Subway Showdown. In the Big Apple, subways aren’t just trains; they’re stages. Each day, dancers and musicians turn these underground rides into live performances. But among the acts, there’s something wilder – it’s called “Subway Mania,” a tribute to the wrestling craze of the late ‘90s to early 2000s.
Picture this: costumed wrestlers channeling fan-favorite icons like Kane, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and the Undertaker, squeezing the whole drama and acrobatics of wrestling into one subway car. It happens about thrice a year, turning the daily commute into a wrestling ring.
All Aboard the Show
At Manhattan Lexington Avenue/59th Street station, these cosplay wrestlers strutted in shiny gear and DIY championship belts. Shyama Venkateswar, 57, couldn’t resist. Her sons loved World Wrestling Entertainment (W.W.E.) shows, so she hopped on the train with the wrestlers, leaving her trip to Forest Hills.
“I love street art,” she said. “They should keep doing this!”
The Big Performance
The show kicked off with two performers taking on the personas of Rob Van Dam and the Undertaker. They stormed into the subway car through a side door, blaring music from a portable speaker. Spectators stood on benches to make space, roaring with excitement.
The Brain Behind the Fun
Meet Tim Rivera, 27, the brains behind Subway Mania. He filmed the first matches in 2016, starting with a quirky video of him and a friend wrestling on a Manhattan-bound M train in broad daylight. Confused passengers watched, but the internet loved it. “My two favorite things: W.W.E. and the New York City subway,” read a comment.
The Wrestling World
The W.W.E. is like a mix of gladiator fights, soap operas, and comedy. It’s been on TV since 1956, giving us stars like John Cena and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. Their big hit, WrestleMania, partly inspired Subway Mania.
For Rivera, wrestling was a family affair. They’d tune in to W.W.E. on all three TVs at home. Whenever something big happened, Rivera would call out to his dad, a construction worker, and his mom, who worked at a pharmacy.
Turning Subway Rides into Rings
Subway Mania is Rivera’s way of bringing wrestling’s energy to daily commutes. It’s a wild ride for commuters, turning routine trips into unexpected spectacles. These wrestling enthusiasts have found a unique stage, creating a buzz underground.