TAMPA — Two prominent pro wrestling figures with deep Tampa Bay ties will be the hosts of next month’s WrestleMania at Raymond James Stadium.
Hulk Hogan and Titus O’Neil will serve as de facto emcees for the event, which will take place across two nights April 10-11. They’ll welcome fans and interact with the talent during the shows.
Hogan, arguably the most recognizable figure in pro wrestling history, headlined the first nine WrestleMania events and held the championship six times. Hogan’s win over Andre the Giant in 1987′s WrestleMania III — in front of 93,173 fans at the Pontiac Silverdome — often is seen as the match that launched WrestleMania into the worldwide spectacle it’s become.
Already in the WWE Hall of Fame, Hogan — who has long called Pinellas County home — will be inducted again as a member of the New World Order next month leading up to WrestleMania.
O’Neil, a former Gators football player whose real name is Thaddeus Bullard, has become one of the Tampa Bay area’s most active philanthropists and community leaders. A former WWE Tag Team and 24/7 Champion, O’Neil has helped revitalize Sligh Middle Magnet, a Title I school in East Tampa.
Through his Bullard Family Foundation, O’Neil provides families and children in need with special moments, programs and resources to help build character, develop relationships, and strengthen communities around them.
Last year, before he emerged from retirement and was traded to the Bucs, Rob Gronkowski was the host of WrestleMania, coming out of the show as the new WWE 24/7 champion when he jumped off a stage perch and pinned belt-holder Mojo Rawley.
Tickets are now on sale via Ticketmaster; around 25,000 seats will be made available for each night of the event.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at email@example.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.