Matt Young's Crazy WrestleMania Week Adventure
As a lot of you know, I was in Phoenix this past Thursday-Tuesday. I attended 8 wrestling or wrestling-related events as well as 2 Cactus League spring training baseball games. I met up with Jed and Steve (Steve, I'd never met before), had a great time, and took a lot of pictures. This is my story.
Friday started with an afternoon baseball game pitting the Dodgers against the Royals. It was my first Dodgers game. Manny Ramirez homered in his first at-bat, but LA still lost the game.
Pictures from the LA/KC game: Dodgers vs Royals pictures by MattYoung - Photobucket
Also on Friday, I attended my first Ring of Honor show at Phoenix College's gym. I've been watching ROH on HDNet since its debut, but it was a whole different experience being live at ringside. Note to others- never buy a program at an ROH show. They're a huge ripoff.
Friday night featured- among other things- a surprise appearance by the recently "retired" Human Tornado, a tag team match featuring the Kings of Wrestling in which Chris Hero got injured, a Necro Butcher vs. Bison Smith match that spilled out to ringside, directly in front of us, an incredible match between Kevin Steen and Kenny Omega, Tyler Black facing Austin Aries and Roderick Strong in back-to-back non-title matches, Jerry Lynn vs. Kenny King in an anything goes match, and then the main event was the best tag team match I've ever seen- a 30 to 45 minute title match between The Briscoes and the American Wolves.
Also, before the show, there was a meet and greet. We got to meet Jim Cornette, Kenny King, Necro Butcher, and Colt Cabana (again). All nice guys.
Photos from ROH Friday Night: Ring of Honor March 26 2010 pictures by MattYoung - Photobucket
Saturday started off with another ROH show, this one taking place at 1:00 P.M. While it wasn't quite as good as Friday night, it was still another awesome show. Some matches included Human Tornado vs. Daivari, an 8 man with The Briscoes, Necro Butcher, and Rasche Brown against the Embassy, Jerry Lynn vs. Steve Corino in a hardcore match, and Colt Cabana and El Generico vs. the American Wolves. We were supposed to see Roderick Strong take on Austin Aries and Tyler Black in consecutive matches, but Strong was "injured" in his match with Aries. So they made a title match between Aries and Black. Strong interupted it, made it a three-way, and Black ended up making Strong tap out.
Photos from ROH Saturday Night: Ring of Honor March 27 2010 pictures by MattYoung - Photobucket
Next up was the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. We were up in the balcony, so many of the shots I took are blurry. But it was a fun experience. A senile Mad Dog Vachon repeated the same stories over and over again. The even more senile former wife of Gorgeous George had to be fed questions, yet still veered off course. Stan Hansen gave a good speech inducting Antonio Inoki, who spoke broken English before switching to an interpreter, and talked about wrestling in Antarctica with penguins all around. Bret Hart led the whole Hart family in inducting Stu Hart. Bob Uecker was hilarious, as usual. Roddy Piper's (seemingly) drunken speech was the highlight of Wendi Richter's induction. And finally, in the highlight of the night, Ted DiBiase gave his speech with the million dollar belt and ended the night by raining real money on the crowd.
WWE Hall of Fame 2010 pictures by MattYoung - Photobucket
After the Hall of Fame came Dragon Gate USA's Mercury Rising PPV taping. If you've never been to a DG USA show, don't go. Just wait and buy the DVD. The company is run more poorly than most 2-bit indy promotions. After a reported delay of over 1 hour the night before, the show on Saturday night didn't go on till over a half hour past the advertised start time. To make things worse, they had another half hour intermission an hour after the show started. There were a couple good matches, like London and Kendrick vs. Jack Evans and Jimmy Jacobs, but it was overall a bad experience and I won't be going to any future shows. I only have a few shots since my camera died.
Dragon Gate USA Mercury Rising PPV March 27 2010 pictures by MattYoung - Photobucket
We left Dragon Gate shortly after the intermission. Since they ****ed up their schedule, we missed Prince Nana and Steve Corino on the comedy show. We walked in during Austin Aries' routine, and sat a row in front of Jerry Lynn! We didn't get to meet him, though. Also in the crowd were Daivari, The Briscoes, and Roderick Strong. After Aries' routine, during which he drank a bit of wine, Colt Cabana came out. He reused some of his material from August, but had a lot of new stuff, too. Mick Foley closed the show and, while he reused a lot of material, he redeemed himself with a Karate Kid parody in which he did such moves as "work the shaft" and "spread the ass". He ended it by miming flinging semen into the eyes of Colt Cabana ("It's so salty!") and Steve Corino. Then all the wrestlers/comedians came out with wine and danced around in their underwear. It was bizarre.
I really wish my camera hadn't died, because at one point during the show, Jay Briscoe left for 10 minutes, came back, sat in our row, and then passed the **** out. He was lying back in his chair with his head hanging back and his mouth wide open. He didn't move, even when the show ended. Jed got a picture. A bunch of people were taking pictures.
We went around the back to get our VIP posters, and a few wrestlers were hanging out. Necro Butcher, Kenny King, Mark Briscoe, and Rasche Brown all looked pretty stoned. We had to break the news to Mark Briscoe about his brother. One funny moment came when a woman who worked for the arena asked for the wrestlers' names. They all gave their actual names except Necro, who gave his as Jim Hellwig. Haha.
Finally, some wrestlers came out from the back including Daivari and Steve Corino. Once Austin Aries came out, a really stoned guy approached him and handed him some weed not 15 feet away from a cop, who did nothing. Man, I wish I had pictures.
Sunday was, of course, WrestleMania day. We had Axxess in the morning from 8-12. We ended up getting to pose in a WWE ring, met Tiffany, posed for pics with the World Heavyweight and WWE title belts, saw exhibits featuring the Hart family, Shawn Michaels' career, Undertaker's WrestleMania opponent "graveyard", and other things. It was much better than the Axxess before SummerSlam, and well worth attending.
WrestleMania Axxess pictures by MattYoung - Photobucket
That afternoon was "the grandaddy of them all", WrestleMania XXVI. If you're reading this, I'm sure you already know what happened. It was an astounding spectacle, being in that arena with 72,000 people. The show mostly lived up to expectations, although there were a couple bad matches. Undertaker vs. Michaels was everything I expected. I had chills watching that match. It was an honor seeing Shawn Michaels' final match in WWE. I took plenty of pictures at that show.
WrestleMania XXVI pictures: Wrestlemania XXVI pictures by MattYoung - Photobucket
After WrestleMania, we got something to eat and then went to a cabaret. I'd only been to 1 strip club before. When Steve heard that I had never had a lap dance (at least not by a "professional") he offered to buy me one. I got one from this hot Asian chick named Pandora. Pretty nice.
Then Jed decided he wanted to go to an all nude place. He had a free pass to this place called "Dream Palace". It turned out that the place was, more than likely, a front for prostitution. They gave us the hard sell on paying $60-100 for 30 minute "private dances" with full contact in a back room. We declined.
Monday featured another baseball game. This time, it was the Cubs vs. the Reds. I got a pretty bad sunburn there. The Cubs won that game.
Pictures from the Cubs vs. Reds game: Cubs vs Reds pictures by MattYoung - Photobucket
The final event on Monday was, of course, Raw (and Superstars!). It was a really good show overall, with a legends' lumberjack match, Bret Hart coming out and backing the Hart Dynasty in a match, and an awesome Cena/Orton vs. Batista/Swagger tag team match. The real highlight, of course, was Shawn Michaels' farewell address. I got kind of emotional during that. Following the televised show, Edge wrestled Chris Jericho in a pretty good dark match. Following the match, Triple H came in and hit Jericho with Sweet Chin Music in honor of his partner, HBK.
Pictures of Raw: WWE Monday Night Raw and Superstars March 29 2010 pictures by MattYoung - Photobucket
Jed and I flew back home Tuesday afternoon. All in all, it was an amazing 5 days, and a trip that none of us will ever forget. I hope you all enjoy my pictures. I tried to capture the moments as best I could. The pics are all available on Facebook for those who have befriended me on there.