Pro wrestling fans of the Valley, better start planning your posters. The superstars of the WWE are heading back our way in the near future and are planning to rumble inside the Talking Stick Resort Arena (formerly known as US Airways Center) in downtown Phoenix once again.
The WWE announced earlier this week that it will stage a live, non-televised event at the arena on Saturday, March 21, featuring at least a dozen current wrestlers going toe-to-toe inside the squared circle. Tickets for the event go on sale Friday, January 23.
The sports entertainment extravaganza will consist of seven or eight matches featuring some of the biggest superstars of the WWE. The specific card hasn't been determined as of this writing (and is subject to change), but the WWE's website states that John Cena, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Big Show, Rusev, and Goldust are scheduled to perform at the event.
The live event in Phoenix will take place less than two weeks before WrestleMania, the WWE's biggest pay-per-view of the year. As such, the event has a "Road to WrestleMania" subtitle and might offer a sneak preview of some of the contests that will take taking place at the PPV.
And just because the event isn't being televised doesn't mean it's any less entertaining (or action packed) than a weekly episode of the WWE's Raw or Smackdown programs. As WWE competitor Jack Swagger told New Times last year, live events are oftentimes focused more on in-ring activity than storyline or character development.
"There's more wrestling at a live event and there's more character driven stuff on television," Swagger says. "At live events, its a smaller card, but each match gets about 15 minutes, so you get to go out there and tell a story, whether its a certain group dynamic we're trying to overcome or show to the crowd. It's a lot of fun to go out there during live events and its a little more laid back."
That said, however, wrestling fans in Phoenix tend to get pretty pumped up, including the thousands that attended a similar live event at the arena last February. And according to Swagger, their energy level sometimes will rub off on the WWE superstars.
"We try to [base] all of our live event shows, whether televised or not, around those in attendance there," he says. "The louder the fans are, the better the matches are, I feel, and the better the shows are. It makes it easier for us when the crowds are into it."
WWE Live: The Road to WrestleMania takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Tickets are $20 to $100.