It’s almost here. WrestleMania 37 is less than one week away. Before I get to that, I want to wish you a Happy Easter if you are celebrating today. It’s not my Easter because I’m Christian Greek Orthodox and my Easter this year is in four weeks on May 2. It’s just another Sunday for me as I prepare for the busiest week of my year as a guy that writes about WWE for a living.
Part one of WWE’s WrestleMania 37 begins this coming Saturday, April 10 and then Sunday night, April 11 we get part two. Both shows are beginning at 8pm ET rather than the 7pm ET start time WWE has been using for PPVs in the last few years. There are apparently going to be no Kickoff Show matches, so whoever leads off WrestleMania 37 on Saturday night are going to be the first wrestlers in front of a big WWE crowd in over a year. It’s expected that there will be about 25,000 fans in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, so it’s going to be great to hear that noise again. I hope they’re loud and full of excitement.
One week ago I wrote this article about the WrestleMania lineup with some thoughts and predictions about every match. I wanted to do it again this week although it will probably be shorter than what I did last week. That’s because I want to save some things for when we post the official TJRWrestling WrestleMania preview.
Before we get to WrestleMania, WWE is airing a “WrestleMania Smackdown” that is basically the WrestleMania Kickoff Show with two matches. This was already taped in the last couple of days, but I don’t know the results.
Fatal 4-Way for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships: Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode vs. The Street Profits vs. Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. Chad Gable & Otis
This should be a very good match. I feel bad for the wrestlers that are missing out on a WrestleMania appearance because I think it should be on the WrestleMania card since it's a title match. All eight guys deserve it too after working without fans for over a year now. I think it’s if an elimination match they can probably stretch it out to 30 or 40 minutes with multiple commercial breaks, but if it’s one fall they will probably go in the 20-25 minute range. I felt like WWE should have built up Rey & Dominik to win the titles at WrestleMania although based on the build, it hasn’t felt like a big deal. Gable & Otis winning would be fine with me because I enjoy their heel act, but I’m not sure if that’s coming. Since I think a title change is coming, I’ll go with The Street Profits to win. The former champions get their titles back.
Andre The Giant Battle Royal
The annual men’s Andre The Giant Battle Royal will also air during Smackdown with these wrestlers as part of the match: Akira Tozawa, Angel Garza, Cedric Alexander, Drew Gulak, Elias, Erik, Gran Metalik, Humberto Carrillo, Jaxson Ryker, Jey Uso, Kalisto, King Corbin, Lince Dorado, MACE, Murphy, Mustafa Ali, Ricochet, Shelton Benjamin, Shinsuke Nakamura, SLAPJACK, T-Bar and Tucker.
Some of these guys are barely on TV while all of them are men that should be utilized a lot more. Based on TV time, guys like Jey Uso, Shinsuke Nakamura, Mustafa Ali and King Corbin are probably the biggest favorites. Since I think it might be a babyface winner, I’ll go with Shinsuke Nakamura to win. I don’t know if the winner will get any kind of push after the match, but I think Nakamura winning makes sense.
As for the WrestleMania card, I can only preview what is advertised right now. I believe there is going to be something for the Women’s Tag Team Titles, but what they are doing isn’t exactly known right now. Hopefully we know more by Raw and then I can put my thoughts in the WrestleMania preview later in the week. There are 12 matches right now with seven coming from Raw and five from Smackdown.
Saturday, April 10 – Night 1
SmackDown Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bianca Belair
The build has been okay for this match, but I wouldn’t say it’s great. Their only interaction on Smackdown this past week was when Banks teased an attack from behind, Belair was ready for it and then Banks backed away. I think they have utilized Banks to be a bit more heelish without doing a heel turn to position Belair as the face in the match because WWE wants to get behind Belair.
I’m still not sure if they are going to main event night one, but since Bianca was the Women’s Royal Rumble winner I think it’s fair to say that they should go last. The reason against them not going on last is that Smackdown is likely going to get the last match on Sunday, so maybe a Raw match should go on last on Saturday. With all of that said, I know how passionate some WWE fans are about women’s wrestling, so if Banks/Belair isn’t on last then there will be outrage on social media. Anyway, I expect Belair to win the Smackdown Women’s Title in this match.
WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
If this doesn’t main event night one of WrestleMania then I think maybe they should go on first. Why not? It would get the crowd excited right off the bat to see the WWE Title on the line in the first match. I think this match could go either way because Lashley hasn’t had a long title reign, but I feel like this is going to be a show full of babyface wins and that makes me think McIntyre will win. I care more about the match quality than the result, though, because I’m a fan of both guys for a long time and I think they’ll have a match that is better than most people expect. I’ll go with Drew McIntyre to win to become a three-time WWE Champion.
Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins
This is probably my favorite match on night one just because I'm a fan of both guys, especially Cesaro. They’ve built this up for about two months with a strong promo on Smackdown that made their points well. Rollins is the guy that has accomplished a lot in his career with a lot of WrestleMania with wins over the likes of Brock Lesnar and Triple H while Cesaro is getting his first singles match at a WrestleMania. The pressure is on Cesaro to show he is at the same level of Rollins. That’s why a win by Cesaro is what I expect. It’s similar to Kevin Owens beating Rollins last year although WWE didn’t do much with Owens after that win last year. I hope it goes better for Cesaro after WrestleMania. This will be one of the best matches on the show.
Steel Cage Match: Shane McMahon vs. Braun Strowman
The Steel Cage Match stipulation is rare for a WrestleMania. My guess is they will find a way to get a table into the ring during the match and Strowman is going to slam Shane off the cage and through a table to win the match. That’s all it needs to be with Strowman looking dominant as he gets the win. It will probably go too long, but the point is to elevate Strowman here. After that, I expect Strowman vs. McIntyre as a WWE Title feud.
Bad Bunny vs. The Miz
This could be decent since Bad Bunny is apparently dedicated to his wrestling training according to comments from Triple H earlier in the week. I’m trying to be optimistic about it because I assume they’ve probably been practicing it as much as possible. As I’ve said in the past, if it was a tag team match they could have hid Bad Bunny on the apron, but in a singles match he has to put in the work. Since Miz is a comedy heel for the most part, it’s fine for him to lose. I expect Bad Bunny to win the match that goes around ten minutes.
Raw Tag Team Championships: The New Day’s Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods (c) vs. AJ Styles & Omos
I feel like there will be a title change here with Omos looking dominant and Styles getting the pin for the team, kind of like the Owen Hart/Yokozuna team was. I talk about face wins a lot at WrestleMania because I think there will be plenty of those, but not here. I think WWE wants Omos to come across looking like a huge star with New Day guys there to bump their asses off to make him look great. Styles and Omos will be the new Raw Tag Team Champions.
Sunday, April 11 – Night 2
Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Edge vs. Daniel Bryan
I did a poll on Twitter (please follow me on there if you aren't already) on Saturday afternoon and you can see the results below. It’s very close.
POLL TIME: Who will leave WrestleMania 37 as WWE Universal Champion? Please vote, share, comment, etc. Interested to see the result.
— John Canton (@johnreport) April 3, 2021
As I looked at right now, Bryan and Reigns each have 36.7% of the vote and then Edge has 26.6% of the vote. All three outcomes would make sense to me:
* Roman Reigns keeps the title because he’s arguably the best thing going in WWE in the last year. His two opponents might not be active at every PPV either, so it makes sense to keep the title on Reigns.
* Edge winning would complete his comeback story from last year, then coming back from the arm injury to win the Royal Rumble and get the WrestleMania title match. Even though he’s a heel now, it would be a way to complete that comeback angle. Also, since Bryan is in the match, Edge could beat Bryan and then Reigns is protected.
* Bryan winning would give him another WrestleMania moment seven years after WrestleMania 30 when he main evented in a triple threat to become WWE Champion. This time, Bryan would become Universal Champion for the first time after finding a way to get in the match. They could have Bryan beat Edge to keep Reigns looking strong even without the title.
My prediction is that Daniel Bryan is going to win the Universal Title because I think WWE will want to end WrestleMania with a babyface win to send the fans home happy. Is it a lock? Absolutely not. It’s just my feeling right now. They could give Reigns a month or two off if he wants it while Bryan could feud with Edge over the title. I don’t think Bryan needs a long title reign either. Reigns will probably get the title back by the summer. I also think they are going to have an incredible match that will probably be the best match on either night of WrestleMania. I’d expect over four stars on my ratings scale and possibly close to five stars as well.
Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Rhea Ripley
There’s not much of a story here. Asuka is the long-term champion while Ripley is the new challenger that might be a heel or is at least just a woman with a lot of confidence. I think fans view Ripley as a star, so that will help her. They’ll have a very good match that the crowd will care about because of the talent of the women in the ring, but the lack of story may hurt. I feel like Rhea Ripley will win to put an end to Asuka’s long title reign. I also wonder if Charlotte Flair is really going to be completely absent from the match or if there's some change coming here.
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton
I would be surprised if there isn’t a stipulation here. I have my doubts that they are going to have a regular match to end this rivalry, but as of now, it’s just a regular match. I think they should avoid doing a cinematic match because fans are there, so you might as well be in the ring. Since Orton burned The Fiend alive back in December, The Fiend should win here. My interest in this is low, but I hope they can do better than their disappointing WrestleMania match from four years ago.
Intercontinental Championship Nigerian Drum Fight: Big E (c) vs. Apollo Crews
The Nigerian Drum Fight stipulation is like a Street Fight after Crews tried to explain it on Smackdown this past week. It’s not a shock because of the way the feud has gone. As I said last week, I think Big E is going to have a very long IC Title reign that will likely last a year and since he won the title on Christmas, that means I think he’s going to hold the title for most of 2021. I’ll go with Big E to win here in what should be a big match in the careers of both guys.
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
Sami Zayn will have “celebrity” Logan Paul with him. I put in quotes because I still don’t know much about the guy, but there he is. Anyway, this should be pretty simple with Owens getting the win in a competitive match between two best friends that know eachother very well. They probably don’t even have to call some of the spots because they have wrestled so many times that they know what they are going to do out there. I think they’ll do something where Zayn wants Paul to help him, Paul will refuse and Owens will win. After the match, Zayn will blame Paul for the loss and Paul will deck Sami with a punch.
United States Championship: Riddle (c) vs. Sheamus
Sheamus beat Riddle non-title on Raw last week, so Sheamus gets a title shot. They have had many great matches together, which is why they are being paired again. The issue is we’ve seen it many times on TV recently, so it’s hard to be that excited about it. I’ll go with Riddle winning to retain the US Title since it’s still early in his title reign.
I think there will be several good to great matches on the show. I expect a lot of babyface wins. Is it going to be an all-time epic WrestleMania that we will remember forever? I’m not sure about that. It’s up to the booking, the match finishes, the quality of the matches and if there are surprises like a Becky Lynch, The Rock, Ronda Rousey or Brock Lesnar showing up at the right time. I’m optimistic about both nights because I want to watch a wrestling show with a big crowd again, so that’s what I’m really looking forward to the most – the crowd reactions. I hope the fans are loud and happy to be there.
I’m ready for this coming week that will be very busy for me. I write an average of 25,000 words every week with four show reviews every week. Plus news, columns and editing all of our content. Over this upcoming period, it will be much higher. I don't know how many live reviews I'll do, but sometimes it will be the next morning. The writing schedule looks like this:
April 5 - WWE Raw – It may not be a live review because I might watch college basketball final on Monday night.
April 6 - NXT Takeover Preview/WWE Hall of Fame – I doubt I’ll do a live HOF review. Maybe more of a next day recap.
April 7 - NXT Takeover Part 1/AEW Dynamite – Most likely a live Takeover review.
April 8 - NXT Takeover Part 2 – That will probably be a live review on TJRWrestling.
April 9 - WrestleMania Preview/Smackdown – Smackdown review may not be live.
April 10 - WrestleMania Part 1 – A live review on TJRWrestling.
April 11 - WrestleMania Part 2 – A live review on TJRWrestling
April 12 - WWE Raw – Most likely a live review.
April 13 - NXT Tuesday – It’s the NXT debut on Tuesday. I usually don’t write about NXT TV show live.
It goes on from there. It never really stops, which is fine with me.
I’m not complaining. I love what I do. Our page views are higher than ever and it's a hobby that became a career, which is great for me. Thanks for supporting TJRWrestling.net, our team and me. Enjoy WrestleMania week, my friends.