Wrestlemania XXXI Preview – Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

The second annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (ATGMBR) will take place on the Wrestlemania Pre-Show, but that doesn’t change the fact that it should be a very enjoyable match. Last year’s winner — Cesaro — finds himself on the pre-show as well, as he defends the Tag Team Championships with Tyson Kidd.

When sorting through the names for this battle royal, I can really only make a case for five men to emerge victorious. The first is Ryback, who has seemed primed for a meaningful victory for some time now. Da Big Guy has been a focal point of the ATGMBR build, and a win here could signify a meaningful push into the upper portion of the card.

While he hasn’t been officially announced for the match, WWE has been airing vignettes promoting the return of Sheamus for weeks on end. With no sight of Sheamus yet, it’s a pretty safe bet that he’ll show up here. (I’ve heard speculation that he’ll be a surprise entrance in the Intercontinental Championship ladder match, but that would make zero sense in kayfabe.) If WWE wants to attach instant momentum to a returning Sheamus, winning the ATGMBR is a realistic possibility. Fella.

WWE seems to regard Big Show as a much more valuable commodity than he really is, both in real life and in kayfabe. Show hasn’t gotten his “random push to the top of the card of the year” yet, so maybe this is his time. Jokes aside, WWE does seem fairly serious about having fans perceive Show as a legitimate threat, and his physicality will be a challenge for the other competitors.

Speaking of physicality, it’s tough to spill Mark Henry over the top rope as well. Henry recently made his return to WWE TV, and while he first appeared simply to put over Roman Reigns, Henry has picked up a couple wins that put him in the hunt for the ATGMBR. As far as hoss-fight wrestlers go, I find Henry to be much more versatile — both in the ring and on the mic — than Big Show. If WWE wants one of these massive men to win, the odds are still likely on Show’s side, but don’t rule out Henry.

The final option is Damien Mizdow. Mizdow has gotten himself over with the fans, and his storyline split from The Miz seems nearly certain to come to a head in this match. Imagine a final two of Miz and Mizdow, with Mizdow spilling Miz over the top rope. Instead of Miz’s theme, Damien Sandow’s “Hallelujah” theme plays, and the Intellectual Savior of the Masses is back. Hey, a guy can dream.