WrestleMania 33 is finally here. Over weeks and months of action on Monday Night Raw, SmackDown Live, 205 Live and a variety of pay-per-views, we’ve reached the pinnacle of the year in the world of professional wrestling.
For those casual viewers who need to get caught up ahead of diving back into the WWE ahead of WrestleMania, or those just seeking a refresher because of the sheer volume of programming it took to get here, we have everything you need to know leading into some of the biggest matches on the card. We’ll be dropping them throughout the week, and we’re kicking things off with one of the most intriguing nontitle matches on the card — The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns.
Unlike the majority of the matches on the WrestleMania card, there really wasn’t much of a build. We can trace the abrupt trigger point of this conflict back to this year’s Royal Rumble in January, when Reigns, the final entrant at No. 30, swaggered down to the ring amid a few cheers but mostly fighting-mad howls from the Alamodome crowd. Short story short: After nearly being eliminated himself, Reigns tossed The Undertaker over the top rope and … voila, a beef was born. Stunned and lying on the mat outside the ring, in his usual deliberate, diabolical way, The Deadman sat up and glared into Reigns’ eyes. No words were exchanged, but you could hear the earsplitting sound of “WrestleMania” from a mile away.
The scuttlebutt has surfaced for some time, but the truth is, we really don’t know if this truly will be The Undertaker’s final match. But if it is, somehow, someway, Reigns will kick out of a tombstone or three, land a superman punch and pin his opponent. The two combatants will stare each other down after the match with Reigns then walking over for a long embrace with The Undertaker, who began his career with 21 straight WrestleMania wins. It will be his final moment. More than 25 years of the trench coat-wearing, evil-eyed immortal saying goodbye. Reigns, the victor, will leave the stadium first in deference to his legendary opponent. The Undertaker will eyeball the adoring crowd as they chant passionately one last time for the person who made mortality en vogue.
But if it’s not the Taker’s last call, expect the third wheel is this conflict, Braun Strowman, to make an appearance. At this point, it’s hard to say one way or the other how this beast will affect the outcome, given that he’s been focused solely on building the Strowman brand by beating on Reigns, but we can relay this message with confidence: Set aside any belief that a major swerve is in play. Reigns, win or lose against The Undertaker, will continue to prosper in the gray area between face and heel, even if the majority of fans hate that idea.
Drink it in, man
For the Undertaker, 51, perhaps it’s pina coladas, sunset strolls and sandy beaches. Maybe even an appearance or two as an aging, past-his-prime star amid the cavalcade of 29 other men in a Royal Rumble someday. But certainly, we will still be seeing him sparingly, if at all. For Reigns, it’ll be the next major push into making his self-proclaimed “The Guy” moniker a reality. His polarizing presence needs little explanation; from a cynical standpoint, it’s going to be awfully hard to justify Reigns as the around-the-clock focal point of high-profile shows when he’s a flawed hero and the central figure of so much internet disdain, but his presence alone garners attention. Lots of it. And that’s the bottom line. Everything else is secondary.