It is go-home time for WrestleMania as only a five hours of programming stand between fans and the grandaddy of them all. Are you excited for the card? In a night full of intrigue and in-ring stars, we rank them in order of interest. When you get down to the nitty gritty, this is as strong a card as one can expect in 2018. Here’s to a good show.
Honorable mention, Elias’ WrestleMania concert – This could be a huge dud or the highlight of the show. Of course Elias is going to bring an entertaining moment for fans, but what surprises could be in store. Does Kid Rock take over the stage? Does Jeff Jarrett go guitar vs. guitar (with my baby tonight)? There are a hundred different celebrities or wrestlers that could interfere for a fun moment – the Rock? Steve Austin? Hulk Hogan?
14. Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal – Anything potentially special about this match died with Mojo Rawley. Gronk gave us a fun pop, but what does this battle royal mean outside of the well-deserved paycheck for guys like Dolph Ziggler, the Revival and Matt Hardy?
13. Women’s Battle Royal – The only reason this adds more intrigue than the men’s version is that there is not a proven history of wasted victories. Maybe the women’s victory actually helps propel someone forward. Hopefully Sasha Banks and Bayley get a real chance to wrestle each other on the main roster, but at least we have a real storyline built into this match. How will WWE fill out the participants?
12. Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali (Cruiserweight Championship) – This is going to be an absolutely awesome wrestling match between two of the best in the world at what they do. Unfortunately, the story behind it is as unassuming as the lack of main-stream publicity it got on Raw and SmackDown Live. If Neville and Austin Aries got buried so badly last year, imagine how little of a spotlight this one could get.
11. Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax (Raw Women’s Championship) – It’s a shame that Alexa’s incredible year on top likely ends in a match that feels thrown together in two weeks. Remember Daniel Bryan’s world title loss to Sheamus? It feels like this one could go the same way with the need for quick finishes and how well Bliss has drawn heat in every building in America. Nia Jax deserves a run with the title, but this does not feel special.
10. Brock Lesenar vs. Roman Reigns (Universal Championship) – Lesnar and Reigns have had some great “fights” all the way back to their match in Santa Clara, but that is the problem. We have already seen this at its best, and there isn’t a single finish out there that can be better than Seth Rollins’ shocking cash in. Reigns is the heaviest favorite to win a title match at WrestleMania in a long time. Remember how hostile Lesenar vs. Goldberg was at WrestleMania 20 when both were on the way out? Maybe Steve Austin coming out and stunning everyone at the end will leave the crowd happy.
9. Randy Orton vs. Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Rusev (United States Championship) – This is officially where the complaining stops and the intrigue begins. Sure, four wrestlers thrown into a scramble match is classic undercard bokinig for WrestleMania. You know what isn’t classic? The road all three challengers took to the biggest show in sports entertainment. Bobby Roode debuts at WrestleMania in a special moment for the glorious one. He excelled in a main-event role at last year’s NXT TakeOver: Orlando and finally gets his shot after a decade in TNA. Mahal was on the unemployment line two years ago and a battle royal joke at last year’s WrestleMania. Now he’s a former world champion in a feature match. And shoutout to Rusev Day.
8. The Usos vs. the New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers (Smackdown Tag Team Championships) – There may not be a more underrated or under-appreciated group of men in modern wrestling than the seven that hold the spotlight right here. The brutality that Luke Harper and Erick Rowan used at Fastlane makes this one fun. Having two massive heaters brings an exciting new dynamic to the New Day vs. Uso feud that carried SmackDown Live through last summer. It’s any man’s game, and this should be some of the most fun, action-packed wrestling you will see all day.
7. The Bar vs. Braun Strowman and ????? (Raw Tag Team Championships) – There is always intrigue in a surprise tag partner at WrestleMania. With only a go-home show before the event, it’s anyone’s guess how this one goes. Strowman was the biggest rising star from last WrestleMania to now. He goes from Wyatt Family goon in a Rock segment to battle royal afterthought to his first championship match. Sheamus and Cesaro are going to “get these hands” and Strowman gets the chance at his first WrestleMania moment.
6. The Miz vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor (Intercontinental Championship) – Your sleeper to “steal the show” at WrestleMania, no match has a better shot at the five-star dirtsheet honors. Rollins and Balor are in their athletic primes with any spot you want to see while the Miz is always on form in big events. Whatever happens in this match, the Intercontinental title is in good hands this spring.
5. John Cena vs. The Undertaker? – This is a WrestleMania dream match 15 years in the making. The problem? It’s five years too late. Undertaker had a rough showing last year against Roman Reigns in what should have been his final match. Does he have enough in the tank for one more against Cena? Yeah, probably, but a lot of fans do not necessarily want to see it. Cena has done a stellar job “talking people into the building” for this one. At the end of the day, we can criticize and second guess all we want but these are the two biggest stars of the last 10 years and they are fighting in front of 70,000 people. Try to enjoy it.
4. A.J. Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (World Heavyweight Championship) – Finally, the rest of the world gets to see what fans of Japanese wrestling already know. The actual build to the match has been weird – no fireworks, no controversy. The closest thing to buzz since the Royal Rumble was on the injury front regarding Styles at a live event. This is the match that should close WrestleMania. In all likelihood, this will be the best match for hardcore fans. While the marketing and hype focuses around Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan, we get our own Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat right here.
3. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka (Smackdown Women’s Championship) – For the first time since Ember Moon 3, there is a semi-believable chance that Asuka’s undefeated streak comes to an end. WWE did a great job building Charlotte into an unbeatable champion, while Asuka comes as an unrelenting challenger. You want strong-style wrestling? You got it? Submissions? WrestleMania needs a good Figure-Four Leg Lock. Give this the spot it deserves on the main card and the two strongest women on the roster will not disappoint.
2. Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon – This is more than a celebrity freak show. This is the true next step in the women’s revolution. Concerned about ring rust or lack of experience or Angle’s health? Don’t be. Triple H is better now than he has ever been, and Steph will make Rousey look like a true star (it’s not hard because she is). For the women to truly get on even footing with the men, the division needs transcendent stars. Rousey can be that and will be that. Next Sunday is the first taste. There has not been a more intriguing WWE debut in a long, long time.
1. Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn – Sorry folks, but nothing is more intriguing than Bryan’s return to in-ring action. From the magic of WrestleMania 30 to an emotional retirement to March’s shocking return, Bryan’s first match back transcends sports entertainment. Take Bryan’s situation out and this is still a pretty strong storyline. The Owens assaults on Shane McMahon and Vince McMahon over the last six months have been some of the best moments on television. WWE did the little things to make this feel more real like removing the duo from WWE.com and Owens changing his Twitter account back to Kevin Steen. At the end of the day, it’s an emotional moment made more substantial by good storytelling and even better wrestlers.