, that even the unstoppable wrestling business struggles to keep on keeping on. There’s no doubting the mixed emotions about letting this go ahead, because it makes sense that most would prefer to wait to see this show in all its glory; but Vince McMahon and WWE decided they wanted to get it over with while simultaneously providing a form of escapism. Time will tell if this was a smart move or not.
It goes without saying that it won’t be for everyone. But for those who can see past the empty arena and allow themselves to become immersed? It should be a fun two nights of wrestling. Apparently The Miz isn’t be on the show? So I will not be talking about the SmackDown tag team championship match. Here’s my thoughts on the card across both nights.
1. Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler (with Mandy Rose)
I’m a big fan of Otis and how this storyline has come together. And with the reveal of Sonya Deville’s betrayal on SmackDown last night, it seems very likely that Mandy Rose will get with Otis and leave Sonya in the dust. But as we’ve seen in the past, these storylines usually don’t have a fairy tale ending.
There could be a twist coming, but I think most of the WWE Universe would be satisfied to see something a little more uplifting? It doesn’t feel like the right time to be breaking Otis’ heart yet again. This is the perfect opportunity to get Mandy over in a babyface role by pairing her up with Heavy Machinery. Do you think Otis has earned a win here after months of frustration?
2. The Kabuki Warriors (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross – Women’s Tag Team Championship
The Kabuki Warriors are dominant and it would be a disservice to everything they have worked towards to lose the titles here. Sadly, this rivalry has very little to it other than Alexa Bliss stating the champs have been dodging them by staying on Raw.
It’s one of those matches that most will forget soon after it finishes. Unless something crazy happens? Like a heel turn from a frustrated Alexa Bliss? I’m still not buying her as a babyface, and this would be the perfect time to show she was merely using Nikki Cross all along.
3. Sami Zayn (c) vs. Daniel Bryan – Intercontinental Championship
If there’s any potential ‘wrestling’ match that could surprise the WWE Universe, it’s the former internet darlings of Sami Zayn and Daniel Bryan. However, with Nakamura, Cesaro and Drew Gulak strewn around ringside, I have little faith this will be a wrestling clinic.
It’s gonna’ get messy, and Sami Zayn will find a way to get through it because it wouldn’t make sense for him to lose so soon after defeating Braun Strowman. WWE is unlikely to produce anymore shows past this Monday, so Sami Zayn and his cronies will come out on top, but the feud will be put on hold til everything gets back to normal.
4. Elias vs. King Corbin
There’s very little I can say about this. It’s a bathroom break match, and it’s sad to say because I really enjoy Elias as a character, as well as the heat King Corbin would usually get if there were fans to annoy. Sadly, having no crowd makes both their jobs infinitely more difficult. They strive for reactions, but perhaps they can conjure up something mildly entertaining? Not expecting much though. Elias should go over after the terrible fall.
5. Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley
I must have missed this announcement. What I particularly like about it on paper, is that Lashley is a completely new type of opponent for Black to deal with. His raw power and size isn’t something Aleister can take lightly, and hitting the Black Mass may require him getting the big man to his knees?
We should still be fully expecting Black to win, but it shouldn’t be an easy victory unless Lashley’s in the dog house and WWE wants to bury him? I think he did well with the rivalry against Rusev (although it was silly, at least people will remember it), so I’m expecting some good competition here. The quality is entirely dependent on how hard Lashley wants (or is allowed) to work.
6. The Street Profits (c) vs. Austin Theory and Angel Garza – Raw Tag Team Championship
Angel Garza is deserving of his spot on the main roster as he has the talent, but thrusting NXT’s newest star Austin Theory in to the mix so soon doesn’t feel like the right choice. There’s so many other talents who have earned a spot on WrestleMania who could’ve teamed with Garza, and I just hope it doesn’t come at the detriment of Theory’s progression.
And where the hell are the Viking Raiders, Authors of Pain and The O.C? How do these two young bucks get a shot over established teams? They didn’t earn it at all. Clearly, this match is just to give the Street Profits something to do, and it has the most predictable outcome of the event.
7. Bayley (c) vs. Lacey Evans vs. Naomi vs. Sasha Banks vs. Tamina – SmackDown Women’s Championship
It’s laughable to think that this match could end in any other way but Bayley retaining or Sasha Banks pulling a fast one. Naomi winning would be nice.. but out-of-place. Tamina’s never winning anything (she would have done so by now), and Lacey Evans just isn’t over enough to carry the division.
Bayley and Sasha are in a league of their own, and it pains me to continue seeing them team together because it robs the fans of a rivalry we know will sell. Anyone who saw their matches back in NXT will confirm this. However, it would need to be Sasha who turns face because Bayley can’t exactly revert back to being a hugger so soon.
8. Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins
This is one of the best built rivalries on the card, helped immensely by some of their more recent promos without a crowd to feed off. Usually this match doesn’t do much for me because we’ve seen it many times before, but this has been going on long enough that I actually want to see KO get his revenge.
Of course, Rollins will get his followers out there to distract KO, but I’m fully expecting him to get what’s coming to him in the end. Maybe Samoa Joe will return to help him out?
9. Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair – NXT Women’s Championship
Rhea Ripley is one of the youngest, hottest stars WWE has, and to have her lose would do her momentum a massive injustice. Not only that, but it would completely undermine NXT and its purpose. The whole point of NXT is to create the next generation of superstars, but you can’t do that if the already established decide to return whenever it suits to steal the spotlight.
This will be Ripley’s biggest win of her career, but it won’t be easy, and by the end it will open up many fan’s eyes; especially those who refuse to watch NXT for some bizarre reason. There should be a great deal of respect shown between them afterwards, because it’s the way forward for the NXT Women’s division. By building Ripley up, you can then have her put someone over like Bianca Belair or Io Shirai later. This is healthy for business and I’m all for it.
10. Becky Lynch (c) vs. Shayna Baszler – Raw Women’s Championship
Sadly for Becky Lynch, her momentum has dropped severely the past year. She’s even admitted to it, that she’s not been where she wants to be; and has regularly called out WWE for misusing her. The biggest issue she’s faced is that she doesn’t have any viable challengers. Shayna Baszler however, is someone she can fight with for the next year, maybe two. With that said, and the way Baszler annihilated the women’s division at the Elimination Chamber, it would be illogical to see Lynch retain here.
Let her chase the title again, because ‘The Man’ was doing just fine in that role. Almost the second she won the title at last year’s WrestleMania, was the moment her stock began to drop. She’s come a long way, but it’s time to take a step back and allow a heel (with no interest in impressing anybody) to take charge so she can eventually return to the top of the mountain in a more refreshing way.
11. John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt – Firefly Fun House Match
Bray Wyatt had to endure the pain of putting over Goldberg to earn this rematch. And with big match John showing up only when WWE seriously needs his drawing power, he knows it’s time to be passing on the torch to the next generation (he said as much). With the story of Wyatt’s past, especially as it pertains to losing to Cena at WrestleMania, this needs to be his redemption story.
It’s time for The Fiend to show his true power by overcoming one of the greatest in WWE history. And if that doesn’t happen? Well, then history repeats itself. The Fiend will officially fade away and classify himself as obsolete, and there’s no coming back from that. The fans will never take Wyatt seriously as a contender, ever again.
12. Edge vs. Randy Orton – Last Man Standing
We’ve been officially robbed of one of the greatest ever crowd reactions to a WrestleMania match This rivalry is pure gold, and much of that has been a two-way street. Edge is great at selling a story, but it’s not like he’s been doing the heavy lifting. Randy Orton has been at his best, and it’s rare to see him this motivated in a storyline.
We’re always going to wonder how much the fans would’ve eaten this up, but hopefully we get a good idea from the post-show reactions. It has the potential to go down as one of the best in WrestleMania history, and while there’s no crowd to enjoy it live, at least we’ll always be able to relive it. I want to say Edge will win here, but something tells me Randy Orton will go over; but he will pay a price in doing so.
13. The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles – Boneyard Match
Another encounter we’ve been robbed of in terms of crowd reaction. This has been a dream match of many fans for well over fifteen years, and in 2020 we finally get to see it. Granted, The Undertaker may not be as agile as he once was. Hell, even AJ Styles isn’t as agile as he once was. But what we know is that these are two of the most professional, and popular stars to ever grace a WWE ring going one-on-one for the first, and possibly last time.
There will be some funny antics going on (OC), and obviously The Undertaker is the clear favorite to get his revenge as ‘Mark Caloway’ with whatever this ‘Holy Triad’ is. But at the end of all this, if we can’t say we were entertained by these two veterans? Then something terribly wrong must have gone down. We both know how great they are at what they do, so hopefully we can just sit back and enjoy it for what it is. Do we need a crowd to enjoy The Deadman vs. The Phenomenal One? I know I sure don’t.
14. Goldberg (c) vs. Braun Strowman – Universal Championship
Well. You know.. I want to be able to say that I’m going to really enjoy this. but we all know what’s happening here. Goldberg will destroy Strowman in a matter of seconds and make him his bitch. And why? Because it’s Goldberg. That’s what he does, that’s how and why he is the draw that he is. At least with Roman Reigns it would’ve been more competitive (albeit still short), but as seen when Strowman went up against Lesnar a couple of years ago, he’s just not over to the degree that he stands a chance.
Of course, I’d love to see it go the other way, and have Goldberg doing the right thing by putting over the next generation. But let’s not kid ourselves, we all know he sells tickets and Vince isn’t going to risk losing his allure. Goldberg wrecks Strowman and there’s no doubt about it. It’s penciled in to be the biggest disappointment of WrestleMania 36.
15. Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre – WWE Championship
You see, this is way more interesting because it’s not clear-cut. We can fully imagine Brock Lesnar going out there and destroying Drew McIntyre like he has to so many others. However, the way they have built this feud and McIntyre makes us doubt his dominance. If there was ever a time to give Drew the keys to the castle and let him rule? This would be it. There’s only so much you can do with aging stars like Lesnar, Goldberg and The Undertaker (etc.) before you need to think about the coming decade.
Who will be selling tickets in five years time? Will these legends still be able to go, or even want to go? WWE needs to be smart about this and pass on the torch while they can, and this is the kind of match to do it. We saw the level of raw emotion when Drew won the Royal Rumble, he clearly lives and breathes this business. There’s few out there with the passion, the experience, and the look to carry this company forward. So I’m leaning towards McIntyre winning, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t.
Even if Drew loses, he can still come out of this a winner if he’s allowed to really take it to The Beast. He’s got to get Lesnar reeling to the point that everyone believes he’s losing the title. In wrestling, much like when Stone Cold Steve Austin lost to Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13, you can still be a winner in defeat. McIntyre needs to be way better off coming out of this, or all of this build will be a complete waste of everybody’s time.
Like I said before, it’s not going to be as great as it could’ve been. We really would’ve appreciated seeing a crowd soaking this in and being able to share how great their experience was with friends and family. But in times like these it’s time to come together and appreciate what we do have. WWE could’ve postponed this, but it’s already done and we might as well support the talent who have been put in a tough position; it’s not easy working matches with no one to feed off. All the guys and girls have spent their entire lives dedicating themselves to this, and for many of them it will be the biggest matches of their careers.
It’s not going down like they were hoping, but we can still show them our support from home. After all, there’s always next year, it’s not going to be like this forever. When we get back to normal, I like to think we will come to appreciate WWE and wrestling in a whole new light. Many of us may find we aren’t sweating the small stuff like we once did. After all, it’s only wrestling, there’s much bigger problems we could be worrying about. And that concludes my thoughts on the match card for WWE WrestleMania 36, I thank you for your time and hope you enjoy the show! See you around.