Who will emerge triumphant when The Beast meets The Big Dog?
Roman Reigns is going to beat Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 34. This much we know, with near 100% certainty. Sorry to disappoint you.
There will be contrarian predictions over the next two weeks, but those predictions will be wrong. There will be no Seth Rollins plot swerve. There will be no eleventh-hour booking change by Vince McMahon. Lesnar won the WWE Universal title from Goldberg at Wrestlemania 33, and since then, he has defeated every other conceivable threat to his dominance. He defeated Samoa Joe. He defeated Braun Strowman. Reigns is the only viable opponent left. Reigns vs. Lesnar is a rematch of the two men's Wrestlemania 31 main event, which creates narrative closure to their feud. It would be impossible to duplicate the same level of excitement on a smaller stage.
Reigns is also winning because the WWE writers painted themselves into a figurative corner. Brock Lesnar, according to the storyline, is a spoiled, entitled champion who doesn't care about the fans, blows off scheduled appearances, and coasts on the hard work of younger, hungrier, full-time wrestlers. Roman Reigns, meanwhile, is the man who loves the fans and sacrifices his health and happiness to put smiles on their faces. WWE has sold fans on the following premise: that so long as Lesnar is champion, Monday Night Raw is worse off for it. To have Lesnar beat Reigns is a tacit admission that the show will continue to be bad.
There's every reason to believe that Reigns vs. Lesnar will be fantastic. The last time they faced one another, Brock ended the evening with blood running down his face. Reigns didn't, but of the two men, he arguably got hurt more. Brock's moves were stiffer than usual that evening; a particularly vicious lariat sent Reigns crashing off the apron. Reigns took so many German suplexes that Lesnar improvised a meme--"Suplex City, b***h!"--around it.
The more WWE makes Reigns physically suffer, the more people cheer him instead of boo him. You can see the exact moment the tide shifts during Wrestlemania 31, when Reigns is rolling on the ground in pain, laughing like a long-haired, greased-up Tyler Durden. This past year, Strowman threw Reigns into tables, hurled him against an ambulance and shoved him into any hard, unforgiving surface nearest to them. The crowds ate it up. And most recently on the March 19 episode of Raw, Lesnar beat Reigns with a steel chair before tipping over his stretcher.
Beating Reigns to a pulp satisfies multiple audiences in multiple ways. His fans empathize with his pain. His haters love to see him suffer. And everyone loves a good beatdown. The YouTube videos of Reigns getting pulverized are some of the most watched videos on WWE's official channel.
Love him or hate him, one positive factor about Roman Reigns is indisputable: he is quite possibly the most durable man on the roster. The man can take a hard beating and keep coming back for more. Even his most venomous critics can concede that. Hurting Reigns to get him over isn't a viable long-term strategy--he'll have a truncated career if he keeps hurling himself into metal objects-- but it might work in the short term for Wrestlemania 34.
Reigns is winning on April 8, and he's going to earn the Universal Championship the hard way. Perhaps, that'll be enough for the majority of fans to finally get on board with him. Lesnar, meanwhile, may be on his way back to UFC soon.
If you're interested in more breakdowns of upcoming Wrestlemania matches, check out all our predictions here and stay tuned to GameSpot for more Wrestlemania coverage.