2023 WrestleMania 39 point, counter-point: Predictions for each match from Cena vs. Theory to Rhodes vs. Reigns

Making multiple cases for all 13 WrestleMania matches

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - JANUARY 28: Roman Reigns reacts during the WWE and Universal Championship match during the WWE Royal Rumble event at the Alamodome on January 28, 2023 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images)
WWE Undisputed Universal Champion Roman Reigns has not been pinned since December of 2019. (Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images) (Alex Bierens de Haan via Getty Images)

WrestleMania Night 1 (Saturday)

United States Championship: John Cena vs. Austin Theory (C)

Why Austin Theory will win: Austin Theory beating John Cena would make him an even more insufferable heel — really developing his character even more. Theory is now part of a major WrestleMania match for the second year in a row and, after losing to Pat McAfee last year, a victory over John Cena would really help catapult him to a new level. Cena is an all-time great but winning would only perpetuate the false narrative that he buries young talent. Even if Theory resorts to heel tactics to win, I’m envisioning a moment where he pins Cena, Cena goes for the handshake after and Theory snubs him only to get an Attitude Adjustment and Five-Knuckle Shuffle. Both stars get their moments and everyone goes home happy. - Anthony Sulla-Heffinger
Why John Cena will win: Stranger things have happened. John Cena is a Hollywood star now, but so was The Rock when he came back to win the title at the 2013 Royal Rumble only to drop it at the ensuing WrestleMania to … Cena. Cena just wrapped his most recent film and has time to make enough TV appearances to make this work. Plus the symmetry of him becoming what he bemoaned about The Rock a decade ago is pretty tantalizing. - John Parker

Damage CTRL vs. Becky Lynch & Lita & Trish Stratus

Why Lynch, Lita and Stratus will win: Becky, Lita and Trish Stratus relishing in a win at WrestleMania is the kind of fantasy booking that seems more likely to happen in WWE 2K23 than real life, yet here we are. Let these three get their WrestleMania moment together and the Lita-Becky pairing can drop the Women’s Tag Team Championships on Raw on Monday night. It’s simple, don’t overthink it! - Anthony Sulla-Heffinger
Why Damage CTRL will win: Like Anthony said, I’m not overthinking this. The teflon babyface veterans put over the dastardly young(er) heels here, likely with Bayley pinning Lynch to prolong what’s been an entertaining program since Lynch returned from an injury at SummerSlam. - John Parker

Braun Strowman and Ricochet vs. Street Profits vs. Alpha Academy vs. Viking Raiders

Why Street Profits will win: The entrances for this might be longer than the actual match and I’m excited to see how many red plastic party cups rain down from the ceiling for the Profits, who will win. WWE isn’t above doing the predictable thing even on a major show so this will be a fun match with Strowman and the Raiders doing a tough-man spot, Ford and Ricochet doing something crazy in the air and Otis supplying the comedy. - John Parker
Why Viking Raiders will win: Alpha Academy is on the outs, so they’re not winning here. Braun Strowman and Ricochet could win this, but a victory for the Viking Raiders would establish them as a major threat in the tag-team division. The biggest outcome of this match, though, should be Street Profits miscommunication leading to a loss and putting us on a course for a split. - Anthony Sulla-Heffinger

Seth Rollins vs. Logan Paul

Why Seth Rollins will win: Logan Paul has taken to this better than anyone outside of himself or his camp could have imagined. Rollins is immune to big-match losses and can work on the microphone and in the ring with anyone at any time, but we’re getting set up for a swerve here. Paul will appear in control at the end only for The Miz – who introduced Paul to WWE at last year’s WrestleMania – to appear and deliver the distraction, giving Rollins a chance to avenge two beatdowns he’s suffered in the buildup. - John Parker
Why Logan Paul will win: Seth Rollins has reached this rarified air in WWE where he doesn’t need to be competing for a championship — or even winning — to remain at the top of the card. Any time Rollins is in the ring, there’s the potential for a special match and with Logan Paul it's no different. Rollins will be absolutely fine and able to be elevated to main-event level at any time during his career and barring something major changing, Paul will always be a part-time wrestler (not a knock in the slightest). Paul winning adds more clout to his résumé and allows him to have another high-profile match at SummerSlam, or earlier. - Anthony Sulla-Heffinger

Rey Mysterio vs. Dominik Mysterio

Why Rey Mysterio will win: All signs point to Dominik winning this match and Rey putting over his own son by going out on his back on WWE’s biggest stage, BUT, what if this is the second step in the breakup of The Judgment Day? It’s likely that this match will go off before Ripley-Flair and Edge-Finn Balor, but come Monday, a scenario where Dominik and Ripley are booted out by Bálor and Damian Priest could be the best possible outcome for all talent involved. Rey can still go at a high level at 48 years old and we could easily get a redemption/reconciliation arc with the Mysterio family after WrestleMania. - Anthony Sulla-Heffinger
Why Dominik Mysterio will win: Dominik has grown by leaps and bounds from "Rey's kid they let wrestle with him" to one of the biggest heat magnets on the roster. Just the sight of his smirk whips the live crowd into a frenzy. Combine that with the fact that The Judgment Day seems primed for a breakup, Dominik goes over here thanks to interference from Priest. A fun post-match angle here sees Dominik taunt his mother and sister at ringside, only to get an open-hand tattoo from both of them. - John Parker

Unified Tag Team Championship: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. Jimmy & Jey Uso (C)

Why Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn will win: Even if he didn’t break up The Bloodline, Zayn did batter it over the past two months. A win over the Usos would set the stage for the next level of The Bloodline story as Reigns either retains his championships, pushing him to become an even more demanding/ruthless leader over the Usos and Solo Sikoa, or — if Reigns loses — blaming the Usos for their loss distracting him from his match against Rhodes. Someone from The Bloodline is going to lose this weekend and after Zayn didn’t get his championship moment in front of his hometown crowd at Elimination Chamber, this is a nice consolation prize. - Anthony Sulla-Heffinger
Why the Usos will win: Am I the only one who’s noticed Owens reluctantly re-joining his on-again, off-again best friend? There just seems like a little too much condescension in their promos over the past few weeks to ignore. Late in the match, in need of a hot tag, Owens will look to the corner only for Zayn to be incapacitated. He eats the pin and, ever-the-hothead, goes off on his partner post-match, setting the stage for the next chapter in their ongoing saga that dates back to their days on the independent circuit. - John Parker

Smackdown Women's Championship: Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair (C)

Why Charlotte Flair will win: If Rhea Ripley wins she immediately becomes the de facto leader of The Judgment Day (more on this later), and she’s too talented to be a crony in a heel stable that inevitably will serve to get babyfaces over. Rhea loses, Judgment Day exiles her and she becomes a force on her own again. Charlotte Flair's skill level and understanding of the business make her deserving of being the SmackDown Women’s Champion for an extended run. This would also be the second time Ripley has come up short against Flair at WrestleMania, so with another loss it sets up Flair as the mountain that Ripley will eventually need to conquer. - Anthony Sulla-Heffinger
Why Rhea Ripley will win: Ripley is the biggest star in WWE not named Roman Reigns and all you need to do is watch Judgment Day segments on mute to see it. Pure magnetism and charisma. She has won a title at WrestleMania, but who took the Raw belt off of her? Charlotte. It was also Charlotte who won Ripley’s subsequent major title match although Ripley didn’t figure into the decision as it was a triple-threat. Ripley gets a win back here and – here’s hoping – Charlotte snaps in the post-match leading to a double turn with a heel Charlotte and babyface Ripley feuding into the summer. - John Parker

WrestleMania 39 primer: 4 things to know about WWE's biggest night

Follow WrestleMania 39 live with Yahoo Sports

WrestleMania 39 Night 2 (Sunday)

Brock Lesnar vs. Omos

Why Brock Lesnar will win: Brock Lesnar as a quasi-face has been one of the most entertaining things in WWE in recent memory. While Lesnar’s entire persona has changed, what hasn’t is that it’s a rare occurrence that he loses clean. Maybe MVP gets involved, but a Lesnar win generates the best reaction from the Los Angeles crowd. Even if Omos loses, there’s an avenue for him to be a part of a revamped Hurt Business, which fans have been clamoring for and has been subtly teased. - Anthony Sulla-Heffinger
Why Omos will win: If I can break kayfabe for a second, Anthony was kind enough to allow me first pick on all of these matches and I couldn’t in good conscience take every easy route. Obviously the build here is “Can Brock suplex a giant?” The answer is going to be a resounding “Yes” – but my colleague is onto something here with a reunion of The Hurt Business. Omos benefits from interference from MVP, Bobby Lashley and/or Shelton Benjamin, three of the original members of the faction. - John Parker

Sonya Deville & Chelsea Green vs. Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez vs. Natalya & Shotzi vs. Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler

Why Natalya & Shotzi will win: I like both of the non-heel teams in this match and a win here for either of them puts them in line for a Women’s Tag Team Championship contest down the line. Chelsea Green’s angle of making demands begs for her to walk out on Deville mid-match and hand over a win. Liv and Raquel are better suited as singles wrestlers than together, so for that I’d say Natalya and Shotzi winning does the most moving forward. - Anthony Sulla-Heffinger
Why Sonya Deville & Chelsea Green will win: I just want to see how far the team I’m dubbing “Can I Speak to the Manager?” can go. Yes, Green and Deville only teamed up just this past Monday and could be split up just as quickly, but if WWE didn’t want them going anywhere they could have just put Michin and Candice LeRae in there. - John Parker

Raw Women's Championship: Asuka vs. Bianca Belair (C)

Why Asuka will win: It could be a swerve, but they have really been hyping this as a legacy run for Asuka who is closer to the end of her career than the start. The only thing Asuka hasn’t accomplished is a win at WrestleMania and she gets it done here. She’s re-incorporated the mist into her repertoire and with The Great Muta – who popularized the gimmick – going into the Hall of Fame, perhaps he figures into the finish here. - John Parker
Why Bianca Belair will win: OK, hear me out. It’s totally bizarre that Asuka has not won at WrestleMania yet in her career, but Bianca Belair shouldn’t lose this match. No, I’m not trying to build up Belair to have an Undertaker-esque streak, though she is building a reputation as Ms. WrestleMania. It's been a year since Belair won the this championship off Becky Lynch and yet it somehow feels too soon still for her to drop the it, even to someone of Asuka’s caliber. WWE seems to be buying into extended runs with all of its champions, which is a good thing. - Anthony Sulla-Heffinger

Intercontinental Championship: Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Gunther (C)

Why Gunther will win: Protect Gunther at all costs here. Either he wins and we get a new Intercontinental Championship feud after WrestleMania or have a conflicted Drew McIntyre pin Sheamus to win the coveted title. If Gunther wins, there’s a long list of talent he can feud with, especially starting the week after WrestleMania. If he loses, we can see either a rematch against Sheamus/McIntyre or WWE can opt to run the triple threat back at Backlash in Puerto Rico. This match is a darkhorse for the best of Night 2. - Anthony Sulla-Heffinger
Why Sheamus will win: Gunther didn't go an hour at the Royal Rumble just to continue his Intercontinental Championship run. His current reign is already the fifth-longest in the history of the belt and the longest in 36 years. That they’ve booked this a triple-threat protects Gunther from having to eat the pin or submit, keeping him looking strong for an upcoming feud with the winner of the Universal Championship. As for who wins? They’ll put it on Sheamus because it’s the only title he’s yet to win in a lengthy WWE career. - John Parker

Hell in a Cell: Edge vs. “The Demon” Finn Bálor

Why Edge will win: Edge, by his own admission, is running out of time. The 49-year-old WWE Hall of Famer already had to retire once – in 2011 – due to neck injuries before returning in 2020. He wants another title push before he calls it quits for good, but his former Judgment Day stablemates have harassed and brutalized him for the last nine months. And while he and wife Beth Phoenix beat Ripley and Dominik Mysterio in a mixed-tag match last month, the true blow-off comes as he gets his personal retribution on Bálor. - John Parker
Why Finn Bálor will win: Now, for the Ripley and Mysterio angles to make sense, Bálor has to win here. This match will likely be fast-paced and brutal, so either star can feasibly win, but "The Demon" pushes it over the edge for Bálor in my opinion. More important than anything, a win for Bálor would go a long way in building him back up into a main-event star — maybe even to the level that he was in NXT and when he became the first Universal Champion in WWE history. There’s a chance here for Bálor to exile Ripley and Mysterio from the Judgment Day and go on a tag run with Priest while Edge takes a mini-hiatus before ultimately returning in the summer. - Anthony Sulla-Heffinger

Undisputed Universal Championship: Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns (C)

Why Roman Reigns will win: If we have learned anything throughout the entirety of The Bloodline story, it’s that the most effective angle will be a fracture from within. Sami Zayn beating Reigns at the Elimination Chamber could have been an era-defining moment for WWE, but huge credit to Rhodes and Reigns for building this match up with excellent microphone work. Rhodes failing in his first crack at WWE’s top title wouldn’t be a death knell and seeing as his Royal Rumble win was somewhat predictable, a swerve here with Reigns winning would add another wrinkle into The Bloodline saga. - Anthony Sulla-Heffinger
Why Cody Rhodes will win: The Bloodline is the hottest thing in wrestling, and Roman Reigns in storyline – and real life – is deserving of everything he’s worked for. But as the pro wrestling axiom goes, “How can we miss you if you don’t go away?” While I could see a cheeky “Dusty finish” with Cody appearing to win only for it to be overturned, this is going 30-plus minutes with multiple interferences and false finishes only for Rhodes to finish the story and win the title his legendary father never did. - John Parker