Preview: WWE WrestleMania XXX

It is the moment that wrestling fans look forward to each and every year, this Sunday WWE’s thirtieth annual WrestleMania will take place in New Orleans and Hulkamania is gonna run wild!

After a seven year absence, the man in the famous red and yellow, Hulk Hogan has returned to WWE to be the host of this year’s sports-entertainment extravaganza, in front of approximately 70,000 fans inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and a global television audience.

Hulk Hogan is synonymous with WWE and WrestleMania itself, with the Hulkster being apart of many main events and WrestleMania moments across it’s thirty years. Whether it was in the very first WrestleMania teaming up with Mr. T in the main event, or his historic battles with fellow legends Andre the Giant, The Ultimate Warrior and more recently The Rock. Everyone has there favourite memory of the man from Venice Beach.

However Hogan isn’t the only big thing in the ‘Big Easy’ this Sunday and it will take someone of his magnitude to oversee the stellar line-up of big time showdowns this year.

The match to watch to see the future Mania main-eventers is the four way match for the WWE Tag-Team Championship. Despite the unfortunate fact that this match has been moved to the pre-show, these eight competitors proved their worthiness to be apart of the showcase of immortals this past Monday on RAW. Jimmy and Jay Uso face a tough challenge against Los Matadores, Curtis Axel & Ryback and The Real Americans. In my opinion, Jack Swagger and Cesaro deserve a shot solely against the Samoan champions, as they really have been the standout stars of the division and some may argue the company recently. Nonetheless keep a close eye on all these rising stars.

WWE poster boy, John Cena has the unusual place in the mid-card at this year’s WrestleMania against the new and un-predictable Bray Wyatt. In recent weeks Wyatt and his family have found their way in the mind of the leader of the Cenation, holding the psychological edge over the 13-time world champion. For the first time in his WWE career, John Cena has admitted feeling fear and being scared of Wyatt. Could young Bray score a substantial win that could elevate his career this Sunday or could the man that has never backed down from challenge pull the same moves used to beat The Rock last year in New York.

Part of Hulk Hogan’s influence and his first announcement as host, brought an acknowledgment to former rival and long time friend Andre The Giant in the form of a Memorial Battle Royal in his honour. Whilst it’s great to bring Andre The Giant’s legacy and name to the new generation of WWE fans and to give a majority of the lockeroom their own WrestleMania moment, this match will be a slow burner. Whilst the Zack Ryders, Santino Marellas and Heath Slaters battle it out, you’ll have to wait till the end for this one to pick up. The likes of Albert Del Rio, Sheamus, Christian and the brilliant power house Big E should ensure a good quality end battle between the names that are looking to establish themselves on the grandest stage of them all.

Elsewhere, the entire female lockeroom will be action in the “Vickie Guerrero Divas Invitational” match for AJ Lee’s Divas Championship. The unfortunate state of affairs of WWE’s female division means this match will probably be the toilet break, filler match. Not to say there are not great talents within the division, WWE has not helped themselves by not really revealing the stipulations of the match or how it even works. It has come across as a last minute, “we forgot a divas match” moment from the writers. Maybe less time needs to be spent on the writing of their hit TV series ‘Total Divas’ on E! and more on the development of the Divas Division. It doesn’t matter what talent you have if the correct story lines, development and crucially air time is not there to support and highlight their talents.

The curious case of The Shield and in particular Roman Reigns continues at WrestleMania when they face the New Age “Corporate” Outlaws and Kane. Every awe-inspiring performance from the stand out Roman Reigns with great supporting roles from Dean Ambrose as the squirming, loose cannon heel and Seth Rollins as the unpredictable yet precise high flier has made them fan favourites. So in what seems as a stop-gap match until bigger and brighter things come their way, The Shield take on Triple H and Stephanie McMahon’s henchmen. I sent out a tweet whilst watching the Royal Rumble saying that after his amazing performance that left the audience both at home and surrounding the ring in the palm of his hand, Roman Reigns will be headlining WrestleMania 31 one way or another. His and the rest of The Shield’s performance this Sunday in the Dome could go some way to making that a reality.

When asking any wrestling fan what is not only one of the most integral parts of WrestleMania whilst also being one of their favourites is summed up in two words. The Streak. WWE has a brilliant way of building towards guaranteed Hall of Famer Undertaker’s match every year. Being 21-0 at WrestleMania you would think that it’s a foregone conclusion that he will win, no matter the opponent. However there is always that feeling of doubt that maybe, just maybe the longest streak in sports history could come to an end that year. That feeling is far greater this year as the Deadman takes on the only WWE Champion and UFC Heavyweight Champion in history, Brock Lesnar in what is being billed as The Beast vs. The Streak. Some argue that Undertaker faces his most formidable opponent this year and his toughest challenge especially with both superstars adopting a similar Mixed Martial Arts style. This has all the signs of a good ol’ fashioned slugfest instead of a traditional ‘wrasslin’ bout just like their famous Hell in a Cell match back in 2002 which was garnered with the title of “Match of the Year”.

The main event sees the richest prize in sports-entertainment, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the line as Randy Orton takes on his fellow former Evolution member Batista. After winning this year’s Royal Rumble, Batista’s place in the main event was cemented. However his chances were reduced as Daniel Bryan and his “YES! movement” grew strength. Under pressure from the WWE Universe and the rising popularity of the underdog Bryan, WWE’s COO and Game, Triple H is forced to step away from his office desk and take on the submission specialist to see who will be the third man in this mega main event. Unfortunately for Batista who was expecting the same reaction as other returning stars like The Rock, Rob Van Dam and Brock Lesnar, he came in on the cusp of a Daniel Bryan wave. Wrong place wrong time means that before the YES! movement, Batista’s seventh title reign was imminent. However it is looking Daniel Bryan and his legion of YES! fans could get what they want when the final bell tolls in New Orleans on Sunday.

John Cena truly summed up the feeling of WrestleMania perfectly when he said it was the suspense and athleticism of the Superbowl, mixed with all the pageantry of a Rolling Stones concert. WrestleMania is a true spectacle filled with high drama, suspense and jaw-dropping moments as everyone involved tries to create their own stand-out WrestleMania moment. New Orleans’ motto will never be more true this Sunday; Laissez les bon temps rouler or Let The Good Times Roll!

 

 

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