I know, I know. It’s only autumn. Yes, there is still more than six months until the Super Bowl of professional wrestling. But it’s never early enough to talk about the biggest wrestling event in the world, WrestleMania.
Each year, the WWE goes bigger, brighter and more extravagant for their showcase of the immortals. 2016 will be no different, as they head to Arlington, Texas to hold their number one event in Jerry World, better known as AT&T Stadium. The home of the Dallas Cowboys is one of the most modern and grandest stadiums in the world, and Vince McMahon’s goal is to have over 100,000 fans in attendance - something a WrestleMania has never produced.
While the WWE is known for having fans that travel all over the globe to experience WrestleMania, 100,000 is still a lot of people. McMahon and company is going to have to pull out every trick in the book – and then some - to make this event garner that many members of the WWE Universe to attend. Fortunately for the event planners, they have enough past attractions, present talent and future names to pull this off – however, it must be done right.
By having a mix of legendary and current wrestlers, the WWE wont only attract their massive fan base, but also bring back both former fans while also adding mainstream attention to WrestleMania 32 as well.
You want 100,000 fans in Dallas? Look no further than this card, McMahon. The matches featured on this countdown will not so arguably make WrestleMania 32 the biggest event in professional wrestling history.
With that being said, here are my predictions for WrestleMania 32’s card.
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10 The New Day vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Usos vs. The Lucha Dragons - TLC Match - Tag Team Championship
Although TLC matches have been reserved for the gimmick themed pay-per-view event that shares the name, it would be wise for the WWE to break out a special match like this. It’s hard to predict who exactly will be in contention for these titles, but it’s safe to say that The New Day, The Dudley Boyz, the Usos and The Lucha Dragons will be amongst the top of the tag team title picture. It’ll be nearly impossible to replicate the matches that the Dudleyz, the Hardy Boyz and Edge and Christian had, but Kofi Kingston, Big E, Bubba Ray, Devon, Jimmy, Jey, Sin Cara and Kalisto all possess different in-ring skills that could make this match one of the best on the show.
9 Cesaro vs. Ziggler vs. Neville vs. Samoa Joe vs. Rusev vs. Ryback - Six Pack Challenge - No. 1 Contender for Unified Championship
If there’s one thing the decision makers do at WrestleMania, it is they try to get as many people on the show as they can. Because of this, making a six pack challenge with the top mid card talents would accomplish just that. With wrestlers like Cesaro, Ziggler, Neville, Samoa Joe, Rusev and Ryback all sharing a ring at one time, it is bound to be a very good match. On top of that, with both Cena and Bryan combining their belts (you will understand this more later on the list), whoever emerges victorious will not only be holding an actual prestigious title, but will also put whoever wins this match in a program with a highly regarded former champion. A healthy mix of power and athleticism, this could garner the title “show stealer” for WrestleMania 32.
8 Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Paige vs. Nikki Bella - WWE Women’s Championship - Fatal Four Way Elimination
Sure, the WWE creative team is currently promoting their Divas Revolution as much as anything else on WWE programming. However, putting women in groups of three and having them compete in various tag team matches doesn’t qualify as a true revolution. Hopefully, with Charlotte just becoming the Divas Champion, there will be more emphasis on wrestling and less on saying Divas Revolution.
Enough with the negative talk; I truly believe that with Charlotte as champion, there will be a spike in the quality of matches put on, as Paige, Banks, Becky Lynch, Naomi and the Bella Twins will of have their shot at the title. By the time WrestleMania 32 comes along, I think (and hope) that women’s wrestling on WWE television will be more of a reflection of the NXT women’s division, which would be a massive upgrade.
Because of this, Charlotte, Paige, Banks and Bella – arguably the four best women on the roster, will compete for the top prize in a highly anticipated bout. Also, the title isn’t a mistake; I think by the time this match goes down, there will be a new title belt and name.
7 Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
Although Owens and Zayn were only introduced to the WWE Universe in recent months, the two massive independent stars have been wrestling each other for over 10 years. While they showcased their talents in front of different crowds around the world, it was NXT where the WWE audience was going to witness their amazing chemistry with one another. While their first encounter was made as a statement after Owens debut - as he destroyed Zayn to capture the NXT Championship - Zayn’s shoulder injury ended the hopes for a classic match that the two were known for in Full Sail University.
However, with Zayn hopeful to return by the end of the year, he can enter the Royal Rumble match as a surprise entrant and dump Owens over the top rope, thus starting a feud. This will lead to their match billed a Grudge Match between Owens and Zayn on the biggest stage of professional wrestling. It would be a treat for hardcore indy fans and casual fans alike.
6 Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor - Falls Count Anywhere
If The Undertaker and Sting were the original dark and mysterious characters, Wyatt and Balor have all the makings to be their modern day counterparts. Sure, the four wrestlers really don’t have too much in common; however, like the The Undertaker and Sting, Wyatt and Balor both display dark and demonic ways, which would make for an intriguing matchup. Both men are unique; Wyatt is a strong, overpowering wrestler while Balor relies on kicks and high flying acrobatics to take on his adversaries.
While different, each of the competitors has a knack for both working with various styles of opponents, while also bringing out the best in them as well. Although Balor is the current NXT Champion, most people expect him to not only be on the WWE roster by WrestleMania 32, but to also have a high ranking feud as well. If all else fails (which it won’t), at least their entrances will be an amazing sight to see.
5 Randy Orton vs. Batista
While I’m sure many fans would love to see Orton a part of a storyline with a wrestler on the current WWE roster, I think both he and Batista would love the idea of facing off against one another at WrestleMania 32. Both superstars have had very similar careers; they both represented the future in the stable Evolution, while also being multiple time World Champions and sure-fire future WWE Hall of Famers.
One way the creative team could get a feud going between the two could stem back to Batista’s return, which everyone could agree was a failed run for The Animal. Although he won the 2014 Royal Rumble and wrestled in the main event of WrestleMania XXX, the fans turning on him truly halted his run. While he was a part of the reformed Evolution and put on high quality matches with The Shield, he quit the WWE in storyline due to differences. If he were to return, Batista could blame Orton for not sticking up for him before quitting, thus igniting a feud. I believe Batista would return for another run with the WWE, only if the timing and feud is right. Doing so with Orton, his real life friend would be enticing.
4 The Undertaker vs. Sting - Double Retirement Match
With all due respect to the Undertaker/Bray Wyatt and Sting/Triple H matches at WrestleMania 31, the contest that should have taken place was the highly anticipated Undertaker/Sting showdown. However, while we can’t venture back into the past, that could have been a blessing in disguise; with the WWE trying to make this a massive event, they could finally have the match that the fans have wanted to see ever since WCW folded in 2001.
The Undertaker and Sting have had parallel careers; both displayed dark and mysterious characters, while being true loyalists of their respective promotions during the Monday Night Wars. Although both men are past their prime, it will still be a spectacle.
Although Sting suffered a reported serious injury at Night of Champions against Rollins, hopefully he can get healthy enough to ride off in the sunset at WrestleMania 32.
3 U.S. Champion John Cena (w/ Bret Hart) vs. IC Champion Daniel Bryan (w/ Shawn Michaels) - Title Unification Match
When Cena and Bryan won the United States and Intercontinental championships at WrestleMania 31, two things were apparent; the WWE wanted to bring prestige and honor back to their secondary titles, and both men were headed for a unification match, most likely at the 2015 SummerSlam event. Unfortunately, with Bryan back on the shelf with neck and concussions issues, those plans weren't possible, as he’s been out of action since May.
If Bryan is fortunate enough to make his return, the creative team would be smart in trying to plan this match for WrestleMania 32. Both Cena and Bryan had a classic one on one encounter at SummerSlam 2013, and there’s no doubt that they could do so again. Adding Hart and Michaels to each wrestler’s corner would be beneficial, because it would add interest to older fans. While Hart has endorsed Cena as one of the greatest wrestlers on numerous occasions, Michaels actually trained Bryan to become a wrestler. With their storied past, plus the 20 year anniversary of the historic Iron Man Match, it could only add even more intrigue to the contest.
2 Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock w/ Stone Cold Steve Austin as Special Guest Referee
Earlier in 2015, it appeared that though Lesnar and The Rock were headed in separate directions, if they were going to be on the card at all. While Lesnar's advocate Paul Heyman got everyone talking when he and Austin went back and forth on Austin’s podcast, Stone Cold has already denied a return to the ring, nixing those ideas. And for The Rock, the seeds were planted at last year’s WrestleMania for a possible mixed tag team match with The Rock and Ronda Rousey facing Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
However, Rousey admitted that she would not be competing in Dallas for the WWE. Because of this, the creative team should look to having Lesnar and The Rock face off in a one on one contest, rekindling their feud from 2002. Austin’s addition as special guest referee is only icing on the cake, as he not only has history with both men, but also the event is taking place in his home state. Stone Cold may not be able to wrestle, but he has to be involved in some significant way on such a grand stage, in his home state.
1 Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose - WWE World Heavyweight Championship
During the beginning of 2015, both Rollins and Reigns were viewed as two top stars that would be vying for the title over the next decade. As the year transitioned into the summer, third Shield member Ambrose began getting the spotlight as a main event player as well. And although both Reigns and Ambrose are entrenched in a feud lower on the card, the three men have yet to have their blow off match since their super group disbanded. With the innate chemistry shown while teaming together, while also displaying different yet quality talent as single’s stars, there’s no doubt that a match like this would exceed expectations. The WWE creative team will have to come up with a unique way to bring this match about, but just the idea of Rollins defending his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Reigns and Ambrose makes it feel like there should be no other main event to close out the show.
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