NEW ORLEANS — The Hulkster showed he can host, 30 years later.
Three decades after he took part in the first WrestleMania at Madison Square Garden, Clearwater resident Hulk Hogan presided over the 30th version of World Wrestling Entertainment’s signature event at the Superdome. The 60-year-old sported a sleeveless red T-shirt that showcased his still-considerable pythons, and a red bandanna with “Hulkamania” on it in bright yellow letters.
“This all started with me and Mr. T,” Hogan said. Vince McMahon had the vision to make this entertainment as big as he did,” Hogan said. “Fast forward to 30 years later and now I’m the host? I would have never believed that 30 years later I would still be here and people would be treating me in New Orleans like I’m still the champion.”
The man who helped popularize the athletic spectacle when he bodyslammed all 500-plus pounds of Andre the Giant was there with a microphone in his hand, overseeing the mayhem for 75,000-plus fans, and countless more watching on TV.
And what a scene it was. Cesaro won the Battle Royal – named for Andre the Giant this year for the first time – by heaving the sizeable Big Show over the top rope.
In the night’s shocker Brock Lesnar defeated The Undertaker, ending his 21-consecutive match Wrestlemania winning streak.
In other events, The Shield also beat the team of the New Age Outlaws and Kane in a six-man tag team match and A.J. Lee defending the WWE Divas Championship.
John Cena got his second consecutive WrestleMania victory with a defeat of Bray Wyatt. WWE superstar Triple H, McMahon’s son in law, was defeated by crowd favorite Daniel Bryan in opening match of WrestleMania 30.
Hogan was joined in the opening by a pair of other WWE legends in “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – who ribbed him for flubbing the name of the stadium.
The event was shown on the fledgling WWE Network by-subscription streaming service, which launched Feb. 24.