10 awesome things about WrestleMania XXX

By Ardo Miravalles

Posted at Apr 20 2014 07:09 PM | Updated as of Apr 22 2014 04:39 PM

WrestleMania is professional wrestling’s biggest spectacle, the sports entertainment equivalent of the Superbowl and the Oscars combined.

The recent WrestleMania XXX was not just a Sunday affair for the 75,000 plus who descended upon the city of New Orleans. On its 30th run, WrestleMania has become almost a week-long celebration of everything professional wrestling and, to a certain extent, pop culture.

I was one of the 75,000 who got to live out a childhood dream in New Orleans. For the benefit of my fellow WrestleManiacs (and even those who have not been initiated into the world of WrestleMania), I present a Top 10 List of priceless information and insights from and about the event.

Clearly, these were collated during my more sober moments after the weekend.

1. The makings of WrestleMania

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), formerly known as World Wrestling Federation (WWF), is primarily known as the premier and global promoter of professional wrestling. More importantly, it is a billion dollar business whose key competencies include salesmanship and marketing.

Nowhere are these competencies applied more evidently than during the preparation of a WrestleMania event. These events are scheduled during the last week of March or first week of April, but the venue is secured well over a year (actually, 16 months) in advance and travel packages are made available as early as August! To top it off, WWE maintains a global presence, offering these packages to those residing outside the United States via their website.

WWE WISDOM: WWE stock is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

2. The travel packages

A basic travel package includes tickets to all events (namely WrestleMania Axxess, Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, WrestleMania and WWE Raw) plus hotel accommodations and even restaurants gift cards, presented in a specially crafted travel kit. I purchased a travel package from the Philippines and they FedExed everything to me, free of charge!)

WWE WISDOM: Super VIP packages include the actual specially designed ringside chair (yes, the chair you sit on during the event), which you can bring home at the end of the night. Just refrain from living out any wrestling fantasies and resist the urge to smash things with the chair.

3. WrestleMania Axxess

What used to be a one-day meet-and-greet event has exploded into a nearly week-long interactive festival. This year’s WrestleMania Axxess was held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and ran from April 3-6. There, fans were provided various opportunities to interact with their favorite WWE superstars.

 Beyond the usual autograph signings and photo shoots, there were also exhibits to view and contests to join, such as The Undertaker’s Graveyard, 30 Years of WrestleMania Memorabilia, and Money in the Bank Photo Shoot. There was even an actual wrestling ring inside the convention center, where exhibition wrestling matches were held.

WWE WISDOM: The Undertaker’s Graveyard showcased the wrestler’s 21 straight victories in WrestleMania, a legendary achievement in wrestling lore.

4. The Superstore

A quarter of WWE’s business is generated by merchandise sales, so it’s only natural to find a WrestleMania Superstore inside the convention center. If there’s anything WWE-related you’ve been itching to get, whether for a collection or as a gift, chances are you will find it in the largest selection of WrestleMania gear under one roof.

This is the closest thing you will see to an actual brick-and-mortar version of the online store. They even sell replica championship title belts, similar to those worn by the current title holders.

WWE WISDOM: The replica belts weigh an astounding 10 lbs. and cost an equally astounding $300 or more.

5. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony

Pro wrestling, as predetermined as it may be, takes its history seriously. Once a year, it recognizes individuals whose contributions have led to the continued rise and success of the business. The setting is quite formal as the WWE superstars are dressed in suits, a far cry from the trunks you see them wear on television.

 For the wrestling fan, this is a night of nostalgia as they applaud the retired wrestlers whose career paths they have devotedly followed. It is amazing to hear the inductees speak out of character and share behind-the-scenes anecdotes. It is also quite heart-warming to see these grown men and women, who portray athletic and tough characters on-screen, shed tears of joy and nostalgia during this ceremony.

This year’s inductees included fan favorites The Ultimate Warrior, Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Razor Ramon.

WWE WISDOM: There is actually a celebrity wing at the Hall of Fame. This year, the inductee was Mr. T, who had a most interesting speech that revolved around his mother.

6. The most rabid fans in the world

Pro wrestling fans are some of the most passionate and outrageous in the world, almost similar to fans of celebrities and sports teams. As many as 40 countries (including the Philippines) were represented by their fans during WrestleMania weekend. Similar to cosplayers, many fans came dressed as their favorite WWE superstars.

 WWE WISDOM: The fans would continue chanting their favorite catchphrases even after the show, shouting and singing these lines while walking from the venues all the way to Bourbon Street. This year’s most popular chants included the “Yes” cheer of Daniel Bryan, “The Real Americans” entrance theme of Cesaro, and the "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands” chorus whispered by Bray Wyatt.

7. The video packages

The WWE produces some of the best video packages in the entertainment business. A cross between a sports documentary and a movie trailer, video packages are aired before every match, giving the viewer a summary of events leading to the succeeding match. This is one of the tools the WWE uses to build up excitement and anticipation for its matches.

 WWE WISDOM: WWE has become so good at making video packages they have ventured into full-length filmmaking through their division WWE Studios. During WrestleMania weekend, there was heavy advertising and promotions for the WWE co-produced movie “Oculus.”

8. The special ring entrances

Speaking of building up excitement and anticipation, nothing matches the preparation and presentation of WWE’s ring entrances. And because WrestleMania is the company’s premier entertainment extravaganza, WWE pulls no punches in delivering memorable ring entrances for some of its top-billed superstars.

This year’s best ring entrances included Triple H’s Conan the Barbarian-inspired entrance, The Wyatt Family’s entrance to Mark Crozer’s live performance of “Live in Fear," and Randy Orton’s entrance to Rev Theory’s live performance of “Voices."

WWE WISDOM: This is the second time in WrestleMania history that Triple H has come out to the ring on a throne dressed as a Conan the Barbarian-type king; he first used the King of Kings entrance gimmick in WrestleMania 22.

9. The new wrestling season

The fun does not end after WrestleMania; the fallout from the events of Sunday night are either wrapped up or further explored the following evening during WWE Raw.

Raw is a three-hour television program that airs live on Monday evenings. It is touted by WWE as the longest running weekly episodic television program. The episode of Raw after WrestleMania is one of the most anticipated because it features explanations of how some storylines were resolved and provides glimpses on how the upcoming wrestling season might unfold. Thus far, the spotlight seems to be on Bo Dallas, Adam Rose and Paige.

WWE WISDOM: The wrestling season can be divided into 12 months as the WWE calendar has 12 major events or pay-per-views, including its classic “big four” events: WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series and Royal Rumble.

10. The city of New Orleans

Tennessee Williams famously quipped “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.”

A look-back on WrestleMania XXX would not be complete without acknowledging the beauty of the city. To say that The Big Easy is an excellent venue for WrestleMania would be a big understatement, as the city boasts of the largest fixed domed structure in the world, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Plus, all the venues are of comfortable walking distance to Bourbon Street, which serves as the perfect setting for unabashed post-wrestling revelry.

WWE WISDOM: WWE rotates the host cities for WrestleMania, but all 30 have been in North America: 28 in the United States, and 2 in Canada (both in Toronto).

*****

All in all, WrestleMania weekend was truly an amazing experience, both for long-time fans and newly-initiated viewers. It is one of those few unique experiences where even if the audience thinks it already knows what to expect, it still gets surprised and entertained beyond belief and amazement.