- WrestleMania 39 will take place at So-Fi Stadium in Los Angeles, California. It is the biggest show of the wrestling calendar.
- The stadium is home of two NFL teams - the LA Rams and the LA Chargers.
- The event has gone with a Hollywood theme, with parody movie trailers featuring wrestlers forming the bulk of the advertising.
- As LA will be the centre of the wrestling world for the weekend, there are also a bunch of other companies in town. This includes the WrestleCon convention, and shows from Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
- WWE also has supplementary shows, starting with the 2023 Hall of Fame ceremony on Friday night, headlined by Rey Mysterio, before NXT: Stand and Deliver takes place on Saturday afternoon, featuring some of the company's young stars.
- This is the first WrestleMania not being overseen by Vince McMahon, the creator of the event. Though he is back with company following a short “retirement”, the TV product is now being run by his son-in-law, and former wrestler, Triple H.
Here is a breakdown of every announced match, and which night each will take place on. If you have any questions after reading, please send them over to me on Twitter - @TheGutteridge.
Night One - Saturday 1st April
- This match will open night one (save for any pre-show matches that get shown on YouTube).
- Austin Theory (left) won the United States Championship last November. The title is the second most important male championship on Raw (one of WWE's two weekly TV shows, alongside SmackDown), behind the WWE Title.
- Theory is the current golden boy of the WWE - a 25 year-old prodigy who seemingly has all the ingredients to be a megastar for the company. He lives up to his billing in every way, as a brass and cocky bad guy who loves taking selfies with his beaten opponents.
- John Cena (right) is . . . well he’s John Cena, innit?
- A WWE legend turned actor, and star of The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker and Bumblebee, Cena has made select appearances throughout his rise in Hollywood, although with diminishing returns each year - he had to wrestle on the last SmackDown of the year in 2022 to not break his streak of wrestling a match for the WWE every year since 2002.
- Theory made his challenge to Cena upon the latter’s return, with Cena accepting whilst warning Theory that he had made a huge mistake in trying to step up to Cena’s level.
What to expect: The passing of the torch. Though it wasn’t referenced on TV before Theory's challenge, this match had long seemed inevitable, as it was just too perfect. Theory is the young, cocky upstart holding the US title. Cena was once the young, cocky upstart holding the US title. Combine that with how fitting it is for Cena to wrestle on the Hollywood-themed WrestleMania, and with his in-ring career winding down, this feels like an ideal opportunity for the old guard to showcase the new - win, lose or draw.
- Twins Jimmy (far left) and Jey (middle left) currently hold both tag team titles in WWE, defending them as a unified title. They won the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships in July 2021, before also winning the WWE Raw Tag Team Championships in May 2022.
- The brothers haven’t had it easy during their run, constantly having to deal with the mood swings and emotional blackmail of their cousin Roman Reigns, leader of the Bloodline faction that also includes Jimmy and Jey’s younger brother, Solo Sikoa. For now the team are unified, ruling the company with an iron fist, but cracks can appear at any time.
- Sami Zayn (far right), up until very recently, was also a part of the Bloodline faction, having worked his way in despite not being related to the other members. He spent most of 2022 as the group's human shield, but this slowly endeared him to the fans.
- It didn’t sit well with former best friend Kevin Owens (middle right) though, who was hell bent on bringing the Bloodline down. Sami tried to keep both sides happy, but would usually side with the Bloodline when things got tough.
- He drew the line at the Royal Rumble in January however, preventing Reigns from beating a handcuffed Owens with a chair. Instead, Zayn hit Reigns with the chair, casting him out of the Bloodline. Owens didn’t forgive him straight away, but eventually they hugged it out, united by a common goal - ending the reign of the Usos, and bringing the Bloodline down at the same time.
What to expect: Emotionality, part 1. This is my most anticipated match of the weekend, because the Sami Zayn / Bloodline saga has been one of the best stories ever told in wrestling. My recap above is just the tip of the iceberg of what has been a true storytelling rollercoaster (here is the complete run down). In an ideal world, it would be Zayn vs. Reigns in the main event for all the gold, but that wasn’t to be. However, this is the second best outcome, seeing the biggest hero in the company reunited with his real life best friend to win tag team gold for the first time. Can. Not. Wait.
- Charlotte Flair (left) has been SmackDown Women’s Champion since December 2022, and is the top female champion on the show.
- She is the daughter of wrestling legend Ric Flair, and is closing in on his record of 16 world titles, currently in her 14th reign. She is presented as the “Queen” of the company, with a holier than thou attitude (though weirdly she is currently positioned as a good guy).
- Rhea Ripley (right) won her opportunity by winning the Women’s Royal Rumble in January.
- She is a part of the Judgement Day faction, who are the archetypal big scary goth kids who bully nerds. She is in an on-screen relationship with fellow member Dominik Mysterio.
- These two have faced each other at WrestleMania before - at the behind-closed-doors WrestleMania 36 in 2020, Royal Rumble winner Flair challenged Rhea for her NXT Women’s Title, beating her in a great match.
What to expect: A different ball game. This match is coming under very different circumstances. In 2020, Flair was the villain, beating the up-and-comer Ripley in her Mania debut. Ripley is a different animal now, having herself turned to the dark side and become the girl your mother warned you about. This match has been given more emphasis than the other Women's title match, so there is a strong possibility this will either open or close the night it appears on.
- Seth Rollins (left) is considered by many to be the master of the modern WWE style. A multi-time champion, he has let the success go to his head, styling himself as a “drip God”, dressing in the most obnoxious clothing you ever did see. He is however currently a good guy, largely because of his in-ring skill and choice of opponent.
- Logan Paul (right) is a YouTube star, with a massive following around the world. He’s the guy behind all those Prime drinks that went mad a few months ago. A massive wrestling fan, he has signed a part-time deal with WWE, which has already seen him wrestle at WrestleMania last year and get a WWE title match back in November.
- After years of WWE trying to position him as a good guy, they have finally realised that Logan Paul is a natural villain, and had him go on tirades about how he isn’t taken seriously despite his surprise skill in the ring (which is true). This mirrors his brother Jake Paul’s attempts to be taken seriously in boxing.
- Paul has decided to prove himself by attacking arguably the best wrestler in the company in Rollins, costing him several matches and attacking him from behind.
What to expect: The match no one wants to be good, but will be. It hurts me to my core to admit it, because the guy seems like a 5-star asshole, but Logan Paul is annoyingly good at wrestling. He has taken to the in-ring side of things better than anyone expected, and now he has finally been cast as the natural bad guy that he is, everything is falling into place. This will be a big test, but there is no one more capable of carrying someone to a great match than Rollins.
- Rey Mysterio (left) is arguably the most famous luchador wrestler in history. He has been a mainstay on American wrestling television since the early 1990s, and is held in such high regard that he is being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on Friday night.
- Helped by starting his career at the age of 13, Rey has now been around long enough for his son Dominik (right) to become a wrestler in his own right. Brought in under his dad’s wing, in 2021 the pair became the first father and son team in history to win tag team titles.
- However, after losing the titles, the pair found themselves feuding with Judgement Day, and Dominik found himself being seduced by Rhea Ripley. Eventually, Dom caved, turning on his dad and joining the bad guys.
- Ever since, Dom has started accusing his Dad of abandoning him throughout his childhood so he could wrestle all around the world, making spoiled brat claims like Rey buying him a BMW instead of a Mercedes for his birthday. He kept trying to goad his dad into a match, but Rey refused to fight his son.
- The tipping point came the week before WrestleMania, when Dom arguing with his mother and sister at ringside became too much for Rey to handle, punching his son and reluctantly accepting his challenge.
What to expect: A retirement. At time of writing, this hasn’t been confirmed, but can you think of a better retirement for a wrestler than having a match with his own son, the night after being inducted into the Hall of Fame, on the biggest stage in the sport? Win or lose, I think Rey is wrapping up his amazing career here, giving Dominik the momentum he needs to carry the Mysterio name forward.
- Becky Lynch (left side, nearest the centre) is arguably the biggest star in women’s wrestling in 2023, right up there with Charlotte Flair. The Irishwoman is a multi-time champion, and is currently one half of the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions with teammate Lita (left side, nearest the bottom).
- Lita and Trish Stratus (far left) are touted as the two biggest female legends in WWE, with both being in the WWE Hall of Fame. Both are semi-retired following their prominence in the late 90s and early 2000s, but have cropped up in recent years for odd runs here and there.
- Though they are best friends outside of the ring, there on-screen characters are very different - Trish is the archetypal blonde leading lady, whereas Lita is wrestling’s answer to Avril Lavigne, all punk rock and headbanging.
- Damage CTRL are the evil group headed by Bayley (right side, nearest the centre), an incredibly obnoxious “Karen” type. Dakota Kai (right side, nearest the bottom) and Io Sky (far right) were Women’s Tag Team Champions until a couple of weeks ago when Lita and Lynch beat them.
- That title loss led to this 6-woman tag, capping off a months long war between Bayley and Lynch.
What to expect: A crowd pleaser. Wrestling fans love nothing more than nostalgia, and the one-two combo of Lita and Trish would be enough to get the fans invested anyway. But add into the mix a long feud between two of the best wrestlers in the world in Lynch and Bayley, and the in-ring skills of Kai and (especially) Sky, and this could have an outside shot of stealing the show.
- Alpha Academy is comprised of two amateur wrestling stalwarts in Otis (top right corner, right), a former national Greco-Roman wrestling champion, and Chad Gable (top right corner, left), who competed at the 2012 London Olympic games. In recent weeks, Otis has been lured away from his coach by the allure of the Maximum Male Models, seemingly more keen on photoshoots than working out with Gable.
- Braun Strowman (top left corner, left) and Ricochet (top left corner, right) are a bit of an inside joke team - the giant Strowman has in the past derided “flippy dippy” wrestlers on social media, but now finds himself in a tag team with Ricochet, the best “flippy dippy” wrestler in the company.
- The Street Profits are party animals, with Montez Ford (bottom left corner, right) and Angelo Dawkins (bottom left corner, left) usually pausing on the ramp during their entrance so they can be rained down upon by red solo cups.
- The Viking Raiders are a couple of scary dudes named Erik (bottom right corner, right) and Ivar (bottom right corner, left) who dress and act like full-on vikings, accompanied by weird priestess Valhalla.
- This match is a classic example of a WrestleMania staple - the “get as many people on the show as possible” match.
What to expect: Fun filler. Just because a match lacks depth or story, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. There is a lot of talent in this match, in all shapes and sizes, so hopefully they can pull something out of the bag despite no build-up.
Night Two - Sunday 2nd April
- This match will go on last on night two, closing out the whole weekend.
- Roman Reigns (left) currently holds both “top” titles in the WWE. He won the Universal Title in August 2020, which made him the top male champion on SmackDown. At WrestleMania last year he beat Brock Lesnar in the main event, title vs title match to also claim the WWE title, making him the top champion on WWE’s other show Raw. He has defended both as a unified champion ever since, though there are still two individual belts.
- Roman is the face of the company, and the biggest star in wrestling right now. He rules over the company with his evil faction, the Bloodline, comprised of his three real life cousins - Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso and Solo Sikoa, all of whom belong to the famous Anoa’i wrestling family, which also includes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The group are also accompanied everywhere by their manager, Paul Heyman.
- Cody Rhodes (right) also comes from a famous wrestling family, following in the footsteps of his late father Dusty Rhodes and older brother Dustin “Goldust” Rhodes. He returned to the company at last year’s WrestleMania, having spent several years away in All Elite Wrestling (AEW), a company he founded.
- Cody won the right to face Roman after winning the 2023 Royal Rumble in January, guaranteeing him a title match at WrestleMania.
- The feud has largely revolved around the legacy of Cody’s dad Dusty, with a Cody wanting to win the one title that always eluded his father, whereas Roman has taunted Cody by claiming that his dad never mentioned him when Dusty was training Roman. “I’m the son he always wished he had” etc..
What to expect: Emotionality, part two. The larger Bloodline story has been running for three years now, and Cody is a relatively late addition to it. But the two have found a way to weave a lot of complex emotions into a short amount of time. There is Cody’s quest to play the returning prodigal son and win “the big one”, whilst also pledging to put an end to the Bloodline for good. Roman on the other hand has finally let his mask slip a little, showing that maybe he isn’t as confident in his all-conquering skills as he once was, particularly with cracks starting to show in his own team. This should lead to the most soap-opera match of the weekend.
- Bianca Belair (left) won the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania last year, and is the top female champion on Raw.
- She has been a dominant champion all year, branded as the “-EST of WWE”, because she’s the strongEST, the fastEST and the baddEST.
- She is facing Japanese veteran Asuka (right), who has been booked as a dominant force throughout her now 8 year career in the company.
- Asuka returned from hiatus in January’s Royal Rumble, sporting new face paint that makes her look like an electric clown murderer. She went on to win an Elimination Chamber match for the right to face Belair.
- The feud has been fairly subdued, only really kick-starting two weeks out when Asuka attacked Belair.
What to expect: Overdelivering. I suspect both ladies will be rightly annoyed that their build to the show has been almost an afterthought on most episode’s of Raw, so I think they’ll be going all out to give a dark horse match of the weekend contender. Bianca actually has a track record of going above and beyond on Mania shows, having put on a classic with Sasha Banks two years ago following a similarly middling build.
- Gunther (middle) - who you may also hear referred to by his previous ring name Walter because wrestling fans are stubborn like that - won the Intercontinental Championship in June 2022, and is currently the 5th longest reigning champion since the title's inception in 1979. The title is the second most important male title on SmackDown, behind the Universal Championship.
- The Austrian leads the Imperium faction with Ludwig Kaiser (would you guess he’s German?) and Giovani Vinci (would you guess he’s Italian?). The trio believe in the purity of wrestling, decrying anything fun.
- Scotland’s Drew McIntyre (left) is the first British born WWE champion, and again because subtlety is for cowards, he carries a big sword to the ring like Braveheart.
- He will be facing off against real life best friend, and recent tag team partner, Sheamus (right). The Irishman is himself a former WWE champion, with a resume that has seen him hold every title in the company - except the Intercontinental Title.
- Gunther offered an open challenge for his belt at WrestleMania, which caused friction between McIntyre and Sheamus as they both wanted the match. A series of qualifying matches was not enough to decide a winner, so this became a triple threat match.
What to expect: Big meaty men slapping meat. A Big E wet dream of a match, these lads hit hard on normal days, let alone on the biggest show of the year. Gunther and Sheamus had a match of the year candidate last year, and adding another equally capable body in there has led to this being a strong contender for match of the weekend.
- Edge (left) is a WWE Hall of Famer, who looked set to be done with wrestling following an early, injury-enforced retirement in 2011 before making a shock return in 2020.
- After WrestleMania last year, Edge formed a new evil team - The Judgement Day, featuring Damian Priest and Rhea Ripley. However, a few months in he was usurped by Finn Balor (right), who took over the group and kicked Edge out.
- Irishman Balor has now doubled down on the groups evil intentions, but has been thwarted at every turn by Edge.
- After Edge eliminated Balor from the Royal Rumble in January, the pair were on opposite sides of the ring at Extreme Rules, with Balor teaming with Ripley in a losing effort to Edge and his wife, Beth Phoenix.
- Wanting to end the rivalry once and for all, Balor challenged Edge to a Hell in a Call match, which will see the ring surrounded by a steel cage, which also has a roof on it.
What to expect: Spookies. This match feels like the two repressed goth kids finally got the budget from the school to make the home movie they always wanted to. It will be full of candles, darkness and blood. That said, both men are great wrestlers, so there is also the chance they reject the “Lost Boys” aesthetic and put on what might be the most violent and brutal match of the weekend.
- Liv Morgan (top left corner, left) and Raquel Rodriguez (top left corner, right) have been an off-again, on-again team for a little while. Morgan is something of a wild card, who has been becoming more violent over the last 6 months, whereas Rodriguez is seemingly being positioned as a breakout star of 2023.
- Natalya (bottom left corner, left) is the veteran on the women’s roster, with the Canadian having been with the company for 15 years, following in her Hall of Famer dad Jim Neidhart’s footsteps. Shotzi (bottom left corner, right) on the other hand is still relatively early into her career in WWE, standing out from the crowd by driving a mini tank to the ring.
- Ronda Rousey (bottom right corner, left) is the UFC legend, who called time on her legendary MMA career to join the WWE roster. She has since won multiple championships, was part of the first ever women’s WrestleMania main event, and is now set on tag team dominance alongside her best friend, and fellow ex-MMA fighter, Shayner Baszler (bottom right corner, right).
- Chelsea Green (top right corner, right) has recently returned to the company, and has been playing a "Karen" character making several demands of management, including a spot in this match. She has gone through a few partners in her attempts to worm her way in, eventually landing on former general manager Sonya Deville (top right corner, left), who also has issues with the higher ups after they fired her from her authority role last year.
- As with the men's tag match, this doesn't have a lot of substance - WWE just like to get as many people on the show as possible.
What to expect: A cool down. I would love to be more positive about this match, and there is a lot of talent here. But only Baszler and Rousey were a tag team a few weeks ago, so more than any other match on the show, this one lacks substance. Hopefully I'm wrong though!
- Brock Lesnar (left) is the final boss of wrestling. Maybe the most terrifying man on the planet, he is currently enjoying a rare run as a good guy, leaving behind his years of violence to be a fun loving lumberjack.
- Omos (right), the former college basketball star from Nigeria, is very tall. That’s about it.
- He is managed by MVP (Montel Vontavius Porter to his friends), who isn’t as tall as Omos, thus making Omos look taller (7ft 3in to be precise).
- Brock Lesnar, who is tall but not Omos tall, accepted this match because he wants to see if he is indeed able to conquer someone taller than him.
What to expect: Tall. This may be the only match on the card I have no hope for. Brock Lesnar is a polarizing figure in wrestling at the best of times, but he’s had 12 months of solid work in and out of the ring. He did have an opening for WrestleMania after his Bobby Lashley feud seemingly ended, and there were plenty of dream matches on the table. But nope, he gets Omos, who has the wrestling ability of a wardrobe. Pray for a quick end.