Welcome To Star Marked Memoirs… The OFFICIAL Webpage Of The Adventures Of CM Showstopper.

Greetings and Salutations!  Welcome to the official website of me…CM Showstopper.  Star Marked Memoirs serves as a host to all my (Mis)adventures In Marking Out.

I am a HUGE pro wrestling fan, so you will find more stories concerning my trips to meet WWE, TNA, and other wrestlers than anything else.  Mixed in you will find music artists, UFC Fighters, television and movie actors.

In addition, my website features my twitter feed….make sure you follow me @CMShowstopper…..my ebay auctions, facebook, youtube account and how you might go about contacting me.

So feel free to take a look around, read my stories, follow me on twitter, make comments, send me questions, etc. etc.  Star Marked Memoirs serves as a place for me to not only share my stories with the rest of the world, but a place that gives myself a chance to remember a very special moment in my life.  These adventures have served for more than just getting a photo and/or autograph.  They have allowed an opportunity for me develop lifelong relationships with some great pals.

NXT Cleveland and Columbus, OH 3/6/15-3/9/15

The future is now. Seeing it live, only reinforced that feeling. Professional wrestling, for me, has been extremely stale. Over the past several years, I have never felt so sullied by this business. Never have I felt so disinterested. Yes, its had some moments. Even as recent as a year ago, we saw The Shield really step up and start stealing the show. We had the rise of Daniel Bryan. WWE looked to be picking up steam. But it only seemed to be short lived. Daniel Bryan got injured and was forced to relinquish the title. The main event scene reintroduced us to John Cena/Randy Orton….two of the most boring and stale characters in wrestling. Yes, we still had some moments…..but they were few and far between. And even that, especially in the case of Roman Reigns, would soon be tarnished by WWE trying to turn him into another Cena. Obnoxious childish jokes mixed in to an unbeatable force spells disaster. And Reigns and WWE paid for it at the Royal Rumble. Yes, they are trying to right that ship…..but still.

Anyway, enough with the mini rant. This story instead starts a couple of months ago. NXT announced they were coming to Ohio for an event plus an NXT Axxess at the Arnold Classic. NXT, was the only show in North America, that top to bottom kept my love for pro wrestling still alive. With them coming to Ohio, this was a no brainer that it was a must attend. When tickets went on sale, I made sure I was right there….ready to place my order. I got on ticketmaster and did my search. My initial search came back with 2nd row. Unhappy with my row selection and uninformed at the true popularity to NXT, I let them go. I tried again. Unfortunately, I pulled 2nd row again. But this time the seats were much further away. I figured I better not release these and go with the 2nd row seats. I went to checkout and Ticketmaster froze on me. I had to reload and when I returned, my tickets were gone. Ticketmaster hosed me! I searched again and found 4th row. Now I was pissed. I searched again…..5th row. The tickets were going and going quickly. Since, I didnt have a VIP seat anymore, I released them and kept searching. Eventually I searched my way to a sold out show. No tickets for me. I figured I would take my chances with ebay and Stubhub. Once again, I underestimated the drawing power of NXT and the very few seats I would find…..were all priced $700 to $1500. This show was selling higher than Mania tickets!

With the success of Columbus, WWE added a 2nd show to Cleveland. I would not underestimate NXT this time. I was determined to get them. I was locked and loaded and at 10am on the dot, I was searching for tickets. I loaded up Price Level 1 and was immediately met with the news that there were not tickets in that section. Then level 2 and got the same wrath. Keep in mind, this building only holds 1800 people. For shits, I tried GA and 2 tickets went to my cart. So the site was working, it just sold out of tickets minus GA. Evidently ticket web could give you real time updates on how many tickets remained for sections, as it allowed me to choose up to 10 tickets the first time I searched and only 6 the 2nd time I searched for GA. I decided to keep hitting refresh a few times. Of course the website crashed a few times. At 10:16am, I hit the refresh button one last time for a miracle. And then it happened…..

You’re probably thinking that one of the other price levels showed available, but it did not. EVEN BETTER! I caught out of the corner of my eye that there were now 4 tickets in my cart. I assumed this was just the GA tickets I searched for, but I clicked anyway on my cart. When the cart loaded, there were 2 GA tickets and 2 PRICE LEVEL 1 TICKETS!!!!!!! I promptly checked out and the tickets were emailed to me. I was now going to NXT. Ok…me and Cancer Free Dave were going to NXT!!!

The week leading up to the trip was met with tons of personal life drama. I was distracted and off my game. My work suffered and I needed to get away. NXT would now not only serve as a chance to see a revolution of pro wrestling, but a chance to take fresh breath of air….escaping the drama, even if it would only be for a few days. The plan was to leave early Thursday morning to catch the NXT flights. But mother nature was less than cooperative. Cancer Free Dave couldnt get into PA, as the snow and ice wreaked havoc on the roads. We were stuck. Unable to get to Columbus, the trip I needed so badly would be delayed a day.

Losing a day and the opportunity to clean up at the AP….we finally hit the road early Friday morning. NXT Axxess should provide a great opportunity, but it was clearly advertised that NO PHOTOs would be allowed at the event. I felt they were just saying it and it wouldnt be enforced, but you never know. Once we were on the road, the GPS told us we had just under a 6 hour drive to Cleveland. Instead of taking us across the turnpike, it directed us north west to State College. We literally drove right by the Bryce Jordan Center. Cant see how this was quicker, but the time was good and there was no tolls.

Once we reached State College, GPS started to take us in a weird direction. We were driving through town of all places. How this could be on the way to Cleveland was making little to no sense. It wasnt until the GPS instructed us to turn onto a bike path that we realized something, in fact, was desperately wrong. Looking at the GPS instruction, it now said we would be in Cleveland in 18hours. :yikes1: I looked over the turn by turn and discovered we were now coded as a bicycle and it was having us take a bike path over some mountain into Ohio. Using Dave’s phone, we punched in the address and tried to get ourselves back on course.

We got turned around and proceeded to Cleveland. That would only be the first of many GPS foul ups for this trip. One thing I wanted to do was to call the hotel to let them know we wouldnt be checking in till the wee hours of the morning, to ensure they didnt sell our hotel room. Almost all the rooms in Columbus were sold out. Didnt want to take a chance. When I tried calling, I got a weird message saying my call could not be connected because it was outside my calling area. I tried Dave’s phone and got the same message. I tried the 800 number and was connected to a voice mail. I left a message and asked for a return call to confirm. We made it into Ohio and were approaching our destination. We seemed to have made ok time, all things considering and we were WAY early for the 6:30pm doors, as it was 10:30am. We definitely wanted to be early, as it was general admission sort of and we wanted to ensure ourselves getting front row seats. But as we took the turn towards what was supposed to be the theater, it didnt look right. I looked at this place on google maps and this looked nothing like it. Google Maps showed the Agora Theater being in urban Cleveland. I was now in the suburbs. When we turned onto the last street and the GPS said we had arrived, we were at some dude’s house in suburban Cleveland.:bs: I dont understand. What is going on?!?! I quickly grabbed my phone and using the same app as Dave’s phone, it instructed us into the city which was still another 25mins away. Strike 2 on the GPS. And strike 2 on the hotel. I once again called to see what was going on and met the same fate.

Once we finally found the theater, we decided to scope the place out….and also find a restroom. 7hrs in the car and a 2 Egg McMuffins later…..nature was calling….LOUDLY. We parked in the back of the theater and went inside. We found a little restaurant inside and hit the restroom. Once we were done, we noticed that the restaurant had several tables reserved. Perhaps this was for NXT? Not sure. We decided to sit down and see what might transpire. We had plenty of time….it was only noon. We would soon discover that the guy at the table next to us was also here for NXT and had the same plans to wait it out to get a front row seat. We then saw 4 more people show up. We partnered up with the 1 solo guy and found out where the line was starting and headed outside. This gave us plenty of opportunity to watch the restaurant just in case.

The weather was FREEZING outside. How we were gonna make it the next 6 hours, I just dont know. We would venture in and out of the restaurant in order to warm up before finally deciding to step into the vestibule of the theater. There was only 3 of us and we could just try and remain out of sight. Sadly, it didnt last long as 6 more people came inside and decided they wanted to get out of the cold as well. This caught the eye of security and got us ejected out of the theater and back outside.

The cold was unbearable. We tried to keep entertained through all the shivering and teeth chattering. I tried a third time for the hotel and again, same thing. I asked our new friend if I could borrow his phone, since he said he was from Columbus and got the same message. I jokingly said Dave, maybe the hotel closed up shop over night and was gone. And then the realization of saying it out loud started to haunt me. I googled and in fact there was 1 article concerning the hotel going out of business mysteriously 5 days ago. Evidently they were open and the next day, people found chains and pad locks on the doors. They just went out of business. :1distraught:

A moment of panic overcame me before I got my wits about me and went inside to sit down and find another hotel. Of course almost all of Columbus was sold out and the only remaining rooms were $800 or more a night. This was really gonna put a damper on the weekend. I found one hotel that was about 6 miles from the convention center for$200 a night. I went to book it, but the total it showed was almost $550!!! How can this be?! The taxes and fees are that much?! No way. So I had no choice but to book a motel 6 that was 25 miles away from the convention center. What was worse, it was south of the convention center in Columbus, which meant that we would now add another 30 minutes to our trip after NXT.

Back to the cold I went. A lot of the people worried that the venue would find a way to screw us out of being let in first. And they were right. When the time finally came to let us in, there was mass confusion as in the same venue there was this lame wannabee juggalo concert. When will call opened, people were going in and getting the tickets and then being let inside to head to the seats while those who were waiting were forced to remain outside. To make a long story short, once we were inside, we went from first in line to about 15th in line. People were outrage and deservingly so. After being 15 back, they then let about 8 handicapped kids through AND their entire parties. If I didnt get a front row seat, I was gonna flip.

Well, it didnt come to that. Once we were inside, we were able to grab a front row seat. We didnt get the ones we wanted, but still….got a good seat. The show was great. Not one single bad match on the card. Saw some shocking finishes, as I didnt expect Corbin and Balor to lose and they did. I was stoked at the idea of Balor and Cesaro. I said before the show that if I can get one match on this card, thats what I wanted to see. We got it. And Cesaro put on a clinic, while Balor valiantly fought back before he was cheated out of the victory.

When the show was over, we headed outside and to the stage door to wait for the stars to come out. There were others who had the same idea…..almost 20 by the time it was all said and done. The parking lot itself was a solid sheet of ice, perfect for ice skating. They did setup barricades around the bus that was transporting them. WWE security saw how many people were there and decided to come out and build this contraption to hang a curtain to keep us from seeing them and them from seeing us. This chased over half the crowd away including Dave. Me? I refused to accept defeat….not till all hope was lost. The curtain remained up all of 10 seconds, as the wind blew it down and it struck a handicap kid. They pulled it down and turned to us and said….you guys win.

What we won was about another hours wait till they finally started to come out. Corey Graves was first and he was super cool. Glad to pose and sign. He thanked everyone for coming out. We even chatted about PA, as he is from Pittsburgh. I wished I had my NXT program with me, as it was still in the car. Barron Corbin was next. He looks like a dick, but that couldnt be further from the truth. He was super cool. He posed for a photo and then said he thought he walked away too soon and asked that we retake it to ensure it turned out right. Class act right there. Big Cass and Enzo were next. Most NXT fans love these guys. Me? I fucking cant stand them. I HATE this Jersey shore gimmick. Robbie E does it and its a joke. At times, I even find myself chuckling. Enzo and Cass aint joking. This gimmick is a serious to them and I DESPISE it and Enzo is terrible in the ring. He is gifted as hell on the mic., but cant work. In fact, after this weekend….I now hate this gimmick even more. Its soft. S-O-F-T. :smh: And you cant teach THAT! :yawn1:

Nonetheless, both guys were very cool to stop. Carmella was out next. She was also happy to stop. Aiden English and Simon Gotch were next. I got a pic. with Gotch, but missed English as Gotch was going off about how I had a Finn Balor hat, but no Vaudvellians shirt. This would not be the last time Gotch would go off on me.

Next out was Charlotte. As she was coming over to me, she started to slip and came tumbling into me. I caught her and got her upright. She apologized for crashing into me and I thanked her for it. Secretly, I wished it was Alexa Bliss….but hey. She was super nice and took care of everyone. It was starting to get late and we still hadnt seen Balor. Adrian Neville was next. He too stopped and was happy to do so. Kevin Owens was next. He waved, but refused to stop. I THINK he was playing the gimmick up more so than being a jerk. I’ve met him before and he is usually really chill. But who knows. Sami Zayn was next and he stopped as well. Hideo came out next, but he didnt stop. Im not sure he understood what I was saying. He walked over, smiled and waved. When I asked him for a photo, his eyebrows went up in a questioning manner and he got on the bus. Strange. The last person out was Finn Balor. He came right over to me hit me with the Too Sweet. I asked for a photo, but he said the bus was leaving and asked me if I would be at the Arnold tomorrow, which I said yes. He promised to get me there.

Definitely missed a few people. They either got on the bus and were unrecognizable or were travelling via car like Regal and Bloom did. Definitely missed Alexa Bliss, Blake and Murphy, Rhino, Kidd and Cesaro. Still got a great haul. Skated to the car and was ready to take the now almost 3hour drive to just outside of Columbus.

I honestly wish I could say this trip was uneventful, sadly….it wasnt. It was nearly midnight by the time we left. Estimated arrival time had us right around 2:15am. We hit the road and about an hour into the trip, our 3rd strike with the GPS would occur. This time the GPS didnt lead us astray, but instead it seemed to just add an additional hour to the trip. Was this the bad? Once again…I wish. No. Instead, what went terribly wrong was about 2 hours into the trip, I had dozed off and Dave’s glasses broken. The lens popped out and the tiny screw fell out. Dave couldnt find it and woke me up as he his blind as a bat without them. I was completely out of it. We had no tape anywhere, so there was really nothing we could do to fix his glasses even temporarily. He had no backup pair or contacts with him either. I couldnt even hold my eyes open, so I was no help to drive. Like a pirate with a patch, Dave pushed on using his one and only good eye to get us to the hotel. A struggle would put it mildly. I had to help navigate while Dave attempted to drive. Safety was not the priority.

We finally made it to the hotel and was able to secure some duct tape for a temp fix for Dave. We got inside, quickly unpacked and passed out…..for a mere 2 hours, as we needed to be up and out the door. In the past 48 hours, I had gotten a grand total of 3 hours of sleep, not including my nap in the car. We grabbed our stuff and went out the door. We set the course for the Columbus Convention Center and we were on our way. But the GPS would wreak havoc again for strike 4. We passed signs for the Arnold Expo parking and continued down the road another 10 minutes. We got off the exit and arrived at a nursing home. We backtracked and got off the exit for the Arnold parking and found a lot right next to the Convention center. We parked and headed inside.

Once inside, the place was freaking packed. NXT was in Hall C, so we headed down to the other end of the building. 2 hours before doors were to open the line had to be damn near a 1000 deep. It was going up the stairs and down the hall, after it already snaked around several corners. No way was I gonna wait in this mob scene. I found an unsuspecting person that seemed to be hanging out by himself and went over to talk to him. I made it perfectly clear what our intentions were and what role I needed him to play. He complied and had no issue….and neither did the rest of the line. Instead of being over a 1000 deep….we were in the first 200. One problem solved. The next issue was it was getting REALLY warm inside. I had packed fairly light, but not light enough to stuff my jacket in my bag. We opted to load all our stuff into Dave’s bag, while my bag had my jacket, camera, markers and worn Devitt trunks.

At 9am, they finally let us in. NXT was to our immediate right. We found where the tables were setup and got into line. Not too bad. Only about 50 people back. We would later discover that this hall was very popular because many people who attend come to meet the body builders and this is the hall they would do the autographing at as well. A WWE staff member came out and said this was the Finn Balor line that we were in and that Kevin Owens line was on the other side. If anyone wants Kevin Owens, they need to head over there. Not a single soul walked over. Everyone refused to leave. Is Balor really that much over, especially against Owens?

The advertisement stated that you would receive 1 autograph and no photos. Going through the first line, this was STRICTLY enforced. A few people attempted to get photos and were quickly shunned away and told no photos. They even had security walk up and down the lines saying it over and over. The signing started about 15 minutes late, but moved fairly decently. They were handing out NXT posters 16 X 20 in size. Way better than those mats they usually have. Dylan Miley, who somewhat resembles Andre The Giant, was also at Balor’s table. I got him on the poster and then got to Balor. I got him to sign his ring worn trunks for me. I asked him if this was a good time for the photo or should I wait. He said, it was a perfect time. He stood up and I walked around the table. WWE’s rep. went crazy, but Balor told her it was cool. She argued, but he took the photo anyway. She then made it a point to once again tell people that there was no photos allowed. I thanked Finn and handed him a tshirt I had made taking his face logo from his current WWE shirt and adding my Balor Club logo to it and it also happened to be the shirt I was wearing. He thanked me for the shirt, but said to be careful WWE is always hunting down people who are bootlegging merchandise and they are relentless. I shall heed your advice good sir.

Once we were done with Balor, we headed for Kevin Owens line. We saw a ridiculous size line formed and went to join in. We were stopped by WWE, asking if we were looking for Kevin Owens. They pointed to us, saying we could go right up. Owens and Carmella had no line. Balor’s line was a 100 deep. This is weird. I got Owens and Carmella on my new NXT poster. Owens commented about my shirt saying shirts like this take money out wrestler’s pockets. :smh: I get it. But I’m a fan and I want to support Finn. I OWN Finn’s WWE shirt. In fact, I own several Prince Devitt shirts. I bought 4 from Suplex Wrestling from England that had a deal with him before his WWE days and paid $60 for each to have them shipped to the states. He wasnt a jerk about it….but it just kind of seemed like he was a tiny bit irked. In fact, this would not be the last time this shirt would raise issue.

Once we were done with them, we rejoined the Balor line since there wasnt that many people in it. Turns out, most of the people waiting out the doors to get in were doing so for the body builders and free supplements and not NXT. We blew through the Balor line and got to the front pretty quickly. Dave helped out and got 1 done for me and I got another. That now put my Balor count to 3 autos and 1 photo.

Once we were done with Balor, we repacked our bags and I took notice that my silver paint marker must have somehow leaked at some point, as I had silver all on my hands and my NXT poster had smudges of silver on it as well. I opted to pitch the poster, as it had just 3 signatures on it and would just start it over. Once we got regrouped, we headed to the bathroom for me to washup and then ventured to the other side of the building to see what the Hogan line looked like. When we got there, which took forever to navigate the sea of people, it was nothing but a total cluster fuck. There was a line going down the right side of the table, left side, in front and around back. They made an announcement about purchasing a $100 box of candy bars that Hogan was promoting and you would be guaranteed to meet Hogan. After seeing how many people were here, we ended up bailing. Just want worth the wait and risk that we wouldnt actually get him. Not to mention, I had no need for the man.

We pushed our way back to NXT to catch the next session with Hideo and Braun Stowman/Enzo and Colin Cassidy. Got both Hideo and Braun on my NXT poster and got a pic with Hideo. We walked over to the Enzo line and once again, this side was bare. Went right up and got Enzo and Colin and for the 2nd time, I got hammered by someone concerning my shirt. Enzo gave me grief about it. Really?!

Our next stop was the EAS booth, where NFL players Demarco Murray aka Spray Tan, Larry Fitzgerald and Eric Ebron were appearing. Sadly, Demarco left early and Ebron was a no show. It left just Fitzgerald. The line for Larry wasnt bad. Moved pretty quickly too. He was up on stage signing EAS 8x10s. When I got up there, I was able to get a photo op. The EAS lady said she didnt like how the first one came out and took a 2nd. Very nice that she was checking photos to ensure they turned out well. I got a signed 8×10 and was off. Fitz was very cool to meet and a humble guy. Yes, he signed outside merch for free as well, but I brought nothing. EAS also gave you a swag bag at the end, which was nice. I reviewed my photos with Fitz and both turned out perfectly fine. After posting to facebook, Larry Fitzgerald actually commented on my photo and liked it. THAT was pretty cool. And it was during this time that I found out Jon “Bones” Jones was indeed signing and taking photos. One of the guys in line had an autographed photo from him, but couldnt remember where he was. A quick google search of the supplement company produced a hit and now I knew where Bones was. So that would be our next stop.

After EAS, we REALLY had to fight the crowd to get back to the NXT area. We encountered Arnold and his entourage, which made safe passage almost unreachable. But when we finally got back to NXT, we had some time before the next session was going to start and I wanted Bones bad. Luckily, Bones was in the same section, so we went over and got into line. Unfortunately, Bones was at lunch and wouldnt be returning for another 20 minutes. The line was long, one of the longest lines inside the Arnold that we would wait in. Since Kaityln’s table was across from Bones’ line, Dave and I went over 1 at a time to get Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn was cool. She remembered me from my picture with DJ from the Poconos casino appearance and our tshirts. She even asked where DJ was. I of course sold him down the river, explaining DJ is more into Alicia Fox and Kaitlyn just wasnt his style. 1 auto and 1 photo and I was back to Bones line.

Bones finally arrived and line started moving fairly quickly. He even came back about 10 minutes early, which worked well cuz the NXT session was going to start. While waiting in the Bones line, we also missed Balor vs. Owens. It sucked we missed the match, but we would never have been able to get up close anyway due to the crowd size. As we approached the front of the line, they were announcing that Bones would sign 2 each and do 1 photo. WOW! Now I really wished I had stuff with me for him. Damn. The photo was most important to me anyway, so I was happy with that. When it was my turn, Bones was super cool. He actually stood and had a conversation with me and they never tried to rush us. Very relaxed situation. I told him he was my favorite fighter currently and my favorite fight of his was him vs. the purse snatcher. His eyes popped and he smiled. He told me that was his favorite fight too and that it was the best day of his life. He went on to talk about how the feeling he had when he caught this dude was surreal and that when he fights in the Octagon, its a lot different. Very cool moment. He signed one of his promos for me and I got my photo op, which I was very happy about.

Dave and I rushed back to NXT to join the line. This session included The Vaudvelians, Sasha Banks and Kalisto. The line was one of the smallest of all the sessions and now they got rid of the 2 different lines and had all the stars at the same station. We were about 10 people back when we got into line and session wasnt even half over. First up was Gotch and English and here came the biggest incident with the shirt that I have touched on already. So Gotch is seated first and sees my shirt and starts going off about bootlegging. He says what I have done is illegal and that he is going to report me to Vince and Vince will have me in jail. I laughed it off, thinking he was heeling. Instead, he tells me not to laugh, that my crime is not funny. So I explain to him that I am a fan, etc, etc. He starts to lecture me and then goes on about how his first call after he is done here will be to Vince and Vince is gonna get me, etc. Now I’m annoyed and the idea of respect for these guys is out the door. So I ask him, who the hell is Vince? He tells me MISTER McMahon. I laugh at him. I explain that Vince has no clue who Simon Gotch is. If someone mentioned the name Simon Gotch to Vince, he would think it was some new STD. :distraught: Sorry pal…nice try. I moved onto Aiden, annoyed as shit now. Gotch took it too far. Aiden signed and then I got to Sasha. I think Sasha could tell how annoyed I was. She told me she loved the shirt and asked if I would make a shirt for her. She said I did nice work and she would be proud to wear one I made. Now THATS class. She didnt have to say anything, let alone go the extra mile. This shirt was never intended to upset anyone. I wore because I am a huge Balor fan and I like that logo WWE was using. I combined it with my Balor Club logo and bam….I had a shirt that I liked a lot. And yes, I own the WWEshop version as well…..of course I do. And the last person at the table was Kalisto, who I also got on my NXT poster.

Soured by this experience with Gotch, I tried to put it out of my head. We now had some time to kill until the next session, but no where to go and certainly NO desire to fight the crowd. So we opted to just rest where the line was for NXT Axxess and wait for the next session. Dave needed to hit the ATM anyway, which would prove to be the longest line he would be in all day. Evidently, 1 ATM already had been closed as it ran out of money, which left this other one with a line a mile long. Since we had 2.5hrs before the next session, it made sense to just do the ATM now. While sitting and waiting, I spotted a familiar face in THE MOOCH! Thats right, the kid had grown up and was 2 months away from graduating with a BS in Business. We sat and talked about numerous topics including his plans for the future. While he doesnt know what he wants to do for a career, he plans to pursue his masters degree next and he just came back from Australia where he spent several months studying abroad. Crazy how time flies.

After nearly 2 hours, Dave finally rejoined me. The ATM line was insane. He was afraid it was going to run out of money at the rate people were pulling it out. The last session was beginning and it was gonna be a good one and definitely one of the more popular ones. We had Sami Zayn, Bayley, Dana Brooke and Alexa Bliss. I love Alexa Bliss. She is awesome. She might be a little green, but she is very athletic, has a great look and I think she will be a great fit in WWE someday. I also like Bayley a lot. She has a fantastic gimmick and is really good in the ring. And of course Sami Zayn….always known for being a great worker. He really sold me on his ability to translate to main stream television with his promo in Columbus the night before. He talked about a revolution in pro wrestling that NXT is. He compared it to the days of when ECW was starting out. And I really feel that way about NXT. NXT, eventhough its a WWE product, has this underground feeling to it. The guys there are a mix of fantastic workers, greenhorns, athletes, etc. And right now we are seeing the best workers getting showcased, while those who need work are getting an opportunity to do just that. I just read that NXT will have its own show at Wrestlemania and that it sold out 4100 seats in 2 hours. NXT is where its at.

Anyway, this was definitely a very busy session and line moved very slowly. When we finally reached the table, Zayn was first and I was able to get 2 done from him…..one on my poster and one on a prior photo op. Zayn liked the photo and wanted to know where it was taken. I told him and he nodded. Bayley looked at it and said “You Look Very Handsome.” We simultaneously thanked her. :shrug: Zayn complimented my tshirt, saying it was cool. Onto Bayley next, I got her on my NXT poster and then got a pic with her, as I missed her at Columbus. Alexa Bliss was next. She looked amazing. She signed my poster and was happy to pose for a photo. And finally Dana Brooke, who is pretty ripped and definitely good looking too. She was also competing at the Arnold in a body building category. Got her on my poster and a pic with.

Saturday was in the books. And it was good. After just 3 hours sleep combined over the past 2 days, I was beat. This day had consumed all the energy I had. And we were both hungry, considering we hadnt eaten all day. We walked out and back to the car. First stop was to hit Walgreens so we could get some photos printed out for Sunday. Wanted to get a few photo ops signed for Sunday. Once we were done there, it was off to Steak N Shake for a bite to eat and then back to the hotel. However, Dave turned a quick bite into a meal for 3. 1 double cheeseburger and 2 footlong hot dogs. Dave had his heart set on raising the stock prices for Steak N Shake single handedly.

With dinner done, we drove back to the hotel. The good definitely gave me a small burst of energy that would definitely die out about an hour after we got back. I got my bag packed and was in bed. I put the Duke/North Carolina game on and was planning on watching that. As far as I remember, I watched the entire game, turned off the tv and went to sleep. I remember Coach K and Roy shaking hands and Duke emerging victorious. However, Dave’s account is a bit different. He claims I fell asleep with the remote in hand with 3 minutes left. He snuck the remote out of my hand, finished watching the game and then put SNL on for a few minutes before he turned off the tv and went to sleep. I wonder which version is true.

The morning came, we elected to sleep in a bit since Sunday would not be as packed as Saturday. We headed back over, but yet again ran into a travel issue. The GPS didnt screw us, but the exit for the convention center was now closed and we were re routed. This put a major damper, as now we couldnt get to the parking lot that we had parked in next to the convention center. We spent at least another 20-25 mins. trying to find parking. When we finally got to a lot, we pulled in and were told to turn around, as the car in front of us was the last one they could accomadate. We finally found a parking garage and pulled in. By a stroke of luck, this garage had a skywalk to the convention center. We could leave our jackets behind without having to take a long walk in the cold.

Once inside, day 2 was well underway. We headed right into Hall C for NXT. Today, I was determined to get a good spot on the rails to take photos and watch some wrestling, while still trying to get more autographs. Now since we were running late, we headed right to the Axxess line for the first session which had Barron Corbin, Kalisto, Murphy and Blake. I got Corbin, Murphy and Blake on my NXT poster along with Corbin, who I also got to sign my photo op. Once I was done, I found a decent spot right on the rail by the ramp and decided to hit that up. I would be able to secure some great shots of the stage and still be able to shoot the ring too. So I stayed here to shoot some photos, while Dave went to see how the traffic was for the rest of the con. He returned shortly and said it was still pretty bad and it was tough to move about.

The NXT divas were finishing a Q and A and were getting ready for the first match, which included my girl Alexa Bliss. She was not signing today, but I still had hopes to get my photo op with her signed. After she was done, she came walking up the aisle and I pulled out my photo op. She saw it and came right over. She signed it and the NXT film crew ran over and started filming her signing it. She left, while I celebrated my victory. NXT film crew kept filming me, so I started to markout for the camera, including kissing my photo op, which the camera guy gave me the thumbs up too.

Since we were late for session 1, session 2 was starting very soon. Regal came out and announced that in 20 minutes the main event was happening and it would be Balor/Neville vs. Owens/Breeze. I really wanted to shoot this match and was determined to stay regardless who was signing. And the next signing had Mark Henry, Bayley, Sami Zayn and Charlotte. I had a small need for Henry and 3 for Charlotte. My plan was to not give up my spot, as I had already moved down 2 more people to get even closer to the ring and really didnt want to lose my spot. Dave wanted to hit the line, so he went for it while I stayed back to continue to shoot. I was hoping since the session was 2 hours, I would be able to shoot the tag match and then hit the line. Of course, the 20 minutes might have been nothing more than a tv cue, as it was an hour before the match started.

Flair came out for a Q and A. I opted to participate in the Q and A and ask Ric about his impressions of Finn Balor and his future. Flair said Finn was very humble and has an extremely bright future in WWE. He expects big things from him. After the Q and A, Flair came walking by me and a guy had a Pro Wrestling Illustrated and waved it at Flair. I figured he would ignore it, but instead Flair reached over and signed it. I was shocked. You just never know.

Finally the tag match was starting and Dave had returned from the session. He said the line was absurd and people were continually looping back. I was starting to figure I was gonna miss out, as the bell rang. The tag match was pretty good. As soon as it was done, I grabbed my stuff for the session and hurried over. Dave kept the spot, as I hit one of the longest lines for NXT with only 30 minutes before the session was over. I was definitely worried I wouldnt get through. But I did make it with just a minute or 2 to spare. There had to be at least another 50 people still behind me, mostly loopers. I got Henry on my program, said hello to Zayn and got Charlotte to do all 3. I was a little worried about Charlotte, as Dave had said they were starting to get strict about the autos. But Tim White was at the end and he was really cool with me. He saw my photo op with Charlotte and said it turned out really nice and handed it back to Charlotte to sign. All 3 were done and I got through the line. I thanked Tim and headed back over to Dave. When I got to Dave, he asked me how Henry was and I said he was fine. Dave said he had a less than favorable experience. He said Henry took issue with the promo he asked to be signed and started to complain. He told Dave he wasnt signing anymore autographs and hates this part of the job. The promo Dave asked to have signed was one with Henry and Rodney Mack. He said Henry stared at it for a minute before he finally signed it. I just dont get some people. Why? If you have issue with Mack or whatever, who cares? How is it relevant to the fan who is trying to get the promo signed?

The NXT tryouts were next. Nothing spectacular to report, outside of Corey Graves just owning this with his mic. work. At one point he asked for audience participation. He said he wanted the crowd around ringside to cheer and the fans in the stands to boo. The cheers were decent, but no one was booing. Graves asked again and his request went ignored. So Graves asked the ringside crowd to now boo all the fans in the bleachers. BWAHAHAAH!!

They were getting ready for another Q and A followed by more tryouts. The Q and A was the NXT Champions Q and A, so I opted to stay for a minute. Kevin Owens was doing a fantastic job heeling in the ring. Some kid asked him why he thought he could beat Cena and Owens said he know he can, because he is motivated by how much sadness will be in that little boy’s eyes when he does. Classic. I also asked a markish question….how was it going to feel when he loses the NXT Title to Finn Balor on March 25. When JoJo was previewing the questions and I asked her mine, she said I should be ready for a tongue lashing and I got just that. Owens went off on me and some kid who painted his face like Balor. He told me it was retarded to paint your face, but I should do it as it would be an improvement. I did get to banter with him a bit. Owens asked if I was being serious, at which I grabbed JoJo’s mic and responded to him…deadly. Owens wanted to know if I could pass a drug test. I wanted to say something smart ass like….I could pass the same ones Randy Orton does, but figured that would probably get my question edited from filming. Overall it was a ton of fun and Owens was great staying in character. I gave up my spot for the last session with Balor, Miley, Neville and Breeze. Had a few for Balor and needed Neville and Breeze. The line was ridiculously long. It moved fairly decently. Dave wanted a photo with Balor, so I promised to take care of that for him. Breeze was first and I got 2 from him, my poster and on the Mike Dalton entry of my NXT program. He said he didnt know who Dalton was, but was willing to sign that page if I would like. Got to Neville and had him sign my poster and then to Balor. For Balor, I was attempting to get 3 done, since Tim White was there again. I got my photo op from the previous day printed out as an 11×14, an 8×10 and my NXT poster. He signed my poster first and then took my blue paint to sign the 11×14 and 8×10. He asked me if I was headed back today or if I was staying another night and I told him as soon as I was done here, I was back on the road. He said to let him know if I decide to make the trek to Orlando this year and I told him I would. Dave came through and I took his photo while he got my NJPW program signed for me.

As were leaving, Graves cut another hilarious line. One of the guys for the tryouts was cutting his promo and reached for the mic from Graves hands. Graves told him not to touch his mic as he doesnt even work here. Great stuff. While we continued to listen to Graves, we got our stuff packed up to get out of here. Out the door we went and we headed for the car. It was gonna be a long drive back and we wanted to hit the road ASAP. Sadly, our travel troubles would only continue.

As we got on the road and home was 5 hrs 49mins away, the GPS instructed that we exit. It wasnt really an exit, but more of the highway splitting. We needed to goto the right where the exits were, but Dave ignored the GPS and just went straight and now we were unable to cross over to exit. As we drove by, we could see our exit and it was CLOSED!!!! The exit we needed was closed. Now what?! We got rerouted, but the GPS now said it was gonna take 9hrs to get home. NO WAY! We got off the next exit and quickly circled back. We took a different exit and got on the right path. As we were making good time, we opted to finally stop for some food. We were close to haflway home with about 3 hours left according to the GPS. We stopped at Quiznos to get some food and then swung in for some gas at the gas station. We spent no more than 30 mins for both, but when we got into the car the GPS said were now 5hrs away.:1distraught: C’mon!!! 5 hrs?!?!? As we continued, I thought for sure that the GPS would update and get back to closer to our original time, but it never did. 5 hrs later we were finally back at my place. I was exhausted. This weekend was a ton of fun, but it kicked my ass. I would totally do it again, but I could do without all the GPS issues. The show, the matches, Axxess and all the great meets made the trip WELL worth it. I am so happy I opted to goto NXT. I cant wait to see them live again. As the final chapter in the NXT story draws to a close, I shall leave with my photos from this trip. Enjoy!

NYC 2/23/15

The hunt was on. But unlike previous trips, this trip brought about a change in travel partners. I’m sure we all have those chicks in our lives that always say that want to come, but find a way to bail last minute. We’ve been there. We’ve done that. Girls just love to fain over the celebrity photos we get and beg to be taken on a hunt, but then find an excuse. And how do you get mad? They bat their eyes, pout their lips and apologize. And we, like typical schmucks just accept it, offer another time and plunge back into our original plans.

This time though, it was a little different. There would be no apology, last minute bail, pouty lips or batting eyes. No, instead…..we had a trooper. :maybe: Not only did my friend want to see how it was done, meet some celebs, see the bright lights of NYC….but she is now the NEWEST converted fan to the show Arrow. After a binge weekend, she blew through season 1 and was ready to meet Stephen Amell, who coincidentally was in town. And anyone who knows me…..knows I will find any excuse for another Amell meet.

Just a hair past 5am and we were on the road to NYC. She had never been to NYC, so this would not only be a hunt, but a chance for her to see the city that never sleeps and an opportunity to see how crazy New York can truly be. After a small accident, we made it into the city running a half hour behind. Our first stop was a spot where there were a number of celebrities expected…..but a number that we certainly questioned their appearance considering they appeared at the Oscars the night before. Once we arrived, not only were our suspicions true…..turns out NO ONE was appearing here as the entire show was taped in LA due to the Oscars. :damn:

So her first swing at the plate was a missed. Our half hour delay now really meant nothing, as we ventured to spot #2. Once we arrived, the spot was virtually dead. It was early and it was cold….BITTER cold. The week before showed the forecast to be 40 degrees. Sadly, it was more like 11. While we dressed warm, I wandered off without a hat….which is actually typical on my part. I certainly didnt want to mess up my hair. But the fierce wind would that on its own. It would be about a half hour before the first celeb arrived and it was Scott Wolf from Party of Five fame. He was super nice and signed and took photos. I had nothing for him, so I got a selfie and she had her first brush with fame….Scott Wolf. She asked me what show he was from and I told her Party of Five, which she promptly responded she had never heard of. :facepalm: Yup….I’m old.

Moments later, out from the building walked Joe Piscopo….who was almost unrecognizable. Its been a LONG TIME since I have seen him. Joe was also very cool. He was glad to take photos with anyone who requested. She opted to avoid this one, as she had ZERO clue who he was. I did not and got a quick pic with him. The next guess was one that was very hard to miss, yet I was the only one to spot this person as he walked up. It was WWE Superstar…Mark Henry! Holy BUTTER STICKS Batman! Junior Mid Card Mafia member was about to go one on one with The Silverback…..Mizark! Henry, unlike most occassions, was happy to stop to take photos. He kept commenting how crazy we were to be hanging outside in the bitter cold, while walking around the city…..IN NO JACKET!!!! :saswhat: Who’s crazy now?

The last celeb we got was Mary Elizabeth Winstead from Scott Pilgrim and Die Hard movie fame. She was hurried to her car, but she did take a couple of pics and sign a couple of autographs. I was able to get a crappy selfie with her….but one nonetheless. Her publicist stepped into my shot, as I was forced to raise my camera up to avoid this head blocking mine. Oh well. There was one more celeb appearance, but it was around the corner from this spot. By the time we were aware of what was going on, it was too late. Jenny McCarthy was getting inside her SUV and leaving and we had just missed her.

The cold was really getting to us and this spot became virtually dead at this point. Eventhough some friends had texted that Stephen Amell had this spot on his list for the day…..we opted to get some lunch. I think it was a bit late for him anyway and the info was 100% solid. Since my friend is a lover of burgers, where else would I take her but my favorite NYC lunch spot…..Steak N Shake! And my little sugar momma even treated…..I could get used to this. :lol: Her first time eating Steak N Shake and she loved it. We got out of there just as the place was starting to get busy, so our timing was impeccable.

The next part of our trip was more so to pickup photos I had printed at Adorama Pix. So we went across town and headed down to Union Square. We stopped at Adorama and I picked up my photos, as we then ventured into Union Square so Tarah could see another side of the city. We also stumbled upon the Powers set, which was filming. I did take a quick look for Sharlito Copely’s trailer….but to no avail. After walking around the square, we took the subway back to our last spot. One where we had high hopes of some big names along with the biggest reason for the day…..Stephen Amell.

The next spot isnt the easiest to navigate. With 2 different doors and a garage…..I have had WAY more failure here than success. Hopes were high….as was the unnerving feeling. One of my friends in the city told me to use the opposite door that I usually hang at. I decided to follow this advice, as I have heard that that door seems to provide a stronger success rate. The cold was really starting to become extra bitter. In an attempt to try and warm up, we ventured inside and pretended to be tourists. The building was so warm and we would just walk past security guards talking about different NYC attractions in order to go unnoticed. In addition, this gave me the opportunity to bounce to the other door and see if anyone else was out there waiting.

While we waited, we were expecting to see a few other celebs. But either we were at the wrong door at the wrong time….or they all used the garage. There wasnt a lot of hope for these other celebs, so we certainly didnt let it get us down. Time was ticking though and Amell should be arriving at any moment. We did spot a few dealers pop up. It was a good sign we had the right door…..but they would quickly disappear. We cut back over and checked the other door, but they were not there. :thinking: A few fans showed up. They too were clearly waiting for Amell, but they refused to wait too long. Evidently they had tickets they needed to use and had to go. That too was discouraging. Where oh where was Stephen Amell?

Well, our first hint came through instagram. He had posted a picture and status update that he was out having a cocktail before heading to this spot. So at least we knew we had not missed him yet. DJ was nice enough to text me this info and even helped try to dissect the photo for any hints. Nothing really stood out. Based on the time stamp of the photo and the current time….we knew his arrival was imminent. Standing at the original door and clock watching, I started to get this uneasy feeling. I looked around and there was barely a soul in sight. I told my friend we should go check the other door really quick.

As we walked over and turned the corner, the commotion outside was huge. Paprazzi was out there and flashes were going off. Dealers were all over the place. I quickly ran into the spinning doors, not even noticing that my friend jumped into the same spinning door as me until she told me later. We got outside, as security was draped all over him. Stephen saw me and came over for a hand shake. I told him that I had brought the newest Arrow fan and that she had just spent the past weekend binge watching season 1. He walked over to her and allowed her to get a selfie. Then he took one with me and he was off. Pretty nice of him considering his wife and child were with him. :clap:

There it was! Mission accomplished. My friend was so excited. All the waiting, the bitter cold, etc. was now all worth it. We were on an adrenaline high. We opted to wait till Stephen left in attempts to try and score a couple of graphs. But when it he came out, he was in a hurry to get to the airport and politely declined….explaining he was headed for the airport for a flight. He thanked people from coming out, but was definitely in a hurry and had to fight the crowd to say goodbye to his family. Of course the dealers just couldnt let it be and had to turn this into the apocalypse. They screamed obscenities at him, telling him he had changed and didnt know how to treat his fans. No, fuck face…..he knows how to treat his fans. He just doesnt give two shits about the dealers. A real fan would never go off on him like that, especially considering he didnt have to explain why he couldnt stop to sign….and he did. And this kind of behavior is exactly why he went from a celeb who would stop and spend a good amount of time to sign and take photos to one who has become more reclusive.

Since we had what we wanted, we decided to head to Times Square. This would be my friend’s first chance to see it all lit up. She was amazed by the sheer number of people on the streets, the bright lights and the huge video bill boards. It was really cool and took me back to the first time I walked into the Times Square. Since my friend had an early day at work scheduled the next day, we decided to head home. We hopped back on the subway to the transit train. While sitting on the transit train awaiting departure, I began to read an article on FB about a news broadcaster who was on the air in Wilkes Barre and used the term “jigaboo”. Hmmm……never heard this. I turned to my friend and asked; “Whats a jigaboo?” :saswhat: And thats the face made by several of the travelers who were seated in our cart. Yeah….they were black. Whoopsie. Of course my friends explained to me what it was and my ignorance now was on full display.

Back to Secaucus we went. Walking to the car, it felt like it had become 20 degrees colder here. We got on the road the took the long trip back. We stopped off at the traditional Wawa in Phillipsburg, but surprisingly neither of us were hungry. So it was gas and bathroom and back on the road. We made decent timing home. She was beat. I still had a little left in the tank, as getting in before midnight isnt the usual by any means.

The trip was a success. Not only did we both get the big want of the day, but she had a chance to take an adventure into the big city….and she loved it. She loved the hunt, the success, the rush and the sites. When I got home to unpack my bag is when I realized that I didnt get one single autograph. LOL! There’s a first. Oh well. Still very happy with my gets. Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics!

 

Edge & Christian in Washington, DC 12/28/14

The final Raw of 2014 was being hosted by my all time favorite wrestler Edge….and Christian too. So it was a no brainer to head to Washington DC to see the man I had been following for over 2 decades. Edge was the man that introduced me to a pro wrestling world outside of WWE. The first time I ever came across this man was inside the pages of Pro Wrestling Illustrated. As I was waiting for my parents to grocery shop, I would hit the magazine rack to see what was going on in wrestling. One day I opened PWI and found this article about a tag team tearing up the north east called…..Sex & Violence. Immediately, I was drawn to this name being the horny, adrenaline pumped teenage male. Sexton Hardcastle and Joe E. Legend looked like rock stars. PWI was calling they best tag team on planet earth. This Sexton Hardcastle sounded awesome. I needed to see for myself. I loaded up AOL 3.1 or whatever edition it was at the time, and started scouring the internet in hopes of finding more. What I found was a chat room filled with other wrestling fans…..independent wrestling fans. I struck a deal and a VHS tape of Sexton Hardcastle was on its way to me. I was stoked. Once the tape arrived, I was immediately hooked. This was my guy. I had grown from the days of Hogan, Savage and Warrior. I felt like they were cartoony and I was getting ready to drive a car soon. I was becoming a man. :rofl1: Or so I thought. I wanted something new and different and was already more taken with guys like Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart anyway…..this guy was right up my alley. I pronounced him my favorite wrestler. Lets face it….going into a chat room and saying how Hulk Hogan was the man in an indy chat room was a good way to get you bombarded with instant messages of hate. Sexton Hardcastle, Sex & Violence, Thug Life, Revolution X…..thats me. I’m all in. As the years went by I can remember going to the grocery store and checking the news stands for the next issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated, just to see what was going on with Sexton Hardcastle. And then one day, my monthly subscription to WWF Magazine arrived and I opened up to read about this Dojo that was starting up and VIOLA!!!! I saw him….Sexton Hardcastle aka Adam Copeland, was the star pupil and WWF was expecting to sign him. If he went to WWF, then what about independent wrestling? What about Christian Cage and Joe E. Legend? The more I read, the more I knew that Sexton Hardcastle was destined for greatness on the biggest stage. Freshly signed to WWF and finishing his indy dates, I caught wind that he indeed would finish out his dates in Reading, PA for a little indy fed called PCW…one of his regular stops. Well, I made sure I was there. This could be my last chance to see him on the indys before he was fully on the road with WWF. And this became the first time I ever saw independent wrestling live and in person. Fast forward 20+ years and its been one hell of a ride. From watching him work in front of 50 people to seeing him main event Wrestlemania, I am proud to have been on this ride for so long, unwavering and only enjoying it more and more. So thats the background and here we are, a couple of years since I last saw him. I miss seeing him each week on tv or on the road, but I am glad he is happy with his life and the career he now has undertaken. And with DC just a few hours from me, I loaded up the beast and met Cancer Free Dave and we were off. For the first time in the longest time, I left on time. I stopped at Chipolte and grabbed some lunch. I hopped on the highway and started the short drive. About 20 minutes into my trip I realized, and I really have no clue how I did, I was missing my markers. :facepalm: How exactly would I get anything signed without them?! I turned around and started heading back. Even when I leave on time…..I’m late. Our arrival into DC was a little later than I wanted, but not the end of the world. We still had a good hour before his plane was to arrive. I checked the arrival board when I got there and discovered his plan was arriving early now….and we had just 10 minutes to get to the gate. We rushed over and got there in plenty of time. It wasnt that long after that Edge came off the plane. There were about 20 fans waiting. He came right over and started to sign. When he spotted me, he stopped and came over to shake my hand and ask me how I had been. He went back to signing, while still conversing. I ended up getting 2 autos and a photo with. We talked about his upcoming Raw and how he and Christian had several ideas they planned out, but wasnt sure how many would actually get used. He seemed so happy, especially about being a father. He joked he gets less sleep now than when he was travelling on the road. He was off and we were off to our next get. Next on my list was JBL. Had a bit of a wait for him, but spotted him as he arrived. I really had nothing for him, so I opted just for a photo. It was a quick hit and then we were gone. The only other name on my list was Christian. We had a bit of a wait for him, but kept ourselves occupied by roaming around the port. When it was time for his arrival, we headed to the gate and waited. Christian was cool, quiet as always. He signed for everyone, including multiples. I got my program and an 8×10 signed and also got a photo with him. I suggested he break out the kazoo for Raw and he said it was on the list. And if you watch Raw….you did in fact see the kazoo. And that was it. We had no other info and decided to bounce. We headed back for home, scoring what we came for. Short trip, but a good one. And this concludes my final adventure of 2014. Like every year, its had its highs and its lows. Cant wait for what 2015 has in store for me!

 

Chris Pine In NYC – 12/16/14

Just two days after the failure that was DC, I was off again to NYC for a long shot at a man I have been chasing for 2 years….Captain Kirk from the USS Enterprise. No…not that Kirk. But the current Kirk. The JJ Abrams…Kirk. Never was a Star Trek fan, though I did watch some of Next Generation. All other versions bored me. But Abrams put a new spin on the franchise and selected the perfect lead for his franchise in Chris Pine.

I started my Star Trek poster back in 2012 at Fan Expo Toronto. There, I quickly added two of the biggest names in the film in Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban…Spock and Bones. Earlier this year, I snagged the next biggest character in Uhura played by Zoe Saldana. And that left the biggest piece of the puzzle…..Chris Pine. I hesitated in taking this trip, as Pine was just in NYC 2 weeks ago and then last week did NOT attend his movie premiere in NYC. So why would he be back? What ended up pushing me over the edge to go was Tim Tebow. See Tebow, was scheduled for an appearance and since he was just in NYC on Sat night for the Heisman ceremony, I knew at worst case I would get Tebow.

Up at 3:30am and out the door at 4am. I made fantastic time to Secaucus and jumped on a junction train right away. Once in the city, I hit the spot for Tebow and Pine right away. I wasnt expecting many people and I was sort of right. When I arrived, I found the spot to be filled…..filled with paparazzi. There was just 3 other fans waiting and everyone else was paps. Strange. I got the best spot I could, even upgrading myself to a sliver of the end of the rail when a paparazzi guy was nice enough to let me in front of him since he only wanted to shoot photos anyway. :maybe:

One of the employees there was nice enough to confirm that Pine was in fact going to be here live and nothing was pretaped. It wasnt too long till Pine finally arrived. He walked right past us, waving hi on the way in. The publicist mumbled something…..it sounded like she did on the way out. No one had seen Tebow yet, but it was possible he was already inside by the time the first person got there. Christoph Waltz arrived and he signed, but refused to take photos. His publicist says he NEVER does photos. :thinking:

Pine was in there for quite some time and then he finally exited. He never even looked at us. He marched right to his car and was gone. :1distraught: This is NOT good. The same employee came over and we asked about Tebow and he said it was pretaped and he wasnt here. All the fans already left when Pine bolted, I was the only fan left. But instead of the paparazzi leaving, they stayed. In fact, 3 more joined in. One of the guys said, Oprah was coming in to pretape and thats why they were staying. They told me Oprah is really nice and that if I stay, she would definitely do it. But I wasnt here for her and the person I thought was closest to a sure thing isnt here either. Now what?

I had one more tidbit of info. So I boogied on over to the next spot. No more than 10 people were waiting. 5 minutes into waiting, Pine came out. I had no spot on the rail, but getting my poster done was the priority. He went down the line and signed and took photos, no problem. I was the last to get him and couldnt score a photo, as he went back to take more photos with the girls on the rail and by the time I got to the front, he was headed out. I was lucky enough to get him to do a market switch, in order to keep the trend of blue Sharpie on this poster. No biggie….the poster was done and the trip was a success.

I headed over to another spot, as I had a little time to spare, but it was a bust. One of the guys that was at the first spot, who didnt goto the 2nd spot because he thought there was zero chance he would do it, was regretting it after I told him I got him. I had one last piece of info to act on and this would be the end of my short NYC trip. I got some info on the Dallas Mavericks being in town and headed over to the team hotel. I waited as long as I could, but they hadnt returned from practice thus far. I had to go, so I packed up and called for my Uber.

NYC traffic was a bitch, but I finally made it back to Penn Station and headed back to ol Secaucus, praying there was no closed turnpike. Luckily there wasnt, I took the long ride back to PA with my Chris Pine signed Star Trek posted snuggly tucked in the beast’s back seat. Victory was mine. :victory:

 

The Rock Or The Smelly Sock? – Washington DC – 12/14/14

It was a trip deemed “The Rock Or The Smelly Sock”. Washington DC was the destination and some low key, wildly good chance at getting The Rock with a handful of other celebs had arisen. Away from the hustle and bustle of NYC, I jumped in the beast and took a ride to Hagerstown, MD to pickup Cancer Free Dave. Because of the protesting in DC, Dave said it was best not to try and drive in, but to take the Metro. Since this was Dave’s neck of the woods, I trusted he was right.

When we arrived at The Metro, we bought our tickets and got on. So far, so good. As we make our way to the first stop, the conductor announces that there is some issue with the track and we will have a bit of a delay. The first delay wasnt too bad, about 10 minutes. A few more stops in, we hit another delay. This one….WAS BAD! About 20 minutes waiting, before they got moving. There would be one last small delay on this Metro ride before we got to DC. We arrived about 40 minutes later than planned and hustled our way to our spot. Only problem…….OBAMA!

When in our nation’s capital, the President cant present himself to be an obstacle. Lets face it….even at home, the President can present himself to be an obstacle. The street we needed to get to was blocked by police and secret service. It wasnt the end of the world, but an annoyance. Until the President left, we had to hold up. Finally, he did and we made our way to the spot. We passed by the front door where the President had exited and headed to the stage door to meet The Rock. Since this was a secure area, we needed to sneak onto the premises. Once we got passed the bushes and trees, we hid behind a tractor trailer, parked in the lot. We had a great view of the door and there should be some time before Rock gets from the door to his SUV. We only waited a minute before we spotted a family rolling up right by the ramp from the exit door to the lot. So we opted to head over and wait with them.

It wasnt too long till the first celeb exited and it was Hunter Hayes, the country star. He was nice and took pics and signed autos. I got a pic with. My second biggest want was Christina Perri and she exited next. She took pics with the family that was waiting, but brushed everyone else off. :dislike: Other celebs like Rita Ora, Aloe Blacc and Earth, Wind And Fire came out and all refused to do it…..though Rita did it for the family again. :exasperated:

It wasnt looking good. The Rock? No…The Smelly Sock looked to be in our future. You know the kind…..the one that is soaked in epic failure. The scent was in the air. We gave it another hour or so, but it was dead. There was no :huh: , he must have gone out a different way. Instead, I was left with a single photo op with a country singer that all female friends shriek over and a sock that wreaked of epic failure. :melopain:

The ride home was short, which is always good when defeated. Its true….one is the loneliest number. :cries: :cries: So here is that one.

Tom Pelphrey, Hugh Jackman, Bradley Cooper & More – NYC – 12/03/14

Buckle up motherfuckers! This one’s gonna be a wild ride. The following report will contain grand success, miserable failure, controversial decisions, the NYPD, acts of violence including riots, cilantro and almost getting stuck in NYC. So grab onto something stable, dont let go….cuz HERE. WE. GO!

This trip was one I wanted to take for the past couple of weeks. I wanted to try and combine a few different spots with the confirmed ones I already had, but it didnt seem to be in the cards. With time running out for my top want, I opted to hit NYC. DJ opted to join me. With only a small number of spots on the agenda, we were able to avoid leaving too too early in the morning. Our first planned spot was for Hugh Jackman aka Wolverine from the X-Men franchise. The last time I went for Jackman, I came away empty handed. He wasnt posing for photo ops and refused to use my silver, only using the black he had in hand. My poster is almost entirely black and I refused to have him sign black on black. In the end, I was glad I didnt have him sign it, as his signature looked like crap. He was signing what looked to be a “U”. I dont normally care for the quality of the signature, but thats outrageous. Now I was hoping to rectify this and get my Wolverine mini poster done.

When we arrived at the spot, there was no one else there. I expected this spot to be pretty low key anyway. Because of that I opted to use the GoPro. I am still trying to get used to using it and how to position it just right on my backpack. We had a bit of a wait and the wind was horrible. In addition, the weather seemed to want to just open up and dump rain on us. During our wait, the wind would pick up and it began to rain. We were able to seek out some shelter before Hugh finally showed. By the time he arrived, there was maybe about 10 people waiting for him. He started signing and taking pics. All looked good, cept his presence began to pickup onlookers. They attempted to squeeze into the line. Hugh got to me and had that same black from our previous encounter. I requested a marker switch and he was happy to oblige. I got this beautiful Hugh Jackman signature on my poster and a great selfie to boot. :like: We were done and escaped the crowd that was now 30 to 40 people. I wanted to check my Go Pro for the footage and wound up with nothing but some blurry pics. Somehow I switched the Go Pro from video to photo. Ugh. Practice makes perfect.

From here we left and headed towards my top want of the day, Tom Pelphrey. For anyone who reads my reports or knows me in general, knows I am a huge Pelphrey fan. Loyal readers will also know that my last 2 ventures for Tom have proved very unfruitful, as I struck out both times….never seeing him. We stationed ourselves at the backdoor and began to wait. The cold and rain began to play a factor, but we got lucky here as this spot now had a roof to keep us dry. As the window for his arrival began to draw closed…..I ended up seeking out some info from an employee there. It just seemed to be getting too late in the day. I was then told I was at the wrong door and that they used the front door here. :EEEEEEK:

Damn it!!! We spent the last hour waiting and all for not. We had a small break and decided to hit some grub up. DJ warned me Steak N Shake had changed their menu. Outside of the fries, everything I ordered before was now gone. It was still good, but the prices had gone up and the best stuff was gone. We ate and left and headed to spot number three. This time we were here for Bradley Cooper. Based on the setup, DJ was worried he wasnt going to sign. As the time drew closer, they began to setup barricades and we knew it was going down soon. We got ourselves a good spot. Before we Bradley came out, Alessandro Nivola, known for American Hustle, came out first. I had nothing for him, so I just got a picture. It wasnt too much longer before Cooper came out. Cooper’s security made some announcements concerning how the signing was going down. Normally they say no outside merchandise, but they did not say that this time. So kept my fingers crossed for my Guardians of The Galaxy poster. There was this annoying woman a few rows back of me who kept thinking she could squeeze in on the barricades and then slide back out. She was really getting annoying, constantly pushing her stuff in front of me. Cooper got to me and I got my poster signed first. Then I asked for the photo, which he allowed me to take the selfie myself. Problem is, my camera has 2 lights on it. The first light is the focus light and the next is the picture being taken. For some reason, Cooper turned his head after the first light, thus giving me a profile shot of Cooper. :facepalm2: It was clear, but not good. I will need to rectify this. At least I got the autograph, which was more important. That same woman slid in and wanted a photo. BUT….she told Bradley she refused to do selfies and wanted some help to climb the barricade. What is wrong with people? I will say this spot was so chaotic that Cooper was just grabbing cell phones and taking selfies, but they werent always with the people who handed the cell phone to him. Highly recommend avoiding this spot.

Before we left, I checked the GoPro. I got the video. Unfortunately, after reviewing the footage at home, I found it to be all but worthless based on the perspective of the camera and the chaotic nature. With Cooper in the bag, it was onto our next spot for Dave Grohl, lead singer from Foo Fighters. When we got to the spot, there were only just a few people waiting. It wasnt too long till Grohl rolls up. His security asks that we all wait patiently and they even put barricades up. They explain he will do 1 for everyone. Grohl comes out and doesnt goto the front barricade, he goes to the side towards the ebayers. WTF?! He starts signing over there, hooking the ebayers up. He finally gets to me and I get a photo, but he turns his head just like Cooper….cept I dont even get a profile shot, his head has completely turned. He continues to sign, as I call back to him. He says he cant, but still has time to sign for the ebayers who have come over to this side as well. :saswhat: Unreal. To top it off, my GoPro got everything of this one just fine. Life’s wicked joke of irony,

At this point, I am starting to feel my day of success quickly slipping into a vortex of failure. This feeling wouldnt go away at the next spot. We take the very short walk up to the next spot for Christopher Nolan. When we arrive, there isnt much room on the barricade. DJ grabs a spot, but I am left in the back. We tried to wait it out, but DJ wanted to bounce to our next spot for a more pressing want of his and I had a crap spot anyway. DJ had his spot and I had the Dukes Of Hazzard signing I wanted to goto. I had a little time before I needed to leave, so I opted to join DJ at the next spot.

Top Five, Chris Rock’s new movie was having a premiere. We got there and there was almost no one there. Unfortunately, the setup might have been the reason why. They werent getting dropped off at the same spot anymore. On top of that, the streets were littered in NYPD. We discovered on twitter this was a direct result of the Eric Garner/NYPD ruling from earlier in the day. We missed a lot of names like Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Chris Rock, Gabrielle Union, etc. I was about to bounce, but then we finally got someone in Cedric The Entertainer, who I thought I already got. In fact, it was Cee Lo Green who I have gotten before not Cedric. :shrug: We then saw Kanye West, but he was a complete and total dick. His car pulled up, he got out, ignored everyone. He went inside and got into an argument with security. A few minutes later, Chris Rock came over. Kanye flashed some gang symbols and got a photo op with Rock. He then left and jumped in his car. It wasnt too much longer till Rosario Dawson rolled up. She originally said she couldnt do it and went inside. But she came back out, almost immediately. She came right over and did photo ops but refused to sign a few “racier” photos. As I type this report, I am watching a Bass Pro commericial and the blonde in the red dress holding the slippers has gigantic jugs. :smirk: It was at this point, I realized I had missed my chance at the Dukes signing. We started to see the protestors showing up with “Fuck The Police”,”Die Cop Die”, etc signs. I wasnt aware of the details of the case, so I couldnt judge….but then again….I cant see how these signs did much of anything. We waited a little longer, but this spot seemed dead now and I needed to take my last chance at Tom Pelphrey.

Before we headed back, we stopped at Chipolte for some grub and the bathroom. More for the latter than the former. Anyone here remember one of my first trips to Philly to meet Kurt Angle at an FYE signing? There was an incident involving me and a Philly Wendy’s bathroom. Well……not quite a repeat, but it was seeming to be eerily similar. I had a LONG wait before the guy inside finally opened up and I could go inside. I sit down and within minutes people are knocking at the door and complaining. You know I just went inside. You know I have only been in there for a few minutes, a far cry from my predecessor. Why!?!!?! Let me shit in peace for fucks sakes. When I stepped out, I found a line waiting outside. DJ talked me into trying Chipolte for the first time. The prices are high, but the quality of the meat looked strong. The only thing I didnt like was the rice. ALL their rice had cilantro in it. WHY!?!? Why is there no plain rice. Brown? White? Spanish? I dont care….but some sort of not cilantro filled rice. Neato Burrito doesnt do it. Whats with the cilantro love?

After we finished eating, we headed over to the Pelphrey spot. We started the wait, but DJ got a call about info. for Bryan Cranston. He needed to leave right away, abandoning me. Oh well, I knew he had no interest, but it would have been nice to have another set of eyes. So DJ left and the streets were getting littered in people everywhere. They werent protestors, but there was just tons of people and they were all over the street. It was hard to keep track and not have Tom get lost in the crowd, especially considering it was winter. Winter brings hats, large coats, etc. I overheard one of the employees saying they were having an after party that night. Thats not good. Since this was my #1 want, I wasnt gonna let that deter me.

As I continued to wait, I thought I saw Justin Deas. He co starred with Pelphrey on the soap Guiding Light. It made sense, I guess. He stood next to me, perhaps he was also waiting for Pelphrey. I kept taking quick glances and even googled him, but wasnt 100% sure. I was waiting to hear him speak, cuz I figured that would help assure me of his identity. When he finally spoke, he told the guy he was with that maybe isnt coming out and they started to walk away. In hindsight, I should have asked him for a photo…..but I was so fixated on the target…..I was afraid it might cost me and/or I might be wrong.

So maybe Justin Deas left, or maybe his doppelganger did. I stayed. The streets finally quieted and people were gone. I asked one of the employees about Pelphrey and he confirmed the after party, but he also told me if I waited, Tom would definitely exit out this door. He even left the door opened, while locking others. Now its just a matter of time I guess.

And then….and then I saw my target in my sights. Through the single open door, I saw Tom walk up to my vantage point and say goodbye to two guys. As the two guys left, I saw Tom turn to walk back down. I knew this was my chance….my best opportunity. I couldnt hesitate. I couldnt let this one slip from my grasp. I charged. Like a bull towards the red cape, I charged. Unfortunately, the employee from earlier was walking past the door at this point and he got the horns! I barreled over to him, just as I saw Tom turn the corner. I called out to him, just as he disappeared from my sight. Damn it.

In strike of luck to right my ship, he came back around the corner and instantly recognized me from our last meet. At first I thought he was just saying so, but then he asked me if I was still watching wrestling and building websites. So NOW I knew he wasnt BSing me. I congratulated him on getting casted on Banshee. He was really happy to talk Banshee with me. He asked me if I watched currently and I told him I didnt, but I would be starting with season 3, his first season. He said its been a ton of fun and its a really good show. I look forward to seeing it and more important Pelphrey. Tom signed 13 items for me and I got 2 pics with him. I was gonna just selfie, but the employee I barreled over offered to take it. The only thing bad about the photo, was how far away it seemed he was. I never really understand why someone takes a photo like that and then doesnt realize its too far away and take a few steps forward. He obviously saw something he didnt like and said to take one more, so we did. But they are pretty much the exact same photo. He was super cool, as the last time. He wished me and my family a merry Christmas and then said he needed to get downstairs for the party. I completely understood and then it got a tad weird. How? He hugged me. Not like the traditional manly “Jeff Hardy Bro hug”, but the hug, hug. I just wasnt expecting it.

Since I was done, I called DJ to see what was up with Cranston. He said he still hadnt gotten him, so I started walking over to maybe get there in time. On my way over, I got caught up in the riots in Time Square. Tons and tons of cops and these stupid asses getting my face screaming “I Cant Breathe”, “Black People Deserve To Live.” I finally reached DJ, but I was a few minutes too late. He missed Cranston as well.

It was time to roll out anyway. We headed for Penn Station and took the train back to Secaucus. Normally, this is where the end of my report comes. And I wish….I really wish I it did, but it didnt. Instead, after we left the train station, we discovered our turnpike exit was closed. So we followed the detour signs towards the Meadowlands turnpike exit and found it too was closed. So the turnpike decided to close our exit and detour us to a different exit that they also closed. And now there were no detour signs. I knew of another exit for the turnpike and we drove there and IT WAS CLOSED TOO!!! We tried to find an alternate route home, but it seemed there was no way. We HAD to be on the turnpike at least for some part of the trip to get home.

DJ finally found us another way, but the traffic was awful. The riots were here in NJ as well and it was causing all kinds of issues. Traffic was relegated to a creep and crawl and roads were closed. Cops were driving everywhere and we even saw a paddy wagon loading fools up in the back. It tooks us over an hour to just get on the turnpike.

Ouch. Our trip home just took forever. We definitely came away victorious from NYC, but the frustration of the turnpike zapped us. What a crazy trip. We had some success. We had some failures. We faced the riots and through a grueling battle, we made it out without being trapped with no way home. Disaster avoided.

Trips like this are ones you hate to live through, but give you a great story to retell down the road. While I am still a bit peeved at this, this time next year it will be great to reflect upon. Without further adeu……the pics!

 

 

NYC 24 Hour Plays 11/19/14

DJ got wind of some low key information on a spot that would have several celebrities attending. The original list of announced names ended up being heavily edited, including my top want Nina Dobrev. Evidently, this seems to the norm for events like this. Several other names I was looking for also did not attend, eventhough they were scheduled to be there. :smh:

These are times where you just have to make the best of a bad situation. And a bad situation it was. Not only did we have to contend with celebrities not being there….we had to contend with a fighter that is nearly undefeated…..the WEATHER! Rain, rain and MORE RAIN just soaked the streets of NYC. This wasnt as bad as Ringside Fest from a month ago, but it was bad enough to put a damper on our chances for people to stop. Early forecasts predicted this rain to last from early morning to early evening.

We got to the spot and found we were the first to arrive. It was about an hour before we saw our first celebrities. Sadly, we missed them. How? How could we miss 2 people that would literally walk right by us?! Well, security started to set barricades up. We were backing up as they were putting the barricades up in front of us and 2 celebs walked by us. And who would those 2 celebs be…..Amanda Seyfried and Justin Long…..2 names on my top 10 list for the day. :facepalm: It was too late. They were inside and no where to be seen.

It wasnt too long before our next name showed up and it was Melanie Griffith. Known for her starring role in the 90s hit Working Girl and also being married to Don Johnson and Antonio Banderas…..Melanie was nice enough to stop. She would sign 1 auto each and take a pic. I had nothing for her, so just opted for the picture. Nice start. After her came one fo DJ’s top wants, Pablo Schrieber. Unknown to me, he is actually half brothers with Liev Schreiber star of Ray Donovan, one of my favorite shows on tv. Pablo made it clear that is NO CHANCE…he will appear on Ray Donovan, which I found strange how he stressed that. Nothing to be signed by me, so I just got a pic.

As the hours passed, people would scurry inside and we were unable to determine who some were due to umbrellas, hats, scarfs, etc. We never had more than 5 people waiting at one time, so it was a good time to try and get people to stop. But it wasnt happening. Peter Dinklage turned us down. Sebastian Stan had headphones in and arrived HOURS after everyone else….making me think he was WAY late. Diane Neal, DJ’s top want promised to return….which she eventually did, but not until after the event let out.

After awhile, I figured this spot was dead. DJ wanted to continue to wait it out…..so I hit the cafe next door, sat down and got myself out of the cold and rain. DJ finally gave up an hour later and we grabbed a bite to eat. While we sat inside, out of the elements, DJ began to doze off. Since he was driving, we were definitely concerned about his ability to stay awake. We had a good 4 hours we needed to kill. Other spots in the city were pretty much a no go considering the rain, so what could we do? Do we hang out? Or do we call it with these measly gets?

I suggested we go see a movie. Sad, I know. Come all the way to New York City to….watch a movie. At least, I chose a movie that we couldnt see back home….Fox Catcher. Now we enter the movie review portion of this report. Fox Catcher is good, not great. The movie is weirdly paced. Instead of a film that tells a story, its more like a film that is broken up into dozens of individual scenes and all of those scenes tell a story. There is no flow in this movie though. What REALLY stands out for this film is the acting. WOW!!! Steve Carrell was AMAZING! And this comes from someone who is NOT a Carrell fan. His performance of John Du Pont was spot on. Creepy is an understatement to describe Carell in the flim. Channing Tatum is fantastic. He really steps it up in the film and shows off his talents as being more than just “the good looking guy”. Tatum delivers big time and I think this film may be the launching pad for his career garnering a little more respect. He finally gets a chance to show his talents as an actor. I definitely recommend the film, but moreso for the performances and less for the actual film.

When the movie started, DJ passed out. He got himself a good 30 minute nap. I wish I could say I stayed awake, but this theater had ridiculously comfortable seats…..so I slightly dozed off for 15 mins, minutes after I poked DJ several times. I was quite concerned when I poked him several times and the hibernating bear refused to awaken. I thought for sure after the movie we would be headed home. However, when the movie let out….DJ was wide awake and full of pep. Unlike myself, the cat nap seems to help him. Me? Forget it…only makes me yearn for the sheets even more.

Once we were outside, we headed back to the spot and met up with Lanza….yup, THAT Lanza. Same Lanza who barely makes a sound around the net these days. While we waited for the event to end, we did see a few more celebrities go inside or come out at times. First up was Meredith Viera. She was nice enough to stop for a picture. Then came Maury Povich!!! Oh yeah!!! I got Maury to stop for a pic AND sign my How I Met Your Mother poster. Maury loved the poster and was super cool. He even had his wife Connie Chung, but she scurried away when Maury stopped. DJ spotted Sam Rockwell, but Rockwell wouldnt stop at the time. DJ also spotted Dan Finnerty, who is known for being the wedding singer in both The Wedding Singer and The Hangover. A cool meet for sure. :like:

Once the event let out, people started coming out rapidly. First name we scored was Justin Long. I was able to get a pic with and also an autograph. Amanda Seyfried refused to stop and even yelled at Justin for doing so. :haeh: Sam Rockwell rolled out next. DJ got him to stop and take a pic. I had my camera ready and asked for a pic, but Rockwell declined. He saw my camera was out and ready….so he stepped back and said he would take it since I was already ready. That was good. Leslie Bibb came out at the same time as Rockwell, but I missed her cuz I was getting Rockwell. She stopped in the street to take a pic, so I raced over to try and get one. She did it and was looking much better than my last score of her.

I headed back to the spot when Diane Neal came out. She stopped for a few girls towards the front door, but then said she had to go. DJ called out to her, but she kept on walking. I called out to her on how she promised to take care of my bud and she stopped and returned. I was lucky to score a pic right after him, since my camera was already out as well. SNL comedian Jay Pharoah came out. He posed happily for anyone that wanted a pic.

And the last person I scored here was Sebastian Stan. Stan was getting mobbed and was definitely in a hurry, but he was nice enough to stop for me and DJ. I got 3 8x10s signed, before he had to go. We definitely missed a few people. Jennifer Aniston being one, but she refused to do it anyway. But others that were at this spot were missed while trying to get certain celebs. It definitely could have been a better day but with the weather….it could have been much worse too.

Before we headed out, we rolled over to the after party spot. With our long drive, we knew we werent gonna hang long. But I wanted to scope it out just in case someone pops in for the appearance and rolls out immediately. I was right. Out came Kelly Ripa and her husband Mark Consuelos. Kelly usually wont do it, so I stopped Mark hoping it would keep Kelly standing. But it didnt. Mark gladly posed, but Kelly marched off, leaving her husband behind.

And that was it. We said goodbye to Lanza, who ordered his Uber…the preferred method of NYC travel. And DJ and I headed for the subway back to Penn Station. The drive back…..was the drive back. I was thinking to myself as we were headed home how there was nothing crazy that transpired on this trip. WOW! First time for everything. I, sadly, could not stay awake all the way home and I think I dozed off halfway. Unfortunately, DJ felt the same and he too dozed off halfway. But we certainly awoke when THE COPS FUCKING PULLED US OVER!!!! :cop: :cop: I awaken to lights and sirens and DJ driving on rumble strips. The cops pulled us over because they saw DJ swerving from lane to lane evidently. The gave him the Spanish Inquistion before tapping on my window and asking me for ID and started grilling me on where we were coming from, doing, etc. In the end, they were nice enough not to ticket DJ. But they had him outside in the freezing cold for like 15minutes. There was NO WAY I was gonna step outside. My coat was in the backseat and I’m not stupid enough to reach in the back seat to grab it while a cop is standing next to my door. That was pretty much the wake up call. We were so close to avoid any craziness on this trip….but alas….crazy always seems to find me.

 

Jack Ham Sam’s Club Mechanicsburg, PA 11/14/14

This is quite possibly the shortest report I have ever posted. Hall of Fame Linebacker from the Pittsburgh Steelers was literally 2 miles from my house. The signing was free. Both 8x10s and photos with would be free. The only thing you had to pay for was a football if you wanted to have that signed. Otherwise…free, free, free. I headed over on my lunch break, expecting there not to be too much of a line. And I was right! There was but 6 people ahead of me. The line moved kind of slow though. When it was my turn, I asked for one of the free 8x10s and got my picture with. Ham was quiet, but accommodating, as he stood for my photo. I heard he has a reputation for being a dick, but I cant really say anything to it. I was in and out within 15 minutes. See….short report. :hah:

 

Meeting Sasha Mitchell At PWS 10/31/14 Rahway, NJ

A few months ago, it was announced that Sasha Mitchell from Step By Step and The Kickboxer series of movies, was coming to Pro Wrestling Syndicate’s big Halloween show on 10/31. As a long time fan of Sasha’s, this was a must go show. I immediately put it on my calendar and as the weeks ticked away, I grew more and more anxious for this show. As a child/teen, I grew up on TGIF and Step By Step was a key component to that lineup. And of course my favorite character was Cody Lambert, the good hearted yet dopey nephew of Frank Lambert. I also found Sasha taking the reigns of the Kickboxer franchise from Jean Claude Van Dam, who during the 90s, was one of Hollywood’s leading action heroes…..and became even more of a fan. Unfortunately, Sasha’s career was derailed when his ex wife brought charges of spousal abuse against him. In reality, it was his ex wife who was the abuser, beating their children and Sasha was defending his children. And of course there is a very little known, yet very funny B movie called Slammed. Sasha plays The Slammer, a huge pro wrestling star that elects not to sign with “The Arena” (WWE counterpart) and stays in “Back Bar” (indy wrestling). Two guys, seek him out in order for The Slammer to train one of them to defeat another indy talent. Its bad….but its good. Highly recommend this fun little flick. Its American Pie meets pro wrestling. Pro wrestlers like Zeus, Brian Kendrick, Aaron Aguliera and Sylvester Terkay all appear in this movie as well.

Now that I have laid the ground work for my fandom, lets fast forward to 10/31. The day had arrived and loaded the truck and made my 3 hour trek to Rahway, NJ. I wanted to have a nice relaxing drive up, so I left about an hour earlier than necessary. It was a good idea, as I got within 30 minutes and ran into a massive amount of traffic. Sadly, this would eat into most of the extra hour I had.

When I finally arrived, there was only about 20 people waiting in line.
I grabbed my stuff and got into line. I had about an hour wait for the doors to open…..or at least thats what it was supposed to be.
Instead, around 6pm, ambulances arrived and we would soon learn that there was a training accident with one of the PWS wrestlers. This would put a big delay on the doors opening.

There was several people dressed in costumes, as PWS was hosting a Halloween costume contest that Sasha Mitchell was gonna judge. I elected not to dress up. The extra hour wait though was killing me though. It was getting colder and colder and I had nearly finished my 2nd 20oz Mountain Dew. It was nearly 7:30pm before the doors finally opened and we were let inside. Another minute and I would have been in a costume…..”wrestling fan who pissed his pants.”

Of course once inside, the men’s room became my first stop before heading inside. One of the first tables was Harlem Heat and they had a huge line. Stevie Ray was a name I needed in my WCW program. But Sasha Mitchell was my prime want. I wasnt sure what the time frame for this autograph signing was. It was originally scheduled for 6:30-8pm.
But since they were an hour late in opening doors, I wasnt sure how long this session would indeed last.

I walked around to the other side and found Sasha’s table. There was already a small line in front of his table. Next to him was Hawkins and Reks, so I decided to head over and say hello. This would also give me a chance to test out my new Go Pro Hero camera. When I was at NYCC, I saw someone rocking this and thought what a fabulous idea. A tiny HD camera that you could clip to your backpack strap so that you could get first person recorded footage at a con, meeting a celebrity, etc. I can remember having some really cool conversations and moments with several celebrities that I wish I could relive. Here was a chance and a way to be able to do that, without needing someone else to hold a camera to do so.

I had just finished the Highspots Best Friends dvd with Curt Hawkins and decided to go talk to him about that dvd. Its very different from other shoot interviews, as it is very informal and doesnt cover a whole lot of dirt. Its more just a fun little conversation between Hawkins, Trent Barretta and Chuck Taylor. So I chit chatted with Hawkins and Reks about it for a bit. This gave me a chance to take a quick look at how the video recording went. Did I attach the camera at a good angle, how was the sound, etc. Plus its always good to chat with The Mid Card Mafia.

Now it was my main event time. I headed over to Sasha’s table. I introduced myself and he remembered me from twitter. We talked about so many different topics from his time on Step By Step to The Kickboxer franchise, David S. Goyer, Albert Pyun, Slammed and his upcoming projects. Hell, we even talked about today’s current television, comic books and his kids. He is VERY down to earth and embraces his iconic Cody character. Maybe in part, because a lot of Cody IS Sasha. Dude, Dudesey, bro….all in his vocab. Even his laugh was just like the Codeman. It was a blast to sit and talk with him. I was really happy to have this conversation on camera too. I was also able to get a few items signed and a few photos with him. I got both my Kickboxer 2 and
3 Laser Discs signed and 2 Step By Step promos.

A few people climbed into his line, so I let Sasha go and headed over to Harlem Heat. I spotted Ira and Bob Mulerin and sat around talking with them for a bit. At some point during this conversation, my Go Pro shut off. I figured it was as simple as just turning it back on, but I would soon learn…..not exactly. As I got to the table, I made sure the camera was back on and went up to Stevie Ray. I got my WCW program signed and asked him to sign as Kane, as I already had Booker T sign it as Kole….minus the fact that he signed it as Cole. Stevie Ray wanted to know who signed it as Cole and I told him it was Booker, at which he laughed and said he misspelled it. Booker contended he did not, but Stevie kept pointing to it. Stevie did tell me that he has never signed a Kane autograph. He said they were supposed to be Stevie Ray and Booker T, but due to a legal issue between them and Global. So, when they got to WCW tv, they were forced by WCW to change their names.
They didnt even pick the names, WCW just assigned them to them. He said they were only Kole and Kane for a few months before going back to Booker T and Stevie Ray.

Once I was done, I headed back to Sasha Mitchell’s table. His line was gone finally and I wanted to chit chat some more. Sadly, I would discover my Stevie Ray and my 2nd Sasha conversations did not record.
When the camera turned off and I turned it back on, I somehow put it into photo mode and it instead took a picture when I hit the record button. Nonetheless, it was still awesome to chat with him.

Sasha was called to the back, as I continued to hope that he would have some in ring action tonight….even if it was just a brief physical altercation. It never happened though. Instead, he was a guest time keeper and later judged the costume contest. He seemed to really enjoy his time there and interacting with the fans.

The show itself was a pretty decent, as PWS generally is. Match of the night came with Hawkins/Reks vs. Matthews and his mystery partner, who was not The Slammer….but Vance Archer aka Lance Hoyt. PWS had a solid crowd and put on a professional show. Its hard to say anything bad about PWS.

I stayed for most of the show, but as it was getting later I saw everything I really wanted too, I ended up bailing a bit early since I had such a long drive home. But I wasnt going home empty handed. I had a great time at the show, got a few autographs and photos. Hell, I even made the traditional Wawa stop and had some delicious Gobbler to keep the belly warm. YUM!

What a night. I able to experience a meet that I never thought would happen and someone who brings back a lot of childhood memories. And I got to put my Go Pro to a test. I just need to be more vigilant the next time I put it to use in order to make sure that I dont have any videos turned to blurry photos. So this is now my first next generation report that includes video. Enjoy the pics….AND the vids! :celebrate:

 

 

NYCC 10/9/14-10/11/14

Is it possible to walk away with a bundle of loot, some great autographs, several photo ops and STILL be miserable about the whole thing? Until last week, I would have answered with a resounding no and then……New York Comic Con happened. The 2014 NYCC didnt have a stellar lineup. It had some big name celebrities, who were doing panels only, becoming hard to impossible to get autographs or photo ops from. Names like George Clooney, Michael Keaton, Ed Norton, Christian Slater, Michael Jai White, Mike Tyson, Matt Ryan and more. These names ranged from Hollywood royalty to just names who were personal needs and wants on my end. And yet they were unaccessible for the most part. So how good is your lineup when these celebs are unaccessible?

With major names being unaccessible, it left really only a handfull of names I had any interest in. The lineup itself, if you were a Star Trek Next Generation fan, was pretty strong. But ONLY if you were a Next Generation fan. When they started announcing celebs, they lead with some nice ones. Sadly, they never really followed up with much else. Several repeats from last year like Gillian Anderson and Hulk Hogan and some status quo names like Giancarlo Esposito and Jason David Frank. In addition, NYCC NEEDS to either sell less tickets, which we know that wont happen, or they need to utilize MORE of Javits Center or find another convention center all together. They have outgrown what they are using. Knowing how bad the lines were gonna be, I tried to plan accordingly so I could avoid too much running from one part to the next and trying to get on a escalator.

That being said, my miserable adventure started on Thursday. Traffic into New Jersey was AWFUL. It put me a good 40 minutes behind. I arrived in Secaucus and went straight to my hippo. I wanted to get checked in before venturing into the city, but sadly was unable to as my room was not ready. I was able to park and took a cab over to Secaucus Junction to take the train in. I figured the cab would be cheaper, as the cab fare estimator online said it was only $7 for the ride. Round trip, even with tip, would be significantly less than parking. Another piss poor cab driver and I get fucked once again. This guy charged me $16 for the cab. I plead my case and he said those sites are BS. How could a 2 mile drive that took under 10 minutes cost me $16?! I paid the guy and told him his services would no longer be needed. I got on the train and went into the city. Once I arrived, I went topside to find another cab….God help me…..and headed to Javits Center. This time, no issue with the cab driver. $7 for the ride and I was there. The line outside was ridiculous! I thought Thursday was supposed to be so much calmer. Yet, there had to be 2000 people already in line and it was only 9:45. I asked the guy at the head of the line and he said he got there at 6am. The con opens at 12pm.

My friend Won met me outside and handed me my vendor pass and we headed inside. Skip the entire line, no security check and I was inside. I immediately went to my schedule to start hitting vendors up for NYCC exclusives. Sadly, none of the vendors were open for business yet. I went to each stop and was met with the same answer. Some said I could come back in a half hour, some said they wouldnt sell till 12pm on the dot, some werent even at their tables and a few I couldnt even locate. Seemed like vendors in 300 and 400 were missing, as there was no table for them and then the tables started to go out of order. What a mess. I was able to secure a few things on my list, but most I either couldnt find the vendor or the vendor refused to sell to me because I had a vendor badge. The big benefit of this badge now blew up in my face. Outside of avoiding the horrid line to get inside and security, this badge now didnt do much for me. What I got it for…..it did me no good.

One of the NYCC exclusives that was at the top of my list of the limited to 50 Arrow prints in artist alley. It was one of my first stops. When I got there around 10:30, the table was empty. Nothing was even setup. So I decided to do some more shopping and come back right before 12pm. When I returned around 11:50…..still nothing. Table empty. I had a bag full of exclusives and just wanted to snag a few of these prints to finish up. Instead, I was forced back to the showroom floor. As I was headed up, I spotted Darryl from Run DMC and grabbed a quick photo with him. He was super cool about it too. I headed back up and went to see Jordan Hembrough from Toy Hunter fame. I’ve always loved Toy Hunter and Jordan seems really cool. I hit his booth and he was just like I have seen him on tv. He was very busy though, so I didnt want to occupy all his time. I know he is there to make money. I grabbed a photo with him and was gone. Still a great experience.

Once I was finished with The Toy Hunter, I ventured back to artist alley. Once again…..nada. This was getting ridiculous. Its nearly 2pm and doors opened at 12. I went back to the showroom to try and get Manu Bennett, but he had not arrived yet. With no artist alley and no Manu, I decided to head for The King Of The Nerds free signing with Curtis Armstrong and Robert Carradine. I got down there and found myself 5th in line. Might as well wait it out for this one. The wait was long and boring. This is where having a partner can help, as well as having a partner for line spot holding. Both Curtis and Robert showed up on time and got started right away. They signed the King Of The Nerds promo and I got a picture with both men. Kind of crappy photo, but the guy behind me in line was all nervous about meeting Curtis. After I was done, I went to the showroom to check on Manu. Nope….wasnt there. Was told he should be arriving very soon though. So it was back to artist alley to see if the Arrow print was available. SHAZAM! Finally…..dude arrived at 3:30pm and was still setting up. I walked over and asked for 2 and was handed numbers 40 and 41. Evidently at some point from my last trip here, a line formed and people waited for this guy. They were just about out of this limited 50 piece run. Back up stairs I went to get in the Manu line. I was about 60 people deep and decided to just wait it out. Its the last stop of the day. I had walked around this joint long enough and had already grown tired of bumping into people who kept stopping in the middle of the aisles to take pictures of cosplayers. This annoys me to no end. I get it. But it still annoys the crap out of me….ESPECIALLY at NYCC, where there is barely room to walk in the first place.

Manu finally arrived and began to sign. He was in great spirits. $50 for an auto and $30 for a photo, if you bought the auto. I just needed 1 auto. When it was my turn, I walked up and asked for 1 auto. The promoter wanted to know who Manu should make this out to. Now normally, if you read my stories you would know, I prefer to have most of my stuff personalized. HOWEVER, my auto was going in my Arrow book. Personalization is just not needed. I politely turned her down and then was told, it would be an additional $50 for NON personalized. WTF!?!? :bs:I’ve heard of sports autos charging FOR personalization and even then its like $20 more….but double the price?!?!? She tells me its because I could rip the page out of the book and sell it on ebay for $200. Wait….what?!?! Clearly this woman has never been to ebay. I love Manu. But $200 for a page ripped out of a custom made book signed by Manu?!?!? She insisted. I bantered. She wouldnt budge and I grew tired of her bellyaching. My book was slid over to Manu, who apologized for this woman’s treachery. He signed my book and wrote Slade on the Slade photo and Deathstroke on the Deathstroke photo. He thanked me for coming out and made sure NOT to personalize the book. Manu saves the day.

I was glad to get the hell out of that fiasco. Down the escalator and out the door and into fresh air I went. I had the shits of NYCC already, I didnt even want to order my Uber ride until I got up the street a bit…..just so I could be away from it. I loaded up the app, ordered the car and was picked up in about 5 minutes. They took me to Penn Station and I was on the train back to Secaucus.

One of my closest high school buddies lives near the station and offered to pick me up and get some dinner. I hadnt eaten all day, especially considering the price for food at the con…which is expected, so I was quite hungry. We stopped at the hippo so I could get checked in. I wanted to make sure my drinks could be put in the fridge so they would be chilled by the time I returned. So when my buddy Brett picked me up, we headed to the hippo. I went to check in and faced my next challenge…..my credit card is being denied. I specifically wanted to use this card for the cash back feature. The day before I made a payment over the phone in order to clear plenty of room on this card. So there is no reason the card would be denied. I called the credit card company and was told the reason it was denied was cuz my payment had not been released. But when I made the payment, it said the next business day it would be cleared. Long story short, they extended my credit limit….allowing me to check in.
Next dilemma? Once I got to my room, I couldnt locate the fridge. I called down to the front desk and was told fridges were removed from “rooms with a view” and the view was now apart of the deluxe package. WTF?!?!!? If I want the fridge….$67 more. Get out of here! I grabbed a trash can and filled it with ice, packing my drinks in there. The front desk also informed me the wifi was out. :wtfamIreading:

Out the door we went. We decided to stay local, cuz I was tired and didnt want to be bothered with a lot of noise and people. I had seen enough people for one day. We ate over at Cheeseburgers in Paradise. The food was above average….as was the pricing. We headed back to my hippo to watch the Thursday night game. Brett said it would be another blow out and predicted an Indy win by 30. I said it would be close….Indy by 13. It didnt look good for early on, 21-0 to open…..but per usual, I called it. I was so tired though that at some point, I faded off and Brett had to wake me. I dont know exactly how long I was out, but I was out. Brett took off and I repacked my bag for Friday. Since Brett was working in Secaucus that day, we agreed to get breakfast in the morning and then he would take me to the train station. So day 1 was in the books and I was off to sleep.

Day 2 arises and I am more than sluggish. The memory of Thursday’s con experience still fresh on the brain, didnt help matters. Brett came by and we were off to some diner for breakfast. The food was ok. I usually avoid eating before long days, as the last thing I want is my stomach to become upset. I didnt follow this rule and paid for it. After Brett dropped me off, I immediately felt the rumbling. I need to make a pitt stop. Inevitably, this would make me late for NYCC.

Once I arrived, I went directly to the room hosting the Elementary Panel. It took me a few minutes to reach the room. When I finally arrived, I found out that the line was all the way back the way I came. I had to trek it all the way back. Here I discovered a line 500 or so deep. This was not good. I opted to pass on the panel, instead opting to hit the auto lines. Since Jennifer Morrison was scheduled to start signing soon, I figured she was best to hit first. The liner for her was ginomorous as well. I was probably about 150 back. Without any pressing needs at this point, I figured this was a good place to start. Once she finally arrived, the line moved decently. When I got to her, I offered my How I Met Your Mother poster to her and she loved it. She said she loved that show and really enjoyed playing Zoey. Got my sig and I was out of there. My next stop was The Librarians cast line. Eventhough it was only about 12:30 and that signing was scheduled to start till 2:30pm, there was already about 10 people in line. Christian Kane, Rebecca Romijin and this being a free signing, I suspected a line that would sure be absurd. I hopped in and played the waiting game.

Time couldnt pass more slowly. As 2:30 approached, I was already beat just waiting this one out. To make matters worse, they werent here yet. As the minutes continued to tick, I start worrying about The Americans Panel. With what I saw for Elementary, this could be filling up as well. Almost an hour and a half later, The Librarians finally arrived but so did the Americans Panel. Not only had the line grown, but the panel was half over. So now THAT panel was also off the list. The line moved quickly. They announced no photo ops or extras. I wasnt worried about photos, though I did see some have success with them, I had what I needed. I definitely wanted the extras from Kane and Romjin. I handed Rebecca my photo op from UpFronts and she was hesitant, but did sign it. Christian was next and he was great. He was happy to sign my extra item. Bang, bang and I was done here. I scoped out the Stephen Amell line and it was ridiculous. The damn thing was stretched to the other end of the room. It always seemed the more Stephen put in a dent into the line….the more people will hop into it. Good for him!

Amell autos was on the list for the day, but so was Ron Pearlman. His book signing wasnt supposed to be for another 1 or so and he already had a decent line. I went over to verify with NYCC and the book sellers about extras and was told NO PHOTOS and NO EXTRAS. They said this was a request by Ron Pearlman that he not sign any outside merchandise. I asked if I could buy the book, but get my poster signed and was turned down. I told them directly that you tell Ron Pearlman that I am NOT buying his book and the reason is because I want my poster signed and not the book. All his previous NYC signings had photos and extras. Why at NYCC he wouldnt do them is beyond me? But whatever…you lost a sale.

With Pearlman a bust, there was but 2 items remaining for my day. Amell and the Archer panel. Archer panel wasnt till 7:30. Might as well hit Amell then. I jumped into line. The line moved decently. As I started to approach the pay point, which I loved that they had this before you reach the table, they announced he was leaving for his photo op. Those who do not get through will be handed a number and be able to return after his photo op to line up in numbered order. This sounded much better. Since he was on time crunch, I knew they would be shuttling everyone through like cattle. So I did what I could to keep moving back in the line in order to achieve a number.

One thing that helped in my desire to get a number was that it was announced that Stephen wanted to take a break for a minute. He climbed down and started walking down the line to high five fans. He stopped at me and talked for a brief moment, before he continued down the line. Kelsey, his manager, stopped as well and told me she knew I would be at this one…remembering that I was in the north east.

When the numbers were handed out, it was just a few people behind me that they started with numbers. I ran back and approached the NYCC staff about it. The guy was really nice, but very puzzled. He didnt understand why I wouldnt want to just go no versus a number. Regardless, he handed me #2. :like: With the number secured, I was free to roam for a bit. His photo op was an hour long and they said to be back about 45 minutes. My phone battery was low. So I went upstairs to the AT&T booth, where they locked your phone up and gave it a boost. I had to wait in a small line, but finally got my phone in for a charge. I sat down on their couch, put a pillow behind my head and eventually passed out. Yes….I fell asleep at NYCC.:whatcanisay: I woke about 40 minutes later, grabbed my phone and raced back downstairs. As I reached the line, it was already huge. I got to the front and took my spot. Not 30 seconds later, Stephen appeared and started signing again. I quickly grabbed my photo op from UpFronts, my SDCC mini poster and Arrow book. It was my turn next. Before I had him sign anything, I reached in my bag and grabbed a few gifts. First was the autographed photo from earlier this year from Kofi Kingston. If you read that adventure, I explained that Stephen is a HUGE WWE fan and Kofi is a HUGE Arrow fan. Kofi loves the show so much, he actually had gear made in a Green Arrow theme, complete with the hooded ring vest. My 2nd gift was a custom made Captain Amell baseball shirt in the Captain Charisma theme. If anyone remembers the Christian Cage Captain Charisma shirt from WWE.com many years back, this was the same idea…..cept it had Stephen’s name on the back and Captain Amell on the front. He loved the shirt. Got my stuff signed and explained how the Arrow book got damaged at UpFronts. He was sad to hear, as he knew I had a lot of autographs in that book already. I opted to do Stephen’s autograph line on Friday and his photo line on Saturday. USUALLY, he wears a cap on day 1 of a con and no hat day 2. I wanted to put this to a test. Was I right? Stay tuned…..

With Stephen’s line done, it left me just my Archer panel. I ran into a few friends with about an hour to spare before this panel. Sadly, I was informed since this was a main stage panel, I needed a wrist band and the wrist bands were given out this morning. :deadd: I knew that….but I didnt KNOW that. Stupid. Now my shot at Christian Slater just went up in smoke. The only chance I would have now would be him exiting NYCC. I was tired and beat and Slater was really the only name I wanted. I himmed and hawed and decided to call my Uber ride to call it a night. But it was extra busy and the rate fare went to 3X the normal price or around $30 to get back to Penn Station. Guess that was a sign from above to stay and mark out. I went to the spot for Slater and saw maybe about 5 others waiting. It had been about 50/50 in getting people. As I was approaching, I saw Stephen Amell exit. I tried to get my item out of my bag, figuring someone would stop him, but no one moved. By the time I got an 8×10 out, Stephen was in his car and leaving. WTF?! The dealers said they dont even bother with him anymore, citing he wont do it.

Next person we saw was Ron Pearlman. Dude legit waited inside the building for 40 minutes, even with only 5 people waiting outside. His car pulled up and he got inside and was gone. He ignored everyone. Jason David Frank stepped out and provided the highlight of the week with his witty banter. He was very entertaining and was willing to hang out outside and chit chat. He signed my photo op from WW in his White Ranger gear. I even asked him what time it was and he responded 7:57. I screamed no. He jumped in his car, rolled the window down and screamed out….ITS MORPHN TIME! The car sped away and he was gone. Great stuff.

My next get was Matt Lanter of Star Crossed fame. He played the male lead Roman. This was a cool get. I had high hopes for that show, but it kind of fizzled and it never really got going before it was canceled. His wife was also there and runs a fashion blog. I got a photo with her as well….since it seemed to be en vogue. One of the dealer’s approached me and asked who I really wanted. I said Christian Slater. The guy attempted to feed me a line of BS of how Slater wasnt here. He then said it was a misprint on NYCC’s website. I said he was scheduled for the Archer panel, which this guy said he was a huge fan of the show and that Slater isnt on it. I went to IMDB and found that he is. Never believe the dealers. They are such cons. Really?! There are 5 of us here. You really want to lie to chase 1 away to get what?! It wasnt too long before Slater exited. I called out to him, as he had a security guard standing next to him. He turned and started heading my way. Then the security guard grabbed him by the bicep and told him he wasnt allowed. Slater protested and took another step forward. I’ve never seen a celeb man handled like this. Slater and the guard would have words, as they walked to his car. Slater turned and gave that look of apology and climbed in his car. I should have chased after him, but I froze. I couldnt believe what I witnessed.

With Slater gone, there pretty much wasnt anything else left. The dealer who told me, Slater wasnt here, put his stack of 8x10s back in his bag and everyone left. I called for my Uber ride and headed back to Penn Station. My original plan was to hit Broadway Friday night, but I was too tired to even venture out. It was right around the right time, but NYCC was kicking my ass. I think I would have felt different had I not spent countless hours just waiting in lines by myself. There is no animal that is even REMOTELY like NYCC. Be forewarned, this is not Wizard World. This is not a wrestling convention or Chiller or marking out in the streets. It requires an innate ability to entertain oneself for hours upon hours. And no matter how much preparation you put into it…..things….inevitably will go wrong.

Back at the hippo, I ordered some food, rearranged my bag and made arrangements with my buddy Brett, who was going to be joining me at NYCC on Saturday. This would be his FIRST convention of any sort. He had 1 sole want…..a picture with Gillian Anderson. So it was off to bed after dinner and back up early morning for what is known as the WORST day of NYCC. I couldnt wait.

Morning came way too soon. I was sluggish and already feeling the lack of motivation. It wasnt all bad. At least I would have Brett to keep me entertained. We headed directly for the Junction. Sadly, we must have just missed the train, as it was 25 mins before the next one was coming. Already stressed. Once it arrived we got to Penn Station and I summoned the Uber. After a 20 minute wait, estimated to be a 5 minute wait, the car finally arrived….or at least the driver said it did. I couldnt find it. The driver called me, but I couldnt understand a word he was saying. He then began to freak out, screaming into the phone at me. I screamed back, calling him a son of a bitch. I think his understanding of english was about as good as his ability to speak it. With the rain pouring in the city, I finally found him and we were off to Javits.

When we arrived, it was a minute before 10am and they were already letting people in. This was bad. I needed to be prompt today, thats why I left a good hour longer than needed. Marvel was holding a giveaway to meet the cast of Daredevil. I got up to the booth and found a line that was wrapping around and around the Marvel booth. I had to be a good 300 deep. Then something happened. Marvel announced the signing was canceled. They said that a little boy got trampled towards the front of the line and since we couldnt behave, no one was going to meet the cast. We were instructed to come back later to see if they were gonna have it later. What does that mean?! Since I couldnt get a straight answer, I sought out the head guy there to find out. After a lengthy discussion, he said we could line back up. Almost everyone from the line was gone though. The head guy at Marvel assured the little boy he was going to meet the cast of Daredevil. When I looked over to see who he was talking to, I saw it wasnt a little boy. Instead, he was talking to a midget. The man asked the midget where his parents were and the midget became angry. He took his winning ticket and waddled off. I shook my head and just jumped into line. From 300 back to about 30 back. They announced that that there were 400 tickets to be given away, but only 30 would be winners. 30!?!?!? 30 people for a 1 hour signing?! They could easily do 100 people. Why 30?! Needless to say, I was a loser. Even my buddy Brett attempted to score and he too came up short. 2 chances for 30 tickets and we both lost.

I headed downstairs to the autograph lines. Big need for the day is Alex Kingston aka Dinah Lance, mother to Laurel and Sara on Arrow. I had never met her, so she was a good meet for my Arrow posters. When I got downstairs, I saw a line a mile long. I couldnt believe how long her line was. She was keeping up with Stephen Amell’s line. She hadnt even arrived yet and her photo op was in 30 minutes. I was informed that they would not be doing a number system and that she would be gone for several hours, as she had 2 photo ops back to back and then was going to be taking lunch. No need to wait it out. Instead I went to Billy Zabka’s line for my How I Met Your Mother poster. He had about 5 people in line. Billy was really nice and loved the poster. He wanted to sign over Barney’s face, but I told him that was a bad idea since Barney thought he was the REAL Karate Kid. So he wanted to write on Ted’s face. LOL! He signed it and was very cool. But I was done very quickly. Outside of my photo op, which was an hour away and Alex Kingston….I didnt have anything for several more hours. So I decided to just get into line early for my Amell photo op.

I spoke too soon on the early part. I found the Amell line about 200 people deep and sat down. By the time the line began to move, it had already reached from one end to the other and then snaked back to do it again. WOW! Unreal. High praise to Epix photo ops……they were on their game. So organized. So fast, without feeling rushed. So professional. So organized. So stellar. I got inside very quickly and was right….no hat on Amell, got my picture and was out the curtain. By the time I had grabbed my backpack and walked to the table, my photo op was already sitting there waiting for me. WOW!!! :praise: They deserve all the praise possible. Every con should be using them. They were amazing, minus the whole cash only thing.

My photo op was put away and I was left with nothing else to do. I opted to just sit and camp out for Alex Kingston. By a strike of luck, she returned to her table shortly after and began signing again. She did not goto lunch. The lined moved slow, Alex took her time. When it was my turn, her eyes lit up at my posters. Then she saw my shirt…..my Oliver Queen prison photo. Her eyes widened and in her British accent, asked me if that was Stephen. I nodded yes. She was confused and shocked. She asked me if he was arrested. :likewhatsee: This is from the show. As soon as I started to say it, she realized it and laughed it off. She signed my poster and inscribed it with her character’s name. She loved the green paint on my other poster and signed it as well. I was done and done and was out of there. It was good timing too. Arrow panel was approaching in about 2.5hrs.

Brett and I found the line for the Arrow panel and it was several hundred deep. I couldnt even see the front of the line. We got in it and within minutes, we started moving for the panel room. Since this wasnt a main room, it was not cleared. There was another panel there and we got some pretty crappy seats way in the back. Hell, we were lucky to get seats at all. We were some of the last few to get seats. I couldnt even see the stage from here, let alone have a clear path to rush it when the panel was over. The Powers panel just recently started, so we sat through about 75% of it. When the panel was over, people rushed the stage. We used this as a chance to get up and see if we could secure better seats. We headed to the far left and found front row seats. We were definitely closer to the stage, but the view sucked and it was still gonna be hard to get anyone considering that they never left the actual stage. Everyone exited behind the curtains, lowering our chances. We opted to leave these seats and actually move a section closer to the stage about 5 rows back. Gave us a little more direct route to the stage.

Before the Arrow panel could start, we were forced to sit through a safety announcement concerning “cosplay is not consent”. :damn: Look….I get it. Common sense. BUT…..NYCC went over board with this and it became nothing more than a sham. This new “rule” was posted all over their website, tweeted on their twitter and posted on FB. THEN…when you arrive at the con, they have gigantic banners near the front door explaining this in depth. No gawking, no awkward staring, no touching, no assaulting, no sexual advances etc. Really?! This is freaking stupid. No awkward staring?! How about this….dress like a whore…..get treated like a whore. Why wasnt that added to the NYCC rules?! Have you seen some of these cosplay costumes? Tits, ass, etc all hanging out. I’m not complaining. I love to look at it. BUT….dont get mad at me when I do. Dangle raw meat at a hungry tiger, you are liable to get bit. Perhaps that is a bad example, as I dont think anyone should be touching or assaulting under any circumstances. But gawking, looking, lewd remarks? All fair game. Lets face it….each of these girls KNOWS they are gonna attract attention like that. Its WHY they are wearing it….for the attention. Now I am sitting here and you are going over this rule?! ENOUGH already. Not to mention if “cosplay is not consent”, am I free to make sexual advances towards girls NOT in cosplay?! :rofl1:

Rant over. Back on topic….the Arrow panel is finally starting. Outside, you could see hundreds upon hundreds waiting to get inside. Sadly, the room was at capacity and they werent allowing anyone else in. It was a great panel….probably the best one I have ever attended. It was very entertaining and the highlight was when Colin Donnell, former Tommy Merlyn from Arrow, crashed the panel and showed up as a surprise guest. He sat in and he and Stephen had amazing chemistry on stage. It was like watching 2 old friends just sit and chat. I even decided to get in line to ask a question, something I rarely do. Outside the 6 requests for selfies after the panel…..all the questions were decent for once. The 6 selfies thing was annoying and you could tell Stephen was annoyed by it as well. There were some good tidbits given away, but nothing that was too huge like previous Amell panels. He was on good behavior with the spoilers. One of my favorite parts was when a fan told Stephen he just started season 2 and was trying to avoid spoilers. He followed up with some annoying question, so Stephen answered him and then said ” Canary is Sara Lance, who is actually alive. Oh and she dies in the first episode of season 3.” This only drew HUGE laughs from the crowd.

When the panel was over, the crowd exploded into a rush to the stage. I used the “swimming” motion to move people out of the way and get to the front. Stephen did 1 selfie with 3 teenage girls, he did 1 for the first guy that requested one and then turned to head off. I called out to him, as he was going behind the curtain. He turned and saw my photo, came back out and signed for me. Then he left. :yes: Colin hung out for a little longer. I got to say hello to him. But he was gone shortly thereafter.

Arrow panel was done and we opted to exit out. The only other panel I wanted to do was the Constantine panel to try for Matt Ryan. Do I stay and attempt to rush the stage or do I got outside and try and mark out? Marking out sounded like the better play. So we exited NYCC for the final time and went outside. We saw a lot of people leave, including the cast of Powers. I never saw Sharlito Copely leave, but did get Olesya Rulin aka Abby from Greek and High School Musical. Next was Scott Grimes from Family Guy, American Dad, ER, Party Of Five. Giancarlo Esposito from Once Upon A Time, Revolution, Breaking Bad, Law & Order, Homicide. Then a big want came out…Michael Jai White aka Bronze Tiger in Arrow. Heard he is 50/50 about doing it. But Raza, who was already outside waiting, and I were able to convince him. Raza got his photo and I was able to secure 1 autograph in my Arrow book after telling him how much of a fan of the show I was. The autograph was really nice. I think Raza and I were the only two people to get anything.

As we continued to wait, I got David S. Goyer, director for the new Daredevil series and director of Kickboxer 2 starring Sasha Mitchell. I WISH I had brought my Kickboxer 2 laser disc. Sadly, chances of getting him were slim and I wasnt gonna be able to do his panel. The laser disc would have been a pain to lug through the con, so I left it at home. Then the Daredevil cast left. The crowd of about 8 were all waiting for them. Everyone refused to do it, cept Charlie Cox aka Daredevil from the NEW Netflix Daredevil series. While the dealers chased D’Noffrio and Deborah Woll, I went to Cox. Cox stopped for one person and then me and then security pulled him away. Security was all over this, but also were overwhelmed by the number of actors coming out and the number of people going after each person. Charlie was the last one out and he just walked away from the security circle. Once again, lucky to grab this photo.

Mike Tyson was the next out. You wouldnt know it was Tyson based on the security….you would think it was President Obama. WOW! There had to be like a dozen security guards around him and the NYCC security made a wall to block us from getting anywhere near him. I feared Tyson not wanting to do it, so I needed to have something that would get his attention. If you remember back to my WM 28 report, you would know that I got a photo with Tyson doing the “fuck that tiger” from The Hangover. Tyson loved it and told DJ, who was right after me, that I was a “crazy mother fucker”. Well…..Tyson remembered. I raised my photo high in the air and called out to him. Tyson looked over and got all giddy. He started screaming he knew me. He started telling one of his security guards about me…..”thats that crazy mother fucker.” He walked right over to me, with security still surrounding him. A dealer, who wasnt even in the group that had been waiting, landed in front of me like he had just parachuted from the sky. Tyson actually moved him out of the way and security blocked him saying that Mike was only going to be signing one thing and it was going to be for me. Tyson asked me how I had been and said he remembers taking the photo. He even was nice enough to personalize it to me. He signed it, said goodbye and was gone. We have a winner!

At this point, almost everyone left. One of the dealers, the same from the night before who lied to me, decided to go off on security. Waste of time. Security doesnt care and all you are doing now is creating unwanted attention. Threatening security you are going to go the restaurant they are having dinner or their hippo? WTF?! Saying you were trying to be nice by not interrupting their dinner?! This is how this hobby gets a bad rep. You are announcing that the autograph means more than pure human decency. Not to mention, do you think security is all of sudden gonna back down because you puffed out your chest?! PLEASE. The dude left, presumably to stalk the restaurant for the Daredevil cast. Whatever. There was but just 3 of us left, waiting for Matt Ryan from Constantine. Matt came out just minutes after everyone left, I called out to him and he ran over to me to sign my 11 x14 Constantine photo. He was really nice. I wanted a selfie, but security snatched him up and dragged him off. No one else got…..once again, very lucky to get Matt here.

Finally. FINALLY!!!! My NYCC weekend was over. I was done. I never looked so forward to the long drive home. Eventhough it was 9pm, I didnt care. Driving home would be more fun than NYCC. I summoned the Uber and went to Penn Station. But before I could drive home, I had one more hiccup to over come. When we got to Penn Station, we looked at the board to see the next train was to Trenton in about 15 mins. Secaucus is a stop that is on a lot of trains. We looked at the map and Secaucus was listed as a stop for the Trenton train. So when they called for it, we headed down and got on. This train was CROWDED. We were lucky to get on when we did and grabbed seats. A couple of cute recent high school grads stood right by us, not able to secure seats. We started talking to them and having a nice conversation. Then it dawned on me….this ride seemed to be taking longer than usual. The conductor then announced next stop….NEWARK! NEWARK?!?!!?! NOOOOOOOO!!!!! It didnt stop. We were on the wrong fucking train.

Ok. Stay calm. Brett and I leaped out of our seats, offering them to the ladies and jumped off the train. We ran down the stairs and found the next train to Penn Station/Secaucus. It was leaving in 4 mins. We ran up the stairs of the right gate, looking for a machine to buy a ticket at. Nothing. The only machines were all across the tracks. The train was arriving, so we opted to just get on. Its one stop. Whats the worse that could happen?!

The train gets moving and we hear the conductor annnounce Secaucus. We high five, as we know we have safely avoided a ticket check. PHEW! Smooth sailing. Except….TICKETS PLEASE. The train guy just entered our car and the train was just beginning to break. Do we get up and try and goto the next car? No way. It would look suspicious. How do we avoid this? I was thinking it might take him a minute to get to us and we could be off, but I think he could smell the desperation on us and was standing next to me in seconds. He asked for my ticket. Do I tell him the truth? And then it hit me…..I reached into my pocket and handed him my ticket from Penn Station, covering the start point with my fingers. He reached down, punched my ticket. Brett followed suit and the train guy did the same. He was gone and we were here. We jumped off the train and got far, far away. Mission accomplished.

We left Junction and Brett took me back to my hippo where my truck was parked. We said our good byes and I jumped in the truck to take the long ride home. Tired and hungry, my favorite Wawa couldnt get here quick enough. To be honest, once I got some Wawa in me, it wasnt as bad as I expected. I get in around 1am and went straight to bed. No unpacking….hell, I didnt even unload the truck completely. I needed to hit the sheets and dream of Jeannie.

Can we call NYCC a success? For the most part. I got a lot of what I wanted. I missed a few, but got a lot. I was definitely more lucky than others….thats for sure. The con itself was very exhausting. The new rules sucked. The lines….THEY SUCKED. Would I do it again? I cant say for 100% no….but highly unlikely. The con is just too much, especially when you are trying to navigate it on your own. Its more expensive. It has more people attending. And it has a lot of stuff going on that only seems to draw more people and causes interference. Who they bring in next year will always be a huge factor, but its probably gonna have to be some big wants for me to attend and certainly not doing 3 days like I did this year. Its too much.

If you are still with me here at the end, I hope you have enjoyed this read. I always try and offer up details, anecdotes and an overall good time. Enjoy the pics and see you next time!!!

 

Ringside Fest 2014 and Celebrity Meets

It seems every year I attend Ringside Fest, I am faced dealing with apocalyptic weather. The last time, I was trapped in NYC during a blizzard in October and my train home was cancelled. I was forced to take a train to Philly and lucky to have good buddy DJ come rescue me, before I was left stranded, hungry and near death. This time, I felt like Noah…..all I needed was an ark. The skies had opened and down came a terrentual down pour, one of epic proportions. :Mad: There were times walking in the city, that I couldnt see in front of myself. With all that being said…lets start the story!

It was another brutally early morning departure time. I made good timing and wasnt as late as I was for LOTR. Met up with Nate at the same spot before we headed to Secaucus to catch the train. Not only were we gonna attend RSF, but I was gonna show Nate how to hit some spots in the city later on. We made excellent time to the train station and into the city itself. Once we arrived top side at Caroline’s, the rain had only gotten worse. I quickly reached into my survival bag and pulled out my poncho. My poncho easily covered me and my back pack AND my Roman Reigns life size standee. Umbrella was up and I took my place in line. I loved how they decided to clear the room after session 1, as I only had a ticket for session 2. Nate on the other hand….he had both sessions. We found two lines outside RSF. Line 1 was for the morning session, which wrapped around the entire bulding…..ALL 4 SIDES! And Line 2, which wasnt too bad….only about 30 people deep. I got into line 2 and held a spot for Nate, while he dealt with line 1. It was a LONG ASS wait. The rain was building into flood like conditions and my feet, shoes and socks were soaked. Conditions were worse than they were in the snow. No ability to sit down or try and relax AND with the rain, it was hard to even occupy myself with my phone, as it kept getting soaked.

Time slowly passed. What was interesting though was session 1’s scheduled finish time had passed and Nate still had not caught up with me. I finally saw him come around about a half hour passed session 1’s time. He got inside fairly quickly from there. Due to the sheer number of people and the Bella Twins really taking their time with fans, the line was backed up. Once Nate was inside, I thought my time to go inside would come rather quickly. Unfortunately, it was nearly 40 mins before I would see Nate again. Once I did though, the line moved right on into Carolines and I finally got myself out of the damn rain. Once inside, we went inside and took a seat. We had plenty of time to organize ourselves and prepare for session 2.

Once the signing started, it moved fairly quickly. I only had a ticket for Roman Reigns. I wish RSF would have sold photo op tickets. I would have loved to have gotten Nikki Bella and Star Dust. Oh well. Roman signed my standee and photo and I got my picture. I also got to see Tom formerly of Ringside Collectibles, now pro wrestling trainee and Bob Mulrenin, photographer extroadinaire. After I got my stuff signed, I went over to retrieve my backpack that I had laid down and review my photo. It was then I realized my photo was basically 2 heads. :facepalm: The photographer either didnt zoom out or he didnt take any steps back. Bob saw it and said he could make it right. He went over to RSC, explained what happened and said he would take the picture to make sure it turned out right. So I got a retake due to Bob’s quick thinking. Thanks Bob! :hellyeah:

Stardust was awesome for how friendly he was with people and seemed really excited to be there. It was a good signing, but it was quick. We left the room and headed out to the main room to check out what was for sale by RSC. I wanted the Edge Rated R exclusive figure anyway. We regrouped and then headed over to the table. The figure was $5 more than online pricing, but I was fine to pay for it until I was told….CASH ONLY. :whaaaat: This is 2014….Cash only? Can we please get it together? I understand wifi is bad at Caroline’s….the entire location is bad. But we all have phones with internet built in and Square readers are free. I was asked to go across the street and use the ATM. Cept the ATM charges like a $4 fee. So no thanks. Its cheaper to just order online and pay the shipping.

We were both hungry, so I introduced Nate to Steak N Shake. We headed over and MMMMMM….so good. Sadly, we didnt watch the clock and needed to race back to Penn Station. We needed to dump our RSF stuff to pick up new stuff for the city and the FWE wrestling show in Brooklyn. We also swung by a Duane Reade and bought a 2 pack of socks, so we could at least get a fresh pair on the wet feet.

We made decent timing back to Secaucus, made the change and headed back to Penn Station. The next series of events would, sadly, put a huge damper on the day. I fucked up. I fucked up bad. My limited knowledge of the New York subway system really fucked us up. We jumped on the subway at Penn Station and headed uptown for 97th street in Brooklyn. Only problem? Brooklyn turns out to be downtown. We went in the COMPLETELY wrong direction. To make matters worse, once we arrived on 97th, we asked 2 New Yorkers if we were in the right place and were met with confirmation. It wasnt until we met a nice cab driver did we find out just how wrong we were. And now…….now we missed FWE and that part of the day was over.

Deflated and downtrodden, we decided to jump back on the subway to head back to hit some celeb spots. Unfortunately, the station closest to us had no down town trains. So we walked several blocks and found the next station. Again….no down town trains. So we walked even more blocks and you guessed it…..no down town trains. This station at least had instructions on how to get a down train. We jumped on and rode the subway to 112th street and then had to take a connector there. Not sure if this would take us to 42nd st, we decided to ask for help. We were told it would not and we needed to get off Columbus Circle and then pick up another connector train. :thinking: We were lucky enough to meet this lady on the train who told us not to get off Columbus, as it DEFINITELY stopped at 42nd. She was right.

To salvage the day, we headed for the first spot. Our targets were Josh Radnor and Gretchen Moll from Rounders. Instead, our first meet would be Hari Dhillion from The Loop and Holby City. I got a picture with him. We spotted Gretchen Moll coming towards the door. The door then closed and she went back inside and a note was posted…”back in 1 minute”. 1 minute later the note was taken down, but not Gretchen. A few more minutes passed and out came Josh Radnor. Josh was great as always. I got a photo with him and he signed my How I Met Your Mother DVD sleeve. I asked him about the cast taking props home and he confirmed he took the Blue French Horn. I joked and asked him “not the red cowboy boots”? :rofl:

We waited a little more, but no Gretchen. We needed to move on to the next spot, so we called it and headed out. At our next spot, it wasnt too long before the action started. This place drew a HUGE crowd, unlike my previous spot. Out first was Micah Stock, from Deception and King Kelly. I got a pic with him. Then Rupert Grint came out. Not a fan of his, as I know nothing about Harry Potter. But A LOT of people were looking for him. He signed just a few and took just a couple of pics. I got one before he took off. The next name out was my big want, Matthew Broderick. Have been a long time fan of his since Project X and War Games and of course Ferris Bueller. He signed my Ferris mini poster and I got a picture with him. Sadly, it looks like he is staring at a wart on his junk instead of looking at the camera. I will need rectify this later.

Nonetheless, I got Broderick. We ran to our next spot, but found we were too late for Mark Linn Baker of Perfect Strangers fame. Oh well. I will try again for him another time. Perhaps at NYCC week? We shall see.

Our trip had ended and we headed back to Secaucus. We stopped in Phillipsburg, so I could introduce Nate to the greatness that is Wawa. Nate finally got a chance to taste the deliciousness of the “Gobbler” sandwich. We ate in the car and I swore he orgasmed…..twice. All that moaning and that sauce dripping from his lips and onto my phone….. :huh: Yeah. It happened. Once we got back to our meeting point, we headed our separate ways. It was a long, boring drive home. This trip had some success and some failure. Probably wasnt entirely worth going too, all things considered, but nonetheless, it was a great new learning experience for Nate and a couple of good gets. I pray that next year’s RSF…….the weather holds up though. Blizzard, flood…….whats next?

 

Legends Of The Ring Monroe, NJ 9/20/14

For those who read my TNA report from Bethlehem, I did in fact decide to power nap. More like….forced to power nap. On the way home, DJ and I cruised into Wawa, where I partaked in the delicious chicken steak with pepperoni hoagie. Belly full and low on energy, even though I downed a 32oz Monster, I needed something before turning around and leaving for LOTR. I crawled into bed and passed out. The alarm went off and the feeling of suck, completely came over me. Since I had to meet Nate, I needed to get a move on. I got up and dragged my carcass to the bathroom to get ready. Teeth brushed, shower started and then…..well, Wawa decided to exact revenge upon me tummy. 30 mins later, I was scurrying to get out of the shower and out the door. I was WAY behind. I grabbed my bag and loaded the truck. I hit the road like a bat out of hell. I was racing up the highway. A trip that should have taken 1hr 5 mins, cut down to around 45mins.

I met up with Nate and we carpooled the rest of the way. Nate also made great timing to LOTR, cutting several minutes off our travel time. When we arrived, we went inside to get tickets. Nate had preordered, so he was safe. Me? I hadnt ordered anything. FIrst person I saw was James, head promoter of LOTR. He was happy to see me return to LOTR, since it had been quite some time since last I had been. I bought 3 Matt Sydals and 1 Bischoff for the ST guests. My other few needs would all be vendor guests.

Since they were still working on STs, Nate and I ventured into the vendor room. Not good at all. Either they had more vendors since last I had been or they just poorly set some of the tables up, but the room was crammed. There were two sections of tables that made this big square near the center of the room, it seemed to take away some of aisle space. We wanted to walk around just to get the lay of the land, see who was here and who wasnt yet. Most of what I needed, not there. I did spot Teddy Long with no line. I hit him up, got my auto on my WCW Halloween Havoc poster and attempted to leave. Sadly, I was being pitched about buying Teddy’s worn suit, where he let me know he made many a tag team main event. Not for $450. Sorry Teddy.

I wanted to go over and talk to So Cal Val, but her corner was crazy. Val, Jinder, Ernest Miller, Brittany, Sunny, Xpac and Vader around the corner seemed to all be causing a log jam. So eventhough she was looking extra amazing today, I decided to come back when it wasnt as bad. We exited the vendor room to get some air and also for Nate to get his poster for Ernest Miller. We saw Oldschool, who was kind of enough to bring DJ’s stuff from Lucas, who had been storing a few items for several months. I retrieved the items and Oldschool and I spent some time talking out in the parking lot. During this time, we spotted the Spirit Squad making a surprise appearance. That sucks. I didnt bring my SS items.

Nate and I returned inside to check the ST line, but it was still not GA time. So we went back into the vendor room to get Ernest Miller. Since we fought our way to this area, it should be a good time to get to So Cal Val. Sadly…..she had a bit of a line, so we retreated and headed back outside to dump Nate’s poster. When we returned, GA was forming, so we hit that to try and get in and out as fast as possible. The line moved fairly slow. Once inside, I spotted Cancer Free Dave, who had just finished his battle with shingles and healed pretty nicely. While waiting in line, I saw one of the normal LOTR workers, who I somewhat know, running around with stacks of action figures, 8x10s, etc. He was running from one table to the next. I’ve always liked this kid. He has never done me wrong, but evidently he has become a bit aggressive since I last saw him. He was shoving items in front of Karen Jarrett while Karen was trying to sign for paying customers. I saw at one point that she became irritated at the kid. How things have changed.

While I was waiting in line, Jeff Jarrett got up from his table and came over to me in line to shake my hand and say hello. Had a quick word, as he was right in the middle of signing. Karen also waved hi. Cancer Free Dave knew I was there for just Sydal, he moved us ahead of the rest of the line and we got in front of the GA. I walked up to Sydal and said hello. And what do I encounter? The kid shoving action figures in front of Matt. Ummm….paying customer here. I would like to get my stuff signed now. Usually the workers get their stuff signed AFTER the paying customers are done. But with a stack of like 50 action figures, probably gonna be hard to do. Too bad. Anyway, Sydal signed 2 and then got back to me. We talked about his return to the indys and his tag match with CIMA against Richochet. I got 2 8x10s signed and then went to get my photo. Nate took the picture, but then attempted to fire off a 2nd photo. I wasnt ready though. The pic turned out bad. Instead of wasting time reviewing it, we figured it was just as easy to fire off one more. At this point, whoever was working Sydal’s table copped an attitude towards me. He said I already had 2 photos and there was a whole line full of people that still needed to get through. Since I am having a mini debate with this guy, this kid comes back and like a gnat is all over Sydal about signing more figures. Matt ignores him and is clearly getting annoyed. I get my retake and I thank Matt for coming to LOTR. I asked him when we might see a new tshirt, dvds, etc. He said he was working on it. He was telling me his new shirt was done and it would be available soon. And this is where the rude LOTR worker snapped at me again, telling me I needed to get going. Sydal glared at him with something fierce. Look man, I was with the guy for no more than 5 mins. I bought 3 tickets. I dont think I was outside the bounds of time. Maybe you should have spent more time policing this kid and his million action figures and less time harassing the fans and then maybe your talent wouldnt get ticked off.

So I was out of the ST room and back in the hall. I took a minute to let my 8x10s dry and went back into the vendor room. I still needed So Cal Val, Tyler Reks and Steamboat. I got inside and spotted Reks. There was one person in front of me, who was talking to Reks. I waited patiently. Then Reks looks up and sees me in line and starts laughing. The day before I was tweeting with Reks concerning Mid Card Mafia videos. I told him I would come to LOTR to confront him face to face and damn it….I want my videos! Reks finished with the guy in front of me and we started chatting like old pals about MCM, which would eventually lead to some Mark Henry jokes, some planned phone call pranks and a need to stop at the store for some butter sticks! Reks was in great shape and it was so good to see the man, since it had been a minute. I did have him finish off my last Reks/Hawkins promo.

This seemed like the best time to head over to So Cal Val, so I did. Still the crowd in this corner was crazy and I cant figure out why. She greeted me with a hug and quick conversation. I needed a combo with her, but ended up passing as the promoter had no combo price. Stuck with just the photo and got out of the craziness. Hard to even have a conversation with all the chaos over there.

Since my old friend Chuy, aka Ricardo Rodriguez, had arrive I headed over that way to say hello. We chatted for a few minutes. He said he had been loving his time at the convention and that the fans had been so nice to him. He seemed to really be enjoying himself and doing a good bit of business. He even dressed the part in tux. He will be at Big Event and at Signamania as well. He is looking forward to working with Del Rio again and cant wait to get back in the ring. I wish him nothing but the best!

And what event would be complete without stopping over at Brian Barth’s table with Yoshi Tatsu and harrassing Brian about his Giants. I attempted to make a bet with him, but he refused to accept the stakes. If he lost the bet…..no wearing ANY Giants gear for an entire year. That means no Giants shirts, jerseys, pants, boxers or g strings. He refused. He said he couldnt afford a new wardrobe. :rofl:

We exited the vendor room again and decided to take a break. Stopped and talked with Ira for a minute. And also saw Marcus roaming about. But I was still missing Steamboat and Dan needed Homicide and my final ST guest in Bischoff in the 2nd block. When I heard Steamboat arrived, I went back inside and saw he had a huge line. For whatever reason though, the line moved SUPER quick. Got up to The Dragon, he signed my Halloween Havoc poster and I was done. Quick and easy. On the way out, I caught Ashley Massaro. She ran up to me and gave me a big hug. She even brought her daughter with her today. She was getting a line, so I let her get back to it and told her I would come back later.

Since we still had a few hours before GA would get in for the 2nd block, we decided to hit Yogi’s, the hippo restaurant up for some good and drinks. Bad idea. This place had changed quite a bit. The service was bad. The food was meh. The prices were ridiculous. I had to fight to get my drink refilled. They never gave me napkins or silverware. They put stuff on my food that isnt mentioned on the menu. When I said it wasnt listed on the menu, they said its how they have always made it. Thats nice. I dont eat here. When they returned they took that stuff off and everything else that I did want. So, for a 3rd time, they had to fix it. And even though the restaurant had just a few people there, the service was VERY slow. 2 appetizers and 2 sodas came out to just a tad over $30!!!!!! Yeah….insane. :pauliemad:

I needed to hit the head, so I went to the bathroom first. When I got inside, I found Yoshi Tatsu at a urinal and Howard Finkel next to him. Finkel began to engage in conversation with Yoshi. But he talked to Yoshi like he was fucking retarded. I get that Yoshi’s native tongue is not english, but his english is a million times better than what it was. And Fink kept patting him on the back while he was peeing. Weird exchange.

I went back into the vendor room still looking for Homicide. No Cide. I was told, more than likely he would not be here. But then someone from PWS said he would be here….at some point. I saw Curt Hawkins had finally arrived, so I had to go over and say hello. We had another great conversation. Which ended with him taking shots at me for wanting to meet Sasha Mitchell from Step By Step on 10/31 at PWS. At which point I countered with him marking out for Danny Spivey. He also told me he had a lot of people coming up to him to get their canes signed…but they were all these old man wooden canes. :facepalm:

I spotted Homicide finally coming in. He was talking to someone right by the door. All I wanted to do was to see when he was starting to sign. This is where hilarity would ensue….somewhat. Cide tells me he’s not sure if he wants to sign today. Said he was high, drunk, down and horny. He then proceeds to say he knows me. He believes I sold him weed earlier in the morning. This conversation is going no where and every where. I figured I would interject with something humorous, as DJ’s item he wanted signed the most was Cide’s worn ring gear pants. I fully expect him to go on a tangent that these were stolen or something, but he doesnt. He actually knows what I am talking about and how he gave them to TNA to sell. But he also makes fun of me for having them, asking me if I wore them yet. :thinking:

He starts to make a move towards his table. So I walk with him. Instead, Cide heads over to Velvet and Angelina. He then gets a photo op with them. I am standing at the PWS table, where PWS is trying to get Cide to come to the table to no avail. Hawkins is chucking about the whole thing. About 15 minutes later, Cide finally comes over. He takes one look at me and says he thinks he knows me. I tell him I sold weed to him this morning. Puzzled, Cide says no. :skipWHAT:

So I pull out his pants…..this sounds like the wrong kind of porno…..and I ask him to sign it. DJ wanted me to use this red paint pen. He also wanted me to have Cide inscribe them with the PPV year and name. I had forgotten the name and had to re-read the text. Cide grabs the marker and starts huffing. He quite enjoyed the paint. Then he proceeds to start signing. The pants hadnt been pulled tight at all and this begins to cause a mess. Not to mention that Cide starts getting red paint all over his hands. I got the PPV name and asked for the inscription, which he had no issue with writing…..cept he had an issue. Not only did he spell Homicide wrong, he fully admitted he had no idea how to spell resolution. All in all….this could have turned out much worse than it did. Whether DJ keeps them this way or decides to erase this and try again…..I dont know. If it wasnt an expensive piece for my buddy, I would have found more humor in it. I was afraid to ask him to sign the turnbuckle, but he did. Much better autograph here, eventhough he still spelled his name wrong. :facepalm:

Before we headed out of the vendor room for Bischoff, Nate wanted to get a tshirt from Christina Von Eeerie, who I wish was announced before the show…..actually, after I heard her prices….I was glad she wasnt. Anyway, Nate bought one of her $25 tshirts…..I know, $25 for an indy shirt is rough. WWE charges that. AND she didnt have his size either. Well, most indy wrestlers will sign an auto or take a pic for free when you buy their merch, but she was here under a promoter and was not able to do. The promoter offered Nate the photo at a discounted $20 price. $20?!?!!?!? I understand she had a brief appearance in TNA, but still. She tried to negotiate with Nate, but Nate was burned now and wasnt having it. Christina seemed upset over the situation.

So we boogied out and hit the Bischoff line. Since the line was pretty long for Block 2, we decided to just sit in the lobby and wait till the end. While we did, Ashley Massaro came out. She was upset as she couldnt find her cell phone. Hopefully she did get it back before she left. The line dwindled down, so we got in. Bischoff was one of the first tables, so we were able to skip most of the general line and get right into Bischoff’s line. I needed 1 auto and Nate needed one photo. It took a few mins and we were done. Out the door and LOTR was in the books.

As I went through my picture folders, I discovered the last LOTR I attended was May 7, 2011. WOW!!!! Its been 3 years since I attended a LOTR. Crazy. It was nice to be back at LOTR and see some great peeps. Already stoked for Big Event, as the wrestling con juices got a bit boiling. Even though, there was very little I got at this con…I still had a blast seeing Hawkins, Reks, Chuy, Ashley, Val and everyone else. Until next time….

 

TNA In Bethlehem, PA 9/19/14

Could it be? I never really thought I would join in on the negativity towards TNA closing its doors…..but I dont think its ever been more possible. For the past 12 years, I have supported and scoffed in the face of internet smart marks who, year after year, proclaimed that year to be the last for TNA. TNA is facing, for the first time, no place to air its weekly television show AND no venue to run it in. They went big with their NYC tapings, but sadly used old ECW mainstays in order to pop the live crowd. While the television programming seemed to be a bit better, it didnt solve the big issue of no network to carry Impact.

DJ and I decided to venture up the road an hour or so to Bethlehem, PA to see, what could possibly be the last Impact ever. We made great timing to the arena, picked up our comps and went inside. If you have never seen a show at The Sands…you need to. Its a great little venue, with no bad seats. Looks professional, has a good vibe, plenty of parking and a decent location in the Northeast. We headed inside and just stood in the upper levels. The first match had just started and we werent missing much, from what I could gather. It was interesting to see these matches and who was the champion, considering these were to take place AFTER Bound For Glory. The big match of the night was scheduled to be a 3 Way Full Metal Mayhem match with The Hardys vs. Team 3D vs. The Wolves. That match in itself was worth the trip. FANTASTIC! Right before the match came on, Reby Sky came out to shoot some video/photos. I walked up behind her and scared the crap out of her. We joked about it later, but I could tell her heart was beating a mile a minute. I like to believe it was the machismo I was oozing. DJ thinks it might be something else I was oozing. :cop: This emoticon looks like there is a dick bopping the cop in the face.

As the night went on, the show got worse and worse…sadly. It got so bad that DJ and I escaped from the venue and headed for the casino. I sat at the poker table, while DJ stood and watch. Thats how bad the show got….DJ was more interested in watching me play poker than watch the show. In fairness, he eventually returned to the show to catch the last hour, while I stayed to play. There was a mention of an autograph signing after the event, so I waited for DJ’s text to head back. When it came, I grabbed my bag and headed back.

We got into line and found that it was Knux and Crazy Steve…thats it. I left the table, down half my stack for this?!?!? :smh: I was already here, so I might as well make the best of it. I needed both in the TNA program anyway. While we waited, Sharkboy came to the ring with some new Indian wrestler they just signed. They didnt work a match, but just videoed certain spots. Also while we were in line, Tommy Dreamer walked by. I stopped him for a quick photo. In my typical Tommy Dreamer meet, he obliged but said nothing. Also, EC3 walked by. So I quickly grabbed an autograph from him. Finally, we made it to Knux and Crazy Steve. Knux was very cool. He asked me how I enjoyed the show, which I promptly put the 3 way match over. I got a picture and 2 autographs and I was done.

Once we were done, we headed back to the casino to see if I could rescue my money. Up, down, up, down….the river constantly punching me in the mouth. Only thing notable was I hit a royal flush for only the 2nd time in my life. But I didnt get paid off. Had A/K of clubs, raised preflop and got 3 callers. Flop came out 10 of clubs, jack of clubs and deuce of clubs. Checks to me, where I make a small continuation bet. I get 2 callers. Turn comes, queen of clubs. I make the royal and it puts a 4 card flush out there. If I keep it cheap…..should be able pick that guy up, but lose the guy with top pair or possible 2 pair. Hoping I can gather both guys, I check. The guy after me smells weakness and fires a decent size bet at the pot. First to act folds and I grimace and wince and decide to come along. River pairs the board. PRAYING this man had a set of 10s and now made his boat, I fire off a little more than what he bet on the turn. He thinks for a second and finally gives it up. No payoff. :bs: I show the royal, which only the dealer cared about.

While at the table, we did see Devon, Jesse Godderz, Samoa Joe and Low Ki come in. DJ was too slow to grab Godderz, Joe and Ki were in the bar…but he did get Devon. I didnt need him. When the night was finally over, we did see James Storm in the bar as well. But really didnt want to bother them while they were eating and drinking…so we just left. Yeah….its like that.

Had to drive home now and it was already 2am. I had to be up at 5:30 to turn around for LOTR the next morning. Was I gonna pull the all nighter or try and get the 1 hour power nap? Stay tuned….

 

NYC With Tim Tebow & Whoopi Goldberg 9/15/14

For anyone that has ever really discussed, argued or had a conversation with me concerning pro football or college football…..there is one name that seems to always come up from me….Tim Tebow. The most polarizing name in all of sports seems to always come up in some topic of debate or discussion. Why? For me, there is no one in the NFL who ever got more of a raw deal than Tim Tebow. His haters will say he cant throw the ball. Yet the #1 ranked defense got wrecked for over 300 yards in a playoff game. I dont hang my head on 1 game, nor am I really trying to see that Tebow is as prolific a passer as a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. But when people criticize him for his statistics….they always seem to leave out the most important statistic of all….WINS.

What I want from my QB is the ability to win. I want winners. I want players that can lead game winning drives. I want players that can win playoff games. I want players that rise up in the biggest moments. Completion percentage? Arm strength? Size? Combine speed? Please. Win pretty….win ugly…..dont matter to me, just as long as I get that W. THATS what Tim Tebow excels at. Taking a 11-4 Broncos team in 2011 to a division title and a playoff victory, before ultimately surrendering to Tom Brady and the Patriots.

But this isnt a report on the merits of Tim Tebow. Instead this is a report about the day I met a man I admire more for what he stands for, holding true to his beliefs in the face of tremendous adversity, than what he does on the field. Interestingly enough, I wasnt always a Tim Tebow fan. His first couple of years at Florida, I thought he was someone that benefited from Urban Meyer’s system, moreso than a man who could play football. Florida is NOT my team and I couldnt wait for them to get beat. Then there was a press conference after a game. A press conference following a loss to Ole Miss in September of 2008. I have no idea to this day why I watched it. I was reveling in the Gators getting knocked off. But I watched a man who was truly disappointed in his own performance, almost to the point of tears. He would then rejuvenate himself, make a promise to Gator nation to never lose another game that season……and he kept it. He played harder. His team played harder. And Florida went on to win the National Title by defeating Alabama in the SEC Title game and the #1 Sooners in the National Title game. It was at the moment of that speech that I became a fan of Tim Tebow. And that fandom only grew and grew as the years came.

Fast forward to last week, where Tim Tebow made local headlines in my hometown as he dined for lunch at a restaurant called The Black N Bleu that was but 2 minutes from my home. A restaurant so close, I can throw a rock from my house to the restaurant door. And I missed it. News broke that night that he was in town to visit a kid who lost both his legs, which followed an announcement that Tim Tebow was joining Good Morning America as a host.

If Tebow was doing this story, there was a chance he would be in NYC for media. Without any confirmed information, I made the decision that this was one I had to gamble on. I HAD to try. So early Monday morning on September 15, I jumped in the truck with a bag so lite, it felt like I was missing something. I was making one stop and one stop only. I let the house at 3am and drove to the Junction to get the train into the city. On the way up, I was checking twitter to see if I could get some info. EUREKA! I found someone who tweeted several hours ago about how they met Tim Tebow and how nice he was. Then someone else mentioned that he would in fact be at a certain spot on Monday morning. As soon as I arrived at the train station, I saw a train into the city was leaving in about 5 mins, so I quickly headed down to the tracks. I got on and was on my way. I was checking twitter constantly, trying to get some updates. Had he already gone into the spot? Did I miss him going in? Couldnt find anything. When I got to Penn Station, I headed for the subway to grab the Uptown train. Sadly, there was a long delay and I waited nearly 20 minutes before a train finally arrived. I got on and zipped over. When I came up from the subway, I headed over to the spot. Keeping my fingers crossed that the crowd size would indeed be small, I turned and saw there was but one guy there. :like:

I took my spot on rails next to him and waited. About a minute later a limo driver walks out of the building and compliments my Tim Tebow jersey. He said he was Tebow’s driver and he was a super nice kid. I asked him if Tim was in yet and he said he was, missed him by about 10 minutes. :whatever: All was certainly not lost, but still disappointed. So while I waited, the number of people would vary at times. But there was never more than 7 there. Most people left as the hours passed, leaving just 4 of us. While I waited, Whoopi Goldberg was dropped off. So I ended up getting a picture with her. She was really nice. She was happy to sign and take pictures.

Finally the time arrived and the door opened and out came Tebow. His back was turned towards us and his SUV door was opened. His handlers were moving him into the SUV, as I screamed out “I drove 4 hours to meet you Tim…PLEASE!” Tebow stopped turned around and jogged over to us. He thanked me for driving so far to just meet him. He was all smiles. He asked me where I traveled from and I told him the Black N Bleu restaurant, at which he laughed. I told him how close I live to that place and I was so disappointed to have missed him. Then, without thinking, I told him he was “my fucking hero.” :facepalm2: Yup. I cursed at Tim Tebow. Not only did I curse, I dropped an F bomb. As soon as it came out, it felt like I had just spit on the Ten Commandments. I quickly apologized. Tebow told me he forgave me. I got my picture with him first, as that was most important. And eventhough there was just 4 of us, his handlers were rushing him. I grabbed my 8×10 and asked him to personalize it and he did. He took his time and was very nice. I thanked him for inspiring the uninspired. And he was gone. I would have liked to been able to get my jersey signed too….but no matter, it was all worth it. :victory:

I grabbed my stuff and headed for the Subway. Victory was mine. A huge gamble and a big payoff. Subway to the Junction to my truck and I was headed home. Operating on no sleep, I was living off the high of meeting Tim Tebow. When I hit Phillipsburg and my normal exit to stop to pee, get food and drinks and gas, I opted to not grab a Monster. I’m awake over my big score. Well…..40 minutes later, I wouldnt be awake. As I was driving down the road, listening to NFL Radio, I could feel my eye lids becoming heavy. But certainly nothing I couldnt handle. And then I felt a little rumbling, at which time my eyes opened and I was driving in the grass that divivded the east and west bound lanes. I quickly swerved back onto the highway and into my lane. My eyes were now WIDE OPEN and whatever tiredness I felt was evaporated. I was ALIVE!!! The rest of the way home, my heart was still beating hard and I never had that tiredness feeling come over me again. Thank you Tim Tebow. And God. Thank you God too. :tebowing:

 

 

 

TNA Hagerstown, MD 8/17/14

With the day off from work and TNA just an hour away, I took the short drive to Hagerstown, MD. I met up with my buddy Cancer Free Dave, which I am proud to say. We headed over to the venue. The line was ridiculous to get inside. Dave bought himself a VIP ticket, which meant I was able to tag along for the pre show meet n greet. TNA has changed their house shows, only pre show meet n greet is available with the VIP upgrade. Dave picked up his ticket, while I went to talk to Jimmy Jay. Jimmy knows my thoughts on Eric Young and we have teased one another back and forth at shows and on social media. This night would be no different. I asked Jimmy for a backstage pass. He said he would be right back. When he returned, he came out with an Eric Young plastic beard. He claimed that THIS would be my backstage pass but ONLY if I was to wear it all night long. :f8you:

Not to be outdone and surely not to miss out on the backstage autograph portion, I decided to clip the pubic reproduction beard to my belt, hanging it over my crotch. Now I was all set to go and the doors opened. I hit the box office first to pickup my comp, but sadly it was not there. After about 15mins, it got straightened out, but we got in kind of late. TNA was starting to close up shop. First person was Magnus, who was getting ready to leave. We hit Magnus up and then I grabbed Sanyada as he was walking away. Lucky to have gotten him, though I would have liked a pic. Saw a line for Madison and Eddie Edwards, so I went there next. I would later find out that EC3 and Gunner were on stage, but I never saw them. Got Edwards and Madison and then found out Gunner and EC3 were already gone. :exasperated:

I would estimate a crowd of around 400 people. There was a special pre show backstage signing with Velvet and Angelina, so we went there first before finding some open seats to sit and watch. The show was pretty standard. Sanyada and Zeman Ion had some entertaining moments, as did Storm/Gunner and Anderson was gold.

At intermission we went backstage. At the first table was Jame Storm. He had just finished his match, so he was still in his gear. He signed for the first guy in front of me and then Team 3D came over. They told Storm he had to go, this was their table. Bubba then told Atlas he didnt want to see any WWE shit. He told the security guard to go down the line and let everyone know, he doesnt even want to see it on the table. I got my TNA program signed and got a picture with Team 3D before Bubba told security……no pictures either. :smh:

We moved around the corner in the crowded backstage area to find almost total darkness, making it hard to see who was even there. It was Abyss. I got an auto and moved to the next table with Bobby Roode. And then it was my favorite Asshole, Mr. Anderson. Storm was at the last table and I snagged a photo with him since he was in heel gimmick. Backstage lasted no more than 5 minutes and they shuffled everyone in and out like cattle. Its definitely not as fan friendly as it once was. The venue may have played a role in this…..but Bubba’s poor attitude also plays a big part in it.

The main event saw Anderson/Edwards vs. Team 3D. Anderson replaced the injured Davey Richards. Team 3D, especially Bubba really put on a half ass show. Stealing Daniel Bryan’s YES chants was lazy and cheap. At the end of the match, Bubba grabbed a mic and put Eddie Edwards over hardcore. That was a cool moment. I was fearing it was just a setup by Team 3D to put him through a table, but it wasnt. Eddie got a round of applause and the show was over. 6 total matches and nothing stellar to report.

The show was over and Dave and I capped the evening off at Uno pizza for some delicious deep dish goodness. I then jumped back in my truck and took the hour drive back home in time to catch the last half of Summer Slam on the WWE Network or perhaps I should say…..battle it out with the Network to try and get it to stop crashing. :dislike:

 

© 2012-2015 Star Marked Memoirs All Rights Reserved -- Copyright notice by Blog Copyright