WrestleMania 32: Full Card Predictions for Next Year's Marquee Event
WrestleMania 32 will be massive, even compared to other editions of WWE's annual spectacle-filled showcase. The company has a chance to break attendance records when the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, welcomes the pro wrestling circus next year.
That will mean delivering matches that will compel fans to come in droves and welcoming big names from the past.
WWE can't overly rely on part-timers and guest stars, though. Just like with WrestleMania 31, there needs to be a blend of the old and new guard, of nostalgia and promise.
Expect WWE to do everything it can to bring Undertaker back to the ring once more, for Vince McMahon to coax The Rock to come back and for Daniel Bryan to find his way back into the main event WWE title picture.
The following is a look at what bouts are likely to come fans' way on April 3, 2016, in addition to the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Roman Reigns vs. Triple H
The roots of a potential Triple H vs. Roman Reigns battle stretch back a long way. There is so much narrative to build on and play with here, WWE will be hugely tempted to go this route.
These two collided as opposite members of The Shield and Evolution. Triple H then toyed with Reigns after the 2015 Royal Rumble, coercing him into giving up his No. 1 contender spot.
Should Reigns feud with Seth Rollins after being on the wrong end of a cash-in at WrestleMania 31, seguing into a battle with Triple H is easy. The Game just needs to cost Reigns a chance or two at gold.
And the rebel-versus-authority angle is a common one, something WWE clearly loves to utilize. Count on the company going to that well again as a means to continue Reigns' rise and to bring Triple H's star power into the WrestleMania 32 picture.
AJ Lee vs. Sasha Banks (Divas Championship)
Sasha Banks is thriving at NXT. As that brand's women's champ, she has shown herself to be an elite ring worker and a performer with ample flair. Her time on the main roster is coming.
Once she gets that call-up, it won't be long before she's contending for the Divas Championship. Like Paige, she would step onto WWE's bigger stage with a strong fanbase and an ability to produce better matches than most of her peers.
That puts her on a collision course with AJ Lee.
AJ remains a top star in the division even with as much attention as WWE gives The Bella Twins. This year, she, Paige and their WrestleMania opponents did an excellent job. The division's recent success will help convince WWE to give the women an actual storyline and a title match at the year's biggest event.
Sting vs. Undertaker
It may not be pretty. It won't be a wrestling clinic by any means, but the hype that will surround this match will overshadow that.
Sting and Triple H pulled off a highly entertaining match at WrestleMania 31. Undertaker got back on track with a win and looked far better physically than he did against Brock Lesnar.
That leaves the door open for a dream match for which fans have long been clamoring. WWE can give into popular demand and bring two massive names to Texas in hopes of selling out the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
If Undertaker only has one match in him, this is the one many folks will be demanding. If he is to ride into the proverbial sunset, what better place to do it than his home state?
Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton
Bray Wyatt's WrestleMania record is now 0-2.
Don't focus on wins and losses; look at the names WWE has paired him with at the last two WrestleManias. Having him face Undertaker and John Cena in his first two trips to the event is a sign of how highly the company thinks of him.
Expect him to get another big name across the ring from him.
Randy Orton can continue his run as a vicious anti-hero after tangling with Rollins this year. He makes for an intriguing opponent for Wyatt. It's a story of a viper versus a monster, a predator against a man who claims to devour worlds.
There are a lot of themes to work with here, and this fresh matchup will have plenty of spark.
Rusev vs. Dean Ambrose (Intercontinental Championship)
Despite his loss to Cena at WrestleMania 31, Rusev is clearly a big star in WWE's eyes. It's not often that the company goes to the expense that it did for him in bringing in actors to play soldiers and to have him riding a tank.
Count on him remaining prominent going into next year's event, even with his undefeated streak now over.
Pairing him with Dean Ambrose gives him a fresh opponent, someone who can thrive in a slugfest and tell a great story leading up to the action.
Ambrose has hovered around the spotlight, but Reigns and Rollins are on higher tiers right now. The Lunatic Fringe won't be in the main event in Texas; WWE seems more comfortable putting him in the Intercontinental Championship scene.
It should be a more important title in 12 months, making this a more prominent opportunity than the crowded ladder match.
Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena
Dolph Ziggler will eventually get a one-on-one match at WrestleMania. He's too damn good to keep getting overlooked.
Restarting his feud with Cena assures WrestleMania 32 of a show-stealing bout. WWE can approach this after a Ziggler heel turn or have a respectful face-against-face battle where The Showoff looks to prove himself.
This also follows WWE's recent pattern at WrestleMania of having Cena face someone on the rise, rather than headline the show. After working with Bray Wyatt and Rusev, he gets a crack at Ziggler.
Seth Rollins vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
Daniel Bryan will ride the Intercontinental Championship back to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. As much as WWE has made it clear that it wants to spotlight the midcard title more, Bryan will benefit in a big way.
His popularity and a string of great matches as champ will have him return to the tier where Rollins now sits.
WWE has been quite clear about how much it believes that Rollins is the future. The company continues to give him major opportunities, from main-eventing Hell in a Cell to now leaving WrestleMania 31 as WWE champ.
He's not likely to keep the title until next year, but he promises to be in the hunt. It's going to be hard to knock him out of the title picture with as tremendous as he has been.
He continues to thrive and grow as a heel. It won't be surprising in the least if he takes Roman Reigns' spot on the WrestleMania marquee next year.
Putting the title on Bryan before the Royal Rumble or having him win the thing finally will have WWE avoid its recent pattern of boo-laden endings to that pay-per-view. That puts him in line to take on a perpetually rising star in Rollins in a match that will have purist fans drooling from bell to bell.
If WWE is unsure about this feeling like a big enough main event, it can always have Sting vs. Undertaker go on last or have The Beast Incarnate headline for the second year in a row.
The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar
Count on Vince McMahon having a lot of conversations with The Rock between this year's WrestleMania and next year's. Bringing him back into the fold for something other than a playful segment on WWE's biggest night amplifies the buzz around the event in a major way.
With Brock Lesnar now re-signed, the company has a number of appealing paths to send him on. Lesnar vs. Randy Orton or Daniel Bryan would be plenty intriguing, but no option will affect WrestleMania's ticket sales like letting The Great One and The Beast Incarnate go at it for the first time since SummerSlam 2002.
Whether or not The Rock wants to pull himself away from movie-making is the biggest key to Rock vs. Lesnar II going down. He has shown some interest. About that potential showdown, The Rock told Chris Van Vliet, "We'll see. I would love that rematch."
So would McMahon. To have WrestleMania 32 sell out AT&T Stadium and to have the event outdo this year's in terms of name power, he will do everything he can to woo The Rock back into the ring.