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Nicknamed “The Grandaddy of Them All”, Wrestlemania is a worldwide global wrestling event that draws the attention of millions of wrestling and entertainment fans every year. First produced by WWE owner Vince McMahon in 1985, it has lasted for more than 25 editions, with the 26th anniversary taking place in 2010.
Since its creation, It has quickly become the most prominent event in professional wrestling. Its popularity and success have helped many of WWE’s superstars such as Hulk Hogan, Macho Man, Bret Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker, and more to the rise of stardom. It is also currently the dream of thousands of wrestlers and fans alike to be able to participate in the Superbowl of professional wrestling. To most wrestlers, being able to partake in the event is considered to be highlight of their careers and most would be label as having unsuccessful careers if their names do not show up on the event card.
Wrestlemania usually takes place in late March or early April annually. Most of the television shows such as Raw and Smackdown are designed to eventually reach their climax at the event, which features most of the organization’s championship titles, especially the World Heavyweight Title and WWE’s own World Title. Besides these, the event is also well known for putting up specialty and gimmick matches such as the recently addition of Money in the Bank, where the only way to be declared the winner is to climb a ladder in an attempt to reach a briefcase suspended high above the ring while fending off five to seven competitors. This fast pace and exciting match, filled with high flying maneuvers, amazing aerobics and stunts, have been a fan favorite since its inauguration five years ago.
Just How big is Wrestlemania? For a typical wrestling event, sports arenas is usually the prefer method of attendances. However, nine of the 25 editions have been held in large stadiums used by the NFL and the MLB. Those attendances goes from the low 54,097 at the 19th edition in Seattle to the current world indoor attendance record of 93,173 in Pontiac, Michigan at the event’s 3rd anniversary. That edition is widely considered to be the pinnacle of the wrestling boom in the 1980s and was the largest paying attendance in professional wrestling at that time.
Perhaps some of the greatest wrestling moments occurred at Wrestlemania. Long time wrestling fans will mention Hulk body slamming Andre the Giant, the acclaim match between Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat, the Ultimate Showdown, the classic Ladder match between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon, the 60 minute Iron Man, Stone Cold’s first world championship, the various Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match, The Rock and Hogan showdown, the emotional retirement of Ric Flair, and the Undefeated 17-0 streak of the Undertaker.
Due to the popularity and the wide appeal of Wrestlemania, many celebrities have participated with different levels of involvement throughout the 25 years. The first edition witnessed boxing legend Muhammad Ali and Mr. T. The second edition saw a 20 man battle royal pitting WWE superstars against NFL players. Mike Tyson appeared at XIV as the special guest enforcer, while professional welterweight boxer Flyod “Money”Mayweather battled The Big Show at XXIV. The latest saw Oscar-nominated best actor Mickey Rourke as a spectator for a match that ended with him delivering a knock out blow to wrestler Chris Jericho.
Furthermore, many renowned musicians such as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson, Reba McEntire, Little Richard, Boyz II Men, Ashanti, John Legend, Motorhead, Limp Bizkit, and Kid Rock have also performed at the events.
Thought 25 years have passed since its first inauguration, Wrestlemania still shows no signs of slowing down as many cities are still bidding for WWE to bring the event to their cities as the event have helped brought in millions of dollars of revenues in the respective cities through the years. Would we see more memorable moments in the future from this event? We will just have to wait and see.
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write by Grainne