WRESTLEMANIA 24 - The Superbowl of Sports Entertainment
World Wrestling Entertainment's Wrestlemania is, quite simply, professional wrestling's answer to the Super Bowl, World Series and Final Four, all rolled into one. For over two decades, it has been the singular event that has brought all storylines and rivalries together in one action-packed spectacular. And it has been the signature promotion that has been most instrumental in wrestling's ability to transcend the sports and entertainment industries. One only needs to take a look at the list of celebrities who have participated in Wrestlemania to understand the power and influence of the event in the mainstream of American sports and popular culture. The likes of Donald Trump, Pete Rose, Dennis Rodman, Karl Malone, Mike Tyson, Alice Cooper, Billy Martin, Lawrence Taylor, William "The Refrigerator" Perry, Liberace, Cyndi Lauper, Pamela Anderson and Ozzy Osbourne have all been a part of it. Muhammad Ali was the guest referee for the first-ever Wrestlemania main event, a tag match which pitted Hulk Hogan and Mr.
T against Rowdy Roddy Piper and Paul "Mr. Wonderful" Orndorff. It can reasonably be said that Wrestlemania is the most far-reaching spectacle in all of sports entertainment. And this year's show promises to be one of the greatest ever. It is scheduled for March 30 in Orlando, Florida.
The brainchild of Vince McMahon, the impresario who is chiefly responsible for having transformed the professional wrestling industry from a series of regional road shows to a phenomenon with its stars seen, known and revered at once by a worldwide audience, the first Wrestlemania took place on March 31, 1985 at Madison Square Garden, long recognized as the mecca for the company that was started by his father, Vince McMahon Sr. Since then, Wrestlemania has spread itself around, staged at major arenas such as Boston's Fleet Center, the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, Long Island's Nassau Coliseum, the Atlantic City Convention Center, even Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The shows have also been held at various times in huge athletic stadiums, including the Pontiac Silverdome, Toronto's SkyDome, the Houston Astrodome, the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, Safeco Field in Seattle and Ford Field in Detroit. It was at the Silverdome that Wrestlemania set the all-time record for highest attendance at an indoor sporting event, drawing 93,173 fans in 1987. It was at that spectacular that one of the seminal moments in the history of wrestling took place, as Hulk Hogan body-slammed the indomitable Andre the Giant on his way to winning a heavyweight title match in what Hogan later described as a "passing of the torch" to him as the figure who would take the WWF (as it was known then) to a new level. But wrestling history is made at every presentation of Wrestlemania. The event never lacks for surprises. What will be the major stories coming out of this year's Wrestlemania? Which celebrities will be involved this time? If you're a wrestling aficionado, you clearly have a "need to know." This year marks the first time Wrestlemania will be held in the Sunshine State. In the shadow of Disney World, the WWE superstars will battle it out at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium.
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