Wrestlemania Weekend features a variety of events for WWE fans that are more than just one wrestling show after another. Fans can visit the Axxess Superstore and shop for cool merchandise, check out WWE memorabilia or even attend a wedding. That’s right, a wedding took place during Wrestlemania weekend on Friday, and it was one of the most wonderful moments of the weekend when nobody got beat up or drank beer while ringside.
Nestled between a Peacock airbrush tattoo station and a facility for the worst energy drink I’ve ever had in my life was a giant video screen and floral arch for two couples to get married. 2K Games, who published the recently released WWE 2K22 video game, held a Match Made in Heaven contest where two couples were selected based on videos submitted via social media. Her prize was a trip to Wrestlemania to hitchhike in front of a group of strangers at the Axxess Superstore. It was perfect.
Michael Whited and Jordan Attarian of Maryland and Delaware married on the show floor at the same time as Emma St. John and Sam Lyle of Illinois. Surrounding them were their lineups of WWE Superstars, including 24/7 Champion Dana Brooke and Tamina Snuka as maids of honor, with Akira Tozawa and Reggie as groomsmen. WWE Legend “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart officiated the ceremony.
Speaking to GameSpot, Lyle and St. John admitted they spent a lot of time on social media prior to the announcement to gauge their chances of winning. “We’ve been looking at Twitter and all that stuff for a while because we were like, ‘Oh my God. I think we had a shot at it,’ so we wanted to check it out,” Chicago native Lyle explained. “It was a bit later when they announced things.”
After being announced as one of the two winning couples, their first thoughts were who to bring. “We need to find four people who will get off work and come to Texas in a week,” St. John told us. “We didn’t really know if it was going to be in a ring or the convention hall or what the deal would be like, so we just went in with an open mind.”
Looking at those in attendance, the two couples got married in what was actually a very beautiful, wholesome ceremony. Each bride and groom emerged to their own individual music—all was WWE entrance music, and everyone enjoyed it as they strutted down the makeshift entrance ramp.
For 2022, the keyword for Wrestlemania was “fun,” with Johnny Knoxville beating up Sami Zayn with the Jackass crew, Vince McMahon taking one last stunner, and Stone Cold Steve Austin drinking ALL the beers. And while a wedding wasn’t part of the big show itself, it filled the mold WWE was trying to build as many people return to the public eye in what we hope the end of the COVID-19 pandemic is. It also allowed two die-hard wrestling fans to start their marriage in a place where they were surrounded by like-minded people who were just as excited about Wrestlemania weekend as they were.
And of course the happy couples did not go away empty-handed. 2K awarded them championship belts with customized side plates to celebrate the event, grooms for WWE Championships while brides were awarded Raw Women titles. Of course, they also got prime seats at Wrestlemania the next day.
Recently engaged to Tozawa on WWE television, Tamina spoke to GameSpot about the wedding after the event wrapped. “It was definitely exciting because I got engaged myself last week,” Tamina said. “However, being able to be a part of it is an opportunity to be able and open up to everyone. ‘Hey, I actually want to have a dream. i love wrestling I love this. I want mine [spouse] to love it too.’ That’s why I love this kind of stuff because we’re always breaking barriers and they want to do something and that’s why we love to hear the feedback from the fans or from anybody at that point because you give us that feedback. “
What made this event so special was that everyone seemed so happy about it. From the perspective of someone observing the event, it was beautiful. It’s a large group of people who love wrestling, watching two people who also love wrestling get married by a wrestling manager with wrestlers by their side. It’s the wrestling reception moment of Wrestlemania weekend that couldn’t have been improved at all. OK, that’s a lie. A 24/7 championship title swap would have made it even better, but not by much.
And while at its core this was purely a promotional tool for a new video game, it added a new flavor to the Axxess Superstore — a flavor that wasn’t overly sweet and as tart as those free energy drinks that were being handed out. Also, those who happened to be passing by to watch the wedding seemed just as moved as everyone else.
As wrestling fans, there’s a lot of cynicism in us. We watch a sport that is preordained and our suspension of disbelief is constantly being tested, such as when a new wrestler debuts and claims to be the younger brother of another wrestler who has been missing for months. So it’s times like this when we’re presented with something so pure and loving that we all melt a little inside and we’re reminded that we all love wrestling and that sometimes love makes us love each other.