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 next:
Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon
(Hell in a Cell)
Geno Mrosko: It's amazing to think of but they've managed to book a match between the two oldest men on the roster to look like what should be a glorified spotfest. Or maybe they'll just have a really bad exhibition, a simulated MMA fight that looks like a bad action flick you'd find in a dollar bin at your local Wal-Mart. A Shane victory would be more interesting to see where they ultimately decide to go with the little bit of story they've given us, but how do they justify beating Undertaker at WrestleMania again? They don't.
Sean Rueter: Other than inserting a Clubber Lang joke, I don't have much in the way of strong feelings for this one. Expect both men to do several crazy things to pop the crowd, enough run-ins to make this the spiritual successor to Sting/Haitch and then... I really don't know. Actually, there's one thing I'm pretty sure about, and that's that all the seeds they've planted of Vince pissing Taker off will lead to something, and the 70 year old Chairman will end up taking offense from both the official combatants. But I don't know how that plays into the finish or aftermath. If it were a regular cage match, I'd go with something like Taker throwing Shane's lifeless body out the door, but I really can't see them putting a pin or submission loss on the Dead Man, even at this point in his career. And it's probably for the best. We all know any change to the power structure would be overruled as soon as possible, because WWE has no interest in telling stories about anything other than evil(ish) authority figures. So, don't ask me what it means, but
Bill Hanstock: This is going to be a spectacle. Just a good old hair-raising, pants-crapping spectacle. I have high hopes for this one -- perhaps unreasonably so. I believe that this is going to be a bloodbath. We've seen that Undertaker, Brock Lesnar and Triple H have been above the "no blood" rule in the past couple years. You would imagine Shane McMahon is in that circle as well. I also believe that this is going to be so overbooked that it will make Triple H vs. Sting look like Flair vs. Steamboat. That's not a bad thing! In fact, in instances where both parties may be limited in what they may be able to accomplish with in-ring action, it's the best thing. Just look at Eva Marie vs. Bayley for an example of how a booked-to-the-rafters match can be absolutely perfect. Or look at the Hell in a Cell match between Undertaker and Lesnar, if you prefer. I've had an idea for how this is all going to go down ever since the match was announced, so I'll share it now: I believe that Undertaker will beat Shane pillar to post throughout this match but will be unable to put him away at first. When it's clear Shane has nothing left, Undertaker will go for the kill but Vince will continue to bark order at the Dead Man, finally getting in the cage and getting involved before getting in Undertaker's face and screaming at him. Finally, Undertaker will have had enough and will get so fed up with Vince that he will turn on his boss and dispatch him, then pull Shane's unconscious body on top of himself for the loss, just to spite Vince. Possibly while flying a middle finger or two! Yes, it seems silly on paper to suggest that Undertaker will lose at WrestleMania with his career on the line to Shane McMahon of all people, but that ending allows Undertaker to go out on top, on HIS terms and with a moral victory. All while screwing over Mr. McMahon. I think that would be perfect.
Pick: Shane McMahon
Cain A. Knight: This match is certainly going to be a spectacle. WWE has put fans in an awkward position because rooting for Shane means hoping for Undertaker's career to end, but rooting for Undertaker means hoping that The Authority continues. This match is probably going to be awful unless there is a ton of interference and overbooking. I have no interest in seeing Undertaker versus Shane in some pseudo-MMA fight. Ideally this match needs to have lots of plunder for Shane to use as weapons because his punches are awful. Furthermore, Shane has no credibility as a guy that can stand toe-to-toe with Undertaker. I expect this one to end with Undertaker obliterating Shane while Vince McMahon cheers on the destruction, before a crazy swerve happens. Will that swerve end up being Stone Cold coming out to screw Vince over one last time and helping Shane win? Will the swerve be Undertaker showing that he is nobody's bitch by also destroying Vince and then laying down and draping Shane's carcass on top of himself? My brain says that Undertaker will win because he isn't retiring, and Shane McMahon is just a one-time Get Out Of Jail Free card that Vince needed to dust off due to Cena's untimely injury. But the wrestling fan in me says that Shane will win because the Authority is beyond stale and needs to die already for the sake of Raw's entertainment value going forward. Plus once Shane is in charge he can always reverse the stipulation that Vince McMahon has hanging over Undertaker's head. The match order could give away the ending here. If this match does not main event the card, then Undertaker is probably winning; otherwise Shane will win.
Kyle Decker: In making my prediction, I'm looking at the outcomes to guide my choice (because I seriously have no idea). If Undertaker wins, everything stays the same. Shane leaves and the Authority stays in power. If Shane wins, Shane is in control of Monday Night Raw, Undertaker is fired, and the Authority is gone. So basically, the question is will WWE go with a "keep the status quo" ending, meaning bringing Shane in and making all these stips was only to get them through WrestleMania? Or are they actually looking to shake things up with an on-air power change? I'm going to go with Shane winning, but I don't say that with any real confidence. The biggest question being that I don't know if Shane has any plans to stick around, even as a super part timer to be acting GM of Raw (unless he hands it over to someone like Mick Foley). Because of the continually slumping ratings I think WWE will look to shake things up a bit. Plus, I don't think this would be considered as the main event if the ending is "Hey, we're keeping everything the same." Undertaker will find his way back on TV by WrestleMania next year either way.
Pick: Shane McMahon
That's what we think. How about you?
- Intercontinental championship ladder match
- Triple H vs. Roman Reigns