Wrestlemania Diary- Day 1
I'll try and make this brief because it's after midnight and I really haven't had enough sleep to function at an appropriate level through Wrestlemania weekend, but the excitement has begun!
Been in Orlando a little over 24 hours now, so calling this Day 1, even though it's technically Day 2. My real Day 1 involved spending the majority of the day flying on a plane or waiting in LA for the delayed Orlando flight. Arrived at around 8:30pm, and somehow by the time I got unpacked, it was heading on 10pm. So, my plans of going out and having dinner, maybe finding a bar and having some brewskis went out the window, so I got comfy in bed and caught up on NXT and 205 Live. Yeah, I know some places would still be open for dinner, but I was tired. Suck it.
Quick thoughts on both- as far as 205 Live goes, I think Tozawa is really clicking and Kendrick is an excellent foil. Austin Aries and Neville have done a tremendous job hyping their Cruiserweight title match. Shame it got bumped to the pre-show because of a fucking Pitbull performance, but A-Double did a great job addressing that also.
NXT has booked an interesting match for Takeover- an 8 person tag team match pitting Sanity against Dillinger's squad, including the new girl, Ruby Riot. I know nothing about her, and I usually have some idea about the wrestlers that are good enough to debut at Takeovers- i.e. Bobby Roode, Kevin Owens, Shinsuke Nakamura. So I'm intrigued on that one. Also, Kassius Ohno is quickly becoming one of my favourite wrestlers, making Elias Samson have a watchable match for the first time in his career.
So, back to my day. I started with Universal, thinking I'd address my Harry Potter fandom first and get to the wrestling after, but as it turned out, there were some wrestling links in my theme park excursion. First of all, I was wearing my AJ Styles t-shirt, and the security guard immediately did the classic black guy handshake, slap on the back thing, asking me if I was going to Mania and he said he was too. This is the thing that made me so comfortable with the idea of travelling alone- wrestling fans are so great in just immediately bonding over our common passion. Got several approving looks, nods and comments through the day, and one guy at the end that just said "Put it up" and gave me the Too Sweet hand gesture.
The other wrestling thing took me completely by surprise. I'm in Diagon Alley, waiting to go on the Escape From Gringotts ride. I then notice Big E and Kofi Kingston heading out! So I called out, "Hey, Big E, how's it going, man?" He gave me a quick handshake and then moved on with what looked like his security, and Kofi was a little bit ahead. Shame, because I'm actually a bit more of a Kofi fan than a Big E fan! I do like the New Day all collectively though. I understand why, but New Day seemed in a rush to get by and didn't want to be disturbed- that said, I'm pretty sure they had their merch on. Try to go a little more incognito, boys!
After a quick rest/nap, I got my ass over to the Orange County Convention Center for the first Wrestlemania Axxess session. I noticed through a Triple H post on Facebook that some fans were waiting since midday to enter! For context, the session started at 6. Going to need to bring my A-game for the weekend sessions, because the queue was massive when I got there. At least I have VIP tickets for the wrestlers I MUST meet (that's Jericho, Styles and Angle). After a 5 minute walk around to find Mick Foley's signing area, I settled on my second choice, Cesaro and Sheamus. Despite waiting for the better part of 2 hours, I missed them just barely- I was literally the next in line for them!
But, in what seemed like the ultimate sign that this week is going to kick all kinds of ass- who was replacing Cesaro & Sheamus? Mick Freaking Foley! I went from last to first immediately. Got my pic, a quick signature and he told me to have a nice day. Unfortunately, didn't get to have an actual conversation, but slightly more verbal than Ric Flair last year at Comic Con. I'm hopeful that paying for a VIP ticket means I can engage my favourites in a 30 second conversation on Saturday and Sunday
While in the queue, I missed the entrance of Triple H at Axxess! He conducted a ceremony for Ric Flair, giving him a statue, making him the fifth wrestler to have a life size statue after Andre, Warrior, Dusty and Bruno. A big honour and cool to see- well, sort of see. I got to see about half of a big screen displaying it. Stephanie McMahon, Charlotte Flair, Shawn Michaels and Sting, also came out. I'm quite envious of those people who were just chilling watching cruiserweight matches when the fucking Game's music hit!
The atmosphere of everything was incredible though. Got to do an entrance to AJ Styles' music, cut a promo on Brock Lesnar promoting our match at Wrestlemania- I'll have to check them out online soon. Got chatting to people quite easily, and made a friend in the initial queue to get in- Paul from East London. Writing that down more for my recollection than your information. Seeing all the memorabilia was cool, and I got some good photos of all the different things around Axxess. Wasn't a fan of how slow the queues moved in that 4 hour window, but that's the nature of the beast, I guess. At least I can say I met Mick Foley!
And finally, I got my hands on some merch! Bought a Wrestlemania 33 jersey which looks sick, and on the way out of Axxess, I stopped in at the Superstore and bought the new NXT book, a Wrestlemania program and a plaque for me to put my Wrestlemania ticket in. Strongly eyeing a replica title belt, but I need to manage my funds before such a big purchase.
Tomorrow, I recharge a little, but tomorrow night, the big events start with the Hall of Fame ceremony! Featuring everyone's favourite Olympic Hero, Kurt Angle.
Until then, take care,