Twice in a lifetime? Lets make it an even half a dozen! Confused? Let me explain…. If you read my previous installments, you would know that my recent marking out adventures haven’t exactly gone as planned or as desired. From being “A Day Late, A Dollar Short” to “Living On The Edge Of Success”….it has been a rocky road for the star of this show. Narrow misses to just in time hits….thats been my luck as of late. Well, on the biggest wrestling trip of the year…possibly of all time considering the number of big names being within a 50 mile radius of one another…..the potential for glory was high. The potential of overcrowding and mistimed moments were also high though. Like many of my stories, this one starts very much the same. DJKnightRida picked me up at dawn. Well, maybe it wasn’t dawn. I don’t quite know exactly what dawn means, but it certainly sounds more compelling. So for the purposes of storytelling….it was dawn. Ahem…..as I was saying. DJ picked me up at DAWN and we loaded his car, packed full of luggage, poster tubes, steel chairs, bags, etc. We barely found places for us to sit. The Beast would be staying home, as I was Amtrakking it back home the night before WM for a whole nother trip come WM Sunday. We made awesome time to NJ and checked into our hippo. The Red Roof is Secaucus is newly renovated and is almost and I mean almost as nice as a high priced Hyatt room. Refrigerator, flat screen tv, nice bathroom, square bowl raised sinks, etc make this Red Roof downright lavish. Not to mention this place is so centrally located, it was easy to get to Met Life and NJ Transit. And thanks to a much needed lesson in public transport from Lucas from NY Comic Con last year, this was no doubt the perfect place to stay. WELL priced for what you get. On the way up, WWE tweeted about a “once in a lifetime” photo op to take place at 1:45pm outside the Press Conference at Radio City Music Hall. HMMMM……could it be? A Rock/Cena photo op? Would they really take, a guess of 60 marks, and organize one amazing group photo? Considering how little notice they gave and the fact that it was an earlier day in the WM week….it could just be possible. Certainly not set in stone and a total gamble. Worse yet, this conflicted with an opportunity to catch HBK coming into town. We needed to make a choice. It was either an all but guaranteed HBK or a shot at The Rock. And even if it was Rock, what are the odds I could get him to sign for me? We debated it back and forth and finally decided the photo gamble was worth it. We checked in right around 11am, but before we left DJ got cold feet. Reevaluating, he wanted the near guarantee in HBK. Not me. I had one of those feelings. One of those true gut feelings that something special would happen and we would regret not being there. Rule #5….trust your gut. But before we made our way to the city, we stopped off at the WM Superstore to pickup wristbands for Santino. It was possible to go into the city, take the photo and boogie back in time for Santino. We got our wristband and then decided to take a quick sweep of the store. The merchandise was pretty much like having WWEshop.com explode in a room. I picked up the new WM program, which was much larger than previous editions. However, I don’t like the way it was organized and then having every member of the roster plus NXT just made this program 100X more difficult to finish. I also grabbed one of the exclusive WM tshirts. The one I chose was the full body shots of Rock/Cena on opposite sides, vs the official poster logo shirt. A pair of WM texting gloves and the coup de gras…..Rock wrestling buddy for my momma rounded out my purchases. Sad to see no full size WM posters there. We checked out and headed for the NJ Transit. Since Undertaker was announced to replace Flair on the Axxess VIP, I made sure to hit the Buy It Now on 3 different UT auctions the day before. I had fully expected to have all 3 tickets and even have a chance to resell them, but I quickly learned that the ebay sellers were NOT going to hold up their end. Within the hour, I received an instant refund on the first auction. By early afternoon, another seller started to send me weird emails about Flair not being there and wondering if there was a replacement. When he discovered it was UT, he refused to answer anymore emails. I sent him almost a dozen before midnight. The final one did give me his number so we could meet up before Axxess, 1 hour before. I figured this was a good time to drop him a reminder text. Never got a reply though. No time to worry as Time was of the essence. We soon got our first taste of just how crowded NY/NJ was gonna be for WM. The parking lot was full and we had no other option but to valet. Leaving the car with the valet, we motored into the station and headed to the ticket machine. After getting our tickets, we had a little trouble finding our train. A few minutes later, we were at Track A and ready to take the short ride into NYC. And then it happened. That creeping sense of doom and being “A Day Late, Dollar Short”….that sinking theme was upon us again. The train was running late. We were getting short on time. As the time creeped closer to the new delayed arrival, another announcement came that the train was once again delayed. We were now approaching a 15min total delay and would now not make it till past the 1:45pm deadline. But what could we do? This is the danger of public transportation. Yes, we are saving money and the headache of driving into the city and need to find parking is avoided, but now we might not even make it in time. In fact, based on my calculation, there is no way we can make it in time. We’ve come this far, we might as well try, right? The train finally arrived and we got on. Train was packed. We stood in the vestibule, knowing how short the trip was. In just a few minutes, we were at the bottom of MSG. We hightailed it upstairs and outside of MSG to grab a cab. From my previous NYC , Channing Tatum trip, I knew there would be cabs out there all lined up and someone out there to assist you in getting one. There was no line and we jumped in. Sadly, you have to jump into the first cab available and not just pick one. So we had to jump out and go intoo Cab #1. So now we were in the right cab and on our way. I told the cabbie to STEP ON IT, we had 10mins to get there. Putting pedal to metal, we were off. Driving like a total mad man, speed racer was swerving from lane to lane to get us there in time. I asked him how far we were and he said 3mins with no traffic, 7 with. Ok….we should be fine. We weren’t. The amazing time we were making came to a major hault due to an insane amount of traffic. Without lives hanging in the balance in the back of this NYC cab, we braced ourselves for another disappointment. Numerous, in what I can only believe to be, Al Qaeda like cuss words were uttered by our camel loving friend and we finally got through the log jam and could see Radio City Music Hall. Once we arrived, we jumped out and found about 50 marks outside the Hall. Just as we expected. We arrived late, but WWE wasnt on time either. So it seemed things were looking up. Well….not exactly. It wasnt but minutes and an employee at Radio City said everyone needed to go across the street, b/c all the wrestlers would appear on the balcony and would be taking a picture of the fans that were standing across the street. WTF?!?!!? When we turned to cross, we noticed another 50 people across the street. This was now ruled a total and complete bust. What to do, what to do. I have never tried marking out at Radio City. I told DJ we needed to take a walk around the building. See if there was any spot that could bring us possible success. It wasnt too long till we found the right side and noticed the barriers being up. There had to be 50 people already surrounding the barriers and several limos and SUVs parked on the side. Cops and security were all over the place. The one barrier, of course the one I would have preferred to be at, was completely full. So we stationed ourselves at the other, where we were only but 5 rows back. The actual experience of waiting here became almost unbearable by this old guy in front of me. He wouldnt stop going on and on about this dumbest shit. “Hogan WANTS Sting to goto WWE b/c he knows its Sting’s dream”, “Punk is ending the streak, I’ve seen the script”, “Rock will retain and Cena will turn heel at WM”, “Whos Dolph Wiggler”, “Hogan is returning to WWE at WM to reform the nWo…why do you think he is in NY?” At first I politely nodded my head and smiled. I moved onto just ignoring him. I then began to mumble shit under my breath. And I was just inches away from freaking out on him. We then began to see people coming out. First out was Michael Cole. He acknowledged no one and got into his car and left. Then it was Vince McMahon. Vince acknowledged everyone, but walked on by and got into his limo. Very soon after, HHH/Stephanie came out. Both acknowledged the fans, but did not stop. HHH even waved from inside his SUV, but they left. Then we got The Bellas, Khali and I think Kofi Kingston. Strange cumbo. They too acknowledged the fans, but stopped for no one. Hilarity ensued when Khali climbed into the driver’s seat and was then asked to step out and he went to other side to sit in the passenger’s seat. Suddenly, Nikki Bella climbed out and went back inside. One can only assume she wanted to ride with Cena. That SUV drove off. We were getting down to the nitty gritty. Who would be next? Punk? Cena? Rock? The door opened and we saw Rock’s mom and daughter. We knew Rock must be just seconds behind. Would he stop? What chance did we have being so far back. The crowd was now becoming more and more lively. The door opened and Rock came out with the WWE title. He waved to both sides and then got into the back of the SUV with his mom and daughter. And then…..the SUV door opened and The Rock reappeared. He took a picture with a handicap kid and let the kid hold the WWE Title. He then walked over to the side I knew would be the better side and signed a kids belt. But he wasnt done. He then began to sign for 10 or so people. Our side continued to plead. Trying anything to get Rock’s attention. Someone screamed out “Please dont forget this side, Rock.” Rock did not turn. The glimmer of hope was disappearing. In a last ditch effort, I decided to hold up my photo of The Rock from WM 28 last year. I had it printed out on a special Kodak paper that makes it extra glossy and really brings out the details in the photo. It was 16×20, hoping it would get Rock’s attention. And sure enough….I WAS RIGHT! As Rock turned to gather his WWE Title, he spotted the picture and headed over. He signed a few autos, as he worked his way over to me. He asked me about the photo and I told him about it and how much I was a big fan of his. Rock said he knew. Said he saw me sitting front row in Hershey for Smackdown with my Just Bring It shirt. He said, “Rock pointed at ya, remember?” He then told me he saw me the night before front row in Philly and appreciated all my support. I told him I had my “Roadblock Owns Cobra” sign and he said “Damn Right Roadblock Owns Cobra.” He signed DJ’s WM 28 poster and then took a photo with me. Got a bro hug from The Rock and he thanked me for coming out and he was off. WE DID IT!!!! Adrian, we DID IT! The first meet of the WM weekend and it couldnt get any bigger or better…THE ROCK! Instead of waiting around for people like Cena to blow us off, we decided to pack up and leave. Should we hit the Mania hippo? Hit the Superstore to see if we can catch the tail end of the Santino signing? Or…..wait a second! The CMPhone is ringing. Commissioner Gordon is buzzing through. There must be a Showstopping Emergency. HOLY TIM HORTONS SHOWSTOPPER!!!! Trish Stratus is arriving in 50 mins. To the big yellow taxi, DJ! We needed to get to Penn Station STAT in order to get back to Secaucus in order to get our car in order to make it to the AP. The cabbie got us there in record time. We sprung from our spunked covered seats and headed straight for NJ transit. Hitting the ticket machine, I carefully scoped out a transit train that would take us right to the scene of the action. Quickly…..TO THE TRANSIT TRAIN! Our luck was turning around. No longer were we coming up short. Now we are riding high. The train arrived in moments and we jumped in. I was keeping a careful eye on the time. We should be able to make it to the AP with a good 15mins to spare. I have met Trish Stratus before, but I had 2 major needs for her. Unfortunately, one of them is sitting in Dan’s car that is Secaucus. No worries. My #1 is in my bag. There was no time to stop. We had to keep going. When we arrived, we prayed we arrived in the right terminal. Unfortunately……we did not. In fact to compound matters, we were on the opposite side. We needed to go all the way to the other side and only 15mins. to get there. We jumped aboard the first Air Tran. This should have there in no time flat. Well…not exactly. As the doors shut, we found ourselves on the slowest Air Tran of all time. And nothing we could do was gonna make this puppy go any faster. I decided to try once again to reach the ebay seller about that VIP ticket. I was starting to get worried on whether he was gonna show. Once we arrived in the correct terminal, our time was up. The big bird in the sky showed landed. We decided to hit baggage claim anyway and found Lucas, Mrs. Lucas and Oldschool still there. AHA!! All was not loss. We had in fact made it in time. Not even a minute later, Trish came down the stairs. Trish was very gracious enough to sign my WM 17 program and also her HOF page in the new WM 29 program. I also got a pic with her. After Trish had finished, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a certain World Champion just hanging out. Kevin Steen…..Kill Steen Kill. I went up to Steen and asked for a pic and he said “You Want A Pic with me after you got a pic with Trish Stratus?” I nodded. “I wanted a pic with Trish too” said Steen. He posed and we were done. It was back to Seccaucus for us. On the ride back, for the third time I would try getting ahold of the ebay seller without any luck. DJ asked me if I was gonna buy a GA ticket and I told him I was not. I told him to just give me his keys and I would sit in the car while he was inside. Didnt want to rain on his parade, but at the same time I had many a worries about these Axxess sessions. A worry of complete and utter cluster de fuck! More on that later. We arrived. We parked and we headed towards the doors. It was now less than hour before doors and no ebayer…worse yet, no response. I texted, called, texted and called again. DJ was able to head on inside and get out of the cold, as he already had his ticket. Me? I was stuck outside freezing my ass off. Less than 30mins before doors open. A camera crew for WWE was outside and filming the Axxess line. Good thing I had DJ’s keys. It was looking like I needed to head back to the car, warm up and maybe take a nap. All 3 sellers were gonna flake on me. I cant really blame them considering. However, it didnt change the fact that I had no ticket now. As I started to head back with a hot sausage in one hand and a coke in another, my phone rang. It was MR EBAY!!!! I quickly picked up and no one was there. NOOOOO!!!!!! I tried calling back, but got nothing but a VM. A minute later, it rang again and it was him. He apologized for the delay. Said he didnt have his phone with him today and was running WAY late for Axxess. But he was just 5 mins away. He finally arrived and gave me my ticket. I thanked him for coming through on his end of the bargain and went inside to warm up with about 15mins before Axxess was to begin. When I got to security they didnt want to let me inside with my rolling bag??! WTF. I have never had an issue with this bag. They told me it was too large to take inside. I was finally able to convince them to let me take it inside and found DJ in line. They were getting ready to open doors, when I spotted Kimberly’s Ghost and Mary, Mary. All these codenames makes me think we all live in the Hasbro world, appearing in numerous GI Joe episodes of the 80s. BTW…..I’m Duke. And no, I am not dead. (See GI Joe Retaliation). I waved hi to the 2 girls and went inside for Axxess. Once inside, DJ and headed straight for Jack Swagger’s booth. Well sort of. This Axxess, unlike previous sessions, was a complete and total cluster fuck. Once we arrived at the line, we found ourselves 1 and 2 in line. We figured we could right in and get our auto and move on. Nope. We stood in line. Waiting for nearly 20 minutes before we were allowed through the curtain and then…..we sat down. They started to put us in the cheap seats and have us take a seat and wait another 20 minutes until Swagger came in and started signing. A horrid experience, destroying our chances at getting other autos. Once we left, I decided to see the Legends lines. I needed DDP and also Steamboat. DDP would be at Wrestlecon, so I decided to hit the Steamboat line which dragged like molassess. DJ went for Hunico/Cammacho. In what seemed like no time, he came back and said they had absolutely no one there. DJ took my spot in line and ran to Hunico and Cammacho. By the time I had returned, DJ had only moved a few feet. I jumped back into line and waited it out till I got to Steamboat. I had him sign my WCW Program and was done. The first session was now over. With the second the second session about to begin, I met up with Kimberly’s Ghost. Since she is handicapped, she asked if I could help carry her stuff through the handicap line. Since last year I was able to score an extra Rey I most certainly did not have issue with this. Some people would like to point fingers, but the bottom line is Kim is forced to walk around with a cane and needs help getting around, especially with the extra bag she brought this year. For those who drink the haterade, I’m not showing up wrestler’s homes, getting photo ops with gravestones or calling Edge’s room cuz you didnt want to wait in the lobby for long and then making false accusations concerning topics you clearly have no clue about. Perhaps you should spend more time worrying about yourself and less time worrying about me or my friend’s handicap. Now that my small vent is out of the way, I will return you to your regularly scheduled programming. As I was saying…..we had made our way down the handicap section of the VIP line. We waited for UT and he came in almost right away. He strolled up and took care of Kim first and then signed 2 items for me. I got a pic with UT and hen Kim and I were off. We took the escalators back up top side. We stopped over at Teddy Long/Ron Simmons. I didnt really need anything, so I settled on a picture with them. This stop was for Kim and Mary, Mary more than it was for me. It was at this moment that JBL and Cole came out and stopped inches away from me. Unfortunately, I was too slow to get my item out for JBL and get it signed. Oh well. He was gone and the girls were done with Simmons and Teddy. My next stop was Primo and Epico. Buzzsawed right through as there was no line. Got my new program done and was out. At this point, I was pretty beat from the day and tired of dealing with the exhaustion of Axxess. Mary, Mary took back over the carrying of Kim’s bags and I met back up with DJ who finally finished with UT. He wanted Primo and Epico, so I went through the line with him, as we agreed we both wanted to leave. Once we were done, we made our way towards the door where we met with a WWE rep. who wanted us to take a survey. Normally, I would not waste my time…..but we both agreed this would be well worth it. So we sat down and filled out the survey, expressing our disgust with Axxess and how poorly it was handled, organized and the overall experience. Out the door we went and to the car we be. We actually took 10 mins. to take a breath. Fact is…..we are both getting old and just dont have the strength to keep pressing on all night. We still do some crazy shit….but, it takes a toll on us. Once we regrouped, we decided to forego tv and just pick up some dinner, head back to the hippo and get some decent rest before our “TNA Friday” was to begin. We settled on Popeye’s for dinner and in a strike of irony, we ended up at the very same Popeye’s that DJ, myself and Big Blue once shared chicken at. It was almost surreal. We went through drive thru and I dont know if its just Popeye’s in general….but this Popeye’s couldnt get the order right either. We ordered and had to wait damn near 15mins for the food. We drove off and went back to the hippo. Got inside and started opening up the food, where we discovered that they gave us no silver ware for the rice and no dipping sauces for DJ’s dippers. WTF?! On top of that….the food itself was fairly piss poor quality. The morning would be coming very, very soon. It was looking like we would still catch 6 hours worth of sleep and thats not bad for Mania week. It would be up early for the AP and then drive into Westbury for the TNA show that evening. Lots to look forward, including some well earned sleep. To Be Continued In TNA Westbury, NY Show…..