Wrestlers invade Meadowlands this weekend
Hudson County native turned WWE diva returns
by Vanessa Cruz
Reporter Staff Writer
Apr 07, 2013 | 3596 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WRESTLEMANIA 28 -- The fireworks display at SunLife Stadium in Miami, where WrestleMania 28 was held last year on April 1.
(Photo Courtesy of WWE)
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At least 85,000 wrestling fans will come to the Meadowlands this weekend for Wrestlemania 29, one of several big sporting events coming to the region over the next few years.

“We are expecting a minimum of 85,000 fans and WrestleMania is expected to generate $100 million to the region,” said Director for the Meadowlands Liberty Convention and Visitors Bureau Judy Ross last week.

The WrestleMania 29 matches kicked off Thursday and continues through Sunday for fans to see in person and on pay-per-view.

The main event Sunday is a match between feuding wrestlers Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson versus John Cena.

One wrestler in the events, April Mendez – known professionally as AJ Lee – grew up in Union City and now lives in North Bergen, according to a newspaper article.

WrestleMania 29

East Rutherford will see increased traffic on Sunday, April 7 before the main 6 p.m. wrestling match at MetLife Stadium. Also, before and after several of the events, NJ Transit is offering train service to Secaucus Junction with a connecting shuttle bus to the Izod Center. On April 8, for Monday Night Raw, NJ Transit will again run train service to Secaucus Junction with a connecting shuttle bus to the Izod from 6 p.m. until 30 minutes after the event concludes. For schedules and fares, visit njtransit.com or call (973) 275-5555.

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“WrestleMania is expected to generate $100 million to the region.” – Director for the Meadowlands Liberty Convention and Visitors Bureau Judy Ross

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WrestleMania’s inception was in 1985, when the first match was held in Madison Square Garden. Since then, fans have come to love the storylines of the various characters.

Hudson County diva

For one wrestler, the event is a homecoming.

Born April Jeanette Mendez on March 19, 1987, wrestler AJ Lee has transformed from a fan and spectator into a WWE diva.

According to published articles, Mendez was introduced to wrestling at a young age when she began wrestling at a local gym down the street from her in Union City.

She debuted with WWE on Sept. 7, 2010. Two of her many accomplishments are becoming the first diva - female wrestlers or ring announcers- to ever hold both the Queen of FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling) and FCW Divas Championship simultaneously.

Mendez could not be reached for an interview by press time.

Future event

The Super Bowl may seem far away, but it will take place at the MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2, 2014. Gov. Chris Christie announced in January that there will be an NFL Tailgate Party hours before the game, and other local events for football fans. It is estimated that the Super Bowl will bring in 150,000 out-of-town visitors.

They won’t all be at the game at the same time, though. MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford only holds 82,500 people.

Vanessa Cruz can be reached at vcruz@hudsonreporter.com

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