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.

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:

 

Guardians Of The Galaxy In NYC 7/29/14

Terrorist. Bomb threat. New York City. Me. NYPD. Guantanomo Bay. Do I have your attention? Because this little adventure will have all that including car chases and espionage. Hold onto your hats, set your phasers to stun……because I think we got ourselves a situation!

In reality, this story starts around 11pm the night before. I had a business opportunity that I couldnt pass up on. Eventhough, I was scheduled to leave at 3:30am the next morning for NYC, I needed to take this meeting. I thought it would be done within an hour, needless to say….things went a little better than expected and it was 1am by the time I left. I raced home, as I had nothing packed. The last minute preparation would cost me…..something I have NEVER done in the past. By 2:30am, I was done packing. My overnight bag was packed, my camera on the charger, my posters in the tube and my camelbak locked and loaded. As the clock ticked away, I noticed that an attempt at sleep would only be more of a headache than worth. 30 minute cat nap would just cause me to sleep past the alarm and be even later than I am usually. So instead, I figured I would get a shower, shave and shit. That way I would be ready to leave by the time DJ came to pick me up. Needless to say, I ran about 15 minutes late, as one of the above items ended up taking longer than expected.

So out the door I went and on the way to NYC did I go. We got into the city in great time. DJ couldnt contain his excitement. His excitement for Guardians of The Galaxy only seem to drain some of mine. There can be only so much excitement in a car, otherwise the doors will just fly right off. We made our way to our first stop, which would prove to be a failure. When we arrived, the barricades were swarmed with fans. I couldnt believe the number of people that were already here. There was no way we were gonna be anywhere close to get anything. So instead, I opted for a different spot. We were here and nothing else to do. I felt where I was would prove to be successful. DJ disagreed and refuse to join me. He opted to just walk around. I reached into my backpack to grab my camera, in case a selfie chance came about. And this is where the late minute preparation bit me in the ass. No camera. NO FUCKING CAMERA!!!!!:angry14: First time….EVER!!!! My camera was at home, sitting on the charger. Use my cell phone, you say? Fuck that. DJ had his camera with him, which would prove to be a help later down the road. But he was reluctant to let me hold onto it. We were here for Vin Diesel, but Emeril the chef walked out and started doing selfies. DJ was behind me, so I asked him for his camera. He refused to let me use it and thus……no pic with Emeril. Not the end of the world….but I was standing right there.

DJ continued to argue his case that there was no way I was getting Diesel from where I was and we should head to spot number 2. I finally caved and we began to head out. At this point Diesel walked out and started doing pics and signing autos. Would have I gotten him? Maybe. I had a giant Guardians poster. I think it would have caught his attention and gotten him to walk over. He was literally standing there and doing nothing, but taking the occassional selfie or signing the occasional piece of paper. I would have been in his direct sight…..just across the way a bit. Unfortunately, I had given up my spot and now I had no chance. So we marched to spot 2.

This next spot would prove to be extremely successful for autographs, but at the cost of being branded a terrorist. :ehh: This next spot was for Chris Pratt and Zoe Saladana. Zoe, I needed 2 autos from and would need a marker switch too. Needed her on both my Star Trek poster and my Guardians poster. When I arrived, I hooked my backpack to the barricade, per the usual. A security guard walked over and shook his head at me in some sarcastic manner. DJ had put one his Funkos on the floor and guard told him he couldnt leave anything on the floor. Pratt and Zoe came out and both were very nice. I walked about 3 feet away from my bag to get closer to them. There was a small crowd, but Zoe seemed to be in a hurry. She would only sign and had a blue Sharpie. This worked out great as that is what I needed on my Star Trek Poster. So I opted for that poster and passed on the GOTG poster. Pratt was a little more accomadating. He took pics and signed whatever people had. He signed my GOTG poster and inscribed it Star Lord. It turned out awesome. DJ even was able to take my picture and I got to avoid the selfie.

As I turned back to grab my bag, I found it was gone. In a panic, I turned to DJ. He couldnt believe it was gone. I see NYPD and the security guard conversing and then I see the cop start tossing my bag around and dumping everything out of my bag onto the streets of NYC. Markers were rolling down the street, my umbrella, poncho, bottle of hair spray, etc. are all just being unceremoniouly dumped. I walk over and explain that is my bag. The cop turns complete psycho and asks me what kind of dumbass leaves a backpack hanging at one of the biggest terrorist targets in the world?! I told him I didnt just leave it hanging. He then points to the security guard, who talked to Dan and I, and says he walked over and asked whos bag this was when Pratt and Zoe came out and no one claimed it. He thought it was a bomb. :smug: WTF?!! How fucking stupid is this cop?!??! You thought it was a bomb, so you decided to open it and begin to dump the contents all over the streets of NYC. YOU sir…YOU….just endangered millions of lives. How fucking stupid are you to open a backpack that you suspect contains a bomb?!?!? Bottom line, this was nothing short of a case of a “power trip”. I had to restrain every muscle in my body to not just fucking tee off. Clear case of not getting anything out of it, by doing so. DJ knew it too. So he quickly hit the floor and tried to recover the contents of my bag. I explained to the cop that the security guard KNEW it was my bag. The guard denied this. I guess its a common occurrence for people to just randomly pickup backpacks of strangers to barricades in NYC. The cop would go onto lecture me about how I endangered his life and the lives of all New Yorkers today, branded me a terrorist or at the very least attempting a terroristic attack. He threatened me with Guantanomo Bay and a cock meat sandwich from Big Bob (Harold & Kumar reference). He told me I should never come back, unless I want extra mayo. Yeah right. Dont be bully….be a star!!! :f8you:

I was fucking livid. Whatever little bit of sleepiness I was still under was blown up and the adrenaline started to flow like the Mississippi. But I was determined to not let this ruin my day. DJ and I headed for spot 3 to try for Vin Diesel. We got there and the barricades were crowded, but not so bad that we thought we would get shut out. In the first minute we were waiting, we spotted John Legend just walking down the street. We took off to try and score a photo op. But he was in a hurry. I asked if I could take one while he was walking and he agreed and even looked into the camera while walking. A little blurry, but whatever. We headed back to the spot. The security guards explained that Vin was gonna come out and sign, but we all needed to be on the other side as he was only going to be doing it through the window. So we all headed to that side. Vin’s SUV rolls up and he just drives away. NOOOOOOO!!!!! We chased after him. His SUV hit a red light, but he refused to roll his window down. He went down the road and got stuck at the next light again. This time he rolled his window down and said he would sign, but we had to promise to stop chasing his SUV. He started to sign. I was right behind the Jersey Shore Stalker bitch! My third encounter with her. She got an auto and a photo, but REFUSED to leave. She wanted to stand there and try and block me from getting anything. I slipped my poster over her and into Vin’s SUV. But I was blocked from getting a selfie. I swear one of these days she’s gonna do this to the wrong guy up in NYC and get KNOCKED THE FUCK OUT. The guys up there are animals, especially the dealers. She is already hated by them. For whatever reason, she enjoys putting herself in bad situations and then making them worse. Why anyone in the world enjoys putting themselves in bad spots is beyond me?

From here, we headed to our next spot. Our next spot was more of a guess than knowledge. We only knew of one definite gettable name. But we decided to hang out here anyway. All in all, it was a big waste of time outside of that one name. That one name was Jenny McCarthy. She came out and was standing outside smoking a cig with some friends. We waited till she was done, as we didnt want to bother her smoke. We approached and she quickly signed for DJ and I asked for a photo. DJ grabbed the camera from my hands and then Jenny reached up to try and take a selfie. There was a 3 second tug of war over who was going to take the picture, which would cause me to pose with a look of horror. :facepalm2:

We bolted and headed for the next spot. We expected this spot to be somewhat empty at this point in time. However, we were wrong. It wasnt extremely crowded, but the entire front row was taken against the barricade. After a little maneuvering and some help from a guy I have encountered numerous times and have chatted with, I was able to squeeze just enough room for myself on the barricade. The first to arrive was Judy Greer, who I know from What Women Want. She came out and started signing and taking photos. Just as she got to me, she turned away and left. The guy to my right was the last to get her and everyone else was left hanging. :dislike:

I wasnt really here for her, so it wasnt the end of the world. But still. Finally Chris Pratt arrived and by this time, the crowd had thoroughly grown. Insane. Pratt was super cool again. He was signing and taking photos. BUT….he wasnt doing more than one and if he remembered he signed for you already, he wasnt signing for you again. He even refused an older lady who had gotten him earlier this morning at our 2nd spot. He came to me and I wanted my photo op from earlier this morning signed. Pratt said cool photo and signed it. He even chatted for a moment about the Lego movie and the “Everything Is Awesome” song. By far one of the nicest celebrity encounters. Pratt went inside. I had 1 other item, Star Lord #1 from Marvel Now, but it wasnt dire to get. So we decided to go grab some grub. When we were done, we came back to see what was up. I think the crowd had only shrunk by a few. Pratt came out instantly and came over again to sign. Again, he was telling people he already signed for…..no. Most of the crowd had bundled together on one side, leaving a part of the barricade open. I grabbed my comic and Pratt came to me again. He signed it and asked if I had read it yet. I told him I had not. He said its really good and he enjoyed it. I read it the next night and he was correct. Very good story.

One of the dealers there told DJ where the premiere was gonna be. So we headed over. It was a bust and we got bad info. We had one last spot, but it was a long shot. We decided to head over anyway, since we had nothing else on the agenda. When we got there, there was a small crowd of fans. We waited and soon after I spotted Woody Johnson, owner of the Jets, walking down the street in full Jets gear. As a lifelong Jets fan….I asked Woody for a quick picture. He promptly turned me down and said he had no time. :1distraught:C’mon!!!! Really?! I was shocked. I couldnt even compose myself for a speech. No one else wanted a photo. He just kept marching off. One of the dealers grabbed a blank and ran after him. Woody stopped to sign for the guy. :f8you: Talk about the ultimate fuck you response. No to a Jets fan for a photo. Yes to a dealer for an autograph. Exactly how does that make sense?! Then again…..this is a classic Jets move. Draft Geno Smith. Cut Tim Tebow. Tell Darelle Revis we dont need him. Dont address a need at corner. Talk shit constantly and cant back it up. They say it starts at the top……it surely does. Incompetent owner with a more incompetent GM. As Woody walked away, I screamed out “Jets suck. Fuck The Jets.” And I never do something like that. This time though…..ugh.

We next spotted Will. I. Am. from Black Eyed Peas. Everyone made a big deal about the guy. I didnt know who he was. He didnt want to do it, but this one guy gave him an impassioned plea and finally rolled his window down and did it. I grabbed a selfie. Finally Diesel came out and just drove past everyone. We chased him a few blocks, but to no avail. Denied by Diesel. So it was time to go. We headed back to Penn Station to catch the Junction train back to NJ. We were both beaten and sore, but still scored fairly well. It had ups and downs, bomb threats, police and car chases.

Once back in NJ, we started the long journey home. I am a big believer that the passenger should stay awake to keep the driver awake. Unfortunately, at some point this passenger passed out. When I finally awoke, DJ was pulling into my neighborhood. My apologies to my tag team partner. I reached my limit on no sleep and needed something. Out I went.

I think my story had all the elements I promised at the beginning. This was definitely one of the most memorable trips I have ever had. Its crazy to think about the events of the day. I surely never expected anything of the sorts. But all in all….it still worked out. Until next time.

 

The Rock And Other Celebs NYC 7/22/14

Do you smell what The Rock is cookn?! I sure did. Meeting the Rock is just a pure epic encounter. He has an infectious personality that just makes you feel like everything is just awesome in the world. Even when he is riddled with exhaustion, running late and stuck in traffic….he would take the time to sign autographs and take pictures because the man cares. He’s genuine. He gets it. And the man is sharp as a whip!

The adventure begins at 2:30am on July 22. I had awaken at noon on July 21 and never went back to bed. Instead, I stayed up through the night in order to make sure there was no over sleeping. Our first stop in the city was requiring a very early start. So in a VERY rare occasion, I was running early and DJ was running on time. We were off and got into the city. Our first stop was ruined by some boy band I never heard of. Thousands of teeny bopper girls were surrounding the streets and caused for a complete cluster fuck. We in turn, decided to hit spot 2 super early. It turns out we werent the only ones. When we arrived, we found about 10 others already there. The crowd would only grow over the next few hours and it finished around nearly 50 or so. They setup 2 barricades and I was able to get a great front row spot at the 2nd barricade setup. There were about 10 teenage girls who didnt even know who was going to be there and were just hanging out. They would be none to please with the chaos that would later ensue.

The witching hour arrived and Rock was running a good bit behind. Yet the man still found the time to come out and sign autographs. He didnt sign for all and only took one picture, but he was still doing the best he could. One person put their 8×10 over my program, which Rock promptly pushed away in order to sign my program and remarking to me it was good to see me again. He dropped the Sharpie in my program and headed inside. The girls behind me only wanted a picture and were unable to secure it because of how far back they were. They attempted to complain to security, asking to remove those who already got something so they could get closer. Security laughed it off. :huh: I get it. I get why you were disappointed. I get why you are upset over the pushing, shoving and chaos. But this is how the game is played. I wish it wasnt. I wish it was more organized. But its not and never will be. If this was someone who I didnt really care about or someone I had nothing for, no sweat. If Rock signed all 18 items I brought with me and took a pic with me…..no sweat. But that aint happening and you aint gettn to the front. You didnt even know who you were waiting for. AND you kept saying you wanted to call him “daddy” when you found out who was coming.

On the way out, we had high hopes, but Rock wasnt stopping. I saw the light was red from where he was pulling onto and figured he might roll the window down, so I escaped out and went that way. But then his SUV door opened and he came out. There were some small kids waiting for him and he wanted to stop for them. Unfortunately, the ebay dealers ruined THAT by sticking 8x10s all over him, even after his PR team said he was just doing pics for the kids. Hiram grabbed Rock and got him back in the SUV and they were gone.

We headed to spot 3 on the list. Once again, we would be arriving extremely early. We didnt want to chance it with the previous scene. So we hit the spot and were one of the first few to arrive. This crowd would fluctuate. Some people actually gave up and left. Some people wandered off the street when they realized who was coming. And some people just came to this spot. This was a VERY long wait. Even when we thought he was coming…he didnt. He ran late here too. But it was all worth it in the end.

Once he arrived, madness really ensued. No barricades at this spot. Ever the pimp he is, Rock went to the opposite side of the crowd, where an attractive brunette was. The crowd stayed on the one side, as we were instructed to be on this side by security. This girl had arrived a mere 5 mins earlier and didnt seem like she was there to meet The Rock. Once Rock went to the opposite side, whatever order there was turned to complete and total chaos. Nothing security could do. These two goofs were over powered and practically trampled upon. A crowd of about 35 people, most of which were made up passerbys, surrounded The Rock. Anyone who has met Rock before knows, surrounding him is a bad idea. So while the buzzards circled about, I quickly B lined it to get in front of him. He stopped and said, lets do it….I know you came from a great distance. As I went to snap my selfie, the lousy touch screen was brushed up against and the pic snapped was AWFUL! I knew it right away and asked Rock for a retake and he happily did it. This time…perfection. :victory: While I was taking my selfie, DJ had the bright idea to stand at the door. That way Rock HAD to come to him. Right he was. Rock went right past me and found DJ guarding the door. DJ got his WWE turnbuckle signed and he was out of the mess as well.

Once Rock was inside, security was PISSED! They immediately started setting up barricades in order to stop the chaos, that would only contain some of the mess for a brief amount of time. Once Rock was on his way out…..IT WAS ON AGAIN! He came over to the barricade and spent a good bit of time signing and taking photos. I scored one more autograph from him right before the REAL chaos took place, as the guard rails were broken down and people were climbing all over him again. Rock stood strong, even pulling some kids and women from the barricades to come over for a picture. These were people in the back that couldnt otherwise get to him. Classy move.

There was a somewhat notable incident that occurred after Rock went inside, I neglected to address. These two very tall black twins, dressed in the exact same clothes and probably pushing about 30 decided to start shit with both Rich and DJ. They even went as far as to address DJ as The White Bengal for his ability to prance away after a successful kill. Rich….not so lucky with nicknames, unless you want to consider the N word a nickname. :saswhat:

We had 1 last Rock spot to hit, but before that we needed to score a few of DJ’s wants. So we headed to that spot and there wasnt many people there. More people would arrive later on, but this place looked like a ghost town. Ricky Gervais was first. Nice guy. Signed and took photos. Refused to sign a blank from someone though. I got a pic with him. Second was Taylor Schilling from Orange Is The New Black. DJ had heard bad things about her. She seemed pretty nice. She signed and took photos. I got a photo with her, which turned out looking like my head was resting on her shoulder. :meloehh:

We got what we needed and headed for our last spot and last Rock chance. Once again, we arrived quite a bit early for this spot. While we waited, I looked up into the sky to admire my day and saw p*rn. Yup….nudity. A couple of ill equipped dudes and a chick. Extremely weird. After pointing this out to DJ and snapping 2 pics, several walkersby stopped and began to do the same thing. It became contagious.

But back on track…..we simply waited out the wait. This crowd would be our smallest to deal with, made up mostly of tourists….guessing around 20 people. Rock’s SUV finally came out, but this time it didnt stop! In fact, it came firing out of this garage and onto the street. Normally this street is backed up and the light doesnt stay green long. Unfortunately for us, not this time. He hit the green and was able to get out of dodge long before anyone could catch up to him. Later we would find out he was running late for a special premiere he was having in Harlem with under privleged kids.

Our day was over. Not epic, but damn near close. AND we got to leave the city at a decent time, which means we got home at a decent time. No 3 am arrivals at home or almost falling asleep behind the wheel. We made great time heading home and basked in the glory of another amazing New York trip. Cant wait to see The Rock again. Will I ever get enough? Doubtful. :troll: :bigday:

 

Curt Hawkins At PPW – Hazleton, PA – 7/19/14

HHHHAAAAWWWWKKKKKKKSOME! In a word…..thats how I would describe the night……for the most part at least. WWE recently released several talented superstars from their roster and those talented folks have found their way to the independent circuit. Two of those folks were Brodus Clay and one of my personal favorites in Curt Hawkins. Both were scheduled for a show about an hour and a half from me, so it was a no brainer for me to make the short trip, as its a treat to see Hawkins perform. Grabbed my 18 or so Hawkins items, loaded the truck after work and headed north to Hazleton, PA.

While I took the travel by myself, I did meet up with my buddy Nate. He lives a bit north of Hazleton, so it was a good middle of the ground spot for us. I did run into a slight snag on the way up, as I incorrectly put the address in for the venue and wound up in the moutainous backwoods of Hazleton where I saw a man tickle a billy goat’s beard. :coconuts: I backtracked a bit and met with Nate, who used his google directions to take us into the middle of town. But the second snag came when his directions took us to the wrong spot. I rexamined my navigation and discovered the error. I entered the right address and we were there in 5 minutes. Team work!

Once we arrived, the last snag tore. I wanted first row tickets to the event, PPW…for anyone that cares. I contacted them on FB and was instructed that they did not sell first row tickets online, only rows 2-5. Paul Bo, their ring announcer, responded back and told me that I should arrive about 2 hours early and I could buy it at the door. So that was the plan. Of course, I was running behind and did not arrive 2 hours in advance, but was still about an 1hr30mins early. When we arrived, there were about 20 or so people already waiting. A woman came out and started stamping hands and selling tickets. I told her what Paul Bo told me and she told me thats not how it works. They dont do reserve seating. Ringside seat means you get a seat in rows 1-5. Its first come, first serve. So in essence, all that happened was I forced to pay the full price and couldnt get the advanced sales price. Ok,no biggie.

We got inside within the first 15 or so people and went to the first section we saw and saw those seats had reserve signs, the 2nd section also had all of front row reserved. We finally got to the last section and found most of that front row with reserve signs, cept the last 2 seats. We sat down and were happy with them. Well…that was until some woman walked over and told us those were her seats. I said we were there first. She said she always sits there at every show. Sorry honey…..not this one. She freaked out and went looking for security. One of the indy wrestlers came over and explained that this was the “family section” for the wrestlers. I told him, there were no reserve seating and explained this was our first show. I explained what Paul told me and he said what Paul said was complete BS. He grabbed 2 more chairs and squeezed us into that row. He explained that front row seats are not available to fans, only to wrestler’s family and sponsors. That is completely and absurdly ass backwards. How many sponsors could you possibly have that you would need like 30 or so front row seats for sponsors?!:f8you:

Hawkins and Brodus, who was there courtesty of ESS. After talking to Hawkins over twitter for the past few weeks, he said he would bring me a little gift to the show. And true to his word, he did. He brought me one original WWE promo of every single promo/photo file he has ever had. It was really cool. Major Brothers, Edge Heads, the ULTRA rare white promo. Awesome stuff. I got a giant stack of promos signed, couple of programs and finally my Hawkins cane signed. Along with several blurry photo ops and one crisp one. The blurry photos were courteous of my camera having the auto focus switch moved to manual. :wtfmad: Ugh. Curt was a good sport though. And since I am sure Curt is reading this, thanks man! :hellyeah:

I think the best part was just sitting and talking to Curt about wrestling, WWE and more wrestling. It was a pleasure to listen to his knowledge, stories, thoughts, etc. And I respect the hell out of his opinions, as he had no fear in engaging in respectful debate. If he didnt agree with me, he made it known…..as did I. Brodus even joined in on the coversation and it was cool to learn about his time in WWE. Oh and if you see Curt at a show, he has a variety of things for sale at the gimmick table. Make sure and grab the DVD he is selling. Its a MUST HAVE!!!! Its even autographed.
The PPW show itself was bland. I think they have a decent fan base, a nice setup, great building for an indy show, a few talented individuals. But overall, I think they have too much going on. There are too many managers and authority figures. I also dont know why they were working in a pony ring, as this building did not require one.

I bailed after Hawkins match, missing the main event where Brodus won the PPW title. Would I return to a PPW show? Yes. They book good draw names there, as they had AJ Styles there a couple of months ago. They have a nice setup as well. Its not something I would go on a consistent basis though and the bad information is something that definitely soured me.
Leaving early allowed me to get home at a decent time. It was great to see Nate and a blast to chat with Hawkins. Definitely one of the raddest fucking dudes alive! Cant wait to see him in PWG for the BOLA 2014.

 

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