Other than their regular championship matches, Wrestlemania XXIV had two hooks.
At No Way Out, The Big Show reintroduced himself after being away for over a year. He pulled off his coat to show off his new, svelte (for Show) figure. After threatening to beat up Rey Mysterio, boxer Floyd Mayweather, who was ringside, jumped in the ring and threw some legit punches that broke The Big Show’s nose. This would lead to a match between the two at the big show. Not many people knew that what WWE wanted was Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya in an opposing tag match at Mania XXIV, but De La Hoya wasn’t interested.
The second hook was a storyline involving Ric Flair’s retirement. Vince McMahon came out and said that the next time Ric Flair lost a singles match, he’d have to retire. Flair faced Mr. Kennedy, MVP, and others leading up to Mania, and at Mania, his opponent would be Shawn Michaels. The storyline was originally pitched by Stone Cold Steve Austin, and in his version (as I’ve heard), Flair was to keep winning matches and challenge for a title at Wrestlemania. It didn’t get that far, but Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair at Wrestlemania was definitely a strong match and by the end of the run, they had built enough interest after it being sort of lukewarm.
When it’s all said and done, what Wrestlemania 23 will be remembered for is a haircut match. This isn’t any random old haircut match. This was a billionaire’s haircut match. Well, at least one of them was a billionaire.
Donald Trump has been affiliated with wrestling in the past. He hosted Wrestlemania IV and V at his Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey. They were two of the worst Wrestlemania’s ever, but that didn’t stop Vince McMahon from calling Trump’s name some 18 years later. And McMahon needed it.
Wrestlemania is what Vince McMahon and company build to every year. It’s their Super Bowl. It’s always the biggest PPV of the year, and the one in which they pull out all the stops. This year, the stops was Donald Trump. You might wonder why putting Donald Trump on a wrestling show, and one that he won’t even wrestle on, is important. The reason it’s important is because people wanted to pay to see who would get their hair cut between Vince and the Donald. Can you imagine a bald Donald Trump? Everyone wants to see that right? Even though anyone in their right mind would know that Trump would’ve never signed on to a match in which he’d lose his hair, it was built up so well, and it went on to be the main event in the biggest money making event in company history.
Donald Trump is still a big name. Even though his television show, The Apprentice was struggling mightily, he’s a well known public figure. And to get a well known public figure who isn’t a one hit wonder (like Kevin Federline) was a major coup for the WWE. It allowed them to enter the main stream media for a short while. The media picked up on Donald Trump being involved with wrestling and it sparked a little bit of a buzz. The wrestling fans are going to buy Wrestlemania. The goal is to get everyone else to do so.