WWE WrestleMania 36: Matches To Keep an Eye on at WWE's Biggest Event
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Saturday, April 4, 2020
It’s that time of year again, WrestleMania, WWE’s biggest event of the year and for the first time ever, it will be a two-night event hosted by three-time Super Bowl Champion Rob Gronkowski and takes place at the WWE Performance Center with no spectators.
Although the event will have no fans and several superstars forced to be removed from the event due to precautions, there are still plenty of matches to look forward to in terms of their significance as well as what the results may lead to as WWE likely set their sights towards SummerSlam.
Here are some matches to keep an eye on at WrestleMania this weekend:
Last Man Standing Match: Edge vs Randy Orton
It’s been 9 long years since fans have seen Edge compete in a one-on-one match at WrestleMania—Edge defeated Alberto Del Rio in the opening match at WrestleMania 27 to retain his World Heavyweight Championship—and his surprise return at this year’s Royal Rumble set the wheels in motion for his return as an active superstar.
The following night on Raw saw Randy Orton attack his former Rated RKO teammate and followed that up by hitting Edge’s wife, WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix, with an RKO.
Orton has really stepped his game up in the buildup to this matchup and proved why he is not only one of the best wrestlers in the industry, but when motivated and invested in a feud, there is arguably nobody better as he is an incredible talent in the ring with very little flaws and takes the storytelling of his match to another level.
I think Orton is the best opponent for Edge’s return singles match because both have great chemistry and have worked countless times with one another over the years. This will ensure that Edge is comfortable and gets through his first singles match as safely as possible.
NXT Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs Charlotte Flair
One of the most intriguing matches at this year’s event is Women’s Royal Rumble winner Charlotte Flair challenging for the NXT Women’s Championship.
Since making her debut, Rhea Ripley has made an immediate impact in WWE and has gained plenty of momentum this past year alone. Ripley has impressed with her intensity and character development, which shows in the way she has been booked on NXT. Ripley made a name for herself by ending Shayna Baszler’s dominant reign as NXT Women’s Champion and now has an opportunity to expand her fanbase because there will be more eyes on the product this weekend.
For Charlotte, this is another prominent matchup on the biggest event of the year. Last year, "The Queen" was part of the first-ever Women’s main event at WrestleMania, where she lost her SmackDown Women’s Championship after Becky Lynch pinned Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey.
This year could see Charlotte capture NXT gold again and move back to NXT full time, which could be significant for the brand as they compete with AEW: Dynamite. Charlotte being champion may help the brand long term as it would make the NXT Women’s Championship one of the main focal points of the show.
Boneyard Match: Undertaker vs AJ Styles
When this match was made official as a Boneyard match, many people were probably confused and had no idea what to expect and most likely still don’t as there has never been one before, but the promos leading up to it have shown a side of The Undertaker.
Both superstars have gone with more of a personal approach to their promos, with AJ Stlyes referring to Undertaker by his real name—Mark Callaway---and bringing up his wife, Michelle McCool to get under the Deadman’s skin. On many occasions, AJ also mentioned that he believed Undertaker should have retired after the streak was broken and now plans to finish the job at WrestleMania.
Another interesting aspect of this buildup has been Undertaker being more like his American Badass persona each week as opposed to what fans have been accustomed to seeing each year with his promos. This has many fans curious and led them to believe we could in fact see the return of the American Badass at WrestleMania.
Since WrestleMania is taped, more time could have been put in to different spots in the match to ensure Undertaker’s strengths are highlighted most and that he’s able to wrestle a style of matchup that best suits his age and limitations.
WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs Drew McIntyre
The match that’ll likely close the second night will be the WWE Championship match between reigning champion Brock Lesnar and men’s Royal Rumble winner Drew McIntyre.
This feud began in the Royal Rumble match, when Lesnar, who was the first entrant and had eliminated a who’s who of superstars, was eliminated by McIntyre, who took advantage after Ricochet hit Lesnar with a low blow. McIntyre received a massive pop from the fans in attendance and would then go on to win the match by last eliminating Roman Reigns.
After being referred to as “The Chosen One” over a decade ago, it looks as though McIntyre will finally get his opportunity to reach his full potential and become perennial main event talent that the company can rely on. McIntyre’s path is truly inspirational in that he was released by WWE in the past and went on to make a name for himself and become a commodity in other promotions, which led to him returning to WWE.
If Lesnar’s performances over the past year are any indicator, fans could be in for a main event to remember and not because there are no spectators. Lesnar has proven that when he’s invested in the storyline, he will go above and beyond to not only put on an exciting match, but to ensure his opponent looks as strong as possible.
Photo Credit: WWE (wwe.com)