WrestleMania XXX: skysports.com looks at the Andre the Giant Battle Royal contenders
Big Show, Big E and Rey Mysterio among the frontrunners
Last Updated: 03/04/14 5:18pm
Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan grapple at WrestleMania III
WrestleMania will pay homage to a legend this weekend.
At the pay-per-view's landmark 30th showing, a 30-man Battle Royal will be contested with the winner being handed a trophy in the shape of one of the greatest Superstars of all time, Andre the Giant.
The big man, who stood 7ft 4in tall and weighed in at a whopping 520lb, had myriad Show of Shows moments himself, appearing at each of the first seven WrestleManias prior to his death in April 1993.
The iconic images of Hulk Hogan - the guest host of this year's Showcase of the Immortals - body-slamming and beating The Eighth Wonder of the World at WrestleMania III in front of over 93,000 fans at Michigan's Pontiac Silverdome thrust the Frenchman into the public domain.
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But Andre was 'Mania's main man before that, besting another gargantuan grappler, Big John Studd, in a Body Slam Challenge at the maiden staging of the event, and then emerging victorious from a 20-man WWE v NFL Battle Royal at WrestleMania II.
In a star-laden encounter, the one-time WWF Champion and inaugural inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame overcame wrestling luminaries like Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, and The Iron Sheik and gridiron VIPs such as William "The Refrigerator" Perry and Russ Francis, before lastly eliminating Bret Hart.
So it is only fitting that 30 of today's leading wrestling lights will fight it out in New Orleans in a match Andre flourished in, with one of them ultimately collecting an accolade adorned with his name.
There are plenty of contenders to be 'The One' but here are skysports.com's top picks...
The nearest man to Andre the Giant on the current WWE roster, the World's Largest Athlete is the overwhelming favourite to prevail in the Big Easy. Show does not have the greatest record in Battle Royals and has never won the Royal Rumble - he finished second in 2000 and 2004 - but he has eliminated 25 men in his eight Rumble appearances and is likely to send many of his rivals packing on Sunday. The 425-pounder has dominated brawls between the Battle Royal combatants on Raw of late, and it is hard to see who can stop him at WrestleMania.
The reigning Intercontinental Champion is, as his name stipulates, big, but he is also extremely agile and both those attributes helped him rip his belt from Curtis Axel in November and hold onto it ever since, following wins over Damien Sandow, Fandango, Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler. The power-lifter is far from au fait with Battle Royals - and his preparations took a hit on Raw when he was beaten by Alberto Del Rio - but none of his competitors will be relishing his hard-hitting approach in New Orleans.
GOLDUST AND CODY RHODES
The Bizarre One and his dashing sibling have not always seen eye-to-eye, but that all changed at the backend of last year when they beat The Shield's Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns to gain re-employment - and then vanquished the same men to win the WWE Tag Team Titles. The Rhodes Brothers lost those garlands to the New Age Outlaws in January, but their kinship could give them an edge in the Battle Royal - or so you would think. Will Goldust shine? Will Cody come out on top? Will their union spectacularly implode?
If Sunday's Battle Royal comes down to speed and technical acumen, The Show-Off could be the favourite. Ziggler is one of the lithest grapplers around and appears to have rediscovered his mojo after a stuttering 2013 which saw him seize the World Heavyweight Championship via cashing in his Money in the Bank contract, but then suffer a concussion, lose his belt to Alberto Del Rio and struggle to make a massive impact for the rest of the annum. Ziggler claims to be a show stealer but can he be a trophy winner this weekend?
The Biggest Little Man defied his diminutive stature to win the 2006 Royal Rumble and is on the lookout for another WrestleMania moment after plucking the World Heavyweight Championship at the event eight years ago. Mysterio - who recently spoke to skysports.com about Tyson Kidd, fashion and the Showcase of the Immortals - is not as young as he once was, but his high-octane offence, endurance levels, big-night experience and dogged spirit make him a threat. However, will that be enough to quell a rugged Irishman hell-bent on success...
The Celtic Warrior has been on some roll since he returned from a long-term shoulder injury and finished third at the Royal Rumble. Christian, another of Sunday's Battle Royal participants, has been Sheamus' primary target, with the veteran Canadian even getting Brogue Kicked through a drum. The powerhouse beat Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds to win the World Heavyweight Championship at 'Mania 2012 but after being clobbered by The Shield 12 months ago whilst teaming with Randy Orton and Big Show, he is desperate for a Show of Shows victory.
This bloke is always a factor in multi-man melees, and with only 27 spots in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal having been dished out, he could appear three times in Louisiana. Rob Van Dam hasn't been seen in a while, Chris Jericho loves to shock people, and The Ultimate Warrior will be in the area due to his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame on WrestleMania Saturday, so could any of those squared-circle legends step up to the plate? And will Hulk Hogan decide he wants to be more than just a guest host and get his hands dirty? Make sure you find out...
WrestleMania XXX booking details
WrestleMania XXX will be shown on Sky Sports Box Office (channel 743) and Sky Sports HD Box Office (channel 752) at midnight on Sunday, April 6 (Monday morning).
WrestleMania XXX will be repeated on Sky Sports Box Office (channel 743) BUT NOT Sky Sports HD Box Office (channel 752) between 10am on Monday, April 7 and 10pm on Saturday, April 12.
Repeat showings will last for four hours.
The event is priced at £17.95 for UK customers, €24.95 for customers in the Republic of Ireland.
You can order WrestleMania XXX from Friday, March 28 by pressing the Box Office button on your remote. Select 'sports & events' and follow the on-screen instructions.
Viewers can call 08442 410 888 from Friday, March 28 to book WrestleMania XXX. (There may be an additional charge for telephone bookings).
You can also book WrestleMania XXX online from Friday, March 28 by visiting this link: https://my.sky.com/orderboxoffice/
Cable customers should contact their local cable operator.