Every year, World Wrestling Entertainment selects a city that it will call home for its annual wrestling/sports entertainment extravaganza: WrestleMania. Fans from around the world travel to the host area for the week-long event, which includes the fan friendly, interactive and very popular WrestleMania Axxess.
Last month it was New Orleans doing the honors, four years after its last WrestleMania in the city where Daniel Bryan overcame adversity to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. What a show.
This WrestleMania did not disappoint either, with Bryan cleared medically to return from injury/retirement to wrestle. The action was hot. Titles exchanged hands, and records were set.
Before 78,363 people from across the globe who packed the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the spectacular WrestleMania 34, the week began with a bang with WrestleMania Axxess at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
Here's a look at some of the action and fun through my eyes at Axxess. Hope you enjoy it.
WrestleMania Axxess is a full-fledged experience for WWE fans that allows them the opportunity to take a photo with their favorite Superstars, walk the rampway to reenact entrances of Raw , SmackDown Live, NXT and 205 Live Superstars and view some neat memorabilia from the past including their new “Women’s Evolution” exhibit.
Raw Superstar Apollo Crews, part of Titus Worldwide, always looks forward to meeting the WWE Universe at Axxess.
“You have people literally coming from all around the world to see and meet us,” Crews said. “For me, without them, we wouldn’t be who we are.”
205 Live Superstar Kalisto not only enjoys interacting with fans at Axxess, but enjoys how enthusiastic they are when he meets them.
“It’s great seeing that they are happy because we are always putting our bodies on the line every day, every week,” Kalisto said. “Just to see their smiles is what helps push us.”
This year’s Axxess featured new ways for fans to interact with some of the stars from WWE television. At each Axxess session, 2K conducted a raffle where the lucky winner would be able to play WWE 2K18 with a WWE Superstar. One of those winners was Dalton McNeil, 11, from Hattiesburg, Miss., who played against former WWE World Champ Dolph Ziggler.
“It was a lot of fun,” McNeil said. “I beat him with Sweet Chin Music as Shawn Michaels.”
WWE Superstar Aiden English competed against a fan, too, on Rusev Day, of course.
Here's a look via 2K.
One of the new additions to Axxess was the opportunity to call a WWE match with NXT and SmackDown commentators Percy Watson and Tom Phillips. Fans had a plethora of matches to choose from including Triple H vs. Undertaker from WrestleMania 28 in 2012 in Miami Gardens, Seth Rollins’ Money in the Bank cash-in from WrestleMania 31 in 2015 in Santa Clara, Calif. and Pete Dunne vs. Tyler Bate from NXT TakeOver: Chicago last year.
For Greenwood, S.C. resident Dennis Alatorre, 25, this interactive experience was one of the highlights for him during WrestleMania Weekend.
“I have to say that this was something I always wanted to do: to be able to call a match with Percy Watson,” Alatorre said. “It was an absolute honor to do something like that.”
In Mesa's Opinion
I believe each year Axxess has improved.
Some of my favorite things to do are the Superstar Entrance and the Call A Match booth.
As a video gamer, I think video game company 2K made the right move at Axxess with lottery drawings for a chance to play a WWE Superstar in a game of WWE 2K18.
Would like to see a WWE 2K Tournament of Champions (a WWE video game tournament for select fans with WWE Superstars as their coaches).
WrestleMania 35 Axxess
WrestleMania 35 Axxess is April 4-7, 2019 in the NewYork/New Jersey area. Details TBA.
WrestleMania Week is April 3-9 with the featured attraction WrestleMania 35 on Sunday, April 7, 2019 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
About the writer
Steve Mesa is a videographer, photographer, writer, and top video game player. He is a former WWE 2K U.S. Champ and International Runner-Up.