WrestleMania 32 finally taking place last week has the wrestling world in a weird state. Unlike sports where there is off time following their biggest event, the show is still going on but the next WrestleMania is far away. The show is being completely reset with the company trying to create excitement following a climax of the show that we were all waiting for. Just one week after WrestleMania, we have already witnessed the debuts of NXT stars such as Apollo Crews, The Vaudevillains, and Enzo Amore and Big Cass. Cesaro returned from injury and many other stars are working their way back in the very near future.
Seth Rollins, John Cena, Randy Orton and many others should be back very soon. Finn Balor, Bayley, Samoa Joe and other NXT standouts are currently ready for WWE television. The following year will be hard to predict but some things never change in WWE. The company always looks for a few attraction matches at each WrestleMania and that’s typically what the rest of the year revolves around. Wrestlers try to prove their value through their work in hopes of being in a big spot at WrestleMania. Other events such as the Hall of Fame and NXT TakeOver have made the entire weekend a big deal for any pro wrestling fan.
All of this has caused us to start dreaming about next year’s WrestleMania weekend. WrestleMania 33 will take place in Orlando, Florida. The event is going to have its work cut out to try to follow the financial success of this year’s event but it should easily surpass WrestleMania 32 in entertainment value. Wrestlers returning from injury gives WWE more assets and there’s no way the storylines will be as weak as they were for 32. Some of these proclamations may seem obvious while others are a bit more out there but that’s just how it goes with educated guesses and wacky picks as we look at fifteen early predictions for WrestleMania 33.
15 The NXT World Title will be Defended on WM
NXT has become the hottest commodity in WWE with the developmental, turned alternative, brand creating new stars in a special atmosphere. The TakeOver shows are the most must-see events in WWE these days and the stars being built in NXT are fascinating. It’s only a matter of time before the lines start blurring between NXT and the main roster. We already see a few names like Zack Ryder and Emma working for both rosters. WrestleMania 33 taking place in Florida may see a NXT contingent being involved and allowing an NXT World Championship match on the big show would demonstrate how important that title is.
14 No Ladder Match
The last few years have seen the return of the multi-man ladder match opening the show at WrestleMania. We got used to the Money in the Bank ladder match creating a consistently awesome attraction match at WrestleMania for years before the concept was turned into its own PPV. WWE brought back the ladder into the fold with the Intercontinental Championship featuring six-to-eight men battling to climb their way towards the gold. This year’s match was booked with utter desperation as no one but Kevin Owens had momentum going into it. Zack Ryder winning the title for one night showed just how irrelevant the match was and WWE is going to avoid booking it for the sake of having a stunt fest for fun.
13 Shaq Will Not Appear
The rumor mill is buzzing with Shaquille O’Neal’s surprise appearance in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 32. The NBA legend squared off with Big Show before both men were eliminated and he later promised the two would have a singles match next year in Orlando. Shaq has vowed to compete against Big Show in the past but would break off the plans when the show came to a closer date. WWE definitely has the money to offer him a big contract but the basketball star will likely once again avoid putting in the time that goes into having a WrestleMania match, due to his busy schedule during the NBA season as an analyst.
12 Bayley Will Walk Out WWE Women’s Champion
Fans were disappointed with the lack of Bayley on the Monday Night Raw after WrestleMania 32, since the hope was for the NXT star to finally get called up. The heartbreak of Charlotte retaining the title at WrestleMania over Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch led to the dream of Bayley debuting to take her down at Raw. It didn’t happen and for good reason. WWE has to be meticulously planning Bayley’s debut on the main roster to be a well thought out moment which will lead to a huge success. Bayley connects to all demographics of the WWE fan base and the plan has to be for her to win the Women’s Championship in Orlando from whoever the title holder is at that time (hopefully Sasha Banks).
11 It Won’t Be As Successful As WrestleMania 32
The on-screen result of the storytelling and wrestling matches at WrestleMania 32 may have been an utter disappointment, but the success of the show was unquestionable. WWE broke all sorts of records such as an attendance of 101,763 fans and grossing an astonishing $17.3 million. The hype of the record breaking crowd in AT&T Stadium set up anticipation for the show knowing it would go down in wrestling and entertainment history for the end result. There’s no way WWE will have the capacity to top that record and that will lead to less money coming in at the end of the day, unless they inflate prices which is tough to do for a stadium show.
10 AJ Styles, Cesaro and Sami Zayn Won’t Have Major Matches
Diehard fans have a great interest in the pushes of A.J. Styles, Cesaro and Sami Zayn, considering all three men have great momentum at the moment. The problem is you can tell that none of them are a high priority in WWE’s booking plans and likely won’t be anytime soon. Styles is already entering a WWE World Championship program with Roman Reigns but it’s likely just to put him over and give a great match before moving down to the midcard. Cesaro and Zayn have been positioned as midcarders and it’s unlikely they will get into one of the coveted top four matches at WrestleMania 32.
9 NXT TakeOver Will Get Three Hours
NXT TakeOver outshined WWE’s big shows during WrestleMania 32 weekend and SummerSlam 2015 weekend. The stars of NXT delivered great matches for special shows that surpassed the big WWE events. One of the staples of the TakeOver shows is that they are always scheduled for two hours, with a limit of two and a half hours if they overrun since it’s on the WWE Network. The time is coming for NXT to get three hour live shows, similar to the main roster, and WrestleMania weekend will be the perfect time with fans all over the world traveling to watch the product.
8 Less Spectacle, More Wrestling
The biggest difference between WrestleMania 31 and WrestleMania 32 was WWE trying too hard with the latter and it blowing up in their faces. The use of legends like Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley and The Rock was flawed with current valuable talents such as The League of Nations, Xavier Woods and The Wyatt Family all looking like jokes at the expense of The Attitude Era names. WWE clearly wanted the fans to get enough nostalgia and hoopla to make up for the injuries hitting the roster. WrestleMania 33 will likely see the format return to the year prior. where the use of legends was more effective and made sense without killing the active guys.
7 Hulk Hogan Will Appear
Hulk Hogan was removed from the WWE family after a video surfaced of him making racist comments during a private conversation (during a sex tape of all things). His public perception went down but the sympathy factor has already worked enough to see him win a lawsuit against Gawker and convince many that he is not truly racist. Between the outcry against Hogan fading, and his place in WWE history being immortal, another year will likely be all it takes for Vince McMahon to bring him back into the fold. Expect to see The Hulkster appear in a small backstage segment at WrestleMania 33 or inducting another legend into the Hall of Fame as a way to slowly ease him back into the WWE Universe.
6 Daniel Bryan Will Turn Down A Hall Of Fame Spot
Daniel Bryan’s retirement from pro wrestling was absolutely heartbreaking, as he poured his heart out in front of his hometown crowd and said goodbye to the WWE. Following that, Bryan has become more reclusive and quiet about his post-WWE aspirations. The former champion has shockingly turned down plans that would have saw him make house show appearances for “Daniel Bryan Appreciation Night” events and he noticeably didn’t attend any of the WrestleMania weekend festivities. Bryan does not crave the spotlight the way many wrestlers do and it’s obvious that he wants to distance himself from WWE. WWE in turn loves to strike while the iron is hot and will want to induct Bryan into the HoF next year. Bryan’s mindset will likely see him turn it down and avoid the idea altogether.
5 The Rock Will Join The Hall Of Fame But Not Wrestle
The past few WrestleMania spectacles have seen The Rock appear in various fashions as he enjoys coming back “home” for the big event. WWE has likely already pitched the idea of inducting him into the Hall of Fame. Rock is undoubtedly deserving of the honor and it’s only a matter of when he wants to receive it. Florida is The Rock’s home state and the event taking place in Orlando next year will be the perfect time for his induction into the Hall of Fame. The Rock will be celebrated for his career next year with the HoF and a smaller role on WrestleMania 33, showing thanks and shouting his catchphrases to make the crowd happy.
4 Kevin Owens vs. Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar has entered an odd territory in WWE where he has wrestled most of the established big stars and is now having programs with the new names in the company. His feuds with Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt show a transition of Lesnar coming in every few months to work a short term program with a new opponent. The wrestler with the best chance at being credible enough to challenge Brock at WrestleMania 33 will be Kevin Owens. The very experienced heel knows how to get heel heat and how to get fans to buy into his act. Owens and Lesnar makes the most sense for a smash mouth, hard hitting contest between two bulls that would obviously give us a great match.
3 Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose
A Shield triple threat match is a dream match we are dying to see and WWE knows it. Roman Reigns is currently slotted in the position as “the guy,” Seth Rollins is going to return from injury as a huge face and Dean Ambrose has been consistently popular over the past year. All three men will be even bigger stars by the time WrestleMania 33 comes around and the timing will be perfect for the triple threat match everyone badly wants. This would be the culmination of perfect storytelling between three highly talented athletes. WrestleMania needs more main event matches featuring full-time performers and this would be one that sends a message to the fans about who the stars of the company are.
2 Triple H vs. Shane McMahon
Shane McMahon’s shocking return to WWE still has us all wondering how long he will stick around for. The prodigal son losing his match to The Undertaker at WrestleMania 32 dictates he won’t be the new on-screen authority figure, but the booking on the two Raws after Mania have given us hope that we’ll continue to see Shane-O-Mac. The obvious money match is against Triple H on a big stage. SummerSlam doesn’t seem important enough for this match, so the safe bet would be at WrestleMania 33 next year. There’s a ready-made storyline that involves real life elements and that always equates to a great match when booked right.
1 John Cena vs. The Undertaker
An injury to John Cena caused WWE to change their plans of a Cena/Undertaker main event at WrestleMania 32. The match would have been appreciated considering that the event lacked a true main event attraction. The heartbreaking factor was Cena actually rehabbed in time for the event and was used in a throwaway segment with The Wyatt Family since it was too late to insert him in a match. The Undertaker has faced most of the greats at WrestleMania but Cena is the biggest name missing from his resume. The two have not squared off in years and the appeal is there for a WrestleMania main event that could possibly be the best case for an Undertaker retirement moment.