WrestleMania 32 may not be the company’s most enticing card ever but Luke Winkie is still breaking it down match by match.
It hasn’t been an easy journey to WrestleMania this year. Between injuries to John Cena, Seth Rollins and Randy Orton, WWE has three top-tier main-eventers on the shelf. You add those to the lingering issues that have kept Cesaro, Neville, Bray Wyatt, and Luke Harper on the shelf, and it becomes pretty difficult to put together a resonant WrestleMania-style card.
Vince McMahon reached out to Batista, Shawn Michaels and The Rock looking for a potential in-ring return with no dice, eventually striking a deal with his wayward son to come home and fight The Undertaker for some reason. Roman Reigns is being positioned as a major draw despite considerable questions about his readiness. It’s a weird, weird show this year, which always makes it more fascinating. I had the same trepidations going into WrestleMania 31, and that ended up being one of the very best shows the company has ever put on.
So with that, we present our official predictions and analysis for every match on the card. And no, you’re not dreaming, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are totally going to be in the same ring in front of 100,000 people.
Roman Reigns vs. Triple H
Maybe Roman Reigns should lose.
There’s zero percent chance of that actually happening. WWE has tried exceedingly hard to make Trips look like a vulnerable heel champion, and when you’re taking three-counts to Dean Ambrose you’re sure as hell not supposed to pin the most protected guy in the entire company. Like it or not, Vince McMahon wants WrestleMania 32 to be an everlasting coronation, and they’ve barreled through every stop sign and potential audible to get to this point. Roman Reigns beating Evil Dad for his third championship reign, and then a few months of middling-to-tepid matches with, like, Sheamus and Kane or whatever.
But still, maybe he should lose.
Remember the pure, cathartic, we-have-this-moment forever joy of WrestleMania 30? Or the wow-I-can’t-believe-how-dope-this-turned-out-to-be satisfaction of WrestleMania 31? That will be replaced with a lot of mopey silence and stray boos in the biggest stadium the WWE has ever conquered. That kind of sucks, but you shouldn’t expect anything different.
Of course, they could swerve. Triple H could win, Roman Reigns could turn heel, and we could spend the summer repurposing the guy’s significant upside and ability into something similar to the badass Samoan warrior we grew to love with The Shield. But quite frankly, a moment like that shouldn’t happen at WrestleMania and it shouldn’t work to bolster the kayfabe stock of someone like Triple H. Just let Reigns hold the belt and get his moment and figure out the rest later. Who knows? Maybe it’ll be good.
PREDICTION: Roman Reigns over Triple H, clean.
Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar
At some point, Dean Ambrose needs to win a big match. I’m not sure it has to be this one, considering all the bloody, Hart/Austin, passed-out-in-the-Sharpshooter-but-still-not-tapping vibes I’m getting from the build. It certainly wouldn’t be expected or logical when you remember Brock Lesnar has killed John Cena, The Undertaker, Triple H and CM Punk who are all more established stars and higher up on the totem pole. Ambrose can absolutely look great in defeat. It’s the easiest match on the card to book. Give him a few moments where Brock looks legitimately overwhelmed or intimidated by Ambrose before finally squashing him with a sixth F-5. Maybe even a post-match show of respect? I can dream.
That being said, I do think it’d be cool to pull the trigger here. Ambrose is the most over babyface on the roster, and considering the other two main events (Undertaker/Shane, Triple H/Reigns) are confusing and morally ambiguous, I’d be really into the earth-shattering pop off a surprise victory. You’ve also stacked the deck by making it a street fight, which opens up the possibility of Dean winning with a cold-cock chair shot, rather than, like, technical ability. Yes you’re passing all the rub from THE STREAK onto a dude who looks more like a grocery bagger than a wrestler, but Dean is connecting in a way that few people can, and that should be rewarded. We need at least one happy ending at WrestleMania 32, right?
PREDICTION: Dean Ambrose over Brock Lesnar, mostly clean.
Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker
This is, without a doubt, the hardest Undertaker WrestleMania match to predict.
On one hand, it’s Shane McMahon.
A non-wrestler known for his moxie and super dangerous high spots who has some memorable matches under his belt but would never, ever, ever find himself booked in a ’Mania main event during his run through the last two decades. Undertaker is one of the most immortal characters in wrestling who’s kayfabe capable of retiring Shawn Michaels. In any other context, this should be a walkover. The concept of Shane McMahon straight-up beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania is something reserved for video games only.
That being said, WWE has a lot invested in this match. Shane is super over, and the dangling stipulation that a McMahon victory means control of Raw shifts away from The Authority is tantalizing. Unfortunately we also have a stipulation that says if The Undertaker loses he’s never having another WrestleMania match again, and barring some sort of storytelling balk, there’s a zero percent chance Taker’s last major match is against someone without a true in-ring legacy. That means Undertaker is probably winning, but the whole idea of Shane returning for a dissatisfying, month-long build ‘n fizzle in a feud that didn’t make sense from the start would leave a lot of people unhappy.
However, WWE has never been above duping the public into a cheap pop and taking the easy way out. So I guess Undertaker wins. At the end of the day, Shane doing a quick job makes slightly more sense than 22-2. Losing to Brock and Shane is like losing to the Warriors and the Hawks.
PREDICTION: Undertaker over Shane McMahon, I guess.
Charlotte vs. Becky vs. Sasha
This very well may be the most important women’s match in the history of the WWE. Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks have proven they’re capable of putting on five-star matches that people care about, and this will hopefully be the first of many WrestleManias for all involved. The company has invested a lot of time and money in the hashtagged Diva’s Revolution ever since calling all three of them up in the summer of last year, and despite a ton of handwringing and bad booking, we’re ending this first phase at a place where all can be forgiven. This match has gravitas, great workers, and a genuine multi-layered storyline that wraps all the way back to their NXT years. WWE needs this to be great, because if it’s not, it’ll provoke a lot of stressful conversations about why their female talent can thrive on the smarkier, more sophisticated in-house indie promotion and not the main roster.
In that sense, I don’t think it really matters who wins, as long as the wrestling pops the crowd. But I’ll pick Sasha here simply because she’s more over than anyone else.
PREDICTION: Sasha over Charlotte and Becky
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Stardust vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Sin Cara vs. Zack Ryder vs. The Miz
So I guess the Intercontinental Title Ladder Match is a WrestleMania tradition now? I dig it. Last year’s Bryan victory was really great before it became the worst thing ever.
I’d prefer this to be a Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn standoff given their decades long blood feud, but WWE can do that whenever they want and they probably need a little more time to set up the lore for the totally reasonable people who don’t keep up with the independent scene (or NXT for that matter.) Instead we’re giving a paycheck to nobodies like Sin Cara and Zack Ryder which works for me. I think Sami Zayn wins because it’s new and interesting and obvious and I really don’t need to see The Miz or Ziggler with the Intercontinental strap ever again.
PREDICTION: Sami Zayn over Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, and the entire lower midcard
Kalisto vs. Ryback
One of them is tiny and one of them is big. That’s why they’re feuding I guess. Ryback turned heel a few weeks ago, ostensibly because everyone else is injured and a Ryback face pop sounds like a dry fart in an empty room. There’s also no chance he wins, because Kalisto is on his way to a wonderful singles run and DA BIG GUY is the last dude who should put a stop to that. You don’t build new stars by making them job to mediocre performers at WrestleMania.
Next to New Day/League of Nations, this is the easiest cinch on the card.
PREDICTION: Kalisto over Ryback
The New Day vs. The League of Nations
Like I said, this is the most obvious match to predict since, like, Hogan/Slaughter or something. It’s a handicap bout between four directionless goobers that nobody cares about and the most over tag-team since, like, Edge and Christian? The New Day will win and get a huge pop and hopefully WWE can manufacture some more talent in their tag-team division for some fresh matchups. Shouldn’t be too hard considering they’ve got a whole bunch waiting in the wings down in NXT. Honestly the thing I’m most tantalized by is who New Day will summon to help even the odds. Mark Henry? John Cena? The Rock? Jay Z?
PREDICTION: The New Day over The League of Nations in a walk
AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho
AJ Styles has been wrestling Chris Jericho during the entirety of his career in WWE. It was his debut singles match, his first major pay-per-view feud, and the first time he’s been victimized by a heel turn.
Jericho has done an excellent job being a prick, and Styles’ workrate has made him a massive star without any introduction, so this might end up being the very best match of the night.
AJ going over is the obvious call, considering these men have already had a rubber match and you’d think a clean resolution and some new opponents is the best course of action for both of their characters, but then again, I watched John Cena and Seth Rollins work for six months straight without getting bored. Jericho’s sniveling, schlubby, washed-up dad ennui is super entertaining and I’ll hate him even more if he goes over somehow. From where I’m standing, an extremely disgusting heel victory makes sense here.
PREDICTION: Chris Jericho over AJ Styles, with lots of shenanigans
The Usos vs. The Dudley Boyz
Yes, this match is still happening. Yes they’ve put it on the pre-show. Yes, The Dudleyz are just as uninteresting as a nostalgia act than as a heel partnership upset about being called a nostalgia act. Yes, The Usos are still totally dead in the water save for a sizable bastion of 10-year olds. Yes, this match will probably still be good because everyone involved knows what they’re doing and is probably pissed off that they’ve been relegated to an afterthought. No, it doesn’t matter who wins, but let’s pick the Dudley Boyz because The New Day needs a heel team to wrestle.
PREDICTION: The Dudley Boyz over The Usos
Andre The Giant Battle Royale
I don’t care, I’m picking The Big Show every year they do this thing. He’s so big, how could anyone be toss him over the top rope???
PREDICTION: The Big Show over all of the sad people in the WWE locker room
Team Lana vs. Team Bella, I guess
Apparently this match is happening? Not a bad way to get a bunch of extraneous workers on the show. It’s nice to see Emma again, and Lana’s in-ring debut is enough of “A Thing” that I’m at least curious to learn if she can go. Brie Bella might be the worst wrestler in the entire company, but it’s also probably her Mania send-off before joining her husband Daniel Bryan in retirement. That alone makes me think that she’s going over. You need to do what you can to get the Yes Chant on the card, even if it’s the worst possible version.
PREDICTION: Team Bella over Team Lana