Craig Does Dallas: A Journey to Wrestlemania Weekend

Craig Wilson

Ring the Damn Bell’s creator and our very own Craig Wilson recently fulfilled a childhood dream by attending his first Wrestlemania. Craig will take our readers on what a Wrestlemania weekend experience is really all about. The sights, the sounds and the overall aura of being at the biggest wrestling show of the calendar year.

“The boyhood dream has come true.”

I could be referring to Shawn Michaels win at WrestleMania 12 or my trip, 26 years later, to see WrestleMania live for the first time.

Dallas is the venue and 2022 is the year but there I was. 

It is, as the saying goes, always bigger in Dallas and over two nights over 150,000 poured into the AT&T Stadium for WrestleMania 38.

This all started as a dream. A small kid watching wrestling tapes at home. Transfixed by superheroes as a kid and the edgy Attitude Era stars in my teenage years.

During the pandemic, it continued as a dream as me and a couple of friends discussed the possibility of going to WrestleMania at some point, invariably over a wrestling-themed zoom quiz.

The dream started to turn into a reality as time passed, covid restrictions eased and that pot of lockdown savings looked like they could extend to such a jaunt.

One WWE travel package and return flights booked, it was on.

A few friends joked I’d be like a child in a sweet shop when I was there for Mania.

They were spot on.

I spent much of the week in wide-eyed wonder taking in everything.

And there was a lot to take in.

From my first ever AAA show on the Thursday through to Monday Night Raw on the Monday via a Wrestlecon Supershow, MLW, Smackdown, the Hall of Fame ceremony, NXT Stand and Deliver and both nights of WrestleMania. 

There was the incredible Wrestlecon Supershow match pitting Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Bandido. There was seeing Minoru Suzuki and Atsushi Onita live. Seeing the Rock and Roll Express and, of all people, Barry Horowitz in action again.

There was meeting Demolition, childhood favourites of mine, and meeting Jushin Thunder Liger.

There’s also the randomness of seeing wrestlers out and about or popping up in shows. Whether that’s talking to the legendary Kevin Sullivan in a bar about a time he visited Scotland (after he heard my accent at the bar) or seeing Attitude Era stalwart Gangrel show up at MLW.

Then there’s Wrestlecon, a comic-con style event where fans can meet their heroes and a picture and their swag signed. There’s also WWE Axxess which is usually much the same but this year was basically a superstore when you could buy merch or pose for fun pictures.

I did them both and had a ball at each.

You literally can’t see it all, however. Both New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor clashed with Smackdown and Hall of Fame on the Friday while several indie shows, plus a fun sounding USA vs the world Wrestlecon event, went head-to-head with NXT Stand and Deliver.

The agony of choice, I guess.

Going to WrestleMania was incredible. Both nights had some incredible moments. Seeing Austin wrestle again was great. Sure, the Stunner on Vince McMahon needed careful editing for showing again but was a cool spot. Bianca vs. Becky was great. As was Sami Zayn vs. Johnny Knoxville. And what about that pop for The American Nightmare?

Perhaps slightly biased but it was one of the better installments in a long time.

If you’ve never been, I suggest the official travel package. Not only do you get great seats but all the hassle is taken out of booking things. You arrive then go to shows.

Going to WrestleMania was a bucket list item ticked off for me and, as I told people, a once in a lifetime trip.

Still, WrestleMania 39 in LA could be fun, right…

One thought on “Craig Does Dallas: A Journey to Wrestlemania Weekend

  1. It was my dream to be there when Taker was inducted into the HOF. Not only has the world wide pandemic a hindrance but it seems I’ve grown a discomfort of crowds.


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