Sometimes, the best laid plans really come to fruition. Well…almost come to fruition.
I decided to attend Northeast Wrestling: Redemption at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, NY, mainly to obtain an autograph from Kenny Omega. “The Cleaner” was announced for Big Event XV but I didn’t want to put too much on my plate over there. I pre-ordered an Omega autograph and David Arquette combo. Arquette “cancelled” his appearance (more on this in a bit) and I actually had a slightly negative experience with getting my refund (I finally received it the day before the show).
Jenna had something else to do in the area, so she kindly dropped me off at the Civic Center just before 4:30 PM and saw a healthy line outside. It was **freezing** rain, so I took shelter underneath a bus terminal (where I ran into Crossfire!). 4:30 came and went and the line barely moved. It took them *forever* to allow people in. I finally decided to just sprint across the street and rough it in the rain for 5 minutes before I was under some protection. I was finally admitted into the building at ~5:00 PM. The cause of the slow admittance into the building? Security was searching everyone.
As I entered the main lobby of the Civic Center, I observed several signs that instructed attendees to enter the arena through the left door if they wished to participate in the Omega meet & greet or enter the right door to meet everyone else. I entered the arena through the left door and saw a professional photo op booth setup in the distance. I could see a healthy line beginning to form…and then my jaw dropped. As I passed the bleachers on my right, I turned my head and saw a seemingly endless line of people that wrapped around the bleachers. I walked all the way to the back of the line, which was near the entrance/exit to the right door of the lobby (and the line would only grow from there).
The line would move at a surprisingly quick pace before grinding to a halt. As I got closer, I realized that Omega was rotating between photo ops and autographs. I waited on the line for close to an hour and there were still about 100-150 people in front of me. Thankfully, a NEW staff asked if anyone was just getting an autograph and I immediately raised my hand. He told me to come with him and directed me to the front of Omega’s table! (I was behind 3 people).
Omega was finishing up the batch of ops before he made his way back to his autograph table. He was super engaging with fans and I was excited to have a little conversation with him. In short time, it’s my turn and I place my Wrestle Kingdom 11 program down on the table. I’m about to tell Omega that it’s the best match I’ve ever seen when a NEW staffer came up to him and asked him if he needed anything. They had a 1-2 minute convo before I finally got to speak to him one-on-one and he was freaking awesome. He wanted to know if I was actually in Japan but I told him I watched that match live on NJPW World, which he loved.
All in all, I was done by 6 PM and I can hardly complain about that. I wanted to get PCO but I did not see him at any table and I didn’t have any particular needs for RVD, Scott Hall, Jack Swagger, Pentagon Jr., Fenix, or Jerry Lawler, so I left. Part 1 of a successful weekend was in the books.
As for Arquette, he ended up making a surprise appearance during the middle of the show. I still don’t know if he did a meet and greet following the show but…bummer. I really wanted to meet him but, alas, it just wasn’t meant to be.
Jenna and I checked in at the LaGuardia Plaza hotel on Friday night and decided to grab some dinner at the bar; however, it was already fairly packed, so we camped out in the lobby and looked over some Chinese menus. While we were there, I saw several wrestlers coming and going — including Sam Houston talking with that woman who made out with Harley Race at LOTR! Amazing.
Fast-forward to ~9:00 AM and I saw Ira in the lobby, who told me that they were already handing out wristbands. Sure enough, I saw a small line and hopped right on and grabbed my tickets. The vendor rooms weren’t really open, though, so I went back upstairs to drop some stuff off.
I came back down about 10 minutes later and saw that the vendor room was now open. I spotted Norman Smiley at the Damage365 booth, so I decided to cash-in on one of my many pre-orders. Smiley was very nice and signed my WCW Ultimate Guide. Only downside was his location, which caused an “over the table” op in some poor lighting.
I then wandered into the room but didn’t see anyone I needed….though I did see a crowd form in the in-between room (the room in-between the lobby and main vendor room). I joined the crowd and shook my damn head. Tony Atlas was lying on the floor while Hollidead was stepping on his face. Yep.
I made my way back to the vendor room about 15 minutes later and saw a small line at the RDP booth and, sure enough, Charly Curaso settling down at her table. I joined the small line and cashed in on my pre-order special (Combo + extra autograph). Charly was so, so nice! She commented on her photo in my WrestleMania 33 program and jokingly said, “Awww I was such a baby.” I then handed her my 2016 NXT program and she said, “Awww when I really was a baby!” She was super awesome.
It was getting close to 10:00 AM which meant that it was time to lineup for Goldust. Jenna came down and joined me and we waited on a small line in the hallway right outside of the auditorium. A few minutes later, though, a staffer asked if anyone was VIP (we were Silver VIP) and he escorted us right into the auditorium, where we waited on another small line. Goldust showed up soon thereafter and everything was running smooth as silk and, before I knew it, it was my turn to meet Goldust. He was really, really nice. I had him sign his two entries in the Encyclopedia and an 8×10 for my friend, Gene. Goldust commented that Booker T signed over his spot in the Encyclopedia hahaha. He also took an op with the Too Sweet pose but I also got him in the normal “fist” pose.
We made our way back to the main vendor room and I saw Eve Torres at her table. Eve was pleasant though I think she was annoyed at me for interrupting her conversation with Gail Kim. She signed the Encyclopedia.
Right across from her was Barry Horowitz. He was very nice and seemed genuinely excited to be there. He signed the Encyclopedia.
Next to him was Funaki, who was incredibly friendly. I pre-ordered the VIP deal (3 autographs, 1 photo op) and he signed his two entries in the Encyclopedia plus my WrestleMania XX program (which he got a big kick out of).
Next was Jimmy Valiant, who was very nice and soft-spoken. I had the Boogie Woogie Man sign the Valiant Brothers entry in the Encyclopedia (also signed by Johnny Valiant).
Across from Valiant was Pat Patterson. Funny story: while we were waiting on line, Mean Gene asked Jenna if she was here with anyone (and winked). Jenna said something along the lines of, “I’m not anymore” which got a big laugh out of Mean Gene! Amazing. Anyways, Patterson was in a way better mood than he was at LOTR XX. He signed my WM 32/HOF program and I finally got a photo op with a true legend of the business.
Next was Teddy Long. I purchased two GA + Teddy autograph tickets, so I had Teddy sign my WM 33/HOF program and the WWE Ultimate Superstar Guide. Brain-fart: I had Long sign the wrong page!
Next was Chief Jules Strongbow, who was really nice as well. He signed the Strongbows entry in my Encyclopedia.
I saw a healthy line forming for Zeus so I decided to hop on. Zeus was raffling off his bicycle and was telling everybody to donate a dollar (people felt like he was bullying them into it while others thought he was just in character, so it was fascinating to see people’s reactions lol). He was jawing with a few people in line, which was really fun to watch. Zeus was very cool and signed my Encyclopedia.
Next was Iceman King Parsons, who was very nice. He signed an 8×10.
After that was Samu, who was quiet but polite. He signed all three entries in the Encyclopedia.
Next was Col. Rob Parker, who was dressed in full gimmick! He was very awesome and signed the Tennessee Lee entry in the Encyclopedia.
Next was Bunkhouse Buck who also was dressed in full gimmick! He was quiet but nice and signed an 8×10.
I was officially done with pre-orders and the only name I wanted to meet was Scarlett Bordeaux, who was dressed like Marilyn Monroe. She was a pricey $40 but I decided to bite the bullet. She signed my ROH/NJPW Global Wars program.
It was almost time for my Elite photo op, so I ventured to the second floor and saw a mass of humanity lined up for the photo op or Omega’s photo op/autograph. I was told to head straight to the back of the line as the photo op would start soon. When I say back of the line…I was REALLY back there. Jenna went up and asked if anyone would come to the back and announce the Elite Photo Op because we wouldn’t have heard shit if they didn’t. They told her to just hang there as the Elite photo op was going to happen soon. She waved me off the line and I joined her near the photo op room. 5 minutes later, someone says it’s time to lineup for the Elite photo op and, luckily enough, the start of the line would be near where Jenna and I were standing! Nice. There ended up being some confusion over the lines but it seemed to get settle.
Anyways, after a brief wait it was my turn. The Elite guys were awesome. Nick said, “You’re taller than all of us, man” then said, “You ever think about gettin’ into the wrasslin’ bussiness, kid” in a southern accent. Omega laughed and said he could show me some moves. Nick responded, “We know some guys who can get you a 26K NXT contract” which had me dying of laughter.
I then waited a couple of minutes for my photo to be printed before I was finally done for the day. It’s one of my favorite photo ops ever.
And that’s that. I didn’t stick around and get more names because I was really worn down and had to attend a family dinner out on Long Island. Hopefully I’ll get PCO at WrestleCon.
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