Spring is here, and with it, the yearly hellscape that is Comics Social Media During WrestleMania.
While you’ll see dribs and drabs of people talking about the many shows that are running this weekend, the industry’s biggest event will be filling your screens as of 5pm Eastern / 2pm Pacific when the pre-show kicks off and will run for… (checks notes from last year) seven friggen hours. Holy hell. In that time, you either might not know what folks online are talking about, or you might be somewhere that has the show on with people watching intently and just want a window into what everyone seems to be so enthralled by.
Whelp, we got you covered.
What follows is a quick and dirty look at this year’s announced matches for WrestleMania 35. Each section comes equipped with a TL;DR explanation, alongside a slightly deeper dive for any special rules or context. Then, there’s a fun fact tossed in just for funsies. Engage with the content however you please!
Now, we have 15 whole damn matches to get to so let’s get this party bus on the road.
THE PRE SHOW MATCHES
THE TWO HOURS OF CONTENT BEFORE THE BIG SHOW
WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal
TL;DR // The more under-utilized women in the company will try to throw each other over the top rope to win a trophy that looks like a uterus with red ribbons tied to where the ovaries go. Because “ladies”?
Special Rules // The ring is filled with participants – who proceed to throw each other over the top rope (with both feet landing on the floor) until there is only one person left standing. That woman earns herself a golden uterus.
How Did We Get Here? // So that trophy. What a conversation piece. While the current design is pretty bad, the original was a lot worse. It originally depicted “The Fabulous Moolah” – a woman who used to pimp out the women who trained under her to male wrestlers in addition to heavily garnishing their wages – until Snickers threatened to pull their sponsorship from last year’s event. Thus, the Golden Ute was born!
Much like the Men’s Battle Royal (which we’ll talk about shortly), this utilizes every healthy performer the WWE has that isn’t featured in a major storyline, in order to get them a big ol’ WrestleMania paycheque.
Fun Fact // WrestleMania is the most profitable show the WWE has that can feature women – their blood money Saudi Arabia shows earn the company (and performers) a healthier dose of money, but can not feature women. Oh, except for Reneé Young who was allowed to be on commentary during their November show, which took place after the Saudi’s had that journalist murdered.
André the Giant Men’s Battle Royal
TL;DR // A couple of cast members from Saturday Night Live have pissed off a giant mountain man, so they’re going to be murdered on international streaming television while several men in tights try to throw each other over the top ropes for a trophy.
Special Rules // Same as the Women’s Battle Royal, except it’s dudes now, and their trophy features Fezzik from The Princess Bride.
How Did We Get Here? // So almost everyone gets in the Battle Royal by not being quite interesting enough to get a feature match on the show. And other people, like Braun Strowman (the aforementioned mountain man) get put in the Battle Royal because the writers can’t figure out how to make a man who murdered two dudes with a grappling hook popular, so they have him feud with the two dudes from Weekend Update. Oh, and those dudes are there because (checks notes) they are famous?
Fun Fact // The winner of this match traditionally goes on to do absolutely nothing of consequence in the following year of WWE television. This is the 6th year this match has taken place.
Cruiserweight Championship Match
Buddy Murphy (Champion) vs. Tony Nese
TL;DR // An Australian and a narcissist are trying to figure out who is prettier so they’re gonna punch each other for a purple belt.
How Did We Get Here? // The Cruiserweight Championship is the main title of WWE’s 205 Live brand, where small boys fight themselves a wrestle. Tony Nese won a tournament to determine would fight the definitely not under 205 pound Buddy Murphy, who gets away with being on this show because he is a god damn amazing wrestler, and wrestling is what they do on 205 Live.
Fun Fact // Tony Nese likes to count his abs before he enters the ring, because he can.
THE ACTUAL SHOW
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
TL;DR // Roman Reigns beat cancer and an attractive Scottish dill hole and his very thick thighs have a problem with that.
How Did We Get Here? // Roman Reigns was WWE’s golden child. The only problem? Fans seemed to hate him. Then he revealed he had been a cancer survivor… and that the cancer had come back. Apparently this was an actual surprise to many of his close friends in the wrestling business, as Reigns never wanted to be known as the “cancer guy”. Anyway, after this big reveal, stories started coming out about how a genuinely good guy Reigns was – how he’d give old wrestling boots to up-and-comers in need and generally looked out for the well-being of all around him. A few months later, and the doctors have cleared him to fight once more, and he’s going to take on a dude that’s been a dick to his friends. It turns out, all the WWE needed to turn Roman into a hero was to stop with the toxic masculinity BS, and just show the world a Good Dude.
Fun Fact // Before he was brought up to the main WWE roster, Roman was a bad guy who would tell people he was too busy to talk to or fight them and told them to take a “Reigns Cheque” and holy shit, I want that to come back one day.
AJ Styles vs Randy Orton
TL;DR // A flat-earther is gonna fight a man who thinks he’s a snake, because the snake man had a famous dad.
How Did We Get Here? // So AJ Styles is a dude who arrived at WWE after grinding in many smaller venues. Randy Orton was born into the industry, a third generation superstar. They’re upset at each other because they are old (for this business) and they got the problems.
Fun Fact // AJ Styles legitimately believes the earth is flat, despite having been a champion in Japan, as well as having matches on most of the world’s continents.
Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin
TL;DR // An old man is upset at a young man who stole his job once.
How Did We Get Here? // So Kurt Angle was an Olympic gold medalist. And a fire chief in Sharknado 2. Between those two points in time, he was one of the greatest pro wrestlers the industry has seen, vibrating between sublimely ridiculous and scary dangerous at the drop of a hat. Now he’s 50 and he can’t move so well, so he’s gonna quit. And he’s going to fight the young guy who took his spot as “general manager” several months back to prove a point.
Fun Fact // Everyone is pretty bummed out that Angle’s last match is going to be against Corbin, who… is not a marquee guy. Everyone is expecting some kind of swerve involving John Cena, a man who had his first televised match against Kurt Angle back in the day. It would be a great spot for Cena who hasn’t been advertised for the show, but seems to be in town regardless.
Falls Count Anywhere
Shane McMahon vs. The Miz
TL;DR // Nobody’s dad loved them enough so now someone has to die.
Special Rules // The pinfall or submission doesn’t have to happen in the ring. It can happen anywhere. Probably so Shane can jump off of something stupid ridiculous and die for his father’s love.
How Did We Get Here? // A few months ago, The Miz was fighting in Saudi Arabia for a “World Cup” because Saudi Arabia wanted a world cup. Anyway, he was injured and Shane substituted himself into the final match to win the cup. They then teamed up to be a world’s best tag team after The Miz talked about how his own dad didn’t say he was proud of him when he main evented WrestleMania against John Cena as the WWE Champion and won and talked about how Shane could probably relate because Shane’s dad is Vince McMahon, human monster. They won a tag team belt, lost it, and then Shane beat the hell out of The Miz and The Miz’ dad.
Fun Fact // Vince McMahon didn’t meet his dad until he was 12. Which explains… so much about (gestures wildly at all of WWE) this.
No Hold’s Barred Match w/ Triple H’s Career On The Line
Triple H vs. Batista
TL;DR // Two bottoms really want to be tops and are confused about how to make their thing work and so they’re just gonna fight about it, I guess.
Special Rules // No moves are off limits, but the pinfall or submission still need to happen in the ring. Oh, and if Triple H loses, he will be forced to retire from the ring.
How Did We Get Here? // Dave Bautista used to be a huge star in the WWE. Then he went out, made it pretty big, and came back for a little bit and left while waving like the queen.
Now he’s back, and he wants to fight Triple H, because they were pals until Batista won the Royal Rumble while Triple H was a Champion… which meant he could choose who wanted to fight at that year’s WrestleMania. This is meant to be a thematic end to someone’s wrestling career.
Fun Fact // Triple H tore his pectoral muscles in November during a tag match with Shawn Michaels against The Undertaker and Kane and probably should be doing this in real life terms. But then again, during Batista’s last short stint, he sure did get winded quick so this might be a short one, folks.
Fatal Four-Way for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
The Boss-n-Hug Connection (Sasha Banks & Bayley) (c) vs. The IIconics vs. Beth Phoenix and Natalya vs. Tamina Snuka and Nia Jax
TL;DR // Snoop Dogg’s cousin and a lady who can hug people to dust are gonna fight some hilarious Australians and four other strong ladies.
Special Rules // Two people are in the match at all times, anyone can tag in or out. Unless they do the thing where four people are in at all times. Sometimes they do that. Wrestling. Who needs continuity!
How Did We Get Here? // After years and years of pushing, the women’s division finally got tag belts (again) and they were won by two of the greatest wrestlers they have. The IIconics have been chasing them ever since. Beth Pheonix and Natalya used to wrestle back in the days when female wrestlers scrimped for every drop of TV time they could nab, including sexually exploitative bra and panty matches, and have come back to the division that they fought for. Also, Tamina and Nia are there to maybe injure someone for real because they are sloppy, but threatening.
Fun Fact // Sasha Banks really is Snoop Dogg’s cousin and Bayley can really hug you into dust.
Fatal Four-Way for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship
The Usos (c) vs. Ricochet and Aleister Black vs. Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura
TL;DR // The Usos were nice human beings and so they’re gonna have to defend their belts against a physical manifestation of your teenage goth phase, and a bunch of people who “aren’t from here”.
Special Rules // Same as the women’s tag fatal four-way.
How Did We Get Here? // Well, not much happened. The Usos got on someone’s wrong side and… ta-da. A match. With three tag teams that are actually singles wrestlers that the company still doesn’t know what to do with.
Fun Fact // Everyone in this match is phenomenal and could steal the show… if they’re given the time. At a guess though, this is on the card to as a cool down between marquee matches.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Demon King Finn Bálor
TL;DR // A man in a headband has a good hype man and a cool belt, so a small Irish dude is gonna get himself possessed by a demon so he can kiss them all, hopefully.
How Did We Get Here? // Bobby Lashley has been throwing dudes around. Finn Bálor has been a friend to all, and never loses a match when he dresses up like a demon. So I mean…
Fun Fact // Both of these dudes have big dicks. Which is a thing I just typed. Think I’m lying? Google it.
Dinner time pic.twitter.com/r37l4fViBV
— Finn Bálor forEVERYone (@FinnBalor) October 15, 2018
WWE United States Championship Match
Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rey Mysterio
TL;DR // A giant is going to murder a small jumpy dude, if the jumpy dude isn’t already broke real bad.
How Did We Get Here? // A very entertaining wrestler named R. Truth won the United States title, and decided to defend it just like his “childhood hero” John Cena would – with open challenges. He lost it to Samoa Joe, who is a murder machine. Rey Mysterio is going to challenge him… maybe. He landed on his ankle real bad on Monday Night Raw (legitimately) and it might not happen this way.
Fun Fact // R. Truth is much older than John Cena.
WWE Championship Match
Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Kofi Kingston
TL;DR // A vegan is gonna fight a pancake man.
How Did We Get Here? // This right here? Is the best story the WWE has told in years. And it happened by accident. Kofi Kingston has been working for the company for 11 years at this point, and has killed it at every turn. So when a planned angle couldn’t go off due to another wrestler’s injury, Kofi stepped in, and stole the show for roughly two whole months. Now, after jumping through many hoops, and with his allies (and many others) implying that people like him don’t get opportunities because Vince McMahon doesn’t give them to black people (he doesn’t), he has this match on the biggest stage in the business.
His opponent? A man Vince and the WWE machine put through the paces many years ago, in a similar situation – Daniel Bryan. Having risen to the top through hard work, Bryan’s character has now turned into a brilliant hypocrite that wants to keep what is his. Also, he had his own vegan friendly championship belt made, and HOLY WOW, it is a brilliant piece of dickery.
Fun Fact // Kofi would be the second black man to win the WWE Championship, should he win this match, after The Rock, who is half black and half samoan. And the WWE definitely never billed The Rock as black. Think about that for a bit. #PutTheWoodOnKofi.
WWE Universal Championship Match
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins
TL;DR // Brock Lesnar is a garbage human who only shows up on big shows, and Seth deserves the belt. There. I said it.
How Did We Get Here? // Seth Rollins won the Men’s Royal Rumble and so he won a shot at a championship of his choosing at Wrestlemania. That’s… that’s really it. Brock doesn’t show up on TV, so it’s just been empty promos from a phenomenal wrestler. But the title really deserves better.
Fun Fact // If you search long enough, you can find a video of Brock stomping a nest of baby birds to death on the internet, because he really is a garbage human.
Winner Takes All Triple Threat for the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championships
Becky Lynch vs. Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair (c)
TL;DR // A Sandy Hook truther thinks she’s tough shit, but Becky Lynch is gonna murder her good and also Charlotte Flair is there.
Special Rules // Whoever wins this match, wins both of the women’s titles.
How Did We Get Here? // It is a bit of a mess, really. Rhonda Rousey was big in the UFC until she wasn’t, because she actually isn’t good at UFC, and then lost twice and quit forever. Becky has been amazing, building herself into a hero in the style of Stone Cold Steve Austin. The company tried their hardest to screw up that natural connection with the audience by over complicating this feud and adding Charlotte Flair to the match. But despite WWE’s best efforts, these three women are headlining WrestleMania, and it is going to be stunning.
Fun Fact // Rhonda Rousey sure does have opinions about Sandy Hook and is very transphobic. Her mom also used to apply an armbar on her to wake her up in the morning, which… doesn’t excuse anything, but also explains a lot.
And there it is – the whole show… or at least what has been announced. It will be a gauntlet, so if you’re at a friend’s house watching, I hope you have sufficient supplies, and if you’re trying to understand your social media feed… well, I hope this all helped.
Brandon Schatz and Danica LeBlanc are the owners of Variant Edition Comics + Culture located in Edmonton, Alberta. They specialize in matching people with the comics and books they never knew they wanted. In their spare time, they write articles and produce podcasts at Submetropolitan.com