This week, Jordan Chaffiotte, Callum Wiggins and Wes Keefer will be giving their opinions on WrestleMania 33. It's the biggest show of the year, and if the last few years are any indication, nothing is a lock and anything could happen. With Finn Balor still yet to return to TV, Brock Lesnar and Goldberg completing the third of their "fantasy warfare got real" matches, every single title (save for one) up for grabs, and NXT call-ups on the horizon, this WrestleMania promises to pack a punch. It has something for everyone, but different wrestling fans are expecting and looking forward to very different things. We take a look at all the possibilities and what we're most excited about.
Question 1: Which match are you most excited for on this card?
CHAFFIOTTE: For me, it has to be Seth Rollins and Triple H's unsanctioned street fight. It may have taken forever for this feud to get off the ground, but now that we're here, the destination was clearly worth the many detours. Seth has finally found his voice as a babyface, determined, prideful, and yet remorseful. Meanwhile, Triple H, who is undoubtedly performing on the mic better than he ever has before, plays the man drunk on power to a tee. There have always been two sides of Triple H, the Cerebral Assassin vs the suit and tie. These two have been playing that up perfectly, with Seth calling out "who's that guy? That's not Triple H." The video package we saw this week, flashing between him in the suit and in his gear, encapsulates it so well. This isn't really a match against each other, each of them is fighting a piece of themselves. Triple H is fighting the destroyer inside him, Seth is fighting the sell out. "I liked who I was before I met you"? Nail in the coffin.
It's not going to be the cleanest match, Rollins is probably working below 100%. But street matches don't have to be in order to be successful. Rollins is going to take a beating, no doubt about it, and his ability to continue to overcome everything H can throw at him will solidify his face status. The crutch will play a big part, so will his classic sledge hammer. However, I'm really hoping no one interferes from the outside, maybe H tells his dogs to stand down because Seth needs to be taken care of personally. When it comes down to it, a return to who Seth was before he got involved with the Authority is the only way to end this match. No holds are barred and Seth is desperate, it has to be the Curb Stomp.
Better yet are the implications following the match. This story, of Seth coming to terms with what he sacrificed for gold and money and glory, it feeds perfectly into properly dealing with the Shield's breakup. For a long time I've suspected that Seth has been regretting hitting Roman with the chair since the very moment he did it. How many times can we see the flicker of excitement in his eyes at the prospect of getting the band back together? This match is their chance to lean into that and take it somewhere spectacular.
WIGGINS: Originally it was Big Show vs Shaquille O'Neal, but seeing how that is off the table I have to go with Chris Jericho vs Kevin Owens for the United States Championship. There is plenty of competition, and I'm extremely intrigued by Bray Wyatt vs Randy Orton, Neville vs Austin Aries, and oddly enough Dean Ambrose vs Baron Corbin. But this has been the feud that has been carrying RAW for the better part of a year. Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho started their now fractious relationship prior to SummerSlam 2016, and have consistently produced entertaining television, both as friends and as bitter rivals.
Ideally, I would have had this match contest the Universal Championship, but because WWE cannot let go of its obsession with legends and part-timers, the United States Championship is a fair substitute. Although this will not carry the same no-disqualification stipulation as other matches at WrestleMania, it should be incredibly heated, physical and emotional. The outstanding Festival of Friendship segment still lingers in my mind as a glimpse of how aggressive this fight is going to be. With Owens keen to eliminate his former ally and Jericho pent up with the betrayal of a man he used to care deeply for, this has all the makings of a classic wrestling match.
KEEFER: I am more excited for a match that at first seemed like a dud. The mixed tag bout between John Cena/Nikki Bella and The Miz/Maryse is going to steal the show in my opinion. The promos over the last two months alone has propelled this match. The Miz and Maryse impersonating their opponents was one of the best things I have seen so far this year.
WWE is probably going to want to send Cena and Nikki off with a bang, as they are set for a long hiatus post-WrestleMania. The company should give the faces a great match, all the while making The Miz and Maryse still look strong. I am also curious to see if there are any post-match proposals.
Question 2: What will be the most memorable WrestleMania Moment to come from WM33?
CHAFFIOTTE: Perhaps it's wishful thinking, but I don't think we've seen the last of the Demon King Finn Balor. He may not officially have a match on the card, but a surprise appearance would pop the crowd big time. There are a few avenues they can go down here. He could run down to the ring and interfere in Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe's match, he has been tagging with Sami on the live show circuit for the past few weeks. Or he could even do the same for Seth Rollins on an overly-valiant whim that lands him in the middle of Triple H's cross hairs. Last, he could come out to the ring, dressed to fight, and say that he refuses to give up his WrestleMania, so he's issuing an open challenge.
No matter how they choose to get him out there, he'll be met with a heroes welcome. Injury returns are one of the few things that can truly unite wrestling fans, because regardless of how we feel about the wrestler themselves, most of us can agree that we respect and appreciate what they put their bodies through for this. Finn doesn't have much time left on the clock, and he's an endearing, charismatic figure, if anyone can pull off a surprise return at WrestleMania, it's him. The second the crowd hears the heartbeat of his entrance music, they will go crazy. Remember how incredible it was to see all those people "Yes"-ing at the end of WrestleMania XXX? We'll have a similar effect when he comes down to the ring and lifts his arms up. A packed stadium full of people doing his entrance with him will be memorable for years to come.
Maybe it's a long shot, but I'm sticking to it. It is WrestleMania after all, anything can happen.
WIGGINS: It's hard to pinpoint what the biggest moment will be as literally anything can happen at WrestleMania. Undoubtedly Shane McMahon will jump off an enormous structure. John Cena will likely ask Nikki Bella to marry him. There could be numerous interferences in the Seth Rollins/Triple H street fight, such as Samoa Joe, Sami Zayn and Finn Balor. The overall unpredictability of this WrestleMania is palpable and trying to choose one single moment that will define 2017's edition is hard to say the least.
But, despite what numerous reports have been saying, I cannot fathom a situation where Roman Reigns does not turn heel on The Undertaker during their match and finally gets the character he desperately needs. Reigns is already going to be overwhelmingly booed opposite The Deadman, and if he is going to win (which seems increasingly likely) WWE can't expect the crowd will be supportive of it in the slightest. So, I'm hoping that we witness the start of a villainous, resentful Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33, even if it means sacrificing The Undertaker in the process. Even if the rumors are true, the visual of The Phenom showing Reigns respect among a sea of jeers will be equally as memorable.
KEEFER: I have two theories here, but one is much more far-fetched and less possible. There are bound to be many memorable moments at WrestleMania 33, from John Cena and Nikki Bella’s engagement to possible surprise appearances (Finn Balor, Eva Marie). My first theory is the least possible to occur but would be a memorable moment indeed. The New Day are the hosts of this year’s show, mostly because WWE can't seem to find a place for them since they lost their titles. The trio is bound to have some very humorous promos throughout the show, but after WrestleMania 33, what is next for the longest reigning tag team champions? Nothing. It is time to end The New Day on a high note. Xavier Woods has come under fire for his involvement in Paige's leaked content and it is rumored that this will lead to him being left off of television in the near future. Nonetheless, there could be a Shield-like breakup at WrestleMania. Any of the three men could betray and beat down his allies and turn heel and head for a singles title. Big E could be the most likely one to betray, but a Kofi Kingston heel turn could be more memorable.
The second theory could very well happen and most people want it. Roman Reigns vs The Undertaker can either be a hit or miss. The best way for this match to end is with Reigns finally turning heel. His first act as a heel could be to destroy The Undertaker. Not just pin him, but Reigns should literally destroy The Undertaker. The Deadman should be left bloodied and unconscious in the ring with Reigns standing over him, ringing in a new era for WWE.
Question 3: Who will steal the show and how will they do it?
CHAFFIOTTE: The women on both brands will put on show-stealing performances. My interest in the Raw Fatal Fourway has greatly increased since the news broke that it will be an elimination match. Why does that matter? First, it justifies Nia's involvement. Now I like Nia, I just think she's been misbooked as a monster with no weakness and I think she should be down in the performance center getting in her reps right now. With this stipulation, however, it will inevitably force Bayley, Sasha, and Charlotte to all work together to get her eliminated. Which can play up Sasha and Bayley's best friends turned enemies angle, as they hug it out afterwards. Second, it allows for there to be a moment where one almost eliminates the other, but doesn't. Maybe Sasha manipulates Bayley, telling her she doesn't want to face Charlotte alone because she can't beat her. Together, they take out Charlotte, but instead of may-the-best-man-win, Sasha blindsides her with a cheap shot and tells her she was never a worthy champion. Sasha has been playing mind games for months, I think we'll see them come to fruition here.
On the SmackDown side, there will be no shortage of great moments, as Alexa Bliss takes on all challengers. SmackDown, since the brand split, has had a real knack of throwing everyone into one match but making it work. Sure some of the matches are slippery, such as the original six-pack-challenge to crown the SmackDown Women's Champion, but they don't really cross over to messy. This will be the same, each woman will have a moment to shine, even if it's small. Alexa Bliss, a surprisingly strong champion, can weather all of that, she is on her way to another career year. Alternatively, Naomi could regain her gold in her hometown of Orlando
SmackDown has the details figured out, Raw has the big moments, and at WrestleMania we'll get to see that dichotomy in the women's division. The Raw Women's Champion, who I believe will be Sasha Banks will hold up the belt to a chorus of boos (and maybe cheers) and fireworks will go off outside. The SmackDown Women’s Champion will be battered and beaten but victorious in the end despite the performances of Mickie James, Becky Lynch, maybe even Auska. I hope we're talking about them on Monday morning because they really truly deserve it.
WIGGINS: There are numerous interesting matches that could steal the show from the headliners. In fact, I see that being increasingly likely, as while I've enjoyed the storyline behind Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton, the quality of the match itself is up in the air. The less said about another squash between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar the better. But in terms of defying expectations and putting on a show-stealing performance, I'd wager that AJ Styles vs Shane McMahon will take a lot of people off-guard.
While many have bemoaned this as a waste of Style's undeniable talents, which I can understand, this match is a demonstration of how much WWE values Styles as a main event talent. Shane has never been a technical wizard in the ring, but against the right opponent, he has produced contests of sheer brilliance and ingenuity. It's rare I have ever watched a match he was involved in that didn't have me gripped the whole way through (having said that, his match against Undertaker last year was one of those). In this instance, though Shane's stepping in the ring with the best wrestler in the world right now, and with Style's overall magnificence and Shane's daredevil recklessness, this battle could be more phenomenal than people think.
KEEFER: I am 100% sure the mixed tag match will steal the show, with all four participants looking strong and having memorable moments in the match. Even though the faces are likely to win, everyone will come out a winner from this one. The Miz will be propelled to the top of the list of heels in all of WWE after this match and John Cena will start his vacation from WWE with a win and an engagement. However, I want to bring up another match that could highlight a different show: the pre-show.
Austin Aries vs Neville for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship will be the highlight of the two-hour pre-show special. Neville and Aries both have the movesets and abilities to highlight any match they are in. Pitting these two together could mean magic in the ring. Aries winning the belt would give Neville a feud worth his talents.
Because it's WrestleMania, we have a special quickfire round this week! In two sentences or less, our writers answer the questions on everyone's minds.
1.Will John Cena actually propose to Nikki Bella after their match?
CHAFFIOTTE: Yes, but it will be for show. The real proposal happened months ago, we'll see it on next season's Total Divas/Bellas.
WIGGINS: Yes, and hopefully that will be the happy ending consolation that allows The Miz & Maryse to win the match like they deserve to.
KEEFER: Yes, and I doubt that WWE will have Cena lose the match and then propose. Winning the match and getting engaged just makes sense.
2.Who will win the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal?
CHAFFIOTTE: Mojo Rawley. Fight me.
WIGGINS: Braun Strowman. He deserves more after a stellar stint on the RAW brand since the draft, but this will be a stepping stone towards bigger things.
KEEFER: Braun Strowman has the best odds to win, but I am taking a page out of last year’s Andre the Giant Battle Royal and selecting a currently unannounced contestant: Samoa Joe, welcome to the main card.
3.Might we see the Hardy Brother's return?
CHAFFIOTTE: Not this week. Soon, but the legal tie ups will keep them from WrestleMania this year.
WIGGINS: It would be mightily surprising, but if The Usos come out at any point during the show, then I will be on the edge of my seat. If they do, this WrestleMania will be absolutely intoxicating.
KEEFER: It would be quite a shocker, since they seem to still be in talks of agreeing on the contract. The answer is no.
4.Is Roman Reigns turning heel?
CHAFFIOTTE: God I sure hope so.
WIGGINS: Hard to turn heel when everybody hates you already. But I'm hopeful that WrestleMania will be the moment WWE acknowledge what everyone knows is right.
KEEFER: It would make sense for him to. Turn heel, destroy The Deadman, bring in a new age.
5.Which title currently means the most to you?
CHAFFIOTTE: The Intercontinental Championship has consistently been heavily contested by major main-event players, it almost feels wrong to call it a midcard belt at this point.
WIGGINS: If The Miz was still holding it I'd go with the Intercontinental Championship, but now it's the WWE Championship. AJ Styles to John Cena to Bray Wyatt - huge star power.
KEEFER: The United States Championship for the fact that it is finally getting the same recognition as the other titles. The Owens vs Jericho feud will bring the belt back into the spotlight with the rest of the singles titles.
6.NXT TakeOver Orlando or WrestleMania?
CHAFFIOTTE: Though NXT has lost a bit of its spark for me, I believe it will put on a smoother show, top to bottom. Hey, maybe Bobby Roode can find a way to keep the romance alive.
WIGGINS: There's plenty to look forward to on both shows, I think both the number of matches and spectacle of WrestleMania means it will win this year's collision.
KEEFER: WrestleMania wins, as NXT needs a bit more star power to work with.
Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!