WWE’s premier show of the year is only days away and with the card set in stone — minus a potential Undertaker vs. John Cena feud, of course — the only real mystery is the order of the matches. Aside from debating what should open the show, fans love, love, love to speculate about what should close the show. So let’s do that.
There are four realistic options to cap off the night. Let’s examine each of them.
Kurt Angle & Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H & Stephanie McMahon
Why it should close: This match has plenty of star power. Ronda Rousey is still a bonafide star and will attract the main stream attention WWE so desperately covets. More hardcore wrestling fans will appreciate Kurt Angle’s WrestleMania return and the throwback to the attitude era rivalry between him and Triple H that also prominently featured Stephanie McMahon. Also, the WrestleMania moment nearly everyone is waiting for is the image of McMahon tapping out at the hands of Rousey. Not a bad way to end The Show of Shows.
Why it shouldn’t close: Nothing is actually on the line. Unseating a championship match from the main event is such a rare occurrence that it would need to involve a unique stipulation. Even though Rousey is technically full-time, WWE learned its lesson about ending shows with a celebrity match. The result is also too predictable to close the show. Is anyone really buying the Triple H/Stephanie vignettes? There’s no way this match ends without Rousey picking up the victory — unless she turns on Angle. However, WWE hates ending the Grandaddy of Them All with a major heel moment. It’s not WrestleMania 17.
Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
Why it should close: Simply, Daniel Bryan. Something most fans never thought they’d ever see again, Bryan returns to a WWE ring as an active competitor. Even after the long layoff, Bryan is still the most over babyface WWE has. They ended the last WrestleMania in New Orleans with a victorious Bryan chanting “Yes!” so they may consider doing it again. Also, this match includes a McMahon, which always increases the chances.
Why it shouldn’t close: It’s just not a big enough match. Sure Bryan is making his in-ring return, but the build to this main event lost a lot of steam over the last several weeks leading up to Bryan getting cleared. Also, the weird one-way stipulation of this match may mean that Owens and Zayn ultimately come out victorious. This is the least likely of the four matches listed in this space to close the show.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. A.J. Styles
Why it should close: Quite simply this is the best wrestling match on the card and a title match to boot. It’s a rekindling of a feud that carries over from Japan that WWE fans have been clamoring to see since both men arrived in the company. The build to this moment post-Royal Rumble was slow, but the last two SmackDowns did what they needed to do to add intrigue to a match that sells itself. This is the hardcore wrestling fan’s main event no matter its placement on the card.
Why it shouldn’t close: SmackDown is the B show and Reigns/Lesnar is three years in the making. Are those valid reasons? Probably in Vince McMahon’s eyes.
Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar
Why it should close: The build to this match has actually been fantastic. Conquering Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania is the one thing Roman Reigns hasn’t done in his run at the top in recent years. From Seth Rollins cashing in on the main event in Santa Clara to both men being the only ones to defeat The Undertaker at a WrestleMania, the culmination of this feud and the latest crowning of Reigns as the top guy checks every box for a ‘Mania-ending bout.
Why it shouldn’t close: The fans will take over this match. WWE surely wants the classic closing scene of a smiling, victorious babyface holding up the championship in front of a wall of confetti while being serenaded by a cacophony of cheers. They won’t get that here. Reigns will be cascaded with boos by the smarkiest crowd of the year and the match itself may be overrun with more unrelated chants than we’ve ever seen before. It won’t be Lesnar/Goldberg at WrestleMania 20 bad, but it will be bad. #BeachBallMania
Which match do you think should go on last? Let us know!