When I was an RPG-obsessed young thing in 1994, trying to tell my game-loving peers about Final Fantasy VI for the SNES was like trying to hock a bizarre new religion to passers-by on the street. People would regard me with gentle confusion, shrug, and quickly change the subject.
April 2, 2017: Wrestlemania 33 is sponsored by Final Fantasy XIV.
Whether by happy coincidence or arrangement, Wrestlemania 33 was also hosted by The New Day, WWE's longest-reigning tag-team champions. One of the team's members, Xavier Woods (AKA Austin Creed) is not just a huge game fan, but also a tremendous RPG nerd (I'd love to get him in Axe of the Blood God sometime, but the longest RPG discussion I ever had with a famous wrestler is a Twitter exchange with Kenny Omega about how Final Fantasy VI is the best Final Fantasy). Creed runs a YouTube gaming show called Up Up Down Down, so his attire for Wrestlemania 33 – a Monk costume, topped with a shoulder-mounted Moogle plushie – was delightfully relevant attire.
The additional members of The New Day were hardly underdressed themselves. Big E cosplayed as a Samurai (a new class for Final Fantasy XIV's upcoming Stormblood expansion), and Kofi Kingston arguably won the Best Dressed award for every media event ever with his oversized, hyper-glittery Red Mage hat.
The Final Fantasy Festivities didn't stop there, either. The group drove an ice-cream cart (part of a previous gimmick – bit of a story, there) adorned with a Fat Chocobo and about a dozen Moogles.
Now, geek culture is certainly more mainstream than it was twenty years ago, but that doesn't mean Joe Schmoe off the streets can tell you anything about Final Fantasy other than "some of the characters kind of look like Speed Racer, I guess?". WWE commentator Michael Cole clearly had no idea what he was looking at when The New Day paraded down the Citrus Bowl's long (long!) ramp in full regalia, but since Final Fantasy XIV was a sponsor for Wrestlemania, he couldn't simply make a few confused noises. He was contractually obligated to say real worlds about the series, so did his best to inform the audience he saw "Moogle and…Chocobo", and assured us he "loves Final Fantasy."
It was a good effort, but when I re-watch The New Day's intro I'm reminded of that Simpsons bit where Jimbo weasels "Vote Mayor Quimby" bumper stickers from Lisa and Bart by declaring "Uhhh yeah, I love Grimby."
It was an uplifting start to a show that ultimately ended with the Undertaker retiring after 33 years of wrestling. I'd suggest The New Day should've capped off their hosting duties with another set of thematically relevant Final Fantasy cosplays, e.g. Cecil dragging the corpse of a Mysidian mage, Locke holding Rachel's broken body, and Aeris with a sword through her abdomen. The WWE has yet to contact me for any writing input, though. It's a mystery.