This year I was lucky enough to be able to attend WWE WrestleMania once again. Some of you may be familiar with my previous WrestleMania experiences at WrestleMania 25 and WrestleMania 26. This year I attended a few WrestleMania Axxess sessions, the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, WrestleMania and the following WWE Raw show…
“YES! YES! YES!” A new chant that’s popularity increased over the course of a weekend and could easily be used in ten years time similar to the everlasting “WHAT!” chant that we’re all so familiar with. Three days prior to the WWE Raw show I was flying from Orlando to Miami with my Tri-Color Irish flag in hand; predicting with my friends on how split the crowd would be between Daniel Bryan and Sheamus. Little did I know the wave of Daniel Bryan fans we were about to encounter.
We arrived at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Downtown Miami at about 18:00. This was to be our accommodation for the next four nights as part of the WWE WrestleMania Silver Travel Package! A few people were checking-in by the time we arrived but not as many as I was expecting. We more than likely had missed the rush with the first Axxess session beginning that evening.
For those wondering why I went on the Silver Package, let me explain. First of all, in terms of price, the Silver Package cost about the same as the Gold had been in previous years. Also, the Silver Package meant we would be on the start of the stadium incline. I had chosen Gold for my previous WrestleMania Packages but found it very hard to see in parts when people were standing (don’t get me started on the signs!). Gold normally meant you were put on the risers, which generally means you are on flat ground with your chair sitting on a couple of inches of added floorboards. The Silver enabled us to have a good view of the rampway and ring regardless of whether people were sitting or standing.
The Silver Package Included:
- $25 Shopzone Voucher (Only to be used Online).
- Bus Transport to and from Sun Life Stadium.
- Two Axxess Sessions of our choosing.
- WWE Hall of Fame Ticket.
- WWE Wrestlemania Ticket.
- WWE Raw Ticket (4th Night Optional) (Ringside or Incline).
To be honest it was one of the better packages I’ve been on. We never had an option for WWE Raw for our WrestleMania 25 Package and I didn’t go at WrestleMania 26. You were able to get an extra hotel night and ringside WWE Raw seat for an extra 50 Euros on top of the 3-night option. So why the hell not! At WrestleMania 26 we only got one Axxess session, which was after the Hall of Fame with no choice in the matter, and to make it worse we only had NXT Superstars and not who was scheduled. In regards to travel, In Houston (WrestleMania 25) everything was centralised or right next to a tram that brought you everywhere for a dollar, but at WrestleMania 26 in Arizona it was a nightmare. The hotel was lovely, but we were out in the middle of nowhere with no bus system or transportation with the exception of taxi’s. You can imagine the hassle of trying to get a taxi outside a stadium that’s letting out 72,000+ people. Now you can imagine my delight when we were told we were getting bus transportation for WrestleMania 28!
So enough about the package, let’s move onto the events themselves. Saturday 8am we had our first Axxess session….
Saturday 31st March 2012
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Scheduled appearances: Christian, Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase, Jimmy Hart, Jim Ross, Gerry Brisco, Zach Ryder, Drew McIntrye, Paul Bearer, Teddy Long, Booker T, Lita, Eve, Alberto Del Rio, Ricardo Rodriguez, Rowdy Piper, Layla, and more!
The majority of the above lineup was there however I didn’t see Eve, Teddy Long, Christian and Layla. Those who showed up who were not on the above list were Howard Finkel, Jack Swagger, Vickie Guerrero, Rocky Johnson, The Uso’s, Rikishi, Hunico, Camacho, Mason Ryan and William Regal, who oddly was at the VIP stand following Randy Orton.
For the first two hours of the session I managed to get a snap with The Uso’s/Rikishi and The Fink before watching a match between Zach Ryder and Drew McIntyre (who has a lot of fans who really support him).
Following the change over that generally occurs about halfway through the sessions; I went straight for Rowdy Piper where I gladly queued for the next hour and a half as Piper is one of my all time favorites. Piper took longer than most of the Superstars I saw at the sessions mainly because he’s just so nice and down to earth. He asked everybody their names and took a picture with anybody that asked despite the organisers telling us we were not able to. Lots of fans there were wearing Hot Rod (myself included) and Piper’s Pit T Shirts, Piper seemed genuinely happy at the amount of support he had. I almost felt sorry for Rocky Johnson who was sitting alongside him as not many wanted to meet him.
During the queuing Zach Ryder was floating around with a crowd of people following him, randomly stopping to take photos and sign stuff before doing an interview and disappearing.
My fiancée who didn’t queue for anyone still managed to meet Ted DiBiase and Zack Ryder during her walk around.
By the time I was finished with Piper we had to leave the session and had a funny encounter with Alberto before leaving. I was walking towards the exit and he was about to cross my path, I put my hand up to wave and said “Hey Alberto!” I then dropped my hand but by this time I think he thought I was going for a high five and it looked like I left him hanging. He then coolly brought his hand down and managed to touch me on the shoulder as we passed each other. HA HA!
Saturday 31st March 2012
WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony
8:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
We arrived at the Hall of Fame about half an hour before the doors were scheduled to open. I had learnt from previous years not to go too early, as you’d be queuing outside in the heat for ages and have sunstroke by the time you got in. Even at that time there wasn’t much of a queue at the doors because most fans were against the far railing taking snaps of the WWE talent as they arrived.
The show itself was very good, great opening by JBL, terrific segment by the Four Horsemen, funny segments from Edge, Christian and DX with totally off the wall segments from Mill Mascaras and Mike Tyson. Professional Wrestling was brought up a good few times and a lot of emphasis on the younger guys to step it up! Edge even gave a shout out to Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins and told them to “Keep plugging away! They’ll get where they want to be!” All in all was a great show from start to finish, not sure myself which parts actually made it to TV but I heard the Yokozuna segment was cut out or cut short which was sad to hear.
Compared to other Hall of Fames I was glad there wasn’t a time limit on the speeches, as those Superstars deserve to talk as long as they want. Incidentally during the show they advertised a ten man match for Raw that never actually took place!
Sunday 1st April 2012
WrestleMania Axxess Session
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Scheduled appearances: Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Vickie Guerrero, Alberto Del Rio, Ricardo Rodriguez, Mark Henry, Christian, The Bellas, R Truth, Alicia Fox, Lita, The Big Show, The Great Khali, Primo, Epico, Rosa, Rowdy Piper, Santino Marella, Paul Bearer and more!
All the above showed up with the exceptions of The Bellas, Khali and Santino. Again, if they were there, I didn’t see them. Jimmy Snuka, Gerry Brisco, Rocky Johnson, DDP, Rima (from Tough Enough), Wade Barrett, William Regal and Sunny also showed up.
Sheamus was on the VIP stand and when we arrived at 8am, he was out within 5 minutes. I know it was the morning after the Hall of Fame but what really annoyed me was, with the exception of Sheamus, no other Superstar showed up until nearly 8:45. That was very bad form if you ask me. Sheamus even went over his allotted time so they had to put the other VIP, who was Big Show, on the Legends stand.
Daniel Bryan came out to do an interview, himself and Sheamus ended up going back and forth on the microphone for a while. Bryan made a comment about being a Vegan and Sheamus being Ginger and Sheamus told him “Gingers eat Vegans for breakfast.” The crowd in front of the ring starting chanting, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” while the queues for Sheamus responded by chanting “No! No! No!”
We managed to get in alongside the signing for Sheamus with our Tri-Color in hand and got a snap taken by wwe.com.
Paul Bearer was in Undertakers Graveyard and I managed to get a picture with him. Really nice fella, my mate had the Eddie Guerrero Tribute T-Shirt on and Paul commented by saying “You have my friend on your chest! I like that!”
I started queuing for Ted DiBiase then but he switched over just before I got to him and got a snap with Jimmy Snuka and Gerry Brisco instead. I found them very nice, in fact at this point it seemed like I was going round getting pictures with all the legends instead of the current Superstars.
We left a little early for this session to go get a power nap before the big event was about to start!
Sunday 1st April 2012
WWE WrestleMania 28
6:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
We got the bus to Sun Life Stadium which involved a guy trying to promote his show and getting the passengers to chant random stuff. He also had an impersonator with him who was quite good at some Superstars and totally off for others. We a good laugh that filled the time getting to the stadium. Word going round was that several buses had the same type of atmosphere.
We started queuing for the event and thank god we managed to queue in a shaded part because there wasn’t much of a breeze to kill the heat.
Several of the fans who travelled with us had a few signs made up! “Yes! Yes! Yes!”, “Hit Him With Moves!” and “Too Many Limes!” I think only Sheamus fans are going to get that last one. We purchased some of the commentary earpieces for $15 to see what they were like. I had heard about them being trialed but I never actually knew they were at all PPV’s now. It works as an FM radio as well which is kinda handy. It’s worth spending the $15 if you plan on attending more than one PPV event.
The dark match was actually very good, Epico and Primo Vs Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel Vs The Uso’s. The crowd seemed to be more into The Uso’s than anyone else in the match and the guys definitely got more spots in than they normally would during the weekly shows.
The opening match was Sheamus Vs Daniel Bryan! One that I was really looking forward to and even though I was routing for Sheamus and went crazy when he won! I was really disappointed with how short it was. When I saw all the Yes! signs at ringside I thought that they were planted similar to what happened at WrestleMania 25 when CM Punk signs were handed out to a group of people. So I was shocked when Sheamus won! I think Sheamus getting a hard time from the D Bryan fans is a bit harsh but as delighted as I was with the outcome I really wanted to see a match between the two. We all know how good Daniel Bryan is and I don’t blame anyone chanting for Daniel Bryan during the next few matches. They both deserved more!
Kane/Randy Orton and Big Show/Cody Rhodes were both good but the crowd were too annoyed about D Bryan to really get into it. Then the Diva’s match arrived and the crowd died. I felt sorry for the Diva’s because the match had little to no build up and the celebrity involved wasn’t on a single episode of Raw. They could have had a great match if they wanted to with plenty of interest. The first 4 matches could have been described as upsets which I thought was a great lead into the End of an Era match. I had a great time teasing my mate (who is a huge Undertaker fan) about how this was the night of upsets and the streak was ending tonight; of course, I was routing for Taker myself and didn’t want the streak to end either.
What can you say about the match other than WOW! Unreal storytelling between the three throughout the match, I really thought it was over during the Sweet Chin-Pedigree Combo.
Following the End of an Era match the crowd we’re wrecked and some well placed video packages were played before the Team Teddy and Team Johnny match started. Wasn’t anything special, everyone got their spots in which gave the crowd enough to get into it and relax following the last encounter.
Jeircho and Punk was the second best match of the night, great back and forth action with the stipulation adding a little bit more to the anger that CM Punk is meant to have towards Chris Jericho. Only problem I found with the match was I didn’t think anyone really thought that Jericho was going to win. I can’t have any complaints though. Great solid wrestling match between the best two wrestlers in the company.
The once in a lifetime match between The Rock and John Cena was a good contest, but not the match of the night. It looked from where I was sitting that Cena was talking to the Rock through a lot of the match. I’d say the crowd was split about 35/65 in favor of The Rock! When Cena went for the People’s Elbow, everybody knew what was coming. I thought they could have dragged it out that little bit more to make Cena look stronger, but The Rock had his moment and the stadium went mental! A lot of Cena fans left as soon as The Rock got the three count and I noticed a few instances where Rock and Cena fans were clashing but the CeNation seemed to take it on the chin. In hindsight; I believe there might have actually been a riot if Cena won!
One thing I didn’t like following the match was when The Rock circled the ring to tag all the fans; several Cena fans had their hands out to get a high five from The Rock and he actually blanked and skipped anyone that was a John Cena Fan. I wasn’t too impressed by that! If he has an issue with Cena (storyline or not) he should not have a problem with a WWE Fan just because they support or like John Cena. The Rock even signed an autograph on the WM program and scribbled all over John Cena’s face when he was done.
All in all a very good card with a few hiccups but an amazing atmosphere to boot!
The organisation for the buses on the way out was terrible however. You had staff telling us to queue for certain buses that put us in the way of other buses! They actually had all the friends and family buses for the WWE talent right next to the travel package fans so it was a total cluster of people everywhere. At one point we were right next to a bus and when we looked up we noticed Maryse and The Rock’s family. Security were getting heated with the crowd as if we were in the wrong but we were only going where we were told to.
Monday 2nd April 2012
8:15 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.
We got ringside seats for Monday Night Raw, to the left side of the ramp as if you were coming down it. The crowd were buzzing from start to finish. The Uso’s got a good reaction for the Superstar tapings, as did Dean Ambrose.
Yes chants continued throughout the show and with the exception of Brock Lesnar, anytime D Bryan was mentioned or shown he by far got the biggest reactions. Lord Tensai got a ‘welcome back’ and a few ‘Albert’ chants. Poor Sheamus got booed and the ‘Si’ chant for Alberto were hilarious. We tried to get a ‘Sa’ chant going which is Irish for Yes but it was only us and a couple more Irish lads that got what it was!
There was a funny moment during the Punk Henry match where they were over by the announcers table and you could see a guy dressed up as Randy Savage ringside. When everyone saw him on the titantron the place broke into “Macho Man” and “Randy Savage” chants. I was fully expecting Punk to acknowledge him when he went for the elbow but he never did.
Following Raw we got a 3 on 3 dark match as opposed to the 5 on 5 match they told us about during the Hall of Fame. It was Cody Rhodes, Kane and Daniel Bryan against Big Show, Sheamus and Randy Orton. The crowd went mental for Daniel Bryan who was cheered for throughout the match. Anything he did was answered by a Yes chant from the crowd. All the Superstars were pretty much out of character for the whole match, Big Show even chanted yes a few times at the crowd when they started to calm down. He even did it when Sheamus was in the ring, which had Sheamus look at Show resulting in him and Orton laughing their asses off at him.
Whenever Bryan wasn’t in the ring the crowd chanted “We Want Bryan!” At one stage Bryan tagged in Cody which got big boo’s…. and then Cody tagged Bryan straight back in which got big cheers.
Sheamus won with the big boot and circled the ring at the end, we got up to him and he waved our flag before giving it back! D Bryan then got on the mic and thanked everyone for the support they’ve given him and told us that we’ve forced the WWE to make a brand new t-shirt. He left us by chanting “Yes Yes Yes” which can now be found on a D Bryan T-Shirt on WWEShop.com.
From the end of Raw to when I landed back in Dublin, there was still yes chants regularly. I’ve never seen a chant get used for so much. I look forward to my next wrestling show, and might very well be on my way to New Jersey for WrestleMania 29!
Until next time Peeps, this has been Edgedogg’s Wrestlemania Weekend.