Wrestlemania 30 is upon us. April 6 2014, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana.
You may not know who The Miz is, you may never have seen Brodus Clay, and for whatever bizarre unimaginable reason you maybe one of the nineteen people on this planet who hasn’t heard of Hulk Hogan, but for the 65,000 people in the stadium on that Sunday night and for the millions and millions more watching live around the world Hulk Hogan himself will be hosting the biggest pro-wrestling show of the year.
With Wrestlemania hitting such a monumental milestone, let’s use WWE’s own maxim to look at the show of shows evolution from one night experimental extravaganza to a festival like weekend.
WWE’s flagship Sunday night PPV has become a phenomena for wrestling fans and is much bigger than just oiled up beefcakes fake slapping each other for tin foil belts.
Not that the first Wrestlemania was a World of Sport bingo hall event, it was held before a reported 19,121 fans in New York’s Madison Square Garden and on closed-circuit TV which for the time was the biggest viewed show on that platform in the US. Mania the 1st also coincided with WWE breaking into mainstream pop culture with the Rock’n’Wrestling Connection which brought MTV generation and wrestling fans together with some major cross overs.
This included WWE matches airing on MTV and the WWE getting somewhat a pop culture overhaul. The inaugural Wrestlemania was host to an array of celebrities and icons such as pianist, actor and entertainer Liberace and pop singer Cyndi Lauper who was managing Wendi Richter in her championship match.
Mr. T, who is Hall of Fame bound this year, wrestled in the main event, tagging with Hulk Hogan and the match was refereed by none other than Muhammad Ali.
By no means is this a ‘Celeb Big Brother’ or a ‘Get me out of here’ celebrity star power kind of event, these names were and still are considered by many to be truly great and to others simply legendary.
The celebrity factor has become a constant in what is otherwise an evolving show. Musicians, pop stars, faces from the small and big screen have always been involved with Wrestlemania in some capacity. Mr.T went back to back and returned for Mania 2 in a boxing match against ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper. Mr.T aside the names of Wrestlemania celebs goes on and on.
Some names are just promotional faces but more than a few get stuck in and make a Wrestlemania moment. Alice Cooper managing 2014 Hall of Famer Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, Ozzy Osbourne with the British Bulldogs, Mike Tyson giving a Shawn Michaels a knock out punch, Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy managing Diesel and HBK respectfully in the same match, Snooki of Jersey Shore “fame” actually getting into a match and Floyd Mayweather beating the snot out the Big Show are very memorable celeb Mania moments.
Wrestlemania, the actual show has not really adapted too radically. If it isn’t broke don’t try and fix it.
It’s still the flagship show of WWE’s PPVs and the wrestling calendar is largely based around this night. The biggest matches still take place on this night, the fans tune in live whether it be on WWE’s own network, on TV or attending the show live, the celebs? They still pour in.
But now Wrestlemania has grown from a couple hours of Sunday night wrestling to this huge weekend event.
Before Wrestlemania we now have the annual Fan Axxess. This is a type of fan based interactive festival offering meet and greets with many of the superstars past and present and a huge amount of exhibitions of which wrestling fans are all too often amazed with. We also get the yearly Hall of Fame ceremony on Saturday. This years inductees include as mentioned, Mr.T and Jake Roberts but also WWE legends such as Scott Hall, Lita and Paul Bearer.
The WWE is now a rather large entertainment company that uses wrestling as base but really is trying to be successful in other avenues. WWE Studios is surprising wrestling and film fans with the legitimacy of their films and over all production. These efforts shows through at Wrestlemania in a big way.
No longer is it held inside an arena for one night, it now takes over an entire city for almost a week and the PPV is held inside huge outdoor stadiums. WWE Studios has also given WWE a new platform for promotion. Much like the Rock’n’Wrestling movement in the 1980’s WWE is now going Hollywood.
Mania 29 was headlined by wrestler turned Hollywood star turned wrestler Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson defending his WWE Championship against WWE’s poster boy John Cena.
This years main event is a going to be a triple threat for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship between Randy Orton, C-grade movie Dave Batista and either Triple H or leader of the Yes movement, Daniel Bryan.
With Mr.T going into the Hall Of Fame , Hulk Hogan hosting the show, a movie star in the main event plus the surprise appearances and cameos that will fill the space between matches and promos will make sure Wrestlemania 30 will be as star studded as ever.
This year the WWE has launched its own online and app based network, this gives subscribers the chance to watch every single Wrestlemania and every PPV it has ever held, giving fans the chance to take history lessons and refresh their memories.
Not only that, you are able to watch Wrestlemania build up with the pre-show and wind down with a post-show which means you are able to watch a full elbow dropping 7 hours of continuous Wrestlemania programming!
The way Wrestlemania continues to grow and evolve really means there may be no limit for this huge event. Thousands of fans will flock from around world to fill the Mercedes Superdome this Sunday and millions will be watching live either on PPV, Sky Box Office or the WWE Network. As a product and a brand I believe the WWE will continue to evolve, adapt to what’s relevant and hold hands with pop culture.
Within the realm of social media WWE is dominant. Often trending worldwide on Twitter on a weekly basis for its flagship weekly show Monday Night Raw sometimes several times a night. If the WWE keeps evolving with the internet, social media and other entertainment platforms who really knows where Wrestlemania will end up.
Could there be a full weekend of non stop Wrestlemania coverage? As a long time WWE loving fan I can honestly say Wrestlemania is my F.A Cup, Champions League, Superbowl and Stanley Cup so I would happily sit through any amount of wrestling my head and body will let me.
The celebrities, entertainers and sports heroes will always play a part in Wrestlemania, the pomp and ceremony of the show will reach new heights every year possibly until it’s nothing short of an Olympic Games opener.
To think you can now watch the event on Sky, on your laptop, phone, xbox, iPod or tablet now means WWE has every platform and device covered so no doubt they will take on any new media platforms that may come about.
Who knows, maybe Wrestlemania 40 will be watchable from your GoogleGlass Go-Go Gadget head projector!
What ever the case maybe, one thing is for sure Wrestlemania will be around for as long as WWE and seeing as WWE is the Coca-Cola of the sports entertainment world I would be surprised at all if Wrestlemania 80, 90 or even 100 will take place and always be the spectacle that it is.
If you are tuning in this Sunday and want to get in the Wrestlemania spirit. Do it stylin’ and profilin’ WOOOOOOO!!
The beard is here! Join the #YESMovement with this Daniel Bryan-esque beard!
Become the new Wyatt Family member with sheep mask.
Become Mr.T and add yourself to the Hall Of Fame 2014
Arrive. Watch Wrestlemania. Leave. Do it in stunning fashion as Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Be the rowdiest rat in the room this Sunday as the ‘Hot Rod’ Rowdy Roddy Piper
(you can visit our guest author’s excellent blog via this link: http://kingbinguswrestling.blogspot.co.uk/)