Here are my current Wrestlemania 33 predictions before the Royal Rumble takes place this Sunday and the direction is made more clear:
1. WWE Universal Champion Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar: Originally I believed that this match would be non-title at WrestleMania, but as things have progressed, I’ve changed my mind. When a top babyface of the stature of Goldberg makes a mission statement that he wants the world title, chances of him winning it are pretty high. With him being advertised to wrestle at WWE Fastlane this March, I expect him to win the Universal Championship and face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania.
2. Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker: With The Undertaker’s exclusivity on Raw as of late, chances of him fighting SmackDown’s John Cena seems off the books. I considered this as the Universal Championship match, but I don’t think they could get away with Reigns beating Taker for the title without Reigns being booed out of the building. I think WWE would be smart enough to know this, unless as history suggests, they’re not. Since Undertaker only works WrestleMania and he needs to wins, this should be non-title. Reigns losing doesn’t hurt him, because it’s a WrestleMania match against The Undertaker. But, if it’s a show-stopping match, it actually helps Reigns more than it hurts him.
3. WWE Champion Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton: With the WWE Championship on the line inside the Elimination Chamber, WWE has the opportunity to shake up the championship scene, and I think that they will. Putting the title on the line helps this feud more than any other feud, as it can form the necessary rift in The Wyatt Family to warrant a match at WrestleMania. And with WWE already having a mega-match for the Universal Championship, WWE can get away with a less monumental match for the WWE title.
4. John Cena vs. Samoa Joe: With WWE’s pattern of putting the new big stars against John Cena upon showing up, I think they’ll go this route. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the title on the line, but it’s already more than effective as a non-title match. Look for Joe to be booked as a mega-monster on the Smackdown Live brand in coming months, leading to an ultimate clash with Cena at the grandest stage of them all.
5. AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon: I’m hoping I’m wrong about this match, but WWE has already began pulling the trigger. With AJ Styles’ hate for the establishment showing up on Smackdown in recent weeks, it’s a safe bet that it will lead to something with the McMahon family. I’d much rather see Styles in a high quality match against Raw’s Finn Balor, in WWE’s mind, this is a bigger draw for casual audiences. If we take Shane’s match last year in account, they’re probably right. It’s better for Styles to have a one-on-one match at WrestleMania than to be thrown in some multi-man “get everyone on the show” match, so I’ll take this.
6. Triple H vs. Seth Rollins: Look for WWE to launch an angle this Sunday at Royal Rumble to set up this match for WrestleMania.
7. United States Champion Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens: With WWE’s booking over the past several months, this match is bound to happen. I couldn’t imagine WWE not doing this match after making their relationship the focal point on Raw for so long.
8. Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: I’m expecting WWE to continue their yearly tradition of a ladder match for the Intercontinental title, and with so many top Smackdown stars left off of the ‘Mania card, this match makes sense. Look for Dean Ambrose, The Miz, Baron Corbin, Luke Harper, and Dolph Ziggler to be a part of this match. With WWE having big plans for Baron Corbin, this can be a chance for him to have another WrestleMania moment.
9. WWE RAW Woman’s Champion Charlotte vs. Bayley: Though rumors have been swirling that this will be a multi-women’s match for the title, I’m hoping that WWE will change their minds. Wrestlemania shouldn’t be about fitting everyone on the show, it should be about delivering the best possible matches to please the fans. I believe that Charlotte vs. Bayley is a money feud, and although they’re fighting this Sunday at the Royal Rumble, the rivalry has enough staying power to do the blowoff at WrestleMania.
10. Shaquille O’Neal vs. The Big Show: This already confirmed match will get WWE a lot of mainstream attention, so I’m not against it. But hopefully they’ll keep it short and to the point. I’m almost expecting this to be on the pre-show, as if WWE televises it on USA Network, more eyes will see it.
Pre-Show: Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: The men noticeably left off this card are Braun Strowman, Rusev, Sami Zayn, and Finn Balor. I’m definitely predicting Strowman, Rusev, and Zayn to be in this match. I’m expecting Balor to either resurface after Wrestlemania or have a surprise return here and win it. I almost put Strowman vs. Balor as its own match, but this card is already loaded. There is noticeably no Tag Team Championship match in my predicted lineup, so either they’ll add a match on the pre-show, or they’ll throw them all in here. My bet is on the latter.
Pre-Show: WWE SmackDown Woman’s Champion Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James vs. Nikki Bella: Unlike in the RAW’s women’s division, there is no particular “money match” that’s worthy of WrestleMania, so a multi-women’s match will suffice. These four women are clearly the major four on Smackdown, so a four-way here can be great.
Pre-Show: Multi-Women’s Match: WWE has a penchant for trying to get as many people on the show as possible, so I’m expecting a multi-women’s match featuring Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, and possibly some Smackdown women.