So it’s Wrestlemania week and Rob and I will be heading off to Dallas, Texas for Wrestlemania 32 tomorrow! This will be my third year in the row going to ‘Mania and we’d thought we would share our experiences with you. Rob will cover Wrestlemania 31 (his first) and I will share my experience for Wrestlemania 30 in New Orleans.
So originally this wasn’t going to be my first Wrestlemania. I was planning on going to Wrestlemania 29 in New York/New Jersey but due to a lack of funds, I couldn’t attend. However there was plus side to me me not going. Instead, I went to a viewing party in London and that’s where I first met Rob. Three years later I’m here writing on his website and we’re both flying out for another Wrestlemania and what should be a fun weekend.
Around this time in WWE fans really wanted Daniel Bryan as the Champion and the top star but the company didn’t. At Summerslam 2013, Bryan finally won the WWE Title only for it to be taken away after Randy Orton cashed in Money In The Bank thanks from help from Triple H and thus The Athority was born. For months we were told that Bryan was a B+ player and would never be the top star in the company and it showed in the booking. Much to the fans frustrations who became more and more vocal over the matter.
However in January CM Punk quit the company and everything had to be changed. He was due to be in a big program with Triple H, but that had to be cancelled. Batista had returned the night before and won the Royal Rumble match. What’s famous about that win is how the crowd turned on the match after Bryan didn’t enter at number 30 as everyone expected. Instead Rey Mysterio came out and it was boos for everyone from there on out.
The rejection of WWE booking would continue on television for the following weeks, which eventually caused Vince McMahon to change the plans. After all, the last thing he wants is for an intended babyface to get booed out of the building at the biggest show of the year. In the end the show was changed to feature Daniel Bryan vs Triple H, in which the winner would then go on to the main event to face Randy Orton and Batista in a triple threat match for the WWE Title. Which, I think we can all agree is much better than original plans of Bryan Vs Sheamus again.
I did this trip on my own. A lot of people thought I was insane to do so, but I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity for a second year in a row. I’ve been to plenty of gigs and festivals and gigs on my own in the past and you always meet awesome people along the way. So it’s not really an issue. When I landed in New Orleans I imminently met people wearing wrestling t-shirts looking for their hotels and started chatting with them. Wrestling fans are some of the friendliest people in the world, so while I might have flown out on my own, I was never really alone.
New Orleans has a reputation for a problem with crime, but honestly I felt safer over there than I often do in my own country! I was there for six days and not once did I feel unsafe.
The main attraction of New Orleans is Bourbon Street, my hotel was roughly a minute away so that was pretty cool. If you want to go somewhere where all you want to do is get drunk and party then this is the place to go. I was there in the midst of it and what I loved the most was that you could put on any wrestling shirt on and within 30 seconds some random person will walk up to you and either do the wrestlers catchphrase or just talk to you about wrestling in general. Also went around the French Quarter, Jackson Square. My one regret was that I didn’t do that much ‘tourist stuff’. It was just wrestling and drinking for me that week. Oh well, haha.
I saw quite a few of the wrestlers around. Guys like Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Zack Ryder, Tommy Dreamer, Booker T just hanging out having a good time. Lilian Garcia did karaoke in this one bar I was in!
Jim Ross show
On Thursday night, I attended Jim Ross’ show at The House of Blues. Whenever he’s on the microphone Ross is entertaining as hell and told some fantastic stories. He told a story about when he and a guy named Leroy McGuirk were going to attempt to kill the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase which is pretty funny and interesting. If you watch his Hall of Fame speech from 2007, he tells this exact story. He also brought Jim Cornette on stage to exchange tales.
I was a bit annoyed as he had another show after this which had sold out and Stone Cold Steve Austin was at that one but what can you do. After the show I got the chance to meet JR himself and he signed my Wrestlemania program and I got a picture with him.
ROH Supercard of Honor VIII
This was my first Ring Of Honor live show ever and I was really excited for it. I hadn’t been watching ROH for quite sometime but I knew most of the guys on the roster. Before the show, they had a meet and greet. You had to pay for it but I thought “screw it” so I went. While there I met quite a few of the guys including Jay Lethal, The Briscoes, Adam Cole (Bay Bay), Kevin Steen (Kevin Owens in WWE), Matt Hardy and Maria Kanellis who were all really nice.
I was second row so had a great view of the ring. You can see me on the hard camera several times when it goes to the right. As well as when the wrestlers were just on the outside of our section from another shot.
It was great show featuring a fantastic ladder match as the main event for the ROH World Title with Adam Cole (Bay Bay) and Jay Briscoe. Kevin Steen and Michael Elgin had a great match as well and I got to witness ReDragon live for the first time. After that they became one of my favourite tag teams around. Jay Lethal winning a 2 out of 3 match falls for the TV Title and start his long reign and turning heel was another highlight. If ROH ever comes to your town or when they do Wrestlemania weekend, I urge you to go check them out because you get some fantastic wrestling.
WWE Axxess is pretty much a fan convention for where you can meet the wrestlers, have a look at historical memorabilia and watch some matches. This year they decided to put the spotlight on NXT. A month before this NXT had their first special event on the network and it was a success so with that, they drew a great crowd whilst I was there watching matches in the ring. At that time I really couldn’t be bothered to wait in line forever to meet the wrestlers, my opinion on this changed a year later and it’s now my goal to meet as many of the NXT roster as I can.
WWE Hall Of Fame
The Wrestlemania 30 Hall of Fame was a pretty decent class. The Ultimate Warrior was a long overdue entry and he had a good speech. He did go one a little bit but I’ll let him off because it was great to see him live and was happy he had finally made amends with the company after everything they have been through. Jake Roberts gave a very passionate speech and Scott Hall had a decent one too but was disappointed as he wasn’t given much time.
A highlight for me was Mr. T who for his entire speech talked about his mother and the best moment was obviously when he went off about how you should love your mother. He went over his allotted time as Kane had to get him out of there so he could induct Paul Bearer. That gave us an Undertaker Cameo which was cool.
Oh, and Bad News Barrett stole the show in my opinion telling the roster how most of them will never make it to the Hall of Fame. Hilarious.
I woke up on Sunday pretty hungover to say the least, I was out drinking till 7am and woke up at 10am. Which was not fun. Before Iheaded to the Superdome, I went to the Live Audio Wrestling meet up and met hosts John Pollock and Wai Ting who were great and did a fantastic podcast which is available to listen to
Waiting outside the Superdome and all the people were doing were Yes! chants and as soon as I got to my seat, it hit me that I’m finally at Wrestlemania and I was really happy and excited despite the hangover and suffering.
There was a 4 way tag on the pre show but the only important part was that Cesaro split from Jack Swagger. An hour later he would win the first annual Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal to a huge pop.
Triple H vs Daniel Bryan opened the main show and Hunter had a amazing entrance (which included current Diva champ Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss). This was the best match of the night, told a great story and the right guy won. The crowd were now buzzing with excitement towards the main event as until then everyone was dreading sitting through Orton vs Batista
I thought Cena vs Wyatt sucked and I was not interested one bit. I will say that Bray was popular back then but the wrong guy won as once again they put Superman John Cena over clean. The rest of the feud was boring and pointless as it did nothing to boost Wyatt.
Brock Lesnar Vs The Undertaker
So this match wasn’t really anything special, it was slow and it was rather dull. However, it’s the ending that everyone remembers. As I watch Brock go for a 3rd F5, I couldn’t believe they were going to let Taker kick out yet again. However, he didn’t.
I was watching the match on the big screen and when they cut to Heyman stunned I thought he was just overselling another kick out that I must have missed. Then everyone starts to stand up, shocked as they see the 21-1 sign on the big screen.
I stood up, jaw is wide and in shock but then the screen crashed and went white screen. So I start to assume there’s been a mistake when Justin Roberts to says the words “The winner of this match… BROCK LESNAR!”. The streak was over and all you could hear was silence, which was then followed by bullshit chants. I knew this trip was going to be special but to say you were there the night The Undertaker lost at Wrestlemania, it will be something I will truly never ever forget.
I felt bad for the divas who had to follow that because they got no reaction because everyone was still in shock over what had happened but that would change in the main event.
The Main Event
With the streak ending, we were in danger of this ‘Mania from being a disaster with the wrong guy winning in the main event but luckily that didn’t happen as the fans finally got what they had been waiting for as Daniel Bryan won the WWE title. I thought the match was decent and they did some great spots including the powerbomb into an RKO though the announce table spot on Bryan. Which many believed was the end of him.
When Batista hit a spear on Bryan and Orton hit an RKO on Batista but only got a two count there was a huge sigh of relief from the crowd who thought they were witnessing the end of the match. In the end Bryan made Batista tap out to a huge erruption from the crowd as the bell rang. It was a great sight to see Bryan celebrating in the ring with confetti falling down and pyro going off. Awesome.
Raw After ‘Mania
The Raw after ‘Mania has developed a reputation. The crowd pretty much do whatever they want and I was excited to be apart of it. The show, or crowd, more than delivered and it still ranks as one of my top three live wrestling show I’ve attended. I’m expecting that to change once I go to NXT Takeover Dallas however!
When you watch show back the crowd was amazing and to be apart of that was fantastic and it felt like they were bringing in a new era. We had video packages of Adam Rose and Bo Dallas who were set to debut soon. Rusev and Lana made their official debut squashing Zack Ryder. Paige made her debut winning the Diva’s title over AJ Lee and she got a monster reaction. Bad News Barrett was on the verge of a big push and the crowd loved him too. The Wyatt family were over as hell and the crowd singing ‘he’s got the whole world in his hands’ was brilliant.
The highlight of the show however was Hulk Hogan presenting the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy to Cesaro. He was so over with the crowd! It was during this segment that Cesaro got paired with Paul Heyman. It looked like Cesaro was finally going to get the push he deserved. In the long run we now know that it didn’t really work out, but at the time this was a huge moment!
The Ultimate Warrior came out for a promo it was great to see him out there, however when I landed on Wednesday morning back in the UK I looked on the Wrestling Observer website to find that he had passed away from a heart attack. I was in shock as just a day before he was on Raw and now he was gone! When you look back at the promo it sounded to me like he was talking as if he knew this was coming as he started his promo with “Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe a final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them bleed deeper and something larger than life then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized”. This was a sad thing to happen as he recently just made amends with the company and Vince himself and finally got inducted into the Hall of Fame and it looked like they were going to have a ongoing relationship in regards to merchandise and maybe appearances. Rest in peace Warrior.
Earlier in the night Triple H had challenged Daniel Bryan yo a match for the WWE title and in the main event of Raw, he had Batista and Orton attack Bryan. As Hunter was about to make a cover for the win The Shield came down and attacked all three saving Bryan. The show ended setting up a feud between The Shield and a reunited Evolution, which was awesome.
Like I said earlier, I thought this would have been the beginning of a new era for the WWE but a few weeks later, it went back to normal and the shows became hard to watch again. Which is a God damn shame. However to this day I still consider this the best trip I’ve ever gone on and I urge any wrestling fan who has never been to Wrestlemania to find a way to attend as you will absolutely love it.
That said lets hope this years is a decent one because right now I have no faith right now what so ever.