Explosive press conference kicks off WrestleMania week festivities

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March 28, 2012

MIAMI – WrestleMania XXVIII festivities kicked off in high gear Wednesday at a press conference that ended with a main-event faceoff between hometown hero The Rock and John Cena a mere four days before their “Once in a Lifetime” match. (PHOTOS | WATCH THE FULL PRESS CONFERENCE)

Although The Great One and the Cenation leader expressed the utmost respect for one another’s accomplishments prior to the photo op, neither Superstar could hide his desire to tear into the other Sunday. The Rock promised to give Cena a “Hurricane [butt]-kicking of a lifetime,” and Cena said he has been waiting his entire life for their WrestleMania match.

“I couldn’t ask for a grander stage or a bigger opponent,” said Cena, a former 10-time WWE Champion.

The Rock told reporters that Cena’s achievements run “a mile long.”

“It's going to be an honor for me to step in the ring with John Sunday,” he said.

The explosive press conference – which was streamed live on WWE.com, YouTube and Facebook –  officially ushers in the many WrestleMania activities happening in South Beach this weekend, including numerous community-outreach events and charity fundraisers, the annual Fan Axxess event, unprecedented social media coverage and the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2012 induction ceremony.

Taking place at Sun Life Stadium, The Show of Shows itself – WrestleMania XXVIII – airs live on pay-per-view Sunday, with a special start time of 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. WWE’s stay in Miami culminates with a live broadcast of Raw SuperShow from American Airlines Arena Monday night.

“Our goal is not only to host the WWE Universe this week, but for WWE to return to our community again very soon,” said Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, who declared March 28-April 2, 2012, as “WrestleMania XXVIII Week” in the county and presented WWE with the Key to Miami-Dade County.

Seventy-thousand fans from all 50 states and 36 countries are expected to arrive in Miami for WrestleMania events, Diaz said. In total, an estimated 125,000 members of the WWE Universe will be taking part in various activities throughout the week, according to John Saboor, WWE’s Senior Vice President of Special Events.

Although it was the parting comments from The Rock and Cena left the Eden Rock Hotel press area abuzz, other Superstars – including WWE Champion CM Punk, Triple H and Divas Champion Beth Phoenix – spoke about the significance of performing on The Grandest Stage of Them All. Triple H, appearing both as a participant in Sunday’s “End of an Era” Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker and as WWE’s Executive Vice President of Talent, called WrestleMania “an important rite of passage for any member of the WWE Universe.”

“For all the talent on the WWE roster, participating in WrestleMania means being a part of history,” he said, before vowing to make history by stopping The Undertaker’s WrestleMania Steak at 19-0.

In addition to being the WWE’s biggest event of the year, WrestleMania XXVIII is also the social media event of the year, said press conference host Michael Cole. He introduced Team Teddy representatives Kofi Kingston and United States Champion Santino Marella, Team Johnny members David Otunga and The Miz, as well as Ricardo Rodriguez –all of whom were live-tweeting from the event.

Cole also invited live-stream viewers to tweet their questions for the Superstars, using the hashtag #WrestleMania. After the press conference ended, the questions were answered via @WrestleMania. This year’s WrestleMania is expected to bring Superstars and the WWE Universe closer together than ever before, with an unprecedented number of Superstars live-tweeting from events in Miami.

Also in attendance Wednesday was Mike Pouncey, the starting center for WWE’s partner, the Miami Dolphins. A member of the 2009 Florida Gators National Championship team, Pouncey joked that he would be at Sun Life Stadium to lend Cena or The Rock a hand, should either Superstar need it.

With WrestleMania week officially under way, the WWE Universe is invited to share its thoughts and sentiments on Twitter, using the hashtage #WrestleMania.

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