Monday, July 14, 2014

Ultimate Geek Arena Goal

Trump Tower
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter


Over the weekend news broke that come September the Trump Tower in Atlantic City, New Jersey would be closing down. As a wrestling fan this is sad news because Trump Tower is where Wrestlemania IV and V were held. There was virtually no chance of another Wrestlemania being held there unless the business takes a major downturn and WWE can’t get 70,000 fans to fill stadiums.

As I mentioned in a recent blog thanks to a friend who’s a huge hockey fan (@hockeytransplant on Twitter) I have started a series of trips to visit all 30 hockey arenas. Along the way, if given the chance we will often also go to a baseball or football game as well. During the three-day trip to New York in March, we attended a New York Islanders game. Besides crossing another hockey arena off the list, I was geeked up because I was in the arena where the New York portion of Wrestlemania 2 was held. This has lead to unofficially trying to visit as many Wrestlemania arenas/stadiums as possible.

With the news of the Trump Tower closing, I decided to look at the venues that have hosted a Wrestlemania to see how many are still in active use and how many I’ve actually visited. 

Here is the list of the 32 Wrestlemania locations.

Madison Square Garden

WM 1, 10, 20: Madison Square Garden; New York, NY.  Still in active use. Attended the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony as well as a New York Rangers game in 2014.

WM 2: Nassau Coliseum; Uniondale, NY. Wrestlemania 2 was held in three different locations. Since the other two arenas held other Wrestlemanias, I’ll get to them later.  As mentioned earlier, attended a New York Islanders game here earlier this year. Of all the arenas I’ve been to, this is most likely the worst. In it’s defense the arena is over 40 years old. With the Islanders moving to Brooklyn for the 2015-2016 season, I’m curious to see how long the Nassau Coliseum will remain open.

Andre the Giant & Bobby Heenan at Wrestlemania III
Photo courtesy: WWE
WM 3: Pontiac Silverdome; Detroit, MI – The site of the legendary Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant match was closed in 2011 nine years after the Detroit Lions moved to the newer Ford Field.  With no plans to reopen, I don’t see any chance of visiting this historic Wrestlemania location.

Macho Man, Liz, and Hogan at Wrestlemania IV
Photo courtesy: WWE
WM 4 & 5: Trump Plaza (the name of this arena changes depending upon the casino sponsoring the event, technically the name of the venue is Boardwalk Hall); Atlantic City, NJ.  When Kevin and I made our Geek Week trip to New Jersey for Wrestlemania 29 there was talk of hitting up Atlantic City for a night. Plans changed so we never got to see the boardwalk. Had I known then that Trump Tower had potential to close, I would have definitely pushed to head down there and check out the building.  Since I don’t see myself going to New Jersey in the next two months, it’s safe to say unless someone reopens the building this will be another Wrestlemania location I won’t get to put on the visited list.

WM 6 & 18: Skydome (Rogers Centre); Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  With a future visit to Toronto to see a Maple Leafs game on the schedule, I will safely say that a trip to Skydome to see a Blue Jays or possibly an Argonauts game will also be on the itinerary. 


WM 2 &7: Los Angeles Sports Arena; Los Angeles, CA. The Sports Arena is located on the USC campus. While not regularly used for sporting events, the Sports Arena does host concerts every few months.  Whenever he plays Los Angeles, Bruce Springsteen always plays at the Sports Arena. I saw Springsteen play here in 2012 and Pearl Jam in 2013.

WM 8: Hoosier Dome (Building was demolished in 2008); Indianapolis, IN – Seeing how the stadium was demolished before I had a chance to visit Indianapolis it’s safe to say this goes on the never got to see list.

Caesar's Palace: Wrestlemania 9
Photo courtesy: WWE
WM 9: Caesars Palace; Las Vegas, NV. I have been to Caesars Palace but I haven’t seen the actual venue that hosted Wrestlemania 9. I’m not sure if I should count this venue or not. Maybe I’ll add an asterisk.

WM 11: Hartford Civic Center (XL Center); Hartford, CT.  Once again, the quest for hockey arenas will play a part in visiting the XL Center. Before the Carolina Hurricanes existed they were the Hartford Whalers and the XL Center was their home arena. It has been discussed to travel to Hartford as part of the trip to Boston.

WM 12 & 16: Arrowhead Pond (Honda Center); Anaheim, CA.  As a season ticket holder for the LA KISS arena football team, and having seen a handful of Anaheim Ducks hockey games, I have been to Pond several times. The first time I was here was for the Jonas Brothers concert taped for their 3D film. Yep, I just admitted that. 


Allstate Arena: Wrestlemania 22
Photo courtesy: My 1-2-3 Cents
WM 2, 13 & 22 Rosemont Horizon (Allstate Arena); Chicago, IL.  Wrestlemania 22 was the first Wrestlemania Kevin and I attended.

WM 14: FleetCenter (TD Garden); Boston, MA. I’ve walked past this building but haven’t been inside. If all goes according to plan, I’ll be attending a Boston Bruins game here next April.

WM 15: First Union Center (Wells Fargo Center); Philadelphia, PA. While in Philly back in May for the return of Chikara, we attended a Phillies game across the street from the Wells Fargo Center. Will eventually attend a Flyers game.

WM 17: Reliant Astrodome; Houston, TX. The Astromdome is another venue that has been shut down due to a new stadium being built before I had the chance to attend an event.

WM 19: Safeco Field; Seattle, WA. If I’m ever in town for a Seahawks game, or if Seattle gets an NHL expansion team then I’ll try and go to a Mariners game.

WM 21: STAPLES Center; Los Angeles, CA. Living in LA, I have been to Staples Center many times. Among the wrestling events seen here, I attended SummerSlam 2012 and 2013. Will be there next Tuesday to see Lady Gaga’s Art Pop show.

WM 23: Ford Field; Detroit, MI. The only Wrestlemania in the past nine years we didn’t attend. May have to try to do a Red Wings/Lions weekend trip. 

WM 24: Citrus Bowl; Orlando, FL 


WM 25: Reliant Stadium; Houston, TX

WM 26: University of Phoenix Stadium; Glendale, AZ

WM 27: Georgia Dome; Atlanta, GA

WM 28: Sun Life Stadium; Miami, FL 


Our view at Wrestlemania 29
Photo courtesy: My 1-2-3 Cents
WM 29: MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, NJ

WM 30: Mercedes-Benz Superdome; New Orleans, LA- For the past seven years, Kevin and I have done the annual Geek Week trip.

In the 30 years of Wrestlemania, 24 venues have hosted the event.  Of those 24 venues, three have been closed and another is set to close in the next few months. I’ve been to 14* of the remaining 20 arenas with plans to see events at another four over the next two-three years.

Levi's Stadium
Photo courtesy: WWE
WWE has already announced the location of the next two Wrestlemanias. Wrestlemania 31 will take place at the brand new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA while Wrestlemania 32 will be at AT&T stadium in Dallas. As of now, it is uncertain if I’ll be making the trip up the coast to Santa Clara. If for some reason I don’t make it to Dallas, I can still mark it off the list as I saw George Strait’s final tour stop there in June.

When the idea was pitched to me to visit al 30 NHL arenas, I thought the goal could be fun if a bit unnecessary. Now that I’ve decided to try and visit all Wrestlemania locations, the NHL goal seems less insane. 

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