-Written by DJ Dynasty
Some people might say that wrestling is weird, or it might be wack, but I can assure you this is the HOTTEST party in NYC tonight!”
– Kazeem aka @RealLifeKaz
He told not a single lie. Walemania, now its in 5th edition, is actually pretty hard to describe. It fails to fit any traditional norm of what it portrays itself. Billed as a live podcast featuring Kaz’s own “Wrassle Rap”, it’s like if Dussepalooza (Again, [partly] Kaz’s own venture) and the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony had a baby.
The first two characteristics of the event can be found in a quick Google search. Hip Hop and Wrestling join forces to create a vibe that is unmatched amongst ANY event that either genre has to offer. The third is much more special, and even in my best words, can only truly be felt by attending. It is a celebration of minority, but specifically, BLACK [wrestling] culture. The same culture that both aforementioned communities have tried their absolute hardest to ignore.
Peter Rosenberg, of Hot 97 fame, and who was also in attendance for #WMV, has tried his absolute hardest to bring his passion into mainstream radio. He has sat down with many a WWE superstar and consistently tries to bring wrestling into the conversation during the weekly “Ebro in the Morning” radio show. Although honorable in its efforts, the view counts on most of the videos suggest an audience who struggles to jump on board.
Unfortunately, the WWE’s advancement of Black culture is much more mired. Only three Black champions have come through its ranks in over 50 years, and really only ONE if you count the fact that Booker T and Mark Henry were World Heavyweight Champions and not actual WWE Champions. Not to mention the infamous video where Vince McMahon shouts the ‘N-word’ with Booker T standing not even 5 feet away.
WaleMania seeks to change all of that.
Booker T, WM’s guest of honor, sat to the side of the stage and enjoyed the festivities of a world that he helped to create. After a rousing ovation, the event started with the best in sports entertainment popping out for a Q&A that didn’t just involve wrestling. Charly Caruso, “SportsCenter” host and WWE commentator, rapped the entire first verse of Tupac’s changes and didn’t goof ONCE. (Fun Fact: As a commentator, she revealed that she is purposely not aware of WWE storylines and her reactions are genuine every time.)
Josiah Williams, creator of #WrestleAndFlow, where wrestlers’ entrance themes get remixed, not only hit the stage for questions and dropped bars for the audience. This is where Walemania shines like no other; the ability to seamlessly weave both topics together and make it natural. Another example of the blend is when Lio Rush and Ricochet, both top stars of WWE and NXT (WWE’s development product) walked out DURING’s Williams Q&A and performance.
MVP, former WWE superstar, dropped dimes of inspiration by sharing how he went from the darkness of a jail cell to the bright lights of the WWE.
The toast of the night was also its turning point. While Booker T took center stage, superstars past and present surrounded him. “I’ve been waiting to pass the torch for a LONG MOTHERF*CKING TIME!”- he said of Kofi Kingston’s breakout opportunity to become the first African/American win the coveted WWE Championship (not Heavyweight champ) to raucous applause. The party began soon after, as the tables and chairs were stripped, the DJ dropped the beat, and Walemania never looked back.
Kofi Kingston himself appeared deep into the evening with his stable The New Day, and besides a couple of epithets, it was all party. Somoa Joe, Cedric Alexander, King, Cryme Time, Lio, Ricochet, Enzo Amore, and even Luke Harper (please look this dude up if you don’t know him), partied along to Hip Hop’s biggest hits all night. Wale performed his “Pole Dancer” record along with a medley of other hits, and was joined by friends G4 Boyz, Smoke DZA, and one half of the Young Gunz crew.
Most importantly of all, you don’t need to be the biggest fan of wrestling at Walemania. A bunch of people we spoke with came as someone else’s +1, but the surprised reaction was all the same. This is not a wrestling event. This is not a hip hop event. It’s something new, something fly, something SORELY needed and something that is fast becoming wrestling myth. And as long as you appreciate “the culture”, all races are welcomed.
Walemania, simply put, is built on Black Excellence. It has showed the world over the last 5 years that the phrase isn’t exclusive to any one medium or Wrestling or Hip Hop. And evident by Wale passing out bottles of Bel Air Rose to the booming bass of Rowdy Rebel and Bobby Shmurda’s “Computers”, it has one HELL of a time teaching that lesson.
Check out photo’s of the event below courtesy of @ShotsByMateo. Enjoy!