Curt Hawkins vs. Mojo Rawley
Seems like an easy one here. Mojo seems to be getting a singles push now with Zack Ryder, his former tag team partner, injured and out for the forseeable future. Curt Hawkins go out there with Mojo and make him look great. Mojo gets a win on the Kickoff Show to keep building some momentum. And I may be in the minority on this but I do think there is money to be made with Mojo. He's got that late 80's, early 90's Saturday morning WWF wrestler feel to him that kids love. I'm buying Mojo Rawley stock if anyone is selling it.
Winner: Mojo Rawley
Feels like this has to be a set up for something to happen here. Maybe Ziggler brings in a partner or manager or something. But the heel being the 1 in a 2-on-1 match against two good guys just feels off. I can’t think this match just ends in a clean pinfall either way. So this seems more like an angle-progression match than a definitive ending match. I’ll predict someone runs in to help Ziggler and those two form a new heel tag team together. A prediction on who that could be? Scrolling through the NXT roster quickly I’ll guess maybe…..oh man, no one really makes sense. Maybe Roderick Strong?
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Mickie James has been really great in her return so far. Another bout that seems more likely to be an angle-progression match than a definitive ending match to me. I said this going into the Kickoff Show match at the Royal Rumble but I’ll say it here too, Mickie James needs to score the pinfall here to solidify her return to the main roster. Becky can dominate most of the match but through some type of shenanigans or chicanery Mickie needs to leave with the upperhand to further this feud and give Mickie some legitimacy in the minds of new fans who aren’t that familiar with her prior run in WWE.
Winner: Mickie James
Tag Team Turmoil Match
American Alpha vs. The Usos vs. Slater/Rhyno vs. The Ascension vs. The Vaudevillains vs. Breezango
Well my original thoughts for this match went out the door Wednesday night so I need to regroup. I had originally thought American Alpha would win this thing defeating all five other tag teams in the division to declare themselves the best team on SmackDown, only to have The Revival’s music hit and leave them laying.
But after NXT this Wednesday night it looks like the Revival are starting a new feud with The Authors of Pain for the NXT Tag Team Championships. So if they are still locked into NXT for the next month or so I have to go a different way. It feels like someone other than American Alpha steals the titles here so American Alpha can chase them into WrestleMania. The Usos would make the most sense I guess. So maybe American Alpha starts the match and goes through four teams only to fall to The Usos at the end.
Winner: The Usos
Some bad acting on both ends aside, this has been a pretty solid feud. I really like that they are adding in some personal elements into their drama that we are at least privy to via Total Divas. I think Nikki has to win this to move on to some prominent position at WrestleMania. Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki Bella for the championship at WrestleMania isn’t a terrible idea in my eyes. Or, more likely, some type of multi-women match at WrestleMania could likely be in the mix and Nikki could be featured as a major threat. Needs a win here to solidify that though.
Winner: Nikki Bella
Look for Luke Harper to put up a good fight here, get to the brink of winning, only to end up losing to Randy Orton. The Viper just won the Royal Rumble and is going to be prominently feature at WrestleMania, he’s not going to lose on a PPV leading up to that event. I realize Harper is in the infancy stages of a mini-push as well but not near the level Orton is getting pushed right now with the Royal Rumble victory. Maybe this ends as a double-DQ or double count-out, but if there is a decisive winner it will be Randy Orton.
Winner: Randy Orton
Alexa Bliss vs. Naomi
I really wish the WWE would have building up Naomi the last 2-3 months like they’ve been building her up the past 2-3 weeks. Hard to buy into challengers for titles if you haven’t seen them successful on TV in months just to see them win 3 or 4 matches right before the PPV. Continue that push and make a prolonged series of events and then I’ll buy Naomi as a legitimate title contender. That hasn’t happened yet, so give me Alexa Bliss. What a run for her as well. Last WrestleMania she was still down in NXT and not really even in the title hunt for that women’s title. This WrestleMania, she’ll walk into that event as the SmackDown women’s champion. Good for her.
Winner: Alexa Bliss
John Cena vs. AJ Styles vs. The Miz vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin vs. Bray Wyatt
I think there are two legitimate contenders to win this match: Bray Wyatt and John Cena.
Ambrose is already the Intercontinental Champion so I can’t see him winning here to be a double champion heading into WrestleMania. Still seems too early for a Baron Corbin title run, especially heading into the largest show of the year.
I could see a scenario where The Miz sneaks a championship win here and headlines WrestleMania again but that doesn’t see likely to me. And if the WWE wanted AJ Styles to leave as champion I don’t think they would have taken the belt off of him at Royal Rumble.
So that just leaves Wyatt and Cena in my eyes. Cases for both:
*Bray Wyatt wins and goes on to face Randy Orton at WrestleMania. That’s an interesting dynamic there in the Wyatt Family and an easy to tell story. It also frees up John Cena for WrestleMania. I’d go Cena vs. Styles vs. Undertaker at WrestleMania in a feud designed to see who really runs SmackDown.
*John Cena wins and faces Randy Orton at WrestleMania. I know that story has been told before but not with that Wyatt Family at Orton’s side. I actually like that wrinkle. And like I said in Randy Orton’s section of my Royal Rumble preview, you can’t underestimate “star power” in the eyes of WWE. On their biggest show of the year I can see the appeal of Randy Orton vs. John Cena. And I don’t like breaking up Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt yet, this avenue allows them to stay together past WrestleMania.
I can see both scenarios and both make sense to me. I’ll lean towards John Cena though. I don’t see him losing the title in his first defense after winning a record tying 16th World Championship. That’s the one piece to the puzzle I can’t wrap my head around. And, if you have to live your life by pushing your money to the middle of the table on John Cena then you've done alright in the past.
Winner: John Cena