Selective Hearing Roundtable: WrestleMania 35 Soothsaying

Wrestlemania 35 Logo

This year’s WrestleMania is on April 7, 2019 at MetLife Stadium, New Jersey. The card features a total of 16 matches and will feature women in main event for the first time in WrestleMania history. The Selective Hearing staff have gathered to make our annual predictions for the event.

The predictions are the opinions of those who participated in this roundtable. We take no responsibility for monetary loses incurred by using our bullshit for gambling purposes.

Panel Questions

What are your thoughts on the buildup to this year’s Wrestlemania? Do you feel that each story was given time for fans to invest in outside of the big matches or were there too many rushed and cobbled together matches with little to no heat?

Greg: This year’s Wrestlemania does not have that feeling of the Superbowl of professional wrestling. It feels more like a divisional playoff due to the lack of focus on anything outside of the RAW women’s championship triple threat and to a degree, #KOFIMANIA and HHH vs. Batista.

The entire undercard is woefully underdeveloped and a lot of the matches were not even confirmed until the last minutes leading up to the event. That is not even enough time to bring feuds to a slow burn let alone a boiling point.

The women’s tag team belts are being defended and the Smackdown Live men’s tag division gets thrown a bone on the go home episode. On April 4 it was announced on WWE’s Twitter account that the Revival will defend their RAW tag belts against the reunited Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins.

Even the Universal Championship match does not feel like a big deal due to Brock not really being around as often to promote the match on TV. Seth Rollins is no Chris Jericho who can carry a feud by himself.

Overall I feel there was not enough time for any build up of the undercard matches including the secondary singles and tag team titles. There was too much focus on certain storylines rather than having a multitude of stories for fans to invest in which will possibly be a hindrance to the entire show.

Allen: This one feels like a sleeper hit with some of the mid-card matches, they feel like they may be able to surprise us. Roman vs McIntyre could be amazing, AJ and Orton can steal the show, and I can’t wait to see what Shane jumps off of in his match with the Miz.

The Women’s Fatal Four Way Tag Match will probably get outshined by the Smackdown Men’s Fatal Four Way Tag Match.

I did want to see Samoa Joe beat up Rey and his son Dominic, but now it seems Rey may be legit hurt going into WrestleMania so I won’t hold my breath.

#Kofimania has taken all the swagger away from the other matches, and rightfully so. Even with WWE’s overbooking, this storyline has me invested the most.

The Women’s Main Event seemed like a game of “what can we add” every week. Let’s add Charlotte, let’s have Becky hurt for four weeks and not hurt another, let’s do a Beat the Clock challenge for nothing, let’s let Charlotte win the Smackdown title, let’s have all three girls get arrested and fight each other handcuffed. Overbooked when it could have been kept simple.

Brock vs Seth is the opposite, too simple and nothing persistent on camera. It’s probably because they had to focus too much on having the final Shield reunion and Seth being hurt for a while. At least we are reintroduced to Brock’s weakness again, low blows.

BigFreaky: I guess they really don’t want us to feel overwhelmed going into the event that is going to last all day long. The Main, main events have been given time, but there are like 200 more Superstars still on the show. They’ve way overdone the Women’s title match. Too much weirdness and twists and turns, that … weren’t even twists and turns.

I don’t understand the endless back and forth for Rollins / Brock-Heyman. We get it. The match is going to be whatever it is, no matter what.

I guess they do have to have the other matches and as Allen said, I think some will be sleepers.
I suppose we don’t need to have a ton of big story for everything, and they are making that show.

TOZ: It’s a mixed bag. The main event has built for almost too long, while #Kofimania and Triple H vs Batista feel like they have built with the right amount of time. Shane vs Miz has been a surprise to me as well, and that hasn’t felt as long.

This year’s card is super top heavy and I am okay with that. I’m not upset most of the other matches don’t have a long enough or even compelling build, and that’s fine. It’s great to have a card full of bangers, but for this year I would prefer to have a Mania that has ebbs and flows allows for the moments that we expect to breathe and feel important

This is shaping up to be the longest WrestleMania to date with 16 matches confirmed. Last year’s edition was 7 hours long including the kickoff show. How long do you think this year’s show will be?

Greg: I will guess they’ll be able to go about 8 hours including the kickoff show. We joke around here that WrestleMania is going to be around 12 hours long or more eventually. It seems that joke will become more of a reality as the years go by.

Allen: They really should do two days of WrestleMania now. I’ve been to WrestleManias that were 4-5 hours and you can tell people were getting tired. I hate to imagine the show going 8+ hours but you might be right.

BigFreaky: I think just like Greg, we are going to hit that 8 hour mark. Pray for us.

TOZ: Too long. We can have 8 matches and it accomplish all the things this needs to. Can’t we be done in 4 hours? Why does this need to be an ordeal?

How are you preparing your body to endure the show?

Greg: Plenty of sleep the day before. On the day of, caffeinated drinks, junk food and a fully charged Nintendo Switch to play random games if matches lose my interest.

Allen: I will actually be in Dallas this weekend for Perfume so I will probably be doing a lot of eating and drinking. I will most likely start and see some of the first matches, watch Perfume live, after party food and drinks, and then still have a few more hours left of main event matches to watch. Hahahaha!

BigFreaky: Having some friends over who intend to make it a FULL DAY of drinking and eating. Taco Bar is on tap, and I don’t even know how far we’ll make it into the show before we pass out. LOL

TOZ: Sleep is good in general. Maybe go get a bit of exercise as well. Standing up ideally between matches, even during them.

Which match(es) are you going to use for your bathroom breaks, food runs and 7th inning stretch?

Greg: Pretty much every match that is not the main event or #KOFIMANIA is a candidate to take breaks. See my answer to the first question in this article as to why.

Allen: Any match that isn’t one on one has a very high potential to take breaks. Hotel room service may get a few calls from me that night.

BigFreaky: The only matches I absolutely cannot miss live will be #KOFIMANIA, and the Main Event with the women. The rest, while they will be great in their own way… my bladder and stomach come first.

TOZ: All but the two matches everyone else has mentioned.

As a follow up, which match(es) are you most looking forward to and why?

Greg: See my answer to the previous question.

Allen: Kofi Kingston vs Daniel Bryan is my number one match. I was live at Elimination Chamber and I felt how organic the reactions for Kofi were the whole night. Bryan has been such an unsung hero in all of this, I can’t believe how good he is that I’ve been booing him for a whole month now. They could both put on such a wrestling clinic, I hope WWE does the right thing.

I also want to see Becky Lynch win both titles and finally become The Man in her final form.

BigFreaky: See my answer to the previous question.

TOZ: Bryan vs Kofi. Look, the women deserved to be the main event, no problem with that. But it feels like it has dragged on and sadly decreased my level of excitement for it.

#Kofimania has been short and oh-so-sweet. The combination of it feeling spontaneous, Kofi absolutely being deserving, the fact that a similar story was told with Bryan back at WM30, now he’s on the other end, plus the historical and socio-political elements truly blends both actual and kayfabe in a way that only wrestling can do.

Apologizes for being corny, but this feels magical and I love it.

It could be safe to assume that the Cruiser weight championship match (a.k.a. Flippy shit) will be once again relegated to the kickoff show. What other match(es) do you expect to see on the kickoff show?

Greg: It looks like both battle royales are on the kickoff show. I’ll add the US title match since that belt don’t mean shit anyway. Throw in both ment’s tag title matches here as well since it will help reduce the pointless talking filler that usually takes up the pre-show time.

Allen: I can see the Men’s Fatal Four Way Tag match go on the kickoff show as well. I just hate that all of them might be relegated to preshow duties…

BigFreaky: Any match that has a lot of people are going to be prime pickings for the pre-show. I think almost all the matches involving women will be on the main card however.

TOZ: At least the Andre the Giant match. Since WWE is gonna show some of the kickoff on USA, they gotta have the SNL guys and Braun at the most accessible, and most visible point of WM.

Charlotte Flair surprisingly won the Smackdown Women’s championship on SD Live. Does her being a champion even matter in the triple threat match against Lynch and Rousey?

Greg: Charlotte being champion going into the main event brings no value whatsoever. Sure the winner takes all stipulation is enticing but there could have been a better way to unify the two women’s titles than this.

Allen: Nope. Her being in the match to help make it memorable didn’t need to have a title around her waist. It will only make Becky’s win more valuable as she can take both belts.

BigFreaky: Becky THE MAN Two Belts. The title changes will matter to the history books. Right now, it’s really not adding much value to the match.

TOZ: We sacrificed Asuka to what seems like the thing WWE wants to get drunk off. It’s like they are saying, “let’s just get hammered and go all-in with the SD title and we will deal with the hangover tomorrow.” It’s not needed, but sure, why not?

Where does this leave Asuka on the card now that the WWE has done her dirty?

Greg: Either she sits in catering all night or is the winner of the Women’s Battle Royale.

Allen: I really wished they added her to the match, but we know Vince’s stance on Asian talent. She needs to go back to killer Asuka and it should start by eliminating Lacey Evans in the battle royale.

BigFreaky: I really don’t even know. They keep making her just keep the belt warm for the next story or new face.

TOZ: She wins the Women’s Battle Royale, then they put her on ice for a bit. Perhaps she get shuffled around when the shakeup happens.

#KOFIMANIA lives after Big E and Xavier Woods went through a tag team gauntlet match to secure his spot against Daniel Bryan. Where do you expect this match to be placed on the card?

Greg: Either third last or second last on the card. Most likely third last since a buffer match will be needed to cool the crowd before the main event.

Allen: If they put this second before the main event, the girls are going have a huge shadow to get out from under whether Kofi wins or not. This match better highlight hour 5 or 6 in this mega show.

BigFreaky: I think they’ll put this shortly after about midway point. A big Kofi win, will bring the crowd up big time… so they can get brought down, by some other big upset shortly thereafter.

TOZ: Freaky got it right. Halfway is perfect.

Will WrestleMania be considered a fail if Kofi does not win? If he loses will it be as deflating as when the Undertaker’s streak ended?

Greg: Yes. Big fail if Kofi does not walk out as champion. I don’t know if it will be as deflating to fans as when Brock broke the streak but it will come close. Hence why I think a cool down match will be needed between this and the main event.

Allen: Absolutely! Even if the match went first and Kofi loses, the crowd will probably rebel the whole show. I’m one of the rare ones that liked being shocked that Brock beat the Undertaker, but I will be super bummed if Kofi doesn’t win the eco-friendly WWE belt.

BigFreaky: I don’t think it would be considered a fail, but man the internet will have a lot to say about the outcome not going in Kofi’s favor.

TOZ: Failure is strong, but honestly it would be disappointing. A huge disappointment. It won’t be deflating like Taker, it will feel more like frustration.

What is your match of the night contender on paper? Conversely, which match looks like it could be the worst on the card?

Greg: On Paper? Styles vs. Orton looks like it could steal the show if given enough time. Worst on the card is easily Angle vs. Corbin. If this is truly Kurt’s last opponent hopefully the match is kept short and sweet.

Allen: I really hope AJ and Orton steal the show, they are just too good to have a mediocre match. Brock and Seth can really be good too since Brock and Finn showed us that you don’t have to have 20 minuters to put on a great match.

BigFreaky: Any match with AJ is a contender. Rey and Joe prints money, but we have to see about this injury. If Miz was facing anyone but Shane, it would be a surprise. But I think it’s gonna be Kofi and Bryan’s night.

TOZ: Maybe in the most pure, in-ring aspect it’s AJ/Orton. But the combination of both a well-told story with the in-ring performance, it’s gonna be Kofi & Bryan. It’s professional wrestling, ya’ll. Both parts need to be there, and this has it.

Continue to our predictions on the next page.