Amid the coronavirus pandemic that’s severely affected the country as well as nearly every major nation across the globe, WrestleMania 36 — set to take place on Sunday, April 5 in Tampa, Florida — was in a state of limbo. A trio of recent announcements have provided some clarity, however, as WWE’s biggest show of the year will now be held inside the confines of the WWE Performance Center in Orlando along with sites that have yet to be disclosed. WrestleMania 36 this year will take place over two nights, Saturday and Sunday, with former NFL star Rob Gronkowski serving as host.
“WrestleMania, for the first time ever, will be held as a two-night event streaming on Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, April 5 at 7 pm ET on WWE Network and available on pay-per-view,” WWE announced in a press release. “The two-night pop culture extravaganza will be hosted by three-time Super Bowl Champion Rob Gronkowski. … As previously announced, only essential personnel will be on the closed set during the production of WrestleMania.”
The move to two nights in unprecedented for the biggest event in wrestling, but may be a necessary one to move forward with planned matches as restrictions on large public gatherings continue to be put in place as the coronavirus impacts every part of the world. With WrestleMania confirmed to be going down on April 4 and 5, let’s have a look at the card that’s set for what should be an interesting experience as well as make some predictions of what may be added to the fold.
WWE WrestleMania 36 matches
WWE Championship — Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre:
McIntyre shockingly won the Royal Rumble after having established himself as a threat by ending Lesnar’s dominant run in the 30-man match. As McIntyre continued staring down Lesnar while the champ stewed outside of the ring following his elimination, a showdown between the two seemed inevitable. On the Jan. 27 edition of Raw, McIntyre called the shot he earned by winning the Rumble, saying he chose Lesnar for WrestleMania.
Universal Championship — Goldberg (c) vs. Roman Reigns:
What seemed certain to be a showdown between Roman Reigns and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt took a hard turn at Super ShowDown when Goldberg destroyed Wyatt to win the universal title. On the Feb. 28 edition of SmackDown, Goldberg asked “Who’s next?” and Reigns declared “I am.” Later that night, the match was announced as official for WrestleMania 36.
John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt:
The night after Wyatt lost the universal title to Goldberg, Cena returned to SmackDown, claiming he didn’t want to perform at WrestleMania because he hadn’t earned that spot this year. Before he could leave, The Fiend showed up behind him and pointed to the WrestleMania 36 sign, drawing a tip of the cap from Cena and making the match official.
Raw Women’s Championship — Becky Lynch (c) vs. Shayna Baszler:
After Baszler brutally attacked Lynch on Raw, biting her neck and drawing “blood,” this pairing seemed fairly academic. Baszler made it official at Elimination Chamber when she easily ran through the opposition to earn the title shot. Now, the two will likely engage in weeks of aggression on Raw before meeting in Tampa.
NXT Women’s Championship — Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair:
On the Feb. 3 Raw, Flair dismissed the Raw and SmackDown titles and respective holders as championships she has held and opponents she has beaten. While Flair was saying she still wants to hold “all the gold,” she was interrupted by NXT champ Ripley, who threw down a challenge while pointing out Flair had not yet beaten her — and noting that she held a pinfall win over Flair prior to Survivor Series. Flair did not accept the match at first, but she did take out Ripley at NXT TakeOver: Portland a few weeks later to make it official.
SmackDown Women’s Championship — Bayley (c) vs. Lacey Evans vs. Dana Brooke vs. Tamina vs. Naomi vs. Sasha Banks:
Paige announced the match during the March 20 edition of SmackDown at the Performance Center. As Bayley and Banks continued to mock her, she continually added opponents to the match until the surprise twist of Banks being the final challenger, pitting the friends against each other on the biggest show of the year.
The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles:
Styles has been ranting about his ability to take out anyone — including legends from the past. That led to Undertaker’s surprise entrance into the Super ShowDown gauntlet match where he pinned Styles after a single chokeslam. The days of Undertaker tearing the building down at WrestleMania are over, but he’ll forever be a big attraction for the annual event. Undertaker returned again at Elimination Chamber, attacking Styles to help Aleister Black win a no disqualification match, and the next night, Styles threw down the WrestleMania challenge and the two signed the contract to make it official on the March 16 edition of Raw.
Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins:
After Rollins built up followers and brutally took out Owens, it seemed a new force had emerged to be the driving hand of Raw. Owens has become a constant thorn in Rollins’ side, however, costing Rollins and Murphy the Raw tag titles against The Street Profits before again causing a distraction in the rematch at Elimination Chamber. Things continued to escalate between the two before Owens took Rollins’ challenge of a match “any time, any place” to throw down the terms of a match at WrestleMania.
WWE WrestleMania 36 predictions
Edge vs. Randy Orton (Last Man Standing):
Edge’s return at the Royal Rumble was truly shocking, and his decision to beat Orton to the punch on turning and eliminating him before “The Viper” could strike was a good moment. While Orton retribution was inevitable, the level of violence shown when he brutalized Edge the next night on Raw was shocking in its own right, and his later RKO of Edge’s wife Beth Phoenix only raised the stakes. On the March 16 edition of Raw, Edge laid down the official challenge for a Last Man Standing match. While the match is a certainty to take place, it has not been officially announced but Orton will appear on the March 23 edition of Raw to answer the challenge.
Intercontinental Championship — Sami Zayn (c) vs. Daniel Bryan:
During a recent edition of SmackDown, Bryan challenged Zayn to face both he and Drew Gulak at WrestleMania with the intercontinental title on the line. Zayn countered with the stipulation that if Gulak can defeat Shinsuke Nakamura, then he will put his title on the line against Bryan at WrestleMania.
Elias vs. King Corbin:
The two have had issues for several weeks, but on the March 20 SmackDown, WrestleMania was thrown into the mix. After Corbin interrupted Rob Gronkowski, Elias tossed him from the ring and Gronkowski said he was “advocating” for the two to have a match at WrestleMania. While it has not been made official, it seems likely after WrestleMania’s celebrity host demanded it.
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