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411’s WrestleMania 40 (Night One) Preview

April 6, 2024 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
WrestleMania 40 WWT Image Credit: WWE

Hello 411 guys, gals, enbies, and everyone else! Welcome to 411’s WWE WrestleMania 40 Night One preview! I’m Jeremy Thomas and tomorrow WWE returns to the Grandest Stage of them All. WrestleMania 40 is again a two-night event on the busiest of busy weekends and they’re kicking off with a seven-match card for night one. I’m-a be honest with you folks, I could babble on more here but it’s busy enough and I think we can all agree to just get to the matches, can’t we? Let’s jump right in.

Bianca Belair, Jade Cargill & Naomi vs. Damage CTRL

Image Credit: WWE

First up is our requisite six-person tag team match as Jade Cargill makes her non-Royal Rumble in-ring debut alongside two top babyfaces against the biggest women’s heel faction in WWE. Cargill finally made her brand debut last month on WWE Smackdown, signing with the brand after months of teasing where she was going to end up. She has teased potential matches with just about every prominent woman on the WWE roster thus far, including her partner in this match in Bianca Belair. For now though, the two are joining forces with Naomi to try and take Damage CTRL down a peg. The stable has found a new fire since Bayley was ejected from the group, and they head into this match hoping to have wins on both nights of WrestleMania as IYO SKY defends her WWE Women’s Championship against Bayley on night two.

Honestly though, this is probably the easiest match on both nights to call. As much as Cargill has been built up, it would be an incredibly bizarre booking decision to have her lose her big debut at WrestleMania. Naomi and Belair could also definitely use the win, while Damage CTRL isn’t particularly hurt losing to some of WWE’s most popular babyfaces on the women’s roster. This will be a good test to see how Cargill handles herself in a more controlled environment on the WWE roster and Kairi Sane, Asuka and Dakota Kai are a good team for her to work against. There’s virtually no way that this doesn’t end with Cargill picking up the win for the babyfaces, continuing Belair’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania and giving Cargill and Naomi a big win as well.

WINNER: Bianca Belair, Jade Cargill & Naomi

Rey Mysterio & Dragon Lee vs. Santos Escobar & Dominik Mysterio

Image Credit: WWE

[Jer Addendum: I wrote this all before Andrade taking Dragon Lee’s place in the match on WWE Smackdown, but my prediction remains the same.]

Rey and Dominik Mysterio battled one-on-one at last year’s WrestleMania, with Rey coming out on top. They’re running it back on night one with Dragon Lee and Santos Escobar added into the mix to make this a tag team affair. The LWO has been focused on their feud with Legado del Fantasma in recent months, which has led to some fantastic matches and a nice boost for Escobar as the lead heel here. Dominik was thrown into the mix late in the game in what felt like a bit of a thrown together notion, but considering that Dirty Dom is always good to boost the heel heat factor I’m not going to complain too much.

While there would be quite the pop in seeing Rey and Lee get the victory over their rivals here, that seems a bit unlikely. Rey beat Dom last year, and this would be a nice way for Dom to get some revenge and even up the score for them at WrestleMania. A loss here doesn’t hurt Rey or Dragon Lee at all and it’s unlikely that LWO vs. Legado feud is going to end in a match like this anyway, so the heels winning adds some heat to the eventual blow-off match. This will be a fun little spotfest that the crowd will enjoy reacting two, with Team Rey Sucks most likely to get the win.

WINNER: Santos Escobar & Dominik Mysterio

Jey Uso vs. Jimmy Uso

Image Credit: WWE

The Battle of the Brothers has been a long time coming. Jimmy and Jey Uso have of course been at odds for most of the year after Jey turned his back on The Bloodline in support of his brother, only to have Jimmy rejoin the group by betraying Jey at WWE SummerSlam. Jey switched brands to Raw, where he’s been establishing himself as a strong singles competitor. But the Bloodline is a storyline that has been unresolved for Jey, and there was never a point where they weren’t going to revisit it. It alwayd felt like for Jey to move past it, he would have to at least deal with his brother, and that brings us to this.

Brothers doing battle following a lengthy tag team run hasn’t always worked out in WWE. (Everyone remember the Matt vs. Jeff Hardy feud?) But the sheer potential in this match is off the charts. Jey has developed into an excellent singles guy and while Jimmy is less proven in that respect, there’s no one who doubts the man can go. There is of course the potential for Bloodline chicanery here, particularly involving Solo Sikoa, but hopefully that will be tamped down for the most part because we’ll be getting enough of it in the main event. This is likely Jey Uso’s final coronation as a major singles guy and the smart money is on him beating his brother, moving on from the Bloodline at least and going his own way.


Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship Ladder Match
The Judgment Day vs. #DIY vs. The Awesome Truth vs.
The New Day vs. A-Town Down Under vs. New Catch Republic

Image Credit: WWE

What’s a WrestleMania without a big gimmick match? Multi-man tag team matches have long been a way for WWE to inject a little chaos into a major match on the WrestleMania card while also getting as many people as they can on the show. This year they’re going all out by putting the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships on the line in a six-team ladder match. Judgment Day have had a stranglehold on the titles for most of the last year, having defeated Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn at WWE Payback last year and holding them since outside of a brief run by Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso in October before they dropped them back to Finn Balor and Damian Priest. During that run, the Judgment Day has fought off a number of threats, most notably dissension within the ranks. They’ve had a very strong run with the titles, but with Priest still holding onto that Money in the Bank briefcase now seems like a good time for them to let go of the titles for now.

That gives us five other teams that could potentially walk away with the belts, and honestly there isn’t a bad choice here. New Catch Republic are arguably the least likely as they’re fairly new into their run together and could stand to be more established before a title run, and New Day would be a return to the same old patterns. That leaves us with A-Town Down Under, #DIY and the Awesome Truth. Michael Cole noted on Raw that the match ends when both sets of titles are pulled down, a clear hint that we may be splitting up the tag titles which would make sense at this point. Of those three teams, I could see any of them winning a set. Awesome Truth make the most sense as they’ve been in a feud with Judgment Day. Presumably, the other titles would need to go to the other brand and that means as much as I’d like to see a #DIY reign, we’re probably going with Waller and Theory. That puts the titles on two teams across brands, with one set of babyface champions and one set of heel champions. That all seems right; either way this should be a fun spotfest.

WINNER: The Awesome Truth & A-Town Down Under (NEW Raw & Smackdown Tag Team Champions)

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Gunther vs. Sami Zayn

Image Credit: WWE

Is it weird that while there a lot of lengthy title reigns that clearly run out of juice, Gunther doesn’t feel like one of them? Outside of the Tribal Chief, the Imperium leader’s run with the WWE Intercontinental Championship has obviously been the longest. Gunther has held the title for 665 days as of Friday — and yes, that means he will go into his WrestleMania 40 match with a 666-day title reign. How they didn’t decide to get The First Omen as a sponsor for this match is beyond me. Anyway, my point here is that while Gunther’s reign has been long and he’s run through a number of challengers, there does still seem to be gas left in this tank, and that’s a credit to how well WWE has rebuilt their midcard over the last year or so to seem like potential contenders.

If I’m being honest, I wouldn’t have predicted Sami Zayn to get this match at the start of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I love Sami as much as the next guy but there have been a number of challengers circling the title and I just didn’t see Zayn as the most likely pick. I’m definitely not mad at it though. Zayn got a big WrestleMania moment last year when he and Kevin Owens won the WWE Tag Team Championships on night one, but he has yet to get that big solo moment and this could do it. And he’ll certainly give a great match here against Gunther, as they can both go and it’s a classic David vs. Goliath situation. All that said, I don’t think this is Sami’s time — in part because I think WWE can elevate someone else further by having them beat Gunther, and Zayn doesn’t need that rub. I think we get a great match out of this and Zayn will come close, but Gunther will pick up the win (possibly with Vinci & Kaiser help) so he can carry the title to his next challenger.

WINNER: Gunther (STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion)

WWE Women’s World Championship Match
Rhea Ripley vs. Becky Lynch

Image Credit: WWE

WWE has a number of dominant champions right now. Roman Reigns, Gunther and Seth Rollins have all held their titles for well over 300 days; Finn Balor & Damian Preist are behind that but if you take out Cody Rhodes & Jey Uso’s brief run they’re over 200 days. And their Judgment Day sister in Rhea Ripley is another one who has been seemingly unbeatable. Ripley has held her title for just over a year now and no one has been able to pry it from her hands no matter how hard they’ve tried. And it’s allowed her to grow into one of WWE’s top stars in the process. Her toughest challenge yet comes on Saturday as she battles Becky Lynch for the title. Lynch has a tough task ahead of her; much like Gunther, Ripley has had a very strong reign and yet doesn’t seem like it’s one that has necessarily run its course.

I think it goes without saying that these two will certainly deliver in the ring. Ripley has been consistently entertaining as a champion and has gotten good matches out of the likes of Nia Jax and Zelina Vega. And no disrespect to either of those two, but they aren’t The Man. The question is, does WWE pull the title switch here? There are a lot of benefits both ways. Raw has a number of good future challengers for either woman going forward. But as I said, I do think there’s still mileage they can get out of Ripley as champion and while I could see the title switch here, my inclination is that they keep the title on Mami.

WINNER: Rhea Ripley (STILL WWE Women’s World Champion)

The Rock & Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes & Seth Rollins

Image Credit: WWE

Our main event is the first part of a story that will unfold across WrestleMania as The Rock and Roman Reigns try to strangle Cody Rhodes’ WWE Universal Championship dreams before they have a chance to reach fruition. The Rhodes and Rollins vs. Reigns and Rock feud has of course been the biggest storyline heading into this weekend’s PPV and has grabbed the most attention. And for good reason: it’s The Rock, it’s (assumedly) the culmination of Cody Rhodes’ story, it’s the Bloodline. Those are all individually good reasons to make this match (and tomorrow’s Rhodes vs. Reigns match) the focus of the promotion; add them together and it’s an absolute no-brainer.

The set-up here is clear: this allows WWE to get Rock on the card but not require him to carry a full half of the match, something that is a bit trickier for him to do at this point. It also sets up the obvious high stakes for Reigns vs. Rhodes on Sunday. If Rhodes and Rollins win, the Bloodline is banned from getting involved (which I’m not sure is different from a standard match hypothetically, but still). If Rock and Reigns win, then it’s Bloodline Rules and the Bloodline can do whatever they want on Sunday. And listen, this match is going to be great. You have three guys who can 100% deliver in the ring and Rock, who is still probably going to be very good even if he’s not the in-ring performer he used to be simply due to Father Time and his extended absence. But when it comes down to the result, there’s no benefit from a meta-narrative perspective to have Rhodes and Rollins win. They need to lose — probably by Bloodline and/or Drew McIntyre shenanigans — so that things look darkest for Cody and fans go “How’s he going to finish the story now?” This should be very fun all in all, but I have a hard time imagining that this doesn’t end with the Bloodline winning here and making things look like an even steeper climb for Cody on night two.

WINNER: The Rock & Roman Reigns

And that’s all we have for WrestleMania 40 Night One! That’s a strong start for this two-night PPV and it only gets bigger on Sunday. Thank you as always for reading and remember that we will have live coverage of the show courtesy of Scott Slimmer, right here on 411mania.com. I’m out of here before anyone else asks CM Punk another question about AEW…

Image Courtesy of WWE

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Wrestlemania 40, Jeremy Thomas