I didn’t have a chance to post yesterday’s Year in Review so you’ll get a double dose today! Up first: the month of May, which ended up being a relatively big month for me.
May 14, 2016
Wrestling Universe, Queens, NY
This was a day I have been looking forward to for a long time. The stars Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling would come to the infamous Terminal 5 in New York City as part of their annual War of the Words tour. I’m a huge fan of both companies, more so NJPW. I purchased an ROH/NJPW Global Wars 14 program last year and it’s since been signed by Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuchika Okada, Kevin Owens (as Kevin Steen), The Briscoes, The Young Bucks, KUSHIDA, Alex Shelley, & Watanabe (now Evil). The autograph signing before the War of the World Show would be a huge chance to add several more signatures to my program.
But first, I decided to make a trip to the Wrestling Universe in Queens to meet Demolition for the 2nd time. I first met them at RICC ’15 and had them sign the Demolition entry in the WWE Encyclopedia but this was a chance to finish all their entries as the Universe doesn’t charge additionally for every signature. The total was $30 for four autos (three from Ax, 1 from Smash) and two photo ops (my camera and theirs)? Yeah, not bad.
I got there around 1:00 PM and there was a short line that was being held up because a fan was seriously marking out in there. No biggie. I eventually made my way to their back room and Demolition couldn’t have been nicer. Smash claims he remembers me from RICC but I doubt that’s true lol; still, I appreciate it.
Ax signed the Bolo Mongol, Masked Superstar, and Super Machines entries while Smash signed Repo Man. I’ll be meeting them again at LOTR; I’ll have them sign an 8×10 or something. I actually need Smash to sign a Russians 8×10 that’s already signed by The Koloffs. I look forward to meeting them again.
ROH War of the Worlds
Terminal 5 in New York City
I was back in NYC by 2 and met with the girlfriend close to Terminal 5 around 2:30. We killed time at Jake’s Saloon, walked around an Indian festival, and went to another bar before walking to Terminal 5. We got there around 5:30 and the line was about 60-80ghg people deep or so. A few minutes before 5, I see the line move ahead of me! This is great! The autograph signing would only be for about an hour and time is of the essence. And then…we stop. Like come to a dead halt. Suddenly, it was after 6PM and we weren’t being let inside. WTF!
FINALLY, in what seems like forever but was only about 10-15 minutes or so, we’re let in. I immediately spot Christopher Daniels and Kazarian, who were not advertised as being part of the signing. As I walked closer, I realized they were behind the merch table selling their comic. The signing was straight ahead, in the actual venue.
Holy hell what a cluster fuck this was. Upon entering and immediately to your left was the autograph ticket table. To my knowledge, you needed to purchase these autograph tickets and exchange them with the wrestlers for autographs — same process as Field of Honor.
Speaking of Field of Honor, I paid for the autographs with my credit card and planned on doing it this time around…but something was telling me that wasn’t wise. I messaged ROH on Facebook and received no response. Posted on their main page. Nothing. I even asked people who went to the Chicago and Detroit shows and they all told me they paid each wrestler in cash. Finally, I decided to emailed ROH and they assured me they accepted all forms of payment, including credit and debit cards but warned me that machines to process the credit might not work because of signal strength. That’s all I needed to hear to bring cash. And guess what? The machine wasn’t working. Bullet dodged.
Now, right next to the ticket table were reDRagon, Mandy Leon, IWGP Heavyweight Champion Tetsuya Naito, and ROH World Champion Jay Lethal. Due to the popularity of reDRagon, Naito, and Lethal combined with the traffic the ticket table was attracting, this was an absolute cluster fuck. At one point, I thought I was on the line to purchase the tickets but it turned out to be reDRagon’s line. Thank God I noticed and I immediately went to to the ticket table and bought what I needed.
Up first was ROH World Champion Jay Lethal, who was stationed near the corner of the room. He had no line so I was able to approach him with ease and he was incredibly nice. We posed for a photo and exchanged pleasantries before I made my way to the man next to him: Tetsuya Naito.
Now for those of you who don’t watch NJPW and are not too familiar with Tetsuya Naito…well you should be because he’s incredibly entertaining and his journey from a baby face that was booed mercilessly to a top, popular heel is really amazing. And he’s a GREAT guy! I had him sign an old 2011 NJPW Invasion Attack program and his response was hilarious. He looked at the older photo of him and said, “WOW! OLD!” He then marveled at it a bit before signing. When he was finished he looked at me and asked, “2010?” and I responded, “2011” and he said, “Oh 2011! Young there!” He was great. He insisted I hold the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and we posed for one of my favorite photos, despite the fact it’s a lean over.
Next were reDRagon, who I’m a big fan of — I even wore their t-shirt over my Bullet Club one to the event. They both were very nice and very appreciative and signed the program in red, which is awesome. I decided against a photo because there were SO many people around me that it was nearly impossible. The photo would’ve came out bad. Oh well, next time. No biggie.
I made my way to the other side of the room to tackle more big names. Up next was the main reason I attended this show: Hiroshi Tanahashi. There was only one other person on line and she conversed with Tanahashi in Japanese. She was totally marking out and that’s always cool to see. I was next and Tanahashi couldn’t have been cooler. I told him, “You’re the best in the world” and he said, “I am!” with a big grin on his face! He signed the program and took a pic with me.
Jushin Thunder Liger, who I had already me but still needed in my program, was up next. Liger is easily one of the friendliest wrestlers ever. He signed my program AND signed an 8×10 free of charge! How awesome is that?!?! He’s always eager to please and I will probably always meet him if he continues to tour with ROH.
I waited on the Bullet Club line to get a combo from its newest member: ADAM COLE BAY BAY! He was very nice and I told him how hard I marked out when he joined the BC. He smiled and said, “Yeah man that was awesome.” Great guy and another name to the program.
Next was “The Stone Pitbull” Tomohiro Ishii, who I’m a BIG fan of. One of the stiffest, most bad ass wrestlers alive. He wasn’t in any program so I opted to get a signed 8×10. He was polite.
Next was the booker of NJPW, manager of Kazuchika Okada, and an absolute legend: Gedo. Understandably, everyone was flocking to Okada so I completely shocked Gedo when I handed him the autograph ticket. He signed my program and took a pic with me but it came out wayyyy too dark. I tried increasing the brightness so it’s not terrible. Oh well, no biggie.
I went back to the merch table and saw Christopher Daniels and Kaz still hawking their comic so I decided to have them sign that for a cool $20.00. They also agreed to take a photo, which was awesome.
I thought I was done but I didn’t want to pass on the Guerrillas of Destiny, Tama Tonga and Tana Loa. They were in their face paint and just seemed super friendly, which they were. I originally was going to have Tama sign the 2011 program and Loa the “Camacho” entry in the Encyclopedia but opted for the 8×10 instead because I just really liked it. They both placed the IWGP Tag Team titles on my shoulders for the pic, which is awesome.
I was finally done! The show was AWESOME — easily one of the best shows I’ve ever been to — and my girlfriend even got Mark Briscoe’s bandana and gave it to me! How awesome is that?!?! I also got a BUNCH of Okada dollars. AND Matt Jackson & Adam Cole made their entrance right where we were sitting! So fucking cool.
After the show I saw that KUSHIDA and Tanahashi were signing. I was tempted to get Tanahashi on my other program but my girlfriend and I were exhausted and just wanted to leave. Overall it was a phenomenal time.
May 22, 2016
Extreme Rules, Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
I went to Extreme Rules and made my way down to the floor right after the show went off the air. I immediately spotted Noelle Foley with Frank the Clown. I asked Noelle for a selfie and she immediately agreed:
Later today: month of June which means…LOTR!