Planet Kayfabe: Wrestlemania Preview!
Planet Kayfabe: Wrestlemania 39 Preview
By: “KCA” Paul Matthews
Hello everyone and thanks for reading Planet Kayfabe. Wrestlemania is coming up this weekend and I agree with what Sami Zayn said last week on Smackdown. It just feels more special. How long has it been? A very long time in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, we have had some great Wrestlemania events in the 30’s decade of the event, but the buildup always felt lacking in the era of the WWE Network and now Peacock. It seems like this year because they have some hot stories and aren’t just relying on fireworks and comeback pops to capture your imagination, they are putting in a little extra effort this year because they know this event deserves it. WWE has done very well for themselves since last year’s ‘Mania and its clear all the talent and those booking the show want to pay it off in a big way.
Here are my predictions for this year’s Wrestlemania.
Austin Theory (c) vs John Cena (Singles Match for the WWE United States Championship)
To be honest, I’m not a fan of this match. I don’t see Austin Theory as anything special (right now) and I don’t think he’s particularly ready for this big of a match. He’s not that over. He hasn’t had that special of a year. I just see him as another mid-card guy who has some potential but needs a little more work.
In Cena’s promo, he said Theory isn’t ready and I agree. I’m picking Theory to win because I feel he has to at this point, but if I were booking this and I knew I had Cena available for next year, I would have Theory lose in a close match. Then in 2023 book him strongly. He wins back the title from whoever (say Cena vacates it after winning since he has other obligations) and then at Wrestlemania 40 Theory wants a rematch and wins.
Having Theory win now just feels too soon, forced, and artificial. You can’t just take anyone, put them over against a legend, and be like *BOOM* we have a new star. It would be one thing if Theory was on the cusp of superstardom… but he’s not. All that said, I reluctantly have to pick Austin Theory to win.
Seth Rollins vs Logan Paul (Singles match)
I feel Seth Rollins needs a good win and Wrestlemania is a good time to have it. I’m not sure what Logan Paul’s future is with WWE, but regardless I am going with Seth Rollins. A solid babyface turn may be good for him in 2023. Its weird to imagine, but Seth is going to be 37 this year, which, funny enough, is older than Brock Lesnar was when he returned to WWE in 2012.
Why is that relevant? Because despite being one of WWE’s better talents, I feel he has more to give. This drip-douche gimmick has gone as far as it’s going to and is only holding him back. I’d like to see a turn and a more serious persona to finish out the year.
Becky Lynch, Trish Stratus & Lita vs Damage CTRL (6 Woman Tag)
I’m picking Becky and the now-pushing 50-year-old divas of my youth. I don’t care about this match, but they can’t all be hot. Should be a fun little babyface win at the very least.
Braun Strowman and Ricochet vs. The Street Profits vs. Alpha Academy vs. The Viking Raiders (Wrestlemania Showcase Fatal 4 Way Tag)
It’s a match with a lot of bodies who will get a payday and tell their families they were on the show this year. Good for them. Otherwise, I don’t have much interest in this match going in… but I could see it being entertaining given the people involved. Officially, I’m going with Braun Strowman & Ricochet to win, but it could be anyone and no outcome would shock me.
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Rhea Ripley (Singles match for the WWE Women’s Championship)
It’s been rumored that this match is main eventing night one, but you, those involved, and everyone watching knows that would only be for political reasons and feeling as they they “have to” or else a bunch of SJW geeks on Twitter will bitch and complain about the women “not being treated right”.
All things fair and equal, this match has no business closing the show. Will it be good? Sure. I expect it to be good, perhaps even great, but the heat and interest isn’t there. No one cares about Charlotte padding her stats with another forgettable and quick title run and no one cares about Charlotte as a babyface. They just want to see Rhea win. The match is irrelevant. It could go two whole minutes and if Rhea wins the fans will be fine with it. If they have a 30-minute classic to close the show and Charlotte wins, I can see people booing it and going home unhappy with the finish.
If you’re advocating this main eventing “just because” or whatever your reasons are, do you think this is match is hotter than the Rey and Dominik angle? Or Sami/KO against the Uso’s for their titles? LOL Hell no.
As I said, I expect a good match. I’m picking Rhea to win and I think she will be a good champion. She will be over as a babyface in this match despite being in a heel group and aligned with Dominik who is very much over as a heel. I think this will be just a one-night pseudo-babyface run for Rhea just to roll with the crowd. Once we are back on TV she’ll be a heel again. As for Charlotte, I don’t see much of a future in her as a face. It just doesn’t work.
The Usos (c) vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn (WWE Undisputed tag team title match)
The Usos have held tag gold since July of 2021 and have been undisputed tag team champions since May of 2022. Last year I voted for them as the clear best tag team in wrestling but some of you internet weirdos insist that FTR is better. (I don’t get it.) Is it time for the Usos’ run to end?
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens reuniting again has been great television. I’ll admit at first I thought Sami Zayn turning babyface would neuter him a bit. Part of what got him over was his geekiness, which works as a heel. As a babyface, you need the crowd to be able to take you seriously. Reuniting with Kevin Owens is great. The two play off each other very well and you’re taking the tag titles from one great team any putting them on two established fan-favorite veterans that can carry the gold for a long time and be paired up against any team.
If you tapped out after Sami lost to Roman a month ago in Montreal, I think you’d be happy with how this story played out in the aftermath. I know Sami winning the title would have been a big moment for him and the town, but a tough call was made and Roman won. Also, Roman kinda needs a win like that. Part of the reason Roman had so much heat was that fans saw him as a corporate force-fed main eventer so why not have that guy go over the fans’ current darling superstar? I feel Roman has even more heat now going into Wrestlemania than he had before that match. Plus, I’m not sure what Dave Meltzer was and is so worried about. Cody Rhodes is top-guy OVER right now in WWE. The fans want to see him win. At this Wrestlemania, you’ll probably get both… but it starts with the Usos dropping the title here.
However, I am intrigued by a potential story where the Usos win, but Roman loses. Leaving their Tribal Chief without gold, yet the Usos still have theirs. It could make for a nice power-struggle storyline where the Usos or Roman eventually turn babyface.
Gunther (c) vs. Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre (Triple threat match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship)
This should be a great match. Gunther and Sheamus had my WWE match of the year last year. Drew McIntyre is still likable but he’s not exactly main event over right now, so this is a nice spot at Wrestlemania for him even though his star has fallen a little bit in recent years. Sheamus, I feel is the most over he has been in a decade and I think its time for his old “Lobster Head” song to come back to please the fans.
Gunther, though, is a star in the making and a star on the rise. I’m picking him to retain. Assuming Roman Reigns loses, and the Usos as well, it will be nice for WWE to still have a long-term title holder coming out of Wrestlemania. I like Sheamus and Drew, but its not their time to hold the title. Its Gunther’s and maybe this time next year Gunther will be holding a bigger belt.
Edge vs. “The Demon” Finn Bálor (Hell in a Cell match)
A good old Hell in a Cell match to blow off the feud. It should be a good match, but I’m not that jazzed about it. I am, however, glad that the Cell is being used to end a feud and not just being used as a cheap gimmick to sell toys. Edge requested “The Demon”, which was a babyface persona for Finn, and its been rumored that Edge will come out in his Brood gimmick.
This Edge return has been interesting. So much focus has been put on his Brood period. More than ever. After he left that group and was just a joke-telling heel with Christian in the tag division and later as a single as the Rated R Superstar, his Brood period was rarely if ever mentioned. I mean, really, what was it? The spring and summer of 1999 and he wasn’t even the leader of the group? Seems like a weird thing for WWE to keep harping back on. Is The Brood even mentioned with other great factions? Gangrel was fairly popular during a very hot period and the entrance and entrance music was more over than anyone involved.
Maybe I’m overanalyzing here, but it just seems like an odd thing for Edge to mention. Its not like Edge was always this dark character. It was a very short and very midcard period of his career before he and Christian spun off to be completely different characters than they were when they debuted. But hey, it will be nice to hear that music and if Gangrel makes a cameo and does the bloodbath, I think it will get an amazing reaction from the crowd so what am I even complaining about?
Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez vs. Natalya and Shotzi vs. Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler vs. Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville (Women’s WrestleMania Showcase fatal four-way tag team match)
I had to look at my notes because I forgot who I picked here. Oh. I went with Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez. It’s a match that will exist. That’s about it.
Bianca Belair (c) vs. Asuka (Singles match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship)
It’s a close call, but I went with Asuka. I’m going against my gut here, but its close. It should be a good match. It doesn’t have the interest that Rhea and Charlotte do. Regardless of who wins, I don’t think the fans will be upset with either outcome… Unlike the Smackdown title match where Rhea pretty much has to win.
Brock Lesnar vs. Omos (with MVP) (Singles match)
You know Bray Wyatt sucks when Brock Lesnar is offered a match at Wrestlemania against him and he says “fuck that, I’d rather work with Omos”. You can’t say I didn’t keep an open mind when Bray returned even though I had no reason to expect it to go any differently than how it has gone.
There is a lesson here. An open mind isn’t always the answer when you have common sense and past evidence staring you right in the face.
Anyway, I’m picking Lesnar to go over here. It will probably be a short hoss fest that will end with Brock landing a huge F-5 to the delight of the crowd. It feels weird saying this, but I think Brock could use a good win. I’m not expecting anything great here. It makes me wonder about Brock’s future. His return to WWE was 11 years ago now. Yes. ELEVEN YEARS! Are they going to pay him all that money just to be a guy who works a few dates and has matches with the likes of Omos or Bray Wyatt? What else is there? He’s over as a babyface, but maybe he could turn again to face Cody Rhodes at Summerslam? It’s something.
Roman Reigns (c) (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Cody Rhodes (Singles match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship)
If you haven’t assumed by now, I’m picking Cody Rhodes to go over. Cody Rhodes is the man right now. He’s everything WWE likes in a babyface. He’s well-spoken. He’s good on talk shows. He looks good in a suit. He’s a good wrestler. He’s a good promo. He has experience. Everything is going Cody’s way.
At Wrestlemania, you could see one of the greatest main events in Wrestlemania history and Cody is going to come out as the winner. The first Rhodes to be a world champion in WWE. I know for wrestling historians the story is a little weird pointing out how because Dusty was never WWF Champion, he never “won the big one”. Despite being the biggest name in wrestling outside of the WWF for much of his prime. It works, though. Its 2023 and we have a few generations of wrestling fans now who know nothing of the glory days of the territories. This is the weird world of WWE we are in. Sgt. Slaughter “won the big one” but it is never mentioned because he was the heel Iraqi sympathizer. Dolph Ziggler “won the big one” just to get a pop on TV after Wrestlemania and he is largely seen as a career midcarder. The fucking Miz “won the big one” and retained it against John Cena at Wrestlemania in one of the worst main events ever. But Dusty? Nope. Never “won the big one”.
WWE logic aside, its time for Cody to win the big one and secure a new era of babyface reign in WWE and create what should be a very memorable Wrestlemania moment. I know that phrase has been whored out by WWE, but there are legitimate Wrestlemania moments just like how there are legitimate Hall of Famers… and The Great Khali.
Thank you again for reading Planet Kayfabe. Those are my predictions. What are yours? Leave a comment below and let me know. Enjoy Wrestlemania weekend, everyone. It looks like it should be a good one.
Go Bruins. Go Celtics. Fuck John Henry.
Take care and God bless.