Rollins vs. Miz vs. Balor vs. Samoa Joe – IC Title Ladder Match
This is my early pick for the match of the night. One of the best, if not the best, matches at Wrestlemania, plus Joe and ladders. While Balor and Joe’s NXT feud was inexcusably long and samey, they did always put on really good matches, especially with gimmicks. Miz and Joe will be fun as polar opposite heel archetypes. Maybe I’m crazy, but… Curb Stomp off a ladder contraption?
I don’t see Rollins losing this match. It’ll be a nice crowd-pleaser and a great defense, but it’s too early and it wouldn’t feel quite right for the others just yet.
Jeff Hardy vs. Jinder Mahal – US Title
This feels like a simple and quick requisite rematch to get out of the way. Unless Jeff’s initial win was just for Superstar Shakeup buzz – and it might’ve been – it seems a bit of a waste to put it back on Jinder. I’ll admit that I’m biased in that I’m not a fan, but I see Hardy coming away with the win after a pretty short match.
Cedric Alexander vs. Kalisto – Cruiserweight Championship
This will no doubt be a fun match, but it’s an obvious filler defense for Alexander. Nobody even remembers that Kalisto is a former champ. I love me some Kalisto – I’m forever chasing the high of TLC 2015 Salida del Sol through the ladder – but he needs something new on 205 Live to stand out. Until that happens, I don’t see him getting a title reign as long as Alexander, Ali, and Gulak are around.
The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The Usos – Smackdown Tag Titles
I’d love to see The Usos overcome the odds and put down the two biggest beasts in their division, but I think Harper and Rowan will hold the titles for much longer before that happens. The triple threat at Mania was one of my main disappointments of the night, so even though I think The Usos are going down, this time I hope they go down swinging.
The Bar vs. Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt – Vacant RAW Tag Titles
Well, The Bar are on Smackdown now, so…
The way WWE seems to go out of their way to use the brand split to explicitly spoil things is a whole other can of worms, but this one is especially egregious.
(I am in full support of Wyatt/Hardy as tag champs. It’s going to be wild.)
Rusev vs. The Undertaker – Casket Match
This is the most bizarre match on the card, and is sure to be a fun spectacle. When was the last casket match? Anyway, there’s pretty much no chance Rusev comes out of this with a win considering this is an excuse to let a new crowd see Taker live, but a man can dream, right? Plus, even if it makes Rusev look like garbage, it’ll at least be fun.
Triple H. vs. John Cena
Nobody really needs to see this again, but for the same reasons as above, I’m handing this to Cena. Plus he could recover from the Undertaker squash.
AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura – WWE Championship
I’m of two minds here. Neither of those minds think AJ is going to win clean, because then I’m not positive where to take the story. I feel like there are two options here:
One, Nakamura taps into his killer edge and wins.
Two, Nakamura gets himself disqualified by continuing his newfound hobby of Punching AJ Styles in the Penis at Every Opportunity.
It could be a combo of both if the referee doesn’t see, but no bones about it, Nakamura is going to come out ahead here somehow.
Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar – Universal Championship
Man, I don’t know anymore. I don’t know. If Reigns is ever going to beat Lesnar, this is the place, unless it’s Mania 35. (God, please, no.) I guess, with that in mind, I have to give it to Roman. But nothing about this feud has happened the way anybody expected it to, so you never know.
Gun to my head? Roman wins. It’ll take upwards of 5 spears and 4 F5’s, but this might finally be the end.
50-Man Greatest Royal Rumble Match
If this was for a title shot, despite the name, we’d know by now. Since the only formal reward is a big trophy, I doubt this is going to actually advance storylines or push anybody. And that’s fine. Fanservice has a place in wrestling, especially at a strange special event like GRR.
I’d put my money on a legend who can still go decently enough, a returning wrestler big enough to get a huge reaction from a win, or just someone they want to give a moment without explicit consequences.
I think Big Cass eliminates Daniel Bryan, so that’s out. Zayn or Owens would be great, but doesn’t feel likely.
My main wonder is, Is Braun Strowman too obvious? A giant that WWE clearly loves, but also great group elimination fodder. My gut says it’s him, despite the nagging feeling that it’s someone we’ll never expect.
But hey, predicting a 30-man rumble with stakes is hard enough. Let’s cut everyone some slack.
Bobby Murphy (@RobertJMurph)
Image courtesy WWE.com