Becky Lynch, John Cena and Superstars Guaranteed to Lose at WWE WrestleMania 36
WWE WrestleMania 36 emanating from an empty Performance Center won't feel as special as it would have inside a packed Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, but that shouldn't hinder what promises to be an exciting two-day extravaganza filled with several marquee matches.
The show has experienced some significant changes in recent weeks for a variety of reasons, but the loaded lineup we'll end up with has the potential to be exceptional. Most of the matches having a sense of uncertainty about them adds to the event's appeal and makes matters all the more interesting.
In fact, the pre-recorded nature of Brock Lesnar vs. Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship actually puts the outcome of the contest more in doubt than it would have been otherwise. WWE holding off on the Scot's big moment for another time is every bit as plausible as him walking out as the new champion.
However, there are a handful of matchups on tap where there can be no doubt who will be reigning supreme. Predictability isn't always a bad thing, and in some cases, it makes sense for certain Superstars to eat defeat on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
Between how their respective bouts have been built and the story being told in each of them, the following five competitors are virtually guaranteed to lose this weekend.
One year removed from when Becky Lynch won the Raw Women's Championship, WrestleMania 36 will be the perfect place for her to finally drop it.
The Man's rise to superstardom has been well-documented. At WrestleMania 35, she overcame the seemingly unstoppable Ronda Rousey and emerged as the first-ever dual Raw and SmackDown women's champion before embarking one of the most dominant reigns in recent memory.
However, the time has come for Lynch to be dethroned as Raw's top dog. Shayna Baszler has been the biggest threat to her title to date since arriving on the scene and has expressed no remorse in making her life miserable heading into The Show of Shows.
The Queen of Spades winning her first main roster championship from the woman who sent her friend, Rousey, packing from WWE is a story that writes itself. It would also put Lynch back in chase mode, where she did some of her best work ever en route to WrestleMania last year.
Lynch sealed her fate when she acted arrogantly following her Royal Rumble win over Asuka. Her overconfidence will be what costs her the title this weekend and paves the way for Baszler to secure a stranglehold on the Raw women's division.
From losing the Intercontinental Championship to being overshadowed by Lana, Bobby Lashley's fall from grace over the past year in WWE has been painful to watch when we know what he's truly capable of.
The former ECW and United States champion accomplished little in the months following WrestleMania 35. His alliance with Lana has hurt his credibility as an in-ring performer because of how difficult it is for fans to take him seriously nowadays.
It was announced early last week via WWE's social media that Lashley would be facing Aleister Black at WrestleMania 36 despite being away from Raw in recent weeks. There is no established bad blood between the two, so it seems pretty apparent the sole reason the match is happening is to ensure they aren't left off the card.
As hard-hitting as it may end up being, the outcome couldn't be more obvious. The All Mighty is far from a priority to WWE at the moment while The Dutch Destroyer has suffered only one loss in singles competition since arriving on the main roster. There's no reason for that sequence to be halted by Lashley at this point.
Look for Black to score a decisive victory this weekend with his patented Black Mass. From there, he can chase the United States Championship, rekindle his rivalry with AJ Styles or aim even higher toward Universal Championship contention.
It has felt almost unnatural for John Cena to not have a prominent role at WrestleMania in recent years. Even on the few occasions he has been in action, it was in insignificant midcard matches where nothing of note was at stake.
He's back in the spotlight this year rekindling his WrestleMania rivalry with Bray Wyatt from 2014. The biggest difference between now and then is that his rival will be wrestling as The Fiend and will have a much greater chance of winning.
Wyatt claimed Cena was responsible for creating his Fiend persona when he defeated him at WrestleMania 30. The Cenation Leader retaliated in a promo on SmackDown calling him lazy and overhyped, all but confirming he'll be putting over The Fiend in their rematch.
It would be ridiculous for Cena to spend so much time tearing down Wyatt if the intent wasn't for The Fiend to beat him. After all, he is still reeling from his loss to Goldberg at Super ShowDown and the only way for him to bounce back from that is by decimating the veteran once and for all.
A win this weekend would also mark Wyatt's first official triumph at WrestleMania in a near-seven year career on WWE's main roster. Avenging the loss that nearly killed his career is long overdue, and any other outcome would be booking malpractice.
Angel Garza and Austin Theory
To WWE's credit, it has attempted to make the most of a bad situation by pairing Angel Garza with Austin Theory to vie for The Street Profits' Raw Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania 36.
Of course, Garza and Theory have done nothing to earn themselves a shot at the straps, and it's a match that's every bit as random as it sounds. If nothing else, though, it should be fun from an in-ring standpoint.
Street Profits likely would have faced AOP had Rezar not torn his right biceps recently, per Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc.
Either way, Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins finally captured the gold in early March. Needless to say, it would be premature for them to lose the titles so soon, especially to a makeshift team.
Speaking of Theory, he will surely be a top prospect for the promotion for years to come and should not be rushed onto the main roster. First, he needs a proper run in NXT as well as a definitive character, something he has sorely lacked since signing with WWE last year.
Once WrestleMania season passes and Andrade returns to in-ring competition, Garza should reset his sights on his United States Championship. A Fatal 4-Way for the prize, also involving Rey Mysterio and Humberto Carrillo, at WrestleMania 36 would have been ideal had plans not been forced to change.
Seth Rollins hasn't been shy to remind the WWE Universe in recent weeks that WrestleMania is the stage where he becomes a "god." Between winning world titles and beating Brock Lesnar and Triple H, his resume on The Grandest Stage of Them All speaks for itself.
History doesn't lie, but that doesn't necessarily mean his winning ways are bound to continue at this year's installment.
In addition to boasting about his own accomplishments, The Monday Night Messiah has constantly alluded to how his archrival Kevin Owens has never had a "WrestleMania moment" of his own.
In KO's defense, he did capture the United States Championship from Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 33, but that's not the narrative WWE is going for here. Rather, the story is that Owens can never win whenever it matters most. He needs to prove himself by besting Rollins and shutting his mouth once and for all.
If not, Owens will risk losing popularity because fans can't buy into him as a credible competitor. Rollins can afford the loss, and if there was ever a situation where it was appropriate for him to experience defeat, it would be against KO at this year's WrestleMania.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.