Tuesday, 26 November 2013

WrestleMania CountDown: WrestleMania XI

AYO! What's popping everybody? Let me get straight to the point - On the 16th of this month, pretty much following straight after the first post of this blog, Rihan and I were having a discussion about something over some tea. Good thing Chris Jericho wasn't around or else we might have been besmirched.

Last week, Anuj and I spoke about the same idea. Why not watch a WrestleMania every weekend until the big one on April 6th? The ULTIMATE Countdown!

After doing some calculations, at this point in time, I figured that if we were to watch a WrestleMania PPV every weekend until WrestleMania XXX, then we would have to start with WrestleMania XI - given the number of weekends we have left. So that's what we did /-) I'm hoping to bring the 'WrestleMania CountDown' post to you guys on Saturday or Sunday every week up until WrestleMania 30. We invite YOU to watch along with us and be part of the journey and join in on the conversation! Again, it won't be a blueprint report of the PPV, and I may not cover every match and segment in these WrestleMania recaps, but it'll be my thoughts on the event, possibly followed by your thoughts in the comments. Lets say this will be similar to the '30 Years of WrestleMania Mode' in the WWE 2K14 video game. Enjoy this countdown with us as we get into the DeLorean, travel back to 1995, all the way through to 2014's WrestleMania in New Orleans!

Date: April 2nd 1995
Venue: Hartford Civic Center
City: Hartford, Connecticut

The opening bout was a tag team contest between The Allied Powers (Lex Luger and The British Bulldog) and The Real Americans of 1995 with Zeb Colter. Luger and Davey Boy pick up the win over the Blu Brothers (Jacob and Eli) but Uncle Zebekiah lives to manage another day. Boy, Dutch Mantel has been around a long while. From managing The Blu Brothers 18 years ago, to currently managing Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro. I think Uncle Zebekiah has backed a good tag team horse and I reckon the day will come when The Real Americans, who have yet to gain the tag team gold, will do just that.

The WWF Tag Team Championship changed hands later on in the Pay-Per-View when Owen Hart and Yokozuna defeated The Smoking Gunns. Owen Hart came out first and announced that his mystery tag team partner is someone that had accomplished something he himself wanted to do. Defeat his brother Bret 'HitMan' Hart! Yoko and Owen would hold on to those title for just over 5 months, up until September 24th 1995.

Razor Ramon defeated Jeff Jarrett in the bout for the Intercontinental championship. By disqualification. See what I did there? Jeff Jarrett would find a way to hold on to the I.C. strap due to The Roadie's interference.

Owen's brother Bret Hart was in a match that night against Bob Backlund. Now correct me if I'm wrong but I'm sure that this was the first ever "I Quit!" match sanctioned in the WWF. I remember this match ending with Bob Backlund never actually saying, "I Quit" but by saying "Yes!". Bret Hart had reversed Backlund's finishing hold, the crossface chicken wing, into his own variation of the move.

Diesel and Shawn Michaels were headlining this year's WrestleMania for the WWF Championship. This was a nice 20 minute plus match, with the heart break kid attempting to win his first WWF Championship. Diesel would end up retaining the championship after landing a Jack-Knife on Shawn Michaels. Diesel continued to hold on to the title until November 19th 1995, resulting in a 358 day championship reign. The longest WWF championship reign of the '90s.

WrestleMania Moment: When Pamela Anderson walked Diesel to the ring! After being mentioned as Shawn Michael's valet for the night, and not being seen, Michaels opted for Jenny McCarthy to walk him down instead. By the end of the match, Big Daddy Cool was left with all the spoils, as he raised arms with Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy! I think Nicholas Turturro and Jonathan Taylor Thomas were there too.

Move of the Night: The Roadie's chock block on Razor. I'll tell you why. It lead to a scuff between Jarrett/Roadie and Razor/Kid. Waltman managed to get some nice spinning wheel kicks in which resulted in some color flowing from the nose of double J. Who knew that somewhere down the line, The Roadie and 1-2-3 Kid would both be a part of one of the most infamous stables in the industry?

Match of the Night: Diesel (c) vs. Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship


If you watched WrestleMania XI, let us know what you thought (and let me know if I was the only one that thought that for someone who was on a NYPD Blue show, Nicholas Turturro was really useless in finding Pamela Anderson..) and fill us in on your favorite moments! Join the blog next weekend as we take a look back at WrestleMania XII from 1996 as a part of the 'WrestleMania CountDown'! You can now also tweet to us from anywhere!
Whether you're in the United Kingdom, United States, Sri Lanka, India, Germany or even the Maldives, send us a shout via our new Twitter handle: @RoadToWM30


Thanks for taking the time to read,
There's plenty more to come /-)
Mau (26/11/13) 23:30

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The UK Take Over Tour (21/11/13)

AYO! It was time, Thursday 21st November 2013. Our road to WrestleMania was at it's first stop - an encounter with the legendary Wolfpac!

 The event description from Ministry of Slam was as follows: "Big Ben is about to be replaced by 'Big Sexy', as this hostile takeover tour of the UK hits the nation's capital city. Kevin Nash may even Jack-knife Powerbomb the Prime Minister! 'The Band Are Back Together' and the UK better watch out! Ministry Of Slam Productions are delighted to welcome Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Sean Waltman to the country, bringing you the most must-see spoken word tour ever to hit UK shores! A true first of its kind, all 3 of these wrestling icons agreed that MOS is for the people, and requested there be no special 'VIP' treatment, as they want to meet each and every single one of you! In addition, all events carry an 18+ age rating, so you know it's going to be "Too Sweet"! The UK Takeover Tour features legendary professional wrestlers, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Sean Waltman. All members will partake in a spoken word portion, fan Q&A session and 'Meet & Greet' with the fans in attendance. 

The venue was the Coronet Theatre in London and doors would open at 6.30pm and the show would be on the roll at 7.30pm. We had just gotten into the Coronet theatre at about 7:45 and could here the booming voice of Kevin Nash on a microphone. We walked through the corridors taking a left and then a right as the voice got louder, we knew we were getting close. We had entered at the back of the theatre where the bar was located and we were just in time for this epic moment...

Be a part of a historic "Heyo" moment. Check. The timing was perfect! A lot of what actually happened on the night was down to timing, but we'll get to that. The first really noticeable thing was a really long queue on the right side of the theatre, going all the way to the back of the hall right to the bar which was at the back. Now this was the queue for anyone who wanted to get their  picture taken by a professional photographer with the n.W.o. We had bumped into some guys at the bar who'd been queuing since 1 in the afternoon, now that's what you call commitment! But props to them because those pictures had come out looking too sweet. So we figure since everyone had been promised the opportunity for the photo, we'd get into the queue in a little bit because we still had a fair bit of time and a beer or two were about due.

Now the best part about the bar (apart from the reasonably overpriced beer) was that there was a moshpit full of the best fans in the world: Pro-Wrestling Fans! Fellow Marks! Amongst those fellow marks, Rihan and I found Sean. Sean had an interesting story for us, as you may or may not be aware, I'd posted earlier that an awesome way of collecting signatures would be on a championship belt. Remember that? If not you should probably go back and read my earlier posts /-) Sean is doing exactly that! The first thing we noticed about him was the unique white-strap on the classic (WCW) World Heavyweight championship.
With Sean and his custom & signed WHC belt.
After speaking with Sean for a while we learnt that this was not his only prized possession. He had another 11 championship belts at home, all of which had signatures on them, from wrestlers who had previously won the corresponding championship. How awesome is that? I think that smashes the idea of an autograph book right out of the water. What do you guys think? Have any of your gotten something similar? Let us know in the comment section below. So far Sean's world championship belt has collected the signatures of Diamond Dallas Page, and after this night I was glad to hear that he'd also managed to get Kevin Nash on there. Good going buddy! Sean is hoping to get Vader's signature on there and we wish him the best of luck with that!

Our friend Jeeban Ishaque, who had come along with us had bumped into Joel Ross, the presenter from WrestleTalk TV. I think at this point I was having a beard-off with a guy, who as it turned out was my senior by about 3 months. It was like a Wyatt Family reunion. Right after that, Rihan had introduced me to Joel Ross who seemed like a really nice guy, and we spoke briefly. I mentioned that we watch WrestleTalk TV regularly and I'd told him that we were doing this blog on our Road to WrestleMania 30 and that he should check it out - and he said he would. So If you're reading this, shout out to Joel Ross and the lovely ladies and gents from WrestleTalk TV. If you guys are in the UK and you don't know what WrestleTalk TV is you can watch the show every single Sunday at 11pm after TNA Impact Wrestling on Challenge. By the way I don't get paid for these plugs. Goodness of my own heart. /-)

Our friend Jeeban with Joel Ross and the lovely Katherine Miller from WTTV
Our story's plot thickens when we decide to finally start queuing up to get our photos done with Nash, Hall and Waltman. I mean everyone is guaranteed a chance to get it done right? No rush. That is what we'd thought at the time, because that's what had been promoted. As we wait in the queue and the beer passes through our systems, rushes to and from the loo were required, and we weren't really getting any closer every time we got back into that line. In any other situation this would be something to be concerned about, but not this one, because we were guaranteed, right? As we're in the queue Rihan and Ronal were filling me in about their epic stories from when they went to Atlanta, Georgia for WrestleMania 27 - from trying to get into the same club as Melina to having lunch with Big Poppa Pump, Scott Steiner. As we edge closer, a security team member for the event comes over to the few people in front of us and informs us that due to time constraint, we weren't going to be able to get our pictures taken with Nash, Hall or Waltman. WTF Moment if I've ever been in one. There were only about 20 of us left. So you're telling us that 100 plus people got their picture taken with the clique and we were in the group of 20 who couldn't? So you're telling us, that we've come all this way, traveled across London, waiting over a decade to meet the legendary n.W.o. that we grew up watching since we were kids, and we weren't going to get our pictures taken with them? What a swerve ball. Total BS. But with every setback comes an opportunity. As we were the cut-off point, they had decided that we'd be the first to be seated - which means we had dibs on any seats we wanted. We opted to sit in the 3rd row from the front because the chances were, the first two rows might have easily turned into a splash zone with Kevin Nash, X-Pac and enough alcohol. Better to be on the safe side /-)

So everyone's settled in, and there's a buzz of excitement in the air, and we're all hoping very much so to be a part of some kind of survey from Razor Ramon. The guys sitting in the row in front of us had on some cool, old school authentic WCW apparel such as a Wolfpac jacket and showed us their very vintage action figures collectible:

Classic Razon Ramon and Diesel action figures still mint in box

So as time went on that original excitement was fading. Felt like it was nearing 20 minutes and the what started as buzz was now turning into a crowd of wrestless (get it, Wrestless? As in no wrestlers? We'll work it on, feel free to leave your comments below if you don't understand, or don't..) fans who were booing anyone who even remotely looked like they were in charge. Rihan's beers must have been flowing straight through his system because he popped down to the loo and booked the smart move to go one last time before it was showtime. Then suddenly, a slim little man in a suit comes out and starts cutting a promo (to an already booing crowd) on some guy called Chris Duke (I think that's the name), and the only thing I remember from his rant was, "Yeah you can boo me, because I'm turning heel.." or something along those lines and I didn't understand who this guy thought he was, because I knew who I was there to see and it wasn't this guy. Side note to those guys who aren't all there with the wrestling jargon. I will teach you young ones. The term 'heel' is used to define the bad guy in a wrestling situation, the wrestler who gets booed by the crowd. A 'face' or 'babyface' is the term used to describe the good guy, a wrestler who gets cheered. I'm pretty sure he was a promoter, which is really neither, because no one paid to see him - so it's pretty irrelevant. But props to him for cutting a promo and for putting in the hard work for setting up the event, even though it was organized a little bit like a piece of Ikea furniture with just enough guidance to get you through it. I'm pretty sure there are other places on the internet you can find out more about this particular situation of bad booking by the Ministry of Slam, but as I've said already, we were here to see the n.W.o... and they were finally about to make their into..

As you can probably see Scott Hall is looking real healthy - and if you can't see then you should take my word for it - so much so that he decides to throw that chair away and spent a lot of time just standing while addressing everyone. Absolute legend. In front of us were 3 of the most influential men, in the entire industry of professional wrestling throughout the better part of the '90s. Can you feel that? Wolfpac is most definitely in the house.

The first thing they wanted to clear up was the mess with the booking, and they'd said that the two promoters who were there had worked really hard to get everything organized, and I guess Nash wanted to clear their names from any heat. I mean, many of us were chanting for Nash to powerbomb ("Powerbomb! Powerbomb!") one of the guys through the table just prior to this.

The most AWESOME thing was just about to happen as Kevin Nash said something along the lines of, "We love coming over to the UK. Glasgow and Manchester were great but I was saving my orgasm for London! But before we get started, we heard that there were a couple of guys, about 20 odd who got fucked about with the photo opportunity. Where are you guys?"

My arm shot into the air along with Rihan, Ronal and our boys as well as some of the guys and girls around us. He turned his attention to the first 3 rows. He continued,

"We're gonna make sure that by the end of the night, you guys have your pictures taken with us, and we'll keep this place open, all fucking night, even if I've gotta dig into my own pocket to pay that bill." - Naturally, after hearing that the crowd was popping. I was happy /-) Great seats, Photo op, and  the best spoken-word wrestling tour all year was about to kick off.

Q&A Highlights

For this portion of the post, I spoke with Rihan and we went through some of the highlights of the Q&A session and we've decided to go through some of it on here. It's going to be as accurate as we can remember. There were a lot of questions asked and answers given, so don't quote anything you read on here like scripture. This is just what we took away from this session and shouldn't be interpreted as a report on the event. It's what we remembered most, and there was a lot said so I'll try and cover as much as I can on here to the best of our memories. It's also in no particular order, so we're going to call this on the fly so to speak. Let me just set the mental picture, so we've got Nash, Waltman and Hall sitting on stage at this long table. Pac and Nash have their drinks, Nash with bottles of wine. Pac had probably had a joint already which was made more obvious by Nash in a comedic manner a little later on, "Speaking of blazed looks in their eyes..." and then looks over to Waltman. It was all very humorous, like a live sketch! These guys had really good chemistry around each each other and I guess that's expected when you've been on the road with people as long as they have with each other. The atmosphere was very laid back also, and Scott had his water and cans of Pepsi and Coke. Cola, not the other coke. They had mentioned that there had been rumours that popped up about Scott Hall drinking while he'd been on the tour but as far as I could see he hadn't touched a drop of alcohol the whole night. I'm a firm believer that he's found the right path in life, and I could be wrong but his quick wit and energy on this night were a testament to his victory over those demons. It looks like the rumours of his demise were greatly exaggerated, because I'm an eye witness and I can say that the Bad Guy is alive and well.

A random bit of information that Waltman shared with us about Vince McMahon's office was that he had zebra skins along the walls.

When asked who was not worthy or least favourite person in the n.W.o. :
Nash responded by saying that it was Buff Bagwell. I don't remember there being a particular reason for why he'd said this, but I do remember JR telling a story of Bagwell once getting his mother to call into work sick on his behalf. I guess he was pussyfooting around. Pussyfooting is a real word. I learnt it from The Steve Austin Show podcast. Google it. It's a word.

When asked who they would want to face, in a potential match at WrestleMania 30:
X-pac said that he would be interested in working a match with CM Punk, and reckons that they could put on a good match if the conditions were right. Scott Hall joked about whether Vince would allow for him to accompany Pac at ringside.
Nash slowly responded saying that he would like to see the 3 of them, take on the 3 members of the Shield at WrestleMania. This got a loud pop reaction from the crowd, especially from me because I remember the night before I'd said I was going to play one match on WWE 2K14 and that would be the n.W.o. vs. The Shield. I guess Kevin Nash and I were on the same wave length. Either that or Big Daddy Cool is keeping a tab on my PSN account. Whatever the deal is, I would love to see the Wolfpac take on the Shield at WrestleMania 30. What do you guys think? There have been enough comparisons made between the two factions and if done right, I think it could be huge. Remember to leave a comment and let us know what you guys think of that.
The best answer by far was from Scott Hall. When asked the same question, he responded with,
"If I were to face an opponent at WrestleMania next year it would probably be Joe."
The crowd went silent briefly, I could hear murmurs behind us of people saying, "Samoa Joe?" and there was an air of general confusion at his response. At which point, X-Pac looks over to Scott and says, "Joe.. who?"
And Scott says, "Joe Momma!" - and starts laughing, and so does everyone else. Set up and served nicely XD.

Scott gets Sean with a "Yo Momma" joke.
At one point someone asked a question about something to do with the current WWE roster, and I'm not sure 100% on what the question was but I remember Nash saying that he felt that he could take on anyone on the current roster.
He said something very much along the lines of, 'I'm 54 years old, grey hair coming out of my head, white beard and I could beat the shit out of anyone on that roster, just not you Mr. Lesnar..' and then started smiling and that elicited some laughter from the crowd.

When Scott Hall was asked if his ladder match with Shawn Michaels was the greatest match of his career, Hall responded by saying that to him, even the worst match that he had in his career was still pretty special to him and he was glad to have the opportunity but he also mentioned that he'd preferred the ladder matches on house shows that were before WrestleMania X, and enjoyed the fact that sometimes the ladder will do things of it's own accord. Like dropping and hitting people in the nuts.

When Kevin Nash was asked about whether or not there was a plan for The Undertaker's streak way back when he had had the match with him at WrestleMania XII:
Nash responded by saying, "I wasn't quite sure what number I was in the streak, but I remember going into that match against Mark.."
At this point there is silence for a brief moment and Waltman whispers into his microphone, "Shhh. Mark is The Undertaker's real name. Don't tell anyone." - his comment was met with laughter.
Nash continues his story stating that Mark had met him in the locker room two days before their match, and he looked down and depressed. At the time he was married to his first wife, Jodie. Nash then imitates Mark and says in a droning voice, "I haven't slept in 3 days. Jodie's served me with (divorce) papers.."
Nash proceeds to ask him about their upcoming match to which Taker's response was, "We'll call it on the fly."
Nash retorted, "Call it on the fly? We've got a WrestleMania match coming up and you want to call it on the fly? I might have lost that match but eh, big deal. I still banged him twice into the mat with a Jackknife powerbomb. That's what happens when I call things on the fly.." and he breaks into a cheeky laugh. The crowd was loving it.

There was one really emotional moment during the tour when the following question was asked to Scott Hall by a member of the audience, and it went a little something like this:
'How instrumental has DDP been in your recovery and how much has he helped you?'
Scott had mentioned how obnoxiously positive Dallas can be and how Dallas has been a great friend in his time of need and he felt that with Sean and Kevin he couldn't quite go to them because he didn't want to trouble them because they were busy with their own lives. As he was saying all this he got teary eyed and was choked up and it probably wasn't easy for him talking about this but everyone was chanting, "Razor! Razor! Razor!" and Nash and Pac got up and hugged their best friend. Truly emotional moment for everyone. He went on to say that one of the greatest feelings was knowing that there were so many people out there who cared for him, when he didn't care for himself and his well being, at times where he felt he was dying. Razor went on to say that he's learnt to use the internet and has been using the it the past 8 months and is all tech-ed out, and tweeting away. That put a smile on everyone's face.
Side note:  Another reason for why I'm a firm believer in the fact that Scott Hall has found the straight and narrow is because 2 days after the tour I went back and watched "E60: The Scott Hall Story" by ESPN. Seeing the man on that, and realizing by comparison that he was nothing like the man we had the pleasure of meeting with this past Thursday - I am convinced that Hall has taken a better stance in life. Again, I could be wrong, but at this point in time, it doesn't seem that way.

Scott Hall. a.k.a. 'The Bad Guy' Razor Ramon
After being asked why the product is not as great as it once used to be:
Nash made an interesting point about society, and society being one of violence. It's something that we need as a healthy society. Pro-wrestling is about wrestling. Wrestling can be violent. The male demographic now has so many options in terms of forms of entertainment that they are spoilt for choice. That demographic now is so busy with Call of Duty that it doesn't need to turn to wrestling as much, as back then. Nash also made a point about a fan's t-shirt who they'd met during the photo session who had an old X-Pac t-shirt. Nash asked the fan to stand up and show the back of his t-shirt to everybody and read what it says on it. It read, "You're Ass is Grass and I'm gonna smoke ya!". X-Pac went on to say, "See back then, they were selling this merchandise to 14 year olds without thinking twice.. what kid of a message was that sending? You really think that would happen right now?"
These comments were met with laughter as Nash continued to say that nowadays, he hears children saying, "Motherf*** this and that.." yet these fully grown men on TV in the PG era are saying, "I'm gonna kick your butt!" - Nash said, "Something doesn't make sense.." and took a swig of wine. These guys were hilarious, and at the same time making some valid points.

Speaking of hilarious, Razor was sharp and on point. One guy in the crowd must have started chanting, "One more match! One more match!" - and Razor said, "Yeah, with YOU! Out in the parking lot, and I get to bring Big Kev and Kid with me.."

Someone in the crowd asked for Razor's tie and he snapped back with a firm, "No!"

Nash also credited Scott Hall about being the first guy having the balls to go into Vince McMahon's office and ask for more, and Nash went on to say that if it wasn't for Scott Hall doing what he'd done, the n.W.o. and attitude era, DX and even the Monday Night Wars may not have been entirely the same.

Scott Hall had also talked about his son Cody Hall, who has been training in Atlanta. Hall said that they spend a lot of time together looking through older tapes, because from his perspective he says that the old tapes now are so old that they're new. He also said that Cody is about 6'8" and is guaranteed money.

In summary the Q&A was really open and the responses seemed very genuine coming from these 3 legends. Waltman got up at one point and said, "You guys have come here and spent your hard earned cash for a Q&A session with the Wolfpac and that's what we want to deliver! Nothing is off the table so ask whatever it is you want to ask us and I'm surprised no one has asked me any questions about Chyna yet.." XD

There were plenty more questions asked and responses given, but these are the ones that we remembered and stuck out the most. I'm sure that there may be many of you that attended one of these 3 Take Over Tour events and if you'd like to share anything you guys came across during the tour you can leave a message in the comments section below, and add your experience with ours!

Hall (left), Waltman, Nash (right)

Now as the spoken-word part of the tour was coming to an end, Pac says, "Where are those 20 odd guys that got fucked on the photos?.." Again we shot our arms in to they air and we were invited up to the front to get our pictures taken. We weren't the only ones that got up, a fair number of people in the crowd started to press forwards. The security guard at the steps was allowing about 4 people up at a time, and we were the 3rd group in that queue. Just as I get near those steps the guard looks straight at me and says, "You've already been up, I've seen you get a picture with them."

My heart dropped a little. My temper rose. But I had to keep it together for the next couple of minutes. "I remember your face, I'm sure you've already had your picture taken." he repeated. I don't know what it was about that Thursday but he was the third person who'd said he'd recognized or remembered my face from somewhere else. We explained that Rihan, Ronal and I were together and we HAD NOT had our pictures taken yet. He was giving us a funny look, and I was pretty sure he didn't believe me.

Ronal was permitted on up, and he got us past that little bump by saying, "We're all together!" Ronal giving us the proverbial nod we needed to proceed. Ronal was the first to get his picture snapped.

Ronal with the 'Outsiders' and Pac
I was up next and just to give you some indication, I don't normally mark out while meeting and greeting. This however was a different situation. I was about to have my photo taken with 3 of the most influential wrestlers in the entire industry throughout the better part of the '90s. My knees felt like jelly and my stomach wasn't much different. This was a big deal to me and Mark-Out Syndrome was in full effect. Again, for those of you who aren't quite familiar with what Mark-Out syndrome is I'll explain that one for you. It's a process where the body and mind is overcome with so much awesomeness and excitement that it may cause you to go momentarily crazy or abandon rational thinking. Or maybe even go blind. Really depends on the person. I get jelly knees and slurred speech.

Since we're on the topic, I tried to look up definitions for what 'Marking out' or 'mark out' meant across the internet and I wasn't too happy with the descriptions that were provided. I asked Anuj how he would explain it to anyone who wasn't already familiar with the term and he said he would describe it as, "probably something surprising that was highly unexpected to happen. E.g. Diesel returning at the Royal Rumble Rumble in 2011". I asked Rihan the same question and this is what he said that it meant to him.

"Marking out for me refers to those escapism moments where you experience a buzz that reminds you of why you became a wrestling fan in the first place.. whether it be watching a match that is worthy of the, "This is Awesome!" chant, witnessing a move of sheer athleticism or extremeness that makes you utter, "Holy Shit", those "never say never" events that still surprise you despite thinking you are in the know & finally those opportunities you get to interact with the larger than life characters who were a big part of your childhood.."
- Rihan
Waltman calls me over and I'm standing in the middle of the trio with mark-out syndrome. Pac says, "How's it going" and shakes my hand and gives me a hug. "Awesome, just awesome." was the response I mustered up. I shook hands with Scott Hall and the 'Bad guy' gave me a pat on the shoulder, and then I turned to Nash who was in the middle of the 3 and he shook my hand and I must said the stupidest thing at the time, I said something along the lines of, "Wow, damn. You guys are like huge.. Much huger than on TV."
That's a prime example of me when I'm in awe-mode of mark-out syndrome. Nash gave me a hug which will probably be the biggest hug I ever receive from a childhood idol of mine. It was picture time.

Feeling like an Outsider with Hall, Nash and Waltman
Dream come true. I'd been watching these guys perform since the 2nd half of the '90s. I was originally a WCW fan, watching their matches since the age of 8. I remember the first time I watched a full taped WCW Nitro - I'd seen Kevin Nash and Sting on that edition and I was hooked for life. I recall jumping around the living room and Jackknife power bombing the couch cushions after watching the show. My earliest memories of Razor Ramon and 1-2-3 Kid were actually through a video game. Wait.. Diesel was also in there..

WWF RAW for Sega Mega Drive from 1995
This was like coming full circle, finally getting to meet these larger than life heroes you'd idolized growing up and played using their characters in the video game. Has anyone had a look at Hall, Diamond Dallas Page and Jake Roberts playing the latest WWE video game 2K14? Check it out!

Rihan was next in line to have his picture snapped with the Wolfpac. This wasn't the first time he'd met these guys. Prior to this there was a convention in Birmingham that Razor had appeared at and Rihan got some sweet pictures with Scott Hall doing some infamous n.W.o. style posing. Rihan and Ronal had met Nash before also, in Atlanta during their trip to WrestleMania 27. I recall seeing a picture of Ronal holding onto Nash's wine bottle in one of the pictures!

Rihan in his custom kLiQ T-shirt
As you can see from the pictures Ronal and Rihan were wearing their custom WrestleMania 27 tour 'KliQ' t-shirts. They were digging these, and Waltman in his state mistakenly thought they they might be WWE merchandise, and started conferring with Nash about them.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! We were happy wrestling marks after this, and despite the organization we had arrived and received what it was we had come for. There was still the signing to come and after we'd had our pics taken, there would be a short interval before they would start signing items. Security were trying to get everyone established into a orderly queue, but it just was not happening. There's very few things that are more irritating than a bunch of marks that can't just do as they're asked so that everyone can have the best possible experience! I had hoped that there would be n.W.o. T-shirts on sale as part of their merchandise but to my surprise there weren't any. An n.W.o. t-shirt has to be like one of the most essential items of apparel for any fan. Whether it's the original black and white tee or the red and black wolfpac. Need to invest in one of those soon.

Unless I missed it, I'm pretty sure that the man who was standing beside the merch table was upset because nothing had been sold! It appeared that everyone already had what they had wanted to get signed. Which is a shame really because they had some pretty sweet 8x10s.

After a fair amount more waiting time, and some lack of control and direction from the stewards, they managed to squeeze everyone down to single or double file. Pac was the first to come out again to the table, shortly followed by Hall, and then Nash. Again, we were fairly close to the start of that queue. I start scrambling around inside my bag looking for the silver marker pen I'd brought with me as a contingency plan. Had to get these photo cards Anuj had made signed right. /-) The only concern I had was the announcement made by one of the stewards that we were only allowed to get one item signed. This night was just full of swerves. Earlier in this post I'd referred to the fact that timing played a major factor on this evening. Well this was one of those moments. Just as we start nearing the table, a situation arises where that steward has to leave for some reason and starts heading for the entrance. With him out of the picture.. was this a sign that we could try and get more than one signature? I mean, that was what was promised after all. This is how it went:

Waiting to speak to Waltman
Took to the the table and shook Pac's hand again and said, "Thanks for the memories brother, thanks for everything! Today has been awesome."

I place the photo card and point to the empty black box for a signature. 

Pac says, "I appreciate it, thanks for coming out"

He's been drinking and he's merry but he knows what he's doing. He looks down and tries to grab a working pen, but after a couple of tries I start scrambling around my back pocket looking for that posca marker I had on me. He'd beat me to the punch and signed the card. Inside my head, the mark out meter rises slightly.

"No problem man, safe travels to you, hope you guys get back safe!" I say. I pull out my copy of 'The Monday Night War' and ask if he could sign that also. He does, he signs the back of  that cover. Awesome! The DVD was signed by a member of DX that was a part of that Monday Night War! I again wish him safe travels.
The back of my signed 'Monday Night War' DVD
 Pac says, "Thank you man!" and puts his hand over his heart. Now as I move towards Nash I place the photo card down on the table in front of him, shake his hand and say, "Could I could a signature right there on this photo?"

Pac, looks up at me again and asks where I'd come from, and I say, "Wembley!"

Pac says, "That's cool. Hey is it still called Wembley or did they change the name of that place?"

I responded, "Nah, it's still Wembley man, they changed up the stadium though, since the last time." - I was referring to Summerslam 1992.

As Nash passes back the photo card after signing it, I hand over the DVD cover to him and let him know that I'd been following his career since like '97, the first time I started watched wrestling on a consistent basis and thank him for all the good memories.

Nash says sounding a little emotional after a few bottles of wine, "Thank you, appreciate it, throw 'em up.." - he makes the infamous wolfpac handshake gesture with his hand at me. Are you freakin' kidding me? Any true wrestling fan should know exactly what I'm talking about, straight away. Inner mark out meter is rising very high at this point. Kevin Nash just asked me to "throw 'em up" Wolfpac style. Invitation accepted. Even though it seems like such a small thing, I don't ever think I'll ever forget that moment. Lived a dream /-)

Nash begins to sign as I pass a photo card to Scott Hall, and share the same wolfpac handshake with him. Reached full mark out in my mind at this point. I start speaking with Hall, and it went something like this,

"Ayo, my 15 year old brother actually made these. Custom made these for you guys to sign.."

Scott Hall starts to look at it closer in his hands, starts nodding his head and says to himself, "Wow.. These are fucking sweet." as he signs it.

Nash continues, "I'm gonna sign right here over Eric Bischoff's face and I'll leave a spot over here for Scott to sign. Scott Hall takes the DVD cover that Nash passes to him.

"Ahh ok, are you gonna sign that spot that Kevin left for you? Right over Vince's face?" I ask, my eyes must have been lighting up at this point. There is no doubt. That's what usually happens when your mark out syndrome is reaching its limits. Was trying very hard to keep it together.

Scott Hall etches his signature on the cover of the DVD and passes it back to me. He picks up the his photo card and says to me, "Do me a favour..."
I lean in a little bit.
"...Tell your little brother, that Scott Hall says, these cards he's made for us, are too freakin' sweet!" - What a nice thing for him to say? Who knew that something that nice could come out of the mouth of the Bad guy. It's something so small yet something I doubt I will ever forget. My respect for him increased.

He passes me the photo card and I say, "Thank you guys for everything!"

As I'm about to walk away from their table, Scott Hall motions at me to come back. Then he asks me a question. It wasn't so much a survey, but it was close. He says, "Hey how about big Kev and I increase the value of your DVD right here?" and he begins to smile.

He taps Nash on the arm and gets his attention. Then he looks at me and asks, "Have you got a cell phone with a camera on it?"

"YEAH of course! That would be awesome!" I started fumbling around my pockets searching for my phone. I CAN'T FIND IT! It's not there! Then I remember I'd passed it to Rihan. He didn't have it either, because Ronal had it! Got my hands back on my phone and I captured this moment on camera of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash holding up my copy of 'The Monday Night War' DVD.

Scott Hall and Kevin Nash increasing the value of my DVD. How nice of them!
Amazing. I put my hand over my heart and saluted the Outsiders. "Thank you guys so much, you don't understand how much we appreciate this! Travel safe.." I shook hands with them one last time and then the last thing that Scott Hall said to me was, "Now, you have a story to tell.." - Thank You Razor!

Rihans eyes are wide open and lit up in the presence of the Outsiders
Rihan was able to get his picture collage of the times he'd met the Kliq members, at Birmingham and Atlanta signed which was awesome! 100% certified.

End of a memorable encounter - last 3 standing from the original 6.
In closing, the evening was great and well worth the sporadic trouble! After having met the Wolfpac on the UK Take Over Tour, I can honestly say it was an absolute rare pleasure getting to spend some time with these 3 icons in the professional wrestling industry. Three very cool cats, stand up guys and I have nothing bad to say about any of them. Really an honor to get to meet them, be a part of the night and listen to them sharing their stories of traveling down the road together, and I'm ecstatic that this was the first stop on our own road. Our Road to WrestleMania XXX...

Custom made photo cards by Anuj. Signed by the n.W.o.

Thanks for taking the time to read /-) There's plenty more to come,
Mau (25/11/13) 02:10

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Preview: 'Band' Practice for The UK Takeover Tour

AYO! So it's Wednesday and I just got my hair cut and as it turns out my beard is actually longer than my head hair, I almost look like a Wyatt Family member, like their long lost Indian cousin. Thank you very much Movember (even though I'm taking it one step further by growing the entire beard out as well). But that's beside the point because it's Wednesday night and a fair bit of thought has gone into prepping to meet the n.W.o. tomorrow. One of the first things you'd probably have to consider as a mark would be what it is you'd want to get signed, it's something we all mull over in our heads. I've actually got a prettty funny story about a wrestler signing session. To borrow a phrase from Lance Storm, "If I can be serious for a minute":

It was April 16th 2012, and WWE RAW would be eminating from the O2 Arena in Greenwich. Now as you may be aware, during these times, superstars may usually do appearances at certain venues around the city. As usual, Rihan had all the details and we were heading to Harrods in Knightsbridge to meet Kane. What an awesome thing to do, right? Meet Kane. Later on that night we would be at RAW watching him wrestle Zack Ryder, and Ryder was tremendous at his job. Always is good at his job. Job being the keyword there. Now, this had to be the shortest amount of time I've ever waited to meet a wrestler WWE Superstar. We get into the area in Harrods where Kane is signing, and there's not more than 10 people in that queue ahead of us. It wasn't because Kane wasn't over at the time or anything, I guess our timing had aligned with the stars somewhere. It's not a bad thing, it's a good thing! I already knew what I had wanted to get signed and it was my copy of WWE '12 the video game for my PS3. I'm pretty sure he was feuding Orton at the time...

My Copy of WWE '12 signed by Kane
My younger brother Anuj, who was also with us, had nothing with him at the time to get signed. So we start scrambling around this toy section in Harrods looking for something that he could get signed by the big red machine. Lo and behold we see a kids replica World Heavyweight Championshiop belt. Perfect! So Anuj gets into the queue and meets Kane. Snap-Snap, gets his picture taken. I watch from the distance as he signs for Anuj. Now it was only later on that I realized that rather than getting the actual championship belt signed, he had in reality signed on the outer packaging. SIGNATURE BOTCH of a lifetime! In his defense, Anuj has always blamed Kane for that. Till this day the packaging is floating around somewhere in my room with Kane's signature on it.
Anuj gets his picture taken with Kane. Kane signs the belt...packaging.

The moral of that story is: IF you're going to get something signed, MAKE SURE that it's on something that is actually worth signing! You can't buy this kind of experience on the Road to WrestleMania /-)
Speaking of things that are worth signing, we'd gotten into a little discussion yesterday about what you could get signed in terms of the long run. Are you better off getting a whole bunch of different merchandise or items signed? or would you prefer your signatures to be all in one place, like in an autograph book or a programme per say? One of the ideas I've come up with that would be pretty cool for collecting signatures on, was inspired by that kids replica belt from Harrods. Why not just get an adult size replica championship belt and get the back of the leather strap signed by all your favorite legends? You just know that's every pro-wrestling mark's dream /-) If you have any cool ideas on what you would collect signatures on, feel free to leave your creative responses in the comment section below! I look forward to hearing them.

I'd sent over a couple of texts to Rihan over the past few days, in terms of preparation for the UK Take Over Tour. We briefly outlined what it was that we were bringing into this n.W.o. gathering, and not just items for signing, that includes what questions we might end up asking the n.W.o. because it's probably going to be a little tricky to find something to ask about that hasn't already been answered publicly. I'm sure we'll come up with something good to ask though, and everyone reading this right now will be the first to know about it. In fact, if there are any questions you'd like us to try and ask for you, again, you can leave a comment in the section below and 'Team WrestleMania 30' will see what we can do. That's something else we need to work on, somewhere down the line, a faction name. Or a parody of a faction in Pro-Wrestling history. We'll get to that at a later date /-) This evening I ended up watching "Legends of Wrestling: n.W.o." which is a great roundtable style documentary which goes into the n.W.o. angles in depth and is a good watch if you've got the time and want to brush up on your wrestling knowledge. Colt Cabana also has a podcast called, 'The Art of Wrestling' which Rihan had recommended to me and I had a listen to the one which had Scott Hall on it and it was a damn good listen! Recommend listening to that also. Got my tickets printed off today and I think we're pretty much set for tomorrow!

Oh I almost forgot to mention what it was I was getting signed. I asked Anuj to come up with 3 different creative photo cards from scratch. He may not be a veteran at getting autographs from the big red monster Kane, but he's pretty damn good with photoshop. This is what he came up with:

nWo Custom Photos created by Anuj
Not bad at all, pretty impressive actually! With some luck, by this time tomorrow these 3 photos, will have 3 signatures on them, which would just make them.. Too Sweet! But for now, I've been dying to play as the n.W.o. in the new WWE 2K14 video game - so before I call it a day, I'm gonna flip that in right now for a match and put them up against The Shield in a traditional Survivor Series tag team dream match! New.. New.. New.. World Order!


Thanks for taking the time to read /-) There's plenty more to come,
Mau (21/11/13) 02:50

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Prologue: The First Step to 'The Road to WrestleMania'

The Road to WrestleMania officially opened for us this past Saturday 16th November 2013 at 16:00 GMT - and as with any Road to WrestleMania, we had our fair share of bumps along the way which I think would be best summarised by this Whatsapp message I received from Rihan:

"On Saturday a 60 minute Ironman match took place with 6 laptops, 5 tag team partners, one conference call with false finishes, ticket timeouts, banning of ip addresses by Ticketmaster, kickouts of the "Submit Order" finisher and a screwjob by the bank, with one final tag team assist & a Money in the Bank Cash in.. WrestleMania 30 was BOOKED!"

Now if you're reading this and you're not a wrestling fan or you're not too familiar with all the wrestling jargon (well first of all you probably shouldn't be here, but if you stick around I'm sure you'll pick up a thing or two) I'm about to break down exactly what Rihan just gave to us as play by play via that Whatsapp message.

60 Minutes Earlier... Maybe 120 Minutes Earlier..

Well first thing's first, when I met up with Rihan on the Saturday again after a significant number of months the first thing I said was, "AYO! You know who I am.. But you don't know how I got here!". A pretty clever play on Razor Ramon's infamous catchphrase if I say so myself ;) On top of which I wasn't sure how I'd gotten there myself - not a frequent enough passenger on the National Rail Service. But that's besides the point - The first thing I recall Rihan saying was, "When did you cut your hair?!"

So we get back to his, and soon after we were setting up the makeshift 'Command Center' from where we would try and take the first step on that long road to WrestleMania. It consisted of his own 2 laptops, his phone & tablet, my own laptop (brother's laptop infact, which I had to hijack from our living room and leave a copy of Call of Duty: Ghosts in it's place as a trade-off), my phone and his flatmates' 2 laptops, one of which would be signed in from another part of the planet, that was Aruna's laptop. Boy, does Aruna play an important part in this story, but we'll get to that. I think.. that was everything, but I could be short by a device or two, it wouldn't surprise me. I remember Rihan saying something about hoping that they don't ban our ip address, but it didn't seem likely. The centerpiece had to be his old school laptop, which was plugged into the TV, displaying an image of the seating chart for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

After discussing where we were planning to get seats over some pre-match warmup Tea, I allowed Rihan some quiet time for some last minute research and of course to mentally prepare and get psyched up for 4pm. You might be reading this thinking, 'Man these guys take this shit seriously'. Yes. Yes We Do. Wrestling is more than just Sports Entertainment. It's a Religion. It's a Culture. It's a Way of Life. Anyway, where was I? As I recall we went into this without really having a 'Plan B', it seemed that our strategy was to go out hunting and see who could catch the best seats. I went into this situation for the first time, not realizing how stressful this might actually turn out to be. It hits 3:45pm and Aruna and their other flatmate join us and Rihan introduces us, but for the life of me I can't remember his other flatmates' name, and if you're reading this I am really sorry! The coconut toffee barfi sweets you offered me were really nice though! And for the purposes of this blog I'm going to refer to her as 'Burfi'. So Rihan debriefs us one last time on what we're doing and we're all logged on to a laptop with the Ticketmaster website open.

I call out, "2 MINUTE WARNING!" and the clock hits 3:58pm, and a minute later I thought there'd be no more appropriate time to play, 'The Final Countdown' by Europe. 3.. 2.. 1.. It was on!

Now these next 60 minutes as Rihan pointed out, could be compared to an Ironman match - man it was grueling and full of drama. In wrestling terms, this was the no#1 contendership match for the World Heavyweight Championship. The 3 of us in that living room were joined by Shanks and Pradip (I hope that's the right spelling, ok I'm just going to use 'P' until I know for sure dude) LIVE! via Satellite, and by that I mean we were on a conference call to them.

The Rules were simple: 5 Man Inter promotional Tag Team trying to find the best available seats. After the search criteria had been entered it would spit out seats for us and hold them for 2 minutes until we decided whether or not we wanted to keep them (for the benefit of those who've never used Ticketmaster before) or gamble for better seats, while at the same time keeping an eye on each others results to determine who'd been offered the best seats. This process will then continue until we find the deal we deem suitable enough to make 'Submit'. I feel like Howard Finkel before a Royal Rumble match right now.

So the Rumble was on, calling out seat numbers and sections we'd been offered and comparing amongst ourselves, I figure this must be somewhat similar to what happens at the stock exchange. Some of the highlights included Barfi not getting any results for what seemed to be about 15-20 minutes and then managing to get some real hot seats (might have been in that 115 section), but in the confusion of who had which seats with one of the boys on the phone, the timer ran out and the tickets were lost! As the clock rolled on the false finishes Rihan referred to were taking place with the guys on the phone. It had seemed like we had secured some good seats and every time they went in for the kill something would happen like the timer expiring or the 'Submit' button botching or the most devastating one was when they weren't allowed to use Rihan's Ticketmaster details to make a purchase! Were they clocking onto our strategy? Were we overburdening the queuing system by having so many of us attack from the same address and 2 outside guys? So many close shaves and false finishes, and by this point we were deep into the hunt.. At this point we were in trouble.. Were the banks conspiring against us? Rihan had to ring them up to get to the bottom of all this.
The stresses of actually getting onto The Road
Meanwhile, a former concern had arisen and slid back into the picture much like Randy Orton, The Viper, slithering into the ring. At this point, Ticketmaster might as well have hit us with an RKO as Barfi and I were BANNED from the Ticketmaster site! That was as good as eliminating us from the team! Luckily Aruna was still in the game looking for prospective seats, as Rihan was being told that his bank had indeed NOT tried to block any purchases on his end. Things were looking up a little but, it wasn't long after that Aruna had been taken out of the game also. The clock rolls on. P (think It was P) must have had some good seats, but once again - some force of the WWE Universe was preventing him from landing his finisher and securing us the deal, so he opts for the proverbial "HOT TAG"! by adding the seats to basket, which could be accessed by Rihan at our end. Rihan goes for the finish. However the, 'Submit Order' button, much like John Cena kicks out at 2! Now What? Just when we'd thought we'd seen the last of Aruna - he cashes in his Money in the Bank! By which I mean he makes the payment from his card.. and picks up the 'W' for the team! *Screen loads* "Congratulations! You're going to WrestleMania 30!" AYO ADRIAN! WE DID IT! /-D

I'm sure that last paragraph made crystal clear sense to the wrestling smarks, and if you're not a wrestling fan, like I said I hope it made sense to you for the most part - and you're picking up some wrestling terminology, if there's anything you don't understand feel free to leave a comment below and I'll try get back to you as soon as I can. So where were we? Oh that's right:  Rihan jumped into the air as I shook Aruna's hand and then slapped Rihan a High-5. Some would say it's a mark out moment. I know Rihan was marking out. At that point it had not sunk in just yet for me, the realization of what had just happened. It still hasn't I don't think, not fully. But I'm getting tingling goosebumps every time I see a WrestleMania promo - so I think we are most definitely getting there. Right after that we got on the conference call to the boys on the phone and had a Broski Bonding moment, acknowledging that we were all on the same road now, the road we've been dreaming of being on for years.. The Road to WrestleMania, and the first stop was soon approaching. We would be entering the lion's den. Or the Wolf's Pack. Or even the Wolfpac if you will. Straight to the infamous, n.W.o...


Thanks for taking the time to read /-) There's plenty more to come,
Mau (20/11/13) 3:57