WWE has reportedly had three matches “locked in” for WrestleMania 33 for over a month now, and one of the most rumored matches is supposedly not happening at all, but fans are still heading into Sunday’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view with the least idea about the top matches and title matches that we’ve probably ever had. The Rumble match itself is entirely up in the air, and the latest reports indicate that the current ideas for the Rumble winner and some of the matches at Mania might not be what you’re expecting. At all.
Please note that if any of the below turns out to be true, this post will retroactively contain spoilers. Even though this is the day that Marty McFly traveled to in Back to the Future, I do not have knowledge of the future. So if you wish to remain spoiler-free, please close this tab now and go about your day. Nothing is carved in stone, particularly with both Fastlane and the Elimination Chamber still on the calendar before WrestleMania arrives, but these rumors might be chock-a-block full of spoilers nonetheless.
(That was a spoiler warning. Apologies for being so vague.)
The latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter dropped on Wednesday night/Thursday morning, and Dave Meltzer spilled all those beautiful bean footages about what he has been told are the latest plans for the WrestleMania card.
As mentioned before, the three “locked in” matches are Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar (duh), Big Show vs. Shaquille O’Neal, and Seth Rollins vs. Triple H. Meltzer says these are all still very much good to go, with the one caveat that there’s a possibility Goldberg vs. Lesnar could be for the Universal Championship, should one of them win the Rumble, or should Goldberg (or Lesnar) defeat the titleholder at Fastlane.
In addition to the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (or “The Dré,” as I insist we refer to it from now on), Meltzer says the direction appears to be for the following matches, according to a combination of his sources and what he is divining from onscreen storylines. And with the exception of the specifics of the last two, they sure seem like good bets:
- Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho
- Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton
- Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
- Charlotte Flair vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax for the Raw Women’s Championship
But here’s where things get really interesting: Meltzer says that the plans “at this point” are that neither Owens nor AJ Styles will head into WrestleMania as champion, and that “a story that just started going around” would have Randy Orton win the Royal Rumble, and Bray Wyatt would capture the WWE Championship at Elimination Chamber, because Wyatt is “scheduled for a title run” this year. If Owens loses his Universal Championship at Royal Rumble or Fastlane, his match against Jericho would be for the United States Championship, as Jericho is set to leave for tour with Fozzy after Mania.
If all that weren’t eyebrow-raising enough, here are some other matches that Meltzer claims are being batted around:
- AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon (!)
- John Cena vs. Samoa Joe
- A multi-woman Smackdown Women’s Championship match
The Observer also notes that if Reigns is tied up with Taker, and Big Show is tied up with Shaq, that doesn’t leave much for Braun Strowman to do except possibly win The Dré. There’s also nothing definitive for Dean Ambrose or Finn Bálor at this point. The Cena vs. Samoa Joe idea is reportedly something that has “definitely been pitched,” and the plan for Joe is to “be up soon and in a good spot.” Also worth noting: Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura are both being advertised for WrestleMania AXXESS VIP sessions as members of the main roster.
Meltzer made sure to couch this all by saying that this year more than any other year prior, nothing is a done deal until it happens. (And as we learned from the Shane vs. Undertaker match stipulation, sometimes not even then!) Plans can and will change all the way up to the last minute, but the true unknown about the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania this year is terribly exciting, and we’re going to be on the edge of our seats the entire time.
(RIP our seats. It’s going to be a long few months for them.)