Predictions for Roman Reigns, Sasha Banks and the Biggest WrestleMania 37 Stars

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2021

Predictions for Roman Reigns, Sasha Banks and the Biggest WrestleMania 37 Stars

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    WrestleMania is WWE's biggest show, an event the scale of which is unmatched by any other wrestling promotion in the world and a showcase for the company's top stars. World champions, all-time greats and industry icons have seized the grand stage and made it their own, leading to unforgettable matches and indelible moments.

    This year, the men and women of WWE will step through the curtain and in front of a live audience for the first time in more than 12 months, ready to add to their own legacies while basking in the adulation of an audience all too eager to give it.

    Here is what you can fans expect from universal champion Roman Reigns, SmackDown women's champion Sasha Banks and the rest of WWE's best and brightest when they take to the squared circle inside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on April 10-11.

Roman Reigns

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    Credit: WWE

    Roman Reigns, the undisputed top dog in WWE, has competed in the main event of WrestleMania four times. He has defeated Triple H and The Undertaker and battled Brock Lesnar on two separate occasions. Yet for all of the encounters with wrestling's top stars, The Tribal Chief has yet to have a defining WrestleMania performance.

    His redemption run, which has featured a much-anticipated heel turn and the best work of his career, will right that wrong.

    The champion is set to defend his title against Edge and Daniel Bryan in a Triple Threat match, and while it is unlikely he retains, look for Reigns to erase all doubt about his status as the preeminent star in WWE.

    Established chemistry with Bryan helps, as does a character that has captivated fans throughout its existence to the point. How he interacts with the freshly-turned-heel Edge remains to be seen, but the heat is there. Reigns' in-ring performances since August suggest a Superstar finally comfortable in his role, and WrestleMania should be his opportunity to silence all doubters.

    The Triple Threat will make it more difficult to stand out individually, but expect The Head of the Table to shine bright and finally deliver the performance that affirms his status as wrestling's top (and most valuable) star.

Sasha Banks

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    Credit: WWE

    Sasha Banks enters WrestleMania 37 not just as the SmackDown women's champion but also as one of the most prominent stars in the company. The Boss is a measuring stick for women's wrestling, both within the confines of McMahonland and beyond, and will prove as much when she defends against 2021 women's Royal Rumble winner Bianca Belair in Tampa.

    Banks is a big-match performer, routinely living up to the moment. She did so at the 2016 event, overshadowing Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch in a Triple Threat match. She has been the best wrestler in the ring in historic Hell in a Cell matches and spent this summer reminding fans of her excellence as she battled Asuka.

    Then there's the series of industry-defining matches with Bayley that skyrocketed her to the top of women's wrestling.

    While she has yet to mix it up with Belair in singles competition, history suggests there is no reason to believe the champion will not tear the house down with The EST, especially if she is in a heel role. If so, she can set the pace, work her style of match and allow Belair to excel as the babyface forced to fight from underneath.

    It is a scenario that plays into her favor and allows the veteran of championship clashes to do what she does best: steal the show, capture the headlines and further establish her legacy as Big Match Banks.

    She will not win, but she will once again highlight her ability to stay over and elevate her own star, even in defeat.

Bobby Lashley

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    Credit: WWE

    The self-destruction of The Hurt Business on Monday's Raw leaves Bobby Lashley as a champion without backup entering WrestleMania and his WWE Championship defense against Drew McIntyre.

    The logic of breaking up the hottest act on Raw this close to the biggest show of the year notwithstanding, Lashley still has momentum on his side ahead of the most significant match of his career.

    A dominant badass intent on beating people up and holding on to the gold he waited 16 years to win, Lashley is one of the most intriguing performers on the roster, especially entering his clash with The Scottish Warrior.

    Sure, he excels in the shorter, more explosive clashes, but does he have what it takes to work a longer contest and keep the fans invested throughout? We have seen him struggle in those sort of matches as a babyface, but in a WWE Championship match, as the heel who sets the pace and carries the middle portion of the contest, does he have it in him to deliver an epic performance?

    We will find out when the bell rings.

    What is more predictable is his status as champion coming out of the show.

    While he has momentum on his side and Raw could benefit from having a heel champion for a bit, this year's show feels like McIntyre's opportunity to win the gold and celebrate in front of the first live audience in well over a year.

    This would mean Lashley's title reign will come to an end before it ever got started, a disappointment for a star finally in the position so many expected him to be in when he first headlined WrestleMania in 2007.


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    Credit: WWE

    The Rated R Superstar and 2012 Hall of Fame inductee may not have the match he expected at WrestleMania—or the role—but he returns to the main event of the annual spectacular for the first time since his World Heavyweight Championship defense against The Undertaker in 2008.

    The newly minted heel will compete against Daniel Bryan and universal champion Roman Reigns in a Triple Threat match, hoping not only to make it back-to-back victories on wrestling's most prestigious night but also to capture championship gold for the first time since he vacated the World Heavyweight Championship because of a neck injury in 2011.

    His patience tested by Bryan's insertion into the main event, he has taken on a meaner, nastier demeanor of late. He has re-established his friendship with the steel chair, laying into both the popular babyface and Reigns in recent weeks.

    The Triple Threat rules allow him to use it come April 11 too, as disqualifications and count-outs are null and void in that particular contest.

    While most expected Edge to capture the title on wrestling's biggest night when he won the men's Royal Rumble in January, that no longer is a sure thing—especially with the fans in Tampa almost guaranteed to favor Bryan heavily in the match.

    With the championship not a certainty, look for the match to give fans a taste of what is to come for Edge. What direction will he go in? Will the anger and rage within him become a more prominent feature of his character? Might an extended war with Bryan be in the cards?

    Or is Edge heading for a hiatus after the event?

    The answers to those questions, more than a monumental win, should be what fans of the Ultimate Opportunist look for come WrestleMania.

Drew McIntyre

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    Last year's unprecedented WrestleMania, held inside the WWE Performance Center, ended with Drew McIntyre realizing his childhood dream by defeating Brock Lesnar for the company's top prize. The moment, a culmination of his life's work, took place in front of no fans and featured no pyro or confetti.

    There was no pomp or circumstance. The monumental moment did not feel all that special.

    What should have been the coronation of WWE's next great babyface failed to to live up to the build. This year, though, the company has the opportunity to do right by McIntyre with a sort-of do-over.

    The Scottish Warrior challenges Bobby Lashley for that same WWE Championship, this time in front of a reported 25,000 fans in Raymond James Stadium.

    While some will make the case for Lashley retaining the title and continuing what has been a red-hot run, this feels like the company's opportunity to make up for what was a decidedly lackluster title victory for McIntyre a year ago.

    Expect all of the pyro and confetti fit for a championship celebration and McIntyre to celebrate his third run with the title as if it were his first.


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    Credit: WWE

    Imagine holding the Raw Women's Championship for all but one month since May but never being the focal point of your own division.

    That is the reality that has faced Asuka, who has reigned as champion for most of the past year but has been overshadowed by peers and cast aside by WWE Creative. The Empress of Tomorrow has earned better than that but enters WrestleMania as a lame duck champion ahead of her clash with Rhea Ripley.

    The match is more about Ripley's ascension and making up for last year's loss to Charlotte Flair than it is Asuka thwarting her latest challenger, and that is a shame.

    What should be a crowning moment for Asuka, her first opportunity to excel on the grand stage as a singles star since her 2018 loss to Flair, is instead being looked at as a chance for her to create a new star.

    Unfortunately, that is what Asuka's reign as champion will be remembered for: playing second-fiddle to her challenger rather than shining as the top competitor in the Raw women's division.

Randy Orton

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    Credit: WWE

    In 2017, Randy Orton defeated Bray Wyatt to capture the WWE Championship in a match that was highly criticized by fans for being overproduced and for under-delivering. It was a massive failure that set back the top of the SmackDown brand.

    Fast-forward four years, and Orton again sets foot inside the squared circle with Wyatt, this time in his Fiend persona, for a match that has the potential to suffer a similar fate.

    The feud has featured a little bit of everything, including apparent homicide, a horror movie-like resurrection, black bile, a touch of the supernatural and Alexa Bliss slaying in her role as the harlequin of the afterlife.

    Considering everything that has preceded it, the match almost has to feature over-the-top spots. As such, Orton will be trusted to keep things grounded to the best of his ability. He is the human in this battle with the monster. We will see the match through his eyes, experience his emotions. We will live and breathe with his character because it is the only relatable one in the entire ordeal.

    If he goes too overboard with his performance, the entire thing will suffer.

    And even then, it still might.

    Expect Orton to do what he can to ensure a different outcome than the groan-inducing showdown from four years ago, all while chasing that one, sort-of classic with Wyatt that their lengthy feud deserves.

Daniel Bryan

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    Credit: WWE

    For the second time in his career, Daniel Bryan enters WrestleMania for a match he was never intended to be a part of.

    We saw it in 2014, when fans' demand for a Bryan push derailed WWE's plans to promote Randy Orton vs. Batista as that year's headline bout, and now he has infiltrated the proposed Edge vs. Roman Reigns encounter.

    With good reason.

    Edge vs. Roman Reigns was never going to produce the reaction or moment WWE wanted. The fans in Tampa likely would have booed Edge, unhappy with him strolling back into the title picture and getting a championship opportunity right off the bat. Reigns, conversely, would have been cheered, but that is no good, either, given the lengths to which he has gone to establish himself a heel.

    WWE needed a trusted babyface. It needed someone it knows fans love and adore.

    Enter Bryan.

    The leader of the Yes! Movement enters WrestleMania with the opportunity to capture gold on sports-entertainment's biggest night for a second time. Will he? Maybe, but what he will do is create a loud, energetic atmosphere that lends itself to a title clash of epic proportions.

    That, plus he and Reigns already have extraordinary in-ring chemistry. You throw in another celebrated in-ring performer like Edge, and the potential for a Match of the Year candidate exists. If he can deliver such a bout, Bryan could well etch his name into the history books as one of the best to compete on that stage.

    Given the company's tendency to book the babyface to go over in the main event, expect Bryan to capture the Universal Championship and pay off all of the talk about this potentially being his last WrestleMania.