Pro wrestling is a fickle thing sometimes, and if you aren’t a big fan of it or haven’t followed it for very long there are a lot of things that may not be clear to a newer fan of the experience. This time of year a term that pops up that sometimes people wonder about That would be the mythical “Road to Wrestlemania” that is often mentioned many times during the WWE’s programming from between January until the big event itself, Wrestlemania, usually held between late March or early April. And with that time of the year rapidly approaching, this would be a good time to explain things.
First, when talking Wrestlemania, we are talking about the WWE. World Wrestling Entertainment. They are the company that puts on the event and have for over 30 years now. The next event is scheduled April 8th in New Orleans and will be the 34th event to take place annually since the first one was held back on March 31rst, 1985. Wrestlemania is the WWE’s showcase event every year where not only is the programming the company offers leads up to, but it is used as WWE’s way to advertise itself to new fans. Think the Superbowl for pro wrestling. The event generates huge interest and it has gotten to the point were host cities strive to get the event. Wrestlemania brings in a lot of fans into a city and with it lots of tourist money and business. Not only does this mammoth wrestling event take place, but there are many other wrestling events that take place, whether they are put on by the WWE or not.
The big event is the end point, the goal, and the final destination. The “road to Wrestlemania” is everything leading up to that for the WWE and its fans.
See, of all the big events WWE holds every year, Wrestlemania is the biggest one of them all and the one the company puts the hardest sell on. So all the storylines and the reasons why people would follow this stuff and spend their money are given an extra sense of care and a lot more build then during the rest of the year. While the WWE is putting on events every other week most of the time, the story and build for Wrestlemania plays out sometimes for months with plans for the card being made 6 months to a year in advance behind the scenes.
The Road really begins in January with an event called “The Royal Rumble” and the marquee selling point of that event is the Royal Rumble match where 30 guys fight each other. It starts with 2 and every minute or so a new guy enters. They are eliminated by throwing each other over the top rope in the ring. After all 30 have entered the last one standing is the winner and they are awarded a World Championship match at Wrestlemania. Sometimes that match isn’t the main event, or the marquee match of the show, but the WWE won’t tell you that. This year for the first time a woman’s Rumble match was also held to give an extra bit of excitement (revolving around the involvement of former woman’s UFC star Rhonda Rousey at this year’s event). It is expected that these winners will go on to face the top Champions so that is the first bit of advertising that goes into the Wrestlemania event.
Once that is done the WWE will use whatever programming in February and March to not only name what champion is going to face the winner of the Royal Rumble (or Rumbles in this year’s case) but also set up the matches and storylines for all the other matches on the show. The complete line up of what you will see at Wrestlemania is set up about a month in advance. The WWE programming will try to portray that these characters are fighting for life and death to get onto the show, but in modern times every member of the main WWE roster who isn’t injured gets onto the show in some form, usually in the big battle royal held early in the card named after longtime wrestling attraction Andre The Giant.
So in a nutshell, it’s a road traveled every year, and it’s one that creates memories for a lifetime.