WrestleMania 25 Press Conference Highlights

wm25.jpgHere’s a great article on WWE’s press conference today at the Hard Rock Cafe by ‘The Steel Cage,’ with Alfonso Castillo and Seth Mates reporting.

I got back not long ago from attending WWE’s WrestleMania 25 press conference at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square (formerly the WWF New York restaurant.)
Nothing terribly newsworthy took place, but there were plenty of good promos, some laughs, and the usual antics from the unruly New York fans.

I got a number of one-on-one interviews with some of the talent after the press conference, including Ric Flair, Edge and Triple H, and I hope to bring you video highlights and transcripts from the interviews in the coming days. Highlights include Triple H talking about the Ultimate Warrior and Chris Benoit, Flair talking about the problems in ROH, and Edge talking about his hesitation in Vickie Guerrero becoming an on-air character so soon after her husband’s death.

Here’s a quick run through of the day’s events:

Todd Grisham opened the press conference and introduced the first speaker, Chris Jericho.

Jericho began by somewhat sincerely talking about the importance of WrestleMania and his memories of watching WrestleMania I and dreaming of one day becoming a big WWE star. After a few seconds of out-of-control heckling from fans, Jericho slipped into character and made reference to the “typical New York animals.”

Jericho blamed Mickey Rourke for setting off the chain of events that is leading to his match against the three legends this Sunday. He said Rourke challenged him and then “backed down.” A Mickey Rourke chant broke out. He said Rourke will be in Houston in the front row seat that he bought for him. He talked about the hypocrites, and vowed to get rid of Flair, Piper, Snuka and Steamboat “once and for all.”

“I will walk out of the Houston with my head held high knowing once again that I was the better man,” he said.

Jericho remained in character for the rest of the 45-minute press conference, sneering at the various promos cut by the babyfaces.

Next up “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, who got a nice pop and “Roddy!” chant. He wore his leather jacket and kilt. Working without a script, Piper was his usual long-winded, rambling self, although he did have a few good lines. He started by mimicking Jericho’s monotone delivery, and then broke into his usual shouting and told the crowd, “Old School’s Cool.”

Piper recalled being part of WrestleMania I, and mingling with the various celebrities including Billy Martin, Muhammad Ali, “Dick Clark” (I don’t remember him being there), and Liberace, who Piper recalled rehearsing his kick with the Rockettes backstage. Piper made a rather crude joke about his answer to Liberace’s question, “What are you wearing under your kilt?”

He said WrestleMania I was “just like it’s going to be in Houston.” He told “Greg Jericho” that he took offense to his treatment of the legends. He said Jericho’s mother didn’t give him enough attention as a kid. He asked Jericho why he would call out the legends rather than call out someone from his own generation (an “Austin” chant broke out.)

“You have the audacity to talk about how washed up we are,” Piper said. “Let me tell you something kid. I may be out of step every once in a while, but I ain’t forgotten how to dance, man.”

“Christopher, you pompous pimple, I’m coming to the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania to give you 150 percent of my heart,” Piper add.

Piper borrowed from his famous line in They Live and said he was coming to Houston to “kick ass and chew bubble gum. And I’m all out of bubble gum.”

Kelly Kelly and Eve came out. They hyped the 25 Diva battle royal, and mentioned that the returning Divas would include Sunny, Molly Holly, Victoria and Jackie Gayda. They couldn’t handle the rowdy crowd and quickly ran out of things to say. Their music awkwardly came on mid-sentence, and the girls, mercifully, got the hook.

Ric Flair came out next to some “Thank you, Flair chants.” He said he loved the fans and thanked them. Flair said that in 1984 he was NWA champion and that in his eyes the title was the most coveted in all of professional wrestling. But he said he was in “Spartanburg, South Carolina wrestling in front of 2,000 people for an hour while my friend Roddy Piper, and the Hulk and Mr. T, Liberace and the man that made it all happen, Vince McMahon, were right here in Madison Square Garden in front of 20,000 people just like you really enjoying a better quality of life than I was.”

Flair said it took him eight years for him to get to WrestleMania, where he took on Randy Savage in Indianapolis, and it was “the greatest moment of my life.”

Turning to the legends match at WrestleMania, Flair brought up that Jericho had left him with 11 staples in his head. He said he respected Chris Jericho, and didn’t hate him, but does “resent” him and people who think like him.

“You’ve got to be a real special person in a real special place in life to be in the Hall of Fame in WWE,” Flair said.

He said at WrestleMania in front of millions of fans “who live and die to watch the pay per view,” he was going to watch as his three “Hall of Fame brothers wear you out.”
“If you walk away from that match with your hand in the air, I will kiss your ass the day you’re inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Flair said. “That’s how sure I am that you’re going to get your ass handed to you.”

Flair gave some “whoos,” and left the podium.

Mark Henry came out next. This wasn’t pretty. The crowd disrespectfully chanted “boring” the moment Mark came out on stage. He immediately got flustered and kept losing his train of thought. He attempted to talk about how he grew up 90 minutes outside of Houston and how WrestleMania would be a homecoming for him. He said that even thought you don’t usually see men his size in ladder matches, he would do whatever it takes to win, including “stacking bodies” and climbing up them to grab the briefcase. The crowd wouldn’t stop heckling, and Henry tried to fight back, telling them, “I can go all day long. Get it out of your system.” The fans chanted, “You suck,” and Henry replied, “And you came to see me.” They finally Henry’s music and put him out of his misery.

Edge came out next and kept it short. He started by saying how he was just like the fans in attendance in that he too loved the wrestling industry, WWE and WrestleMania, and recalled how he attended WrestleMania VI as a child. He got some cheers.

“However, there are some differences between you and I,” Edge said as he removed his sunglasses. “The big one: I’m better than all of you.”

He said he’d prove it at WrestleMania. He said he was better than John Cena and the Big Show, and is “the best in the world at what I do.”

The Big Show came out, and stood face-to-face with Edge for the obligatory photo-op. Show said it was good to be in New York, where he loved the pizza and hot dogs “as you can tell.” He said he planned to win the world title at WrestleMania. The fans chanted “Cena!” He told Edge, “I have taken your spotlight. I have taken your wife. And at WrestleMania 25 I will take your world heavyweight championship.”

“I am the only one here that deserves to be called world heavyweight champion,” Show said. “No one can beat me.”

Last out was Triple-H, who got a gigantic pop. Seconds after Grisham described Triple-H’s rivalry with Randy Orton as the most personal in WrestleMania history, Hunter was his usually jokester self, and kicked off the event by doing his “Are you ready?” shtick. He asked the fans, “Are you ready for WrestleMania.”

Triple H said he shared his colleagues’ passion for WrestleMania, but said, “It’s just a little bit different for me.” He said his first WrestleMania experience came at WrestleMania XI, just after he joined the company. Although he didn’t wrestle on the show, he said he “sat back and I watched the greatest spectacle that I had ever seen in my life take place before me.”

“And it was all run by this crazy, maniacal guy named Vince McMahon,” he said. “It’s hard for me to believe that 14 years later that crazy old man is my father-in-law.”

He added that Vince’s “crazy wife” is his mother-in-law, and “crazy” daughter his wife and mother of his children. He said WrestleMania was about more to him than just his career, but it was about his whole life. He said he considered all of WWE, including the fans, his family.

He joked about how Vince must have nine lives or be immortal because even after being blown up and having a gigantic rig fall on him just in the last couple years, “he is still just fine.”

He segued into a funny story about his trip to New York from the previous night’s Raw, where he went out with Vince and Shane and beat up legacy. He said a number of wrestlers, including Jericho, Edge, Show joined Shane, Vince and him on a flight to New York. He said Show was very “angry and agitated” because Edge was on the same flight. When the plane landed, Show said, “To hell with you guys, proceeded to get off the plane, slipped on the top step and fell all the way down to the ground below.”

“This is a true story,” Triple-H. It must have been, because Edge doubled over in laughter in his seat, and even Jericho, who was trying his best to stay in character, started giggling. Show said that Triple H betrayed him by telling the story.

Triple H said even Edge felt bad for Show. Hunter said that around the same time Show hit the floor, everyone noticed that Vince had disappeared. “Then very slowly a hand reached out from Big Show’s behind.”

He said a number of wrestlers pulled and pulled on the hand, “and Vince popped out. And he’s just fine.”

Triple H joked that it turned out Jericho was under Show too, “which explains his hair.” He was clearly trying to crack Jericho up again, but Jericho wasn’t biting. He just shook his head and snarled.

Hunter got serious and said he owed Vince for “everything I have in my life, from my career, to my job, to my wife, to my children, to all of you.”

Finally turning to his storyline, Hunter said his match with Orton had gone “way beyond” his world title and is “about my life.”

He said he will fight Orton for his father-in-law, for his brother-in-law, for his wife, for his kids, and for the fans.

“I will fight Randy Orton with every bit of who I am,” Triple-H said. “I will fight Randy Orton as if my life depends on it. Because it does.”

(source: weblogs.newsday.com)

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