NEW ORLEANS (TheStreet) -- World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) puts on events like no one else. Its performers and employees range from executives to those who put the ring together. The show is on the road for more than 300 days a year. Each show is designed to put a smile on fans' faces and keep them coming back for more.
For the past few days, I've been keeping a journal of my trip to New Orleans for WrestleMania 30, the "granddaddy of them all." With WrestleMania just hours away, the excitement was only bound to "rise above" (a phrase superstar John Cena has used time and again to overcome the odds).
New Orleans is the perfect place to host a venue like this, bringing together the best of the entertainment world, celebrities, average Joes and Janes, the media and wrestling fans. There is no other place that has the atmosphere and party feel of a college town, coupled with a small town feel, suburbia and incredible food, all within a few miles of each other.
During the event, WWE noted WrestleMania 30 broke the record for the highest-grossing entertainment event in the history of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, grossing $10.9 million with a sell-out crowd of 75,167. WrestleMania 30 has the fifth-highest attendance for WrestleMania of all time, with WrestleMania 3 holding the distinction of having the most attendees ever: 93,173 screaming fans.
Next year's event is being held in Santa Clara, Calif., at the brand new Levi's Stadium. Should N'Awlins host WrestleMania again in the future? For that, I have one word. Yes!
(Editor's Note: I was able to take lots of pictures with my iPhone 5s, but wasn't able to upload them. I'll hopefully be able to compile them later this week).
Without further ado, here's the third part of my journal to New Orleans, with WrestleMania 30 as the ultimate culmination.
8:30 am: I've just woke up, after going out on Bourbon St. and having a blast. Still difficult to open eyes, indicating I have may had too much of a blast.
9:40 am: Really woke up. Wonder just how I managed to crawl into bed and put my pajamas on backwards.
10:22 am: Sitting here for close to an hour, trying to finish day 2 diary. Considering that 85% of it was written before I sat down, clearly this morning is going well.
11:32 pm: Got cleaned up and went on a walking tour in New Orleans' Garden District. Got to 1st St. and Magazine Boulevard. Saw the childhood home of Peyton and Eli Manning. Immediately felt the urge to throw untimely interceptions.
12:40 pm: After finishing the walking tour -- and seeing Colonel Villa's home, several mansions and the Women's Opera House -- had lunch at Mahony's Po-Boy's. Had gumbo and a fried shrimp po boy sandwich. Both were good, but am in dire need of something healthy. Fear for my life.
1:52 pm: Get back to hotel and put myself on the scale. It reads, "One person at a time, please."
2:12 pm: Back on Bourbon St. to meet friends at Razzoo for a pre-WrestleMania drink and to experience the sight, sounds and smells of New Orleans' playground. Think that smell might be alcohol mixed with shame.
3:34 pm: Back to the hotel to shower, relax and nap a bit. Feel like a million bucks after the shower. For some reason, Ted DiBiase starts cackling in my room, saying "Everybody has a price."
4:45 pm: Left the hotel, walked over to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Thousands of crazy wrestling fans chanting, drinking and having a good time. This is what New Orleans is all about!!
Then it's on to the main event!
This is a loose recap of WrestleMania, with some jokes thrown in for good measure. For full effect, imagine the deafening screams of 75,000 fans.
5:40 pm: First match of the night at the WrestleMania pre-show. It's a fatal four-way tag match with the Usos (Jimmy and Jey), Real Americans (Caesaro and Jack Swagger), Los Matadores, and Ryback and Curtis Axel. Tons of "We the People!!" chants. Feels like I'm at a Tea Party meeting.
5:48 pm: Usos win the tag titles after both do flying head-butts on Caesaro for the pin. Swagger starts to beat on his partner Caesaro, only to be stopped by their manager, Zeb Colter. Swagger goes to shake Caesaro's hand, but he's had enough. He beats the heck out of his partner to officially turn good guy (face). Love this guy. I foresee big things for him in the future.
6:05 pm: Hulk Hogan comes out to officially welcome us to WrestleMania 30. "Let me tell ya somethin' brother...." Have sudden urge to start taking vitamins and saying my prayers.
6:09 pm: The glass just broke!! Stone Cold Steve Austin and Austin 3:16 are here!!!
6:13 pm: By God, that's the Rock music. The People's Champ is here!!!! The three biggest legends in the business -- Hogan, Austin, Rock -- are in the ring at once to kick off the show. Yeah, I can smell what the Rock is cookin.' It smells like millions and millions of dollars.
6:19 pm: First Yes!! chant of the night. (They're howling for Daniel Bryan, the crowd's overwhelming favorite.)
6:23 pm: The three biggest legends in the business toasting beers to kick off the show. That's beyond awesome. You can cut the electricity in the 75,167 person stadium with a knife.
6:29 pm: HHH, a.k.a. Paul Levesque, is out first for his match with Daniel Bryan. He came out wearing a crown and robe, sitting on a throne, surrounded by three beautiful women. Well, I have a cool phone. So there.
6:47 pm: Bryan is being manhandled by HHH, as "the cerebral assasin" HHH has an answer for all of Bryan's offense. Not looking good for the leader of the Yes movement.
6:49 pm: Bryan is getting some offense back. Sick German suplex there by Bryan. Bryan was trained by HHH's long-time and real-life best friend, Shawn Michaels.
6:59 pm: Bryan just kicked out of HHH finishing move, coming close to losing the match. It's not over!!!!
7:02 pm: Bryan wins the match with a knee to the face!! He's going to the main event!!!
7:03 pm: HHH goes nuts following the loss and destroys Bryan's left arm. Will he be healed for the main event???
7:08 pm: Next up is the New Age Outlaws and Kane vs. the Shield. What better way to promote the future -- the Shield -- than having three 40-something, past-their-prime, nearly retired men -- NAO and Kane -- win?
7:11 pm: The Shield dominate and get the win. They triple power bombed two guys of NAO at once. Now that's a WrestleMania moment.
7:15 pm: It's the Big Show's music, as we get ready for the Andre the Giant battle royal. I think being only one of two people (Sheamus is the other) in a 30 person battle royal to get your entrance music is a good thing, right?
7:24 pm: Kofi Kingston is the most unbelievable athlete I've ever seen, wrestling or otherwise. Gets thrown over the top rope, lands on the steps, and falls, yet manages to not fall off the steps, staying in the match. Unreal!
7:27 pm: Last 4 in the battle royal: Big Show, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio and Caesaro.
7:28 pm: Shamus and Del Rio eliminate each other!
7:29 pm: Caesaro just threw the 450 lb. Big Show over the top rope like he was a rag doll to get the win. What an unbelievable feat of strength! (Hmmm, where have I heard before that big things would come for Caesaro?)
7:40 pm: WWE's golden boy, John Cena, is making an entrance for his match with Bray Wyatt. I can hear the ladies swooning all the way from the press box.
8:02 pm: Just took a selfie with Sgt. Slaughter. YOLO.
8:04: John Cena, the golden boy, prevails. I'm still staring at the Sgt. Slaughter selfie.
8:11: They're introducing the Hall of Fame inductees, including Mr. T and Ultimate Warrior. I pity the fool who thinks Warrior isn't done talking.
8:18: Brock Lesnar, of MMA, NFL and of course, WWE fame, is making his way out for his match with the Undertaker to try and end 'Taker's WrestleMania streak of 21 straight wins.
8:27: The Undertaker's entrance took over 4 minutes. I legitimately geek out over this. Nothing like it out there.
8:38: Lesnar is pretty much dominating 'Taker. Having seen Lesnar in person, he is an absolute freak. He looks like 2 people tied together with a corn sack.
8:53: 'Taker hit a tombstone-like driver on Lesnar, who kicked out! 'Taker just signaled it's over, but Lesnar turns it around and gets the victory. The streak is over! 21-1. 75,000+ people sitting in stunned, silence.
9:12: People are stunned. Many are booing. NO ONE expected this. The betting odds on Bovada.com were bet $3,000 to win $100 for an Undertaker win. I'd kill to see the late betting action on the match.
9:15: Roddy Piper, Paul Orndorff, Gene Okerlund, Hulk Hogan and Mr. T on the screen, replaying the main event from WrestleMania 1. Great, I've transplanted to 1985. Waiting for Marty McFly to show up.
Editor's note: There was a divas' championship match in here, with AJ Lee winning. I was still too distraught from the Undertaker loss to pay attention.
9:17 pm: It's main event time. The champ Randy Orton out first. Not a good sign for the champ. Followed by Batista, and the aforementioned injured fan favorite, Bryan.
9:41 pm: Bryan got hit with Orton's finisher and Batista's finisher on the Spanish announce table. Earlier, HHH, Stephanie and a crooked ref come out to try and cause Brayn to lose. Eventually, he gets his revenge, taking out the trio with a flying move over the top rope.
9:43 pm: Orton and Batista have been destroying Bryan, and it looks like it's taking a toll. Following getting hit with the finishers, Bryan being stretchered out. This looks bad.
9:45 pm: Not two minutes after getting destroyed and nearly losing the match, Bryan is off the stretcher!! Maybe dreams do come true?
9:50 pm: Following some incredible offense from Bryan on both Orton and Batista, he finally does the unthinkable, and gets the 1, 2, 3, count. AND THE NEWWWW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, DANIEL BRYAN!!
--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New Orleans