WrestleMania 32 staff predictions: HHH vs. Roman Reigns, Shane McMahon vs. Undertaker
July 20, 2020
It’s time for the biggest show of the year. It might not feel like it, but indeed we’re very close to the Grandaddy of them All.
The build to this year’s WrestleMania…well…it didn’t end in a tug of war, we can say that much. Roman Reigns and Triple H brawled a a lot, Hunter said lots of things he’s said for years, and Roman was pretty much booed out of every Raw he was on. It’s kind of like the Wrestlemania 22 situation where John Cena was booed out of the building against Triple H. Who knows what will happen in the main event, but the scenario WWE most likely wants, which is Roman to get his big win and crowned as the next big thing, would probably leave a lot of fans in Dallas with a bad taste in their mouths.
There’s also Shane McMahon taking on the Undertaker. The storyline is…Shane McMahon is facing the Undertaker. I guess that’s all that needs to be said. There was something about a lockbox, but it was never brought up again. There are added stipulations, though – if Shane wins, he gets control of Raw. If Undertaker loses, he can never compete at Wrestlemania. The stakes are high in this match, but the execution of the storyline has been largely miss, with fill in the blanks storytelling that’s more lazy than compelling. But hey, Shane might fall out of tall structures, so the match itself might be one hell of a spectacle.
WrestleMania will always have that – the spectacle aspect of pro wrestling. They’re set to have the biggest attendance record in WWE history. The top matches sound big, something you don’t see every month. It’s the best they can do considering a lot of the roster in the last six months or so were taken down by injuries. I just wish that the build up to the biggest show of the year was just a bit more captivating.
Staff roundtable for this month (along with their current Pick ‘em stats!):
Bryan Rose (New Japan reporter) (9 points)
Alan O’Brien (WWE Main Event reporter) (10 points)
James Cox (WWE Superstars reporter & WWE DVD reviewer) (3 points)
Gary Mehaffy (Interviewer/Columnist) (0 points as I keep forgetting to do it!)
Karl Stern (DragonKingKarl Classic Wrestling Audio Show) (0 points, 1st timer)
PeachMachine (Astronaut Florist) (-455 Fahrenheit points)
Steve Khan (WWE Smackdown reporter) (10 points)
Kyle S. Johnson (Columnist) (11 points)
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Bryan Rose: This kind of just feels like a midcard geek battle royal. I mean, that’s what it’s kind of been since inception, but considering how stretched out the roster is this year, it feels like that more than ever now. I’ll continue thinking Strowman wins because I’m not sure who else you put in the role, unless you want Big Show or Cesaro to win again. In the long run, I don’t think it matters.
Alan O’Brien: Braun Strowman has been the rumoured winner for some time now. But, given the way he’s been de-emphasised on television of late, I’m more inclined to plump for his leader here. The word on the street is that Bray Wyatt will be positioned as a top heel after ‘Mania. What better way to kick that off than with the prestigious ARMBAR trophy?
James Cox: For me, it’s Strowman or a surprise like Cesaro or Orton. Mark Henry as a last harrah? Always a fun match, but it was very spotty last year. Strowman.
Gary Mehaffy: I hesitate to say who cares, but who cares! It’ll probably be more fun on TV than live. Or maybe not……I’m going for…….Damien Sandow. Ah, why not…..
Karl Stern: Big Show is in it again this year right? Then Big Show because, why not?
PeachMachine: Viktor. The Ascension rules and I’m really hoping they get positioned better next year.
Steve Khan: It doesn’t matter. Winner: Bray Wyatt.
Kyle S. Johnson: Clearly, this will be a pivotal moment on the show, and one that many, many people have been looking forward to. The fact that WWE has done next to nothing with the previous two ARMBAR winners does not inspire any confidence that the result of this match will mean anything, never mind the feebleness of the field. If the plan moving forward is to push the Wyatts as a killer faction, I wouldn’t be surprised if the end of the match saw Braun Strowman dispatching Mark Henry, Kane, and Big Show in short order, only to willingly step over the top rope to give Bray the win (perhaps after a brief tease of rebellion). Really, I’ve probably already put too much thought into this.
The Usos vs. The Dudley Boyz
Bryan Rose: I’m still just kind of stunned this is a WrestleMania match. Why? What is so compelling about this feud that warrants a singles match on the biggest show of the year? It’s consisted of nothing but the Dudleyz turning heel on them, then saying they aren’t a nostalgia act, all while coming out to their old outfits and gimmick. This is just so not compelling in the least bit. At least they should feud over a shampoo commercial or something. It doesn’t matter at all, but I guess you can give The Usos a win here.
Alan O’Brien: It’s a pre-show match with no stakes. Babyfaces (Usos) go over.
James Cox: The Usos to win and a signal of some sort towards Bubba going back towards the TNA Bubba. What a waste of talent.
Gary Mehaffy: This should be a pretty good match, and in some ways is a shame that it’s off the main show. I’m going for an Uso win (with the Dudleys to get their revenge on Raw).
Karl Stern: I’m not overthinking this one because I know WWE isn’t either. The Usos.
PeachMachine: Spike Dudley returns for the huge face pop, but he gets put through the table by the Usos, which leads to the 3D on Uso B for the pin. Hopefully the Dudleys are fired promptly after this match.
Steve Khan: I don’t think The Usos have ever been on the main card at WrestleMania, and that doesn’t seem right. There are always wrestlers who seem to hold down the fort all year for the company but get shuffled aside for Mania, and the Usos are a perfect example. They deserve better, and they certainly shouldn’t be losing. The Dudleys could win to set them up for the New Day, but it’s 2016 so I’ll go with Jimmy and Jey.
Kyle S. Johnson: This is a pre-show match that people could not possibly care less about, so the babyfaces will probably get a win to pop the crowd at the start (even if the crowd will almost certainly either not care about or flat-out dislike The Usos). Either way, who cares; they’ll probably just do the match again on Raw the next night, so whoever loses here probably gets their heat back immediately anyway. Best case scenario: this is the last nail in the Dudleys’ nostalgia run and Bubba finally gets a chance to be Bully.
Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Sin Cara vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder vs. The Miz vs. Stardust vs. Sami Zayn
Bryan Rose: This is like one of those ladder matches they want to put on to steal the show, but man the roster feels more depleted than ever. You have Stardust and Zack Ryder, who have zero momentum, Sin Cara and The Miz, who have slightly more but don’t feel over in the least bit, and Ziggler, Zayn and Owens, who all feel like the real stars of this match. I really kind of wish that this was a singles or even a three way between these two, as this could probably be a better match that way, but everyone has to be on the card, so oh well. I don’t see Ziggler or Zayn winning, and no one else should be near it, so I see Owens retaining.
Alan O’Brien: I’m not backing Zack Ryder to cap his recent hot streak by grabbing the strap here. The booking has protected Zayn the most in the run-up, but there is surely too much mileage in a singles feud with Owens for this to be his big moment. Owens retains.
James Cox: Owens to retain but I’d expect to see him and Zayn go at it. Spot-fest, but good I’m sure.
Gary Mehaffy: Speaking of good matches…..This one should have stunts galore (and all safe ones, hopefully!) I’m going to go for a Sami Zayn win, which will kick off a Zayn/Owens feud through to SummerSlam. Assuming Sami’s shoulder doesn’t pop again…
Karl Stern: This one is tough. I see reasons to stick with Kevin Owens but they’ve been very underwhelming with Sami Zayn so far which makes me think- Winner: Sami Zayn.
PeachMachine: Zack Ryder. Why have him in this match if they don’t have something planned? Because they’re stupid. Zack wins anyway.
Steve Khan: None of the contenders in this match have any momentum. Zayn might get a shot down the line, but I doubt he wins here. The only person I could see taking the title from Owens is Ziggler. Ziggler has never really had a WrestleMania moment, so they could give him a pat on the back here. But he’s also Dolph Ziggler, so…winner: Kevin Owens.
Kyle S. Johnson: This match comes down to Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, and had WWE done their history together an iota of justice, it would have likely made for a much more compelling story and match between just the two of them. Instead, we got a bunch of detritus in a seven-man ladder match, which in and of itself should at least make this a fun spot-fest. I want to say that having Sami win here makes little sense given the fact that the audience hasn’t really yet been given a reason to be invested in him beating Kevin, so Owens probably steals a victory at the last second and the feud between he and Zayn hopefully moves forward with improved focus.
Team Total Divas (Brie Bella, Paige, Natalya, Alicia Fox and Eva Marie) vs. Bad and Blonde (Naomi, Tamina, Lana, Emma and Summer Rae)
Bryan Rose: Eh, it’s the “get all the women on the card” match. It’ll be fine, probably be short, and everyone will get something in. I say Total Divas win since I think they’re the faces? Maybe?
Alan O’Brien: Again, it’s a pre-show match and it doesn’t matter one jot to anyone what happens. The heels have gotten the upper hand in the booking every time too; including Lana interfering to cost Paige her match with Emma on RAW. Total Divas go over.
James Cox: Total Divas to win. No doubt some dissension in the mix.
Gary Mehaffy: Bad and Blonde to win, with Eva Marie ‘turning’ on her team. Realistically, unless you’re a Total Divas fan, you won’t really care. The real ‘Divas Revolution’ is in the triple threat match.
Karl Stern: Team Total Divas. I’m almost 100% on this one. I couldn’t imagine a team with Lana on it winning over a team with the soon to leave Bella on it.
PeachMachine: Brie Mode pins Summer Rae, leading to a nice post match celebration for Team Bella with Foxy and Nikki coming out from the back.
Steve Khan: Eva being added to the match makes it seem like she’d for sure get the win, but I see this as more of a setup for Lana to pin Brie (or Natalya or Paige). Paige deserves better.
Kyle S. Johnson: My only hope for the conclusion of this match is that Paige, Natalya, and Emma are elevated out of this murk and positioned as legitimate contenders for the (hopefully renamed and replaced) Divas Championship. Perhaps Nikki makes an appearance and leads to a distraction roll-up (how fitting that would be), resulting the Bellas celebrating together in a ring one last time.
Divas Championship: Charlotte (c) vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks
Bryan Rose: If given time, and I think it will, this will be a very good match. These three all have had great matches in NXT, and I think this is the first platform where they can have a match similar to what they were having on NXT. As for who wins…I say Banks. It feels like the right time to make the switch, and you can follow that for the next few months with Banks/Charlotte matches.
Alan O’Brien: This is a tough one to call. I don’t think Charlotte retains, but I’m torn between Sasha and Becky coming out on top. Currently leaning towards the former, to continue her unbeaten streak. It would not surprise me if Bayley were to then respond to her boasting the following night, given the two recent decisive victories she holds over The Boss.
James Cox: Charlotte to drop the belt to Banks. Makes sense with Snoop going into the HOF. They should have a good match.
Gary Mehaffy: If they are given time (and I hope that they are) this could steal the show. The hardcore fans in attendance (are there any other left?) will really give these Divas a chance (see what I did there!) and it should be a superb match. I’m going for Charlotte retaining, with a little help from daddy dearest.
Karl Stern: I’m going with Sasha Banks in this one.
Sasha Banks: I choose PeachMachine to win this match by murdering Becky Lynch.
Steve Khan: Becky has been the best and most interesting of the three since this feud started, but the timing is unfortunately not on her side. Snoop Dogg being added to the Hall of Fame and a potential new Women’s Title taking place of the previous belt could mean the stars are aligning for Sasha Banks.
Kyle S. Johnson: Coming out of Royal Rumble, I would have said that this was Becky Lynch’s match, even with the focus shifting to Sasha Banks as the top challenger. Her growth from the clueless friend into a fierce (l)ass-kicker was surprisingly well-executed, and she had the crowd pretty solidly behind her as a sympathetic, determined babyface. But a couple of months have passed, and it has become pretty evident that this is Sasha’s match to lose. In either case, I look for these three to put on a hell of a match and hopefully change a few minds about what women’s wrestling can be.
The New Day vs. The League of Nations
Bryan Rose: I think this is just a showcase for the New Day to get a match on the card. They’re a hot act, WWE likes them and the crowd is into them. Not too many in WWE are like that right now! League of Nations isn’t over in the least bit so I don’t see New Day losing here unless they continue the feud.
Alan O’Brien: The New Day have won all but one of the matches in this feud; Sheamus always goes over, of course. That and the removal of the titles from the mix leads me to believe that The League goes over here by nefarious means, before commencing a post-match beatdown. Who will even the odds and make the save, brothers?
James Cox: I expect this to be all about the finish. League of Nations to win.
Gary Mehaffy: I know who should win, but watching WWE booking makes me think otherwise. Actually, I’ll stick with my original plan – The New Day will win thanks to help from…..a friend.
Karl Stern: I can’t imagine New Day losing this one which means it’s obviously League of Nations. So, I’m calling League of Nations as the winners here.
PeachMachine: If New Day loses, they’ll literally be flushing money down the toilet. Literally, that’s League of Nations’ new finish, Cash Flow Down the Pooper.
Steve Khan: I feel like WrestleMania, on some level, should reward wrestlers who did well throughout the year. And New Day is certainly deserving of a big win on the biggest stage. That doesn’t mean they’ll win, but it would feel like a shame if they don’t, regardless of what you think of the act right now.
Kyle S. Johnson: By turning babyface and subsequently being so incredibly over with the Brooklyn crowd on the go-home Raw, The New Day have come full circle from their less-than-desirable beginnings. And, because of their upside, they really should win this match. But there are a lot of factors here–the titles not being on the line, New Day winning almost every battle in the war thus far, the talk of this being a platform for frying a larger fish–that lead me to believe the League of Nations will be getting an unscrupulous win and continuing their heelish antics with a post-match beatdown that will be interrupted by…someone. If this is more about the post-match visual of New Day getting the rub from a big star, then the result is pretty inconsequential. Therefore, given the 50/50 mentality, the League wins and gets immediately run over in the post-match.
United States Championship: Kalisto (c) vs. Ryback
Bryan Rose: This match’s build is only slightly more interesting than the Usos/Dudleyz match, which isn’t saying much at all. I don’t even know what you do here. I think Ryback’s in for a push post Mania, so I guess him. It doesn’t seem to matter either way which says volumes for the title that John Cena brought up in prestige over the last year. It’s not the belt that gets people over, it’s the push that gets the people over and WWE fails to realize that.
Alan O’Brien: This is the toughest one to call for me. I backed against Kalisto at Fastlane and it cost me a valuable point in this competition. Dare I do it again? Well, the booking certainly suggests that the Lucha Dragon will come out on top; chatter about a good Big Guy always beating a good small guy usually results in an “upset” victory. However, I am predicting that the preceding two pre-show matches will end with the babyfaces on top. And the company has done precisely bupkis with Kalisto as US champ. I’m going for The Ryback, but I’ll probably regret it.
James Cox: If they’re having the two top titles change, it seems unlikely to have any others. Not impossible. If the Cena fitness reports are true, have Ryback squash Kalisto and have Cena come out and challenge him for the belt and beat him there and then. Or save it for Raw. But, no, I’ll say Kalisto to put a Hispanic face win on the card in Dallas.
Gary Mehaffy: Kalisto all the way! I get the feeling that the ‘A good big guy will always beat a good little guy’ routine is to lead to Kalisto pinning Ryback clean. He may lose the title the next night on Raw, but for ‘Mania, he’ll retain (and it’ll probably be a better match than many people think! Not great, but not bad either.)
Karl Stern: Ryback wins in a match that will surprise people how good it is.
Steve Khan: This reminds me a bit of JBL vs. Rey Mysterio, where JBL talked for weeks about beating Mysterio in record time, only to lose in record time. I don’t think Ryback is losing in record time, but Kalisto losing in a quick match that no one will remember seems like a waste. Kalisto wins.
Kyle S. Johnson: This one is surprisingly difficult to call, mostly because the story has been so feeble to this point that there’s almost nothing to work with. As best I can tell, our throughline is that Ryback is a big guy, Kalisto is a little guy, and if I’ve heard JBL right the hundred or so different times he’s said it, a good big man always beats a good little man. I have been as-yet unable to predict the result of a Kalisto match at a WWE PPV in 2016, and I would not be the least bit surprised if I was wrong here again. That said, I’m just going to go with Ryback winning as a setup for John Cena returning and going after his U.S. Championship and Ryback ultimately being positioned as a monster for Roman Reigns to topple.
AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho
Bryan Rose: Should be really good, probably even steal the show. Build has been…hit or miss, but and it’s kind of hard to get into a match we’ve seen three times already, but they have a new dynamic here in Jericho turning heel so it will be interesting to say how that works out. I say Styles gets a win here as I think it’ll cap off their feud nicely.
Alan O’Brien: Difficult to get hyped about what is the fourth straight singles match in their series. Plus, in my view, the result is in absolutely no doubt. AJ all the way.
James Cox: I don’t think this will be as good as everyone thinks or hopes it will be. Not because they can’t, just because of time and because they haven’t really clicked yet, fully. AJ Styles is such a great acquisition for this company. AJ wins here.
Gary Mehaffy: This is set for A.J. to go over in a great, Japanese, technical match. Their feud may not have set the world on fire so far, but I can see this being a springboard onto bigger and better things for A.J. That’s not a knock on Y2J, for the record…
Karl Stern: I mean it has to be AJ, right?
Steve Khan: Chris Jericho has been amazing, and he knows exactly what his place is here. This should be great. Winner: AJ Styles.
Kyle S. Johnson: The build (despite Jericho’s best efforts) has been lackluster. The match will be anything but. We may have seen it before (three times, to be sure), but these two are likely to go out there wanting to put on a hell of a match, especially given the importance of the stage to both men and having seen what Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakumura did two nights prior. AJ wins decisively, and hopefully he is on to a new feud thereafter.
No Holds Barred: Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar
Bryan Rose: Considering the build, this should be one hell of a brawl. Ambrose is always up for one, but how will he amp it up here? And furthermore, how far will Brock Lesnar go to have a “Mania moment” kind of match? Should be very interesting to watch. Ambrose kind of has to win here considering Brock has destroyed him every time he’s stepped into the ring, but this is WWE so we’ll have to see.
Alan O’Brien: Lesnar has absolutely pummeled Ambrose in every exchange between the two, most recently on Smackdown two weeks ago. I reckon Dean has enough tricks in his little red wagon to turn the tables on The Beast though, with the added potential for interference from some sympathetic friends to help him claim victory.
James Cox: Ambrose to win. Wyatt shenanigans. But Lesnar at WrestleMania is what it’s all about.
Gary Mehaffy: Brock goes over, but will attempt to elevate Dean by shaking his hand/passing the torch/endorsing him/whatever way you want to put it after the match. This will be quite the spectacle.
Karl Stern: Brock Lesnar but there will be many twists, turns, and hijinks here. Brock wins but not clean.
PeachMachine: I really want Brock to win. He should kill Ambrose since he’s the one that beat taker. It really makes no sense for them to put over Ambrose if they want Brock to be the next guy to face Reigns, so I’m picking Ambrose because they’re gonna screw it up.
Steve Khan: This should be match of the night. I hope the Wyatts don’t get involved, because they would just water it down. They can find some other way to protect the loser. Winner: Brock Lesnar.
Kyle S. Johnson: Seeing how little Dean has done to make Brock see him as a credible threat — Lesnar was certainly not deterred in the least by Ambrose’s ability to put weapons in a red cart — it seems to make sense that he would get some kind of banana peel win here after taking a hellacious beating and continuing to come back for more. The least effective method would be for Brock to be beaten up by a bunch of other guys and Dean to basically crawl over top of him for the win, which is why I fully expect that this is what will ultimately happen.
Hell in a Cell: Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker
Bryan Rose: This is a weird situation. WWE’s put high stakes (The Authority being banished from TV) so it makes you want to see Shane win. But if Undertaker loses, he’s gone from WrestleMania. So you kind of want to see both win. But as far as who actually wins…at first, it seemed pretty obvious Undertaker would win. But with these stips, I would say Shane would win. If they close out Wrestlemania with Undertaker winning and the Authority standing tall, it would probably be lame. But it would also be kinda lame the other way around as Undertaker’s been at Wrestlemanias since WM7. But everything’s gotta end sometime, plus it’s WWE stipulations so they can be reversed whenever they feel like it. I say Shane.
Alan O’Brien: I think Shane will win, as the direction that would take the storylines in appears a fait accompli from what we’re told. How he wins is not something I’m even going to hazard a guess at however, as this feud has made absolutely no sense from start to finish; including the confusion over the stakes – is it the company or just RAW on the line? I can easily see Undertaker’s Wrestlemania retirement stip being negated after the fact somehow too.
James Cox: Undertaker to fall on his sword for the good of company. You’d think they can’t beat him in Dallas, but they will and he would. No doubt it will be a good match, so long as they look after each other. Winner: Shane McMahon.
Gary Mehaffy: This is a really weird one to call, in so many ways. As Dave and Bryan were saying on WOR after Raw on Monday, nobody wants either of them to lose. I think they will both nearly kill themselves, Shane especially, and this will be the match everyone is talking about once it is finished. It will have all sorts of hokeyness (if that’s even a word!) during it, and after it, but I’m going for a Shane win in some way or form.
Karl Stern: I honestly have no idea. I actually think THERE WILL BE NO WINNER! It will involved some sort of crazy double cross or insanity involving possibly Steve Austin. You read it here first. Undertaker doesn’t lose… but I don’t think he wins either. Swerve.
PeachMachine: Shane is the man to revive Raw. So Taker is winning, because Vince ain’t giving up his A show. Shane really should be taking over Smackdown and call it ShaneDown, or something better than that, but ya know what I mean.
Steve Khan: I have absolutely no idea what will happen here. I just can’t envision Taker losing to Shane McMahon. Also, after Brock Lesnar beat Taker, the idea was that somebody would eventually beat Lesnar and get over big, but that has yet to happen. And if Taker’s career ends with 2 losses at WrestleMania, that’s just really bizarre.
Kyle S. Johnson: If you went back four years and told people that coming into Wrestlemania 32, The Undertaker’s streak had already been broken and he would be in serious jeopardy to lose a second match to Shane McMahon of all people, then you would probably be exiled to the furthest reaches. And yet, here we are. Shane winning here seems really plausible, particularly since he would probably have the power to somehow nullify a retirement stipulation for The Undertaker if he takes power. I am almost positive we are going to get a few crazy bumps and Vince McMahon eating a Tombstone, and I’m pretty positive that Shane will be winning somehow and assuming control of Raw moving forward.
WWE Championship: Triple H (c) vs. Roman Reigns
Bryan Rose: WWE has wanted so bad for Roman Reigns to get his moment in the sun, the new marketable face of the company. Problem is he hasn’t caught on, and it’s obvious to everyone but top brass that he isn’t the guy. But he’ll win. He’ll beat Triple H. That’s been the plan from the start and there is no Money in the Bank contract to save them. How long he’ll be champion and if he’ll remain a face or not remains to be seen, but that is how this title match will end, I just don’t see any other way.
Alan O’Brien: Reigns will surely go over in this soon-to-be no-DQ main event. They’ve gone this far with Roman TWICE and are unlikely to turn back again this time. I have no doubt that he will survive some interference, as HHH – the most insecure man in professional wrestling – once again grasps for the get-out clause of anything goes to save him from a heatless WM18/WM25 style disaster.
James Cox: With this on before the HIAC match, you can have an unhappy ending before a happy one. That is, with either Reigns winning or Reigns turning. I’d say Rock to be involved to help put over Reigns is about the only thing they have left, short of turning him heel. Reigns wins.
Gary Mehaffy: Yet again, Vince’s decisions come back to haunt him. I’m going for a Roman win, with some sort of shenanigans, a virtual heel turn and a complete heel turn on Raw the next night. And then in about two weeks time he’ll be viewed as the cool heel and cheered – funny how that works! But, yeah, a Roman win (with a link to the Shane/’Taker match).
Karl Stern: Roan Reigns. Deal with it.
PeachMachine: Reigns. I wish they would have pulled the trigger last year so this garbage could have failed already and we’d be done with it. Instead we have to watch them put the prop on the propless to be the voice of the voiceless. WWE will continue to ignore all the actual voices who do not want Reigns as the champ.
Steve Khan: Roman Reigns will win, and he should.
Kyle S. Johnson: By hook or by crook, Roman Reigns wins. Whether he stays babyface or turns heel will come out in the wash thereafter, but Reigns wins this match one way or the other.