WWE WrestleMania 39 is upon us and the final card appears to be set. Granted, we could be getting a last-minute Bobby Lashley vs LA Knight confrontation, potentially with some kind of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin involvement, but that is all but confirmed.
So, with that in mind, let us participate in one of the most cherished and respected traditions in all of pro wrestling fandom, predictions. Keep in mind, I am typically terrible with predictions, so please, do not go placing your hard-earned dollars down in bet form based on my insight. I prefer to pick my winners based on who I want to win and not who I think should win.
Match One: Women’s WWE WrestleMania 39 Showcase Match
The WWE WrestleMania 39 showcase matches follow in the footsteps of battle royals and bloated Money In The Bank melees in the sense they are bouts intended to help get more talent on the card. While fans are undoubtedly happy to see many of these women get more TV time, it is hard to argue that this match hasn’t been haphazardly thrown together and lacks stakes, to boot.
The thrill of a Mania victory is definitely something all talent chases but not having anything on the line in these matches seems like a disservice. Could this not be to earn a shot at the WWE women’s tag team titles? Maybe even a shot at those WWE women’s tag team titles on night two after the current champs wrap up their six-person match? Worthy inquiries that don’t seem to have been considered.
Regardless, the women involved in this match are definitely stand-outs from the division. Liv Morgan was on a roll just months ago and always gets a big pop from the crowd when she picks up a win, even if it is a tag win alongside her now-friend Raquel Rodriquez. Natalya is a stalwart of the company and always deserving of a big opportunity but she, like Chelsea Green, appears to have been thrown into a tag team unit last minute.
Then there is Shayna Baszler and Ronda Rousey, the two most legitimately tough women in WWE. For years Rousey has stated that she would love to tag with Shayna and it appears now she will get her opportunity. The pairing couldn’t come at a better time for Rousey, as she has announced she is working through an injury. Wrestling with a tag team partner like Baszler could put Rousey in a position to stay on WWE TV without having to incur the regular damage of singles action.
PREDICTION: Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler
Match Two: Men’s WWE WrestleMania 39 Showcase Match
I won’t bore you with the longwinded diatribe that I had for the women’s showcase match about how this is a match intended to get bodies on the card, you get it. With that said, there is more intrigue for me in this match than the women’s showcase based solely on the legitimacy of all the teams involved. Granted, Braun Strowman and Ricochet were only thrown together a few months ago, but the oddball pairing does appear to have manifested some form of chemistry.
The other three teams in this match have been established for many years now: The Street Profits, Alpha Academy, and The Viking Raiders.
Before they were Vikings calling for a “RAID!” they were a machine bent on war, as their tag team name before WWE was, get this, War Machine. As War Machine, the duo captured tag team gold in both Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro-Wrestling before landing in WWE NXT, where they were rebranded as War Raiders. The new name was largely well-received but their main roster run began on an odd note when they were briefly dubbed The Viking Experience, which sucked, before settling into The Viking Raiders. After years of feeling adrift in WWE, The Viking Raiders have received renewed focus under Paul “Triple H” Levesque and, paired with Val Halla, the former Sarah Logan, it has begun to feel like there could be more for them in the future.
Alpha Academy is the result of a failed attempt by Chad Gable to rebrand himself as Shorty G. Y’all remember Shorty G? If you don’t, you missed nothing, save yourself a Google search. Initially, the duo was portrayed as a babyface unit until Otis dropped his fun-loving ways and began mean-mugging as Gable told those around them to “SHOOOOOOOSHHHH!!!” The team has won WWE tag team gold once already but many speculate their time together may be coming to an end. As Maximum Male Models continues to court Otis, a rift seems to be appearing.
Last but not least is The Street Profits. Arguably the most entertaining babyface tag team in WWE, a win at WrestleMania would seem like a perfect proposition to get a big reaction from the fans. However, The Street Profits were able to land the victory for their team in an eight-man tag match on Raw this past Monday when Montez Ford hit Erik with a frog splash for the win. The odds of WWE giving them two big wins in a row seems slim.
PREDICTION: The Viking Raiders
Match Three: Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER vs. Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre
If you are like Big E and prefer big meaty men slapping meat, then this is probably the WWE WrestleMania 39 match for you. Following an impressive performance at the Royal Rumble, GUNTHER will put his Intercontinental Championship on the line against two other men who have helped bring British strong style to WWE.
The former Bang Brothers, McIntyre, and Sheamus have been best friends and brutal ring competitors in recent months. Their attempts to earnestly win a shot at GUNTHER’s title were twice thrown into confusion by double pins and then, eventually, interference from GUNTHER’s Imperium. Once GUNTHER’s lackeys got involved, so did Adam Pearce, and thus, this triple threat bout was made.
At nearly 300 days with the IC title, GUNTHER is already one of the longest-reigning IC champions in WWE history. Could his dominant reign continue? Or would WWE like to take the title off him so that he can be repositioned in the WWE world title picture? Both are reasonable to ponder but I Iean toward the former.
Match Four: Edge vs. Finn Balor (Hell In A Cell)
On paper, there may not be a WWE WrestleMania 39 match with a better build than Edge versus Finn Balor inside Hell In A Cell. Ever since Balor, Damian Priest, and Rhea Ripley turned their back on The Rated-R Superstar, Edge has been on a quest to destroy the group that he initially formed. The irony of all ironies? The Judgment Day was formed at last year’s WrestleMania when Damien Priest helped Edge pick up a victory over AJ Styles.
In the weeks to follow, Ripley would bend the knee to Edge as well but as soon as Balor was brought into the fold, all hell broke loose. Edge was summarily beaten down and the faction began to function without a leader, and, not long after, Dominik Mysterio was coerced into turning on his father and joining the fray.
Edge has made it clear that he is in his last year as an active, in-ring competitor for WWE, and, with that in mind, he has made infrequent returns to WWE TV to continue his feud with The Judgment Day. Including a mixed tag match victory alongside his wife, Beth Phoenix, at WWE Elimination Chamber.
My gut says Edge does not need this win. He’s already had so many huge moments in his career, another Mania win doesn’t seem necessary. Balor, on the other hand, could really use a big win here. Ever since his 24-hour WWE Universal title reign years ago, he’s yet to retain the same prestige he had in NJPW or NXT, for that matter. If Cody Rhodes is going to be the man to topple Roman Reigns, which seems likely and we’ll get to later, then he’s going to need top-tier heels to work with. Balor, off a Mania Hell In A Cell win over Edge, could be just that man.
PREDICTION: Finn Balor
Match Five: Brock Lesnar vs. Omos w/ MVP
There have been rumors that Vince McMahon is back in the creative fold at WWE, and if there was one WrestleMania 39 match that could indicate that’s true, it’s likely Brock Lesnar vs. Omos. McMahon, like his father, has always had an affinity for larger-than-life athletes, like Andre the Giant, with more deference to grappling-based stars who need to work harder to grab attention.
For years, The Beast has prowled the WWE landscape seemingly unmatched but now, we are being led to believe that the sheer mass of The Nigerian Giant could be enough to put Lesnar in his place. It’s worth noting that Lesnar has reportedly told those around him that he is taking time off after WrestleMania, so, a win over Omos here does not seem like a lock.
If there are plans to do something meaningful with Omos moving forward, then he is going to need a meaningful win. Lesnar has notoriously shown consistent allegiance to McMahon and if his former boss wants him to lose to Omos, for the betterment of the company, it might actually happen. When you remove the ridiculousness of a possible Omos win over Lesnar and focus solely on the politics, you might find yourself beginning to see the 7’4″ big man as a viable winner here, like me.
Match Six: Trish Stratus, Lita & Becky Lynch vs. Damage CTRL
If you have been keeping up with my Haus of Wrestling editorials, then you know I pitched the idea of Roxanna Perez emerging from injury to help Bayley and Damage CTRL defeat Stratus, Lita, and Lynch. It was an idea so good, I guess it was not meant for this world because as of Tuesday night’s NXT, the plucky Perez is back and will be defending her NXT women’s title at Stand & Deliver.
So with that idea out the window, on the surface, I am forced to reconsider how this match will go down. I do not see any reason for Stratus and Lita to pick up a victory here. Neither appears to be sticking around WWE that much longer and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be putting over young, deserving talent. Becky, of course, is a top draw that should be protected but an argument could be made that merely having Stratus and Lita alongside her has elevated her presence.
Damage CTRL has not found a groove since they debuted at SummerSlam last yea and Lynch said as much to their face this past Monday night on Raw. If they don’t get a win here, I don’t know where they go other than a complete implosion with all three taking their frustrations out on each other. It just seems too soon for that, I don’t see Triple H giving up on the trio that quickly.
PREDICTION: Damage CTRL
Match Seven: Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair vs Asuka
I really, really like Belair and Asuka a lot so it’s sad to say that I do not have much interest in their match at WWE WrestleMania 39.
Belair is approaching 365 days as WWE Raw Women’s Champion and Asuka has changed her make-up. That’s the story going into this match, that’s it. You are either enthralled by Asuka’s new presentation and want her to win or love Belair and can’t stand to see her drop the title.
With Belair’s Hulu reality show with her husband Montez Ford on the horizon, I find it very hard to believe that WWE will pull the plug on her as champion. If Asuka does win, I can only interpret it as a message to female Japanese wrestlers that there is a chance they can meaningfully succeed in WWE at a high level. Especially at a time when Mercedes Mone’, the former Sasha Banks, is currently over in NJPW and Starrdom showing those women how they can succeed without WWE.
PREDICTION: Bianca Belair
Match Eight: Seth “Freaking” Rollins vs. Logan Paul
When Logan Paul hit the WWE scene there seemed to be a collective groan among pro wrestling fans about his presence on the big stage. Known as an obnoxious loudmouth with a controversial past, notably his trip to a “suicide forest” in Japan, Paul did not receive the babyface reaction that he seemed to be looking for when he joined the promotion.
Paul began to put his doubters to rest with his debut WWE match at WrestleMania 38 last year. Many were impressed with the athleticism he showed in his tag team win, alongside The Miz, over the Mysterios and then the wheels began to spin in Triple H’s head. Paul has gone on to have memorable bouts against The Miz and Roman Reigns since and stole the show at the WWE Royal Rumble with a mid-air collision with Ricochet high over the 30-man action.
Rollins has taken the last year to transform himself from a despicable villain to an obnoxiously lovable good guy. With his “I don’t give an eff” persona and annoyingly hummable theme song, Rollins has been on an unstoppable ride winning over fans with each passing week. Paul has had memorable moments and wins over the past year while most of Rollins’ top triumphs have come in the form of losses to Cody Rhodes. With Paul playfully portraying a bad guy for the first time in his run, it seems time for him to pay forward some momentum with a loss to the every-more-popular Rollins.
PREDICTION: Seth Rollins
Match Nine: United States Champion Austin Theory vs. John Cena
For years, Austin Theory has been shooting his shot in hopes of getting a match against John Cena. Much like the dog who finally catches the car he’s been chasing, Theory now has to decide what he’s going to do now that he has this opportunity.
On the surface, this match wouldn’t be anything to overthink. Theory wants the match, Cena gives him the match and then Cena does the honors for the younger talent to help elevate him. It all seems so simple but, somehow, it became far more complicated when Cena took to the ring on Raw to run down Theory as someone fans are not interested in and not ready for the top level. The comments had many scratching their heads as the promo came across as cutting Theory down as opposed to lifting him up as an equal heading into their confrontation.
To his credit, Theory has attempted to fire back at Cena on WWE TV, including an empty arena promo on Raw, but the damage done by Cena’s promo seems to have stuck. If Theory doesn’t beat Cena, many are prepared to see the loss as a big step back for the young star but I have a feeling some may be surprised.
Don’t forget, this match will open night one of WWE WrestleMania 39 and I find it hard to believe the event will kick off with a heel going over. It just seems weird. A loss followed by Theory calling out Cena for WWE WrestleMania 40 the night after on Raw, or something like that, seems more likely.
PREDICTION: John Cena
Match 10: WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley
When it comes to breakout female stars, none have garnered the attention of WWE fans more than Rhea Ripley in recent years. Ripley was a beloved fan favorite in NXT before making her way to the main roster and her current turn to the dark side with The Judgement Day has been captivating to watch.
Ripley has had several chances to dethrone Charlotte Flair but has always come up short. Memorably, Ripley was supposed to have her big moment with a win over Flair at WWE WrestleMania 36 but the pandemic hit and plans were thrown into disarray. WWE decided to keep the title on Flair and about a year later, she would defeat then-WWE Raw Women’s Champion Ripley for her title, which she had just won at WrestleMania 37.
Flair will always be a big-name player for WWE and, as time goes by, she’s going to need to put over talent to get them to her level. At the moment, no one seems more deserving of that win than Ripley. The fans have been in the palm of her hand as “Mami” has flirtatiously aided her Judgment Day boy toy, Dominik Mysterio. With her character on point, her win at the Royal Rumble, after entering at number one, showed that her physical prowess was not to be messed with either.
If WWE WrestleMania 39 isn’t the moment for Ripley to defeat Flair, I don’t know if that moment will ever come. Pull the trigger. Please. Don’t blow this.
PREDICTION: Rhea Ripley
Match Eleven: Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
The Bloodline has monopolized WWE’s main event picture and at WrestleMania 39, that picture will bleed over into two matches. Many fans clamored for The Usos vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn to close out night one of Mania 39 but with Flair vs. Ripley seemingly occupying that slot, this match will be one that others will have to try and top as they follow it. Good luck!
What’s left to say? Do I need to recap the many ebbs and flows of the KO and Zayn vs The Bloodline feud? No, I don’t, if you’re reading this, you’ve followed it. We all screamed out in pain when Zayn lost to Reigns at Elimination Chamber and yelled with excitement when he embraced Kevin Owens on Smackdown. All the feels are here and, like many, I am hoping not to have my heart broken again with another Zayn loss.
Regardless of whether Reigns is set to retain in the main event, Owens and Zayn should pick up the win. The fans will go nuts and it will build intrigue around the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship match that follows. If The Usos lose, does that mean Reigns is destined to as well? What if Reigns retains, will he berrat and beat down his cousins for their loss on the following Smackdown? These are the fun things I want to be pondering.
PREDICTION: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Match Twelve: Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes
It’s time, for the main event! While Cody Rhodes dethroning Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship has seemed like an inevitability since he won the Royal Rumble, I am beginning to have doubts.
Yes, the fans want Rhodes to win. Yes, this would seemingly be the perfect moment to “make’ Rhodes as a top star in WWE. And yes, yes, yes, yes … there are a lot of reasons for Rhodes to win here but, and it’s a big but, let’s not forget Rhodes left WWE and wound up starting the company’s biggest competition in twenty years, AEW. The politics of this match have started to make me overthink things.
Rhodes is certainly deserving of the win but I can’t stop thinking about Brock Lesnar’s 2012 return to WWE following a successful run in UFC. Lesnar was so over and it seemed like a huge get for the company but, what did they do? They had Cena beat him in the middle of the ring at WWE Extreme Rules. Seemingly sending the message, “You left, don’t expect a warm return.” Could the same be true for Rhodes? I’m uncertain. Of all my predictions, take this one with the tiniest grain of salt.
PREDICTION: Cody Rhodes