Wrestling fan Gareth Campesinos! gives his lowdown on this year’s Wrestlemania 33.
Every year has its standard big events. You have your Glastonbury’s, your Reading & Leeds and in sport there’s Wimbledon, the Champions League final and, yep, you get the picture. There’s one annual event for wrestling fans though that dwarfs everything else. Wrestlemania is a big deal, so we thought we’d speak to one of our favourite musicians and big wrestling fan Gareth Campesinos! to get his lowdown on this year’s Wrestlemania 33 which takes place this Sunday April 3 from Orlando, Florida.
Like the wrestling Nostradamus that he is we got the Los Campesinos! front man to go through the entire card giving us his predictions. You can refer back and check if he’s right by watching on Sunday night. First, though we found out just how he got into wrestling and why it’s a big part of his life: “I was hugely into it when I was an early teenager. I had a friend who lived down the road and had Sky and he’d tape every Raw and Smackdown for me to watch at home on Saturday mornings. We’d do our own fantasy bookings and had an excruciatingly long word document on his computer where we’d type out the results. We made our own championship belts and fought for them when his parents were out, we caused some injuries that way.”
“One of the things that I like about the wrestling is I’m a huge fan of routine, knowing that I have wrestling to watch on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday morning is great. I’ve always been a big fan of soap operas like Coronation Street or Hollyoaks, that feeds into the wrestling.
I love the drama of it, I enjoy New Japan and PWG but I still love WWE for all its storytelling, bad or good. All its negatives are the things that originally attracted me to wrestling. It’s the escapism and release of watching something that is pretty stupid. As a sports fan I also appreciate the athleticism and the way these people put their bodies on the line.”
So, now that we’ve set the scene let’s run through what we can look forward to at the granddaddy of them all.
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship – Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs Cesaro & Sheamus vs Gallows & Anderson (Champions)
I’m a big fan of the Cesaro & Sheamus tag team. A lot of people aren’t but I thought their best of 7 series was entertaining and putting them together was a decent way of finishing it, it’s mutual hatred turned into respect. I’ve gone off Enzo & Cass recently following the whole Rusev storyline with Enzo perving on Lana. I followed Gallows & Anderson’s work in New Japan and the Bullet Club thing is entertaining but they’ve not been given any decent matches or a chance to shine. It’s not been about them but Enzo & Cass. I’d hope you’d see the Good Brothers Gallows & Anderson come through with a victory. They deserve a victory on the big stage. They should be a big deal and a victory would make people take them seriously.
WWE SmackDown Woman’s Championship – Mickie James Vs Becky Lynch vs Natalya Vs Carmella Vs Naomi Vs Alexa Bliss (Champion)
Naomi is from Florida so maybe she’ll take it in her home city. I’m a fan of Alexa Bliss. I went to see NXT a few years ago in Cardiff and they were desperate for any people with a verified tick on twitter to be in attendance. Eventually they got down to us and we got to go backstage and I met Samoa Joe, Bayley and Alexa Bliss. Samoa Joe was actually asking about the band, I mentioned Lollapalooza and he was into it. Bayley was the nicest. She got her photo taken with me. When I tweeted her afterwards she tweeted back and I thought yes! this is my wrestling mate now but unfortunately it didn’t lead to any long-term friendship. Alexa was the third wrestler I met that evening so I like her. She’s good on the mic and a good character. The Carmella/Ellsworth thing is just tiresome. Natalya has been great recently but her storyline has been with Nikki Bella so it’s not clear her purpose in the match. I’d like to see Alexa come through and retain.
Cruiserweight Championship – Austin Aries vs Neville (Champion)
It’s been interesting to see how the cruiserweights have developed. With 205 Live there’s been an effort to put some big names into the picture quickly. Neville’s new heel persona is brilliant. He looks so much better with a beard. His talking on the mic is so much better. It’s easier to be a good heel on the mic but he nails it. Austin Aries is not the sort of wrestler I think of as a cruiserweight but he’s been really entertaining. I’m a fan of long title runs. I like it to be given status by virtue of staying with someone for a long time so I’d like to see him retain. I don’t think Aries winning the title would be beneficial to anyone really. I’ve just realised I’ve predicted three titles to be retained by heels, this is terrible. But I think Neville will cling onto that. I’ve been a big fan of him adding more to his arsenal. It’s been good to see a superplex used as a dangerous move.
WWE Intercontinental Championship – Baron Corbin vs Dean Ambrose (Champion)
I wasn’t into Corbin. I found him tedious and I didn’t like his shtick in NXT. A lot the Smackdown booking over the past few months has been great and the way they’ve elevated Corbin has been brilliant. Ambrose has lost his way quite a bit. The whole Ellsworth thing was strange and although the feud with Styles produced some good matches Styles is always going to come out of that looking the better wrestler. I’m all up for Corbin. The Intercontinental Championship has lost its value with Ambrose. I loved The Miz as champion, Ambrose hasn’t made the most of it so I’m hoping that Corbin gets the win.
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale
I was looking at the odds for this on William Hill and it looks like it’s Braun Strowman. It’s going to be him. Going back to the previous winners it’s just who is the biggest, tallest Vince loved wrestler. I don’t feel like he needs it though but he has improved greatly over the past few months so I guess he deserves it.
AJ Styles vs Shane McMahon
Styles does deserve better, he’s been the best WWE wrestler of the last year and his mic work and all round persona has been great. It did seem unnecessary but the reason I’m accepting of it stems from two things. The Wyatt/Randy Orton feud means nothing to me. I don’t think that’s been dealt with well enough for it to be a big match. I’m not sure how Styles would work in the title picture with Bray. Like him or loathe him a Shane McMahon match at Wrestlemania is a big deal. Although on a pure wrestling level it’s beneath Styles but in terms of box office it’s a huge match. You look at who Shane McMahon has had these sorts of matches with in the past and it’s The Undertaker, in that respect it’s a top billing for Styles to be doing what Undertaker was doing last year. I hope Styles wins. Shane is going to jump off something really high and throw lots of punches and brawl a lot. Hopefully Styles will destroy him fairly easily. I feel like it has to have a bit more to it. Styles beating Shane seems a bit too obvious but Shane winning is far too stupid and wouldn’t do Styles or the WWE championship any good in the long run
John Cena & Nikki Bella vs The Miz & Maryse
I’m a big Miz fan. I’ve always liked him but I don’t feel guilty about liking him anymore. He’s the best heel in the company. He’s just so genuine and his wrestling has improved a lot in the last couple of years. I’m surprised we haven’t seen Maryse in any fighting action the last couple of weeks. It’s got to be Cena and Nikki. The big rumours are that there will be a proposal. If Cena goes away again after this match then it shows how Smackdown will need some extra bodies, losing Cena will be a big blow to ticket sales and the story arcs they have. Someone like Nakamura would be ideal. But yeah, that’s going to be Cena and Nikki easy. It would make more sense from the redemption side of the story if Nikki gets the pin as it’s been her that’s been targeted. It’s less of a wrestling match but just a means to get to the point of Nikki and Cena holding hands in the ring due to be married.
WWE Raw Woman’s Championship – Charlotte Flair vs Sasha Banks vs Nia Jax vs Bayley (Champion)
I’m tipping Charlotte to win the title back. It didn’t seem necessary to break Charlotte’s streak at Fastlane. Why not do it at Wrestlemania and make a huge moment for Bayley? It looks like they might be turning Sasha heel. The Charlotte vs Dana thing is a bit confusing as Dana isn’t a face. They should maybe turn Charlotte face. Of the four horsewoman Charlotte is the one who long term will make the most money despite Sasha being my favourite of the four. She’s the standout so I think she’ll win back the title at Wrestlemania. I like Bayley but don’t like the cloying female John Cena thing they’ve put her into. The ‘I’m a hugger’ t-shirt is the worst thing I’ve seen. There’s a lot of facets of Bayley’s personality that need to be explored.
Seth Rollins vs Triple H
I would love to see Triple H put Rollins over. That should happen but because A) Triple H is still in great shape and B) Rollins is not going to be 100% after his knee injury you can’t really have Rollins win clean as that would be a bit too unbelievable. Maybe that’s where Samoa Joe becomes involved and it spirals into something that isn’t a match at all. It’s hard to tell. A lot of it will depend on the order of the matches. I don’t see there being a clear winner and it will be some sort of no contest.
WWE United States Championship – Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho (Champion)
I’m a huge Owens fan. I hope he wins that. I love Jericho and he was my favourite wrestler in that late 90s early 00s era. He’s been brilliant. His return wasn’t supposed to be so long but he’s been so over and you can’t ignore that. I didn’t like the way Owens lost the belt to Goldberg. I like him with a belt and the United States championship is a good belt for him. I’m tipping Owens there clean. It’s been a good build. The whole promo Jericho did at the Festival of Friendship when he was shooting and saying how much he enjoyed pairing with Owens and that he’d given a new lease of life to his career, that was all genuine. One of the great things about Jericho is he always puts the new guys over and he’s done that with Owens. There aren’t many people who would lose to Fandango at Wrestlemania. Jericho and Owens has been one of the highlights of the last 6 months.
Roman Reigns vs The Undertaker
Is Reigns going to win that? All the dirt sheets are saying next year’s Wrestlemania main event is already decided and it’s Reigns vs Lesnar where Reigns will beat him for the Universal Championship. They’re almost resigned to the fact they can’t make Reigns work as a face but they’re not going to stop trying. It’s impossible to make The Undertaker a heel because people are still so grateful to have him around. I don’t understand the thinking of Reigns spearing Undertaker on Raw if he’s supposed to be the face. I can’t see why this match is happening other than to propel Reigns and give him a victory over The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. It’s a shame. I’m not a fan of Reigns at all. It’s not his fault, it’s the way he’s been booked. When he was doing that “I’m not a bad guy, I’m not a good guy, I’m THE guy” that was terrible. Reigns winning might cheapen Lesnar breaking the streak but maybe it turns it into Reigns and Lesnar are the only two guys to have beaten The Undertaker at Wrestlemania.
WWE Championship – Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt (Champion)
I’ve not really given much thought to this one. I hope that Wyatt wins because if after Wrestlemania your two champions are Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar then what have you really achieved? I like Wyatt, there’s so much more they can do with his character. He’s been pretty demonic the past couple of weeks which has been good. Could we see Sister Abigail here? They have been going for the more supernatural stuff. I’d be surprised if we didn’t see something like that. We still don’t know what Luke Harper’s status is. I’m hoping though that Wyatt will win this via witchcraft.
WWE Universal Championship – Brock Lesnar vs Goldberg (Champion)
Brock is going to win this right? How long a match is Goldberg capable of wrestling though. He hasn’t done anything other than a spear and a jackhammer. It’s going to hurt his body equally to do offence as well as take suplexes from Lesnar. There’s not really anybody else who can put themselves in this match as this feud has existed independently from the rest of the WWE. I was a big Lesnar fan until about 6 months ago, when he started phoning it in. I think at this point I’d sooner see Goldberg retain. The only person who could take the belt from Goldberg would be Lesnar though. I’ll say Lesnar to win in under 5 minutes with the first two minutes just them sizing each other up. They’ve got themselves in a real situation though because Brock winning is not the way to end the show.