We're just two days away from WrestleMania 35 and the card is horrendously long, having now added a meaningless and unnecessary Raw tag team title match. That's 16 matches on the card. For a show that already feels like it will be a 7-8 hour edition of Raw, proper match placement is essential. Without the proper match placement, the crowd will be dead long before the show ends.
With that in mind, here's the match order that WWE might have in mind.
#1 WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal (pre-show)
Ah, the meaningless battle royals. One has to go first. Since last year it was the men's, this year, I'll peg the women's to go on first. Hopefully we'll see some NXT stars again. At least then poor Asuka might have some fun interacting with the likes of Kairi Sane and Io Shirai.
This is the kind of filler match you put on when people still need to file into the building, so I expect it to go on first.
#2 Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Tony Nese (pre-show)
The 205 guys, much like Asuka, deserve better, because this match will easily be better than many on the main card. Tony Nese has had a great catalogue in the first few months of 2019, and Buddy Murphy was one of 2018's MVPs. The two have a good story heading into Sunday's big show.
There's no reason to expect this match to not come out well in two days. It will easily be the highlight of the pre-show. Unfortunately, with people still filing in the building, many won't see it.
Either way, they'll need to sandwich this match in between the other two matches on the pre-show to control energy levels as the main show gets closer to kicking off.
#3 Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (pre-show)
My my, how far Braun Strowman has fallen, not that his WrestleMania experience last year was much better.
Still, watching him throw people around and wreck stuff is always fun, even now. That will certainly be the highlight of this battle royal and get people appropriately excited for the opening of the main show.
#4 Intercontinental Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Finn Balor
This match would have ordinarily been a strong candidate to be the curtain-jerker, but the return of the Demon promises a spectacle that will add even more excitement to Balor's already strong workrate credentials.
Seeing the powerhouse Bobby Lashley against the speedy, unconventional demon promises a good show, and one that will appropriately amp the crowd up and get them excited for the rest of the festivities to come.
Balor's demon entrance alone would make this worthy of opening the show.
#5 SmackDown Tag Team Championship: The Usos (c) vs. Ricochet and Aleister Black vs. The Bar vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev
Now that The Usos signed a new contract, their chance of victory here just went up. Either way, this will be a lightning quick match, and it will be nice to see Black and Ricochet get their WrestleMania debuts. That makes it a strong candidate to follow up the Intercontinental Championship match.
It's a high work rate match with just enough spectacle (Black's entrance and Ricochet's moves) that will keep the crowd interested in the subsequent matches to come, which will be more story-based instead of wrestling-based.
#6 Shane McMahon vs. The Miz
Credit to WWE - this angle started as a train wreck but matured into one of the low-key better stories heading into WrestleMania. The work rate won't be as good as some of the other matches, but people are invested in this, and Miz has proven to be a surprisingly good babyface.
Shane and Miz will tell a good story as the latter struggles to give the former comeuppance and get revenge for the attack on his father last month. That will be a good way to keep fans engaged but allow them to cool off from the blistering pace of the first couple of matches.
#7 Triple H vs. Batista
What better way to calm the crowd than the latest 20 minute Triple H entrance?
In all seriousness, this match is a good candidate to let fans cool off, take whatever mental breaks they need to, while being interesting enough to maintain engagement. Triple H's WrestleMania matches are usually slow-paced, but the career stipulation is sufficient to add some intrigue as the crowd prepares to enter the second half of the show.
#8 AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton
There's not much story behind this match, but it's a first time ever match. Randy Orton's character is still at its best. AJ Styles is AJ Styles. This will be a good mix of character and ring work to re-engage the audience with a blistering wrestling match and brawl all at once.
If anyone can motivate Randy Orton to deliver a great match, it will be AJ Styles. This will be a great way to end the first half of the long show and begin the second half, in effect, starting the show all over again as another sort of curtain-jerker.
#9 Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin
Secretly, everyone is hoping that John Cena makes a surprise appearance, takes Baron Corbin out, and gives Kurt Angle a much better, more spectacular retirement match. Either way, this will be emotional simply because of what Kurt Angle has meant to so many fans.
It will be far from the best-worked match, but that's why it should come off the heels of Styles vs. Orton. It will be all spectacle and give fans a chance to say thank you and goodbye to an Attitude Era stalwart.
#10 United States Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rey Mysterio
This will be a great way to wake the crowd back up from such an emotional high and a slow work rate. Seeing how Samoa Joe brutalizes the much smaller Rey Mysterio, and how he will respond, will definitely open some eyes. Both men will work off one another to tell a good story at a high work rate.
Hopefully this match can be the first of many to revive the fortunes of the United States Championship.
#11 Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
Roman Reigns won't be returning to WrestleMania in triumph after his cancer scare. He'll be returning to a fight. This promises to be a slugfest that will follow up nicely on the US title match before. Reigns and McIntyre will brutalize each other and it's almost a shame that this won't have some kind of hardcore stipulation, but that can be saved for later.
Reigns will likely get a triumphant win, but it would work better if he loses, both to keep the feud going and to prevent him from being seen as overpushed.
#12 Women's Tag Team Championship: Boss 'N' Hug Connection (c) vs. The IIconics vs. Nia Jax and Tamina vs. Beth Phoenix and Natalya
As the show enters its home stretch, there's no better match to put on than one which will see Beth Phoenix return to the ring against the likes of Sasha Banks and Bayley. Why the IIconics and the Nia/Tamina combination are here is anyone's guess, but they'll at least increase anticipation for that climactic confrontation.
Boss 'N' Hug will certainly retain, but the confrontation between eras will make it something to remember, giving a combination of work rate and spectacle.
#13 WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Kofi Kingston
God Bless Kofimania, because it's been the saving grace of an otherwise horrendous WrestleMania build. Emotions will be high as Kofi Kingston finds himself in a spot unimaginable two months ago - contending for the WWE Championship on the biggest stage against a man who was in much the same position a few years ago.
The combination of work rate and high drama makes this the most exciting match on the card and it will be the lead-in to the climax of the show.
#14 Raw Tag Team Championship: The Revival (c) vs. Zack Ryder and Kurt Hawkins
This feels as random and filler as it gets, and it's a good spot to cool the crowd off after the high drama of the WWE Championship match but before the final two matches on the card.
Nevertheless, there is intrigue in Zack Ryder's hometown being so close to MetLife, giving him a local hero character, and possibly the potential of Kurt Hawkins' 2.5 year losing streak coming to an end.
What a burial for The Revival it would be if they lost this match. Either way, it's a cool down, but an intriguing one.
#15 Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins
Main event it might not be, but it's still the most important match on the card. At stake is the future of Raw. If Seth Rollins wins, the red brand and the Universal title get to hit the badly-needed reset button and begin the long process of rebuilding from the rubble they've been in for the past year (or two, in the case of the title). If Brock Lesnar wins, the dark age, the wasteland, continues.
Consequently, it will come on late, in the 15th or 14th spots.
#16 Winner take all: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Becky Lynch
We already know this match will be the main event. It's still a cluster and it will still be a relief when it's over. WWE threw away a potentially magical build to throw Charlotte in, which makes it less than it could have been.
Becky Lynch will probably emerge the victor from the match, though, and hold both titles aloft, which will be the best WrestleMania ending in years.