Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Ah yes, the annual “We know you don’t have a match on the main card, but you get to join the ring along with a bunch of other guys we don’t really care about so you can take a plastic trophy that’s too big for you to carry as a reward” match. They haven’t really been hyping this match up like they have in recent years because of the loaded card, and the narrative that WWE is painting in that winning this match can “jumpstart” one’s career is a lesson in futility. Cesaro went on only to become a Tag Team Champion after his victory and that wasn’t until over two years after his victory. The Big Show didn’t do anything after his victory. Baron Corbin only has a worthless US Title run and a failed Money in the Bank cash-in to show for his efforts and Mojo Rawley has done, you guessed it, nothing. So, why should we believe if someone like Dolph Ziggler, Tye Dillinger or Curt Hawkins will get their career on track by winning a battle royal on the pre-show? Anyway, I have no idea who’s going to win, nor do I care because they won’t gain anything from winning here in all likelihood. I guess for the fun of it I’ll say Dolph Ziggler, but he probably won’t win because he’s Dolph Ziggler.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
“First-Ever” Woman’s Battle Royal
First-ever Woman’s Battle Royal doesn’t really have a nice ring to it. I get that WWE’s obsessed with the history the women’s division has been making, but the revolution doesn’t go any farther because you group all the women not involved in a title match into the ring just like the men. That’s kind of like saying that Baron Corbin is facing off against Jey Uso on SmackDown LIVE for the first time ever. The only sub-feud that we have to focus on here is Sasha Banks vs. Bayley, but neither of them needs a win here as badly as I would say…Becky Lynch. Becky Lynch has been barely noticeable after she lost her title over a year ago, and she’s been pretty much second fiddle to Charlotte Flair and other women, which is a shame. If anyone in this match could use a win of any sort, it’s Becky Lynch.
Winner: Becky Lynch
Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali – Cruiserweight Championship
If you haven’t been following the tournament on 205 Live, just know that they have been busting their collective asses week after week and the build-up to this match has been incredible. The sad thing is that 205 Live still doesn’t have many eyes to it. That can all change at WrestleMania. Last year, Neville and Austin Aries put on arguably the best wrestling match of the card, but no one remembers it because it was on the pre-show in the midst of a seven-hour extravaganza. Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali find themselves in a similar position, but this time, they have the momentum of the show carrying things along. If Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali can knock it out of the park, I think 205 Live will get the jumpstart it needs. In regards to who is winning, I have to say Cedric Alexander. It would seem that he’s been groomed for this moment ever since his match with Kota Ibushi two summers ago, and it feels only right to crown him as champion at WrestleMania. Both men are equally deserving, but Cedric Alexander has been one of the more consistent guys on the 205 roster, and I think he gets his due in New Orleans.
Winner: Cedric Alexander
The Usos (C) vs. The New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers – SmackDown Tag Team Championship
SmackDown LIVE appears to be following the formula that SmackDown of the early 2000s did in regards to their tag team division. Just stick all the relevant guys into a match at WrestleMania. I don’t think this will get enough time for anyone to really care about it, and there hasn’t been much of a story other than the Bludgeon Brothers being the only tag team on SmackDown LIVE to have not held the titles. Well, Luke Harper and Eric Rowan should have been tag team champions back when they were with the Wyatt Family, but now, here is WWE’s chance to make up for that oversight. The New Day was stuck in there pretty much because they shouldn’t have been left off the WrestleMania card two years in a row, I guess, and The Usos, while absolutely fantabulous as SmackDown LIVE tag team champions haven’t kept up the momentum since their feud with New Day ended last fall. Perhaps it’s time to move in a different direction. The Usos have bragged about how they’ve gone through every challenger in their way, and at WrestleMania, they will either defeat the last team remaining, or give the tag titles a different look. And I am leaning towards the latter.
Winners: The Bludgeon Brothers
Cesaro (C) and Sheamus (C) vs. Braun Strowman and ??? – Raw Tag Team Championship
Here are my 5 most likely partners for Braun Strowman in no particular order:
- Rey Mysterio – It’s been talked about a lot that Rey Mysterio would not only be returning to WWE but could make an appearance at WrestleMania. I’ve always been a fan of big guy/little guy tag team duos, and I think Braun Strowman and Rey Mysterio, two fan favorites, could gain some chemistry with each other and quickly.
- Bobby Lashley – Another guy rumored to return at WrestleMania and return to WWE, Bobby Lashley presents an interesting dynamic with Braun Strowman as two muscle-bound, but athletic big men that would take a gargantuan effort to bring the duo down.
- The Big Show – The Big Show’s been out of action since last summer, and he just recently signed an extension with WWE, which means he’ll still be a ring performer for the time being. His storied history with Braun Strowman from last year is remembered by many from the quality matches they had with each other on Raw. Them becoming tag team partners rather than enemies could be an interesting powerhouse tag team.
- Bray Wyatt – Bray’s been MIA since taking a dip in the Lake of Reincarnation. Maybe he gets back to this Wyatt Family roots and we get a reunion?
- Chris Jericho – Probably not going to happen, but he’s always had a knack for making surprise appearances, and I wouldn’t be surprised if WWE kept Chris Jericho returning under wraps.
Overall, there’s not much of a story to this match other than that Braun Strowman squashed all the tag teams in a battle royal and he wants to win his first title. That’s pretty much it. I don’t see much reason as to why Cesaro or Sheamus should be champions past WrestleMania. Especially considering that Sheamus has been competing with spinal stenosis, he’s about overdue for a well-deserved sabbatical. Braun Strowman and whoever he picks is winning.
Winner: Braun Strowman and ???