mike francesa
Peter Ackermann | Asbury Park Press

Professional wrestling-related gag calls were a time-honored tradition during Mike Francesa’s solo years on WFAN. I still remember almost careening off the road in laughter when he was asked for his take on the Ultimate Warrior’s legacy.

And now, with WrestleMania scheduled for this weekend, an intrepid listener decided to fire off an email for Francesa’s BetRivers podcast. And the big guy did not disappoint.

“I have no respect for wrestling,” Francesa said. “I don’t watch it. But I don’t have any disdain for people who do. To each their own. I’m very, very much that way. I never try to be judgmental about whatever anybody wants to watch or what they want to view, OK. That’s their choice in life. I believe in them having that freedom of choice.”

That’s big of you, Mike.

Anyway, here are The Athletic’s predictions for the main event between Roman Reigns — who once did an interview with Francesa — and Cody Rhodes for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. If they’re making picks, then it’s basically a real sport, right?

Chris Vannini: Cody Rhodes. The whole point of this long Roman Reigns, uh, reign, was to establish Roman as the top guy again and create a new top guy. Cody checks all the boxes, his story has been great, and he’s over as hell.

Jason Jones: Roman Reigns. This story goes all the way to SummerSlam, where Cody caps the summer as champion.

Richard Deitsch: Rhodes goes over. I can’t see Night 2 ending with Reigns retaining the title. Plus, Joe Anoa’i has earned some time away from the grind. The real interesting question: How do you book babyface Cody? And who gets the first program with him as champion?

Eric Koreen: Roman Reigns. The Bloodline has been the best long-term wrestling story in years, and I think the group inevitably splinters because of internal friction, not an external party. However, I predict Jey Uso won’t be in the ring celebrating with his cousins as the fireworks end the show.

Jake Ciely: Cody Rhodes. I might have leaned Reigns if they continued with the intrigue of a conflicted Jey Uso. That could have led to the storyline branching several directions with Sami Zayn and Rhodes involved, even splitting the titles (if Rhodes pinned Reigns, he gets the WWE Championship; if Zayn did, he gets the Universal Championship). But I digress. Rhodes has been positioned to be the one to dethrone Reigns, and a layoff for Reigns seems inevitable.

Damon Sayles: Roman Reigns is inching on 1,000 days as champion. I believe in promoting nice, round numbers. He won’t lose the title until SummerSlam, sometime after he reaches 1,000 days.

James Kratch can be reached at james.kratch@xlmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.