WrestleMania 40: A Record-Breaking Weekend Full of Star-Studded Action!

WrestleMania 40

Photo: WWE

The WrestleMania 40 weekend in Philadelphia was not just a celebration of wrestling but a symphony of record-breaking events, star appearances, and thrilling matches. The City of Brotherly Love played host to one of the most electrifying weekends in WWE history, with each event contributing to an unforgettable spectacle. What started as a one-night-only wrestling card in New York's Madison Square Garden has now turned into a multi-day-mania that takes bids from major markets to bring this annual traveling show to their cities.

SmackDown: An Historic Night

The weekend's excitement kicked off with WWE's Friday Night SmackDown, which achieved an unprecedented milestone by becoming the highest-grossing Friday Night SmackDown of all time! Nearly 20,000 wrestling fans filled the Wells Fargo Arena to capacity, showcasing the immense popularity and appeal of the event.

Not only did Friday Night Smackdown air live on FOX, but following were the 2024 Hall of Fame inductions. This year's class was headlined by Paul Heyman and included Bull Nakano, Thunderbolt Patterson, Lia Miavia, The US Express (Mike Rotunda & Barry Windham) and boxing legend, Muhammad Ali.

NXT Stand & Deliver: Shattering Records

WWE's developmental brand, NXT, showcased their Saturday afternoon premium live event at the same venue as Friday Night Smackdown. NXT Stand & Deliver took center stage with 16,545 attendees, marking it as the most-attended NXT event ever! This remarkable achievement underscores the growing prominence and fan base of NXT within the wrestling world.

WrestleMania 40

Photo: Getty Images North America

The Rock Returns

The weekend was headlined by the return of Hollywood's highest-paid actor, The Rock, to his wrestling roots. Teaming up with his cousin, the WWE Undisputed Universal Champion Roman Reigns, they faced the formidable duo of the American Nightmare Cody Rhodes and Seth Freakin’ Rollins. This match had much more at stake than just a winner and a loser. With The Rock and Roman's victory on night one, Cody would have to face Roman for the Universal Title on night two, in a BLOODLINE RULES match! That means, anything goes. This match was more than a wrestling bout; it was a fusion of entertainment, family legacy, and athletic prowess, highlighting the sheer magnetism of WrestleMania.

The Rock wasn't the only returning Superstar though. More on that later...

WrestleMania 40

Photo: Getty Images North America

WrestleMania: Night 1 – Breaking the Bank

Saturday night kicked off the first of two nights of WrestleMania. And, as expected, it was a record-smasher in its own right, breaking the all-time single-night gate record with 72,543 in attendance. At the time of this writing, the actual dollar figures were not available. However, WWE reported that this achievement eclipsed the previous record of $17.3 million set at WrestleMania 32 in Dallas, reinforcing WrestleMania 40's place in history.

WrestleMania: Night 2 – Cashing In

Night one could have concluded with a simple TO BE CONTINUED message because there was still a story to finish for Cody Rhodes. Yes, he would have a mountain to overcome, but there hasn't been support from the WWE Universe for one single Superstar like this in many, many years! And that universe showed up, bringing a two night total to 145,420!

While it looks as though The Rock may be returning for more than just the angle with his cousin, Roman Reigns, there were other Superstars that returned to help Cody finish his story on night number two. The packed stadium erupted hearing the music of John Cena! And even though there was already a chill in the air, it got a little cooler for whom the bell tolls. Although not dressed in his dead man garb, the Philly crowd was treated to the sight of The Undertaker!

Celebrities Galore

Not only was the weekend a huge attraction for wrestling fans, it was also a magnet for celebrities. George Kittle from the San Francisco 49ers graced the event with his presence. CoCo Jones delivered a stirring rendition of the National Anthem on night one, while The War and Treaty beautifully performed God Bless America on the second night. Drew Barrymore was seen backstage, along with Vanessa Hudgens at ringside, adding Hollywood glamour to the wrestling fiesta as well.

Musical performances electrified the crowd, with Motionless White performing Rhea Ripley’s entrance theme, live. Lil Wayne also added his star power to Jey Uso’s entrance. Philadelphia Eagles’ Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson made a special appearance, aiding Rey Mysterio and Andrade from the LWO to triumph over Legado del Fantasma.

There were also rumors of Dude Perfect showcasing their renowned trick shots in their suite, though this remains unconfirmed.

WrestleMania 40 in Philadelphia was not simply a series of wrestling events; it has become a cultural phenomenon. The weekend blended high-octane action, celebrity dazzle, and even musical flair to deliver a weekend that will be etched in the annals of sports entertainment history. One for the record books, for sure.

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