WrestleMania 36 was due to take place at the Raymond James Stadium, home of NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, hence everything in the promotion of the event this year being pirate themed. The irony is that nobody could ever have predicted that WWE would currently be sailing such rough and murky waters. By hook or by crook, WWE are trying to navigate their way back to dry land through a very unprecedented time in all of history. When the majority of sports and entertainment avenues have all closed down until further notice, WWE have found a way to adapt and are currently holding all of their events at the Performance Center without fans in attendance.
For that reason, WrestleMania may not feel as special as it usually does. It seems strange to think that Mania will be happening in the same venue as all current episodes of RAW, SmackDown and NXT, with little to separate each show except the logos on the LED displays. WWE have also taken the decision to cancel the annual Hall of Fame Ceremony (at least for the time being) as well as the NXT TakeOver event. That has allowed WWE to take the unprecedented step of splitting WrestleMania over two nights. Seeing as WWE has quite the global audience, for many of whom, recent Mania’s have been very long, one has to wonder if a two-night WrestleMania could become a permanent fixture for years to come.
Note: this year’s WrestleMania has already been completely pre-recorded. While some of the matches have reportedly been changed from what was previously advertised, we’ll do out best to bring you the most accurate card possible. Furthermore, nobody at SteelChair has any insider information to any of the match results, just to ensure these predictions are purely that, predictions.
Intercontinental Championship – Sami Zayn (c) vs Daniel Bryan
Following their hard-fought battle at WWE Elimination Chamber, the same night Zayn became Intercontinental Champion, Daniel Bryan and Drew Gulak both discovered that they could learn a lot from each other, but Sami Zayn, Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura took offence to their new alliance because Bryan had previously rejected their offer to join their ranks. After weeks of turbulent conflict filled with in-ring action and attacks after the bell, WWE’s “Yes!” man challenged Sami to an Intercontinental Title Match at WrestleMania. But the only way Zayn would agree was if Gulak first overcame Nakamura on the blue brand, a task Gulak accomplished in a tactical fashion.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Sami Zayn – he’s waited a long time for his first main roster title, and it seems a little soon for his title reign to end prematurely. Granted, he won the title in an underhanded way, but when he’s got Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro behind him, Zayn can continue to retain the title via dastardly means for a little while yet. Daniel Bryan’s only reign as Intercontinental Champion was cut short when he had to relinquish it upon retiring. I can imagine Bryan getting another run with the IC title, but not quite yet.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: For the same reason it would be too soon, Sami Zayn.
Otis vs Dolph Ziggler
Despite being on WWE’s main roster for almost fifteen years, Dolph Ziggler has never had a singles match at WrestleMania. Who knew that all it took for Ziggler to finally make it to the big time was a love triangle storyline with Mandy Rose and Otis? That said, I don’t think many fans would consider this to be a match worthy of taking place at WrestleMania. Take nothing away from Otis, he has been one of the most entertaining characters in WWE in recent memory. How far he can go remains to be seen, but considering Otis has a singles match on WrestleMania, I think Tucker has good reason to be worried for the future of Heavy Machinery.
Danny’s Prediction: Dolph Ziggler – I feel like Otis will be the hero who gets the girl in the end, but this storyline still has some road ahead.
Steph’s Prediction: Otis, with a big low blow to Dolph and a big kiss from Mandy.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship – The Kabuki Warriors (C) vs Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross
It was WWE Hell in a Cell 2019 when The Kabuki Warriors captured the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles from Bliss and Cross, after Sane distracted Bliss outside the ring and Asuka blew green mist in Nikki’s face. When Bliss returned to action in November to reunite with Cross, their tandem seemed stronger than ever. It was only a matter of time until they once again crossed paths with the team that took their titles. The duo was still chomping at the bit to get an opportunity at The Kabuki Warriors when Asuka emerged and cost them a match against the first-ever WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Bayley & Sasha Banks on the March 13 edition of Friday Night SmackDown. Then, after weeks of mind games and personal attacks, Bliss reigned supreme over Asuka one-on-one, as Cross joined guest commentary and insisted all the while that she and The Goddess of WWE were the greatest WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions of all time. Now, the stage is set at The Show of Shows to find out if that is, in fact, true.
Danny’s Prediction: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross – The Kabuki Warriors currently hold the record for the longest reign as Women’s Tag Team Champions (granted, this version of these titles hasn’t existed that long) so it feels like it could be time to upset the apple cart a little bit. Bliss & Cross have been pretty entertaining as of late and I’d love to see them have another reign.
Steph’s Prediction: The title needs a breath of fresh air and spends a little time in the Blue brand. Alexa and Nikki win.
Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins
There’s an argument to be made that Kevin Owens was, perhaps, always going to accept Seth Rollins’ offer of a one-on-one match for WrestleMania. But The Show of Shows’ last-minute venue change to the WWE Performance Center made the decision even easier. As Owens explained, the PC is the former Universal Champion’s “home turf,” the place where he defied the odds and the naysayers to make lifelong memories and forge his destiny as a WWE Superstar. Given that Rollins continues to disparage Owens’ skills and question his viability as a Superstar, there is perhaps no better place for KO to take on the man who fancies himself a saviour of the industry.
Rollins, of course, comes from the PC as well. He is famously the first-ever NXT Champion. But while these men passed through the same doors, they are not necessarily cut from the same cloth. Rollins has taken to delusions of grandeur and a brutish squad to help him enforce his self-proclaimed revolution — a strategy that has more than paid dividends and left Owens scrambling to catch up. But nothing motivates a fighter like hometown pride. Owens seems to have found it, and if he has his way, WrestleMania will be one more doubter proved wrong and one more memory made sweet.
Danny’s Prediction: Kevin Owens – Up until the ‘go home’ edition of Raw I was convinced that Seth was going to win. But then they made a big deal of Kevin Owens never having a WrestleMania moment (despite the fact he previously beat Chris Jericho at Mania). Arguably, Kevin Owens needs the win more than Seth does. A loss here won’t keep Seth away from the World title picture for long.
Steph’s Prediction: With Murphy and AOP out, Rollins will be very alone. Judas dethrones the Messiah. So fight Kevin Owens, fight.
Aleister Black vs Bobby Lashley
Like much of the undercard this year, this is another match with very little build-up. Both men were in a position where they were ready to move onto something new after Black had come out of a feud with Murphy, while Lashley had dispatched of Rusev and married Lana in the process. Despite a lack of story, this is a match which could have huge implications as a win could see either man move into a Championship match among the WrestleMania fallout. Although with the rumours of another Superstar Shakeup on the horizon, who knows where either man could end up?
Danny’s Prediction: Aleister Black – he’s on quite the streak since moving up to WWE’s main roster and I see that run continuing here. That said, I am quite a fan of Lashley, and really hope they do get behind him soon, even if I am among the minority who would like to see Lashley vs Lesnar.
Steph’s Prediction: Aleister Black.
Elias vs King Corbin
On the heels of the monumental announcement that he will host the two-day WrestleMania event, Rob Gronkowski arrived on the Match 20 edition of SmackDown and was interrupted by King Corbin. As Corbin got in the face of The Gronk and his friend Mojo Rawley, Elias emerged to mock the outspoken monarch with a song he had been trying to play for weeks. When The Gronk and Rawley laughed at the ridicule, Corbin got in their face and ended up on the canvas. And after Elias helped send Corbin packing, the host of WrestleMania advocated for a match between Elias and Corbin at The Showcase of the Immortals.
Danny’s Prediction: King Corbin – I’m sorry, Elias, but I feel like this match is all done to set up Corbin vs Rob Gronkowski later down the line. Corbin’s also taken some damage due to some losses to Roman on recent PPVs. But Vince seems to be quite high on him, so this match could go some way to rebuilding the King.
Steph’s Prediction: Elias because I just can’t stand Corbin as a King.
RAW Tag Team Championship – The Street Profits (C) vs Austin Theory & Angel Garza
This match was originally scheduled to be Andrade and Angel Garza challenging for the RAW Tag Team Championships, but a reported rib injury has seen Andrade replaced by Austin Theory from NXT. This feels like a match out of left-field, considering that there’s a number of established tag teams on RAW that could have been given this opportunity. That said, this match consists of four very athletic individuals so this could be a fast-paced and entertaining match.
Danny’s Prediction: Street Profits – for a start they’ve barely got started as Champions. I also don’t usually like two singles stars coming together to dethrone an established tag team. Although I do quite like the way Zelina Vega just keeps recruiting new talent whenever she likes. As and when Andrade returns this could potentially be the start of a new stable.
Steph’s Prediction: The changes in the match obviously are advantaging the Street Profits. Making Theory become Champion so fast would be a crime.
Last Man Standing – Edge vs Randy Orton
The Rated-R Superstar shocked the world when he returned as a surprise entrant in this year’s Royal Rumble match back in January (doesn’t that seem like so long ago?). Edge had a great showing, making it to the final three, before ultimately being eliminated by Roman Reigns. From there it was reported that Edge had been medically cleared to compete – albeit on a part-time basis – and had signed a new three-year deal where he’d wrestle around five matches a year. Presumably, this means we’ll be seeing Edge on a similar basis to Brock Lesnar, at the big four PPV’s and Saudi shows. Having never been satisfied with how he retired, Edge has spent the last nine years determined to return and finish his career on his terms.
Danny’s Prediction: Edge – The Rated-R Superstar is among my favourites of all time. I’m delighted that he’s able to come back and work a limited schedule and I look forward to seeing more of him. This looks set to be an incredible match and I love the way they’ve played on some real-life history between Edge and Orton.
Steph’s Prediction: It will be ugly but Randy Orton.
SmackDown Women’s Championship Fatal-Five-Way Elimination – Bayley (C) vs Lacey Evans vs Sasha Banks vs Tamina vs Naomi
Recently, the outspoken duo of Bayley and Banks came before the WWE Universe to proclaim that no one past, present or future would touch them in the squared circle. They also had the audacity to state that the Women’s Evolution is over and that the self-proclaimed Role Models’ Era of Dominance has begun.
Those claims did not sit too well with many female competitors. Paige made a jaw-dropping announcement on SmackDown. As a result, she got the titleholder and The Boss to scream for her when the former SmackDown General Manager used her clout to establish a SmackDown Women’s Title Match at The Showcase of the Immortals in which Bayley will take on, not only her best friend Sasha but also Lacey Evans, Tamina and Naomi.
Danny’s Prediction: Sasha Banks – Bayley already has the record for longest-reigning SmackDown Women’s Champion and seems to have exhausted every feud available to her. Every feud that is, except for against Sasha. The two best friends have mostly been inseparable in their time in WWE, but I think that could be about to come to an end. I think Sasha will have had enough of being Bayley’s lackey and turn on her during this match. That could then lead to a lengthy feud between the two, potentially lasting until SummerSlam.
Steph’s Prediction: Bayley will lose the belt. Sasha would be an easy choice and WWE pushed Tamina this week. Let’s go for Nia Jax helping Tamina win.
Firefly Funhouse Match – John Cena vs “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
Matches taking place in an empty arena is still taking some getting used to, and it has given WWE scope to get a little creative with a couple of their matches at this year’s Wrestlemania. It has been reported that this match has been filmed to look like a big-budget movie. It will presumably take place on the Firefly Funhouse set, and at the very least, this should be a very intriguing match to see. Hopefully, it will be better than the House of Horrors match. From a storyline perspective, this match has its roots from Cena vs Wyatt back at Mania 30. Wyatt claims losing to Cena was the catalyst for the Fiend character – if that is the case, he took his time about it – and he’s spent the last six years wanting revenge.
Danny’s Prediction: Bray Wyatt – “The Fiend” took some considerable damage losing to Goldberg at Super ShowDown. Cena’s a part-time act these days, he doesn’t need the win, Wyatt does if WWE are serious about his position as a main-event player.
Steph’s Prediction: Bray Wyatt needs this win as a redemption for his character. Everything related to The Fiend and The Firefly Fun House is just fabulous and was wasted when Goldberg was made Universal Champion by WWE. Cena has nothing to win, whereas Wyatt has a lot.
NXT Women’s Championship – Rhea Ripley (C) vs Charlotte Flair
When you talk about unprecedented, the definition has to be Charlotte Flair winning the Women’s Royal Rumble but deciding that neither the RAW or SmackDown Women’s Championships are worthy of her and instead opted to challenge for the NXT Women’s Championship. This marks the first time ever that an NXT Championship has been defended on WrestleMania. This also marks one hell of a moment for Rhea Ripley, who has had a great year and you have to believe this is the icing on the cake for her. Admittedly, it is a shame that her first WrestleMania moment happens to be in an empty arena.
Danny’s Prediction: Charlotte Flair – although WWE don’t like to admit it, I imagine they are quite bothered by AEW winning the Wednesday night war most weeks. We’ve already seen Finn Balor go back to the black and gold brand, I wonder if WWE might reshuffle their rosters and try and add some more star power to NXT, and another title run for Charlotte could be the beginning of that.
Steph’s Prediction: Charlotte has zero reasons to go back to NXT, so Rhea.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship – Triple Threat Ladder Match – Miz & Morrison vs The Usos vs The New Day – Reportedly changed to Morrison vs one of the Usos
When The New Day and Usos battled for a shot to face The Miz & John Morrison for the SmackDown tag titles at WrestleMania, the champs’ interference inadvertently end up trapping themselves in a triple threat ladder match.
Now if as reported, The Miz is ill, the SmackDown Tag Team Championships could end up being contested by one member of each time with the ladder stipulation remaining intact. If they are contested. On SmackDown, the match was announced to happen… Wait and see.
Danny’s Prediction: John Morrison – the exact situation of this match is rather unclear at the time of writing. But I still see Morrison and Miz continuing their run as Tag Team Champions, at least for the time being. We’ve seen the Uso’s and New Day as Champions a lot in recent years, so it won’t hurt them to be out of the title picture for a little bit.
Steph’s Prediction: Whoever he faces, Morrison has my vote. Because of his abs.
Raw Women’s Championship – Becky Lynch (C) vs Shayna Baszler
Anyone who was familiar with Shayna Baszler and her dominant run in NXT was well aware that The Queen of Spades had a mean streak, but no one was ready for what happened when she hit the scene on Raw. Not only did The Submission Magician mercilessly attack Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch from behind, but she sank her teeth into the back of Lynch’s neck, resulting in one of the grisliest scenes in recent WWE history. Seemingly fired up by Shayna’s savage attack, The Man began clamouring for Baszler to win the Elimination Chamber Match to set up a WrestleMania showdown between the two combatants, and Becky soon got her wish. When Baszler entered the Elimination Chamber, she tore through her fellow competitors with tornado-like efficiency by decimating everyone in her path and eliminating all five of her opponents to claim the victory and punch her ticket to The Show of Shows.
Against all odds, Lynch has remained Raw Women’s Champion ever since defeating Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey in the main event of WrestleMania 35. Over the past year, she has turned back the likes of Lacey Evans, Natalya and Asuka in several instant classics, all while retaining the massive chip on her shoulder that first led her to championship glory. While this will be the first one-on-one meeting between The Man and The Queen of Spades, the two Superstars actually collided several months ago in the Survivor Series main event, a Champion vs. Champion vs. Champion Match that also featured Bayley. Baszler emerged victorious, but Lynch got the last laugh when she drove Shayna through an announce table after the bout.
Danny’s Prediction: Becky Lynch – a win for Baszler seems too obvious, at least in my opinion. I also notice that numbers and reigns seem to be very important to somebody in WWE. Although Becky started this reign at last year’s Mania – and has the longest Raw Women’s Championship reign – she won’t break the 365-day mark until the 8th April, which is after Mania. Therefore, I think The Man survives this match (emphasis on ‘survives’ rather than a decisive win) even if to just make that record before Baszler destroys Becky and takes the title at a later date.
Steph’s Prediction: Becky will lose the belt but not this time. This is the just beginning of a long and destructive war between the two. A DQ is absolutely possible, thanks to Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir, or why not, Ronda Rousey…
Boneyard Match – The Undertaker vs AJ Styles
This has been a rather bizarre build to this match. For a start, it seems the American Badass version of The Undertaker is returning. But furthermore, this rivalry seems to really be shattering kayfabe with the participants referring to each other by their real names, Mark Callaway and Allen Jones, respectively. Granted, that has happened a little bit elsewhere with Randy Orton talking about Edge really being Adam Copeland, but this match seems to be really ramming that point home. AJ has also taken shots at Taker’s real-life wife, Michelle McCool in the process. This match is reportedly a Boneyard Match. At the time of writing, it has not been made clear what this means, maybe it’s a version of a Buried Alive match or something similar. Much like the Firefly Funhouse match, this seems to be WWE getting a little creative and using some form of set or location to make a change from the empty arena where the majority of the card is taking place.
Danny’s Prediction: Undertaker – the Deadman seems to be on a very long retirement tour, mainly beating the full-time roster at Mania and Saudi shows. That pattern continues here, arguably Styles won’t suffer too much from that loss, but for me, it really feels like diminishing returns for Undertaker these days.
Steph’s Prediction: Styles awakened the biker out of the Taker. I’m sad that what was made to be a dream match turns into a farce. If it meant to be a Street Fight in a cemetery, like reported, I give to the Taker.
WWE Championship – Brock Lesnar (C) vs Drew McIntyre
What a career Drew McIntyre has had, debuting as the Chosen One before becoming a comedy jobber in 3MB, getting released, rebuilding himself on the independent circuit before returning to WWE. His second stint has been pretty stop-start along the way, but it would appear that he’s finally on the right track. Drew got an incredible reaction when he eliminated Brock from the Rumble, before going on to win the whole thing. The WWE Championship has existed for over fifty years, yet there has never been a British Champion. Is Drew McIntyre destined to be the first?
Danny’s Prediction: Brock Lesnar – This is the match that has had me guessing more than any other on this card. If this Mania were taking place as originally planned, I could see Drew winning without question. But it would feel underwhelming in an empty arena. Therefore I think they delay that move. With Brock and Heyman being dastardly, they can win this match but Drew can still look strong, and then WWE could decide to save McIntyre’s crowning moment for when it can be in front of fans inside a huge stadium.
Steph’s Prediction: Drew McIntyre. Since Royal Rumble, it has been set in stone he would be the Suplex City mayor’s killer.
WWE Universal Championship – Goldberg(C) vs Braun Strowman
No one will blame Roman Reigns for refusing to compete in such a context. When he says, “I’m Next”, Mania was still a stadium event. The virus was not that aggressive. Always ready for a fight, Roman Reigns boldly emerged to answer Goldberg’s challenge head-on, setting the stage for a major showdown on The Grandest Stage of Them All. Fresh off his victory over adversary King Corbin inside a Steel Cage at WWE Super ShowDown, the 4-time World Champion was more than ready to relaunch his pursuit to get back to the top of the mountain. Time-and-time again, he has proven that he’s willing to go through the best to capture gold. Goldberg won the belt in Saudi Arabia and most of us are still trying to understand why.
Danny’s Prediction: Goldberg – Roman Reigns looked certain to pick up another World title win until it was announced last week that Roman had pulled out of the match, which is very understandable considering the current situation and Roman’s pre-existing health conditions. Presumably, this means that Roman will be taking some time away from WWE for the foreseeable future. The issue now is that WWE has made a rod for their own back and there’s nobody on the full-time roster that looks capable of beating Goldberg. Therefore, I see Goldberg remaining as Champion until a point where life is back to normal and Roman is able to win the title in front of a crowd.
Steph’s Prediction: Goldberg can’t lose because of Roman. Strowman will be Goldberg’s punching bag for the night, sad for him.
All pics courtesy of WWE