This is the first of what we hope will be a series of blogs about the world of American wrestling. We are two wrestling fans and PR professionals with first-hand and backstage experience of both the best and worst of wrestling. It is perhaps particularly poignant to start at what fans will know is a high point in the wrestling calendar with Wrestlemania 30 falling on 6 April, and as it's our first blog, we'll help guide you through what to watch out for at 'The Grandaddy of Them All'.
Long-time fans of what was the WWF (now WWE) will be amazed at how many familiar faces are set to appear during the WM30 weekend. Preceding the event is the Hall of Fame (HoF) ceremony. Officially instituted in 1993, it now encompasses some 113 inductees and questions continue as to the likelihood of a physical HoF being built in an east-coast theme park. This year's inductees include the Ultimate Warrior, Jake 'The Snake' Roberts and 'Razor Ramon' Scott Hall (inducted in character to allow for a personal induction at another time). Other inductees include high-flying diva Lita and a posthumous induction for Paul Bearer (aka Percy Pringle). It will be interesting to see if the Undertaker is on hand to induct Bearer as he has not previously attended HoF ceremonies. Notably of this year's inductees, Roberts and Hall both struggled with narcotics issues before being welcomed home to WWE. They are both presently in good health thanks to a yoga programme run by another HoF alumnus, Diamond Dallas Page.
Another welcome home has been extended to the notorious Hulk Hogan. Having left rival company TNA and put to bed legal issues surrounding the release of a sex tape, Hogan will be hosting Wrestlemania 30. The powers of the 'host' are undetermined. When 'The Rock' hosted Wrestlemania 27, he had the power to re-start the final bout and change the rules.
The Undertaker is perhaps one of the best known wrestlers in the world after Hogan. He returns to defend his 21-0 undefeated Wrestlemania streak against UFC star Brock Lesnar. With annual rumours that the Undertaker's weakening hips will prevent him from fighting again, some have speculated that he could submit to Lesnar. However forward looking commentators have cast doubt on this theory. Those that watched WCW on UK TV will remember Sting well. The brightly painted warrior is probably the most famous wrestler to never work in a WWE ring. Rumours which have circulated in previous years are now stronger than ever that he will sign with the company or has already done so. Sting, recently in the UK with Revolution Pro Wrestling, suggested that he'd like his last match to be against the Undertaker. Could it be that the Undertaker will defeat Lesnar and go on to face the Stinger in the match everyone has wanted to see for too long? We think so. Look out for Sting in the rafters of the Superdome or the night after at Raw.
Talking of Raw, this is certainly worth a watch the night after the main event. Last year's crowd was so impressed with their chanting that they broke out in a chorus of 'we are awesome'. Another highlight last year was the underrated Dolph Ziggler winning the World Heavyweight championship, so expect big things from the follow-up programme.
Other highlights of the WM30 card include the indefatigable John Cena against the spooky Bray Wyatt. A relative newcomer, Wyatt is fast gaining a reputation as a skilled in-ring and mic-savvy performer. Elsewhere, WWE's current lead babyface (good guy) Daniel Bryan looks likely to fight in not one but two matches. The victor of his bout against WWE stalwart and management heavyweight goes on to compete in the main event against Dave Bautista (another recent return) and Randy Orton. Many anticipate Bryan to win the title and earn his WM moment. The trio that make up the Shield should offer a solid match and the 'Andre the Giant Battle Royal' may involve a few surprises.
There is much to be excited for at this point in the wrestling season. We hope to sustain your excitement throughout the coming year and to bring you opinion and news about US professional wrestling!