So check off a bucket list item: I’ve officially attended a WrestleMania. I’d have little excuse (in exception to a pregnant Huracanrana) to skip said event, as it was literally held 90 minutes away just outside of downtown Orlando, Florida.
As stated in the previous story, I likewise used this weekend as an excuse to catch a promotion that rarely comes through these parts, that being Chikara Pro (the night before).
With it in the rear view mirror, here are some thoughts:
- Wrestling fans continuously stand out as perhaps the nicest of all. Sure, we’re a bit nerdy and the smarks warts, but 99% are kind, patient, great with kids, and thoughtful. I can literally only recall one fan – out of dozens of attended shows – who I genuinely wanted to smack upside the head. And during WrestleMania, the fans were at their best and then some. I cannot say the same about my beloved NBA and NHL.
- Indy wrestling talent remains exceptional. Between aforementioned Chikara and walking by for a quick, outdoor glimpse of Full Impact Pro and American Combat Wrestling, the level of ability across the board is astronomical. There’s literally no weak links, and always something special to behold.
- Dear God, does WWE know how to put on a spectacle. I’ll steer clear of critiquing matches (as we don’t do that here). The presentation, independent of what happened inside the ring, is a sight to behold. Just looking at that entrance ramp, the attention to detail, is standing ovation worthy.
- Venues make all the difference…and this weekend’s were not good ones. I’m not going to mince words in hopes of retweets and ‘likes.’ Both WrestleMania and Chikara were unsafe – held in very bad parts of Orlando, unsavory characters everywhere – and no where near (2+ miles minimum) reputable hotels. Once inside, it didn’t get any better. Venues were not female friendly nor handicap accessible, had clueless staff, and in the Orlando Live Events Center’s case, disgusting. If I was local and/or didn’t have tickets in hand, I would’ve left both events. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not in denial about what indy wrestling venues and budgets entail. But in this instance, both them and WWE failed considerably.
- Too much of a good thing, in overworked staff and talent. Yes, we’re in an arguable indy wrestling renaissance, but holding 5 simultaneous shows and ones until 2AM is not really a celebration of the sport. The people making it happened looked miserable. To include WrestleMania staff.
- In the instance of WrestleMania 33, give the fans something special. It felt scripted, forced, and literally every person around me disappointed by WWE being too clever in match outcomes and presentation. Yes, advancing storylines has its place. But this is meant as a spectacle, not the Guggenheim’s latest exhibit. I honestly have no idea how any writer with a conscience would have The Undertaker lose his last WWE match.
All in all, glad I did it, but somewhat disappointed. Perhaps expectations were too high, also a failure to do research on venues beforehand. Still, being part of the global wrestling community, in one place…and for a few days, is always a solid experience.
Curious as to your thoughts on this weekend, if you attended it. Respectful disagreement, welcome.