We look ahead to all the professional wrestling-related activities during the Wrestlemania weekend and wonder if Shane McMahon will make it to New Orleans.

brock lesnar roman reigns screen shot
Brock Lesnar beats Roman Reigns with metal steps.

[Updated] On the Road to Wrestlemania this week, the WWE stopped for gas, a Coke, and to hit the head. The matches that weren’t already made were strongly hinted at, and any late fireworks were saved for next week and the go-home shows before Wrestlemania comes to New Orleans April 8. Because of that, this week on Raw and Smackdown Live felt a bit like killing time. 

On Raw, Brock Lesnar beat down Roman Reigns some more, and John Cena jawed at the absent Undertaker some more, this time after beating his brother with polyester black hair, Kane. Nia Jax crushed Mickie James, Alexa Bliss’ proxy, and Braun Strowman revealed that he would have a tag team partner when he faces The Bar, but Sheamus couldn’t beat that person’s name out of him. Ronda Rousey signaled herself a work in progress when Paige tried to woo her into Absolution (still the worst name for a posse in wrestling), and she fought off Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose, who attacked when she declined. Her stinkface still looks sulky to me, but others are buying it. She looked rough when she suplexed Rose and sent her sprawling, but last week Dana Brooke took the same suplex the same messy way, so maybe that’s just Rousey’s move.

 

On Smackdown Live, Shinsuke Nakamura played mind games with A.J. Styles to build a teaspoon of heat for a match that doesn’t rely on it. Rusev fought his way into the U.S. Title Match against Randy Orton, Bobby Roode, and Jinder Mahal by pinning Orton in a tag team match as Mahal’s partner. For me, it’s a match that needed a little life, and Rusev is so over right now that he deserves it. The biggest news was Daniel Bryan confirming that he would partner with Shane McMahon against Kevin Owens at Sami Zayn at Wrestlemania with the stipulation that Owens and Zayn had to win to be un-fired.

The question is whether McMahon will make it to Wrestlemania in any shape to compete. Bryan said he was in the hospital; he didn’t say that McMahon was in for an infection due to acute diverticulitis, and that he’ll have to undergo surgery for an umbilical hernia once the infection is dealt with. That’s a lot to go through before getting in shape for a match that will take place in two weeks. 

If McMahon can’t make the bell, Bryan could find a sub for him, but I think the more likely scenario is that the match will become a triple threat match. That would once again frame Bryan as an underdog—the role he played in his run for the WWE Championship belt that he won at Wrestlemania 30 in the Superdome by first beating Triple H, then Randy Orton and Bautista in a handicap match. A triple threat would also let the uneasy nature of Owens and Zayn’s alliance play out more fully and bring back into play the scenario that Sami Zayn teased in the last month—that he would lay down and let Owens beat him. If that were to happen in a triple threat match against Bryan, the two would be reinstated.

Wrestlemania is the centerpiece of the Wrestlemania weekend, but there will be a lot of wrestling-related activity going on in New Orleans starting on Thursday, April 5. Here’s a rundown:

Thursday, April 5

- WWE Fan Axxess at 6 p.m. in the Morial Convention Center

- Indie wrestling with Wildcat Entertainment and WrestleCon Supershow as part of WrestleCon at 6 p.m. in The Sugar Mill

- Walemania IV at 7 p.m. at Republic

- “An Evening with Paul Heyman” at 10 p.m. at The Joy Theater

Friday, April 6

- WrestleCon at 9 a.m. at the Sheraton New Orleans

- “The Slobberknocker Sessions” with Jim Ross at 10 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn

- Indie wrestling with The Crash from Mexico at 12 p.m. as part of WrestleCon at The Sugar Mill

- "We Watch Wrestling" podcast live at the AllWays Lounge at 3 p.m.

- Indie wrestling with Revolution Pro from the UK at 4 p.m. as part of WrestleCon at The Sugar Mill

- WWE Fan Axxess opens at 5 p.m. in the Morial Convention Center.

- WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at 6:30 p.m. in the Smoothie King Center 

- Indie wrestling with Impact Wrestling vs. Lucha Underground at 9 p.m. as part of WrestleCon at The Sugar Mill

- "An Evening with Swoggle: A Comedy Event" takes place at the AllWays Lounge at 10 p.m.

Eddie Edwards and Sami Callahan meet in an "I Quit" match at Impact Wrestling vs. Lucha Underground

Saturday, April 7

- WWE Fan Axxess at 8 a.m. at the Morial Convention Center

- WrestleCon at 9 a.m. at the Sheraton New Orleans

- Indie wrestling with Pro Wrestling Revolver “Pancakes and Piledrivers” at 11 a.m. as part of WrestleCon at The Sugar Mill

- WWE Fan Axxess at 1 p.m. at the Morial Convention Center

- Bruce Prichard tells stories at the House of Blues at 2 p.m.

- Indie wrestling with Combat Zone Wrestling at 3 p.m. as part of WrestleCon at The Sugar Mill

- WWE Fan Axxess at 6 p.m. at the Morial Convention Center

- WWE presents NXT Takeover: New Orleans at 6:15 p.m. at the Smoothie King Center

- Ring of Honor’s Supercard of Honor XII at 7:30 p.m. at the Lakefront Arena 

- Jake 'The Snake' Roberts Unspoken Word Tour at The Howlin' Wolf at 8 p.m.

- Indie wrestling with House of Hardcore one hour after NXT as part of WrestleCon at The Sugar Mill

Sunday, April 8

- WWE Fan Axxess at 8 a.m. at the Morial Convention Center

- WrestleCon at 11 a.m. at the Sheraton New Orleans

- WWE Block Party at 1 p.m. at Champions Square (free)

- Wrestlemania 34 at 4:30 p.m. at Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Monday, April 9

- WWE Raw at 6:30 p.m. at the Smoothie King Center

- WWE Smackdown Live at 6:45 p.m. at the Smoothie King Center

Cody Rhodes meets Kenny Omega act Supercard of Honor XII.

Updated April 3 at 3:35 p.m.

The "We Watch Wrestling" podcast, Swoggle, and Bruce Prichard events were added.

Updated April 6, 12:38 p.m.

The Jake "The Snake" Roberts show was added.