Six things you didn’t know about the Mercedes-Benz Superdome
For the second time in less than five years, New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Superdome will serve as the home of WrestleMania. First opening in 1975, the storied venue has a long history of hosting major sporting events and sports-entertainment extravaganzas. Before WrestleMania gets underway, check out these six thing you didn’t know about the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
It will become the eighth venue to host two WrestleManias
New York City’s Madison Square Garden, The Atlantic City Convention Center, Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Toronto’s Rogers Centre (formerly known as The Skydome), Chicago’s Allstate Arena (formerly known as Rosemont Horizon), Anaheim's Honda Center (formerly known as Arrowhead Pond) and Orlando’s Citrus Bowl hold the distinction of being the only venues to hold two WrestleManias since The Show of Shows’ inception in 1985. The Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans — the site of WrestleMania 30 — joins this exclusive group on Sunday when WrestleMania 34 descends upon The Big Easy.
WrestleMania isn’t the only big sports-entertainment event to be held there
WrestleMania 30 is the biggest sports-entertainment event held inside the venue to date, though Mid-South Wrestling held their most important shows inside the Superdome in the 1970s and 1980s. WWE Legends such as Junkyard Dog, Andre the Giant, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Dusty Rhodes and The Million Dollar Man all competed in Mid-South Wrestling’s “Supershows,” making New Orleans one of the hottest destinations for sports-entertainment.
The Mid-South events were known for drawing large crowds and hosting many innovative and notable contests. Some of the most memorable battles included a Scaffold Match between The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express and The Midnight Express, a Coal Miner’s Glove Match between Duggan and The Million Dollar Man, as well as 40-minute contest between NWA World Heavyweight Champion “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Terry Taylor. Muhammad Ali even served as a special guest enforcer for one of the events in a similar role to the one he played at the first WrestleMania.
Muhammad Ali had his last victory there
Speaking of Muhammad Ali, 65,000 people witnessed history inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome during the famed “Ali Rematch” where Ali looking to reclaim his heavyweight championship from Leon Spinks in 1978. Although Ali won the bout and his third heavyweight title, it would be his final professional victory.
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome played host to NWA’s Clash of the Champions and three episodes of WCW Monday Nitro
The Superdome’s involvement with sport-entertainment didn’t end with Mid-South. NWA and Jim Crockett Productions — the precursor to WCW — held Clash of the Champions IV inside the venue. The main event pitted NWA Champion Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat against Ric Flair in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match. After nearly an hour, Steamboat emerged victorious in one of the defining moments of his career.
This event was also notable because it was on the same day as WrestleMania V and aired for free as opposed to pay-per-view — an early skirmish in what would eventually lead to the Monday Night Wars. In fact, during the ratings battle between WCW and WWE in the late ’90s, the Superdome hosted WCW Monday Nitro on three occasions from 1997 to 1999.
It’s one of the top venues for both pro and college football
Opening in 1975 as the Louisiana Superdome, the venue is primarily the home of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and college football’s Sugar Bowl and New Orleans Bowl. The Superdome’s status as a premier venue for football is also evident as the home of four BCS National Championship games, and the College Football Playoff semifinal is played there every three years. Of the 10 Super Bowls played in New Orleans — tied for the most until Miami hosts Super Bowl LIV — the Mercedes-Benz Superdome has also hosted seven of those big games. Tulane University also played its home games inside the Superdome until 2013.
It has a rich history of collegiate and pro basketball
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is not limited to only hosting football games. The venue has also held the NCAA Final Four on five occasions: 1982, 1897, 1993, 2003 and 2012. From 1975 through 1979, the NBA’s New Orleans Jazz played their home games inside the Superdome, setting a then-NBA attendance record of 35,077 when the Jazz’s “Pistol” Pete Maravich led his squad against legendary Philadelphia 76ers, captained by “Dr. J” Julius Erving.
No doubt, history will once again be made inside the storied venue when Roman Reigns challenges Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship, Ronda Rousey teams up with Kurt Angle against Triple H & Stephanie McMahon, WWE Champion AJ Style faces Shinsuke Nakamura, Asuka battles Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women’s Championship and more!