WrestleMania is the most highly-anticipated event in professional wrestling on a yearly basis, but perhaps no WrestleMania in WWE history has generated more buzz than WrestleMania XXIX, which will take place at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on April 7, 2013.
According to WWE Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications Brian Flinn, WrestleMania XXIX has already set two major records since tickets went on sale Nov. 10. Not only did it surpass WrestleMania X8 for the most first-day ticket sales in 'Mania history with 52,029, but it also obliterated WrestleMania XXVIII by grossing an incredible $10 million in day-one ticket sales.
The fact that WrestleMania XXIX grossed nearly $4 million more than WrestleMania XXVIII on the first day of ticket sales is quite incredible when you consider the fact that John Cena vs. The Rock had already been built up for a year as the main event. Literally anything could happen in that regard this year, and the fans couldn't be more excited by those prospects.
Perhaps the biggest reason for WWE's early ticket-selling success is the market in which WrestleMania XXIX will take place. The New York/New Jersey area is essentially the birthplace of WWE, and there isn't a more rabid WWE fanbase in the entire country. Regardless of how big the event is, fans in the metropolitan area are going to show up, and many of them wouldn't miss WrestleMania for anything.
WrestleMania XXVIII emanated from Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Fla., which is a WWE hotbed in its own right. The excitement over WrestleMania XXIX being the first major event in MetLife Stadium since its opening in 2010 trumped that, however, as did the fact that it will be the first outdoor 'Mania in a cold-weather region.
The fact that WrestleMania XXIX is in the metro area probably disqualifies Madison Square Garden from hosting WrestleMania XXX, but the fans are going to do everything possible to make it feel like the biggest show in WWE history. The success of WrestleMania XXIX obviously hinges on what type of card is put together in the coming months, however.
While it's impossible to come up with an accurate card right now, we do know that current stars like Cena, CM Punk, Ryback, Sheamus and Randy Orton figure to be featured prominently. Also, The Rock has already said that he'll be competing as well. Add in the fact that The Rock will challenge for the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble and could enter 'Mania as the titleholder, and you already have a very special event in place.
In addition to all of that, Brock Lesnar is very likely to be involved, and one-off guys such as The Undertaker, Triple H and even Chris Jericho could wrestle as well. There hasn't been any indication one way or the other, but I have a sneaky suspicion that "Stone Cold" Steve Austin could potentially return to face Punk too. It's going to happen eventually, and perhaps that may not be until WrestleMania XXX, but fans who already bought tickets would be in for an even bigger treat if Austin came out of retirement.
Even if some of those stars don't appear, the WWE has an opportunity to put together a truly incredible event, and the fans are obviously quite cognizant of that. Each and every WrestleMania is a big deal, but one being held in the New York/New Jersey area with a potentially star-studded roster of wrestlers available to be used is even more important than usual.
The WWE considered it a major win to score such an ideal venue for WrestleMania, and the fans have already paid instant dividends. The least the WWE can do is reciprocate with a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I have no doubt that Vince McMahon and the rest of the company's brass will come through in a huge way.