Last night, the WWE put on the biggest show in its history as a reported 101,763 fans crammed into the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas for WrestleMania 32.
For a while, though, it looked like thousands of those fans wouldn't make it inside the giant arena at all. Social media was flooded with photos showing huge crowds stuck in line waiting to get in as the 'Mania pre-show was getting underway.
As you might expect, this left a lot of WWE fans angry and upset as up to 20,000 people were left to watch the early part of the night unfold on smart phones or on concourse TV sets.
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The issues were fourfold according to the Star-Telegram. Set to open the gates at 3.30 E.T., the WWE pushed that back five minutes as they completed a last-minute rehearsal. Then the wifi went down, creating major issues with scanning tickets.
This was compounded by the fact both the venue and WWE seemingly underestimated the sheer volume of people that would be arriving as early as possible. Oh, and "there was a wrist band flap about seats on the floor." All of this led to 30-minute delays in the Texas heat and a serious backlash, particularly on social media.
In a bid to counteract the negativity early on, the WWE and AT&T Stadium actually issued a joint statement mid-way through WrestleMania itself which went unnoticed by many. It read:
“To ensure the safety of WWE fans, increased security measures were put in place tonight. We apologize that it may have taken some fans longer than usual to get into AT&T Stadium.”
Not exactly much detail from either party, but at least they took responsibility for what was a frustrating start to the 'Mania experience for thousands of fans. It was likely noticeable to wrestlers too, with the Kalisto vs Ryback pre-show match taking place amidst a lot of empty seats.
After eventually managing to get over 100,000 people into the arena, the WWE can celebrate a WrestleMania record today. However, they might want to come up with a few more contingency plans the next time they think about putting on such a mammoth show.
Fortunately, once the high-profile matches were underway, everyone was in their place to enjoy what was a dramatic Showcase of the Immortals.
As well as current superstars such as Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar stepping up to the plate, legendary names such as Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley and Stone Cold Steve Austin made surprise appearances to send the huge crowd into raptures.
The WWE will be hoping it is those moments that make the headlines today as they try to brush the crowd control issues under the table.
WWE fans: Were you involved in the long delays? Who was to blame? Have your say in the comments below...
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