Then it hit me: they didn’t advertise who would be part of the meet & greet. It reminded me of what I experienced with Dolph Ziggler’s stand up show in August. I called ahead and asked if everyone advertised for his show would be part of the meet and greet and was told no; of course, as it turns out, everyone was part of the m&g (though it appeared to only be a group photo op with no autographs).
So I decided to call again and this time I was given a different answer: “I have no idea.” I finally got my answer when I asked Ryder via Twitter but it still wasn’t clear if they’d be signing autographs or if this would just be a group photo with him, Hawkins, and Roberts. Still, I decided to bring my WrestleMania 34 program and hoped for the best.
I made the short trek over to Caroline’s after work and arrived just after 6:30 PM. I made my way downstairs and was greeted by a hostess who checked my name and handed me a ticket along with an orange wristband. There was a handful of people mingling at the bar (I’d say 10) and I saw a few people with items to get signed. Caroline’s has a mandatory bag check policy, so I had to hold my program throughout the night.
They brought people into the main showroom at 7:00 on the dot and my seat was right in front of the stage. Funny sidestory: a guy sat across from me and asked, “Are you Anthony?” Turns out, we met years ago at the excuriating Kevin Owens Hot Topix signing at the Garden State Plaza! Small world.
The show itself was really entertaining. Highlights included:
Ryder revealing that he spent $43,000 on a lot of Hasbro figures
Ryder revealing that he spent $11,000 on the “Holy Grail” Kamala Hasbro figure
A surprise appearance by Swoggle as an elf
A surprise appearance by Maven (!) who signed his figure for Ryder
A great raffle courtesy of Ringside Collectables (I didn’t win anything though two people at my table did)
Roberts told a story that Ryder was collecting Japanese figures, so he decided to call him up and tell him that he just bought a rare Onita figure. Ryder’s response was “Who?”
Maven revealed that Stephanie McMahon made him shave his eyebrows, he hated his entrance theme, and that he and Undertaker had some Jack prior to their spot in the ‘02 RR
Really fun show!
The show concluded just after 9 and it was now time for the meet & greet. Hornswoogle and Maven had tables setup for autographs but I didn’t bring my Encyclopedia, so I had to pass on Swoggle (Maven retro report coming soon!).
About 10-15 minutes later, Ryder/Hawkins/Roberts make their way to the stage and, to my relief, were signing custom 8x10s and whatever items you had. The line moved slowly but they picked up the pace after one of the employees told the host of the show that they were closing and were about to lock up the bag check/coat room for the night.
All three guys were great. I put down my WrestleMania 34 program for Roberts to sign and he actually seemed taken aback that he was in there (Ryder and Hawkins were laughing at him). Hawkins pointed out that Roberts was clean shaven in the pic and suggested he draw a beard on the pic. Roberts asks me, “Do you want me to?” and I said, “Absolutely!” Ryder X’ed out Mojo Rawley’s face before signing which I thought was funny
Hawkins then signed his entry in the program followed by Ryder then all 3 signed their 8×10. The group photo followed though I managed to stand next to Ryder.
All in all: a great experience that made me feel like I got my money’s worth and more!
Picture of X’ed out Mojo: