Despite attending several live WWE shows, I've forgotten how to participate as a fan. I watch WWE at home and seldom attend viewing parties. And when I'm shooting Philippine Wrestling Revolution, I'm not a fan. I'm at work so all my attention is on the action.
WrestleMania week changed all that. I've screamed, sung, and chanted 'til my voice nearly croaked. I'm normally reserved in public but there's something about WrestleMania that made me proud to be a wrestling fan. I've high-fived the stranger in front of me twice and the guy next to me once. I barely documented the shows and just sat and took it all in. And besides, why shoot it if it's all recorded anyway? I can just watch it all back anytime afterwards.
I did not have the best seats in the house at all shows though. I was in the last row at Takeover and while I had sixth row floor seats at Smackdown two nights later, taller folk in front with their smartphones raised for what seemed like eternity ruined the view.
Nevertheless, no matter where you're seated, the WWE is the authority in live event production design. I can't keep track how many times my eyes drifted from the ring to the huge, vibrant WrestleMania signage. Across that gorgeous stage and above the ring is an equally colossal stalactite with equidistant lines pointing towards a viewing screen at its tip. As music plays, both structures light up in harmony, as if in a graceful dance. Completing the setup are two elongated viewing screens indicating the ongoing match. WrestleMania is a visual feast for the senses – the grandest stage of them all indeed.
Ultimately, more than the actual wrestling, what made WrestleMania worthwhile was the unspoken camaraderie with the wrestling faithful. The main event was awful. We chanted it. We got a bloodied Roman Reigns celebrating behind meaningless pyro to officially end the show, but I will never forget the countless random strangers who 'too-sweeted' me on the streets and their all-too-eager acknowledgements of whatever wrestling shirt I wore. The atmosphere was electric. Cliché, but very true.
WrestleMania week is the place to be seen and heard as a pro-wrestling fan and as a fan, you owe it to yourself to experience it at least once.
Now that I've done it once, I wouldn't mind a repeat.