The month of March means we are officially in WrestleMania season. Several WrestleManias took place in March and it was known as a March PPV for a lot of years, but now it usually takes place in the first week of April, which is fine. What I’m here to do is start a column that I plan on doing every Friday from now until WrestleMania, which is 37 days away.
It’s a way to cover what we know about the WrestleMania lineup, what matches are rumored to take place and who might appear.
Before we get started looking at this years, I want to remind you that I have reviewed every WrestleMania in-depth and you can read them all here in our WrestleMania review section. In 2017, I also ranked the top 33 WrestleMania matches ever with columns telling the story of every match.
The Matches WWE Has Announced
There are two matches that WWE has announced for WrestleMania 35 on April 7 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. One of them is expected to happen while the other match is expected to change.
WWE Universal Championship:Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins
Rollins gets the Universal Championship match because he won the Royal Rumble and declared that he wants to face Lesnar. Rollins hasn’t been in a match since he won the Royal Rumble on January 27 due to a back injury. He’s expected to be fine for WrestleMania and is likely teaming up with Roman Reigns at Fastlane as we reported yesterday.
Brock Lesnar is on the usual schedule where he didn’t work at Elimination Chamber, he won’t be a part of Fastlane and he will be on TV a few times leading to WrestleMania.
Who wins? I think Rollins should, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen because WWE loves Lesnar holding that Universal Title. I’d rather see Rollins win it since he has yet to win the Universal Title and WWE needs to go all the way with him as one of the top faces on the Raw brand. With that said, now that Reigns is back in the mix, it wouldn’t shock me if WWE went back to Reigns as the champion soon. If it was up to me, I think the time is right for Rollins to hold that big red title.
Raw Women’s Championship:Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair (vs. Becky Lynch? Yeah!)
This match will be changed to Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch. That’s been the plan for two months now as we reported in early January.
This past week on Raw, Becky Lynch showed up and tried to attack Rousey, but it was broken up when Lynch was “arrested” as expected in WWE’s Stone Cold booking style. The triple threat match was teased on Raw when Ronda told Stephanie she wanted her to reinstate the suspended Lynch and add her to the match. Fans chanted “triple threat” probably because most of them know that’s the plan while others were just reacting to the promo. Ronda put the Raw Women’s Title down at Stephanie’s feet as if she was giving up the title, but it’s not official that she has forfeited the title.
On Smackdown, Charlotte Flair said that she’ll be on Raw and she wants to be crowned the Raw Women’s Champion. It would be a surprise if WWE just gave her the title. There is currently no Fastlane match scheduled for Rousey, Flair or Lynch.
I think this Monday’s Raw in Philadelphia will be the right time to announce the triple threat at WrestleMania. That crowd is going to be vocal and if they do a promo where Rousey says she’ll quit if Lynch isn’t in the match, that’s the way to officially set it up.
Who wins? Becky Lynch. I would be surprised if Lynch doesn’t win and she should beat Rousey to win too. If it was me, I would make it a different triple threat where it was elimination style. Give them 15-20 minutes, have Charlotte get eliminated about halfway through and then that leads to the Lynch/Rousey showdown with Lynch winning. It would be Ronda’s first loss in a match that wasn’t a tag team match.
On a final note about this match, this should be the main event of WrestleMania meaning the last match. The end of this seven hour show (counting the Kickoff Show) should see Becky Lynch holding that Raw Women’s Title in the air as the new champion.
Other Expected and/or Rumored Matches
Triple H vs. Batista
This match has been rumored since October when Batista made a comment about Triple H not beating him when they were on Smackdown’s 1000th episode. Triple H tore his pectoral muscle and had surgery a few weeks later, so the match was in doubt, but that doubt ended Monday on Raw. Batista showed up backstage, attacked Ric Flair before he could go to the ring for his birthday party and called out Triple H.
Batista is expected to be on Monday’s Raw as we reported earlier in the week. He’s not advertised right now, but I think it’s possible WWE may advertise him before the show. I think they’ll have Batista challenge Triple H to the WrestleMania match and Hunter will accept as payback for what Batista did to Flair.
This may be Batista’s retirement match without announcing it as such. At 50 years old and a movie career that keeps him busy, Batista has said many times he wanted to go out with a feud with Triple H. This is the year where that will happen. I also think it makes sense to put Batista in the WWE Hall of Fame next year as the top guy.
Who wins? It doesn’t matter that much. Hunter turns 50 years old later in 2019, so it’s two guys well past their prime that headlined WrestleMania against eachother at WrestleMania 21, which was 14 years ago. Batista won every match in their rivalry because Hunter was the more established guy. I think Hunter will get the win as the face, but it’s not a big deal either way. I’m sure they’ll get spectacular entrances while having a decent match around the three star level at best and they’ll probably practice the match because Batista has a lot of ring rust as well. I expect a post match hug as well.
WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston
The rumors for Daniel Bryan’s WrestleMania opponent have been running wild since the new year began. Who would it be? It appears it is Kofi Kingston now. Kingston was the replacement for the injured Mustafa Ali (he should be cleared any day now) going into Elimination Chamber, which saw Kingston go one hour in a Gauntlet Match where he pinned three guys including Bryan. At Elimination Chamber, Kingston and Bryan were the stars of the match with the fans solidly behind Kingston, but it was Bryan that held onto his title. Last week on Smackdown, Kingston pinned Bryan and was announced as Bryan’s challenger for the WWE Title at Fastlane.
At the start of this week’s Smackdown, Kingston was about to sign the contract for Fastlane when Vince McMahon announced that he was replaced by a returning Kevin Owens. That led to Owens pinning Bryan in a tag team match. It was the third straight week on Smackdown where Bryan was pinned since he was pinned by Kingston in the previous two weeks as I mentioned.
— ⚔️ KOFNAN the Barbarian ⚔️ (@TrueKofi) February 28, 2019
It’s not official by any means and we all know plans change all the time in WWE, but it appears as though Bryan vs. Kingston is the match for WrestleMania. I think that’s what they should do. I don’t expect a triple threat since the Raw Women’s Title is a triple threat. It would be dumb to do another triple threat.
Who wins? I would go with Kofi Kingston as the WWE Champion. Daniel Bryan is my favorite guy in WWE and I love his heel persona, but if Kingston were to become WWE Champion that would be a great story. Why not? At best, it won’t be bigger than the third biggest match on the show and most people would rank it fourth behind the Triple H/Batista match. It would still be a great moment for Kingston, who can become WWE Champion for the first time in his 11-year career.
AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton
This match is expected since they haven’t had a proper feud yet even though they have been two of the biggest names on Smackdown since the brand extension started in July 2016. They were both a part of the Elimination Chamber match last month with Orton pinning Styles with a RKO. Neither guy made it until the final two. This week on Smackdown, Styles was doing a promo saying maybe he hasn’t been at his best, but he’s focused. Randy Orton showed up and didn’t seem impressed by Styles while taking umbrage with AJ’s claim that Smackdown is his “house” as AJ likes to say. It’s possible they do the match at Fastlane, but I would save it for WrestleMania.
Who wins? The match makes sense as the fifth or sixth biggest match on the show just based on their status as former World Champions. I can see one or both men being moved to Raw in the Superstar Shakeup on April 15/16 as well, so that’s another reason to do it if they are on separate brands post WrestleMania. I would have Styles get the win.
The Miz vs. Shane McMahon
They are getting a Smackdown Tag Team Title rematch against The Usos at Fastlane next week where I expect them to lose the match. That loss should lead to one of them turning on the other and it makes the most sense for Miz to be the one that turns since he’s always been better in the heel role. If Miz throws a tantrum after they lose in his home town of Cleveland (where Fastlane is) then that can set up the WrestleMania match.
Who wins? Miz should. I know Shane is the face, but the nearly 50-year-old Shane-o-Mac should put over the younger guy.
Men’s Battle Royal– The annual battle royal will probably be on the Kickoff Show to utilize the remaining wrestlers that aren’t in a match. I’d like to see the winner be granted a title shot even if it’s the IC or US Title. Let’s give them a reward that’s better than a trophy.
Women’s Battle Royal– Same as above as a likely Kickoff Show match. It’s just a match to feature the remaining women in the company.
Cruiserweight Championship– Buddy Murphy, who has been Cruiserweight Champion for about five months, will face the winner of a tournament on 205 Live. This will probably be on the Kickoff Show.
Intercontinental Champion – Finn Balor
FINNtercontinental Champion pic.twitter.com/pOEGvOUuLY
— Finn Bálor (@FinnBalor) February 23, 2019
There’s no clear direction for Balor at WrestleMania with several heel options on the Raw brand. It could be somebody like Bobby Lashley, Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre or Elias. I think a multi-person Ladder Match is possible. My pick? A returning Sami Zayn, who could do well as a heel on the Raw brand. Plus, Balor vs. Zayn would be an amazing match.
United States Champion – R-Truth
Get the title off R-Truth because Andrade is sitting there on Smackdown ready to be a champion. Put the title on Andrade at Fastlane or soon after. Put Andrade against Rey Mysterio as the opening match of the WrestleMania main card. They have had multiple four-star matches (out of five) in the last few months. Let’s see them get 15 minutes on the biggest stage of them all and watch as they have one of the best matches of the year.
Smackdown Women’s Champion – Asuka
The rumor is that Lacey Evans might be her opponent, but it’s not a sure thing. Clearly, WWE has high hopes for Lacey since they put her on Raw and Smackdown and give her that superstar entrance. They have also kept her out of the ring aside from a good showing at the Royal Rumble.
Raw Tag Team Champions – The Revival
There are a lot of options here and I think WWE will want to get them on the card since they asked for their releases, which were not granted. They have about a year left on their deals. Find a spot on the WrestleMania card to keep them happy. I think Ricochet/Black would be a good team to face them. The Ciampa/Gargano may have issues. Is that a spoiler? Maybe.
Smackdown Tag Team Champions – The Usos
With The Usos rumored to have their contracts set to expire at some point in April or May (the specific date isn’t known), it’s likely that they will have a WrestleMania match as the Smackdown Tag Team Champions. I think a multi-team Ladder Match is a good idea since Smackdown has so many great teams other than the Usos. That group includes the New Day, The Bar, The Hardy Boyz (reunited once again), Sanity, Gallows/Anderson and more.
Women’s Tag Team Champions – Sasha Banks and Bayley
It would be a surprise if their titles were not defended at WrestleMania since they are the new champions for those titles that were just introduced last month. I think a 4-way tag team match with Mandy/Sonya, Peyton/Billie and Bliss/James would be interesting to see. No more Jax and Tamina, please. Another option is to have Trish Stratus and Lita return to face Banks/Bayley to put Banks/Bayley over, but I’m not sure if Trish and Lita will be a part of the show.
Big Names Without An Obvious Match Right Now
Roman Reigns– The Reigns return from last Monday means that he’ll obviously have a big role at WrestleMania. Against who? Nobody seems to know right now. I think a match against John Cena would be a good idea. Their last singles match at No Mercy 2017 was pretty good. Why not do it again on a bigger stage? I like that idea.
John Cena – The latest report in the Wrestling Observer says there’s likely going to be a Cena match. It was rumored months ago that it would be against Lars Sullivan, but he’s been out of action due to anxiety issues. I’m not sure if they would put him against another legend like Kurt Angle or against Reigns as I mentioned above. Putting Cena against a younger heel like Drew McIntyre could work too.
Kurt Angle– It is expected that Angle will have a retirement match at WrestleMania. Against who? We don’t know yet. Cena is a possibility due to their history, but again a younger guy on the roster that beats him and retires him could also work well.
The Undertaker– The current plan is no Undertaker match according to the Wrestling Observer. I don’t know if that means he’s retired or there just isn’t anything for him this year. We know he’s taking other bookings for appearances, so maybe he considers his in-ring career to be over. That could change, of course.
Braun Strowman – I think he’s been lost in the shuffle, which is a shame considering how over he has been with the fans in the last couple of years. If it’s a singles match, maybe it will be Drew McIntyre.
Dean Ambrose – It was reported months ago that Ambrose is leaving towards the end of April and WWE even issued a statement saying it was true. However, there’s always a chance that he could change his mind, especially with best friend Roman Reigns back in the locker room with him.
Bray Wyatt– He is rumored to be back very soon, so a match against any of the guys mentioned above is a possibility. It depends on if he’s a face or heel too.
Those are just some of the big names. If you go up and down the WWE roster, there are still guys like Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev, Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley Baron Corbin, Elias and the recent NXT call ups like Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Ricochet and Aleister Black. There are so many names and only so many spots.
The main thing I realized after writing this is how hard it is to forecast the entire card. The roster is so deep in WWE right now and there’s a long list of people that should be in featured matches, but it’s not easy to figure out who goes where. It’s going to be very difficult to find matches for everybody on a show with 14 matches (that’s how many matches last year’s WrestleMania had) or however many matches they decide to do over the course of seven hours at WrestleMania 35 on April 7th.
I think there are some potentially outstanding matches on this show. As long as the right matches get the time they deserve, this could be one of the better WrestleManias of this decade.
By the way, if WWE ever decided to make WrestleMania a two day event, I certainly wouldn’t complain about that. They would get more matches on the shows and it wouldn’t tire out the audience. I’m not saying they’ll ever do it. I just think it could be done.
Anyway, that’s where I’ll wrap it up. I’ll be back next Friday for another look at the WrestleMania card to see where things stand in one week’s time.