THIRTY YEARS OF WRESTLEMANIA
Anniversaries like the 30th annual WrestleMania, held April 6 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, provide an opportunity for reflection not only on the past but the future. In its three decades, WrestleMania has become a part of the cultural fabric of sports entertainment, but when WWE®’s Vince McMahon founded WrestleMania in 1985, its success was far from certain. The first WrestleMania was a bold gamble, an example of the sort of visionary risk-taking that brought WWE from its regional roots to the global powerhouse it is today. Back when multiple sports-entertainment territories were vying for market share, Vince McMahon saw the success of other promotions’ annual events and knew he could do better. He was so confident that he staked WWE’s future on the financial success of a single show: WrestleMania.
WRESTLEMANIA XXX > > > SPECIAL ADVERTISING GUIDE > > > GAMBIT | APRIL 2014
RISE OF A GLOBAL PHENOMENON
The first WrestleMania®, at Madison Square Garden in 1985, was not just a series of wrestling matches, but a star-studded gala event, a night full of high-profile celebrities from music, film and television. Cyndi Lauper managed the challenger for the Women’s Championship, and in the main event, Hulk Hogan™ teamed with the actor Mr. T in a match refereed by Muhammad Ali. That recipe of sports-entertainment competition plus glitz, glamour and titillating celebrity cross-over was wildly succesful: over a million fans watched the first WrestleMania via closed-circuit television at arenas across North America. McMahon continued to innovate. WrestleMania II involved matches held in three different states simultaneously, in New York, California and Illinois. More importantly, it expanded its broadcast reach from closed-circuit showings to home pay-perview. The model of televised matches and live shows building towards big pay-per-views became industry standard. By the time WrestleMania III set a world indoor attendance record of 93,173 fans at the Pontiac Silverdome, there was no doubt WWE had become the single dominant force in global professional wrestling.
IN-RING MEMORIES While there are many factors that make WrestleMania® great, its foundation has always been in-ring competition. The history of explosive WrestleMania matches is the history of sports entertainment itself, and no survey could do them all justice. Fortunately, this legacy is now at your fingertips on the newly launched WWE® Network. To further enhance your appreciation, try actively participating in historical WrestleMania contests via the WWE 2K14 video game’s innovative “30 Years of WrestleMania” mode, or visit WWE.com and tune into Renee Young’s “30 Years of WrestleMania” podcast, where Renee gets first-hand inside perspectives on WrestleMania from some of WWE’s all-time great Superstars. Wrestlemania is the stage where legends are born. The legendary Hulk Hogan™ returns as special guest host of WrestleMania. Hogan made history at WrestleMania III by body-slamming the 7’2”, 500+ lb Andre the Giant™. In the minds of many, that feat remains the all-time
greatest WrestleMania moment. At WrestleMania VI, held in Toronto Canada, Hogan faced off against the frenzied and ferocious Ultimate Warrior™. WWE will memorialize the greatest moments when Ultimate Warrior is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 5. In this contest between two beloved fan favorites, the Warrior ultimately prevailed, but Hulkamania continued to run wild. Hogan was back on top for WrestleMania VII, in which he defeated a traitorous Sergeant Slaughter™. WrestleMania VII is remembered as the first ‘Mania match for the Undertaker®, whose victory over Hall-of-Famer Jimmy Snuka™ marked the beginning of what was to become the industry’s most famous winning streak. The ladder match between Razor Ramon™ and Shawn Michaels™ at WrestleMania X has been heaped with the highest praise, heralded as a genre-defining classic. It was a groundbreaking performance from both men and one of many WrestleMania highlights from Michaels, whose consistently show-stopping ‘Mania performances earned him the nickname “Mr. WrestleMania.”
UNDERTAKER® AND THE STREAK One of the strongest threads weaving together WrestleMania®’s past and present is the Streak, the unbroken run of WrestleMania victories by the uncanny Undertaker. The Undertaker, who seems to transcend time, is something more than human. His very presence inspires awe and fear, and he carries in him the flame of professional wrestling’s deathless outlaw spirit, the gold standard of toughness and professionalism to which younger generations can only aspire. Many of WrestleMania’s most compelling moments are Undertaker matches, including the two he had against “Mr. WrestleMania” Shawn Michaels™ at WrestleManias XXVII and XXVIII. To see either of those matches unfold, whether for the first or the fiftieth time, is to witness the pinnacle of sports entertainment, indisputable proof of its power as a narrative art form. The gripping grandeur of these epic contests is truly the essence of WrestleMania. At WrestleMania XXX, Undertaker and his streak face their most daunting challenge to date in the form of “The Beast Incarnate” Brock Lesnar, a monstrous former mixed-martial-arts champion whose savagery and limitless appetite for violence are making many Undertaker fans uneasy. Whether the Undertaker’s win streak will survive is one of many burning questions that will be answered inside the Superdome April 6.
INTO THE FUTURE A consistent aspect of WrestleMania® has been its innovation. That innovation is in the Superstars breaking through to new levels of athleticism, WrestleMania’s phenomenal pyro displays and fireworks embedded in its world-class technical production. It’s also in the ever-evolving ways in which the WWE® Universe can share and experience WrestleMania live. Imagine trying to explain to a fan in 1985 that thanks to WWE Network, people would one day be able to enjoy not just that first WrestleMania on-demand, but experience WrestleMania XXX as it’s happening on their tablets, laptops, network-connected televisions or streaming devices. Who knows what lies ahead? Hall-of-Famer Sergeant Slaughter™, who main-evented WrestleMania VII, has one theory. “Maybe WrestleMania 40 will be on the moon, or Mars. I wouldn’t put anything past Vince. Some type of rocket with a ring in it. We could see it.” It’s true; anything’s possible in WWE. With WrestleMania thirty years strong and still getting stronger, not even the sky is the limit.
WRESTLEMANIA ® WITH ATTITUDE At WrestleMania XIII in 1997, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin™ passed out in Bret Hart™’s notorious Sharpshooter submission manuever. Though Austin lost the match, his iron-willed refusal to tap out and Bret Hart’s nasty post-match attack on the unconscious Austin showed audiences a new side of both Superstars. This extreme ordeal was the beginning of Stone Cold taking WWE® to new heights. At WrestleMania XIV, Austin defeated Shawn Michaels in a match featuring Mike Tyson as the special enforcer. It was a landmark of the Attitude Era, a time of edgy, push-the-envelope programming and personalities that led to WWE’s victory over its competitor WCW. WrestleMania XVII brought us Attitude Era icon The Rock® facing Hulk Hogan™ in a match for the ages, a magic clash between figures who each defined their own time periods. This irresistible dynamic was in play again when John Cena® fought The Rock at WrestleManias XXVIII and XXIX. At WrestleMania XXIII, longtime friend of WWE, Donald Trump, had his most direct involvement to date, putting his famous hair on the line against Mr. McMahon’s in a “Battle of the Billionaires.” No-one who experienced the intense and deeply moving match between two-time Hall-ofFamer Ric Flair™ and Shawn Michaels™ at WrestleMania XXIV will ever forget it. It was an emotional rollercoaster that retains its power, years later, to bring viewers to tears.
THE MODERNDAY CELTIC WARRIOR SHEAMUS®, WAS HIMSELF ONCE BULLIED
MARCH 1985, MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, NYC. Television tough-guy Mr. T has been worn down by an aggressive and relentless Roddy Piper™. When Mr. T staggers to the turnbuckle and tags in Hulk Hogan™, the crowd goes from loud to deafening. Hogan, chestnut tan between blonde hair and bright yellow trunks, storms into the ring and clobbers Piper. Paul Orndorff™, Piper's tag team partner, jumps into the fray and Hogan takes him on too, bashing Orndoff's skull against Piper's "Pandemonium in the Garden!" shouts commentator Gorilla Monsoon™. It's the first WrestleMania, and on a night packed with huge celebrities from multiple worlds of entertaiment, the star of the night is unquestionably Hulk Hogan. The name Hulk Hogan remains synonymous with sports entertainment. There have been many greats since Hogan's heyday, but none have dominated the industry in quite the way Hogan did. He headlined eight of the first nine WrestleManias, including the match at WrestleMania III in which he famously body-slammed Andre the Giant™, creating the prototypical ""Wrestlemania Moment." One can only imagine what kind of history-making moments will unfold April 6, when Hulk Hogan hosts WrestleMania XXX here in New Orleans. MARCH 2002, THE SKYDOME, TORONTO, CANADA.
Attitude Era icon the Rock® has just delivered another Rock Bottom to a black-clad "Hollywood" Hogan. Seeing the universally popular Rock punish the legendary Hogan, the crowd is becoming upset. After the match, a visibly hurting Hogan extends his hand to The Rock. When The Rock returns the gesture of respect and the two men shake, the crowd cheers in relief. It's WrestleMania X8, and in one unforgettable match Hulk Hogan has reconciled two eras. When The Rock hosted WrestleMania almost ten years later, he proved more than willing to get his hands dirty, delivering a Rock Bottom to John Cena® that cost Cena the WWE Title. At WrestleMania XXX, will Hogan restrict himself to the formal duties of hosting? Over the decades, Hogan has proven that, as his theme music promises, he'll fight for the rights of every man.
Monday Night Raw opens to the chorus of Hulk Hogan's "Real American" theme music, the crowd goes wild and Hulk Hogan re-emerges onto WWE television programming after being absent for years. In a characteristic return appearance full of contagious enthusiasm and use of the iconic word, “brother,” Hogan announces his return as special guest host of Wrestlemania XXX and the launch of WWE Network, the cutting-edge, over-the-top digital content delivery system that's giving fans a new way to experience 'Mania. As Hulk Hogan speaks, the currents of WrestleManias past and present are once more intertwined with their most famous representative.
APRIL 6, 2013, THE MERCEDESBENZ SUPERDOME, NEW ORLEANS.
The immortal Hulk Hogan™ hosts WrestleMania® XXX. What'cha gonna do, brother, when Hulkamania runs wild at WrestleMania in New Orleans? Whether you watch it live in the Superdome, on pay-per-view or via the new WWE Network, you'll be joining millions of fans around the world eager to see what will happen when the biggest-ever WrestleMania Superstars hosts the biggest-ever WrestleMania. Hulk Hogan's coming home.
WWE® and its Superstars and Divas are known for giving back to the many communities and children they reach. WrestleMania® Week is no different as WWE talent will participate in over a dozen community events throughout the area.
The Be a STAR (Show Tolerance And Respect) anti-bullying program, founded by The Creative Coalition and WWE, promotes a positive and equitable social environment for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation. Be a STAR promotes positive methods of social interaction and encourages people to treat others as equals and with respect because everyone is a star in their own right. In an ongoing effort to spread the word about tolerance and respect, WWE Superstars and Divas visit two to three schools or community centers per month to speak with students about bullying issues, including sharing their own personal stories. To see the modern-day Celtic Warrior, Sheamus® dominate his way through those who oppose him, you’d never guess that he was himself once bullied, picked on for pudginess and for that same red hair that’s become one of his beloved trademarks. For children who are either victims of bullying or for whatever reason, engaging in bullying behavior, it’s tremendously powerful to hear the voice of someone as impactful as Sheamus speaking out firmly against bullying and harassment. Be a STAR is just one example of WWE’s broader philosophy of community giving and outreach. WWE’s comprehensive community giving platform supports organizations such as Make-A-Wish, Susan G. Komen, Special Olympics, Hire Heroes USA, GLAAD, and KaBOOM!, as well as other literacy, education and military causes. And to top off WrestleMania 30 Week, WWE and KaBOOM! are teaming up to build a new playground at Woodland West Elementary School in Harvey, La. Superstars and Divas are going to work sideby-side with members of the local community by mulching, shoveling and hammering together the playground of the children’s dreams and leave a lasting legacy in the community after WrestleMania 30 is over. Whether it’s Kofi Kingston® and Natalya™ hosting a reading celebration, or John Cena® hosting critically ill children and their families from Make-A-Wish, or Superstars and Divas visiting with children at local hospitals, or local schools hosting Be a STAR rallies, there is no shortage of good will coming our way during WrestleMania® 30 Week.
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FEBRUARY 2014, GREEN BAY WI. ®
ATTRACTIONS There’s a lot to see and do in New Orleans, both on and off the beaten path. We matched up a few of our favorite WWE® Superstars and Divas with some sights and experiences we felt might suit them— or any other WrestleMania® 30 Week visitor!
GAMBIT | WRESTLEMANIA XXX > > > SPECIAL ADVERTISING GUIDE > > > APRIL 2014
John Cena® — World War II Museum
John Cena, one of WWE’s top Superstars, is no stranger to New Orleans: he’s filmed several movies here. Since he’s also renowned for how much he respects and supports the US Armed Forces, Cena would surely appreciate our city’s massive, oneof-a-kind World War II Museum.
Kofi Kingston® — New Orleans’ Comic Shops
Even the graphics on Kofi’s ring gear show off his fondness for funny books. At Crescent City Comics on Freret Street and More Fun Comics on Oak Street, the high-flyer can stock up on reading material and then kick back in the bohemian ambiance offered by these two offbeat commercial districts.
Ryback® — Jack Dempsey’s
The man who chants “Feed Me More” is guaranteed to get all the local seafood he can handle at Jack Dempsey’s, a neighborhood institution worth the cab ride from downtown. But the best restaurant in the Bywater does keep eccentric hours, so the Big Guy had better call ahead. [ C O N T I N U E D O N P. 5 ]
THE SHOWCASE OF
THE IMMORTALS WrestleMania® - The name evokes bright lights, huge crowds, and spectacular displays of athleticism. It’s Hulk Hogan™ body-slamming Andre the Giant™, John Cena® facing off against Hollywood megastar and Attitude Era icon, The Rock®. Its musical performances from chart-topping artists, the glamour of bigname celebrities, thundering fireworks, and the hair rising on the back of your neck as the Undertaker™ stares down his challenger. Nothing else is like it. WrestleMania is often compared to the Super Bowl®, but WrestleMania is bigger. WrestleMania sells more tickets and seats more fans, and the energy in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, April 6 will be that much more intense. For the Superstars and Divas of WWE®, WrestleMania is the biggest date on their calendar, the goal they work towards the other 51 weeks of the year, and a golden ticket they'll do anything to obtain. The stakes at WrestleMania couldn't be higher, the pressure couldn't be more overwhelming, and the opportunity for glory is absolutely limitless. It is at WrestleMania, in the irreproducible atmosphere of WWE's signature event, that a Superstar can cross from stardom into immortality, achieving a "WrestleMania moment" that will live forever, not only in the annals of WWE, but in the hearts and imaginations of the live crowd and the million-plus watching all over the globe, on pay-per-view and the new WWE Network™. WrestleMania® 30 will be the biggest WrestleMania to date. Each year brings new
innovations, even more sophisticated production elements, and crazier surprises, but from its beginning, WrestleMania has been something beyond any other pay-per-view. Although it's centered on high-profile and championship matches between Superstars and Divas, it's also a star-studded celebrity event, with live music, stars of the stage and screen and guests from elsewhere in the sporting world. Often at WrestleMania, we see some celebrity mixing it up with the WWE Superstars - whether it's Donald Trump putting his infamous hairdo on the line against Mr. McMahon's, undefeated five-division boxing champ Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr. knocking out
the seven-foot giant Big Show®, or Jersey Shore's Snooki executing a jaw-dropping series of gymnastic flips into a perfect back handspring elbow. WrestleMania is also about building on tradition, and there's no better example of this than the Undertaker, an already towering figure in WWE who, through 21 straight WrestleMania victories, has risen from legendary to near-mythical. A thrilling facet of every WrestleMania is when and if the Undertaker® will return, whom he will challenge, and then, crucially, whether The Phenom will be able to maintain his winning streak. WrestleMania is the culmination, not only of the year in WWE, but an entire week of live events, and the experience for attendees is unforgettable. Being live in the venue, surrounded by a hundred thousand happy fans, is magic. People fly in from all over the world, so WrestleMania is also a chance to see firsthand just how excitingly broad and diverse WWE's global fan base is. It's a truly international gathering, on a scale unmatched anywhere in the United States. Ten years ago, WWE began hanging a WrestleMania sign up over the Royal Rumble, the chaotic specialty match whose winner gets to headline that year's WrestleMania. In 2008, Royal Rumble winner John Cena was the first to do something every Rumble winner since has adopted: he climbed to the top turnbuckle and pointed at the WrestleMania sign. It's a simple but powerful gesture that says to fans, buckle up and ride with me, because this is where we're going, to the grandest stage of them all. WrestleMania is where it all happens. At WrestleMania, the showmanship, athleticism and sacrifices made by those men and women whose in-ring performances drive the WWE, reach their absolute peak. The lights burn brighter, championship gold shines more brilliantly, and as the crowd holds its collective breath, one more WWE Superstar surpasses expectation, overachieving, triumphing, and seizing a spot in history.
WRESTLEMANIA AXXESS ®
While there are many opportunities throughout WrestleMania® week to see your favorite WWE Superstars and Divas, none offer the kinds of fan interaction possible at WrestleMania Axxess.
ATTRACTIONS Roman Reigns™ — The Besthoff Sculpure Park
This brooding, ridiculously handsome bad boy is a statuesque work of art. He’d feel right at home among the other gorgeous pieces of art in the free and visually magnificent Besthoff Sculpture Garden, next door to the New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park.
Wherever WrestleMania goes, Axxess proves a perennial local favorite. Axxess provides entire families, not only a chance to see some great matches, but an exciting afternoon of up-close and personal interactions with WrestleMania main-eventers from this year and years past. General admission is $45; kids two and under are free. The fun and informal atmosphere of Axxess, surrounded by WWE set elements and the Superstars themselves, makes an Axxess session the closest thing to being backstage at a WWE event!
MONDAY NIGHT RAW While any given Monday Night Raw® is unpredictable, few are more raucous and surprising than the Raw after Wrestlemania®. The fans come to enjoy themselves, and they make their voices heard at Raw with a volume and inventiveness that's become its own piece of Wrestlemania Week tradition. Monday night, April 7th at the New Orleans Smoothie King Center, New Orleans fans get their chance to participate in the special madness of a post-Wrestlemania Raw.
Wrestlemania is a global phenomenon, and for many of those in attendance from overseas, it's a rare opportunity to be in the audience for a live, televised WWE® event. This international flavor— picture the gusto with which crowds overseas chant at soccer games— helps give the Raw after Wrestlemania a unique and crazy energy. Although Daniel Bryan® lost the World Heavyweight Title in a record eight seconds at Wrestlemania 28, it was at Raw the next night where he was first greeted with the thunderous chant of "YES!" that would herald his startling rise to the pinnacle of popularity over the subsequent year. The sneering, hip-swiveling and flamboyant Dolph Ziggler® has an unabashedly egocentric attitude, but when at the Raw after Wrestlemania 29 he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and won the World Heavyweight Championship, the live crowd went wild in support of him, looking past his arrogance to celebrate the show-stealing show-off's hard work in a way many audiences might not have. At that same post-Wrestlemania Raw, the audience sponta-
neously invented a goofy dance to accompany Fandango™'s catchy entrance theme. In a matter of days, the craze of "Fandango-ing" was running wild across social media. Monday Night Raw is television's longest-running weekly episodic program. It’s anything-can-happen live atmosphere is a big piece of what has kept it must-see viewing, and the only thing more fun than watching a notorious post-Wrestlemania Raw is to be there in person! Whoever comes out of Wrestlemania 30 as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Divas Champion and Tag Team Champions, Monday Night Raw at the Smoothie King Center will offer their first opportunity to process and reflect upon the momentous events of the night before. How will the crowd react? What will unfold at this year's post-Wrestlemania Raw? The WWE authorities don't know, the WWE Superstars don't know, and until the moment it happens, the WWE Universe themselves don't know. It's sure to be surprising, sure to be controversial, and sure to be talked about for a long time to come.
Darren Young® — Lakefront Fishing
Darren Young is a workhorse who calls himself “Mr. No Days Off,” but Darren, when you’re in New Orleans, we insist: take a day off! For this driven young Superstar, we prescribe a quietly unambitious afternoon of freshwater fishing along the relaxing and low-key lakeshore of Lake Pontchartain.
Cesaro™ — New Orleans Independent Bookstores
In our city’s marvelous selection of independent and used bookstores, especially in and around the French Quarter, the cultured Swiss Superman can find unusual and intriguing literature in many languages. We know Cesaro speaks five languages; at shops like Arcadia Books on Orleans Ave., he can find works written in all five!
Batista® — Fair Grounds Race Course
Despite being an unleashed animal inside the ring, Batista’s choices in street clothes have made clear he’s among the sharpest fashion plates in WWE. At the Fair Grounds Race Course, New Orleanians often enjoy dressing to the nines for a classy, but laid-back afternoon watching the thoroughbreds run. [ C O N T I N U E D O N P. 6 ]
GAMBIT | WRESTLEMANIA XXX > > > SPECIAL ADVERTISING GUIDE > > > APRIL 2014
Axxess runs from Thursday, April 3 through Sunday, April 6 inside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and is not just a fan convention, but a gala event for the extended WWE Universe. While witnessing a great match with an enthusiastic crowd is an incomparable experience, at the individual level it doesn’t get more memorable and intense than the opportunity to meet your favorite Superstar or Diva in person. To shake a Superstar’s hand, get a photo or autograph, and maybe express in a few words what their accomplishments have meant to you, is a moment of interpersonal connection that can mean the world. But Axxess is no mere meet-and-greet. There are live matches, massive memorabilia displays and interactive opportunities that go worlds beyond the standard photo op. Past years have included elaborate sets to explore: a replica of the WWE Titantron for visitors to stage their own Superstar entrances, a “Money in the Bank” set, and the Undertaker®’s Graveyard, a foggy, blacklit cemetery whose tombs bore the names of those sacrificed to the Phenom’s WrestleMania winning streak. For WrestleMania® 30, Axxess will offer more autograph signings and live matches than ever before, all throughout the Convention Center. And beyond the scheduled appearances and signings, there’s no telling what Superstar or Hall-of-Famer you’ll bump into: many enjoy roaming Axxess in their free time to greet and mingle with their friends in the WWE Universe.
[ C O N T I N U E D F R O M P. 4 ]
[ C O N T I N U E D F R O M P. 5 ]
Naomi™ — New Orleans Bounce Clubs
Naomi, the former dancer whose remarkable arsenal is backed up by a move called the Rear View, might enjoy shakin’ it as many locals do to the homegrown, high-energy dance genre called Bounce Music, a style entailing maneuvers for which her awesome assets are ideal. Try Encore on Tulane Avenue or Saturday night at the St. Roch Tavern.
GAMBIT | WRESTLEMANIA XXX > > > SPECIAL ADVERTISING GUIDE > > > APRIL 2014
Wade Barrett® — The New Orleans Botanical Garden
We’ve got some good news for the British buzzkill: Barrett, often seen with a fresh rose on his lapel, can enjoy dozens of varieties of roses, as well as countless other species of plants, in City Park’s stunning and stately Botanical Garden.
Sheamus® — Frenchmen Street
The Irish Hooligan who loves a rousing old-country tune can find more than one along Frenchmen Street, a hotbed for live traditional music in many genres. If he brings his tin whistle and buys enough pints to share, an obliging band might even let him sit in!
Bray Wyatt™ — Saint Louis Cemetery #1
Bray Wyatt might benefit from some quiet contemplation at the tomb of Marie Laveau, a legendary Voodoo Queen who chose to use her powers and influence in positive ways. It’s just one of the many tombs in this historical and spooky aboveground cemetery. [ C O N T I N U E D O N P. 7 ]
FAME While there are many honors WWE Superstars strive for during their careers, entry into the WWE Hall of Fame is the ultimate capstone, as they are enshrined forever within sports entertainment’s highest echelon. On Saturday, April 5 at the Smoothie King Center, another elite group will join the ranks of the all-time greats when the WWE Hall of Fame inducts its 2014 Class. The WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony is part of WrestleMania® Week, and provides an opportunity for Superstars past and present, as well as fans in attendance, to reflect on WWE’s storied legacy. Professional wrestling has deep roots and rich history, locally here in Louisiana and all over the world. The WWE is an institution that honors its past, and the Hall of Fame is one way WWE pays tribute to some of the individual sacrifices and accomplishments that have made the business what it is, the foundation upon which events like WrestleMania® 30 are built. Of course, all of the Hall of Fame inductees are born entertainers, so while it’s frequently moving and funny, there’s nothing dry or stuffy about this ceremonial occasion. The speeches and reminiscings of those being inducted are at the heart of the Hall of Fame ceremony, drawing an audience which includes many fans as well as WWE Superstars, Divas and previous inductees. Looking at the first three names announced for the 2014 Class, you can see why this year may be the most highly anticipated Hall of Fame Ceremony since it’s founding.
The Ultimate Warrior™ Few performers electrified audiences like The Ultimate Warrior, whose relatively brief but undeniably memorable tenure in WWE saw him reach legendary status in record time. Blazing across WWE like a shooting star, Warrior’s comic-book superhero physique, wild face paint, neon tassels, manic energy and cosmic stream-of-consciousness speaking style all made him an iconic, larger-than-life character, instantly recognizable to even casual viewers. One of the defining figures of his era, the Warrior’s success was founded on his connection with fans. When his music hit and he exploded out of the curtains, running full-tilt towards the ring like a man on fire, audiences became swept up in the Warrior’s aura of excitement and his off-the-charts intensity. An unconventional and unique individual who only ever respected his
own code, The Ultimate Warrior sometimes courted controversy; WWE Superstars and fans alike are looking forward to hearing just what this always uncompromisingly outspoken Hall-of-Famer will have to say at his induction.
Lita™ While all Hall of Famers broke the mold in some way, Lita’s rule-breaking was her defining characteristic: she defied expectations as a way of life. An unrepentant bad girl who not only hung with the bad boys but kicked their butts when they crossed her, Lita’s boundary-pushing personal style was grounded in an authenticity that fans recognized, reacted to and respected. Whether outraged or awed, audiences couldn’t keep their eyes off her. Lita is cited as a crucial role model by today’s top female wrestlers Divas, but men and women alike admire her as a game-changing athlete and performer. The hard-rocking rebel not only shattered stale preconceptions about how a female performer should carry herself but raised the bar with ambitious, daredevil in-ring performances that brought fresh possibilities to the Divas division of women’s wrestling. Her rise from self-described “dumpster-diving punk rock kid” to women’s champion and main-eventer, is a story fans of all ages and genders can be inspired by.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts™ Jake Roberts is revered as someone with a grasp of wrestling psychology so profound and intuitive that it can only be called genius. He was a wrestler Superstar who seemed to draw on deep and frightening interior wellsprings most people didn’t have. While others ranted and roared in an effort to intimidate their opponents or impress an audience, Jake never needed to raise his voice: the superior strength of his sinister charisma simply commanded attention. When he issued a threat, you damn well believed it, and when Jake gazed into the camera the dark malice in his eyes made your blood run cold... cold as the massive, writhing live python he carried to the ring and draped over his fallen victims. The inventor of the DDT, a brutal finishing move still popular today with Superstars such as Randy Orton® and Dean Ambrose, Jake remained a central performer throughout the ‘80s and into the ‘90s. More recently, Jake has proved inspirational in a new light, as someone publicly and bravely finding his way back to health from some of fame’s deadliest pitfalls. For all of us those who struggle with addiction or who have whose loved ones are in that struggle who do, Jake’s ongoing story of redemption is extremely powerful and important. These two identities— the wrestler Superstar who dominated opponents with his mind before breaking them in the ring, and the humble survivor who overcomes odds every day— are fused in the extraordinary, yet very human being we know as Jake Roberts.
WHERE THE MACHO MEN GO: SPOTS FOR
EATS AND DRINKS
AROUND WRESTLEMANIA® 30
Outside the ring, smack down your hunger with these 12 picks, all about a mile or so from the match and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Be sure to call ahead to make sure the VIP set hasn’t booked up your favorite spot.
(601 Tchoupitoulas Street, 504-3351740; http://barcadianeworleans.com) Skeeball, air hockey and arcade games light up well into the night, with dozens of beers waiting for you on draft. Fuel your play with a bison patty melt (the bread’s toasted in duck fat) or a fried peanut butter sandwich (customize it with grape jelly, bananas or local strawberry jam). Insider tip: Smack down that appetite with the off-menu “Ric Flair”, an insane burger topped with pork belly preserves, fried cheese, praline bacon and an over-easy egg.
(930 Tchoupitoulas Street, 504-5887675; www.cochonbutcher.com) This Southern-style shop and bar (now with triple the seating) showcases their housecured meats in stuffed sandwiches like the Cochon Muffaletta (salami, capicola, mortadella, along with provolone and olive salad) and the Pig Mac (pork sausage patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese – you know the rest). Arena tailgaters can take out a whole pig, chicken jambalaya and savory sides (order ahead), and throw in ham-and-cheese stuffed pretzels for the ultimate street snack.
(620 Chartres Street, 504-267-3500; www.dorismetropolitan.com) Glam locals (chefs, sommeliers, athletes) have been spotted at this sleek steakhouse, where premium cuts are dry-aged, so the sizzlers come out full-flavored and juicy (you won’t need a steak knife). Steer toward the thick 34-ounce porterhouse, the melt-inyour-mouth shpondra (short ribs), and don’t overlook the rich 10-ounce burger - Doris grinds the beef and bakes the bread inhouse. Round out the meal with sexy sides and desserts, and top-shelf cocktails.
EMERIL’S NEW ORLEANS
(800 Tchoupitoulas Street, 504528-9393; www.emerilsrestaurants. com/emerils-new-orleans) Champion eaters (pro athletes, hungry movie crews) make their way to Chef Emeril Lagasse’s flagship restaurant for the belt-busting, 16-ounce pork chop (matched with caramelized sweet potatoes), an entire truffle-fried chicken or whole roasted fish. Check for daily specials with swagger, and follow it all with Emeril’s sky-high banana cream pie.
GALATOIRE’S 33 BAR AND STEAK
(215 Bourbon Street, 504-335-3932; www.galatoires33barandsteak.com) This heavyweight serves up luxuries like Lobster Thermidor (Chef Michael Sichel folds the chopped lobster meat into a tarragon-cheese cream sauce, spooning it back into the split shell) and a pair of super-sized European quail (four ounces each), roasted and stuffed with boudin and foie gras. At the table, their ranch-sourced prime beef comes finished with brown butter-lemon sauce. Insider tip: Ask for your steak “bonne femme” to add caramelized onions and bacon.
(833 Conti Street, 504-525-9200) When your belly’s ready to rumble, head for this haus. Their Munich plate showcases four glorious pounds of schnitzel, sausages, meatloaf, pork chop, German potato salad and sauerkraut. There’s also a hefty, half-pound burger topped with sauerkraut and bratwurst, and a meat-stacked Reuben
(333 St. Charles Avenue, 504-3782840; www.lukeneworleans.com) Chef John Besh’s brasserie draws in warriors with manly plates of choucroute (bratwurst, fried pork belly, whole pork shank and a tangle of sauerkraut), a 10-ounce cheeseburger, and an extreme three-tier tower of seafood (including a lobster tail, crab legs, oysters and Gulf shrimp). This season, ask for specials featuring crawfish or soft-shell crabs. Have a morning date with WrestleMania® Axxess? No worries - weekend brunch here lasts until 4 p.m.
RED GRAVY CAFÉ
(125 Camp Street, 504-561-8844; www.redgravycafe.com) “I always make too much,” says chef-owner Roseann Melisi Rostoker of her robust Southern Italian fare. Fans include the NBA’s Charles Barkley, who recently stopped by (twice) for fried chicken and waffles. Other show-stealers are the Mark (a pair of 16-ounce meatballs, Parmesan-style, on French bread) and a 12-inch lasagna Bolognese. The pasta’s all house-made and can come gluten-free. For big parties and at brunch (cannoli-cream stuffed pancakes!), reservations are a must.
(777 Bienville Street, 504-553-2277; www.revolutionnola.com) Dinners here can be as dramatic as any spectacle in the ring – a charcuterie board so hefty it has legs (“like a small picnic table,” says the chef de cuisine, Chris Lusk); a literal staircase of caviar; and a 40-ounce rib-eye that’s presented tableside before being portioned in the kitchen (top it with lobster or blue cheese). There’s a 10,000-bottle wine cellar on premise, and the bar carries many styles of craft beer. The dining rooms are stunners as well.
YO MAMA’S BAR & GRILL
(310 Chartres Street, 504-552-4095; www.sobounola.com) Here, solo the family-style platters: flour tortillas with smoked cochon de lait, fried oysters and pickled vegetables, or four whole duck legs set over foie gras and cherry boudin. The show goes on with beautiful bar chef Abigail Gullo, who might sing while stirring you a Sazerac or loading your Trouble Tree (five shots for $5); find stone-cold beer at the table taps, with lines to local brews. In the courtyard, order from the full menu, and buckets of beer.
(727 St. Peter Street, 504-522-1125) Well after midnight, tap out that hunger with these bully burgers. Top your eight ounces with winning combinations like sour cream and caviar, or chili and Cheddar. The main event is a burger slathered with peanut butter and crackled bacon, and the potato pairing comes baked and loaded (no fries here). The only other menu you’ll need is the tequila list, which offers a wide range of shots. NOTES LATE-NIGHT/ALL-NIGHT OPTIONS
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Goldust® — The French Quarter
Goldust might as well hang around the French Quarter, which has a history of colorful neighborhood characters. As night falls around Bourbon & St. Ann, even the bewigged and gold-painted Superstar they call “The Bizarre One”, can blend comfortably into the crowd..
Damien Sandow™ — The Louisiana Research Collection
This erudite WWE Superstar once described himself as “the avenging sword of taste and decency” and employed a scribe named Ignatius; he might well have local roots. He should spend time digging into his genealogy at Tulane University’s Louisiana Research Collection, which is open to the public most weekdays.
Luke Harper™ — St. Claude Avenue
New Orleans is a place for everyone. The humongous Harper might be a wild-eyed hobo-bearded giant in a stained undershirt and dirty coveralls, but there’s plenty just like him along the “hip” stretch of Saint Claude Avenue, which also happens to be rife with interesting music, art galleries and worthwhile local theater.
A.J. Lee™ — The Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
It may sound like a recipe for disaster to send WWE’s own Black Widow into a building full of bugs, but we bet the Diva who defined the division’s bejeweled butterfly belt would get a buzz out of the informative displays of creepy-crawlies, beautiful butterflies and exotic arachnids at the Insectarium on Canal Street...whether or not she chows down on the chocolate-covered crickets in the gift shop.
GAMBIT | WRESTLEMANIA XXX > > > SPECIAL ADVERTISING GUIDE > > > APRIL 2014
(139 Chartres Street, 504-322-2245; http://backspacenola.com) Off-duty bartenders and servers come to this pub for the chill vibe, and nearly round-theclock booze and food. Tackle the Cuban, a full French loaf loaded with pulled pork, ham and Swiss, or the gravy-glazed roast beef, crowned with fried oysters on ciabatta. (Add the off-menu fried pickles.) Greet the dawn with house-made cookies the size of a WWE® title, chased with a cool glass of milk or $3 draft beer.
(try it on potato pancakes instead of rye bread). Drink hearty, too, with their foursome flight of beer ($8), or take your draft in a 34-ounce mug ($13 - $15).
THIS SUNDAY APRIL 6 6 PM LIVE ON PAY-PER-VIEW AND CHECK WITH YOUR PROVIDER FOR AVAILABILITY TM & © 2014 WWE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Your guide to Wrestlemania XXX in New Orleans.