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TJR: WWE WrestleMania 36 Thoughts on Advertised Matches So Far

Hey yo. I’m sitting here at the home office in London, Ontario doing my part with “social distancing” during this Coronavirus pandemic that the world is dealing with. I would say I was ahead of the curve before most people. I haven’t left the house, other than to go for walks around the block, since Saturday and I have enough supplies to last for a while. My career is writing about wrestling while I sit at home, so I’m able to keep going. Thank you for supporting me and this website. With that said, I miss going to the gym five days a week, going out to eat, hanging out with family and friends and so on. I live with two family members, so we’re doing fine, but driving eachother nuts too. I’m also a huge sports junkie that loves betting and fantasy sports, so taking that out of my life has been pretty shitty, too. I know that social distancing is the best way to deal with this, though, so let’s get through as best we can.

(Note: What I wrote below was posted at 4:51pmET. Two hours later, WWE announced that WrestleMania will take place over two nights on Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, April 5. I’m not going to change or edit anything below. I’ll leave it as it was. I just want you to know about the change.)

Anyway, less about me and more about pro wrestling or as Vince McMahon would say, it’s SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT, PAL! We know WWE wants to proceed with WrestleMania at the WWE Performance Center on Sunday, April 5. I know all about the rumors that exist about how the city of Orlando may shut it down because WWE might have too many people there, but for now, it’s going to proceed. I’m not here to write about rumors. I’m here to write about the shows.

The number of matches at WrestleMania since 2014, which was when WWE Network was launched. This includes the Kickoff Show.

WM35 (2019) 16
WM34 (2018): 14
WM33 (2017): 13
WM32 (2016): 12
WM31 (2015): 9
WM30 (2014): 8

This year’s card has eight matches officially announced and all eight of them are singles matches. Do they really need to add more matches? I don’t think so. It’s smart to limit the amount of people that are there and keep others from traveling. It will suck to not see some of the titles in WWE defended at a WrestleMania, but I think it’s the smart thing to do.

The length of the show should be interesting. We reported earlier in the week that WWE Chairman/CEO Vince McMahon really doesn’t like watching matches in an empty building, so that makes me think he’ll be reluctant to book long matches. Think about it from a talent perspective too. It’s hard to go out there to have a 20-minute classic match when there are no fans reacting to you.

I think WWE should also consider making SummerSlam a bigger event this year in terms of getting more people on the show and trying to set up matches that seem more important than usual. That’s assuming the world is close to normal by August.

What I’m here to do now is offer up some quick thoughts on the eight official matches for WrestleMania. All of them are singles matches and most of them have been built up well.

Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins

I think Rollins should win since his heel run is still fresh. Plus, it makes sense when you think about the Raw scene post WrestleMania assuming Drew McIntyre is the babyface champion and he’ll need a feud. Rollins winning here gives him that momentum. An Owens win is fine too, but I’d put over Rollins. Prediction: Seth Rollins wins.

NXT Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair

From the moment this was rumored after the Royal Rumble, I figured the plan was to have Flair put over Ripley in order to build up Ripley. Flair doesn’t need that NXT Women’s Title and a lot of fans would say she didn’t need to win the Royal Rumble either, which is a valid point. Flair is going to be on Raw (or Smackdown) most of the time, so I doubt she wins. This could be a long term feud where Ripley wins here, then in a year or two when she’s on Raw or Smackdown, they can pick up the rivalry again. Prediction: Rhea Ripley wins.

The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles

The Undertaker has only lost twice at WrestleMania – to Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. Should he lose again at 55 years old against one of the best full-time guys in WWE? I think so, but I think WWE will have Undertaker win. Maybe they can have another match later in the year with Styles going over because I think AJ could use the momentum. Prediction: The Undertaker wins.

Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Shayna Baszler

It will be one year for Lynch as the Raw Women’s Champion. I have no idea if she’s ready to take a break for a few months, but to me I think it’s the right time for Baszler to win. They need to build up other women in the women’s division since Lynch beating everybody else has made them look like losers. It happens when you have such a strong champion. I’ll go Baszler for the win, but it’s not a lock. Prediction: Shayna Baszler is the new Raw Women’s Champion

John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt

This has to be a win for Wyatt, right? This might be the only match Cena wrestles this year and I think he would be perfectly fine with putting over Wyatt. From a storyline standpoint, it would also be good for Wyatt’s character to avenge the biggest loss of his career against Cena six years ago. Prediction: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt wins.

Last Man Standing:Edge vs. Randy Orton

The way the story has gone makes me lean towards Edge getting the win to avenge the attack that Orton did against him and Orton’s attack on Edge’s wife Beth Phoenix as well. If WWE puts Orton over then maybe they are doing it to build him to challenge for the WWE Title. I don’t think either guy would be hurt too much from a win. We know Edge is only going to wrestle a few times per year too, so if he lost it does make sense from that point of view. I just think a win for Edge makes the most sense. Also, since this is the only match with a current stipulation, it should stand out more from the hours.

If this match was in front of a crowd, would they get the best fan reaction of any match? I think it’s possible they would have. The story has been great. Prediction: Edge wins.

Universal Championship: Goldberg (c) vs. Roman Reigns

This is the most obvious match to predict with Roman Reigns likely winning the Universal Title he last held in October 2018 when he had to give it up to leukemia. It’s the comeback story win for Reigns. If this goes longer than five minutes I’ll be surprised. I think WWE knows Goldberg works best in a short match, so keep it short and simple. Prediction: Roman Reigns wins the Universal Championship.

WWE Championship:Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre

The built for this match has been awesome because Lesnar has actually sold a lot for McIntyre in the Rumble match and then when McIntyre beat him up on Raw a few weeks ago. I expect their next confrontation on Raw to see Lesnar have the advantage. It’s going to be weird to see Drew McIntyre finally achieve the WWE Championship with no fans there to celebrate because I think it would have been such a cool moment for him. I know everybody else on the show won’t get their moments either, but just when I think of Drew’s career, I wish he was able to have that.

If you look down the line, McIntyre has some good heels to work with on Raw like former WWE Champions AJ Styles, Seth Rollins and Randy Orton to name three. Plus, there are others that could be elevated too. Put the title on Drew here. It’s the right move. Prediction: Drew McIntyre wins the WWE Championship

That’s the card for now. I don’t know if other matches will be added or how the show will be handled, but I figured it was a good topic to write about with two weeks to go until WrestleMania is set to take place.

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SOME TJRWRESTLING NEWS AND NOTES ABOUT WHAT’S COMING

I’m going to wrap this up with some news about what we’re doing here at TJRWrestling.

– Since we are in WrestleMania season, I wanted to remind you that I have reviewed every WrestleMania in history in-depth in our WrestleMania review section right here. In addition to that, the WrestleMania Greatest Matches section was added in 2017 as I came up with the 33 best matches in WrestleMania history. I’m really proud of the writing I did there. It’s probably my favorite project I’ve ever done in terms of wrestling writing because it took a lot of writing, but I was thorough in every article.

– I will be continuing the WWE PPV reviews from the mid-2000s, which began in the middle of 2003 and I’m into 2007. I started doing them for this website along with my friends at Rajah.com over two years ago and I want to pick them back up. Here’s the link to the 2003-2007 WWE PPV review section on the site.

– The Royal Rumble reviews are stopping for now. You can check them out in the Royal Rumble section with 2007 as the last one that I did. I will pick it up in January 2021 where I post the ones that I haven’t written and re-post others that I have done. They are in the Royal Rumble section here.

– I plan on reviving the WWF in 2000 reviews very soon. The last one was July 10, 2000, so I’m thinking I’ll wait until July and then post the reviews exactly 20 years to the day that the shows took place. I may go into 2001 too. We’ll see about that.

Anyway, I know a lot of you are stuck at home like I am and I just want to make you aware of what we have on the site in case you’re new here or maybe you don’t know where things are located. You can always ask me questions or search for it on Google and you might find it.

Thanks for reading. Be safe out there, my friends.