Ring giants to pack a punch at SoFi Stadium in 2021


SoFi Stadium and Wrestlemania Image: Wrestlemania

WrestleMania 37 – the wrestling showpiece termed the ‘Showcase of the Immortals’ – will be held at the under construction SoFi Stadium at Inglewood, California, in US on March 28, 2021. This was revealed by the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) recently.

WrestleMania 37 (publicized in print ads as WrestleMania Hollywood) is the upcoming 37th annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view and WWE Network event produced by WWE for their Raw and SmackDown brands.

WWE is an American integrated media and entertainment company whose forte is professional wrestling. WWE has also branched out into other fields, including movies, football, and various other business ventures.

The SoFi Stadium is a stadium and entertainment complex currently under construction in Inglewood, California, and is scheduled to open in July 2020. It is situated at the former site of the Hollywood Park Racetrack. It will host both the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers – both professional American football teams – for the 2020 National Football League (NFL) season. The primary tenants of the facility will be the Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angeles Bowl (college football bowl game).

Though construction work of the arena is still underway, the biggest sporting spectacles over the next decade have already fallen into the kitty of the $5 billion venue.

In addition to WrestleMania, Los Angeles will also host the Super Bowl in 2022, the College Football Playoff national championship game in 2023 and the Olympics in 2028.

WWE’s WrestleMania event will witness Friday Night SmackDown, NXT TakeOver and Monday Night Raw held at the Staples Center before and after the pay-per-view.

“Our pitch on all of our events from the Super Bowl to WrestleMania is having a two-hub hosting area with Inglewood and downtown, and we’ll see that for the first time at WrestleMania,” informed Kathy Schloessman, President of the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission.

A release sent out by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti read, “There is nothing quite like WrestleMania Week. It is a one-of-a-kind event that provides an economic boost to the region—and fans from around the world will find a city that is ready to host them and welcomes the spectacle.”

“On behalf of everyone at WWE, we are excited to bring WrestleMania back to Los Angeles. WrestleMania will set the bar for future sports and entertainment events held at SoFi Stadium as we add this facility to the list of iconic venues that have hosted our pop culture extravaganza,” remarked Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman and CEO, in a press release.

SoFi Stadium also provides WWE the platform to augment the attendance while continuing the vogue of hosting the annual event at football stadiums since 2007.

WrestleMania saw a humongous crowd in 2016 when the AT&T Stadium in Dallas was packed to capacity – over 101,000 fans poured into the stadium.

The largest attendance at WrestleMania ever came in 2016 when over 101,000 fans packed into AT&T Stadium at Dallas in US. While the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles is expected to host 70,000 plus spectators for football games, media reports stated that officials will consider expanding the seating capacity to 100,000 for the anticipated event.

The Los Angeles Convention Center will be the scene of action for WrestleMania Axxess while the location of the 2021 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony – also taking place that week – is yet to be fixed. WWE community outreach programs such as ‘Be a STAR’ will also be taking place in the area.

This isn’t the first time WrestleMania, the biggest show on WWE’s calendar of events, will take place in the City of Flowers and Sunshine. Three other ‘Manias’ have been held in Los Angeles.

WrestleMania 2 in 1986 had three locales – Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, the Allstate Arena (then called the Rosemont Horizon) in Rosemont, Illinois, and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. The Los Angeles portion of the show went on last, with the main event seeing retired American professional wrestler Terry Gene Bollea – popular by his ring name Hulk Hogan – and American professional wrestler Christopher Alan Pallies who is no more – known by his ring name King Kong Bundy – trying their luck at the ring by going inside a steel cage for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship.

WrestleMania 7 in 1991 also took place at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, wherein the main event fans could catch a glimpse of American professional wrestler Robert Rudolph Remus (now retired) – known by his ring name Sgt. Slaughter – taking on Hulk Hogan for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship.

The last time WWE held the event in Los Angeles was in 2005. During WrestleMania 21 at the Staples Center, American business professional Paul Michael Levesque – better known by his ring name Triple H – locked horns with retired American professional wrestler David Michael Bautista – who performs under the ring name Batista – for the World Heavyweight Championship in the main event.

For months, the on the way, avant-garde stadium in Hollywood Park has been a rumored destination for a future WrestleMania. Inglewood Mayor James T Butts confirmed the city was a favorite back in August, with Las Vegas also being among the rumored finalists.

Media reports stated that Super Bowl LVI (NFL championship) will commence from the same structure in February of 2022, and WrestleMania 37 will reportedly be used as a kind of pilot exercise ahead of the more famed NFL event. WWE has a practice of booking Super Bowl stadiums for WrestleMania around similar timeframes, keeping an eye on the high turnout factor, though WWE’s attendance figures are unfavorably known for being kayfabed.

WWE’s announcement comes at a time when the Los Angeles area continues to lament the untimely death of National Basketball Association (NBA) and Laker icon and celebrated figure Kobe Bryant, who was one of nine victims in a tragic helicopter mishap. Bryant’s daughter Gianna was also among the victims.

This year’s WrestleMania 36 will take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on April 5 before hosting next year’s Super Bowl LV.

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