Well, after all of the injuries and all of the bad booking decisions, we’re finally here. WrestleMania 32. Or, if you prefer, WrestleMania Star. If WWE isn’t going to put a number on it, then we have to specify which Mania this is somehow. Last year was WrestleMania Play Button, this year it’s WrestleMania Star. Next year is WrestleMania Sun. I don’t even know where to begin – on one hand, I’m looking forward to more matches on this Mania than last year’s, but on the other, there weren’t as many booking decisions on last year’s show that are nearly as puzzling as some of the ones on this show. I usually don’t go through the preshows in these, but for Mania, I must. And there’s three matches this time.
The Usos vs. The Dudley Boyz
If you were wondering back when the Dudleyz returned the night after SummerSlam if we were going to end up in some kind of triple threat tag team tlc match at Mania with maybe the Lucha Dragons and the New Day for the titles, I’m afraid to inform you that we were destined for Usos vs. Dudleyz. Case in point: listen to the episode of Talk is Jericho with the Dudleyz on it soon after their return in August and you’ll hear the Dudleyz mention a story about how they’d corresponded on Twitter before their return about wanting to have a match together. And once they returned, the Usos passed them in the arena and said “We’re about to have some fun.” So, we’ve reached their long awaited match on the WrestleMania pre-show. And god damn, this feels like it’s been dragging on for months. Starting this feud before Fast Lane was not a good idea. WWE has done nothing to repair my disinterest in the Usos since mid-2014 and the Dudleyz being all “no tables” is fine but I just don’t care. It’s a shame that the only team the Dudleyz are here to put over is the team no one’s really cared about after their feud with the Wyatts. (And didn’t lose to them.) Is there really any other option here besides #LOLUSOSWIN? I think not.
Prediction: The Usos
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale
This is still a match that’s happening. Again, I don’t really know why we’re honoring Andre the Giant every single year with this battle royal. And, we know what happened with Cesaro when he won it, and no one gave a single fuck about Big Show winning it last year, so what makes them think a third go around even matters? Especially when there’s so many people injured that there’s almost no one of relevance to put in this match. Especially when it’s cut down to 20 people because there are not enough people on the roster to fill it, as all of the injuries have made everyone else on the roster get a spot on this show in some fashion. And that being said, this is literally everyone else on the roster that doesn’t have a match yet – so, yes, this is the Participation Award Memorial Battle Royale. Should I want Tyler Breeze to win? Should I want Brawn Strowman to win? Bray Wyatt? Are the Wyatts even in this? Are the Wyatts doing anything on this show?? Someone from NXT? Using it to push someone they should be using anyway? Damien Sandow? It’s going to be Golden Truth isn’t it? ISN’T IT??
Prediction: WHO IS EVEN IN IT? I DON’T KNOW.
Team Paige (Paige, Natalya, Alicia Fox, Brie Bella, and Eva Marie) vs. Team Emma (Emma, Summer Rae, Naomi, Tamina, and Lana)
I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about this match. I’ve been wondering where Paige fit into WM for months now. It’s no secret I’m a huge Paige fan here, and even if I can admit that Sasha, Becky, and Asuka are arguably better than her, I will always root for her because SHE IS THE BEST I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU SAY LOL. She had the feud with Charlotte (which she should have won) after a longstanding feud with Nikki (which she should have won), then feel off the face of the Earth. The proper casting of her on Mania is a fourth in the title match with Charlotte, Becky, and Sasha. But for a long time it seemed like she wasn’t even going to be on the show. And then I heard there’d be a second women’s match on the show, so I assumed it’d just be a multi-woman match to get a few others on the show and that’s where we ended up. I didn’t expect it to be such a clusterfuck. When this Brie vs. Lana thing started the only reaction was WTF?? You’ve got a women’s match that’s going to be great but then you’re going to have Lesser Bella face off against a woman who has never had a televised match before in her life? We know Lana’s been training, but you can’t just give her a one on one match at Mania and expect anyone to care. And you’d be putting her up against Brie, who is a copy of her husband’s and sister’s moves and, while Nikki isn’t great by any means, Nikki is at least a serviceable heel and has a place in the division as much as I despise her and it makes me vomit when I write that. (Granted Nikki’s place is basically the bottom of the division – anyone below her should be weeded out.) But Brie is nowhere on that level. Then they decided to make it a tag match and they put Paige and Brie on the same team. So now if I root for Paige I’m rooting for a Bella Twin. A bitter pill to swallow but I guess I can do that. Thankfully Lesser Bella is also Easier to Like Bella in terms of personality so I can get over it. Then, they brought up Emma from NXT to add onto the heel side, which was cool in my book. Emma has been busting her ass in NXT ever since she returned there without getting nearly the credit she deserves – Bayley and Asuka get all of the credit (they deserve it), but Emma seems to be glossed over sometimes when it comes to “Look at all the amazing women from NXT!” A lot of that gets bestowed on the four horsewomen and now Asuka, when Paige and Emma were the ones who built that house for them to thrive in. (Alexa Bliss also deserves credit.) So it’s nice that she gets a spot on Mania even if it’s in a bogus, multiperson, meaningless match. So, who was going to be the fifth person on the face team? I was just assuming it’d somehow be Nikki because they needed a 5th, and who else would it be? I didn’t think her recovery would be going that quickly but I was assuming they could protect her easily enough considering it’s a 5 on 5 match. But no. And it’s not someone, like, say, Bayley – not that I’d want her to debut in something so dumb – it’s Eva Marie. Eva Fucking Marie. And really, if you don’t understand how dumb that is without explanation I can’t help you. But for what it’s worth, ROMAN REIGNS IS MORE OVER THAN SHE IS. HER HEAT IS BEYOND NUCLEAR. SHE’S A HEEL ON NXT. SHE’S A HEEL NO MATTER WHAT WWE DOES WITH HER BECAUSE SHE WILL NEVER, EVER BE CHEERED. AND WWE THOUGHT SHE WAS GOING TO GET A POSITIVE CROWD REACTION BECAUSE SHE WAS ON THE MAIN ROSTER. IN BROOKLYN. IN ONE OF THE SMARKIER CITIES THEY GO TO – MAYBE EVEN THE SMARKIEST. THEY MAY HAVE OVERTAKEN CHICAGO, DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I AM SAYING TO YOU RIGHT NOW? (OR DO I NEED TO DRAW IT IN CRAYON LIKE USUAL?) YOU ARE STUPID. LIKE, LITERALLY, FIRE EVERYONE. YOU ARE SO BEYOND DELUSIONAL. AND NOW YOU I’M SUPPOSED TO CHEER PAIGE WHILE SHE’S ON A TEAM WITH BRIE AND EVA?? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? NO! NO NO NO! FUCK YOU, FUCK THIS MATCH, AND FUCK YOUR ENTIRE WRESTLEMANIA!
Go Team Emma. (AND IF I DON’T GET TO SEE PAIGE’S FULL ENTRANCE THEN FUCK YOU AGAIN! AND EMMA’S!)
Prediction: Team Emma
HEY WE’VE JUST NOW MADE THE REAL SHOW GUYS! AND I’VE ALREADY REACHED ALL CAPS RAGE! WOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!!!
Edit: PSYCH! This just in, the following match is also on the preshow! We have four preshow matches guys! YAY!!!
Edit Edit: DOUBLE PSYCH! The battle royale is now on the main show because reasons!
WWE U.S. Championship
Kalisto (c) vs. Ryback
In a vacuum, there’s nothing wrong with this match. Kalisto is great, and while I don’t like Ryback (He is a garbage human), the two of them had a pretty good match back in November. So I don’t mind the concept of a Kalisto vs. Ryback match. It’s just that Kalisto’s title reign has been insignificant because of their booking, and Ryback just turned heel, and frankly very few have cared about him in quite some time. And quite frankly, this i the match that should be a seven man ladder match, and the IC Title match should just be Owens vs. Zayn. But here we are. I doubt this will be that long – I expect Kalisto to retain.
Handicap Match for the WWE World Tag Team Championship
(c) The New Day (c) vs. The League of Nations
So the best thing you can come up with for the New Day, the hottest thing on your show, at WrestleMania is the League of Nations? The New Day were heels six weeks ago, and you decide the proper opponents for them are the also heel, bland, stereotypical not American stable? LOL. You have SAWFT sitting around this weekend doing nothing – not on Takeover and they aren’t on Mania – and you decide the League of Nations is the best option for this match….I don’t know what to say to you. I want to feel safe in saying that New Day will retain which is the smart thing for them to do, but this is WWE, so I don’t know. Please let them retain and have SAWFT or Blake and Murphy debut on Raw.
Prediction: The New Day
EDIT: Apparently this handicap match is NOT for the titles, which is even sillier.
Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz vs. Stardust vs. Sin Cara vs. Zack Ryder
So, the first main issue is that this isn’t just Owens vs. Zayn. The whole show could use a boost from having one more big match on it, and KO vs. SZ could have been that. It’s one big match off from being one I can consider this to be a show I’m looking forward to for real. Make KO vs. SZ and then put the rest in a ladder match with Kalisto and Ryback for the U.S. title. Why not? That would make more sense too, considering where both belts are. The U.S. Title is kind of nothing right now (which is sad considering where Cena got it to) and the IC title is in a good place – so have a big match for the IC title and have a big multiperson ladder match for the lesser belt. It benefits everyone. Half of the people in this match don’t even belong. They weren’t even involved in this until a week ago. Stardust, well I’m just happy he’s on the card. Sin Cara is just here because Kalisto is a solo champ, but a U.S. title ladder match with him involved at least would have that story going in. Dolph is literally going nowhere – in the same match as a challenger too. The Miz is just kind of around. Zack Ryder – look how many people had to get injured for him to get in a real Mania match – he wouldn’t be here if Neville hadn’t gotten hurt. (For what it’s worth, they made it a thing that Ryder has never had his music played at Mania and I kind of hope he still doesn’t for no reason.) There’s only two logical winners here and it’s Owens or Zayn, and I think Owens retaining is the best and only real choice.
Prediction: Kevin Owens
A.J. Styles vs. Chris Jericho
Again, nothing wrong with this in a vacuum. Both of them are great. But we’ve seen three matches between them in the past few months and there isn’t a stipulation. That’s not to say it won’t be great – I’m sure it will be, especially now that Jericho’s finally heel – but there were other potential options. For the love of God, let Styles hit the Clash and win.
Prediction: A.J. Styles
Triple Threat Match for the WWE Second Rate Women’s Championship
Charlotte (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch
Oh I’m so happy that WWE stumbled into the proper WrestleMania women’s match and that they’re totally going to pretend that they originally planned to have the three NXT women they brought up in the “Divas Revolution” face each other at Mania for the title. I’m sure this match wasn’t supposed to involve a Bella at all. Totally. I really do. Serendipity. (#IsMyStripperName. Cool people got that reference.) Anyways, snark aside, this is the match I’m most looking forward to on Mania. You may have thought I was crazy when A.J. and Paige vs. the Bellas last year was one of the matches I was most looking forward to since A.J. and Paige putting the Bellas in their proper place is always a good thing. But, all things considered, this is the easiest story to get behind going into Mania – simple storylines, maybe, but it’s the top of the division going for the title on the biggest show. And it had better get time. And I mean it had better get fifteen minutes. If this isn’t the best women’s match at Mania this side of Trish vs. Mickie then somebody fucked up and it’s not the three in the match. As far as the winner goes, I’m happy with anyone but Charlotte. Sasha is the best but Becky is too good to keep getting overlooked, so I think I’m rooting for Becky no matter how much I love Sasha. But, there are two faces and one heel – do I have to go with basic triple threat logic that the person of the minority alignment wins? If so, Charlotte would win. ARGH. This is the hardest match to pick a winner, in all honesty.
Prediction: Sasha Banks
Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar
Well, we’ve finally reached the main events, and this is easily the one I’m most looking forward to. Ambrose and Lesnar in a Street Fight – doesn’t get much better than that. (It could be an I Quit match but meh.) I know it was supposed to be Brock vs. Bray but honestly I prefer this. Bray’s credibility is eh and he would just get killed at his third straight Mania. He could end up interfering in this, though. Regardless, I hope this match is insane. And maybe I’m in the minority, but I hope Ambrose wins. As big of a monster as Lesnar is, I’m not the biggest fan of his in the world. He’s a big part of the show and rightfully so, but Ambrose is my number #1 guy on the main roster right now so excuse me while I root for him. Even if him losing is a better idea. I DON’T CARE. LOL. And honestly, he could quite possibly win. Especially if this ends up main eventing over Reigns and HHH. I doubt that will happen, but if it does, I would expect Ambrose to win.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar
Hell in a Cell Match
Shane McMahon vs. Undertaker
Welcome to the biggest shitload of fuck on this card. No matter what I do, I can’t wrap my head around this. Okay, so I get it – this was supposed to be Cena vs. Taker but Cena’s hurt. The feud might be a little different – I don’t know if it’d be for control of Raw or anything – but it’s obvious this was supposed to be Cena vs. Taker. So, Cena’s out, and the first thing that comes to mind as an opponent if Shane McMahon? Shane McMahon, the nonwrestler, known for his ridiculous stunts back in the attitude era? Shane McMahon, the son of Vince, who hasn’t even been in the company since 2009 up until 6 weeks ago? Shane McMahon, someone who is over 40, and is clearly going to do some ridiculous dives in this match and probably injure himself in the process? (You don’t have, I don’t know, Finn Balor and his demon paint waiting in tow for a match with Taker? Why not?) Shane McMahon, 46, vs. Undertaker, 51. Inside Hell in a Cell. One of the main events of WM. And sure, Shane is fighting for control of Raw – to change things – something we as fans want. So we’re rooting for Shane. But we love the Undertaker – he’s the fucking Undertaker. So we want Taker to win. He’s a face. And his career is on the line. We don’t want him to retire. So we want Taker to win. And we want Shane to win. Also, Shane taking control of Raw doesn’t change anything – it’s a storyline, it doesn’t change the people who ACTUALLY WRITE THIS SHIT. Those people will remain the same. So some things will look different, but it’s still the same shit. It’s so nice that WWE is so self aware of their problems that people want them to change a lot of things but they won’t actually do anything to fix their product. And the whole Taker retiring thing – that’s a rule Vince made up. And if Shane takes control, he can just tell Taker the next night that that decision is overturned. It’s happened all the time. How fired was Cena after he lost the title to Punk at MITB? So, maybe Taker’s in on this with Shane? Otherwise, who interferes to help Shane? Because I don’t see any other winner but Shane, otherwise why do the angle?
Prediction: Shane McMahon
WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Triple H (c) vs. Roman Reigns
Everything that was thrown at Roman Reigns last year about his character and mic work and overness still applies a year later, only now he’s won the title twice, and we’re still here at the main event at Mania with him on the precipice of becoming a three time champion. Snore. They could have done HHH vs. Ambrose, which everyone would have loved. They had an opportunity at Roadblock to shake things up and have Ambrose win the belt, and mix this with the Ambrose/Lesnar match for a Fatal 4 Way. It’s way more interesting than this. They had to keep Reigns off of several shows leading to Mania just so they wouldn’t boo him, to no avail. Well, you make your bed, you’re going to lie in it, WWE.
Prediction: Roman Reigns
Well, there you have it. WrestleMania 32. This Sunday. Review of it after the show. Again, looking more forward to this than I was WrestleMania 31, but let’s be honest, the real WrestleMania is NXT Takeover Dallas on Friday night.
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