Friday, September 21, 2018
Events

From a megafan, reasons to see WrestleMania 33 in Orlando

It's not just a wrestling match.

When World Wrestling Entertainment brings its largest event of the year, WrestleMania, it is a pop culture extravaganza. All the drama, the glitz and the pageantry that surrounds the ring is just as important as the athleticism inside. It's six hours of elaborate entrances, fireworks, celebrity sightings and musical performances.

Hi. In case you can't tell, I'm a fan. A major fan. Normally a Times graphic designer, I'm taking over Weekend to help you care about WrestleMania 33, coming to Orlando's Camping World Stadium on Sunday. Yes, you! Everyone from megafans to casual consumers to newcomers can find a reason to cheer.

If you are unable to get to Orlando for the big event, you can watch the broadcast on the WWE network or head to your local sports bar.

The previous two WrestleManias in Florida have produced some of the greatest matches in event history. WrestleMania 24 in Orlando was truly one of the greatest. "The Heartbeak Kid" Shawn Michaels went up against his childhood hero, "the Nature Boy" Ric Flair. In the end, Michaels mouthed the words, "I'm sorry and I love you," followed by a superkick, and the Nature Boy's 35-year career was over.

Miami's WrestleMania 28 was a clash of two generations. Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson squared off against John Cena. But the match of the night belonged to the Undertaker versus Triple H in the Hell in a Cell.

This year, matchups such as Jericho versus Owens, Neville versus Aries and McMahon versus Styles could all turn in performances to steal the show.

Plus

Deadman's last stand?

Roman Reigns could step into his role as big dog of the yard this year by finally being the one who retires the Undertaker. For the past few years, speculation has grown that this will be the 'Taker's final match. And either way, his presence never disappoints. His entrances are spectacular and his matches are epic.

You won't be alone.

People may not like to admit it, but they watch professional wrestling. Last year, WrestleMania drew 101,763 fans to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the largest attendance in history. The previous record was set in 1987 at WrestleMania 3, when 93,173 fans filled the Pontiac Silverdome near Detroit. WrestleMania 24 in Orlando filled what was then called the Citrus Bowl with 74,635 fans.

Don't I know you?

Some of the biggest entertainers in the world have been known to show up. Muhammad Ali, Liberace and Alice Cooper have all put their stamp in the WrestleMania history books. Even Donald Trump, a WWE Hall of Famer, has hosted two WrestleManias and performed at WrestleMania 23. Whether they were scheduled to perform, made a surprise appearance or just joined the crowd, WrestleMania has never had a lack of star power. John Legend, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles have all kicked off different Manias with their rendition of America the Beautiful. This year, platinum-selling singer and songwriter Tinashe, right, will perform the patriotic standard. Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum international icon Pitbull , below right, will take the stage at WrestleMania, joined by Flo Rida, Lunchmoney Lewis and Stephen Marley on Sunday in a medley performance. No other celebrities have been announced as of press time, but some are hoping Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, who may be in Orlando opening a new ride, will show up. Check the seat next to you.

     
                 
Comments
At 50, Clearwater's real-life superhero is hanging up his super suit

At 50, Clearwater's real-life superhero is hanging up his super suit

CLEARWATER — For two decades, Dale Pople patrolled the streets feeding the homeless, helping old people carry groceries, extinguishing a car fire. He wore a red, yellow and blue Spandex outfit with an SH emblem: "Super Hero." Now, Clearwater&...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Saturday, Sept. 22

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Saturday, Sept. 22

Niall Horan: The One Direction singer-songwriter on his own tour brings along country’s Maren Morris. 7 p.m., MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $29.50-$107. (813) 740-2446.MegaCon Tampa Bay: The multi-genre convention brin...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Review: Robert Olen Butler’s Paris in the Dark packed with action

Review: Robert Olen Butler’s Paris in the Dark packed with action

On a fall night in 1915, an American reporter sips Chartreuse at a sidewalk table as German Zeppelins patrol the perimeter of Paris. As he plans how to finagle his way to the front lines of World War I, a bomb explodes at another cafe nearby, and he ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bar review: Punk meets Pilsner at Antibrewery in Dunedin

Bar review: Punk meets Pilsner at Antibrewery in Dunedin

I’ve had readers jokingly complain that I’ve exposed their off-the-radar watering holes that already are a carful away from becoming overcrowded. It’s like watching your favorite indie band achieve mainstream success: It’s good for them, but now you’...
Published: 09/20/18
Reality bites: SeaWorld abandons virtual reality headsets on Kraken coaster

Reality bites: SeaWorld abandons virtual reality headsets on Kraken coaster

SeaWorld has ditched the experiment that made it the first major ride in Florida to incorporate virtual reality..Last June, the theme park announced with much fanfare a new feature that would project an undersea showdown on Kraken, incorporating VR h...
Published: 09/20/18
The making of a nightmare: Behind the scenes at Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream

The making of a nightmare: Behind the scenes at Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream

TAMPA — Once the scare actors were made up, they headed toward the haunted house to rehearse.But it wasn’t quite time for them to be scary yet. Busch Gardens, which opens its Howl-O-Scream Halloween scarefest on Friday, was still open for regular bus...
Published: 09/20/18
Gilda Radner is remembered in her own words in the documentary ‘Love, Gilda’

Gilda Radner is remembered in her own words in the documentary ‘Love, Gilda’

With the aid of rare audio recordings, the late Saturday Night Live comic force Gilda Radner narrates the story of her life in the new documentary Love, Gilda, opening Friday at Tampa Theatre.But it wasn’t easy initially for director Lisa D’Apolito t...
Published: 09/20/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Friday, Sept. 21

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Friday, Sept. 21

MegaCon Tampa Bay: The multi-genre convention opens today with a lineup of celebrity guests and comic book creators; hundreds of vendors selling art, toys and memorabilia. There will be a celebrity Q&A with Weasley twins from the Harry Potter films, ...
Published: 09/20/18
Plan your weekend: Howl-O-Scream opens, MegaCon, Lightning Fan Fest, 'Game of Thrones' concert, Free Museum Day

Plan your weekend: Howl-O-Scream opens, MegaCon, Lightning Fan Fest, 'Game of Thrones' concert, Free Museum Day

Our editors' picks for the best things to do this weekend in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and beyond.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Visit 20 Tampa Bay museums for free (or nearly free) on Saturday

Visit 20 Tampa Bay museums for free (or nearly free) on Saturday

It’s that time when museums show the community some love by offering free admission on Saturday, like early Christmas for art lovers. Two events are the same day; Smithsonian magazine’s nationwide Free Museum Day and St. Petersburg’...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/20/18