WWE WrestleMania 33
April 2, 2017
Camping World Stadium
Orlando, Florida

Watch: WWE Network

Meet our previewers:

  • Barry Hess: Voices of Wrestling columnist; this is the 29th WrestleMania of his fandom, which means he’s old enough to qualify for a senior discount on the ultimate thrill ride. Follow him on Twitter @BFHess171.
  • Jeff Martin: This is Jeff’s first appearance on the preview team, as it took him this long to pry himself away from his drawing table. You can (and should) read his comic at heat.rentathugcomics.com. He also writes about Canadian indies nobody has heard of right here at Voices of Wrestling, and tweets about whatever he happens to be watching @HEATcomic.
  • Lee Malone: Voices of Wrestling OTT specialist and I guess I can now say sometime show previewer. On Twitter @Malone_713

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Barry Hess: A number of legend-acts participated in this year’s Royal Rumble match so the event was devoid of the usual surprise nostalgia acts; maybe we’ll get one or two here, that’d be fun. Conventional wisdom says this is the device to let Braun Strowman shine on the big stage and I don’t disagree…but that doesn’t mean he has to win. Strowman will dominate the match, eliminate the majority of also-ran participants and look like the unstoppable beast that he is. Booking Strowman, Big Show and Sami Zayn as the final three competitors makes the most sense to me. The two giants will grapple to a stalemate, leaving the door open for Zayn to capitalize and win the match. Strowman leaves unharmed, Big Show serves as the established act getting younger guys over and Zayn has an important moment of victory that could be valuable moving forward….or Shaq could show up and toss them all, causing both Andre ‘The Giant’ and Vince McMahon Sr. to shake the earth as they spin in their graves. Prediction: Sami Zayn

Jeff Martin: RAW clearly wanted to set up more possible winners, with the additions of Big Show and Sami Zayn, but this is the Braun Strowman show. The real question is whether we’ll see somebody random like Tatanka show up again without being mentioned. Prediction: Braun Strowman.

Lee Malone: The smart money for this year’s ATGMBR is all going on Braun Strowman. And for good reason he should win this. Not because he needs it or it will mean anything in the long run but because nobody else in this match should be eliminating Braun. Ideally we get a few legends in here alongside the Smackdown tag division and then Braun can eliminate them all. Prediction: Braun Strowman

WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson © vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Cesaro & Sheamus

Barry Hess: The tag team division has most definitely been placed on the creative back burner since New Day’s historic reign came to an end. That said, these three teams have been telling a nice little story the last few weeks. No silly antics or diluted angles, just three teams battling for the tag titles. Gallows and Anderson are the brutish heel champions; Enzo and Cass are the larger than life personalities; Cesaro and Sheamus are the hungry former champions. These three teams share an exciting chemistry; adding the ladder match stipulation seems both unnecessary and thrilling at the same time. It feels like Enzo and Cass are primed for their first big moment on the main roster, but I’d personally rather see Cesaro and Sheamus recapture the titles. Prediction: Enzo Amore & Big Cass

Jeff Martin: This became a ladder match on RAW, which is GREAT, because some furniture being thrown around is really helping my interest in this. These teams have been butting heads in various combinations through the entirety of 2017, and will probably continue to do so after WrestleMania. I have a feeling this one is going to open the show, to get the crowd hyped up with some good old-fashioned ladder violence. If it does, I could see Enzo and Cass winning to start things off hot. Otherwise, this one’s actually really tough to guess, because all of these teams are fairly cold right now. Prediction: Enzo Amore & Big Cass

Lee Malone: This being a Ladder match makes it infinitely more interesting. Anderson & Gallows and Sheamus & Cesaro throwing Enzo around and possibly from a great height will definitely get the fans engaged. There doesn’t seem to be any solid plans for the tag division going forward so really any team here could win but I think we will see the champs retain through some kind of shenanigans. Prediction: Anderson & Gallows

WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Neville © vs. Austin Aries

Barry Hess: Like most, I immediately fell in love with heel Neville, but the character’s disposition has shifted in a negative direction for me since being juxtaposed against Austin Aries’ character. Neville feels less threatening and more cartoonish as compared to Aries’ realistic persona. Nevertheless, this should be one of the highlights of WrestleMania, no matter where the match is positioned on the card. Aries’ organic rise (and the promotion’s ability to recognize and capitalize on it) has been one of the more positive events to occur on RAW this year. This is the biggest stage both performers have received in their respective careers and I expect both to cease the opportunity. Prediction: Austin Aries

Jeff Martin: I hope being on the pre-show gives this match some extra time, as it has the potential to be one of the best matches of the night between the ropes. Heel Neville has been a revelation, and may have single-handedly saved a division which RAW seemed determine to kill. The build hasn’t been spectacular, but the promos have been good and I expect the match will be even better. Aries is almost assuredly winning, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the king retain his crown for a while longer. Prediction: Austin Aries.

Lee Malone: Austin Aries vs Neville being a WrestleMania match for the Cruiserweight Title is something nobody could have possibly predicted at the climax of the Cruiserweight Classic. But here we are and being on the pre-show could be a blessing in disguise. Since his return Neville has been terrific and has single handedly rescued the Cruiserweight division and he deserves this moment in the sun. A Doubles ascension to the top of the Cruiserweight mountain has been swift and his promo skills have helped massively. I expect Aries to win but would not complain should Neville retain Prediction: Austin Aries

WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
Alexa Bliss © vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Mickie James vs. Carmella vs. Naomi vs. “Others”

Barry Hess: It’s hard to break this match down without really understanding what kind of match it’s going to be. Will it be a gauntlet match? Will it be an every woman for herself scramble match? Will all the participants be involved up front or will we get a surprise entrant(s)? I have no idea, and neither did Tom Phillips as he struggled to explain what kind of match to expect on the go-home episode of SmackDown Live. Nevertheless, I’ve enjoyed the depth of SmackDown’s women’s division since the brand split, but there’s always been a bit of a disconnect between the intriguing characters and the vanilla stories propping them up. There seems to be a lack of urgency across the entire division right now; no blood feud, no determined challenger on a great chase- just the brilliance of Alexa Bliss and the above average ‘meh’ of everyone else. I can see how Naomi would be the favorite as the hometown hero, but the lack of clarity on what this match is going to be has me thinking the blue brand’s women’s title will be one of the few titles that leaves Orlando with the body that brought it. Prediction:Alexa Bliss

Jeff Martin: I was loving the Smackdown women’s division prior to the re-setting of the status quo after Elimination Chamber. The build to the multi-woman match has been clunky, but that will be forgotten if Naomi’s return leads to her winning the title. WWE kind of lucked out with this one, as Naomi’s return from injury is pretty much the only part of this match that has any juice. The Smackdown women have proved adept at multi-woman clusterfuck matches in the past, so I’m optimistic about this bout being a lot more entertaining than it looks at first glance. Prediction: Naomi

Lee Malone: This may be the hardest match of the whole weekend to preview because nobody knows exactly what kind of match this is. Is it a gauntlet? Is it just a cluster where first pinfall wins? Will there be surprise entrants? Its a shame really as the Smackdown Women’s division has been over delivering for most of the year since the Draft. Naomi being the hometown girl seems to be the only story going in but we all know WWE loves booking all hometown wrestlers to lose. I think we get a bit of a reset of the division and they go with the tried and tested babyface champion. Prediction: Becky Lynch

WWE Intercontinental Championship
Dean Ambrose © vs. Baron Corbin

Barry Hess: I’m not going to even try to fake it till I make it on this one. It’s a match, it’s for the Intercontinental title and I couldn’t care less about any of it. Here’s hoping they surprise me and create something great together. I’m not holding my breath. Prediction: Dean Ambrose

Jeff Martin: I keep forgetting that this match is happening. Since stepping out of the main event picture, Dean Ambrose has returned to having flashes of a great character, but mostly being a rodeo clown. The brand split has really helped Baron Corbin develop into a pretty good depth piece, and I expect he’ll continue that upward trajectory by capturing his first championship belt in WWE. Hopefully no forklifts are involved. Prediction: Baron Corbin

Lee Malone: This will be sold as Baron Corbins big moment of capturing the prestigious Intercontinental Title when in reality the title has meant very little since Ambrose won it. This will just be an average **½ match. Prediction: Baron Corbin

John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse

Barry Hess: I can’t think of another match I was so vehemently against on paper only to be completely invested after just a few weeks of build. The edgy but reality-based John Cena persona is fantastic. The Talking Smack-inspired Miz persona is great as well. Maryse and Nikki Bella have both contributed to this story in a positive manner. The Miz and Maryse have the perfect ratio of truth and manipulation in their attacks to create an interesting depth to the story while still maintaining a traditional heel-face dynamic. How fascinating would it be if The Miz left Orlando with two wins over Cena at WrestleMania under his belt? The easy (lazy?) thing to do is book Cena and Bella to go over before a tailor-made WrestleMania moment in the form of an in-ring proposal. Why not have your cake and eat it too, booker man? Miz and Maryse should win this match using every heel tactic under the sun. The wronged heroes can rebound post match and still have their ‘I do’ moment. Miz, more frustrated than ever, can work the remainder of 2017 with an even larger chip on his shoulder, winning the WWE title somewhere along the way, before the story culminates in New Orleans with Cena avenging his WrestleMania blemishes and winning his record-breaking 17th title in the process. Yea, I know…spoiler alert: Cena wins. I can live with that. Prediction: John Cena & Nikki Bella

Jeff Martin: This is one of the best built matches on this year’s card. John Cena and the Miz have both been spitting hot fire throughout the feud, but Maryse surprised me with a really entertaining performance in the Total Bellas Bullshit segments. Nikki Bella is also involved. This has a chance to be quite good, and even if it’s not, it’s still one of the matches I’ll be most interested in. Prediction: John Cena & Nikki Bella because OBVIOUSLY.

Lee Malone: This is the match with the best build on the entire show. Miz & Maryse have been amazing all year but have really stepped it up since the issues with Cena & Nikki began. It doesnt matter that we all know Cena & Nikki will win with stereo STFs, we will get to enjoy the antics of Mr and Mrs Mizanin along the way. I pray that we get a video similar to the famous Hate Me Now package from WrestleMania 27. And yes the proposal will happen. Prediction: John Cena & Nikki Bella

WWE United States Championship
Chris Jericho © vs. Kevin Owens

Barry Hess: This match embodies everything I want from my pro wrestling experience. Long-term booking with a few twists and a few laughs along the way; check. Compelling characters; check. An intriguing conflict; check. The story of Jericho and Owens was as predictable as it was entertaining, often times the act was the highlight of weekly television. Jericho was the heel you could both love and hate at the same time, while Owens was the thankless heel champion with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. The epic Festival of Friendship was executed to perfection, setting up a traditional WrestleMania grudge match. This match doesn’t feel quite as big as it should, an unfortunate byproduct of the massive card (and the US Title’s current value), but that is my only complaint. Since the ruthless version of Kevin Owens appears to be back (and better than ever…), it would make sense that he stands tall in this one. Let the prizefighter have his prize. Prediction: Kevin Owens

Jeff Martin: I think this is the easiest bet for a match that will produce between the bells. It’s been the most consistently good storyline on RAW for, what, 8 months? I suspect Owens will win the feud, since Jericho is leaving soon, but I also think we’re going to get one more match. My gut says Jericho will win this one for a satisfying feeling of vengeance for the broken friendship, but costing Owens the Universal Title at Fastlane might have been the height of Jericho’s revenge. Prediction: Kevin Owens

Lee Malone: This match involves 2 of my favourite wrestlers. It stems from the amazing Festival of Friendship angle. It is a programme that has been building since September. I should be hyped as all hell for this and yet I’m not. I am positive I will enjoy when it happens but it feels like its a bit lost in the shuffle. I expect a rematch between these two will main event a Raw very soon and feel bigger and more important. Prediction: Kevin Owens

WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Bayley © vs. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax

Barry Hess: SmackDown Live’s women’s division has depth but lacks gripping creative; RAW’s women’s division has lacked depth since the brand split (that’s starting to change) but has benefited from some compelling angles. The connective tissue between the four women in this match has been decent for the most part (with the exception of Bayley’s inexcusable win over Charlotte at Fastlane), but the performers have not executed in such a way that has me completely invested. A distracting disconnect remains ever-present, most of which centers around Bayley. Her promos are too often lackluster and repetitive, her inconsistent ability to tell a story in the ring seesaws from slightly below average to slightly above average and the way she was booked to basically ignore the fact that she won the title because of Sasha’s help makes her look silly (not to mention adding credence to Charlotte’s claim that she is only a paper champion). Unless Bayley single-handedly eliminates each of the three challengers in this match it’s hard for me to picture her recapturing the magic that made her so special in NXT. A Sasha heel-turn that coincided with a title win would make me happy; her character is a heel, plain and simple, That said, Nia Jax is inching dangerously close to paper tiger territory. After months of solid booking she lost clean to Bayley and Banks respectively with little creative equity gained from either loss. As for Charlotte, it feels like she may be primed to step away from the title picture for a bit, maybe a program with Dana or Emma or someone else? That wouldn’t be the worst idea as long as it’s short term. Overall, I’m excited to see what these women come up with in terms of match structure. My expectations are high. Prediction: Sasha Banks

Jeff Martin: The one (very minor) benefit of parity booking is that you can make an argument for any one of these women to win the belt here. Killing Charlotte’s PPV streak at Fastlane was really weird, but it kind of leaves this match wide open. As much as it seems like Bayley and Sasha Banks are going to be spun off into their own singles feud, it’s possible that it doesn’t happen for the title. But then again, it’s the RAW women’s division, where stories that aren’t about the title don’t exist. The safe bet is that one of Bayley or Sasha win the title, and Sasha turns heel either during the match or the next night on RAW. The way more interesting idea, to me, is a Nia Jax title win. RAW has beaten Sasha/Charlotte/Bayley into the ground already, and Nia as a dominant monster would be an intriguing change of pace. Prediction: Bayley

Lee Malone: I am going to go against the grain and say Bayley ending Charlotte’s PPV streak at Fastlane makes sense if this is the moment that Sasha reveals her true colours and we get to see the real Boss. Sasha screwing Charlotte who she hates and using Bayley as her pawn needs to be the story and if WWE are brave they will hold off on the inevitable Sasha vs Bayley match until SummerSlam. Use that time to have Bayley build herself up and prove she didn’t need Sasha’s help to win the belt while Sasha continues to find ways to avoid her. Nia seems like the odd woman out here but she could also be the wildcard and she may be the option that provides the freshest direction for the women’s division. Prediction: Sasha Banks





Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles

Barry Hess: So I was ready for all the plunder that comes with a high-profile Shane McMahon match…then AJ Styles cut his go-home promo during the contract signing segment of Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown Live. This is going to be a straight wrestling match, or as the writer of the segment dutifully scribed, a ‘traditional match’ (Goddamn pal, we do entertainment, not wrestling!). That little nugget of information changes everything. I think we’re getting ready for a long run with babyface AJ Styles at the vanguard of the SmackDown Live charge. This match would serves as the platform for the transformation to take place. I’m very interested to see how this plays out. Obviously Shane is not capable of hanging with Styles move for move, but the man understands ring psychology and has a knack for giving the audience what they want. If this turns out to be a great match, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least; which is just as much of a vote of confidence for Shane as it is for Styles. Prediction: AJ Styles

Jeff Martin: During the build to this match, Smackdown deftly wove the Wyatt Family disintegration story into this one, and it was one of the best structurally complex narratives WWE has executed in years. Now, what happened after that, with Shane McMahon needing to be presented as a threat to the former World Champion who beat John Cena at will last year, was not what I particularly want to see on my television. That aside, I think AJ Styles going 20 minutes with a coat rack can hit four stars, so I’m optimistic that this match will out-do what it looks like on paper. Prediction: Shane McMahon

Lee Malone: I like Shane McMahon. I know I shouldn’t but he is definitely one of my guilty pleasures. And AJ Styles is in my opinion a top 3 worker of all time. Shane should not be going hold for hold with AJ but should this match be relaxed rules or more officially No DQ then Shane doing crazy shit is the way to even the playing field. In the end though I expect a dominant win for AJ while Shane earns his respect. Prediction: AJ Styles

Non-Sanctioned Match
Seth Rollins vs. Triple H

Barry Hess: I know Triple H always gets an elaborate entrance at WrestleMania, but this is a non-sanctioned match; I need him to walk out Magnum TA style: no shirt, taped fists and a pair of old blue jeans, like he’s getting ready to enter an old Jim Crockett Promotions Bunkhouse Stampede. They’ll never top last year’s epic entrance with Skeleton Queen, Stephanie McMahon anyway! But seriously, in a weird sort of way, this story and match is more interesting than I think it would have been had Seth Rollins not suffered the unfortunate injury that he did. It’s allowed the match to gain another level of drama and it will certainly play into the story told once the bell rings. Seth Rollins has been a bit whiny in his promos for my liking; I much rather prefer the fiery babyface that crashed TakeOver. At the same time, it’s very possible that his real-life emotions are blending with those of his character due to his recent setbacks. In a weird sort of way, that is very cool. Samoa Joe is likely to get involved at some point, but how that involvement plays into the finish is the big question. The story between Triple H and Rollins has started and stalled a few times already and at this point I’d rather see it come to it’s natural conclusion (in terms of a match) and move on to the natural progression between Joe and whatever non-wrestling role Triple H will assume as it pertains to RAW. Prediction: Seth Rollins

Jeff Martin: This has been best WrestleMania build, for my tastes. Triple H’s promo work in the past couple of months has ranked with his best ever, and Rollins has finally been able to come off as a babyface instead of a whiner. I think Rollins’ style is a lot more conducive to a good match than Triple H’s past few opponents, as he can pinball around to keep Trips’ control period interesting. I also expect we’ll see Samoa Joe get involved, with Rollins overcoming the odds, as WWE loves to much, to wrap up the story. Prediction: Seth Rollins

Lee Malone: The match 2 years in the making. And it has probably benefitted from Seths legit injuries. I feel a lot of people are sleeping on this match and that it could really be a quality bout. We all know HHH does his best work in these gimmick matches and Seth is crazy enough to take some big bumps. Samoa Joe will undoubtedly make his presence felt at some stage but this is going to be Seths moment. Prediction: Seth Rollins

The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns

Barry Hess: This isn’t a match where the quality of the in-ring performance is all that important. This is a classic WWE story-heavy match. Two established performers, the beloved legend and the polarizing but talented younger counterpart, fighting over the rights of the proverbial yard. The build was short, but straight-forward and focused. It’s clear Reigns needs to turn heel; it’s clear Reigns is at his best as a heel. We all know this. If Reigns leaves Orlando as a hated heel (and not in an ironic or isolated manner) than the match will have served its purpose. The how and the why are exponentially more important than who gets his hand raised. If this match is executed to perfection there’s still a 25% chance a significant portion of the crowd shits all over it because…wrestling fans. If the match is worthy of boos, boo away Orlando, but please give it a chance to breathe first. It could be the start of a fun stretch in the Roman Reigns creative trajectory. Prediction: Roman Reigns

Jeff Martin: Roman Reigns was a straight-up heel on RAW, and he was awesome at it. This match has a very high ceiling and a very low floor. If Undertaker’s corpse holds up, I think this could be an excellent match that ends ‘Taker’s streak of poor ‘Mania matches. The build has been about as good as Undertaker builds get in recent years, and it’s certainly the most interesting match-up ‘Taker has had since the Triple H bouts, so I’m hopeful that this delivers. The streak not being a factor helps this match, too, as there’s a sense of unpredictability about the result. Prediction: Roman Reigns

Lee Malone: WrestleMania is all about the moments and this match is definitely going to go down in WWE history as a moment. Roman needs a heel turn and the timing feels absolutely perfect for it now. This match could over deliver or it could go the way of the Lesnar Undertaker match at WrestleManiaXXX but one thing is for sure it is going to have the whole stadium invested. Undertaker to win the match but get left lying by Roman seems the ideal outcome. Prediction: Undertaker

WWE Universal Championship
Goldberg © vs. Brock Lesnar

Barry Hess: I have yet to be disappointed when these two goliaths share the ring together. Like everyone else, I have no idea how a match of this magnitude is going to play out considering the obvious limitations involved, but I’m excited to find out. I think this is the last match of the night, but I really don’t care where it’s positioned or why. It’s WrestleMania, where irresistable forces and immovable object collide. No other match on the card captures that sentiment like this match. Wrestling is supposed to be fun; I’m going to have fun whether this match last three minutes or goes broadway. Prediction: Brock Lesnar

Jeff Martin: How funny would it be if Goldberg crushed Brock in 90 seconds again? This probably won’t be good, but that’s why we bring alcohol to WrestleMania parties, right? By the time this thing starts at the 17 hour mark, I’m sure I’ll have made my own entertainment. Seriously, though, I’ll probably really enjoy this match, despite its flaws, and I’m intrigued by the prospect of another Lesnar absentee title reign. Prediction: Brock Lesnar

Lee Malone: I don’t care how long this match goes because I am going to enjoy it. This feels like a big time match. To me this match is must see. Whether Goldberg annihilates Brock in 90 seconds again or Brock just kills Bill with german suplexes followed by an F5 doesn’t matter at all to me. A year long Lesnar reign as Universal Champion seems to be the predicted outcome and I am ok with that. Prediction: Brock Lesnar

WWE Championship
Bray Wyatt © vs. Randy Orton

Barry Hess: I believe this could be a match of the night contender. Storywise, things have taken a bit of a campy turn the last few weeks, but I’ve enjoyed it nonetheless. As nice as it is to have two one-on-one matches for the top titles of the respective brands on this show, I can’t help but think this match would make more sense if Luke Harper were involved; I half expected that last minute twist to take shape on this past Tuesday on SmackDown Live. Will we finally meet Sister Abigail? That’d be kinda cool (as long as she isn’t a hologram). Bray Wyatt has yet to stand tall at WrestleMania. The promotion has managed to resurrect the character from the icy depths of creative obscurity, it’d be damn shame to waste all that hard work and let him fall once again. Wyatt pinned Styles at Elimination Chamber, if AJ turns face as I expect that would be the most logical post-Mania program for both characters. Prediction: Bray Wyatt

Jeff Martin: Randy Orton as a member of the Wyatt Family was the most interesting he’s been in aaaaages. I love it when wrestling is ridiculous, so Orton burning down Bray Wyatt’s swamp lair was wonderful. While it’s possible that Bray Wyatt becomes even more powerful as a result and retains the title to extend the feud, the natural conclusion is an Orton win. And besides, Bray Wyatt loses feuds. It’s his thing. Prediction: Randy Orton.

Lee Malone: This is the one match on the card that can be predicted based purely on its placement on the show. If it goes on early – halfway through the show I think Bray retains due to some Wyatt Family chicanery. But if this match closes the show then we are getting an Orton win complete with confetti and fireworks and a voyage into a new age of Orton. The story between these 2 has been well built and the match will be fine if not spectacular. Bray has felt refreshed recently so I would like to see that continue while with Randy its a story we have already seen plenty of times. Prediction: Bray Wyatt