I forewarn all…..THIS is gonna be a LONG and I mean LONG read.
Landed in Miami on Wed. with DJKnightRida. Probably should have come in on Tuesday, but figured that since the WM conference is held in NY every year…..Wed. would be the day. We got in around 11am…..later than expected. Both DJ and I were crammed in like sardines on the plane. Sitting in the last row of seats is not an advantage. Our knees were smashed into the seats in front of us. And then once we landed, evidently the plane ran out of fuel on the run way and needed to be towed in. Not off to a good start. Once we landed and gathered our luggage, we headed for the rental car area to get our car. DJ found this low level BS joint called Sixt. In all fairness, they were half the price of renting than Enterprise and required no downpayment to reserve the vehicle. Once we are there we goto check in when the next strike of bad luck happens. They want a $1000 as a deposit to rent the car. HUH?!!?!?! I am not getting a fucking Ferrari. Its a damn full size sedan car. They said they take 4X the rental price and since we were renting for 6 days…..Well, this wasnt going to happen. Perhaps we should have swallowed our pride and just paid it….but we decided to move along to another agency. 40 mins. later and twice the rental price…..we had a car.
Off we went to our one night stay before we met up with the rest of our party for our regular Hippo. DJ booked this joint…..the fucking Rundown Inn. Right by the airport and almost as bad as you are thinking right now. Complete with farm animals, Turkey Vulture Prostitutes and someone almost running down DJKnightRida. Once we got our room and got settled in, we grabbed some grub from the IHOP and then headed to the airport for the few flights coming in today.
First up was Edge. It was great to see him again. Got 5 autos and a picture with him and he was happy to sign for everyone. Baggage takes forever in Miami, so he had plenty of time to chit chat. He is going to be returning to the tv show Haven, as he has been contracted for several more episodes. Said he doesnt watch wrestling anymore and doesnt even keep up with it. We talked about his movie Bending The Rules, which he didnt know was just released on dvd. By the end of our conversation, he had made it abundantly clear that his wrestling life is over and he really has no interest in wrestling at all. He wants to spend his life growing old in the mountains with his dog and his woman. Said he will explore the acting thing a little bit, but honestly would much rather just become a memory.
Next up was Shawn Michaels Spot, which also included Tully Blanchard, Afa and Rikishi. Shawn was awesome. Signed for everyone and even put a TSA agent in her place when she said this large group was causing a disturbance in the Hippo. Shawn seemed genuinely annoyed at her and explained what was going on. She didnt seem to care who he was or why people were surrounding him. She just wanted everyone gone. But Shawn was cool and took care of everyone. I got 2 autos from Shawn, including my Rockers promo finished. Went to Tully next, got him in the WWE E to finish off Brian Busters entry and a pic with him. Really cool to see Tully. Both Rikishi and Afa were having none of it. They wouldnt sign or take pics. Afa told people he wasnt Afa and was a nobody.
From Shawn we moved to Flair. It was a long trek across the Hippo, but we made it. It didnt turn out well though, as Flair changed his flight and decided to come the next day per Tully’s hot ass daughters. It was a bust. So we packed up and headed back to the Rundown. We relaxed until dinner and decided to go back to that IHOP. The IHOP was amazing in the afternoon, top notch service and good food and crap in the evening. Service was horrid and the food was a joke. The waiter tried to tell me that the reason there is no bacon on my bacon cheeseburger is b/c the bacon is mixed in with the ground beef. The point of this story is after we left, we walked back and decided to stop at a convenience mart to get some drinks and this is where DJ got tapped by a car in the crosswalk. No apologies or anything. Dude tapped DJ in the leg and then put the car in reverse for a second. CRAZY!
In the morning we were up and got a tip on JBL. So we headed for the airport again and there he was! Freaking JBL! He was nice as pie. Got 2 autos and a photo with him. He pretty much signed for everyone and things went really smooth. Great way to get the day started. We decided to pass at trying for Flair again, considering he probably wouldnt sign anyway. Instead we got some good and then left for Axxess, Edge VIP style. I bought mine about a month ago at $150. I was happy with my price. The day of the signing…..DJ bought 2 Edge VIPs at $60 a piece. WOW! Once we got there, it was still pretty damn packed and that was around 4pm for a 6pm Axxess session. We got into line and waited. I was gonna get my shirt given to me by Edge from Extreme Rules resigned with Deco Paint Cloth Marker and have him inscribe it with the date. Since we had VIP, we decided to hit up the other auto lines….however, we needed to hit the merch stand for the Tyson photo first. We got there and were within the first 20 people. They were $25 and WELL worth the price. Scored the Tyson and headed for Axxess auto lines. First stop was station 2, which turned out to be R Truth. We were 5th in line. Decided to stay in it, cuz the other lines were huge and I still needed Truth in the new WM 28 program which is awesome looking. Probably one of the better ones they have done. Got Truth in the program and we were off to station 5 for Swagger and Vickie. This line took FOREVER!!!! But once we were through, we saw the session was coming to an end, so we took off for Edge VIP. When we got there, we were told that we might not get Edge due to the line and when the session is over. Explained we had VIP and that guarantees us 1 auto and 1 photo. The guy working the line said there are no guarantees and was instructed to tell us where we could get a refund if we miss out. WHAT!??!?!!? What if I paid $500 for this ticket…you refunding that?!?!??! Needless to say, it was all for not in panic. We made it through the line safely. When it was my turn, I reminded Edge about the inscription. He said…yup, I remember. But the handler stepped in and said we didnt have time for all that. Edge stopped, looked up at him with a stern look and said…we have all the time in the world. He then hit him with the jackpot smile he has and finished up my shirt. Everyone who did the Edge VIP got a Bending The Rules poster, 11X14 I believe on the way out. I already own the 27X40…so this really did nothing for me. But still was nice to give out.
We finished up the session with other autographs, including Christian, Kaitlyn, Sin Cara, and a few others. A lot of the week blends in together, so some of this might actually be out of order. It was a long day, but we got a lot done. Added several names to the new WM 28 program, got JBL and got to experience my first Axxess. Tomorrow would be my easy day at Axxess. No VIP….just a chance to experience the actual event and what it has to offer and do a few auto lines. Well…that didnt go down as expected.
Once out of Axxess, we headed for our regular Hotel…..45 motherfucking minutes away! Never again do we allow someone else to book our accomadations. While you couldnt beat the price, it wasnt worth the hassle and headache and travel. It was late, so we stopped at Checkers for dinner. Have seen it on tv and it always looked good..,…but never had the pleasure of dining there. But then I did and it was amazing. It was like an orgasm in my mouth. Wait….that sounds ambiguously gay. Anyway…the orgasm in was barely worth the orgasm on the way out. The next day I did 4 rounds with Checkers and man, Checkers kicked my ass…hole.
Day 3 saw HHH VIP day. DJ had one…I did not. I despise HHH and really could care less. But he was going and I figured this was my chance to take in Axxess. In the morning we got wind of Daniel Bryan and Kane signing at the WM Super store at Sun Life. So we headed over there. Sadly, it was 2 different signings…..so we did Daniel Bryan and I got him in WM 28 and then I stayed for Kane, while DJ headed for Axxess. He was not missing HHH. The Kane line took forever. Easily more people there for him than Bryan. Once I was done with Kane, I headed for Axxess. Went to the box office and was standing in line waiting to buy a GA ticket. Then a friend of mine popped over and wanted to know if I wanted to buy a HHH VIP. I told him I wouldnt pay prices he would want and will stick to GA. He said I could have it for $80….I negotiated to $60. I think I did pretty good. $46 with fees was the GA price…so essentially I paid $14 for HHH. Decided to hit HHH first to get him out of the way. Line took a bit…but got through Got HHH in WM 28 program. Once I was done, I hit up a couple of lines….like Ziggler for the photo op and then spent the rest of the time checking out the attractions and taking photos.
Day 4, which was Saturday, was the day we decided we would try the tv Hotel. I think we all originally planned to do tv more often, but just never really felt like it. So we headed over in the morning. Got some good gets in Mil Mascaras, Christian, Ric Flair, John Laurinitas, Otunga, Miz, Brodus Clay, Shannon Moore, and Harley Race etc. before we ended up breaking for lunch. We hit up Buffalo Wild Wings…which is a place I love, but this location outside of Miami was horrid. HORRID. After BWW, we headed back to the Hippo to get showered and changed for the HOF. I dawned my fully pimped out all red, 3 piece suit, minus my cane which sadly could not come due to being desperate for space in the suitcase. We were off to the HOF. I’ll never understand why WWE does not enforce their dress code at this event. Showing up in a tshirt and shorts, bringing signs, and eating snacks are ridiculous. But I cant blame the fan fully, as WWE contributes with selling popcorn, beer, etc and even having merch. stands. Anyway, the HOF was really cool to witness. JBL and Christian had the 2 best induction speeches. Both were full of emotion and you could tell just how proud these 2 men were of their counterparts. Tyson was just fucking funny. And the Horsemen was a good listen. A fitting finale to Edge’s career, as he now rides off into the mountains.
After the HOF we headed back to tv. We did not stay long. But it was cool to socialize and mingle. Got a few pics with Nattie, Hillbilly Jim and Rhino. And of course I was involved in the Foley/Moxley scuffle. Here is what really went down for those who were curious and only seen the HEAVILY edited clip.
Foley had come out and WWE staff encouraged people to go up to him to ask for autos, pictures or just converse. They wanted a good crowd around Foley. I was going anyway, as I am working on my Wrestle Vessel photo, which has Mick on it. When I got up to him, he was being “interviewed by a fan”…which was actually WWE staff. They asked typical fan questions like how was Miami, when are you coming back, etc. I had my photo in my hand and Foley looked at and asked me what I had. I showed it to him and he was stunned to see this. He started to recount some of the stories, making him just the 3rd person (Edge and Big Show before him) to really remember the photo/cruise. He started to talk about how they really abused Big Show on this cruise and thats when Moxley came over. Foley was brushing him off, as Moxley ranted about how Foley was responsible for the death of an entire generation of his friends. Foley asked him what are the names of his friends and Moxley just continued to rant. Foley had my photo in his hands the entire time, even through the shoving match. I thought Moxley was gonna yank it and tear it up. But eventually, Foley fired off a good shove that sent Moxley stumbling almost into the fountain and then some “random guy” held Moxley back, as other “random guys” held Foley back.
Foley then returned to the group and asked where was I….finished his story, signed my photo and continued to sign and take pics for everyone. Note Ed Koskey, head writer, was also present.
We had an early morning to get to. Ended up scoring a pair of Sheamus VIPs for REALLY cheap, so we had those to go along with my 2 Big Shows and 1 Rey…..God I loved buying my VIP tix the last week of Mania…..$50 and under. So we left the Hotel early, ended up missing a host of good names like Vince. Oh well.
Day 5 came and we were up early for the VERY long day. Unfortunately, we ran into a bike race. Yes a bike race. This absurd idea to shut down streets of Miami leading into Axxess during WM week is more than annoying. We got there right at 8am and got inside. Here we found out that b/c of the bike race….all of the talent was running behind. The 8am session did not start till almost 9. I started in the Del Rio line to get my WM 27 program signed by him. We left Del Rio for Sheamus VIP line as the session was coming to a close. I was kind of hoping we wouldnt get there and get refunds considering I paid so well below face. But they said b/c of the delay, Sheamus would stay and finish the line and they moved Big Show to a different table. Several names that were advertised were no shows like Roddy Piper and Kelly Kelly. Got through Sheamus fairly quickly. Once I was done, I was lucky enough to head over to the ring to catch Seth Rollins aka Tyler Black face Leo Kruger. I really wanted to see Rollins and Cesaro….but missed it on Friday. I was determined to get him to sign my 8×10 and get a pic with him. His match started and he came down high fiving and I told him I came over to the ringside area just to see him. He took a few steps then came back and gave me another high five saying that he came back to give me this high five just for me since I came over just for him. LOL!! After his match, he came over and signed for me and took a pic which turned out awesome. I told him I couldnt wait to see him on the main roster and he said its gonna happen sooner than later. Good things poppn for the former Tyler Black.
After Rollins/Black, we headed for Big Show. Was able to get 2 from Big Show on my own, while Dan got my WM 27 program done. I showed Big Show the Wrestle Vessel photo and he was happy to sign that along with my program. NIIICCCEEE!!! Big Show is always a cool dude. Was able to do more checking out the Axxess events, including the entrance video. I wanted to do Edge, but he was not available….UNREAL. So I went with The Rock. Not as good as I had hoped, but oh well. This VIP sesssion ended pretty quickly, as they moved onto Rey. Started this session with Layla and what was also supposed to be Kelly Kelly. Needed Layla in WM 27, so it worked out. Then moved to Jimmy Hart before hitting up Rey. Was able to get 2 programs done by Rey….so was very happy about that as well. This session was about dead. Lines were pretty well nothing. Derrick Bateman and Maxine finished their line in 15 mins…so they left. So I ended up getting a pretty hungover Alex Riley, Hawkins and Reks, Million Dollar Man and Dory Funk Jr. I also decided to try out for The Marine 3….so I did that. And I left the session right at half way. This session definitely moved the quickest and was the most laid back.
After finishing up the last Axxess session, grabbed a quick bite to eat and made our way to WM. When we arrived we were met with the stiffest parking expense I have ever encountered….$40!!!! Good thing we had 4 people in the car. OUCH! I was guessing $25 since it was Mania, but really $15-20 is all that should be charged. We originally joked that it might be $30 to park. But we were excited to be there. We made our way through the parking lot, encountering tons of tail gaters. Tail gating is not for me. The idea of it sounds cool….but the setup with the grill and sitting out in the sun, while strangers come by and eat your food just doesnt sound appealing. Once inside, I saw the merch stand had an exclusive WM poster, old school style. The kind you would find hanging on a telephone poll many, many, many years ago. I WANTED IT!!! I hit 4 merch. stands, including the big one on my level. ALL were sold out. Ugh. Of course the one and only thing I wanted is sold out. I probably couldnt have kept it safe at Sun Life anyway….as Sun Life had less knee room than the airplane we came down on.
We took our seats and I absorbed the view. My first Wrestlemania. I know many our shocked by this….but this was in fact my first WM. I had 2 major reasons to go…..Edge’s HOF induction and The Rock returning to the ring to save the WWE from Cena, even if it is just for one night. I took damn near 1500 photos during WM week, including 600 just at WM. Our seats were ok. For the price we wanted to pay…..I think we got about as good as a seat as we were gonna get.
Now I start my complaining. Oh yeah…plenty to complain about. The seats are the seats. I am fairly used to sitting down and finding my knees squished in. So you deal. BUT what I cant stand are ignorant people. We are in elevated seating. Each level sits one step higher. This is done to people’s views are not blocked by the person sitting in front of you. What this means……STOP STANDING UP DURING THE EVENT!!!!! I get it….a big spot is coming or someone’s entrance. But there is no need to be on your feet for 15mins. straight. SIT DOWN!!! You can see just fine sitting down. You have completely defeated the purpose of the Architecture of Sun Life Stadium.
Lastly, stop getting up every 5 minutes to get another beer when you are sitting in the middle of the row. Are you a person who doesnt stay to watch the event and spends more time at the snack line?! GET A FREAKING AISLE SEAT!!!!! Not to mention they had a beer man coming by every 6 minutes selling the $9 a bottle beer. I get why these places sell beer…..they make a freaking FORTUNE!!!! These fools are buying 10-12 beers for the night. They spend $100 on a half a case of beer. So sad. I stick with their over priced $4 a bottle water and I had 2…..THE ENTIRE NIGHT! AND I didnt get up and leave the event and spend 30 mins trying to get it. I grabbed 2 before I sat down. But wait…..it gets worse. Those same sad people dont just get up to get another beer cuz they cant wait a minute for a beer man to come by……they also get about every 10 minutes cuz their god damn BLADDERS are so full!!!! Up and down, up and down….all night long. These guys had to have spent half the freaking night or more in between bathrooms and beer lines. And they never seemed to have an issue with how they were bothering everyone else in the row. And to the hot blonde in the halter top…..yes I grabbed your ass and stared at your tits. You can get up as many times as you want.
The show as a whole I would rate as a 4/10. From HORRID booking to poor matches, the show was more than underwhelming. I wont spend too much time on it….but here is my quick review.
Tag Title Dark Match: One of the best matches of the night. SHAME this was not on tv. Outside of the Gabriel botch, I really enjoyed it. Fun, exciting, suspenseful and the crowd was into it.
1. Daniel Bryan/Sheamus: A travesty. Bryan is SUPER MEGA over. Sheamus drew boos eventhough he was the baby face. But to book this match’s finish in 18 seconds is SOOOOO disrespectful to both men and the World Title. Daniel Bryan looks like a chump. Sheamus looks like a champion who won via a fluke and the world title was basically recognized as nothing more than 10 pounds of afterthought. The crowd was not happy.
2. Orton/Kane: Decent match. I liked the booking. Really thought Orton was going over. Nice to see Kane get a win and this feud can progress. A lot of potential here for a strong feud that both men can come out looking good. Plus 1 to WWE for this match.
3. Big Show/Rhodes: Decent match from both men. My only issue was the finish. Cody Rhodes was damn near approaching a year as IC Champion. He has been built with so much strength, I would have liked to have seen him finish the year reign. Big Show doesnt need the IC Title. I would have preferred to see a DQ win for Big Show, followed by a WMD punch, knocking Cody out and giving Big Show his WM moment and both men walking off into 2 different directions looking strong.
4. Divas Tag: Beth Phoenix is the Divas Champion, yet she tags with Eve and they come out to Eve’s music. So wasteful and worthless. Outside of the need of a filler match…..this was a damn train wreck. The highlight of this match was Maria Menudos shitting herself. Thats my story and I am sticking to it! Finish was highly predictable and Menudos contributed absolute nothing, minus my section laughing at her dooky.
5. UT/HHH: All the talk of this being a MOTY candidate I find to be ABSURD!!! It was what I expected….lackluster and boring. But wait….it was actually worse that I expected. We basically saw the same match as last year with same spots and the same ABSURD number of kicking out of finishers. Kicking out of everyone’s finisher doesnt make you look strong, it makes the finisher look weak. Not to mention it crapped on the main event and stole spots from that. The live crowd LOVED this match…..I was falling asleep. Props to the cool ass entrances, but outside of that….this was about as good as the damn divas match. Feel free to hate on me.
6. Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy: For a filler match, this went off fairly decently. I hated seeing a talent like Dolph Ziggler being relegated to this, but it had some cool spots, meaning and a decent finish. At the end, it also kicked off the next chapter in the Ryder/Eve saga….so all in all things seemed to work out. Good to see Laurinitas’ team win as well.
7. Punk/Jericho: One of the matches I have really enjoyed being built and was excited to see. IT DISAPPOINTED!!!! And I mean it REALLY disappointed. I expected a masterpiece between the 2. Instead I felt like what we got was just the first chapter in this feud and that they didnt give their best at Mania in order to further this feud. You can further the feud without having to hold back. The last 5 mins. was REALLY strong and had what I was looking for during the match, but the rest of it was lackluster at best. Too bad.
8. The concerts: Nice to see Diddy make an appearance. I enjoyed the mini concerts. After Punk/Jericho, which the crowd was into….we needed a moment to catch our breaths and get ready for the main event. MGK was doing just fine until he started talking out his ass about Cena being an underdog and then trash talked The Rock. WHOOPS! Boos reigned down for MGK, who clearly has no concept what an underdog is. If anything, Cena is the epitome of what an underdog is NOT. Flo-Rida was next. Same thing….did a fine job in his mini concert. When he said “Put Your Hands Up”, I started singing “Pull Your Pants Up”. No…seriously. Why wear a belt made of diamonds if your pants are hanging off the bottom of your ass. How do you even get them to stay like that?
9. Rock/Cena: One of the 2 reasons I came here. The electricity was amazing. Cena was booed out of the building. Lots of Cena Sucks/Lets Go Cena chants. I despise this. Why? B/c of this WWE has decided to push Cena differently with the whole “no one conveys more emotion than” BS. Best way to get Cena gone is for no one to care about him. Dont like Cena….cheer for the other guy. The more they hear Cena Sucks/Lets Go Cena….the more we get the “same old shit”. I did kind of dig his new shirt though. When The Rock entered….IT WAS CRAZY!!!! If there was a roof, it would have blown off. AWESOME to see The Rock in the ring again…LIVE!!!! I thought WWE did a fantastic job in making this match, from the spots, finish and ending. Shame that we just saw a match filled with everyone kicking out of finishers….but I just ignored that and stuck with this match. I liked how Cena looked really strong most of the match….its when I really started to feel like Rock was going to win. I also liked Cena’s expressions following 2 AAs that failed to put The Rock away. I liked the spot where Rock is going to the top rope, showing the desperation to win, hits the cross body, but Cena rolls through and deadlifts The Rock into the AA. I thought that was it. I bought it….hook line and sinker. THATS how you make a show. When the crowd has a thought and all of the sudden believes they are wrong and here is the end. Excellently done. Going into Mania I believed it was 55/45 Cena to win. During the match it was more like 60/40 Rock to win. But at that moment…..it was 95/5 Cena wins. I also liked when Rock spit into his hand and then missed the right, Cena countered into the AA. Good spot there. Earlier in the match, we saw Cena kick out of the Rock Bottom…but he did it after a few second delay as Rock was trying to get over to make the cover. Thats how you kick out of a finisher. And then there was the Cena going for the People’s Elbow. STRONG way to finish. Cena makes ONE…ONE mistake, gets a tad cocky and it costs him. Rock Bottom and win. Like a little kid, I was jumping for joy. Highfives all around. AWESOME!!! Rock did it. He vanquished the evil John Cena…the man who is the face of a generation of WWE that is so bothersome to many. Awesome moment. About my only real complaint here was Cena immediately rolling out of the ring, pouting on the floor. It was an epic match. I’m good with giving The Rock the ring to do his thing and celebrate. Roll out and stand outside to applaud him. Then reenter the ring, shake his hand and hit the showers. You werent buried. The finish was strong and you have a creative way to move into your next story….which would happen on Raw with Lesnar. Instead you looked like a baby. I think Cena made himself look bad in the end.
This pretty much concluded my WM week. Enjoy the pics! For me….next stop Orlando.