With WrestleMania 32 all set to invade AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas this coming Sun., April 3, 2016, live on pay-per-view (PPV) and the WWE Network, it's time to go about making predictions for the biggest show of the year. The match card is filled out and our staff of learned blowhards will give their best guess on who is going to emerge victorious this weekend.
But instead of doing this all in one post and giving you a wall of text and 3,000 words to read through, we'll give the top five matches their own post then cover the undercard.
Got it? Good. Up first:
Intercontinental championship ladder match
(Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz vs. Stardust vs. Zack Ryder vs. Sin Cara)
Geno Mrosko: This is literally a ladder match done just for the sake of doing a ladder match, with a majority of the participants having no business here outside of a very base level standard for getting a title shot. Ziggler's inclusion is especially insulting considering what happened a week before he was added to it with The Authority but here we are. It's going to be fun, for sure, but there are two stars here -- Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn -- and I'm fully expecting everyone in the match to understand this and properly service the ongoing feud between them. They don't have to go right to it coming out of this match; in fact, it's probably better if they don't. But that should be the focus and/or lead to a story for both. I'll go with the upset in Zayn's WrestleMania debut leading to an enraged Owens completely losing his mind over it.
Pick: Sami Zayn
Sean Rueter:As much as I was a proponent of doing this match as opposed to a one-on-one with Sami, I still can't see there being any outcome here other than Owens or Zayn. Ryder and Sin Cara should just be happy to be here. Deserving or not, Stardust is in that same category. Dolph, despite what his biggest detractors might think or his biggest supporters might hope, is already in the spot on the depth chart where he belongs, and a win or loss here doesn't impact that one way or another. Would love to see a bit of a push for Miz this year - not to main eventer or anything, but a long-term rivalry that cements him as a real threat in the upper mid-card. On the Likeable One, I'm torn. A win here announces him to the casual fans as someone to keep an eye on, but also means they're going to do a singles feud with Owens immediately - something I'd like to see them tease for a while. The Prizefighter can retain without automatically triggering that program, though. This is where I get fantasy booking mixed up with making predictions, but, screw it... have Miz take out Sami, kicking off a program that will allow Miz to put Zayn over on the stick like he did AJ Styles while letting both guys shine in the ring, and let Ziggler be the last man KO kicks off the ladder, ending their long on-again off-again issues.
Pick: Kevin Owens
Bill Hanstock: I'm very, very excited for this match with just one important caveat: I really don't want to see anyone get hurt in it. We might very well end up seeing one of the safest ladder matches since Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon, but I know that there will be plenty of guys in this match who want to have a WrestleMania moment and pop the crowd. There's also the fact that Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn have been in hellacious ladder matches all over the world and have never suffered serious injury in any of them (that I can recall, anyway. I may be horribly wrong). Ultimately, I think the Inaugural Everyone Hates Kevin Owens Match comes down to Owens vs. Zayn, the forever enemies. The best friends and eternal rivals. If we can't get a singles match between them at WrestleMania (and really, it's far too soon for that, main roster-wise), we'll at least get long stretches of the two of them going at it tooth and nail. There will be other years and other WrestleManias for them to get a singles match at. It'll happen. The sleeper in this match is Dolph Ziggler, who you can never quite count out to get another Intercontinental Championship run. But I think it's going to the underdog from the underground.
Pick: Sami Zayn
Cain A. Knight: If WWE's goal every year is to cram as many superstars onto the WrestleMania card as possible, then a multi-man ladder match will probably become a staple of the show again, just like it was from 2005 through 2010. This year's edition is truly bizarre and this is best illustrated by Zack Ryder's presence in the match. You already know what you are going to get here, and that means this will be one of the best matches on the card. Owens, Ziggler, and Zayn being here pretty much guarantee the quality of the match will be high. Miz, Sin, Ryder, and Stardust are just fodder, but for the most part they are entertaining fodder. How sad must Jack Swagger be that Zack Ryder got the nod over him here as Neville's replacement? Kevin Owens should climb away with the win here. It's a little early in the story for Zayn to take the championship from him, and losing to Ziggler is not ideal considering that Owens is the one who has the best potential to reach the main event level at some point in 2016. As for Zack Ryder, do you think WWE will be able to craft a match that actually has us falling for a tease that Zack Ryder will win at some point? I sure hope so because that sounds like a remarkable feat. But I also wouldn't mind if Kane came out during Zack Ryder's entrance and wheelchaired Ryder off the stage.
Pick: Kevin Owens
Kyle Decker: Only two men have a real chance to walk out of this match with the title: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. I would be utterly shocked if Zack Ryder, Stardust, or Sin Cara win. While it wouldn't be as surprising if Miz or Ziggler won, they haven't been position as if they would. At the heart of this match match is Kevin Owens and how everyone hates him. He's the focus and everyone else is just there to show how much of a jerk he is. Sami's rivalry with the Prize Fighter has been alluded to, but he's not the focus either. (A Zayn win would help build his feud with Owens on the main stage, which is why I think he's more of a possibility than the others.) The announces have also mentioned that no one has retained the IC title on the Show of Shows in over a decade. That all leads me to believe that Kevin is going to walk out of WrestleMania being the guy who does so.
Pick: Kevin Owens
That's what we think. How about you?