In three weeks, WWE is going to be celebrating its greatest show of the year. Wrestlemania 37 is set to take place across two nights in Tampa, Florida. Over the next couple of episodes of RAW and SmackDown, we will see the Wrestlemania card play out. However, this year, more than ever, the matches are so up in the air. We only know a handful them headed into The Show of Shows. Let’s take a look at the current state of RAW, SmackDown, and NXT, and what we could expect in the weeks ahead.
The RAW main event for Wrestlemania is set in stone. I do think that out of who they have on the roster, Drew McIntyre would be the best to challenge WWE Champion Bobby Lashley. Honestly, I really believe WWE wanted Brock Lesnar to challenge The Almighty, but he was not available. If WWE wants to make this interesting, they could insert Sheamus to make it a triple threat match. Add a stipulation to the match this Sunday at Fastlane. If Sheamus is able to pin McIntyre, The Celtic Warrior is added to the main event of Wrestlemania. A No Holds Barred match is perfect for the battles that these two have had over the past several weeks.
Riddle is still the United States Champion after a great match with Mustafa Ali this past Monday. I’m not sold on Retribution anymore, but it’s nice to see Ali finally get a title shot as the leader. Plus, where’s Keith Lee been? He would be a perfect challenger for The Original Bro at The Grandest Stage of them All. There’s room for other challengers too. It’s a shame that Aleister Black and Andrade are off of TV, especially after Andrade requested his release earlier this week. Hopefully that situation gets resolved sooner rather than later.
The Miz is no longer in the main event scene following his defeat at the hands of Bobby Lashley. The current plan is reportedly for him to team with John Morrison against Bad Bunny and Damian Priest at Wrestlemania. I’m a huge fan of Priest’s going back to his time in Ring of Honor as Punishment Martinez. His persona right now is awesome and it would be amazing if he can break out on his own post Mania.
This whole Randy Orton-Alexa Bliss-Bray Wyatt storyline has to have some sort of satisfying conclusion because it has been going on for way too long. I’m not a fan of the “Randy Orton spits out black goo because he’s possessed” thing that’s currently playing out on television. I’d like to see more of The Fiend as well, since we’re only three weeks away from The Show of Shows. A Firefly Fun House match similar to what we saw last year against John Cena would be perfect.
It’s a good idea to have AJ Styles and Omos take on The New Day for the tag team titles at Wrestlemania, but I feel like Styles could have been used for a much higher profile match. The tag team division on both brands is a weak point for WWE, and it stinks that Styles has to be inserted to make the division seem important. Good for The New Day for becoming 11 time Tag Team Champions, though. That might be the record for the most tag title reigns by one team in WWE history.
I cannot believe that Charlotte vs Lacey Evans was the original plan for the RAW Women’s Title at Wrestlemania. As of now, it seems like it is going to be Asuka taking on Charlotte, but other women are making their case at the title. Peyton Royce’s promo on RAW Talk was great stuff, and if she’s used on television in that way, she will garner enough fan support to challenge for the title. Shayna Baszler may also be a good opponent for Asuka, and sounds like a worthy match for WWE’s biggest show of the year. For this to happen, though, she has to split apart from Nia Jax and go back to the ruthless fighter she was in NXT.
As great as RAW’s main event scene is, I’m much more intrigued by SmackDown’s. Roman Reigns’ run as Universal Champion on the blue brand has been one of the best things that WWE has going for it right now. I like Daniel Bryan’s placement in the storyline, although I do not think he’s going to end up leaving Fastlane as champion. Roman Reigns vs Edge sounds like a Wrestlemania worthy main event, and it could be argued that either or could win that bout. Personally, as great as Roman’s run has been, it would be a great Wrestlemania moment if Edge can win the Universal Championship and revive the Big Gold Belt. That is as long as Roman gets the title back at some point so that dream match with The Rock can happen.
The feud between Big E and Apollo Crews over the Intercontinental Championship also piques my interest. Crews’ African Prince character is something that was apparently rumored for Kofi Kingston years ago, but the company never pulled the trigger. It would make sense if he won the belt this Sunday at Fastlane, but a multi person ladder match at Wrestlemania has the potential to steal the show. Plus, it puts Big E on the path towards an eventual Universal Championship match, but if he loses the title, he has to look strong in defeat.
Seth Rollins vs Cesaro is a feud that is making the Ring of Honor fan in me extremely happy. Add some Shinsuke Nakamura into the mix and you have three of the hardest workers in the entire company. Rollins and The King of Strong Style are going to have an amazing match as Fastlane. Both men have very similar styles of fast paced action, although Nakamura uses kicks while Rollins goes to the top rope more often. It should be building up for Rollins and Cesaro at Wrestlemania. I would love for the two to have a 60 minute Iron Man Match, although it would shock me if WWE went that route.
I have no idea what the end game is in the Sami Zayn and King Corbin feud. Both have been among the top WWE heels for the past couple of years now. Is there a possibility for a King Corbin babyface turn? That I have no idea. Now, Kevin Owens is involved, so we could see some sort of match at Wrestlemania. However, I think it would be best if they were in that multi person ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship.
The tag team title picture on SmackDown is much clearer than it is on RAW. There are four legitimate teams that have a claim for the titles: Rey and Dominik Mysterio, Chad Gable and Otis, The Street Profits, and the current champs, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode. That sounds like a fatal 4 way tag match at Mania waiting to happen. Ziggler and Roode were great on commentary this past Friday night, and they would be great babyfaces down the road.
The Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks match is going to be great at Wrestlemania 37. Some may argue it should main event one of the nights. With that said, I am not a fan of the buildup so far. Putting them in a tag team is not a recipe for success, and we need to start seeing the breakup soon. I also do not think that working them against Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler is a good fit. Let Baszler deal with Asuka while Jax finds another feud going into The Show of Shows.
For starters, I think that the rumor of the NXT Championship being defended at Wrestlemania can be put to bed. I am, however, very excited for the two night NXT Takeover known as Stand and Deliver. I am even more pumped for the NXT Championship match between Finn Balor and Karrion Kross. It’s the ultimate match for an event of this caliber. Kross never lost his NXT Championship while Balor has had a dominant run in Kross’ absence. Balor already had matches with several members of the former Undisputed Era that tore the roof off the Capitol Wrestling Center, so I expect the same with Kross. It was interesting to see Kross’ trial babyface run during his feud with Santos Escobar, as well.
Meanwhile, the Undisputed Era is now torn apart. Although I am upset that we will not be seeing the faction on the main roster, we are in for several amazing matches between Cole and his former stablemates, specifically Kyle O’Reilly. We’ve already seen what these men are capable of in Ring of Honor, so it will be fun to see them tear it down in front of the mainstream WWE audience.
I’ve been impressed with Jordan Devlin as the interim Cruiserweight Champion. He’s such a talented worker and he’s such a good technical wrestler. It’s a shame that Santos Escobar had to drop the belt following an injury, but that just sets up a great match at Stand and Deliver, with a great contrast in wrestling styles.
Meanwhile, Johnny Gargano’s stable confuses me. I’ve always thought Gargano was better as a babyface anyway, so I’m not sure why he’s recruited Austin Theory into the fold. A Dexter Lumis North American title run would be interesting, as I think that’s going to be the match at Stand and Deliver.
Imperium feuding with Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa is going to make way for some of the best pure wrestling we may ever see out of WWE. This is especially true after WALTER came back on Wednesday’s episode of NXT. I hope these teams have a fight pit of sorts at Stand and Deliver. It would just be a gnarly bout with some great action.
I hope nothing bad happened to Danny Burch during the main event, as it looked like he was injured. Apart from that, Oney Lorcan and him have been running the tag team division since winning the belts. There’s no reason to take it off of them, nor are there any real threats to them in NXT.
I am a massive fan of Io Shirai as NXT Women’s Champion. Whereas AEW’s women’s division is their weakness, NXT’s women’s division is their biggest strength. There are so many people that could challenge Shirai at any point for her title. Gonzalez is an interesting choice, since I would have picked Dakota Kai. It seems like those two have a Shawn Michaels/Diesel thing going for them whereas Gonzalez is Kai’s bodyguard. If Gonzalez beats Shirai at Stand and Deliver, I could see them splitting and feuding over the title.
Finally, I think it’s great that NXT has their own Women’s Tag Team Championships. Those belts have had a rocky history on the main roster, and even now they still do not feel special. Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart are two of the best characters on the show, so to pair them up is genius. I think they will eventually lose the belts down the road to Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell, but let Moon and Blackheart take hold of them for the time being.
Photo Credit on Featured Image to The Sports Rush