WrestleMania fever arrived in North Texas Thursday at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas with the first of many activities leading up to the main event Sunday in Arlington.
Axxess at the Dallas Convention Center is a fan celebration with World Wrestling Entertainment celebrities and includes a big merchandise shop.
Fans from around the globe were waiting in line for the Dallas shop to open at noon Thursday.
Fort Worth fan Kevin Lopez was among the first to get autographs from WWE tag team wrestlers Jimmy and Jey Uso.
"I was here like at 7 a.m., came this morning, waited out there to see these two guys," he said. "Very cool."
WWE fan Sue Parsons and friend Valina Featherstone came from Australia.
"It's my third WrestleMania, and my girlfriend's second," Parsons said. "I was here last year. I'll be back next year."
WWE officials expect to top the record $139 million injected into the local economy at last year's WrestleMania in San Francisco.
Sunday's big wrestling smackdown should set record wrestling attendance with 84,000 tickets sold at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
WWE Events Across North Texas
- Be a STAR TM Anti-Bullying Rally - Thursday, March 31, East Dallas Boys & Girls Club
Earlier this year, WWE and The Boys & Girls Clubs of America launched a multi-year partnership focusing on youth development and bullying prevention efforts around Be a STAR, WWE's anti-bullying initiative (#BeaSTAR). WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon, WWE Superstars The Miz®, R-Truth and Sin Cara, WWE Diva Natalya®, WWE announcer Corey Graves and representatives from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America will speak about the importance of bullying prevention to members at East Dallas Boys & Girls Club.
- WrestleMania Axxess - Thursday, March 31 through Sunday, April 3, Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center
WrestleMania Axxess (#AXXESS) is the ultimate fan experience for the WWE Universe. This year's WrestleMania Axxess will take place from Thursday, March 31 through Sunday, April 3, at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. Fans will have unprecedented access to meet their favorite WWE Superstars, Divas and Legends through a host of interactive fan experiences, including autograph signings and live NXT matches. For the first time ever, WWE will broadcast The Stone Cold Podcast with special guest Mick Foley from WrestleMania Axxess, which will air live on WWE Network Thursday, March 31 at 10 pm ET.
- WrestleMania Reading Celebration - Friday, April 1, Hope Medrano Elementary School
More than 150 students at Hope Medrano Elementary School will participate in a Reading Celebration
(#WWEReads) featuring WWE Superstar Sin Cara, WWE Divas Paige, Lana, Naomi and WWE announcer Lillian Garcia. In an effort to promote literacy, WWE and partner First Book granted local "book wishes" to 59 schools and programs in Dallas, Arlington and Fort Worth. In total, nearly 50,000 brand-new books will be provided to the Dallas area as part of the WrestleMania Reading Challenge.
- Veteran Employment Panel & Networking Event - Friday, April 1, George W. Bush Institute
WWE, in partnership with the Dallas Sports Commission and AT&T Stadium, will host a Veteran Employment Panel and Networking Event in support of Hire Heroes USA, giving more than 100 veterans an opportunity to receive one-on-one career coaching and network with key employers from the Dallas area including AT&T Stadium, Dell, Hilton Worldwide, Verizon and many more.
The panelists include:
Brad Blum, SVP & Chief of Staff, Chairman's Office, WWE
Chad Estis, EVP, Business Operations, Dallas Cowboys
Bob Lockett, SVP, HR, Harland Clarke
Barry Mendelson, CEO, Mendelson Entertainment Group
Patricia Mayers, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Parkland Hospital Systems
John Newberry, Director for Strategic Pursuits, Dell
Ryan Smith, VP, Human Resources, Dr Pepper Snapple Group
Monte Zaben, Principal, Deloitte Advisory
Brian Stann, CEO, Hire Heroes USA
In addition, WWE Superstar Damien Sandow, former Marine and current NXT Superstar Kenneth Crawford and WWE Divas Eva Marie and Cameron will be on-site to meet the veterans.
- NXT Takeover: Dallas - Friday, April 1, Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Arena
The biggest names in NXT face off at a sold-out Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center and live on WWE Network at 10 pm ET. NXT Champion Finn Balor puts the NXT Championship on the line against Samoa Joe, NXT Women's Champion Bayley will defend her title against Asuka, and Jason Jordan and Chad Gable will face Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder for the NXT Tag Team Titles.
- Make-A-Wish® Pizza Party - Saturday, April 2, Dallas World Aquarium
WWE Superstar John Cena will host his annual Make-A-Wish pizza party at the Dallas World Aquarium. As part of its 30-year partnership with Make-A-Wish, WWE will invite 31 wish kids and their families to attend WrestleMania for their one true wish and induct them into WWE's Circle of Champions. With more than 500 wishes and counting, Cena has granted more wishes than any celebrity or athlete in Make-A-Wish history. WWE Superstar Mark Henry, WWE Diva Natalya and WWE Announcer JoJo will also be onsite to meet and take photos with the children.
- Susan G. Komen Mobile Health Unit - Saturday, April 2, Collin Creek Mall
WWE and Susan G. Komen will host a mobile mammography event at the Collin Creek Mall in Plano, Texas, where free mammograms will be given to 37 uninsured and underinsured women over the age of 40 through Susan G. Komen's grantee Moncrief Cancer Institute. WWE Superstar Darren Young, WWE Diva Alicia Fox and WWE Announcers Lillian Garcia and Eden will host the event.
- Special Olympics Unified Flag Football Game - Saturday, April 2, Cravens Field
WWE will host a Special Olympics unified event at Cravens Field in Arlington, TX, where athletes from Special Olympics Texas will participate in a unified flag football game. WWE Superstars Big Show and Santino, WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel and WWE Announcer Corey Graves will serve as honorary coaches.
- WWE 2016 Hall of Fame Ceremony Red Carpet - Saturday, April 2, American Airlines Center
Maria Menounos hosts the most glamorous event on the WWE calendar. WWE Superstars, Divas, Legends and a host of celebrities walk the red carpet live on WWE Network at 7 pm ET.
- WWE 2016 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony - Saturday, April 2, American Airlines Center
Sting, The Fabulous Freebirds, Big Boss Man, Godfather, Jacqueline, Stan Hansen and Snoop Dogg will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame (#WWEHOF). The WrestleMania eve tradition will telecast live from the sold-out American Airlines Center in Dallas on WWE Network at 8 pm ET. In addition, award-winning journalist, best-selling author and breast cancer survivor Joan Lunden will receive the second annual Warrior Award, which is presented each year to an individual who has exhibited unwavering strength and perseverance, and who lives life with the courage and compassion that embodies the indomitable spirit of WWE Hall of Famer, The Ultimate Warrior.
- WrestleMania - Sunday, April 3, AT&T Stadium
An unprecedented sold-out crowd is expected at AT&T Stadium for WWE's annual pop-culture extravaganza, WrestleMania (#WRESTLEMANIA) airing live on WWE Network at 7 pm ET/4 pm PT.
Triple H will defend his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Roman Reigns; Brock Lesnar takes on Dean Ambrose in a no-holds-barred street fight; Shane McMahon returns to in-ring action for the first time in seven years to face Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell; WWE Divas Champion Charlotte puts her title on the line in a triple threat match against Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch; and one of WrestleMania's fastest-growing traditions will return when 20 Superstars collide in the third annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
- Monday Night Raw - Monday, April 4, American Airlines Center
Monday Night Raw emanates live from the American Airlines Center at 8/7C on USA Network with the fallout from WrestleMania. The night after WrestleMania has become one of the most anticipated events of the year and has never been short on surprises.