Another major Roman numeral event is coming to MetLife Stadium.
Wrestlemania XXIX, the WWE's annual extravaganza, will be held in the home stadium of the Giants on April, 7, 2013 – less than 10 months before Super Bowl XLVIII is played there on Feb. 2, 2014.
John Mara, the Giants' president and chief executive officer, today received a WWE championship belt – as did Jets owner Woody Johnson – at a news conference in the stadium. Also in attendance were New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon, NYC & Co. CEO George Fertitta and several WWE Superstars, including John Cena, Triple H and Sheamus, plus a special appearance by Cena's WrestleMania XXVIII opponent, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
Two players from the Super Bowl champion Giants, David Diehl and Zak DeOssie, attended the new conference.
"This is a great day for our state," Christie said. "It's a great day for East Rutherford, and Bergen County. We're bringing this incredibly internationally-recognized sporting event right here to MetLife Stadium in New Jersey."
It's not the first time Wrestlemania will be staged in New Jersey. Wrestlemania IV and V were held in Atlantic City. But it's a first for the MetLife Stadium, which opened in 2010 and is recognized as one of the finest sports venues in the country.
"We will present to you an extraordinary event, something in all likelihood you've never witnessed before," McMahon said. "It all started back in 1985 in Madison Square Garden with the first Wrestlemania. … On April 7 of next year, fans will converge from every state in the union and so many, many countries all around the world to witness the splendor, the grandeur and the majesty of Wrestlemania. Wrestlemania, on the date, April 7, comes home."
This year's Wrestlemania will be staged on April 1 in Miami. But the performers are already looking forward to being in New Jersey.
"It's such an honor to stand here over a year in advance to be able to say that myself and WWE are coming to MetLife Stadium for what you can be sure is going to be an unbelievable event," Cena said. "It's a pleasure to be here this far in advance. It speaks volumes for the tri-state area to make the commitment they have to us. And trust me, we will not let you down. Wrestlemania XXIX will be amazing. You will be more than happy to have us as your guests.
"I'm glad you don't have a roof on the building, because we would surely blow it off."
The Rock is a movie star who has starred in several blockbuster films, including the current, "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island." But to him, Wrestlemania is an island unto itself.
"There is nothing like Wrestlemania," The Rock said. "There is nothing like the New York/New Jersey area to entertain and perform. For me personally, there is no greater feeling – I mean this from the heart – than to walk through the curtain as a people's champion and 80,000 WWE fans are screaming very loudly. The instant connection I have is incredible, it's indescribable. I can tell you I will come to Wrestlemania XXIX and I will electrify MetLife Stadium as it's never been electrified before."
Well, it is before the Super Bowl.
*Diehl had surgery on his broken finger on his left hand following last week's Super Bowl victory over New England.
"I'm feeling good," Diehl said. "I'm resting up, relaxing and before you know it, we'll be back at work ready to roll again.
Diehl said he "thinks" six screws were put in his finger.
"I'll be all good," said Diehl, who started the first 10 games at left guard and the last 10 at left tackle (after tackle Will Beatty needed surgery to repair a detached retina). "I'm happy. This is the time to heal up and rest, anyway. I'm looking forward to getting started again and getting rolling here pretty soon."
*DeOssie has never met Jeremy Lin, the New York Knicks' point guard who has become a national phenomenon in just two weeks. But DeOssie feels a bond with Lin. DeOssie played football at Brown, while Lin played basketball at Harvard, making them two of the very few successful pro athletes from Ivy League schools.
"It's unbelievable," DeOssie said. "I went to the game last night and I went last Friday against the Lakers. You always hope for the best for any Ivy League kid in any professional sport. It's great that he's doing so well and we're all very proud and very happy for him. Ivy League athletes are rare and few and far between. To see anyone come from any Ivy League school, it's great. It doesn't happen often. Even though he went to Harvard, I want him to succeed and I want him to do well."