Another WrestleMania is in the books and man did I have a great time. This was my third WrestleMania weekend and I think my experience at WrestleMania 34 trumps my other two experiences. My first Mania experience WrestleMania 27 I didn’t fully know what to expect and how to plan and navigate through the activities. WrestleMania 33 last year I did way more that time around and loved every moment of it. This year WrestleMania 34 was by far my best experience.
Let’s start my experience off with WrestleMania Axxess and that whole atmosphere. Axxess is the annual fan festival WWE hold’s during Mania weekend. Before Axxess even began I stopped in the Axxess Superstore, which pretty much had every type of WWE merchandise you could think of. Diamond encrusted replica championships that cost $2,000, customized jerseys and hats, slammy awards, authentic turnbuckles, autographed signatures, pop figures, toys, pin collections. If you could think of it they had it, and people bought all that stuff up. I spent wayyyy more than I intended to in that store and WWE knows what they are doing.
I did 3 of the 6 Axxess events this year and once again it was worth it. In addition to meeting superstars at Axxess, there are replica environments to take photos in, superstar entrances you can replicate, the Axxess staple the foampit, promos, even call a match with a member of the commentary team. The replicas this year included a set of Piper’s Pit along with replica fruit in case you want to smash a coconut over someone’s head. The steel “WCW” letters that were featured on WCW Monday Nitro during its heyday, the ECW entrance included with the brick backdrop and chain link fence. Also included was a trash can in case you needed to smash some heads on your way out. The old school RAW sign was back in addition to the Neon Raw entrance which you could walk through and make your own entrance.
Every superstar and legend I met this year were all very nice, personable and took a few seconds to be playful or hold small talk to make your interaction memorable. This year I met Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, Zack Ryder, The Revival, Aiden English, Dolph Ziggler, AJ Styles, Finn Balor, Teddy Long, Jimmy Hart, Cedric Alexander, The Brian Kendrick, Mike Bennett, Tye Dillinger, Tony Nese, Drake Maverick, Gran Metalik, Lince Dorado, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville who I was shocked were so playful and outgoing, and of course I had to meet Naomi again. As with every Axxess expect long lines and a lot of waiting for autographs, I waited in line for WCW legend DDP Diamond Dallas Page, he was very personable with every person in line which held the line up and unfortunately I didn’t get to meet him. I was also unable to meet the million dollar man Ted Dibiase which I was kind of bummed about. I often wondered why Axxess is held in “sessions” as opposed to all day and after observing all the activities going on, I realized it’s to give the staff and volunteers a break to rest and eat. If I’m tired from standing in line for a while I know those guys are tired, they work hard and are unsung heroes to making this process as smooth as it is.
I also attended WrestleCon for the first time this go round if you’re use to Axxess, WrestleCon could be a bit of a culture shock. WrestleCon is just that..a traditional convention, you buy the initial ticket to get in the doors and then you walk around the room meeting various wrestlers, but to get a picture or autograph it’s going to hurt your pockets. The prices ranged from $10-$50 or even more for a pic or autograph depending on the wrestler, most of them were very friendly even if you didn’t want a pic or autograph. I heard some didn’t want to be bothered unless you were getting one but I didn’t experience any of that. I allocated some funds for this purpose and met D’Lo Brown, Eli Drake, James Storm, X-pac, and Al Snow. But after those funds were gone I was fine with just seeing what the vendors had to offer and doing some people watching. I would have liked to met some more wrestlers but as I mentioned the pockets talk. Even with having to pay to for autographs or pictures I would attend WrestleCon again. I skipped the WWE Hall of Fame this year as one time attending was enough for me and I hear it was way to long.
On the wrestling front I went to Impact vs. Lucha Underground Friday night. I regularly watch Impact Wrestling and hope that the tide turns for them as they have a talented roster, I haven’t watched Lucha Underground regularly but based on the crowd reactions I need to start watching it more. The best match of the night to me was LAX vs. Killshot and The Mack, Killshot and The Mack really impressed me. LAX is the best tag team in Impact and if given more tv time could really show people what they have to offer. The main event was Austin Aries vs. Pentagon Jr and Fenix, Alberto Del Rio was supposed to be included in that match but we all know how that went. I enjoyed the event and hope people that never watch Impact will give it a chance, as Lucha Underground has a new fan in me.
Saturday night was NXT Takeover, the six man ladder match with Adam Cole becoming the first N XT North American champion was everything fans were hoping for. Aleister Black vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas was very enjoyable and the right guy won. Roderick Strong joining the Undisputed Era was a complete shock and I look forward to seeing how it goes. Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa told a dope, psychological wrestling story, and was hard hitting and vicious. The story of best friends turned enemies is highly relatable, and had a curve ball ending. I just knew Gargano would lose and show up on Raw or Smackdown, so the next phase in their story should be interesting.
Which leads to the big day WrestleMania 34, the day started off with the “feeling” in the air. A WrestleMania block party was thrown for fans leading up to the big event. Once inside the atmosphere was restless waiting for WrestleMania and for the most part the show did not disappoint, I give it a B-. The opening Intercontinental championship match was probably the best match on the card, followed by Charlotte vs. Asuka. AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke was a good match but maybe expectations from fans was a little to high.
Overall it was a good show but ran into the issue I complained and several other fans complained about, WrestleMania is too damn long. Including the pre-show it lasted around seven hours, people cannot sustain energy or interest that long. Especially when you have been up all day enjoying some of the celebrations surrounded around WrestleMania. The WWE has to figure out a way to trim the fat back to a respectable time, making everything bigger does not mean it’s better. It has gotten too bloated.
The experience of WrestleMania is unmatched and I highly recommend any wrestling fan try to bask in the glory of WrestleMania. There is truly a experience that cannot be replicated, I even was part of a focus group which shows just how much work goes into this event. There is a awful lot to do and you'll feel torn between doing things, fearing you'll miss one thing if you do another. That fear often turns out to be true. I’ll live off the high I experienced for quite some time.
About The Author
B.Easy is the co-host of Talkin' Suplexes. He's a self-professed geek loving movies, wrestling, comic books, and using his imagination. Goal in life is become to a world traveler and get paid to hop on lear jets. Follow him on Instagram @iam_beasy