Road to WrestleMania makes a stop in the Big Blue Nation

WWE Superstar Carmella shows her “Money in the Bank” briefcase to the crowd on Sunday, April 1, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Edward Justice | Staff

Kendall Howard

Wrestling season is now here as WWE Smackdown makes one of its last stops in Lexington before WrestleMania.

WrestleMania comes around every year around early April and it’s the biggest time of the year for wrestling fans to see some of their favorite wrestlers go head to head on the grandest stage of them all.

This year is special, however, as the wrestling fans of Lexington get to feel that WrestleMania fever up close and personal with the Road to WrestleMania tour making a stop in Rupp Arena.

As The Rock would say, “you can feel the electricity in the air” as fans came into the arena for the event. Many people sported their favorite wrestler’s shirt and other merchandise as they headed toward their seats with food from the concession stands. With it being Easter Sunday, most people came out with their families and decided to spend their Easter night together watching WWE Superstars such as AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura and Charlotte Flair.

As 7 p.m. approached and the lights dimmed, the main focus was on the titantron, which showed Daniel Bryan getting the crowd psyched for the show.

Many of the matches on this show set up for the last Smackdown before WrestleMania. Smackdown’s build-up was intriguing with marquee matches including AJ Styles going one on one with Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship, returning-from-injury Bryan and Shane McMahon face off against the team of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn and Charlotte Flair taking on Asuka for the Smackdown’s Women Championship.

Local fan Eric Sturgill said that one of his favorite matches going into this year’s WrestleMania is a fan favorite– the Styles and Nakamura match.

“With a lot of the talent they got now, this is going to be a memorable WrestleMania,” Sturgill said.

He said this year is panning out to have one of the most stacked cards in WrestleMania history.

With the current build-up of certain feuds like Brock Lesnar versus Roman Reigns and Asuka versus Charlotte Flair, Sturgill thinks that this year is a sort of flashback to the past.

“It feels like they are bringing a lot of attitude back to previous times and it feels a lot more real,” Sturgill said.

Young fan Joshua Smith was excited about the show as his match of the night was The Usos defending the Tag Team titles against Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin. Before the match started, Smith thought this was going to be a “squash” match, and to his delight it turned out to be his favorite.

“My favorite match going into WrestleMania would have to be Brock Lesnar versus Roman Reigns because I’m a huge Roman Reigns fan and I would love to see him get the Universal title,” Smith said as he discussed what he is looking forward to the most for this year’s WrestleMania.

The show concluded with AJ Styles’ retaining his WWE Championship against Barron Corbin with the Phenomenal Forearm. As Styles bid the crowd adieu before heading into the back, ring announcer Dasha Fuentes thanked everyone for coming out on Easter Sunday and wished everyone a safe ride home.

Many fans left the building enjoying the three hours they spent at the show with their friends and families, talking about what they liked most about the show and how they could not wait for WrestleMania the next Sunday. With the Road to WrestleMania coming to an end and the exit to New Orleans for this year’s event approaching, Lexington fans are definitely ready for this year’s show of shows.