Looking Ahead at WrestleMania 32


Don’t let The Undertaker’s #33 jersey fool you. This Sunday, the 32nd-annual WWE spectacle will take place, for the first time ever, at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas. Many Dallas Cowboys fans know this as “Jerry World”, but wrestling fans around the world will know it as “Vince’s World”, or pending on the outcome of a certain match, “Shane’s World”.

I preview each match scheduled for this Sunday’s, as well as give you my thoughts on each one. This is the ideal article to read if you’ve missed out on the product in the last few months.

 

WM32 Usos Dudleyz The Usos versus The Dudley Boyz

There are a couple reasons I chose this to begin with. First of all, this match is slated to be on the Kickoff show, which can be streamed freely on Sunday afternoon on WWE.com, Facebook, YouTube, and several other places. Secondly, pro wrestling back in the 1990’s was huge, and many of you might recognize the two guys from Dudleyville. They recently returned and will be competing in their fifth WrestleMania in their sixth appearance at the big stage. A fact known to little, is the Dudley Boyz have never won at WrestleMania, and are an imperfect 0-for-4 at this event. The Usos, the sons of WWE Hall of Famer Rikishi, hold only a 1-2 record themselves. The Usos are two-time tag team champions and have been one of the more exciting tag teams over the past number of years as they struggled to climb the ladder of success.

These teams are competing without a shot to walk out as tag team champions, but it says something for them to have a match even when nothing’s at stake. This rivalry began when The Dudley Boyz, who had returned as fan-favorites, turned on the fans and The Usos while putting them through tables. Now, they meet at WrestleMania.

My prediction is The Usos overtake The Dudley Boyz. As great as it would be for The Dudley Boyz to win at WrestleMania for the first time, they’ve come back to try giving depth at the tag team division and put some of the younger tag teams over, which is exactly what they’ll do for The Usos.

 

WM32 Divas Tag The Total Divas (Paige, Natalya, Alicia Fox, Eva Marie, Brie Bella) versus Team BAD+Blonde (Summer Rae, Tamina Snuka, Emma, Naomi, Lana)

So this ten-divas tag match will likely be on the Kickoff show, and to be honest, serves no actual purpose other than to promote Total Divas, the WWE’s reality drama on E!. I listed the divas from the top to the bottom, and I’ll try my best to help you understand what you’d need to if you decide to watch this match. The best two workers are the first pictured, Paige and Natalya. If called upon, they could produce a 15-20 minute match for the title and steal the show by themselves. Then there’s the red-headed Eva Marie, and on the opposite end of the graphic, is Lana. Those two have minimal to no experience in the ring, no talent, and is only on the program because of their appearance. Eva Marie is the star of Total Divas and wrestles down in NXT, yet she might be the worst diva to ever grace the ring in the 21st Century, if not in the entire history of WWE. Lana is this generation’s Sable, if you remember Sable with Marc Mero back in the Attitude Era. Lana has been managing now-fiancee Rusev and shows off a fake Russian accent, while the fans have been chanting “We want Lana”, and now, they’ll get her in a small capacity. Then the rest of the divas are somewhere in that mid-range of talent, or they may not be given much of a chance to display their in-ring skills.

I want you to look at Brie Bella, pictured next to ‘Red’ Eva Marie. Brie Bella is the wife to recently retired Daniel Bryan, and there is a rumor going around that she’ll be retiring this upcoming Monday on Raw because of a turn for the worse with Daniel Bryan’s health. Brie Bella will likely wrestle her final match in the WWE in Dallas, and go home to take care of her husband and potentially start a family in the near future. Despite having Paige and Natalya as the better in-ring workers, I expect this to be a swan song for Brie and for her to get most of the attention.

I don’t see a result other than The Total Divas reigning supreme, with Brie Bella making Lana tap out to her husband’s Yes Lock. It’s the perfect ending to Brie Bella’s career and she’ll put out a rivalry that’s been brewing for the last couple months between her and Lana. Again, this isn’t a significant match, other than to promote Total Divas and give Brie Bella her one final match.

 

WM32 US Title United States Champion Kalisto versus Ryback

As of this moment, anything can change, but at this time the United States Championship will be defended on the two-hour Kickoff as well. Now this match is a lower-card status, with two copycats to the old 1990 wrestlers. The reigning and defending Kalisto is much like your modern day Rey Mysterio. Kalisto is exciting to watch, upholds the lucha libre heritage, and is your masked good fella. On the other hand, don’t chant “Gooooldberg” to Da Big Guy, or he’ll get mad. Ryback, the challenger, has been compared to Goldberg since being repackaged as “Ryback” where he wrestled one, two, three jobbers a match for the first few months, as well as shooting up to the world title scene as quickly as he did, though he never won it from then-champion CM Punk. Ryback has recently turned heel and he’s used his unparalleled humor to hop on the hate from internet wrestling fans, changing his attire to match Goldberg’s.

There’s not much that can be said about how this match came about, other than them needing an United States Championship contest, and with the vast amount of injuries, it’s pushed solid mid-carders up the card while we’re left with Ryback. Personally, I feel the United States Championship has fallen off the map in 2016. Last year, the undefeated Rusev came in as United States Champion and lost it to John Cena, where Cena then began an “open challenge” so he could defend the United States Championship nearly every Monday Night Raw episode. We were sure to tune in as wrestling fans, knowing we’d get a four-star match at the least, and being so anxious to see if someone new from NXT would answer the call. Now? Now the United States Championship is barely getting any recognition, and it’s almost an afterthought unless the title changes hands.

I could see either of these two winning this match, but it’s more likely to me that Kalisto retains the United States Championship while Ryback falls short – shorter than Kalisto. Expect some rage out of Ryback on Raw the next night, and it might just be as boring as this match.

 

Andre the GiantAndre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Many of you will recognize the name of the late, and certainly great, Andre the Giant. Andre the Giant passed in 1993 at the age of 46 and his legacy has been immortalized by the WWE forever. The WWE not only gave Andre the Giant this battle royal, but they also opened the WWE Hall of Fame after his death, allowing Andre the Giant to be the inaugural WWE Hall of Fame inductee. This was back in 1993 after his passing, and this opened the door to so many others being honored for their careers. Now, the WWE is capping off an Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Some of the Attitude Era names confirmed to be competing in the third-annual battle royal are Kane, Mark Henry, Goldust, and last year’s winner the Big Show.

This battle royal, unfortunately, has proven to be meaningless in its first two years. Past winners Cesaro and Big Show have benefited little to nothing from winning it, other than a nice WrestleMania moment. I wish there’d be a little more emphasis on what the winner would get, like a choice between the United States or the Intercontinental Championship match at the next Pay-Per-View. If they were to make winning this battle royal mean something more than just one night, despite how honorable it must be to win this battle royal for Andre’s legacy, I think people would be much more interested in it. Grant it, they have reportedly moved this from the Kickoff to the main 4-hour event, which is a step up.

Not all twenty participants have been announced just yet, but my favorite is Tyler Breeze. Many like Braun Strowman, who is not confirmed for the match, as the favorite but not myself. Ever since Tyler Breeze was called up to the main roster, he’s been an afterthought, and his talent displayed down at NXT should not be wasted at the WWE level. Even if he falls into obscurity, Breeze deserves to win the battle royal, see how fans react, and take his career from there.

 

WM32 Handicap The New Day (Xavier Woods, Big E, Kofi Kingston) versus The League of Nations (Bad News Barrett, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Rusev)

Instead of having a match at WrestleMania for the tag team championships, we’ll be having a 3-on-4 handicap match involving the tag team champions and the only force who has the numbers to stop The New Day’s fun and games, the League of Nations. Beginning with the League of Nations, they were a group assembled back in December when Sheamus was the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Barrett, Del Rio, and Rusev would all aid Sheamus in times of crisis, when Sheamus would announce the odd assistance by the others and announce the League of Nations, which included then United States Champion, Alberto Del Rio. The idea of these foreign talents uniting has been to win championships, while they’ve turned their attention to The New Day’s gold, each combination of the four has failed so far. The reigning WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day are perhaps the biggest draw in sports entertainment today. The trio of Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods began when each of their solo careers were in the drain, and Xavier Woods had the idea to team up and finally got Vince McMahon to grant permission. Seeming as if they’d job into the unemployment line, The New Day won over the fans and became tag team champions, getting crowds loud and riled up from their entrance. The New Day has come up with hilarious catchphrases, legendary rants, and unseen merchandise that has the fans wanting more positive power.

Personally, the WWE has an excuse for a lot of the card due to injuries, but they have no excuse in dropping the ball with this one. The Usos and The Dudley Boyz are wrestling on the preshow, when they could’ve had a triple threat TLC match for the titles on the main show, while pushing The League of Nations off into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Instead, they have this 4-on-3 handicap match where the titles aren’t even being defended. Not to mention, the Fabulous Freebirds go into the Hall of Fame this weekend. The Fabulous Freebirds are notorious for the “Freebird” rule in which any combination could defend the titles, which The New Day has also done in the past. Why do you give up something neat enough, to where The New Day emphasize the Freebird rule? This was a one time sell-point, and this too, WWE completely missed. I’m extremely disappointed in this decision by creative, and hopefully they realize that afterwards, but by then it’ll be too late.

Though The New Day should win this match, I don’t see them considering this match is no longer for the WWE Tag Team Championships. My prediction is that The League of Nations win, Sheamus likely Brogue Kicks Xavier Woods, while the League of Nations get a third title match of 2016 the following night on Raw.

 

WM32 Y2AJ AJ Styles versus Chris Jericho

Many of the older generation of wrestling fans who watched through the Attitude Era and into the Ruthless Aggression phase, you should be quite familiar to the name ‘Chris Jericho’. Despite various hairstyles, you recognize him based on his wrestling credentials. I shouldn’t inform you much about Chris Jericho’s decorated WWE career, but what he’s done lately. Chris Jericho has been an off-and-on wrestler since 2007, and really he’s been a part-time performer since 2011. Jericho set aside his music career with Fozzy to come back to WWE when injuries were piling up in December, and he’s had an on-going rivalry with his WrestleMania opponent, one who made his WWE debut at the Royal Rumble, AJ Styles. AJ Styles is a world-renown competitor, though debuting in 1998, he made his mark in TNA Wrestling before going global to New Japan Pro-Wrestling. AJ Styles finally came to the one place he’s yet to conquer, World Wrestling Entertainment, and with the big time money, he bypassed NXT and went straight to the main roster. Jim Ross says the biggest mistake was WWE not doing anything they could to sign AJ Styles back in 2002, but now, we finally get to see Styles compete at WrestleMania.

Despite these two names being bigger than WrestleMania itself, the rivalry has been long overplayed. After the Royal Rumble, AJ Styles would wrestle Chris Jericho to earn his respect, and they would team up for a short few weeks and fail to defeat The New Day, where then Jericho would turn heel and beat up AJ Styles. Now, we get another match between these two competitors. If you haven’t watched these two go at it yet, you’ll enjoy this match, but for me it’ll be another match I feel WWE could’ve booked better.

The obvious bet is on AJ Styles, as the WWE spent all this money to lure AJ Styles away from Japan, I doubt they allow AJ Styles to lose his first WrestleMania to a future Hall of Famer.

 

WM32 IC Title Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Zack Ryder versus Stardust versus Dolph Ziggler versus Kevin Owens(c) versus Sami Zayn versus Sin Cara versus The Miz

With the men listed from left to right, centering with champion Kevin Owens, I should let you know who these men are. Zack Ryder has accomplished more on the internet by his following rather than in the ring, where he’s not had much of a singles career, after splitting from a tag team with Curt Hawkins where the two had long hair like Edge. Stardust, formerly known as Cody Rhodes, denies he used to be Cody Rhodes and is Cody’s childhood dream character. Dolph Ziggler is a former Intercontinental Champion, a former world champion and people are waiting for him to grab the brass ring and get back to the main event level. Champion Kevin Owens in his main roster debut last year defeated John Cena on Pay-Per-View, and the two would go on to have two other classics. Sami Zayn is Kevin’s fiercest rival, not only from NXT, but from the independent scene and Sami Zayn will be two days removed from a 5-star match with Shinsuke Nakamura. Sin Cara is one-half of the Lucha Dragons and his tag team partner is Kalisto, the current United States Champion, and Cara has never held a championship in his career. The Miz, like Ziggler, is a former Intercontinental and world champion, while you may recognize him from reality television or his movie career.

Kevin Owens, known as “The Prizefighter”, is in his second Intercontinental Championship run and he went to Stephanie McMahon after Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, and The Miz had all asked Owens for a title shot, in which Kevin Owens was granted permission to make a triple threat match to determine his #1 contender – but placed Stardust, Sin Cara, and Zack Ryder in the triple threat instead. Stephanie would then punish Owens for his sneaky behavior to make him defend the title against all six men, but also put the title on the line in a ladder match. So putting Owens in a seven-man ladder match, he could either escape with the title, or more than likely, he could lose the belt. Either way, multi-man ladder matches are must-sees because they are incredibly entertaining.

My prediction is going to be Kevin Owens, with it being said that I could see anyone having a chance this match. I think the reasons for everyone cancel each other out, and though I wish I could’ve seen a singles match between Owens/Zayn or Owens/Styles, this ladder match will do the trick.

 

WM32 Divas Title Divas Champion Charlotte(c) versus Sasha Banks versus Becky Lynch

The Divas Revolution that began last summer commences in a triple threat between three of the best competitors, of both male and female, to ever grace a NXT ring. We have the reigning and defending champion Charlotte, the daughter to “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Charlotte has held the Divas Championship since September and has the fifth-longest reign of the belt since it debuted in 2008. Charlotte defends against Sasha Banks, a cousin to Snoop Dogg. Sasha Banks, like Charlotte, held the NXT Women’s Championship, but unlike her, has yet to hold the WWE Divas Championship. Then you have Becky Lynch, the Irish woman with the orange hair, who has never held gold in her WWE career, but she aims to this Sunday. Basically, what you really need to know if you’re new, is all three of these women can go. They’ve had battles in NXT that are better than a lot of the stuff we’ve seen from divas in the past decade. This match is a wildcard to steal the show at WrestleMania.

While this has the potential to be one of the best matches on Sunday night, I can only hope they get enough time to do so. Anywhere from 15-20 minutes, which is three-times what they normally get, would suffice in them being able to put on a solid match. This is honestly a fan’s dream match at WrestleMania, and I’m so glad we get to see these three duke it out once more.

My prediction for this match is for Charlotte to retain her Divas Championship, though I could see either diva winning it. My guess is if Charlotte does lose her title after holding it for such a long time, she won’t be in the deciding fall and will get her rematch very soon. However, I don’t see Charlotte dropping the title until Nikki Bella returns to the ring and we at least get a rematch from Night of Champions. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s backstage news about Nikki’s injury for the worse, that they get the title off Charlotte sooner than that.

 

WM32 HIAC Shane McMahon (Company) versus The Undertaker (Career)

This match, if any, should entice all fans from the Attitude Era. We have Shane McMahon, who returned earlier this year after a long hiatus, and is competing for the rights to run Monday Night Raw, every fan’s dream. Then we also have the legendary Undertaker, who is competing in his record twenty-third WrestleMania, and is fighting to keep his in-ring career going because losing would force him into retirement. These two older gentlemen(?) will compete inside the “Cell” structure, one of Undertaker’s notorious matches that he’s most fearful in. Undertaker had an incredible 21-0 undefeated streak at WrestleMania end two years ago at the hands of Brock Lesnar. Once The Undertaker bounced back the following year against Bray Wyatt, he then had some brutal encounters with Brock Lesnar last year, plotting his revenge on Lesnar ending the Streak. While Undertaker has a better schedule, Shane McMahon will be the most likely candidate for ring rust, with his previous in-ring performance dating all the way back to April of 2009.

This is one of the tossups for this Sunday’s event. On one hand, you could see The Undertaker losing and going out at WrestleMania in Texas, which he’s near the end of his career. On the other hand, you could see Shane McMahon losing after serving the purpose of giving WWE a blockbuster match for WrestleMania with all the injuries. It’d be bittersweet to any pro wrestling fan to think we may never see Undertaker in the ring again, or to think we may never see Shane McMahon in the WWE ever again, which is exactly what clouds this match. It’s not about how these men past their prime will actually wrestle, as this will be no Zayn/Nakamura showdown, but a lot is at stake, and either way, a fan’s going to be brought to tears when the match ends.

If I HAD to choose, I’d say Shane McMahon wins. With The Undertaker’s body wearing down, I could see Undertaker losing this match, headlining the Hall of Fame class of 2017, and Shane would then take control over Monday Night Raw, giving the WWE a break from the overplayed Authority storyline.

 

WM32 DABL No Holds Barred Street Fight: Dean Ambrose versus Brock Lesnar

After neither men could qualify to face Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania, Brock Lesnar would attack Dean Ambrose and almost immediately, this match was booked as a ‘No Holds Barred Street Fight’. Many of you know about Brock Lesnar, who came back and ended Undertaker’s streak one year, who walked in the next year as the reigning and defending WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and who also has a MMA background. Brock Lesnar is famous for being the mayor of “Suplex City”, as fans count off how many times he throws his opponents over his head. Dean Ambrose however, is one of the new breed, and who many fans want to see in the main event rather than Roman Reigns. Dean Ambrose is called the “Lunatic Fringe”, and that’s what he is, a lunatic. Dean Ambrose doesn’t care what he’ll do to himself and takes pride in the fact he fights without using his brain. Ambrose has recently been given weapons such as a barbed wire baseball bat by Mick Foley and a chainsaw by Terry Funk, and whether he uses them or not at WrestleMania is beyond me.

If you like blood, this is going to be a massacre and you shall put the snacks and punch away during this one. Ambrose and Lesnar are certain to tear the ringside area apart, leave carnage and a path of destruction behind, and this will turn into a brutality. These are two of the most legitimate hardcore freaks on the entire roster, and anything less would be a disappointment. Expect after the end of the match, for you to be left not caring who actually won, but be glad you witnessed one of the greatest brawls in WrestleMania history.

Speaking of who wins, my money is on Dean Ambrose. I’d genuinely not be upset if Brock Lesnar won, but I see Dean Ambrose finally taking the win on Pay-Per-View after coming so close recently, and this would put Ambrose back on a winning streak once again. And let’s face it, after defeating The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar could go winless for the remaining WrestleMania matches of his career and still be taken just as seriously.

 

WM32 WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H versus Roman Reigns

I chose The Undertaker holding up a Dallas Cowboys jersey as the featured image in this article over the one you see above, quite frankly, many people wouldn’t click to see Triple H versus Roman Reigns, the guy who bores. But honestly, this should be an entertaining main event. Let me begin by telling you about the challenger Roman Reigns. Roman Reigns was a member of The Shield, one of the more destructive and impressive factions in recent memory, and everyone loved the potential of Reigns because he had the size, the look, and in flashes, appeared to have the talent. The WWE fans booed once Roman Reigns lost the Royal Rumble back in 2014 to Batista, but the following year when Roman Reigns won the Royal Rumble, the crowd booed that, and have booed Reigns ever since. Via the Chairman Mr. McMahon, Roman Reigns was placed in the traditional Royal Rumble Match with 29 other men to defend his WWE World Heavyweight Championship, in which Triple H was #30 and took the title from Reigns. Now, these two meet again at WrestleMania in what is reportedly a No Disqualification match.

I have a feeling that Triple H is trying to give Roman Reigns the same treatment they gave Daniel Bryan two years ago, but the fans aren’t buying into Reigns like they were Daniel Bryan. This match will also be brutal, and I’m sure Triple H thinks this is the only way to get Reigns over is if the both of them bleed their guts out in Dallas. I’m sure once you get passed the boos from the crowd that’ll echo through the large AT&T Stadium, this won’t be a bad match at all. My advice is to ignore the crowd, ignore the internet fans, and try to enjoy this world title match you’ll only see once at WrestleMania in your lifetime.

Despite everyone trying to get Roman Reigns over, the WWE has turned bad reactions involving the world title picture and has turned it to what the fans would want. Batista was booed after winning the Royal Rumble in 2014, yet they get fan favorite Daniel Bryan into the main event at WrestleMania and he wins, making Batista submit. Then, when Roman Reigns is booed after winning the Royal Rumble in 2015, Seth Rollins would cash in his Money in the Bank contract at WrestleMania and pin Roman Reigns to win the championship. I think they’ll end up having an interference in this No DQ matchup and it will help Triple H retain. I could honestly see The Rock, the cousin of Roman Reigns, come down and instead of helping Reigns, helping Triple H instead. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone helps out Triple H.

 

 

That was my WrestleMania 32 preview for you all. Give me your predictions in the comments below before this big event.

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