The WWE prides itself on its in-ring storytelling, but some of the most interesting dramas at this year’s Wrestlemania blend what happens in front of and behind the curtains.
1. Ronda Rousey: The growth of the women’s divisions on “Raw” and “Smackdown Live” has been one of the WWE’s top stories of 2017. The star power of former UFC champion and recent WWE signee Ronda Rousey will draw more attention to the women, but is she ready for the professional wrestling spotlight? Her brief matches on “Raw” so far haven’t given us much to go on.
2. Brock Lesnar: WWE Champion Brock Lesnar’s contract ends soon, so that may affect his battle with Roman Reigns. Part of the match’s build-up focused on the possibility that Lesnar may return to UFC, where he was Heavyweight champion from 2008 to 2010. He’s 40, which is old for UFC, so if he’s going to go, now’s the time.
3. Rusev: Rusev is one of the most popular WWE superstars right now with his daily celebration of Rusev Day. As a late addition to the “Smackdown Live” United States championship match against Randy Orton, Bobby Roode and Jinder Mahal, the odds seem against him, but he’s hotter than all of them except perhaps the veteran Orton. Will the fans get what they want? Will Sunday finally be Rusev Day?
4. Daniel Bryan: Daniel Bryan was too small to be a typical superstar in 2014. Still, he won two matches including a handicap match at Wrestlemania 30 in the Superdome to become WWE champion. Injuries made that moment short-lived, and he retired in 2016 after suffering concussion-related seizures. Earlier this month, doctors cleared him to return to competition. What shape will he be in, and will he be able to stay healthy?
5. Shane McMahon: Will the son of owner Vince McMahon make it to Wrestlemania? He is scheduled to team up with Daniel Bryan to face Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, but he contracted acute diverticulitis while on vacation, and as of this writing, it’s not clear that he’ll be out of the hospital, much less in shape to wrestle Sunday night.