WWE's Money in the Bank: A Visual Study of Phoenix's Die-Hard Wrestling Fans
Photos by Benjamin Leatherman The superstars of World Wrestling Entertainment fight it out at US Airways Center during Money in the Bank. See more pictures from the slideshow.
See also: WrestleMania XXVI at University of Phoenix Stadium
See also: WWE's WrestleMania Axxess in Downtown Phoenix
Some major fights broke out inside US Airways Center last night as painful-looking hits were exchanged and the opponents risked life and limb. And thousands of people witnessed these donnybrooks taking place, cheering their guts out while the combatants laid into one another.
This wasn't some beer-fueled brawl that occasionally takes place in the stands of the sports arena, but instead was all part of an evening of intense antics provided by the superstars of World Wrestling Entertainment.
The US Airways Center was packed to near capacity with more than 18,000 local rasslin' fans on Sunday as the WWE staged its annual pay-per-view Money in the Bank. It was a night filled with fireworks, fisticuffs, and frantic action, which those in attendance ate up with a spoon.
WWE Superstars battle for supremacy at US Airways Center.
Phoenix has always been a huge market for pro wrestling, particularly for the sort of ultra-slick and ultra-glitzy events put on by the WWE. Numerous blockbuster pay-per-view extravaganzas have been held here in the Valley in the last decade - including the WWE's premier event WrestleMania back in 2010 - and local fans consistently sell things out every time.
They come wearing wrestling T-shirts, wielding replica championship titles, and bearing handmade signs adorned with the names of their favorite WWE superstars. And they also come with a thirst for action and are ready to cheer and boo until they can hardly breathe.
A pair of WWE fans engage in mock battle with their commemorative chairs after the event.
In many ways, a WWE event is akin to a big-time concert. Both feature blaring rock and hip-hop anthems, involve spectacular stage setups, and feature an overwhelming amount of pyrotechnics and spandex.
And indeed, there were countless rock and hip-hop fans in the crowd at Money in the Bank last night, but they were by no means the only sort of people at the event.
A mother and son in attendance at US Airways Center.
WWE appeals to a variety of age groups, particularly those in the 18-and-under demographic. While the company has taken plenty of flack from both hardcore fans and critics for appealing to pre-teens, the sort of stuff that takes place in a WWE is relatively harmless fun. Parents brought their kids out to the arena for a night of pro wrestling where such larger-than-life heroes as John Cena and CM Punk won their matches and furthered their quest for glory and title belts.