For over two decades, the Deadman, The Undertaker, has been a staple of World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) biggest annual event, WrestleMania.
He racked up an impressive 21-match winning streak and reigned undefeated until Brock Lesnar shockingly ended The Streak at WMXXX in 2014.
Taker bounced back to beat the Eater of Souls, Bray Wyatt, last year. In all, he has defeated 18 different wrestlers (having bested Triple H three times, and Shawn Michaels and Kane twice each) at WrestleMania.
This year, the stakes go beyond rebuilding The Streak. At WrestleMania 32, which will be broadcast live on the WWE Network on April 4, he’s up against the resilient, risk-taking Shane McMahon, son of WWE chairman Vince McMahon, in what can pretty much be described as The Undertaker’s element: a Hell in a Cell match.
The unforgiving cell has seen many foes crushed and broken. But Shane is fighting for more than bragging rights or a title: if he wins, Vince has promised him control of Raw, WWE’s flagship show.
And if he loses, well, he has to turn over some “incriminating” evidence he has on his dad, and be disowned.
But there’s more: on the March 21 Raw, Vince warned that if Taker fails to put his wayward son down for the count, this WrestleMania will be the Deadman’s last!
With so much at stake, expect both men to earn chants of “You’ve still got it!” during their history-making match. Will a man become a legend? Will a legend become immortal?
Champ or chump: The “other” main event set for the night (well, morning over here) is the World Heavyweight Championship showdown between reigning champ Triple H and the challenger (and former cham-peen), Roman Reigns. The Roman Era came to a crashing end (though without any toga parties, orgies and fiddling) at January’s Royal Rumble when Reigns was eliminated and Triple H lifted the title. Since then, both men have taken turns to beat the stuffing out of each other. But after the dust has settled at WrestleMania, who will be giving thanks, and who will be … the turkey? OK, so that line’s a little out of season, but so is this rivalry, in the Dwaynester’s ’umble hopinion.
Street (un)wise: After a very angry finish to his Triple Threat showdown at WWE Fastlane back in February against Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns, former Shield member Dean Ambrose incurred the wrath of The Beast. He’s been busted up, down, sideways and inside out at the hands of Brock, and is now going up against his nemesis of the moment in a No Holds Barred Street Fight (the “other other” main event). Now, you might think someone left the doors of the Ambrose Asylum wide open, but don’t dismiss Dean’s chances just yet. With hardcore legends on his side (you never know who might show up at WrestleMania) and the Wyatt Family not quite done with Brock, who knows?
Diva divide: The ladies who came over to the main roster from NXT have given the Divas division that extra oomph with their high-impact moves. Three outstanding competitors will collide in the championship match. It’ll be reigning queen Charlotte versus her one-time BFF Becky Lynch the Irish Lass Kicker versus The Boss, Sasha Banks. Becky and Sasha have fought twice to determine the No. 1 contender, but both matches ended with no clear winner. As a result, Charlotte has to face them both in a Triple Threat match. Count on Charlotte’s dad Ric Flair, the Dirtiest Player in the Game, to be a factor at ringside. Trivia: Sasha Banks is rapper Snoop Dogg’s first cousin.
Magnificent seven: Say, the Intercontinental Title match has as many competitors as there are continents (by the old school count). Kevin Owens has to defend his hard-earned belt against Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Sin Cara, Sami Zayn, Zack Ryder and Stardust. And it’s a ladder match! Fight Owens Fight … er, and Climb Owens Climb!
Fed to the machine: The Big Guy, Ryback, rediscovered his mean streak recently and US Champion Kalisto will have to pull out every move in his arsenal to hold on to his title belt. Ryback will probably soak up everything the Lucha Dragon can throw at him like the Absorbing Man (come to think of it, he sorta resembles the Avengers baddy). And considering his (relatively) tiny opponent, Ryback’s battle cry of “Feed me more!” seems so appropriate.
FBFFs: First, there was just Y2J, Chris Jericho. Then like a butt-whupped bully, he opened his heart to the chap who did the whupping, the Phenomenal AJ Styles, and so “Y2AJ” was born. But the tag team didn’t last, not with an ego still as bruised as Y2J’s in the mix. So the two former BFFs will clash … again. Say, didn’t AJ already settle the question of who’s the better man?
Eat your Booty-os: The League of Nations is set to go all cereal killer on the New Day when they clash in a match for the latter team’s Tag Team Championship. The New Day lads really should train hard, eat their Booty-os … and pray. Not all the positivity in the world could save them from a total beatdown a couple of weeks ago on Raw, and we might see a repeat of that in this four-on-three match.
Well, that’s how the WrestleMania 32 card stands for the moment. No doubt, WWE has some aces it’s still keeping close to its chest for the big show (no, the other one). Will the absence of John Cena, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins and the now-retired Daniel Bryan put a dent in this year’s extravaganza?
We have this nagging feeling that WWE TV won’t be quite the same after WrestleMania 32. Got those Shane-O Mac signs ready?
WrestleMania 32 airs on April 4 with a live telecast at 7am and repeats throughout the day on the WWE Network (Astro Ch 820/HD Ch 840). Subscription details via Astro Ch 200.
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