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A comprehensive guide to WrestleMania 39, WWE’s biggest event of the year

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Will the road to WrestleMania end with Cody Rhodes achieving his dream of winning the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship?

That’s the biggest question heading into World Wrestling Entertainment’s signature event this weekend. Rhodes, aka “the American Nightmare,” will challenge Roman Reigns for the company’s top championship in the main event of WrestleMania 39.

In the storylines, Rhodes has been building toward the match ever since he returned to WWE last April following a yearslong absence. In reality, it’s an opportunity he says he’s been preparing for his entire life.

“I emotionally feel very much like I’m in a zone, and I don’t know if the zone is good or bad. But right now you could throw a pie at my face and I wouldn’t flinch,” Rhodes tells TODAY.com.

WrestleMania 39 will also feature several other championship matches, including Rhea Ripley facing Charlotte Flair for the “Smackdown” Women’s Championship. Read on to learn more about WrestleMania 39, including details on how you can watch the event live.

When is WrestleMania 39?

WrestleMania 39 will take place over the course of two nights: Saturday, April 1, and Sunday, April 2. It will air live on both nights beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

Where will WrestleMania 39 take place?

WrestleMania 39 will be held at SoFi Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers. Though it’s a relatively new stadium, having opened in 2020, it’s already hosted major events such as the Super Bowl in 2022 and college football’s championship game earlier this year.

It’s been a surprisingly long time — nearly 20 years — since WWE has brought WrestleMania to Los Angeles. In 2005, the Staples Center (now known as Crypto.com Arena) hosted WrestleMania 21, an event that featured championship wins by WWE superstars-turned-Hollywood superstars John Cena and Dave Bautista.

How can I watch WrestleMania 39?

WrestleMania 39 will stream live on Peacock beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on both nights. You can find information on subscriptions for Peacock here. (Peacock is owned by TODAY.com’s parent company, NBCUniversal.)

What is the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship match for WrestleMania 39?

Roman Reigns will defend his Undisputed WWE Universal Championship against Cody Rhodes on the second night of WrestleMania 39.

Rhodes has a tall task ahead of him. In recent years Reigns has reeled off one of the most dominant runs of any competitor in WWE history, having held the Universal Championship for nearly 950 days. One reason he’s stayed on top for so long is that he’s surrounded himself with family members — cousins Jimmy and Jey Uso, the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions, and Solo Sikoa — who frequently interfere in his matches. Collectively, they are known as the Bloodline, and with Reigns as its tyrannical leader calling the shots, they have proven to be virtually unstoppable to date.

Cody Rhodes stares down Roman Reigns and the Bloodline
The odds are usually stacked against Reigns’ opponents, thanks to the Bloodline.WWE

Rhodes is the latest superstar (WWE’s term for its talent) to attempt to overcome the Bloodline and take away Reigns’ Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. His journey to this match began at last year’s WrestleMania, when he returned to WWE nearly six years after he was released by the company.

Soon after his reintroduction, Rhodes, 37, declared his mission to become a WWE champion, something his late father, the legendary “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes (who once mentored Reigns), never accomplished. He earned the opportunity to compete for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania 39 by winning a Royal Rumble match in January.

Rhodes has great respect for his opponent, pointing to his “jaw-dropping power and conditioning.”

“My scouting report is: Everything that you want to be good at, great at or elite at, he’s elite level. That’s why I always say he’s the difference between the wrestler and the superstar. If you’re trying to find out, ‘Why do they say “superstar”? They say “superstar.”’ Yep, that’s the difference,” says Rhodes, whose real name is Cody Runnels.

As elite as Reigns may be, there’s still the distinct possibility that one or more members of the Bloodline will come to his aid at some point during this weekend’s match. Rhodes hopes that’s not the case, and not just because it would hurt his chances of becoming champion. His goal is to have a clean 1-on-1 match where the best man wins.

“It’s simply about winning the biggest title in our industry at the biggest event, and in his case not losing that title. I’d love to strip it down, and I’d love it to be that,” he says, while also acknowledging, “I have yet to watch a Roman Reigns match where the Bloodline didn’t show up.”

Rhodes has an ally in Sami Zayn, with whom the Bloodline also has issues (more on that below). Whether Zayn would be willing to help Rhodes during his championship match at WrestleMania 39 should the situation call for it, Rhodes isn’t sure.

“I don’t know if anyone’s coming down to save me. I did for Sami (during recent WWE programming), so perhaps he’s locked that away. But we’ll see,” Rhodes says.

He does know he wants his family sitting in the front row as he headlines a WrestleMania for the first time, including his wife, Brandi Rhodes, and their 1-year-old daughter, Liberty

“I don’t know how many WrestleMania main events we’ll get, and I want them to see it,” he says.

It remains to be seen whether his brother, Dustin Rhodes, who competed in WWE for years under the name Goldust and is currently with rival company All Elite Wrestling (AEW), will attend WrestleMania 39. “If Dustin’s going to be there, I would imagine he wouldn’t be visible (on camera). … And if he’s not there, he’s there, if that makes any sense,” Rhodes says.

Rhodes also would like to have a very special guest in the crowd: 11-year-old Brodie Lee Jr., the son of wrestler Brodie Lee (real name Jon Huber), whose death in 2020 at age 41 shocked the industry. Rhodes calls the younger Lee a “­big part” of his family.

“There’s a unique bond there, and I know he loves what we do. And win, lose or draw, I’d like him to see and feel that moment, about what it means. And when a lot of people can look at what we do and think it’s performative and think it’s entertainment, he’ll see a very real moment,” Rhodes explains.

What are the women’s championship matches for WrestleMania 39?

There are two women’s championship matches: Asuka vs. Bianca Belair for the “Raw” Women’s Championship, and Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair for the “Smackdown” Women’s Championship. The latter is essentially a WrestleMania rematch: In 2020, Ripley lost her NXT Women’s Championship to Flair at WrestleMania 36.

Not that Ripley needs to be reminded of that.

“Charlotte is like my kryptonite, pretty much,” the 26-year-old Australian superstar (real name Demi Bennett) tells TODAY.com before noting other losses to Flair during her career. “I think that leading up to this WrestleMania, it’s sort of like my redemption story in a way. Like, I’m working and I’m striving to take down my archnemesis, pretty much — the one that I can’t defeat.”

Rhea Ripley
Ripley has a score to settle with Flair heading into WrestleMania 39. WWE

It’s an interesting way to look at their feud, considering that Ripley is currently cast as a villain. By her own admission, her character is “mischievous” and likes to break the rules.

“It’s definitely a bit backwards. But at the same time I think that’s what makes it so intriguing,” she says, adding, “Because I go out there and people know that I’m having fun and I’m enjoying every second of what I do, that I get cheered anyway.”

Whether the fans cheer for Ripley or they cheer for Flair at WrestleMania 39, the challenger aims to captivate them with what she predicts will be a “brutal” contest.

“I think we’re going to definitely bring it to each other because we both have so much to lose,” she says. “And I definitely don’t think I could go through another loss. So I’m definitely going to be fighting for my life.”

Ripley and Flair’s WrestleMania match in 2020 took place in an empty venue due to the coronavirus pandemic. This time around, Ripley is excited to face Flair in a football stadium filled with tens of thousands of fans.

“It’s going to give us something to feed our adrenaline and to get us hyped in a different sort of way, because we didn’t have that last time we faced each other,” she says. “We had dead silence. It was just her and me and the referee. And we still brought it to each other, we still went out there and had one of my favorite matches that I’ve ever had. So I can only imagine how insane it’s going to be in front of that many people and how loud the crowd is going to be and how electric everything’s going to feel.”

Much like Rhodes, Ripley was granted her championship opportunity at WrestleMania 39 after winning a Royal Rumble match. And much like Reigns, she’s a member of a faction that has a track record of employing underhanded tactics: the Judgment Day. In particular, she has a close relationship with Dominik Mysterio. Is there a chance he will play a role in her match this weekend?

“You know, I can’t control Dom-Dom sometimes. He’s fiery in his own way, and he wants to protect his Mami. I don’t blame him. I want to protect him too,” Ripley says. (“Dom-Dom,” “Mami”… we told you they have a close relationship.)

“I haven’t decided on whether I want him out there or not,” she continues, “because for me, this is something that I have to do for myself. Going into this match, it means a lot to me and I sort of want to have no excuses for anyone.”

Having said that, she warns, “Dom-Dom’s uncontrollable sometimes. So if he comes running down the ramp, I’m not going to hit him (laughs).”

Similarly, she makes no promises that she won’t get involved when Dominik Mysterio battles his own father, Rey Mysterio, at WrestleMania 39 after tormenting him for months.

“He’s got a lot to prove, just like I do in my match with Charlotte Flair. I’m going to respect whatever his wishes are, whether he wants me out there or not. But if Dom-Dom needs my help, I’m there for him,” she says. “If he looks like he’s struggling or if he gives me that little wink-wink, nudge-nudge, then, you know, I might have to hit Rey Mysterio with something (laughs).”

What are the other matches for WrestleMania 39?

The Bloodline will have a significant presence at WrestleMania 39. In addition to Reigns’ match, the Usos will defend their Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship against Zayn and his longtime on-again, off-again friend Kevin Owens. Zayn has been an integral part of the Bloodline story over the past year, first as an honorary member of the group and now as the biggest thorn in its side. (The Bloodline-Sami Zayn arc is much too layered to get into here, but when Zayn finally had enough of Reigns’ abusive leadership and slammed a chair into his back in January, it resulted in one of the loudest crowd reactions in recent WWE history.)

The first night of WrestleMania 39 will kick off with a returning face: John Cena. He’s known much more as an actor than as a wrestler nowadays, but he still makes appearances with WWE on occasion, and he is set to meet Austin Theory for the United States Championship. Theory is an up-and-comer with WWE who once idolized Cena but hasn’t shown him the proper respect in recent weeks.

Here’s a full rundown of the matches scheduled for WrestleMania 39:

  • Cody Rhodes vs. Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns
  • Rhea Ripley vs. “SmackDown” Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair
  • Asuka vs. “Raw” Women’s Champion Bianca Belair
  • Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens vs. Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions the Usos
  •  John Cena vs. United States Champion Austin Theory
  • Rey Mysterio vs. Dominik Mysterio
  • Seth Rollins vs. Logan Paul
  • Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus vs. Intercontinental Champion Gunther
  • Edge vs. Finn Bálor in a Hell in a Cell match
  • Becky Lynch, Lita and Trish Stratus vs. Damage CTRL (Bayley, Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky)
  • Brock Lesnar vs. Omos
  • Braun Strowman and Ricochet vs. Street Profits vs. Alpha Academy vs. The Viking Raiders
  • Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez vs. Natalya and Shotzi vs. Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler vs. Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville

WWE veteran (and “Miz & Mrs.” reality star) the Miz has been named the host of WrestleMania 39.

Who will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2023 ahead of WrestleMania 39?

Rey Mysterio will headline the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2023, though it would be surprising if Dominik Mysterio were to celebrate the achievement onstage with him. The Great Muta, Stacy Keibler, the late referee Tim White and the late comedian Andy Kaufman (who had a rivalry with wrestler Jerry Lawler in the early 1980s that included a memorable slap on David Letterman’s talk show) will also be honored. 

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March 29, 202205:46

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