Quick, how many MMA fighters can you spot on the WrestleMania 35 poster?
Today is WrestleMania in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The ultimate day for the professional wrestling fan. But it’s also a big day for MMA fans too.
It’s also the 35th anniversary and who could have foreseen the many moments the show has produced since Hulk Hogan, Mr. T, Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff all squared off in the inaugural main event in 1985.
The focus on women’s wrestling in the former federation has never been stronger and should be applauded. Some of the folks we can thank for that is MMA and its main competitor Impact Wrestling (Shoutout to the TNA Knockouts).
As a former writer for the journalistic wrestling website SLAM! Wrestling, I’ve interviewed many wrestlers and people behind the scenes.
The general consensus I’ve taken away from them is this: Being on the WrestleMania roster is one of the biggest accomplishments a wrestler can have. It’s a certified seal of approval that you are one of the best in the world at your craft.
It’s a big deal.
As expected, WrestleMania 35 has something for almost everyone. Old school fans will watch Kurt Angle enter the squared circle for his farewell match against Baron Corbin. MMA fans have former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, who will defend his WWE Universal belt against Seth Rollins. And there are two (2) battle royales just for the kitchen sink.
Some MMA fans still balk at professional wrestling, but given the antics of many UFC fighters these days – most notably Conor McGregor – it is undeniable these attractions have been more similar – for a long time – than these fans care to admit.
And there are lessons that the UFC can still learn from the WWE, like continuing to improve its Hall of Fame Ceremony.
So, just like International Fight Week in July, where the UFC has a stacked UFC 239 in Las Vegas waiting for fight fans, WrestleMania 35 is a celebration of top stars risking it all to produce that WrestleMania moment.
Let the wrestling fan in you embrace it.