It’s the biggest weekend of the year for the WWE, as a number of events have been going on all week leading up to the big one Sunday night. That’s right, it’s time for WrestleMania.
This year’s “Showcase of the Immortals” will be live from MetLife Stadium, the home of the New York Giants and New York Jets. Now, I’m a huge wrestling fan myself. I don’t care that it’s “scripted” or “predetermined” or whatever other words people love to call it. It’s fun, and there are certainly worse ways to spend my free time.
Anyway, as I started thinking about this year’s WrestleMania card, I thought it might be fun to draw comparisons between those competing in Sunday night’s matches to teams all around the NFL. This could take a while, but I can assure you it won’t be as long as WrestleMania itself... Let’s get on with it.
Disclaimer: In the interest of making sure we have enough teams to go around (and for my sanity), I won’t be covering the matches confirmed for the kickoff show: the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal and the Cruiserweight Championship match.
The Revival vs. Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder (Raw Tag Team Championships)
Revival: Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder are two old school dudes who scoff at flashiness on their way to success. Sounds like the Baltimore Ravens, who just last year were an old school-style, defense-first team that managed to find success.
Hawkins & Ryder: Perennial losers who seem to be on the verge of something special. Cleveland Browns.
Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin
Angle: An all-time great who is on his way out. Just about everyone would love to see him win one last time. Sounds a lot like Drew Brees to me, so… New Orleans Saints.
Corbin: Won the Money in the Bank contract back in 2017, but failed to cash it in successfully. Squandering a guaranteed championship? Sup, Atlanta Falcons?
Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe (United States Championship)
Mysterio: Was one of the most popular performers for a long period of time, and has recently returned looking for more success, albeit in a different role. Sounds like John Elway going from successful player to general manager with the Denver Broncos.
Joe: He’s big, dominant and doesn’t care how he gets to the top. He’ll resort to dirty tactics with no hesitation. Sounds a lot like the Cincinnati Bengals… Except for, you know, the whole “dominant” part.
Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. The IIConics vs. Beth Phoenix & Natalya vs. Nia Jax & Tamina (Women’s Tag Team Championships)
Banks & Bayley: There’s a real connection between these two, and it has led to a lot of success. The Indianapolis Colts know a thing or two about strong connections. Going from Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison/Reggie Wayne to Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton? Are you kidding me?
IIconics: They’re downright grating to listen to on the mic, so you don’t want to like them. But for some reason, you just can’t help it. I know a lot of Bucs fans want to dislike the Tennessee Titans because “Marcus Mariota’s success is Jameis Winston’s failure” … or … something. No idea, really. But as much as you might want to root against Tennessee, it’s kind of hard to.
Phoenix & Natalya: A wildly successful star returning to team with her real-life friend, who has had a nice career of her own. Might not be a long-term thing, and they might not win. But it’ll be fun either way. Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock, anyone? Oakland Raiders.
Jax & Tamina: They don’t really win much and when they do, no one really seems to care one way or the other. Detroit Lions.
The Usos vs. Aleister Black & Richochet vs. Rusev & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. The Bar (SmackDown Tag Team Championships)
Usos: After having success in their old gimmick of wearing face paint and paying homage to their Samoan roots, they were repackaged as a more “street” duo. They’re tough dudes that are extremely fun to watch and cheer for. Regardless of their gimmick, they’ve been winners and have stuck around the title picture. That’s pretty much what the Minnesota Vikings have done as of late, going from Teddy Bridgewater to Case Keenum to Kirk Cousins and remaining competitive all the while.
Black & Ricochet: Despite being new to the main roster, they’re two of the most exciting performers right now. They’ve had a solid run of success as of late, and both seem primed for big things in the future. Los Angeles Rams.
Rusev & Nakamura: Two performers that deserve much better than what they’ve been dealt. Even when they’re stuck with nothing from the creative team, they find ways to be entertaining. Sounds like what Aaron Rodgers goes through with the Green Bay Packers.
Bar: They came together as a team in a segment filmed at a bar. Believe it or not, that’s not why they call themselves “The Bar.” Regardless… You know which team’s fans were probably at that bar? That’s right. Buffalo Bills.
The Miz vs. Shane McMahon
Miz: Whether it’s as a despicable bad guy or a virtuous family man, he’s still the “A-Lister.” He’s Hollywood. I mean, he’s the face of “The Marine.” Who is more Hollywood than the Los Angeles Chargers? (I don’t know if they’re actually “Hollywood” personality-wise, but hey, the cities are only about an hour apart).
Shane-O-Mac: Calls himself the “Best in the World” even though he loses all the time. Kind of like calling yourself “America’s Team” when most of the country doesn’t like you. Dallas Cowboys.
Bobby Lashley vs. Finn Balor (Intercontinental Championship)
Lashley: Should be a big deal, but just isn’t for some reason. He’s just kind of there. Like the Arizona Cardinals, who apparently no one considers as a rival. They just exist and are good at random times.
Balor: Exceptionally talented, but misused by backstage decision-makers. This one hits close to home, considering we all know of a team with skill that has gone to waste due to poor management (and coaching…). Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton
Styles: Burst onto the (WWE) scene just a few years ago, but quickly won championships and has been consistently near the top since. He always delivers, even when he’s not in the championship picture. Seattle Seahawks.
Orton: A decorated performer with a long list of accomplishments in his career, but generally boring as of late aside from his one big move (the RKO). If only the NFL had a team with recent Super Bowl wins that has devolved into an afterthought with one exciting player… Oh, yeah. New York Giants.
Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns
McIntyre: Big imposing bully with all the tools to be successful. Poised to make it to the top but hasn’t quite broken through yet. Sounds like the Kansas City Chiefs.
Reigns: “The Big Dog” has been pushed as the new face of the company for years now, and it’s not hard to see why. He has the look and talent for it. You know who else has the look and talent to be front and center for an organization? Jimmy Garoppolo. Not only is there that, but Reigns also has a long history of winning. So, yeah. San Francisco 49ers.
Triple H vs. Batista
H: Well-known and highly-decorated, but hasn’t won at WrestleMania in a while. Whenever he’s been close to the top lately, he’s lost. New York Jets.
Batista: Hasn’t been relevant – in the WWE at least – since 2014. All of his in-ring success came in the pretty distant past. Speaking of success coming in the distant past… Miami Dolphins.
Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins (Universal Championship)
Lesnar: Wins all the time. EVERYONE is sick of him. New England Patriots.
Rollins: He’s a huge fan of the Chicago Bears, so it would be kind of unfair to give him any other comparison. Plus, his curb stomp finisher is a deadly weapon. So is Khalil Mack.
Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston (WWE Championship)
Bryan: Went from underdog fan favorite to ruthless bad guy who looks down on everyone else from the top. Having never won a Super Bowl until 2018, the Philadelphia Eagles were underdogs for a while. But there’s something uneasy about a team from Philly being a fan favorite. Easier to see as the “bad guys,” surely.
Kingston: Despite his talent and insane athleticism, he has never had a one-on-one WWE Championship match in his career. Until now. A team that’s never been to a Super Bowl, but has the talent and outside potential to get there some time soon? Houston Texans.
Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch (Winner-Take-All: Raw and SmackDown Women’s Championships)
Rousey: Was fun at first, but quickly became easier to boo than cheer. Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.
Flair: Always at the top and not very likable. Pittsburgh Steelers.
Lynch: Outspoken fan favorite who challenges and verbally attacks pretty much anyone around her. A Jalen Ramsey, of sorts... Plus, her recent attempt to get to the top hasn’t gone without a hitch. Jacksonville Jaguars.
There you have it, folks.
For those interested, the WrestleMania 35 Kickoff Show begins at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 7. It will air on the WWE Network, YouTube and the WWE’s various social media channels. Plus, the second hour will air live on the USA network. The main show starts at 7 p.m., and can be streamed through the WWE Network. New subscribers get the first month free.