Happy Friday to you. Do you know what Sunday is? It’s WrestleMania. In fact, it’s WrestleMania XXX. While that may not mean anything to you, it means something to me because wrestling basically is my childhood. If I were to devise a Dewey Decimal System for my own life, it would have headings like “Hulk Hogan Fandom,” “Modeled Fashion Sense After Triple H of D-Generation X,” and “Post Katie-Vick.”
I realize that doesn’t make any sense to most of you, and I’d care about that, but then, I don’t. Because sometimes the universe makes sense, I got my wife into watching this dopey scripted violence with me for a brief bit. That time is clearly winding down, but thanks to purchasing the WWE Network (which, by the way, is the greatest network in the history of television), I have access to WrestleMania this weekend, and we’re having friends over to watch it.
Being the good host that I am, I’ve taken the liberty of preparing a primer for my guests regarding every match on the card. I’ve written this from an unapologetic wrestling nerd’s perspective, and a normal person’s perspective. You know you can’t wait to read this.
Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational
Description: History will be made April 6 when the Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational debuts at The Show of Shows. AJ Lee — the longest reigning Divas Champion of all time — will put her title on the line against 13 Divas.
Normal Person’s Perspective: Vickie Guerrero is a shrill authority figure type who is angry with champion AJ Lee for reasons they’ve chosen to acknowledge after forgetting for several months. Many of the women in this match appear on E! reality show “Total Divas,” which I presume to mean something to someone, although I can’t imagine what, since the only reality show I watch is “Chopped.”
Unapologetic Wrestling Nerd’s Perspective: I am about as pro-equality as it gets in basically every aspect of our culture… except when it comes to my professional wrestling. Women’s matches are generally terrible, which isn’t the fault of the performers, but rather due to their treatment as second class citizens by wrestling bookers. Until this institutional sexism ends, I’m more likely to give a shit about what happens on “Total Divas” than I am about this match.
Who to Cheer For: Old Man Time, and may he smile upon you and allow this match to end quickly, and with a minimum of shrieking.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale
Description: On Sunday, April 6, 30 Superstars will celebrate both the 30th anniversary of WrestleMania and one of the greatest WWE Superstars of all time when they compete in the first-ever Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Normal Person’s Perspective: Hot damn, that’s a shitload of beef in the ring at once! There will be no shortage of shit to look at during this match, but you’ll find yourself wondering why many of the participants are laying around on the top rope during this match. Gazing at that graphic, you have a good sense for who’s important in this match by who’s in front. There’s something inherently satisfying – and it’s hard to place why – about watching someone get thrown over the top rope, so enjoy watching that happen 29 times.
Unapologetic Wrestling Nerd’s Perspective: Good lord, look how far Sandow’s fallen down the card. He won Money in the Bank not a few months ago, and now he’s shunted to the back row. And why is Big E in this match? He’s the Intercontinental Champion, he should defend the belt for chrissakes. Sheamus might be the dullest babyface in the history of dull babyfaces, and that includes “Make a Difference” Fatu.
Who to Cheer For: Dolph Ziggler, 2nd row center. He’ll wiggle his ass in his entrance, and then flop around like a suffocating brook trout at some point in the match due to some move a larger wrestler performed on him.
The Shield VS. Kane & The New Age Outlaws
Description: Bolstered by their newfound unity, The Shield battles Director of Operations Kane & The New Age Outlaws at WrestleMania. Can Kane and the Outlaws restore order for The Authority?
Normal Person’s Perspective: If you’re a fan of shit from 15 years ago or more, Kane and the New Age Outlaws are the bomb diggity, or whatever the fuck tortured 90s reference floats your boat. All 3 had a prominent part at WrestleMania XIV in 1998. If you’re not stupid, on the other hand, The Shield is badass. I mean, LOOK AT THOSE FLAK JACKETS!
Unapologetic Wrestling Nerd’s Perspective: I reiterate: The Shield is badass. Roman Reigns (the imposing Samoan dude in behind the guy with the American flag belt) is in line for a huge push after WrestleMania that will likely see the end of The Shield, but that’s fine. Enjoy this shit while it lasts because it never does.
Who to Cheer For: If you’re a nostalgic idiot, the 1998 superfriends. If you’re right thinking: go for The Shield. These guys are the future of wrestling.
WWE Tag Team Championship Fatal 4-Way Match
Description: The Usos defend their WWE Tag Team Titles in what is sure to be an action-packed Fatal 4-Way Match on the WrestleMania Pre-Show.
Normal Person’s Perspective: This is on the pre-show, you don’t actually have to care about this.
Unapologetic Wrestling Nerd’s Perspective: The Usos remind me of Strike Force, a talented team from the 1980s that put on entertaining matches that I should have cared about, but very much didn’t. They’re champions now, which, good for them, but I think I’m more interested in who Cesaro puts in the giant swing. I’m hoping for El Torito from Los Matadores, at the end of which, he tosses him into the sun like Superman with the big bag of nuclear weapons from Superman IV. Only, y’know, not shitty like that movie.
Who to Cheer For: The Usos, if you can manage to care. Otherwise, it’s the pre-show, so maybe greet your guests, finish your pulled pork, or call your mother. She misses you, you know.
John Cena VS Bray Wyatt
Description: With more than a decade of service in WWE behind him, John Cena is depending on his legacy to prove that all his sacrifices were for the greater good. At WrestleMania, Bray Wyatt looks to wipe out that legacy and turn Cena into a monster.
Normal Person’s Perspective: Hey, John Cena! I’ve heard of him! Why’s he fighting a dude who seems to be from “Duck Dynasty?” He’s not. He’s actually a totally decent wrestler with a weird, sort of cool creepy gimmick. Also, my wife indulged me and let us do a tribute to him while we were shopping for furniture and I found a lantern similar to the one he carries to the ring.
Unapologetic Wrestling Nerd’s Perspective: John Cena is good dude, and I hope he puts Wyatt over here. Bray Wyatt, while not exactly my cup of tea, has been something of a breath of fresh air at the top of the card since he’s not yet another bored-looking bodybuilder like 90% of the other chumps they hire. Here’s hoping the momentum continues and John Cena uses his unassailable popularity to elevate more young talent.
Who to Cheer For: If you’re under the age of 12, Cena. Everyone else: Wyatt.
The Undertaker VS Brock Lesnar
Description: The Undertaker’s WrestleMania Streak will be on the line when he takes on The Beast who’s bested him before, the incomparable Brock Lesnar.
Normal Person’s Perspective: Two more guys you’ve probably heard of. The Undertaker is an institution unto himself, and Brock Lesnar is one of the most gifted physical specimen in the history of the planet. He’s a former collegiate wrestling champion, a former UFC heavyweight champion, and damn near became a Minnesota Vikings linebacker after not having played for a decade…
Unapologetic Wrestling Nerd’s Perspective:… which means he’s going to lose, and lose big to the nearly 50 year-old Undertaker who hasn’t wrestled in exactly a year. This build has been moronic. The Undertaker is 21-0 at WrestleMania, in what has been one of the only compellingly booked long form storylines ever constructed by WWE. Granted, they did it almost entirely by accident, but still. It exists! And here’s Brock, one of the most legitimately intimidating people on the entire roster, and they’ve made him look like a total chump.
Who to Cheer For: It doesn’t matter. Brock’s ending the night looking at the lights.
Daniel Bryan VS Triple H
Description: With the help of the “Yes!” Movement, Daniel Bryan forced Triple H’s hand, and at WrestleMania 30, the irrepressible Beard will square off against The King of Kings in a bout with huge stakes: The victor will be entered into that night’s WWE World Title Match!
Normal Person’s Perspective: If you’ve been reading me for any length of time, my love for Daniel Bryan is well known. As a high school lad, I stole Triple H’s fashion sense and started wearing a leather jacket largely because of him. He’s now the Chief Operating Officer for the WWE (at least in the storyline, possibly in real life, definitely I don’t care one way or the other), and this arc, assuming it’s pulled off correctly, could result in one of the most fun storyline payoffs in recent memory.
Unapologetic Wrestling Nerd’s Perspective: Which means it probably won’t. Daniel Bryan has been an inspiration to my fandom, and since CM Punk straight up bolted from the WWE, the only thing at the top of the card keeping me from tuning out again entirely. If they screw him over again, I’m walking away. I’m bored watching Triple H whip his dick out time and again, and I’ll take up a new hobby. Like bitching about the HIMYM finale, or something more useful, like re-starting smoking again.
Who to Cheer For: Daniel Bryan, unless you also like cheering for the Internal Revenue Service, equipment amortization columns in accounting spreadsheets, and gradual but inevitable tooth decay.
Randy Orton VS Batista VS Triple H or Daniel Bryan
Description: Randy Orton, Batista and the winner of Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H will square off in a Triple Threat Match.
Normal Person’s Perspective: If you think both these guys look like unbelievable douche bags, you’re right. They totally do. Who can choose between a tattooed, tanned, stubble-faced likely date rapist and a slightly different tattooed, tanned, stubble-faced likely date rapist? Thankfully, no one did, and pretty much everyone gave a full-throated meh…. to both these HPV bumps.
Unapologetic Wrestling Nerd’s Perspective: Which is why the Daniel Bryan VS Triple H match was made to include the winner in this match. Fans needed someone to cheer for, which is why Daniel Bryan will be here. If he’s not, well, expect a full scale revolt in New Orleans, or a crowd sitting on its hands in what would become one of the strangest large scale social experiments in history.
Who to Cheer For: After writing that last sentence, in a weird way, I’m hoping for the social experiment. Non-cynical me wants to see Daniel Bryan finally get his big moment.
No matter what happens Sunday, enjoy the day and just be happy you’re watching pro wrestling. If you can lose yourself for an afternoon, or even just a match, that’s better than the alternative. So cheer, boo, and for the love of God, shout YES!
Happy WrestleMania, everyone.