1. “Oh, look! It’s Hulk Hogan. And Macho Man. And John Cena. And Goldust. And the Undertaker. And Rowdy Roddy Piper.”
Cosplay was totally normal during WrestleMania weekend. It was weird if you WEREN’T wearing something wrestling-themed.
2. “Are you here for the wrestling thing, sir?”
“Yes, ma’am. I’m here for the wrestling thing,” I answered the shuttle bus driver. The second I stepped off the plane at the Louis Armstrong airport in New Orleans, the barrage of WrestleMania advertisements was overwhelming. New Orleans had a case of wrestling fever, and those not in the loop found themselves wondering just where exactly they had arrived.
3. “Honey, I came all the way from Dallas to watch wrestling.”
After someone on the shuttle bus questioned wrestling’s popularity in a mocking tone, an elderly woman in her 70s responded accordingly and stood her ground like a true wrestling fan. It was adorable and badass at the same time.
4. “Why does everybody keep screaming ‘YES’?”
A bartender on Bourbon Street could not figure out why everybody was in such an optimistic mood. Daniel Bryan’s “YES!” chant echoed all over the French Quarter and it was glorious. In every bar, in every restaurant, in every hotel, on every street, there were “YES!” chants and fingers flying in the air. This, however, confused some locals who had no idea what was going on.
5. “Did you make the kimono yourself?”
“YES! YES! YES!” Someone made a Daniel Bryan “YES!” kimono. Respect.
An Undertaker fan shouted “22-0” at a group of five hardcore Brock Lesnar fans eating beignets at the famous Cafe Du Monde. Undertaker has never lost at WrestleMania, resulting in a legendary 21-0 undefeated streak. Any wrestling fan would tell you The Undertaker could not possibly lose on Sunday, especially to someone like Brock Lesnar. The 22-0 streak was already set in the minds of most wrestling fans, even before the event started.
7. “They’re not mine. They’re my boyfriend’s.”
I encountered a lady sitting at a bar all by herself with three replica championship titles on the table. THREE.
8. “If Daniel Bryan loses, we’re burning down the Superdome.”
Daniel Bryan had to win by any means necessary. There was no other way these fans would leave New Orleans happy. “I’m serious,” said the anonymous wrestling fan. “We’ll riot and we’ll burn the Superdome to the ground.” Wrestling is serious business.
9. “Holy crap, it’s huge!”
This is where WWE superstars made their grand entrance. It really was enormous. Wrestlers entered from underneath the middle “X.”
10. “There’s a lot of people here.”
Yup! According to a press release from WWE, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome officially sold out with 75,167 people in attendance. It also broke the Superdome’s highest-grossing entertainment event record, with $10.9 million in revenue, beating out the Essence Festival that featured Beyoncé. In other words, WWE > Beyoncé.
11. “THIS IS AWESOME!” *clap clap clapclapclap * “THIS IS AWESOME!”
The moment was unreal. Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and The Rock kicked off WrestleMania by chugging beers. Nobody cared that Hogan accidentally called the Superdome “Silverdome.” All that mattered was that these three wrestling legends were standing before us, causing fans to go crazy with a unified “THIS IS AWESOME!” chant.
12. “LET’S GO CENA!” and “CENA SUCKS!”
The never-ending conflict between Cena fans and haters was evident throughout the night. During John Cena’s match against Bray Wyatt, this chant filled the stadium quite frequently. Per usual, kids and women cheered for Cena, while men cheered for Bray Wyatt. Cena would go on to win the match.
13. “OH MY GOD!!! Wait… No… Was that a three count? WHAT!? ARE YOU SERIOUS!? THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING!!!”
The shock was felt not only throughout the Superdome, but around the world. Everyone was expecting Undertaker to kick out of Brock Lesnar’s finishing maneuver. But he didn’t. It pained everyone to see that dreaded “21-1” up on the giant screen.
You could hear a pin drop in the stadium. Some people were quietly sobbing. Even Lesnar fans were shocked. The last remaining storyline from our wrestling childhoods had officially come to an end.
16. “YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!”
Daniel Bryan made a comeback though, and locked in the “YES!” submission maneuver on Batista. Fans stood on their feet, screaming for Batista to tap and give up once and for all – and then he did. The Superdome erupted into a deafening “YES!” chant. The underdog had finally overcome the odds, and wrestling fans in New Orleans screamed “YES!” like there was no tomorrow.
There were fireworks.
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