The official CTOB Wrestlemania preview *UPDATED*

Wrestlemania is live from Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California on Sunday, March 29th. It's been a bit of a slow build for 'Mania, with a lackluster undercard and little momentum for the main event. Still, there are a few gems in the middle, and the old Fed' has a knack for delivering at Wrestlemania (if no where else). The CTOB Editorial Team will be watching and keeping score from Kezar Pub, just up the road in San Francisco. All but the final touches have been put on the card, so let's see how it shapes up: 

WWE World Heavyweight Title Match

Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns

There are a lot of questions on both sides of the curtain for the main event. Is Reigns ready to be the man? Is Brock going to re-sign/has he already? What was the story behind the walk out a few weeks back?

We know this one is going to start with a full blown Brockalizing, and I always enjoy that. Brock is going to throw Reigns around the building worse than he did to Cena. Hopefully Brock tears that silly ass gear off of him too (I mean, assuming he wears regular wrestling trunks underneath). After that, there are really only 2 options:

  1. Reigns beats Brock clean in the middle of the ring and assumes Cena's position as the star of the portion of this universe which is a children's show.
  2. Shenanigans.

And there is great room for shenanigans  here. Paul Heyman is Mr. Shenanigans and Reigns ol' buddy Seth "Shenanigans" Rollins is clearly just keeping busy with Orton. We could get a Heyman double-cross, a Shield reunion, some Samoan shenanigans... so many options. 

I see Brock sticking around after Wrestlemania, but I also think Reigns is going to win this one with a heel turn. Paul Heyman can spin together a sensible reason to get the Shield back together to steal this one, then on Monday night they triple powerbomb Brock off of TV until Summerslam. 

CTOB Pick: Reigns.

*Update* It's now official that Lesnar is going to hang out in WWE for a couple more years at least. Now that they are safely out of his UFC window, I wouldn't be surprised to see him do a few more dates this year (not full-time, but enough for a more flushed out program with Reigns). Plus, that was the most lackluster ending for the go-home Raw that I have ever seen, and I'm blaming it on the rookie. Reigns couldn't even create an intense moment with Brock Lesnar in the ring. The moment fell totally flat. No danger, no tension, no threat of impending violence. Just 2 dudes playing tug of war. So we're changing the pick!

NEW Pick: Lesnar overcomes shenanigans for a double-turn, a Lesnar face run, then a triple powerbomb back to part time duty.

Triple H vs. Sting

Yeah who gives a shit? Throw Sting a Wrestlemania moment then get him on to the slow-motion dream match with Undertaker by Summerslam.

CTOB Pick: Stinger. 

Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins

Nobody likes to listen to a long, apologetic preface, I get that. I understand that when you start a sentence with "I'm not homophobic or anything, but..." it usually means that you're about to say something homophobic. It's just that I consider myself to be a pretty evolved guy, and I really don't want for any of my thoughts on this match to be misconstrued for homophobic jests. I strive to be a friend and ally to the gay community both in my personal life, and as a representative of, so it is important that everyone fully understands the context in which I offer my analysis of this match.

So with that in mind-- and I say this with all due respect both to the performers involved and to gay people--when these guys hit each other, I firmly expect to see a cloud of glitter come of them. I don't believe that either of these performers are gay men (and I'm certainly not saying that there is anything wrong with it if they are) but this match is going to be virtually identical to gay pornography, and it is likely to be played in gay bars across the world for years to come. 

This is the match that I consider to be the most likely to involve open-mouth kissing.

It'll be a great match too. These guys are both tremendous performers and I am sure that they will slam their lithe, shaved bodies against one another with feverish passion. I expect that they will tangle with each other a few more times as they circle the main event title scene, so I think Rollins is well positioned to take a brutal beating but steal the win. And just to loop back for a moment to a prior thought, they will also both be wearing skimpy black latex costumes and well-manicured facial hair, and there will be no shortage of baby oil. There won't be any penetrative sex, but that is literally the only difference between this match and a really high quality gay porno.  

By now I trust that it goes without being said that I have no malice in my heart when I refer to this match as #Twinklemania.

One of the pictures below is of San Francisco's most popular gay hooker and the other is "The Viper" Randy Orton. Can you tell who is who?


CTOB Pick: Rollins finishes first. 

The Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt


*Update* Swapped out the video for Bray Wyatt's latest Raw promo, because it's fucking terrific. First of all, it's a full heel promo. He bashes and attacks the audience and gets them mad at him and itching to (pay to) see Undertaker whup him. Secondly, he cranked the intensity up and it paid off. The audience went from cheering him, to "What?"ing, to booing, and eventually to sitting quietly and hanging on every word. 

This one has got the potential to be a real fucking clunker bell-to-bell, but it is guaranteed to be a hell of a sports-entertainment show. They'll both have great entrances and 'Taker is at his best as the Deadman. Hopefully this turns into an extended program that draws in all of the supernatural/horror acts-- Harper, Rowan, Sting... I bet you could even find a spot for the Ascension in there. Pro wrasslin' at it's big, crazy best.

CTOB Pick: Undertaker picks up a win with unfinished business. 

United States Championship Match

John Cena vs. Rusev (C)

Rusev has been as well-established as a monster as he is likely to ever be. He has rag-dolled Big Show, Mark Henry, Sheamus, and John Cena. If he wins here, he'll go straight on to menacing Reigns. But I think he becomes a more compelling character by losing to John Cena. The scary foreigner gimmick has a shelf life in pro-wrestling and Rusev is arriving at his expiration date, but he also has the athleticism and performing ability to grow into a more well-rounded character that can always be a threat at the top of the card.

Plus, there is just no way that Vince goes with America losing at Wrestlemania. When it comes to 'Mania, the flag-waving jingoist goes over the Commie xeno-monster every time. There will be red, white and blue fireworks over Santa Clara for sure. 


CTOB Pick: Cena wins and defends the shit out of the US title; Rusev moves on to a love story/program with Lana. 

Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match

Bad News Barrett (c) vs. Luke Harper vs. R-Truth vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Stardust vs. Daniel Bryan

Clearly, they needed something better for all of these guys to do than the Andre. OK, I can roll with that. This match poses some interesting questions depending on the outcome of the main event. If Brock does lock up a new contract, he could go over in the main event then spend the next few months hiding that title from Reigns and maybe having a go-around with Sheamus and Orton too. In that case, Daniel Bryan would look great defending the IC strap in the main event of Smackdown! and house shows. It would give him something worthwhile to do, keep him away from the main event scene, and elevate the title. 

Then again, if Reigns wins (and I think he's gonna), there is no way they put their 3 singles titles on Reigns, Cena, and Bryan. There just aren't enough bad guys to go around. Same goes for Ziggler. The best he can get out of this is a heel turn and a mean streak. He'd get more by decapitating DB with a ladder than he would by winning the belt, but I'm not positive he'll do either. Ziggler has a tendency to gravitate towards the most boring possible option. Neither he nor DB have looked particularly interested in the IC title in the build up to this whole thing, and Ziggler in particular has made it clear that he just wants to be in the ring with Daniel Bryan for Wrestlemania. 

Stardust is only there to jump off ladders and Harper is there to catch dudes, plus kill a few people with clotheslines. R-Truth is in the mix because Vince McMahon is racist and senile and loves Looney Tunes and minstrel shows. 

Bad News Barrett and Dean Ambrose are the only two guys that have genuinely seemed motivated by getting their hands on the belt throughout this story, and they opened it all up so I expect them to close it as well. I hope the post-Mania season features them fighting each other to the death for it, hopefully with Ambrose as champ so that Barrett has every reason to be as vicious, aggressive, and predatory as he can be in trying to get it back. 

CTOB Pick: Dean Ambrose

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

This match really needs some stakes if they want to keep it interesting every year. I say put a title match at Payback on the line and let this be an opportunity for a total underdog challenger story. The Royal Rumble has become painfully predictable (as evidenced by consecutive years of booing) in service of Wrestlemania. But Payback is a total throw-away PPV, so you could get an amazing story out of a guy like Curtis Axel or Fandango getting his one shot at glory.

But for this year, it remains a meaningless circle/curtain jerk. Big Show and Kane will play out their story, Kofi Kingston will put on some outrageous display of athleticism, and whoever wins-- the trophy will get smashed by the end of RAW on Monday. 

CTOB Pick: Sheamus

AJ Lee & Paige vs. The Bella Twins

I'm no huge fan of the Diva's but all 4 of these chicks are really competent performers and I think they'll show up and do something cool with the opportunity. AJ Lee and the Bella's are all wrapping up solid careers so this match will mostly by about ushering in the new era, but the new era will continue to be 4 minute matches and reality TV. Paige will come out of this one looking strong. She's an interesting character and I expect she'll be at the center of the Diva's division for awhile, with Charlotte ascending from NXT to play her foil. 

CTOB Pick AJ Lee & Paige

It looks likely that the card will get rounded out with a pre-show match as well. At this point, I have to assume it'll be Miz vs. Sandow, but I'll be much happier to see Cesaro and Kidd defend their titles against the rest of the measly tag division. Either way, this card is looking like no classic. It's a lot more interesting for what comes next than it is for the event itself. But they always deliver in pomp and spectacle and I expect this year to be no different. 

*Update* The measly tag division gets it. 

CTOB Pick: Uso's are local and their daddy is headed into the Hall of Fame the night before-- hard to not go with a feel good kickoff match. 

Come find us in Kezar, share your thoughts on the card in the comments section below, and use the #Twinklemania to talk wrasslin' with us on Twitter and Instagram.

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