WWE's 32nd edition aims to break Wrestlemania crowd record

Undertaker will face Shane McMahon in a Hell in a Cell match at Wrestlemania 32 in Texas.
Undertaker will face Shane McMahon in a Hell in a Cell match at Wrestlemania 32 in Texas.PHOTO: WWE

DALLAS - Everything is bigger in Texas, the saying goes. And indeed, it will be if WWE gets its way.

Some 100,000 fans from around the world are expected to descend on the AT&T stadium in Arlington, Texas on April 3 (April 4, Singapore time) for its annual extravaganza, Wrestlemania.

If all goes to plan, WWE will break its own indoor attendance record, a record standing since Wrestlemania 3 in 1987, where 93,173 people saw Hulk Hogan beat Andre the Giant for the then-WWF championship.

The pro-wrestling entertainment juggernaut has a tall task on its hands.

A raft of injuries to its top stars such as John Cena, Randy Orton and Seth Rollins, has forced WWE to think out of the box, a move that could surprise fans expecting a weak Wrestlemania, now in its 32nd edition.

The biggest surprise unveiled so far must be the return of the prodigal son, Shane McMahon, after a seven-year absence from WWE television.

The son of WWE chairman Vince McMahon - Shane-O-Mac, as he's affectionately known by fans - will battle the Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match. If Shane wins, he gets control of WWE's flagship weekly show, Raw.

As if the stakes could not be higher, Vince McMahon has announced that if Undertaker loses, it will be his last Wrestlemania.

This match's ramifications threatens to overshadow the WWE World Heavyweight championship match between current champion Triple H and Roman Reigns.

Reigns, part of the legendary Anoa'i clan which produced The Rock, the Wild Samoans and current tag team The Usos among others, has struggled to win widespread support from fans.

Despite widely seen as the successor to Cena, Reigns' path to the top has been littered with missteps and poor story-telling.

Fans have shown their displeasure, booing him during his matches and pointedly preferring his former Shield partner, Dean Ambrose.

But this does not faze Reigns.

"As long as people are showing up and I have people to perform in front of, I'm happy. That's all I can ask for, for people to turn up and watch the show," said the 30-year-old at a press conference on Friday.

The third notable match pits Dean Ambrose against former UFC and WWE champion Brock Lesnar in a no-holds-barred street fight.

The match - which allows the use of foreign objects such as kendo sticks, trash cans and chairs -potentially favours the unpredictable Ambrose, a possibility Lesnar's manager Paul Heyman was quick to pan.

"I don't think Lesnar is going to be surprised. To say that he is surprised is to say that I have not thought this match through and of every unconceivable outcome," said Heyman.

"I admire Ambrose for being the only member of the WWE locker room willing to take a beating from Lesnar. We're having a hard time finding opponents for Lesnar. Not many people want to step into the ring and take a beating from the beast," quipped Heyman.

Catch Wrestlemania live on the WWE Network on Monday, April 4, at 7am or on StarHub on demand from 10.30pm onwards.

leecmei@sph.com.sg