WrestleMania 23/24 & Hall Of Fame ’07/’08 Latest

WWE officials decided at a meeting last week that Cena/Michaels would go on last at WrestleMania.

As previously reported, Wade Boggs will be inducting Curt Hennig into the Hall of Fame instead of Larry Hennig, who may accept on Curt’s behalf. Also, Joyce Farhat, the Shiek’s wife, will be accepting the award on his behalf, with Sabu doing the induction. While William Shatner is confirmed as inducting Jerry Lawler, WWE originally wanted Jim Carrey and also tried to get Justin Timberlake, who grew up watching Memphis wrestling, but were turned down. Cody Runnels will be inducting his father Dusty Rhodes, alongside his brother Dustin, and there is talk of it leading to a TV push for him.

Aretha Franklin is confirmed as singing the national anthem at WrestleMania this year, one of the few hold-overs from WrestleMania III. A lot of people are surprised she is coming back, as when she was there in 1987 she left as quickly as possible, publicly stated that she wished she had never gone, and was ripped on-air by Gorilla Monsoon for her bad attitude.

Joey Mercury had a long-running painkiller problem and showed up in bad shape at the 19th March TV tapings. He was no better at the Ohio house shows that week, nor at the 26th March Raw, and so they decided to let him go.

WrestleMania 24, at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando on 30th March 2008, is expected to hold between 60-70,000 fans. It was the first time a city had actively recruited a WrestleMania, as Mayor Buddy Dyer and John Saboor of the Central Florida Sports Commission went to Stamford six months ago to invite Vince McMahon down. Vince maintained for years that they would never do an outdoor WrestleMania because of the uncertainty about the weather, and at that time of the year there will be problems with heat, humidity and rain. They are also planning on holding next year’s Hall of Fame ceremony at the 15,000 seat Amway Centre after the previous events sold out within minutes. Ric Flair is expected to be inducted next time. They might even bring back the Fan Axxess event and host that at the Amway through the week. The city is expected to bend over backwards to promote the event, hoping it will generate $25 million in revenue.

Credit: Wrestling Observer newsletter (click here for subscription information)

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