The good times rolled through the Hard Rock Café in New York City’s Times Square on Tuesday when WWE Superstars, New Orleans executives and the WWE Universe itself congregated for the official WrestleMania 30 Press Conference, which streamed live exclusively on WWE Network.
Long established as the jumping-off point for WrestleMania Week, the event was an anything-goes affair. With Triple H, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton, Batista and Daniel Bryan, in addition to members of the “Yes!” Movement, in attendance, the Hard Rock Café was alive with the passion of the WWE Universe mere days before Sunday, 6 April WrestleMania 30 takes over the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Of course, it certainly helps to get things going with Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon batting leadoff. McMahon extolled WWE’s global reach and touched on the many pro-social events slated this week for WrestleMania’s host city of New Orleans, including Be a STAR anti-bullying rallies and a Superstars for Kids charity auction, featuring unique WWE and celebrity experiences up for bidding.
“What’s really great about this is that not only will there be this enormous economic impact to our destination but there’s also the feel-good aspect of what everyone will be doing”, Brad Weaber, executive vice president of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, commented to WWE.com.
After McMahon’s opening remarks, emcee Michael Cole then introduced the WrestleMania 30 host, WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan. Judging by the response of the crowd, Hulkamania was going strong well into its 30s. “The Immortal One” spoke about WWE Network’s ability to help preserve Superstars’ legacies forever.
“The future is here right now”, Hogan said of WWE Network, before asking a familiar question with a twist. “Whatcha gonna do when Hulkamania, WrestleMania and WWE Network run wild on you”?
Next out was a man who wears many hats: WWE Executive Vice President of Talent, Creative and Live Events Paul “Triple H” Levesque. Triple H, who is set to face Bryan this Sunday, put into perspective the evolution of sports-entertainment from regional television to global phenomenon, and he talked about the importance to Superstars and Divas of competing at WrestleMania. He also had some choice words for Bryan.
“Unfortunately for Daniel Bryan, his dream intersects with mine”, Triple H said. “He’s going to step in the ring with The Game, but here’s the thing: Only The Game is forever”.
The Café erupted when the popular “Yes!” man took the podium. The two-time WWE Champion left his fans on a high note heading into a match with Triple H that, if he wins, will send him into the WWE World Heavyweight Title Match as a third participant.
Bryan explained that he’d dreamt of headlining WrestleMania since he was a child and that the opportunity would never come to fruition without the collective voice of the “Yes!” Movement.
“I wouldn’t be where I am without the “Yes!” Movement, without the people who support me, because they forced WWE’s hand”, Bryan told WWE.com prior to taking the stage.
“I’m where I’m at because of them, and I want to thank them. I’m going to do my best to live up to everybody’s expectations”.
Also standing between Bryan and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, besides Triple H, are this year’s Royal Rumble Match winner, Batista, and the reigning titleholder, Randy Orton, who followed Bryan.
Batista began by declaring his love for WWE, but after playfully jeering himself with calls of “Boo-tista” and jokes about skinny jeans, The Animal became unleashed, vowing to leave New Orleans with WWE’s top prize.
“Take a very good look at me because this is the last time you’ll see me as the non-WWE World Heavyweight Champion”, he boldly stated.
Orton, meanwhile, took his time on stage to reaffirm that the result of WrestleMania 30’s main event should not be in doubt, regardless of whether it’s Bryan or Triple H who qualifies for the Triple Threat Match.
“Last year fans came to WrestleMania from all 50 states and 34 countries”, Orton said. “And this year, WrestleMania will be even bigger because fans, even with half a brain, in the WWE Universe know that I will not only defend my title, but I’ll retain it, and they want to be there to witness it live”.
The final Superstar to address the crowd was John Cena, who faces Bray Wyatt at The Show of Shows on Sunday. The Cenation leader, who prepares to defend his estimable legacy against “The Eater of Worlds”, took a moment to share a story about being on the set of a TV talk show with Hulk Hogan this morning. A WWE fan approached The Hulkster and explained that he’d watched WrestleMania I in person.