Friday, April 10, 2009
WrestleMania: Day 1-Friday, April 3rd
Howdy, Dudes and Dudettes! I just made it back from Houston, Texas, where we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania! I'm still trying to recover, but I thought I would start sharing some of my wonderful experiences from this AWESOME wrestling weekend. I will begin with Day 1, which was Friday, April 3rd.
We began our journey Friday morning, just after midnight. When we made it to Houston, later that afternoon, we immediately saw the beautiful home of the Houston Astros, Minute Maid Park. Also, nearby we saw the Toyota Center, where the Hall of Fame and Raw would be taking place, as well as, the George R. Brown Convention Center, where we would be heading to in a few short hours for Booker T's Legends of Wrestling Fanfest and also where the Ring of Honor PPV would be taking place on Saturday. These two venues were really close to one another. In the process of our sightseeing, we kinda got turned around and didn't know how to get to our hotel. Lucky for us, we got some help from this nice man who offered to let us follow him to get to the street that we needed to take, in order, to reach our hotel. As we were following the man in his energy truck, we noticed that a policeman was approaching us on the left side. He honked his horn at us. Uh oh! We hadn't been in town, no time and we're already in trouble! We rolled down the window. The cop said, "Hey! You guys in town for wrestling?" "Yes, Sir! We sure are," We replied. The cop continued, "You know all the wrestlers are staying at the Marriott. They've got an open lobby and everything." We had completely forgot about having our windows decorated with window chalk. We had HBK, RKO, Rated R Superstar and WOOOOOO! Nature Boy wrote on the vehicle, as well as, WrestleMania 25 Bound. We informed the cop that we was following a truck to try and find our hotel, but the truck was out of sight, by now. The cop answered, "Oh s$!" We thought that was pretty cool about the cop telling us where everyone was staying. I know for a fact that nothing like that would ever happen back home. We did end up catching up with the truck we were following and made it to our hotel.
We dropped our stuff off and before long, it was time to hit up Booker T's Legends of Wrestling Fanfest. We knew that we could not stay too long because we already had tickets for the WrestleMania Axxess event for that night, featuring Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Jeff Hardy, Edge and many more. It started at six o'clock. While pulling into the parking lot close to the George R. Brown Convention Center, we noticed some WWE trucks.
After purchasing our tickets, we were inside the George R. Brown Convention Center, waiting for the second session to begin. It was suppose to start at 4:30 p.m. and feature Booker T & Sharmell, Jimmy Hart, The Nasty Boys, Samoa Joe, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Team 3D, Christy Hemme, DDP and Kimberly. Everyone was there, including Debra, Daffney and Missy Hyatt. Also, Sting was signing autographs and taking pictures in the very back, behind a black curtain for seventy-five dollars a pop. Well, five o'clock came around and there was this big, long line of fans and nobody was moving. Considering that the Axxess event started at six and we really didn't know where the Reliant Center was located, we decided to leave. This was a little bit of a bummer for me because I was decked out in my DDP gear and had my copy of Positively Page for him to sign. When we decided to leave, I even went back to meet Sting, but they said that I would have to go to the front and get a special ticket. No time for that. It was not a wasted trip, though, because we did get to meet one of the original members of the Four Horsemen, the great Tully Blanchard, who was truly a gentleman.
From there, it was on to the Reliant Center, where we would get our first taste of the WrestleMania Axxess festivities. When we got there, we had to wait in a very long line, but it was moving pretty fast. Once we made it inside, I was like a little kid. It was unbelievable!
There was something for everyone. The fun included: The Undertaker’s Graveyard, WrestleManiArt, Superstar Entrances, Call-A-Match, Memorabilia, Superstar Signings, Diva HotShots, Superstar Ink, WWE Studios Presents 12 Rounds, 3 Count Trivia, WWE KidZone, Hornswoggle’s House, Hell in a Cell, WWE Championship Belts, THQ Presents WWE Legends of WrestleMania Video Game Zone and so much more.
There was also a ring in the middle of everything, which was called The Main Event area. The Main Event was the focal point for WrestleMania Axxess because this was where the top superstars appeared for exclusive Q&A sessions with the fans. Needless to say, after all that rushing to get there, we did not get to meet HBK, Triple H, or Edge. They all took part in Q&A sessions. That's right! D-Generation X reunited for a special Q&A.
Everyone was under the impression that they were going to actually get to meet those guys. Should have known better. We were disappointed and if we had known about that we would have stayed at Booker T's convention, a little while longer. Oh, well! What can you do? We still had a blast!
While DX was having their Q&A session, we decided to get in line to meet Jeff Hardy because we thought that when he left at eight o'clock, maybe Edge would be next. Well, they announced that Edge would be participating in the next Q&A, so when Jeff Hardy left, ECW's Ricky Ortiz and Champion Jack Swagger made their way to the table.
There was also some live matches take place in the ring, as well as, a variety of games for fans including trivia and impersonation contests. I believe Cryme Tyme defeated The Brian Kendrick and Ezekiel Jackson on Friday night.
Other notable appearances from Friday night's Axxess: Matt Hardy, Charlie Haas, Mark Henry, Kung Fu Naki, Hurricane Helms, Vladimir Kozlov, Torrie Wilson, Candice, and Eve. Rick, The Sign Guy, was also in attendance.
I also got the chance to meet the singing sensation, Jillian Hall, and Rosa Mendes. They got a kick out of me because I started singing, "I know you want me!"
On Friday, THQ had it's Superstar Challenge, which featured sixteen current WWE Superstars, Divas and Legends battling each other by playing the NEW Legends of WrestleMania video game. The participants included: Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne, Beth Phoenix, The Brian Kendrick, Ezekiel Jackson, Cody Rhodes, The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase, Ted DiBiase Jr., Dusty Rhodes, Sgt. Slaughter, Hornswoggle, Finlay, CM Punk, Michelle McCool, and Jimmy Hart. Kofi Kingston won the tournament, but that didn’t keep past THQ Challenge champ Shelton Benjamin from interrupting Kingston’s celebration. An exchange of words quickly evolved into an impromptu challenge that led to a match between Kofi and The Gold Standard. In the end, Kingston bested his rival for bragging rights to boot.
You could even be “Your Own Action Figure”!
That was Day 1.
Photos by Ricky Murphy