By: Ryan Wooley
It’s going on six years since the last time Detroit has held the “Granddaddy of them all” but that could all change on August 1st after Windsor and Detroit have teamed up and submitted a bid to World Wrestling Entertainment to bring WrestleMania back to the Motor City. The idea is for the event to come back to Ford Field for either WrestleMania 31 in 2015 or WrestleMania 32 in 2016.
The First time it was here was back in 1987 at the Pontiac Silverdome for WrestleMania 3 when WWF Champion Hulk Hogan defeated Andre The Giant in front of a record setting crowd of 93,173—an indoor attendance record that stood until 2010 when Cowboys stadium set a new record (108,713) for the NBA All-Star Game.
The last time the extravaganza was in Detroit however was back in 2007 for WrestleMania 23 when Ford Field hosted the annual event. That 20 year bench mark proved yet again that Detroit was a prime destination as it not only set a Ford Field attendance record with 80,109, but up until this year’s event at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey (80,676), it ranked as the second largest crowd to ever watch a WrestleMania live.
When I learned of the news I couldn’t help but get excited because there is nothing like a WrestleMania. Whether you grew up a wrestling fan like me, watch it now or stayed as far from it as most Americans do soccer, you at least know what it is and know how big it is globally.
The first one I ever saw was WrestleMania 10 on PPV and it captivated me like going to my first Tigers or Lions game did. There was just something about watching the athletes on TV and seeing the brutality displayed. Of course that was before I knew that it was staged, but even after learning that, it never affected me and I told myself that I would attend at least one WrestleMania before I died and had the opportunity to fulfill that promise in 2007 with WrestleMania 23 downtown. I actually attended with some of my childhood friends that I used to backyard wrestle with which made the event that much more entertaining to watch.
Now with the opportunity to attend another one, I can’t help but get excited for me personally as well as think about how big this would be for the city as a whole. It would not only bring millions of dollars in revenue, but it would once again give the city a chance to shine as the event is not just the one night, it is a weeklong celebration.
It starts with WrestleMania Axxcess which allows fans to see live matches, get autographs, photos and even check out memorabilia displays. The week then ends with the Hall of Fame ceremony taking place the Saturday night before the actual event on Sunday.
Plus with WWE being a global brand, they could use the idea of Detroit and Canada as a selling point and Detroit Sports Commission Executive Director Dave Beachnau even touched on it saying; “It’s appealing because a lot of these international organizations draw from not just the United States or Canada but from around the world so there’s a certain appeal I think with a border that separates us that they can visit two nations in essentially one destination.”
That idea alone that you could attend the event and celebrate in two countries should be appealing enough for the WWE to not only consider but make their decision to return.
What do you think? Should the WWE bring WrestleMania back to Detroit and would you attend?