WWE Wrestlemania 31 preview part one: Sheamus a super shout in battle royal
They call Wrestlemania ‘the showcase of the immortals’. Now in its 31st year, Coral brings you all the betting on WWE’s biggest event in sports entertainment.
We’ve broken the eight main matches down for the delectation of punters and speculating wrestling fans alike. In this first of two parts, our experts discuss the undercard, which includes sports entertainment mega stars Randy Orton and John Cena in action.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
For a second successive year, Wrestlemania will feature this over the top rope challenge, with multiple WWE wrestlers competing. Swiss-born superstar Cesaro will not be defending this honour, which he won at Wrestlemania XXX, so we’re guaranteed a new recipient of the trophy.
Insider gossip suggests Sheamus (5/2) has been ready to make a return to in-ring competition since the turn of the year, but WWE have been saving the first-ever Irish-born world champion to make his comeback here.
Damien Mizdow is odds-on favourite at 10/11 to win this Battle Royal, after being pushed in recent weeks with a storyline where The Miz (25/1) treats his stunt double badly. Wrestling fans with long memories will recall this is similar to how Alex Riley was treated when he acted as assistant and NXT rookie to the former WWE Champion.
Ryback (6/1) and Mark Henry (10/1) are other faces to look out for here, while veteran pair Big Show (16/1) and Kane (25/1) are among the heavier heels set to compete. Sheamus’ compatriot Finn Balor (20/1) is one to watch, but our experts fancy ‘The Celtic Warrior’ to make a winning return.
Randy Orton v Seth Rollins
Two proteges of current WWE COO Triple H collide in one of several singles matches at Wrestlemania. ‘The Viper’ is an 11/8 outsider because Rollins, a former member of The Shield stable, has enjoyed a huge push since breaking out on his own.
Using his deadly Curb Stomp finisher, Rollins put Orton on the shelf injured (in the storyline) only for the WWE’s apex predator to return seemingly aligned with Rollins, but then turning on him. This video below shows Orton getting a measure of retribution against his young adversary:
Nonetheless, an odds-on 8/15 price for Rollins to beat Orton is justified by the fact he holds the Money in the Bank briefcase, which guarantees him a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship anytime before the July pay-per-view where that object is competed for. Don’t expect a clean win, but Orton should put young gun Rollins over.
AJ Lee and Paige v The Bella Twins
There’s British Isles interest in this tag contest with Norwich native Paige teaming up with another former Divas Champion, and wife of controversial ex-WWE star CM Punk, AJ Lee. They face Brie and Nikki, the Bella Twins, who despite having natural chemistry are 5/2 outsiders for victory.
Women’s wrestling is being taken more seriously than during ‘the Attitude Era’, and submission specialists AJ and Paige, who is making her Wrestlemania debut here, hold a clear technical edge over their sibling opponents. That explains why the faces are odds-on at 2/7 to beat Brie and current Divas title holder Nikki.
US Championship: Rusev (c) v John Cena
Only ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair has more recognised reigns as a world champion in pro wrestling history than John Cena, but it’s not about top gold here. This is a rehash of a classic Cold/Gulf War patriotism storyline which Americans love.
Long-time wrestling fans may recall Sgt Slaughter and Hulk Hogan’s battle over the WWE title, and further back ‘The Hulkster’ scraping with The Iron Sheik.
Bulgarian-born Rusev shares the same Camel Clutch submission hold with the latter as his signature move but, despite a clean win over Cena at WWE Fastlane last month, starts as an 11/4 outsider to retain his belt here. Relive that match in full below:
Cena remains the face of the WWE, and has only put over Dawyne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and The Miz in previous Wrestlemania singles losses. What giving the US strap to a main eventer is supposed to achieve right now is somewhat confusing, but Cena is heavily odds-on at 1/4 to start a fourth reign with that title here.