DJKnightRida and I planned to take the long, exhausting and dangerous venture to Hershey, PA. 15 mins. later we arrived.
We hit tv up first. Once there, we took a seat in the lobby. It was at least 20 mins. before we saw really anyone. There were a couple of buses parked in the lot, which we found interesting. Figured they would just sleep right at the arena. A lot of the guys I have no real need for, as my merch. purchasing has been majorly cutback, as has my marking out for WWE. I had flights coming in and just didnt want to take the 2 hour drive, as I didnt see it being worth it. Agents seem to be coming down first. Saw Bill Demott, IRS, Michael Hayes who stopped and said hello to me, and Jamie Noble, who I had 2 old programs for. So I did get 2 from Noble. Michael Cole came down and was out the door in a hurry. Didnt have a pressing need, so I didnt even bother going outside with him.
One of my friends that was with me is friends with JTG, so JTG stopped and even came over to us and signed 2 programs for me. Just nothing of any real excitement was happening and we starting to feel like this could turn into a major bust. Then we saw the limos pull up and Pat Patterson come down. Oh yeah…..the chairman of the board was in the house!
A few minutes later Laurinitas came down and confirmed the suspicions. He was down and on his phone and then walked outside and got into the first limo. I was glad I was all done with him, but I would have gotten a photo as I dont have one. No biggie. Didnt want to be distracted from the big cheese anyway. 15 mins. later Kevin Dunn came strolling through and out the door he went. Now we are getting closer and closer.
It started getting later and later and damn well nearing 1pm. The later it gets, the less chance you have of making a score. Suddenly, DJKnightRida spotted Vinnie Mac already outside and handing his luggage off. WHAT?!?!?!?! He must have tied sheets together and hoisted himself down through his Hippo room window! DAMN IT!!! Like an olympic hurdler, I leaped over the coffee table and subsequent hotel furniture. I was out the door and in front of Vincent Kennedy like a flash of lightning. Since it was just me, or what appeared to be me, I asked Vince for an auto on a photo that I have been carrying around for 2 years. Vince quickly signed and it and flipped it over and asked for my WM 26 program to be signed, which he hesistantly signed. Now my 3 compadres had joined me outside and Vince made sure to do a cumbo with each of them before Kevin Dunn hollered they had to go. No additional picture for me, but I wanted to make sure everyone else got something too and I wanted the 2 graphs more anyway.
Vince was gone. Brodus Clay came down and I figured I would grab a quick picture with him before he left. Sadly, DJKnightRida has lost his touch of taking awesome photos and it blurred badly. Brodus was gone and I was left empty handed. At this point, the nasty Hippo staff decided we needed to leave and showed us the door. Meh…no biggie, we got pretty much what we were gonna get. We grabbed our stuff and went out the door. I opened my trunk and began putting my bag inside and conversing with my friends when the hotel staff came out and said we needed to move faster. They began to jot down our license plates. That upset me and I told them I was on my way. No need to act like an ass. You asked me to leave and I am leaving. Relax. I swear some people get a little power and they think they are ready to invade Poland.
Once we left, we decided to hit up a local gym that I had a inkling of being a spot they would work out at. We got there too late, as most everyone was gone. But we did hear we missed some decent names. Did spot Ryback and then Cody Rhodes came out. Got Cody in WM 28 program, which was one of the my top wants for this trip. Cody was cool, as usual.
We had 1 last gym to check out, but it turned out to be a bust. It was near 2:30pm so it was probably too late. We ended up heading for a bite to eat before heading over to Smackdown. A buddy of mine who works for WWE was nice enough to comp my party our tickets, so we ended up going to the event. NXT was fun to watch, Smackdown…..not so much. The arena was over half empty. The one entire side was 100% tarped off. Several floor seats were empty, which they ended up filling later in the night and the upper deck was pretty empty. 50% rise in ticket prices will do that. $68 with fees 6 months ago for Raw. $110 with fees for Smackdown.
We had early morning flights to get to, so we ended up staying up the rest of the night and just hanging out. The next morning we got several folks, but nothing major. Names like Sheamus, Daniel Bryan, Zeke, Vickie Guerrero, AJ, Kaitlyn….all of which I had nothing for. Did get Regal in an old program, 2 Hornswoggles, a cumbo with Cody Rhodes, 2 Kane autos and a photo and 1 from Lillian. Cody was funny as he came with Ryback and started telling everyone how this was the indestructable Ryback and he loves to sign autographs. Ryback frowned.
I was more excited with the photos I got with Damien Sandow, Claudio Castagnoli, and Dean Ambrose. The former Jon Moxley was kayfabing, so I made sure to call him Dean Ambrose. Now the story here goes like this. Ambrose comes in and no one else really knows who he is. When I say no one else, there has to be damn near 20 marks at this point. So my friend and I waited for him to get his bags checked in and approached him. When he turned and saw me he said oh fuck! I asked him for a photo and he said suuuuurreeee….lets do this. Anyone that knows Ambrose knows he has these quirky facial expressions and he was all in character here. My friend turns and asks for a photo and he looks at her, turns around and just walks away. WHAT?!!?!?! Some other lady came over as Ambrose hit the escalator and asked for a photo and he turned and leaned over, as the escalator was ascending….NNNNOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! A smile and he was gone. WOW! It was funny. Glad I got mine, felt bad for others, but the entire scene played out like a movie scene.
Booker T came through and the marks here just have no etiquette. They dont let people check in, they were getting in line with them….just stupid common courtesy things that people should know. Booker got mobbed, I waited till he was done. At that point he said he was in a hurry. Being a top want for this trip, I showed him my WCW program and asked him if he could just do this one for me since it was way old school….Kane and Kole days. He stopped and said ok, cuz he hadnt seen this before. I asked him to sign as Kole, his name before they changed Harlem Heat to Booker T and Stevie Ray. He signed it alright…..COLE. WTF?!!?!?! He misspelled his own name.
Khali is always funny. He stopped and signed a few, took a few photos. I got my WM 28 program done and was happy. Once again, my friend tried to get a picture and Khali just walked away. Like an internal clock goes off and says move and he starts going. Doesnt say he has to go or thanks or bye….just signs the last one, takes the Sharpie and leaves.
Lord Tensai and McGillicutty were in, but brushed all those that approached and quickly left. Not sure if Tensai is going to be hard to get or was just in a hurry.
Tyler Reks was there, someone who I feel has greatly improved on NXT. Got Tyler on a promo I made of him and Hawkins. Made sure he saw my Hawkins Change shirt and he said he saw the picture of me last night wearing it when I tweeted it to Hawkins. That was cool. Asked him about Mid Card Mafia and he said that wont be coming back anytime soon.
Last one out was Otunga, another name I really had nothing for. Didnt want to spend anymore time there, so we left. All in all, got a couple of gets, a couple of wants, Vince McMahon and a nice story. But our tale doesnt end there. As we were leaving, walking through the garage, it fucking wreaked. I mean it straight up smelled like SHIT in the garage. It was awful. Thought we might have been in Philadelphia again based on the smell. HA!