30 things returning fans need to know before wathcing Wrestlemania XXX part I

Diarmuid Crowley

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Wrestlemania XXX is coming up for the 6th of April. To celebrate its 30 years, former fans of wrestling. But what if your just tuning in after abandoning once WWF got the F out and replaced it with an E. This three part may answer some of those questions for you. Today we start with the basics.

1)      Who is the top guy?

The federation years had Hulk Hogan legdropping Andre the Giant, Randy Savage and Roddy Piper. The Attitude Era (the age most people remember fondly in wrestling)  saw Stone Cold whoop the ass of The Rock, Triple H and Mankind. Today the marquee is John Cena. The man who for over 10 years has worn jorts, come out to as many jeers as cheers and has beaten well everyone on the roster except for his Wrestlemania opponent. Some Grown male fans may hate this as former wrestler CM Punk would put it “shameless ass kisser” but to children and other grown-ups, he’s like a real life superman whose merchandise sells like hotcakes.

John Cena putting Ryback through a table. Photo credit: Krystal Bogner (flickr)
John Cena putting Ryback through a table. Photo credit: Krystal Bogner (flickr)

2)      Who is still left in the WWE?

As the attitude era was ten years ago, it’s no surprise that most of the people are not there. The main guy to change is Triple H as he is the on screen COO of WWE and off screen EVP of Talent Relations. His wrestling days have been limited to special occasions like Wrestlemania. His fellow DX members Billy Gunn and Road Dogg have become his enforcers while a de-masked Kane is his onscreen Director of Operations in his new faction the Authority.   The Big Show and Rey Mysterio are still there with the same personas they had before. Christian and “Sexual Chocolate” Mark Henry evolved from their comical gimmicks into well respected veterans. Booker T and William Regal are mainly backstage characters nowadays even though Booker is in the WWE Hall of Fame and Regal is one of the main talent scouts for NXT. Also working full time are Albert who is now NXT commentator Jason Albert and Goldust who is still an active wrestler teaming with his younger brother Cody Rhodes. The Undertaker, The Rock and Brock Lesnar only work on special occasions.  The clip below is when Vince McMahon ushered in the Attitude Era.

 

3)          Who is running operations now?

Off screen, it is still Vince McMahon who remains Chairman. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon for now are running things on screen until Vince decides to return. The duo has more responsibilities off screen than ever before and Vince is pacing himself slower than before. In fact, Triple H is playing the same role that Vince had before as the ruthless boss.

Triple H Photo credit: Tony A.
The Power is all mine. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Photo credit: Tony A. (flickr)

4)          Are Raw and Smackdown still there?

Yes Monday Night Raw is still there. Smackdown is meanwhile on Fridays. There is also Superstars where lesser known wrestlers compete against each other for the fans’ and NXT wrestling which sees the wrestlers of the future show their skills before their shot at the main roster. Main Event is a similar show to Superstars that airs on the WWE network with the other shows (bar Raw and Smackdown).

Smackdown pic Photo credit: Ed Webster
Smackdown pic Photo credit: Ed Webster (flickr)

5)            What the hell is the WWE Network?

The WWE Network is a subscription video streaming channel that WWE launched this year after planning this three years ago. As well aiming to put all of their shows and PPVs, WWE is airing a lot of classical matches as well original content like the interactive WWE Countdown and reality show WWE Legends’ House; wrestling’s answer to the real housewives.  See below for a sneak peek of that show.

 

3)      What are the main stories to look out for?

Daniel Bryan vs Triple H: So far the main focus is on Daniel Bryan who wants to legitimise himself as a main event wrestler something that Triple H doesn’t want to see and for months undermined all of Bryan’s chances of being top star. However after a barrage of fans occupied the ring as part of Bryan’s “Yes Movement”, HHH accepts Bryan’s challenge to a match at Wrestlemania where they winner will join Randy Orton and Batista in the main event for the WWE World Heavyweight title.

John Cena vs Bray Wyatt: After costing Cena the title twice and terrorising the WWE with his mystical yet vicious attacks, the eerie yet charismatic Bray Wyatt believes that John Cena’s heroic never give attitude is just a façade. So Cena issued him to a match to which Wyatt accepted and has since been psychotically and physically attacking the former 14 time champion.

Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar: Having conquered the biggest players in WWE,
Brock Lesnar is irritated that he is not contending for the WWE title so
Undertaker gave him along challenge for him: The Streak. For 21 years, the
mysterious Undertaker has been victorious at Wrestlemania over some of wrestling’s biggest names. Not a single loss. However, Undertaker has never beaten Lesnar in a Pay per View match before. Will history repeat itself or will the streak be 22-0?

The Shield vs Kane and the New Age Outlaws: The Shield were once Triple H’s laptops however after a near implosion of the unit, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns resolved their issues yet they had enough of the Authority and turned on Kane. Frustrated the Director of Operations paired up with Road Dogg and Billy Gunn to attack them and the six men will meet in a six man tag match.

4)            What are the other matches are officially booked?

Andre Memorial battle royal: In honour of the late Andre the Giant, 30 wrestlers are competing in an over the top rope battle royal for a trophy they will be carrying around for a year. Veterans like Big Show and Christian along with young talent like Dolph Ziggler and Cesaro are signing up for this match as they feel it can enhance their career.

 The WWE Divas invitational: For 9 months, AJ Lee has been the longest reigning
Divas champion. She’s also been a thorn to the side of every other woman in the
roster hence Vickie Guerrero has issued a challenge that every diva will compete for AJ’s title at Wrestlemania. This will be AJ’s biggest test as champion and a test of her mettle.

Randy Orton vs Batista: While a third person will meet with them, Orton and Batista have history. Both were under Triple H’s and Ric Flair’s wings in the unit called Evolution and since then they have been marquee stars. After a 4 year hiatus, Batista returned to WWE and won the Royal Rumble yet the fans didn’t want to see him as the winner so he turned on the fans. The reason this isn’t up in the main matches is because it is only part on another big match. Here’s what happened after Batista’s Royal Rumble win.

8)            Who are the main people to look out for (that aren’t Cena or Attitude Era wrestlers)?

Daniel Bryan: Think an agile and more hairy Stone Cold. The fans love Daniel Bryan for his self-made attitude and amazing talent inside the ring. He has held the WWE title only twice and both times Triple H ruined things for him by first helping Randy Orton win it and vacating the belt the second time.

Randy Orton: The callous WWE World Heavyweight  Champion, Orton has beaten most of the roster through his slick and dangerous moves hence the nickname The Viper. Now The Authority golden champion, Orton will stop at nothing to remain on top for the rest of his career.

The WWE Champ Randy Orton photo credit: quintin2008 (flickr)
The WWE Champ Randy Orton photo credit: quintin2008 (flickr)

Batista: A 6 time World champion, Batista left WWE to pursue an MMA and then film career. Now that he’s back, Batista’s ego seems as big as his muscles only caring about one thing and one thing only: becoming a 7 time champion at the biggest stage in wrestling.

The Wyatt Family: Led by Bray Wyatt who acts like Max Cady from Cape Fear, this odd bearded trio have assaulted WWE’s top stars from Daniel Bryan to Kane. Accompanying Wyatt are Luke Harper a big yet nimble beast and Erick Rowan who has a fondness for frightening people with his sheep mask.

The Shield: This Kevlar vest wearing consists of the smart Dean Ambrose, the daring Seth Rollins and the strong Roman Reigns. Since late 2012, The Shield ruled the WWE before helping and then abandoning The Authority.

The Shield Photo credit: Krystal Bogner (flickr)
The Shield prepare to attack a pre authority Kane Photo credit: Krystal Bogner (flickr)

Sheamus: Ireland’s most famous wrestler for his fiery style and firey coloured hair. A former 3 time champion, the Celtic Warrior has been laying buataisí le bunanna to anyone who challenges him a fight from multi time champions to up and comers.

Sheamus Photo credit: slgckgc
Ireland’s pride and join Sheamus Photo Credit: slgckgc (flickr)

 

Alberto Del Rio: A Mexican prodigy back home, Del Rio has become the quintessential rich villain who tries to win by any means necessary. An ex MMA fighter and former 4 time world champion, Del Rio has made his nation proud at the expense of acting like an angry burro. Watch as he plans to finish off Sin Cara.

 Dolph Ziggler: One of the  most hard working
wrestlers in the business, Ziggler always shines inside of the ring. Once  booed for being an egotist, the self-professed Show Off has earned the fans’ interest and respect everywhere he
goes.

 

Ziggler during his US title run Photo credit: Krystal Bogner (flickr)
Ziggler during his US title run Photo credit: Krystal Bogner (flickr)

 

 

9) Who is the longest reigning World champion?

It’s still Bruno Sammartino at 2803 days. The closest to reach that in recent history was CM Punk who held the belt for 434 days before losing to the Rock. Below is a promo of their fight at last year’s Royal Rumble.

10) Has anyone beaten Ric Flair’s 16 time world championship record?

Cena is two or three shy away. So the  answer for now is no.

Ric Flair Photo Credit: markhodgins  (flickr)
Woo. Ric Flair’s smiling and profiling that he has the most world titles Photo Credit: markhodgins (flickr)

 

Don’t miss part II on SATURDAY where we will look at some of the other talent, some of the non wrestling personas and worthy questions that you leave on the comment board.

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Diarmuid Crowley