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A Comic Book Reader’s Guide to Wrestlemania 28

Pro Wrestling and comic books seem to go hand in hand. Both are positively augmented by well developed characters, have been around for decades…and lets face it, both have some pretty smelly, awkward neck-beard wielding fans. However, one of the strongest similarities is how overwhelming it can be to try to get into. With characters who change so frequently it is difficult for a new comer to understand exactly what is going on.

So on the eve of the biggest night on the pro wrestling calendar, I decided what better way to help my comic book brethren than to write up a comic book fan’s guide to Wrestlemania 28. This guide will not only be a match listing of the Wrestlemania card, but it will also give you a bit of background on each match while drawing some comparisons and similarities to some of the comic book characters and arcs that you have come to know and love.

Randy Orton vs. Kane – Superman vs. Bizarro

The Comparison: To most pro wrestling fans this comparison will make NO sense, and will think that the comparison to Superman should be left for a different wrestler. But bear with me and you’ll see the method to my madness. Superman is probably the most well known character in the comic book world. Randy Orton in this era of pro wrestling is one of top stars of the wrestling world. Also similarly to Superman there are not a ton of people who have really good reason to be Randy Orton fans other than he is a good guy and he wins alot. My comparison of Kane to Bizarro comes about is because his recent character really has no true direction other than wanting to do bad things and beat people up.

The Story behind the match: The story is pretty lacking, so might be really easy or really difficult to comprehend. Last July, Orton and Kane had a match, it was a very close match and was quite brutal for both men. Ultimately the match ended with Orton defeating Kane, but since the match was so grueling, they shook hands after the match as a sign of respect for one another. Fast forward to February of this year when Kane re-watches the match, and goes crazy with anger after seeing him show respect to Orton. Kane then vows vengeance for shaking Orton’s hand and the match was set.

Things to note: Orton is the guy with tattoo sleeves and a buzz cut. Kane wears black and red spandex wrestling overalls. Orton actually himself tends to go crazy and act like a bit of a bad guy once in a while. But trust me, he is the good guy…at least in this situation.

Eve & Beth Phoenix vs. Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos- Catwoman & Black Canary vs. Supergirl & April O’Neil (from TMNT)

The Comparison: Eve is Catwoman, she is an athletic bad girl who uses her charm and sex appeal to get what she wants. Beth Phoenix is Black Canary, she is cunning, powerful and will not allow anyone to get in the way of getting the job done. In the same vein as Superman, Supergirl is a little less well known but is one of the more well known female super hero. Female wrestlers are not all that well known, but nowadays, if there is a female wrestler the masses recognize from this era of pro wrestling, it is Kelly Kelly. I know that TMNT is not a traditional comic book series, but Maria Menounos is not a traditional wrestler, she is actually the anchor of the TV show EXTRA, so I thought it was OK to bend the rules. Both O’Neil and Menounos are reporters, and neither one really ever be in harms way, but alas, O’Neil requires constant protection from the turtles, and somehow Menounos has found herself in the middle of a wrestling ring on the biggest stage of them all.

The Story: Kelly Kelly was being interviewed on EXTRA to do some promotional work for Wrestlemania and for the Kids’ Choice Awards (yes the Nickelodeon ones- Kelly Kelly is nominated for Best Butt Kicker). When Beth Phoenix, the WWE’s female champion, interrupts the interview claiming that because she is champion she is the one who should be interviewed. Feeling slighted Phoenix challenged Menounos to a match at Wrestlemania.

Things to note: Kelly Kelly is the overly tan BLOND woman and Eve is the overly tan BRUNETTE woman. Beth Phoenix is the blond woman with the sparkly championship belt and looks like she could probably beat up your dad. Menounos is the tiny brunette woman and will likely be the only woman dressed in a pseudo-respectable manner. Again, remember Menounos is NOT a trained professional, so do not expect too much from her in the ring.

Cody Rhodes vs. Big Show- Bart Allen vs. Hal Jordan

The Comparison: Cody Rhodes is one of the rising stars in the pro wrestling world. Unfortunately for him, there tends to be a trend where older and established stars stand in the way of the talented, younger guys being allowed into the spotlight. Bart Allen is one of the most intriguing, interesting and lovable characters that the DC Universe has ever seen, but Bart has never really had the opportunity to be considered one of the big boys because of all of the older more established names are too popular (and profitable). Hal Jordan is one of of those DC old established names who has a huge following but is a bit of of a stale character. Like Hal, the Big Show has been around for quite a long time, has a ton of fans, but has not been truly interesting in a while.

The Story: Cody Rhodes, is one of the best young bad guys in pro wrestling. Rhodes claims to better than the boring and aging Big Show and compares their Wrestlemania records to one another. Rhodes has recently had some success when the bright lights are on, however the Big Show seems to embarrass himself whenever it really counts. Rhodes is out to prove that he is a top star, where the Big Show is looking to prove that he can win when the pressure is on and take the Rhodes’ championship belt.

Things to note: Rhodes is the smaller slim guy, dark hair, quite handsome and will come to the ring wearing a white championship belt (FYI: It is the Intercontinental Championship which can be considered the junior varsity championship). Big Show is the REALLY big bald guy with a goatee.

These next three reviews I had some help with from the one and only ANTiFanboy Steve-O. Thanks buddy.

Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny- Justice League International vs. Legion of Doom

The comparison: It is pretty simple. One is a team of sort of goofy good guys, and one is a team of fairly powerful bad guys. Not much more to say about this one. Since there are so many people involved I’ll try to keep it short and to the point.

Team Teddy:
– Teddy: Max Lord- Teddy is the leader of Team Teddy and Lord was the leader of JLI.
– Santino: Blue Beetle- Both are one of the more humorous but standout powers on their respective teams.
– Zack Ryder: Booster Gold- Both are goofy and lovable fan favorites who can surprise you with what they can pull off when it counts the most.
– R-Truth: Guy Gardner- Quick to anger: Yes, Emotionally unstable: Absolutely. But both ultimately good guys.
– Kofi Kingston: Martian Manhunter: Both kinda funny looking, but are both super versatile and useful assets to their teams.
– Great Khali: Mr. Miracle- Both are sort of just there on the team. I can’t say much here.
– Booker T: Captain Marvel: Both are the senior ambassadors of their team. Each one is probably the most powerful member of their respective teams but will allow their teammates to remain in the spotlight.

Team Johnny:
– Johnny: Lex Luthor- Both are the dastardly schemers and mouthpieces for their teams, you love to hate these guys.
– David Otunga: Braniac- Braniac is an android, Otunga has an almost unnatural physique. Braniac has super intelligence, and Otunga is a Harvard Law Grad & undefeated attorney.
– Mark Henry: Gorilla Grodd- Both are insanely strong. Grodd…well…a gorilla; Henry’s nickname IS the Silverback Gorilla. It just works.
– Dolph Ziggler: Riddler- No I didn’t do this because the names sound sort of similar. Both of these guys are specialists at what they do but are frequently overshadowed. They each have the ability to steal the show.
– Jack Swagger: Solomon Grundy- Both are strong physical specimens. But tend to need the aid of a brainy leader to give them some direction.
– Drew McIntyre: Toyman- Both are lesser known bad guys, but you don’t want to completely count these guys out from making their impacts.
– The Miz: Sinestro- These two are bad guys with good guy tendencies. At any time either of these two could do something you absolutely hate, but then turn around and do something that puts a smirk on your face.

The Story: Pretty simple story here. Teddy Long is the general manager of WWE’s Friday night show and Johnny (John) Laurinitas is the executive vice president of talent relations and interim general manager of WWE’s Monday night show. They each of them wants to have control of both shows. So they make teams of 6 and pit them against to each other for complete control of both shows.

Things to note: Teddy Long is the small bald black guy with glasses likely wearing a suit, and John Laurinitas is the guy who looks like Marty Funkhouser from Curb Your Enthusiasm or the surrogate from Arrested Development, and he sounds like hes got strep throat.

Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan: Thor v. Animal Man

The Comparison: Sheamus is a mountain of a man, and is not afraid to throw down with anyone, sounds plenty like Thor to me. Both Sheamus and Thor are not native born Americans, but through their affinity for fighting and their quirky charm have captured the hearts of those in the US of A. Both Daniel Bryan and Animal Man have found success in their respective fields despite not fitting the traditional mold. Bryan is a small, technical wrestler in a land of giants, where Animal Man hangs with the best of them through his ability to channel the powers of animals rather than being an alien or being infected in someway by something radioactive or nuclear. Animal Man and Bryan also have a special place in their hearts for animals and refrain from eating meat.

The Story: In January of every year the WWE has their Royal Rumble match, where 30+ wrestlers need to throw one another out of the ring. The last man standing in the ring wins a shot at the championship belt of their choosing at Wrestlemania. Sheamus won the match this January and has chosen to take on the reining World Heavyweight Champ, Daniel Bryan.

Things to note: Bryan is a smaller guy with a BIG beard and comes to the ring accompanied by his girlfriend AJ. Sheamus is the almost offensively pale redhead who is made of muscle.

Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk: Daredevil vs. Ironfist

The Comparison: Jericho and Punk are two of the best technical wrestlers on the planet. Daredevil and Ironfist are two of the greatest martial artists in the Marvel Universe. When Daredevil could no longer protect Hells Kitchen he enlisted Ironfist to take his mask and protect his turf as Daredevil. When Jericho left the WWE for quite some time CM Punk stepped up and became the champion of the WWE and performed spectacularly.

The Story: When Jericho came back to the WWE he was quite upset that CM Punk had dubbed himself as the best wrestler in the world. Both being two of the most talented wrestlers to set foot into a ring they fought over the distinction to be called the best. In order to get an advantage Jericho did some research and unearth the fact that Punk’s family has a history of alcohol and drug abuse despite the fact that Punk himself is straightedge and refrains from the type of vices that his family is said to be a part of.

Things to note: CM Punk has the slicked back black hair, tattoos all over his arms and chest, and has a pierced lip. Chris Jericho, who also goes by Y2J, is tattoo-less and comes to the ring in a jacket adorned with lights, with his arms outstretched to either side.

Undertaker vs. HHH (with Special Guest Referee Shawn Michaels): Captain America vs. Iron Man along with Spiderman.

The Comparison: Undertaker has been a cornerstone in the wrestling industry for as long as I can remember. Captain America has done the same for comics. Both generally fight for the most pure of reasons. HHH and Iron Man are both ego-maniacs with a ton of money and control of huge and powerful companies in their universes. I drew from the Civil War arc from a few year back, which puts Spiderman between two men who he admires and cannot choose who to stand behind. Shawn Michaels has a history with both Undertaker (his fiercest and and most respected rival) and HHH (his best friend). The audience needs to find out whose side he is on.

The Story: Undertaker has never lost at Wrestlemania holding a record of 20-0. Three years ago at Wrestlemania, the Undertaker defeated Shawn Michaels, in one of the greatest matches of all time. Two years ago at Wrestlemania, the Undertaker again defeated Shawn Michaels in a match that forced Michaels to retire. Last year at Wrestlemania, HHH came closest than any man has ever come to defeating Undertaker at Wrestlemania and ending the winning streak. HHH says he needs to beat the Undertaker to prove he is great, but it has been hinted that HHH ACTUALLY needs to beat the Undertaker to prove he is better than his best friend and guest referee, Shawn Michaels.

Things to note: Undertaker is the scary looking dead guy, lots of tattoos, wearing lots of black. HHH is the guy with a goatee and looks like he was probably on steroids not too long ago. Shawn Michaels is the referee he is the smallest of the three.

The Rock vs. John Cena: Batman (Bruce Wayne) vs. Batman (Dick Grayson)

The Comparison/Story: Now remember what I said in the first comparison. Yeah…this is what I was talking about. I’m sure most people would expect this to be Batman vs. Superman, the two most well known guys going at it. But I’ve decided to borrow from the arc where *SPOILER* Bruce Wayne dies and Dick Grayson takes up the cowl as the new Batman. The Rock was THE man in the pro wrestling world, he accomplished everything you could in pro wrestling and left to take his shot at Hollywood. Since the Rock left John Cena has taken the ball and run with it as the number one guy in pro wrestling today. Although his style and method is different from his predecessor he has found great success despite growing pains. Sound familiar? However the old guard is back to reclaim his spot on top of the heap as the greatest of all time. The only difference is that the young gun isn’t going to step aside as easily as Grayson did.

Things to note: The Rock is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, star of films such as The Tooth Fairy and Walking Tall. John Cena is the awkwardly muscly guy who wears sneakers and shorts to wrestle. He’ll also come to the ring wearing a shirt that matches his hat that matches his wristbands.

I hope this helps as a guide for Wrestlemania. Enjoy the show!