Diva Dirt correspondent and Beth Phoenix super fan, David aka Mr. Glamazon is on hand at this week’s WrestleMania festivities and will be checking in daily with his experiences in Phoenix. Check back everyday to find out which Divas he’s rubbed shoulders with in Phoenix — complete with exclusive pictures!
Sunday, March 28th (Day 5)
ANOTHER WRESTLEMANIA IN THE BOOKS, AND ANOTHER MISSED OPPORTUNITY FOR THE DIVAS
From Bill Simmons’s ESPN.com WrestleMania recap: “I’m skipping over details of the 10-women diva match that just happened; it was excruciating enough live. It ended with the only unattractive woman in the match executing something called “The hog splash.” Say no more.” Sadly this seems to be the reaction of many fans, although that wasn’t nice to say about Vickie; she is not the typical Diva but very sweet and it is a shame she gets ridiculed so much. PS – his recap on ESPN.com is very funny I just hope Matt Striker doesn’t read it. Good golly!
I do have to agree with Bill on this one though. Maybe I am old school. Maybe I am out of touch. Maybe I am just getting old and grumpy. But I just don’t think every WWE Superstar and Diva needs to be shown on WrestleMania. I kind of feel like being on the card should be an award for a year of exceptional work by the WWE performer. When dealing with the Divas, it seems the WWE is more concerned about simply getting the girls on the show versus giving us a WrestleMania caliber match. I do sympathize with the girls in this sense – I respect each and every one of them and if they get a “WrestleMania moment” that they cherish forever, then I think that’s great. But isn’t that what the WrestleMania 25 Battle Royal was for?! (Which was even won by a man, good gracious lets hit the DELETE button on that one…) Beth Phoenix vs. Mickie James vs. champion Michelle McCool would have been an exciting, interesting triple threat match that had been teased for 4-5 months (even Beth/Mickie vs. Simply Flawless would have been fine, or a unified title match, or SOMETHING other than a huge (meaningless) tag team match). The tag match got Vickie over but she was ALREADY way over, so what was gained? I looked around and few people really were interested in the match, sadly. I think this was a missed opportunity to deliver a dynamite women’s match because there are stars on this roster. This was WrestleMania, not Bragging Rights. And where is it written that you need to be ON the pay-per-view to collect a big paycheck?!? Take it from someone who was there all week, each and every star from Edge to Slam Master J to Jillian Hall put in a LONG week of public appearances and company commitments…they each earn their money, no doubt! As a viewer I want to see the BEST matches, not the SmackDown roster page.
NOTE – thank you to the staff of Diva Dirt and to all of you that posted after the show – I loved hearing / reading your reactions. Great stuff!
In general, the WWE and Phoenix, AZ did a great job hosting the WWE Universe. There were plenty of taxis around which in and of itself was a big upgrade to Houston last year. This was especially critical because Phoenix is very spread out and our hotel was pretty far outside the downtown area. In fact, the hotel was too far outside the city (this was the hotel that came part of a WWE travel package). The hotel was perfect for 50 year olds celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, but not for dudes who want to wear Rey Mysterio masks and NWA Championship belts. In general, the wrestling crowd doesn’t want to pay $23 for 2 coffees and 2 muffins (true story). They also don’t want to have to taxi everywhere each time they want to go to an event (and have you priced a rental car plus the cost to park it?) I spoke to many WWE fans staying there and each and every one said they felt uncomfortable because wealthy rich guys were staring at them like zoo animals. When we got back from the show Sunday night, a bunch of us went straight for dinner at the hotel restaurant and I told the hostess we needed a table for 4, but just the table because we brought our own chairs then we held up the WM26 commemorative chairs given out at the show. She looked like she wanted to cry. Trust me, we all got our wake-up calls on time Monday morning.
My friend Jamie and I thought about this some more on the way home Monday. Aside from the hotel location, what else should the WWE change to make WrestleMania the perfect experience? Here are a few suggestions:
– Sell much more vintage WWE merchandise. People would throw down for the classic purple Randy Savage T-shirt – we don’t need 45 more Cena and Mysterio T-shirts do we?
– Show us more matches at the Axxess sessions. The NXT guys should have been in the ring all the time, what a missed chance to let the public fall in love with these guys, which silly me would seem to help the show’s ratings.
– Post an accurate schedule of Superstar and Divas appearances. My now “famous” Koslov mark didn’t get to see her Russian buddy the last two days even though he was advertised. These Axxess tickets are not free so I felt badly for her. I cheered her up by singing the Nikolai Volkoff version of the Russian National Anthem. I’m nice like that.
– Make it illegal for fans to wear championship belts they did not win. If you want to get a belt signed by a Superstar, that is cool. But if you march around like you pinned the Ultimate Warrior that makes people uncomfortable. And how do they get these things through airport security?!? I’m also not a big fan of people dressing up as wrestlers unless it is Halloween, and judging by the number of Undertakers and Bret Harts running around, maybe it was.
– The ENTIRE Hall of Fame ceremony should be televised. Seriously, Stu Hart’s induction was not televised but Bob Uecker’s was?!?
– Ask the Undertaker if he would give a little of his time to fans that have loved him decades now. Addressing the crowd and taking a few questions doesn’t ruin your mystique or make you any less the “Deadman”. It shows appreciation and humility. Going strictly kayfabe seems pretty outdated.
– Sell tickets to the WWE-Pro Am golf tournament (I don’t believe they did because we could not find any…). How much fun would it be to watch the Iron Sheik try to hit a 3-wood or see Roddy Piper flip out when he misses a bunny put. Make it happen Vince!
– No individual Bella appearances. It is disorienting. It is like going to Burger King and ordering a Big Mac. Sure the hamburger might taste good but it doesn’t sit quite right. Plus you never really know which Bella you are talking to. Both Nikki and Brie were in different photo stations and you could see the confused look on people’s faces. They should just come in pairs like sneakers.
Aside from that there were a lot of great things this past week in Phoenix and I do truly feel lucky to have met so many of the Superstars and Divas. If you ever get a chance to go to WrestleMania, I would highly recommend it. Not so much for the wrestling (which is fine) but for the sense of community you get from meeting other fans from around the world. You may even bump into a Vladimir Koslov mark or two.
Keep these few points in mind if you can get to Atlanta next year for ‘Mania 27:
– DO NOT miss the Art Auction. Do whatever you have to do to attend this event. The food and drinks are great. The artwork is interesting. And you get some nice time with the WWE Superstars and Divas who are always willing to sign an autograph and take a photo. It is early in the week but it is worth skipping other parts of the weekend to attend this event.
– The Axxess sessions are fun and you probably need to go to several of them to experience everything you would like to do. For example the tattoo line was pretty long (shocking considering the crowd, right?) and regardless of which Superstar is signing autographs the lines are long and move slowly (even Jimmy Wang Yang had a long line, which was probably disorienting for him). The VIP Axxess tickets are worth the price actually because you 1) get a free 8×10” signed photo of a WWE personality, 2) get early admission before the event gets too crowded, and 3) get close to the actual ring for the special appearances and matches. My suggestion – hit 2 of the sessions and you’ll be happy.
– If the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony is part of your travel package, obviously you should go. If you are in LOVE with one of the inductees then make an effort to go. If neither of these things are true, grab a nice dinner, enjoy the host city, and watch the edited version on the USA Network.
So that about wraps up my thoughts on WrestleMania 26. Thank you for allowing me to share my trip with you all. I enjoyed reading your comments and hope you found my blog enjoyable. Since this is for Diva-Dirt.com, I have a few final thoughts on the Divas themselves. Each Diva was warm and friendly to each fan that approached them. I know this is their job, but it is worth mentioning. We debate whether they are “great” in the ring or whether they are booked correctly but one thing that can’t be argued though is they are great ambassadors for the WWE. (Now just give us better stories!!!)
Wendi Richter’s Hall of Fame moment was special and should be celebrated by all Diva fans.
We should mention again how cool it was that Miss Layla made a special Diva Dirt video for us. Thanks again L!
Last but not least, I’d like to thank Beth Phoenix’s Hall of Fame dress for making the trip completely worthwhile. What a stunner.
Till WM27 in Atlanta… Besos!
Pictures from Axxess and WrestleMania: