As far as WrestleMania attendance goes, I’m pretty much a veteran.  I’ve been to WrestleManias X-8, XIX, and XXIV, so believe me when I tell you that you’ve never experienced anything if you’re a wrestling fan and haven’t experienced WrestleMania live and in person.  But it’s not just the big event that’s an experience.

Read about my WrestleMania history, after the jump!

I started watching wrestling when I was just three years old.  My first wrestling memory is Hulk Hogan calling out King Kong Bundy, talking about getting him in a cage at WrestleMania 2.  When WrestleMania VI came to the SkyDome in Toronto four years later, I was too young to realize how close to where I lived that Toronto actually was, so I didn’t think to bug my mom or my grandparents or uncles to take me.  A dozen years passed, and Toronto was once again chosen to host the WWE’s biggest event of the year.  I didn’t have a lot of money, but I bought tickets the day they went on sale – 500 level seats, way in the upper deck.  I bought tickets to one of the Fan Axxess sessions when those went on sale.  It was the one the day before ‘Mania.  I took a train up to Toronto on Friday night, and spent three days there.  At Fan Axxess, I was in line for autographs, and Spike Dudley was up at the booth.  I was set to leave the line to go downstairs, where Lance Storm and Justin Credible were putting on an exhibition match – but the security guard told me to wait.  “It’ll be worth it, ” he said.  Spike got up, and X-Pac came out.  I’m in line for a little while longer, and when we got up pretty close, X-Pac got up and left.  I stood in the line for what felt like an eternity, but was probably really only two or three minutes.  When somebody finally came to the booth to sign autographs, words I’ll never forget came out of my mouth – “OH MY GOD!  IT’S HULK HOGAN!”  I’ve met wrestlers before, among other celebrities, and I’ve always managed to keep my composure.  I marked out like a little bitch when I met Hulk Hogan.  “Oh man, you’re going to kick The Rock’s ass tomorrow!”  and “I have a Hulk Hogan garbage can at home” are just some of the things I uttered to him.

The next night, I was a part of history.  68,237 filled the SkyDome to capacity, setting an attendance record for the venue that still stands today.  Hulk Hogan took on The Rock that night, in what was ultimately the matchup that the event is best remembered for.  While Hogan was a heel, heading up the WWE’s version of the nWo, The Rock was a babyface.  You wouldn’t know it though.  You could feel the energy – and the energy of 68,000 people is a hard feeling to match – as nearly the entire crowd got behind the man who wrestled The Ultimate Warrior in the same building a dozen years earlier.  The feeling was surreal.  It was overwhelming.  It was intoxicating.  It was strong enough that on the train back home I told my friend Turtle, “no matter where WrestleMania is next year, we’re going!”

So, a year later, we rented a car and drove clear across the country to Seattle.  Once again, we were in the nosebleed seats.  They called them “300 Level” seats, but they were about as far away from the ring as our 500 Level seats were in the SkyDome the year before.  Unfortunately, we mistimed our drive and didn’t get up there until Sunday morning, so we missed the Saturday night Fan Axxess that we had tickets for.  Dressed like The Hurricane and Rey Mysterio, Turtle and I hung out in Seattle all day, taking in the sights before heading down and parking on a street a couple blocks away from Safeco Field.  Outside, we hung out with some of the coolest wrestling fans, saw some of the WWE Superstars looking down from inside the stadium, and got our picture taken by the folks at 1-800-CALL-ATT.  When we stepped inside, that intoxicating feeling from the year before came back.  Sadly, during the match that stole the show at WrestleMania XIX, I was rooting against the guy the rest of the fans were rooting for.  I chanted as loudly as I could, “Y2J, Y2J,” but it was no match for 54,096 other fans chanting “HBK, HBK.”  The atmosphere at Safeco Field was a bit different than that of the SkyDome.  The stadium isn’t fully enclosed.  There was a bit of a breeze going through the arena, and out of the one side you could easily see the Space Needle.  It was an amazing thing to be a part of.  The glitz and glamour of WrestleMania is bigger than anything else could be.  Especially when the sky is literally the limit for what you can do.

Turtle (Hurri-Turtle) and I (Rey Mysteri-JoE) at WrestleMania XIX

Turtle (Hurri-Turtle) and I (Rey Mysteri-JoE) at WrestleMania XIX

Last year was unlike anything else I’ve ever been to.  It was the biggest production I’d ever been a part of.  Before the event, right across the street from the arena, WWE Legend Hillbilly Jim was out interviewing Candice Michelle and Jimmy Hart among others, while Rev Theory performed a set and signed autographs nearby.  There was a WWE entrance stage and many other WWE themed activities.  Once again, we got to hang out with some of the coolest wrestling fans.  We finally got in to the Citrus Bowl and to our seats, and to see the stage set and the tarp/lighting rig above the ring for the first time was something we won’t forget.  We were sitting near some guys who’d been to WrestleMania X-Seven in Houston, and we shared WrestleMania stories before the participants in the 24 man exclusive Battle Royal made their way to the ring.  The seats we had were the closest I’d ever been at a WrestleMania, 200 Level row 6, directly across from the camera.  Sadly, you can’t see me on the DVD (just the yellow from my “Captain Insano Shows No Mercy” sign early on).  Five years earlier I was in Seattle for what turned out to be “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s last match, and I was there for Ric Flair’s last match.  The emotions were running high in the Citrus Bowl when we saw on the big screen above the ring HBK mouthing “I’m sorry, I love you” to Flair.  The production for the event was incredible – there was no ceiling to limit the pyro.  Aside from the pyro inside the stadium, there were boats on a nearby body of water shooting off pyro as well.  My only complaint about last year’s WrestleMania is the Divas Lumberjill match – it was so boring even the lighting rig fell asleep.  Also, Kim Kardashian.  She came out to announce the attendance – 74,635, another record – and a guy next to us said “daaaaaaamn!  Is that how many people could fit in her ass?”

Aside from WrestleMania last year, we hit the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony.  It was a nice excuse to get dressed up nice and go out.  It was fun to see the WWE Superstars out of their element.  Mark Henry, Big Show, and Kane, these big guys who are mean and serious when you see them on TV were having a great time laughing it up at the ceremony.  Paint Fingers and I, who are usually very casual people, got dressed up for the event, myself in a three piece suit and a Miz-inspired fedora and her in a lovely black dress.

While we would have loved to attend this year’s WrestleMania weekend events, we unfortunately weren’t able to make the trip.  Luckily for you readers here at BWF, ‘Mania’s in Drowgoddess’ home town and she’ll be checking in during the weekend with updates!

Post by thinksojoe

The founder of and it’s parent company, Fropac Entertainment, ThinkSoJoE has been a wrestling fan since he first saw WWF television in 1986 at the age of four. His first wrestling memory was Hulk Hogan on Saturday Night’s Main Event talking about getting King Kong Bundy in a cage at WrestleMania 2. Sixteen years later, he met Hulk Hogan on the eve of WrestleMania X-8. On December 9, 2013, he legitimately won a Slammy Award (Best Crowd of the Year). ThinkSoJoE currently hosts the weekly BWF Radio podcast.

All posts by thinksojoe | thinksojoe on Twitter | thinksojoe on Facebook

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

RSS Feeds

Posts by Category