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Wrestling

A Wrestling Nerd’s Guide to WrestleMania Week in Dallas

The biggest wrestling pro week in America is coming to town. Here’s where to go.
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Roman Reigns is one of many, many pro wrestlers invading North Texas next week. Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

You may have heard that WrestleMania is coming to Arlington next weekend, April 2 and 3. What you may not know is that the two-night behemoth is only a fraction of the pro wrestling activity in town, be it from WWE itself or the dozens of independent shows and conventions dotting North Texas.

It’s a ton of fun, but it’s also overwhelming. I’m here to help. Here’s where to go for WWE and other pro wrestling fun alike:

Friday Night SmackDown + WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2022 Induction Ceremony
When: Apr. 1, 6:45 p.m.
Where: American Airlines Center

This is the first time WWE has combined its Friday night show with the Hall of Fame ceremony, and you’re going for the latter. It’s one of the few moments each year that (mostly) cuts through pro wrestling’s bullshit and stagecraft, which makes for compelling viewing. That should hold especially true this year when WWE legend The Undertaker gets inducted by none other than his boss, WWE owner Vince McMahon.

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NXT Stand and Deliver
When: Apr. 2, noon
Where: American Airlines Center

WWE’s developmental brand has gotten an overhaul over the past year, phasing out its older guard of polished performers in favor of bigger, faster, and greener athletes. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but you’ll probably get to claim you saw a future WWE champion two years before they became household names.

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WrestleMania 38
When: Apr. 2 & 3, 6:30 p.m. (both nights)
Where: AT&T Stadium

The big one. As WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon tells me, WrestleMania is “part rock concert, part Broadway theatrical, part drama, part comedy.” If you’re there for the spectacle, you’ll have a good time. Same goes for nostalgia, too, with Stone Cold Steve Austin “confronting” Kevin Owens, which almost certainly is code for his first pseudo-wrestling match in 19 years. And there will be a big fight feel for title matches like Charlotte Flair versus Ronda Rousey and Roman Reigns versus Brock Lesnar.

We’ll have my full conversation with McMahon on the site next week.

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Monday Night Raw
When: Apr. 4, 6:45 p.m.
Where: American Airlines Center

Better known as “Smarkamania” for its crowd full of hardcore fans, this tends to be WWE’s most fun TV broadcast of the year, bar none. Why? Partly for the audience, also partly for an inevitable big moment or three as WWE effectively resets the calendar with WrestleMania in the rearview mirror.

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Whether you’re unable (or unwilling) to make the trek to AT&T Stadium for WrestleMania or want to supplement WWE’s product with a different flavor of wrestling, there is no shortage of shows throughout the week. Here are seven more to check out:

The Show: AAA Invades Wrestlecon

When:  Mar. 31, 5 p.m.
Where:  Fairmont Dallas, 1717 N Akard St.

The storied Mexican promotion is bringing the big guns to Dallas. If you’re already a lucha libre enthusiast, chances are I don’t have to sell you on anything more than that. If you’re not, think lots of masks and lots of high-flying wrestlers. This will be the fastest-paced show of the week.

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The Show: MLW Intimidation Games

When:  Mar. 31, 7 p.m.
Where:  Gilley’s Dallas, 1135 Botham Jean Blvd.

This is a TV taping, so don’t expect the atmosphere to be quite as raucous as some of the other shows in town. But if you’re a Dallasite with a sense of history, you’ll want to check it out for one act in particular: the tag team of Marshall and Ross Von Erich, sons of Kevin Von Erich, the last surviving son of the legendary wrestling family. 

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The Show: Control Your Narrative’s The Awakening

When:  Mar. 31, 8 p.m.
Where: Southside Music Hall at Gilley’s, 
1135 Botham Jean Blvd.

Control Your Narrative says it “blends professional wrestling, cinema, and harsh reality in what will become the true definition of ‘creative freedom.’ ” Which means—well, I have no idea. It does have some major firepower behind it: ex-WWE talents EC3 and Adam Scherr, the latter of whom (as Braun Strowman) is among wrestling’s biggest stars of the last half decade. The company claims a TV deal is on the way. 

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The Show: Joey Janela’s Spring Break Nights 1 & 2

When:  Mar. 31, 8 pm; Apr. 1, 10:59 p.m.
Where:  Fair Park

Take the spirit of your favorite campy movie, chuck it in a wrestling ring, and mix in a signature match called the Clusterfuck Battle Royal. That begins to explain Spring Break, the brainchild of “The Bad Boy” Joey Janela, one of the bigger daredevils working today. After debuting in 2017, the annual show has become a cult favorite of WrestleMania week, and the anticipation for this year’s edition—the second time it has run as a two-night event—is through the roof after taking a hiatus in 2021. Expect a white-hot crowd and a few surprises in the wildest show of the weekend.

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The Show: Ring of Honor’s Supercard of Honor

When:  Apr. 1, 6 p.m.
Where:  Curtis Culwell Center, 4999 Naaman Forest Blvd., Garland

For nearly 20 years, Ring of Honor was the consummate independent wrestling success story. Then in late 2021, the company released all talent from their contracts due to financial losses suffered during the pandemic. Supercard of Honor marks the start of whatever comes next, after Tony Khan, CEO of All Elite Wrestling, the country’s second-largest promotion, purchased ROH in March. The only certainty is that the main event of this show, Jonathan Gresham versus Bandido to unify the company’s world title, should be a leading contender for match of the weekend. 

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The Show: USA VS. THE WORLD

When:  Apr. 2, 11 a.m.
Where:  Fairmont Dallas, 1717 N Akard St.

This is a true indie show pitting—you guessed it—American wrestlers against opponents from throughout the globe. That gimmick is only as strong the talent on the card, though, and there will be plenty of it, from American indie stalwart Davey Richards to the exciting Canadian “Speedball” Mike Bailey to England’s Michael Oku. Ireland’s Big Damo versus the U.S.’s Calvin Tankman should be the beefiest brawl of the weekend.

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The Show: VIP Wrestling’s Texasmania

When:  April 3, 11:59 p.m.
Where:  St. Jude Hall, 2625 S. Cooper St., Arlington

When WrestleMania came to town in 2016, the weekend ended with VIP Wrestling, North Texas’ most prominent promotion, hosting a sort of after-party, kicking off at midnight 10 minutes away from Jerry World. Those ready for an encore will be rewarded with an appearance by Japanese legend Minoru Suzuki, who remains one of the world’s most revered performers even at age 53. Just be prepared to crawl into bed at 3 a.m. on a work night. 

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Mike Piellucci

Mike Piellucci

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Mike Piellucci is D Magazine's sports editor. He is a former staffer at The Athletic and VICE, and his freelance…