It’s that time of year again in the wrestling world, and it feels like it’s been longer between WWE WrestleMania events than ever before. That’s probably because last year’s WrestleMania 36, which happened without fans inside the WWE Performance Center, didn’t feel much like a WrestleMania at all. WWE did the best they could and should be congratulated on staging the event at all against the global backdrop of the time, but nothing happened over the course of the two-day event that lived long in the memory save for the “Boneyard Match” between AJ Styles and the Undertaker. As we all now know, that turned out to be the final match of the Phenom’s long WWE career. Unless something changes, there will be fans at this year’s event – perhaps as many as 25,000 of them – so it will feel more like the big deal it’s supposed to be.
While we can be relatively sure that there will be at least a few thousand fans in the stadium this year, we’re less sure about the matches we’ll see at those events. Normally by this point, we’d have at least half of the card in place, but WWE is playing things a little fast and loose in 2021. Let’s see if we can work out what entertainment the world’s largest pro wrestling company is likely to lay on for us in late March and make a few predictions while we’re at it.
Drew McIntyre currently holds the title, and that isn’t likely to change between now and WrestleMania. He’s just started a short-term program with Sheamus, but that’s likely to be over and done between now and the end of March. McIntyre vs. Sheamus doesn’t have a WrestleMania ring to it. WWE will want to bigger name to come in and face Drew. That could even be Brock Lesnar for a return match based on the outcome of last year’s WrestleMania Main Event. If Lesnar isn’t coming to the party, though, someone else will have to be found. AJ Styles could be pushed back into contention, as could reigning US Champion Bobby Lashley. Braun Strowman would also make a solid opponent, as would Keith Lee if handled correctly. Nobody else on the current RAW roster appears to be ready, and so we predict the Scotsman will retain his title no matter what happens on the night.
The WWE Universal Championship
We’re writing on the same day that Edge is due to make an appearance on WWE NXT, so we’re aware that we’ll look like fools if Edge vs. NXT Champion Finn Balor is booked for WrestleMania. We don’t think that’s going to happen, though. We think that Edge, fresh from his emotional victory at the Royal Rumble, is nailed on to face dominant Universal Champion Roman Reigns. Reigns is currently doing the best work of his career and has just finished a stellar program with Kevin Owens, but is now short of challengers on the SmackDown side of the roster save for Daniel Bryan. Edge vs. Reigns would be a marquee attraction, and we expect for it not only to happen but for it to lead to one final world championship victory for the “Rated R” superstar.
The SmackDown Women’s Championship
WWE has the opportunity to book something of a dream match here, and we don’t expect them to drop the ball. Bianca Belair won the 2021 women’s Royal Rumble and is destined to take on reigning SmackDown women’s champion Sasha Banks at WrestleMania in what should be one of the highlight bouts of either night. Sasha has done an admirable job of carrying Carmella to an entertaining feud, but Carmella was never a realistic threat to Banks’ championship. Belair, as the future of the WWE women’s division, very much is. If the company wants to usher in a new era, they’ll put the belt on Belair at WrestleMania.
Asuka is currently in the middle of the most underwhelming women’s championship reign in the history of the belt, having held onto it for months but with no defenses since last November. There are two ways this could go. The most obvious thing to do would be to enter her into a feud with Charlotte Flair, who she’s recently co-held the tag team championships with. This would be a rematch from WrestleMania 34 and would probably lead to Charlotte going over for yet another title reign. There is an alternative, though. The feud between Charlotte and Lacey Evans over Ric Flair is obviously going somewhere, and that could be stretched out until Mania to give us another match on the card. Asuka, meanwhile, could be programmed against Rhea Ripley now she’s been promoted from NXT to the main roster. Ripley is the right woman for Asuka to drop the title to, but we’re not confident it’ll happen. We suspect that Asuka will lose the title at WrestleMania no matter who she faces.
John Cena is now very much the part-timer he always promised he’d never become. He’s busy making movies and television shows and hasn’t appeared in a WWE match since his showdown with “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt last year – if that can even be called a match. WrestleMania won’t feel the same without “big match John,” but it’s hard to see where he might fit in this time around. He’s not even appeared in the WWE-themed online slots game that was scheduled to show up at online slots UK websites at the end of 2020. His was supposed to be one of several WWE legend-themed slots that were due for release by the year’s end, but none of them have yet materialized. Nothing appears to run on schedule with this company anymore! If WWE can’t even get Cena’s face on an online slots game, we don’t think they’ll get him for WrestleMania. The era of Cena is very much over.
Aside from the above, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Brock Lesnar, Bill Goldberg, or both performers snatch a spot on the card, but we’d rather they didn’t. Apparently, Bad Bunny isn’t done with the company yet, so we expect to see a tag match with him and Damien Priest taking on The Miz and John Morrison, who are well used to being used as cannon fodder by this point. The newly-returned Christian might get his long-overdue Intercontinental Championship match with Big E, and Lashley will need a credible opponent for the US Championship. Aside from that, it’s all up in the air. As was once the company motto, anything can happen in WWE. Let’s hope whatever happens on this occasion leads to a memorable event!