Wrestlemania is an annual event in wrestling industry that was created by WWE owner Vince McMahon in 1985. Since the first this event has become a pop culture phenomenon and has made stars out of wrestlers such as Hulk Hogan, Roddy Pipper, Shawn Michaels, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and John Cena. Having attended two in my hometown of Houston, I can say that these events are a sight to behold and it’s something that any fan or even casual fan of wrestling should partake in an event at least once. This time, Wrestlemania 30 is taking place in New Orleans, Louisiana, which is only about five to six hours from my hometown and I decided to go since I don’t have to board a plane.
April 4, 2013 – I wake up at 8AM and realize that this is the day I leave for New
Orleans. I have been looking forward to this day since November when I purchased tickets for me and my two friends Cliff and Aldric. Before I leave, I decide to redeem coins that have been building up in my Tootsie Roll container and sell back some DVDs that are just gathering dust on my shelf due to not being watched. I get 116.00 from my coins and 115.00 for my DVDs due to selling back many wrestling DVDs because I now have the WWE Network at my beck and call. I then make a stop to a nearby AMC to catch Captain America: Winter Soldier, which turns out to be a major step forward for Marvel with huge ramifications due to what happens with S.H.E.I.L.D. I get back home to pack and make sure that I have the tickets because forgetting them would cause some major problems and I’m not missing this for the world because I also paid a nice sum of money for the Hall of Fame, Axxess, and the main show. I go to pick up my friend Aldric, who has lost an impressive 150 lbs. He is even more excited than I am since this is his first Wrestlemania and he's been looking forward to going since he was a kid. We stop off to get gas and are on
our way. We stop at a gas station in Baton Rouge and notice that things are very different than in Houston. 1) Women of all ages are looking at us as if they've seen the end all be all of men; 2) Liquor is being sold next to the beer. I'm talking Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, and Crown Royal. As we leave, we get a call from our good friend Joe, who wishes he could be traveling with us, but an unforeseen illness stopped him and he has to watch from the sidelines. He asks us to get him a shirt or program so he can at least share in some of the fun we will most likely have. Cliff calls and asks us how much longer we will be and I tell him that we're about 37 miles away. Once we get to the hotel, Cliff greets us in an excited, animated manner as he's ready for Wrestlemania also with this being his second one. Since Aldric and I are hungry, we decide to get something to eat at Taco Bell and talk over the plan for tomorrow's fan Axxess, which is a haven for fans looking to meet their favorite wrestlers, buy merchandise, and get a look at NXT rookies. After eating, we come back to our Motel 6 room and fall asleep so we can make our 8AM call for Axxess.
April 5, 2014 - We all wake up later than what we wanted and so we take
showers, get dressed, and eat something that resembles breakfast. Cliff hightails it down to the New Orleans convention center where we find that parking is hard to find. We find one lot that will let us park there and that is across the street from the convention center, but the attendant wants to take Cliff's keys. We think about it for a second and decide to hand them over until Cliff starts to doubt his credibility. Cliff decides not give over his keys and manages to find a nice spot, by a hotel just a brisk walk from the convention center and make our way in. Several posters are hung all over the building commemorating the 30th Wrestlemania. We walk into main room and there is everything a wrestling fan will need to completely go crazy. A huge red carpet adorns the floor and we walk through a sort of hall where pictures of different wrestlers adorn the sides of the walls. I feel like I'm walking down the ramp of RAW, Smackdown, or even
Wrestlemania itself as theme music plays. As we exit we see merchandise stands, people lining up for pictures and autographs, and a ring set up for the NXT rookies to strut their stuff in front of those who haven't yet invested in the WWE Network. Charlotte, Ric Flair's daughter, is in the ring displaying more charisma than most Divas. We walk to the right where there are two huge lines, one for NXT rookies and the other featuring The Godfather and Good 'Ol Jim Ross. We are told that we had to get VIP tickets if we want to get autographs and pictures and that they'd be 100.00. We all think this is a rip off and go back towards the ring. It's Bo Dallas, brother of the creepy yet entertaining Bray Wyatt and son of Mike Rotundo, aka Irwin R. Schyster. He is up against rising star Sami Zayn, El Generico in ROH. The match is great and should be on tv as both men give it there all in an untelevised match that features some great chain wrestling. We
don't stick around to see who wins as we remember that we have to get our friend Joe a souvenir. We go to the superstore and it's a wrestling fan's dream with shirts from every superstar on the main roster including Wrestlemania 30 commemorative shirts, glasses, stuffed animals, posters, and anything else that could be sold to make a dollar. We get our friend Joe a Wrestlemania 30 shirt and walk around some more. My friend Aldric and I see a casting call for an upcoming WWE movie and we decide to try out since I like acting. We do our little performance and I feel pretty good about it. Hopefully, we get called back as I wouldn't mind putting an appearance in a WWE film on my acting resume. As we are leaving, we see a man who looks exactly like Ric Flair. It's because it was Ric Flair!!! The Nature Boy walked right past me. I get out my camera and snap a quick photo as he walks by. Several people try to get a picture, but he is waving people off. A security guard tries to tell us that it isn't Ric Flair, but we fans know better. We go downtown and get something to eat and go back to our room to rest and get ready for The Hall of Fame. We decide to take naps to avoid falling asleep and wake up around 6:15PM.
We find a parking spot not too far from the New Orleans Arena. As we are about to walk up to the arena, I realize that I forget my digital camera and race back to the car to get it while Cliff and Aldric get their seats. As I raced back and get to my seat, Lita, who is looking very beautiful, is on stage giving her speech about how she first got into the wrestling business by calling up a travel agent and telling her that she wanted to go to Mexico and to the city where Lucha Libre wrestling was huge. She also mentioned that made her debut in ECW as Angelica during Heatwave 99. I could have sworn it was in 1997. Next up was Jake "The Snake" Roberts" who was being inducted by Diamond Dallas Page. He might as well have been the headliner as he received a great standing ovation. His voice sounded as though he was losing it or was sick, but that didn't make his speech any less powerful or moving. He talked about his love for the business and how there's nothing like being a wrestler. He also said that he was ashamed for wasting his god given talent and how he wishes he could have been a better father to his kids. I'm just glad that he's still here and has found some peace in his life after years of turmoil. Before the next inductee is out, we get a pointless
and meaningless bit with Hornswoggle and Torito, Los Matadores' mascot, that ends up with Jerry Lawler being gored by Torito in his nether regions. Pointless. The fans boo from beginning to end on this. Mr. T, who is inducted by fellow Hall of Famer "Mean" Gene Okerlund, is up and he goes into a grateful, but overly long speech about his mother. As he goes on about his mother, many people begin to chant "What?" Fans begin getting restless and start talking amongst themselves when Kane comes out to tell Mr. T his time is up to the delight of almost everyone. Next up is Paul Bearer, the manager of The Undertaker, Kane, Mankind, and Vader. Inducting him is his "son" Kane. Kane talks about how traveling on the road was very easy because Paul would make the travel arrangements and wouldn't forget to remind him who is daddy was. Funny stuff coming from someone who has made a career out of scaring people. After his two sons wish
him off, the Undertaker comes and pays his respects. Awesome, awesome stuff and something that I thought would never happen. Another highly anticipated inductee is Razor Ramon being inducted by Kevin Nash whose hair has really grayed over the years and he even makes a joke about it. He gives a heartfelt speech about how he's acquired four brothers in addition to his biological one and that he's very emotional about inducting Razor. Out comes The Bad Guy who's looking happier and healthier now that he's under DDP's watch. He does his cool, slow walk down to the ring, flicks his toothpick at the camera, hugs Nash, and then begins his speech with two familiar words, "Hey Yo." Since Mr. T took up so much time with his speech, Razor gives a short, but sweet speech that is punctuated by some lovely parting words, "Bad times don't last, but bad guys do!" He receives a much deserved standing ovation and out come the Kliq consisting of Shawn Micheals, Kevin Nash, Triple H, and Sean "Xpac" and "1-2-3 Kid" Waltman. Before Jerry Lawler can introduce the next person to be inducted, the vastly underrated and misused Wade Barrett comes out to a loud ovation to let the superstars know that this is the closest they'll get to the WWE Hall of Fame. Next up is Carlos Colon, father of Carlito, Primo and Epico.
Carlito gets some loud chants as he hasn't been seen on WWE television in quite some time, but it's nice to see him back. Most people don't even know who Carlos Colon is because he made his biggest contribution in Puerto Rico, but faced a who's who of opponents such as Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Abdullah The Butcher, and many others. Finally, we get to this year's headliner, The Ultimate Warrior. Linda McMahon is inducting him. She tells a story of how close they became and how she saw that he wasn't always the easiest guy to get along with or talk to. Warrior is finally back in the WWE where he belongs! He looks great and he's smiling as he's accompanied by his two daughters. This is so surreal and I can't believe I'm here to witness this. He starts off by giving props to his wife, who's a classic beauty, and his mother. He is grateful, humble, and a little self-serving, but it's Warrior and he deserves this moment. He is especially vulnerable when he talks about the ill-advised DVD "The Self Destruction Of The Ultimate Warrior" and how it hurt and pissed him off. I agree as I thought it was very one sided and made him look like an asshole. He thanks all of the fans and the Hall of Fame is over.
Now, it is time to explore Bourbon Street. As we get closer, we notice that the crowds become larger and larger and partying is getting wilder. Aldric is looking to take any willing woman he finds attractive back to the room, but Cliff and I just want to take in the sights. We decide to eat at a place called Daisy Duke's, a 24-hour restaurant and bar. Before we sit down, Cliff notices Mark Henry sitting at the only available table in the joint, so we sit down and notice that two police officers and a woman are sitting at the table near him. At the front, Damien Sandow walks in trying to look low key in blue jeans, a baseball cap, and dark blue sweater. He picks up his food and quickly exits. As we are eating our meal, Jerry "The King" Lawler walks in with some security and gets a booth. As we leave, we give a thumbs up to Mark Henry, who acknowledges us, and say hi to Jerry Lawler. As we are walking out, I see Sami Zayn from NXT and get a picture with him. We are now on Bourbon Street and it's just like people said it would be: lots of people and never closing. Aldric and Cliff go into a bar to get a hand grenade and out comes former wrestler Al Snow with one of his own. We duck into a club where Aldric has found two unattractive, but seemingly willing girls to go back to the hotel with him. We walk and talk with them until we get to the gay district and decide to turn around and go back to the club where he found them. Aldric is in his element as he's talking to every woman he sees and is sure that he will score. I am bored out of my damn mind as I hate clubs. Aldric says that he has found a prime target in a cute waitress, but she makes up an excuse about having work. I knew it would happen, but oh well.
April 6, 2014 - Today is the big day and we start off with something to eat at the
nearby Ihop where we meet two other wrestling fans who went to Wrestlecon yesterday and met Bret Hart, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, X-Pac, and other. They told me that it was cheaper than WWE Axxess with tickets costing only 25.00 to get in. This made me change my plan for 2015 when Wrestlemania comes to Dallas. We head to the arena and Wrestlemania pandemonium is in full swing. People are chanting "Yes!" and many fans are wearing some type of WWE merchandise representing their favorite wrestlers. We make it inside and Cliff is pumped screaming, "I made it Wrestlemania!!" I'm pumped too as I can't wait to for what the night has in store. We make our way to our seats and the Wrestlemania stage setup looks gorgeous. It's so surreal to see this in person and know that I'll most likely remember it for the rest of my life. As I'm approaching my seat, I see a pretty blonde girl from Mississippi, who reminds me of Kristen Bell, is sitting next to it. Boy, am I glad that I switched the tickets around. She was afraid that since Cliff was wearing a Peyton Manning Broncos jersey that she would have to hear him talking about the Broncos or Petyon Manning all night. He assured her that he wouldn't and that he's just a fan. She then pointed out that her boyfriend was a fan of him also. Damnit! Oh well. She and I begin talking about wrestling and it's clear that she's a fan because she talks about the Stu Hart Dungeon, her hatred of John Cena, and the fact that she loves technical wrestlers. She is a
dream come true and it's refreshing to hear a girl's opinion on wrestling. The pre-show starts with a four team match for the tag team titles. All teams fight hard, but I knew it was going to be down to the Usos and The Real Americans. There is a nice back and forth, but Usos get the victory and Cesaro and Swagger break up following their defeat. The show starts and Aldric is covering his ears like a five-year-old at the sound of the pyro, which is actually not that loud. Hulk Hogan comes out to start the show and nearly gets booed out of the building for calling the Superdome the Silverdome. Out comes Stone Cold and then The Rock who are adding to this opening and making it well worth the price of admission. They all celebrate in the ring with beers to end the opening segment. The matches are kind of a blur, but I'll do my best to recap them. The opening match between Daniel Bryan and Triple H was probably the match of the night with so much drama surrounding the match and the psychology that both men showed. Dbry gets the victory and a shot at the title later on, but Triple H injures him after the match. The six-man tag match between The Shield and Kane and the New Age Outlaws was very short with the The Shield dominating. I guess this is the swan song for the New Age Outlaws. The Andre The Giant Battle Royale Memorial match was a good one as we saw Kofi Kingston once again prove that he excels at great stunts as we is thrown out of the ring, but manages to keep his feet from hitting the ground. Cesaro wins by showing his incredible strength and throwing the Big Show out. John Cena and
Bray Wyatt battle next and it is a good match and shows that Bray Wyatt is a future star in this business and I hope the mistake isn't made to turn him into a full fledged babyface any time soon. Cena wins, which I expected because he is still number one, after he hits an Attitude Adjustment for the second time. I would have liked to see Wyatt win, but I don't think this loss will damage him. Brock Lesnar and Undertaker is next and everyone is anticipating this match. The Undertake is looking more and more broken as the years have passed and I'm wondering if this will indeed be his last match. He has nothing more to prove and nothing more to do (except wrestle Sting, but that should have happened years ago). The match has people on the edge of their seats, even though Undertaker will somehow pull out a win. It's a back and forth match, but after the Undertaker takes his third F-5 from Lesnar, the ref counts 1-2-...3!!! 21-1!! What?! The Streak is broken!! Many fans are silent and like the rest of us, Paul Heyman can't even believe it. This is history I am witnessing live. I can't believe that his streak won't live on forever, but I guess all good things come to an end. Many fans are still shocked and stunned and many start to leave for the exits with a few in our section chanting "Bullshit!" The Undertaker is still down and takes a long time to get back up. Once he does, he's met with thunderous applause. The next match
after, which is a Divas match, is a blur because fans are so emotionally drained from the Lesnar/Undertaker match. The last match of the night is Daniel Bryan vs. Batista vs. Randy Orton. Fans are behind "Goat Face" as the match starts off with Orton targeting Bryan's arm. He gains the advantage and begins using his great kicks to weaken both Batista and Randy Orton. In the bump of the night, Batista and Orton perform a double RKO on Bryan on the outside that prompts the call for a stretcher to take Bryan to the back, but like Mick Foley after his infamous fall at the King of The Ring 1998, he unwraps himself and continues the match winning the title after making Batista submit to the Yes Lock. Bryan wins and the crowd celebrates!!!! Finally, Bryan gets his due!! We leave to walk back to the car when we see Bryan Christopher, aka Grand Master Sexay and Jerry Lawler's son just standing around. I talk to him for a while and get a picture with him and wish him well with his wrestling promotion. We go Waffle House to eat and talk about the event with other restaurant patrons. We agree that it was funny that Brock ended Undertaker's streak, but that it was also possibly his last match, so now was the time if it was ever going to be broken. We go back to the hotel as we are tired from the weekend. We agree that we will be attending Wrestlemania again in Dallas in 2016. I can't wait.