WWE WrestleMania 2017: Latest Odds, Best Moments from Buildup to PPV Event
The Road to WrestleMania 33 has been paved by unforgettable moments that will play heavily into the events that will unfold Sunday night in Orlando, Florida, as WWE presents its annual celebration of spectacle, grandeur and all things sports entertainment.
From monumental championship victories to shocking betrayals, the moments that led to each of the 13 matches on the card helped create interest and anticipation for The Showcase of the Immortals.
Triple H betrayed Seth Rollins. Goldberg obliterated Brock Lesnar. The Undertaker chokeslammed Roman Reigns.
Those three events and 10 others helped ensure this year's Ultimate Thrill Ride lives up to the hype.
What were the defining moments on the road to Sunday's pay-per-view extravaganza, and what are the betting odds for each of Sunday's bouts, according to OddsShark?
Take a look for yourself with this preview of WrestleMania 33.
Bray Wyatt Wins the WWE Championship
WWE Championship Match: Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton
At Elimination Chamber in February, Bray Wyatt finally realized his potential when he eliminated John Cena and AJ Styles, consecutively and cleanly, to capture the WWE Championship.
It was a long time coming and many halted pushes in the making.
Long one of the most compelling Superstars on the WWE roster, Wyatt had suffered from start-and-stop pushes that saw him competing against top stars but never beating them in the blowoff matches.
That all changed when he pinned Cena and then Styles to capture the title that added credibility to every claim he had made in the three years prior. He had vowed to take down the machine, to bring the nightmares of every fan to life. By taking the top prize in the industry from resident superhero Cena, he was on his way to making good on his promise.
While his feud with Randy Orton had descended into supernatural nonsense by the time Tuesday's episode of SmackDown Live rolled around, no one can take from him the fact he did something neither his father, Mike Rotunda, or grandfather, Blackjack Mulligan, was able to do: capture the world championship.
Goldberg Obliterates Brock Lesnar
WWE Universal Championship Match: Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar
The 2016 Survivor Series pay-per-view hosted Goldberg's first match in a WWE ring for 12 years. His opponent was the same man he fought the last time he worked for Vince McMahon, Brock Lesnar. In a heavily hyped match, Goldberg delivered two massive spears and followed up with a Jackhammer to defeat The Beast Incarnate in just 85 seconds.
For nearly five years, Lesnar was the most protected star on the WWE roster. He rarely lost, and when he did, it took a steel chain to the face from John Cena, Sweet Chin Music from Shawn Michaels to help Triple H and a controversial cashing in of Money in the Bank to end his WWE Championship reign.
To see him so decisively defeated, in such unimaginably quick fashion, was a shock to the system and the catalyst for everything the iconic Superstars would go through in the weeks and months that followed.
Kevin Owens Ruins the Festival of Friendship
United States Championship Match: Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens
The friendship between Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens made for one of the most entertaining elements of Raw through the fall and winter. Not only did the devious duo rule over Raw, constantly interfering in matches each other competed in, but they also brought a sense of humor to the proceedings.
That humor was eliminated from the show once and for all on the February 13 episode of WWE's flagship show, when Owens showed his true colors during a so-called Festival of Friendship.
Despite Jericho's attempt to pay tribute to Owens and the friendship they had, the then-Universal champion stood almost stoically through every one of Jericho's attempts at gift-giving. He then assaulted Jericho, delivering a sickening powerbomb on the ring apron, then throwing Jericho face-first through glass.
It was a moment fans knew was coming but were still greatly affected by thanks to the performances of the Superstars involved.
On the Road to WrestleMania, there have been many entertaining moments, but few were as unforgettable and well-executed as Owens' betrayal of Jericho.
A Chokeslam Sparks WrestleMania's Most Heated Match
The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
On the heels of a Royal Rumble match that saw him eliminate The Undertaker and a Fastlane pay-per-view at which he pinned Braun Strowman clean in the center of the ring, Roman Reigns was feeling mightily confident as he interrupted The Deadman's first address since the January pay-per-view.
He came face-to-face with Undertaker, staring into his eyes, then back at the WrestleMania 33 sign hanging from the rafters. It was a visual cue, as if he were challenging The Phenom to war on wrestling's grandest stage.
Undertaker responded, grabbing Reigns by the throat and planting him with a thunderous chokeslam.
In that moment, the greatest phenomenon in WWE history cashed his ticket to WrestleMania and ensured Reigns would compete in one of the highest-profile matches of his young career in Orlando.
The Hold Harmless Contract Signing
Unsanctioned Match: Seth Rollins vs. Triple H
For months, fans waited with quiet anticipation for Seth Rollins to give them one reason to buy into his babyface character. Too often, he came across as the same guy he was during his time as a member of The Authority, just wrestling other heels while WWE Creative searched for the emphasis for his attitude change.
On the final episode of Raw before WrestleMania 33 and a date with Triple H—the man he had entrusted his career to, only to be betrayed last August—that anticipation paid off.
After signing a hold harmless agreement that absolved WWE and The Authority of any legal ramifications of Rollins competing despite an injury, The Architect finally delivered a defining promo that explained his motivation.
Looking into the eyes of The Game, he admitted hating the man he had become while paired with Triple H. At WrestleMania, not only will he avenge the betrayal, but he will get back to being the man he wants to be.
The desire to be himself rather than a corporate puppet fuels him, and Sunday night brings that opportunity.
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows Introduce Ladders to the Equation
Triple Threat Ladder Match for the Raw Tag Team Championships: Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Sheamus and Cesaro
|Enzo Amore and Big Cass||-175|
|Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows||+138|
|Cesaro and Sheamus||+500|
The three-way rivalry between Enzo Amore and Big Cass, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows and Cesaro and Sheamus was mediocre before the events of Monday's episode of Raw.
Anderson and Gallows battered The Celtic Warrior and The Swiss Superman with ladders during a backstage brawl. Moments later, they utilized the same weapons to lay waste to Amore, Cass and the aforementioned former Raw tag team champions.
As the titleholders stood tall in the center of the ring, bodies strewn around the squared circle, it appeared as though Anderson and Gallows had rediscovered their edge.
After a terrible series of vignettes during their rivalry with The New Day and wildly inconsistent pushes through the fall of 2016, the former members of New Japan Pro Wrestling's Bullet Club looked like Superstars finally put in a position to succeed.
A War of Words
Mixed Tag Team Match: John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse
|John Cena and Nikki Bella||-3300|
|The Miz and Maryse||+1000|
The animosity between John Cena and The Miz has always felt real, as if the latter resented the success of WWE's franchise star and verbally struck out at every opportunity.
The February 28 episode of SmackDown Live saw The Miz host a special edition of Miz TV and do just that, criticizing Cena with a silver-tongued attack that called Cena's character into question. Cena responded, and fans bore witness to a series of shoot comments between the Superstars that blended fiction with reality.
It set the tone for the rivalry fans would watch unfold in the weeks that followed.
Miz and Maryse would regularly attack the real-life relationship between Cena and Nikki Bella, both in promos and mockeries of the Total Bellas reality show. Tuesday saw Cena issue an explosive response that had built for weeks.
Sunday, one of the matches once considered throwaway fluff will captivate audiences with one of the most intensely personal stories on the entire card.
Baron Corbin Lowers the Forklift on Dean Ambrose's Title Reign
Intercontinental Championship Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin
The March 7 episode of SmackDown Live saw Baron Corbin launch a sneak attack on Dean Ambrose in the backstage area.
Ambrose, like any good, gullible babyface, walked right into The Lone Wolf's trap. Corbin beat Ambrose down, then retrieved a forklift. He proceeded to lower it across the chest of The Lunatic Fringe, injuring his core and creating doubt about Ambrose's ability to compete at The Showcase of the Immortals.
The best moment of an otherwise lackluster build to the Intercontinental Championship match at WrestleMania, it at least gave fans a taste of the vile lengths Corbin was willing to go to capture his first title in WWE.
Austin Aries Attacks Neville
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Austin Aries vs. Neville
Neville openly referred to himself as "the king of the cruiserweights" leading up to the March 6 episode of Raw. He had verbally degraded the other Superstars in the division, and with good reason. None of them proved capable of defeating him, especially after he underwent an attitude change.
His arrogance struck a chord with Austin Aries, who had been filling in as a broadcast journalist while recovering from a facial injury.
After weeks of watching Neville tear through the opposition, Aries took exception to the champion denouncing the division and what he perceived to be a lack of competition. Aries, in one of the better executed moments on the Road to WrestleMania, blasted Neville and announced his return to action.
Sunday night, The Greatest Man That Ever Lived will have the opportunity to capture his first title under the WWE umbrella.
AJ Styles Brutalizes Shane McMahon
Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles
Frustrated and infuriated by a perceived bias against him, AJ Styles hit the ring on the March 14 episode of SmackDown Live and laid out his grievances with management. Accusing the powers that be of screwing him out of the WWE Championship, he vowed to have a conversation with Shane McMahon that would determine whether he had a career left on the blue brand.
That conversation turned out to be a brutal backstage assault that left McMahon bloodied. The Phenomenal One attacked the SmackDown Live commissioner and threw him through a car window.
A moment that represented the re-emergence of Styles' dangerous and aggressive side, it was the genesis for the brawls that have ensued between the two since.
Sunday night, they may compete in a regular singles match, but it should be interesting to see whether McMahon delivers another awe-inspiring stunt or whether Styles throws caution to the wind to make sure fans remember his contribution to The Showcase of the Immortals.
Bayley Wins the Raw Women's Championship
Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match for the Raw Women's Championship: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Nia Jax
WrestleMania's Raw Women's Championship match may feature incredibly talented women like Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, and Nia Jax, but it very much feels like the culmination of Bayley's story.
That story began in January on Raw, when Bayley defeated Charlotte to capture the title in an unforgettable moment.
In front of the Las Vegas chapter of the WWE Universe, the lovable competitor captured gold and cashed her ticket to WrestleMania. It was years in the making.
The forgotten wrestler when Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Banks were called up to the main roster in 2015, it established Bayley as a Superstar as being on par with her fellow Four Horsewomen.
It also set in motion every moment that proceeded.
For the Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match to come to fruition, Bayley needed to be at the center of the story. She is, and Sunday night, she will live her dream on the grand stage of WrestleMania 33.
Sami Zayn Cashes His Ticket to WrestleMania
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Never before has the winner of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal been so overwhelmingly apparent. Braun Strowman is going to win the match and continue his meteoric rise up the ranks on Raw.
Monday's episode of Raw saw one consummate underdog throw his name in the mix, though, and create a little intrigue for the contest.
Sami Zayn attempted to announce his entry into the annual match, only to have evil authority figure Stephanie McMahon order him to compete for his opportunity in a match with former friend Kevin Owens.
In a No Disqualification match, Zayn capitalized on interference from both Samoa Joe and Chris Jericho to earn the victory and his shot at immortality at WrestleMania.
Zayn's story for the past six months has centered on his role as the ultimate underdog, a Superstar who earns respect and admiration for his unwillingness to quit.
Sunday night's Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal may not be easy, but if there is any Superstar who can overcome the overwhelming onslaught of Strowman and emerge an upset winner, it is The Underdog from the Underground.
Six-Pack Challenge Match for the SmackDown Women's Championship
*No odds available
Naomi realized her dream of being women's champion at Elimination Chamber, pinning Alexa Bliss to win her first title in WWE. Just one week later, on the February 21 episode of SmackDown Live, she handed over the title, forced to relinquish it because of a knee injury.
There was doubt about her ability to defend her title in the required 30 days and, more importantly, her ability to compete at WrestleMania.
On Tuesday's episode of SmackDown Live, she silenced all doubters when she made an explosive return to television, laying out all of the brand's heel female competitors and announcing her entry into Sunday's championship bout.
Naomi earned the respect of the audience thanks to her hard work and never-ending dedication to being the best she can be. Her return in time for WrestleMania, in her hometown of Orlando, is one of the more emotional stories of the WrestleMania season.