Once the WWE blocks out its final card for WrestleMania, which in recent years has taken them up to the 11th hour, one of their final steps before the show goes on the air is deciding the order of all their matches. WWE officials will decide which main attraction will headline WrestleMania and go on last, then figure out which bout will kick things off and then fill in all the blanks in between.
The WWE had virtually no issues determining the main events for recent WrestleManias between 2011-15. Once all the storylines were put in motion and the top matches booked, WWE officials had no question that in those years, the following matches would close the night: John Cena vs. The Miz, John Cena vs. The Rock in back-to-back years, Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista, and Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns. The latter is already being rumored as the main event for WrestleMania 34 next year.
You could make an argument in hindsight that the Undertaker’s matches during those years made a case to main event, or even CM Punk in 2012, but WWE officials had their minds made up in advance. In the case of 2008-10, last year’s WrestleMania, and now this year’s WrestleMania, the same could not be said.
Leading up to WrestleMania 32, injuries threw the WWE’s plans for many of their top matches for a loop. John Cena, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, and Sting were all unable to wrestle matches, so much of the card that unfolded was a backup plan. Once it was set in place, WWE officials debated between Roman Reigns vs. Triple H and Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon as the main event for the biggest WrestleMania ever.
Of course, the company eventually went with Reigns and Triple H as the two battled over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. With this year’s WrestleMania less than a week away, WWE officials are still deciding between three matches as to who will go on last.
Both WWE title matches are under consideration, with Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship and Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. There is also some discussion about ending with the Undertaker against Roman Reigns, especially because rumors continue to run rampant that this could not only be the Deadman’s last WrestleMania but his final match in the WWE altogether.
As the WWE tries to decide its WrestleMania main event, they seem to have come to an agreement on which match will open the main card. As we know, the WWE will be producing a two-hour kickoff show that will likely feature three matches if last year is any indication. So the first match of the night won’t necessarily carry the same prestige as the main card opener, which will go on around 7 p.m. eastern.
According to a recent report, the opening bout of the main card of WrestleMania 33 this coming Sunday will be the WWE Intercontinental Championship match between Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin. If that proves to be true, it’ll mark the third straight year that the WWE books the IC title match as the opening match for a WrestleMania.
However, for the last two years, the belt was defended in a ladder match with multiple participants. The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal will be the only multiple-person, all-for-one-style match at this year’s WrestleMania, with no ladder match on the books. The Intercontinental Championship wasn’t even a part of WrestleMania 30, and it took place on the pre-show between The Miz and Wade Barrett the year before.
As we noted over the weekend, Corbin is expected to receive a significant push in 2017, with main events definitely in his sights later this year. That push will likely involve him winning this Sunday, though it won’t completely take shape until he drops the title later on. WWE officials are booking him strong through his first two WrestleManias, with a Battle Royal victory in his debut last year and then this year’s proposed IC title victory.
[Featured Image by WWE]