It’s WRESTLEMANIA time!
As I do every year, I will be home with my 15 year old daughter Ashley watching the event, with many snacks and even more Beer. Of course, I will explain the finer points in the story telling of the matches, as she will just be rooting for her favorites, because, well, she is a fan. I, as a grown man, prefer to believe that there is greater meaning and art in the proceedings. –Alfredo Arteaga (@UptownReport)
NxT TakeOver was epic and New Japan G1 Super Card is putting on an impressive show as I type this. It was a great weekend of wrestling that will be topped off by the Grand Daddy of them all, WrestleMania and I will be in attendance. That’s right, my family and I are on our way to the enemy’s stadium to watch professional wrestling’s version of the Super Bowl. As a dude that has watched wrasslin’ for the better part of his life, I’m stoked to say the least. – Josh Houtz (@Houtz)
Now, Alfredo, Ashley and Houtz’s WrestleMania 35 predictions.
Women’s Battle Royal
Alfredo: Wow, so they put the bathroom break right at the top of the show this year. There is no way that they open the show with what is in essence all the women they couldn’t build matches for, to just scurry about in a pointless battle royal. There must be a surprise? Has to be better than the rumored Eve Torres “return”. Naomi returns this year to defend her title. Admit it, you didn’t know she won last year.
Houtz: There are a number of women wrestlers that have not been given a fair opportunity on the main roster. And considering WWE released a promotional image for the Battle Royal and only 10 women were showcased, I would imagine there are only so many options in this match. Yes, there will be several “surprise entrants” and Lacy Evans will probably continue doing nothing. Nevertheless, my pick for the Women’s Battle Royal is…. Becky Lynch! Why not have her come down to the ring and throw every remaining women’s wrestler over the top rope, before winning both titles later in the night. It would be a perfect moment.
My Pick: The Surprise entrant to be named later.
Ashley’s Pick: Naomi
Houtz’s Pick: Becky Lynch
Andre the Giant Battle Royal
Alfredo: This was a good idea that quickly went bad. From brief, somewhat compelling, Rob Gronkowski appearances. As a fan of the product, you kinda get what this one is all about every year, and you tend to care even less. Braun Strowman has never won this event. It’s his time. Did I get you excited for this? Yeah, I know. I might just grill burgers for the first hour of this year’s show.
Houtz: Alf and I did not discuss our picks prior to this article, nor have we talked about WrestleMania at all. So when we both say Rob Gronkowski is going to have a role in this year’s PPV, the stars are starting to align. We all know those two guys from Saturday Night Live are also in this year’s Andre the Giant invitational. I refer to them as “those guys” because I don’t know who they are. In the end, Rob Gronkowski helps Mojo Rawley for the majority of the match, before throwing him over the top rope for the win.
Alfredo’s Pick: Braun Strowman
Ashley’s Pick: Braun Strowman
Houtz’s Pick: Rob Gronkowski
Buddy Murphy © vs Tony Nese
Alfredo: At this point, you scrolled down to see what I have to say about the matches you care about, and I don’t blame you. Ashley assures me that Buddy Murphy has had a great push and is on a long running undefeated streak since returning. I make it known that the Internet Wrestling Database has his career record at 108 Wins, 185 Losses and 3 draws. Good god this guy is terrible.
Houtz: My #sauces tell me that Buddy Murphy is dating/married/engaged/going steady with WrestleMania host Alexa Bliss. He’s also been the reigning, defending, Cruiserweight Champion for a very long time. I don’t know what a Tony Nese is but I don’t think he’s the guy to end Murphy’s reign.
Alfredo’s Pick: Buddy Murphy
Ashley’s Pick: Buddy Murphy
Houtz’s Pick: Buddy Murphy
Smackdown Tag Titles
USO’s © vs Nakamura & Rusev vs Aleister Black & Ricochet vs The Bar
Alfredo: Remember when “The Bar” was a thing? No. Neither do I, but Cesaro definitely was. Any match with Cesaro in it, is going to have moments and if you remember his work with Sami Zayn in NXT, you know he is the perfect match to work with a “high flyer/athletic type”. That brings us to the team of Aleister Black and Ricochet. The very best anywhere in this brand of wrestling. Oh yeah, this match has the USO’s/Nakamura/Rusev too. It’s been a loooong fall from grace for Nakamura, but a Tag Title can start that up, right? No chance. I’m here for the Black/Ricochet team.
Houtz: Black and Ricochet were unable to beat War Machine at NxT TakeOver on Friday and afterward, had a heartfelt moment in the ring. Is this their official call up to the main roster? Will they win the Smackdown Tag Titles? My theory is that Black and Ricochet were never supposed to get the push they did. Instead, DIY was the intended Tag Team Champions. Unfortunately, Ciampa’s injury made that impossible, so here we are. Ricochet and Black have their first of many WrestleMania moments. AND NEWWWW……
Alfredo’s Pick: Black/Ricochet
Ashley’s Pick: Black/Ricochet
Houtz’s Pick: Black/Ricochet
Kurt Angle vs Baron Corbin
Alfredo: This match makes me sad. First of all, because Angle “supposedly” is riding off into the sunset and secondly, because his fairwell match opponent is….Baron Corbin? Slacks and Suit Vest and all. Somebody, somewhere, in WWE creative thought this was a good idea. It’s not. Which leads me to believe there has to be something more to this. A “Swerve” that manages to pit the corpse of The Undertaker in this match to replace Corbin? See, I can do WWE creatives job. I mean, really? Baron Corbin.
Houtz: Kurt Angle is a WWE Hall of Famer and won an Olympic medal with a broken freaking neck. Baron Corbin on the other hand, is nothing more than a parasite, that somehow continues to get big-time matches in wrestling’s biggest events. Fortunately, Kurt Angle is going to win this match with relative ease, ending his prolific wrestling career. Thank you, Kurt.
Alfredo’s Pick: Kurt Angle
Ashley’s Pick: Kurt Angle
Houtz’s Pick: Kurt Angle
The Miz vs Shane McMahon (Falls count anywhere)
Alfredo: Falls count anywhere? Yes. Shane McMahon jumping from the top of the Met Life Stadium sign? Yes. The Miz? Yes. There is a lot to like here, even though the build to this match has been less than inspiring. I had even forgotten that these two had a feud. Oh well, at least we can look forward to what crazy and probably ill-advised stunt, Shane is going to pull.
Houtz: This is one of the harder matches to gauge, because both wrestlers are more than capable of winning. Shane McMahon will almost certainly jump from coast to coast, and at some point during the match, many will think he has passed. The Miz however, is fighting for “his family” which means he will likely beat the living hell out of Shane and get the win. For his family of course.
Alfredo’s Pick: Shane McMahon
Ashley’s Pick: The Miz
Houtz’s Pick: The Miz
Women’s Tag titles
Sasha & Bayley © vs Nia Jax & Tamina vs The Iconics is vs Natalia & Beth Phoenix
Alfredo: The Newly formed Women’s Tag Title Division found worthy champs in the Boss and Hug connection, but have not found worthy in-ring competitors. There is just so many times you can have some different incarnation of “The Riott Squad” job to them on national TV. So enter Natty-Beth Phoenix. That alone should have been the match, but they insisted on putting 4 other women in this match to take up space. The Iconics are fun, but are pretty far out of their depth in this one. Nia Jax will surely do some spots that risk life and limb for some of these women, and Tamina is. Well, Tamina. Not a fan of a quadruple threat title match. Much less, a Tag match.
Houtz: When the WWE announced they were going to add Tag Team Titles to the Women’s division, I was rather excited. After all, women’s wrestling has become larger than life over the last few years and adding a pair of Tag titles is exactly what they were missing. Obviously Bayley and Sasha are the best damn Women’s tag team on the planet! Or are they? There’s a very good chance Natalia & Beth Phoenix win for nostalgia sake. However, I’m putting all my money on the girls with the god awful accents from down under. After defeating The Boss and Hug connection, the Women’s Tag Team division will officially become…..ICCOONNICCCC
Alfredo’s Pick: Natty-Beth Phoenix
Ashley’s Pick: The Boss and Hug connection
Houtz’s Pick: The Iconics
United States Championship
Rey Mysterio vs Samoa Joe ©
Alfredo: We have seen this script before. Rey Mysterio, the clever, smallish, loveable underdog vs. the imposing brute in Samoa Joe. We usually know how it ends. With the crowd favorite little guy and his arm raised. But this is Samoa Joe. One of the best and most “believable” workers in DIS BIZZNEZZ. This Match should deliver, and while my daughter will be rooting hard for Rey Mysterio, I will be chanting “JOE IS GONNA KILL YOU.” Here’s to hoping for a great match, and for the dismemberment (not literally) of Ole’ Rey and the squashing of this common WWE storyline.
Houtz: My brother in law is a very wise man. He brought up a good point, and that was that this was Samoa Joe’s first WrestleMania which means there’s a very good chance he retains the title. However, Rey Mysterio came back to the WWE for a reason. And in doing so, I believe he was promised one last opportunity to make his mark at the biggest PPV of the year. Sure, I hope Samoa Joe dismantles Mysterio, before finishing him off with a powerbomb on the ring apron. But I think one last 619 prevails, before he ultimately loses a rematch on Tuesday’s Smackdown.
Alfredo’s Pick: Samoa Joe
Ashley’s Pick: Rey Mysterio
Houtz’s Pick: Rey Mysterio
Bobby Lashley © vs Finn Balor (Demon)
Alfredo: The WWE did it again. They took what could have been a cool, memorable Mania’ moment in the reveal of “Demon” Balor in a title match at a WWE PPV, and just announced that it was going to happen. I guess, anything to drum up interest in this match? Bobby Lashley is underrated as a believable, imposing power house as he has legitimate MMA/Amateur wrestling Chops, while Finn Balor is one of the WWE’s greatest technicians. I’m excited to see how this match is put together and look forward to the Demon getting his hand raised.
Houtz: There is not a wrestler in the entire universe, that I care less about than Bobby Lashley. He’s a poor-man’s Ahmad Johnson with less power and a tiny elf as his hype man. Demon Finn will likely squash Lashley in record time, becoming the NEWWWWW WWE Intercontinental Champion!!!! The question now remains, will Demon Finn defend his newly reclaimed belt vs regular Finn on Monday? Now that’s a match I’d like to see. TOOOO SWEEEETTT!!!
Alfredo’s Pick: Finn Balor
Ashley’s Pick: Finn Balor
Houtz’s Pick: Finn Balor
HHH vs Bautista (No Holds Barred)
Alfredo: Bautista must be promoting a movie or something. For two historically great performers, the runnup to their “No holds Barred” matchup hasn’t been all that great. So let’s see if we can follow. Bautista shows up out of the Blue (do you get the reference?), Assaults Hall of Famer Ric Flair, and we haven’t seen Flair since. Is he ok? HHH takes offense, and shows up on TV in motorcycle jackets (he obviously means BIZZNEZZ) cuts a few clunky promos. Bautista then calls “Evolution” a sham and a HHH Ponzi scheme. HHH then confirms that he’s correct. HHH makes a stipulation that if he loses, he is done wrestling. Bautista then comes on National TV again to cut a 3 word promo: “Kiss my Ass.” BAH GAWD. I’m exhausted. This is going to be a great match. HHH is an all-time great, and Bautista always rises to the occasion.
Houtz: We all know by now what Bautista wants, what he really, really wants. And that is the chance to defeat Triple H once and for all at WrestleMania. If Bautista wins, Triple H will be forced to retire from the ring. Which means he will no longer be able to use his Father in Law’s credit card to get dressed up and have the best entrance at Mania year after year. This match will end with some outside interference from the Ghost of Christmas Past, I mean Ric Flair.
Alfredo’s Pick: Triple H
Ashley’s Pick: Bautista
Houtz’s Pick: Triple H
A.J Styles vs Randy Orton
Alfredo: What? AJ Styles might be the best wrestler in the world, possibly of all-time. Randy Orton, is a once headliner, now fading mid carder that nobody cares about. I said this, you said that, I did this, you did that. Point at the Wrestlemania sign. We get this. AJ Styles is worth it. This match is the late in the show Bathroom break.
Houtz: I’m proud of the WWE for not putting this match on the kickoff show because honestly, that’s exactly where it belongs. Both wrestlers are two of the best to ever lace up the boots. But if it wasn’t for a nice build up over the last 10 days, NO ONE would care about this match.
Go grab a beer, let the dogs out, fold some laundry, anything is probably better than sitting through this 6 minute snoozefest.
Alfredo’s Pick: AJ Styles
Ashley’s Pick: AJ Styles
Houtz’s Pick: A.J Styles
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
Alfredo: Roman Reigns relinquished the WWE Universal title last October as he announced that he needed to focus on battling his ongoing bout with Leukemia. Four Months later, Roman announced that he is/was in remission and fans rejoiced at the news. Since then, we had a “Shield” reunion, but his best in ring moments have been his latest ongoing feud with the Scottish Psychopath, Drew McIntyre. These are two guys that are mirror images of each other in many ways, and this match should vault the winner “back” into main event status. Drew’s dire warning to Reigns about “thinking about what is best for his family” was a nice and ominous touch.
Houtz: Drew McIntyre is the next big thing, and I don’t think anyone can argue that. But after Roman Reigns had to relinquish his Universal Championship to treat his Leukemia, there is no way Vince McMahon allows his favorite WWE superstar to lose at the year’s biggest PPV. Or maybe he does. But after a missed Claymore kick, Roman hits him with the Spear for the 1,2, 3.
“ROMAN REIGNS, THE GUY WITH THE COOL TATTOOS”
Alfredo’s Pick: Drew McIntyre
Ashley’s Pick: Roman Reigns
Houtz’s Pick: Roman Reigns
Daniel Bryan © vs Kofi Kingston
Alfredo: The Ultimate Underdog meats the Ultimate Underdog. So how did we get here? That’s complicated. Somehow, after 11 years, fans realized that “hey, this Kofi guy is good.” This took place after former fan favorite Daniel Bryan, became a preachy, overbearing hippy, with a tinge of eco-terrorist thrown in while changing the WWE Championship belt from Leather, and Gold…to…Hemp. Yes. Hemp. Anybody that reads this and is not a fan, is a fan now. Either that, or I am in a drug induced creative haze. This is one that WWE creative got right.
Houtz: Daniel Bryan has been phenomenal since his heel turn a few months ago and is more than deserving of retaining the Championship at WrestleMania. But with Kofi Kingston, arguably the greatest underdog in sports entertainment history, FINALLY gets his chance to become WWE Champion. The two wrestlers put on an absolutely clinic at Elimination Chamber, which is probably why EVERYONE wants to see this match. Yes, Bryan could win with outside interference and the rivalry could continue another month or so. But this is WrestleMania and Kofi Kingston is about to have his moment. A moment he’s been waiting for his entire life. “YOU DESERVE IT!”
Alfredo’s Pick: Kofi Kingston
Ashley’s Pick: Kofi Kingston
Houtz’s Pick: Kofi Kingston
WWE Universal Title
Seth Rollins vs Brock Lesnar ©
Alfredo: I’m kind of sick of all the Whiny, repetitive “You’re a part-timer” promos directed at the Beast incarnate, BRRRRAAAWCK LEZZZZNARRRR. Even, top promo Seth Rollins, fell victim to some producer running from the back to make sure he got in that “Hey..make sure that people know that Lesnar makes a lot of money for being here for very little time.” I hate that. It’s dumb writing and even dumber story telling. The Story here is that Brock Lesnar eats people. After he beats them into a puddle of blood and bones. Seth Rollins is the best in breed of conniving, crafty, and smart ring masters working today. They are going to clash, and there can only be one Universal Champion. My NAME IS ALFREDO ARTEAGA, and I’M THE ADVOCATE …ok..enough ranting.
This is top notch. Worth the wait, and price of a WWE Network Subscription. Does Seth Rollins complete his quest to gain the only Championship that has eluded him? Or does Brock Lesnar murder him. Fun!
Houtz: Truth is, I am a Seth Rollins stan. Much like I spent my days on the internet defending Ryan Tannehill blindly for 4, maybe 5 years, Rollins has been my favorite wrestler since his triple threat match with Brock Lesnar and John Cena at the 2015 Royal Rumble. Lesnar is going to dismantle Rollins. He’s going to get tossed around the ring like a sack of Idaho potatoes. Lesnar will probably F-5 Rollins three or four times, maybe even break a table or two. But in the end, Seth Rollins will do something crazy and find a way to prevail.
Alfredo’s Pick: Seth Rollins
Ashley’s Pick: Seth Rollins
Houtz’s Pick: Seth Rollins
Triple Threat Winner takes all Women’s Championship
Ronda Rousey © vs Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair ©
Alfredo: The First All-Women’s Main Event in WrestleMania History. Well deserved. This match has three of the best workers in the world, and includes, ONE G.O.A.T (Charlotte Flair),ONE World Famous ICON (Ronda Rousey) and ONE…THE MAN (Becky Lynch). To say that Becky Lynch has had one of the hottest runs in Wrestling history is an understatement. Her “THE MAN” gimmick rivals some of the best anti-hero characters to ever grace a WWE ring. Her run to the main event of Mania’ is very much like the ascension of Stone Cold Steve Austin many moons ago.
Oh, did I mention, that we get Charlotte and Ronda too? Charlotte ads the historical heft of being the G.O.A.T, even after being in the game for only 6 years. Nobody has ever been better than her, at pretty much anything in a wrestling ring. Her overall work puts her in the conversation with the greatest’ of all-time regardless of gender.
You could not have the first all-women’s main event in Mania’ History and not have Flair in it. This brings us to Ronda Rousey. There is some talk out there that her promos are weak and hurt her performance, but I disagree. She gets mad, curses on national TV, and then screams into her opponents face’ that she can cripple them if she chose too. What’s wrong with that? Her ring work is as good as it gets, and this mix of talent is going to make for one memorable Wrestlemania.
Houtz: When I first started watching wrestling as a kid, the Women’s division was nothing more than eye appeal. Sure, some of the wrestlers were capable and pulled their own weight. But a majority of the Attitude Era was spent degrading women. NOT. ANY. MORE.
Today, Women’s wrestling is at an all-time high. They can do everything the men can do and more. Want proof? Watch tonight’s WrestleMania. There’s a very good chance that the main event could be the best match of the entire weekend. But then again, Gargano vs Adam Cole (BAY BAY) was one of the better NxT Championship matches in recent memory. Nevertheless, anytime you get three of the best women wrestlers in the industry, to fight in the main event at WrestleMania, something special is bound to happen.
There will be carnage. There will be blood. And there will be only be one winner.
Alfredo’s Pick: Becky Lynch
Ashley’s Pick: Becky Lynch
Houtz’s Pick: Becky Lynch
Alfredo Arteaga (@UptownReport) is one of the three-headed monster on Three Yards Per Carry. He will remind you that he called Kallen Ballage to the Dolphins last year.
Josh Houtz (@Houtz) cooks in his spare time, when he’s not working on 65 things for Five Reasons Sports Network and Dolphin Maven.