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WWE NEWS: Complete Live Report on WM29 Press Conference from New York City - McMahon, Rock, Cena, Punk, Triple H

Apr 4, 2013 - 1:28:41 PM
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WrestleMania 29 Press Conference
April 4, 2013
New York City at Radio City Music Hall
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


Top News: No major announcements were made. ... During the post-press conference, Matt Striker said "matches" would be part of the WrestleMania pre-show. ... During the press conference, Vince McMahon made a speech about Mania's history, which C.M. Punk mocked during his speech later on. ... Triple H and Stephanie McMahon appeared on-stage together to hype Mania's social media reach. ... WWE champion The Rock gave a long speech about what Mania means to him, WWE, his family, and the McMahon family. ... John Cena offered one final jab toward The Rock before teasing "surprises" at WrestleMania. ... The press conference ended with Vince McMahon on-stage holding up Rock and Cena's arms in the air to promote his WrestleMania main event.

- The pre-press conference show started with Matt Striker hyping WrestleMania three days away. Striker focused on The Rock vs. John Cena for the WWE Title. Striker framed the match as Cena having done everything possible in WWE except beat The Rock, and if he doesn't beat Rock at Mania, then his legacy in WWE means noting. Striker threw to a video package hyping Rock-Cena II.

- Back to Radio City, Striker brought in Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez to discuss Del Rio's World Title defense against Jack Swagger. Del Rio said they're fighting not only for themselves, but also the Latino community. Del Rio vowed to prove why he's the real World champion and break Swagger's pride, spirit, and perhaps his arm.

- Striker fed to a video package hyping Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, then hyped WWE's social media push during Mania Week. Striker said Mr. McMahon will appear during the press conference, as well as Rock and Cena. Striker then fed to a video package on Hunter's WrestleMania training program.

Live Press Conference Report

- The press conference started with Michael Cole being introduced as the host. Cole said WWE is expecting over 75,000 fans at WrestleMania. He then plugged musical acts performing live at Mania - Diddy and Living Colour. Cole added that Charlie Sheen, Jimmy Fallon, Mike Tyson, Snooki, and Lil Wayne will be part of WrestleMania. Cole then hyped Mania Week events in New York City.

Suddenly, Fandango's music interrupted. Fandango, along with a different dancer than seen on TV, emerged through the crowd and danced their way through the gathered media toward the stage. On-stage, Fandango took the mic, got into position, and introduced himself. And, off they went. Back at the podium, Cole dead-panned: "Yes, he'll be competing in his first match at WrestleMania."

- WWE VP of Special Events John Saboor was introduced to speak next. Saboor thanked everyone locally for helping make WrestleMania happen in the New York/New Jersey market. Saboor listed this year's Hall of Fame inductees before discussing the WrestleMania PPV and Monday's Raw, where he said the Road to WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans begins. Saboor offered buzz words about "impacting the community" before introducing Vince McMahon.

- Vince McMahon opened by saying this is a dream come home for him personally and for his family. McMahon went back to WrestleMania I at MSG when they coined the phrase "sports entertainment" because they had athletes and celebrities mixed on the same event. McMahon said what Mania was and is today is "a hybrid of sports and entertainment." McMahon quirkily said nothing can compare to the thrill-ride of Mania on PPV. McMahon exited after the brief speech.

- Ricardo Rodriguez hobbled out on-stage selling his broken ankle before introducing World champ Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio placed his title belt on the podium before shouting out to local and international media. Del Rio called WrestleMania the most important night of his life because it's the first time a Superstar born and raised in Mexico will defend the World Title at Mania. Del Rio said there is no way he's losing the title against Jack Swagger. He said he will prove why he's the World champion on Sunday. Del Rio switched to his more natural Spanish to deliver a message to the international media.

- Michael Cole returned to the podium to introduce the CEO of NYC & Co., George Fertitta. Fertitta read a prepared statement about New York City's tourism department before noting "wrestling fans" will enjoy what the area has to offer. Fertitta said his company is thrilled to welcome WrestleMania to New York.

- Cole hopped to the floor to introduce New York Giants members sitting on the front row. Cole then transitioned to Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar before introducing Paul "Triple H" Levesque, who emerged through the curtain dressed in a suit.

- At the podium, Triple H posed a question to the crowd: "Are you ready?" Crickets. So, Hunter entered The Game mode to get a response on the second try. Hunter started removing clothing, starting with his tie. Suddenly, Stephanie McMahon's music interrupted. Stephanie walked to the podium to stand next to her husband. Steph "whispered" about Hunter having his executive hat on, not his Triple H hat on right now. Hunter sheepishly said he's sorry, continuing the bit.

Stephanie said her husband is obviously a bit worked up, and that's because WrestleMania is three days away. Stephanie discussed WWE's lineage going back to her great-grandfather promoting wrestling in New York. Stephanie listed a series of facts about WM1 in NYC in 1985 compared to WM29 in 2013 to capture how WrestleMania has changed and grown as Hunter sold shock and awe over each item. Stephanie hyped WWE's social media push, then Hunter continued their bit asking, "Wait, we're live?" Stephanie closed by saying they're going to have a great time because WWE is about putting smiles on peoples's faces. Stephanie left, then Hunter returned to the podium to re-ask if they're ready. The bit probably sounded better on-paper than it was executed.

- Mark Henry was next to the podium. Henry smiled and asked how everyone is doing before noting he's the Strongest Man in the World. He said just as easy as this smile comes, it can leave in a heartbeat. Henry said Ryback attempted to break his world record and he almost got broken. Henry said he's proud to be from Texas, but he lives in Harlem. Henry said he's been with WWE for 17 years and it's 17 of the best years of his life. Henry got choked up, then said he will not embarrass himself at WrestleMania. "Ryback is in a lot of trouble," Henry closed.

- Next to the podium was Wayne Hasenbalg, the CEO of the New Jersey Sports Authority. Hasenbalg talked WrestleMania locally and said they will be ready for Mania on Sunday.

- C.M. Punk was introduced next after Cole noted Punk's 434-day title reign is in the category of two of this year's Hall of Fame inductees, Bruno Sammartino and Bob Backlund. On-stage, Punk introduced himself before mocking Vince McMahon's stories about pyramids or seals in Antarctica. Punk said he's obviously different than most Superstars before vowing to break The Undertaker's Streak. Punk said it will be the thing everyone remembers from Mania. "I will not only break The Undertaker's Streak, I will break The Undertaker," Punk closed before promptly leaving the stage.

- Next up was WWE champion The Rock. Cole introduced him as the star of the #1 movie in the world and the #1 action/adventure star on the planet. Rock then emerged through the curtain holding the WWE Title belt in his left hand before displaying the belt on the podium. Rock charmed the media with a photo-op with the title before starting his speech.

Rock said the big banner outside of Radio City Music Hall featuring him was one of the coolest things he's seen in his career. Rock flashed back to his WWE debut in New York City. Rock said sometimes you make your debut in "sports entertainment or professional wrestling" in a flea-market or barn, but his first WWE match was at MSG. Rock said for everything to come full-circle performing in MetLife Stadium as WWE champion at this point in his career means "so much to me" giving back to a business that he loves and his family is a part of.

Rock said he also knows what this means for Vince McMahon, Vince's dad watching in Heaven, and his own grandfather, who never had this chance to perform in front of a NYC/N.J. crowd at a stadium. Rock said his relationship with the New York crowd has been "very, very cool." He said he can chase Vin Diesel down and battle Cobra in G.I. Joe, but nothing really compares to kicking John Cena's candyass. "I can't wait to do that this Sunday," Rock said.

Rock said the best part about this Sunday is that in order to electrify or lay the Smackdown, you need a partner, an opponent. Rock said as much as they have had their "very real differences" in the past, there is no one better as an opponent for him than John Cena. "No one even comes close," Rock said. Rock said they main-event for the second year in a row and he's looking forward to it. Rock sent a message to Cena to get ready and get ready to electrify.

- Next out was John Cena, who Cole said is trying to win the WWE Title for a record eleventh time. Cena said so far they've seen a strip-down dancer, a husband and wife nearly strip, a Mexican announcer with a broken ankle, a pedestrian vow to break The Streak, and a part-time wrestler movie-star, sending a jab toward Rock. Cena got serious and said WrestleMania will be more than everyone bargained for.

Cena said he re-watched last year's WrestleMania last night and said he believes Mania this Sunday will eclipse that show. Cena said he thinks this year's Mania is their best line-up ever, then he delivered a message to his French fans. Next was a message to his Chinese fans. Cena said that's the international flavor of WrestleMania. He closed by saying he's proud to be the center of entertainment and the attention of the world.

Cena said everyone is asking him about losing to Rock last year. He said this year, there will be "a few surprises," some magic moments, and for all to be entertained. Cena closed by telling everyone to enjoy WrestleMania.

- Before Cena could leave, Cole asked The Rock back on-stage to pose with Cena. Rock returned to the stage to hold the title belt in front of Cena before they squared off for the photo-op. After their photo-op, Cole welcomed all of the WWE stars back on-stage for a group photo. Included was Big Show, who didn't get to talk. The Bella Twins stood next to Rock before Vince McMahon joined Rock and Cena, linking arms with his WrestleMania main event. McMahon then raised their arms in the air like a boxing promoter displaying his two big PPV attractions.

Rock took off to the back before McMahon talked to Cena on the way out. As everyone slowly left the stage, Triple H hung back to chat with McMahon as Big Show brought up the rear ending the press conference.

Post-Press Conference Q&A

As the press conference wrapped up, someone forgot to lower Matt Striker's audio, as he was heard interacting with WWE staffers and the Bellas about how the post-conference is going to work.

- The post-conference picked up with Matt Striker standing in front of a WM29 banner in a back-room. Striker then fed to a "crowdsourced" video on WrestleMania "coming home" to New York City.

- Striker brought in the Bella Twins as his first guests to read some fan questions, but the audio wasn't functioning. So, WWE flashed the trademarks and cut off the video feed. Apparently that's the end of the conference.

Suddenly, two minutes later, Matt Striker's audio was heard again doing testing. No video. And, they're back with Striker and the Bellas. Striker said WWE apparently caused a power failure. The Bellas discussed Rock-Cena at Mania, then signed off with a message about rebuilding the Divas division.

- Next, John Cena was supposed to answer questions, but C.M. Punk was standing by to take Cena's time. Punk questioned Cena on calling him an "average-looking pedestrian" during the press conference, then told Cena never to underestimate him, like The Undertaker. Punk walked off, then Cena called him an "angry young man" with a huge burden on his shoulders facing Taker on Sunday.

Striker read a question to Cena what happens if he loses to Rock again this year. Cena said he's not thinking about that right now. He said he learned from his mistakes last year. Next was a question on Cena's victory celebration if he wins. "I don't even know," Cena laughed. Cena said you will see "genuine happiness" if he wins, but he doesn't know what that will look like.

The final question for Cena was which match he's looking forward to at WrestleMania besides his match. Cena turned, looked toward the camera, and simply said, "Fahn...dang...oh." He turned and left. Striker then fed to a video package on Rock-Cena II.

- Next, Striker brought in World champ Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez for another appearance today. Del Rio repeated that he will retain the World Title at Mania, Ricardo said he will be there at Mania whether he's 100 percent or not to neutralize "Yosemite Sam" Zeb Colter, and Del Rio signed off with a message in Spanish.

- Mark Henry interrupted, freaking out Striker. Henry turned to the camera to send a message to Ryback that he's going to take bread out of his mouth in his city and he wants Ryback to re-assess what he's doing. Henry told Ryback to come to "the arena" Sunday night ready for the fight of his life. Henry closed by saying it's going to be a fight for Ryback's life. Henry slowly walked off, leaving Striker shaking before quietly recapping the Henry-Ryback feud.

- Big Show was next to discuss strategy against The Shield on Sunday. Show said he, Sheamus, and Randy Orton have huge egos, but they're also seasoned former and future champions. Show said they've decided to put their issues aside to focus on taking down The Shield. Show said he doesn't see any problems taking down Shield if they maximize their strengths and work together.

- After Big Show left, Striker signed off by noting there will be "matches" on the WM29 pre-show this Sunday. That concluded the event.



[ Press Conference Video URL: http://www.youtube.com/user/WWEFanNation?v=-gibA2HHYu4 ]


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