WWE WrestleMania 36: What to Expect in Tampa

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2020

TOKYO,JAPAN - JUNE 29: Drew McIntyre enters the ring during the WWE Live Tokyo at Ryogoku Kokugikan on June 29, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

With Elimination Chamber in the books, WWE is solely focused on WrestleMania 36, which will emanate from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on April 5.

WrestleMania is always a star-studded affair with several big matches, but this year's 'Mania is shaping up to be a particularly special one because of the mix of new stars likely to be born and legends making rare appearances on The Grandest Stage of Them All.

The full WrestleMania card isn't known, but most of the big matches have been announced, including bouts that will see the company's most important titles defended.

With WrestleMania 36 on the horizon, here is a rundown of a few big matches and moments you should expect to see in Tampa.


Drew McIntyre Finally Becomes World Champion

While many of the top matches at WrestleMania feature Superstars with several world title reigns on their resumes, that isn't the case with Drew McIntyre.

McIntyre was referred to as The Chosen One when he broke through in WWE around a decade ago and seemed like a surefire future world champion. While he won the intercontinental and tag team titles, he never quite lived up to the hype and was released from the company in 2014.

That could have been the end of McIntyre's story, but he reinvented himself on the independent scene, returned to WWE as part of NXT in 2017 and quickly worked his way back up the ladder.

McIntyre scored the biggest victory of his career at January's Royal Rumble, when he won the men's titular match. During that bout, McIntyre eliminated Brock Lesnar with a Claymore Kick, which set the stage for their WrestleMania meeting.

Lesnar is the WWE champion and has been a dominant force throughout his WWE tenure, but McIntyre is one of the few who have believably matched up with him from a physical standpoint, and that has been apparent during the build to their match.

At last year's WrestleMania, Lesnar put over Seth Rollins in a big way. Also, Kofi Kingston beat Daniel Bryan to become WWE champion for the first time. McIntyre beating Lesnar would essentially be a melding of those moments.

McIntyre's rise is one of the biggest feel-good stories in WWE, plus he undoubtedly has the look, personality and in-ring ability needed to be a top guy.

WWE is always looking to make new top stars, and CEO Vince McMahon should see the value in giving McIntyre an opportunity as a main eventer.


Roman Reigns Proves SmackDown Is His Yard

It has been nearly a year and a half since Roman Reigns last held a world title in WWE, but that drought is likely to end at WrestleMania.

Reigns was forced to relinquish the Universal Championship in October 2018 when his leukemia returned. It went into remission several months later, and he returned to in-ring action in time to compete at WrestleMania 35.

Reigns beat McIntyre at that show, and he has spent much of the past year in programs that did not include a title as WWE slowly built him back up to the main event level.

When Goldberg beat "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt for the Universal Championship at Super ShowDown in late February, it seemed obvious that The Big Dog would be the one to step up to challenge Goldberg, which is precisely what happened.

It appears as though WWE is doing everything possible to give Reigns a feel-good WrestleMania moment and ensure that the fans are behind him. That may not have been the case against The Fiend, but because of the uproar surrounding Goldberg's title win, most fans are likely to support Reigns.

Goldberg has the makings of a transitional champion and a means to an end, with the finish being Reigns back atop his perch as the face of WWE.

While Goldberg is best used in short spurts and Reigns isn't necessarily a technical master, their match promises to be a spectacle, and it should be entertaining as long as both Superstars remain in their wheelhouses.

Reigns vs. Goldberg is a dream match in a lot of ways, and Reigns coming out on top to win the Universal Championship would be one of the crowning moments of his career.


The Fiend Bounces Back with Win over John Cena

The Fiend's loss to Goldberg at Super ShowDown angered a large portion of the WWE fanbase, but it shouldn't take long for him to get back on track.

One night after Super ShowDown, John Cena appeared on SmackDown to announce that he would not be competing at WrestleMania. The Fiend interrupted him, however, and they agreed to do battle at the Showcase of the Immortals.

Cena and Wyatt faced each other once before at WrestleMania, six years ago. Most thought Wyatt should and would win that match, but Cena came out on top. On the latest episode of Firefly Funhouse, Wyatt addressed that loss and how it led to The Fiend coming into existence years later.

While Cena winning is always a possibility, he didn't wrestle at all in 2019, and he lost to The Undertaker in his most recent WrestleMania match back in 2018. At this stage in his career, Cena is likely more willing to put over others than ever before.

After his loss to Goldberg, The Fiend desperately needs a big win under his belt to reestablish himself as a top star, and beating Cena at WrestleMania would do the trick.

All signs point to WWE taking the Universal Championship off The Fiend so that both he and Reigns could score big victories at WrestleMania, so it is tough to envision Wyatt not prevailing.

If The Fiend does come out on top, he and Reigns may find themselves on a collision course, perhaps with an eye toward SummerSlam in August.


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