By Assane Drame
As one of the biggest sporting events of the year approaches, the WWE’s build for WrestleMania 31 has been admittedly below expectations in the opinion of this writer. Last year’s WrestleMania was different. The build towards it had gotten me exicited and the show itself was pretty good. Usually when a PPV has a good build the show tends to be good. However, many people are calling the buildup for this year’s show as the worst they’ve seen in a while. Hopefully a bad build up won’t translate into a mediocre show. Here are some of my predictions for the matches on the WM31 card.
Tag Team Fatal 4 way (Tag Team Titles): The defending Tag Team Champions Tyson Kidd & Cesaro face off against 4 others teams in The New Day, The Usos, & Los Matadores. I expect The Usos & Kidd/Cesaro to be a part of the final two with the Champs retaining in addition to Naomi & Natalya scrapping towards the end of the contest.
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal: Many thought Cesaro was going to be a breakout star following his win in this event last year but the WWE did not capitalize on the momentum. I think they will probably learn their lesson this time around. While I would like for Damien Mizdow to win this and add fuel to the fire in his feud with the Miz, I think that the WWE long term, would not give someone like him a decent push following the victory. With that said Sheamus is returning with a rumored heel run in the works. I’ll put my money on the Celtic Warrior.
Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton: This match is a little hard to predict. It seems too soon for Orton to gain redemption against Rollins let alone for this rivalry to end so soon. I’ll go with Rollins on this one but he won’t walk away with a clean win.
Divas Tag Team Match: I would prefer a fatal 4 waybetween the Bella Twins, Paige, & AJ with actual time for them wrestle while having the Divas Title up for grabs but this will have to do. The WWE have been doing a better job as of late in terms of giving Divas time in the ring so I expect this to be a solid match with AJ & Paige taking the dub.
John Cena vs Rusev (US Title): I really like Rusev. Himalong with Rollins, Ambrose, & Wyatt are the future (Jury is still out on Reigns). With that said, I believe even with him being on the grandest stage of ‘em all for the first time in his career against one of the all-time greats, he walks out of Levi Stadium still the U.S. Champion after withstanding the onslaught from the leader of Cenation.
Sting vs Triple H: We have two greats going toe to toe against each other. With one of the two men competing in his first WWE match. I’d be shocked if The Game didn’t take one for the team and put Sting over. By the way, the buildup for this match has been pretty good aside from the others.
Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker: A part of me wanted Undertaker’s streak to be intact so he could lose to Wyatt this year. That way, Wyatt would be catapulted into superstardom. He still will be by giving The Undertaker a 2 straight mania losing streak. Something that would’ve been unimaginable even 5 years ago. Not only will I think Wyatt will win but he will win handily.
Intercontinental Title Ladder match: With this match, I wouldn’t have minded the buildup if 1. Bad News Barret (who is the title holder) had looked stronger as champion 2. The wrestlers were not playing hot potato with the belt. Other than that, this match could steal the show with the talent being there. There is a case to be made for each competitor to win the belt. Since Daniel Bryan is not in the main event, it would be nice for him to win the belt to restore prestige to it. Ziggler, Ambrose, and even Stardust could be good options as well. Knowing the WWE and their booking these days, I expect Bad News Barrett to retain even with the way he has been booked throughout. The point is though, I think the WWE is trying to hit us with something unexpected and at this point many people don’t expect him to win.
Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns (WWE World Heavyweight Title): Defending champion Brock Lesnar is a heel yet he gets cheered. Roman Reigns is supposed to be a face yet he has been getting booed since winning the Royal Rumble back in January. For someone who is supposed to be the heir apparent to the Cena/Orton era the WWE have not booked him well. Brock Lesnar barley showing up does not help matters either (Paul Heyman however, has been magnificent in his role throughout). Brock will be around after WrestleMania as many found out recently so this match is unpredictable. The WWE is in a risky situation of having the fans going home unhappy by having Reigns win the belt. I predicted last year that Seth Rollins would cash in his money in the bank briefcase on Reigns or Lesnar in the final minutes of the show. I think it is possible and the crowd might even cheer if he cashes in on Reigns even though he is a heel too. I’m going to go with Reigns winning the belt and the fans having to deal with the outcome. The WWE seems like they really want Reigns to be the guy but I wouldn’t be surprised if Brock retains or say Seth cashes in.