TUCKER’S WrestleMania Weekend Report – Overall Atmosphere in Dallas, NXT Live, WWE Hall of Fame Live Notes


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WrestleMania Weekend Report
Report by Ben Tucker, PWTorch TV specialist

Read Tucker’s in-person tweets from Mania Weekend @BTuckerTorch.

Through attending WrestleMania Week over the past decade, it’s been amazing to see how Mania Weekend has evolved over time. What was once nothing more than a couple rooms of props for Axxess and a Hall of Fame in a concert hall at WrestleMania 22 has become a full week filled with events produced both by WWE and other companies (WrestleCon, etc).

Axxess has exploded into a gigantic center of activity featuring its very own WWE Superstore. Streets for miles are lined with banners featuring WrestleMania competitors. Stop in a hotel and you very well might find Teddy Hart cuddling a cat as he smokes a joint.

WrestleMania 29 in New York truly sparked this “Mania Week Renaissance,” and from there it has continued to improve year after year to the point where a wrestling fan feels like there’s always something to go to. Just today I went straight from JR’s Spoken Word show to the Hall of Fame, which was already hosting the Network’s red carpet show as I arrived.

Also of note is seeing how the independent scene as a whole has grown over time and how fans have developed alongside it. I have never seen as many varied wrestling t-shirts in my life, with fans wearing shirts for WCW Nitro, Shinsuke Nakamura, Roman Reigns, the Young Bucks, and even Billy Jack Haynes, rarely seeing a duplicate.

Shows such as NXT are bustling with Internet personalities, ranging from Sam Roberts to the lovely gents at the New Generation Project Podcast. “Hardcore” fans have never been more involved and in touch with wrestling worldwide as they are now and it’s amazing to see.

Quick Notes on NXT/Hall of Fame

– The crowd for NXT Takeover: Dallas was incredible, nearly meeting the volume of August’s Brooklyn crowd (which was held in a much larger arena). Aside from the three drunk guys sitting behind us, the crowd seemed completely in sync with each other all night long, following the ebb and flow of the matches.

The only times the crowd seemed to be losing energy were in the middle section of the Crews-Drifter dark match (NXT match for next week), the nervehold spot during Aries-Corbin, and the finish of Bayley-Asuka, where the crowd was clearly deflated by seeing Bayley lose the title.

Overall, the experience was truly unique and amazing to see given the smaller presence NXT had during WrestleMania week last year.

– The Hall of Fame was enjoyable as it is every year. Whereas even five years ago fans liked to dress up nicely for the show, now very few go all out. This year’s audience was much more polite than typical, avoiding cat-calls for the majority of the night.

The only individuals to be jeered were John Cena, Snoop Dogg by a portion of the crowd before Cena’s introduction, and Roman Reigns, who is receiving a reaction just as volatile as last year. Expect Triple H to come into Mania on Sunday receiving a hero’s welcome from the crowd.

Questions? Comments? Reactions? Find me on Twitter @BTuckerTorch, where I talk about wrestling and… stuff!

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