Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The Biggest Shocks in WrestleMania History

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By The Capital Sports Report Staff

WWE is well and truly on the Road to WrestleMania, the biggest wrestling event of the year and without a doubt, the grandest spectacle in live entertainment. This year’s two-day event is one of the most highly anticipated ‘Mania’s in recent memory for a number of reasons. The show will take place across two nights inside Los Angeles’ 72,000-capacity SoFi Stadium, and the event is already the highest-grossing WrestleMania in history.

The 39th installment of Vince McMahon’s greatest-ever creation will be headlined by Roman Reigns. The Tribal Chief is the reigning and defending Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. He has held the Universal title for well over 900 days and he added the WWE title to his collection by defeating Brock Lesnar in the main event of last year’s WrestleMania.

Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns (Photo by the WWE)

He will face off against 2023 Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes who is aiming to become a world champion for the first time in his career. The American Nightmare has a job on his hands though, as the Head of the Table hasn’t been pinned or submitted since December 2019. But many feel that the former AEW star could be the one to end it all at the Showcase of the Immortals.

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The bookies seem to share that sentiment. While in theory, Reigns should be the overwhelming favorite to retain his crown, online bookmakers such as Bovada can’t currently split the pair as the bout looms large on the horizon. If Rhodes does get the job done, it would certainly be a shocker, but would it be as big as these stunning swerves?

Seth Rollins Cashes in Money in the Bank at WrestleMania 31

Whereas in 2023, anticipation for WrestleMania couldn’t be any higher, the same can’t be said of the event that took place in 2015. That year, Roman Reigns won the Royal Rumble match much to the disdain of wrestling fans the world over. In fact, the overwhelming boos he received when he won the match in Philadelphia were more visceral than anyone could have ever imagined.

The fans’ sheer rejection of Reigns represented a massive problem for WWE, as Brock Lesnar – the reigning and defending WWE World Heavyweight Champion – was set to leave the company after WrestleMania with his contract expiring. That meant that Reigns was going to be crowned as champion no matter what, or so we thought.

In the days leading up to the Levi’s Stadium showdown, it was announced on ESPN’s Sports Center that the Beast Incarnate had renewed his contract with the world’s biggest wrestling organization, and that threw a spanner in the works for Reigns’ coronation. But WWE still had the problem that Lesnar was a part-time star, and would only be defending his title a handful of times every year. Luckily, WWE had an ace in the hole in the form of Reigns’ former Shield stablemate, Seth Rollins.

The Architect had destroyed the Shield by taking a steel chair to his brethren some nine months prior, and he would follow up that heel turn by winning the Money in the Bank briefcase, guaranteeing him a championship match at a time and date of his choosing. But no one could have ever anticipated where and when Rollins would decide to stage the heist of the century.

Following a hard-hitting main event in which both Lesnar and Reigns were busted wide open, both men lay prone in the ring with neither of them moving. Seth Rollins’ music would hit and he charged to the ring, cashing in his title opportunity and turning the match into a triple threat. He would then hit Reigns with the Curb Stomp, secure the pinfall victory, and disappear into the San Francisco evening with the title in tow.

Brock Lesnar Snaps the Streak

For over two decades, WrestleMania had one constant, The Undertaker’s legendary winning streak. Heading into WrestleMania 30, The Deadman’s iconic record stood at a perfect 21-0, and he had defeated a murderer’s row of opponents along the way. Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Batista, Ric Flair, CM Punk, Edge, and Kane had all fallen to the Undertaker on the Grandest Stage of Them All.

Many had expected The Streak to live forever, but nobody told former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar. The Beast Incarnate was coming off of victories over the aforementioned Triple H and CM Punk, as well as The Big Show, and he had the Undertaker’s vaunted Streak in his sights. Prior to the bout taking place, Paul Heyman had insisted that Lesnar would be the one in 21-1, and he stated that that proclamation wasn’t a prediction, but a spoiler.

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Much to the disbelief of everyone in attendance, Heyman was proven right. The Undertaker was legitimately concussed just minutes into the slugfest, which caused a slow and at some points, relatively boring match. However, Brock Lesnar would hit the Deadman with a third and final F5, and within three seconds, The Streak was dead.

The fans inside New Orleans’ Super Dome were stunned, and the shocked faces of everyone in attendance are still broadcast on WWE TV today. It will go down as not only the most shocking moment in the history of WrestleMania but the most shocking moment in professional wrestling altogether.

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Anthony Caruso III
Anthony Caruso III
Anthony Caruso III is the Publisher of The Capital Sports Report. He has been in the Journalism field since August 2002. Since that time, Mr. Caruso has covered many marquee events. This includes 13 Heisman Trophy ceremonies, 2 Little World Series events, and one Army-Navy College Football game.
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