Takeover: New York and WrestleMania 35 Predictions

In case you weren’t aware, there is hella wrestling this weekend. To that end, behold this mammoth predictions megapost, featuring (mostly made up) analysis and my picks for the winners of each match.

I will be reviewing both shows as well, however, I have an out-of-town wedding this weekend (Congrats Jake and Emma!) so I will not be able to watch either show live. Expect the Takeover review on Monday and the WrestleMania review on Tuesday.

Without further ado…

Takeover: New York – Predictions

WALTER vs. Pete Dunne (c) – NXT UK Champisionship Match

Behold, the splendor of Pete Dunne’s ridiculously long UK Title run! Seriously, behold it now, because it’s gonna be over soon. The right time (and the right opponent) is at hand, and if they don’t pull the trigger on a title change now, when will they? I am looking forward to this match tremendously. It may not end up being the best match of the night, but there’s a damn good chance it ends up being the most violent. I expect both guys to kick (and chop!) the ever-loving crap out of each other, in most satisfying fashion. Winner: WALTER

Bianca Bel Air vs. Kairi Sane vs. Io Shirai vs. Shayna Baszler (c) – NXT Women’s Championship Match

There’s really not much left for Baszler to do in NXT, so I assume she drops the title here and gets called up next week. The question is, who does she drop it to? They’re in a weird spot. A few months ago, I figured this would be when Dakota Kai finally triumphed over her tormentor to win the title, but then she got injured. Kairi Sane seems like the safe bet, but from where I’m sitting it looks like she’s taken a backseat to Io Shirai in the buildup. So maybe Io wins this one, but she hasn’t been on the roster all that long, and even though she’s ridiculously good and should be champ someday, for her to win Friday would feel like a hotshotting. That leaves Bianca Bel Air, who seems unlikely to win but may be a sneaky smart choice, from a booking standpoint. This way you can free up Baszler for a call up and still have a heel champ for Io to chase, which allows more time for Io to get built up. That said, it still seems quite unlikely. I’m gonna pick Io here, just because I think she’s gotten the most shine in the buildup. Winner: Io Shirai

Matt Riddle vs. Velveteen Dream (c) – NXT North American Championship Match

The North American title is a strange beast. It seems that every time it’s being defended, the title changes hands. I think Ricochet sucessfully defended it once or twice, but that’s about it. Such is the way of secondary championships, I suppose, but I would like to see somebody hold onto it for a good long while. It’s still relatively new, and when you have a relatively new title you need to increase tis prestige, and nothing increases prestige like giving someone a good, long run with it. Anyway, I see clear reasons for both guys to win that invlove future storylines for both guys and possible challengers down the road and all that, and frankly I don’t know who comes out on top in this one. Therefore, I’m picking the Dream, because I think he’s further along as a performer and he could really use a big Takeover win. Winner: Velveteen Dream

Aleister Black & Ricochet vs. War Raiders (c) – NXT Tag Team Championship Match

I know a lot of peoplke are a little miffed about the way Black and Ricochet have been shoved into a tag team together with little explanation, but I was pretty into their development throught the course of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. They started out winning through sheer force of athleticism, then over time developed an easy rapport (because they are both, in kayfabe at least, cool guys) and, as a result of being able to get along well, they developed actual continuity and tandem offense. They showed their work in making them an actual team, and this is how superteams like this should be booked. Expect a spotfest here, full of crazy double teams and flips and all that. Anyway, there’s no way the guys who, for all intents and purposes, are already on the main roster (to the point that they have a match Sunday) win this, making this match the lock of the weekend. Winner: War Raiders

Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole – NXT Championship Match (2 out of 3 Falls)

Injuries suck. This match was pretty obviously planned as the ultimate final blowoff to the Gargano vs. Ciampa feud, but now Ciampa is gonna be on the shelf for a whole year, and the show must go on. The question about this match, as I see it, is this: We can safely assume that when this match was penciled in as Gargano vs. Ciampa, Gargano was penciled in as the winner. However, this is largely because of the nature of their feud, so can we still assume Gargano wins here? The fact that this is now just a match as opposed to a years-long blowoff grudge match for everything may mean that it makes more sense for Cole to win, giving Gargano (or whoever else) someone to chase. With Ciampa out, if Gargano wins there really aren’t too many top heels on the men’s side that could be built into credible challengers. Also, Adam Cole is the shit and few ideas entertain me quite like the idea of Cole being champ and making Undisputed Era even more obnoxious, somehow. But I still think this is Gargano’s time. If it made sense to make him champ when the match was with Ciampa, it still makes sense to make him champ if Ciampa is out of the picture. Figuring out who to build up as challenger is a problem for another booking cycle. Winner: Johnny Gargano

WrestleMania 35 – Predictions

Full disclosure: I don’t actually watch Raw or SmackDown. I just read recaps and watch highlights. As a result, I have less of a sense of where the storylines are headed (if anywhere), I have much less confidence in these predictions than the Takeover ones, and I have less to say about these matches in general. Which is good, because holy fuck, this is too many matches. Here’s one WrestleMania prediction that’s sure to be accurate: This show will be entirely too goddamn long. Anywho…

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (Pre Show)

The only real question I have about this match is how embarassing the inevitable Colin Jost, Michael Che, and Braun Strowman shenanigans are gonna be. My guess is somewhat, but not as much as you’d think. I can’t even think of a possible guest entrant who could upset Braun in this. Winner: Braun Strowman

2nd Annual Women’s Battle Royal (Pre Show)

Poor Asuka. I can’t even with the bullshit way she’s been booked in the past year. Never underestimate Vince’s capacity to turn gold into shit. It’s been demonstrated countless times, and it’s why I don’t watch (and don’t miss) the main roster shows. As with the men’s battle royal, there’s a clear favorite here, but unlike that match there are a few other performers in here who could credibly win this. One of them is Naomi though, and I don’t think she’ll win twice in a row. Since Asuka apparently isn’t allowed to win anymore, I’m going rogue on this one. Winner: Surprise Entrant Trish Stratus

Tony Nese vs. Buddy Murphy (c) – Cruiserweight Championship Match

I don’t watch 205 Live either, despite having heard nothing but good things about it in the past year or so. Forgive me, smark gods, for I have sinned. I have no idea who’s more likely to win this. I have, however, seen enough Cruiserweight title matches to expect two things. First, this match is going to be really damn good. Second, this match will probably get bumped to the pre show, because Vince McMahon is a senile twerp who still doesn’t get why cruiserweights are cool. Wrestling sucks. Winner: Tony Nese

Aleister Black & Ricochet vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev vs. The Bar vs. The Usos (c) – Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match

Nor would I be terribly shocked to see this match get bumped to the pre show. Enough smark tears have been spilt in the name of decrying WWE’s poor handling of tag teams, so I’m not going to pile on to that too much here. I will, however, point out that this match could be pretty damn great if it were given 15 minutes or so, but it’ll only get 8-10, tops. My gut says Nakamura and Rusev take this, because nothing says WrestleMania quite like heels winning lesser belts. Winner: Nakamura & Rusev

Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin

Do we actually think that this will, in fact, be Kurt Angle’s last match ever? True, he can’t reeally go anymore, but when was the last time that helped a wrestling retirement stick? As with any ‘retirement’ in wrestling, the smart money says he pops up as a wrestler sometime in the next year or two. Anyway, WWE typically has faces win their farewell matches (see also: Trish Stratus, Roddy Piper at WrestleMania 3), and it’s not like Corbin has heat to lose or anything, so why not go for the happy ending? Winner: Kurt Angle

AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton

Since the build of this match is openly acknowledging its metatextual underpinnings, the winner here is clear. Granted, AJ Styles has been treated like an actual megastar since his arrival in WWE, but when was the last time Vince allowed the outsider to win in an indie guy vs. WWE lifer feud? I’ll wait. Still waiting. Yeah, that’s what I thought. Randy Orton probably shouldn’t be winning too much of anything these days, but life is unfair and so is wrestling. Winner: Randy Orton

The IIconics vs. Natalya & Beth Phoenix vs. Nia Jax & Tamina vs. Sasha Banks & Bayley (c) – Women’s Tag Team Championship Match

Again, I say this acknowledging that I don’t watch the main shows, but it seems to me that the plan is to have Sasha & Bayley hold onto the belts for a good long while in order to get them established. I certainly don’t see them losing here, not even to the arbitrarily assembled nostalgia cash-in team of Natalya & Beth Phoenix. And, as much fun as it would be for the IIconics to pull off the upset, I don’t see it happening here. In fact, I’ll bet one of them eats the pin. It’s fine and they’ll be fine in the long run, don’t worry about it. Winner: Sasha Banks & Bayley

The Miz vs. Shane McMahon – Falls Count Anywhere Match

I’ve made my feelings regarding Shane McMahon abundantly clear. Hopefully he gets whatever jumping off of high things jollies he feels entitled to here, then fucks off for a good long while. Miz wins to continue his redemption arc while I take a bathroom break, even though I won’t be watching live so I can pause it whenever, and I’ll be watching in the morning, so I won’t even be drinking. Winner: The Miz

Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre

So does Roman win here in order to build him up as a challenger to Lesnar because Lesnar is retaining, or does Drew win here to build him as a challenger to Rollins because Rollins is winning the title? That may be the fundamental question of this match. In a vacuum though, I think it makes the most sense for McIntyre to win. Now that Reigns is back but can be booked with vulnerability, now is the time to work on getting McIntyre over as a monster. He needs the win way, way more here, is what I’m saying. I think he gets it, too. Even if the plan is to build Lesnar vs. Reigns for the title at SummerSlam, Roman can take an L here and be just fine. Winner: Drew McIntyre


Goddamn, this is too many matches. And you know there’s gonna be some stupid fucking skit interposed somewhere in this already entirely too goddamn long show, and to add insult to injury, it’s probably gonna involve Hulk Hogan. Fuck man, this is some grim shit we’re staring at right here. Also also, a lot of matches are gonna get shafted on time, too. Even if the main show is five hours, that’s not gonna be enough time for everything to get the time it needs. Expect the Women’s Tag Title match, Smackdown Tag Title match, and Styles vs. Orton match to get shafted, while Miz vs. Shane gets 20 minutes, because wrestling is awful and we deserve to be punsihed for liking it.

Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe (c) – U.S. Championship Match

So apparently Rey is injured, and apparently John Cena and WWE signed some sort of double secret blood pact for Cena to have a surprise match, so let’s not overthink this. Winner: John Cena

Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley (c) – Intercontinental Championship Match

Since it’s already been acknowledged that Balor is gonna be wrestling this match in Demon form, there’s very little to discuss here. WWE makes some seriously odd booking choices, but I doubt they would job out the Demon (who is protected as all hell) to friggin’ Lashley. It just wouldn’t make sense, which now has me nervous that it’s gonna happen. Not that nervous, though. Winner: Finn Balor

Batista vs. Triple H – No Holds Barred Match

Heel Batista is just the fucking best, I tell ya. His heel run in late 2009-early 2010 was a revalation. After spending the past few years prior as a babyface with moderate levels of personality, he tyurned heel and re-emerged fully formed as an arrogant, smarmy, bullying jerkoff, and that’s been his character in wrestling ever since. The “Hunter, kiss my ass” promo from Monday was fucking perfect, I tell ya. As fun as the build has been, I do bristle at this match itself. This show is already overstuffed, and in no way needed an additional nostalgia showcase, but nostalgia showcases are part of the deal with WrestleMania these days. I may as well be made at tree pollen existing. Winner: Triple H

Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar (c) – Universal Championship Match

I’m confused on all of this shit, so let me ask real quick: Is Lesnar allegedly leaving after Mania this year? Because I’m pretty sure he’s been very definitely leaving to go back to UFC every year since 2015 or so, and yet here we are. I haven’t read anything to that effect this year, but it’s just felt like his eminent departure is assumed every Mania season. If he does leave, I will be sad. I am staunchly pro-Lesnar. Wrestling chews performers up and spits them out, and Lesnar has acquired the leverage needed to avoid that fate, used it, and made gobs and gobs of money in the process. Good for him! This is to say nothing of the fact that his irregular appearances as champion preclude WWE falling back on their old pattern of having a single challenger face the champ like, four times in a row with increasingly escalating stipulations. That shit was tired as hell. That said, it is time for Rollins to get another run as champion. He’s earned it. Winner: Seth Rollins

Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan (c) – WWE Championship Match

Kofi Kingston should have been one of those guys who got a brief title run in, I don’t know, 2010 or so, before being shunted back into the midcard for no good reason, as is WWE tradition. Instead, he never got pushed out of the midcard in the first place, save for his all-too-brief feud with Randy Orton in 2009 that seemed to prep him for a huge run before being aborted, because Randy Orton sucks and we can’t have nice things. As such, I hope he is given a real run as champ, not just the feel good win here, followed by a perfunctory run as champ. Kofi Kingston is hella good and would make an awesome face champ, and it is high time for both him and the New Day as a whole to enter the next phase. Last bit of pessimism: I’m secretly worried that this will open the main show and only get like 12 minutes. Here’s hoping I’m wrong on that. Winner: Kofi Kingston

Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Charlotte Flair (somehow also c) – Raw & Smackdown Women’s Championship Winner Take All Match

I’ve already said as much, but I’m still in awe of gilded this lily of a match is. To sum up, having the three biggest stars of the women’s division, all of whome have hated each other in storyline for months, facing off in a match for the title in the first women’s match to main even WrestleMania, is more than more than enough interest. And yet, there’s been all this other plot added into it, and even a second fucking belt for some reason! Asuka died for this. But enough negativity! I would like to take this opportunity to praise Monday’s backstage brawl segment. It’s on YouTube if you haven’t seen it. No, I will not link it – WWE isn’t paying me shit for this, and by writing this post at all, I’m already carrying too much water for them without compensation. Anyway, if you’re not into ridiculous fights involving multiple fake cops, multiple fake cop cars, hilarious but awesome violence (I cannot overstate how much joy I got out of watching handcuffed Becky and Ronda kicking each other in the backseat of a car, like a couple of siblings on a road trip), and general over the top lunacy, I’m not sure wrestling is for you. And finally, I want to take a moment to appreciate that this match is main eventing. Remember 10 years ago? 15? 20? As recently as 5 years ago, I never would’ve thought there would be a women’s match main eventing WrestleMania. 10 years ago, I was just happy enough that Beth Phoenix was able to have decent matches. 20 years ago, women’s matches weren’t even decent, and weren’t even trying to be. Women’s wrestling still has a ways to go in WWE, but this shit is special and a huge deal, and we should treasure it as such. Winner: Becky Lynch

Enjoy the shows, everybody! Try not to OD on wrestling, if you can avoid it.

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