There's just one game remaining in March Madness. Baseball season is not yet here. The NHL and NBA regular seasons are winding down and the most exciting NFL news right now is how much salary cap space your team has. Thankfully, there is one perfect cure to these late-March sports doldrums: WrestleMania.
Even if you've never watched a minute of professional wrestling in your life, you likely know the name WrestleMania. It's the Super Bowl of fake fighting, the World Series of silly storylines, the Stanley Cup of stomping when you punch. On Sunday, the 28th installment of WrestleMania will take place at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. A much better venue for wrestling than for baseball, even if it doesn't have a giant moving-marlins sculpture.
"But I don't like that fake bullcrap in my sports!" you may be saying. "John Cena? More like 'Blah, Seen-it,'" you may very well be quipping. But I'm here to tell you that there is plenty for a non-wrestling fan to enjoy and -- dare I say -- perhaps even love about WrestleMania 28. Here's the rundown and the reasons why you may just end up enjoying yourself.
1. You Love Spectacle
Let's face it, everybody loves good, old-fashioned over-the-top theatrics. It's why you watched the Madonna halftime show at this year's Super Bowl, it's why you watch whatever silly reality show you don't admit to watching and it's a big part of what makes WrestleMania so entertaining. They always run WrestleMania in 70,000- to 90,000-seat venues and build the biggest, gaudiest stages possible. They also go overboard on the pyrotechnics. Rest assured: when the Undertaker comes out, GIGANTIC FIREBALLS will launch from somewhere. Why would you want to pass up seeing giant fireballs? Are you even a sports fan at all?
The first match on the card is a triple-threat match for the WWE Tag Team Championship, between three teams you've likely never heard of (champs Primo & Epico, Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd and The Usos). It will take place live online before WrestleMania "officially" begins, so you'll have a whole match to see the spectacular setup and massive crowd and wonder exactly what is going to be exploding later and precisely how awesome it is going to be (rough estimate: so awesome).
2. You Love Celebrities
Granted, you don't love celebrities quite as much as WWE does, as they're sticking kind-of-a-celebrity Maria Menounos, the host of "Extra," in a tag team match with partner Kelly Kelly (yeah, I know). They'll take on the bad-guy (girl) team of Beth Phoenix and Eve (boo, hiss). OK, that match probably isn't going to be very good (or "good" in any sense), but there will be tons more celebrities in attendance. Shaq is supposed to be there. Sadly, he won't be wrestling, but he's always good for a giggle. WWE always tries to get as many celebs as possible to turn up and participate in sketches of varying qualities. Most years involve Snoop Dogg, but let's face it: everyone loves Snoop Dogg.
3. You Love Seeing Crowds Go Crazy
Everyone loves a hot crowd. The hot crowd is part of what made Kentucky vs. Louisville so great on Saturday. If you thought that was something, wait until you see 70,000-plus going absolutely bonkers when they know a finishing move is coming up. Randy Orton gets a crowd fired up better than almost anyone else and there's going to be a moment in his match with Kane where he will tease his finisher. People will be losing their minds, it is going to be loud and you may very well find yourself leaning forward and smiling. It's OK. Go with it.
4. You Love A Train Wreck
There's going to be a 12-person tag team match at WrestleMania. Let's just say this: there's a reason that tag teams are usually made up of two people each. The two teams will be fighting in support of their respective show's general manager ("Raw" vs. "SmackDown!") with a unified GM job for the winning party, but that's beside the point. There's going to be 12 guys in there all doing things at once. There's going to be a point where they all stand around on the floor and someone is going to do something totally crazy and reckless from the top rope onto all of them and then they're all going to fall over. Someone's probably going to make an animated GIF of it later, so you may as well know the context beforehand.
5. You Love Seeing Jerks Get Defeated
If there's one constant in sports, it's that everyone hates an entitled jerk and derives great pleasure from seeing said jerk lose. It's why we hate the Yankees, it's why we hate Duke and it's why we hate the Heat. No one in wrestling is better right now at making you hate him than Cody Rhodes. He's been spending the past month mocking and humiliating the Big Show and this is the night when he just might get his comeuppance. They'll play a video package or two beforehand so you can get caught up on hating him and then you'll feel a strange sense of satisfaction a short time later, when a 500-pound giant punches him in the face as hard as he can. Everybody wins!
6. You Might Actually Love Great Wrestling
If you don't like wrestling or haven't liked the wrestling you've seen, it may be because you've never seen how good really great wrestling can be. These guys are really talented and they're really good at what they do. If they're in a title match at WrestleMania, odds are they're among the best in the business. World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan is likely the best wrestler in the world and, if he and challenger Sheamus get the chance to go out there and put on a show, you might just be blown away. If not, well, you'll still get to see a shockingly pale beefy guy who looks like a terrifying version of Beaker from the Muppets wallop on a little guy who's kind of a jerk. And that's fun, too.
7. You Love Surprises
For all the faults of being a fake sport, there are glorious moments when wrestling is much more unpredictable than actual sports. Face it, no one really, honestly thought the Broncos were going to beat the Patriots in the playoffs in January. It wasn't going to happen. But no one has any idea who is going to win in the WWE Championship match between CM Punk and Chris Jericho. One thing WWE loves doing if they think an outcome is too obvious is changing plans on the fly, just to make things more fun and interesting. Real sports can't do that. While we're on the subject of surprises, rumors are flying around that former UFC and WWE champion Brock Lesnar is in town for WrestleMania. He may just show up and throw someone through a brick wall. I don't know about you, but that alone would be worth my money. If, at any point during the evening, an announcer says, "My god, that's _______'s music!" you'll know that things just got real.
8. You Love An Epic
If there's anything that still means anything in the world of wrestling, it's the undefeated WrestleMania streak of the Undertaker, AKA the Grave Digger of pro wrestling. The Undertaker is 19-0 at WrestleMania and he's putting that streak on the line to wrestle Triple H, another icon of the sport (but not of the stature of the Undertaker, let's be honest. Triple H is more like the Truckasaurus of pro wrestling). What's more, the match will be inside the Hell in a Cell steel cage, with special guest referee Shawn Michaels. Here's the thing about Hell in a Cell: it has a roof. At some point in nearly every Hell in a Cell match, the participants wind up on top of the roof. One of these two aged superstars may very well get thrown off the top of a giant cage following a prolonged and brutal battle. Let me give you an analogy: imagine Peyton Manning and Brett Favre going touchdown-for-touchdown in a triple-overtime Super Bowl in the year 2012. Now imagine that, at the end of the third overtime, Brett Favre throws Peyton Manning off of a giant cage. Yeah. It's like that.
9. Admit It, You Love The Rock
There's a reason the Rock left pro wrestling and became a movie star. He's cool, he's funny, he's charismatic and, at one point, you laughed at something he did or thought he was cool. You probably own at least one movie he was in and, if you ever watched wrestling before, odds are good that you stopped watching when he went away. Well, he's back now and he's defending his legacy as one of the biggest stars of all time. He's taking on the biggest star of today, John Cena, who you've likely heard of or can identify, even if you've never seen one of his matches. This is the main event and these two will pull out all the stops to show why they're two of the most popular pro wrestlers of all time. They're going to tear the house down and then there's going to be even more explosions. And none of us has any idea who's going to win.
So that's WrestleMania 28: silly, goofy, fake, absurd, hackneyed and 100% pure enjoyability.
The pre-show for WrestleMania 28 begins at 6:30 p.m. ET with the Tag Team Championship triple-threat match, which will stream live on WWE.com and YouTube. WrestleMania proper airs on pay-per-view and begins at 7:00 p.m. ET. If you order the show, however, you get extra pre-show content that begins at 5:00 p.m. ET.
If you're interested in live, match-by-match coverage and results for WrestleMania 28, several of our SB Nation sites have you covered. SB Nation Seattle, based in the home state of World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan, will be posting live results all evening in this StoryStream. For a different perspective, check out the coverage from the land of John Cena, as SB Nation Boston has their own StoryStream.
For all news and information regarding the wonderful world of pro wrestling, please visit Cageside Seats.