Pro wrestling’s biggest spectacle returns to Southern California as WrestleMania 39 takes place at SoFi Stadium this weekend.
The two-night event is being held Saturday and Sunday. It’s the first time WrestleMania has taken place in the Los Angeles area since 2005. Both nights of the show will stream live on Peacock starting at 8 p.m. ET.
While Night 2 has a clear main event in Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes, the picture for Night 1 is less certain. WWE has several options that could headline the show. As the winner of this year’s women’s Royal Rumble match, Rhea Ripley could main-event WrestleMania on Saturday when she faces Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown women’s championship. Seth Rollins vs. Logan Paul may be the safest bet for the match of the night. John Cena’s return to the ring is one of the biggest things on WrestleMania 39, but he’ll be kicking off the first night against United States champion Austin Theory instead of going on last.
Of all the available options, The Usos vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn is the right choice to headline. The defining theme of the event is going to be the fall of The Bloodline. Reigns and The Usos have ruled over WWE with some of the most dominant championship reigns in history. Reigns has held the universal championship for nearly three years. The Usos are approaching two years as tag team champions. WrestleMania is about moments—and Reigns and The Usos losing their titles would provide two of the best WWE moments in recent memory.
Zayn deserves to main-event WrestleMania after the incredible work he’s done over the past year. The saga of Zayn and The Bloodline is widely regarded as one of the greatest stories WWE has ever told. Splitting from The Bloodline and winning the undisputed WWE universal championship from Reigns would have been the ideal ending to that story. But winning the tag team titles with your best friend in the main event of WrestleMania is the next best thing.
In addition to providing a memorable moment, Zayn and Owens winning the tag team titles would be a great way to build anticipation for Night 2. With The Bloodline starting to crumble, all eyes will be on how Roman Reigns reacts.
The card for Night 1 of WrestleMania 39 features seven matches. Here’s a full rundown of Saturday’s lineup, along with predictions for each bout.
The Usos vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn for the undisputed WWE tag team titles
Owens and Zayn defeating The Usos is the easiest call on either night of WrestleMania. Even if Reigns was going to retain against Rhodes for some reason, The Usos should still lose their titles. It’s time for new tag team champions to be crowned, but it's sort of hard to envision what WWE will look like with The Bloodline as challengers instead of champions. Reigns and The Usos have been defined by their dominance for so long. WWE is going to be a noticeably different place with new faces in the title picture.
Owens and Zayn may be from Canada, but Los Angeles has been a special place in their careers. It’s where Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (an indie promotion that helped Owens and Zayn make their names) is located. They formerly held the PWG tag team titles together. Now, Owens and Zayn will begin their first WWE tag team title run in LA.
Prediction: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn win
Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley for the SmackDown women’s championship
After winning the Royal Rumble, Ripley surprisingly announced she would be challenging Flair at WrestleMania. It’s a match that makes sense in story line. Ripley is out for revenge after losing to Flair at WrestleMania 36 in 2020. They had the best in-ring match at that empty arena event and will be looking to top it under better circumstances this time.
But the WrestleMania card would be better if WWE went with the expected Bianca Belair vs. Ripley matchup. The booking of the women’s division has been the biggest disappointment during Paul “Triple H” Levesque’s time as head of creative. Levesque always had great women’s divisions in NXT, but he hasn’t replicated that on the main roster yet. Flair vs. Ripley feels like a stale match from a previous era. Belair vs. Ripley would have been exciting and fresh. They’re the two biggest women’s stars WWE has produced since the Four Horsewomen era.
Prediction: Rhea Ripley wins
Becky Lynch, Lita and Trish Stratus vs. Damage CTRL (Bayley, Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky)
WrestleMania will be where Damage CTRL either regains its lost momentum or falls apart. The group started strong with Dakota Kai being brought back to WWE and Iyo Sky being called up to the main roster, but Damage CTRL has just lost too often to be a credible faction. If the group were going to succeed, Bayley needed to win the Raw women’s championship from Belair in one of their matches last year. Splitting up Damage CTRL and giving Kai and Sky their own singles runs is probably the correct option at this point.
A Trish Stratus heel turn has been rumored in recent weeks. The babyfaces can get the win Saturday before Stratus turns on the Raw after WrestleMania on Monday. Becky Lynch vs. Stratus is a true dream match that could headline a future pay-per-view.
Prediction: Becky Lynch, Lita and Trish Stratus win
Seth Rollins vs. Logan Paul
Anyone who’s familiar with Logan Paul but doesn’t know about his wrestling career would be shocked to learn how good he is. Every match he’s been in has overdelivered. Paul vs. Reigns at Crown Jewel in November was a legitimately great world title match. Paul is a superb athlete and would be one of the best wrestlers in the industry if he committed to it full time. He deserves a lot of respect for taking wrestling seriously when it could have just been a paycheck to him.
This match has a chance to be even better than Reigns vs. Paul. Like Paul, Rollins is a great athlete and their fast-paced styles should mesh well together. Their rivalry began when Paul eliminated Rollins from the Royal Rumble. Paul further antagonized Rollins at Elimination Chamber, preventing him from winning the United States title.
Paul’s current WWE contract ends after WrestleMania, but hopefully it won’t be long until he’s re-signed. (Paul said he expects to renew his deal.) Either way, this is a match Rollins should win. Rollins needs to have a strong 2023 after taking so many high-profile losses last year. It seems inevitable that Rollins will be one of the first challengers if Cody Rhodes wins the undisputed WWE universal championship.
Prediction: Seth Rollins wins
Rey Mysterio vs. Dominik Mysterio
It will be father vs. son when Rey Mysterio faces off against Dominik at WrestleMania. With Rey being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on Friday, this is going to be one of the most special weekends of his life. It will be a moment of immense pride when Rey stands across the ring from his son on the biggest stage pro wrestling has to offer.
On-screen, Dominik spent weeks trying to goad Rey into accepting his WrestleMania challenge. Rey initially refused to hit his son, but he finally snapped when Dominik disrespected his mother and sister. After failing to find the right character as a babyface, Dominik has become one of the best heels in WWE. He’s so great at playing a whiny spoiled brat. Fans will want to see Rey put Dominik in his place at WrestleMania, but this is a match Dominik needs to win. There’s no way that Rey would even allow himself to defeat Dominik. Beating his father on his Hall of Fame weekend is something that Dominik will always be able to brag about.
Prediction: Dominik Mysterio wins
WrestleMania Showcase match: The Street Profits vs. Braun Strowman and Ricochet vs. Chad Gable and Otis vs. The Viking Raiders
This four-way tag match exists as a way to get more people spots on the WrestleMania card. Chad Gable and Otis are the only team that has no shot to win. They’ll be splitting up soon with Otis being recruited by Maximum Male Models. If WWE is going to use this Showcase to set up the first challengers for Owens and Zayn, the heel Viking Raiders would make the most sense. If not, The Street Profits are the best team in the match, and it would be good to see them win at WrestleMania.
Prediction: The Street Profits win
Austin Theory vs. John Cena for the United States championship
Though his matches are becoming increasingly less frequent, pro wrestling is always better when Cena is involved. This will be the first time he’s appeared at WrestleMania since 2020. There’s no wrestler on the current roster who is able to replicate Cena’s ability on the microphone and the connection he has with the crowd.
Cena used that microphone ability to absolutely destroy Theory when accepting his WrestleMania challenge. The destruction included Cena calling out Theory for needing crowd noise piped in because fans don’t care about his matches. Cena was right when he said Theory loses everything if he doesn’t win at WrestleMania. There’s no coming back for Theory if he doesn’t win this match. When Theory was growing up, Cena was his biggest inspiration to become a pro wrestler. Defeating his idol will be a dream come true for Theory. It’s important that Theory uses this as a launching pad to realize the main-event potential WWE management believes he has.
Prediction: Austin Theory retains
More From Wrestling Observer:Triple H ‘Very High’ on Dominik Mysterio and His WWE FutureLogan Paul Expects to Renew WWE ContractVince McMahon Signs WWE Employee AgreementTony Khan Teases ‘Huge Announcement’ for Next Week’s ‘Dynamite’‘NXT Battleground’ Announced for Memorial Day Weekend