Hello everyone and welcome to this Wrestlemania 35 preview and predictions edition of Planet Kayfabe. It's finally here. I'm with most of you in saying the build-up for this event has not been great. The thing is... That's nothing new in the era of the WWE Network. I can't remember the last truly great go-home week of television leading into a Wrestlemania since the PPV's started airing on the Network. They got your money whether you watch it or not. I get that if you pay $9.99 you get a $9.99 product but I do miss how big and special Wrestlemania before the Network felt and how they had to go out of their way to make it seem like a huge deal beyond just bringing back 50-year-olds to work and throwing most of their production budget into a massive set.
It's a big card, so let's just get into it.
** PRE SHOW **
Wrestlemania Women's Battle Royal
Yeah, one of the two battle royals because apparently "equality" means we must have double the pointless matches just to jam everybody on the card as possible. This is where Asuka is at now since losing the Smackdown Women's Championship at Smackdown. You may not like my prediction, but I think Lacey Evans enters the match as a "surprise", I guess and eliminates Asuka and that's your feud after Wrestlemania.
Yeah, it sounds dumb but this is WWE. The great worker isn't there to get pushed. They're there to make shitty workers look like they belong in the biggest wrestling promotion in the world and that's what Asuka is going to have to do with Lacey.
Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Tony Nese (Singles match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship)
I'm sticking with Buddy Murphy to continue his reign. I'm sure it will be a fun match, but its the pre-show so it's only going to be laid out to reach a certain level.
André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
This one I think is more obvious. Did you see the graphic for this match on Raw? It showed the two Saturday Night Live guys on the right. Braun Strowman on the left and the 27 other geeks squshed in the middle so tiny that you could barely make them out. I think it is pretty clear that Braun wins this one. It is a shame that this is the best role they have for him. Hopefully, in the future, he is in a more featured, serious spot on the card instead of the yearly hokey, Big Show-ish gimmicky bullshit spot.
Kurt Angle vs Baron Corbin (Singles Match)
This is Kurt's farewell match. It is clear that Kurt Angle, who was once one of the best wrestlers in the world, needs to retire. It's a shame watching him out there, clearly in pain, slow, old and tired when he was truly one of the best. It is also a shame that after being one of the best, giving his life to the pro-wrestling business, providing WWE some of their best matches ever in the 2000s and coming out of the other side of his well-documented drug and alcohol problems alive and well that his final match is against Baron Corbin.
Look, I know some of you hate it when people pile on but this is ridiculous. Someone of Kurt's stature should be going out in a much higher profile match. Not against some guy that is not a star and that people don't care about and also really isn't that much of a better worker than Kurt is at 50 years old in a beat up body. Corbin is just a blah guy with a blah face who cuts blah promos and works a blah style that gets him "boring" chants half the time. Corbin in interviews says Vince loves him though and I f***ing believe it. Look how many Raw's this guy has main evented since last fall (coincidentally enough when the ratings took a dive) including the go-home Raw to Wrestlemania. He gets a ton of promo time also. So much of Raw the past half a year has been dedicated to Baron Corbin. Also in that time we already saw what we assumed was the conclusion to his feud with Angle. They've already wrestled multiple times and Kurt in storyline wants one more crack at him. I can understand why people would boo this as Kurt's final match. It is not a big deal and its not even fresh. It is a rehash of an old, boring feud from 2018 that WWE expects us to believe Kurt wants to blow off as his final match.
We already know Kurt is old and can't wrestle like he used to. He's not going to get a great match out of anyone so you might as well put him in there with a big star. I see some people harping on Corbin getting the "rub" here. There's no rub to be had. We've already seen Corbin beat Angle anyway and to get the rub the fans have to at least take the guy seriously and show some main event potential. Instead, Corbin wrestles in dress pants and a vest like a dork. They probably think it is good heat, but it's not. Look at the ratings. Listen to the crowds. They aren't favorable to Corbin's case here for getting some sort of rub. Plus, it's not like Kurt has been built up as the big star that he is. He's actually taken a lot of losses these last few months. Remember when he was straight up SQUASHED by Drew McIntyre and many of us wondered if that would be Kurt's last match?
You were almost right and we are getting it now. I'm picking Kurt Angle to go over. Yeah, a win for Kurt does nothing for Corbin, but beating Kurt doesn't do anything for Corbin either since he's a geek in his mid-30's that people designate as the piss break on shows anyway.
Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rey Mysterio (Singles match for the WWE United States Championship)
Remember all that supposed build-up for Mysterio vs Andrade? How Andrade kept going for Rey's mask and they had those great matches and we all thought it was leading to something big at Wrestlemania? Well... instead we get this. It will be a good match, but why do I even bother watching the television shows when the stories mean nothing and lead to nowhere? It's like just a bunch of stuff happens, then more stuff happens the next week and then at the PPV a match happens. The WWE is all about "moments" now but they lost track entirely of what made moments so great were the stories that lead up to them.
Rey has been selling his ankle that he apparently tweaked in his shitty match with Corbin on Raw. Yeah, Rey Mysterio who is wrestling his best matches this decade can't even pull a great match out of Corbin. Good luck, Kurt. I'm not sure if this injury is a work or if its real if it is all that serious, but the match is still on. Despite not having much of a story, I'm sure it will be good. I'm picking Joe to retain.
Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Finn Bálor (Singles match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship)
One of the easier predictions. Balor is coming out as "The Demon King". It will probably be a fast match. I actually wouldn't be shocked if it went under 5 minutes especially with the size of this card. Balor wins to become IC Champion again.
The Boss 'n' Hug Connection (c) vs. Beth Phoenix and Natalya vs. The IIconics vs. Nia Jax and Tamina (Fatal four-way tag team match for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship)
It's an 8-woman tag match with 4 teams so I'm expecting it to be a heavily choreographed but good match. I'm picking Sasha and Bayley to retain. Like I've said in the past I'd have these two defend these new belts successfully for a year just to establish them as a big deal and it also keeps talented workers like Bayley and Sasha in featured spots on PPV events.
Beth Phoenix is coming out of retirement for this match, so I'm not expecting her team to win. The IIconics are the IIconics. They got into this match by cheating to win their first match since October's Super Show-Down in their home country. Nia and Tamina are also just kind of there for heat. Hopefully, that's all they're there for. Let the actual wrestlers wrestle. I don't need to see these two hogs dropping anyone on their f***ing head again.
The Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson) (c) vs. Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder (Tag team match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship)
Remember how I said it feels like a waste of time watching the TV shows because stuff just happens with no follow-up and its just a bunch of random masturbation? Well... When did this match become a thing? The Revival had a series of matches with Ricochet and Aleister Black and lost every time until this past week on Raw when the Revive got a cheap count-out victory. That apparently was the blow off for their feud. Does that make any sense? The blow-off is a cheap count-out on the go-home Raw to Wrestlemania? Whatever.
Ryder and Hawkins had some kind of beef with the Revival months ago. Like... a long time ago before Ricochet and Black were called up and there has been no mention of it since. However, the team of two guys that never win anything now has a match for the tag-team championships at the biggest show of the year. Sure. Fine. Whatever.
I'm just going to pick Hawkins and Ryder. They are in New York (yes, I know it is New Jersey) and Ryder and Hawkins are local boys and WWE wants MOMENTS! It doesn't matter if they make no sense and have no follow-up, they just want MOMENTS! Much like Ryder winning the IC title at Wrestlemania 32, I'm picking the local boys to win the tag titles here and probably lose them back to the Revival the next night on Raw because MOMENTS!
AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton (Singles match)
This match had had one of my favorite actual builds even though I doubt it will be positioned to be one of the featured matches on the card. It is in a prime spot to steal the show, though. The feud has been simple enough. It is the career indy guy, AJ Styles vs the WWE establishment elitist, Randy Orton. Its interesting the WWE positions their guy as the heel here, but in real-life the WWE shills who looked down at all the great indy talents of the 2000's simply because they were not working in sold-out arenas (which WWE rarely even does now, but I digress) is pretty dickish.
I also think it is funny how they are banking on the crowd not knowing much about AJ's career. He was one of the top guys in TNA for years during their peak and shortly before coming to WWE he was in the semi-main event in the Tokyo Dome. Regardless the shots have been fun. The exchange I liked a lot was Randy Orton talking about AJ wrestling in front of 25 fans in a high school gym while Randy was working in front of 70,000 at Wrestlemania and AJ replied that he was also working while Randy was sitting at home for failing drug tests. Damn.
AJ's era of the indy's was a good time. I mean, it is fun now, but back then guys like him worked those high school gyms like it was Wrestlemania to give those fans a quality match. Today it is like guys just do random dumb spots or comedy gags and gauge their popularity on how many re-tweets it gets instead of just focusing on the paying fans in the venue. Your re-tweets don't mean shit. Ignore Twitter. It is a terrible and misleading gauge for how popular something is.
Mini-rant aside, I'm picking AJ to go over here.
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre (Singles match)
They're building up Drew McIntyre as a hell of a legit bad guy, but I think it is just for Roman to win here. I don't mean "just" as a bad thing either. Normally I'd think the heel is actually going over since he has been built up so strong, but this is Wrestlemania and this is Roman Reigns returning from battling cancer. I think Roman gets the win here but I hope this is one of the few matches that get a lot of time. Hopefully, the strong push for McIntyre keeps going beyond this show, too.
The Usos (c) vs. Ricochet and Aleister Black vs. The Bar vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev (Fatal four-way tag team match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
Another match that feels like it is just thrown together, but it will probably be good. Again it is a long show so it depends on how much energy the fans have and how much time the match is given since there are so many matches on this show. I'm picking the Usos to retain.
Triple H vs. Batista (No Holds Barred match)
Batista has already said this is his last match but the stipulation is that if Triple H loses he must retire. Sure, he does. I feel like every year there's another potential HHH retirement match. It would be funny if HHH lost to upstage Kurt Angle's retirement, but I don't think that is happening. I'm not sure how healthy Hunter is fresh off tearing his pec in his last match at Crown Jewel last November and how physical he will be in this match, but its "No Holds Barred" so every gimmick in the book is going to be thrown into play here.
I'm not expecting a great match. None of us really have a reason to. We could get a fun car accident, though. I'm sure Batista will want his last match to be special (unlike Kurt Angle, apparently) and I'm sure it will get plenty of time. In the end, Triple H is winning. I hope Batista gets a proper send-off, though. He deserves that and we will probably see him headline the Hall of Fame next year.
Shane McMahon vs The Miz (Falls Count Anywhere)
Yeah, we all love Miz, but something about him as a bad-ass babyface just makes me roll my eyes and laugh. The guy who played the role of a cowardly heel his entire WWE career is suddenly taking out multiple men all by himself. Seeing him take out Sanity this past week and those 10 or so guys the week before was like watching Tom Cruise in a movie walk into a biker bar and after a fight breaks out he ends up clearing the join by himself while extras and stunt doubles fly all over the place.
Myself and many of you had reservations with Miz as a babyface and this is why. Luckily Shane is a good enough heel to where we can ignore some of Miz's limitations as a babyface. I worry for Miz in his next feud, though. With these corny, scripted promos designed to make him out to be some cool guy and suddenly showing an aggressive streak with those cute rosy cheeks, fancy clothes and gelled hair I don't think it would take much for a tougher looking/talking/acting heel to get cheered over Miz. It's like Miz needs to work against heels that were even wimpier as him. Really, if Miz feuds with Samoa Joe in a couple of months who do you think fans will side with?
I'm not expecting a great match, but I'm expecting it to get plenty of time anyway. I'm also expecting The Miz to win.
Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Kofi Kingston (Singles match for the WWE Championship)
I'm still picking Kofi Kingston to win even though I have not loved this build and I think there's still more juice in Daniel Bryan as a heel than there is with Kofi Kingston as a world champion babyface. Kofi got this match largely thanks to his New Day buddies and I'm not sure that has helped him in the eyes of the fans. Woods and Big E even did most of the talking for Kofi and I guess I can see why since Kofi cut one of the most average babyface promos I ever hear on Smackdown while Bryan was continuing to light it up as a heel. Luckily for Kofi, the fans still buy into Kofimania so this match could not come soon enough because I think if Wrestlemania was a month away it would be too late. It's dangerously too late as it is. I don't think WWE is going to recapture the magic they would have had if Kofi won the title at the Elimination Chamber.
My official pick is for Kofi to win, but I still think Big E (and Woods, perhaps) could turn on Kofi leading to a feud that lasts through the summer that maybe sees Big E win the title out from under Kofi's feet by pinning him in a Triple Threat match in the future. Who knows. I think the only way they could get out of this with Bryan retaining would be with another turn going down. I'm mostly leaning towards the happy ending for Kofi, though. Might as well do it now. I don't think the fans will turn on Kofi, but I also don't think they will always be as hot for him as they are right now.
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins (Singles match for the WWE Universal Championship)
I got bad news for those of you who are sick of Brock Lesnar... I see him winning here. Seth Rollins won the Royal Rumble this year, but since then he hasn't really been booked like a serious threat to Brock Lesnar. Brock laid out Seth with multiple F-5's and the best the can do to build up Seth is that Brock's biggest challenges have come from wrestlers smaller than Brock... even though Brock beat them all anyway which Paul Heyman even pointed out.
It has been a feud of standard promos and video packages. Seth Rollins finally got some heat on the go-home show by taking out Brock Lesnar, but that's not a great sign if you're looking for Seth to go over. I think that was just to give him some shred of momentum going into this match that really doesn't have much heat. There's interest but it feels like all residual interest. The fans kinda like Seth and the fans are kinda sick of Brock. It will probably be a decent match, but I'd be shocked if Seth wins here.
Ronda Rousey (Raw Women's Champion) vs. Charlotte Flair (Smackdown Women's Champion) vs. Becky Lynch (Winner takes all triple threat match for the WWE Raw Women's Championship and the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship)
The first women's main event in Wrestlemania history. One more hard pill to swallow -- this match isn't main eventing without Ronda Rousey. She is the key here and her heel run has helped inject some life back into this feud. Charlotte is shoehorned in there and really added nothing to the mix until they put the SD Women's title on her, which helps her character since part of her gimmick is always getting breaks for being a Flair and one of Vince McMahon's darlings.
This match can't come soon enough for Becky Lynch who has luckily stayed popular but WWE has stumbled with her along the way. Having to sell that knee for what felt like 3 months (even after being cleared by doctors in storyline) didn't help her. Backdooring her way into the match at Wrestlemania by the heel Ronda purposely attacking Becky during her match with Charlotte to get her in the match didn't help Becky either. Especially when Becky just smiled at winning by DQ. I think she should have taken the mic, demanded the match be re-started and win clean. What difference would it have made if Charlotte lost? They put the Smackdown Women's title on her anyway. Shit, Becky lost CLEAN by tap-out to Asuka who tapped out to Charlotte on Smackdown so why not?
The match itself will probably be great. Maybe even the match of the night. If they are smart they will re-create that spot from SummerSlam when Becky had Carmella in submission and Charlotte came from behind with the Natural Selection for the win... only this time Becky kicks out. I don't think Becky beat Charlotte though. I think the only finish here is for Becky to beat Ronda who has yet to lose in WWE (other than losing the Beat The Clock challenge on Raw if you count that, which I don't) Especially if Ronda is taking time off after Wrestlemania there's no reason for her to lose here without just doing the job. We have seen Becky beat Charlotte plenty of times. The only way to truly make this match feel special is if Ronda eats the loss. Wrestlemania 35 closes with the image of Becky Lynch holding up both women's championships.
There are my predictions for Wrestlemania 35. It's going to be a long weekend and hopefully a fun one. If you're going to be there live, stay safe and have fun. You can talk about Wrestlemania with me on Twitter @PlanetKayfabe. If you are there live or at any of the other events this weekend like Take Over or the Hall of Fame you can send me or the NoDQ Twitter your pictures and I'll be sure to share them.
Thanks for reading, everyone. I'll be back with my review. enjoy your weekend. God bless and take care.