“The Grandest Stage of Them All”, “The Showcase of the Immortals”, “The Show of Shows”, “The Greatest Spectacle in Sports Entertainment”, “The Super Bowl of Sports Entertainment.” Since 1985, WrestleMania has earned so many nicknames quite because it is the most successful and longest-running professional wrestling event in history. The perfect example of what sports entertainment is about. A mix of wrestling at its best and celebrities appearing sometimes for a match, sometimes for musical performance.
Since 1993, the winner of the annual Royal Rumble match has been able to receive a guaranteed World Championship match at the same year’s WrestleMania. A women’s Royal Rumble match was introduced in 2018, and the winner has the option of challenging for either the RAW, SmackDown or NXT Women’s Championship. Because of that, Mania is where history can be made. Anything can happen, even the most unexpected.
Every year, we, wrestling fans, are excited about WrestleMania, we’re looking forward to it. Not this year. A few days before the 2-night show, we have reasons to ask ourselves where is the usual buzz around the event. The WWE is unifying the WWE and Universal titles, which seems strange when we know both USA Network and FOX each want a World Title. Bianca Belair is once again chasing a Women’s Championship and mostly revenge on her 26-second loss at SummerSlam 2020. No one expects someone else but Cody to challenge Seth Rollins. Well, if that card’s supposed to represent the “Show of Shows,” the Glory Days of Mania seem to be a sign of the past.
Note: Predictions are purely that, predictions. Nobody at SteelChair has heard anything ahead of time, we promise.
Night 1: Saturday, April 2
Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. The Miz & Logan Paul
At WWE Elimination Chamber, The Miz took a swing at Dominik, and Dominik retaliated by helping his father claim a singles win against the former WWE Champion. Although some might argue this his actions were justified in the wake of Miz’s underhanded tactics during the weeks leading up to his matchup against The Legendary Luchador, The A-Lister did not see it that way. Instead, he decided he needed a tag team partner as he headed into WrestleMania to even the odds with the Mysterios. And on the February 21 edition of “Miz TV,” he revealed that competitor to be the social media megastar, Logan Paul.
Paul’s partnership with Miz comes as a bit of a surprise since the former WWE Champion nearly came to blows with the outspoken boxer last August on RAW. It does make sense, though, since both explosive media personalities are proud natives of Cleveland, Ohio, both have been seen as WWE outsiders and both are known to occasionally employ sneaky tactics.
Now that the match has been made official, will the cunning combination of Miz and Paul be enough to best WWE’s first-ever father/son Tag Team Champions? Dominik may be young, but he has quickly proven himself as a bona fide Superstar, one who possesses much of the ultra-athletic talent that his legendary father has used over the years.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: The Mysterios – it’s Dominik’s first time at WrestleMania as a competitor. We know that the Mysterios want a big father-son WrestleMania moment, and defeating the Miz & Logan Paul could be the ideal way to accomplish that goal.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Miz and Paul. I think it’s for Dominik to spread his wings and fly on his own.
Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin (w/ Madcap Moss)
After suffering a two-on-one backstage attack from Corbin and Madcap Moss at WWE Day 1, McIntyre made a shocking return from a severe neck injury months earlier than expected to nearly win the 2022 Royal Rumble Match. Although McIntyre eliminated Corbin and Moss during the free-for-all, the former WWE Champion made it clear that he wasn’t finished, extracting his vengeance on the slapstick duo. Instead, McIntyre battled through interference by Corbin to conquer Madcap Moss in a brutal Falls Count Anywhere Match at WWE Elimination Chamber. Less than a week later, he defeated Moss again on SmackDown and has now cemented a showdown against Corbin at The Showcase of the Immortals.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Drew McIntyre – decisively and then it should be onto bigger and better things for the Scottish Warrior.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Drew McIntyre. That joke has lasted way too long.
King Woods & Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus & Ridge Holland w/ Pete Dunne
After former WWE Champion Big E suffered a serious injury in tag team action, Sheamus and his tough-as-nails new associate Butch helped Ridge Holland defeat Kofi Kingston the following week on SmackDown. One week later, however, Kingston surprised his adversaries by introducing the formerly injured King Woods to take his place in a singles bout with Holland. The returning Superstar entered the squared circle with explosive resolve and emerged victorious with a small package. Although Woods and Kingston achieved some payback with the win, animosity remains high for what is sure to be an incredible showdown between tag team rivals.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Sheamus & Ridge Holland – history tells us that New Day doesn’t have the best record at WrestleMania.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Sheamus and Holland. They have a Butch to help them…
Seth Rollins vs. an opponent of Mr McMahon’s choosing
This has been a rather bizarre storyline, but basically, over the past couple of months, Seth Rollins has struggled to get a match at WrestleMania. That alone may seem a bit odd, considering we’re talking about the man with arguably the greatest WrestleMania moment of all time – when he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract in 2015. We’re also talking about a man who slayed the Beast to win the Universal Championship just three years ago, yet this year, the Architect was a man who couldn’t design the plans to get him to “The Most Stupendous Two-Night Event In WrestleMania History”. That also seems crazy considering most people just issue a challenge and get a match, yet Rollins couldn’t do that, apparently.
It seemed that a week ago on RAW was Seth’s last chance to get a Mania match when he lost to AJ Styles. Following the match, Seth threw a tantrum and destroyed much of the ringside area. Following that, on the most recent episode of RAW, we were shown footage where Rollins was summoned to the office of Mr McMahon. The Chairman of the WWE granted a match, saying that all Seth had to do was ask for one – now if only he’d have thought of that much sooner. But who will Seth Freaking Rollins face at WrestleMania? That we do not know yet. All we know is that it will be an opponent hand-picked by Vince McMahon, and that opponent won’t be announced until the night of the show. But why do we have to wait until Saturday to find out? Is there a reason for all the smoke and mirrors?
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Cody Rhodes – it would appear to be the worst kept secret in sports entertainment that Cody is coming back to WWE and facing Rollins. To be honest, I think the set-up for this match has been awful. I don’t agree with somebody throwing a tantrum and getting rewarded with a match when other superstars are winning Royal Rumbles and competing for the honour. So I think there was a better way to get to this match. Plus, it remains to be seen just what kind of reaction Cody (if it is Cody) gets when he makes his grand return.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: If it’s not Cody, I stop watching WWE.
“The KO Show”
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin to confront Kevin Owens
It seems that in the end, everybody makes a comeback, especially those we never thought would or could. In recent years it’s been Edge, Daniel Bryan and even CM Punk who have made a return to the squared circle after lengthy absences. Although, some names end up stepping away for different reasons. The Rock left WWE to focus on a career in Hollywood but returned to headline WrestleMania 28 and 29, the latter of which he was WWE Champion again for the first time in over a decade. On the other hand, Bret Hart’s career was cut short due to injury, yet he was able to come back and defeat Vince McMahon at WrestleMania 26, albeit in a match that was quite gimmicked due to Hart’s understandable limitations inside the ring.
Similarly, Stone Cold Steve Austin’s career was cut short due to injury. It’s been 19 years since Austin last wrestled, in a losing effort against The Rock at WrestleMania 19. Although you’d been forgiven for thinking that it doesn’t feel that long. Since then Austin has fulfilled a number of onscreen roles including RAW General Manager and Sheriff as long as making a number of guest appearances, usually finishing with the delivery of a few Stunners and celebratory beer bash. Yet Austin has always avoided making an official in-ring return.
When it comes to Kevin Owens, this altercation feels like a long time coming. For a start, it’s been a few years now that Owens has been using the Stunner in favour of his usual Pop-up Powerbomb. While it’s been documented that, behind the scenes, Owens asked for Austin’s blessing to use the move, it stands to reason that it could be a point of contention from a storyline standpoint. On top of that, Kevin Owens spent the majority of his RAW appearances lately badmouthing the State of Texas. All the while, Owens was without a WrestleMania opponent, it soon became clear the route we are travelling. Of course, it may have been a while for Stone Cold, and he may be a bit longer in the tooth, but he’s not likely to sit back in silence when he hears somebody talking trash about his home state.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: While this may not be a match, in the traditional sense, this could still be a ton of fun, providing it doesn’t outstay its welcome. But I feel like I can comfortably predict that Austin will stomp a few mudholes, walk them dry, hit a thunderous Stone Cold Stunner and then celebrate with a few Steveweisers and send the fans home happy.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: A Stunner, a beer and let the party begin…
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match
The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs
Let’s be honest, 2021 into 2022 has been an incredible year for the Bloodline. Having captured the SmackDown Tag Team Championships for the fifth time, back in July, it also marked the Usos setting record-breaking reign, the longest on the blue brand. When the Usos walk into the AT&T Stadium on Saturday, it will be their 255th day with the (silver) gold. The difficulty with being a Champion for so long is that eventually, you can run out of challengers. Even with a draft, the Usos have made their way through all the tag teams in the division, to the point now where new teams are having to be put together.
Enter Shinsuke Nakamura with his personal guitarist Rick Boogs. This duo has been quite entertaining over the past several months, but that’s mostly been with Boogs as a comedy sidekick to Nakamura. He is remarkably talented when it comes to playing along with Shinsuke’s theme tune, and we’ve now become accustomed to seeing Pat McAfee having a one-man party on the commentary table, but it remains to be seen whether Nakamura and Boogs can really make a formidable team.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: The Usos
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: The Usos
WWE RAW Women’s Championship Match
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Bianca Belair
It’s rare that WWE takes the time to craft a long-term story with a pay-off, but when done, they can do it very well, and this may be one of those storylines. In a little over a year, WWE has made a star out of Bianca Belair, starting from when she won the 2021 Women’s Royal Rumble match, leading to her main eventing night one of last year’s WrestleMania, where she defeated Sasha Banks to capture her first SmackDown Women’s Championship. Bianca took on all challengers within SmackDown’s division until she was humbled by Becky Lynch, at SummerSlam, in an unadvertised match. Ever since then, Bianca has fought and clawed to become a Champion once again but has always come up just short.
When Becky made her unadvertised return at SummerSlam, it was the first the WWE Universe had seen of her in 18 months, since she vacated the RAW Women’s Championship to go on maternity leave. Fast forward to October, one draft and title swap later, and it seems like Becky is back where she left off in May 2020. Maybe it’s felt like Lynch has spent a lot of the last six months ducking the challenge from Bianca Belair. So it may well be fate intervening when Belair won the Elimination Chamber in February, to guarantee a title match that Big Time Becks cannot escape from. Since then, it’s been full steam ahead with the mind games – or perhaps hair games would be more appropriate. Lynch has repeatedly told us that Bianca’s braid is a dangerous weapon, and maybe she has a point, considering the bruise that that braid left on Becky’s abdomen when Bianca whipped her with it. But this coming Saturday, there’ll be no more talking, no more mind games, just a straight-up one-on-one match between two of the best in the business today.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Bianca Belair – the comeuppance is long overdue. Bianca deserves her revenge and WrestleMania is the perfect stage.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: I don’t see Bianca Belair doing it two years in a row. She will probably win the match but not the belt, smells like DQ…
WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship Match
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ronda Rousey
It has been almost three years since Rousey took a break from WWE to start a family following her epic Triple Threat Match that headlined WrestleMania 35 against Flair and Becky Lynch. That hiatus came to a screeching halt, however, when Rousey made a surprise return to win the 2022 Royal Rumble Match and instantly earned the right to challenge the Women’s Champion of her choosing on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
Although the dangerous competitor made a brief detour on Monday Night RAW and showed that she still had animosity toward Big Time Becks, The Rowdy One opted to leave her choice a mystery until she journeyed to SmackDown. Once on the Blue brand, The Baddest Woman on the Planet made it clear that she owes many Superstars a beatdown, and that Charlotte wasn’t special, but just first. With that, Ronda Rousey officially challenged Flair for the SmackDown Women Title on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
A one-on-one showdown pitting Flair against Rousey is an incredible match made for WrestleMania, but who will emerge the winner? The Queen’s record speaks for itself, and there is no doubt that she deserves respect as the dominant titleholder she is. But will she have what it takes to defeat the awesome threat that is The Baddest Woman on the Planet?
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Ronda Rousey
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Ronda Rousey, but I’m not convinced…
Night 2: Sunday, April 3
Anything Goes Match
Johnny Knoxville vs. Sami Zayn
If there’s another thing that WrestleMania is synonymous with, it’s celebrity appearances. From Mr T to Mike Tyson to Donald Trump and Bad Bunny, now Jackass’s Johnny Knoxville joins that esteemed list. This started off back in January when Knoxville declared himself as a guest entrant in this year’s Royal Rumble. It may well be a miracle that the stunt man is still alive, considering some of the crazy things he’s done over the years on television, and more recently on the big screen, so a Royal Rumble should be no big deal, right? Well, as it turns out, not exactly. Knoxville wasn’t successful in the Rumble, but he did find a new hobby that night in being a constant thorn in the side of one Sami Zayn.
Since then, Knoxville has cost Sami the Intercontinental Championship and posted his personal phone number on social media. This led to Zayn being constantly bombarded with phone and video calls from the general public on a worldwide scale. It would appear that Zayn hasn’t had a moment’s peace ever since, as the phone seems to never stop ringing. Sami is understandably irritated and managed to get this match under the stipulation of Anything Goes. Zayn may think this gives him the upper hand, but let’s not forget that Knoxville has previously wrestled – and been bitten by – an anaconda.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Johnny Knoxville – I’m not a fan of celebrity matches, especially when there’s more deserving full-time talent left off the show. I also think Sami deserves better. That said, this is gonna happen, WWE likes having celebrity partnerships so this feels like a Knoxville win.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: The original prankster, Johnny Knoxville.
Pat McAfee vs. Austin Theory
During his first live interview in 15 years on “The Pat McAfee Show,” WWE Chairman Mr McMahon personally invited McAfee to compete at The Showcase of the Immortals, responding to the former NFL player’s tremendous connection to the WWE Universe.
McAfee first left his mark in a WWE ring when he made a series of memorable appearances in NXT. This included his fearless showing inside the unforgiving double steel structure of NXT TakeOver: WarGames 2020. Since putting his gear on the shelves, the outspoken personality has endeared himself to fans as the colour commentator on Friday Night SmackDown.
McAfee did not have to wait long to find out his opponent. Just one night after Mr McMahon’s offer was extended, Austin Theory emerged to belittle the SmackDown commentator. After claiming that the WWE Chairman was simply setting up McAfee to get beat up at The Show of Shows, Theory informed him that he was his WrestleMania opponent. He then promised to beat McAfee to a pulp and slapped the headset right off his head.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Austin Theory – it seems he’s Vince’s pet project, so this could be the catalyst of a big push.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Austin Theory with a little help from Vince…
Lashley vs Omos
Ever since André the Giant, WWE has had a history of having at least one resident big man. Not just a big man, but a BIG man. Some of those names include the Undertaker, Kane, Big Show, Mark Henry, all of which no longer compete in WWE. There has been a void left to be filled in the big man role, ever since the departure of Braun Strowman. Omos is the closest thing to filling that role. When you look at the man, you can see what somebody like Vince McMahon sees him. The man is tall, the man is muscular and the man looks fierce. When it comes to in-ring competition, Omos has the wind in his sails and has been demolishing every opponent put in front of him. So clearly it’s time to up the difficulty level in terms of the opponent. What a way for Omos to prove himself than in the ring with a two-time WWE Champion, the All-Mighty Bobby Lashley.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Omos – it seems like this man is getting the rocket strapped to him, properly in the build to challenging for the/a World Championship at SummerSlam. Hopefully, by that point, he’ll be a fitting opponent for Lesnar or Reigns.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Let’s go for Omos.
Edge vs. AJ Styles
For many wrestling fans worldwide, this was a dream match they never thought they’d see. For a long time, these two men belonged to different promotions, then by the time AJ Styles finally found his way to WWE, Edge had already been forced into retirement, seemingly forever. The two former World Champions briefly crossed paths at the 2020 Royal Rumble, when Edge made his return after nine years out of action and was the one responsible for eliminating Styles that year. Beyond that one interaction, the two years since then have set them on very different courses, until now.
Things really kicked off a few weeks ago on RAW when Edge issued an open challenge for a match at WrestleMania. We know that Edge is a bonafide star at WrestleMania, so a marquee match against him really does mean something. AJ Styles was the man to answer that challenge, which makes a lot of sense as the Phenomenal One had seemed a little directionless since his tag team with Omos has splintered. After a long time working in a tag team, it seems like a great time to have Styles back as a solo star, ideally in the main event scene. One might wonder if this would be a World Championship match if WWE hadn’t decided to do a Unification match with Lesnar & Reigns. This feels like a match of that calibre, although they’ve found a way to up the ante of this match without any gold on the line.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen a much darker version of Edge. He’s changed his entrance music to something that isn’t as easy for the fans to sing along to now. Now he dresses in dark suits and stands under moody blue lights. He’s spitefully attacked Styles a couple of times, doing everything he can to make the fans hate him. With Edge being Edge, there is a logical reason behind this pathological behaviour. Edge has been deliberately wanting to rile up AJ, to get Styles at his absolute best, unlike the ‘softer’ version we saw hiding behind Omos. But it seems that Edge is also trying to reawaken something inside himself. By his own admission, Edge has been softer, himself, since his return, falling short last year at WrestleMania when Roman Reigns stack-pinned him. Will Edge’s darker side be enough for him to capture a huge win at WrestleMania, or has he bitten off more than he can chew in AJ Styles?
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Edge – I don’t think he should’ve turned heel, but we’ve got what we’ve got. Hopefully, this is the first match in a feud that could last a few months.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: The fans, whoever wins.
Fatal Four-Way Match for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Queen Zelina & Carmella (c) vs. Sasha Banks & Naomi vs. Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan vs. Natalya & Shayna Baszler
Let’s face it, there isn’t really a Women’s tag team division. What there is, is a number of teams thrown together out of whoever’s not involved in a storyline for a singles title. This must make it difficult for the fans to be invested when there’s nothing long-term to get behind. It feels like Natalya, for example, has had more tag team partners than Ric Flair has had wives. Meanwhile, things between the reigning Champions, Zelina and Carmella, are so tempestuous that it’s a miracle they still have the titles. Sasha Banks and Naomi are former friends, former enemies and apparently friends again. Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan are the only two that feel like a genuine tag team. They have similar looks, their styles complement each other and they seem like they’re genuinely having the time of their lives whenever they’re in the ring together. Whatever the female equivalent of a bromance is, this duo has it in spades.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Liv Morgan & Rhea Ripley – these two would be great as Tag Team Champions and I am here for it.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Liv Morgan & Rhea Ripley.
Triple Threat Match for the WWE RAW Tag Team Championship
RK-Bro (c) vs. The Street Profits vs. Alpha Academy
At WrestleMania, RK-Bro will defend their newly reclaimed RAW Tag Team Championship in what is sure to be a highly explosive Triple Threat Match against The Street Profits and Alpha Academy. Randy Orton & Riddle earned their second RAW Tag Team Title reign by jumping through hoops that included spelling, scooter contests and academic challenges, and they did so prior to defeating The Alpha Academy and Seth Rollins & Kevin Owens to claim the gold and punch their ticket to WrestleMania.
In retrospect, however, Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins had already positioned themselves for a showdown against the new titleholders at The Showcase of the Immortals. Prior to the title match, The Street Profits had defeated Orton & Riddle in a hard-fought clash. With that important win, the determined former RAW and SmackDown Tag Team Champions wasted little time informing the new titleholders that they indeed wanted the smoke at The Show of Shows.
Although The Viper was sceptical as to whether one victory earned Dawkins & Ford a title match after everything RK-Bro had been through, The Original Bro suggested that they should face them, and WWE’s Apex Predator soon agreed. During a subsequent one-on-one matchup pitting Riddle against Ford, though, Chad Gable & Otis took out both tag teams. It was later determined that the three tandems would settle things at The Showcase of the Immortals with the RAW Tag Team Titles on the line in an all-out free-for-all.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: RK-Bro – this duo is just too popular right now. They need to remain Champions for a little while longer.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: RK-Bro.
Winner Takes All Match
Universal Champion Roman Reigns vs WWE Champion Brock Lesnar
The table has been set. 2022 Royal Rumble winner and WWE Champion Brock Lesnar has chosen to battle Roman Reigns in The Biggest WrestleMania Match of All-Time. Although Lesnar was originally scheduled to challenge The Head of the Table at WWE Day 1, Reigns tested positive for COVID-19 and was unable to defend the Universal Title at the first Premier Live Event of the year. After being fired by Reigns days earlier, however, Paul Heyman once again took on the role of Advocate for Lesnar and negotiated for his client to be added to the Day 1 WWE Title Fatal 4-Way Match instead. Thanks to Heyman’s manoeuvring, The Beast was free to conquer the field and claim the WWE Championship.
During Lesnar’s WWE Title defence against Bobby Lashley at Royal Rumble, Reigns suddenly emerged when the referee was down and used some surprise help from the treacherous Heyman to strike Brock with the title and allow Lashley to reclaim his WWE Championship. The WWE Universe would not have to wait to see how Lesnar would react. On the same night, the furious Beast stormed his way to the ring as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble Match and claimed victory in a dominant fashion.
With the right to challenge the World Champion of his choosing, Lesnar emerged the following night on RAW and immediately chose to go to war with the Universal Champion. As a result, Reigns will finally have his showdown against The Conqueror on The Grandest Stage of Them All. Then at WWE Elimination Chamber, titleholder Bobby Lashley was removed from the competition due to concussion protocol. This paved the way for The Beast to triumph in the Elimination Chamber Match to reclaim the WWE Championship. As a result, WrestleMania will now be a Championship Unification Match. For only the third time ever, we have the third part of a WrestleMania trilogy. Forget Rock vs Austin. Forget Triple H vs Undertaker. Neither of those final matches had stakes to rival this one.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Brock Lesnar – after Roman’s been booked as an unstoppable force for two years, the fans despise him and they’re crying out to see him finally defeated. Brock Lesnar is the most popular he’s ever been and WrestleMania is the stage for his victory and the crowd will go wild. Because, if Brock can’t beat Roman, then who can?
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: I honestly don’t know. Reigns’ win would mean the Future while Lesnar’s win would be a bit of a “Remembrance of Things Past.” I’ll say Roman Reigns…
WrestleMania 38 comes your way with Night 1 on Saturday, April 2, and Night 2 on Sunday, April 3, at 8 PM EST (1 AM BST) exclusively on Peacock in the U.S. and on WWE Network. A pre-show will air both nights on WWE Network and WWE social media at 7 PM EST (midnight BST).
All pics and videos courtesy of WWE