WWE WrestleMania 36 airs this weekend, both Saturday, April 4, and Sunday, April 5, live on tape on WWE Network and pay-per-view. The show, originally scheduled for Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium but relocated to the WWE Performance Center due to the global coronavirus pandemic, features a whopping 16 matches over an entire weekend as this year’s WrestleMania is Too Big For Just One Night™.
WrestleMania 36 Card:
(advertised as of Wednesday, April 1)
1. Universal Championship Match: Goldberg (c) vs. Roman Reigns
2. WWE Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
3. NXT Women’s Championship Match: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
4. Raw Women’s Championship Match: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Shayna Baszler
5. Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Lacey Evans vs. Naomi vs. Tamina
6. Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Street Profits (c) vs. Austin Theory and Angel Garza
7. Smackdown Tag Team Championship Ladder Match: The Miz and John Morrison (c) vs. The Usos vs. The New Day
8. Women’s Tag Team Championship Match: Kabuki Warriors (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
9. Intercontinental Championship Match: Sami Zayn (c) vs. Daniel Bryan
10. Elias vs. King Corbin
11. Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley
12. Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins
13. Last Man Standing Match: Edge vs. Randy Orton
14. Firefly Funhouse Match: Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena
15. Boneyard Match: The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles
16. Dolph Ziggler vs. Otis
Hosted by Rob Gronkowski
As always, we’ve got your complete rundown of the card and analysis below, featuring predictions for all sixteen matches. Make sure to drop a comment and let us know who you think’s winning, and be here on both Saturday and Sunday night to see if you’re correct.
Incredibly Important Disclaimer: As you probably know, WrestleMania is being taped this year and the card as reportedly changed in ways WWE TV hasn’t yet addressed. When we get to those matches we’re going to mention the reports that go with them, but the farthest we’re going with spoilers is match changes. As of publication, we don’t know any of the actual results. So read with cautious confidence, and keep in mind that it’s Wednesday afternoon when we’re writing this, and by Thursday evening the advertised main event could be Bill Goldberg vs. Hugh Morrus. Who even knows at this point?
Here’s what we think will go down at WrestleMania 36, aka WrestleMania Pirate Ship, aka PerformanceCenterMania.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Otis
What We Know: Otis, a sentient ham hock that became a man, fell in love with Mandy Rose. Dolph Ziggler, who is the worst person in the world but not in a fun way, stepped in both figuratively and literally to hock-block him, including showing up to replace him on a Valentine’s Day date that was almost certainly ruined on purpose by third party miscommunication. Now they’re going to have a match about it, and hopefully Otis will either shot-put Ziggler through the roof of the Performance Center, or eat Ziggler whole like a large snake.
What We Think Will Happen: I don’t know if this will get the “cinematic” treatment other matches will get, but they should go full third act of a romantic comedy with it. Ziggler should have to stand there covered in cake, pouting and stomping his feet while Otis and Mandy share a chaste kiss that dissolves into footage from their wedding. What I actually think will happen is the reveal of EVIL TUCKY, possibly managed by Evil Sonya Deville. No way Dolph is smart enough to orchestrate any kind of plot beyond dying his hair and putting American flags on his tights.
Emily Pratt – I’ll optimistically predict that Otis wins this match and this feud is over! I think this match’s best hope is if Mandy, Tucker, and maybe Bob Roode are at ringside to help the atmosphere, but it might be an awkward one.
Raj Prashad – I mean, I guess we needed the payoff to this feud. Opting to believe we’ll get the feel-good end to their rivalry with Otis earning the win over Ziggler.
Elle Collins – The obvious choice is for Otis to win this match. But Vince McMahon has this bad habit of looking at goofy, fun weirdos and deciding they must be losers, then booking them accordingly. So as annoyed as I already am at the thought, I’m picking Dolph to win for no good reason.
Scott Heisel – Did you know Dolph Ziggler has never had a WrestleMania singles match before? It’s true! In fact, he’s 1-8 at the Show Of Shows, with that lone victory coming way back at WrestleMania 28 when he was on Team Johnny. As much as it pains me to say it, because I am Otis’ number one fan, this storyline doesn’t feel like it’s over yet, so I predict Ziggler wins.
Boneyard Match: The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles
What We Know: AJ Styles has done it now; he’s gone and made a big mistake. After getting defeated by one chokeslam at Super Showdown (in which The Undertaker didn’t even bother to remove his hat and jacket) and humiliated at Elimination Chamber (in which The Undertaker easily dispatched The Good Brothers with some gentle choking and instantly incapacitated Styles again), Styles decided it’d be a good idea to not only call out The Undertaker, not only call out The Undertaker at WrestleMania, but call out The Undertaker for a match at WrestleMania where they fight in a graveyard. Sorry, a “boneyard.” Graves make people think of death. Bones are just fun!
What We Think Will Happen: Undertaker is advertising an “unholy trinity” for this WrestleMania match turned short film, so look for Kane and, I don’t know, maybe Sting to show up. Maybe they’ll splice in some old Paul Bearer footage and have Luke Gallows bump for a CGI urn that’s really a tennis ball on a stick. Regardless, there’s no way in fictional WWE Hell Styles is winning this, so the best we can hope for is that …
Emily Pratt – After some spookiness between AJ and Taker, it looks like it’s lights out for the Deadman when the other members of the O.C. get involved. Then Michelle McCool shows up and Faithbreakers Anderson and Gallows into an open grave. Then – shock of all shocks – she Faithbreakers her husband (he’s very tall, so it’s very impressive), allowing AJ to get the win. Styles and McCool are now WWE’s finisher-sharing Christian power couple of doom.
Raj Prashad – The Undertaker vs. AJ StylesIf Styles was facing literally anyone else at Mania, I’d pick him against them based on the build to their match. But fans or no fans, it’s hard to imagine Taker dropping yet another WrestleMania match. Going with Taker and whatever the Unholy Trinity is.
Elle Collins – If this were a real wrestling match in a ring, it would be ridiculous for Taker to win. But in a graveyard, in the dark? I think AJ’s getting buried alive. Or however you lose a Boneyard match.
Scott Heisel – American Badass or we riot.
Firefly Funhouse Match: Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena
What We Know: John Cena ruined Bray Wyatt’s career momentum and self confidence by embarrassing and pinning him at WrestleMania 30. Since then, Wyatt’s career has been a bumbling collection of bad ideas (dressing up like Sister Abigail and then not being able to pay it off because of real-life illnesses), a weird face turn (feuding and then teaming up with Matt Hardy), and a children’s show host who is also a shadow clown who is unstoppable unless he’s getting run into by a 53-year old man a couple of times in Saudi Arabia. Wyatt wants revenge for [gestures] all of this, so he’s facing Cena in a FIREFLY FUNHOUSE MATCH at WrestleMania 36.
What We Think Will Happen: They’re presumably going to explain this on Friday, but we’re guessing a “Firefly Funhouse Match” is just the Boneyard Match on the Firefly Funhouse set. The official t-shirt for the match calls it a Firefly SLAUGHTERHOUSE match and depicts Cena and Wyatt as puppets, and I swear to God if they do the entire match with puppets and don’t explain it it’ll be the weirdest and greatest wrestling match of all time.
Emily Pratt – Does it matter who wins or loses as long as we get to see John Cena act opposite several puppets? Yes, The Fiend needs to win after Cena’s promo on him AND we were reminded of his WrestleMania 30 loss. Since days of Super Cena are behind us, I think Wyatt goes over.
Raj Prashad – There’s only one way it’s even semi-ok that Wyatt lost the belt and it’s if he beats Cena at ‘Mania. Cena’s swoop back in to put Wyatt over appears to be the play here.
Elle Collins – The one thing I’m certain of is that John Cena really wants to put over Bray Wyatt. And Cena’s got a lot of sway, so I’m betting he does.
Scott Heisel – Mark my words: Bray Wyatt finally gets his WrestleMania win. MARK THEM, BRANDON.
Last Man Standing Match: Edge vs. Randy Orton
What We Know: Edge and Randy Orton are engaged in an emotional blood feud involving their careers, their families, 20 years of WWE history, and their very identities as performers and human beings. So it’s the biggest bummer in the world that the feud’s getting paid off in what’s ostensibly an empty Anytime Fitness in front of no one.
What We Think Will Happen: It seems crazy to think Edge would lose this after coming back at the Royal Rumble and being instantly murdered the next night on Raw. Again, it’s a shame they can’t do this in front of fans, because fan response is the only thing that’d keep a Randy Orton WrestleMania match interesting. Part of me thinks the lack of fans will make WWE put Orton over in some underhanded way to set up a rematch for later, but … yeah, that’d be pretty dumb. Edge wins, God willing. If not, I hope they go cinematic with it and have him fail to get up after watching his children take RKOs (via obvious stunt doubles) and getting a bag of snakes poured over his head.
Emily Pratt – An empty arena Last Man Standing match seems very difficult to pull off, and I don’t really think Edge and Orton will. I’m guessing Orton goes over and we don’t see Edge until around SummerSlam.
Raj Prashad – I’m expecting Edge to pull out all the stops in bus return to singles action. I’ve got Edge avenging his wife in a win over Orton.
Elle Collins – Edge has to win this, to re-establish himself as a force to be reckoned with. And he will.
Scott Heisel – There’s no conceivable situation in which Edge loses this match, but despite pretty much knowing the outcome ahead of time, I’m thrilled to see this match unfold. Both men have been on fire with their empty-arena promos, and I refuse to believe that Edge will let Randy Orton drag down his comeback match. This is likely one of the cinematic matches filmed on location, which will only enhance it. Welcome back, Edge! Spear that motherfucker through a wall.
Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins
What We Know: Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens have been feuding on Raw all year. They’ve run the full spectrum of WWE emotions from repeatedly cheating to cost each other matches, forming posses to attack one another on a regular basis, and arguing about the semantics of WWE revisionist history. This should be good, but they also probably could’ve just done it on Raw.
What We Think Will Happen: If you’re a regular reader of the Best and Worst of Raw column you now I’m Team Rollins here, because WWE babyfaces are so selfish and bad it makes me root for the people who openly cheat and blaspheme. I hope Rollins counters the Stunner and wins with a Rock Bottom so Owens stops pandering to legacies he had nothing to do with and goes back to using his own moves. In all seriousness, Emily’s got the right idea, which you can read in the staff picks.
Emily Pratt – These guys, or at least Kevin Owens, I think can pull off a cool empty arena match. I predict that Rollins goes over with help from his disciples, setting him up to be Drew McIntyre’s first feud for the WWE Championship.
Raj Prashad – Owens has been a thorn in Rollins side for the better part of 2020, so I’m picking the Monday Night Messiah to get some retribution and the win.
Elle Collins – This match is for nothing, and I feel like Kevin Owens gains more by winning than Seth loses by losing, so I’m picking KO.
Scott Heisel – Despite the buildup to this being dragged on and re-heated for months, I have a sneaking suspicion this may steal the show. I’d love for KO to win, but they’ve sunk a lot of energy into this Monday Night Messiah gimmick, so I see Seth scoring the victory and continuing to grow his flock — as soon as the public gathering ban is lifted.
Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley
What We Know: Two guys who have never met or interacted are having a match. It’s like those early WrestleManias, where the undercard was just random Dino Bravo vs. Outlaw Ron Bass matches happening to kill time!
What We Think Will Happen: Kick, Wham, Black Mass. Hoping Lana ditches Bobby here and goes goth.
Emily Pratt – This match sprang from the pandemic-induced no-audience void, making it an unknowable entity. On a regular PPV I could see it being surprisingly good, but I can’t guess how they’ll do without an audience, especially if Lana decides to be really vocal at ringside. I’ll predict Black wins, but everyone will have forgotten this match happened by May.
Raj Prashad – Even Black pointed out that this one doesn’t make any sense, but here we are. I’ve got Black picking up the win over Lashley.
Elle Collins – I’m picking Aleister Black to win this, not because I necessarily think that’s most likely, but because I don’t like to imagine him losing.
Scott Heisel – Gosh, I wonder who’s gonna win: the unstoppable, tattooed ninja-monk? Or the guy who really loves his sisters and hasn’t been on TV for a month? Flip of a coin here, folks.
Elias vs. King Corbin
What We Know: King Corbin is a jerk who dresses up as a different occupation every year — biker, constable, TGI Friday’s waiter, king — and Elias won’t stop singing songs and doing photoshops about how he’s an asshole. They’re having a match by decree of WrestleMania host Rob Gronkowski, who definitely won’t get involved. Corbin finally had enough and murdered Elias on Smackdown, but they’re still having the match, presumably Weekend at Bernie’s style.
What We Think Will Happen: I want Elias to try to hit Corbin with a guitar, but have Corbin be protected by his crown. They haven’t even put that jokey level of effort into this, though, so expect one of the worst matches you’ve ever seen followed by Gronk doing the Cabbage Patch.
Emily Pratt – This might be the most cursed match on this cursed WrestleMania. Corbin wins.
Raj Prashad – Picking King Corbin to earn the win over Elias.
Elle Collins – Oh Jesus, really? King Corbin wins, I guess.
Scott Heisel – I will be doing the responsible thing and socially distancing myself from this match by taking my dog for a walk.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Sami Zayn (c) vs. Daniel Bryan
What We Know: Sami Zayn is the leader of a loser’s club of guys who’d be the best wrestlers in the world if they worked for someone who liked professional wrestling. They work for an increasingly senile 74-year old billionaire who “makes movies,” however, so they just lose all the time. Zayn won the Intercontinental Championship in a 3-on-1 handicap match, got booked into a WrestleMania match because his friends wouldn’t stop losing, and now he’s about to lose it on his first defense. This’ll all show THEM to like and care about wrestling!
What We Think Will Happen: Zayn says the match will be a “quick, violent beating,” which almost certainly equates to him hearing a bell, being immediately dragged to the ground in the Yes Lock, and losing the IC title in seconds via flailing tap-out. Literally anything else would be too optimistic a prediction.
Emily Pratt – This will probably be the best match, unless the gimmicky ones turn out weirdly brilliant, on the whole show. Even if Zayn and Bryan’s friends get involved, I think they can play it in a way where it doesn’t overshadow the action. Zayn retains and we get to keep seeing him have normal wrestling matches, please!
Raj Prashad – A month ago, I never expected to be here. It’s not even the sneaky match of the card, it’s straight up going to be incredible assuming they’re given time. I’m going with Zayn thanks to outside help from Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura, but this should be great.
Elle Collins – Obviously this is going to be a great match, and especially exciting to old school indie heads. But of course Daniel Bryan wins, because WWE sees Sami Zayn as a loser, which is a shame really.
Scott Heisel – D-Bry is on record saying he won’t be renewing his contract when it’s up later this year after he and Brie have their second child, so what better way to send him out than with the IC reign he never got to have in 2015? Let him revive the open challenge and elevate Smackdown’s mid-card for the next six months before the Miz retires him at Survivor Series or something.
Women’s Tag Team Championship Match: Kabuki Warriors (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
What We Know: Asuka cost Alexa Bliss a match on an empty arena Smackdown, causing Bliss to target and defeat her clean in a one-on-one match. Now they’re having a Women’s Tag Team Championship match at WrestleMania, presumably because someone finally looked at their e-mails from Bliss and remembered the Women’s Tag Team Championship exists.
What We Think Will Happen: The only time in history the Women’s Tag Team Championship has felt like a real thing is when it was on Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. The Kabuki Warriors have had an underwhelming run that saw them lose their manager, shit the bed in a TLC main event (although that was not even kind of their faults), and just kind of vanish. Look for Bliss and Cross to win more easily than you’d expect. Fingers crossed that whatever they repackaged the IIconics into will debut immediately afterward.
Emily Pratt – There are at least two women’s tag teams on Smackdown besides Bliss Cross Applesauce and currently zero on Raw besides the champs (unless Becky and Charlotte challenge again), so I’m guessing Bliss and Cross win the belts. Asuka has been the MVP of no-fans WWE shows so far, so I’m guessing she leads this match in an entertaining direction.
Raj Prashad – I’ve got Bliss and Cross taking advantage of their return match and picking up the win over the Kabuki Warriors
Elle Collins – These are two great teams stuck in a sad afterthought of a division. That said, Alexa and Nikki were the only Women’s Tag Team Champions that anybody backstage at WWE ever seemed to get the slightest bit excited about, so I’m guessing they regain those titles.
Scott Heisel – There are only a few finishes in WWE history that have made me react like the Undertaker guy at WrestleMania 30, and the most recent one was when Alexa Bliss pinned Asuka clean as a sheet on Smackdown. (My eyes are still bulging.) It would be absolutely preposterous if Bliss-Cross *didn’t* win the championships now, so I’m gonna pick the Scottish-Ohio pairing, as I am also a Scott in Ohio.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship Ladder Match: The Miz and John Morrison (c) vs. The Usos vs. The New Day
What We Know: So here’s the first of our “card subject to change” rumors/reports. If you don’t want to know for some reason, please skip to the next match. What was supposed to be a triple threat ladder match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championshp got changed because The Miz showed up to the taping sick and got sent home, so now it’s reportedly “John Morrison vs. one of the Usos in a ladder match for the tag titles.” Although WWE still has Kofi Kingston doing media calls this week, so … [confused shrug] Maybe Morrison just wrestles without a partner in an otherwise unchanged triple threat?
Semi-serious theory: if the triple threat tag match got changed and New Day’s suddenly nowhere to be found, what if the leak of Roman’s replacement in the main event was a red herring and we’re actually getting Kofi or Big E subbing in and winning instead?
What We Think Will Happen: If the match isn’t going on as planned, there’s no reason to think the champions (or at least John Morrison by himself) won’t retain. So the Usos are definitely winning. Brother, if Kofi Kingston goes from winning the WWE Championship in the best match of WrestleMania to not even making it onto the show a year later it’ll be the complete inverse of Becky Lynch going from the pre-show to the main event.
Emily Pratt – I have it on good authority there will actually be no match connected to the Smackdown tag title picture on this show and instead, Morrison, the New Day, and the Usos will look directly at the camera and lead the audience in a Five Minutes of Public Shame for the Miz for allegedly coming to work sick during a pandemic. In six months we will be able to watch The Miz watch this moment on Miz & Mrs.
Raj Prashad – With Miz or without him, my pick doesn’t change: going with Morrison to snag the win.
Elle Collins – I think the Usos might win this. Even if it’s just one of them versus Morrison, it will be a surprise and give the Miz something to be mad about when he gets back. I don’t know if it’s Jimmy or Jey in this match, but one of them wins.
Scott Heisel – MIZ AND MORRISON, HEY HEY, HO HO! (x infinity)
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Street Profits (c) vs. Austin Theory and Angel Garza
What We Know: The Street Profits had a Raw Tag Team Championship match against Angel Garza and Andrade added to the card without explanation, and spent one empty arena Raw trying to set it up. But then Andrade got removed from the card, so now they’re up against Garza and a guy from NXT who isn’t even particularly good or successful on NXT who was born in 1997.
What We Think Will Happen: Angel Garza and Austin Theory met each other on Monday and lost the only match they’ve ever had together, so they’re a lock to win the Raw Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania.
Emily Pratt – Street Profits win against these randos and since Austin Theory is on a Ruthless Aggression John Cena/Young Lion combination storyline, he behaves obnoxiously and then eats the pin and then headlines a normal WrestleMania in four years.
Raj Prashad – This one could have been interesting with Andrade, but I just don’t believe in a Theory-Garza duo to take the belts off the Street Profits.
Elle Collins – Surely the Street Profits retain here, right? I know randomly just-paired up tag teams win championships sometimes, but that’s when one of them is Seth Rollins or Braun Strowman. I don’t think Angel Garza has that kind of power. So yeah, good for Theory that he’s here and all, but the Street Profits win.
Scott Heisel – I want this match to open the show, and Street Profits to carefully place red Solo cups on every empty chair in the PC before the match. Then, after they win, they go back into the crowd, make themelves comfortable, drink heavily and yell at every other wrestler who walks through the curtain, just like what we’ll all be doing from our couches!.
Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Lacey Evans vs. Naomi vs. Tamina
What We Know: Paige, by way of her “friends at Fox,” announced that Bayley would have to defend the Smackdown Women’s Championship against every available female wrestler at once, because she’s a jerk. Also some who haven’t even been on the show, like Tamina Snuka. Pretty unfair, guys. And you wonder why so many of these wrestlers turn into jerks.
What We Think Will Happen: Is there a chance Sasha Banks doesn’t totally Lion King Bayley’s gullible ass again and win the title?
Emily Pratt – This is one of several matches on the card that does not feel real. Ideally, I guess Sasha beats Bayley and they finally have a real main roster feud. But really, the only person who should be crowned champion on No People WrestleMania is Tamina.
Raj Prashad – This one is really any woman‘s to win, but I’ve got to go with Banks to take the belt from her friend. This seems like another pivotal turn in their friendship and the jumping point of a summer-long feud.
Elle Collins – If the Raw Women’s Title changes hands, I won’t be surprised if Bayley retains here. The other thing to do would be to give it to Sasha to build the growing tension between her and Bayley. Or they could give it to Naomi, just because she’s awesome. And knowing WWE, it’s possible they randomly put it on Lacey. The only thing I’m 100% sure of is that Tamina’s not winning. If I have to pick somebody, I’m going with Bayley.
Scott Heisel – Fuck it. Tamina.
Raw Women’s Championship Match: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Shayna Baszler
What We Know: Shayna Baszler has risen from NXT dominance to do what Ronda Rousey couldn’t: put Becky Lynch in a body bag. Becky has a customized Optimus Prime truck and a cool leather jacket about how good she is, but neither of those prevent violent choking.
What We Think Will Happen: Shayna Baszler turns Becky Lynch into Becky Lunch in like 90 seconds, and maybe Becky’s character stops being so aggressively unlikable for a while. She’s too good for her character to be “doesn’t give a shit and wins anyway.” That only works when your opponent is Charlotte Flair, whose character couldn’t be likable if she handed everyone in the crowd a $100 bill before each match.
Emily Pratt – I love both these wrestlers, but I think this match is going to be really awkward! Baszler wins and holds the title until at least the Royal Rumble 2k21 or next year’s Mania, when Becky wins it back.
Raj Prashad – As dominant as Lynch has been, this truly feels like the moment to cash in on Baszler as the monster heel of the division. I’ve got Baszler picking up the win.
Elle Collins – Becky’s had a hell of a run with that belt, but it’s time for it to end. Shayna’s character is built around dominance, and she’s going to dominate here.
Scott Heisel – I really hate to say it, but Shayna Baszler is not cut out for the bright lights of Monday Night Raw. Her character is only going to work with the hottest of wrestling crowds, and even then, it’s a crap shoot. (Remember how Brooklyn called her boring?) It seems like time for Becky to drop the belt, though, so I guess we’re in for a rough few months of Shayna One-Belt sucking up the air in the room.
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
What We Know: Charlotte Flair won the Royal Rumble and bragged about how she’s done everything and beaten everyone, so NXT’s Women’s Champion with Big Dick Energy showed up and challenged her. After a few weeks of back and forth the match was on, and we’re hoping Rhea Ripley can retain her championship despite a complete loss of peripheral vision.
What We Think Will Happen: The more I think about it, the more I want Charlotte to win here so she gets another “I make HISTORY” talking point, spends a couple of months in NXT, and drops the championship to Bianca Belair. Make her sort of the ultimate transitional champ. Then you can build to Bianca vs. Rhea at TakeOver Summer Event That Hopefully Doesn’t Get Canceled Due To The Apocalypse. Having said that, though, I will not be unhappy if Ripley just boots Charlotte to death in the middle of a bad moonsault attempt and pins her clean.
Emily Pratt – Charlotte wins and goes to NXT in an attempt to beef up the viewership. No one is happy about this. The match is fine.
Raj Prashad – Ripley has had a near-perfect 2020, but I can’t imagine the women’s Royal Rumble winner walking out of ‘Mania without the NXT belt. Going with Flair here.
Elle Collins – This is a weird one. It’s hard to imagine any NXT Superstar, even Rhea, beating Charlotte Flair. On the other hand, what’s Charlotte going to do with the NXT Women’s Championship? I gotta go with Rhea, but I’m interested to see how she pulls it off.
Scott Heisel – This might be an unpopular opinion, but I think this match would have completely bombed in front of 70,000 people. Ripley’s character development feels especially rushed over the past six months, and she’s barely been on Raw — that Mania crowd isn’t as smart as people think it is, and it would either be cheering for Charlotte or heading to the concession stand during this match. I’m picking Ripley to retain, because there’s no point in having Charlotte win if the Full Sail audience can’t boo her into oblivion the following Wednesday.
WWE Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
What We Know: Brock Lesnar is tough, but is he strongman training in the murky fields of Scotland tough?
What We Think Will Happen: If Brock Lesnar has agreed to anything but taking three Claymore Kicks in a row and leaving the empty Performance Center in under two minutes, I’ll be shocked. I was convinced that Reigns vs. Goldberg meant Lesnar would retain, but now that Reigns is out, Drew’s chance of winning went back up. Like a lot of the card it sucks that Drew McIntyre’s big moment will come in front of nobody, but it’s time for Raw to actually have its champion do things on Raw again. Brock will be back, if he wants to be. He’s got to be in the go-home segment of next year’s go-home show for WrestleMania, after all.
Emily Pratt – What should happen: Brock Lesnar avenges the unprompted murder of Erick Rowan’s spider and holds the title for another babyface. Maybe he declares himself the Spider King and it’s topical. What will happen: Drew McIntyre wins in WWE’s weirdest crowning of a new top guy ever.
Raj Prashad – Another one that seems like destiny is McIntyre taking the belt off Lesnar. It may not be the WrestleMania moment he dreamed of, but it seems pretty clear that he’s next in line to hold the belt.
Elle Collins – Drew needs to win this, and I’m worried WWE is going to decide to save that moment for a show in front of a crowd, but that would be the wrong decision. More than probably any other Mania, this show needs feel good moments. I’m picking Drew, I’m just uneasy about it.
Scott Heisel – This is one of those matches that, a month ago, I was completely confident in McIntyre beating Lesnar, but given current circumstances, it seems like a total impossibility. Drew’s buildup has been completely based around crowd reaction and participation, and without that, he seems dead in the water. (Has he even been on Raw since it moved to the PC?) I gotta think Brock takes this one and finally drops the belt whenever WWE is allowed to have an audience again.
Universal Championship Match: Goldberg (c) vs. Roman Reigns
What We Know: Per multiple reports and even a public but non-canon announcement, Roman Reigns is out of the WrestleMania main event due to completely reasonable concerns about his health. Reports are also saying he’s been replaced by Braun Strowman in a real worst-case scenario, although nothing’s actually happened yet and they’re still advertising Reigns.
What We Think Will Happen: I’m guessing they advertise Reigns up through Saturday afternoon, and then Strowman trucks him in a long ago pre-taped backstage segment and hopes reminding us of “I’m not finished with you” is enough to help the systematic and complete murder of his character and momentum. In a perfect world, the Strowman report was just a red herring for something more interesting. Big E or Kofi, maybe? Matt Riddle? Kevin Nash and Scott Hall with a cattle prod? No matter what, WWE put the title on Goldberg to get more people in the building for WrestleMania and it backfired on an heretofore unforeseen level, so now they might as well take it off him and let him get back to a pleasant career of fixing motorcycles and hoping his kids think he’s cool.
Emily Pratt – Everything surrounding this match sucks so much it’s hard to predict the result or care about it. I honestly think the best-case scenario is to have Goldberg hang onto the title until Roman or someone who isn’t 2020 Braun Strowman (maybe 2018 Braun Strowman, if time travel is a possibility) can beat him for it in a more normal setting.
Raj Prashad – Goldberg winning seems like a foregone conclusion, so the real question is does Goldberg even try to jackhammer him, or does he get the finish after like seven spears?
Elle Collins – If Roman was in this match he’d win it, but we all know he’s not. I don’t think they’re going to put the belt on Braun “the Last Minute Replacement” Strowman, so I guess Goldberg stays champion for a while? Hopefully Roman will be able to win it off him down the road when things are normal, god willing.
Scott Heisel – I hope this all gets resolved by someone in the WWE legal team looking at the signed contract and realizing, whoops, due to a clerical error, it said STROWMAN, not ROMAN, granting Braun this title match. As for the result? Maybe I’m a foolish optimist, but regardless of the opponent switching, Goldberg’s still gotta lose, right? Put the belt on a full-timer and let him have a run with it. What’s the harm in that? It’s Braun time!
So there you have it. That’s what we think will happen at WrestleMania 36, without a doubt the strangest and hardest to imagine WrestleMania ever. Trust us, we wish we had more to go on than, “this is sad, I don’t know!” too.
Agree with our picks? Disagree? You know what to do. Drop down into the comments and let us know, and then make sure you’re here on both Saturday and Sunday night to find out what happens. We’ll have a live open discussion thread, results, news breakouts, clips and highlights, and two Best and Worst of WrestleMania columns for the first time. This is so weird. See you this weekend!