Wrestlemania is now a global phenomenon, with many attractions other than just wrestling. The shows have musical acts, travel packages, and a significant celebrity draw as well. At some point, Wrestlemania was just about straightforward wrestling matches over a one-day event. Now, it’s been extended to a whole weekend, sometimes long. Like the Super Bowl, Wrestlemania has a specific host city each time it takes place.
According to several sources, the Wrestlemania extravaganza can be very lucrative for the city hosting it. The current estimate is that this particular city’s economy can gain more than a hundred million dollars with the Wrestlemania extravaganza.
For those who are fans of wrestling, Wrestlemania is the event that both opens and closes the WWE. It basically ties up the storylines for the whole year.
The Background of Wrestlemania
The first such event was launched in 1985, with the venue being New York City. More specifically, it was held in Madison Square Garden. Wrestlemania was first founded by Vince McMahon, who wanted to have an event that gave something more unique than mere wrestling.
Almost immediately, several celebrities were included in the event. These included Hulk Hogan, Mr T, Paul Orndorff, and Orddy Piper. These four took part in a tag-team match during the main event of the first Wrestlemania. Cyndi Lauper and Mohammad Ali were also featured in the show.
In the beginning, though, Wrestlemania was considered to be little more than a gamble. However, it soon became so successful that it is now an established yearly tradition. Even from the very beginning, Wrestlemania was all poised to become a major influence on American pop culture. It wasn’t just about wrestling, but about holding a somewhat glamorized entertainment for everyone.
Another main reason for Wrestlemania impacting pop culture is that the WWE invites more and more famous celebrities to this event with the passage of time. For Wrestlemania 24, Kim Kardashian was the host. Mike Tyson was one of the ring enforcers for Wrestlemania 14, while Mikey Rourke had a bout inside the wrestling ring during Wrestlemania 25.
Today, Wrestlemania has also been a way to attract new fans for WWE. The celebrities they bring in are also carefully thought over, as their fans are the target demographic for WWE.
With the increasing scale and importance of Wrestlemania, the running time of the show has greatly increased. There are now a lot more matches than the initial event, with musical acts breaking up the wrestling to make it more palatable for the audience. Not just this, but the WWE also invites various musicians to perform at the entrance of certain wrestlers.
The standalone performances are also a big deal, drawing in musical fans as well as those of wrestling. These acts serve to convey the message that Wrestlemania is for all kinds of people.
WWE fans look forward to not just the wrestling and music, but also the crowd interaction offered by Wrestlemania. This kind of interaction is rarely found anywhere else, especially on such a regular basis.
Among the exciting perks for fans is the Wrestlemania Axxess. This has several sessions during the whole Wrestlemania weekend. The Axxess event is where there are meet and greets with the wrestlers, along with merchandise options. The merchandise includes replica title belts, T-shirts, and much more. They act as both souvenirs and a way for fans to experience the event in a more involved manner.
There are also interactive stands, including one where fans can recreate the entrance of several wrestlers. Another allows fans to commentate on a live match. With all this attention on fans, it’s no surprise that Wrestlemania is enjoying a growing fan base every time it takes place. There is also a lot of new talent each time, with both the stars and fans being able to interact. These chances are not only delightful for the fans, but also the wrestlers who get a lot of encouragement and motivation from their admirers.
Changing the Landscape
With its unique format and high popularity, Wrestlemania managed to change up the landscape in the professional wrestling industry. It played a major role in making WWE the leader of the field, for one. Moreover, it gave rise to several other events that were the making of many big names today.
The Attitude Era
The massively popular Attitude Era was also partly launched by Wrestlemania, which was the name given to the WE’s programming on ‘Monday Night Wars’. This was the period when the WWE (then called the WWF) had a show called Monday Night Raw. This show was then locked in a battle with the World Championship Wrestling’s show ‘Monday Nitro’ for the Nielson ratings every week from 1997 to 2002. This was the era when the popularity and television ratings of professional wrestling matches were going up in both the United States as well as Canada. There were also record highs in the buying rates for pay-per-view shows from WWE as well as its competitors.
The Attitude Era was also responsible for the launch of many male singles wrestlers in the WWE. Just a few names from that timer include ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Kane, and The Rock. Austin was one of the favorite poster boys of this era, with Vince McMahon being his main rival.
Stars of Wrestlemania
Vince McMahon may have created the Wrestlemania concept and called on several celebrities to make the event as attention grabbing as possible. However, it was the WWE stars that made Wrestlemania into the huge money making event that we know today.
One of the earliest names that defined Wrestlemania is Hulk Hogan, who was part of the early foundations of this event. Mr. Wrestlemania, which was the nickname of Shawn Micheals, also made the event into a stage for his career as he delivered one exciting performance after another. Steve Austin would be one of the first to elevate Wrestlemania and breathe energy into its operations. After these names, John Cena is probably among the most famous celebrities to come out of Wrestlemania. With stars like these, Wrestlemania was bound to become one of the major pop culture trends of the 1990s and 2000s.
After a creative and financial lull in WWE’s process, Steve Austin managed to save the day in 1996. Before his entrance, the WWE roster was lacking depth. Steve Austin, however, would spearhead the Attitude Era and see a massive rise in his fame at Wrestlemania.
The image of Steve Austin’s babyface and his forehead covered with blood after a match with ‘The Hitman’ Bret Hart became a poignant one in American pop culture. It kick-started Stone Cold’s career and also the Attitude Era that we have already discussed above.
However, if Steve Austin was the one who saved Wrestlemania, then it was probably Mike Tyson who helped him accomplish that. When Tyson signed on for Wrestlemania 14, he was a major figure in pop culture in his own right due to his boxing career. Bringing in a star name like his created a lot of buzz and publicity that the current wrestlers in WWE couldn’t have brought in otherwise. It was probably due to the large crowd he drew that the image of Steve Austin even beams so widespread.
Tyson was a special enforcer in the main event of that Wrestlemania , and he helped Austin in defeating Micheals as well. With Tyson being there by Austin’s side, it was almost like he passed on the torch to him.
The Massive Matches
By Wrestlemania X8, the event had become known for its main matches, which usually showcase the head-on-head clash of two major names in the industry. That year, Hogan (then nearing 50) was placed to battle against The Rock. Such dream pairings are a rare sight in the world of sports. However, since this was professional wrestling, the reality can be shaped to fit certain narratives.
WWE was able to get stars from other industries in order to further its own interests. We now have a record of several celebrities pitted against each other, with the trash talk and other features of wrestling thrown in to make the event as exciting as possible.
Not everyone may like the concept of wrestling or any other violent sport, but there are enough wrestling fans out there to keep Wrestlemania going for a very long time. It continues to draw in both old and new fans every single year. The spectacle it makes is so over-the-top that most people can’t help but be drawn in. Pair that with the mainstream hype of star names and musical bands, and the whole show is well worth the cost for anyone who gets the chance. Moreover, fans now think of Wrestlemania as a closing to a whole year of professional rivalries.
Whether we look out for current superheroes such as Hulk Hogan, the Undertake, or John Cena, or prefer the underdogs that want to achieve something worthwhile, there’s no denying the Wrestlemania is a unique spectacle. It offers a wide range of entertainment options for everyone to enjoy, including some of the highest-paid actors in the industry.