I can't hear very well this afternoon, which I can mostly blame on John Cena. I didn't crank up his album You Can't See Me and blow out my ear drums, but rather, I was deafened by the crowd that gathered at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City for the WrestleMania XXVII press conference. Hosted by villainous play-by-play man Michael Cole, the event not only welcomed several dozen members of the media and some of the headliners from WWE's biggest show (which airs this Sunday, April 3 at 7 p.m. on pay-per-view) but also opened the doors for a group of rabid fans who brought their enthusiasm (and their chants) to Times Square.
I have been a fan of professional wrestling for years and plan on watching the big show this weekend. Hosted by Dwayne Johnson (returning to WWE as the Rock), WrestleMania XXVII promises to be fantastically over-the-top and wildly entertaining. The press conference presented a smaller version of the big show, as it trotted out main eventers John Cena, the Rock, Edge, the Miz, Alberto Del Rio, Triple H and "Jersey Shore" star Snooki to address the crowd about what they could expect this weekend. Though many of them (especially the Miz) were entertaining at the press conference, the real entertainment came from the crowd of fans.
Wrestling fans are a complicated bunch, as they don't always cheer for the heroes and heckle the villains (Alberto Del Rio, one of the top heels in the company, got a fantastically positive reaction). They even broke out chants, a staple of any pro wrestling show (in a great moment, they chanted the words "You are hot!" at WWE executive vice president Stephanie McMahon; later, they repeated the words "Next world champ!" at Del Rio). John Cena got by far the loudest and most polarizing reaction of the afternoon, and he weathered torrents of boos and chants of "You can't wrestle" while trying to talk about how much Wrestlemania meant to him.
In the end, we caught up with Cena and Triple H, who teased some surprises at WrestleMania and gave some advice to Snooki. Cena also told a great story about his first WrestleMania, which happened to be just down the street at Madison Square Garden back in 2004. He opened the show, though he was not entirely focused on the task at hand (a United States Championship match against the Big Show) because he was worried that his car would get towed (he was not yet big enough in the company to get good parking). But in the end, he picked up the Big Show, pinned him for a three count, won the title and returned to his not-towed car to return to his home in Massachusetts. It's further proof that WrestleMania is a great equalizer, and truly anything can happen. Stay tuned for more from our interviews and more on the biggest wrestling event of the year.