WrestleMania is a professional wrestling pay-per-view event, produced annually in late March or early April by the World Wrestling Federation, later known as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The company regards it as the flagship event of WWE, as it is the most successful and longest-running professional wrestling event in the world. WrestleMania is nicknamed "The Grandaddy of Them All," "The Grandest Stage of Them All" and "The Showcase of the Immortals." The event was first produced in 1985, and, as of 2010, 26 editions have been held consecutively since then, with XXVII and XXVIII to be held in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
Conceptualized by WWE owner Vince McMahon, WrestleMania's widespread success helped transform the professional-wrestling industry and make the WWE the most successful promotion in the world. WrestleMania has facilitated the rise to stardom of wrestlers such as The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, Triple H and The Rock, amongst others. Numerous celebrities such as Cyndi Lauper, Muhammad Ali, Mr. T, Alice Cooper, Lawrence Taylor, Pamela Anderson, Mike Tyson, Donald Trump, Floyd Mayweather, Snoop Dogg and others have participated or made special appearances in the events. The WWE's television shows are tailored to reach their climax at WrestleMania, which features matches for the company's championship titles, as well as specialty and gimmick matches. Participation in a WrestleMania match, and especially the main event, is considered by many wrestlers and fans alike as one of the greatest achievements and symbols of success in professional wrestling.
WrestleMania propels the worldwide commercial success of the WWE through media, merchandise and shows. All of the events produced have been sold out within a short period of time, with recent editions being sold out within minutes of tickets going on sale. The first WrestleMania was held in Madison Square Garden in New York City; the 10th and 20th editions were also held there. WrestleMania III in Detroit was the highest-attended indoor sports event in the world, with 93,173 fans in attendance. The record stood until February 14, 2010 when the 2010 NBA All-Star Game broke the indoor sporting event record with an attendance of 108,713 at Cowboys Stadium. All but two editions have been hosted in U.S. cities—two having been held in Toronto, Ontario—but the show is televised across the world via pay-per-view.
In 1999 the WWE held its first Saturday pre-WrestleMania event taking place on March 27, 1999. WrestleMania Rage Party as it was known was televised live on the USA Network from 10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. (EST) the event was to be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the idea of the event was "...to celebrate the final WrestleMania of the millennium..."
The following year the WWE held its first WrestleMania Axxess event at the Anaheim Convention Center expanding upon the party idea of WrestleMania Rage Party, the event included autograph signings and mementos to inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame. There were also activities where fans could enter a wrestling ring or pretend to commentate a wrestling match. In 2001, WrestleMania Axxess was held at the Reliant Hall which expanded upon the event by adding numerous activities, areas where attendees could buy special merchandise, see a production truck and check out special WWE vehicles. Beginning in 2002, WrestleMania Axxess would be extended to a three-day event March 14 through 16 and be held at Canadian National Exhibition. The three-day event would include such events as autograph sessions across the three-day period and interactive question and answers sessions with performers of WWE.