WrestleMania 2 (partly)
What do these Manias have in common? Well, aside from the fact that they are WrestleManias that did not have roman numerals, they were all at the Rosemont Horizon/Allstate Arena. The Allstate Arena (as it is now known, is not the home of any of the four major sports’ teams in Chicago. It is home to DePaul basketball (college), Wolves hockey (AHL), and formerly Rush football (AFL). The Allstate Arena is also not a giant venue by any means. The attendance for WrestleMania 13 was 18,197 and strangely enough it was 17,159 for WrestleMania 22. The second WrestleMania has a combined attendance number for the three venues that hosted it; although I’m willing to bet it was somewhere around the same number.
Three WrestleMania Pay Per Views and all at one venue. The most recent was in 2006 – eight years ago. Let’s take a look at the last three pay-per-view venues and attendance numbers:
WrestleMania XXVII – Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. Home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and NCAA’s Georgia St Panthers. Attendance of WrestleMania XXVII was 71,617.
WrestleMania XXVIII – Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida. Home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, University of Miami’s Hurricanes football team (college), and formerly the home of the MLB’s Florida Marlins. It is also the host of the Orange Bowl (NCAA ‘playoff’ game). Attendance of WrestleMania XXVIII was 78,363.
WrestleMania XXIX – MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Home of the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets. Attendance of WrestleMania XXIX was 80,676.
Are you starting to see a trend?
WrestleMania is now hosted in venues that can live up to and match the “biggest stage of them all” tagline that is associated with WrestleMania. It’s not for the smaller venues anymore.
And that is why I feel WrestleMania will never be in Chicago again (as things stand right now). Let’s examine why…
Allstate Arena is not big enough to give them the “big-time” feel (ironic because the tagline of WrestleMania 22 was “Big Time”) that they are looking for. Although they could certainly accommodate Axxess Weekend in the Rosemont area, it wouldn’t work anymore.
But could they go elsewhere in Chicago?
To follow the pattern of other big feel WrestleManias with big time venues, they would have to go to one of the stadiums/arenas where their major sports teams play.
Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs/MLB) holds 41,072… not nearly enough. It is also outdoors… in Chicago… in April. I’m from Chicago. I don’t think so.
U.S. Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox/MLB) holds 40,615… smaller than Wrigley. It too is outdoors… in Chicago… in April. Nope.
United Center (Chicago Bulls/NBA) holds 23,500… smaller than the two mentioned above. While it has hosted one WWE Pay Per View in the past (SummerSlam 1994; the year it opened), I just don’t see it hosting a WrestleMania.
Soldier Field (Chicago Bears/NFL) holds 63,500… and while that’s close to what they’ve drawn in recent years, it’s still outside… in April… in Chicago. Um… no.
So there you have it… why I believe WrestleMania will not come back to Chicago any time soon. Now I can’t say “never” and mean never, because who knows what venues will be built in the future. Also, WWE still comes back to the Allstate Arena. Payback was there last year, and will be again this year. It still comes to the Allstate Arena for RAW and Smackdown shows. Maybe it will get my second favorite pay-per-view event (Royal Rumble) one of these years.
However, it won’t host WrestleMania 32, 33, 34, … etc. Probably not again in my lifetime.