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Why WWE WrestleMania is a Brand That Pro Wrestling Needed

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WWE WrestleMania represents many things to many people.

For Vince McMahon, it is his dearest creation. It is a grand theatre for the likes of The Undertaker, CM Punk, The Rock and John Cena to showcase their craft. It is nothing short of a festival for wrestling fans across the globe.

For pro wrestling, however, it is a global brand that the business always needed. It is the epicentre of WWE’s business model. Almost half of the year in WWE either converges towards the spectacle, or revolves around its payoff. In these six months, not only the WWE benefits from its magnitude, but it is the industry in general that rips the exposure too.

This article will analyse the commercial aspect of the event, and in order to accomplish it, it will be divided into six points.

Now, let’s roll.

Historical Backdrop

Pro Wrestling in USA dates back to the 19th century, when it used to be an attraction at carnie shows. From then on, the business has seen a consistent chrysalis. Gradually, it became a scattered territorial industry. Establishment of NWA unified it, and made it a national institution. With the advent of technology, it became a television phenomenon. By 1980’s, it was a huge industry, and a very popular one.

This centennial journey, however, has a big dark side to it.

Pro Wrestling has carried a massive stigma of being “fake” since 1920s. For some it is too violent, and for some it is just tricks and theatrics. Many consider it to be a cheap entertainment, which is morally bankrupt and socially unacceptable. Instances of steroid abuse, deaths of young wrestlers and other such scandals have further hampered the image.

Through all these adversities, scandals and tragedies, the industry has always held its own.

However, it lacked a mainstream appeal and the pop glamour. There was no single event or entity that would epitomise wrestling for the general public. There was no equivalent of a super bowl or a soccer world cup, which would create a massive frenzy, and bring in millions of viewers.

It was only until the WrestleMania came along.

The Big Bang

Riding on the Hulkamania and unprecedented popularity of wrestling, Vince McMahon decided to change the equations forever.

In 1985, he introduced WrestleMania to the world. The magnitude of the spectacle was hitherto unseen in the industry. Involvement of Cyndi Lauper, Mr. T and WWE’s association with MTV made WrestleMania a pop culture extravaganza.

However, this was just to be a prelude.

At WrestleMania 3, Millions had tuned in to witness the faceoff between an immovable object and an unstoppable force. And then, when Hulk Hogan body-slammed Andre the Giant in front of 93000 people, the game had changed forever. The body slam had caused a massive frenzy.

The moment was captured by all major media in the U.S., and wrestling had made it in the mainstream big time.

Evolution into the Showcase of Immortals

From there on, the legacy of the event just grew every year.

Involvement of celebrities like Mike Tyson, Donald Trump and Floyd Mayweather made WrestleMania forced the mainstream media to give WrestleMania a good coverage. It attracted many millions of casual or new viewers to the event.

However, the soul of WrestleMania lies in wrestling. After all, that was the product Vince was trying to sell. Awe-inspiring matches and unforgettable moments have been WrestleMania’s biggest selling point to date.

Over the years, countless performers have graced this grand theatre of dreams. Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Bret Hart, The Undertaker, HBK, Stone Cold and The Rock are the foremost superstars, who have helped WrestleMania to be what it is today. Then there are other legends too. Many legacies have been defended, many legacies have been defied, and many legacies have been birthed at this showcase of immortals.

Such amazing performers and their surreal performances have acted as a drug that would bring the people back every single year.

Benefits for the industry

There is one law of the animal world. Whenever the king of the jungle finishes its prey, the smaller ones feast on the remains. It happens in all industries too and even more so in the entertainment.

There is a considerable of amount of wrestling industry that revolves around the WrestleMania, and which lasts for perhaps just a week. However, it has long term benefits for all parties involved.

As WrestleMania grew to become a massive mainstream attraction, which brought in thousands of people from across the globe, many small promotions began to tour WrestleMania venues to gain the share of the pie. It allowed them to gain exposure that would be remiss otherwise. It allowed them to connect to people, who would beyond their reach otherwise.

Boost to the local Economies

Thanks to such an immense popularity of the event, cities across the country started bidding for the super-show.

Hosting WrestleMania is no less lucrative than hosting a super bowl. Right from the fast food vendors to the electricians, the event provides employment to hundreds of people. The city hosts a major number of tourists, which adds to the local economy. This increase in employment and tourism naturally translates into significant revenue for the city. For example, hosting WrestleMania 28 earned the city of Miami a whopping 102 million dollars last year. That is some serious amount. Moreover, the brand image of the city itself is adorned by hosting WrestleMania.

Acknowledgement Of The Hidden Hands

Every iconic brand is akin to a living organism. In case of WrestleMania, wrestling and wrestler are its blood and soul. The creative and Vince are its mind. And, the production crew are the hands that are always hidden from our eyes.

The most spectacular aspect of WrestleMania is the production quality of the event. The grand entrances, that awesome set and the use of lights and pyro techniques, it has all become an integral part of Mania’s legacy. It is the production crew that makes it possible. Their work follows the work of those talented people, who make some of the best video packages and promos that one would ever witness. Right from a janitor to the head of productions, there are hundreds of people, who give us the amazing experience of WrestleMania.

It is a collective effort of all these fantastic people, which has made WrestleMania truly a spectacle for the world to behold. It is a legacy shared by all those individuals, for which many people including the millions of fans will remain eternally grateful.

 (This article is part of the WrestleMania week, I am very much grateful to be a part of it. Happy WrestleMania folks.)

About Chinmay

  • Ryan

    You are always a treat reading from. Still one of the greatest of all-time.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/users/647623-kevin-berge Kevin Berge

    This was awesome, Chinmay. I loved the idea behind the work, really selling how much WrestleMania has meant to wrestling as a marketing tool. It was a point you drove home absolutely with a lot of your classic writing as the foundation. No one could do more poetic justice to this topic than you did.

    I wish I was good enough to come up with lines like this:
    “Every iconic brand is akin to a living organism. In case of WrestleMania, wrestling and wrestler are its blood and soul. The creative and Vince are its mind. And, the production crew are the hands that are always hidden from our eyes.”

  • Ryan Frye

    Great article, Chin.

    I’m not really sure what else to say, but I like how the article was structured. It went from the beginnings of the sport to where WrestleMania has lifted it too today. It’s great for the cities, but it unquestionably elevated the WWE and pro wrestling beyond where it could’ve ever dreamed of being otherwise.

    Just thinking about how many people put work in to make WrestleMania what it is is quite mind boggling. I mean, it must take hundreds just to set up the stage in these football stadiums. And this year, they may have to deal with snow, which would be interesting to say the least.

  • Siddharth “SiD” Grover

    Excellent article, man. But, you can’t expect anything less from you.

    • Chinmay

      Thanks Sid. I guess, one could always expect more though lol.

      Well, I just hope that this article lives up to the other articles in this WrestleMania week.