54,097. That was the attendance this past Sunday at Safeco Field in Seattle for WrestleMania XIX. I was one of those 54,097. My trip from the Lehigh Valley to Seattle was a long and expensive one, but a trip well worth it.
Thursday, March 27th
Not too much happened today. We left Newark Airport at 9:30AM (EST), arriving in Seattle at 12N (PST). When we got to our hotel, we decided to take a walk over to see how far of a walk it would be on Sunday. Well, it was only 6 blocks and we were at Seahawks Stadium (right next to Safeco). When we got to Seahawks Stadium, we went to get our tickets for Saturday’s US National Team Soccer Game & WWE Fan Axxess. We went into the stadium store, and the guy working in there graciously showed us the set inside the Stadium for Axxess. Well, when we saw how small it was, we decided to screw Axxess, and it wasn’t worth the $40.
We then made our way next door to Safeco Field. As we walked up the block, we noticed we could look in though the gate. They had all the lighting fixtures on the ground still, with the grass still uncovered.
Not much else happened today, watched Smackdown, and got some rest.
Friday, March 28th
Today was the highlight of the weekend. We made our way up to the Space Needle and the rest of the Seattle Center. Atop of the Space Needle was awesome. When we got up there you can see for miles. Off the one direction you can see the Puget Sound, and in the other direction, you can see the gigantic mountain ranges.
We walked around for a while, saw the Key Arena (Home of the Seattle SuperSonics and RAW on Monday), and found the IMAX Theater, where we would see Star Wars Episode II later.
We got a tip from a guy we meet that the Superstars were staying at the Hyatt. When we made it up there, we saw a small mob of people waiting outside, clamoring around Molly Holly who was signing and taking pictures. Throughout the next few hours, we got to meet and take pictures with Booker T, Nidia, Brian Kendrick, Stacy Keibler, Kanyon, Nathan Jones, Rosey to name a few. The highlight though was when John Cena came out to sign and take pictures, and some kid challenged him to freestyle. Cena killed him, in a very, very hilarious moment. It seemed like he came up with everything off the top of his head, and he could really freestyle if he had too. Oh, and we got it all on tape
We went back to the Seattle Center to watch Star Wars on the IMAX, which was AMAZING. When we got back to the Hyatt, we saw that the mob has grown bigger, and that if we were to meet and greet more Superstars, we would need to do something ballsy. We snuck around to the side of the hotel and saw Eric Bischoff. Someone told him that he had a great match at No Way Out, and he said “HEY! I did the best I could.Ã¢â‚¬Â HAHA. He also said that wrestling fans were like a gay clan, and wondered why we don’t bring any chicks. He walked away in character saying that he loves all of us! We ended up sneaking in the side of the hotel and hanging out in the lobby, were we met Shelton Benjamin, Charlie Haas, A-Train, Test, Kidman, Jericho, Ric Flair, among others. We also caught up with our source, Adam. Most of the Superstars were out for the night, and we decided to call it a day around 1AM.
Saturday, March 29th
Today we woke up with one goal in mind, stay at the Hyatt as long as we could. Well, we had the afore mentioned Soccer game to attend, so we stayed around the stadiums the beginning of the day. After the Soccer game, we started walking around Safeco Field, but they had put up plastic in the way at the gates, so we couldn’t see in. So, we had to get sneaky, and we saw that the parking garage to the west side of the building had a walking bridge over to Safeco. We basically walked right in. So, here is a pic of the set on Saturday afternoon, the people in the ring are Jazz, Victoria, Trish and Steven Richards, apparently practicing the Woman’s Title Match. The other thing of note was that the pitcher’s mound was roped off with a tarp over it. What are you gonna do, they have to play baseball on Friday.
We went back to the Hyatt, and some more wrestlers came by to take pics and sign. Tazz, Goldust, D’Von, & Dawn Marie all talked to us. But, once again, John Cena made the highlight of the evening. This time though, I was prepared for him, and Cena and I had a Rap Off. We also got this on tape, bue due to some problems, it isn’t uploading properly. I will get it up…I promise. We went into the Hyatt, but got kicked out, after seeing Christian, Eddie Guerrero, Al Snow, Shane McMahon & Undertaker, so we called it an early night.
Sunday, March 30th
This is the reason why we went, WRESTLEMANIA! We had to spend the morning trying to sell the extra tickets we had, because our friends did not want to fly out with us (pansies). The line grew long very fast, as the doors didn’t open until 2:30PM (remember the PPV started at 5PM on the west coast). We neglected to stand in line, and used the afore mentioned bridge from the garage to the stadium to avoid the long line, and it worked like a charm.
The crowd was totally into the show before it even started. Plenty of people got dressed up for the show, I saw a band of guys dressed up like Hogan, Hurricane, Jeff Hardy, & Mysterio. Another guy was dressed up like Roddy Piper, and I’m sure he had no idea that Piper would be there. It was amazing how large the stadium was. I looked up on the stands, and could barely make out any of the people in the top deck. But I did notice a sign draped over the railing saying “Thank You Angle.Ã¢â‚¬Â I couldn’t agree more.
The show itself started out surprisingly slow with Rey and Mattitude, but the crowd grew very hot with the Undertaker’s entrance with Limp Bizkit, and the Trish win. The 3-Way Tag Match seemed to quite things, but the HBK/Y2J match lit a fire under our asses, as the show was a hot shot right to the end. The biggest problem was that it was hard to see the ring, even from 11 rows back. And, by the time the baseball field stands started, you were already yards away from the ring. Because of the price tag of some of these tickets (mine was $100), plenty of people were pissed that they were not able to see very well. A few fights broke out, but the security, for the most part, did a great job keeping people in order. I think many people in the crowd expected more surprises for the evening, and they were disappointed that Goldberg’s promo showed, but no Goldberg. Even when I watch it right now, I think the show was great, any 1 of the last 5 matches could’ve been the main event.
I was sure glad to see that Brock vs. Angle was the main event. Kurt has earned that spot. Seeing Brock get the extension that he did on the Shooting Star Press was amazing, but it looked like he tried to turn over too late, hence landing on his head. That miscue really made a difference in the feel of the match. Let’s hope we see a rematch from these 2 sometime in the future, because this looks to be the next classic feud. It took Brock almost 10 minutes to get from the ring to the back. They did bring a stretcher down, but Brock seemed determined to get to the back on his own. He looked like he was in his own world. The crowd stayed on their feet, clapping and cheering the whole time it took for him to get to the back.
We debated going back to the Hyatt after the show, but we knew that there would be plenty of people waiting around, and that most of the wrestlers just wanted to get into the party they were having at the hotel. So, we decided to just get some sleep, as we did have an 8AM flight in the morning.
Monday, March 31st
Left Seattle at 8AM (PST), arrived in Newark at 4PM (EST). The only interesting thing to note today was that Dr. Tom Pritchard was on our plane coming home, as well as many people wearing WMXIX sweatshirts and t-shirts. I got back the Valley just in time to watch Boston Public and RAW.
Overall, I had a great trip, and I would do it again in the heartbeat. I’m just glad that I won’t have to travel so far to see it next year, when they come to MSG for WMXX!