WrestleMania has grown into a sporting institution and hosting it is right up there with the Super Bowl and even the Olympics. For that week tens upon tens of thousands arrive in a city for a real festival of wrestling. But which cities have pulled it off the best?
Over 20 different cities across the United States have hosted wrestling’s biggest event and as a special Christmas treat to us all, we’re taking a look at the five best venues.
Madison Square Garden
The true home of WrestleMania is Madison Square Gardens. It held the first event in front of 19,000 and set the benchmark for what it would become. The main event saw Hulk Hogan and Mr T defeat Paul Orndorff and Roddy Piper on a card that also saw Andre the Giant, Junkyard Dog and Muhammad Ali as a guest referee. The arena has since held WrestleMania X and XX with some classic matches which have included Bret Hart taking the Heavyweight title and the Undertaker beating brother Kane.
Las Vegas is a real hub of fighting and in recent years has hosted the likes of Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Floyd Mayweather and is even earmarked as the city to host Mayweather v Pacquiao 2. The bookmakers certainly want the fight go ahead, with the last bout seeing millions of dollars wagered in a fight in which Floyd Mayweather was 3/5 favorite to win on the day. The likes of William Hill are seeing it as -265 for Floyd and +215 Pacquiao with both fighters looking at a nine-figure payday. Vegas is the gambling capital of the world and the perfect city for an extravaganza of sport. Every year bets go crazy for WrestleMania in the casinos, yet Sin City has only hosted the event once. That happened at WrestleMania IX back in 1993, the first event held outdoors, and saw Hulk Hogan defeat Yokozuna to claim the Heavyweight Championship in an impromptu match that lasted just 22 seconds!
The SkyDome in Toronto has hosted WrestleMania twice and was the first Canadian city to do so. The first event, in 1990, welcomes over 67,000 spectators who witnessed an incredible bout which saw The Ultimate Warrior defeat Hulk Hogan. The venue also hosted the event 12 years later, in an event which saw Triple H, The Rock, Chris Jericho, Hulk Hogan, the Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin all on the bill.
In 2016, WrestleMania broke the 100,000 attendance mark, marking a significant moment in the event’s history. The event saw a Hell in a Cell match between The Undertaker and Shane McMahon and Roman Reigns beating Triple H in the main event for the Heavyweight title. The bouts themselves were heavily criticized by fans and journalists alike, but the stadium itself provided an important platform for the event to become even bigger than ever before.
The Superdome in New Orleans has held WrestleMania twice in the last five years and has become a real favorite for fans. It provided the backdrop to this year’s event which was largely praised, with Brock Lesnar beating Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship. Lesnar was also a key figure in the venue’s previous event, WrestleMania XXX, which saw The Undertaker lose at Wrestlemania for the very first time.