WrestleMania 35: The Stories and Matches to Know

WrestleMania, the biggest event on the WWE calendar, returns to the Tri-state area on April 7 for the eighth time in its 35-year history. The big show will be at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., where more than 80,000 wrestling fans packed the house in 2013. Wrestlemania gets bigger and better each year (and longer -- this year's 16-match card could take up to seven hours) with its mix of amazing in-ring performances and pop-culture spectacle. The pre-show is scheduled for Sunday evening at 5 p.m. ET; the main card starts at 7 p.m. on WWE Network.

Here is what you need to know to get ready for WrestleMania 35:

Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Becky Lynch, Winner Take All

This is the first WrestleMania in history to be headlined by a women's main event. Rousey is no stranger to the position, having been in the main event of six pay-per-views during her legendary run in UFC.

Rousey, who signed with WWE in January 2018, quickly rocketed to the top of the women's division. She started as a babyface, winning the Raw women's belt from Alexa Bliss and defending it against the likes of Nikki Bella, Mickie James, Nia Jax, Natalya and Sasha Banks. But she turned heel in the build-up to WrestleMania with a series of promos about wrestling being "fake."

Rousey puts her Raw title on the line in a winner-take-all match against Lynch and Flair, the eight-time champion whose Smackdown women's belt is also up for grabs. Lynch -- self-styled as "The Man" -- is wrestling's breakout star of the past year, a charismatic underdog with the full backing of the fans. She put on a classic series of matches with Flair last year then prevailed at Royal Rumble to earn this crack at Rousey, with Flair later being added to the mix. 

Lynch may be the crowd favorite and the betting favorite, but it says here Rousey becomes the unified women's champ.

Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins, Universal Championship

Lesnar is the monster champion who gets flak for being an absentee, a superstar who can't be bothered to appear on Raw to defend his belt. Lesnar dropped the title to Roman Reigns at SummerSlam last August, then regained it after Reigns vacated the belt in October to receive real-life treatment for leukemia. Rollins is the undersized workhorse challenger.

As it was at last year's WrestleMania, speculation is Lesnar is lining up a return to UFC, to fight Daniel Cormier for the heavyweight title. That would point to Lesnar losing the strap -- and a breakthrough for Rollins.

Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Kofi Kingston, WWE Championship

This might be the most anticipated match of the night. Bryan, who was medically cleared to come out of retirement last year despite concussion issues, won Smackdown's top title from AJ Styles as part of a heel turn in November. The longtime fan favorite's persona in recent months -- the "New Daniel Bryan" -- is arrogant and sanctimonious. 

That provides contrast for Kingston's rapid ascent to a title shot, fueled by popular support. The WWE stalwart, a member of the New Day tag team, has wowed as a singles competitor in recent months in gauntlet matches and at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, but his opportunities to take on Bryan for the championship have been thwarted by Vince McMahon -- until now. Kingston never has won a top-tier title, and a victory for KofiMania at WrestleMania would be a feel-good moment.

Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin, Farewell Match

Angle, a gold-medal-winning wrestler at the 1996 Olympics and a multi-time champion during a 20-plus-year career in pro wrestling, has said he will retire after this match. WWE personality Vickie Guerrero told the "Outside the Cage" podcast that the 50-year-old Angle wants to spend more time with his family. Baron Corbin is widely seen as an underwhelming opponent for Angle's last match, leading to rumors of John Cena -- or another surprise star -- replacing Corbin at the last minute. Either way, expect a win for Angle and an emotional sendoff for one of the greatest of all time.

Celebrity appearances

Colin Jost and Michael Che of "Saturday Night Live" are entered into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, as part of a quasi-feud with Braun Strowman. Joan Jett is scheduled to perform her song "Bad Reputation" live during Rousey's ring entrance.

Who else might make a cameo? The recently retired NFL star Rob Gronkowski? It wouldn't be the first time. The maybe-retired UFC star Conor McGregor? Given his recent arrest in Miami and an ongoing sexual assault investigation in Ireland, it seems like a long shot. 

The rest of the card

Triple H vs. Batista, No Holds Barred (Triple H must retire if he loses)

The Miz vs. Shane McMahon, Falls Count Anywhere

Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre

AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton

Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Finn Balor, Intercontinental Championship

Samoa Joe (c) vs. Rey Mysterio, United States Championship  

Bayley and Sasha Banks (c) vs. Beth Phoenix and Natalya vs. The IIconics vs. Nia Jax and Tamina, Women’s Tag Championship

The Usos (c) vs. Ricochet and Aleister Black vs. The Bar vs. Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura, SmackDown Tag Team Championship

The Revival (c) vs. Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins, Raw Tag Team Championship 

Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Tony Nese, Cruiserweight Championship (Kickoff Show)

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (Kickoff Show)

Women’s Battle Royal (Kickoff Show)