Thanks to reader J.S. from Brooklyn for the report:
First & foremost, no matter what the IWC wants everybody to believe and no matter how the reactions come off on television, Cena is immensely popular beyond the typical children and female demographics. It may seem strange to suggest that, considering the crowd always seems to be audibly against Cena, particularly through most of the main event and every time his video package aired on the big screens. But if you saw the crowds in the parking lot tailgating before the event, in any particular section, the most-frequently spotted t-shirts and hats were for Cena. Same for crowds in the stairwells, up in the nosebleeds, and at the concession stands. With the exception of CM Punk, it wasn't even close - I easily spotted Cena shirts outnumbering various Rock shirts by a 3:1 margin, and THAT may be conservative!
Most surprisingly, I'm not talking about kids or females, or even the "Cena Sucks" shirts. I'm talking prime demo (18-34) males and full-grown adults. Shirts of every color - the yellow and navy ones out now. The green "U Can't See Me" shirt. The black Rise Above Hate shirts. The purple shirts. It was so mind-boggling, there were a few people walking to the show that speculated that Cena might actually get a strong positive reaction, especially since NY crowds love to be different and go against the grain (more on that in a bit). And after the show, when you got past the line around the block to get into the WWE Merchandise Store, Cena's items were the only ones flying off the shelves with many sold out Cena items (although in that case, that probably because of how many kids and parents were in line vs. hardcore fans who were fleeing for the parking lot).
Based on the Cena reactions during the show and the ridiculous amount of Cena paraphernalia, it almost makes you wonder if people boo Cena for the sake of booing him, even if they like him! Whether it's concern that supporting the guy on the t-shirt they paid $30+ for in front of rabid, legit anti-Cena fans may take away from their enjoyment of the show, they don't want to be grouped in with what the children like, or they just fall in line with the pack mentality, it seems the pro-Cena fanbase don't want their voices heard. But if you hate him, it begs the question: why buy the merchandise? They have specific t-shirts for those who hate his guts!
Other comments about the show & crowd:
Pretty much everyone was stunned that there was no G-d Bless America, considering how patriotic Vince likes to be. Not sure if Lillian wasn't prepared to perform or they couldn't find a local singer, but this seemed unexpected, and many people can be heard grumbling that this was disrespectful.
Crowd was particularly pissed there was no opening show pyro (although we later saw that WWE would make up for it during various entrances later in the night, including firework displays).
Michael Cole got booed. Crowd went insane for Lawler. JBL got a loud, very positive response.
Audience groaned at the very first appearance of Twitter trends on the screens.
Only about half the crowd was seated for the pre-show and YouTube I-C title match with Miz getting a pretty mixed reaction and almost everybody booing Barrett. The crowd cheered loudly for Miz' win, probably because they got to see a title change live.
For the six-man tag, Sheamus got mostly boos. Orton was booed on an almost-Cena level. Big Show was met with both boos and indifference. The Shield got a nice reaction (which pretty much set the tone for the cliched "boo the good guys; cheer the bad guys" attitude from the attendees). Crowd did get into the mounted 10-count punches, Show's "SHHHHHH...chop" spot and particularly the Sheamus chest pounding over the ropes. Biggest reaction was for Seth Rollins' dive through the ropes into the outside barrier. Some "oohs" when Show knocked out his teammates after the match, but nobody was really shocked that Show had his umpteenth turn of his wrestling career.
Henry got a nice reaction; Ryback's reaction was mixed. It should be noted that while there were the expected "Goldberg" mocking chants, the crowd really gets into the "Feed Me More" chants. Almost everybody got fooled by the abrupt end to the match and Ryback's apparent injury, particularly when the ref held up the "X" sign. Everyone thought it was a botch and that Ryback hurt himself again, but he seemed fine on the post-match shellshock (which got the crowd on Ryback's side).
Everybody hates P. Diddy. Men. Women. Children. White people. Black people. Hispanic people. Security guards. The most popular part of his performance were the lines to the bathroom. People just wanted the segment to end.
As expected, crowd went nuts for Daniel Bryan and to a lesser-extent, Dolph Ziggler. And Kane and Big E benefited as the crowd stayed into their participation in the match. Many thought the AJ-Dolph kiss was going to be a callback to last year and mean redemption for Bryan, so Dolph's kickout was a surprise and set the tone nicely. Short match, but it honestly didn't seem that way because of the pacing. After Ziggler ate the pin, all you could hear throughout various conversations was "Dolph is definitely cashing in tonight."
Fandango got a lot of boos but it wasn't indifference; his heat is authentic. Crowd was pretty much all behind Jericho, and he probably ranks in the top 5 in terms of crowd reactions at this year's Mania. Lots of surprise and disappointment from the crowd after the clean ending.
Despite what WWE was going for in the World title match (capitalize on the huge Hispanic fanbase in NYC), nobody really seemed into Del Rio at all although they loved Ricardo's intro for Del Rio. And Swagger & Colter got pretty much no reaction at all, particularly during Colter's ranting promo. Not sure if the crowd hated or enjoyed the match - they were all focused on what point Ziggler's music would hit and he would... (Continues on next page)