The biggest story of WrestleMania 35 might have been just how damn long the show was, a whopping seven and a half hours, including the “kickoff” show. The card ran until just before 12:30 a.m., which impacted everyone watching both live and at home, but it caused a very specific set of problems for those relying on public transit to get home from MetLife Stadium. With the Meadowlands Sports Complex sitting in the middle of, more or less, a swamp, and MetLife stadium being the biggest venue in the New York market, there is special New Jersey Transit (NJT for short) train service for events with 50,000 or more people expected to attend. At WrestleMania, though, there was a major hiccup: Most of the scheduled trains had already passed and it was late enough that the remaining ones ran at a reduced frequency. With a sold-out stadium and at least 10,000 people wanting to take the train, this resulted in fans being stranded in the rain as late as 3:00 a.m. and chants of “NO TRAIN, WE RIOT!”
NJT publicly blamed WWE for providing an incorrect end time for the event, which WWE denied. I filed an Open Public Record Act request to the state of New Jersey for all documents relating to the train service for WrestleMania 35, and the documents finally showed up this week.
Before we get to what’s in those records, some additional background: The morning after WrestleMania, New Jersey Transit told NJ.com that the main culprit for the transportation issues was that the show ran two hours later than what they were told was the planned end time, 10:30 p.m. “The primary factor contributing to the post-event delays was the WWE’s decision to extend the event to 12:30 a.m., which had significant operational impacts on the evening,” spokesman Jim Smith explained at the time in a statement. “NJ Transit was not informed of this decision until late last night.”