It’s the Ultimate Thrill Ride… of predictions! If you’re the best at predicting what goes down during WrestleMania, you’ll get a shoutout and choice of song on an upcoming Cheap Popcast. Read Dave, Brett, and Grimm’s picks, and then make your own!
It’s finally here; WrestleMania! We’re excited as heck for WWE’s biggest show of the year with videos and articles aplenty, but the real sign that a big WWE show is imminent is our predictions contests, where you can read what LT’s rasslin experts think of the upcoming event and make your own voice known. To get hyped, we also streamed WrestleMania 33’s biggest matches with WWE 2K17, and you can check out the proceedings below!
Anywho, here’s how the contest goes. your Laser Time pals will make picks in this here article, and then open up the replies to you awesome listeners. You will then pick a winner (or if you’re feeling frisky, a rare draw/no contest) for each match (don’t worry about getting the finish right, I’m just looking for winners, if any), and then, just in case there’s a tie for correct predictions, pick a running time for the final match listed (the presumed main event) as a tiebreaker.
If you have the most correct predictions, you can make your mark on the next Cheap Popcast episode (exclusive to Patreon) by choosing a theme to close a segment. Pick the wrestler theme and include a YouTube URL to a wrestler’s theme alongside your predictions (including the running time of the Universal Championship match) and I’ll give you a shout-out on the next Patreon popcast. Got it? Good. Now, onto each LaserTimer’s predictions!
1 – Kickoff Match – Cruiserweight Champion Neville vs Austin Aries
I’m a little sad that the Cruiserweight Title isn’t a multi-man match or even just a lumberjack match so that other Cruisers like The Brian Kendrick, Rich Swann, Akira Tozawa, and ESPECIALLY Jack Gallagher can make WrestleMania appearances, but I can’t complain about Neville getting a ‘Mania title defense after a pre-WrestleMania injury last year. While Austin Aries has had a good build, Neville is still the division’s biggest name and needs a few more defenses to sell his “King of the Cruiserweights” gimmick before someone like Hideo Itami unseats The Man That Gravity Forgot.
2 – Kickoff Match – Smackdown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss vs Carmella vs Natalya vs Becky Lynch vs Mickie James vs Naomi
I’m thinking the Kickoff show starts with some heelish lows before hitting the ultimate face underdog high, and having Naomi lose IN HER HOMETOWN AT WRESTLEMANIA AFTER COMING BACK FROM INJURY seems to fit the bill quite well. Smackdown’s women’s ranks have also benefitted from fewer title changes, so I say Alexa re-asserts some dominance before losing the belt in a month or two.
PICK: Alexa Bliss
3 – Kickoff Match – Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (announced participants: Mojo Rawley, Apollo Crews, Big Show, Curt Hawkins, Braun Strowman, Goldust, R-Truth, Primo, Epico, Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas, Jinder Mahal, Sami Zayn, Fandango, Tyler Breeze, Dolph Ziggler, Rhyno, Heath Slater, Jason Jordan, Chad Gable, Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso, Mark Henry, Sin Cara, Titus O’Neil, Konnor, Victor, Aiden English, Simon Gotch)
Sami Zayn getting relegated to the ATGMBR is a bit sad when compared to his blood rival’s much bigger build, but I think Zayn’s extra hurdle to qualify for the battle royal already gives him more character motivation. It’s a shame we’re not getting Shaq-Big Show, but we don’t need a repeat winner, and I think Braun getting sneakily eliminated to end the match is a good capper to Strowman’s beef with Zayn. Plus, we’ve had two straight years of big men winning the Andre trophy… can’t we get a small dude to win once?
PICK: Sami Zayn
4 – Raw Tag Team Champions The Club vs Enzo & Big Cass vs Sheamus & Cesaro (Triple Threat Ladder Match)
WrestleMania is big on delayed gratification, and The Realest Guys In The Room have spent their entire careers falling *just* short of winning tag titles of any variety. After Zack Ryder’s underdog win did gangbusters to open up WrestleMania 32, I think we get a similar scenario where Enzo finally backs up his big mouth and pulls down the belts to kick off WrestleMania 33 proper.
PICK: Enzo & Cass
5 – Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose vs Baron Corbin
Dean, your career progress… woof. While his Shield mates Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns are facing two of the biggest names in wrestling history, Ambrose is defending a B-tier belt against a guy who debuted on the main roster just one year ago. Ambrose is ghosting the IC belt the same way he did the US belt back in the day, so I don’t think keeping the strap on a guy who has no use for it makes any sense. While a part of me thinks Ambrose breaks through his WrestleMania singles futility (powerbombed out of 31 and a sub-par loss to Brock at 32), I’m of the mindset that Corbin needs a win more than Ambrose, so Baron’s streak begins with a title win here.
PICK: Baron Corbin
6 – John Cena & Nikki Bella vs The Miz & Maryse (Mixed Tag Match)
Even though Cena has become a much more giving performer over the last three or four years, Cena’s WrestleMania 27 loss to the Miz probably still sticks in the dude’s craw. He got his loss to The Rock avenged the next year, and even though it didn’t happen at WrestleMania, Cena’s beat Orton so much elsewhere that his other major loss has been canceled out. While I do think The Miz has a big 2017 ahead, I’d be gobsmacked if Cena goes two down against The Miz at WrestleMania.
PICK: Cena & Nikki
7 – United States Champion Chris Jericho vs Kevin Owens
While Jericho is on the way out, I’m predicting bigger things for KOMania 2. Part of that is Jericho pulling out a surprise win at ‘Mania, followed by a KO beatdown and more activities for Owens at WrestleMania 33.
8 – Shane McMahon vs AJ Styles
Winning doesn’t really matter for Shane McMahon, especially at WrestleMania. If Shane defies death or falls from a great height, he’s already won. To that end, AJ Styles should get a WrestleMania win to make up for last year, and he can hopefully win at what is usually a big man’s game; making a brawl with Shane look good.
PICK: AJ Styles
9 – Raw Women’s Champion Bayley vs Charlotte vs Sasha Banks vs Nia Jax (Elimination Match)
This is a tough one, as I can easily picture any of the four winning the strap at ‘Mania. I’ll discount Charlotte since she won the first-ever Women’s Championship match at ‘Mania last year (though maybe she’ll start a WrestleMania streak to rival her previous PPV streak). Nia is getting better all the time, but isn’t quite ready to be Raw’s top lady (though she’s got the element of surprise on her side). Nobody’s worked harder in the Women’s division than Sasha Banks, so this would be the proper culmination of her rise (though a loss would be a good impetus for a heel turn). I don’t see a lot of face-friendly endings in the other title matches going forward, so I say Bayley takes this one, last eliminating Sasha (though you can see how wishy-washy I am here).
10 – Seth Rollins vs Triple H (Non-sanctioned Match)
Hmm, another toughie. Triple H has been on a win-one lose-one pattern since 2012 (lost to Taker at 28, beat Brock at 29, lost to Bryan at 30, beat Sting at 31, lost to Roman 32) so simple math says Triple H goes over this time. Plus, if you’re going to transition Rollins into a feud with a full-timer like Samoa Joe, Kevin Owens, or Finn Balor, it would help to have said rival cost Seth his chance at redemption. Plus, like Naomi, Seth already wins a moral victory for coming back so quickly to make WrestleMania.
PICK: Triple H
11 – The Undertaker vs Roman Reigns
I know it’s weird to think that Undertaker winning is a surprise pick of the night, but I think you can have your desired outcome for Roman Reigns regarless if he wins or loses. A gutsy effort and handshake works in making him a face, while a post-match attack can push him into heel territory (whereas a win only makes people hate Reigns). I think we’re due a Shield reunion soon after we get the post-Mania roster shifts, and I think a good impetus for that is all three members losing at WrestleMania. Plus, there’s no way ‘Taker calls it a career until he takes on John Cena at WrestleMania.
PICK: The Undertaker
12 – WWE Champion Bray Wyatt vs Randy Orton
If there’s anyone on the entire WrestleMania card who deserves (and desperately needs) a WrestleMania win, it’s Bray Wyatt. After losing to Cena and Taker in back-to-back years before getting clowned on by The Rock last year, Wyatt needs to nip his anti-streak in the bud, and Randy Orton is one of the most teflon performers in the company who can easily take a loss and still look strong. Plus, Bray’s first singles title in nearly five years shouldn’t be a one-month dud… I say Wyatt keeps the belt for another month or two at least. Hopefully we get a Sister Abigail reversed into an RKO in the process!
PICK: Bray Wyatt
13 – Universal Champion Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar
I’m still pretty cheesed that Brock Lesnar’s first clean loss after breaking The Undertaker’s streak was to put over a 50-year-old part timer. Their subsequent meetings haven’t really helped make this match seem like it’ll be any more exciting than their roundly-dismissed WrestleMania 20 match, but hopefully a belt on the line, a main event slot, and the knowledge that at least one of the competitors will be back in the future helps make this match matter a bit more and will motivate the talent involved. I still say it’s short, slightly sweet, and it ends with Brock finally looking good after months of futility against Goldberg. That said, I’ve been calling it for weeks and the only way to avoid the Universal title from becoming the WWE Title circa 2014 is by immediately transitioning the belt to a full-timer, so I say Kevin Owens calls in his rematch right after Brock’s win and steals Raw’s biggest prize a la Seth Rollins in 2015.
PICK: Brock Lesnar
RUNNING TIME: 11 minutes
Up next… Brett’s picks!