Florida feeding frenzy

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March 28, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla.  -- Friday was media day here in O-Town, as the WWE Superstars met the press to promote this Sunday's WrestleMania XXIV.

Print and television media from five continents and more than two dozen countries descended upon the WWE Superstars all afternoon as they made the rounds. And of course, the Superstars greeted them as only they know how. For instance, Matt Striker was more than happy to greet a group of French journalists -- in their native language, the intellectual Superstar insisted we point out -- and pose with them in front of a WrestleMania banner. But when one of the writers asked Striker to show her one of his favorite holds, he quickly turned to another member of the press standing nearby and snatched him in a punishing headlock … ahem, thanks, Matt.

There may not have been any strange stunts or crazy costumes -- a la the sometimes-outlandish media day decorum of NFL running back Clinton Portis -- but the press center here at WrestleMania headquarters was a virtual who's who of WWE Superstars, Legends and Hall of Famers. 2008 inductee Rocky Johnson -- a native of Nova Scotia, Canada -- was seen speaking with a film crew from the Great White North's version of Entertainment Tonight. WWE CEO Linda McMahon and WWE Hall of Famer "Mean" Gene Okerlund, among others, made appearances on live radio broadcasts streaming throughout the central Florida area. World Heavyweight Champion Edge, ECW Champion Chavo Guerrero, SmackDown bombshell Maryse and Italian export Santino Marella were among the Superstars caught chatting with writers and camera crews from their respective native lands.

Even if you weren't at ‘Mania HQ on media day, you can't go anywhere in Orlando without knowing that WrestleMania is here. WWE has virtually taken over O-Town, with events and reminders of WrestleMania everywhere you go. The moment one steps off a plane at Orlando International Airport, they'll be greeted by a huge banner welcoming the grandest stage in sports-entertainment to central Florida. Driving along Interstate 4 or any local Orlando thoroughfares, you can't miss the numerous billboards and advertisements for this Sunday's spectacular. Even as the WWE.com staff has been running errands around town, restaurant and hospitality staff has asked "are y'all here for WrestleMania too?" just about everywhere we go.

WrestleMania is the Super Bowl of WWE, and the atmosphere in O-Town this weekend is electric. It's only going to get better as sports-entertainment's "Super Sunday" rapidly approaches. With the Fan Axxess Tour, the 2008 Hall of Fame Ceremony and several other events still on tap before The Granddaddy of them All, central Florida has only seen the tip of the WWE hurricane.

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