After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Walemania re-emerged partnering with Spotify to kick off a weekend showcasing the immortals. Led by Wale and hosted by Kazeem Famuyide, a mega mashup of wrestlers and hip-hop stars filled the House of Blues, in Dallas, Texas.
Foot Locker teamed up with Walemania to sell a recurring series of merchandise catered for the show at an onsite pop-up shop. This was a unique leveled-up merch experience.
Wrestling superstars in attendance included Montez Ford from The Street Profits and Angelo Dawkins kicked off the show with stellar dance moves to New Edition. Even Mr. Pay-Per-View Rob Van Dam with his wife and fellow wrestler Katie Forbes joined some of the rappers on stage.
The House of Blues witnessed Westside Gunn, Smoke DZA, Yella Beezy, and DJ Poizon Ivy shut down the venue with main-event-level performances. Swerve Strickland from AEW pulled up to the party and shut it down with his own performance. Fans saw the giant Omos rap Jay-Z’s Public Service Announcement with such flair that wooed the crowd. There was a surprise guest appearance from AEW’s TBS Women’s Champion Jade Cargill on stage with Wale as he performed one of his popular songs Lotus Flower Bomb.
In wrestling, there’s this term known as the “forbidden door,” notably coined by AEW’s Owner Tony Khan. The vernacular relates to how certain businesses or wrestling worlds would not want to work or intersect with each other. Walemania is not just an event. It’s an annual statement that kicks down the forbidden door and brings stars from all possible wrestling companies to step into the ring with hip-hop culture to become a powerful tag team. It’s an eye-catching tag team with all the gold chains and gold title belts in attendance that would even impress The Bad Guy Razor Ramon. Next year, Walemania is set to be in Hollywood. If Thursday can be an indicator of how next year’s Walemania would go, it’ll continue an undefeated streak of stellar collaborations and performances
Many more superstars appeared at the hip-hop and wrestling crossover event including Jamal Adams and Damontre Moore of the Seattle Seahawks, WNBA’s Arike Ogunbowale from the Dallas Wings, The Bullet Club’s Machine Gun Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, Big Swole, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Carmelo Hays, Cedric Alexander, Grayson Waller, Gigi Dolan, India Hartwell, Jacy Jayne, Cameron Grimes, LA Knight, Daniel Garcia, Faye Jackson, MJ Jenkins, Lee Moriarty, Shawn Dean, The HitmakerZ, EJ Nduka, Chris Bey and Impact Wrestling commentator Tom Hannifan.