World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) made the suprise announcement this morning that WrestleMania — typically the company’s flagship showcase of its top talent — will henceforth feature only the roster of the SmackDown brand.
“We give fans what they want,” said WWE honcho Vince McMahaon at a press conference this morning in Connecticut, “and we think they want only brand-specific pay-per-views.”
Members of the Monday Night Raw roster are upset about the decision, since WrestleMania is traditionally the “grandest stage” with the year’s biggest payday.
Top stars including Brock Lesnar, Braun Strowman, Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns will not perform at WrestleMania, which has sparked an angry backlash among wrestling fans (except for the absence of that last wrestler, which has sparked bemused indifference).
The NXT and Cruiserweight rosters appear at WrestleMania as cloaked Druids.
So far, the card for the newly named SmackaMania includes:
- Fandango vs. Simon Gotch
- Viktor vs. James Ellsworth
- Kurt Hawkins vs. Chad Gable
- Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki Bella vs. Natalya vs. Becky Lynch vs. Jojo
- Shane McMahon vs. The Titantron
America the Beautiful will be sung by Zack Ryder, to the tune of his smash hit Hoeski.