This week’s weekly report from the Top Rope is a special edition as I (@Leeleemu) have now returned from Miami and was fortunate enough to attend WWE Axxess, the WWE Hall of Fame and WrestleMania 28. At this point I should mention that you can hear a more in depth review on our podcast from Friday Night where I talk to Simon and James about my experience and we discuss the differences between the crowd reactions from mine and their point of view. We are also recording a podcast tonight on Raw, Smackdown and more importantly, the future of the WWE so be sure to tune in to that to.
In this article, I will review the WrestleMania week and will provide information on the cost of the week for anyone who is maybe interested in going one year.
WWE Axxess – Miami Convention Center
I must mention, that my girlfriend and I originally only bought the WrestleMania seats, flights and hotel as we decided to risk buying tickets for the HOF and Axxess at the Box Office.
We got to the Convention Center at around 6pm, an hour before opening as we thought the queue for the Box office would be considerable but in turn, there was no one in the queue for the Box office, however, the queue for the Will Call (Where people pick up pre-ordered tickets) was absolutely massive. We picked up Axxess tickets for $40 each (Saving $18 each on the TicketMaster processing fee) and started queuing until the doors opened. One thing I must note is, no way will I ever pay $100 more to meet one wrestler. Punk and Edge were the VIP’s on the Thursday we went. One guy in the queue had bought 8 VIP passes to see the 8 VIP wrestlers and therefore spent $1000 which I think is crazy.
Once in, there were 7 Superstar Signing Area’s, every 2 hours new Superstars would replace the initial Superstars and therefore since it was open 4 hours, there were a good 15-20 superstars you could potentially meet. However, they didnt release what areas (Apart from Legends and VIP’s) superstars would be and therefore at the start people ran towards areas to get to the front of queues not knowing what stars would appear.
We waited until all the stars came out for the first session and they were Edge (VIP), No Legend, Sin Cara, Brodus Clay w/Dancers, R-Truth, Beth Phoenix, Vickie & Swagger and Kaitlyn & Tamina. We decided to queue up for Vickie and Swagger where we got their autograph, a picture and had a good minute with them which is a decent amount of time at a signing. We made them both laugh as Ashlie pretended Vickie is my dream woman and I told Vickie if Ash wasn’t there, it would be all about her, Jack found this funny and asked if he could hang out with us lol.
Due to R-Truth’s (who was pretending to be with Jimmy) queue being far too long and me having absolutely NO care for Brodus Clay (who is ridiculously over with the Americans) we got a photo with Sin Cara, Kaitlyn & Tamina. Kaitlyn was awesome and she is definitely one of my favourite Diva’s after speaking with her, I asked her to pollute over Beth and Eve on my Programme and she found that funny. Tamina was nice and Sin Cara can’t speak English I dont think so he was just posing for photos.
Because Kaitlyn/Tamina’s queue was fairly short, we decided to join the queue again as it was nearly the end of the first half and we knew we would be near the front for the next superstar. I was psyched because for that stage, out came Christian. Now Christian is one of my all time favourites but man, was he grumpy, he didnt smile for my photo of any other peoples whilst I was queuing, I found him pretty rude.
After Christian, we went for some food, a walk around the Undertakers Graveyard, went to watch Epico/Primo vs. The Uso’s, had a look at all the WWE Title Belts, walked around the HOF section which had lots of donated memorabillia. If they ever build a physical Hall of Fame building, I am sure they will easily be able to fill it.
We realised we would have time to queue for one more signing, Punk was a VIP but was obviously off limits. We could choose from, AJ, Rosa, Wade Barrett, Dusty Rhodes and Daniel Bryan. We decided to go for Daniel Bryan and we were last in the line. They were refusing to let anyone have photos with Daniel Bryan which I found ridiculous, it was clearly not his decision. Anyway, being the last in line, I cheekily said, since we are last can I get a photo and the jobsworth security guy still seemed pissed but Bryan said no problem. Bryan was great and I asked him if the Yes chant will get more annoying then What, and he said probably. Throughout the whole week, Daniel Bryan and the Yes chants were the loudest by far.
WWE Hall of Fame – American Airlines Arena
Once more, the Will Call Line was ridiculously long and the Box Office line was empty. Looking on TicketMaster earlier in the day, it said only the $50 seats in the stands were available but because they were looking for a $26 processing fee on each we decided to go to the Box Office. Once there, we were told they had Section 2 Seats, Row 2 for $70. I said sure. Once we were in the Arena, we were shown to our seats and there wasn’t a Row 1 and therefore we were sitting right behind the wrestlers and were literally about 10 yards away from the entrance the stars came from. We were delighted with our seats and it goes to show that Box Office’s do reserve tickets for people wanting to go to the Box Office.
Overall the HOF was good and the event went on for around 3 hours so I am sure they cut the speeches for TV as HHH/HBK, JBL and the Four Horsemen went on for ages. I found JBL an arrogant twonk (reasons on the podcast) but HHH/HBK were hilarious. I was slightly disappointed with Edge but nevertheless it was a good experience.
WWE WrestleMania 28 – SunLife Stadium
From start to finish, this day was incredible and I recommend any wrestling fan to try and get themselves to one. The whole atmosphere is incredible. I have been to Wembley stadium for Football finals, seen alot of sporting events and LIVE music concerts but nothing can compare to the atmosphere last Sunday. I literally got shivers when certain Superstars came out.
I have watched the PPV since I have been home and the atmosphere should be multiplied ten fold then what you guys can hear on the recording. The atmosphere is probably lost due to the open air stadium but the atmosphere was ballistic. When the Rock came out, the arena erupted, and if there were a roof on it, it would have lifted.
The buzz the whole day was incredible, we had good seats, central to the ring, eyeline slightly higher then the mat but they should be good considering we paid $450 per ticket, processing fee on Ticketmaster was only $10 for these. These were Grade 3 pricing, but the Grades went all the way to Grade 10 ($25) so if you just want to go for the atmosphere and to watch it on the big screens, it is ridiculously cheap. Anyway, crowd reactions were as follows:
Sheamus def. Daniel Bryan: You can’t tell on the aired version but the whole arena was pretty much chanting Yes, Yes, Yes going into this match and Daniel Bryan chants were louder then reactions for Sheamus. Sure Sheamus got a decent pop when he won the title but more people in the Stadium were in disbelief and thought it was bull shit, this set quite a negative tone until the Taker/HHH match and there were Daniel Bryan chants throughout the Orton/Kane and Show/Cody Matches.
Kane def. Randy Orton: Both got a decent reaction on their entrances but seriously, it seemed like people could not really be bothered as they have seen this match so often before. The match was slow and sluggish and with people seemingly still peeved at the Bryan/Sheamus fiasco, this match didnt do much for the live crowd although they enjoyed the finish and were certainly surprised with Kane winning, so two negative endings to the first two matches.
Big Show def. Cody Rhodes: Similar to the previous match, Show got a nice ovation and Cody standard boo’s but again the match did nothing to lift the crowd and since the Mania crowd is more intellectual to the usual LIVE audience, there was more frustration due to them deciding to take the belt off a rising star. At this point, people couldn’t wait for one of the big three matches.
Diva’s Match: Toilet, Beer or Get Food Break seemed to be the general consensus with people still bewildered why that Maria chick was in the match when she helped get no more buys and just held back some other Diva.
Undertaker def. HHH: The LIVE crowd was nuts for this match from the entrances to the end and truth be told were just completely warned out which is why Jericho/Punk seemed so dead because the crowd were honestly recharging for Cena/Rocky. This match was fantastic and the atmosphere was unbelievable, every kickout, the crowd was invested into. Just a great great match and I am proud to be able to say I saw that live.
Team Johnny v Team Teddy: I honestly don’t think anyone cared and to be honest I cant remember much of it.
CM Punk def. Jericho: Was awesome to be in attendance for these two’s entrances, especially at such a grand stage and the match was a great wrestling match, however they should of opened with this match as the crowd reaction would have been much greater. Its not their fault they were after Taker/HHH and just before Rocky/Cena but this definitely affected the crowd reactions.
The Rock def. John Cena: Once again the crowd was off the chain for this one and The Rock’s entrance and victory just inspired eruptions, after 8 years, to be present for the Rocks debut in a singles match was awesome and a memory I will never forget.
The week was just incredible and we are already planning for next year in New York. I was amazed to see the different nationalities, ages and backgrounds of the people at the event and it was great. Even though the majority of the crowd disliked Cena, no Cena fan was made to feel uncomfortable and I think thats the great thing about wrestling. What other event would you get 80,000 people chanting in unison at something?
Anyway, in terms of cost, I am sure you have seen the Mania packages about but I think if you plan it all yourself and use public transport whilst over there, it is not ridiculously expensive and therefore please find below my spending:
WrestleMania Ticket: $450
Axxess Ticket: $40
HOF Ticket: $70
Merchandise (Mania Drink Container, Mania Shirt, Rock Shirt: $60
Flights and 4* Hotel (7 Nights): $1150
Spending Money: $750 used – However, with this I bought a Miami Marlins Shirt for $80, Miami Tennis Open Tickets $100, spent $120 in Hollister, spent $120 taking my Girlfriend to Hard Rock and Cheesecake Factory. So really taking that in account, I reckon I could have got away with $500 spending money, I just took more as I thought better be safer then sorry.
I should also mention, $150 of that was spent on taxi’s as the first two days, we didnt check out the local transport, so that is my MAIN TIP, use their buses, $2 anywhere is ridiculously cheap. We spent $4 on getting to Sunlife and $55 getting back as it was midnight when we got out of the arena and we just wanted to get to bed.
So taking it all into account, the grand total comes to (drum roll) = $2520 or in GBP = £1590 OR £1430 if I didnt do the other stuff. Now in my opinion, for what we did, thats pretty good going and we stayed for 7 nights in a 4* so you could easily do it cheaper. I know I have probably gone over the word count but its WrestleMania baby. If anyone has any questions, I would be happy to answer 🙂