So it’s possible, even likely, that I’m going to get all of these wrong.
1. The Usos vs. The New Day (Tag Team Championships)
At this point a lot of what’s going to happen is going to be directly relative to Wrestlemania. That’s why this match seems to completely out of nowhere.
The Bludgeon Brothers are all lined up to take the gold. They’re waiting in the wings, ready to stack up a few wins and go all the way. Additionally, I suspect that we’re going to see The Usos move brand so that means that they won’t have the titles after Wrestlemania.
But then a clean win for The Usos gives The New Day no reason to be on the Wrestlemania card. A win for The New Day, leading us into a triple threat tag team match or a tainted win for The Usos seems most likely.
Winner: The New Day
2. Bobby Roode vs. Randy Orton (US Championship)
Like the last match, mania impacts on this. Additionally, the fact that Randy Orton is only missing one title before becoming a grand slam champion means something. Could we see a Randy Orton US champion swapping with a Seth Rollins IC champion? There’s a lot in play here.
Jinder Mahal in the background adds a lot to play too. A heel turn for Roode is possible but with that theme music it would have to be a slow turn and Orton isn’t the best opponent for him.
So who wins? For me it’s Orton, taking the belt now and potentially losing it again at Wrestlemania before swapping brands.
Winner: Randy Orton
3. Becky Lynch & Naomi vs. Natalya & Carmella
There are a lot of talented people who came very close to not being on this card and chief amongst them were Becky Lynch and Natalya. Natalya got a good push throughout the season since mania but has lost momentum at a key time. Meanwhile, Becky Lynch has had nothing to work with all year. I’m hoping she doesn’t get moved to Raw when she has so much more to offer a blue brand that she should be synonymous with.
Natalya has had the number of both Lynch and Naomi recently. That said, Carmella is a future women’s champion, most likely at Wrestlemania. That means that WWE are going to go out of their way to bury her as much as possible. A push isn’t necessarily a winning streak; it’s more keenly a storyline that an audience can connect to. Carmella has that.
Winner: Becky Lynch and Naomi
4. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev
This is a big match for both Nakamura and Rusev, similarly to how they played out Orton vs. Harper at this time last year. Technically there are no stakes, but in order to ensure no confusion as to how big a deal the Rumble winner is, Rusev has to take the loss here.
That said, he’s had recent high profile matches with Roode and now Nakamura so I’d say Rusev’s route to Wrestlemania is a promising one. This match would go a number of ways, with Nakamura far better facing off against opponents that he’s had a chance to rehearse with.
The fans want this to be a good match; that should guarantee a raucous crowd.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
5. Charlotte Flair vs. Ruby Riott (Women’s Championship)
Charlotte Flair is going to be on the Wrestlemania main card. Ruby Riott is not. That’s no slight on Riott, who has a tremendous future ahead of her, that’s just the nature of the game.
Winner: Charlotte Flair
6. AJ Styles vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin vs. John Cena (WWE Championship)
Eurgh. Styles and Owens have been feuding for the whole year. The whole year. In a whole year barely anything has changed. This has just gotten silly now and is a major showcase of the decline that Smackdown Live has had. It’s just boring and predictable, despite high quality matches. They need new blood and they need to be more creative.
I don’t think any of these men will be switching brands next year, though I do think we’re going to see a lot less of John Cena. That said, this needs to be it now. Nakamura and Rusev are in the picture, Balor and Rollins are likely contenders to be coming over. We need to see more.
And it all starts with Styles vs. Nakamura at Wrestlemania. Anything less than that will be the end of the fans’ patience.
Winner: A.J. Styles
I’ll see you for another live Twitter session during Fast Lane 2018.