More than 130,000 fans are expected to cram into SoFi Stadium across this weekend for WWE WrestleMania 39.
Officially tagged as WrestleMania Goes Hollywood by the sports entertainment super brand, this instalment of the company’s biggest annual event has enjoyed quite the build-up.
Both nights look like being near sell outs with WWE set to net a major boost at the box office amid a surge in interest in the product across the last year.
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That all culminates at WrestleMania, typically WWE’s way of boxing off one ‘season’s’ worth of storylines and feuds ahead of putting together new rivalries for the year ahead.
With the stakes high and all the major gold on the line in California starting on Saturday – and with The Miz as host no less – here’s our preview of WrestleMania 39 Night One matches – along with some predictions.
Austin Theory (C) v John Cena – United States Championship
Cena’s involvement at WrestleMania has been welcomed by fans, such is the legend’s enthusiasm for all things WWE. Admittedly, the idea that Cena needs a championship run at this stage in his wrestling career seems far-fetched, so Theory must be the favourite here.
Conversely, WWE has a hard time establishing Theory and leaving him at a top level (see title changes, his failed Money in the Bank cash-in and Cena’s stinging recent Raw promo), so it’s hard to see him dominating Cena to any substantial degree.
For the youngster’s sake, this one needs to be executed with care, but it's undoubtedly the biggest match of his career.
Prediction: Austin Theory
Damage CTRL v Lita, Trish Stratus and Becky Lynch
Damage CTRL have faltered over the last six months after really hitting their stride initially, so hopefully a good showing here can help boost their stock slightly.
The rumour mill not long ago pointed towards one of the returning legends turning on Lynch to start a singles feud, but it would be nice to let the actual team in this match get a WrestleMania moment in their own right before that happens, if indeed it does at all.
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Lita and Stratus barely look to have lost a step since their comeback and there’s no doubt all four of the other women involved will benefit from having them around.
Prediction: Damage CTRL
Seth Rollins v Logan Paul
Paul has openly discussed his WWE contract ending this weekend, but that does little to indicate the direction of the likely outcome here.
This has been a build that’s simmered nicely over the last few weeks, and the two are talented enough for this to be a candidate to steal the show. Rollins is alarmingly consistent in his brilliance and Paul seeks only to outdo himself, so there’s no way fans can lose with this one.
Prediction: Seth Rollins
Men’s Showcase Tag Team Match
The two Showcase tag bouts are a good way of getting deserving talent some screen-time at WrestleMania, and each has had some television time devoted to it rather than being shoe-horned in.
Look for this to be another bout where individual moments catch the eye, Braun Strowman and Richochet teaming up to face the efforts of The Street Profits, The Viking Raiders and Alpha Academy. Montez Ford and Ricochet will surely have the spectacular in mind.
Prediction: The Street Profits
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Rey Mysterio v Dominik Mysterio
Some have mused that Rey Mysterio is set to use this match as a platform for his retirement, but it seems there’s still so much to this story to be done for that to be the case.
This has been another tale that has been given the ideal time to breathe and grow over the last eight months, but don’t lose sight of the fact that it will likely be an excellent match to watch.
Father and son will know each other intricately so it will be fascinating to see what they come up with. It’s clearly Dom’s time to shine overall, but it’s a close-run thing as to whether Saturday will be his big moment or whether Rey gets to dish out a beating and a defeat first.
Prediction: Dominik Mysterio
Charlotte Flair (C) v Rhea Ripley – SmackDown Women’s Championship
Speculation has rumbled for weeks as to whether this will be the main event of WrestleMania 39 Night One.
Even if it isn’t, momentum is very much with Ripley and it’s hard to picture any other scene except for one that her holding the gold at the expense of Flair.
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Their match three years ago at WrestleMania has been the thread that has loosely tied together the build to this meeting, even if the lead-up has lacked a little intensity.
Ripley’s rise since that clash has been remarkable and her progress might well get the ultimate reward here. Crowd reactions to this one will be fun to monitor, too.
Prediction: Rhea Ripley
The Usos (C) v Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn – Undisputed tag team championship
The other candidate for Night One’s main event features Owens and Zayn, reunited once more, trying to snare the undisputed tag gold from The Usos and end their lengthy reign.
While many felt Zayn was deserving of a title shot against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania, it’s hard to look upon this tag match as a mere consolation, such has been the solid way in which it has been built.
Owens and Zayn appear to accept that their friendship, while deep, remains tenuous. Any harmony they’re enjoying will likely be short lived (again), but it might just be enough to topple The Usos, delight the huge crowd and give the Canadians a genuine WrestleMania moment.
All the same, don’t write off The Usos. They’re a candidate for being one WWE’s greatest ever teams and so won’t be phoning in their part of this one.
Prediction: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
WrestleMania 39 takes place across this weekend. Read Daily Star's full preview of what to watch and where this weekend.
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