If you ever wanted to see a minor-scale riot, World Wrestling Entertainment is more than happy to fill that need. The Daily Blink took a trip down to the Wrestlemania 24 press conference at Staples Center today to see what all the commotion was.
Scheduled for March 30 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Wrestlemania brings all sorts out of the woodwork, from Donald Trump to Pete Rose to, this year, pro boxer Floyd Mayweather. Mr. Mayweather is going to take on Paul “The Big Show” Wight (all 7 foot, 430 pounds of him) in a match.
Hundreds of rowdy fans turned out for the press conference, held in the main lobby. For the rest of this post, we’re going to flag the riot threat level during the event.
The modern-day P.T. Barnum himself, WWE CEO Vince McMahon, kicked off the event by talking about how global and awesome the WWE is.
“The WWE is the only variety show left on television,” Mr. McMahon said.
RIOT THREAT LEVEL: Low.
John Cena, who has effectively split fans into “love him” or “despise him” categories, also was on hand. The crowd—and remember, this is a "press" conference—started up competing chants of “Cena” and “Sucks.”
These chants continued throughout the event, long after Mr. Cena had sat down.
RIOT THREAT LEVEL: Moderate.
Also making appearances at the event were current Raw champion Randy Orton, current Smackdown champ Edge, Triple H, WWE diva Maria and Rey Mysterio.
Then undefeated WBC welterweight champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. came out. In terms of wrestling, Floyd should be considered a “babyface,” or good guy. But "Pretty Boy" Floyd, who defeated hometown hero Oscar De La Hoya in May, was roundly booed during the event. Until he flashed some cash. Which he could afford to do—after all, he's getting $20 million for the WWE bout.
RIOT THREAT LEVEL: Quickly rising.
Mr. Mayweather was flashing a huge stack of bills (it looked like 50s and 100s) and, after three minutes of taunting the crowd, threw up the cash out into the crowd.
RIOT THREAT LEVEL: A large siren should be sounding now.
While it’s nice that some fans were compensated for their, one assumes, day off from work to attend this event (one guy was shown, on the big screens displaying the event, walking with four $100 bills), they definitely had to work for that cash as the crowd just scrambled around chasing the money.
Mr. Mayweather’s opponent, The Big Show, talked tough about “Money” Mayweather, and then promptly threw the podium down into the first row of press, nearly taking out the staff member looking to get the podium out of Mr. Show’s way.
RIOT THREAT LEVEL: Moderate.
BODILY INJURY THREAT LEVEL DUE TO WAYWARD LECTERN: Surprisingly high.
All in all, fans got to a real taste of Wrestlemania and WWE got what it was looking for, some crossover publicity between wrestling and boxing media outlets; several of the latter turned up to give the conference coverage.
The Daily Blink talked to The Big Show after the event, and he said, “All kidding aside, it’s an honor to be in the ring with Floyd Mayweather.”
But, he said, “It’s a different environment. [Mayweather] might be a great athlete in boxing, but he might choke in the wrestling ring. Or get choke-slammed…several times.”