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WrestleMania 31 preview: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns

The champion, Brock Lesnar, vs. the challenger, Roman Reigns, with everything at stake. A monster booked as king of the promotion facing a young lion many believed was in line to overthrow him. Recent events could change everything.

The match

Brock Lesnar puts the WWE world heavyweight championship on the line against Roman Reigns in the main event of tonight's (Sun., Mar. 29, 2015) WrestleMania 31 pay-per-view (PPV) from Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

The players

Brock Lesnar: The reigning, defending WWE world heavyweight champion. The conqueror of Undertaker's WrestleMania streak. The guy who suplexed John Cena out of the main event. "Stand around looking tough" expert.

Roman Reigns: The winner of the 2015 Royal Rumble. Former leader of The Shield, except not really. Polarizing figure. Adorable dad. Dude with long, always wet hair.

The story

Here's a great video from WWE to explain the story they've told leading into this match:

That's all well and good but the story behind it is what's really intriguing here.

For two months, from the Royal Rumble to just a number of days ago, WWE had hoped but was unsure of whether or not Lesnar would sign a new contract to remain with the company. He admitted in an interview with ESPN announcing his decision that he had been hard training for a number of months with the idea that he might skip town to head back to the UFC to resume the MMA career he abandoned years ago.

That meant Vince McMahon had to book his television with the idea in mind that Reigns, a hot young star who has everything the WWE boss looks for in a top guy, would take over as the new face of the promotion at WrestleMania.

It didn't go well.

There are a number of reasons for that, ranging from the misguided decision to bring Daniel Bryan back early to appear in the Royal Rumble, dooming Reigns to thunderous boos when he eventually won said match. In many ways, he still hasn't quite recovered from that night, one that featured a cameo from The Rock for a failed endorsement.

A win over Bryan at Fastlane seemed to dampen the fighting resolve of the most vocal portion of the WWE audience but even just days out from his big night, fans have made clear he has not been fully accepted, at least not in the role they all assume he's being pushed into.

Then, Lesnar went on ESPN and announced that his signed a new three-year contract to stay with WWE.

That changed everything.

Now, McMahon can book Brock to retain, if he so chooses, while aborting what appears to be a failed push to make Reigns the next big thing. Or he could stick to his guns and run a proper feud between the two, perhaps executing a double turn, one that could include Paul Heyman switching sides to help make up for some of Reigns' shortcomings.

Anything could happen now, up to and including Seth Rollins cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase he's been holding onto since last June.

Really, that's what makes this match appealing. There is no longer any way to be sure just what the hell is going to happen.

We'll find out tonight!

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