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Buzz Around WrestleMania
The Buzz Around WrestleMania
By Craig Tello, Jen Hunt, Zack Zeigler, and Louie Dee
April 1, 2007
WrestleMania 23 was the biggest and most spectacular -- and perhaps the most "grown up" -- of all WrestleManias, especially in its design and presentation. Here are candid observations from throughout the day:
Chatting With Trump, 8:35 p.m.
Miss Universe 2006 Zuleyka Rivera, Miss Teen USA 2006 Katie Blair and Miss USA 2006 Tara Conner aren't hiding who they're pulling for in the Battle of the Billionaires. This could be the last time the three bombshells chat with Mr. Trump while he has hair.
Ring Posts "All Grown Up" for WrestleMania 23, 7:46 p.m.
WrestleMania 23 looks different than all the other Wrestlemanias. The entrance ramps are customed to suit each Superstar and even the ring posts have a unique look. For the first time in WrestleMania history, the set designers used phosphorescent paint in the ring posts so that they "light up" at ringside. WrestleMania 23 - all grown up.
"Stone Cold" and Black Jack, 6:55 p.m.
WWE Hall of Famer Blackjack Lanza ran into WWE's newest movie star, and tonight's special guest referee in the Battle of the Billionaires, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. The Condemned star was cordial as he and Lanza, a fellow Texas native, chatted about the week's events.
Who's House?, 6:42 p.m.
Rev. Run of Run-DMC and Run's House fame and his family are huge WWE fans. They came straight from the airport to Ford Field to meet some of their favorite Superstars before taking their seats for WrestleMania 23. They enjoyed meeting John Cena, Triple H, Kevin Thorn, The Highlanders, Jimmy Hart and WWE legend, Rev. Slick.
C-Webb in the house, 6:38 p.m.
Just hours after the Detroit Pistons' victory over the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat, Pistons forward Chris Webber made his way to Ford Field and met Triple H. Webber, who grew up in Detroit and played for the University of Michigan, is fulfilling a life-long dream. "I'm a long-time fan," he said, "and when I was a kid I wanted to go WrestleMania III at the Silverdome. Now I'm here 20 years later, and it's awesome." He would've said more, but his nephews tugged him away, and for good reason…The Champ was here.
A Smashing Entrance, 6:33 p.m.
Celebs have arrived in full force, and former Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan is in the building. ECW fans may remember Corgan had some issues with Lou E. Dangerously several years ago, but things were much more amicable this time around. In fact, several Superstars stopped by to say hello, including Shad, proving that sometimes the ‘hood rocks out too.
World Heavyweight Champion Arrives, 5:10 p.m.
Moments after a surprise visit from RVD, a golf cart containing World Heavyweight Champion Batista rolled out of Ford Field's rear entrance. Mere hours before the defense of a lifetime against Undertaker, Batista looked confident as he embraced the electricity of WrestleMania and the WWE fans in Detroit. While the WWE fans' excitement blasted off the charts, one thing became apparent in Batista's visit: the champion is ready for WrestleMania.
Hero's Welcome for ECW Original, 5:01 p.m
The throngs of anxious and electrified WWE fans seemed to double in size outside Ford Field. This same crowd was driven into a frenzy when Rob Van Dam strutted out of the rear entrance of the arena for a more interactive experience with the mob. The results? An overwhelming chant of "R…V…D!"
Checking Pyro, 4:44 p.m.
WWE.com has already clued readers in to how impressive the pyrotechnics display will be at tonight's WrestleMania. It may only be hours until show time, but WWE engineers are still meticulously inspecting the equipment to ensure the explosions occur on time and of course, safely.
Bank on It, 4:28 p.m.
Preparations for WrestleMania 23 -- more specifically, tonight's Eight-Man Money in the Bank Ladder Match -- are still being made up to the very last minute. WWE production crew members were spotted carrying multiple ladders toward ringside, just to ensure that the combatants will have enough tools to reach their destiny, an opportunity at a World Title.
Sandman Prepares for War, 4:00 p.m.
Sandman traded in his traditional brewski for bottled water as he lounged in one of the parked golf carts around the arena. The ECW Original looked at ease, but that is bound to change when he steps into the ring to take on the New Breed.
Feels Like the First Time, 3:56 p.m.
For many WWE Superstars, WrestleMania 23 is their first taste of sports-entertainment's top showcase. None of the WrestleMania activity is lost on The Miz, whose eyes are as wide as his trademark smile today. "I've never been to a ‘Mania as a fan and this is my first as a part of WWE…it's just awesome," he crowed. "I've seen things this week I never thought I'd see. I've seen Balls Mahoney in a tie! Just being here and seeing all this, it's insane. I can't wait to see what it looks like when 75,000 people are here; there's not a bad seat in the house."
WrestleManiacs, 3:07 p.m.
With the streets outside Ford Field lined with WWE fans, batches of WrestleManiacs took to the multi-tier parking garage across the street from the site of the "Biggest Spectacle of Them All."
Early Arrivals, 2:59 p.m.
Hordes of WWE fans have arrived outside the site of WrestleMania 23. Supporting their favorite WWE and ECW Superstars, the wild crowd looked anxiously toward the rear entrance of Ford Field and hoped to catch a glimpse of any of tonight's competitors.
A New 'Do for a New Breeder, 2:31 p.m.
All the Superstars want to look their best at the biggest event of the year. The captain of ECW's New Breed, Elijah Burke, will be sporting a new look and a new ‘do tonight. His hair has been rebraided with silver and red "knowledge beads." An incredulous Rory McAllister of the Highlanders came up and asked if he could do something like that with his beard.
Enter "The Fink," 1:30 p.m.
Legendary WWE ring announcer Howard Finkel is on hand today at Ford Field for the festivities of WrestleMania 23. This night not only marks "The Fink's" 20th anniversary of announcing at WrestleMania III, but it is also his 23rd WrestleMania. "Twenty-three. A very important number to me tonight: 23," Finkel said. "Many emotions are running rampant within me today. I have been blessed to be a part of every one of them, and they get better and better. Tonight, I can say 23."
The Quiet Before the Storm, 12:40 p.m.
The vast emptiness of Ford Field is almost overwhelming. This is the view the Superstars will have as they compete in the biggest event of the year, only instead of empty seats, they will be surrounded by more than 75,000 screaming WWE fans.
Detroit Tigers Visit, 12:05 p.m.
The spectacle of spectacles has already started to draw out the famous personalities of the Motor City. The Detroit Tigers' Curtis Granderson, Chad Durbin, Justin Verlander, Jason Grilli, Placido Polanco and Marcus Thames all came to Ford Field to meet World Heavyweight Champion Batista and several other WWE Superstars in person just hours before taking their seats for WrestleMania 23.
WWE Landmarks Everywhere, 10:37 a.m
In addition to the 100-foot stage structure described by WWE set designer Jason Robinson in a WWE.com exclusive earlier this week, just about every nook in Detroit's Ford Field is adorned with a WrestleMania landmark. In one corner of the building stands a massive curtained cylinder with a vertical logo of the "Biggest Spectacle of Them All."
Limited Edition Souvenirs, 9:02 a.m.
Hours before the doors to Ford Field are opened for ticket holders to jam-pack the site of WrestleMania 23, the countless rows are empty. A WWE pay-per-view tradition, the official limited edition ringside folding chairs have been laid out. More than 1,300 chairs depicting the images of the Battle of the Billionaires, John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels and Batista vs. Undertaker are ready for very fortunate WWE fans to find. This will be one keepsake that will enable them to remember WrestleMania's return to Detroit on April 1, 2007.
Catch WrestleMania 23 tonight on pay-per-view at 7 pm ET/6 pm CT.