WWE's Money in the Bank: A Visual Study of Phoenix's Die-Hard Wrestling Fans
|All in the family: Tina Peral (left) and brothers James Mattingly and Joey Mattingly.|
Entire families of die-hard wrestling fans showed up for Money in the Bank, such as Tina Peral, a 32-year-old Valley resident who attended with her younger brothers James and Joey. She says they've been watching the WWE since the heyday of "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan in the 1980s and try to catch every single Raw and Smackdown episode.
They wouldn't have missed the pay-per-view for anything, even if it meant being perched in the nosebleed seats. After all, they had a family tradition to uphold.
"My whole family's into it," says Peral. "Our dad got us started into it back in the day. He's from Spain and when he came to the States he started watching wrestling. And we've been into it since we were kids."
Peral a huge Cena fan, as illustrated by her revealing t-shirt featuring the wrestler's muscular countenance, says she realizes that wrestling is fake to a certain degree, but it hasn't dimmed her enjoyment of it in the slightest.
"I know it's staged, but it takes a lot of talent to do what they do," she says. "It's still crazy, it's still athletic, and I find it very entertaining."
|Oh brother: Richard Sorentino (left) and Anthony Sorentino|
Siblings Richard and Anthony Sorentino were also eager to be at the pay-per-view. Both New York natives have been fans "since the womb" and consider pro wrestling to be theater of sorts, albeit taken to its most extreme.
"It's theater, it's entertainment, it's athleticism, it's sports, it's everything all balled into one," says Richard, who came to the event wearing a Japanese wrestling mask. "You have people that say its fake, but so are the movies, but we're still paying $9.50 to go see a movie. So you might as well spend your money on this. It's a live-action movie."
Without missing a beat, his brother Anthony chimes in, stating that the WWE is better than a movie.
"Unlike at a movie theater, you can be as loud as you want, scream and cheer for who you want, boo for who you want, and the guy behind you can't do a thing."
The pair also compared a WWE event to an adrenaline-charged roller coaster ride of sorts that offers thrills and chills. And much like a roller coaster, they were eager to jump in line for another go. Specifically, they queued up with hundreds of others in front of the US Airways Center's box office to get tickets to the blockbuster Royal Rumble pay-per-view, which last night the WWE announced would be taking place at the arena in January.
Like many, the Sorentinos can't wait to be in the house for the event, even if ringside tickets go for $250.