WrestleMania 36: Preview, predictions and full card

WrestleMania 36 will certainly go down in the history books as WWE hosts the event over two nights this weekend.

Recorded at the company's training facility in Orlando, Florida, this year the show has been billed as "Too Big For Just One Night".

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, many thought it would be postponed, but Vince McMahon was determined 'the show must go on'.

No less than nine title matches are set to be contested at WrestleMania, but unusually there won't be any fans in attendance cheering on the action.

Scotland’s Drew McIntyre will look to become the first British WWE Champion, as he attempts to topple 'The Beast', Brock Lesnar.

Meanwhile, last minute replacement Braun Strowman will challenge Goldberg in a WWE Universal Championship showdown.

Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch takes on challenger Shanya Baszler,  SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley puts her title on the line in a Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match, and Rhea Ripley defends her NXT Championship against Charlotte Flair.

Elsewhere on the card, Edge battles Randy Orton in a Last Man Standing match; Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins collide; Daniel Bryan challenges Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn; and Otis looks to overcome Dolph Ziggler to not only win the bout, but the heart of Mandy Rose.

Here is a match-by-match breakdown of the show.

Elias vs King Corbin

Singles match 

Not many people will be hyped for this match, but with nothing at stake, these two really do have an opportunity to prove that shouldn't be the case. Corbin is one of the best heels in the WWE, who is always able to step things up when the spotlight is on. However, Elias' in-ring ability is questionable and it's a shock that he has been given a singles match at Mania, when there are plenty of other candidates. This should be a pretty physical encounter and one which will probably include a guitar at some stage, but should result in King Corbin getting the three count.

Predicted winner: King Corbin 

Otis vs Dolph Ziggler (with Mandy Rose)

Singles match 

This match in some ways is going to be the one mainly affected by the lack of a crowd. While it isn't a high profile match, the WWE audience are absolutely invested in everything that Otis does and add in a simple story and you have a great match, built purely for crowd reaction. But I still think that given the circumstances, these two will be able to put on a highly entertaining bout, with the inclusion of Mandy Rose.

Everyone in the WWE Universe is routing for underdog Otis to "get the girl", and there probably isn't a better opponent for him than a chiselled, tanned, handsome Dolph Ziggler. The Show Off has so far been the one getting the upper hand, I suspect things come unstuck for him here and we get an Otis victory followed by a kiss with Mandy, to put an end to this feud.

Predicted winner: Otis

The Kabuki Warriors (c) vs Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross

Tag team match for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship 

Since its inception, the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship has always felt like a bit of an afterthought and so it shouldn't really come as a surprise that this match has also been thrown together without much of a build. The good news is that this match features four very capable workers who should be able to put on something entertaining regardless. The Kabuki Warriors need to split up and should both go on to singles success and so a title switch should take place in this one, with Asuka and Sane catapulting into a singles title programme.

Predicted winners: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross 

Sami Zayn (c) vs Daniel Bryan 

Singles match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship

It's a shame this match has arisen with minimal build, as these are two of the very best performers on the WWE roster. That means that we are certainly in for an entertaining affair, but what is a pro wrestling match without any build-up or drama? Nevertheless, if anyone is able to pull off something incredible in an empty arena then it's likely this pair, who regardless will probably go even harder, in an attempt to produce a match of the weekend effort.

With Zayn only recently capturing the Intercontinental Championship, it would be a little premature to take the title off him, and he will likely win, unless there is some outside interference from his allies Cesaro and Nakamura, and Bryan's newfound friend Drew Gulak. Either way, this is a contest you do not want to miss.

Predicted winner: Sami Zayn 

The Street Profits (c) vs Austin Theory and Angel Garza

Tag team match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship 

This contest is the one that has probably changed the most ahead of the show, as it was originally slated to be a three-way match. That aside, it should still be a very solid clash as these four up and comers have a lot to gain and not much to lose, and we often see something special when that is the case, as it is their opportunity to prove they belong on the big stage.

The Street Profits are already a well established team and Garza is certainly a favourite backstage. Austin Theory is someone who just looks like a WWE star and anyone who has watched him in Evolve will have been impressed with his work. This could be a great opener on either night and will make everyone else on the card step up their game. But given how much the line-up has changed, it's hard to see any other outcome than a Street Profits victory.

Predicted winners: The Street Profits

Singles match for the NXT Women’s Championship

Rhea Ripley (c) vs Charlotte Flair

Fans are looking forward to seeing this match play out and have been encouraged by the story told by both Charlotte and Rhea so far. Having won the Royal Rumble and securing herself a future title shot, Charlotte could have gone after either the Raw or SmackDown women's belts, but instead opted to go for the NXT Championship, in a swerve which has helped to strengthen the NXT brand.

Adding the star power of Charlotte to NXT shows was great creatively, and sprinkling in the history that these two have, stemming back to them meeting in the ring at Survivor Series last year, means we have a great match on our hands. Charlotte certainly steps up a gear in big events and will likely bring the very best version of herself.

Rhea meanwhile is clearly highly thought of and it wouldn't be a surprise to see her making her main roster debut in the coming months. That being said, it's hard to envisage her going over at the expense of Charlotte and suspect Miss Flair will add world title reign number 12 to her ever impressive resume. But certainly don't sleep on this match – it could steal the show.

Predicted winner: Charlotte Flair

Aleister Black vs Bobby Lashley (with Lana) 

Singles match

This is another contest which was seemingly just thrown together, given we won't be getting the annual Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. However, while it makes little sense from a storyline perspective, we could potentially get something good out of this one. It's encouraging to see Aleister Black get a singles opportunity and given both men's mixed martial arts background, I am hopeful this won't be a complete disaster.

Black has been built slowly by the promotion and must be on the cusp of winning a major title in the coming months. Lashley has somehow overcome his love triangle angle with Lana and Rusev, and probably still has a run left in him at the WWE Championship. But based on recent performances and his character, there is definitely more for Black to gain in picking up a win.

Predicted winner: Aleister Black

The Miz and John Morrison (c) vs The New Day vs The Usos

Triple Threat Ladder match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship 

It's very intriguing to see how a match which is so dependent on the reaction of the crowd to high spots will be played out in an empty arena, but surely that's part of the appeal? These three teams are all veterans in their trade and the match won't be any less crazy.

The addition of The Miz and Morrison to the tag team picture on SmackDown is very much welcome, as we have seen so many matches between The New Day and The Usos before.This match-up could be used to help build to a Miz/Morrison vs Usos feud further down the line. The champions are still establishing themselves as the top team on SmackDown, so it's too early to take the titles off them here.

Predicted winners: The Miz and John Morrison 

Edge vs Randy Orton 

Last Man Standing match

 

This match has had the perfect build and is the bout many fans are most looking forward to. Having shocked the WWE Universe with his return at the Royal Rumble, Edge has been on a path of destruction to take out his former ally turned foe Randy Orton.

Orton has stepped up big time and laid down some of the best work of his WWE career to build towards this encounter. The promo he cut on Edge before taking out his wife Beth Phoenix with an RKO will stand up against any other promo by any wrestler on the planet this year. Snarly, cocky Randy is the best version of him and we have seen plenty of that ahead of this huge match.

Including the Last Man Standing gimmick is a smart choice and will certainly help Edge, should he have any ring rust after so long out of action. Orton has spent most of this rivalry with the upper hand, yet surely the Rated R Superstar will finally put down the Viper.

Predicted winner: Edge 

Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins

Singles match 

Unlike many contests on this card, this match has more than enough of a backstory. Cast your minds all the way back to Survivor Series 2019 and that is when this feud began. The back and forth between the pair has been pretty solid throughout and there is no denying this is going to be a banger.

The Monday Night Messiah role really suits Seth Rollins and his heel work clearly surpasses his babyface persona, which was almost shoved down our throats. Kevin Owens has played his role superbly and frustrated Rollins and his disciples (Buddy Murphy and AOP) so much so that Seth demanded this WrestleMania clash.

With Rollins having spent a majority of his career at the top of the podium, now is the right time to pull the trigger on an Owens run and a victory over the former world champion will certainly help build his credibility as a top guy – despite longtime fans already knowing just how good he is.

Predicted winner: Kevin Owens 

John Cena vs 'The Fiend' Bray Wyatt

Firefly Fun House match

 

If WWE give Bray Wyatt the creative freedom he has earned, we could be in for a real treat in this match, especially as he is looking to achieve something he couldn't do six years ago, when he failed to beat John Cena at WrestleMania 30. 'Big Match John' makes for a great opponent and a win would add much needed credibility to 'The Fiend', which was knocked out of him by suffering defeat to Goldberg.

Nobody has any idea as to what we will see in this match and that air of mystique certainly makes it much more appealing than a straight up singles clash. With Cena's time in Hollywood he will surely also have some creative input and we shouldn't get a repeat of the Wyatt/Orton Sister Abigail house fight.

The reaction from fans was universally negative when Goldberg took out 'The Fiend' without even breaking a sweat and so if the company want to build him back up as a devastating monster, then they need to start with this match. A Cena win would signal the end of 'The Fiend', so they cannot drop the ball here. He needs this win more than anyone else on this card.

Predicted winner: Bray Wyatt

Bayley (c) vs Lacey Evans vs Naomi vs Sasha Banks vs Tamina

Fatal 5-Way Elimination match for the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship 

Now this is a classic case of throwing some talent into a match and seeing what happens, rather than building to a singles match in which the champion defends against a worthy challenger. This has certainly fallen victim to the omission of a Women's Battle Royal and the inclusion of some of the participants make literally zero sense.

But let's look at the positives. We have Bayley, Naomi and Sasha all involved, all of whom are very capable of bringing out a decent match on a big stage. The story of Bayley and Sasha will undoubtedly be the highlight of this match and anything other than them facing off as the final two will be a disappointment, yet it might work out that way.

This is the only women's match in which I predict the champion walks in and out of WrestleMania with her title. A Sasha vs Bayley storyline has to be the direction off the back of this and we will certainly see Sasha hold the title in the coming months, but just not on this show.

Predicted winner: Bayley

The Undertaker vs AJ Styles 

Boneyard match

 

While many feel as though Undertaker's best days are behind him, the build-up to this match has certainly been enjoyable. Starting with Taker making a 'surprise appearance' in Saudi Arabia, to him taking out Gallows and Anderson and 'shooting' on AJ in a recent promo, WWE bookers have done the best they can to get fans invested in this encounter. With the addition of the 'Boneyard match' stipulation almost certainly being used to mask Taker's limitations given his age, Styles remains an opponent who can bring out the best in anyone.

Given the prestige of taking The Undertaker's streak has well and truly passed, AJ Styles may get the upper hand and walk out of WrestleMania with a win over the Deadman. However, this won't be the last time we see Taker on WWE programming with Survivor Series this year marking his 30th anniversary – surely the perfect time for him to bow out.

Predicted winner: AJ Styles

Goldberg (c) vs Braun Strowman

Singles match for the WWE Universal Championship

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With the removal of Roman Reign due to injury, things have definitely been thrown into a spin, so now there is no other way to go than a Goldberg victory. Braun Strowman being roped in at the last minute pretty much sums up his WWE career to date and while he has held the IC Championship lately, even that first run with singles gold was a disappointment for the Monster Among Men.

Everything about Strowman shouts out WWE Champion, but clearly he isn;t held in as much high regard as he possibly should be. This match has to be a prelude to an eventual Reigns victory, and so Goldberg should spear Strowman out of his boots relatively quickly and walk out as champion.

Predicted winner: Goldberg 

Becky Lynch (c) vs Shayna Baszler 

Singles match for the WWE Raw Women's Championship

 

I can't confess to being too blown away by Lynch's Raw Women's title run, which started at last year's WrestleMania in such amazing fashion. Whether it's a case of a comedown from reaching such a pinnacle in the business or not, her work since has almost been detrimental to her character, which she worked so hard to build in the run up to WrestleMania 35.

The build up to this match has been uninspiring, even though Shayna Baszler is clearly hungry (pardon the pun) for the opportunity. These two definitely have the ability to put on a solid and hard hitting match, but Becky is definitely someone who feeds off the crowd, and here that will be absent.

Perhaps 'The Man' gimmick has run its course, and that added to just how well Baszler handled herself as the NXT Women's Champion during her 416-day reign, will give the promotion enough confidence in her to switch the title and let Baszler step forward as the new top woman on Raw.

Predicted winner: Shayna Baszler 

Brock Lesnar (c) vs Drew McIntyre

Singles match for the WWE Championship

 

This is the match which should close out the spectacle of WrestleMania and grant us our first ever British WWE Champion. It has been building very nicely since the shock Royal Rumble moment in which Drew McIntyre dumped Brock Lesnar out like he was a nobody with a thunderous Claymore Kick and guaranteed he would be heading to WrestleMania as the challenger.

Since then, the promotion has done a great job in building up just how much of a threat Drew is to Brock's WWE title, with Scotland's finest standing tall over Brock at Raw, and going into WrestleMania with all the momentum. The only disappointment is that should he conquer 'The Beast', it will be in front of an empty arena, but let's put that to one side.

Lesnar is a special attraction and while his title reign has been very entertaining, it's right now to hand that baton over to a younger, hungrier talent and for Drew to prove that the stock that the company has invested in him was worth it.

Predicted winner: Drew McIntyre

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