This was an absolutely INSANE month so let’s not waste anytime with this recap!
August 19, 2016
Cricket Wireless Store, Brooklyn, NY
My first stop of the day was a free 2:00 PM Dolph Ziggler signing at a Cricket Wireless store in Brooklyn, New York. I left work at 10:00 AM and decided to kill a little time catching Pokemon in Bryant Park. Yes, when it comes to virtual Pokemon, I am a believer in the “gotta catch ’em all” philosophy.
And then my Spidey-senses started tingling. Something told me to call the store and ask for details about the signing. I called and, sure enough, the employee told me they moved the signing to another location! Wrestling Figs compiles a list of signings around the country and it’s usually VERY reliable and updated often but not this time. I wonder if anyone went to the wrong location and missed out on getting Ziggler?
I arrived there ~11:45 AM and estimated 50 people were already neatly lined up with the line beginning to wrap around the corner, which sounds misleading since the store was relatively close to the end of the street. I had a beautiful spot that allowed me to sit on the edge of a stoop, underneath the shade of a tree. Beautiful. While I was glued to my iPhone, I overheard a few people talking about all of the talent they had gotten at the “hotel.” One mentioned a certain stalker with braids bum-rushing Randy Orton and costing them all pics/autos. Shame.
While we waited, the store made everyone sign a waiver in order to have your picture taken with Dolph. They also handed out tickets that got you into the event, a small promotional card featuring Dolph that you could get signed if you didn’t have anything else, and a sign up sheet for a free raffle with the first place prize being tickets Summerslam tickets and the 2nd place price being a new TV.
~12:30…MAYHEM begins. The line reached the end of SEVERAL streets. It looked like a sea of humanity for miles and miles, easily hundreds of people. It wouldn’t shock me if it was 300+.
Then Dolph arrived early!
This was so great, he’d start signing early to make sure everyone is taken care of! NOPE! He arrived early to film a Facebook Live chat. BUMMER. His early arrival also caused people to flock in front of the store (despite security putting up black curtains on the window) to see if they could see inside.
2:15 comes and they’re apparently letting people in increments of 5. Despite seeing the door opening and seeing coming and going, it felt like the line didn’t move. As we crawled closer and closer, I began to worry if I’d arrive too late for the 3:30 PM New Day signing at the Barclays Center. To make matters worse, a mom began to flip out on an entire family who tried to get their kids to cut the entire line. It was such a shit show. The 50ish people who were in front of me felt like it doubled. They had to have the police come to put up stanchions to keep people in line. Some people signed the photo waiver but didn’t know to hold onto their tickets, some had a ticket but didn’t sign the waiver, some had neither. Just so crazy.
I FINALLY got into the store ~3:30. They had two employees who stressed you could only get one item signed, which was a disappointment. I get to the table and Dolph greets me with a warm hello and immediately signs the small promotional card, my WrestleMania 32 program…and he notices my Encyclopedia was opened to his page so he signed that, too! SUCCESS!
We then took a photo in front of a nice WWE backdrop. He really was a great guy and very appreciative of his friends. He was also great with kids from the couple of interactions I saw.
I called an Uber and was off to my next signing…
August 19, 2016 (cont.)
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
I showed up to the Barclays Center ~4:15 PM. I made my way up to the room that was hosting the signing (along with the Enzo & Cass signing) and was surprised to see a very manageable line. It probably would’ve been much shorter had the New Day been less personable but they were taking their time with everyone, especially kids, which is always great to see.
I got up to the New Day a little before 5:30 PM and all three guys were awesome. I mentioned to Big E that he had stopped by my job last summer and I was sad to have missed him. Turns out, we have a mutual friend. It was nice small talk while they signed their entires in the WrestleMania 32 program before taking this awesome photo. I loved that they actually placed a chair in front of the table instead of having to do “the lean.” Also, that’s Big E’s title, not my own replica (I don’t even own one). I think that’s so awesome.
I planned on going to the free Enzo & Cass signing the next day but I just didn’t have the energy. I worked 12:00 AM – 10:00 AM, immediately made the trek from Manhattan to Brooklyn for two signings (one which was relatively exhausting and stressful), and arrived home just before 8:00 PM. Plus, I had a loaded day with Evolve and NXT Takeover on my agenda. As much as it killed me to pass on a free signing, I decided it had to be done for my own sanity.
August 20, 2016
Evolve Meet & Greet
Saturday came and Evolve was hosting a show about 30 minutes away from the Barclays. Bell time was scheduled for 3:00 or 3:30 with doors opening around 1:30 or 2:00. Of course, my plan to get there on time was thwarted by the subway system. The D train was apparently split service and…ugh.
Anyways, I got there after 2 and they still hadn’t opened the doors. About 15 minutes later, they finally opened the doors. I spotted Cody Rhodes signing but you needed to buy a special ticket to meet him. I decided to skip him because I’m low on cash and I’m meeting him at LOTR anyways. He was dressed in a fine suit and I noticed he had a NWA Championship on display. I wonder if it’s Dusty’s? He was also selling a ton of Stardust merch, which is pretty ironic to me considering how much he’s voiced his displeasure towards the character.
I did decide to get Drew Gulak, who was featured in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic. I’m a fan of his, so I decided to get an 8×10 signed for $10. He and the other members of Catch Point jumped in our the photo op, which was awesome. Awkward story: so Tracy Williams told me Gulak would pose with the Evolve title for $5 but Gulak immediately said he wouldn’t since he just lost the title to Timothy Thatcher and it would be disrespectful to hold the title when it wasn’t was.
Chuck Taylor had a table set-up that was being blocked by the line for Rhodes and, surprisingly, Chris Hero. I asked him how much for an auto and he said he’d sign for free…except he didn’t have a sharpie. I thought he was going to ask either Hero or ECIII, who were sandwiched in between him, to borrow a marker but he didn’t. So we both sort of stood around before I finally asked him to please borrow a marker, he did, signed my GFW program, and that was that. Weird.
Zack Sabre Jr., another Cruiserweight Classic standout, had a table. I already met him but decided to get an 8×10 signed for $10.
I was really disappointed that Cedric Alexander nor TJ Perkins signed. Boooo. Anyways, I left after the Tommy End/Matt Riddle match to meet some friends at a bar near the Barclays before Takeover, which was a tremendous experience and I managed to pick up an updated NXT Program and a cool Match card. Good stuff.
August 21, 2016
Chris Jericho, Christian, & Noelle Foley
Talk is Jericho LIVE, Caroline’s, NY, NY
Sunday morning began with a trip to Caroline’s to meet Chris Jericho & Christian. As I said in the thread about this signing, there was no one on hand to actually check your ticket. Anyways, they started with the live Talk is Jericho podcast, then a Q&A hosted by Noel Foley, and finally the meet and greet. They had a pro photographer on-hand, which was nice. Noel also had a table set up with 8x10s.
I waited on line for less than an hour before first meeting Christian, who was very nice. I had him sign the Encyclopedia (his solo entry and the Edge & Christian entry) before doing the “five second pose” for the photo op! Loved how it turned out.
Next was Jericho, who was quiet but very nice. At one point, he had gotten up from signing and told the promoter he needed to leave in 20 minutes. I had him sign the Encyclopedia and the WrestleMania 32 program before the photo.
Afterward, I decided to pay a $20 to meet Noel. I took a selfie with her after Extreme Rules but this was a definite upgrade. Plus, I wanted her autograph in case she makes it big in the WWE. Double plus: she’s hot and a sweetheart. Frank the Clown (sans the makeup) was also there and he’s a nice guy to chat with.
One caveat: they apparently lowered the ticket price from $150.00 (which I paid) to $75. I emailed them now to see if I’ll be refunded the difference but something tells me I won’t. Lifestyle Authentic is very difficult to get a hold of. We’ll see how this turns out.
August 27, 2016
Field of Honor Meet & Greet
MCU Park, Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY
Field of Honor ’16 was a smashing success despite having a bit of a weaker lineup when compared to last year’s (which featured Shinsuke Nakamura & Kazuchika Okada). I met six wrestlers and half of them were first time meets. And, most importantly, this was a relatively stress-free meet and greet despite a rocky start.
Joining me for the show were Jenna and my good friend Erik. We arrived at Coney Island ~3:15ish and walked around the park/boardwalk (we stopped by a couple bars for drinks). After a quick meal, we lined up outside of MCU Park a little after 5 and were allowed inside by 5:10ish.
That’s where the tiny bit of stress came from. So Ring of Honor has a policy for their pre-show meet and greets: you must purchase autograph tickets and exchange those tickets to each respective wrestler you meet. They’re small tickets, too, the type you buy at amusement parks (such as Coney Island).
Upon entering MCU Park, the first thing you’ll see is the Merch table. Christopher Daniels and Kazarian were working behind the table in efforts to sell their comic. They were also signing other items and taking photo ops so, as you can imagine, it was a bit chaotic.
Now just around the corner from the merch table is the autograph ticket table. So a chaotic merch table line has merged with an even more chaotic autograph ticket line. And guess what? There was only ONE GUY working the autograph table. It was so ridiculous. The meet and greet was going to be chaotic because of the NJPW guys alone and they just have one guy working the table?
So we waited on this line for about 15-20 mins before it was my turn. I ended up purchasing 6 single autograph tickets.
My first stop was Toru Yano of CHAOS, a first time meet. I’m actually not a huge Yano fan because he’s VERY much a comedic wrestler with a reptitve act but he can be funny sometimes. I got him to sign my Official Invasion Tour 2011 program and I loved how our photo op turned out. You know what’s funny: he was pretty much stoned face before the picture. It’s fascinating how the goofiest of wrestlers can come across impersonal. He was polite, though, and that’s all I ask.
Up next was Tetsuya Naito. I met him at the last Terminal 5 show but I needed another autograph and a better photo op. Naito is a great freaking guy. He marveled at how young he looked in the Official Invasion Tour 201. I had him sign the No Limit entry before getting an upgraded photo op. Awesome meet.
Next was the booker of New Japan, CHAOS member, manager of the Rainmaker, and an overall legend in Japanese wrestling history: Gedo. He’s a repeated guest but I wanted him in this program and, more importantly, an upgraded photo op. Gedo was quiet but very nice and appreciative that I was a fan.
Following Gedo was a first time meet I was VERY excited to meet: the NEVER Openweight Champion Katsuyori Shibata. I am a HUGE fan of Shibata and if you’ve never seen him wrestle…well, you really freaking need to.
He’s one of the stiffest bad asses that I’ve ever seen. Just an animal. He was VERY nice, placed the Openweight Championship on my shoulder, and took a photo op before signing an 8×10. Great guy.
Adam “Hangman” Page of the Bullet Club was up next. He was another first time meet and was an incredibly nice guy. He, too, marveled at how young he looked in my 2014 ROH/NJPW Global Wars program. He was a great guy and I’ll be rooting hard for him from here on in.
Next was The Ace of New Japan: Hiroshi Tanahashi! He was the last repeated guest of the evening and, as always, one of the best to meet.
He surprisingly had no line. He commented on my Invasion Tour 2011 program. He also included a signed 8×10 before taking this photo op. I told him he was my favorite wrestler and he thanked me. He noticed my “Adam Cole Bay Bay” Bullet Club t-shirt and said, “Tanahashi Bay Bay!” Just the man.
The final meet was a first timer, “the Tokyo Pimp” and Bullet Club member Yujiro Takahashi. He was also incredibly nice nice and marveled at the Invasion Tour 2011 program. He signed his entry and the No Limit entry (which was just signed by Naito). He really liked it. We took our pic and I was quickly done for the night.
That’s it for August! Tomorrow, we’ll look back at the month of September!