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This Sunday evening, fans of pretend punching will gather in living rooms across the country to shove pizza rolls down their throats and watch their stories. It is an international sensation similar to that of the Super Bowl, only way less popular and way more half-naked. They call it WrestleMania.
If you’re friends or partners with someone who enjoys the heart tingles that come with suspending your disbelief for the art of faux-fisticuffs, you have probably gotten a Facebook invite to something called “BOB’S WRESTLEMANIA PARTY”, “WWE WRESTLING HOEDOWN”, or even “KYLE & PAUL PRESENT NACHOMANIA 32”. I can sense the uncertainty. You really like fatty foods and you haven’t seen a few of your friends in a while, but wrestling? Really? It was cool when Stone Cold was on Celebrity Deathmatch, but you’re a grown-up now.
However, there’s still those mozzarella sticks. You could just buy the frozen ones and eat them alone, but food tastes better when you’re not scrolling through Facebook alone. Work sucks; you could use something to look forward to. What else are you going to do on Sunday – watch Vinyl? Your friends will just assume you’re staying home to masturbate if you tell them that.
I just saw you click Going. Don’t act like you didn’t. I’m really proud of you. It is extremely hard to go out in public and wear something besides sweatpants on a Sunday (though it’s a wrestling party – you wouldn’t be the only one wearing sweatpants). You probably aren’t too concerned with what actually happens on your buddy’s big screen, but Instagram is going to get really boring after a while. Don’t be a jerk and bug your friends about who is “that guy with the tattoo” (all of them). Let your pal Tom—we’re friends, by the way—give you just enough info to get you through to the car ride home, but not any more than you would ever want to know. Wrestling fans know the full storylines and we hate at least fifty percent of wrestling.
(NOTE: There are about six million matches on WrestleMania this year. To quote your worst co-worker, “Ain’t nobody got time for that”. If there’s something happening on WrestleMania and you can’t find it below, assume that it will be over in ninety seconds.)
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE
Triple H vs Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns is everything that you probably think a pro wrestler should be. Luxurious hair, big ol’ muscles, and exotic as hell.
That’s racist, right? “Exotic”. I’m sorry. Sometimes I get worked up in my crotch and it makes me accidentally say things.
Also, Reigns looks kind of mean when he’s mad and he wears a cool bulletproof vest when he wrestles. This sounds PERFECT, right?
Wrestling fans become overwhelmed and confused by their hormones when they see him. They turn on the television set to watch their favorite heroes go to battle with their most hated villains, but all of a sudden – BAM! They want to make out with this hot dude. Sure, they could take care of it themselves at home. But these poor souls sitting in the stands at the arenas? You can’t just pound on your genitals in your seat at the Kalamazoo Sports-Dome. They have to get this energy out somehow.
So, they boo poor Roman. They boo him a lot. They boo him so much that you would think they forgot to shove their anger up through the waistband of their jeans like the rest of us. Boos towards their hero/secret lust are the only appropriate reaction that most wrestling fans can think of. It’s like—sure, they’re all super-hot and wouldn’t mind letting him apply his patented spear into their mid-section, On the other hand, they don’t like these unexpected urges to thrust themselves in/on people. They fear what they don’t understand.
So, who can rescue the pro wrestling fan subculture from being weird and hiding out behind their algebra books between classes?
In many ways, Triple H is the Kevin Smith of professional wrestling. They both milk cash cows from the corpse of whatever boring people think “indie” is in their respective arts—Kevin Smith with the View Askewniverse films, Triple H with his NXT wrestling league. Triple and Kevin both love denim (H likes it tight; Smith likes it loose). Most importantly though, they are the least sexy people involved in their chosen entertainment field.
Look at Triple H. He is literally the least sexy person alive. It’s like someone shot him with a freeze ray gun while he was coming out head-first during labor and he got stuck that way. Yeah, he’s got solid pecs and a great set of leather jackets but when you try too hard to become an Indo-European sex god, it’s not alluring whatsoever.
Here’s the big whopper though. He’s into MOTORHEAD. Like, really into Motorhead. When he walks to the ring, they play a personalized Motorhead song. When he clanks his weights, he’s blasting Motorhead. The dude even spoke at Lemmy’s funeral. Nothing against them, but no one has ever felt sexual while listening to Motorhead.
Don’t believe me?
Do me a favor. Turn on “Overkill” and do whatever it is you do to get in the mood. Let’s see if you can get any blood to flow to your genitals.
Okay, you’re back. Great. Look at that. Nothing happened. Told you so.
Triple H’s middle-aged muscle tummy represents the relief that wrestling fans have been looking for. When he walks on the screen, these strange feelings they’ve been having vanish. They don’t have to be introspective about their sexual identity. They can worry about the $35 nachos they bought because they forgot to eat dinner before coming to watch wrestling.
So, when your friends all start getting squirmy in the crotch after Roman Reigns walks out, just go with it. Soon, a dead man will grumble something about a “game” over the PA systems and Triple H will come to take a sledgehammer to the world’s boners.
HELL IN A CELL STEEL CAGE MATCH
Shane McMahon vs The Undertaker
Let me set the stage. The year is 1990. The students of Bayside High reside under the boredom cloud created by Principal Richard Belding with no end in sight. After months of pulling schemes for the sole purpose of entertaining themselves, a savior reveals himself. Handsome, tall, and just enough into hip-hop to convince you he’s progressive, Principal Belding’s brother Rod is brought on as a substitute teacher. The senior Belding brother warns his teenage charges that they should not be so fast to bow at the feet of his cool sibling, but they don’t listen. Quickly, he steps to the lead of the pack as the coolest faculty member in the region. With promises of white water rafting trips and school-organized heavy petting sessions, the student body recognizes Rod Belding as their new spiritual leader.
Alas, a busty stewardess makes her presence known to the younger Belding—who quickly begs his way out of the junior class trip to go get his “D” wet (that’s his penis, FYI)
In this case, Shane McMahon is WWE’s totally DTF substitute teacher who just wants everyone to be able to listen to The Fat Boys in study hall. However, since it’s pro wrestling, the principal won’t let everyone’s favorite cool dude just strut off to bang a Swedish flight attendant (played by a pay-per-view company he founded in China). Nope – Mr. Belding (creepy WWE owner/Shane’s father Vince McMahon) is going to make his hypothetical Rod fight a seven-foot-tall makeup zombie inside of a giant metal cage. The zombie is kind of a Bayside student, but the only time he comes to school is to feel up Jessie Spano at prom. If he loses this match, Mr. Belding has told the Undertaker that he is banned from hanging with Bayside hotties under the bleachers before graduation.
Your friends who watch this stuff regularly will probably be conflicted because they want Rod Belding to rip up their history exams AND to be able to watch their favorite undead wrestler ruin some young co-ed’s life by getting her pregnant right before graduation.
(There’s also a whole weird subplot involving other McMahon family members and things that are of real life, but I will leave that stuff to the grown-ups who get paid thousands of dollars to decipher pro wrestling weirdness – and the grown-ups who don’t get paid, but do it anyway.)
NO HOLDS BARRED
Brock Lesnar vs Dean Ambrose
The best part of Facebook is when you scroll down and sometimes, your trashy cousin (the one that added you after Christmas last year even though the two of you never really talked, and you’re too lazy to unfollow) posts a video of an itty-bitty dude being really crazy in front of a high school and getting calmly knocked out by some giant person. It’s always the same thing and it’s always so great that you don’t have to turn on the sound to enjoy it.
This is literally exactly that, but people have to pay to watch it.
Brock Lesnar is a for-real former UFC Heavyweight Champion. If he wanted to, he could murder anyone you can think of with his bare hands and digest them with his man-stomach. He’s a three hundred pound man with muscles, muscles, and more muscles. He had to hire an advocate because he is too busy hunting deer with his bare hands to bother opening his mouth to talk.
Dean Ambrose is like a kid-friendly meth addict. They can’t actually let him let him smoke the stuff on TV or let him scar up his skin too bad because of sponsorships and general decency. Nevertheless, USA Network officials have allowed him to get really, really skinny, wear funky jeans when he wrestles, and twitch a LOT. He does so much twitching. It’s not funny. It’s kind of funny at first, but then you really want him to stop.
Despite the fun name, No Holds Barred doesn’t mean that pro wrestling’s most illegal cuddle positions will be allowed in this match. No Holds Barred is simply a funky name for a match where they don’t have rules and everyone hits each other with weapons.
The New Day vs The League of Nations
Rarely in wrestling does something start racist and eventually become comfortable to watch. Native American little person Little Beaver didn’t eventually become Carl The Accountant. The lawnmower-riding Mexicools were not able to get bachelor’s degrees and evolve into small business owners with healthy family lives. The devious Mr. Fuji was not able to convert his love of salt-throwing into a fun career as a wedding planner who liked people of all ethnic backgrounds.
The New Day is the exception to this rule. After forming in early-2015 as what some dubbed “Tyler Perry Presents: Madea Goes Wrestling”, the team of Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods were able to evolve their characters into this amalgamation of appropriation of most aspects of online geek culture. Most notably, The New Day has completely jacked the “brony” (adult fans of My Little Pony) aesthetic, pasting unicorns on any object they can sell on WWE’s website for $20.00.
The League of Nations are like what would happen if they had four characters on Game of Thrones that they forgot to write lines for, for an entire season. Then, when Jon Snow, Peter Dinklage, and the naked people all tear muscles and have to go home for a while, they rush and make the forgotten characters into the new nudie gals and that Mountain guy. Since it’s pro wrestling, they had to make everyone an evil version of their ethnic background.
So, when a few European countries and Mexico decide to send representatives to bring down America’s favorite imitation sport, who do we send to stop them?
The brony wrestlers.
If Republicans learn nothing else from WrestleMania, it is that maybe we should stop with this talk of building walls and deporting foreign-born settlers en mass. It’s too drastic and aggressive. America needs to stop leading with its little, throbbing schlong and think for a minute.
Let the bronies deal with immigration reform, okay?
WWE DIVAS TITLE
Charlotte vs Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks
This past summer, WWE launched The Divas’ Revolution, which is kind of like wrestling’s version of Lilith Fair—that big mid-90’s all-female tour where great musicians went from town to town, playing adult alternative jams. Despite the lame music (Ed. Note: Sean Flynn is going to kill you!), it was great for women in music and proved that no one needs dudes to make boring people bob their heads rhythmically.
In this scenario though, Kid Rock murdered Empress of Doggie Sadness Sarah McLachlan, took charge of the troupe, and made the Indigo Girls call each other “skanky” between every song.
This match might be the biggest chance that female performers have ever had in mainstream wrestling to be taken seriously for anything besides fake boobs and hair weaves. That being said, it’s still Snoop Dogg’s real-life niece fighting the forces of steampunk and the Southern Baptist Aryan Church. Even honest efforts towards gender equality in pro wrestling have ridiculous costuming.
And to answer a couple of the questions you might have as this match is happening…
- No, Charlotte isn’t wheeling out the SPAM statue that they give to all of the champions. That’s her father, Ric.
- Despite the name of the championship they are fighting over, not one of these women can sing. That’s the VH1 Divas Championship (currently held by Alicia Keys).
WWE UNITED STATES TITLE
Kalisto vs Ryback
My wife and I welcomed two wonderful, sweet boys (Nolie Boy, age two, and Big Guy, age four) into our home a number of weeks ago. Sometimes, they watch wrestling with me. To really initiate them into the Green Family Empire, I’m going to ask them about this match and transcribe their answer.
- Big Guy: “Okay. Power Rangers! I’m the Green Ranger!”
- Nolie: “Me too!”
- Big Guy: “Power Rangers go ‘hi-yaaaa!’ Like this! (throws karate chop in the air)”
- Nolie: “Yesssss…”
- Big Guy: “Uh-oh! Bad guy.”
- Nolie: “Eww!”
- Big Guy: “I’m gonna get ’em! Hi-ya! (throws karate chop in the air) YAY! They got ’em! Power Raaaaaaangers!”
- Nolie: “Yay! *claps hands*
That’s one hundred percent accurate. Rita Repulsa sent Ryback down to help her conquer Earth and Kalisto the Power Ranger must stop him without using his zord. If Kalisto does not win this match, Angel Grove will collapse under the weight of Ryback’s huge quads and the Juice Bar will be destroyed. Bulk & Skull are going to stand in the background and just be assholes.
Zordon really has his work cut out for him with this one.
WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE LADDER MATCH
The rules of most of these other matches are kind of like, “lay down on the other guy for three seconds and everyone will raise your hand in celebration”. That’s simple. This one is weird.
A ladder match is like if you wanted to screw a lightbulb in, but so did your spouse, your dad, and four of your cousins — and they were going to fight you for it. Here’s a fun character guide, so you don’t get lost.
- KEVIN OWENS: Wears the costume of a man who would cuss at a child for pausing a game of Call of Duty. His initials are a pun on purpose. Don’t give into the temptation of making fat jokes about him; everyone at your party will groan because he has street cred.
- SAMI ZAYN: Pro wrestling’s answer to that embarrassing period in 1997 when we all liked trumpets in our rock ‘n’ roll. Will not let you spell his name with a “y”, no matter what. Is so good at being a pro wrestler that no one minds his stupid hat.
- DOLPH ZIGGLER: A hashtag war with arms and legs. Is the real life person that Amy Schumer’s ambiguous musclehead boyfriend in “Trainwreck” was based off of. Confirmed to have really athletic sex.
- THE MIZ: Whatever TV show you think you recognize him from, that’s probably where he is from. His first name is Michael and sometimes they call him that. More than likely saw Coral’s boobs during a Real World/Road Rules Challenge.
- ZACK RYDER: One of those YouTubers that your niece won’t shut the hell up about. Probably knows what a “Smosh” is. Will not stop with the Vine bull – HANNAH JO STOP TALKING ABOUT PEWDIEPIE WHILE I AM WRITING A WRESTLING THING.
- STARDUST: Started wearing makeup to rebel because no one thinks he’s as good at wrestling as his dad. His dad died and we all got sad. Still wears makeup, but isn’t as good at it anymore.
- SIN CARA: Falls down a lot. Has no face. Probably isn’t Carrot Top under the mask, but no one can really deny it.
AJ Styles vs Chris Jericho
At one point, Chris Jericho was the sexiest dad in WWE. Sure, other middle-aged saggy dudes tried to keep up with his rock ‘n’ roll antics, but no one could measure up to Jericho’s poofy hair. In recent years, Jericho has occasionally left his spot in the wrestling world to appear on Dancing With The Stars and sing for his kinda-metal band Fozzy (because they like Ozzy, you see…).
With Jericho relinquishing his prime divorcée-scoping spot by the jukebox, a new bulge appeared to fill those creepy jeans. International star AJ Styles debuted for WWE in January and brought a new twist to the world of boring sex symbols in pro wrestling with him: mid-life crisis bangs. He knows that he’s nearing 40, but he thinks he can keep it a secret from you by making his hair a little longer up front. It doesn’t work, but the babe in the Bon Jovi halter top isn’t caring one bit.
Jericho peeked in the bar window and noticed Styles spitting game at the wrinkle-glam princess that is WWE. To Jericho, she is his broken shell of a grown woman and no one else can try to take a bite of that apple pie. Jericho bought a brand new used van to show the world that his erections are still happening. Not to be one-upped, Styles actually got a pokey in public for fun. Jericho raised the bar by licking his fingers in the exact manner and speed that he would lick someone’s labia if given the chance. Styles then flashed a Magnum condom and winked at the bartender.
In one fell swoop, AJ Styles knew he had won this fight. His kids were getting a new hot-mom.
Okay, so that’s all garbage. This might actually be a fun little wrestling match. If you pay attention, this could be one of those things that, even if you don’t like it, you can appreciate it. But look at how dumb they look. Those are men who pay taxes and have mortgages who willingly did that to their own hair and faces. AJ Styles and Chris Jericho are adults who will make over one million dollars apiece in 2016 and will spend it on cutting their hair just like that and grooming themselves in the exact same way.
There you go – everything you need to know before WrestleMania 32 if you absolutely don’t care about WrestleMania 32. We have had a lot of fun and we have played a lot of games. Between you and me though, can we talk about one last thing?
No one is making you become a wrestling fan. You don’t even have to acknowledge it beyond Sunday night. But if you do end up at a WrestleMania party, try not to be a jerk about it. We kept our mouths shut when you went nuts about Batman vs Superman. We didn’t whine when you used the Caped Crusader filter on all of your dumb Snapchats. We all knew that the movie would suck, but we let you convince yourself for months.
We know wrestling is fake, you know it’s fake. Let’s just all shut up about it. Be a good friend/relative/partner and don’t judge us when we get excited about our favorite sweaty, bare-chested superhero dude getting his comeuppance on his enemies.
If you do end up somehow liking wrestling, though? Remember that Hulk Hogan won’t make you racist by association. HulkaMania is not contagious.