WWE star power shines in front of 75,000 for WrestleMania 39 at SoFi Stadium

INGLEWOOD — Professional wrestling fans swarmed to SoFi Stadium on Saturday, April 1, with championship belts, bright-colored shirts and luchador masks for Night 1 of the WWE’s two-day WrestleMania 39 event.

In a town that has become accustomed to giant football games and massive music concerts, this time it was WrestleMania goes Hollywood as more than 75,000 filled the state-of-the-art stadium — perhaps no surprise really, since in the first 24 hours after tickets went on sale, fans bought 90,000 of them for Night 1 and Sunday night.

The sheer pilgrimage of the wrestling faithful to SoFi itself was almost as much of a spectacle as the wrestling action.

Jonathan and Juan Rodriguez were part of the masses who made the trek on Saturday.

They traveled from Riverside County to experience their first WrestleMania event in person and were among the many others dressed as their favorite wrestler.

John Cena and Austin Theory in the opening match of WrestleMania 39 at SoFi Stadium on Saturday, April 1, 2023. (Photo courtesy of WWE)
John Cena and Austin Theory in the opening match of WrestleMania 39 at SoFi Stadium on Saturday, April 1, 2023. (Photo courtesy of WWE)

Both dressed as different versions of Hulk Hogan, the company’s top star during the 1980s and into the early 90s.

After finishing a transaction at the concession stand, the duo was met by several other fans who wanted to take photographs of them and with them.

Both have intentions of returning for Night 2 of WrestleMania and attending RAW on Monday at Crypto.com Arena but remain undecided on plans for another costume.

“We might come as Hogan or just come as our regular selves,” Juan said. “We might do Stone Cold (Steve Austin) tomorrow,” Jonathan said. “We already have the bald caps and everything ready there’s just a small tweaks I have to make that I didn’t like.”

The match between wrestler Seth Rollins and media personality Logan Paul had the attention of Jonathan, who is a self-proclaimed fan of Rollins.

Rollins’ match drew a reaction from the crowd after he caused Paul to jump through the broadcast table and on top of friend and media personality KSI.

Javier and Jadn Cortez traveled from Texas to take in WWE-related shows, including Smackdown on Friday night.

The father-and-son combo, wearing matching shirts with WrestleMania logos, attended their first WrestleMania in Arlington last year for what appears to be the start of a tradition.

“We had a great time (last year) and already planning on being there in Philadelphia for next year once the tickets go on sale,” Javier said. “As long I’m alive we are going to go every year.”

Javier has been a fan since 1984 and remembers rooting for Hulk Hogan but never attended an event until he and his son went to watch an episode of Smackdown in December of 2013.

Jadn grew up watching the likes of John Cena and Edge, both of whom were featured on the WrestleMania card this weekend.

While the duo purchased tickets before the lineup was announced, Jadn was excited for the two matches that featured the veteran wrestlers he watched earlier in their careers.

John Cena returned from the silver screen to add a mainstream element to the card. He has been one of the company’s top stars and won his first world championship at WrestleMania 21 in 2005.

Before making his entrance to the ring, Cena embraced a group of Make-A-Wish children on the stage.

The WWE invited 20 families from the foundation to attend WrestleMania. Cena is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for the most wishes (650) granted through the foundation.

Rey Mysterio, who was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on Friday, was accompanied by rapper Snoop Dogg in a low rider before his match against his son, Dominik Mysterio.

Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny also the Spanish-language commentary team at ringside. The crowd would quickly erupt with cheers as Bad Bunny would get involved and distracting Dominik long enough for Rey to get the upper hand and secure the victory in the family feud.

Both Rey’s wife Angie and daughter Aalyah joined him in the ring to celebrate.

All told, Saturday’s was the first WrestleMania in California since WrestleMania 2015 with an estimated 76,000 in attendance at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara. The last WrestleMania in Los Angeles County was in 2005 with a crowd of 20,193 people inside the Staples Center.

The Cortez and Rodriguez families were not going to wait that long between events. No way.

They will be among the many to file back in on Sunday with a strong interest in the main event as Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns compete for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.

“I want Cody to win,” Jadn Cortez said.

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