Friday, March 30, 2018

Ten years later: WrestleMania 24

Ready to rumble as Hornswoggle

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

It's hard to believe ten years have already passed since WrestleMania 24. It was March 30, 2008, at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando. I was one of the 74,635 in attendance that day. It was the second WrestleMania my buddy Chad Smart and I attended.

Here are a few takeaways from that event a decade later. 

Flair says goodbye
I was there for Flair. When rumors of Ric Flair's retirement match being a part of WrestleMania, Chad and I made an extra effort to get tickets. We sat in what I believe was the fourth row that night and watched as our childhood hero wrestled for the last time in WWE. Even though we had speculated it would be Flair's swan song, I still found myself cheering for Naitch, hoping he'd pull off a surprise win and stick around a little longer.

The next night we watched as Legends and Superstars honored "Nature Boy" on Raw. I'm not going to lie and say that I'm disappointed Flair ended up wrestling again in TNA after his retirement. But I still hold a special memory of that night and can proclaim I was there for Flair's last WWE matchup.

Triple threat fun
That night also marked John Cena's first WrestleMania loss. He was pinned by Randy Orton in a triple threat match for the WWE Championship. Cena had won the Royal Rumble two months earlier and I figured he'd be a lock for winning the gold. Even though it's a little blurry the pic here is one of my favorites I took at WrestleMania 24.

Main event
Undertaker's Streak continued as he repeated from WrestleMania 23 and won the World Championship, pinning Edge in the main event of the night. Fireworks popped in celebration after the victory and it turns out a fan was injured in the process.

Big chokeslam from the Big Show
Another big moment from the night was Floyd 'Money' Mayweather taking on the Big Show. The giant had just returned after a hiatus from WWE. In my mind, Big Show was a lock for this one too, but I loved how they put the match together and Mayweather getting the underhanded victory. 

Bunny time
CM Punk won Money in the Bank that year. Admittedly I wasn't completely on board with Punk at the time, as I hoped John Morrison would have a moment to shine. The Playboy BunnyMania Lumberjill match is exactly what you're thinking. It goes to show how far WWE executives and creative have come in terms of their treatment of women's wrestling. 

Those are just a few of my memories from the show. We dressed as Hornswoggle for some unknown reason that year. We had a great time and got to keep our chairs and added to our collection of photos and autographs from a variety of WWE Superstars. 


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