wrestling / Columns

Csonka’s WWE WrestleMania 36 Preview

April 4, 2020 | Posted by Larry Csonka
WWE WrestleMania 36

WELCOME back to column time with Larry! Today, I am going to discuss and preview the WWE WrestleMania 36 events, which airs tonight & tomorrow on the award winning WWE Network. The show will feature WWE Champion Brock Lesnar vs. Drew McIntyre, Universal Champion Goldberg vs. Braun Strowman, Undertaker vs. AJ Styles, and much more. We’re in a weird time, we finally got Mania split into two days, but it wasn’t by WWE’s choice, and will happen with no fans in attendance. So today I will breakdown and preview the event. Feel free to make your picks in the comment section. Thanks for reading! It’s wrestling, we love it and will disagree. The only rules are “have a take, be respectful, and don’t be a dick.”

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Elias vs. King Corbin: There are some matches that deserve and require a deep breakdown and analysis, this is not one of those matches. The match has next to no build and what little build there is for it sucks. This also features a match between two guys that greatly struggle to have a watchable match in front of a live crowd so I fear what kind of trashy match we’ll get here. To say that I have low expectations for this one would be to assume that I have any expectations at all. It’ll likely be bad, possibly ok at best, and Corbin as the pushed act (unfortunately) should win. WINNER: King Corbin

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Aleister Black vs. Lashley: There are some matches that deserve and require a deep breakdown and analysis, this is not one of those matches. Lashley’s WWE run hasn’t been good, which has been a disappointment to me as someone who watched his Impact run prior to signing. This feel like a way to hopefully feature Black on Mania, and if that’s the plan, Black should win, win quickly and win decisively; 90-seconds, Black mass, finish. WINNER: Aleister Black

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WWE Raw Tag Team Champions The Street Profits vs. Angel & Austin Theory: There are some matches that deserve and require a deep breakdown and analysis, this is not one of those matches. This was originally The Street Profits vs. Angel & Andrade, and while it had basically no build at least had a possibility to be really good and fun. Now, it’s REALLY thrown together as Angel & Austin Theory have no onscreen history together and I find it hard to care at all because I can’t imagine any drama at all in regards to a title change, even more so due to the opponents and lack of fans.WINNER: Champions The Street Profits

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Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Tamina vs. Naomi vs. Lacey Evans: Dana Brooke is out due to reportedly being in quarantine, and I have no idea why Tamina is in this over Carmella (unless she’s also in quarantine as well). The story here is that Paige set up the match since Bayley had teased taking Mania off since she beat everyone so she stacked the odds against her and even put her best friend against her. This one could be messy, Lacey is unrefined and Tamina is flat out bad. I think that we see a title change here and that Banks wins to set off the Banks vs. Bayley feud, end the friendship and set up a big singles match at Summerslam. WINNER: Sasha Banks

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IC Champion Sami Zayn vs. Daniel Bryan: On paper, this one certainly looks like match that can succeed as long as they can limit the shenanigans with Gulak, Cesaro, & Nakamura. Bryan is still great, Sami I think can still be good if he’s healthy but it’d hard to say since we haven’t seen it for a long time. But I also think they are both really smart performers, and have a lot of history to play off of in terms of working in front of small or non-existent crowds on the indies, so I think that can work around the limitations of an empty arena setting. I wouldn’t be shocked if Sami retained, but I really think that Bryan should win so that we can have that great worker as IC champion again. WINNER: Daniel Bryan

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Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler: For an undercard feud, this one actually has some nice build to it, and not only that, it’s a simple one that has connected. Otis started to get over, and fans wanted to see him get the girl and then douche bag Dolph Ziggler (possibly with help) swooped in to ruin it and be as unlikable as possible, which looking at Dolph isn’t hard. The fans are behind Otis, they want him to succeed, and for love to overcome and him get the girl. While I could see the angle continuing, I really hope that they keep it simple and just tell the story of Otis overcoming and getting the girl. WINNER: Otis

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LADDER MATCH: Smackdown Tag Team Champions Miz & Morrison vs. The Usos vs. The New Day: The fucking set of balls on Vince McMahon. “Oh hey guys, I know we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, and that there will be no fans in attendance at WrestleMania, so we’re putting you all in a ladder match, please do cool things that’s we swell, ok?” Seriously. But according to all reports, Miz was sick and didn’t work the match and it reportedly became a singles ladder match with Kofi, Morrison and an Uso; what a clusterfuck. My initial pick was Miz & Morrison but I think the Usos will win and that Miz & Morrison can complain later on that they never lost the titles in a real tag team match… but who the hell knows with this match. WINNER: The Usos

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WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions The Kabuki Warriors vs. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross: I like the Kabuki Warriors as champions, they can work and are extremely entertaining. But I personally don’t think Vince values them all that highly and he loves Alexa Bliss. Don’t et me wrong, Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross area tremendously fun duo, I just like the Kabuki Warriors more. I see a title change here. WINNER: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross

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FIREFLY FUNHOUSE MATCH: John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt: There were rumors that John Cena was coming back for this year’s Mania, and of course a lot of speculation and rumor on his opponent, including Elias of all people. Many figured that couldn’t be true, because why bring back Cena just for Elias (with all due respect). And then The Fiend lost the Universal championship to Goldberg, a move I understood for business reasons, but also understood why it frustrated so many people. But at the end of the day, I do feel that Cena vs. The Fiend & Reigns vs. Goldberg does work out better. The Fiend looking for revenge and redemption against Cena for Mania 30 is a fine story, and their first match was good with some fine physiological elements to it, hopefully they can do that again. Cena isn’t a full time guy any more, so unless they are completely foolish, the gameplan should be giving The Fiend his much-needed revenge and a Mania win here. I fear though that the FIREFLY FUNHOUSE gimmick will turn this into an overly long and overly produced mess.WINNER: The Fiend

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Last Man Standing Match: Edge vs. Randy Orton: The return of Edge at the Rumble was a great surprise, he looks great and truth be told, the Edge vs. Randy Orton feud is the best thing going in WWE right now. It’s been well executed, we’ve gotten good promos, they have a rich history to play off of and since they are friends in real life, they will work hard for each other. I should be really excited for this match and it may very well deliver, but I have concerns. Last man standing matches can be tricky to pull off even with a hot crowd and playing the stipulation well, nut we’ll have no crowd and heat to play off of here. I have full faith in Edge doing everything in his power to deliver here, but I don’t have the same confidence in Orton. Orton is a really smart performer, and has had great matches in the past, but it also feels like years since Orton has had a truly great or inspired singles outing. It’s not that Orton dogs it, but he’s very locked into what he wants to do out there and rarely deviates from that. Hopefully, Edge can bring something fresh out of him and they deliver, but I wonder how motivated Orton will be in front of no crowd because he rarely feels super motivated when working in front of large crowds. WINNER: Edge

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RAW Women’s Championship Match: Shayna Baszler vs. Champion Becky Lynch: Becky has been a good champion and has been running strong since last year’s Mania, title win. But she’s slowly been changing into an overconfident champion, losing that side of her that fans have really loved, and I feel setting her up for a fall. Shayna is coming off of her dominating run as NXT women’s champion and the seeds for this were planted during the build for the Survivor Series. She wrecked everyone in the Chamber and looks primed to take the title here. I have said it before and will say it again here; I get Rocky III vibes with this match and feud. I see Becky as the overconfident champion, living a life of stardom and forgetting the performer she was that brought her to the championship. Shayna is the no nonsense challenger that is focused on winning and becoming a champion once again. With that being the case, I’d have her wreck Becky, Clubber Lang style to set up a long Becky Lynch redemption arc. WINNER: Shayna Baszler

WWE Universal Championship Match: Braun Strowman vs. Champion Goldberg: As we all know, this was originally Goldberg defending against Roman Reigns, but Reigns pulled out of the show, reportedly due to concerns over his compromised immune system, following his battle with leukemia. Unfortunately for Reigns, he received some poorly placed backlash over this. You may not like the wrestler Roman Reigns, but if he made the decision to pull out as reported over his health, I fully support him. So that left Goldberg without an opponent, and since they still play to run Reigns vs. Goldberg and can’t do something cool like make a star with Riddle following the online beef with Goldberg, we get Braun Strowman. This is not a good pairing, Goldberg works one effective match, Braun only works one style of match and neither adapt well on the fly. Hopefully this remains short, and I think that Goldberg retains as I think WWE really wants Reigns to dethrone him when he can come back. While I wouldn’t rule out a short transitional run for Braun, I just don’t feel it here. WINNER: Goldberg

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BONE YARD MATCH: The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles: This was a match I still would have been really pumped up for a few years ago, but things have changed. Undertaker hasn’t been any good for a couple of years now, and the thing that makes his Mania matches feel special is the whole ambiance of the Undertaker character, the pop for his trademark stuff and the reaction to his epic long entrances… and this match will have none of that. So you have Taker, beaten down, older and not good without all of the things that make his appearances special. And then there is AJ Styles, who is one of my all time personal favorites that I have followed for years, but over the last two years or so, the one thing for sure is that he’s farther away from being “the phenomenal one” than he is being close to it. Styles is still good, but whether it’s age, injury, a combination of the two or something else, Styles sorts of peaks at “good” these days, lots of gentleman’s threes. If I am being honest, this one could be messy and possibly even bad because while it’s Mania, they won’t have that crowd to play off of and create those possible cool moments. Don’t be surprised if the OC gets involved, and while I think AJ should win since he’s sticking around as the full time guy, I don’t feel Vince having Taker lose here, and I don’t see the BONE YARD gimmick really helping this much. WINNER: The Undertaker:

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Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins: Since the heel turn of Seth Rollins and his transformation to the Monday Night Messiah, it feels like he’s been feuding with Kevin Owens and his gaggle of friends forever. Rollins and his disciples have controlled the feud, even winning the tag team titles until Owens cost he and Murphy those titles and the feud continued. It finally escalated to the point where the challenge was made and we’re getting our singles match here at Mania. Rollins and his disciples have dominated the feud in terms of repeatedly picking up wins, and I see a lot of potential shenanigans here from both sides, but the way the feud’s been constructed, I think that Owens should finally best Rollins here and hopefully they can both finally move on. WINNER: Kevin Owens:

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NXT Women’s Championship Match: Charlotte vs. Champion Rhea Ripley: Charlotte winning the Rumble wasn’t my first choice, but when she did, my hope was that she’d challenge the NXT Champion Rhea Ripley, and that’s what we got here, and I am glad, even though it won’t be as big as I had hoped due to the situation we’re in. It’s hard to know what we’ll get here, Charlotte has proven to be a great big match performer and the rise of Rhea has been great, so I see her delivering here as well. Charlotte is a made woman in many ways in WWE, from her booking to her pedigree and a loss here will do her no harm, while a win for Rhea does so much for her stock and the NXT Title. Charlotte doesn’t need this win and shouldn’t win here, it’s Rhea’s time to shine and her losing would absolutely be the wrong call. WINNER: Rhea Ripley:

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WWE Championship Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Champion Brock Lesnar: When this was first made official, there was nothing more that I wanted than to see Drew slay the beast, quickly with a few claymores to stand tall as champion and get revenge on Brock for his path of destruction over others while finally becoming champion as WWE had dragged pulling the trigger on him. I still want drew to win, I still want him to win in dominant fashion… but I don’t think that it happens under these circumstances. I think Vince will get cold feet on strapping up Drew with no fans and having him do so over Brock in front of no fans where it will have less of an impact. I really fear that’s the case, I think Heyman & Brock may even be hard to work with here. Brock hates travel anyway, and while he loves money and I am sure will take a big old check no matter the situation, I think there may b some push back in terms of dropping the title under these circumstances. I want Drew to win and feel that he should, but when all is said and done, I think Vince (unfortunately) sticks with Brock for now. WINNER: Brock Lesnar:


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The 411 on Wrestling Podcast returns to the 411 Podcasting Network for episode 103. On the show, 411’s Larry Csonka & Mark Radulich preview this weekend’s WrestleMania 36 shows, while Steve Cook joins to talk AEW vs. NXT (4.01.20). The show is approximately 178–minutes long.

* Intro
* WrestleMania 36 Preview: 14:00
* AEW (4.01.20) Review: 1:51:51
* NXT (4.01.20) Review: 2:23:40
* The head to head comparison: 2:45:48

* iTunes
* Spotify
* Stitcher
* Google Play

– End Scene.

– Thanks for reading.