I can check it off my list now as I finally got to attend Wrestlemania and was among the record 71,000 fans at the Georgia Dome on Sunday evening.
Granted, I wasn’t right at ring side, but I did have a front-row seat in the balcony and a great view of the overall show. Now, for you who like being right near the action in the ring, it may not have been your cup of tea since the ring was a long ways away from where we were sitting, accessed close up only by a pair of binoculars.
However, as odd as it may seem, Wrestlemania is more about the spectacle than the action. While it is the Super Bowl of wrestling and is basically the season finale of a year-long series, Wrestlemania has been built on pageantry and being the grandest stage of them all. It’s about being alongside 71,000 other huge wrestling fans, all wearing T-shirts of their favorite wrestlers and yelling at the tops of their lungs.
Warren County was well represented at ‘Mania as several of us from the paper along with local restaurateur Jean Claude Petit and “Art of Racing” columnist Art Larson were in attendance. There was also a large contingent from your local wrestling federation, FTW at the show. FTW, by the way, will be in action this Saturday at 7 p.m. at its arena located on Old Smithville Road next to NHC.
I was well pleased with the entire handling of the event as downtown Atlanta was very nice as we took strolls in Olympic Park walking from the aquarium to the dome on a night that presented perfect weather. And, surprising to me, being it is Atlanta where traffic is some of the worst in the nation, the parking situation and the traffic around the arena weren’t too bad as we found us a nice spot next to the CNN Center in close proximity to the dome.
Now, let me just say that while the pageantry and feel of the night made the entire trip a success, the matches weren’t what I had hoped. Frankly, Undertaker and Triple H was the only match which surpassed expectation as the two ring veterans, despite wrestling very little over the past year, were able to put on a classic match. Even I was convinced at one point that Triple H might end the streak only to see the Dead Man go 19-0, doing something the Patriots couldn’t accomplish a few years ago. And yes, there were a lot of 18-1 signs in the building which disappeared pretty quickly with the Undertaker win.
Then there was Cody Rhodes beating Rey Mysterio in what was a decent match. The only match I wrongly predicted was Edge defeating Alberto Del Rio, as I figured Del Rio would win the title. Edge beating on Del Rio’s car with a baseball bat was a nice touch.
The rest of the matches were all underachievers as even John Cena versus the Miz was played before a dead crowd from what I was hearing. I think this was due to the fact it was booked after the Snookie match (and she was heavily booed until her finishing move which stunned the crowd) and people were waiting for the Rock to come out and interfere, which he eventually did. I think the Cena match suffered from bad booking as Undertaker versus Triple H should have been last.
The Jerry Lawler versus Michael Cole match was a stinker as I actually yelled out “take it home” at the top of my lungs at one point. I think they could have given Lawler a better match than the clown match he had against Cole.
Of course it’s hard to tell exactly how things came across on TV. The thing about a live event is you don’t have announcers so that takes a little away from the action. You really don’t realize how important the announce team is to wrestling until you are at a live event. Plus, camera angles on TV are designed to focus you on things you might not otherwise notice in person.
But, as I noted earlier, watching on TV isn’t the same of feeling the electricity of being at Wrestlemania itself. Frankly, I’m thinking about making the longer drive to Miami next year to catch Wrestlemania 28 and perhaps see John Cena versus The Rock.