I realized I am way short on days left until WrestleMania and still many matches to look at before then. So we're going to triple up today. And probably be pretty WrestleMania heavy this weekend as well.
RAW Tag Team Championship
Gallows and Anderson vs. Enzo and Cass vs. Cesaro and Sheamus
I love the addition of the Ladder Match stipulation here. This match would have died a slow death on the main card once you got past Enzo and Cass' introduction. Now with the ladders it's a whole new ball game. We'll get some fun spots and some entertaining action. Now I'm actually looking forward to the match.
I was all set here to pick Enzo and Cass here to pick up their first ever set of tag titles. WrestleMania always made for moments and what can be shown in a historical video package and an Enzo/Cass victory would definitely meet that criteria, especially sitting on a pair of ladders. But then I read a piece by my guy Brian Campbell today where he reminded me that SummerSlam is in their hometown of Brooklyn again this year. That could actually be the better moment for their first title win. And it would allow WWE to tell that story of Enzo/Cass chasing their first titles a little bit better and really put a focus on that. That chase has been mentioned on TV but I don't think it's been a focus.
That plan sounds better to me. I'm switching my pick over to Gallows and Anderson then. The WWE put the straps on them about 4-6 months too late and really haven't done them any favors after giving them the straps either. They aren't dead by any means but I think they could be much bigger. Hopefully a win here gives them a direction heading out of WrestleMania.
Winner: The Club
SmackDown Women's Championship
Alexa Bliss against all available women on the SmackDown roster
The return of Naomi on Tuesday night was a twist I wasn't expecting before WrestleMania. Leading into this match, they've been pretty deliberate to state that "all available" women on the SmackDown roster are able to compete. So I think we will get some surprise entrants in this match and my expectation was that Naomi would be one of those surprise entrants and she'd end up winning. The early return makes me cautious...which is a good thing.
They've also announced that this match will be on the preshow, which is disappointing. That announcement reduces the likelihood of big surprise entrants, at least in my eyes. Maybe I was shooting for the moon here but in the back of my mind when Daniel Bryan would continue to stress "all available" women I kept thinking Trish Stratus. I knew the possibility was small, but it is WrestleMania.
They aren't bringing Trish Stratus back to be on the preshow. I think that holds true for Asuka as well. So there may be some surprise entrants, but maybe not an huge marquee surprises. And I think that also keeps the surprise entrants from winning this. So I'm only choosing the winner from the list of entrants we currently know, provided this stays on the preshow.
Naomi seems like the most likely winner. Returning Champ. Hometown. Fan favorite. Those are all classic troupes to a WrestleMania story. She's the safe money and also who I'll end up picking.
RAW Women's Championship
Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT: This should be the women's match that's on the preshow and not the SmackDown's bout. Just because of the star-power of the women on the RAW side that will not happen but I'm much more intrigued by what's going on with the SmackDown women and their multi-person match than this Fatal Fourway Elimination match with the RAW women.
Often with wrestling less is more, and I definitely feel like that is the case here. This title match seems too jumbled and messy for me. For as much progress as the women have made in the WWE, I wish the company would have let them just have a singles match for the championship at WrestleMania. Last year it was a Triple Threat match and this year it's two multi-women matches for the titles. It's hard to really build the drama and storytelling to the next level without ever getting just a one-on-one contest. Look at what I'd consider the top six matches on the card this year:
Goldberg vs. Lesnar. Orton vs. Wyatt. Undertaker vs. Reigns. HHH vs. Rollins. Owens vs. Jericho. Styles vs. McMahon.
All one-on-one matches. Bayley and Sasha had two classic championship matches on PPV during their time in NXT. Those matches probably wouldn't have reached the same level they did if you add a third person in there. WWE missed the boat this year by not making this a singles match. I understand the reasons why they didn't (already ran through Sasha/Charlotte, wanted to differentiate from everything else on card, didn't want to leave one women out) but they still missed the boat.
For the match we have though, I really think any of the four could win. I think Nia is the least likely but I wouldn't be shocked if she left WrestleMania as the champion. My pick is going to be Sasha though. I think the long-term story trying to be told here is Sasha manipulating/helping Bayley win the championship since she was unable to challenge Charlotte again. Knowing this, she had to help Bayley win and retain the championship so Sasha could take it from her. Hopefully then it can play out so Sasha can turn on Bayley and get back to her roots as a heel. As The Boss.
Winner: Sasha Banks