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WrestleMania card predictions

Roman Reigns will challenge Brock Lesnar for his Universal Championship. Photo by WWE.com

Finally, the moment wrestling fans have been waiting for has arrived, we are just a day away from WrestleMania 34. A year, or in some instances years, of build and hard work will all pay off this Sunday in New Orleans.  

Typically, I do not like doing prediction articles. But there is no way I was not going to do it for ‘Mania. In fact, this event is so big I had to pull out the big guns. I could not go at this one alone, though. I had to give wrestling fans who visit our website the dream collab. I had to call my buddy Jermaine Every to do these predictions with me.

 

The Card

Cruiserweight Tournament Final-  Cedic Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali

Jose: Since the tourney, the division has received a breath of fresh air. I do not think we give enough credit to how this story has been building for months. The animosity and tension between Alexander and Ali has been brewing for a while. I think Alexander will win the match, though I would be happy to see Ali win it.

Jermaine: Cedric has always been the bridesmaid. As soon as he gets a taste, the rug gets pulled. He has the qualities to get there, but he never does. I’d love to see something like that happen with Cedric. So give me Mustafa.

Raw Tag Titles- The Bar vs Braun Strowman & a mystery partner

Jose: I do not care who it is, Braun is winning the title here. I think the Tag Division on Raw is in shambles. It is time to move on from The Bar.

Jermaine: I agree with you there. My biggest take: I don't think it should be a part-timer. It should be someone who Braun should split up with later and feud with. Braun is too big of a star to stay stuck in the tag division.

Jose: So Samoa Joe would fit that role perfectly

Jermaine: Yes! Especially if later they feud for a shot for the Universal Title.

Jose: So who do you have winning?

Jermaine: Braun but if we are getting a swerve I want it here

SmackDown Tag Titles- The Usos vs The New Day vs The Bludgeon Brothers

Jose: Harper and Rowan’s gimmick is absolutely ridiculous, there is no denying that. But, man, has the build to this match been awesome. Not a question of lack of ability from any wrestler in this card. I'm having a tough time picking this one. Part of me thinks it is a no-brainer that the Bludgeon Brothers will win, but I have seen Harper and Rowan get pushed aside time and time again.

Jermaine: I had a really tough time, but there needs to be a pay off with Bludgeon Brothers. You have established them as a tough team. I think this is where they finally get their moment, their coming out party. I think this is their payoff.

Jose:  Bludgeon Brothers win, and we may see a little dissension with the New Day.

Fatal Fourway for the US Title- Orton vs Roode vs Mahal vs Rusev

Jose: Ok, before Rusev was added this was, without a doubt, the match I was looking forward to the least. The “will he, won’t he” aspect of Rusev winning will make it far more exciting than it could have been. Unfortunately,  I do not think he's getting it. I think Orton will retain, as disappointed as I am to say.

Jermaine: I’m going opposite. I think Rusev takes it home. It’s gotten to the point where it’s so hard to hate him. He is so over. It is one of those things where Rusev earned his way into the match and he's earned another shot at the US title.

Triple Threat for the IC Title- The Miz vs Seth Rollins vs Finn Balor

Jose: I’m going out on a limb and saying, this will be the best match of the night. I think Rollins and Miz are two of the best in-ring competitors on the roster. Balor always performs to the level of those around him, this match is going to be ridiculous. I think the Miz will retain here. Just because I feel like every match is switching championships.

Jermaine: I want to agree with you, it’s hard. They’ve been teasing the longest reigning IC title. It has to pay off. There has been a lot of switches. I think he retains here. I think that one of those things that’ll help him retain is the animosity between Balor and Rollins. I think he’ll steal it in typical chicken shit heel fashion.

Raw Women’s Title- Alexa Bliss vs Nia Jax

Jose: I did not see this match happening, at all. Alexa’s reign has gotten pretty bland and I am ready to see them move on. I think it is time for Jax to win the title, as surprising as it seems to write it.

Jermaine: There’s those rumors that she was super unhappy. Remember the talks of her wanted to leave? I think the way Asuka goes to Smackdown is indicative. Nia gets the title. Keep her around, keep her happy.

SmackDown Women’s Title-Charlotte vs Asuka

Jose: Asuka wins, without a doubt. SmackDown needs her pretty bad, I think.

Jermaine: Asuka wins. Simply because next year I believe the main event match of WrestleMania will be Asuka vs Ronda Rousey. This is one of my top three matches of the night, for sure.

Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon vs Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens

Jose:  Give me Bryan and McMahon to win here. I don’t see Daniel losing on his first match back. Plus, I think Sami and Kevin will be stars moved on the next shakeup.

Jermaine: I think Sami and KO win, and the riff between Daniel and Shane grows bigger. They could move to Raw, but I think the thing to point out is that's the objective.

Jose: Mania is usually the culmination, but this year feels like the start of something.

Jermaine: Definitely, there does not feel like there is a real crescendo. The tag titles on SmackDown,  Asuka vs Charlotte, Alexa vs Nia, they are not ending here.

Kurt Angle &  Ronda Rousey vs Triple H & Stephanie McMahon

Jose: This one is obvious right, Angle and Rousey win.

Jermaine: Yeah, Ronda will make Steph tap. They’ll protect her without a doubt.

WWE Title- AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura

Jose: I’m concerned with this match, man. I am trying to set new expectations for this match. I have seen these two wrestle in New Japan, frankly, it was the match that got me into New Japan in the first place. There’s no way their match here will be that good. Plus, with a few exceptions, I have not been too keen on Nakamura in the WWE. I will try to put that all aside to enjoy this match.

Jermaine: It takes two to tango. Joe or Roode can’t sell like Styles or Zayn can. They make them. This is one of those things where it will really shock people.  I don’t think fringe people know their history. Without a doubt, this is my match of the night.

Jose: Who do you have winning?

Jermaine: My head says AJ Styles. My gut is saying Nakamura. This can start a back and forth where they go through a series. AJ makes his titles, he does not necessarily need them.

Jose: That convinces me, I'm going with Nakumara and I think AJ will be moved to Raw. It’s time for AJ to go there.

Universal Title- Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns

Jose: Looking back at their match at WrestleMania 31, I have full confidence that this will be an amazing match. 31 was the last ‘Mania where we had a really great closing match.

Jermaine: What makes me think things will be different is Brock’s attitude. This match will be a worthy main event. This has to close the show.

Jose: I got Roman winning.

Jermaine: Yes, they’ll find a way to get him to win. If you want to get a little extra, turn it into a no DQ and have Brock destroy him.


The Tie Breakers  Matches

What will happen between John Cena and Undertaker?

Jermaine: there has to be a payoff the way Cena talked about Taker something has to happen. This reminds of Stone Cold vs The Rock

Jose: The third one?

Jermaine: Yeah. Rock came back to beat Stone Cold. This has that vibe. This is what Cena has not done.I wish there was a way for neither of them to lose, but someone has to go over. I think it would be fitting if Taker wins. I’d like to see the American Badass Gimmick.

Jose: I think Cena wins here. It will be super emotional. It will be tough to watch, but that is what is going to happen.

The Andre the Giant Battle Royal

Jose: I think it’ll be a surprise. Initially, I was sure it would be Big Show to come back and win, but you reminded me Big Cass is on his way back. Vince loves Cass. I love me some Cass. I am going with that.

Jermaine: They wasted it on Mojo. It should be something that boosts someone’s career. Make it mean something. Give it to Tye Dillinger.  Can you imagine the Superdome chanting 10?

The Women’s Battle Royal

Jose: I’m gonna go with Becky Lynch. She has been put through so much and has sort of disappeared in the shuffle on SmackDown. I think this would be a great spot to boost her up. Sasha and Bayley will find a way to eliminate each other.

Jermaine: I think someone from NXT will win, much like Baron won a few years ago. I think Billy Kay or Payton Royce will win. I’ll go with Payton.

………

Jose: To wrap up, I have to say again how excited I am about this card. This is the card we have deserved as fans for years. This is the card we should have had at WrestleMania 32.

Jermaine: You’re right. It’s so tricky when you’re trying to put together a full card. You want to take fans through the rollercoaster, and I think this will have that. If I’m them, I’m opening with the IC Title match. I’m taking you on a ride that ends with Lesnar vs Reigns.

Jose: There’s not a match on this card I am not looking forward to, honestly.

Jermaine: There is not a single one. WrestleMania 31 is really underrated, but this, without a doubt, is the best card since 30.


* Keep an Eye on SportsMap this week as both Jose and Jermaine will be sharing their WrestleMania 34 experiences, straight out of New Orleans.





 

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Houston drops the game to Arizona

D-backs outslug Greinke and Astros to take series opener

Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

With the series win over the Rangers by taking two of three games in the middle of the week, the Astros welcomed the Diamondbacks to Minute Maid Park for a three-game weekend series, Houston's final three regular-season home games. Here is how the opener unfolded:

Final Score: Diamondbacks 6, Astros 3.

Record: 25-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zac Gallen (2-2, 3.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luis Garcia (0-1, 2.53 ERA).

Houston scores first, but Arizona grabs a lead against Greinke

Houston would get on the board first on Friday night, with George Springer reaching base in the bottom of the first on an error, moving to second on a walk, then to third on a single, as the Astros loaded the bases with no out to threaten a big inning. Instead, they would come away with just one run, with Springer taking home on a wild pitch, grabbing the 1-0 lead, but leaving runs on the table.

They doubled their lead in the bottom of the third, getting a two-out RBI-double by Kyle Tucker to make it a 2-0 Houston lead. The D-backs responded in the top of the fourth, getting back-to-back singles to lead off the inning before a three-run homer by Kole Calhoun off of Zack Greinke would put Arizona in front, 3-2. Greinke would finish one more inning before Houston would move to their bullpen, striking out the side to bring his total to nine on the night, making the bad fourth inning the one blemish on his night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 89 P.

Astros tie it, but D-backs take the opener

George Springer would get Greinke off the hook in the bottom of the fifth, leading off the half-inning with a solo bomb to tie the game at 3-3. Luis Garcia was first out of Houston's bullpen and retired Arizona in order for a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh but would allow a leadoff single, RBI-triple, and wild pitch to bring in two runs. He would face two more batters, allowing a double and getting a strikeout, before Dusty Baker would come out to get him, now down 5-3.

Blake Taylor would make his return from the IL after Garcia, getting back-to-back outs to finish the inning. He continued on in the 5-3 game in the top of the eighth, but allowed a one-out solo homer to Calhoun, his second of the night and fourth RBI. That made it a 6-3 D-backs lead, which would go final as Houston would go scoreless after Springer's home run back in the fifth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Saturday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Luke Weaver (1-7, 6.70 ERA) for Arizona and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.22 ERA) for Houston.

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