The WWE’s Road to WrestleMania is well underway, and the largest wrestling promotion on the planet is gearing up for its biggest show of the year. This year, the event will take place at Inglewood’s 70,000-capacity SoFi Stadium, and excitement has already reached a fever pitch.
Over the last year, the story of Roman Reigns and his Bloodline faction has dominated the wrestling world. Many believed that Sami Zayn – who was integrated into the group throughout the course of its run at the top of the WWE – would end the Tribal Chief’s 900+-day reign as champion.
However, those dreams came crashing down on February 8th at the Elimination Chamber in Zayn’s hometown of Montreal. Reigns would vanquish the beloved underdog much to the dismay of those in attendance, with WWE refusing to deviate from its WrestleMania plans.
This Year’s Main Event
Those plans are, of course, the aforementioned Reigns – the reign and defending Undisputed WWE Universal Champion – defending his crowns against Cody Rhodes. The American Nightmare returned to WWE at last year’s Show of Shows and immediately gave the company their first five-star match in over a decade when he defeated Seth Rollins inside Hell in a Cell. Whether he can dethrone the Head of the Table remains to be seen, however.
Reigns has held the Universal Championship since Summerslam 2020, and he unified that title with the WWE Championship when he defeated Brock Lesnar in the biggest WrestleMania main event of all time last year. He hasn’t been pinned or submitted since December 2019 and he truly has held the company hostage over the last three years.
Many believe his time may be up, however, and online bookmakers compared by OddsChecker, have made the challenger the favorite for victory. It remains to be seen which direction the Head of Creative Triple H will decide to go in, but excitement is at an all-time high ahead of the two-day event.
In honor of ‘Mania being barely a month away, we decided that now would be the perfect time to take a look back at some of the greatest WrestleMania main events in recent memory.
WrestleMania 31 – Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns (vs Seth Rollins)
2015 was a strange yet wonderful time to be a wrestling fan. Roman Reigns’ ascension to becoming the face of WWE had just begun to a chorus of boos at that year’s Royal Rumble. Brock Lesnar had held onto the WWE World Heavyweight Championship since Summerslam the previous year, however, he had defended the championship just twice in seven months. And with the Beast Incarnate’s contract reportedly set to expire following that year’s Mania, it seemed the Big Dog’s coronation was an inevitability.
The build-up to the main event between these two behemoths was an appalling one. The go-home Raw prior to the Granddaddy of Them All featured Reigns and Lesnar having a tug of far over the title. The less said about that, the better. But in the days prior to WrestleMania, Brock Lesnar announced on ESPN’s Sports Center that he had signed a new contract with Vince McMahon’s company, and that plunged plans surrounding the main event into doubt.
Once the match got underway, despite the new contract, the verdict was that Reigns would walk away as the champion. He would be battered from pillar to post by Lesnar throughout a thrilling main event however, he refused to give up. He kicked out of three F5s delivered to him by the champ, something that even The Undertaker couldn’t do the year prior when Lesnar snapped The Streak.
As the match progressed, the challenger would bust the champion wide open when he bounced his head off the ring post. Then, he would hit a flurry of Superman Punches and Spears before hooking the leg for the cover. With the fans in attendance thinking that this was it, Lesnar somehow kicked out at two and nine-tenths and the match continued. He would then hit a fourth F5 on the challenger, and with the pair laying prone in the ring, Seth Rollins’ music hit.
The Architect of the Shield was the reigning Money in the Bank contract holder. He would cash in his contract in the main event of WrestleMania for the first time in history, changing the match into a triple threat. He would proceed to Curb Stomp Reigns’ head into the matter before getting the three count and escaping out of Levi’s Stadium as the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion with Michael Cole’s “heist of the century” words ringing in our ears.
WrestleMania 28 – The Rock vs John Cena
If the build-up to WrestleMania 31’s main event was a disaster, then the build-up to ‘Mania three years prior was anything but. The previous year, The Rock returned to WWE after seven years away from the company, announcing he was the host of WrestleMania 27 and immediately calling out John Cena in a dream match for the ages. He would then cost the Leader of the Cenation the WWE Championship in that year’s main event, sewing seeds for the pair to face off in a year’s time at WrestleMania 28.
Throughout the course of the year, the build-up was off the chain. The Great One would show up on numerous occasions, even teaming with Cena against The Miz and R Truth at Survivor Series in 2011.
As the big day approached, the pair would go back and forth on numerous episodes of Monday Night Raw, with many feeling that Cena came out on top in the verbal jousting. He famously left The Brahama Bull reeling when he said he doesn’t need to write the lines for his promo on his wrist, something The Rock had done the week prior.
As we approached fight night, anticipation couldn’t have been higher. And both Rock and Cena were assisted by their undercard, with CM Punk vs Chris Jericho being a certified banger, as was the End of an Era Hell in a Cell match between The Undertaker and Triple H. The big fight feel only increased as Machine Gun Kelly and Flo Rida sang John Cena and The Rock to the ring respectively.
Once the match got underway, it was clear that The Rock – who was fighting in his hometown of Miami, Florida – hadn’t missed a step. In the end, it looked as if Cena was cruising to victory, however, the hometown hero would hit a Rock Bottom out of nowhere to secure the victory and the bragging rights.
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