Well, another wrestling year has passed and we are finally here: Wrestlemania 32 is upon us. I want to start by saying that, like most wrestling fans, I absolutely love this time of the year. Wrestlemania week is one of the most fun times to be a fan of this industry with events throughout the week that constantly keep us entertained. No matter what happens on Sunday, I know that I will have a lot of fun, which is the point of all of this at the end of the day. Unfortunately, WWE has done a very poor job of building this card (listen to more of these complaints here on Book That! a new wrestling podcast that we started this week). Although I am looking forward to the show, it’s more for the spectacle than the stories. Let’s take a look at these matches, grade the builds, and give some final predictions.

First off, I refuse to spend that much time on the ridiculous preshow. All of the builds get an F, and I’ll keep my predictions brief.

  • Team Total Divas defeats Team BAD and Blonde.
  • Braun Strowman wins the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
  • The Usos defeat The Dudley Boyz.
  • Kalisto (c) defeats Ryback to retain the UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP.

Ok, let’s get into the main card of a four-hour show that starts at 7 EST. I will be listing the matches in the order in which I believe they will show the card.

AJ Styles v. Chris Jericho – Singles Match

There’s something to be said for the fact that this is the only pure singles match on the entire card with no other stipulation. This says a lot for the build of this feud, which I’ve actually enjoyed for the most part. These two guys are bona-fide veterans and are sure to put on one hell of a match to open the show. My biggest complaint comes from the fact that we’ve already seen this match three times, with AJ Styles holding the most recent victory. The issue now becomes what you will accomplish with either victory. Jericho can win under no circumstances and AJ gains little other than his first Wrestlemania victory. Both guys interrupting each other on RAW in recent weeks is a generic way to build tension, but it’s worked well enough on me. We may look back on this as one of the best openers in Mania history from an in-ring perspective.

Build Grade: B-

Prediction: AJ Styles wins by hitting the Styles Clash.

Kevin Owens (c) v. Sami Zayn v. Dolph Ziggler v. The Miz v. Stardust v. Sin Cara v. Zack Ryder – Seven Man Ladder Match for the INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP

WWE, why you no like the Intercontinental Championship? It baffles me that this is what we will be getting on Sunday for this match, as there was a perfectly legitimate feud to build around without a stipulation. As I said on the podcast this week, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn have a history that, not only goes beyond WWE, but was detailed in NXT. WWE could have brought in Sami right after the Royal Rumble, had him foil Kevin Owens multiple times, and built on their already deep history. This could have set up an incredible IC Title match at Mania that could have been one for the record books. Instead, we get this generic multi man match with players who people could legitimately not care any less about. It’s shocking to me that WWE didn’t give this stipulation to the US Championship feud. To reference last year, the IC Title picture was given the ladder match to add intrigue to a weak feud. They could’ve done this with the US Title and left the IC Title to be fought between Zayn and Owens. But alas, this is what we get, an undoubtedly entertaining but ultimately pointless match.

Build Grade: D-

Prediction: Kevin Owens power bombs Sami Zayn from the top of the ladder for the win, setting up a real feud between them moving forward.

The New Day (c) v. The League of Nations – 4-on-3 Handicap Match

This is a feud that confuses me because, as recently as a couple of weeks ago, WWE decided to pull the Tag Team Titles out of the equation. To me, this illustrates just how little the WWE cares about their team championship, as it won’t even be defended at their biggest show of the year. In a scenario in which the feud and build between the two teams had legitimate heat and intrigue, this may not be a big deal, but this is not the case between these two stables. As a whole, I haven’t completely hated what I’ve seen between them. The League of Nations is a stable filled with veteran guys (sans Rusev) and talented people, and The New Day is probably the best thing that the WWE has going for them at this moment. Everything that they touch turns to gold, and they are incredibly over with the fans. I imagine that they will have one hell of an entrance and will put on an entertaining show that will keep that massive crowd going. Unfortunately, there is just no heat between the stables and, with nothing on the line, the result doesn’t really matter.

Build Grade: D+

Prediction: The League of Nations use the number advantage to overwhelm The New Day, leading to matches for the titles in the month to come.

Charlotte (c) v. Sasha Banks v. Becky Lynch – Triple Threat Match for the DIVAS CHAMPIONSHIP

If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, check out my piece on the rumored rebranding of the Divas Division here. Focusing on this feud however, I feel like this is one that has lost a little bit of steam in recent weeks. Following the Royal Rumble, WWE did a decent job of telling the story between these three ladies, properly referencing back to their history in NXT to build context around them (why they couldn’t do the same for Zayn and Owens is beyond the capabilities of my apparently small brain). Like I said, the feud definitely has lost a little zest lately, as the ladies have stopped cutting promos and have instead been having singles matches against each other. Having these matches does little to make anyone look good, and instead gives away potential spots in the match itself. However, recency bias tells me that WWE has done much worse by their women talent in recent years, and I feel like they are at least treating this match with the respect that it deserves. I’ve said it multiple times but I stand by it: this will be the best women’s match in the history of WWE.

Build Grade: B-

Prediction: After an inadvertent distraction from Ric Flair, Sasha hits the Bank Statement on Charlotte for the win. The next night on RAW, Sasha unveils the new Women’s Championship.

Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose: Preview, Odds, Prediction for WWE WrestleMania 32

Dean Ambrose v. Brock Lesnar – No Holds Barred Street Fight

This is my personal main event, and its the only build of the entire card that has been near perfect from start to finish. Following their Triple Threat Match at Fastlane, Brock Lesnar surprise attacked Dean Ambrose in the parking lot, mauling him and leaving him in an ambulance. Ever since then, WWE has done a great job of making us believe in the animosity between these two men, with the defiant Ambrose constantly challenging the overpowering Lesnar. Punctuating this feud with a small match between Ambrose and Triple H, one in which Ambrose basically won, helps to make Dean look like more of a threat to the Beast Incarnate. Plus, throwing in the endorsements of hardcore legends throughout the month of March in favor of Ambrose continues to make him look good. All of this ended perfectly last week, where Ambrose ignored Lesnar to collect his weapons for the match. You know that a feud has been built properly when you can have one of the wrestlers say nothing on the go-home episode of RAW and it actually means more than a promo or brawl. There’s really only one result that makes sense here, where both men can walk away looking great.

Build Grade: A

Prediction: Both men will go to war, in a back and forth match in which almost all of the potential weapons are used. In the end, Lesnar will hit Ambrose with an F5 for the win. As he walks away, Ambrose will get back to his feet to stare Lesnar down, and Lesnar will nod at him in respect.

Shane McMahon v. The Undertaker – Hell in a Cell Match, IF SHANE WINS, HE GAINS CONTROL OF THE COMPANY AND IT WILL BE UNDERTAKER’S LAST WRESTLEMANIA

If it wasn’t for last week, I’m not too sure that I would have given this build the grade that I’m going to give it because, to be honest, it hasn’t been all that great. In the episodes following Shane’s return, WWE didn’t do a very good job of making us believe that there was any tension between the two combatants. Sure, we knew about the disdain between Vince and his son; this has been chronicled throughout the history of the WWE in the form of matches and promos galore. However, it really did seem for a long time that The Undertaker was simply doing the bidding of Vince here, willingly fighting for him in a storyline that he had nothing to do with. Thankfully, the recent clashes between these two, which culminated in the amazing spot from Shane this week to open RAW, has made us believe in the disdain between these two. What is even better is the uncertainty as to what will happen. I have been going back and forth in my head as to what I think will happen but, in the end, I have settled on a pretty bold prediction that I heard mentioned recently.

Build grade: B

Prediction: Undertaker and Shane will battle all over the Cell, eventually breaking down the wall to fight on the outside. This will open up the possibility for outside interference…allowing for John Cena to assist Shane in taking down The Undertaker. On the next night, Cena will explain that he saw an opportunity to get rid of The Authority and took it. This will eventually set up a match between him and Taker at next year’s Wrestlemania (WWE will just ignore the “last Mania” stipulation from this match), which is what we’re supposed to get this year.

Triple H (c) v. Roman Reigns – Singles Match for the WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP

There’s a lot riding on this match for WWE, and it’ll be important that they right the wrongs that they have committed in the build up to it. As I’ve said in my weekly RAW reviews, everything WWE has done with Roman Reigns in recent weeks has been perfect. Since his return from the beat down he received from Triple H, Roman has said little and kicked a lot of ass, which is the portrayal all of us have wanted for him from the beginning. However, it’s hard for us to forget the crappy promos and the force-feeding of Reigns at this point, and it shows in the fan reactions each and every week. Even though the segments have been done correctly, fans have been booing Roman out of the building, going so far as to chant “you still suck” at him in the closing segment of last week’s RAW. Under no circumstances can WWE have Roman Reigns win AND remain a baby face. If they do this, fans will revolt.

Build Grade: C+

Prediction: Roman Reigns will win the match as a baby face with the help of The Rock, who will fend off henchmen of Triple H who will try to screw Roman over. After the match, Roman will attack The Rock, putting him on his back and leaving the arena as a heel champion.

I’m going to try to live tweet throughout the main show, so follow me on Twitter @couch_qb for my live reactions and to see if my predictions were right.

Kyle Kirby covered WWE for MFST. You can follow him on Twitter @couch_qb. 

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