Monday, March 29, 2010

WWE Wrestlemania XXVI @ Cardinals Stadium

Yesterday was a double header for me... I shot the Wrestlemania show at Cardinals Stadium (University of Phoenix Stadium) from 3:30pm - 7:15pm, then hauled my gear across the street to Glendale Arena ( to shoot Paul McCartney. Which do you think was the better show? I'll post two separate blogs... read and see what I thought.

To start off, I used to watch WWF with my dad... but it was always just for a laugh. I mean, who could take Ric Flair and the Macho Man serious? There was never any question (to me) as to the "real or fake" question... I'd just watch it to be entertained. So I can sort of understand where the crazy fans come from... all 72,000+ of them that burrowed into Cardinal Stadium.

This show was nuts... and the people were nuts. I couldn't believe how many die-hard fans there were... grown human adults and kids alike... and even the occasional odd female girl lady. The fans had made their own signs, t-shirts, title belts, and even replica costumes. It was a lot like a Sci-fi convention, but less interesting.

I don't think I could win an argument saying that it wasn't entertaining. But by that logic, I'd probably lose the same argument when it comes to Nascar or New Kids On The Block. It sort of started to bother me how uncoordinated some of the matches were... especially the ladder match. The object is to climb a ladder and grab a case full of money and win... but there are 8 or 10 people in the ring at the same time. You can imagine the hilarity. But at one point, there was only one guy in the ring, he climbed to the top of the ladder... and pretended to not be able to grab the case. He just sort of clawed at it and looked around to see if someone was going to knock him down. Then someone realized "right, that's MY cue!"... smacked him in the stomach, and he flew off the ladder!

Something else I remembered from my high school days... I had a friend who was STILL into WWF in high school... and he would buy the shirts and the watch all the shows... but he'd also collect photos of the WWF "Ladies". At the show last night, they had the new crew, which they call the call the "WWE Divas". Basically, scantly clad women in a ring throwing each other around. I have to say, this match at least proved that the men in the audience were still mannish. It was actually hard to get decent photos because a lot of people in the audience were standing up to watch the fight... which, was actually more high-speed than the guy wrestlers. So kudos to the ladies, it was a great way to break up a lot of sweaty men in their underwear play slapping each other.

One bizarre thing you might not know about a live WWE show is that there is no sound. When the matches are going on, there is no play-by-play, and there is no mic over the ring. So all you can hear during the matches is the hooping and hollering from the people in your section, with the intermittent sound of someone landing on the spring board mat.

From a shooting point of view it was pretty easy. I cranked my ISO up to 5000 so I could have my shutter super quick to catch the flying action. I had it as high as 1/1000 at some points. On the other hand, there were about 30 or so photographers, and we had an elevated platform to shoot from... which got very crowded. But we were able to run around the arena as long as we stayed out of people's way. At one point I was getting heckled by a group of people who shouted "I paid seven fitty for these seats!"

It was definitely an event. There was a lot of time spent in preproduction and camera gear. I mean, this is the real deal when it comes to live events. I had a fun time watching all the camera gear be passed around. Lots of people with ARRI pro gear on steadicams, dollys, cranes, shoulder mounts... it was fascinating to see it all in action. I'm glad I got to shoot it, it really was something else. The roar of the crowd and passion of the fans was surely something to behold. It's just too bad its fake wrestling they're all there to see.

1 comment:

Kitana37 said...

Beautiful shots Luke. That was an awesome day, even if it was just "fake wrestling." -- Benjamin Leatherman