On the eve of one of the greatest sports entertainment pay-per-views that the world has to offer, wrestling fans across the world are waiting with bated breath for WrestleMania 35 to begin. The so-called “grandest stage of them all” and the “showcase of the immortals” has been host to some of the most iconic matches of all time, from Hulk Hogan versus Andre the Giant to The Rock versus Stone Cold Steve Austin to The Undertaker versus CM Punk.
Now, as WrestleMania 35 approaches, a whole new generation of performers is set to capture the hearts and minds of their enraptured audience. Being broadcast from the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, per CBS Sports, the pay-per-view expects a truly enormous audience of fans from the WWE universe and beyond. Bright lights, high spots, and some serious dramatics will play out in front of a live audience and television cameras this evening, and sports books — and sports entertainment fanatics — are already laying down some wagers.
Who will take home the gold? Who will leave the ring broken, battered, and empty handed? And finally, who will enter the MetLife Arena as a professional wrester, and leave as a retired superstar?
Several twists and turns are sure to take place during tonight’s event, and a few educated guesses are in order as to how things may actually shake out.
“Winner Takes All” match, for both WWE Women’s Championship titles: Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey
Perhaps the most talked about of all the matches on the WrestleMania 35 card, this one has some serious heat behind it. Following an epic Twitter feud between Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey that, at times, broke kayfabe entirely — it looks like this match might be one for the ages. Despite Charlotte Flair’s peerless in-ring ability and win-loss record, she remains the dark horse in this match, accordingly. Look for Becky Lynch to finally find her moment in the limelight, eking out a victory over Ronda that will more than likely be a little bit dusty. Charlotte may play spoiler during the big finish, as is commonly the case during triple threat bouts.
WWE Championship match: Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston
Daniel Bryan has been killing it of late with his despicable deep ecology angle, playing up the straight-edge heel that is more concerned about sustainability than with satiating the desires of the WWE universe. Enter Kofi Kingston of The New Day, having seen a somewhat manufactured — and many would say, totally deserved — push of meteoric proportions as late. Both men being extremely capable in the ring, it seems like it would be soul-crushing to have Kofi suffer an ignominious defeat at the hands of the red-hot heel. Yet, that seems possible — as WWE has been in the habit of building up big pushes only to squash them at the very end. Despite all indications to the contrary, this feel-good story may be too good for creators to ignore. Kofi is likely to upset Daniel Bryan to a surge of ebullient cheers from the live audience, cinching his long-awaited championship gold.
Universal Championship match: Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins
We all like Seth Rollins. We all hate, or love to hate, Brock Lesnar. There has been griping for some time amongst wrestling faithful that Brock Lesnar is a part-time champion, an unstoppable monster who takes his opponents — great and small — to Suplex City and leaves them devastated in the middle of the ring. That’s seems like it will happen again, despite rumblings that Brock Lesnar is set to depart the company. It may be WrestleMania, but it seems strange for Brock to drop the belt to Seth rather than, say, a recently returned Roman Reigns.
Intercontinental Championship match: Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley is a talent that has long escaped the top tier of the card, despite an impressive physique and in-ring ability. By contrast, Finn Balor has seen those heights and has fallen from them a few times, largely due to injury. Now, Balor returns as The Demon to face the champion in what promises to be a unique matchup. Given Balor’s record as The Demon incarnate, and his status as a current challenger, expect to see Lashley drop the prize to Balor in relatively short order this evening.
EXCLUSIVE: @WWEAleister & @KingRicochet's lifelong dream to compete on The Grandest Stage of Them All comes true tonight when they vie for the #SDLive #TagTeam Titles at #WrestleMania. pic.twitter.com/ErRxkkUmIK— WWE (@WWE) April 7, 2019
SmackDown Tag Team Championship match: The Bar vs. The Usos vs. Ricochet / Aleister Black vs. Rusev / Shinsuke Nakamura
A very odd match indeed — one featuring two rag-tag team-ups — it seems almost certain to be filled to the brim with talent. Both Ricochet and Aleister Black are fresh call-ups from NXT, and both are at the top of their wrestling game at the moment. Despite Rusev Day and the powers of the Kinshasha kick, neither The Bar nor The Usos may be prepared for what these two NXT contenders have waiting in store for them. A bizarre selection, and surely a controversial one, it may just be that Black and Ricochet are going to hold the tag team titles tonight.
Raw Tag Team Championship match: The Revival vs. Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder
The Revival can expect to hold this one, if the internet wrestling community is to be believed. With no real build in comparison to so many of the other angles, this match may be dwarfed by the others.
Women’s Tag Team Championship match: Sasha Banks / Bayley vs. Nia Jax / Tamina vs. The IIconics vs. Beth Phoenix / Natalya
In another fatal four-way dance, the ladies of WWE will square off in what promises to be a true barn burner. The monstrous team of Nia Jax and Tamina threatens to overwhelm the other femme fatales in terms of raw power alone, while the proven entities of Sasha Banks and Bayley will represent the face of the company. Perennial heels and narcissists The IIconics remain outside contenders, while the odd pairing of Beth Phoenix and Natalya could very well be calculated chaos. In a WrestleMania season which threatens to upset conventional wisdom, the IIconics may, in fact, end up with a very dirty win — by hook or by crook.
Romans Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
Roman Reigns is freshly returned to the company after having battled another stint with leukemia, and it seems very unlikely that he would suffer defeat upon his immediate return. That being said, stranger things have happened. McIntyre is a beast of a man working on his own second chance with WWE, and with a fresh new look and entrance theme, he may actually use Roman as an easy springboard into greater “heeldom.” Given that the creative writers with the company have, as of late, cultivated a habit of turning conventional fan wisdom on its head, we’ll elect to go with McIntyre here, despite how strange that may sound. Watch out for the Claymore, Roman.
No holds barred match: Triple H vs. Batista
In a match straight out of the tail end of the Attitude Era or amidst the Ruthless Aggression period, two legends of the ring will square off once again — with Triple H’s career on the line this time. Given the history between these two and their respective professional wrestling chops, this match may well be one to watch, despite the advancing age of both competitors. The cerebral assassin may turn a traditional losing streak around, especially if he resorts to some underhanded tactics. Expect Batista to make a better showing than expected, although accusations of serious ring rust are being thrown around on social media. Retirement is often just a gimmick in the WWE universe, but Triple H will plant Batista for the three-count tonight.
Randy Orton vs. A.J. Styles
This match may prove more of a David vs. Goliath effort than anticipated, with Orton picking up some middling offense after an initial rush from A.J. Styles. In the end, though, a high-flying Styles may just find the sweet spot for his forearm reversed into a stunning RKO. The Viper goes home with his head held high.
Falls count anywhere match: Shane McMahon vs. The Miz
Shane McMahon comes to WrestleMania and loses. He performs some crazy stunts along the way, comports himself well against a seasoned veteran. We can expect more of the same here, with The Miz getting the win in the end. Sorry Shane, it’s another L for you.
Retirement match: Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin
Kurt Angle is most definitely retiring after this match, all story lines aside. A lifetime of work in the industry has taken its toll on his body, and his recent in-ring work has reflected that. Expect this match to be short and sweet, with an Angle Slam punctuating a victory for everybody’s favorite Olympic hero.