Wrestlemania 33 Predictions!

Overall, I’m fairly interested in this Wrestlemania. I’ve seen a lot of negativity about the built, but I think since I’ve kept my expectations low, I’m still high on the possibilities. I’ll also be fairly drunk by the main event, so that should help. Some predictions:

Six Pack Challenge for the Smackdown Women’s Championship

So all the women on Smackdown are here, with a surprise return of Naomi in time for the event. They’ve compressed all of the women’s storylines into this match, which is both good and bad. Good that they all get a match on the card, bad in that I don’t expect much from a six person match.

What Should Happen: I don’t really know. My gut says they should put the title on Becky Lynch and let the heels chase it.

What Will Happen: Your guess is as good as mine. They could easily keep it on Alexa, give it to the always solid Mickie James, put it on their best wrestler Becky Lynch, or put it on the hometown hero Naomi, who was getting a big push and a good reaction prior to her injury. I’ll go with Naomi because they do seem very high on her right now. Feel the glow.

Cruiserweight Championship

With the WWE finally putting the belt on Neville, something they should have done from the get-go, the division has stabilized, and started to gain a little traction. Neville’s match with Gallagher at Fastlane was spectacular, and this match, given enough time, could easily be the best match on the card, pre-show or no.

What Should Happen: Aries should win. He hasn’t had any big matches yet, and giving him the title right now can extend this rivalry for a while, and give them some time to develop their other characters.

What Will Happen: Aries will win. I’ve never really enjoyed him as a face, but he can wrestle and he has a character the crowd recognizes. Neville hits the Red Arrow, Aries kicks out, locks in Last Chancery.


The match where guys with nothing to do are thrown. I’m glad it exists, because they at least get to appear. I really only think three guys have a real chance at it, and that’s Braun Strowman, Big Show, and Sami Zayn. All the others I expect to help sell their story.

What Should Happen: Honestly, Braun should probably win it. He needs some heat back after his loss to Roman Reigns at Fastlane. Big Show will get featured because he’s not getting his showdown with Shaq, but he should be putting other guys over at this point in his career. I want Sami to win in my heart of hearts, but I feel like him losing will be stepping stone to moving him over to Smackdown (I hope).

What Will Happen: Braun wins. He’s the clear favorite, and I suspect he’ll win so that he can jump right back into his rivalry with Roman. Last two are Show and Braun, with Braun dumping him in a show of force.

Triple Threat Raw Tag Team Championship Ladder Match

This match is going to be chaos, as most ladder matches devolve into. Strange choice to make it a ladder match the week before the show, especially with the buzz about the Hardys rejoining the WWE soon. It seems custom made for them to come back and crash the match, but Wrestlemania hasn’t really been the place for surprises lately, at least not drastic changes to the card.

What Should Happen: Enzo and Cass should win. They aren’t as good in the ring as either of the other two teams, but they are still over on the mic, and their first titles are long overdue.

What Will Happen: Enzo and Cass will win. They’ll hold the titles for a while, and maybe the Hardys appear the next night on Raw, although the WWE rarely does face vs face matches. Have to stick with it.

Intercontinental Championship

Despite how aimless Dean’s booking can be at times, I still have a soft spot in my heart for the former Jon Moxley. That being said, I think Baron Corbin is the most improved wrestler on the roster over the past year, and it’s about time for a championship run.

What Should Happen: Corbin wins. Ambrose is basically bulletproof, and Corbin needs the win and a title to give him some rub.

What Will Happen: Corbin wins. Ambrose does something crazy and loses, or Corbin maybe bends the rules a bit. Either way, Corbin walks out champ.

Mixed Tag Team Match

This match has had great build, mainly on the skill of The Miz and Cena. There’s long been a rumor of Cena and Nikki winning and then Cena proposing in the ring. Would be a great story and a fitting way to end Nikki’s career.

What Should Happen: Cena and Nikki win. Miz and Maryse were built to lose this match.

What Will Happen: Cena and Nikki wins, and Cena proposes in the middle of the ring. Miz and Maryse move on into another great feud, because Miz is straight up the best heel in the company right now.

Jericho vs Owens

The match with the longest and best build on the card, one that I don’t expect to be a great match technically, but one I do expect to have great storytelling, especially with these two in the ring.

What Should Happen: Jericho wins, finally getting revenge on his former best friend, redeeming himself in the process.

What Will Happen: Jericho’s post-Mania plans only include Fozzy, so I expect KO to win, maybe with some help from Samoe Joe, in pretty brutal fashion. Either way, this is the last of Jericho we see for a while, until his next run. Still staggering how good he’s been this late in his career.

Shane McMahon vs AJ Styles

Much snark has been uttered about this match wasting AJ Styles, but frankly I’d rather see him wrestling Shane O’ Mac than nobody at all. If anyone can pull a good match out of Shane at his age, it’s Styles.

What Should Happen: AJ wins when a crazy dive from Shane fails.

What Will Happen: AJ wins, and appears on Raw the next night, a fresh signing from a new GM.

Women’s Fatal 4-Way Elimination Championship

I’m much more intrigued by this match with it being an elimination match. It allows for more interesting booking and lets the final two shine more than if there were a couple other wrestlers laying on the outside. I’m a fan of all of them, even Nia, and I’m excited for this match.

What Should Happen: Sasha wins, with Bayley tapping out. I’m tired of Charlotte in the title picture, and Nia isn’t ready yet.

What Will Happen: Hard to say. All signs point to a Bayley/Sasha post Mania feud, calling back to the same in NXT, but how they execute it is all up in the air. Bayley wins, and Sasha beats her down after taking the pin. The Raw Women’s division hopefully gets Emma back, because it certainly needs fresh blood.

HHH vs Seth Rollins

The Destroyer and the Kingslayer. Rollins’ injury complicates this match, but ultimately the “non-sanctioned” stipulation (I guess it means No-DQ?) means they can play to Rollins’ limitation with his knee, and hopefully he won’t reinjure himself. I expect either Samoa Joe or Kevin Owens to play a part in this.

What Should Happen: Rollins wins, at the end of the day, and HHH disappears for a while. Rollins can feud with Owens or Joe.

What Will Happen: Rollins wins? It doesn’t really give them anything for HHH to win, but of course that hasn’t stopped them in the past. Maybe Finn Balor comes back and evens the odds, considering his appearances vs Hunter on house shows. It makes zero sense kayfabe wise, but whatever.

WWE Championship

Bray Wyatt, finally a champion, finally overcoming the horrible booking he’s faced for years. Randy Orton destroying the Wyatt family from the inside. I’ve liked the sometimes goofy build for this match, and think this will be the best match of the “main events”. Bray is a singular talent, and Randy is among the greatest when motivated.

What Should Happen: Bray wins. I feel like he’s had a terrific run lately, and should have a long run with the title.

What Will Happen: It feels obvious that Bray should win this, but I keep having doubts about them not putting the title on Randy and letting this rivalry run until Summerslam. I feel like it’s been paced relatively well, and I hope it ends here with a decisive Wyatt victory.

Roman Reigns vs Undertaker

Ugh. I’m not opposed to this match in theory, but the build for it has been atrocious. ‘Taker can barely move, and if I hear “my yard” again I’m going to tear my hair out. If Roman can pull even a good match out of a hobbled Undertaker, it proves his ability. I’m not holding my breath.

What Should Happen: Roman wins, decisively. He should destroy the Undertaker. What has bothered me most about Roman’s booking is his wishy washy morality. If he truly is the big dog, he should overwhelm the Undertaker.

What Will Happen: Who knows? This is by far the most interesting thing about this match, in their meta-narrative choices in how they book it. ‘Taker seems to be on his last legs as a performer, and if he’s finishing up his career, he should at least put over one wrestler from the so called New Era. But what do you do with Roman’s character after this? Is he just an unrepentant ass-kicker? The next Cena, where they feed him Strowman, and then Lesnar, and then whoever else is next? I hope not, but that’s what I fear. Roman wins, probably in a boring match that makes me feel bad for ‘Taker.

Universal Championship

Who cares? This match feels much like their last ‘Mania match, when both were heading out of the company. Brock will still be around after this match, but I expect this thing to be a hot pile of garbage.

What Should Happen: We travel back in time and Goldberg decides not to wrestle again. The title stays with Owens, or he loses it to someone else who could actually use it.

What Will Happen: Brock wins. Goldberg sweats a bunch, probably bleeds as well. Brock loses the title to Roman at Summerslam. I watch Smackdown exclusively.

Great Puzzles and Tedious Systems in Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the best puzzle games ever created. It breaks the formula of past Zelda games, taking cues from A Link Between Worlds, and gives the player all the tools they need right at the beginning. The player has tremendous freedom, sometimes exhilarating freedom of solving problems the way they want. The open world is beautiful and full of secrets. Breath of the Wild is one of the best puzzle games ever created. Unfortunately that game is buried inside a slog of survival game elements that are tedious, frustrating, and most importantly, not fun.

Calamity Ganon is your enemy in the game, your first and last quest, to save the Princess Zelda from her 100 years of capture alongside him. Shrines, however, are the true driving force of the game because they hold the key to the fun in the game. Each is a puzzle. Some have clear themes, but most give the players several options about how to solve them. Most of them are fun, smart, and sometimes challenging. There are some where the challenge itself is getting to or finding the shrine. Others are simply combat challenges, which are the worst simply because they reveal the shallow nature of the combat when taking place in a staid environment. They also provide you with one quarter of either a heart container or a portion of a stamina bar, meaning every four shrines you receive an upgrade to your health or stamina.

Stamina is the most important resource in the game. More important than any of your abilities, more important than your Master Sword, and only somewhat more important than your map. It is important because stamina is your climbing currency. It is also your swimming and gliding currency, but swimming never felt incredibly vital, and gliding is incredibly generous with its exchange rate, so it never felt particularly tiresome. Stamina is the most important resource of the game because climbing is the most important part of the game.

There is more climbing in Breath of the Wild than in any other game I’ve ever played. Nathan Drake and Lara Croft could combine their franchises and they wouldn’t stand a chance. It is a double edged sword, one I felt cutting too deep, too often. On one hand, it is incredibly freeing, because you can climb most things in the game. There are very few artificial boundaries, allowing you to scale almost any object. On the other hand, the mechanics of climbing, for something you do SO OFTEN are incredibly monotonous and unfun. You push up, and watch your stamina meter drain. You slowly climb a surface, and hope your meter doesn’t run out before you reach the top. You do this over and over and over again, each stamina upgrade allowing you to go further. For a traversal action you’re using so much, it is incredibly boring. As you move through the game, you find ways to make the climbing easier and faster, all of which I used as often as possible. And all of this only applies if it isn’t raining.

Weather is one of the interweaving systems of Zelda, and again, it is inventive and impressive at times, and then it rains and stops you dead in your tracks for ten real world minutes while Link clings to the side of a mountain and you wait for the rain to stop so you can continue to climb, because it is simply impossible to climb when it is raining. It is also impossible to carry open flames when it’s raining, so multiple quests involving fire also require long moments of staring at your phone until the weather clears. That is definitively not fun.

Breath of the Wild subverts a lot of accepted open world design elements, avoiding the map clutter that often clogs up your map in similar games. It relies on line of sight from the towers that dot the map, and physically marking the map with elements you think are important or interesting. It’s a fun inclusion, because it lends itself to the mystery of the game. You have to go hunt down every shrine, and investigate every corner of the map if you want to find everything. It also clearly demonstrates the weakness of Nintendo’s hardware, as your vision is severely limited to only major landmarks. There is no recon of enemies, no real foresight available because the systems simply aren’t able to load all that detail in at the same time. It is not the only technical shortcoming of the game (I had sometimes severe slowdown, freezes, and even screen tearing at one point) but it is the most vital to gameplay.

Elements from survival games intrude in the game in almost every regard. Weapons degrade at unbelievable speed. Cooking is essential for survival and it is a tedious mess. Your inventory will be full of dozens and dozens of ingredients that you never really need to engage with. Of all the food you can make, you for some reason can’t craft arrows (most likely because you’d be unstoppable if you could). You are constantly grabbing plants and mushrooms and hunting animals to cook food to refill your health.

You will need to refill your health constantly, because you will take lots of damage in combat. It is difficult, but it didn’t usually feel difficult because I was overmatched. It often felt difficult because your combat controls are limited, your weapons break almost constantly, and rewards for even the most challenging combat felt terrible. Why should I engage the group of roaming moblins? Why should I fight the Guardians at all? I could just run away from them, and get back to the fun puzzles. Encounters could sometimes be beaten by using the numerous systems in the world to find emergent solutions, but too often I found myself equipping my most powerful weapon and wacking the enemies in the face until they died or the weapon broke. The lock on system is directly from Ocarina of Time, and was mostly useless, especially when facing multiple enemies.

The lack of fun combat made me mostly avoid combat encounters, and that adequately describes my experience with the game, which is avoiding a lot of the tedious systems so that I could get back to the puzzles. I engaged with every Shrine I saw, and beat each of the four actual dungeons in the game. I found and retrieved the Master Sword. The only main quest I didn’t finish was unlocking a series of memories that told the events that led to the decrepit state of the world. For a game that punishes you unless you are constantly exploring, there is no penalty for not engaging with the story whatsoever.

My favorite games make me constantly engage in their systems because they are inherently rewarding, but so much of Breath of the Wild is rewarding me for finding ways to not engage with their systems. There is so much of the game that I will never see because getting to it was tedious and unrewarding. Zelda is grand adventure and solving puzzles, and that Zelda is still in Breath of the Wild. You’re just going to have to slowly climb for a while, wait for the rain to pass, and then continue to slowly climb to get to it.