How The Rock’s Return Helped Energy the Largest WrestleMania of All-Time 

Whether you are a pro wrestling fan or not, you may have noticed that with a new Netflix deal in the works, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson returning to the ring, everyone seems to be talking about WWE. And, as the sports entertainment juggernaut just celebrated WrestleMania XL, new records were set in terms of both the business financials and the raw emotion on display. M&F takes a closer look.

A New Era Is Ushered In At WrestleMania XL

While WrestleMania was born in 1985 at Madison Square Garden, the 40th iteration was the first production to be led by Paul “Triple H” Levesque, after his father-in-law and the WWE founder,Vince McMahon was forced to step down amid a sex scandal. The “Lavesque Era” got off to a historical start, with WrestleMania XL proving to be the company’s biggest grossing Mania to date. In a press conference following the “show of shows,” The WWE chief noted that he felt this wasn’t his era, but rather that of everyone who worked for the company, who felt passionate to go to work once again. Lavesque, a former WWE champion in his own right, also mentioned that innovations in television production were being rolled out, and this can already be seen with some of the different camera angles and extended drown shots. Lavesque also promised that there were more exciting production developments to come.

Squared Circle Meets The Octagon

For his first match at WrestleMania since WrestleMania 29 in 2013, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was victorious at XL when he tagged with cousin Roman Reigns to defeat Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins. To get back into ring shape, Johnson had created an MMA style training camp that lasted 10-12 weeks. In the post-show press conference, the movie star also noted that WWE had sent him 2 rings and had also facilitated its contracted wrestlers and coaches to come and run the ropes with “The People’s Champion,” so that he could sharpen up his move set and timing. On Saturday night, Johnson proved once again that he is still “the hardest worker in the room’ at 51 years of age, helping to power-up interest in the event by appearing all over television while training at the same time. “I feel great,” he said following his match. “Body feels great, I just had the time of my life.”

Wrestlers Battle Each Other And The Weather

The action may have been hot and heavy in the ring but on a cold winter’s weekend in Philadelphia, the crowd had to show as much grit and determination as their WWE heroes in order to weather WrestleMania XL. The temperature on Saturday night was around 50°F but with the wind chill factor at play, it felt much colder. The crowd were forced to pull up their hoodies but kept their energy levels respectfully high during the show. Fortunately, it was a little warmer on Sunday night, but it is likely that this will be the last WrestleMania event held in an open-air stadium since the company is moving towards environments with a closable roof.

WrestleMania XL Breaks Attendance Record

While special guest, Snoop Dog hilariously read out the wrong number (you had one job, Snoop!), Triple H confirmed that the total attendance over the weekend for WrestleMania XL Nights 1 and 2 was a massive 145,298, setting an all-time gate record for WWE. While the exact financials were not given at time of writing, the gross must have exceeded the $17.2 million that was generated by WrestleMania 32 in Dallas. Apparently, another record was set for a one-night gate “We broke our all-time single-night gate record here tonight (Saturday),” explained Lavesque in the post-show press conference. “That is something that Nick (Khan) and I, and the team, spend a lot of time pouring through: how to increase that but remain in that zone where anybody can come to a show. We’re not pricing our fans out of the market. We’re very conscious of making sure everybody out there can enjoy WWE. It’s not just about the money and the numbers, it’s about making sure everybody can take part.”


A New WWE Generation Steps In The Spotlight

While The Rock’s return no doubt helped to power-up this record-breaking WrestleMania, emotions ran high as old streaks were ended and others were either begun or furthered. Rhea Ripley still holds the Women’s World title after more than a year thanks to defeating Becky Lynch on Saturday night, while Gunther’s epic 666-day Intercontinental Championship streak came to an end at the hands of Sammy Zayne, and Roman Reigns lost the Universal Heavyweight Championship after an awe-inspiring 1,316 days as Cody Rhodes finally won the title in tribute to his late father, Dusty.

WrestleMania XL turned out to be a satisfying blend of celebrating those that had paved the way in the years passed, with welcome cameos from John Cena, The Undertaker, and of course, The Rock’s successful return, while ushering in a new era for fresh superstars like Logan Paul, Damien Priest (the new WWE World Champion) and LA Knight. w, however, with WWE set to make a big move to Netflix next year, one wonders if those memorable moments and gigantic numbers will be smashed sooner rather than later.

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