The worlds of Hip Hop and professional wrestling have been intertwined for years. Whether it’s rappers dropping references in their lyrics or wrestlers using rap gimmicks and entrance music, the two sides have co-mingled quite a bit over the past few decades.
This Sunday (April 7), WWE will host WrestleMania 35 — the biggest wrestling event of the year — at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Ahead of the show, HipHopDX caught up with some of Hip Hop’s most passionate wrestling fans to find out their favorite WrestleMania memories.
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Thinking back to a happier time. That one time a couple weeks back when i had the distinct honor, privilege and pleasure of meeting the New Day!!! My fav tag team of ALL TIME!!! And yes they are as great in real life as they are on TV. @thetruekofi @wwebige @xavierwoodsphd thanks for being super rad dudes!!!
“FIRST OF ALL! I don’t talk a lot of shit, but I’m officially gonna start with this wrestling stuff. I am the OG when it comes to this rap-wrestling shit. Been to more Manias, got more commemorative chairs and a song with John Cena to prove it. I’ve even been to sumo matches in Japan. PWG, PCW, Knokx Pro Wrestling. MOTHERFUCKERS DON’T WANNA SEE ME! But I digress …
“It’s hard to pick a favorite, but my first Mania was WrestleMania 2000. I bought four tickets, mid-level. I had enough to buy one floor seat, but I had to share the moment with the homies. I finally had enough rap money to make my childhood dream come true. It was beautiful. And the cherry on top for this lifelong Laker hater was it was the day Chris Childs two-pieced Kobe Bryant; they put it on the big screen.”
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“My favorite WrestleMania moment, I was there. It was 33 in Orlando, Brock [Lesnar] vs. Goldberg. I always wanted to see Goldberg wrestle, but Brock killed him [laughs] … suplexed him ‘bout 50 times, then Roman Reigns beats Undertaker. At the time, we thought we would never see Undertaker wrestle again because it was an emotional exit. He left his hat in the middle of the ring, but it was a crazy experience, even with the production set up they had to go down a ramp that was about a half mile long. It was fire.”
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“My favorite Mania memory is WrestleMania 4. I wasn’t able to see it live in the flesh, but we watched it via closed circuit TV at the Spectrum in Philly. Watching my favorite wrestler ever, Randy Savage, beat the odds and finally get to the top of the mountain was a moment I’ll never forget. I remember I bought a Savage poster and foam finger that night.”
Esoteric of Czarface
“Savage and [Ricky] Steamboat going head-to-head in WrestleMania 3 was so wild and engaging because at my age then, I considered everything in the WWF to be life or death. My dad knew it was scripted, but he still caved in and got the PPV for me and my friends because, ya know, this was real life to us.
“Months prior, Savage hit Steamboat with the ring bell off the top rope and nearly put him out of wrestling. What really stuck out to me was the storyline’s emphasis on Steamboat’s larynx and the damage done to it. I learned what a larynx was from this feud and when you take terms like intestinal fortitude and solar plexus repeatedly shouted by Gorilla Monsoon, I have to credit wrestling with building my vocabulary. So yeah, the Savage and Steamboat match at WrestleMania 3 was my most anticipated and it delivered!”
“Ultimate Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan. April Fool’s 1990. I was five years old. Intercontinental Champion vs. World Champion. It’s crazy that I remember so much about it, but it’s probably due to the build-up and promos. There were contract signings and all sorts of things. Ultimate Warrior was, and is, my favorite wrestler of all time. I even titled one of my mixtapes after him.
“That match when he defeated Hogan was probably the height of my fanfare. I had action figures, posters, etc. I was never into comic books or superheroes, but I think that’s the vibe I got from the enigmatic Ultimate Warrior. I think it was the suspended disbelief that this was how this guy, a real person, acted all of the time. Again, I was five years old [laughs] … Side note: I met Hulk Hogan in 2006 outside of Hit Factory in Miami when I was recording for Cash Money.”
“My favorite Mania memory is between WrestleMania 8 and WrestleMania 18, both involving Hulk Hogan. When Warrior returned to save Hogan, I remember being in front of the TV losing my mind! That Mania, Macho [Man] ended up winning the belt from [Ric] Flair too; I was emotionally connected to both. Mania 18 was special to me because that was Hulk’s return back to WWE against The Rock – he ended up turning face after that match because the crowd was so invested into him. Made me feel like a kid all over again.”
Wrekonize of ¡Mayday!
“Mine would have to be WrestleMania 6. I was an avid watcher at the time and the matchup between Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior was epic. Not sure any matchup ever topped that for me as a kid.”
Noveliss of Clear Soul Forces
“My favorite WrestleMania memory is definitely Jeff Hardy hitting the Swanton Bomb off the ladder on Bubba Ray through the table at WrestleMania 16! That was the height of my childhood wrestling fanaticism, and I was a huge Jeff Hardy fan. I lost my mind. The Hardy Mania moment everyone talks about is Edge spearing Jeff in mid-air at Mania 17, but this was it for me and always will be.”
“My favorite WrestleMania moment of all time has to be when Daniel Bryan won the whole thing, beating Batista and [Randy] Orton after beating HHH earlier in the same night. For all of us indie fan wrestling lovers that praised Daniel Bryan when nobody would glance in his direction, it was a really rewarding moment.”
Andreas Hale, former Editor-In-Chief of HipHopDX
— Andreas Hale (@AndreasHale) December 16, 2018
“It’s quite difficult to choose a single WrestleMania moment considering that I’ve been a fan for literally as long as I can remember. But WrestleMania 5’s main event between Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage solidified my fandom courtesy of some brilliant long-term storytelling, epic promos and a questionable narrative that had the little kid in me raise an eyebrow.
“It was the first time that I felt empathy for the heel as I felt Hogan was being a dirtbag because of how he handled his relationship with Savage and Savage’s ‘valet’ Miss Elizabeth. I thought Savage was the better wrestler and was well within his right to dislike Hogan. Nevertheless, I was invested and was glued to my television set when those two squared off. If I wasn’t a hardcore fan before, that feud that culminated at WrestleMania 5 cemented me as a massive pro wrestling fan.”
Kazeem Famuyide, Wrassle Rap founder & former WWE writer
“My favorite WrestleMania memory ever was WrestleMania 31. I was there with Wale and Emilio Sparks, and it was probably one of the most fun nights of my life. I’ll always remember that night because that’s right before my father got sick and I found out he had cancer. So when you go through terrible times like that, you kind of mythologize how good everything else is before then.
“But that actual night turned into one of the greatest WrestleMania main events of all time. From top to bottom, it was just amazing. Between Daniel Bryan winning the IC title, to Randy Orton catching Seth [Rollins] with the step-up RKO, to Sting vs. HHH, to Rollins cashing in Money in the Bank and stealing the world title.”
DJ Wally Sparks
“My favorite WrestleMania memory is kinda random. But at WrestleMania 18 during the Undertaker vs. Ric Flair match when Arn Anderson sneaks in and hits Taker with a spinebuster ranks way up there for me. I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s because I grew up on the JCP/NWA/WCW stuff but seeing Flair and AA on that grand stage up to their old Four Horsemen shenanigans really turned the nostalgia up for me. I loved it!”
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“My Favorite WrestleMania moment is the moment when Jeff Hardy jumped off the ladder at WrestleMania 2000. I remember watching that as a kid and that being the moment where I said, ‘Yeah, I’ma Hardy fan.’ He always put his life in danger to entertain.”
“Stone Cold vs. The Rock from WrestleMania 17. I haven’t watched wrestling since the late 90s/early 2000s, but I remember this match the most. The Rock and Stone Cold were the biggest stars in the world when I was a kid. This was the ultimate match ‘cause everyone had a favorite between the two. This match probably broke up a few happy homes.”
Kamikaze of Crooked Lettaz
“My favorite WrestleMania moment is WrestleMania 6, hands down. Ultimate Warrior vs. Hogan, the proverbial passing of the torch. Warrior kicked out of the leg drop. I had seen no one in all my early years of watching do that. I had never seen Hogan lose clean.”
“WrestleMania 20 was the only one I have ever watched with other people. Despite Chris Benoit being my favorite wrestler since the Owen Hart tribute match, I never thought he would main event a Mania. When it happened, I deemed it monumental enough to share with the lapsed fans in my friend group who once shared a similar affinity for the Wolverine. My boys and I popped so hard when Triple H finally tapped that we woke my dad up. Benoit’s body of work gets harder and harder to watch the older I get, but I will always remember sharing my ultimate mark out moment with some of my closest friends with a great fondness.”
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“My favorite moment of WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans was Brock Lesnar beating Roman Reigns. The crowd was intense; they were booing and almost uninterested because they all knew the Big Dog was walking out with the Universal title. Here comes the swerve … after a fifth F5, the Beast won! I jumped up in excitement, and it was so funny to watch and hear that hostile crowd get floored by a finish none of them expected.”