WrestleMania XL Kickoff | 6th Hashtag Sports Awards

WrestleMania XL Kickoff


The 6th Annual Awards

Nominee ✨
  • Best Event or Experiential Campaign


Ahead of WrestleMania XL, the biggest names in WWE including Paul “Triple H” Levesque, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Roman Reigns, Cody Rhodes, Rhea Ripley and Becky Lynch—to name a few—participated in an earth-shattering event. Held during Super Bowl LVIII Week in Las Vegas, and emanating live from T-Mobile Arena, the WrestleMania XL Kickoff was a free, non-ticketed event. Building on the anticipation for the already-record-breaking WrestleMania XL, the event was hosted by Monday Night Raw commentators Michael Cole and Pat McAfee and streamed live on WWE’s social and digital channels as well as Peacock.

Fans and media anxiously tuned in live to hear firsthand about what lies ahead for the road to WrestleMania XL in Philadelphia on Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7. A turning point for the sports and entertainment powerhouse, the WrestleMania XL Kickoff event broke records across social media and captured global attention.


How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

WrestleMania XL has already surpassed multiple WWE records including largest gate in history and the WrestleMania XL Kickoff event continued to build even more excitement for WWE’s passionate fanbase.

A fan first organization with global appeal, WWE provided unprecedented access to one of the biggest WrestleMania announcements in company history. Hosted by Monday Night Raw commentators Michael Cole and Pat McAfee, with special commentary appearances from CM Punk and Big E, the event also included appearances from several top WWE Superstars including Seth “Freakin” Rollins, Becky Lynch, Bianca Belair and Rhea Ripley and Chief Content Officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque.

Taking place during football’s biggest week, the WrestleMania XL Kickoff event brought a truly unique experience for the sports world. Whether a lapsed fan who watched The Rock growing up during The Attitude Era in the 1990s, a loyal follower of The Tribal Chief Roman Reigns or a vigorous #WeWantCody supporter—this confrontation and what happens next will mark a pivotal moment in the history of WWE and the careers of three bona fide WWE Hall of Famers.


Taking down anyone who stands in his way, it seems WWE’s Undisputed Champion Roman Reigns is unstoppable. Reigns, who has declared himself The Tribal Chief, refuses to accept anything less than complete respect from any Superstar that sets foot on his “Island of Relevancy.” A member of the Anoa’i family, Reigns is also part of an iconic wrestling dynasty.

Another important member of the Anoa’i lineage? Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. And on the February 2 edition of SmackDown as WWE continued its epic build to WrestleMania—finally, as he would say—The Rock returned to WWE where he set his eyes on his own flesh and blood and the Undisputed Universal Championship. The two met face-to-face before the arena lights dimmed leaving fans around the world wondering what would happen next.

But, as the story goes, wrestling has more than one royal family and a member of the Rhodes family—”The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes—is also after Reigns’ coveted Championship title.

Following the massive showdown, WWE announced it will host an open-to-the-public event where fans and media can hear firsthand about what lies ahead for this can’t miss, once-in-a-lifetime WrestleMania and who will step up to take down Reigns.

Strategy & Execution

With The Rock entering the picture, fans were left shocked that they would miss out on a rematch between Reigns and crowd favorite Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania XL. For a week, following The Rock’s appearance on SmackDown, #WeWantCody trended #1 worldwide. Going live on The Pat McAfee Show ahead of the WrestleMania XL Kickoff event, The Rock only amplified tensions by cutting an epic heel promo where he turned against the WWE Universe calling them “Cody Crybabies,” only igniting fans across social media even more.

Tensions continued to rise later in the day at the WrestleMania XL Kickoff event where thousands of fans flooded T-Mobile Arena and millions were glued to social media to see what happens next. Winning the Royal Rumble, which guaranteed him a Championship match at WrestleMania, Rhodes spent days mulling over whether he would face Reigns or WWE Heavyweight Champion, Seth ”Freakin” Rollins. During the WrestleMania XL Kickoff, Rhodes announced he would be the one to take on The Tribal Chief, ultimately angering and insulting The Rock who wanted his own match with Reigns. What followed? A legendary confrontation of good versus evil, with The Rock siding with his blood Reigns and Rollins vouching for Rhodes.


  • WWE


  • Paul “Triple H” Levesque
  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
  • Roman Reigns
  • Cody Rhodes
  • Seth ”Freakin” Rollins
  • Rhea Ripley
  • Becky Lynch
  • Bianca Belair
  • Pat McAfee
  • CM Punk
  • Big E
  • Michael Cole
  • Paul Heyman


Paul "Triple H" Levesque
Chief Content Officer

Lee Fitting
EVP, Media & Production

Chris Kaiser
EVP, WWE Television

Bruce Prichard
Executive Director, Creative Writing

Steve Braband
Head of Digital

Julie Sbuttoni
EVP, Creative Services & Photography

Chris Legentil
EVP, Talent Relations & Head of Communications

Matt Altman
SVP, Talent Relations & Head of Marketing

Grant Norris-Jones
EVP, Head of Global Partnerships

Celebrate in NYC

Join us for the 6th Annual Hashtag Sports Awards™ on the evening of June 6, 2024 as we celebrate finalists and reveal the winners of this year's awards live during the show.