Welcome one and all to my predictions and preview for both WWE NXT Takeover:Dallas and Wrestlemania 32 which happen this weekend April 1st and 3rd respectively. Obviously the predictions and thoughts on the matches that will take place. The cards are subject to change, with that let's get started.
NXT Takeover: Dallas
Shinsuke Nakamura Vs Sami Zayn: This match will be phenomenal contest from two guys that are in two very different destinations in their WWE career. This is probably going to be Sami Zayns final match in NXT before going to the main roster as well as the debut of one of the most talented workers in modern Japanese wrestling Shinsuke Nakamura. I hadn't seen a lot of Nakamuras work until I trawled through YouTube and watched a lot of his more recent work. One match that everyone needs to see is one of Nakamuras final matches in New Japan Pro Wrestling against another new face in WWE; AJ Styles. I think this will be a physical match as the two have really unique styles. I don't know how to call this one because of this possibly being Sami Zayn's final NXT match and how hard he has worked one would believe that he would win on a normal night, however this is no normal match Nakamura is one of the hottest talents to come into WWE in a long while and perhaps one of the biggest stars in NXT. I would like to think Sami will win, however as I said I can't really call it.
Austin Aries Vs Baron Corbin: Another great talent enters a WWE ring for the first time in a decorated career with the arrival on the self proclaimed "Greatest Man That Ever Lived". This has been a match that came out of nowhere, but has been built really well really quickly. Baron Corbin is under rated, in my opinion, and I honestly believe if the rumoured departures of many of the top guys in NXT to the main roster happen Corbin is in line to have a run at the NXT world title. Corbin is a unique talent in the sense that he is tall in stature, but is not the most muscular guy however is agile and freakishly strong. I honestly believe that this match will be a defining in not only Aries career, but also Corbins young career.
The Revival Vs American Alpha (NXT Tag Team Championship): This match is a huge benchmark in tag team wrestling in not only NXT, but WWE in general. In a time where there are very few young tag teams coming through both The Revival and American Alpha are fantastic examples of 4 guys taking an opportunity and really making the best of it. Both teams are very old school in style and have very minimal over the top gimmicks and let their in ring work do the talking. Whilst I think The Revival have had a great run with the championship I think all signs point to American Alpha taking the championship and becoming the premier tag team in NXT.
Bayley Vs Asuka (NXT Women's Championship): I'm a little unsure of how this match will go. Bayley finally won the NXT Women's Championship last summer at Takeover:Brooklyn in a match that was heralded as one of the greatest matches in NXT history. The question has to be asked of Bayleys career, where to next ? I think, like Sami Zayn, this may be Bayleys last night in NXT and there really isn't many other people in NXT that deserve to be on the main roster more than Bayley. My only reservations about Bayley leaving would be that all the great work done by Bayley and her fellow Horsewomen may be undone by a weaker women's division that have maybe only 3 or 4 great workers including Bayleys opponent; Asuka. Asuka is one of the greatest Japenese females to ever enter a ring and has been putting on some great matches of late and I would like to see her gain the NXT Womens Championship, my only thought is that it may mean Asuka never going to the main roster which, rumour has it, may be WWEs plan for her. Expect one of the most emotive matches you'll see all weekend.
Finn Balor Vs Samoa Joe (NXT World Championship): This match, simply put, will steal the show of not only this event, but maybe the whole Wrestlemania weekend. I feel that Finn Balors title run has been a little understated, by that I mean there have only been a couple of landmark matches since his win in Japan in July of last year. If rumours are true as with Sami Zayn and Bayley this might be Finn Balors final NXT match before heading to the main roster. Samoa Joe is a tremendous example, just like AJ Styles, of what the WWE can do for a career. I felt that Joes career was a little stagnant in TNA towards the end of his run and by going to NXT has rebooted and refreshed his career. This will be a match of the year candidate and will allow both men show off their talents to the fullest. The way in which I see this match going is that Finn will lose to Joe which will set up Balors debut on the main roster on RAW the night after Wrestlemania. This will also allow Joe to help establish not only his own run as Champion but new NXT talents such as Corbin, Apollo Crews and new talent arriving in the coming months.
This year seems to have been a bit of a disaster year for injury within the WWE roster. In one year WWE lost a huge chunk of their main event players including Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Ceasaro, Tyson Kidd, John Cena, Randy Orton, Niki Bella, Neville and most recently Luke Harper. It's actually astounding that there were enough able bodied superstars to form a half decent card for this years Wrestlemania. My predictions are in no particular order as the running order doesn't usually get announced until the day of the event.
Andre The Giant Battle Royale: I have really low expectations for this match. This will most definitely be part of the two hour pre show. Even though he has not been announced to be part of the match, Bray Wyatt will hopefully win this match, making his promos in recent weeks make sense or is that WWE simply stop starting yet another Wyatt family push ? I hope not but, apart from Big Show winning this match for a second time I don't really see any other winners of this match.
Kalisto Vs Ryback (United States Championship): This is a weird match up for both parties. Kalisto has really surprised me in recent months really outgrowing Lucha Dragons and becoming a fantastic singles competitor to fill the Rey Mysterio gap. Ryback is still someone who I'm on the fence about. He has a very mid 90s big guy persona that is very one dimensional and doesn't seem to be working for "The Big Guy" any more. Both men have the potential to have a career defining match and really push past the constraints in their respective career.
Total Divas cast Vs Tamina, Naomi, Eva Marie and Emma: This is another match I think will be on the pre show. I have no hopes for this match at all and to be honest I'm slightly disappointed that creative couldn't offer Paige of Natalya a better match than a multi person tag match. This promises to be nothing more than a time filler to push Total Divas story lines.
Chris Jericho Vs AJ Styles: This is a match that proves that both men are still at the top of their game. I really love Jericho in the heel role as he is so incredibley unlike able that AJ Styles simply needs to turn up to be the good guy. Styles, like Samoa Joe, proves that WWE can do wonders for an already established name. Styles didn't need to come to WWE as he had a great spot in New Japan Pro Wrestling the fact he chose to take a huge risk and come to the WWE shows that he is a competitor that still wants a challenge. I really can't see how this one will go, all I do know is that it will be one hell of a match.
The Usos Vs The Dudley Boyz: If rumours are true this match may end up being on the pre show and not on the main show like it should be. The Usos prove that generational wrestlers can outlive their family name and really make a name for themselves. The tag team is incredibly strong at the moment and it's a shame this match will be overshadowed a little by the other tag team match. The Dudleyz are better than ever and really prove that some teams can become even better than they have ever been even in the twilight of their career. I have a funny feeling The Usos will win this match and it may lead to singles careers for DVon and Bubba Ray.
The Miz Vs Dolph Ziggler Vs Sami Zayn Vs Stardust Vs Zack Ryder Vs Sin Cara Vs Kevin Owens Ladder Match (WWE Intercontinental Championship Match): This is a great match on paper. All of the men in this match need to prove themselves as main event players. The ladder match has become a staple of Wrestlemania even after Money in The Bank got it's own PPV or Network Special as WWE calls them now. Kevin Owens is on fire right now and can bring back the prestige and profile to the Intercontinental Championship that was promised around this time last year. I fully expect some great high spots that will make the highlight reels of Wrestlemania's to come. I fully expect Kevin Owens to retain.
The New Day Vs The League Of Nations: Originally supposed to be a straight tag team match for the Tag Team Championship this has become a multi person tag team match featuring all of the team members allowing them all a Wrestlemania moment. Both teams are doing some great work and making the best with what they have been handed. Whilst I was a little disappointed to not see a WWE Tag Team Championship match this will be much more entertaining match allowing all the men involved an opportunity to push themselves into the limelight.
Charlotte Vs Sasha Banks Vs Becky Lynch (WWE Divas Championship): A year ago this match was nothing more than a pipe dream for NXT fans that watched these 3 wrestle some incredible matches. One year later and 3 former NXT divas are now competing for the WWE Divas Championship at Wrestlemania. I enjoy watching all 3 in action and now with Charlotte siding with her dad to become one of the hottest heels in the Divas division at the moment as well as Sasha Banks striking out on her own this match promises to be great. I feel bad for Becky Lynch because she is being over looked as an outsider, however I think she has proven herself as a amazing talent in her own right. I would love to see Sasha win, however I think Charlotte will retain and continue her ascent to one of the greatest Divas of a new generation.
Brock Lesnar Vs Dean Ambrose (Street Fight): This has been built up really well over the weeks. Lesnar has been put in a field of his own as an unbeatable monster, thanks in huge part to Paul Heymans promos and rightly so but, Dean Ambrose seems the first opponent that may actually be a test for Lesnar. Expect an unbelievable match with plenty to talk about. It's great to see Ambrose call back to his hardcore past for inspiration. The only change I would have made is have Mick Foley and Terry Funk expand on their appearances and accompany Ambrose to ringside. I would like to think this is Dean Ambrose finally taking the leap to becoming the main event player he deserves to be, however I think Lesnar will come out on top.
Undertaker Vs Shane McMahon (Hell in a Cell) I think this is a really interesting approach to Undertakers match this year. If the WWE had even suggested Shane McMahons return to take on The Undertaker at Wrestlemania even 6 months ago there would have been some chuckles and then the idea would have been dismissed. The fact that Shane O Mac hasn't really missed a beat and by all appearances can still go in the ring is a great selling point. The fact that not one but two stipulations have been placed on the match is even better. The two possible outcomes are that Shane wins and takes control of WWE and Taker will never be seen again or the more likely Taker wins and nothing at all changes which would seem counterproductive. Hell in a Cell brings the promise of classic Shane O Mac high spots.
Triple H Vs Roman Reigns (WWE World Heavyweight Championship): The Universe is going to love Roman Reigns whether we all like it or not. I have very little opinion on Reigns at all, I don't hate him or love him I'm indifferent. I do think he is one of the most polarising champions since John Cena and Cena now could buy and sell each and every one of us. Triple H has been a great heel champion for the past two months, however I feel they haven't done enough to build Reigns as a credible champion. I believe that Reigns will no doubt come out on top, but they need to do something with him that gives him the slightest chance for regaining a fan appreciation; whether that means that Reigns turns heel or he is screwed out of the championship by Ambrose or even Bray Wyatt to gain a little sympathy for him is to be seen.
Overall this is a slightly overwhelming Wrestlemania card, however I wasn't too sure about how well last year would go and I was pleasantly surprised. Hopefully Wrestlemania 32 marks a change for the better for the WWE as a whole. Rumours are endless as what will happen the night after on RAW possible scenarios is the announcement of a brand draft, which would allow for more exposure of under utilised talent as well as the prospect of seeing NXTs finest graduate to the main roster and become a force for change. Enjoy the weekends festivities.