WrestleMania 35 returns to MetLife Stadium in New Jersey today for the first time since WrestleMania 29. MetLife Stadium has a capacity of 82,500 and is an uncovered outdoor stadium. The ring will be heated for the Superstars' safety in the event of cold weather.
This year feels very different than previous WrestleManias with The Undertaker & John Cena both not having advertised matches on the card. Although rumors on the internet suggest that Cena will appear, it's unclear what his role will be in this year's show. The show is not lacking in starpower though: Dave Bautista will make his return to the ring after becoming a movie star in the biggest box office hits of the past several years, Brock Lesnar will put his Universal Title on the line, and Ronda Rousey will be putting her RAW Women's Championship on the line in the first ever women's main event at WrestleMania. Celebrities Joan Jett, Michael Che & Colin Jost will also be involved in the extravaganza with rumored appearances by recently retired NFL superstar Rob Gronkowski and UFC star Jon Jones as well. Hulk Hogan will also be in the building and it's hard to imagine WrestleMania without an appearance by The Rock.
This year's card is stacked and the Kickoff show is scheduled to begin at 5pm ET/2pm PT with the main show scheduled to start at 7pm ET/4pm PT. It's uncertain how long the show will run, but with 16 scheduled matches, two musical performances, Alexa Bliss hosting segments and an unadvertised John Cena match could make this show longer than 6 hours.
Below is a preview of each match, detailing the feuds that have led up to them - some having builds of up to 8 months and some being announced Thursday - and predictions of the winners based upon the storylines laid out and reported news by WrestlingInc.com. In the comments below, share moments you're looking forward to at this year's WrestleMania along with your picks for the winners on the card.
WWE RAW WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP (WINNER TAKES ALL)
Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch
Ronda Rousey's first year in WWE will go down as one of the greatest rookie years in company history and it will culminate with her main eventing WrestleMania 35. At Summerslam 2018, Rousey won the RAW Women's Championship while Charlotte Flair won the SmackDown Women's Championship. Rumors swirled about the two women main eventing WrestleMania 35. While all of this was going on, Becky Lynch's clarity of voice on social media and in promos made her undeniable. Lynch and Charlotte tore the house down at Evolution in the SmackDown Women's Title match leading to Becky Lynch's epic feud with Ronda Rousey that was cut short due to Nia Jax breaking Becky's face. Charlotte stepped in at Survivor Series for Lynch and delivered a fantastic match with Rousey on short notice. WWE fans still wanted to see Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch and their support has lasted since November. Lynch won the Royal Rumble after replacing an injured Lana, earning her match with Ronda Rousey.
Since the Royal Rumble, Becky has had obstacle after obstacle placed in front of her: medical clearance, a hold harmless agreement, and another match with Charlotte. Charlotte was added to the match with Rousey by Vince McMahon and was given a SmackDown Women's Championship match against Asuka, which she won. Rousey has also been dominant since the Royal Rumble, picking up decisive wins over Bayley, Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, and Dana Brooke. Rumors on the internet about Rousey taking a break from the company made it to mainstream media but have been downplayed by Rousey and the WWE. Stephanie McMahon raised the stakes of the match by stipulating that the winner of Sunday's main event will get both the RAW & SmackDown Women's Championships.
The match we'll see on Sunday will likely mirror the structure of the triple threat we saw at WrestleMania 32 with 2 of the three competitors in that match returning for this match. This match has had a long time to build and will get ample time in the main event slot of the show. Expect Charlotte to utilize some of the high-flying moves that she's been learning in the training sessions she's been posting about on social media. This match will be stiff and aggressive. At WrestleMania, WWE likes to send the fans home happy. Becky Lynch's issues with Charlotte will likely continue and Ronda's fate in the match will depend on if she's taking a break or not. Becky Lynch has made herself undeniable and she will end WrestleMania victorious.
WINNER: Becky Lynch via submission
WWE UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) (c) vs. Seth Rollins
At WrestleMania 31, Seth Rollins seized his opportunity as Money In The Bank winner by cashing in his contract and stealing the WWE Championship from Lesnar by pinning Roman Reigns. Lesnar got a chance at revenge on Rollins at BattleGround three months later, but The Undertaker interfered in the match causing a DQ finish.
Four years later, Rollins is the #1 contender for Brock's Universal Title after winning the Royal Rumble. Rollins has been cutting promos on Lesnar since November of 2018 and how he wants to take his Universal Championship because the locker room & the fans deserve a champion that is at RAW every week. Brock Lesnar keeps hinting at making the jump back to UFC, but he doesn't necessarily have to drop the title to do so. The return of Roman Reigns also muddies up this picture because he's clearly the biggest male star on RAW. What once looked like a sure win for Rollins is now in doubt. Interest in Lesnar seems to be fading, as does interest in this match. Seth Rollins has been nursing a back injury since the Royal Rumble, limiting him to zero matches in the month of February and some less-grueling matches in March.
Brock Lesnar had great matches with Daniel Bryan and Finn Balor and although Rollins is bigger than both of those men, his in-ring style is similar. Expect Seth to pull out all the stops in this match and expect Lesnar to bring it as well. Lesnar will likely end up with a bit of blood and there is a good chance that he finally loses the Universal Title here. With a looming Superstar Shakeup coming after WrestleMania it seems like Seth Rollins will become the face of RAW while Lesnar may move to SmackDown in a build to its move to FOX. Matches like this are fun when they're hard to predict.
WINNER: Seth Rollins via pinfall
Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Kofi Kingston
In the WWE, plans change. Since winning the WWE Championship the week before Survivor Series, Daniel Bryan has had the greatest title run of his WWE career. His character is sharper than ever and his in-ring work has been superb. It's clear now that the McMahon family loves him too and believes in him as a Superstar. The plan was to have a feud with Mustafa Ali in February/March before moving to Kevin Owens at WrestleMania but Ali was injured. Kofi stepped in and magic happened. Plans changed.
Kofi's story has connected with the WWE Universe in an organic way that is truly special. Vince McMahon stepped in and put obstacles in Kofi's way resulting in a nuanced, layered, character journey that involved the entire babyface roster of SmackDown getting behind Kofi, who has maintained a quiet dignity until speaking his mind at the contract signing on this past week's SmackDown. Big E & Xavier Woods have been vocal in supporting Kofi on television and more so on social media. Kofi's story embodies themes of perseverance, loyalty, friendship, and racial struggle. The New Daniel Bryan is a cowardly blowhard who in his obsession with maintaining his power has forgotten he once was an underdog who needed support to get to the top.
This match will be a blast to watch and a win here by Kofi will make the hearts of the WWE Universe explode with joy. If Vince eats a healthy meal and is feeling good Sunday, he may give us what we want for this one night: Kofi Kingston as WWE Champion.
WINNER: Kofi Kingston via pinfall
WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP
Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio has been having a career resurgence since January. His series of matches with Andrade in February were WrestleMania-worthy. In a recent tag team match on SmackDown, Rey teamed with R-Truth to take on Andrade & Samoa Joe. Rey got the surprise roll-up on Joe, which set up this match. With his son, Dominic, by his side: Rey issued a challenge to Samoa Joe for the US Title at WrestleMania. Since then, Rey injured his ankle in a match with Baron Corbin on RAW, who was substituting for an aging Kurt Angle. With Mysterio's injury looming over this match, it looks like the bigger, stronger, and younger Samoa Joe will pick up the win here. Samoa Joe is healthy and ready for his star to rise on the main roster of WWE.
WINNER: Samoa Joe via pinfall
WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Finn Balor as The Demon King
Finn Balor and Bobby Lashley split a pair of wins against each other back in October of 2018 with a DQ finish in Balor's favor in the series of three matches. The two have been kept apart until Lio Rush challenged Balor a week after Balor lost his match with Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. Rush, Lashley and Balor have been feuding since. Finn won the Intercontinental Championship from Lashley at Elimination Chamber in a handicap match by pinning Lio Rush. Lashley won the title back three weeks later on RAW. Balor can't get past the team of Rush & Lashley. This past week on RAW, Balor made the announcement that he'll be competing as The Demon King at WrestleMania.
Finn Balor is undefeated as The Demon on the main roster and only lost once as The Demon in a steel cage match against Samoa Joe in NXT. WWE keeps testing the waters with Balor as a top guy and the WrestleMania debut of The Demon will be another great test of Balor's popularity. Lashley and Rush still have more to give together as a duo, but this feud between Lashley & Balor should end at WrestleMania. Balor competed for the Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania 34 one year ago in a good match with Seth Rollins & The Miz as himself and came up short. He will not come up short this year as The Demon King.
WINNER: The Demon King Finn Balor via pinfall
After being relegated to the Kickoff show of WrestleMania 34, Sasha Banks seemed adrift in the women's division of WWE. She made public in interviews that she & Bayley were lobbying for Vince to create Women's Tag Team Championships and a women's tag team division in order to create more opportunities for female performers and to bring a greater variety of matches to shows. On the Christmas episode of RAW, Vince (dressed as Santa Claus) announced that the titles were being created. Sasha & Bayley got their wish. At Elimination Chamber in February, Sasha & Bayley were crowned the new WWE Women's Tag Team Champions.
The IIconics have been developing over the past year on SmackDown and had some great moments in the Elimination Chamber match. Nia Jax and Tamina are the hottest heels in the women's division and their size and strength advantage make them impossible to ignore. WWE Hall of Famer, Beth Phoenix, has come out of retirement to team up with Natalya to stack the deck against the champions. Beth Phoenix's Glam Slam looks as devastating as ever after delivering it to Billie Kay on last week's RAW.
The match itself should have some great spots with a variety of body types and wrestling styles in the mix. The match will have a quick pace with the IIconics making a big statement in their WrestleMania debut. The IIconics are knocking on the door of the top spot and with so many other teams in the mix, they could steal the win. Sasha and Bayley aren't finished here, they'll try to get their tag titles back as soon as possible.
WINNERS: The IIconics via pinfall
NO HOLDS BARRED MATCH
Batista vs. Triple H
If Triple H loses, his in-ring career is over.
"Give me what I want." - Dave Bautista. Batista has been clear about his dissatisfaction with his last run in WWE. He openly asked for an opportunity to return on Twitter and in interviews promoting his films but said that WWE was ignoring him. After returning for the 1000th episode of SmackDown with Evolution, Batista again hinted at wanting to come back as a competitor. Batista specifically had an issue with Triple H. Batista surprised everyone at Ric Flair's birthday celebration in March by attacking the Nature Boy in his dressing room, demanding a match with Triple H. Batista sent a letter asking for a No Holds Barred Match with Triple H putting his career on the line in the match. Triple H felt that the letter was a bluff by Batista and so Triple H agreed to all of Batista's stipulations for the match.
If you haven't been paying attention to this feud, it's worth watching. It feels completely different than every other feud on this card because of Batista's promos. They are focused and they are short. It's a tremendous contrast to Triple H's soliloquies turned promos. They also feature Batista looking directly into the camera, which isn't done much anymore for some reason. Check out the promo posted in the video above.
The match itself will be a fight much more than it will be a technical wrestling match. Batista has lamented that the current product isn't as fun as the Ruthless Aggression era, so look to see the style of this match feel like a throwback. Expect some callbacks to Triple H & Batista's 2005 feud, especially from their Hell In A Cell match at Vengeance 2005 - save for the barbed wire-wrapped steel chair. Batista has "Avengers Infinity War: Endgame" coming out later this month and a growing movie career. Triple H is the figurehead of NXT and even though he's 49 years old, he still has more to contribute in the ring in a limited capacity. Batista has said in past interviews that he wants his last match to be with Triple H and that could happen here. Triple H will find a way to win here and pick up his first WrestleMania victory since WrestleMania 31.
WINNER: Triple H via pinfall
KURT ANGLE'S RETIREMENT MATCH
Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin
Kurt Angle served as the RAW GM for most of 2018 before being replaced by Baron Corbin on the orders of Stephanie McMahon. Kurt announced on the March 11th RAW that he would wrestle his final match at WrestleMania. Everyone's imaginations ran wild with who would face the Olympic Gold Medalist in his final match. Baron Corbin has beaten Kurt in tag team matches and in one singles match on RAW. Angle announced on the March 18th RAW that he wanted Baron Corbin to be his final opponent. There was immediate backlash on social media from fans and wrestlers alike, including Kurt's wife. Rumors are swirling about the possibility of a last-minute substitution for Corbin in this match.
On the presumption that this match occurs as billed, Kurt Angle will steal a final victory with his ankle lock. Traditionally, outgoing wrestlers will lose their final match. In this case, Corbin is the most hated heel on the RAW roster, his star won't fade losing to Kurt Angle in this match. Corbin is incredibly athletic and is only getting better. Getting in a good, quick match that puts over an American hero in his final match will always be a feather in the cap of Baron Corbin.
WINNER: Kurt Angle via submission
FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE MATCH
The Miz vs. Shane McMahon
The Miz's babyface turn has been brewing since "Miz & Mrs." debuted on USA and it finally happened at Elimination Chamber. Miz is ready for a run as a babyface and this match will be his first big test. Shane McMahon's signature match is one that can take place outside the ring. Shane is known for attempting the craziest stunt to take out his opponent and win the match. With Shane humiliating The Miz by beating him up in front of his father and friends in his hometown of Cleveland after they lost to the Usos at Elimination Chamber.
The match itself will build Miz as a babyface. Shane is going to get in some great shots and put The Miz in serious peril. The Miz will execute some more exciting moves than we're used to seeing out of him and he may even steal Shane's big stunt spot and do it himself instead. The Shane McMahon match at WrestleMania is a test for a WWE Superstar and this one is a big test for Miz as a good guy for the first time in his career. The Miz will get his revenge on Shane McMahon and hopefully not injure himself too badly in the process.
WINNER: The Miz via pinfall
Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles
The feud between these two started on the February 12th episode of SmackDown when Randy Orton RKO'd AJ from out of nowhere to win the gauntlet match to be the final entrant in the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship. Orton also was the one to eliminate AJ from the Elimination Chamber, proving to be a very big thorn in the side of the former champion. On the next SmackDown, AJ Styles was giving an interview on how Kofi Kingston deserved a shot at Daniel Bryan's title but was interrupted by Randy Orton. Orton criticized Styles for losing his competitive edge. On the March 12th episode of SmackDown, Randy Orton cut a promo about how he can't stand that SmackDown is known as "the house that AJ Styles built" because he was in WWE long before AJ came to the company. Randy mocked AJ for working the indies, TNA, and NJPW instead of working for WWE saying that those places had inferior competition for smaller crowds. AJ contended that Randy has led a sheltered life in WWE, asserting that Orton was protected and given opportunities because of people's relationship with Randy's father, Cowboy Bob Orton. AJ said that people overlooked Orton failing drug tests and gave him chance after chance whereas AJ had to work his way to the top.
AJ Styles has yet to defeat Randy Orton in singles competition in WWE and it seems like WrestleMania is the perfect place for AJ to pick up his first win over The Viper. These two men have been known as two of the smoothest wrestlers in the business for over a decade and have made magic together in the few matches they've had against one another. We've seen AJ get caught in the RKO while trying to execute his Phenomenal Forearm, but can Randy Orton catch him again? With so many good guys getting wins on this show, a bad guy has to win at some point and it feels like it can happen here. Both men will step up and deliver a classic but The Viper will be standing tall at the end of this match with an RKO that will take our breath away.
WINNER: Randy Orton via pinfall
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
Roman Reigns returned to WWE on the February 25th episode of RAW to announce he is in remission from Leukemia. By the end of the show, Reigns was back to getting physical in the ring; Reigns saved Dean Ambrose from a 4 on 1 beatdown from Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley, Elias, & Baron Corbin. Reigns had The SHIELD reunite for one last match together at FastLane, defeating McIntyre, Corbin, & Lashley in one last match together as a team before Ambrose takes time away from WWE. One week later, McIntyre issued a WrestleMania challenge to Reigns, claiming WWE is his yard now and not Reigns'.
The match itself could be a clash of styles. Both men have a similar build and power moveset. Drew McIntyre has been turning out fantastic matches since he's returned to WWE and this match will be a challenge for him to establish a contrast to Reigns. Roman Reigns is getting unanimous cheers on his own for the first time in his career and this match should build upon that good will. Look to McIntyre to ambush Reigns and use more heel tactics to gain an advantage before Reigns summons the strength to overcome McIntyre and his cheating ways.
WINNER: Roman Reigns via pinfall
SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (FATAL 4-WAY)
The Usos (c) vs. Ricochet & Aleister Black vs. The Bar vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev
On the heels of signing a new contract extension, The Usos will defend their SmackDown Tag Team titles in a Fatal 4-Way. Since moving to the "Uso Penitentiary" gimmick, The Usos have gotten new life and clarity of character. Their work on the mic is better than ever and their work in the ring is just as good as ever. They also just won a preview Fatal 4-Way match on SmackDown against their opponents. Ricochet & Aleister Black have been on fire since teaming together in February. They would be the favorite for the upset here, but they're also facing The War Raiders for the NXT Tag Team Championship the Friday before WrestleMania. The Bar are four time RAW Tag Team Champions and have held the SmackDown Tag Team Championship once. Although The Bar is a top tier tag team, something jumps out about Nakamura and Rusev. This match feels like it's ripe for an upset and Nakamura & Rusev seem like the guys that are going to do it. Rusev was the one who was pinned by Jimmy Uso on SmackDown, which makes it feel even more like there's a good chance Rusev & Nakamura get the surprise win. Although they haven't been a tag team for long, their individual accomplishments rival even that of The Bar.
WINNERS: Rusev & Nakamura via pinfall
RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
The Revival (c) vs. Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins
Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins are looking to break Hawkins' epic losing streak by winning the RAW Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania. This match was announced Thursday after Ryder & Hawkins challenged The Revival in a WWE.com exclusive. Both Hawkins & Ryder are from the NY/NJ area and there seems to be a theme of the night of rewarding perseverance in tonight's show. It really feels like this is the night they break the streak. The Revival are great tag team champions who have defended the titles in epic matches at house shows and they had some pretty good matches on RAW as well. They will get more opportunities in the future, possibly with a move to SmackDown in the Superstar Shakeup. The Revival are capable of great things and hopefully this small speed bump doesn't slow them down for long.
WINNERS: Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins via pinfall
ANDRE THE GIANT MEMORIAL BATTLE ROYAL
Braun Strowman, SNL's Colin Jost and Michael Che, Andrade, Apollo Crews, Titus O'Neil, Tyler Breeze, Jinder Mahal, No Way Jose, Bobby Roode, Chad Gable, Kalisto, Gran Metalik, Lince Dorado, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Heath Slater, Rhyno, Viktor, Konnor, Ali, Shelton Benjamin, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Otis, Tucker, EC3, and more TBA
The story around this match in 2019 has centered around Braun Strowman's distaste for SNL's Colin Jost & Michael Che, who are now entrants in the battle royal. Strowman has never won the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal and it seems like this year is his time. There's always potential for an upset from someone like Andrade, (Mustafa) Ali, or a former champion like one of the Hardys, but it looks like Braun has this one wrapped up.
WINNER: Braun Strowman
WOMEN'S BATTLE ROYAL
Asuka, Carmella, Naomi, Lana, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, Nikki Cross, Dana Brooke, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan, Mickie James and Zelina Vega and more TBA
Losing her SmackDown women's championship in a surprise match with Charlotte Flair has left Asuka determined to make a statement. In an 18-person intergender tag match on SmackDown, Asuka was the last person standing. She even threw former WWE Champion Jeff Hardy out of the ring to make an emphatic showing of her dominance. Fans have taken to social media to express their support for The Empress of Tomorrow, feeling that she's gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to booking on the main roster. Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose have become serious threats on the SmackDown roster while former SmackDown Women's Champion and the winner of the first WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal, Naomi, has complained about her booking via social media. Ruby Riott has been breaking out on the RAW brand while the other women on the roster fight amongst themselves. Unless the women gang up on Asuka, this is her match to lose.
WWE CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Tony Nese
Trained by Mikey Whipwreck out of Long Island, New York, Tony Nese defeated Kalisto, Drew Gulak, & Cedric Alexander to earn a Cruiserweight Championship match at WrestleMania. Tony Nese has been Buddy Murphy's training partner, his tag team partner, and closest confidant on the 205 Live roster. Buddy Murphy won the Cruiserweight title in his native Australia at Super Show-Down. Murphy has been turning in the best bouts of 205 Live for over a year now. He has put on great matches with every single opponent he has face and will likely bring the best out of Tony Nese. These two should get at least 10 minutes to work on the WrestleMania Kickoff show and they will deliver a heck of a match. Tony Nese could pull off the upset in his hometown, but Murphy has been dominant in this run as champ and it's hard to imagine him losing without some shenanigans.
WINNER: Buddy Murphy via pinfall