WrestleMania XXIV: Sunshine Showdown was the twenty-fourth annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The event took place on March 30, 2008, at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida and was the first WrestleMania to be held in the state of Florida. WrestleMania XXIV was the second WrestleMania to be held outdoors, with the first being WrestleMania IX, held in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nine professional wrestling matches were scheduled for the event, which featured a supercard, a scheduling of more than one main event. The first of these matches was a singles match from the ECW brand, in which Kane defeated ECW Champion Chavo Guerreroto win the ECW title. The second was a Triple threat match from the Raw brand, in which WWE Champion Randy Orton defeated challengers Triple H and John Cena to retain the championship. In the final match of the event, The Undertaker defeated SmackDown's World Heavyweight Champion Edge to win the title. Kurt Angle making a successful defense of the Inoki Genome Federation's version of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship (known as the IWGP 3rd Belt Championship in NJPW) against Yuji Nagata. From the six scheduled bouts on the undercard, three received more promotion than the others. In a No Disqualification match, boxing champion Floyd "Money" Mayweather defeated Big Show. The other featured undercard matches saw CM Punk win an interpromotional Money in the Bank ladder match and a retirement match in which Shawn Michaels defeated Ric Flair, leading to Flair's departure from the WWE and a period of retirement from active wrestling. The show also featured wrestlers from All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), Dradition and Pro Wrestling Zero1-Max.
Tickets for the event commenced sale to the public on November 3, 2007. WWE and the City of Orlando hosted festivities that spanned a five-day period within the central Florida region. For the second consecutive year, WrestleMania broke the record for the highest-grossing pay-per-view in WWE history. It also set a gate record for the Citrus Bowl, grossing US$5.85 million in ticket sales. According to a study by Enigma Research Corporation of Toronto, the Citrus Bowl's record-breaking attendance brought an estimated $51.5 million – surpassing the projected $25 million – into the local economy and generated $1.8 million in local tax revenue. The Central Florida Sports Commission reported that the event created jobs and brought approximately 60,000 visitors to the city. Over one million people ordered the event on pay-per-view, grossing $23.8 million in revenue
John Cena 2007-08 Season
The 49ers entered the game seeking to win their second straight Super Bowl. Bill Walsh retired as head coach after San Francisco's 20–16 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in the previous year's Super Bowl, but rookie head coach George Seifert did not miss a beat, as he guided the 49ers to a league-best 14–2 regular season record. Their two losses were only by a combined margin of 5 points.
The 49ers' offense was just as dominating as it was during the previous regular season. Quarterback Joe Montana threw for 3,512 yards, 26 touchdowns, and only 8 interceptions, giving him what was then the highest single-season quarterback rating in NFL history (112.4). Montana also rushed for 227 yards and 3 touchdowns, and earned both the NFL Most Valuable Player Award and the NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award. Wide receiver Jerry Rice had another outstanding season, catching 82 passes for 1,483 yards and 17 touchdowns. Running back Roger Craig was the team's leading rusher with 1,054 yards and 6 touchdowns, and he recorded 49 receptions for 473 yards and another touchdown.
But other stars on the 49ers' offense began to emerge, enabling the team to spread the ball around. After being used primarily as a punt returner during his first two seasons, wide receiver John Taylor had a breakout season, catching 60 passes for 1,077 yards and 10 touchdowns, while also returning 36 punts for 417 yards. Tight end Brent Jones recorded 40 receptions for 500 yards. Fullback Tom Rathman had the best season of his career, rushing for 305 yards and catching 73 passes for 616 yards. Kicker Mike Cofer scored 136 points while making a career-high 80.6% of his field goals. Even Montana's backup, Steve Young, had a great year, throwing for 1,001 yards and 8 touchdowns with only 3 interceptions, while also rushing for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns. With all of these weapons, San Francisco's offense led the league in total yards from scrimmage (6,268) and scoring (442 points).
The 49ers' defense allowed the third-fewest points in the NFL (253). Defensive end Pierce Holt recorded 10.5 sacks, as did linebacker Charles Haley. In addition to Haley, their linebacking corps was anchored by Keena Turner, Matt Millen, and Bill Romanowski. Future Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott led the team with 5 interceptions. Defensive backs Eric Wright and Chet Brooks also combined for 5 interceptions between them.
Randy Orton 2007-08 Season
The Broncos were trying to avoid becoming the second team, after the Vikings, to lose a fourth Super Bowl. After appearing in Super Bowl XXI and Super Bowl XXII, the team missed the playoffs with an 8–8 record during the 1988 season. But they signed several new players in the offseason to help them win 10 of their first 12 games in 1989 and finish with an 11–5 record.
One of Denver's new major additions was rookie running back Bobby Humphrey, who rushed for 1,151 yards, caught 22 passes for 156 yards, and scored 8 touchdowns. Humphrey gave the Broncos a powerful running attack that they lacked in their previous Super Bowl seasons. Also new to the team was rookie kicker David Treadwell, who made the Pro Bowl with an 81.8% field goal percentage and ranked third in the NFL with 120 points. The defense, coordinated by Wade Phillips, had a new weapon as well: rookie free safety Steve Atwater. Together with veteran defensive backs Dennis Smith, Wymon Henderson, and Tyrone Braxton, the Broncos' secondary combined for 14 interceptions. Braxton led the team with 6, which he returned for 103 yards and a touchdown, while also recovering 2 fumbles. Another new addition was defensive end Ron Holmes, who recorded 9 sacks. Holmes, along with veteran linebacker Karl Mecklenburg (7.5 sacks and 4 fumble recoveries) and defensive end Simon Fletcher (12 sacks), gave Denver one of the top defensive lines in the AFC.
Veteran receiver Vance Johnson had the best season of his career, catching 76 passes for 1,095 yards and 7 touchdowns, while also returning 12 punts for 118 yards. However, quarterback John Elway played inconsistently during the regular season, throwing just as many interceptions as touchdowns (18) and recording only a 73.7 passer rating.
|Shawn Michaels defeated Ric Flair|
|Randy Orton defeated|
|Chris Jericho defeated Randy Orton|
|Batista defeated Rey Mysterio|