Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls; the most important weekend of the year has finally arrived! Yes, believe it or not, it is finally WrestleMania 33! We have no less than 13 (!) matches to go through, so I’m going to speed through a bit to keep this digestible. I’m sure this weekend will be full of surprises, so please pardon me if I don’t cover in this article another Rock vs. Erick Rowan-esque classic. Now let’s get to this WrestleMania 33 preview!
2017 André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Thirty men and about four with any believable chance at victory. I am a bit upset that the full roster was revealed, as I was hoping to see some NXT call-ups join to fracas. Even more so, I am rather peeved that the SmackDown tag teams have been relegated to participating in this match instead of their own contest. I see it only coming down to Sami and Braun again, and while Sami could really use a rub, Braun needs to get his mojo back in a big way.
PICK: Braun Strowman
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs.
Mickie James vs. Carmella vs. Naomi for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
Why not, I guess? This is sort of a mess, with almost all the SmackDown women thrown together in a match reminiscent of the five-minute Diva disasters of yesteryear. Because these women can actually go, I hope they get a hair more time. As for a pick, it would be absurd to pin the belt on anyone but the hometown girl.
Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries
for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
This is the match that I am far-and-away most disappointed is on the pre-show, considering both the level of talent these two possess and the impressive reactions they both have been able to draw. This is going to be a GREAT match, and I have little doubt it will go down in ‘Mania history. There are bigger names and more important title matches, but this very well could be the match I am most looking forward to on Sunday night. Neville needs no additional star power, as he has seriously become the face of the Cruiserweights, so I can see Aries claim the win and the eternal glory that comes with it.
PICK: Austin Aries
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THE MAIN CARD
Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship
The build to this match has been a wonderful slow burn, and we have reached the Grandest Stage of Them All to see its culmination. The pair’s track record in the ring against each other is not as stellar as it could or should be, but I can trust both men to turn it on for Sunday night. It most likely won’t main event (and for that I am quite sad), but it will undoubtedly be a terrific battle. I see no benefit in a win for RKO, as Bray’s star truly needs to be cemented.
PICK: Bray Wyatt
John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse
Ah yes, the reality TV match. I cannot applaud Miz and Maryse enough for their ability to entertain and engage the audience on a weekly basis. While Cena does enough to pull his and Nikki’s weight, I attribute any and all excitement I have for this match to the A-List couple. This should be a fun romp to break up some title matches, but I really don’t want to see a marriage proposal. I really don’t want to at all.
PICK: John Cena and Nikki Bella
Seth Rollins vs. Triple H
The match we’ve been waiting to see since September! It’s been a long journey, fraught with injury and mystery, but we have arrived – safe and sound and with all knees properly healed. I am very excited to see what comes of this Unsanctioned Match, mostly to see how Seth Rollins – the man I want to lead this generation – is received in his first ‘Mania since his title victory. Look out for developments as per a Triple H-led faction and some surprise appearances.
PICK: Seth Rollins
Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles
While I was initially very dissatisfied with the WM opponent chosen for the best wrestler in the world, the build has gotten me seriously invested. As this is a standard match, there will be no impressive Shane O’Mac stunts. I hope that theme is pushed further with both men remaining within the ropes for the entire duration of the match. We’ll have to wait another year for a legendary AJ Styles WrestleMania moment, but I seriously doubt this match will go to waste.
PICK: AJ Styles
The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
A feud about yards — Taker really is leaning into his age on this one. I hope our favorite Deadman is mobile enough to perform to his potential. There is little uncertainty in my mind that Roman will walk out the winner, so I’ll try my best to enjoy the journey of this match and not focus too much on the result. We’ll be hearing a 90,000-strong chorus of boos, so that will certainly lift the spirits. All joking aside, this is an important match for both men. It could very well be Taker’s last, so please – if you love wrestling and WrestleMania – don’t miss this one.
PICK: Roman Reigns
Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks
vs. Nia Jax for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship
A four-way elimination match is one heck of a mess, but in a good way – you know? The Triple Threat from ‘Mania 32 was a favorite match of mine, so I am quite hopeful to see a repeat of that level of excellence. I was wrong about Charlotte’s PPV streak, but I remain confident that a WrestleMania streak will develop to add to her legend. This match has a very high ceiling, so keep your eye on this one.
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kevin Owens
for the WWE United States Championship
Two of my favorite wrestlers of all time, together on the Grandest Stage of Them All. What a time to be alive! The feud has been built very strongly for a long time, possibly even more so than the Wyatt/Orton story. Unfortunately, the United States Championship has been far from the center of the conflict – but with the level of emotion involved between the two, I guess that’s excusable. I am very excited for this contest, and very hopeful that it delivers in a big way.
PICK: Kevin Owens
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Baron Corbin
for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Much like its Raw counterpart, the IC championship has not been a focus in quite some time. On the flipside of that misfortune, we have a really awesome feud between a pair of bada$$es. I am eager to see what comes of the Lunatic Fringe and the Lone Wolf butting heads, but even more so for the potential of a motorcycle-riding Corbin making his way to the ring (please make this happen, WWE). Corbin would do well with a victory, and I do see that as the most likely scenario.
PICK: Baron Corbin
The Club (c) vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Cesaro
and Sheamus for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
If there ever were a duo meant to open a WrestleMania, it is undoubtedly Enzo and Big Cass. I am very thankful to see a ladder match retained for another ‘Mania, and especially pumped up to see a triangle tag team ladder match return to the Show of Shows. The Realest Guys in the Room will most likely walk away champions, ending their near-yearlong chase for the belts. Look for a possible inflection point in the Cesaro and Sheamus dynamic or a run-in on behalf of The Club.
PICK: Enzo Amore and Big Cass
Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar
for the WWE Universal Championship
Whether you like or not, WrestleMania 33 will probably be main-evented by a pair of part-timers. Both men are unquestionable stars, so this match will be remembered no matter what (see WM XX). Because of that history, I am quite worried as to the plan for the actual wrestling. I hope we see a ruthless brawl, as it would certainly play to both men’s strengths. The winner, though, is quite clear.
PICK: Brock Lesnar
And there you have it with the WrestleMania 33 preview! 13 matches and 13 picks, a veritable cavalcade of chaos. Don’t forget to check out the Hall of Fame ceremony on Friday night and the NXT TakeOver show on Saturday night. Meet me back here the same time next week to discuss what will surely be an incredible and memorable weekend! If you’re lucky enough to be in Orlando, please share some pictures and stories with us!
–by Scott Saffran
Photo Credit: WWE.com