World Wrestling Entertainment owner Vince McMahon and a cadre of his superstars rubbed elbows and traded jokes with Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt during a press conference this afternoon announcing next year's WrestleMania XXVI at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
As we reported yesterday, WrestleMania is considered the Super Bowl of wrestling and the WWE's biggest pay-per-view event of the year. More than 74,000 fans are expected to flock to the stadium for the rasslin' extravaganza, which takes place March 28, 2010. A number of WWE-sponsored parties, charity functions, and events will happen across the Valley during the week leading up to WrestleMania at the stadium.
Surprisingly, very little was said about the actual wrestling, as McMahon and Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs both largely discussed how the event will inject a "badly needed" $30 million to $50 million into the city's economy. The WWE honcho also described the extraordinary nature of the event.
"There's going to be an aura around WrestleMania 26," McMahon says. "I promise you won't be disappointed."
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WWE superstars such as former world champs Chris Jericho and John Cena also took time to gush about their love for the Valley, which is understandable, considering that the company has a huge following locally. Numerous WWE events and pay-per-views have been held in the Valley over the past decade, including SummerSlam in 2003.
It's just one of the reasons U of P Stadium was chosen to host a WrestleMania, McMahon told New Times. "Phoenix has always been a great market for us," he says. "We always feel welcome here."
Since it was a WWE press conference, it's only natural that it also had a few gonzo elements. Both Scruggs and Whisenhunt got their own rock 'n' roll entrance themes (a standard in the wrestling world) before taking to the podium. The coach was also was introduced by buxom blonde WWE female wrestler Kelly Kelly (who mispronounced his last name as "Whisenhut.")
"I just want to state that I'm considering a career change," Whisenhunt joked after the intro. "After weeks of wrestling with my agent [over his contract], I'd like to take a shot wrestling young persons like Kelly."