Every April, I schedule the first week off from work. The reason being is because WrestleMania hosts their biggest wrestling card of the year. I’ve always left a vacation week open just in case I decide to attend. Ask me how many times I ended up travelling to wherever the town was hosting the event. My answer? Zero times 😂.
It has been a while since I last attended a WrestleMania event, my last time being in 2004. Over the years I’ve kept an eye on the product from a distance. So here we are 15 years later, I felt now was the time to once again check out the grandeur and spectacle that the event has to offer.
And just by coincidence, the 35th edition of WrestleMania was being held in the New York area, which is one of my all-time favourite destinations to visit. I know what your thinking…you were just there eight months ago and you’re back again? Yeppp!
Getting into town
I flew out of Toronto on a dirt cheap Porter Airlines flight ($256 CDN) on a Thursday afternoon and arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport. After I cleared all of the security checks, I was wondering what would be the most cost-efficient way to get into Manhattan since I was travelling solo.
I started Googling on my phone different options and one of them was a van shuttle service that charged only $18 USD to do. They would literally drop you off to the doorstep of your destination. This route made the most sense and was much cheaper than taking a $30+ USD Uber.
Originally what I thought it would be a 45-minute drive into the city, turned into a two-hour ride. The catch for this shuttle service was that they would drop you off based on proximity, but there were 10 of us. In my case, my drop off point took a little longer as my Airbnb was in the Flatiron District.
Anyways, you live and learn. To be honest I wasn’t upset at all. I got to see different areas of the city in a non planned sight seeing tour of NYC, which is always cool to take in. And this was WrestleMania weekend, I had a full itinerary of festivities to look forward to.
The first night in New York I took in the event known as WaleMania, which comprised of both hip-hop music and pro wrestling communities merged all under one roof – Sony Hall. Believe it or not, the two genres are big fans of one another. It is a classic parallel of the artists wanting to be like the athletes and vice versa.
Enter rap personality Wale, the man behind the marquee. The D.C. native is one of professional wrestling’s biggest supporters. He originally burst onto the music scene in 2009 and is still maintaining his relevancy today. The past four WaleMania’s, have grown into one of the best lead-in events during WrestleMania weekend.
Sony Hall was jammed packed and sold out. WaleMania featured a who’s who of the top titans in the industry. There was an urban vibe throughout the whole evening which included wrestler Q+A sessions, rap performances and more. It was great to see many wrestling personalities all over the venue, on stage, by the bar, in the lobby, etc. And all of them were very approachable and down to earth.
I’m glad I was able to take this in, as I had read about it for years. WaleMania delivered and set the tone for WrestleMania weekend. If you like wrestling and hip-hop music, I highly recommend you check out next year’s installment in Tampa Bay, Florida.
The next day I met up with my friend Donovan who recently moved from Toronto and now resided in Queens, New York. We headed over to the borough of Brooklyn to check out WrestleMania Axxess, a five-day festival featuring all things WWE.