A few weeks ago, I was browsing through a list of upcoming autograph signings and one immediately grabbed my attention. Daniel Bryan, one of the most beloved “superstars” in WWE today, would begin a book signing tour to promote his first autobiography, “Yes! My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of Wrestlemania.”
Luckily enough, I was presented with two options to meet him:
1) The 12:00 PM Barnes and Noble book signing on East 54th Street – mere minutes away from my place of work.
2) The 6:00 PM Bookends signing in Ridgewood, NJ – roughly 20 minutes away from my home.
I was heavily considering going to the Barnes and Noble signing right after my overnight shift. But my mind changed after I placed a phone call to Barnes and Noble. They could not reserve a book for me; they weren’t sure if they were going to allow extra items to be signed; and they weren’t too sure about pictures.
Bookends, on the other hand, guaranteed a spot in line if I reserved a book. And they offered a “quick duck-in photo” and one extra item signed. Barnes and Noble was filled with uncertainties while Bookends offered nothing but guarantees. The choice was made.
I reserved my book and counted down the days until I met one of my favorite wrestlers ever.
And that day came yesterday evening. Here’s the story of My Awesome Journey to Bookends to Meet Daniel Bryan:
My friend and I arrived to Bookends at roughly 5:00 PM – an hour before the signing – to see a pretty large crowd forming in the Bookends parking lot.:
Thankfully, we ended up being right in the middle of the line. About a hundred or so people lined up after us; in fact, there was even a separate line for “standbys” – people who did not reserve a book but would be offered one if someone who reserved canceled/no showed. Sadly, I’m not sure if many ended up canceling and I’m afraid more than a few kids left unhappy.
Observation: I saw more than a handful of kids show to this signing decked out in full John Cena gear. Seriously. Cena is the merchandise king for a reason, I guess.
We waited on the line for a long, long time. The signing was supposed to start at 6:00 PM but there was no sign of Daniel Bryan. Finally, at 6:30ish PM, an SUV with a smiling bearded man in the backseat pulled into the parking lot.
It wasn’t too long before the line began to move. It actually moved fairly quickly until it came to a grinding halt roughly 20 minutes after they began letting people in. Once you brought into the store, you had to go downstairs to join another line and I guess they let in one too many people – thus the hold up. That kind of sucked, only because we were making good time.
Anyways, it was well after 8:00 PM – the signing was supposed to end at 8 – when we were finally let in. We were directed downstairs, to another line, and were immediately hit with humidity. There was no AC! That’s bad considering how many people were down there. They did have a couple of fans blowing but that wasn’t enough.
Luckily, it wasn’t too bothersome because we were so close to meeting him:
It was another 15-30 minutes before it was finally my turn. You handed a Bookends employee your book + extra item and your cellphone/camera to another Bookends employee. Bryan’s handler quickly ushered you next to him for the photo op.
Here’s Bryan signing my stuff:
After he was finished signing my stuff, I quickly shook his hand, told him I was a fan, and took this pic:
GREAT PIC! The meeting was short but Daniel Bryan was VERY nice and greeted EVERYONE with a smile and thanked everyone for all the compliments and well wishes that were raining down on him. He was really easy going and I thought the two and a half hour wait was worth it. Here’s what he’s signed:
I don’t get action figures signed – I don’t have the room for them and I don’t want to constantly worry about their condition. The Encyclopedia is enough for me and I’m REALLY happy to have his signature in my Encyclopedia.
Overall, an awesome day. Go out and meet Daniel Bryan if he does a book signing near you!