CHECK OUT THE WADE KELLER PRO WRESTLING PODCAST AT PODCAST ONE PREVIEWING WRESTLEMANIA 34 WITH FORMER WWE CREATIVE TEAM MEMBER MATT MCCARTHY HERE.
Wake the pets and call the neighbors, it’s time for our exclusive WWE Network pay-per-view projections!
DISCLAIMER: Projections are based on what the columnist would do if he were booking this event, instead of Paul “NXT” Levesque, Runjin Singh, Ed Koskey, Brian G. James and WWE President “Cranky” Vincent K. McMahon. Projections are not predictions, because this is the column where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter. This preview has been sealed in a mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnall’s porch since noon today. Some of our departing contestants will receive a supply of Borateem laundry detergent. Borateem brightens the colors, whitens the whites, and cleans it all. Pat McNeill’s wardrobe provided by Augustus. Remember, this is only an exhibition. This is not a competition. Please, please, no wagering. This lineup is based on the best available information as of this writing. These predictions are based on what the columnist would do if he had creative control over WWE, except for where a whole lot of “developmental” WWE wrestlers get called up to Raw and Smackdown.
NXT Takeover Projections: Your winners tonight are Johnny Gargano, Velveteen Dream, Pete Dunne/Roderick Strong, Shayna Baszler & Alisdair Black. Tonight’s “Face In The Crowd” NXT Signee: PWG Champion Keith Lee. Tomorrow’s NXT slot in the Andre The Giant battle royal goes to Lars Sullivan.
Before we get down to business, let’s get to this month’s edition of the Wrestling History Lesson, because that’s why many of you clicked here in the first place. Twenty years ago, on March 28, 1998 the World Wrestling Federation aired an episode of “Shotgun Saturday Night” (pretaped) from the Convention Center in Tucson, Arizona. Your opening match saw Al Snow taking on D’Lo Brown. Kevin Kelly and Terry Taylor had the call.
What was happening in World Wrestling Entertainment fifteen years ago? I’m glad you asked! On April 6, 2003, World Wrestling Entertainment aired “WWE Sunday Night Heat”, pretaped from Seattle, Washington. The main event of that program saw Trish Stratus defend her WWE Women’s Title against Hall of Famer Lisa “Ivory” Moretti. Yay! Jonathan “Mentor” Coachman and Amy “Lita” Dumas had the call.
Did you miss the finals of WWE’s Mixed Match Challenge? You’re in good company, and plenty of it. It was Bobby Roode & Charlotte Flair against The Miz & Asuka , live from Nashville. Michael Cole, Corey Graves & Beth Phoenix had the call.
Your announcers tonight will be Michael Cole, Tom Phillips, Corey Graves & Byron Saxton at ringside, with possible run-ins from Jim Ross, Drake Maverick and/or Jerry Lawler. Renee Young, Booker T, Jerry Lawler and David Otunga appear on the WWE Kickoff Show Panel. Mike Rome draws the short straw and gets to be abused backstage by Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn.
Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali (WWE Cruiserweight Title): You may recall Emzo Amore, the previous WWE Cruiserweight Champion, was fired by WWE. At that point Mr. McMahon gave up on 205 Live and turned it off to Triple H, who turned it over to his writers. That’s how we wind up in the opening contest of the WrestleMania preshow, with no other cruiserweights in sight. Projection? Both these fellows are mighty fine professional wrestlers, but somebody has to lose. Cedric wins with the Lumbar Check. He’s a long way from PWX.
5th Annual Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal: Your announced participants are Scott Dawson, Dash Wilder, Baron Corbin, Tye Dillinger, Mojo Rawley, Matt Hardy, Dolph Ziggler, Tyler Breeze, Fandango, Kane, Shelton Benjamin, Chad Gable, Goldust, Heath Slater, Rhyno, Aiden English & Curt Hawkins. That’s eighteen, and this is WrestleMania 34. We are missing a few people. Projection? The other sixteen men in this battle royal will be Titus O’Neil, Apollo Crews, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Zack Ryder, Victor, Konnor, Mike Kanellis, Elias Samson, Sin Cara, Primo Colon, R-Truth, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson and NXT’s Lars Sullivan. And Samoa Joe, who wins the match and takes home the trophy.
1st Annual WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal: As you saw on Raw this week, the winner will take home the Dolores Mulva Memorial Trophy and be declared the Princess of the Preshow. You’ve come a long way, baby. Participants should be Sasha Banks, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan, Becky Lynch, Naomi Fatu, Natalya Kidd, Bayley Martinez, Lana Rusev, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, Mickie James, Carmella Van Dale, Dana Brooke, Peyton Royce, Dakota Kai, Nikki Cross & Kairi Sane. Nikki Bella can probably still enter, if she feels like it. Projection? Who wins? James Ellsworth, of course.
(Just kidding. Natalya wins after Sasha and Bayley eliminate each other.)
Some time during the Kickoff, we have a shot of John Cena, sitting in the fifth or sixth row, sampling one of the venue’s legendary Dome Dogs.
On To The Main Show!
What’s going on with The Undertaker? We’re getting to that.
Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn:
Question: Is there a dumber idea than having Shane McMahon wrestle with an umbilical hernia?
Answer: Yes. Pat McNeill wrestling with an umbilical hernia.
The good news is, we don’t have to do either. Projection? The good guys enter first in the opening match. Bryan does his full entrance. Shane O’Mac gets jumped from behind and thrown off the ramp by Owens & Zayn. Get the EMT’s, and have them carry Shane out on a stretcher. Drake Maverick, who is filling in as general manager for the night, tells Daniel Bryan he has two hours(-ish) to find a replacement tag team partner. To be continued…
Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax (WWE Women’s Title): I think Mr. McMahon and his booking crew weren’t paying attention to how Nia Jax has been portrayed since the moment she debuted on NXT. There are rules for this.
1) Do not use the word “fat” when discussing Nia Jax.
2) Do not use the word “blubber” when describing Nia Jax
3) In fact, how about we stick with “She’s not like most girls?” and avoid adjectives altogether?
Projection? Nia powerslams Alexa Bliss, sits on Mickie James when The Mick tries to make the save, and captures the title in about six minutes. Are we good here? Okay.
The Bar vs. Braun Strowman & Mystery Partner (WWE World Tag Team Titles): Our senior columnist, Bruce Mitchell, thinks the mystery partner spot should go to James Ellsworth. There’s nothing wrong with that idea, but now I can’t use it as my own. So let’s try something completely different. Projection? Former UFC star and current Evolve champion Matt Riddle makes his way to the ring as Braun’s tag team partner, Shawn Broman. Broman makes Cesaro tap while Braun drops the giant video screen on Sheamus to keep him from making the save. Two matches, two title changes.
Randall K. Orton vs. Bobby Roode vs. Alexander Rusev vs. Jinder Mahal (WWE United States Title – Fatal Four Way Match): For those of you wagering actual money on this program, I believe Randy Orton will win his WrestleMania match. I believe this with every fiber of my being. But that’s not what I would do here. Projection? Roode plants Jinder with the Glorious DDT, but Rusev hits Roode with the Machka Kick and steals the pin. Roode complains to Rusev after the match, but his complaints are interrupted by an RKO Out Of Nowhere from the former champion. The classics never get old.
Mike Mizanin vs. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins (WWE Intercontinental Title): You think Roman Reigns has it bad? Reigns is a good guy the fans are booing. Miz is a heel the fans are cheering. I would argue that Miz has the tougher task ahead of him. Projection? Miz pins the non-demon Finn Balor with the Skull Crushing Finale, and our streak of title changes comes to an end.
Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso vs. The New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers (WWE Smackdown Tag Team Titles): I can’t believe The Usos and The New Day wrestled each other all these times on Smackdown, and nobody thought to include the Bludgeoners until now. Projection? The other four guys team up on Rowan and Harper, just to get them out of the way. Jey Uso pins Xavier with a rollup.
Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka (WWE Smackdown Women’s Title): Charlotte has been a dominant champion, but the women’s division on Smackdown has been an afterthought for the past three months. Asuka’s arrival should change that. Projection? A tough match ends when Asuka pins Charlotte with a bridging German suplex to capture the Blue Women’s Title. Carmella runs in and knocks out Asuka with the briefcase, then cashes in the dented briefcase. Charlotte hits Carmella with a big boot, giving Asuka time to recover and pin Charlotte. The cash in fails, and the Staten Island Princess blames The Nature Queen.
Daniel Bryan & ??? vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (Take Two): Second attempt here. Bryan has gone into the crowd and grabbed his bella-in-law, John Cena to team with him. Of course, it’s a little awkward when the fake dollar bills drop during Cena’s entrance. Projection? We get the match we weren’t going to get with Shane McMahon. Bryan catches Zayn in the Yes Lock for the submission victory. The Yes Man is back, the Canadians are fired from Smackdown.
Bryan and Cena are celebrating in the middle of the ring when the lights go out. The lights come back on, and Undertaker is in the ring, chokeslamming Cena. The lights go out again. When they come back on, Cena has been laid out in the ring. Undertaker HAS accepted John Cena’s challenge, but it won’t happen tonight at WrestleMania.
Why Not?: Because WWE set this up for a reason. The tease is whether Undertaker will answer Cena’s challenge on Sunday, not whether they will actually wrestle. On a more practical note, there’s no time for a fourteenth match. Plus, I have no idea whether the Dead Man actually wants to wrestle again.
If Undertaker doesn’t want to wrestle, he can debut his new protégé (whoever that is) and have him fight John Cena. Either way, do the match next month at Backlash in New Jersey. You already have your main event signed!
Kurt Angle & Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H & Stephanie McMahon: I’m sure there are some ideas floating around for the Authority to cheat their way to victory here. None of those ideas are good enough to justify taking the focus away from Rowdy Ronda Rousey. Projection? Ronda wins with the armbar. If WWE wants to have Rousey submit Hunter instead of Stephanie, that’s fine, but I’d like to see the Rousey-McMahon end before SummerSlam.
AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE World Heavyweight Championship): I am glad the King of Strong Style, Shinsuke Nakamura, is finally getting over with the WWE uni…I mean, audience. For a while, I thought it would be nice to give Nakamura one last big hurrah by winning the title at WrestleMania. Then I realized AJ Styles is older than Nakamura, and has at least as many bumps on his bump cars as the former New Japan star. Projection? The champ somehow escapes the Kinshasa, because that’s what champions do. Styles wins with the Styles Clash.
Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Roman Reigns (WWE Raw Universal Title): I am having flashbacks to 2015. You remember 2015, right? That’s when Reigns was making his comeback against Brock Lesnar in the main event of WrestleMania 31. At the time, it looked like WWE might actually pull off Roman Reigns’ big coronation. But the real big dog lost his nerve, and Seth Rollins ran in and “saved” WrestleMania. There’s no one to save this match if the Superdome crowd craps on Roman Reigns. Projection? Reigns kicks out of the F5. Reigns hits the spear. Roman Reigns finally defeats Brock Lesnar. (Unless Brock’s sticking around for three more years. Then Brock can win.
Aftermath: Stephanie McMahon gets back at Kurt Angle by hiring Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn for Raw without checking with her general manager first.
Triple H gets back at Kurt Angle by bringing Roman Reigns over to the dark side. Six weeks from now, Reigns turns on Angle and beats the crap out of the Olympic gold medalist. As a babyface, Roman Reigns is defending his championship against Elias and Samoa Joe. As a heel, Reigns gets to defend his title against everyone else. That’s why WWE should have the Big Dog break bad.
Pat McNeill has been a PWTorch Columnist since 2001. He lives in Greenville, South Carolina. He’d take Houston over Oklahoma City in Saturday’s big NBA game. You know, if gambling were legal.