Morecambe man KIERAN ENGELKE went to the WWE wrestling spectacular WrestleMania at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas on Sunday as part of a record 100,000-plus strong crowd. But Kieran’s experience was soured before he even got into the venue...
A $60 taxi is the cheapest option to get us to the stadium.
A 15 minute drive down the freeway gets us to the mammoth building. To truly appreciate the size of this thing you have to see it in person. It is possibly the biggest building I’ve ever seen.
Before the gates are opened we wander around the periphery taking it all in.
There are two people dressed as a kangaroo and a racoon. Which on a day as warm as this, earns my respect.
They’re horsing around shooting T shirts out of a cannon and generally causing hi-jinx. Turns out they are WWE divas Alicia Fox and Paige. An interesting way to meet the stars of WWE, to say the least.
We take time to take in some fast food before queueing.
But Wendy’s is NOT fast food.
Twenty minutes to get to the front of the five person queue to receive microwaved food. That was just awful.
Back at the stadium. Show starts at 5pm. Queues at 1pm are going from one end of the stadium, half way across, and back...then back again. There are at least four queues this long. Cutting across each other intermingling with each other and it’s starting to cause chaos in the heat. Blazing sun is causing more than a few to be impatient with the wait.
There are many many event staff on hand...inside the venue. But none outside.
3:30pm. Doors opening time. Still in a stationary queue. It has become a crowd as all the individual queues merge into a giant mosh pit of increasingly frustrated fans.
4:30pm. Still no movement. Letting in 100,000 fans one at a time from a sunburned rowdy crowd and asking each one to empty their pockets for a metal detector search. Very slowly. Children crying, people nearly fainting from heat exhaustion. Getting angrier by the minute. Approaching chaos. Police arrive. News crews appear to be reporting on it. Shouting matches begin to get physical. No water on hand. Just uninterrupted heat.
5:15pm. Inside, the show has begun, apparently US Champion Kalisto has successfully defended his title, yet thousands upon thousands of fans are stood burning up outside getting to boiling point.
Another match has happened and there are still more than half the paid audience standing outside. Medics bringing wheelchairs to people who have fainted. Anger has turned to sadness as so many people who have paid their hard earned money to experience this once in a lifetime event have been left outside to burn.
5:51pm. And we’re finally inside and in our seats. We’ve missed the three match pre show despite arriving four hours early. People being brought in like cattle. Anger, upset, disappointment and disbelief would describe the emotions of the people who have been queueing for four hours to get to what should be the best night of the year.
11pm. The show is over. Most people have forgotten about all the problems that started the night. The magic of WrestleMania. A night full of surprises and over 100,000 people’s raw emotion can have an incredible effect on you.
A $90 taxi back to the hotel awaits as we all discuss our favourite moments and what we can expect from the next night’s Monday Night Raw...
*A WWE spokesman said: “To ensure the safety of WWE fans, increased security measures were put in place tonight. We apologise that it may have taken some fans longer than usual to get into AT&T Stadium.”