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SBNY’s WrestleMania 33 Preview & Predictions

It’s that time of the year again! WrestleMania 33 will be live from Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL, this Sunday with a special start time of 5 pm ET on WWE Network and USA. This year’s event has been billed as “The Ultimate Thrill Ride,” and judging based on leak pictures and videos of this year’s stage, set and entrance way (you can find more online), this might be the most aesthetically pleasing and awesome WrestleMania to watch, maybe ever.

Card wise? It’ pretty good too. Many of this year’s WWE star power has been spread out. There shouldn’t be too many great matches, but more so a lot of good matches and a few great moments.

Here is the breakdown of this year’s WrestleMania 33 event:

 

Universal Championship match:
Goldberg © vs Brock Lesnar

 

The Story:
During promotion of WWE 2K17, Goldberg returned to have a match with Lesnar at last year’s Survivor Series pay-per-view, which he won in 1:26; this sent Goldberg’s record one-on-one vs Brock to 2-0. At the Royal Rumble, Goldberg eliminated Brock. At Fastlane, Goldberg, with help from outside distraction of Chris Jericho, quickly disposed of then-Universal champion Kevin Owens to win RAW’s world title for the first time in 14 years.

This is a match of two all-time heavyweight favorites, and current part-timers. This match won’t last long because of Goldberg’s stamina and endurance at this age, but expect a more furious, hard-hitting and back-and-forth brawl than we did at Survivor Series – shouldn’t last longer than a few minutes, if that.

Prediction: Lesnar wins the Universal Championship and finally gets one up on Goldberg

 

Unsanctioned match:
WWE CEO Triple H vs Seth Rollins

 

The Story:
Triple H was the mastermind behind brainwashing Rollins into dismembering The Shield, turning on his then-best friends Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. For years, Rollins was protected by The Authority, which led to him winning the WWE Championship by cashing in Money in the Bank in the main event of WrestleMania 31. Eventually, Seth suffered a torn ACL, which led to him missing last year’s WrestleMania in Dallas. Rollins returned, slowly wearing out his welcome in the eyes of Triple H and wife Stephanie McMahon, which led to the CEO turning on his student – where have we seen this before – in favor of Kevin Owens, and now recent NXT call-up, Samoa Joe. Triple H cost Rollins his shot at the Universal Championship, and then slowly started taking everything else away from him.

This is as pure “Teacher vs Student” as it gets. Seth Rollins, who for years thrived on the strength of the relationships with his close friends and admiration of the crowd, lost his way thanks to Triple H’s persuasive mind. Rollins’ attempt to get Triple H’s attention at NXT: San Antonio backfired. Now, it’s Triple H’s coercive mind we’re seeing – think back to Jim Ross calling The Game the “Cerebral Assassin.” Last month, Joe injured Seth’s knee again, which led to speculation if Rollins could be able to compete at this year’s event. Rollins signed a Hold Harmless Agreement on RAW this past Monday, and now the match is set.

Prediction: Seth Rollins, with shenanigans, help and the possible return of a certain superstar

 

Roman Reigns vs The Undertaker:

 

The Story:
There isn’t much behind this story, it’s fairly simple. Reigns believes he’s the big dog of WWE now and the ring is his “yard.” For years, it was Undertaker’s. Reigns eliminated Undertaker during the Royal Rumble match, planting the seeds for where Reigns’ story was headed. Both men have interacted on RAW during the last few weeks, with Undertaker playing his usual mind games – none of which have seemed to get to Reigns. Reigns gets booed by a tremendous portion of the crowd, so it’s a lock that Undertaker will be the casual fan favorite heading into the match. The crowd reaction for this match should be top notch.

Prediction: Reigns in a short match by Taker’s WrestleMania standards; might be over for the Deadman.

 

United States Championship match:
Chris Jericho © vs Kevin Owens

 

The Story:
This is the classic story of two best friends gone wrong, except as Owens points over the last month on WWE programming, he and Y2J were never “best friends.” Their “friendship” started last summer, and was beneficial, actually crucial, into KO retaining the Universal Championship in numerous matches. Jericho always had Owens’ back, but the WWE Universe never quite saw KO have that same desire to do the same. Owens is selfish, and has the drive and cunning attitude to get himself ahead by any means necessary. He saw the opportunity to befriend an all-time great and future WWE Hall of Famer for his own personal gain, and once that stopped – when Jericho accepted Goldberg’s Universal Championship match challenge on a RAW leading into Fastlane – it was time for KO to do what he had done too many times to Sami Zayn throughout the years. The “Festival of Friendship” commenced, WWE’s version of “The Red Wedding” in Game of Thrones.

Jericho finally put Owens on “The List of Jericho” two weeks ago in Brooklyn. Y2J needed this match at WrestleMania, and Owens accepted on one condition – the U.S. Championship. As Owens pointed out, he can get back the Universal Championship anytime he wants (thanks, Triple H), but for now, he wants to make Jericho suffer; what better way than to do that by taking the U.S. Championship?

Prediction: KO-Mania II wins his first singles match at the PPV and takes Jericho’s U.S. Championship

Triple Threat Ladder match for the RAW Tag Team Championship:
The Club (Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows) © vs Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs Cesaro and Sheamus

 

The Story:
Since The New Day’s record-setting championship run ended in December to Cesaro and Sheamus, these are the three teams that have predominantly been involved in the RAW Tag Team scene. Enzo and Cass failed to defeat The Club at Fastlane. The Club assumed they were smart by costing these teams their No. 1 Contender’s match on RAW two weeks ago, but instead General Manager Mick Foley, who was fired by Stephanie McMahon on RAW in Brooklyn, made this a triple-ythreat match. The ladder stipulation was added this past Tuesday.

Prediction: Enzo and Cass didn’t win the NXT Tag Team Championship, and WrestleMania is, most of the time, filled with some feel-good first time title wins. I think Enzo pulls down the belts here. This match may also kick off the show.

 

Fatal Four Way Elimination match for the RAW Women’s Championship:
Bayley © vs Charlotte Flair vs Sasha Banks vs Nia Jax

 

The Story:
Charlotte and Sasha ended their epic rivalry at Roadblock, with Charlotte reigning supreme. By stipulation, Sasha could not challenge Charlotte again for the title. In recent months, Bayley entered the title picture and captured the RAW Women’s Championship from Charlotte between the Royal Rumble and Fastlane. During Bayley’s title reign, Sasha has watched closely, cheering her best friend on and helping her win matches. Sasha’s questionable actions, which included helping Bayley retaining the championship at Fastlane, have led Charlotte, whose 16-0 undefeated PPV winning streak came to an end, to call into question her true motives and the validity of Sasha and Bayley’s “friendship.” All the while, Nia Jax has been dominant at times; she owns wins against both Bayley and Sasha in singles action. Because Nia Jax defeated Bayley on RAW a few weeks ago, Stephanie McMahon inserted her into the championship match at WrestleMania.

Prediction: There’s more to Sasha’s motives. Bayley will be tested. However, Charlotte regains the championship after Sasha “inadvertently” costs Bayley the match.

 

Cruiserweight Championship match:
Neville © vs Austin Aries

 

The Story:
Neville returned from injury to assert his dominance over RAW’s cruiserweight division. Then champ Rich Swann was no match, as Neville defeated for the title at the Royal Rumble and proclaimed himself the “King of the Cruiserweights.” After Neville defeated all comers, including Jack Gallagher at Fastlane, he thought that there was nobody left. During a post-match interview segment on RAW, Aries interviewed Neville, and the self-proclaimed King did not do himself any favors talking with Aries. After Neville disrespected Aries, “The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived” attacked the King, and a challenge. After winning a fatal five way match on 205 Live, Aries earned his spot as the No. 1 contender to Neville’s championship at WrestleMania.

Prediction: Yes, this match is on the preshow, but there this match will get the proper storytelling and time it deserves. In Aries’ long-awaited moment, he dethrones “The King” to win the belt.

 

WWE Championship match:
Bray Wyatt © vs Randy Orton

 

The Story:
Shortly after last year’s SummerSlam, Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton start feuding, which leads to Randy cutting this promo that plants the seeds for how the next few months eventually play out. Orton and Wyatt dance at No Mercy in October, leading to the return of Luke Harper who costs Orton the match. Eventually, The Viper turns to his snake-like ways – if you can’t beat them, join them. RKO would join The Wyatt Family and the group would go on SmackDown Live tear throughout the next couple of months. Orton and Wyatt were the two sole survivors in the RAW vs SmackDown Live Traditional Survivor Series Elimination match in November, and Orton and Harper captured the SmackDown Tag Team Championship from Heath Slater and Rhyno at TLC in December.

Eventually Orton and Harper lose the SmackDown Tag Team Championship to American Alpha, which begins to cause a rift in the family. Orton and Harper butt heads, and Bray eventually lets loose his longtime follower. Orton wins the Royal Rumble Match, guaranteeing his spot in the main event of WrestleMania (or so we believed). Two weeks later at Elimination Chamber in February, Wyatt captures his first WWE Championship by outlasting John Cena and AJ Styles. On the subsequent SmackDown, Wyatt successfully defends his championship against Cena and Styles. Following the match, Orton comes out and proclaims that because of his allegiance to his master, he will not challenge for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania.

To create a new No. 1 contender, SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan create a 10-man battle royal, which ends in controversy when Luke Harper and AJ Styles are simultaneously eliminated. To compensate, a match with Styles and Harper is created so that the winner faces Wyatt at WrestleMania. Styles wins… but then Orton announces all of the components of his master plan, which involved baiting Wyatt into giving him access to the broken down shack (Wyatt Family Compound) where the remains of Sister Abigail are located. Orton burns down the compound, desecrating the spirit of Abigail. Orton proclaims he was never under Wyatt’s command, and his coming for his title at WrestleMania. Orton defeats Styles on SmackDown the following week, and the match is officially set in stone. The remaining segments are all good, and worth a watch.

Prediction: One of the best, most extensive build-ups to a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania in quite some time. Orton hears voices, but Wyatt’s voices seem to give him power that Randy simply cannot tap into it. Bray retains the WWE Championship and officially cements himself.

 

AJ Styles vs Shane McMahon:

 

The Story:
AJ Styles was “The Champ That Ran The Camp” up until January 30, the night he lost the WWE Championship to John Cena at the Royal Rumble. Styles, who never got a proper one-on-one rematch for the championship he lost, took issue with the way Shane O’Mac and Bryan were running the blue brand – this also occurred way before he actually lost the championship. Between having a road to the main event of WrestleMania – winning the battle royal and defeating Luke Harper – and having that opportunity taken away by Shane placing him in a match with Orton as previously mentioned, the “Phenomenal One” ultimately snapped. On SmackDown, a heated Styles takes advantage of Shane and attacks him in the parking lot, putting him through a car window. Bryan fires Styles later in the night, only for him to be reinstated the following week. Shane has never backed down from a WWE fight in his life, so why would he here? Shane was NOT going to allow Styles to make a name at his expense. The match was made official during the first segment of this week’s SmackDown.

Prediction: A traditional match favors Styles. Let’s hope Shane has been working hard to put on an entertaining match here.

 

Mixed Tag Team match:
John Cena and Nikki Bella vs The Miz and Maryse with Special Guest Ring Announcer: Al Roker

 

The Story:
This match is incredibly simple. Since Maryse returned on RAW the night after WrestleMania last year, she and her husband have been WWE’s self-proclaimed “It Couple.” Recently on E’s “Total Divas,” we’ve seen many real-life WWE relationships outed, including Cena’s with Nikki. This goes far beyond the question of who is WWE’s ultimate power couple. The Miz feels like his years of dedication and hard work outside the ring doing promotional events for the company are always overshadowed by the opportunities that he believes Cena manipulates and takes away. Miz believes Cena is a hypocrite for saying “he’s never left” when in fact he has left numerous times – Miz has been guilty of this too, which is why he is such a tremendous heel. Miz and Maryse feel like their plight and relationship is truly authentic, regardless of what people believe about them. The duo believes everything about the Cena-Nikki partnership is artificial; for reality-television-drama storylines, for marketing opportunities, for chances to further the brand and careers of the Bella Twins (Brie is no longer a member of the active roster, and she and husband Daniel Bryan are expecting their first child sometime soon).

Miz says Cena’s motto of “Hustle, Loyalty, Respect” means nothing when the man who carries out that mantra squanders the opportunities for others simply because he can. Cena has never backed down from any challenge, ever, literally. Maryse claims Nikki’s underhanded backstage antics, which she learned from “her man,” are the primary reasons why she wasn’t brought back to WWE sooner.

Prediction: Cena and Nikki will reign supreme, and John will propose to her after the match – and eventually make a “Today” appearance on Monday morning, why else would Mr. Roker be there?

 

Intercontinental Championship match:
Dean Ambrose © vs Baron Corbin

 

The Story:
This story is also real simple. Two badasses who simply do not like each other. Corbin, last year’s Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner, has made a name for himself this year on SmackDown. The “Lone Wolf” wants some gold, Ambrose’s gold. “The Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose welcomes all available challenges, including Corbin’s. Corbin has gone to great lengths to play mind games with Ambrose, including attacking him with a pipe and forklift during a SmackDown backstage segment a few weeks back. Both these guys want a piece of each other real soon; this should be a fun brawl.

Prediction: Ambrose survives Corbin’s onslaught and narrowly escapes with his first WrestleMania one-on-one victory.

Six Pack Challenge for the SmackDown Women’s Championship:
Alexa Bliss © vs Becky Lynch vs Mickie James vs Naomi vs Natalya vs Carmella

 

The Story:
All available women on the SmackDown roster, save for Nikki and Maryse, are included in this match. There are many intertwining stories, but the major ones are that Becky is looking to regain the championship, Mickie wants to prove she still belongs, Natalya always feels underutilized just like her cat on Instagram, Naomi is returning from injury to try and regain the championship he never lost, and Carmella is there with her beau James Ellsworth. Bliss, who brought back Mickie, was shocked to find out that WWE’s former resident crazy chick was interested in becoming champion again. Bliss wanted competition at WrestleMania and Mr. Bryan assured she got it.

Prediction: Despite overwhelming odds, Bliss survives to retain her championship.

 

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal featuring RAW and SmackDown Live Superstars:

 

The Story:
There isn’t a story here. Just a lot of guys fighting for a trophy. Braun Strowman, Big Show, Dolph Ziggler, Apollo Crews and Sami Zayn are the early favorites. Maybe we’ll even get a Luke Harper appearance?

Prediction: Sadly, Zayn got squeezed out of the main card. He last eliminates BRAAAUUN here and wins.

 

About Joe Calabrese

Joe is a SBNY writer/editor, and a fan of the Yankees, Rangers and Jets. He has previously worked for the National Hockey League, NBC Sports and written for FanSided.

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