WrestleMania 32 is set for Sunday, April 3rd, 2016. It is being held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. This edition of WrestleMania could very well break the WWE attendance record of 93,173 set at WrestleMania III at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan.
The WWE roster has been ravaged by injuries to stars such as John Cena, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, Cesaro & Neville. Those key injuries have led many to question just how good this WrestleMania will be. We know The Rock will be there, although in what capacity is still a mystery. And with WrestleMania 32 being in Texas, it’s hard to imagine Texas natives “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels not making an appearance.
Listed below are a few of the higher profile matches on the card, complete with odds, storyline info, and my personal predictions.
WWE Divas Championship Triple Threat Match — Charlotte (+170) vs Sasha Banks (-300) vs Becky Lynch (+650): Charlotte ended Nikki Bella’s record championship reign at Night of Champions back in September. Fast forward to Monday Night RAW on February 29. Banks and Lynch squared off in a #1 Contender’s match, but the match ended in a double pin. A rematch was held on SmackDown, but again there was no winner due to Charlotte attacking both Banks and Lynch. That leads us to this Triple Threat match. Charlotte has been unstoppable since being joined by her legendary Hall-of-Fame father, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. But this is WrestleMania, and I’m expecting surprising things to happen in these big matches. I can see Flair trying to aid his daughter and inadvertently costing her the match and the title. Banks is the favorite, and I see her walking out as the new WWE Divas Champion.
No Holds Barred Street Fight — Brock Lesnar (-140) vs Dean Ambrose (+100): I have to question the booking here. This match just does not make sense to me. The Wyatt Family eliminated Lesnar from the Royal Rumble match in January, costing “The Beast” a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. So why not spend the next two-plus months building up a match between Lesnar and Wyatt for ‘Mania?
They had Lesnar face Wyatt at WWE Roadblock (a WWE Network special event) a couple Saturdays ago, but Bray turned it into a handicap match with his family member Luke Harper by his side. Wyatt bailed on the match before it even got started, watching from the ramp as Harper got decimated by Lesnar. It seemed to set up a Wyatt/Lesnar match at ‘Mania, where “The Beast” would finally get his hands on “The Eater of Worlds.” But no, plans for Lesnar/Ambrose have gone full speed ahead.
Lesnar and Ambrose do have some history, but not as compelling as Lesnar/Wyatt. Lesnar, Ambrose, and Roman Reigns had a #1 Contender’s Triple Threat match at the Fastlane pay-per-view in February. The winner would go on to face Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 32. In that match, Lesnar had Reigns locked in his Kimura Lock submission hold until Ambrose assaulted Lesnar with a steel chair. That attack took Lesnar out of the match just long enough for Reigns to beat his former Shield brother, Ambrose. It only makes sense that Lesnar blames Ambrose for costing him that match and the subsequent title shot.
Still, I don’t understand the logic behind putting two babyfaces (crowd favorites) against each other when Lesnar and Wyatt also have a storyline in progress, and Bray, a top heel (villain), does not have a ‘Mania match. It all leads me to believe that The Wyatt Family will get involved in this match. It is, after all, a No Holds Barred Street Fight where anything and everything is legal. I can see the Wyatts attacking Lesnar, costing him this match, and continuing the storyline that will finally lead to a major match at SummerSlam in August. This should be a very entertaining match, as Ambrose will do anything, and Lesnar is just, well, a beast. I would say Ambrose is worth a shot at +100 thanks to the likelihood of the Wyatt Family’s interference.
Hell In A Cell Match — The Undertaker (-160) vs Shane McMahon (+120): I definitely could not have predicted this match would ever happen. Shane, the son of WWE Chairman Vincent K. McMahon, left WWE in 2009. But on Monday Night RAW the night after Fastlane in late February, the unthinkable happened. Vince was about to present his daughter Stephanie McMahon (Shane’s sister) with the inaugural Vincent J. McMahon Legacy of Excellence Award when Shane-O-Mac’s music hit. The crowd went crazy. Shane made it clear he wanted control of Monday Night RAW, the company’s flagship TV program. Vince agreed that Shane would have control of RAW under one condition: Shane had to win a match of Vince’s choosing. Shane agreed, and his father then informed him that the match would take place at WrestleMania, and his opponent would be the legendary Undertaker.
The Undertaker is the King of WrestleMania, having lost only once in 23 ‘Mania matches. ‘Taker is also the King of Hell In A Cell matches. But he has made it clear to Vince that he is nobody’s puppet. Shane basically called The Undertaker one of Vince’s puppets on a recent edition of RAW, and got choke slammed as a result. “The Phenom” also made a move towards Vince, but the elder McMahon escaped untouched. On the March 21 edition of RAW, Vince stated this would be ‘Taker’s last WrestleMania if he did not win.
With that statement from Vince, it sure sounds like this will be The Undertaker’s last match. Having just turned 51-years old, it is only a matter of time before “The Deadman” has his final match. Is this it? We’ll find out soon enough. I will be shocked if someone doesn’t interfere on Shane’s behalf and help him win. Granted, someone will either have to come up through the mat or cut their way into the cage, but we’ve seen that happen before. I’ve heard rumors about that assist coming from The Rock, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, etc. The list of superstars wanting to put the screws to Mr. McMahon is seemingly endless. I can also see ‘Taker hitting a Tombstone piledriver on Shane. But instead of covering Shane, I can see ‘Taker laying down and putting Shane’s arm on top of him to give Shane the victory; one last act of defiance toward Vince before riding off into the sunset. It’s more likely that someone helps Shane win, and I’ll take a shot on Shane-O-Mac at +120.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship — Triple H (+450) vs Roman Reigns (-750): The company has spent the last couple years trying to get the crowd behind Reigns, but the “WWE Universe” (WWE’s name for their fans) clearly does not like being told for whom they should cheer. It’s funny because the people loved Reigns when he was the muscle in the outlaw group known as The Shield (with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins). WWE’s creative team has tried using Reigns as the guy who stands up to and defeats The Authority (Triple H and Stephanie McMahon), but the WWE Universe just isn’t buying into it. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin broke the mold in regards to anti-establishment characters. With Triple H being the real-life COO of WWE, it’s very clear he will not continue to hold the title. At -750, I’ll be shocked if Reigns doesn’t walk out the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. I really am not interested in this match at all, and I cannot recall a time I’ve ever said that about a WrestleMania main event. I only hope there is some extra-curricular activity associated with this match. Does Seth Rollins make a surprise appearance and help his former Shield brother win the title? A Rollins-Triple H feud was rumored long before Rollins got injured. Maybe he appears here, starting that storyline in motion. Please, someone show up and make this interesting!
Final Thoughts: WWE’s booking of this event has been widely scrutinized. Many wrestling industry experts and critics have been very vocal about the questionable booking, and they are not accepting the rash of injuries to top talent as a valid excuse for what appears to be a very poorly thought-out production. As I write this, there is still one more Monday Night RAW TV show prior to WrestleMania 32. I only hope there are some last-minute changes or additions to spruce up this year’s WrestleMania event. I’m expecting to see Cena and Rollins at ‘Mania in some capacity. And if not, the Monday Night RAW the night after WrestleMania is usually good for a few surprises. I just hope that episode of RAW doesn’t end up being more entertaining than WrestleMania 32 itself.
Most Extreme WrestleMania Moments: WWE Top 10
Hotly-contested battles on The Grandest Stage of Them All can take a hardcore turn in an awful hurry. Salute the Superstars who have put it all on the line at WrestleMania by counting down the most extreme moments in the event’s storied history.