Thursday, April 18, 2013

WrestleMania XXIX Weekend: The Memorabilia

WrestleMania weekend is so big that it deserves two entries!  Last week I took the opportunity to tell the story of my own "WrestleMania Moment."  The experience, which I have dubbed "The MetLife Miracle," certainly made my first live WrestleMania one for the books.  I had also briefly skimmed over the memorabilia and other memory-making activities that took place in the NY/NJ area, so in this second installment we'll take a bit of a closer look in that direction.

For the past several years it seems that every independent wrestling promoter wants to "piggyback" on the success of WrestleMania.  You can't put them at fault, as nowhere during the year will you find a bigger collection of wrestling fans in one metropolitan area.  As scary as that may be to some, it can also mean big bucks.  Still, with all that New York City has to offer, I'd venture to say that those promoters had more competition than ever before.

Many autograph and photo opportunities took place under the WrestleCon banner.  Wrestlers from the past and present were booked into the convention, meeting many fans for the first time.  While regular conventions draw a few fans from other countries, WrestleMania attracts hundreds of thousands of fans from all over the world.  These fans seemed to take advantage of the opportunities presented and met dozens of stars that they have admired for years.

Of course, the fans aren't the only ones who find themselves feeling a heckuva lot younger.  In my many years of attending conventions, one of the highlights is always seeing the stars themselves reunite.  How often do you see your former co-workers?  Rarely if ever?  The same goes for professional wrestlers.  While they may spend a lot more time with their co-workers than us regular folk do, when places of employment change they often lose track of each other in the very same way that we do.  These shows allow the stars to reconnect and reflect on years gone by.  The difference between our co-workers and fellow wrestlers is that no matter the era or company where they may have work, wrestlers ALL seem to know each other.  It's a beautiful thing.

Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart, Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, and Jushin Liger are just a sampling of some of the major names that met with fans during the weekend.  WWE even permitted William Regal to make a rare appearance due to the company pulling Bruno Sammartino from the event in order for "The Living Legend" to do media.  As thrilling as of the above names are to meet, my money is still on stars like Butch Reed, Heidi Lee Morgan, Barry Horowitz, and Tony "T.L. Hopper" Anthony as far as the true highlights of the show.  The above four are among names that simply do not do many appearances on the circuit and are always the ones that bring forth the true "wows" when reflecting upon the event.

As far as memorabilia from the weekend, nothing can truly top the WWE's marketing machine.  Open to all without a ticket of any kind, the WWE Superstore was a destination all weekend right in MetLife Stadium.  Entrance themes and promo videos blared as thousands of fans passed through the doors to stock up on WWE goodies.  Shirts, hats, piggy banks, programs, belts, action figures, and so much more filled the store to the brim.  Anxious fans and shoppers equally filled the WWE's tills after paying the prices asked.

That isn't to say that the store was completely devoid of bargains.  In the previous entry I showed my own personal favorite item, the WrestleMania pullback taxicab toy.  At only $10 it was a unique and inexpensive collectible that looks great as a paperweight for your WrestleMania tickets or just to recall memories of the weekend.  Much of the apparel offered at $35 and up has already starting appearing at reduced prices through WWE's online shop.  If you ever wanted that WrestleMania ballcap or beanie bear, there hasn't been a better time to stock up.

Based upon the past, one major future collectible is the official program for WrestleMania XXIX and the WWE 2013 Hall of Fame ceremony.  While it has the largest price tag ($25) of any WWE program in my memory, it is without a doubt the most massive WWE program in history.  The program is taller and thicker than any live event or pay-per-view oversized program previously produced and is stuffed full of great content.

The WrestleMania side features a profile on each match from the event
(including the cut 8-person tag team match) as well as new "capsule" profiles on each of the previous twenty-eight WrestleMania events.  Also featured is a photo of nearly each and every person currently under contract with WWE.  This includes all of the NXT stars, many making their first appearance on official WWE merchandise.  Next to each photo is a space where, in theory, you could obtain an autograph.

The Hall of Fame side features some very nice shots of the 2013 class and a look back on all previous Hall of Fame classes.  I greatly miss the smaller, unique Hall of Fame programs of the past.  I realize that those days are gone, but it could be a thought to produce a smaller program exclusively available at the ceremony itself in addition to having the Hall of Fame portion in the WrestleMania publication.  A small request that will go unanswered, yet still needed to be said.

So now that the 29th edition of WrestleMania is over, surely the marketing must be as well.  Wrong!  I'm sure that in the coming months there will be a Toys "R" Us exclusive figure series commemorating the stars, moments, and ring gear from WrestleMania XXIX complete with the NY/NJ logo right on the package.  Will I be all over them?  You bet!  Anything that reminds me of "The MetLife Miracle" and the weekend that was has a home in my collection.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Surprised to hear that this was your first Wrestlemania that you ever attended. I figured you have been too many.

Sounds like you enjoyed it.