For better or worse, WrestleMania 36 is going to go down in history as one of the most unique events in the spectacle’s legendary existence. For the first time ever, the Grandest Stage of them All will span across two nights, making way for an even bigger card than usual of 16 individual matches. More importantly, WrestleMania 36 will not hail from one of the world’s most iconic stadiums, instead from the WWE Performance Centre, where they’re destined to set the lowest attendance record in WrestleMania history with a grand total of 0 fans in the stands.
WrestleMania is such an extravaganza; whether it’s in front of 100,000 fans or merely 15,000, the buzz of the event beckons hype from the entire wrestling world. Both new and old fans tune in to witness the biggest climaxes of WWE’s masterpiece storylines. Sometimes their efforts are to little avail, but WWE can always be trusted on to put together an incredible WrestleMania moment or two.
This year sees four huge championship main events, pitting the greatest superstars of the modern era against the icons of yesteryear. Roman Reigns will challenge Universal Champion Goldberg, Royal Rumble victor Drew McIntyre steps up to Brock Lesnar, and finally NXT upstarts Rhea Ripley & Shayna Baszler look to capitalise over respective Horsewomen opponents: Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch.
In this piece, we’re going to run down the entire match card from across the two nights, laying down our predictions and analysis for each contest and deciding whether or not this particular WrestleMania will go down as one of the most spectacular in history.
Make sure you leave your own predictions in the comments section below.
Roman Reigns (?) vs Goldberg – WWE Universal Championship
What will presumably be the ultimate main event of this year’s WrestleMania, ‘The Big Dog’ steps up to go toe-to-toe with the legendary Universal Champion, Goldberg. There are plenty of parallels between the careers of Roman Reigns and WCW’s former flag-bearer, both very dominant performers who have steamrolled over competition in their first years. Whether you respect these two individuals or not, you can’t deny that there’s a buzz revolving around their confrontation at WrestleMania 36. It’s a classic inter-generational dream match, with similar vibes to Rock/Hogan from WrestleMania X8.
The question mark sitting on top of this match though is whether Roman Reigns will actually be featured on the WrestleMania card. With the global pandemic taking hold across all corners of the worlds of sports and entertainment, WrestleMania 36 is no different. Of course, ‘Mania is already suffering due to the last minute venue changes and the decision to divide the show over two separate nights. But perhaps the biggest detriment to WWE was the potential loss of some of their biggest superstars, one of those being Roman Reigns himself.
Roman’s history of health issues has been well documented. I’m sure there’s not a single fan in the world who will deny that Roman should be kept far from the rest of the roster to avoid the possibility of contracting a potentially fatal disease. With that in mind, should this main event go ahead as planned? Should it have even been booked in the first place?
Depending on how WWE choose to handle this nail-biting situation, I suspect we’ll see Goldberg walking out of WrestleMania weekend with the Universal Championship still in hand. Where originally I imagine Roman would have finally reclaimed a major championship for the first time since making his legendary return in 2019, perhaps it’s better to be more safe than sorry and hold off on his big crowning moment until the situation has passed.
Rumours have suggested that Braun Strowman might be drafted in to face Goldberg in Roman’s place. It’s a shame that Braun couldn’t have been given this opportunity during the height of his popularity, but regardless, it’s nice to see that WWE still consider him a championship contender. Strowman will certainly walk in as the fan favourite, but chances are we’ll see Goldberg stand tall over another insurmountable opponent.
Although I dread to see what ensues when Goldberg attempts to hit his signature Jackhammer on someone the size of ‘The Monster Among Men’.
Winner: Goldberg (if it happens)
Brock Lesnar vs Drew McIntyre – WWE Championship
It’s a shame that Drew McIntyre’s crowning moment won’t be heralded by a massive crowd of screaming fans. This could be an incredible moment in pro-wrestling, not only could ‘The Beast’ be finally sidelined by someone more dominant than he, but we could also witness the crowning of the first-ever British World Champion in WWE.
There have been plenty of deserving Brits throughout history: William Regal, Wade Barrett, Fit Finlay, just to name a few, but none have ever come as close as ‘The Scottish Psychopath’ Drew McIntyre. The 2020 Royal Rumble winner has been poised to become the top superstar on Monday Night RAW, one that all wrestling fans would love to see on top of the mountain.
Quite frankly, Brock’s time as WWE Champion is coming to a natural conclusion. He hasn’t done anything of note since defeating Kofi Kingston last year, and there are no feuds waiting for Brock to finish up after dispatching of his WrestleMania challenger. Drew has evolved into one of Brock’s fiercest rivals and perfectly fits the bill of becoming the thorn in his side. This could definitely be the start of a career-defining feud for both men, a hard-hitting affair that fans will continue to want more from as the year unfolds.
This could be a really fun opening match for Night 2, if WWE book it as they should. Last year, Lesnar allowed Seth Rollins to leave him senseless after a handful of Curb Stomps, I imagine Brock will be more than happy to do the same for a hot Drew McIntyre, and his devastating Claymore.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Rhea Ripley vs Charlotte Flair – NXT Women’s Championship
Moving onto the winner of the Women’s Royal Rumble match, ‘The Queen’ Charlotte Flair challenged NXT’s Women’s Champion, Rhea Ripley, to a historic WrestleMania bout. This is the first time an NXT Championship will be featured on a WrestleMania card, a huge nod to how immense the NXT brand has become and also to the stardom of ‘The Nightmare’ Rhea Ripley.
Flair/Ripley has slowly developed into something special, a hard-hitting feud that’s bound to be an explosive affair at the PC. I’m hoping this is the start of a renewed relationship between NXT and the main roster, allowing for more crossovers as the year unfolds, giving them more of a presence on the bigger shows. This shouldn’t just apply to the Women’s division, but also the NXT and North American Championship scenes.
The risk WWE are playing with here is that NXT titles become ‘secondary’ to the main roster championships. Depending on who walks away with the win at WrestleMania 36 could set the tone for the rest of NXT’s involvement.
Rhea Ripley needs to walk away with the big win here. Even though Charlotte Flair is considered the pinnacle of Women’s wrestling in WWE, Ripley should score a massive win for both her and NXT, starting this newfound relationship off on equal footing. My concern is that WWE will once again use Flair to put a halt on another superstar’s momentum; thinking back to WrestleMania 34 and her collision with the undefeated Asuka, this might be another case of Flair walking away looking like the absolute gold standard that nobody else can meet.
It could go either way.
Winner: Rhea Ripley
Becky Lynch vs Shayna Baszler – RAW Women’s Championship
Since her first appearance on the main roster, Shayna Baszler has run rampant over the WWE Women’s division. ‘The Queen of Spades’ picked up a huge win at Survivor Series over both main roster Women’s champions in the shows main event. This was just before Baszler dropped her NXT title to the aforementioned Rhea Ripley as the year came to a close. Once that happened, the WWE Universe were more than ready to see Baszler make a comeback on RAW or SmackDown Live to stake a claim at the top of the card.
Fans were more than ready to see the continuation of the Becky Lynch/Shayna Baszler feud. Fortunately for them, that’s exactly what Baszler instigated on her first night back. Baszler’s arrival set a series of bloody, brutal events in motion that Shayna truly sunk her teeth into. Culminating this weekend, Baszler is destined to come into herself as the new face of RAW’s Women’s division.
Since ‘The Man’ took over the Women’s division at last year’s WrestleMania, Lynch has been on top form, battling all-comers and hanging on tight to the RAW Women’s Championship. She’s had a fantastic run that will definitely set her up for life in WWE. It’s the right time for a new face to bring some fresh fights to the title scene, bringing in a new style and new despicable character for the WWE Universe to enjoy.
Again, a very natural booking scenario here. Hopefully WWE don’t spoil it somehow.
Winner: Shayna Baszler
Edge vs Randy Orton – Last Man Standing Match
One of the hottest feuds coming into WrestleMania season was the growing grudge between former partners Edge and Randy Orton. ‘The Rated R Superstar’ made his triumphant return at the Royal Rumble event, shocking the world and kick-starting the next, and potentially defining, chapter of his wrestling career. Edge’s first singles match will be a Last Man Standing bout with ‘The Viper’, and if the build has been anything to go by, this is going to be brutal.
Orton has been both person and physical as they build towards their blow-off at WrestleMania 36. Both men are masters of their craft, meaning we potentially have a show-stealer on our hands for Night 1. Hopefully this won’t be the first and last time we’ll be seeing Edge do his thing on a WrestleMania card, he still has what it takes to mix it up with the best that WWE currently has to offer; teasing feuds with the likes of Drew McIntyre, AJ Styles and more during the Rumble match.
The Last Man Standing stipulation adds yet another layer to this incredible match. It’ll be the closest to a hardcore brawl we’ve had in years, pitting two old-school superstars against one another with a variety of different ways to cringe the fans. Surely Orton and Edge have been plotting some creative spots for their WrestleMania match.
I think there’s a clear winner in this match, Edge is set for a big comeback going forward and a win over Randy Orton is just the start. I wouldn’t sleep on this one gang.
The Undertaker vs AJ Styles – Boneyard Match
AJ Styles laid down the gauntlet for a huge WrestleMania contest against the legendary Undertaker, but instead of a usual exhibition bout, the winner will be determined in a Boneyard match. I had a go at predicting what exactly a Boneyard match is going to be, even though we’re a week closer to the Show of Shows, we’re still as clueless as to what to expect from the Styles/Undertaker match at WrestleMania 36. Although what we can say is that this is going to be something very special.
Undertaker has been teasing a reformed version of his character, perhaps a slight return to his ‘American Badass’ gimmick last seen in 2003. The iconic braided ponytail made a return in a recent beatdown, who knows if we’ll also see his Harley Davidson squeeze down the ramp at the PC this coming Sunday. ‘Deadman’ or not, this should be one of Undertaker’s better WrestleMania matches from the past few years, competing in a match against someone very capable of carrying the entire thing on his back.
In terms of the result, this could either be a massive rub to AJ Styles and The O.C, or the start of a new run for The Undertaker. Now personally, I don’t believe we need to constantly have a token Undertaker appearance to make a show seem special. AJ Styles is a present figure in the company and deserves to have a big win like this under his belt. WWE have a lot of faith in ‘The Phenomenal One’, I’m sure ‘Taker wouldn’t be against the idea of putting over a hard worker like AJ.
If this Boneyard match does end up being a rejuvenated version of the Buried Alive match, then they could at least give Undertaker an asterisked defeat, with the caveat being that Gallows & Anderson interfered on Styles’ behalf to help bury the Undertaker for good. Only for him to once again rise to reap havoc in time for next year’s WrestleMania and get his vengeance.
Winner: AJ Styles
John Cena vs ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt – Firefly Funhouse Match
One of the more intriguing battles on the extensive WrestleMania card this year, the Firefly Funhouse match between the returning John Cena and ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt. Wyatt proposed the inaugural stipulated contest during this past week’s episode of SmackDown Live, but didn’t give much away as to what to expect from the first match taking place within Wyatt’s kooky, Mr. Rogers-inspired world. What we do know is that ‘The Fiend’ will be looking to exact revenge on Cena for his crushing loss at WrestleMania 30.
What better opportunity for WWE to produce something unique for this year’s Mania. Considering the entire event is taped already, this gives them plenty of time to put together a series of creative vignettes to help make this match memorable. Wyatt’s had a pretty rough history with these sort of ‘spectacle’ matches; The House of Horrors match against Randy Orton and the battle against The New Day at the Wyatt Compound weren’t exactly the cinematic masterpieces they deserved to be.
However this time could be a totally different story. Having the Hollywood influence of John Cena involved with help turn this from being a generic WWE production into a mini-blockbuster. Thinking back to the historic Backlot Brawl between Roddy Piper and Goldust at WrestleMania 12 tells us that Vince McMahon has the potential to push for a show-wide epic, one that suspends the already suspended disbelief of a wrestling match beyond usual parameters.
This should hopefully be the rejuvenation of ‘The Fiend’. Since dropping the Universal Championship to Goldberg, Wyatt hasn’t exactly been surrounded by the buzz he first had when he debuted in the summer. A big win at WrestleMania in a match that captures the world’s eye could do wonders for his career, and set him back on the path towards superstardom.
There’s a slight chance that WWE could book the winner of this match as Goldberg’s opponent on Night 2. ‘The Fiend’ was never given his championship rematch, and there’s still enough fans invested in Wyatt’s character for his second run to be the hottest thing in the company. Although for this to happen, ‘The Fiend’ needs to slaughter John Cena at WrestleMania 36.
Cena still has enough star-power to give someone a huge rub. Wyatt needs this win. Cena can fade away until next year and not be hurt.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
John Morrison & The Miz vs The New Day vs The Usos – Ladder Match for the SD Live Tag Team Championships
The Miz and John Morrison have finally shed some life back into the SD Tag Team Championships. Not taking anything away from recent title holders The New Day & The Revival, but quite frankly, nobody was watching them. JoMo and The Miz bring some ‘celebrity-status’ back to the tag division and have quickly made way for an exciting match at this year’s WrestleMania.
The A-listers will be defending against both The New Day and The Usos in a three-way ladder match. WrestleMania has had a long history of incredible ladder matches, and I’m certain this one will be no different whatsoever. There are three very hungry teams involved in this match, all of which sharing a very strong chemistry that should make for some daredevil antics and emotional struggles.
It’s great to see all six of these superstars included on the card this year, I’m pretty certain this is the most I’ve cared about the blue tag belts since Heath Slater and Rhyno first won them in 2016. With that in mind, there’s only one team that can continue making them this relevant.
Winners: John Morrison and The Miz
9. Sami Zayn vs Daniel Bryan – Intercontinental Championship
Daniel Bryan and Drew Gulak have formed quite the partnership on the Road to WrestleMania 36. Last week, Gulak defeated former IC champion, Shinsuke Nakamura, in a match that has granted Daniel Bryan the chance to face Sami Zayn for the title this coming weekend. A strange series of events that have led to our next chance of seeing ‘YessleMania’ come to life.
Putting Bryan and Zayn in a singles match together is going to be ‘nothing but net’. These two are arguably two of the most skilled in-ring technicians in the business today and have been itching to get their hands on each other for longer than just a 10 minute scuffle. It’s about time Sami Zayn is given the opportunity to show-off what brought him to prominence in NXT, his legendary bouts with Nakamura, Kevin Owens and Adrian Neville seem like an age ago. This is the most momentum Zayn has had behind him in years, so let him ride with this through to a show-stealer with Bryan at WrestleMania.
This is a perfect curtain-jerker for Night 1, getting the entire wrestling world’s attention with a mat-classic; restoring some faith in the IC title scene and giving the spotlight to two of the hardest workers in the business. Who should walk out with the title though? Personally I would rather see ‘The Great Liberator’ score the big WrestleMania victory. Perhaps Drew Gulak could betray his newfound pal and join Zayn’s ranks? If Bryan does walk out with the IC title though, you wouldn’t find me complaining on social media.
Winner: Sami Zayn
10. Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins
A month ago, I wouldn’t have expected to be as excited as I am for the concluding battle between Kevin Owens and ‘The Monday Night Messiah’ Seth Rollins. I honestly thought that new, holy character of Seth Rollins was a bad sign for his future, but both Rollins and Owens have worked hard to make this match a truly interesting affair. It’s not like we haven’t seen these two share the same ring before, their 2016 feud for the Universal Championship wasn’t exactly burning barns, but the reversed dynamics have really turned this feud into something more than just a mid-card snoozer.
Seth Rollins’ NXT-themed promo on last week’s RAW suddenly turned this match into one of the most talked about programmes heading into WrestleMania. This was arguably Seth Rollins’ best promo-work since his initial heel run in 2014/15. The lack of crowd really added to the drama, and added weight to everything Rollins said. For the first time in years, the WWE Universe were listening to ‘The Monday Night Messiah’.
Kevin Owens deserves a big WrestleMania moment. He’s a popular superstar with enough support to easily see him through to the main event scene, all it takes is for one big win to start him on that path. The same goes for a heel Rollins. Either way, this match is a win-win. I think we’ll see some shenanigans and outside interference from the likes of Buddy Murphy, The Viking Raiders and AoP, making this match more of an intense brawl than a classic one-on-one bout.
As far as a winner goes, I’ll go with Kevin Owens, just because they seem to be pitching him as the underdog character looking for his first big win at WrestleMania.
Winner: Kevin Owens
The Street Profits vs Austin Theory & Angel Garza – RAW Tag Team Championships
‘All Day’ Austin Theory was a shocking inclusion during this week’s Monday Night RAW. Andrade is reportedly injured and therefore won’t be able to compete at WrestleMania in the originally planned RAW Tag Title match against The Street Profits. Luckily for WWE, there’s a plethora of budding NXT superstars nearby, looking for a huge opportunity to prove themselves on the big stage. What bigger stage than WrestleMania itself?
Austin Theory could easily walk away as a ready-made superstar this weekend, picking up a massive win over Dawkins & Ford and taking the RAW Tag Titles back to Florida alongside his Cruiserweight counterpart, Angel Garza. But the Street Profits have only just started to scratch the surface in the RAW Tag division, so it would be a shame to see them lose the titles so soon after winning them and quite frankly, Theory hasn’t exactly got much under his belt to credit him with a big win this soon into his WWE career.
This should be a fantastic match though, featuring four very capable superstars who are all looking to make a huge statement during their WrestleMania debuts. In this case, I see The Street Profits securing a W. I think if Andrade was still in the picture, then it could be a very different result. But without the US champion, I can’t justify Zelina Vega’s crew walking away with more titles to their name.
Bayley vs Lacey Evans vs Naomi vs Sasha Banks vs Tamina – Elimination Match for the SD Women’s Championship
At last year’s WrestleMania, the SmackDown Women’s Championship was featured in the shows historic all-female main event. This year, it’s been somewhat downgraded to a throwaway scramble match. Now, I’m not denying that the superstars included in the fatal-five-way aren’t deserving of a spot on the WrestleMania card, there are some names that are an absolute must: Sasha Banks, Naomi and of course Bayley, just to name a few.
But at the same time, there seems to be zero interest in their side of the division right now. Perhaps that’s because the other two featured Women’s championships are involved in two, very hot feuds, but maybe there’s just not enough happening on the blue brand to make the most of the wealth of talent they have signed. Bayley hasn’t really connected as well as everyone thought as a heel champ, her matches with Naomi and Charlotte Flair weren’t exactly catching the world’s eye, but maybe she can turn things around amongst the rest of the roster this weekend.
The match seems to be revolving around the potential clash between the two best-friends, Banks and Bayley. Who knows whether WWE will finally pull the trigger on their long-awaited sequel feud, but personally, I think they should hold off on this for just a little longer. WrestleMania could be used as a little tease for the future, perhaps Bayley picks up a sneaky pinfall on ‘The Boss’ towards the end of the match? Eliminating her friend from the competition and causing a stir in the mind of Banks.
Whichever way you look at this, I think Bayley is walking away with the title still around her waist.
Elias vs King Corbin
One of the later additions to the WrestleMania, King Corbin will go one-on-one with the songster Elias in the latter’s first-ever singles contest on the Show of Shows. Elias hasn’t exactly been a stranger to the event, having ‘performed’ at the previous two year’s events and being interrupted by John Cena on both occasions. Originally, it seemed Elias was pencilled in as Cena’s opponent for WrestleMania 36, although as we’ve already discussed, that didn’t come to pass.
Instead, Elias will be facing-off against WWE’s top heel, King Corbin. On this past week’s episode of SmackDown, Corbin battered Elias with his royal sceptre and knocked him off of a podium. Honestly, the scene looked like it was taken straight out of an episode of EastEnders. It was a cheap way of building some heat for their grudge match at WrestleMania, but hey, they’re both on the card and that’s got to count for something.
This, along with a couple more matches that we’re about to cover, will most likely act as the cool-down after one of the more blockbuster attraction matches. In terms of a winner, I’m going with King Corbin. He’s had a great year and, whether you like him or not, will probably find himself with a major championship sometime in 2020. Another big win at WrestleMania will go a long way for ‘The King’.
Winner: King Corbin
Aleister Black vs Bobby Lashley
Why is this match happening?
Aleister Black picked up a huge victory over AJ Styles, thanks to a little help from The Undertaker at Elimination Chamber. Black would ideally be setting his sights on the next step in his career path, that being a mid-card championship. With the United States champ out of the picture, that doesn’t really leave much for Aleister other than a nothing match with ‘The All Mighty’ Bobby Lashley.
There’s not much to say about this really. Now that the shoddy feud with Rusev is over with, thanks to contract disputes more than anything, Lashley has been freed up to move onto a new feud. Despite having two weeks to build something of a grudge between the two men, WWE haven’t really acted on it, aside from allowing Black to pick up a few wins over local talent at the PC.
Lashley hasn’t even been present at the shows, so why should the WWE Universe give a damn about this match? It’s honestly a shame, I’m a big fan of Aleister and was hoping his WrestleMania singles debut might have been something a little more rewarding than something that would usually be featured on a couple episodes of RAW.
Oh well, hopefully it’ll be a winning effort for ‘The Dutch Destroyer’.
Winner: Aleister Black
Otis vs Dolph Ziggler
I highly imagine we’ll see some sort of stipulation added to this match in the next few days, potentially involving Mandy Rose being suspended in a shark cage or something. Regardless, it’s nice to see ‘The Show Off’ finally be given the chance to steal the show on his own on a WrestleMania card. Not that I imagine his singles match with Otis to be much of a technical classic, I do think it’ll be a lot of fun.
Otis is slowly becoming one of the fastest rising stars in pro-wrestling, and good for him. A big win over a veteran like Dolph Ziggler will not only be a feel-good moment for the fans but also a big feather in the cap of Heavy Machinery. Hopefully it’ll lead to some sort of Tag title opportunity down the line, and maybe this time next year we’ll be seeing them taken slightly more seriously than they are at the moment.
16. The Kabuki Warriors vs Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross – WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
The Women’s Tag Titles are far from their status from a year ago. Last year, the titles were defended by the IIconics in a four-way match that featured top talent and Hall of Famers. This year however, they’re involved in a last-minute addition to the card between two teams that don’t have much going for them. Asuka has been gaining some traction in recent weeks, but her and Kairi Sane’s feud with Bliss & Cross isn’t really setting the world on fire.
Again, another women’s match that exists in the shadow of the bigger main-events, but could be a low-key highlight if the four women are allowed to go all-in for their brief encounter. I hope The Kabuki Warriors continue to turn heads with their first WrestleMania match as a team.
Winner: The Kabuki Warriors
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