By Seamus Dunne
Wow....whether you like "wrasslin" or not, you can't argue with the sheer scale of Mania weekend, bringing people from all corners of the planet - including myself - to New Orleans for Wrestlemania, Raw, and Smackdown.
Here lie my favorite moments/aspects of my time here and if you don't like it....IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOU THINK!
1. The In Ring Debut of Rhonda Rousey
The so called 'baddest woman on the planet' and former UFC superstar made her WWE in ring debut Sunday at Wrestlemania, teaming up with Olympic medalist and WWE hall of famer Kurt Angle in arguably the match of the night, SPOILER ALERT, defeating HHH and his wife Stephanie Mcmahon, so surprisingly good!
2...SWEEET. Meeting Ric Flair
They say never meet your heroes, well "they" are stupid idiots, attending a meet a greet with 16 time World Champion and All-Time-Great Ric Flair and the legendary WCW wrestler Sting is an experience I will never forget, nervous small talk lead to me saying to the two legends "I came from Ireland to see you guys'.
Ric Flair response: "Ireland, a nation of alcoholics".
Epic and ironic coming from..WOOOOOOOO..the nature boy!
3. The Return Of the Undertaker
Full disclosure, Undertaker is the goat in my opinion, (controversial) so let's just get all our cards on the table here, they teased he might not show up to accept John Cena's challenge, that the dead man had stopped taking souls on the grandest stage of them all, however return he inevitably did, lengthy walk, tombstone piledriver to Cena, 1-2-3, back to the casket for the 53 year old, retired?
4. Horseman: Braun Strowman and a kid "plucked" from the crowd win tag titles at Mania
Remember when you were a kid and dreamt of jumping right into your favorite team, into the ring with your favorite wrestler (I still do), made no sense but then again big dreams don't, they are absurd, Braun Strowman needed a tag team partner for his match vs our very own Sheamus and Swiss Superstar Caesaro, so who better than a ten year old kid in elementary school/primary school standing in the crowd, hilarious, Nicolas will never forget Wrestlemania 34.
5. Bourbon Street
Ok so imagine if Temple Bar had no closing time, had regular prices for alcohol, and allowed drinking on the street, this is a basic explanation of what Bourbon Street is amazing, there is nothing like this street. People knife edge chop each other bare chested, and WWE superstars in the middle of it. Madness.
6. Seeing the Irish at the pinnacle of their sport/industry
It was great to see Finn Balor, Sheamus agus Becky Lynch wrestle at the "Superbowl" of wrestling, Finn, real name Fergal Devitt, was making his Mania debut. All three had solid outings and even if we didn't get an Irish victory, to make it to this level is testament to the talent, work ethic, and dedication that they possess. Doing Ireland proud.
7. Carmella cashing in her Money in the Bank briefcase on Smackdown Live
Imagine Dublin just won the All-Ireland final (easy to do) after a bruising and tiring encounter vs Kerry, Cluxton is lifting Sam Maguire aloft and then all of a sudden Cillian O'Connor appears, sprinting from the tunnel, along with his Mayo team-mates, with a briefcase that grants them a shot at the All-Ireland Championship, at any time of their choosing. The time is now, the ref starts a new match immediately and a fresh and fit Mayo team win the All-Ireland by ten points.
Money in the Bank is a crazy and brilliant concept, and Carmella took full advantage of it on Smackdown Live, cashing in her briefcase, before defeating an injured Charlotte Flair to win the Smackdown Live Women's Championship.
8. The Atmosphere
Wow. There are sporting events and then there is Wrestlemania; the stage, the production, the entrances, the banter, the amazing city. People from all around the globe coming together with sarcastic chants, beach balls, and the madness on Bourbon Street.
People sometimes struggle to get "wrestling." This was an event that anybody could enjoy, with three days of it when you include Raw and Smackdown too, unforgettable, then..now..forever...but please make Roman Reigns a bad guy.
9. Meeting AJ Styles, the WWE Champion
Ask any wrestling fan who is their favorite superstar and the same names will crop up; Kenny Omega, Cody Rhodes, John Cena and of course the Phenomenal AJ Styles. I randomly bumped into AJ at my hotel and got a photo. I then witnessed him have a heated discussion with the valet guy at the hotel. Amazing to meet a man at the top of his industry. The valet guy was lucky not to receive a phenomenal forearm.
The Perfect Ten...(for the Tye Dillinger fans) The Return of The Yes Movement
The Yes movement returned at Wrestlemania. Daniel Bryan was cleared by several doctors to wrestle again and was immediately added to the card. The man who thought his career was over, gets to wrestle again. 80,000 in the Mercedes Benz superdome screaming Yes! Yes! Yes! after a victory, teaming with Shane Mcmahon... Will I be going next year? YES!