On April 6th, the WWE universe celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of the biggest event that the industry has to offer.
We got to celebrate WrestleMania XXX.
WrestleMania is about more than winning a match, it is about defining your legacy and leaving an impression on the fans. We got a little more than we bargained for during the thirtieth anniversary celebration, making this one of the most memorable events in the history of the WWE. Fans got to witness more than just matches. We got to see a streak end, men defeat their personal demons, careers defined, and a homecoming nobody involved in wrestling (fan or otherwise) thought would ever happen. The whole WrestleMania weekend, including Raw on Monday, will never be forgotten by anybody that loves this business.
The focal point of the WrestleMania event, other than Bryan FINALLY winning the title, was the end of the streak. That’s right, the streak is dead. It’s not something that anyone thought would ever happen, that can easily be learned from the looks on everyone’s face as the referee counted to three. It was as if time stopped, everything seemed to move in slow motion and no one really knew what was going on. For many of us, the streak was a part of our childhood. The Undertaker is this seemingly invincible being. He powered through his Mania opponents as quickly as they walked down the ramp to receive their fate. It was fairly obvious towards the end of the match that something wasn’t right with him. He was hurting and hurting badly.
What does the invincible man do when he gets beaten?
He stands up in that ring and receives the ovation that he deserves. The outpouring of love and appreciation sang volumes to how much Taker means to the fans and wrestling as a whole. No amount of cheering can ever begin to repay him for the decades of entertainment and memories.
The night before Mania is a celebration of trailblazers in the business and this year’s inductees were all of that and more. The Hall of Fame ceremony is a chance for the WWE Universe to connect with the wrestlers they love on a more personal level. Those watching get to hear personal stories, have a few laughs, and (most importantly) see the superstars they idolize as real people. Real people overcome, cry, laugh, and seeing that human element bonds fans and superstars for life. Two inductees stuck out as being the crowning jewels on such a special evening, those inductees were Jake Roberts and Warrior.
Both men battled demons that affected their private and professional lives, nearly ruining them both. Jake’s speech was absolutely stunning in every single way. The fans could see the raw emotion pouring from each word that he spoke. Roberts literally came from the bottom, and probably could have died four or five times over due to his addictions. What he, with the help of DDP, did was overcome. He realized that he was bigger than what plagued him. Jake realized that he was not his father, he could do better for himself and his family. It was stunning to see him now, compared to just over a year ago, he literally looks like a brand new man.
The biggest part of WrestleMania XXX, and the most anticipated, was the appearance of the Ultimate Warrior. In all honesty, many people were terrified of what he would say because of his reputation for being extreme and unorthodox. When he came out, he looked so proud and a little overwhelmed. The fans gave him the ovation that he deserved but never expected, it was almost twenty years since he had anything to do with professional wrestling. It was a homecoming for him, he got to share his thoughts and make peace with people who had hurt him in the past.
He also appeared on the following night’s episode of Monday Night Raw and thanked the fans for always supporting him in his career and for carrying on the legacy of Warrior. It was a very eerie moment in time, he spoke like he was eulogizing himself almost. The words that he spoke would be exactly that, Warrior sadly passed away the very next day while with his loving wife. Word of his sudden passing spread around the wrestling community like wildfire. It was so unfathomable that people were saying it wasn’t true. A man who was so filled with energy and life, suddenly gone from the world and the people that he loved.
His words inspire and he may be gone in body, but he is always surrounding his fans in spirit.