WrestleMania 33: A LWOS Roundtable

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Photo: WWE

While we usually do larger in-depth previews of events with various members of the Last Word on Pro Wrestling staff tackling full matches individually, for this year’s WrestleMania we decided to go a different route and have all our writers weigh in on each match and what they mean to each of us, with our own thoughts. Check out what the LWOS Wrestling Department thinks of WrestleMania 33 and what we can expect!

Photo: WWE

WWE Universal Championship Match:
GOLDBERG (c) vs. BROCK LESNAR

Martin McConnell (NXT Reporter): Personally, I feel like this one is quite obvious. Against what I feel should be WWE Creative’s better judgment, Brock Lesnar is going to win this match. Of course, in a match between two part-timers, nothing is going to be perfect. For this match, it’s picking the lesser of two booking evils. Yes, Lesnar is going to win, but as for Goldberg, two out of three ain’t bad.
Ryan Smith (RAW Reporter): 13 years after the first time these two faced off at WrestleMania, Brock Lesnar and Goldberg face off yet again. This time, however, it’s for Goldberg’s Universal Championship. However, unlike last time, it’s Lesnar, the beast incarnate, that will be standing tall when the show closes.
Rich Laconi (Editor, ROH Reporter): I may be in the minority here, but this is the least interesting match of the night. Often times the main event may be easy to predict, but that normally involves a feel good story in some way. Brock has not been positioned as that feel good win here and Goldberg retaining through the end of Mania does nothing to improve the product. I expect Brock to walk out as champion and hopefully the next night on RAW we get the return of Balor to chase the title he was forced to give up.
Jamie Greer (Editor): This match has seemingly dropped from being the main event, but this match will still be the most polarizing match on the card. It’s not supposed to be a 5-star classic, it’s simply a battle between two big men – a la Hogan vs Andre or Undertaker vs Sid. While the internet community will use this as a bathroom break, the majority of casual or WWE die hards will love every minute of it. I expect a physical affair between two men who want to give a big payoff – as well as offer redemption for their cursed first match 13 years ago. Unless Goldberg plans to continue, it seems Brock is poised to claim another World Championship and move on to become the monster for a younger star to slay.
Photo: WWE

WWE Championship Match:
BRAY WYATT (c) vs. RANDY ORTON

Rich: Easily the second best story on the card. Although it is a bit muddle with the face/heel dynamic in this one, as Orton did burn down the Wyatt compound. The harkening back to the era of real characters, Wyatt’s schtick is different, but he has not always had the time in ring to prove how strong he is as a grappler. I think this will be the match where he earns the respect of a larger swath of fans this weekend. Expect a good match here if they are given the time and Wyatt should keep the title moving forward.
Martin: This one is pretty simple. Personally, I think this is a moment that a lot of fans have been waiting for. This Sunday, Bray Wyatt is getting his “Wrestlemania Moment”. It’ll be interesting to see the mind games that both men play before, during, and after the match.
Ryan: There’s no way that they would let Bray Wyatt easily beat John Cena for the WWE Championship, just for him to give it up to Randy Orton a month later. Gut feeling about this match? There’s some kind of involvement from Luke Harper, and somehow Bray Wyatt reverses an RKO into a Sister Abigail.
Jamie: Many fear that Wyatt is merely a transitional champion and that Orton is primed to grab his 13th World Championship in the WWE. The smart booking is Bray not only winning convincingly but that he “gets the band back together”. He seemingly entranced Luke Harper this past week on Smackdown Live and Erick Rowan is cleared for return.
Photo: WWE

Raw Women’s Championship Match:
BAYLEY (c) vs. CHARLOTTE vs. SASHA BANKS vs. NIA JAX

Ryan: I’m going out on a limb here, and I’m picking Sasha Banks. I’m picking her by somehow screwing Bayley over for the win. Charlotte has been champion for most of the year, Jax isn’t ready, and there’s no real story development for Bayley unless Sasha turns heel after the match.

Martin: I’ll take Bayley to retain the title. This match might just steal the show with the caliber of women’s wrestlers in it. Expect Nia Jax to be taken out of the match in some hilariously over-the-top way.

Jamie: Much like Rich stated, Sasha seems the best choice to walk out Champion. Nia will be a distraction to the other stories, but Sasha somehow turning on Bayley in the match (or post) to set up a Bayley vs Sasha feud seems eminent. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dana Brooke interferes in this match somehow, costing Charlotte her chance at winning her 5th Raw Women’s Championship, setting up a protegee vs the master story post-Mania.

Photo: WWE

Smackdown Women’s Championship Match:
ALEXA BLISS (c) vs. BECKY LYNCH vs. MICKIE JAMES vs. NATALYA vs. CARMELLA vs. NAOMI vs. ??

Martin: This is more of a heart pick than a head pick, but I’ll go with Becky Lynch. Lynch is a fan favorite, and WWE has to see that, right? Hopefully they do, and the Lass Kicker gets her moment in the spotlight.
Ryan: We’ve gotta get see who shows up for this one. Kelly Kelly is probably going to show up, and Eve Torres is rumored as well. I have to think that Naomi wins.
Jamie: Until this past Tuesday, it seemed up in the air who was going to win, but with former Champion Naomi returning this past week, and the match being bumped back to the Main Card, one would assume they’ve got big plans for it. While the announcers called it a 6-pack challenge, WWE’s official website has refused to call it that, with many under the assumption more surprise entrants will be added. But I wouldn’t hold your breath thinking it’s going to be Asuka debuting. It’s more likely a former Diva or two, most likely Kelly Kelly, Victoria or Eve Torres. But despite Vince’s perpetual rib of having people lose in their hometown, I’m going with Naomi to reclaim her title in hometown Orlando.
Photo: WWE

WWE United States Championship Match:
CHRIS JERICHO (c) vs. KEVIN OWENS

Ryan: As great as the build to this match has been, and as good as it is, this match is going to be a little flat. It’s obvious that Owens is going over, and it’s not like Jericho can still put on matches like he used to.
Rich: This is the match that I am most looking forward to on the night. The build between the two, starting with their pairing at Summerslam seemed to just throw the two together and instead it became the most entertaining part of WWE television since then.  This has worked beautifully and the only thing that may have made it better is if it had been contested for the Universal championship. Jericho is working at the highest level of his career and no matter what happens here, Owens will walk away a much stronger character, solidifying his place on the roster and hopefully moving back into the upper echelon once the part-timers head home.
Martin: Everything is pointing to Jericho leaving pretty soon, so I’ll go with Owens. Surely, the storyline behind this one itself could be enough to give it Match of the Night credentials. However, we’ll have to see how it physically plays out. This might be one of the last ‘Mania Matches of Jericho, so let’s just take it in, man.
Photo: WWE

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match:
DEAN AMBROSE (c) vs. BARON CORBIN

Ryan: I’m going out on a limb. I think this is going to be the worst match on the card. Ambrose usually has the best or the worst match on the card, and I can’t see him getting a mat classic out of Corbin. However, I see Corbin winning.
Martin: I’ve got a rather popular hunch that WWE wants Baron Corbin to be a star. Corbin is exactly Vince McMahon‘s “type”, and he’s actually really good in the ring. Personally, I think he mic work needs to improve, but he’ll win this one on physical merit alone.
Jamie: Well, let’s make this a clean sweep. Ambrose is one of those stars, much like Roddy Piper or Jake “The Snake” Roberts, that doesn’t need titles to be successful (in fact, in most cases it’s a hindrance). But the narrative following Elimination Chamber between Corbin and Ambrose has been intense and very personal feeling. This should be a real JR slobberknocker, with Ambrose putting his body on the line in a physical match with Corbin, with the Lone Wolf emerging the new Intercontinental Champion.
Photo: WWE

WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match:
NEVILLE (c) vs. AUSTIN ARIES

Martin: Neville. Austin Aries, despite being white hot right now, isn’t ready to end Neville’s run yet. No one is. Neville is on a “reign of terror” right now, and it’s not stopping any time in the near future.

Rich: On another night, this could steal the show, but being relegated to the kick off show on a super long card means it will most likely be lost in the shuffle. It will however be a strong way to start the card. Neville and Aries have been a breath of fresh air for the cruiserweight division, which is an odd thing to say considering that neither of them were involved in the Cruiserweight classic. Although Aries has been doing exceptionally well in this program, him winning would essentially end it and there’s no reason for that to occur here. Look for Neville to win by hook or crook and for the program to continue through the next few months.

Jamie: While many groan at the news this is a Kickoff match-up, it’s probably the best spot for it. It’ll get more time (which it deserves) which means both men will be able to showcase not only themselves but 205 Live better. It should be the lead match as a match of this intensity and caliber would be a great way to set the pace for the rest of a long card. My heart wants Aries to win gold, but for the sake of the story, Neville should retain so this feud can carry on, perhaps even to SummerSlam.

Photo: WWE

Raw Tag Team Championship Match:
LUKE GALLOWS & KARL ANDERSON (c) vs. SHEAMUS & CESARO vs. ENZO & BIG CASS

Martin: Enzo and Cass are taking this one. First of all, they’re crowd favorites, and might be one of the most over things on the red brand. Secondly, they sell, and we know that WWE loves that. Vince McMahon might not “get” the Certified G’s, but he can’t deny that they generate cash.

Ryan: In this match, either Gallows and Anderson retain or Enzo and Cass get the belts. Sheasaro had their run with the belts, and it’s just pointless to put the belts back on them now. I’d like to see the Good Brothers retain, but I feel like Enzo and Cass finally win gold.

Jamie: There’s been rumours one angle proposed is Finn Balor‘s return tonight may be to help his former Bullet Club allies Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows return and reform The Club, but that feels too good to be true. Either way, I expect the Good Brothers to retain – possibly to continue a feud with Enzo & Cass – and possible dissention in the ranks of Sheamus & Cesaro by the matches finish.

Photo: WWE

SETH ROLLINS vs. TRIPLE H

Ryan: A feud six years in the making, Seth Rollins and Triple H are finally going to face off in a WWE ring. Ever since Triple H selected Seth Rollins as the first NXT champion, the wheels have been turning to get this match going. It’s going to be a non-sanctioned match, so expect some kind of interference, and a heavy dose of sledgehammers. However, at the end of the match, Seth Rollins has to be the one left standing tall.

Rich: Wrestling is at its best when I don’t know whether something is a shoot or kayfabe. Did Rollins ever reinsure himself? I don’t know and that’s why I love this build. It has seemed like a long term plan and has kept Seth important. This should be a “gutsy” performance from Rollins and we will get to see if his selling of his bum knee compares to Savage at Mania 8. Despite the obstacles, Rollins should walk away the winner here and out HHH back behind the curtain.

Jamie: This match might be the most underrated match-up on the card. Many people’s insistence that someone like Triple H doesn’t belong on these cards anymore, but they’re missing that there’s still no one on the roster with Hunter’s psychology and storytelling yet. This will be just as much a live learning lesson for Seth as it will be an absolute treat of a match for the fans. Seth is still very much being leaned on to be one of the faces of the company going forward and Triple H is going to do everything he can to make Seth come out looking like a Legend. And that will also include Triple H taking the loss – but not without involvement from Samoa Joe (who I expect will be Seth’s next feud).

Photo: WWE

AJ STYLES vs. SHANE McMAHON

Martin: This one is going to be FUN. If I had to pick a Match of the Night right now, it’d be this one. Shane O’ Mac can still go, and AJ Styles is the best wrestler on the face of the planet. These two are going to have a war, and I can’t wait to see the crazy high spot that Shane McMahon creates this time.

Ryan: I think this match is getting a bad rep. I think Shane is perfectly capable of having a decent match, and AJ Styles might just be the best wrestler in the world. Shane’s match wasn’t great last year, but he was also wrestling the Undertaker.

Rich: This seems like an odd use of AJ’s considerable talent here, but in the future it may be one of those memorable Wrestlemania moments that a different match would have not produced. By far not being anyone’s favorite pairing I think that will actually push both of these men to bring it and produce a more than serviceable match here. AJ easily walks away the winner here in what will me a great future highlight for big Mania moments.

Photo: WWE

THE UNDERTAKER vs. ROMAN REIGNS

Ryan: Hear me out. I think that this could be a good match. Look, it’ll be built around Reigns destroying Taker, right? Well, Reigns is a lot younger, and a lot more athletic, and if he turns heel, it could really turn the crowd against him… as if he needs help.

Martin: I’m actually cringing while writing this. Roman Reigns is going to retire The Undertaker this Sunday. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I need some time to myself after writing that.

Rich: The battle over whose yard the WWE is can really change how the fans perceive Reigns. A loss to the Undertaker by one of the wrestler who has been pushed as the toughest guy on the roster would be harmful to everything they have done with Reigns. On the other hand, Roman defeating the Undertaker would most likely draw the boo of fans, even those who support him as their love of Roman is superseded by the adoration of Undertaker. Braun should be involved in some way here to soften the impact of how the victor and loser are perceived moving forward.

Photo: WWE

JOHN CENA & NIKKI BELLA vs. THE MIZ & MARYSE

Martin: I’m really not looking forward to this. At all. But if I had to make a pick, I’ll go with John Cena? I guess? It’s not exactly a riveting storyline, but maybe Cena and Miz can give us some good wrestling. Maybe.

Ryan: It’s a shame, because Mizaryse should win this. Yes, Mizaryse, you can steal that one. But I think that Cena and Nikki win, and then Cena proposes. Ms. Elizabeth and Macho Man? No. But it’s better than Mark Henry and Mae Young.

Rich: If you had showed this card three months beforehand, this would have been the match that I would have been least excited to see. However, The Miz and Cena have done an amazing job of making the issues between two seem so real that I’m thoroughly excited to see how this plays out. In terms of including Total Divas/Bellas  storylines in the WWE product, this was by far the most interesting way to get it done. Even if this ends up being a glorified way for Cena to propose to Nikki, it will still be worth it. At this point, if Cena doesn’t propose the fans may actually get what they’ve always wanted: a Cena heel turn.

Photo: WWE

ANDRE THE GIANT BATTLE ROYALE

Ryan: Spoiler: Braun Strowman wins the Andre The Giant Battle Royale. There’s nothing else to say. Maybe Shaq and Big Show eliminate each other, but it’s the Wyatt alum that wins.

Martin: Braun Strowman. This is a “test your might” type of match, and Strowman is perfect for that.

Jamie: Braun Strowman seems the clear cut winner, but the recent news that The Big Show is retiring post-Mania lends some doubt that perhaps they give Show the win as a send-off, perhaps even at the expense of Strowman. Those two behemoths had a great match for a big man on Raw a few weeks back and a short feud where Big Show is retired by Strowman would be a nice rub and sendoff all at the same time.

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