So in preparation for WrestleMania this Sunday, I’ve prepared this handy guide to what the matches are going to be, who’s going to be involved, and why they are happening! Hopefully this should catch anyone up even if you haven’t been following WWE, but if you have any questions, feels free to ask below in the comments!
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
Brock Lesnar (champion) vs. Roman Reigns
Brock Lesnar is the unstoppable monster in WWE. Last year he ended The Undertaker’s legendary streak at WrestleMania, and a few months later, absolutely destroyed then-champion John Cena to win the title. Since then he has pretty much crushed any and all opposition. His opponent, Roman Reigns is the winner of January’s Royal Rumble. He originally was part of the faction The Shield with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose (more on them later), but after they broke up, he has been set up to be the next “it” guy for WWE. Muscular, handsome, and with a reknown wrestling family that includes The Wild Samoans and The Rock, he is everything that the company looks for to be their face. Unfortunately, many fans aren’t too keen on him, and he has been getting lots of negative reactions, especially after he beat crowd favorite Daniel Bryan (more on him later as well) at the last PPV Fastlane to be the undisputed contender for the title. Since then, the talk of the match (in storyline and out) is whether Roman will actually be the one to take down Brock. The obvious answer would be “yes,” but Brock just announced that he signed with WWE for several more years, so now people are speculating that he might retain at WrestleMania.
Triple H vs. Sting
A “dream match” between two icons of the 90s and early 2000s. Triple H is the head of The Authority, the evil…well… authorotative faction that controls the WWE, and was a prominent wrestler during the Attitude Era, feuding with the likes of The Rock and Steve Austin. Sting is basically The Crow, and is known to be the “last solider of WCW.” He was one of the most popular wrestlers in WCW, and stayed there until the very end, even when other wrestlers left the organization. Sting originally helped oust The Authority at Survivor Series when he interrupted the match and assisted Dolph Ziggler to win (The Authority was brought back 2 weeks later, making the importance of that match basically meaningless). Triple H was furious about that and challeneged Sting, vowing to finally put an end to WCW. Sting says he doesn’t fight for WCW, but rather he hates groups like The Authority and people like Triple H who manipulate their way to the top, which is why he accepted the challenge for a match at WrestleMania
Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker
Swamp Cult Wizard vs.Undead Wizard. For weeks, Bray Wyatt has been calling out The Undertaker for a match at WrestleMania. He believes that he is the “new face of evil” in WWE, and that the Undertaker is a broken shell of his former self after the streak was broken. A couple weeks ago Undertaker accepted his challenge, but curiously enough, has not made a single appearance at a WWE show in preparation of the match. The question is whether Undertaker can still pull off a match, and whether if this really ease a passing of the torch between supernatural characters.
WWE United States Championship Match
Rusev (champion) vs. John Cena
Rusev has never been pinned or submitted since his debut in WWE last year. He is basically Ivan Drago, right down to having a hot manager, Lana, that disparages America. John Cena is the current number one guy in WWE, and is basically Superman. He’s the hero all the kids love, and adults hate because he wins all the time. Rusev originally defended the title against Cena at Fastlane (via convenient low blow), and refused to give a rematch because he felt Cena didn’t deserve one. After weeks of being attacked and taunted by Rusev, Cena retaliated by making Rusev pass out with his signature submission manuever the STF, forced him to wake up by pouring water on him, and then locked the STF back on. Lana pleaded with Cena to stop, offering a rematch at WrestleMania if he did. You would think that there would be some level of self-awareness of the American Hero basically torture a guy to get what he wants, but that’s pretty unlikely. Ironically enough, threatening the life of somebody is exactly what The Authority did to Cena to get back in power!
Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton
Seth Rollins calls himself “the future” of WWE. He betrayed Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose to join the Authority, and is also the holder of the Money in the Bank briefcase, which allows him a World Championship match anytime, anywhere. He is the golden child of The Authority, effectively taking the spot Randy Orton held. Randy Orton pretended to rejoin The Authority after returning from an injury, but he betrayed them to get revenge on Rollins.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
Bad News Barrett (champions) vs. R-Truth vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Stardust vs. Daniel Bryan
This match is pretty much all of the fan favorites everyone would rather see in the main event. The storyline is that Dean Ambrose initially stole the belt from Barrett, and that lead to all of the other participants taking turns stealing the belt for themselves. It’s a pretty weird storyline, but it’s probably the most entertaining the IC title has been in years. A quick rundown of the participants:
Bad News Barrett – British brawler. Annoyed that everyone has been stealing his belt.
R-Truth – Rapper, has stolen the belt more than anyone else. Afraid of ladders, which will probably be a factor in the match!
Dean Ambrose – Good crazy guy, or “Cody from Final Fight with more grease.” Originally started as a Deathmatch wrestler before joining WWE (the kind of wrestling that shows up on the news when they talk about how dangerous it is), but unlike most other deathmatch guys, can actually wrestle.
Luke Harper- Evil crazy guy, or “murder hobo.” Originally a follower of Bray Wyatt, Harper always has a wild eyed stare, mangy beard and hair, and wears a wife beater than probably hasn’t been washed in forever. Don’t let the looks fool you, he’s actually a really skilled wrestler and was considered to be one of the best wrestlers on the independant scene.
Dolph Ziggler – Cocky show off. Was a heel for the longest time, but developed a big fan following and turned face. Considered to be one of the most underrated and underappreciated wrestlers in WWE.
Stardust – Brother of Golddust, son of the legendary Dusty Rhodes. He’s a nutcase that talks about things like the “cosmic cube,” and space phenomena. Hates it when people call him by his real name, Cody.
Daniel Bryan- Headlined WrestleMania last year in the main event after gaining huge fanbase support. Won the title at WrestleMania, but had to give it up due to neck surgery. Arguably the most talented wrestler on the roster. Many fans are bitter that he isn’t the one facing Brock in the main event.
Nikki Bella and Brie Bella vs. Paige and AJ Lee
The only women’s match on the card. Nikki and Brie are twins and are the top heels in the women’s division. Nikki is the current Divas Champion, and both she and Brie are the stars of WWE’s reality show, Total Divas. They originally were pretty terrible in the ring, but recently the two have shown vast improvement. Paige and AJ Lee are rivals, and are considered to be the most popular women wrestlers in WWE today; arguably this generation’s Trish Stratus and Lita in terms of ability and popularity. Paige is daughter of Saraya Knight, one of England’s most famous wrestlers. She calls herself the “anti-diva.” She says that while all the other women in the division just care about looking pretty (especially the Bellas), she cares more about fighting and winning the title. AJ Lee (a New Jersey native!) grew up loving wrestling and made it her goal to make it to the WWE. She also has a grudge against the Bellas, who took the championship from her. However, tensions are high between AJ and Paige after AJ accidentally cost Paige a match for the Divas Championship on RAW. On a side note, AJ recently called out Stephanie McMahon on Twitter, bringing attention to the inequality between the men and women wrestlers. Funnily enough, since AJ has come back, the women’s matches have been longer and treated less as a joke.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale
A match where the goal is to knock your opponent over the top rope, just like the Royal Rumble, but with less wrestlers. The winner gets a big trophy of Andre the Giant. There are way too many wrestlers in this match to give backgrounds on, but two participants stand out this year. The first is Damien “Mizdow” Sandow. He’s the personal assistant to Mike “The Miz” Mizanin (yes, the same guy from The Real World all those years ago). Mizdow was originally the “stunt double” for Miz, and imitated everything Miz did in the ring. Whenever Miz punched, Mizdow pretended to punch someone. Whenever someone slammed Miz, Mizdow would flop around on the floor. The crowd loved it, and began to cheer Mizdow, much to Miz’s jealously. Recently Mizdow has been less tolerant of Miz’s abuse towards him, so it’s likely he’s going to finally break away from Miz at WrestleMania. The other participant was actually the last person to be put into the match, Hideo Itami. He originally wrestled in Japan under the name of KENTA, and was one of the top wrestlers in the country. Six months ago, he joined WWE and became part of their developmental division, NXT. On Thursday he won a tournament to earn a spot in the match, and it will be interesting to see how he will fare on WWE’s biggest show of the year. Regardless of who wins, a major question will be if WWE actually makes winning the match be meaningful in any way. Last year’s winner, Cesaro, got a lot of positive reactions after winning the Battle Royale and many thought it was his ticket to the top. They were wrong, and Cesaro’s rise was stopped dead in its tracks because WWE didn’t feel like the fans were into him since he is foreign. Time will tell if a similar fate will befall the next winner.