Update: due to the overwhelming Coronavirus epidemic, WrestleMania 36 will now take place at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida over the course of two days (Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, April 5). And as expected, all of its matches will be contested with no live fans in attendance.
In 2020, WWE is going all-in with a Pirates of the Carribean theme for its biggest wrestling show of the year.
That means we’re most likely going to be treated to a set design that’s all about swashbuckling and pirate loot galore for WrestleMania 36. Hailing from Tampa, Florida within the spacious Raymond James Stadium, WrestleMania 36 will present a card full of dream matches, major feud enders and important title matches who’s results will reverberate throughout the wrestling world. Both Raw and SmackDown will be on hand to offer their biggest brand contests for a massive indoor and home viewing audience. Drew McIntyre and Charlotte Flair won their respective Royal Rumble matches, which means they’ll be placed in prominent roles for this year’s “Granddaddy of ‘Em All.” Will they deliver a signature “WrestleMania Moment?”
Before April 4 & 5 comes upon us, let’s take a sneak peek at all the announced matches for ‘Mania 36 and make bold predictions for every last one of them.
Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler (with Mandy Rose)
Predictions & Winner: Imagine – the two best storylines going on in WWE right now are Edge vs. Randy Orton and, to everyone’s surprise, the Otis/Mandy Rose/Dolph Ziggler love triangle. The lovable representative for “steaks ‘n weights” has quickly become a fan favorite and endeared himself to Mandy Rose as a lovable oaf. Mandy seemed to sour on the big guy after he skipped out on a Valentine’s Day rendezvous with her, but now we all know what really led to their misunderstanding. And I get the feeling that the truth we’ve known about all along will push Mandy Rose to do the right thing for her heavyset admirer.
So here’s how I see this grudge match unfolding – at some point, Ziggler will have Otis down and out in the ring. He’ll grab the mic during that moment and gloat about how he’s the better man for Mandy and Otis is nothing more than a loser. A disturbed Mandy will attempt to intervene but out comes Sonya Deville to keep her from getting in Ziggler’s way.
Due to the hacker’s reveal about Deville’s trickery that led to Ziggler swopping in to take Otis’ beloved Mandy, Mandy will shove her Fire and Desire running mate out of the way. Her and Ziggler will squabble with each other for a good while, which will lead to Otis getting all the time he needs to recover. A distracted Ziggler will turn right around to meet a fully rejuvenated Otis, who’ll make quick work of Ziggler and give him the comeuppance he so sorely deserves. After the bell, we’ll get to see Otis and Mandy finally embrace for the big babyface kiss that’s taken far too long to show up on our TV screens.
The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross (WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship)
Predictions & Winners: You know what’s a trip? The Kabuki Warriors have held onto the Women’s Tag Team titles since October of last year. While their championship reign may have gone under the radar, Asuka and Kairi Sane have quickly morphed into the most entertaining pair on WWE TV. Their hyperactive Japanese ramblings and outlandish mannerisms have turned them into a national treasure.
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross are stepping up once again to reclaim their belts in this rematch (which was rumored to feature Beth Pheonix and Natalya, but I guess their inclusion just wasn’t meant to be). Asuka and Kairi are just so damned entertaining in their current roles and I think WWE realizes that, which is why I think they’re going to hold onto their championships for a little while longer. Expect The Kabuki Warriors to retain here through their poison mist-assisted means.
The Miz and John Morrison (c) vs. The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) (with Xavier Woods) vs. The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) (Triple Threat Ladder Match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
Predictions & Winners: Man, I was hoping to see Daniel Bryan and Drew Gulak join forces to tear the limbs off of The Miz and John Morrison here. But a triple threat ladder match is just as good in my eyes. The quick and easy prediction from me is as follows – The Miz and Morrison are clearly going over here.
Both The New Day and The Usos are played out when it comes to winning the SmackDown Tag Team Championship for the umpteenth time. The current title holders are fresh and have a longer shelf life during their second extended run, which means there’s no way they’re dropping them to either one of the other old (and honestly stale) acts they’re contending with here.
Sami Zayn (c) (with Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura) vs. Daniel Bryan (with Drew Gulak) (WWE Intercontinental Championship)
Predictions & Winner: Daniel Bryan’s new brother-in-arms Drew Gulak came through for him in the clutch. After defeating Shinsuke Nakamura, Drew earned Daniel a title shot against Nakamura’s ally Samy Zayn. So shouts out to Drew for making this match happen in the first place.
This is the type of match indie wrestling fans have been used to seeing on a mid-2000s Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla event card. It’s pretty wild to see the man formerly known as “El Generico” lock horns with the former “American Dragon” for the Intercontinental Championship. Seeing as how Sami just captured the title, I think he’ll be the one to win here and hold onto his prize for a little while longer.
Elias vs. King Corbin
Predictions & Winner: Oh boy, this one’s going to be quite the eyesore. King Corbin’s been involved in one of the most tiring feuds of 2019 (that even crawled into 2020 and drove more fans away) and been a complete bore to watch in the ring. Elias’ act has gotten old and he’s not exactly known for putting on good to great matches. Corbin’s taken too many L’s to Roman Reigns, so I figure he’s overdue for a major victory. He’ll get one here over Elias, but it won’t really mean much since the match will suck and no one will be there to react to it (thankfully).
Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley (with Lana)
Predictions & Winner: Huh? This is random as hell. I figured both of these dudes would be thrown into the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and Aleister Black would be the one to win it all. But since battle royals are a bad idea to sanction at this point in time, we’re getting unexpected bouts such as this one. Bobby Lashley’s been turned into a goof who’s no longer intimidating (the man took an L to R-Truth of all people at the last Super ShowDown!). So the winner really isn’t in question here. Black’s kicking Lashley’s dome off for the easy win.
The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) (c) vs. Austin Theory and Angel Garza (with Zelina Vega) (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship)
Predictions & Winners: So here is another one of those random ass WrestleMania 36 matches that have been booked due to the global pandemic we’re currently experiencing. I figured we were going to see a Fatal Four Way match erupt between Andrade, Rey Mysterio, Angel Garza, and Humberto Carrillo over the US Championship. If that Lucha Libre clash came to pass, it would have been amazing and easily grabbed Match of the Night honors.
Even though Carrillo lost to Andrade at the Elimination Chamber event, I still figured he’d be thrown into my proposed matchup. But this damn virus has thrown everything into disarray, so The Street Profits are now defending their titles against Austin Theory and Angel Garza. The Street Profits vs. The Authors of Pain makes more sense in this case, but I digress. And due to Andrade’s injured state, NXT’s up and coming Theory is stepping in to take his place. This one’s easy to predict, too – Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford will retain here due to Zelina Vega’s contracted talents’ egos getting in the way of them winning.
Bayley (c) vs. Lacey Evans vs. Tamina vs. Naomi vs. Sasha Banks (Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)
Predictions & Winner: Bayley’s been running through SmackDown’s…well, admittedly weak women’s division since becoming champion. If we’re talking about the endurance of her reign however, then she must be applauded. But her lackluster matches and boring promos have done nothing to make her run as the Blue Brand’s women’s champion anything memorable. This WrestleMania challenge gathers together two of her most uninspiring foes from the past, plus one of the worst women’s wrestlers of all time (*coughTaminacough*). If the ho-hum champion and those aforementioned match participants were the only ones included here, I wouldn’t give a damn about this match. But one standout woman who’s a part of this situation intrigues me greatly – Sasha Banks.
Bayley and Banks have been best buds for a while now, but I think that alliance will once again be fractured at the conclusion of this bout. Once the rest of the field gets eliminated, the last two competitors left in the ring will be the champ and “The Boss.” At last year’s ‘Mania, both women came into the show as reigning Women’s Tag Team Champions. And this year, I foresee them forgoing their partnership and battling for singles championship glory. Banks will shock her buddy by making her tap out and proceed to kickstart a new feud with the only other half-decent woman on SD.
Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins
Predictions & Winner: This one’s been brewing for a good while now. Seth Rollins has been eating Stunners for months and is finally tired of dealing with Kevin Owens sticking his nose into his business. What I figured would be a multi-man war involving Owens and his best mates (The Street Profits and The Viking Raiders) and Rollins and his loyal “congregation” (Murphy and the Authors of Pain) hasn’t come to pass. Instead, we’re getting an intense grudge match between the two main leaders of Raw’s most entertaining feud.
This would be much better off with some hardcore rules attached to it, but a regular grudge match is where we’re at at the moment. Even though this match won’t involve no DQ or count-out rules, plenty of outside interference will be implemented here. Both Owens and Rollins’ camps will come to blows, plus we’ll see plenty of near-falls due to the aid of both stables’ distraction tactics. But once the ref finally gets some control over all the madness happening on the outside, Owens will land one final Stunner and prevail over the “Monday Night Messiah.”
AJ Styles vs. The Undertaker (Boneyard Match)
Predictions & Winner: ‘TAKER’S PISSED! And when he’s angry, he walks to the ring much faster and evokes memories of his days spent as “Booger Red.” I didn’t give a damn about this match when it looked as if ‘Taker would stick with the slow and plodding “Deadman” mannerisms for the entirety of this feud. But ever since AJ Styles told the absolute truth about the real Mark Calaway, The Undertaker’s been straddling the line between the gimmicked zombie we know him to be and a mad as hell biker gang member. AJ’s shoot comments have made this whole situation infinitely more interesting and pulled me into a match I previously had no interest in.
‘Taker’s WrestleMania record currently stands at 23-2. That number looks pretty odd and it’d look far better standing at 24-2. After this match comes to a close, I presume that win/loss record being the exact number we’re going to see. ‘Taker seems to have a bit more pep in his step due to the hate in his heart for AJ and his comments about his wife. And heel AJ’s always a joy to watch work in the ring, so this match may come off way better than expected. ‘Taker has to uphold the honor of his disparaged wife and career, so it only makes sense for him to make the “Phenomenal One” rest in peace at WrestleMania.
Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair (NXT Women’s Championship)
Predictions & Winner: So I was definitely among a certain subset of fans who questioned Charlotte Flair’s Royal Rumble 2020 victory. It looked as if WWE would go the logical route and give Shayna Baszler the nod as a follow-up to her beef with Becky Lynch at Survivor Series 2019. It seemed like Shayna was on the verge of winning, but we were given a pretty stale winner in Charlotte instead. But you gotta hand it to WWE – they didn’t give us the obvious Charlotte vs. Becky rematch at ‘Mania 36. Instead, they chose to go in a completely different direction by pitting Charlotte against the NXT Women’s Championship in a fresh matchup that makes the ‘Mania 36 card infinitely more interesting.
Rhea Ripley has done awesome work thus far as NXT Women’s Champion. At just 23-years old, she’s already fulfilling her star potential and has so much gas left in the tank. The fact that she’s defending the NXT Women’s Championship against Charlotte of all people is unfathomable. I’m sure Rhea will deliver in spades on the big WrestleMania stage, especially with Charlotte as her dancing partner. While it would be nice to see Rhea successfully defend the NXT Women’s Championship at ‘Mania, I think WWE is setting this matchup as a step towards locking in Charlotte’s eventual 16-time world champion achievement. Charlotte will get the win here, then go on to compete exclusively on Wednesday nights for a while as the yellow and black brand’s proud women’s champion.
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Shayna Baszler (WWE Raw Women’s Championship)
Predictions & Winner: You know, we could have easily gotten to this point without that waste of an Elimination Chamber match that Shayna Baszler ended up winning. The storyline setup was already there – Becky Lynch assaulted Shayna after the main event at Survivor Series 2019, Shayna is Ronda Rousey’s friend (whom Becky defeated at last year’s Wrestlemania), and Shayna hit the main roster to go all vampire mode on Becky. Those three instances were all WWE needed to drum up interest for this match. But they decided to overcomplicate things with one of the worst Elimination Chamber matches of all time. But alas, we’re finally getting Becky vs. Shayna. And to be quite honest, I’m not looking forward to it a whole lot.
Even though my expectations for this title match are exceedingly low, I get the feeling that the winner of this bout will be a treat. Becky’s been running roughshod over Raw’s women’s division for a good while now, so it’s about time that she eats defeat at the hands of someone as dominant as Shayna. Shayna’s going to be the one to dethrone Becky and do it as strongly as possible by making her fall unconscious to her Kirifuda Clutch. Shayna’s callup to the main roster and her big wins thus far are building to this moment. And it shall come to pass.
Edge vs. Randy Orton (Last Man Standing Match)
Predictions & Winner: It’s so surreal seeing Edge make his return to wrestling in 2020. After looking like his old in-ring self at the 2020 Royal Rumble, Edge is ready to continue competing in the ring for a while longer by competing at WrestleMania 36. After a series of traumatic attacks have been delivered to Edge and his closest companions, Edge has been angered to the point that he has decided to face his old “Rated RKO” partner. Orton’s badassery has come back in the best way possible due to his sinister promos and made him infinitely more interesting than he was during his stale run as a babyface. The build to this grudge match has been amazing and now we’re going to witness both men tearing each other to shreds for our enjoyment.
I think Edge and Orton will take advantage of the empty arena setting they’ll be placed in. All those audience chairs will definitely come into play, plus plenty of other weapons and announce tables will be utilized during this brawl. Seeing as how this match got one of the better storylines leading into it and it features the WrestleMania return of Edge, this one will get a lot of time to blossom into something great. Since this is Edge’s first big-money ‘Mania matchup since 2011’s WrestleMania 27, it’s pretty safe to bet on him winning this one. Here’s hoping that the “Rated R Superstar” sticks around for a bit longer to contend with the likes of Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns after this.
Goldberg (c) vs. Braun Strowman (WWE Universal Championship)
Predictions & Winner: And the WrestleMania 36 card changes yet again! This time, Roman Reigns made the smart decision to take himself out of this match due to concerns over his prior leukemia condition making him susceptible to the Coronavirus. With that development comes a new challenger for Goldberg to contend with – the towering, man-beast known as Braun Strowman. This update makes me less excited about what’s to come, honestly – Goldberg doesn’t have the capacity to lift big men like used to during his heyday, plus Strowman isn’t known for putting on good to great match performances these days.
I think we’re going to get a lesser rendition of the short but intense brawl we saw between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar at ‘Mania 33. Strowman will get in a whole bunch of big man moves in a short amount of time, but Goldberg will shake them all off and tear through his much larger opponent with repeated spears. Don’t expect to see a Jackhammer delivered to Strowman here, folks. Goldberg just can’t perform such a tall task, so he’ll just stick to big strikes and spears to bring Strowman down for the final 1-2-3. If SummerSlam is still on track to happen this year, I think we’ll see Roman Reigns get anointed as the new Universal Champion after he bests Goldberg at the August event.
John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (Firefly Fun House Match)
Predictions & Winner: There is one moment fans can point to as the start of Bray Wyatt’s fall from grace – his defeat at the hands of John Cena at WrestleMania 30. After eating defeat at the hands of WWE’s golden boy, Bray was relegated to nothing more than a talker who just wasn’t able to back up his convoluted threats. Now that we’ve entered 2020, Bray has transformed into “The Fiend” and pulled fans back into his act. While his disappointing loss to Goldberg at Super ShowDown 2020 damaged his reputation, it didn’t do enough to make him a complete afterthought. His somewhat high tier stock is still intact, which is why he’s being placed in a match against the man that caused his greatest downfall.
I’m overjoyed at the fact that Cena’s rumored ‘Mania 36 match against Elias was ditched in favor of this one. Bray and Cena have a ton of history together that naturally leads to them having to hash out their issues here. Pitting Cena against the newest form of Bray presents a different match dynamic too, which makes things pretty intriguing. Cena’s powerhouse moveset won’t put down Bray so easily this time, which is why I think he’ll ultimately fall in defeat to “The Fiend.” It’s pretty clear to me that Cena’s coming back to put over “The Fiend” and right the wrong that is his ‘Mania 30 loss. “The Fiend” is leaving this show with a huge win that’s going to help rebuild him into a viable challenger for the Universal Championship.
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre (WWE Championship)
Predictions & Winner: WWE finally pulled the trigger on the reformed and far more intimidating Drew McIntyre. After years of toiling around in the midcard, Drew pulled off two amazing feats at the 2020 Royal Rumble – not only did he eliminate WWE Champion Brock Lesnar, but he also managed to win the whole match and guarantee himself a spot on the ‘Mania 36 card. And as expected, he chose to continue his beef with “The Beast” by selecting him as his championship opponent. So at WrestleMania 36, we’re going to get a powerhouse battle between two wrestling machines over the highly coveted WWE Championship. Paul Heyman must be shaking in his boots at the prospect of a loss by his client.
And to be quite honest, he should be. Drew isn’t a small individual that Brock can easily impose his will on – Drew’s a towering, powerful and surprisingly nimble man that can hold his own with anyone. This match will see Brock getting his hands on Drew and assaulting him at certain points throughout the match. But Drew will be able to break the usual formula of Brock matches by equaling his power and beating him back during the majority of this bout. I foresee a moment where Paul steps in to aid his client and tries to keep the WWE Championship within their grasp. But Drew will find a way to overcome Brock, capture WWE’s biggest prize and give Monday Night Raw a weekly champion once again. This match has a high possibility of delivering greatness and I think it’ll do an awesome job of further legitimizing Drew as a force to be reckoned with.