It’s been a chaotic build to WrestleMania 38. We’re now just days away from the biggest wrestling show of the year, and the majority of the card is locked into place like a figure-four from a prime Ric Flair . The big match is, of course, Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns who will be going title v title in a unification match. I'm still skeptical of WWE's decision here to give the winner one unified belt. I'd rather they be defended separately on each show, but alas, no one answers my emails.
Putting that insult aside, there’s a lot of intrigue up and down the card in both the men’s and women’s divisions. Right now there are fourteen matches scheduled for WrestleMania 38, as well as a Stone Cold Steve Austin appearance, which may be a real match or may just be a guy opening a can of whoopass during a talk show segment. I’m going to go through my predictions for all of it, which I would like to point out is what I think is going to happen, not what I want to happen. If it were what I wanted, we'd have a more positive outcome for Happy Corbin, who I inexplicably love for reasons I can't really explain.
WrestleMania 38 Night 1 Predictions
Big Time Becks made a surprise return at SummerSlam last year and squashed Bianca in 26 seconds. I still have no idea why this seemed like a good idea, as Belair is a rising star, was over with fans and had so much momentum at the time. Whatever. Someone thought it was a good idea, and it certainly elevated Lynch. I’ve moved on and can’t argue about this more. Anyway, she’s held a major belt ever since, and while she’s had matches with Belair, this is surely the biggest stage.
I like Bianca here. I think a showcase win would help her character move on from looking like Adam Bomb at WrestleMania X, and I think it’s time to give Becky something else to do besides defend this title and get whipped with hair. I don’t think it’ll be a squash, but I expect to see a clean pinfall and a title change.
Predicted Winner: Bianca Belair via pinfall.
Rey Mysterio And Dominik Mysterio vs The Miz and Logan Paul
The obvious pick here is Mysterio & Mysterio. Once The Miz stole Rey’s mask, there was a sense of like… Rey can’t lose this now. He’s got to defend his honor, right? But I’m not so sure anymore. The Miz lost clean on Monday, and I just feel like this story is a lot more interesting if he comes out on top. Plus, there are persistent rumors that Logan Paul may join the WWE Creative Team if this goes well. I’m not sure most wrestling fans are with me here, but I actually think, at least on paper, he’s a terrific fit for WWE long-term.
Crowd reaction was skeptical during his recent segment where he gushed about Cleveland in Cleveland (at least compared to The Miz who still has it, by the way), but his mic work is quite good for someone who hasn’t interacted with a live wrestling crowd that many times. He’s a terrific athlete. He’s also a very natural heel given some fans already have negative feeling about him due to his pop culture image. I don’t know. This might be the stupidest guess of this entire predictions article, but I’ve talked myself into The Miz and Logan Paul. Maybe it'll spark some kind of Mysterio v Mysterio feud or maybe a story about Dominik earning his mask, which Moonsaulted around a little on Twitter.
Predicted Winners: The Miz and Logan Paul via pinfall (The Miz on Dominik).
Drew McIntyre vs Happy Corbin (With Madcap Moss)
This has to be McIntyre, right? It feels like he’s about to be built again. He finished second in the Rumble. He’s been winning pretty convincingly for the most part on TV. It feels like they talk about his sword more than some of the mid-tier guys on the roster. Its name is Angela by the way, in case the repeated reminders haven't stuck yet. I also have no real data for this, but it just feels like many of his intros are getting longer. Plus, we’ve been getting teases of a fracture in the dynamic between Moss and Corbin. There’s a real possibility Madcap could turn on Happy at ‘Mania.
That being said, I need to take a few seconds to gush about Happy Corbin. Love this dude. I get excited every time he comes on my TV. Something just works, and I need him to stick around the midcard. Just give him 10 to 15 minutes each week to brag about himself, beat up on a jobber or act like a coward against bigger opponents. I’ll also take some travel montages or some vignettes of him being an out of place rube. I suspect he’ll roll into a feud with Madcap Moss after he takes an L here, which I feel fine enough about.
Predicted Winners: Drew McIntrye via pinfall.
The Usos (Champions) vs Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs For The Smackdown Tag Team Championship
I like The Usos. I’ve enjoyed their extended reign, even if it involves some standing around behind Roman Reigns, but you can just feel WWE pushing Rick Boogs. He’s looked really strong lately and delivered some particularly aggressive Boogs Cruises. They’ve also been giving him a lot of pre-match time to interact with the crowd and do his call and response thing. Also, to lift people. He has lifted so many people. But the crowd keeps counting; so, I’ve got no problem with him doing it. We'd all lift people over our heads if we were capable and everyone around us chanted to 10 each time. Plus, Shinsuke is great. Pushing Shinsuke is a good idea basically every time.
So, no offense to The Usos here, who I think should stay in the title picture, but the times they are a-changin. Boogs is over with most fans. His dynamic plays well with Shinsuke. I think we'll see some new champions. Also, from a storyline perspective, The Usos losing the belts is going to create interesting television with Roman, whether he wins or not. All of them down big together could be fun. Then again, him roasting them and stirring up resentment because he now has both belts and they have zero would also be fun.
Predicted Winners: Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs via pinfall (Boogs on Jey).
The New Day vs Sheamus And Ridge Holland (With Butch)
This feels like it has to be a New Day victory. Given Big E’s injury and the less than stellar record the team has historically had at WrestleMania, I think the obvious right move is giving them the victory. Butch is going to interfere. If this were a random TV episode, I'd assume his henchman-like ways would be the difference, but at a huge show like this, I think his interference will backfire, allowing The New Day to come out on top. Maybe there will be a quick interview where they dedicate the victory to Big E and tell him to get well soon.
I’m also interested in what’s going to happen with Sheamus, Ridge and Butch after they lose this match. Are they going to continue as a threesome? Are they going to start their own little mini-feud? Will we get a Sheamus, Ridge and Butch triple threat match? That could be a premium live event undercard. But nah. I don't think so. I think Sheamus will keep bringing in talent and form a stable. He’s still really good in the ring, but his strong mic work means he could be a fit to manage, as well. I'd love to see him as the leader of a gang that gets mad and does the job himself every once in awhile.
Predicted Winners: The New Day via pinfall (Kofi on Ridge).
Seth Freakin Rollins vs A Mystery Opponent
Everybody thinks this is going to be Cody Rhodes. I think it’s going to be Cody Rhodes, and if it is Cody Rhodes, he’s going to win a really close and exciting match. WWE is going to want to immediately introduce him at the main event or near main event level, and to do that, he both needs to look very good and he needs to win. So, I suspect we’ll see a really exciting match with lots of fun spots. Rollins will do fun Seth Rollins things, but Rhodes will prevail in the end.
Of course there’s always the chance this isn’t Cody Rhodes, and if it’s not, then who the hell knows what is going to happen here. The internet has been buzzing about it being Shane McMahon as the ultimate swerve/ middle finger to fans. Just imagine the chorus of boos. That would be an all-time troll job, but I don’t think WWE is going to willingly take that heat or give McMahon a prime ‘Mania match, especially after his appearance at the Royal Rumble allegedly caused backstage heat. I could see it being a surprise return like Bray Wyatt or someone on that level, but I’ll stick with Rhodes.
Predicted Winner: Cody Rhodes via pinfall.
Charlotte Flair (Champion) vs Ronda Rousey for the Smackdown Women's Championship
Rousey isn’t quite there on the microphone yet, but I think she’s improving and is definitely still over with fans. It’s hard to imagine she’d return to WWE, get this much screentime and not wind up with the belt. Plus, with the WWE women’s division deeper and better than it’s ever been (especially if/ when Bayley and Asuka return), it’s going to need shake-ups and changes. Putting the belt on Ronda would shuffle the deck, and it would allow Charlotte Flair to transition into a different storyline, hopefully one with an opponent that can more easily push back on the mic.
I really hope they give this match time to breathe and really tell a story. I don’t want to see a squash. I want a good wrestling match that tells a story worthy of the extended build-up we’ve gotten and Ronda’s return. I think we’ll get it, and I think it’ll end in an ankle lock given how much that’s been directly discussed on the air. That should push Ronda's character into a more compelling direction post-Mania, and fingers crossed, it allows her to keep developing because she could be great.
Predicted Winner: Ronda Rousey via submission.
The KO Show With Stone Cold Steve Austin
Kevin Owens has been crushing it during this entire build-up to WrestleMania. His mic work has been stupendous (points to WM sign…), and his recent trolling of the crowd when he came out to Stone Cold’s music made the heel part of my soul happy. KO is one of the best wrestlers working today, and I can’t wait to see him interact with the Rattlesnake. He’s earned this moment.
That being said, I have no idea what to expect out of this segment and/ or possible match. It's either going to be a few minutes of chit-chat, followed by a Stunner, middle fingers and cans of whoopass, all of which KO will oversell in the best way like a prime Mr. Perfect, or it'll turn into a real match. If that happens, fans will lose their minds, and one of the all-time greats will get a chance to give us one more all-time great match. I hope that happens, but anything Stone Cold wants to give us is a welcome surprise in my book. So, no predictions here.
Predicted Winner: I lied. I think it'll be a real match and Stone Cold will give us about 4 to 6 A- minutes, which will feel like an A+.
WrestleMania 38 Night 2 Predictions
Queen Zelina & Carmella (Champions) vs Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan vs Sasha Banks & Naomi vs Natlya & Shayna Baszler For The Women’s Tag Team Championship
I don’t know when the last time I was fired up about the women’s tag team division was, but I’m ecstatic at the amount of talent that’s been injected in lately. More than half of these women could be competing for the top belts, and we’re already starting to see some real chemistry develop, especially between Liv Morgan and Rhea Ripley, who are a delight and already have a banger hybrid entrance theme. How cool would it be if we had a really fun, high energy women’s tag match on most episodes of WWE programming? The talent is there, especially after Bayley and Asuka return. Just stick with it… and maybe give at least a few of these teams fun names.
It feels like this has to be either Rhea and Liv or Sasha and Naomi. No offense to the other teams here who are perfectly fine, but there's real upside for the entire division if it's the right twosome. I don't want the women's tag division to dissolve into nothing again! My money is on Sasha and Naomi, but that’s mostly because they were the initial surprise team that jumped into the division. Plus, Sasha Banks is Sasha Banks, and giving her a belt is almost always a good decision.
Predicted Winners: Sasha Banks and Naomi via submission.
Johnny Knoxville vs Sami Zayn
I was at the Royal Rumble earlier this year, and the pop Johnny Knoxville got from the crowd was very real and very loud, easily one of the biggest of the night. Throw in the fact that celebrities normally win WrestleMania matches, plus how tremendous Sami Zayn is at expressing shock and outrage, and this feels like a pretty definite Knoxville victory. Key qualifier here though: they need to keep Zayn semi-credible. That dude is a treasure. He should stay in the Intercontinental Championship picture moving forward. So, I suspect the win will involve outside interference from the Jackass guys or some other type of tomfoolery.
The Anything Goes wrinkle certainly opens up a lot of possibilities. Given the celebrity involvement, I wouldn’t expect to see a terribly long match, but it should be goofy and fun. Plus we all know Knoxville has taken gnarlier bumps than anyone on the roster. That WTF is he going to do element adds a little more drama than we normally see from celeb matches too.
Predicted Winner: Johnny Knoxville via pinfall.
Pat McAfee vs Austin Theory
Boy this match really got dropped on us like a Vader Bomb, huh? It feels like it was put together to have another attraction that'll generate some steam. Pat McAfee is terrific on commentary and a damn good athlete. He's also very over right now. Austin Theory is a rising star, who is doing segments with Vince McMahon. He was put in the Elimination Chamber and picked to face Brock Lesnar at MSG. They're obviously higher than a Montez Ford frog splash on both. So, they thought let's feature 'em at 'Mania.
That's not the worst plan I've ever heard. I'm a little worried for Austin Theory long-term though. I know McAfee is a more agile than say Michael Cole, but it still feels weak for Theory to lose straight-up to an announcer with little in-ring experience. But is there really a scenario where they're gonna have a character like Theory beat Pat McAfee? The crowd would boo into the next match. They'd be throwing things on stage like when Hulk Hogan went heel. So, I think something untoward is going to happen here. I predict Shane McMahon interferences setting up some kind of mentor vs real son storyline.
Predicted Winner: Pat McAfee via pinfall.
RK-Bro (Champions) vs Alpha Academy vs The Street Profits For The Raw Tag Team Championship
I don’t really think there’s a wrong answer here in terms of where WWE wants to go. All three of these teams are both very talented and over with the crowd. I also love each on a personal level. The weekly RK-Bro and Alpha Academy challenges were all kind of goofy fun, and the long-term potential of The Street Profits is enormous. All three of these teams have the talent and look to be on major premium live event cards for years to come. I probably like Alpha Academy the best because I can’t get enough of Chad Gable, but I’m truly fine with any outcome.
My gut tells me the WWE writers are going to use the end of this match to break-up RK-Bro. I know Randy Orton has talked about how happy he is and how much fun he’s having, but someone at WWE, whether it’s Vince McMahon or Bruce Prichard, loves breaking up a good tag team. So, I think RK-Bro breaks up after the match or we at least see major cracks form, which they’ve sorta been teasing.
Predicted Winner: The Alpha Academy via pinfall (Otis on Riddle).
Edge vs AJ Styles
I think the more important wrestler in the equation here is Edge. What is WWE’s long-term plans with Edge (and that blue light)? Do they want him on the mid-card or are they hoping to elevate him back to main event status? If they want him to be a major player and compete for the soon-to-be Unified Title, then I think he needs to win. He needs to establish himself as a mega-heel and come off looking really crazy and powerful. If they’re content with him leaving at the mid-card level, then what’s probably more important is just that this is a great wrestling match that fans enjoy.
I personally think they’ve still got big plans for Edge. He may not have fully capitalized off his 2021 Royal Rumble win, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still make it back to the top of the card. He’s in good shape. His mic work lately has been unhinged in a good, in-character way. I think they'll push him again.
Predicted Winner: Edge via pinfall.
Bobby Lashley vs Omos
I think most people are expecting Bobby Lashley to put an end to Omos’ dominance. That makes the most sense on paper. I mean… what’s the alternative? You rushed Bobby Lashley, a former champion who technically beat Brock Lesnar, back to lose to an inexperienced wrestler that’s been fighting handicapped matches on Raw? Why would you do that? You could have gotten Omos to the next level by turning in a dominant ‘Mania performance against someone like Damian Priest (who by the way, should be fighting Finn Balor this weekend but whatever).
But let’s say that is happening. Let’s say WWE brought Lashley back to get viciously punished by Omos. I mean… how scary would Omos look? You would immediately think he’s in line for a shot at the Unified Title at an upcoming premium live event, right? I don’t buy it, but maybe…
Predicted Winner: Bobby Lashley via pinfall.
Brock Lesnar (Champion) vs Roman Reigns (Champion) For Both Belts
Until recently, I was convinced Roman Reigns was going to win. I’ve been so convinced that I’ve been really dismissive of Brock Lesnar’s chances every single time I’ve referenced the match. But Lesnar has been tremendous the past few weeks. His mic work last Monday on Raw was so freakin’ good. I mean no one likes Paul Heyman more than I do. That dude is one of my favorite managers ever (shoutout Bobby Heenan), but Lesnar has been so smooth on the mic lately, I’m honestly starting to wish he would have ditched Heyman sooner. Cowboy Brock is all kinds of over, and his interaction with the crowd lately has felt effortless. It’s like he’s suddenly figured it all out. I don’t know how anyone wants to stop that momentum right now.
Roman Reigns, however, is also great. He’s been the best thing going in all of wrestling for the past few years. Unifying the belts and beating a legend like Lesnar while doing it would propel him into another tier of all-time greats. I really want that for him. I thought for sure he was going to get it, but I don’t know anymore. How long is Lesnar sticking around for? What’s the plan after the titles are unified? All of this would help provide clarity. Absent that, I’m going to stick with Reigns, but my confidence here is very low.
Predicted Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall.
Other Random Predictions:
I think we're going to see Alexa Bliss do something. I mean, what the hell is going on here? She's one of the best wrestlers on the entire roster. She doesn't seem to be injured. She needs to be at WrestleMania doing something productive.
I think a former WWE star other than Cody Rhodes is going to return. I don't know who it'll be, but I think someone shows up and sets Twitter on fire.
I think Steve Austin looks damn good and falls right back into the Stone Cold character like nothing changed.
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Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, a great wrestling promo and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.