WWE WrestleMania 33 is right around the corner, and as always Fightful.com will have you covered. The card is far from confirmed, but a few matches have come into focus a couple of months away from the big event. As always, things are subject to change, but I'll take a look at the rumored card as of today.
WWE Universal Championship
Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar
This is assuming Goldberg beats Kevin Owens at Fastlane, which I think is a terrible idea. I like the idea of Goldberg passing on a potential Brock Lesnar match at Mania, and Lesnar getting it via costing Goldberg the title against Owens, as a callback to No Way Out 2004, when Goldberg did the same to Lesnar. Also, you have to draw the line somewhere with a 50 year old guy who can't work going over some of your biggest names. Regarding the quality of the potential match? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times....YOU AIN'T GONNA FOOL ME AGAIN. Lesnar should go over in my view.
Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton
There are so many matches that don't need the WWE Championship, but I think this one does. Otherwise, it's just another match on the card -- one that I'm not particularly looking forward to. My main issue is that whoever wins the Royal Rumble should be in the main event of WrestleMania, and this probably won't be. I pick Wyatt to go over here.
RAW Women's Championship
Charlotte (c) vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
This match could very well be a show stealer, yet again. This has a few different ingredients as compared to last year. The power of Nia Jax, the great babyface in Bayley, a Sasha Banks with a new attitude. I'm sure this match will be laid out incredibly well, and all four women will turn it up to 11. I can't wait for this one, honestly. Whenever the women have been given a big stage, I've really enjoyed it, despite some contrarians looking for any reason to dislike something. I think either Charlotte wins, or loses her title without being pinned so they can keep up the "PPV dominance" angle.
Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker
There are a lot of question marks surrounding this. How healthy is the Undertaker? What will Reigns' role be? It seemed as if at the Royal Rumble, WWE knew Reigns would get booed and utilized that tool. After 12 years of a Cena mixed reaction, I don't understand why the company would try to force another decade of that, instead of going the natural route. If Reigns beats Strowman and Undertaker to continue down his current path, I have a big problem with that as a viewer. If it's to establish more of a mean-streak, and make him one of the top heels of all-time? Well, not as much of a problem there. The company has me wondering going into it, but it's been teased with no resolution on several occasions. Reigns could win this and really get the crowd hating him, or lose it and it be the catalyst for him being an asshole.
Seth Rollins vs. Triple H
Here's to hoping Rollins can make it to WrestleMania. This has to be a win for Rollins, but if he's too hurt to make it, I wouldn't mind seeing Samoa Joe slide in here. A Samoa Joe that is pissed off that Triple H has the gall to think he can control anyone seems like a natural matchup. Triple H has had some questionable wins at Mania in recent years -- Sting, Brock Lesnar, Sheamus, so nothing is off the table as it pertains to him picking up a victory. If he does beat one of them, it's not the end of the world. HHH is viewed as a babyface by many, and the perception that he "booked himself to win" shouldn't ever be addressed on TV (sorry 2000 WCW), but could be a momentum shift to get more of a heel reaction down the line.
More on page two....
Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho
The development of this match has been something special, and I wonder how fans will react to it. Kevin Owens is such an entertaining heel, but one that I still want to boo. Chris Jericho is much of the same, and their friendship has been embraced by fans. This is really an indication that there's been a major shift in 30 years in how babyfaces are viewed. Social media and other advancements have changed how we view characters, celebrities and athletes, and being an entertaining entity seems to be more valuable than the "eat what we feed you" route. These two are absolute masters at what they're doing, and Jericho may have never been more entertaining in his career, which is something special in it's own. I see Owens winning this.
AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon
AJ Styles....taking on Shane McMahon. Well, if anyone can get something special out of a nearly 50-year old Shane, it's Styles. I don't quite understand the idea of shoehorning McMahon in here, but it is what it is. No way Styles should lose this, but he's such a talent, that I think he'll view it as a challenge, and we could get a Shawn Michaels vs. Vince McMahon level of fun here.
John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse
I love this booking idea. This is not a demotion for John Cena, it's a promotion for Miz, Maryse and Nikki Bella, who have all put in the work and deserve it. It's an excellent promotional tool for Total Divas and Total Bellas, and a real indication of how fantastic The Miz and Maryse have been. I've wanted to see Maryse in the ring since she returned, and this seems like the right spot. She's in there with another woman who can work, and two of WWE's best ring generals today. Imagine saying that about the Miz ten years ago. He has more than earned this spot. I'd really like to see him lose, then make an "open challenge" after the match, which Daniel Bryan answers. After a kiss to Maryse, I want Bryan to Yes Lock Miz for an immediate tap out. What this would do is force Shane McMahon's hand, saying that they can no longer physically interact with wrestlers on their brand because of a conflict of interest.
The Big Show vs. Shaquille O'Neal
I love this match. It's natural, it'll get some mainstream coverage, and it's another WrestleMania moment for Big Show. He knew this moment was coming and got himself in the best shape he's seen in 20 years for that ESPN highlight reel. I would like to believe plenty of smoke and mirrors would make this work.
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Here's the thing: this match is only about bragging rights. It doesn't mean a damn thing, but it can for the right person. Baron Corbin has used it for bragging rights. Big Show won pretty much so they could always have the threat of him winning. Cesaro winning should have been a huge launching pad for him. It wasn't. I'd like to see this go one of three ways: Baron Corbin wins again to propel him, Braun Strowman eliminates every single person in the match to win, or a personal favorite: Mark Henry wins his retirement match. Mark Henry has been a fixture for two decades, and him eliminating a Strowman, Corbin or both to retire would be a fantastic moment to end a stellar career on.
Right now we don't really know where Braun Strowman, Baron Corbin, Dean Ambrose, New Day, possibly Finn Balor, Rusev, Kane, American Alpha, Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, Luke Harper, Ziggler and others are going to land. There's a lot of empty space on the card. Smackdown Women's Title and both tag title matches will surely be added, and we'll probably end up seeing about 14 matches on the show. The WWE's roster is a loaded one for this show, and it's possible that a half-dozen names on the event may never wrestle again after 2017.
As always, stay tuned to Fightful.com for full coverage of WrestleMania 33. We'll have features, live coverage, post-show podcasts, analysis and more!