Each year, the WWE embarks on what they’ve dubbed as the “Road to WrestleMania,” which is a three-month build-up to WWE’s largest event of the year: WrestleMania. This road is paved with good and bad booking decisions that ultimately deliver storyline payoffs at pro wrestling’s equivalent of the Super Bowl.
In 2020, WrestleMania 36 will be held on April 5th, which means the first stop on the road to the “Showcase of the Immortals” will be at the Royal Rumble PPV on January 26th, 2020.
With roughly four weeks until the Royal Rumble, and at least three months until WrestleMania 36, let’s dig deep into our “intestinal fortitude” and make some high flying predictions that will make you look like a genius with your wrestling friends.
Shayna Baszler Wins the Women’s Royal Rumble and Defeats “The Man”
It’s no secret, Baszler is one of the “baddest” women on the WWE roster. Her reign in NXT was so dominating that she became one of the brand’s top stars. Despite recently dropping the NXT women’s title to the talented Rhea Ripley, there are big things in store for Baszler. Could we see a Rousey 2.0?
The first prediction for Baszler is just a warmup to get the blood flowing through the body before I make my big prediction. Baszler is going to head to RAW in the very near future. The only question is whether or not it will be before or after the Royal Rumble.
Speaking of the annual January PPV, Baszler will win the Women’s Royal Rumble match and go on to challenge Becky Lynch at WrestleMania 36 for the RAW women’s title. And, wait for it, Baszler is going to beat “The Man” and win the title. The end of Lynch’s “The Man” era is near.
Edge Appears in the Men’s Royal Rumble
Over the last month, there have been numerous reports that Edge has been medically cleared to return to the wrestling ring. If that’s true, and I believe it is despite what Edge tweets, watch out for “The Rated R Superstar” to make an appearance in the Men’s Royal Rumble match and be one of the final four participants.
Surprise appearances have become part of the Royal Rumble lore and there would be no greater or more enjoyable surprise entrant than Edge. Whether this means Edge returns part-time to the WWE or not is an entirely different story.
If he doesn’t come back to the WWE after the Royal Rumble then hopefully he can get a spinoff for his character on the hit TV show “Vikings.”
Tyson Fury Returns to the WWE
“Whether you like it or don’t like it, learn to love it” because Tyson Fury is going to return to WWE in the near future. There’s no bigger stage than WrestleMania and a Fury appearance would be huge with the mainstream media and casual fans.
Fury defeated Braun Strowman at Crown Jewel a few months ago and made a good showing for himself despite it being his first pro wrestling match. Once comfortable with the wrestling landscape, Fury got into a groove on the mic and proved that he could be a successful sports entertainer.
A huge factor in Fury’s WWE return will be how he does against Deontay Wilder in their boxing rematch on February 22nd. Fury is the slight underdog in the rematch, but could become world champion with a win. WWE would love to have another world champion be a part of WrestleMania.
Could Fury return to take on Brock Lesnar?
It’s not too farfetched to think that the WWE books Lesnar against Fury especially since Tyson already defeated Strowman. Personally, I would love to see him take on Drew McIntyre as the WWE will eventually make McIntyre one of its top stars in 2020.
Brock Lesnar Drops the WWE Title at WM 36
Speaking of Lesnar, “The Beast” is going to buckle up the WWE world title in the passenger seat as he heads out from Suplex City on the “Road to WrestleMania.” In other words, don’t expect Lesnar to drop the title before he reaches “The Grandest Stage of them All.”
With that said, I predict that Lesnar drops the belt at Mania to someone like Samoa Joe. Yes, you read that right. Joe is going to be a main event player by the time we reach the first stop on the road – Royal Rumble. He will be in a big-time feud with Seth Rollins that should springboard him to one of the top stars on the “Red show.”
From there, Rollins will head in a different direction while Samoa Joe ascends above guys like McIntyre, Orton and A.J. Styles. Joe is my favorite to win the Elimination Chamber on March 8th, 2020, and take on Brock Lesnar at Mania.
CM Punk vs Seth Rollins at WM 36
One of the biggest storylines of the year was the return of CM Punk to the WWE. Well, it’s close enough as he’s supposedly “only working” for FOX as an analyst on WWE’s studio show.
Since his return, Punk and Seth Rollins have engaged in a war of words on Twitter. Yes, this is a case where a “Twitter beef” will materialize into something real. And, that will be a match between the two at WrestleMania 36.
Although it wouldn’t be for a world title or in the main event, Punk vs Rollins would steal the show like Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage at WrestleMania 3.
Roman Reigns Defeats The Fiend at WM 36
Once he’s done feuding with King Corbin in matches where the loser must eat dog food, Reigns will turn his attention toward The Fiend and go after the Universal Title. WWE’s “Samoan Superman” will be the one to cleanly pin The Fiend and end the mystique of one of the WWE’s best gimmicks.
Make no mistake about it, Reigns will superman punch his way to the Universal Title and conquer the “Blue show” for the foreseeable future.
Cena Returns at WM 36 and Lays Foundation for a 17th Title Reign
There have been numerous reports over the last few weeks that John Cena wants to return to the WWE for WrestleMania 36. The last true “face of the franchise,” Cena wants to be a part of something significant at the major PPV.
Perhaps, he can time his return to the WWE with a release of another film or a possible announcement that he’s getting engaged.
Since there’s really no big match that Cena can be put in, due to major stars and world champs being in other matches according to the predictions above, the only other option is for Cena to lay down the foundation for another WWE title run.
Cena will ask if anyone can see him as he challenges for one of the world titles at SummerSlam or Survivor Series. Prepare for a big brouhaha as Cena breaks Ric Flair’s “record” of 16 world title reigns.
WWE Will Embrace Sports Betting
Perhaps the boldest prediction of them all, the WWE will embrace sports betting like other professional sports leagues have done. It’s become a lucrative avenue for leagues and TV networks to make money with content and advertising. Even fringe sports like NASCAR is allowing gambling sponsors for their racecars while discussing betting odds on-air.
WWE betting sites already exist and they offer wagers on matches, title changes, surprise appearances, ratings, releases, and so much more. It’s not like the WWE has to create anything new; they just need to bear hug this massive niche and capitalize on the financial windfall.
Just imagine watching WWE PPVs and seeing the betting odds right next to a wrestler’s Twitter handle. Or, having WWE Network programming dedicated to betting on the WWE. McMahon’s XFL football league is reportedly going to be immersed in sports betting. So, why not WWE programming?
You can bet that Vince McMahon won’t miss the boat on this opportunity. They have been at the forefront of other evolutions like streaming platforms and Social Media integration. They will jump on this as well.
It’s just a matter of time before the WWE tag teams with sports betting companies. The only question is whether it happens by WrestleMania 36 or WrestleMania 37.