Element of Surprise at WrestleMania

As wrestling fans, if there’s one thing we can count on every year it’s WrestleMania’s element of surprise

From the inaugural event in 1985 to the super-spectacle in San Francisco last year, the stage has grown and evolved, and talent has come and gone but the one constant that’s synonymous with the show and lingers on the horizon is WrestleMania’s element of surprise. The WWE is putting on their biggest and most spectacular show ever, year after year trying to top the one before it. They will always hold their best cards for their best production and they will always pack their biggest punch. WrestleMania’s element of surprise is usually the driving force in their attempt to leave fans buzzing after the nights over.

Hogan does the unthinkable and slams the Giant

The element of surprise is born as Hulk Hogan does the unthinkable and slams Andre The Giant at WrestleMania 3 in front of over 93,000 fans.

The element of surprise goes hand in hand with “The Showcase of the Immortals.” In 1987 at WrestleMania 3, Hulk Hogan’s huge body slam and victory over Andre the Giant captivated several millions of fans all around the world and began the trend that is Wrestlemania’s element of surprise. In 1990 at WrestleMania 6, WWE pits the company’s two biggest baby faces, Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior, against each other and forces the fans into choosing between their two favorites. At the time, Hogan was virtually unbeatable and the WWE took the surprise to another level when Warrior pinned Hogan cleanly and became the first man to ever be the WWE Champion and WWE Intercontinental Champion simultaneously. Many fans were not happy but it definitely got their attention as this was a groundbreaking match that was highly instrumental in moving the product forward at the time.

"The Ultimate Challenge" at WrestleMania 6

Ultimate Warrior issues “The Ultimate Challenge” to Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 6.

Austin strikes a deal with Mr. McMahon

Steve Austin strikes a deal with Mr. McMahon at WrestleMania 17.

WrestleMania’s element of surprise reached new heights in 2001 at WrestleMania 17, the unthinkable happened as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, who was arguably one of the most successful “baby faces” in the history of the company struck a deal with the devil himself, Vince McMahon, in order to defeat The Rock for a second time at “the show of shows,” and solidify his championship aspirations yet again. This was a move that left most of the fans passionately disgusted, but it captured the interest of the masses; it was easily one of the greatest surprises in WrestleMania’s illustrious and storied history. We received yet another monumental shocker at WrestleMania XXX in 2014 when “The Beast” Brock Lesnar defeated and dismantled The Undertaker and conquered his infamous and legendary WrestleMania streak. People were screaming, people were angry, even some people were in tears—a move that left the jam-packed New Orleans Superdome reeling and left every jaw in the wrestling world dropped in the dirt.

"The Beast" conquers "The Streak"

“The Beast” conquers “The Streak” at WrestleMania XXX.

That was then and this in now, and the WWE has definitely kept the suspenseful vibe alive going into tonight’s show. It’s become more and more difficult for the WWE to maintain secrecy with their surprises over the years due to the influx of people on social media and online forums – this is undeniable. Regardless, the rumors have been getting thrown around like hot potatoes and all of the questions are out there. The main event is an epic Hell in a Cell showdown between Shane McMahon and The Undertaker, with one man’s WrestleMania future and another man’s ultimate desire to take control of his father’s business hanging in the balance. Can Shane crush the indestructible force that is The Undertaker in his most formidable match to gain control and lead the WWE into a much brighter and most prosperous future? Or will The Undertaker once again lay waste to another victim inside his chain-linked house of horrors and keep his WrestleMania legacy alive? Will we see the return of another legend like Goldberg or Sting to get involved in this iconic match? Can Dean Ambrose take his lunacy to a level never seen before and slay “The Beast” Brock Lesnar in an unforgiving Street Fight? Or will Lesnar turn AT&T Stadium into a most extreme form of “Suplex City?” What could possibly happen in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between the baby-faced Roman Reigns and the villain, Triple H, since fans have clearly called an audible in cheering the “heel” and booing the ever-living shit out of the good guy? These matches create scenarios that are thrilling and most intriguing. Could we see key players like John Cena, Randy Orton, or Seth Rollins return from injury to play enormous roles in tonight’s event? WrestleMania’s element of surprise has certainly contributed significantly to the hype that’s surrounding tonight’s show.

Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract at WrestleMania 31

Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract at WrestleMania 31.

The future of the company and the emergence of new talent ascending to the top of the WWE mountain to become the backbone of the brand all rests on the outcome of tonight. I will say that the WWE has managed to make something out of nothing with this year’s WrestleMania. They’ve had the ability to keep the palpable curiosity and suspense of the great stage at the forefront, even 32 years later. The estimated 100,000 plus that are expected to be in attendance tonight in Dallas are the proof. One thing that’s for certain is WrestleMania’s element of surprise is still alive!

I believe that we will see the dawning of a new era in the WWE before this night is over. Don’t you agree?


By: Ian Patrick Gagnon | April 3, 2016