WWE Superstar John Cena and WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon practice what they preach.
Cena and McMahon discussed WWE’s mantra -- putting smiles on faces -- during the WWE WrestleMania 33 Press Conference on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
Afterward, they did just that by greeting fans waiting near the parking lot outside the Citrus Bowl. Cena and McMahon stepped away from their cars parked inside a secured gate and walked across the pavement to sign autographs and pose for photos with each member of the spirited group.
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They left everyone smiling. Mission accomplished.
They and their colleagues will strive for that same result when Orlando hosts WrestleMania 33 on Sunday, April 2, 2017 at the new and much improved Citrus Bowl. That’s not all. WrestleMania 33 Week in Orange County will also feature an NXT live special on Friday, March 31; a WWE Hall of Fame ceremony on Saturday, April 1; and a live Raw spectacular on Monday, April 3 -- all three at the Amway Center which housed the Royal Rumble in January off Church Street in Downtown Orlando.
Be a STAR anti-bullying rallies at Orange County schools, the WrestleMania Reading Challenge finals, the Make-a-Wish party and more will highlight the important community outreach WWE incorporates within WrestleMania Week.
The fun WrestleMania Fan Axxess will be four days at the spacious Orange County Convention Center off International Drive, a few miles south of Universal Studios Orlando.
WWE and local dignitaries officially announced Orlando as the host city at the press conference in the Varsity Club at the Citrus Bowl.
“We’re excited to bring this event back to Orlando,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott. “Florida set a tourism record by welcoming 105 million visitors in 2015, and WWE will help bring even more visitors to Florida in 2017. We’re excited WWE once again chose Florida to host WrestleMania.”
Four consecutive years, WrestleMania has generated more than $100 million in economic impact for its host region. WrestleMania 32 — this year’s Showcase of the Immortals which airs live on WWE Network — occurs Sunday, April 3 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
At the press conference, Gov. Scott joined Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs for the historic WrestleMania 33 announcement, which was also made in conjunction with the Central Florida Sports Commission. WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon, WWE Superstar Roman Reigns, WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day, WWE Divas Champion Charlotte, two-time WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair, WWE Superstar John Cena and Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon were among those participating.
WWE Executive Vice President John Saboor, who is Mr. WrestleMania behind the scenes, and The New Day drop-kicked off and closed the educational, enlightening and fun-filled conference, a celebration for WWE, Orange County and Orlando.
WrestleMania 33 will be the third WrestleMania in the Sunshine State, second time in Orlando.
The Citrus Bowl hosted WrestleMania 24 in 2008. That marked the first WrestleMania in Florida and second time outdoors.
That spectacular included a classic between HBK Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair in Flair’s retirement match. Also, Big Show battled boxer Floyd Money Mayweather. Undertaker won the World title over Edge. Kane captured the ECW belt over Chavo Guerrero Jr., and Randy Orton retained the WWE title in a triple threat against John Cena and Triple H.
In 2012, Miami-Dade County welcomed WrestleMania 28 with Rock vs. Cena at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens.
And now it returns to the Citrus Bowl, which completed much needed major renovations -- costing $207 million -- in 2014. The new look Citrus Bowl (90 percent new) made the venue very appealing to WWE, and that helped land WWE’s Super Bowl. The spectacular will draw a sellout of 60, 000+, 70,000+ fans, depending on WWE production set-up/stadium configurations.
“You will leave the Citrus Bowl emotionally exhausted,” Vince McMahon said. “Everyone will enjoy the drama and the athleticism ... but most importantly, you’ll leave with a big smile on your face.”
Just like those fans did waiting outside the Citrus Bowl following the press conference.
During the conference, Cena described why Orlando is a fitting home for WWE’s pop-culture extravaganza.
“Orlando welcomes people and makes the impossible possible, makes dreams reality,” he said. “Orlando, just like WrestleMania, makes moments that last a lifetime.”
Cena does, too. Brothers Alex and Noah, who dressed akin to the Cenation leader from head to toe, stood in awe when Cena posed for photos with them, signed autographs and also talked to them outside the Citrus Bowl, following the event.
The Citrus Bowl becomes the first stadium to house two WrestleManias.
Orlando joins Atlantic City, Anaheim, Chicago (Rosemont), Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City and Toronto as cities with multiple WrestleManias.
WrestleMania 33 is brought to you by the Central Florida Sports Commission, the Citrus Bowl, Orange County, Orlando and, of course, WWE.
While WWE puts smiles on fans’ faces, Orlando and Orange County put a smile on Vince McMahon. The visionary behind WrestleMania noted how welcoming Orlando/Orange County is to WWE, which also matters in the selection process. City Beautiful tag teamed successfully with WWE, housing the state-of-the-art WWE Performance Center, and in nearby Winter Park, Full Sail Live at Full Sail University is the TV taping home of the growing and popular NXT brand.