WrestleMania Week Reminded Me Why I Love Professional Wrestling

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - APRIL 07: SNL's Michael Che and Colin Jost at WWE WrestleMania at Met Life Stadium on April 07, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for WWE)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - APRIL 07: SNL's Michael Che and Colin Jost at WWE WrestleMania at Met Life Stadium on April 07, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for WWE) /

Nearly three weeks after the event, it’s time to reflect on what exactly makes WrestleMania week such a special time for wrestling fans.

Walking down 7th avenue on WrestleMania week, just a few hours before NJPW and ROH’s G1 Supercard was set to begin, I was greeted with a massive ‘woop woop’ from an oncoming crowd of people. It was, of course, in reference to The Bullet Club T-shirt that I was wearing. The top which, since its release over five years ago, has become recognised as the international uniform for ‘smart marks’ everywhere.

The group, of which there were at least 20, then proceeded to give me a series of too sweet gestures and high fives. It was a nice moment, and one which I experienced plenty similar to during my week in New York City and New Jersey.

Whether it was being given a high five as I walked down the street in wrestling gear, or getting on the metro as someone shouted ‘Adam Cole Bay-Bay!’, the city was alive with the sights and sounds of wrestling.

I’ll be the first to admit that my interest in wrestling has become strained in recent times.

The product’s inconsistency can be difficult, and the sheer volume of wrestling that is now available means that it is increasingly difficult to keep up with all of your favorite promotions and performers, but WrestleMania week, a week-long celebration of the sport in all of its glory has done more than anything to reignite that spark.

There is certainly a slight cynicism surrounding WrestleMania. It is easy to argue that the event is nothing more than a series of part-time stars returning to the ring for the sake of cheap nostalgia to draw in casual fans, and while there may be some truth in that, the event is so much more than that.

It’s an event that draws fans in from all corners of the globes and unites them under one roof with a shared passion and love for a sport that is so often ridiculed in wider society. It’s a celebration of all of the weird and wonderful things about wrestling, and is quite simply, the greatest show on earth.

The sheer size and spectacle of the event is something that has to be seen in person to be believed. I’ve watched every Mania for the last 20 years live on television, but nothing prepared me for just how much of an all singing, all dancing show the event is in person.

Then, of course, there are the moments. These are the things that wrestling fans young and old live for.

Seeing children jumping with joy as

Kofi Kingston

lifted the WWE Championship, only to then realise that their parents were doing the same was a perfect example of how much the sport crosses generations. Children and adults both sat on watching the show with a look of childlike awe slapped across their face, myself being one of them.

As for the rest of the events that take place during the week, there truly is something for everybody.

Whether it’s hardcore death matches between ageing veterans, ridiculous gimmick matches between the likes of Scott Steiner and Hornswoggle, or Joey Ryan and his ridiculous jokes that you’re looking for- you will find whatever it is that tickles your fancy during WrestleMania week.

What started out as Vince McMahon’s grand idea for the WWE has become a city-wide celebration of all aspects of sports entertainment, and it is continuing to grow year in, year out.

For all the criticism WWE and other promotions have come under for their sometimes questionable booking, WrestleMania week highlights just how diverse and interesting wrestling can be.

Over the course of my time in New York, I sat down and had drinks with people from every continent, all of whom have gathered in one city in the name of wrestling. I sat with people from countries as far out as China and Israel, and I even bumped into people who made WrestleMania into an annual pilgrimage, with one person I spoke to attending his 18th in a row, which is quite the impressive feat considering he lives in London.

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Liking wrestling is never easy. Every time you let somebody know that you’re a wrestling fan you are bombarded with the same ‘you do know it’s not real, right?’ questions. Last year, when my girlfriend walked in on me watching Matt Hardy driving around on a lawn-mower laughing maniacally, I would have literally had rather her caught me watching anything, literally anything else, but WrestleMania week was a reminder that it is all worth it.

There is truly nothing else in the world like professional wrestling, and WrestleMania weekend was an excellent reminder of that.