Wrestlemania is like the Super Bowl for WWE each year – I watched something like 77,000 people fill a huge arena to the gills, all on the edge of their seat in San Jose.
Here’s my beau Jon, Curtis Axel (left) and Bret Hart (right) in New Orleans.
A couple months ago, I was at a concert and mentioned our plans to go to Wrestlemania in San Jose, California to another group of concert-goers.
Half of the group I was chatting with responded with unbridled enthusiasm and patted my back with pride when I showed off a picture of my beau Jon with wrestlers Bret Hart and Curtis Axel from the year before. The other half of the group snorted their noses like a pair of snobby horses and one had the audacity to ask me “How many Merle or Willie shows could you see for what it cost to watch adult men in costumes act out a fight?” followed by “Those dudes go out and draw a check for 2 minutes of spandex foreplay.”
Now, listen. That’s apples and oranges for one. But moreso, that attitude is what irritates me more than almost anything on the planet. I had the desire to discretely reveal my own spandex wrestling uniform under my jacket and body-slam that dude. Instead, I explained to him calmly that I wasn’t brought up a “wrestling” fan — I was introduced to it fairly late in life (like many things, actually) — but if you can’t see how hard the WWE Superstars and the crew that puts on their show work, you’re just intentionally not looking. I also asked him what he did for a living and he said it was none of my business.
I’ll save my opinions on the epidemic-level misconception that being a person of notable fame, fortune or power suddenly makes life easier for another blog, but I wanted to start here, so I can express just how amazing the Wrestlemania experience is and how much goes into that industry.
Regardless of whether or not you can get behind the fairly soap-operatic narrative of WWE’s weekly programming, these WWE Superstars are really working. In addition to diligently presenting an entertaining (and insanely physically fit) character, it turns out these people are actually real life humans, too. Many of them, with..ya know..wives or husbands.. and families, maybe a dog at home — doing a grueling tour schedule, year after year. And! All the while! Everyday, WWE Superstars board the emotional rollercoaster of praise and criticism from viewers. I don’t care if it’s the bottom guy/gal on the WWE roster –I know that person is a very special person because becoming a wrestler is one of the few career paths I know harder to take on than being a musician. Believe that.
Here are a few photos from our Wrestlemania experience:
Jon cracked the hotel room window to let in this glorious California breeze as soon as we got to San Jose.
After a short lunch break, we headed to Axxess – a convention-type setting where wrestlers sign autographs and there are special events and matches. We immediately ran into our friend Michael Green (of Angry Grandpa & KidBehindACamera YouTube Fame.) He was – of course- recording and he included us in his video : HERE.
These are a pair of Hulk Hogan’s boots that were on display in a very well-done display at Axxess.
And THESE are some kick-ass outfits that Macho Man Randy Savage wore. The Macho Man was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year.
We got to see a match between wrestlers Curtis Axel and Heath Slater. Howard Finkel was the ring announcer. He’s been in the industry for years and I really enjoyed watching him on “LEGENDS HOUSE” – a WWE-produced reality series.
Fans watching the match and the giant promotional posters in the background.
Curtis Axel on the way to the ring. Overheard a ton of #Axelmania enthusiasm for this guy from the Axxess crowd.
Heath Slater in the ring vs. Curtis Axel. Slater was a pleasant surprise to me – seeing him interact live with the Axxess crowd made me realize just how much television and production can hide a wrestler’s true charisma. He’s one of my new favorite underdogs after seeing him work this room.
Our friend Brooke joined us for late lunch one afternoon at San Jose’s seafood restaurant, The Boiling Crab. While Jon and I chose less-messy alternatives like fried oysters and fried shrimp, Brooke went all the way with this bagged deliciousness. She fears almost nothing and that is why she is our friend.
Jon really enjoyed this monument. I’m googling to try to find what this exactly is — no luck yet. Jon did love the saying written on it.
We had just had drinks and desserts on the patio. It was a beautiful afternoon. I love this photo because of the contrast between Brooke’s very pretty profile and Jon’s harsh cigarette.
San Jose’s downtown was full of tree-lined streets. I really can’t say enough about the lovely weather and light, either.
En route to Wrestlemania. Our pals Shooter & Misty showed up just in time for the big dance. We all wore #Axelmania with pride, even Jon paired his t-shirt with his Lansky Bros. blazer!
Cali Five-O escorting to Wrestlemania.
Wrestlemania Ticket & Wrestlemania Purse. By “purse” – I mean security made me carry our belongings in there.
I liked watching this little guy in contrast with the sea of fans in the background.
Curtis Axel backstage watching the action happening in the ring.
Portrait of Mortality. Maybe my favorite photo of the week. Undertaker returning to backstage after his match.
Misty vs. Pyrotechnics.
The moment Shooter converted to a WWE fan.
I basically forced Roddy Piper to take a prom picture with me. And I’m fine with that.
Last photo that I feel comfortable posting on this public blog forum. Jon, SJ, and legendary wrestler Scott Hall. Too. Sweet.
Dig these photos? Dig Young Mary’s Record? Don’t just sit there, bust a LIKE.