Monday, 11 August 2014

Flight of the Valkyries [02/04/14]

As you can clearly see, I was packing (or trying to pack) well into the night before we were set out to travel. I remember thinking at the time, “I’ll get some sleep as soon as we jump on that flight”. Boy, I had no idea what a mission we had in front of us.

The alarm starts going off and I’ve had an hour’s rest give or take 15 minutes. I remember receiving an e-mail from the airlines first thing in the morning saying that there was going to be about an hour’s delay. Then soon after that I received the same again, adding another hour’s delay to our flight. I decided to inform the man with the plan – Rihan.

As it turned out, we weren’t going to make our connecting flight at this rate. So what was originally a 12:15 flight from London Heathrow to Philadelphia turned into a 3pm from London Heathrow to Dallas, Texas. The last time I had travelled a long distance flight was in 2007, and to my surprise Rihan was able to switch my tickets for the first flight, without me even having any say in the matter. Since we booked our tickets separately, I have no idea on how he convinced the airlines that we were flying together. But as Diamond Dallas Page says, in this situation, it wasn’t a bad thing, it was a good thing. Good for me, since all this rushing and last minute on the fly ‘calling the match’ doesn’t go very well when you’ve had no sleep. My original plan of having an easy stress free morning and jumping on the plane and catching some Z’s was slowly floating out of the window. The pressure seemed to ease off though once I had reached Heathrow.

I’m sure Shanks was actually the first one at the airport at Terminal 3, and I would shortly meet up with him after checking-in at Area F. He was wearing his yellow CM Punk ‘GTS’ T-shirt and I’m sure it was one of many because my dude buys T-shirts a dozen at a time. The last time I had seen Shanks was about a year back in April 2013, when we’d gone to WWE RAW at the O2 Arena in London. I remember talking to him back then and him telling me in a conversation we had that he had actually once bought tickets to WrestleMania in the past, but due to him sending off his passport for some reason he had no means to leave the country, resulting in him not being able to go. I remember thinking, “DAMN! That sucks” and we said that we should sooo go to a WrestleMania some day in the future. Now here we were a year later at Terminal 3, smiling from ear to ear – We were actually doing it. We were going to WrestleMania!

Soon after Rihan arrived in his WrestleMania XXVII T-shirt and blue hoody and checked-in, we made our way to the gates. As we walked past the number of each gate we tried to recall what had happened at the gate numbers’ corresponding WrestleMania. For example walking past gate 3 you’d probably mention that Hulk Hogan slammed André the Giant. Rihan also made some bold predictions about WrestleManias that had yet to come…

The flight itself seemed like it took forever to me, possibly because it had been so long since I’d been on a long distance flight and I had brought along my copy of Mick Foley’s “CountDown to LockDown” book which I would finally get to read. I never got around to it.

Although I didn’t get very much reading done during this flight to Texas, we actually got quite a fair amount of watching programmes done. Is that even how you say it? Watching programmes. Anyway, due to the flight being on Wednesday, and all the rushing around the 2 days prior to this, (whether it be trying to find a unlocked phone to use overseas which you don’t make use of anyway, or buying some last minute clothes which you only ever wear on holiday) none of us had watched RAW from Monday night that had just gone by. What a more perfect time to watch the last RAW before WrestleMania than on the flight to WrestleMania? As it happened, all three of us had RAW on one of our devices. On my right, Shanks had his laptop open watching RAW. I sat in the middle on my Samsung Galaxy Note 2, watching RAW. To my left Rihan had his tablet open, watching Monday night RAW. All of us with our headphones in, trying not to look at the screen to our left because whomever was watching there was about 5 minutes ahead. Rihan would have been the first to finish if it wasn’t for his rewind everything tendencies. Michael Cole would have been so proud of this sight :)

I’m pretty sure soon after that, the lights went dim – that time on the flight where they expect everyone to catch some sleep. Rihan and I used this time to catch the WrestleMania XXX press conference, which if you’ve seen already, featured some of the most bored looking members of the press you could ever find. Batista stole the show, no doubt – he was hilarious!

 After the press conference Rihan had episode 3 of season 2’s Total Divas which we decided to watch, right before business was about to pick up.

Let me set the scene for you. We’re sitting on the middle row of a dimmed out plane, and we turn the overhead light on, like a spotlight as Rihan pulled out his blue Money in the Bank style folder. This folder contained the blueprints and itinerary for the trip that Rihan had pieced together. What was going on, at what time, and where. Also what else was happening at the same time so we knew our options. Most of the important planning that we’d done and tried to get organised would be for Saturday. Saturday was going to be WrestleCon. It would feature superstars, legends and a complete who’s who line-up from the crazy world of Professional Wrestling. We had to make sure that we would be making the most of our time, because there was a strong possibility that we wouldn’t get this chance again. Goldberg would be in a Q&A session, Colt Cabana was hosting a live podcast, Mickie James was scheduled to be performing some of her songs along with a load of other happenings that would make any wrestling fan feel like they had died and gone to heaven. And there was a Superticket. This Superticket would GUARANTEE us to meet and talk to some of the most influential names in the business. But we’ll get to that.

After agreeing on the details, we thought it’d be best if we tried to get some rest. By this point Shanks was already fast asleep, and we would try to do the same. I have a habit of falling asleep in front of my laptop or a TV screen, so naturally I tried watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Twice. The keyword is tried. I’m sure it’s a great film if I ever give it the right time of day.

As we were set to land at Dallas’ Fort Worth Airport, the air pressure really seemed to be messing with my ear, making me feel slightly deaf – but I was sure it would pop soon, and I would be fine. I could half make out the song that was playing as the plane began to slow down to an eventual halt. It sounded familiar, and the light bulb went off in our heads at pretty much the same time. It was the theme tune of popular American series Dallas. CoOoL :)

We were finally on American soil. For me, it was the first time, but the first hour in America wasn’t exactly a pleasant one. After spending what seemed like 20 minutes at the baggage claim conveyor belt, I noticed a huge plastic carrier with what looked like a suit case that had broken inside it. Surely this couldn’t be mine? The others had gotten their bags and were waiting on me, and most of the people who had been waiting to claim their baggage there had already done so.  I leaned in to take a closer look…

SON OF A BITCH! What the f*#%?! It was my bag! I was outraged, as I pulled it off the belt and tried to look at it even closer. It’s like one of those stories that you hear about, happening to other people. You never expect anything like this to ever happen to you. I got emotional, as I said it had been a long time since I had travelled such a long distance, and on top of that I was in a foreign country with my shit all over the place – this was all new to me. Show me who, and I would Batista Bomb the hell out of whomever was responsible for this atrocity. I didn’t know what to do first, complain and be pissed off was my initial reaction, but at who?! Some asshole working for the airports might have just decided to throw my bag on board or something, resulting in it breaking open from the lock? Had someone forced open the lock? I was still trying to figure out exactly how this had happened. We went to seek out the baggage desk. Some of the workers at the airport whom I asked for help said that they couldn’t really do anything yet and if I would want to make a claim I would have to wait until I reached my final destination, and kept repeating the fact that it had “looked like the zipper had broken” in the most leisurely tone – which frustrated me even more. They just didn’t seem to care. Eventually they would instruct us to locate another desk that could help me out. Inconveniently, it was located at what seemed like the other side of the airport. We had just under an hour to make our connecting flight out. Time was not on our side.

The two women working at the desk we finally made it to, seemed to be a lot more helpful, and gave me a contact number to call in case I found anything missing from my bag after it had somehow opened – and they even gave me a brand new suitcase. God Bless America. Rihan and Shanks quickly helped me repack everything (which was all over the place) from my broken suitcase to the new one, we were reloaded and ready to go. We had to jump on a monorail of some kind to reach the correct part of airport, from where we could take our connecting flight. . There was no time to mourn my dead suitcase. It’s probably rotting away right now somewhere in Texas.

After riding the monorail we had arrived at the correct location, and had just enough time to pay a quick visit to McDonalds nearby. That’s right folks, our first taste of American food came to us courtesy of McDonalds. God Bless America.

We all got a meal with a regular drink, and then Rihan and Shanks decided to get something out of the ordinary. If I remember correctly, it was called a McCafé Shamrock Shake which was only available for a limited time. It was a mint flavoured shake, topped with whipped cream and a cherry.

The dude working behind the counter saw that I didn’t get one and said, “Nah man, you can’t be rollin’ wit the crew and not have one..” in his Texan accent and he decided to give me one on the house, which was really cool of him. God Bless America. However what was about to happen next became the beginning of something iconic. For the split second that Shanks had put his shake down on the counter, Rihan somehow managed to clothesline the drink clean off the counter and straight onto the floor. The McDonalds crew that had been looking to close up real soon and were nice enough to give me a free shake, now found themselves in a position of extra work, thanks to Rihan. This would mark the first of many iconic botches he would make along this trip. But we’ll get to that…

The flight from Texas to New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International airport was fairly uneventful, and consisted of no further botches – and didn’t last fairly long either. We used this time to eat some food and enjoy the view. We would soon be in the Big Easy.

Upon arriving at the Louis Armstrong International airport in New Orleans, the feeling of WrestleMania began to sink in. It may have been because most of the airport was plastered in WrestleMania promotional material, which was awesome! I had never seen anything like this, for Wrestling, in my whole life. Everything that I had dreamt about up until that point was slowly materialising before my eyes.

We met the fourth Musketeer, Pradeep at the airport right before collecting our luggage. There were no problems this time around. God Bless America. We soon booked a shuttle bus that would take us to our hotel in downtown New Orleans.

The shuttle bus tour was pretty interesting for me, as we drove past the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on the way to our hotel and it was the first real glimpse I was getting of the Big Easy. I had heard so many things about this city, and here we were. We’re Here. That was the Bray Wyatt quote that we all said every time we seemed to arrive anywhere on this trip. It just went well with everything. As soon as we hit the hotel, “We’re Here”. The hotel was pretty damn nice too, but the first thing I did once we got up to the room was double check my stuff in the suitcase. I was so sure that there had to be something missing, the bag even felt lighter, but nothing came straight to mind. In addition to that, the fact that my ear still hadn't popped from the first flight rendered me disgruntled.

We all freshened up from our long ass journey, changed clothes and sprayed that good spray on before heading out into the New Orleans night. It must have been about 2:30 in the morning but we were determined to find something to do.

I’m one of those guys who goes on holiday, to explore. I love exploring and soaking everything up every chance I get – almost every chance I get. I don’t like sleeping in on holidays if I can help it, and I also don’t like calling it a night too early on the first night I arrive somewhere.

Night of the Valkyries

So we wandered the streets of New Orleans, going on hunches and at the same time trying not to think about ending up in a neighbourhood we would rather not be in. After about 30 minutes of walking (apparently in the right direction as it turned out) we stumbled upon this street. It was called Bourbon Street. The world famous Bourbon Street. We’re Here. God Bless America.

Now I’m pretty sure we headed into the first bar/club that we saw was lively, but what were the chances that inside this same venue, we’d bump into superstars from the NXT roster and the current RAW General Manager? Not very high I suppose, but I guess it was destiny!

Now I won’t get into too much detail about what went down in the club but I will however share a few stories on here. This was also historic because it was the first time we got to try what American alcohol taste like. While ordering my Jack Daniels & coke I got a chance to talk to Xavier Woods at the bar briefly about the British wrestling scene, and told him about the blast we had at the Revolution Pro event not too long ago. Rihan talked to him about his PhD, and he also informed us that they couldn’t take any pictures inside the club. Must have had something to do with company image I’m assuming? I met a bunch of New Yorkers who had managed to get a picture with the USOs earlier that evening. Rihan seemed to be enjoying the club’s concept as they had someone up on stage that would sing along to the songs (not entirely sure what he meant by that to be honest) but that’s what he liked about it. He also took his chances at approaching NXT Diva, Emma. He attempted to spark up a conversation about the Ashes with her since he figured she was Australian. As it turned out she doesn’t watch cricket! I don’t know why but I’m LOLing right now, haha. I’m pretty sure I asked her to face me in a dance off or something similar at which point I mimicked her silly dance gimmick, but I ended up having one with Xavier Woods instead – Which is still pretty damn cool!

It was somewhat a surreal experience being around all these guys, within arm’s reach, partying it up just like everyone else! I must say that they seemed like a very down to Earth group of guys and girls. We also met superfan Frank the Clown, who was with his girlfriend (who someone later told me was Mick Foley’s daughter) and they both seem like lovely people. The longest conversation I probably had that night with any WWE employee was the (then) General Manager of Monday Night RAW. Brad Maddox was at the secondary bar when I approached him and he said that he couldn’t take pictures – I said I know and I didn’t want one anyway, I’d rather have some advice. I offered to buy him a drink, he ordered a double vodka and Redbull. I told him that I needed his advice on some things, and since this was my first time in the States, what he’d advise me to check out in the city of New Orleans. I remember also mentioning that we had traveled from all the way across the pond in London, and how this was our first night out on the town. I’m guessing it worked as a decent ice breaker since we ended up talking about the various haunted tours in the Big Easy, something Rihan had planned on that itinerary. I told Maddox that I wasn’t too sure about doing a booky voodoo joojoo trip like this right before WrestleMania, and we had a laugh about it and then he reassured me that it was worth checking out. As it turned out they’d gone on one just a day or so before then and he really enjoyed it. He seems like a really cool guy from that conversation that we were having.

The rest of that evening was mainly on Bourbon Street and all in all it was a great night of celebrating the beginning of WrestleMania week, especially when you get to spend it with some of the guys from the WWE locker room. God Bless America. :)
Though the travelling seemed gruelling, frustrating and tiresome at times, once we finally arrived it was all worth it. It was only going to get better from here. We were living the dream as by the day, WrestleMania was getting closer and closer. Oh and I guess technically Rihan’s second botch of the trip also occurred on this night. While Shanks and I carried Pradeep’s carcass back to the hotel at the end of an awesome night, Rihan was making his own way back to the hotel. Only to find out that he ended up at the wrong hotel. Haha. Botch number 2, and we’re just getting started… We’re Here!

Thanks for taking the time to read,
The best is yet to come!
Mau (11/08/14) 05:00

Public Service Announcement

It's been a minute, hasn't it? Well I just want to take another minute to thank anyone who has been reading these blog posts for joining us and vicariously living our experiences, through us on this Road to WrestleMania XXX. It has been a truly unique experience and I can say that I have lived and accomplished more than one of my dreams throughout this whole journey. What you may be wondering however, is why this minute has been so long. I'm about to explain that to you.

After returning from New Orleans, it took about 2 weeks to recover from everything we'd been through. We did 3 weeks of activity in just around about 1, as you'll soon find out. I wasn't kidding on the Facebook Page when I said I wouldn't know where to start, because at the time I just needed to catch my breath - as I would need it. Believe me it's gonna take a lot of breath (or maybe typing in this case) and energy to tell you everything. There are so many stories to tell. Memories that will span my lifetime.

On top of that I had some major technology downtime as I began to live like a caveman, in the sense  that my technology was failing me. Due to an incident with my laptop, which dropped with my charger still in it, I was unable to use it – and it’s still pretty dead sitting in the corner of my room. The laptop. The laptop which had all my tools, images and information on it. Mainly my tools which allow me to do what I do. That’s a pretty sucky feeling, and to add to that I had about 3 weeks with my phone in and out of repair from certain ‘internal software deterioration’ issues. You know how hard it is to meet up with people without a mobile phone? If you tell someone you’ll see them next Wednesday at 3pm, by the train station – you better be there! With no means of communication the only thing you have (as infamously pointed out by Tony Montana) is your balls, and your word.

In the midst of this I was also going through some serious considerations about the job I was in at the time. I’d spent over 5 years working for a bowling alley (with a glass ceiling) as a senior bartender, receptionist, and pretty much anything else they needed done for the same wage as Johnny-whats-his-face and I have some great (and not so great) memories there. At the end of the day I had made my mind up - I wanted to pursue my career, rather than continue working at a job. To be completely honest, after New Orleans I knew I wouldn’t stick around for long. After the wonders and possibilities I had seen, I could no longer remain in a place where dreams go to die.

Having said all that, I think that one of the main reasons for why I didn’t continue writing posts and complete the Road to WrestleMania XXX blog as soon as I could was because I knew that as soon as it was done, it would all be over. Something didn’t feel right about doing it, something in the timing was off for me, so I didn’t. Maybe I wasn’t ready? Maybe I had thought it would sound really rushed? Maybe you wouldn’t understand what I was trying to convey? Maybe I was going through a creative block? I couldn’t get it out for a while, nor find the motivation to force it out. But at the same time, I didn’t want to take so long that the memories would fade away from that HDD in my brain. Don’t worry people, I took notes ;) There’s always a plan B, because it’s Best for Business.

I hope that you as a reader, understand that I am trying to offer you an explanation. If you still don’t get it – that’s fine, but I’m not taking my apology back – because I offer no such thing in the first place. When this all started out, it was supposed to be a journal that I could go back and look at when I’m old and grey and say, “So that’s what I was doing that day!”. That somehow evolved along the way when I received praise on what I was writing, the wrestling fans were actually enjoying it! The pageview feedback was steadily climbing. Now the audience wasn’t just Rihan and I. Why not take everyone on our journey with us?

From meeting the nWo, to being inspired at a Diamond Dallas Page seminar, all the way to Rihan breaking the news of Sting’s first appearance after leaving TNA which spread over the internet overnight like wildfire (YES people. We broke the news here first) – We've had one hell of a ride (including everything in between those events) that if you would have asked me about even a year ago, I would have said you were crazy even to think that we would do such things. Yet here we here. *Blows out lantern*

Now it’s almost time for that journey to culminate. But before we continue, I must express the following things. The opinions and experiences you will encounter from here on out are our own. They may at times follow no particular order. They may at times have nothing to do with Pro Wrestling. I do however have every intention to make them either entertaining or informative, and in the best case scenario – both. Results may vary. You may have been in Nola that week and may choose to add more to what you read here, by all means feel free to leave comments about your own experiences. Especially if they compliment mine :)

Going forward, you can expect pieces of the puzzle to be dropped at 9pm (GMT) every Monday night. Ideally that should be enough time for you to check it out before RAW every week. The best part is, I won’t even be charging £9.99 for it! Completely free of charge. Why? Because it’s best for business. Which I might revise for WrestleMania 32. But we’ll get to that later…

Last of all, before I forget, I really do hope that if you enjoyed reading the posts up until now, and if you chose to continue reading – I really do hope that you enjoy reading what is yet to come, with the final instalments of this blog. Through our experiences, I hope you enjoy the conclusion of The Road to WrestleMania XXX Blog.

Maybe now, the time is finally right to tell the story…

Thanks for taking the time to read,
The Best is yet to come.
Mau (10/08/14) 02:50

Wait I almost forgot... If I'm not mistaken, I promised a little sneak peak of the custom T-shirts we had designed. We went with the Evolution theme, since there were four members of Evolution, and four of us going to New Orleans. A lot of time and effort went into creating these Ts, which is why when they were finally finished and I went to pick them up - I was proud as anything to discover them being displayed in the shop window :) Evolution had just passed you by.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Power Slam: 10 and a Half Years in the Making

AYO! I thought I'd take a minute to just put my thoughts down on paper (or type them up to the blog in this case) because we're only about 7 days out from WrestleMania! On a personal level I'd been on the losing end of a battle with cold and flu symptoms for about 3 weeks, but mere days before we fly out, things are starting to clear up. Thanks to; Tyrozets lozenges, Hall's Soothers, Lockets, Beecham's All-in-One tablets, regular gym sessions, Korean Ginseng, vapo rub and 'Ginger, Lemon & Honey' tea - my immune system is picking up and laying the biological SmackDown on these cold and flu symptoms.

There were points earlier this week when it seemed as though the stress of being prepared was outweighing the excitement of WrestleMania Season, such as creating the T-Shirt designs to use as an example. On it's own it doesn't seem like a big deal, but stitch that in with all the other things we have to prepare/organise for and the fabric of the perfect trip starts to weigh on your mind. Tried to call Rihan a few times this week but it's like trying to get through to him, has been equivalent of trying to get Premium VIP tickets for WrestleMania Axxess. He must be real busy! Sometimes I wonder how he keeps up with things the way he does, and manages to stay on top of everything. Thankfully, the T-shirt designs look amazing in my opinion, and the finished product will be ready for collection tomorrow. I'll probably put a sneak peak picture up on here so keep your eyes peeled!

I finished watching 'The Wrestling Road Diaries' today with Anuj, and it definitely gets the thumbs up! I wanted to make sure that I watch this before flying out because it shows you insight of what it's like, being on the road and living the lifestyle of an independant professional wrestler, vicariously through Colt Cabana, Bryan Danielson and Sal Rinauro. The reason it was important to me was because it would take me on the journey with 'American Dragon' Bryan Danielson on his last tour around before signing up to the WWE. It was almost like watching a movie prequel to his career, where you get to see him wrestle in small venues before getting into the 'E' and also seeing what his perspectives were in terms of wrestling, and John Cena :) From those humble beginnings, through ROH, all the way to taking on Triple H in the biggest venue available - What a journey! And it could culminate 7 days from now...

Prior to watching 'The Wrestling Road Diaries' I'd gone out with my buddy H to do a little last minute shopping and I came across some wrestling magazines in WHSmith. I fiddled through until I found the official WWE '30 Years of WrestleMania' magazine which I picked up because it was a no brainer. Then I was surprised to find a copy PWI. They sell those in the UK? This was news to me. But the one that caught my attention was Power Slam. I'd bought that magazine once somewhere in the past, along with FSM and some others but it had been so long since we actually needed magazines to find out the latest information on Pro Wrestling. For some reason, maybe nostalgia, I decided to purchase the Power Slam magazine too.

Now here's the cool part: After getting home, I decided to look for that old copy of Power Slam magazine. And I found it. It was issue number 110 (£2.60) from September 2003. Exactly 10 years and 6 months ago. That was the only previous edition of Power Slam magazine that I had. 124 issues later, I bought my next installment of the magazine today, and it was issue 234 (£3.25) March 2014 edition. Now, it didn't occur to me until I put them next to each other, beside each other, that even though these editions were over 10 years apart, I was looking at a main event match that's going to be on the card at this year's WrestleMania...

Don't you just love the way the Universe works sometimes? Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan - The winner receives the final spot in the Triple Threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. ANYONE from the 4 could come out of New Orleans as Champion. Who remembers WrestleMania XX, 10 years ago in the main event where two members of DX and Chris Benoit were in a Triple Threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship? Who's to say this year there won't be two members of Evolution and Daniel Bryan in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match? Not at all ruling out the possibility of a all Evolution main event! I've got goosebumps just thinking about it... I also have a strong feeling that Daniel Bryan and Triple H have the potential to steal the show in terms of their match and could provide some great competition for Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker. As always, time will time. And the time is almost upon us. 7 Days.

P.s. If the T-shirt part didn't make sense to you - it was in reference to the commemorative T-shirts we're having made for the trip. As there are 4 of us going, we decided to go with the Evolution themed Ts, as each one of us could represent a member of Evolution. So in closing...

"You see, in life, everything happens for a reason. That's just the natural process of evolution. You see, and if you don't have what it takes, you will be left behind. So if you wake up one day, and you’re lying in a hospital bed, and you’re all beat up and you’re wondering to yourself what in the hell happened, then there is just one answer for you: Evolution has just passed you by." - Triple H

Thanks for taking the time to read,
WrestleMania is right around the corner! /-) #Hope2EntertainU
Mau (31/03/14) 03:50

Thursday, 27 March 2014

WrestleMania CountDown: WrestleMania 29

AYO! What's popping everybody? After 19 weeks of time travelling to past WrestleManias there's only one thing left to say. It's time. The FINAL COUNTDOWN!

We are 9 days away from the 30th anniversary of WrestleMania. 9 Days! We have officially entered single digit days... New Orleans rises upon the horizon. But before that, let's take it back one last time, to almost one year ago...


Date: 7th April, 2013
Venue: MetLife Stadium
City: East Rutherford, New Jersey

For the second year running, Sheamus would be involved in the opening match on the card as he teamed up with Randy Orton and The Big Show to take on The Shield, who were making their WrestleMania debut in a 6-Man Tag Team Match. After Randy Orton took some initiative in the match to tag himself in, The Big Show sat back and watched as Orton would meet his demise and end up losing the match for his team. If anything, this proved that unlike some of the teams that had been put before it, The Shield were one unit. Now one year later, they find themselves at WrestleMania XXX, set to face off against the New Age Outlaws and Corporate Kane. Can The Shield retain their undefeated streak?

Mark Henry and Ryback's feud would culminate in a one on one match at WrestleMania 29 - looking back now it makes you think - Where the heck did it all go down south for Ryback? Well in terms of the match, it went down (no pun intended) when Mark Henry was being set up for a Shell Shock, and ended up literally dropping onto Ryback and crushing him under his weight, allowing Henry to induct Ryback into the Hall of Pain. Why? Because THAT'S WHAT HE DO!

The next match on the card was contested for the WWE Tag Team Championship. One of the longest reigning, and most entertaining duos of the past few years - Daniel Bryan and Kane would successfully defend their championships against Dolph Ziggler & Big E (Langston) (with AJ Lee). Despite this loss, I still remember the following night on RAW, from the Izod Center when Dolph Ziggler cashed in his Money in the Bank contract successfully, and beat a less than 100% Del Rio to become the new World Heavyweight Champion. The roof came unglued in the Izod Center. Here we are, a year down the line and it's Ziggler's former tag partner who holds (Intercontinenal) gold, as well as AJ Lee, who'll be defending her Divas Championship against 13 other women at WrestleMania XXX. Her chances are looking slim... but anything can happen at WrestleMania!

Fandango would gain an upset victory against the veteran Chris Jericho. You know what this means right? Fandango has an undefeated streak at WrestleMania. 1-0. Matched only by Michael Cole at the moment - but that may come to an end this year if he doesn't win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. It's pretty funny to me because I remember asking Fandango earlier along the Road to WrestleMania 30 blog, about how confident he was feeling about defending his undefeated streak... Click here to see what he had to say. The Izod Center the night after WrestleMania 29, and the O2 Arena in London the week after (attended by yours truly, Rihan & Anuj) were in an uproar of "ChaChaLaLa" - The Fandangoing was about to spread worldwide...

Sometimes, I feel like those are some of the best things to come out of a WrestleMania. Not necessarily what happens during Mania, such as what matches have been booked, but what happens as a result of WrestleMania - and the reactions that certain superstars receive. It's a time to let your voices be heard!

Say it loud, say it proud: "WE THE PEOPLE!"
The following match on the card featured one half of the future 'Real Americans' tag team, Jack Swagger, accompanied by Zeb Colter. After winning the Elimination Chamber, Swagger had earned a shot at Alberto Del Rio's World Heavyweight Championship. If you've been reading carefully enough, you would have noticed that the night after this match, Del Rio lost the Championship to Ziggler, which could have happened if he had successfully retained against Jack Swagger! And we're back in the loop...

Always one of the most, if not THE most anticipated match on any WrestleMania card is The Undertaker's. This year he would face The Best in World, CM Punk. Now for everyone that knows about the build-up for this one, let me ask you a question. Do you ever wonder what the angle would have been if Paul Bearer hadn't passed away? It all seemed very sudden, but played out nicely I think as a story to go with, with The Undertaker defeating Punk in the end, in honour of his fallen friend, Paul Bearer. One of my favourite spots from this match was when Punk hits the GTS on Taker, who bounces onto, and then right off the ropes and quickly scoops Punk up to hit him with the Tombstone Piledriver. Great match from both wrestlers, and the streak lives on: 21-0. But the question is now, for how long? At WrestleMania XXX, for the second time in a row, a client of Paul Heyman will take on The Streak. The Beast vs. The Streak. Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker. This is going to be a 'slobberknocker' for sure!

Brock Lesnar could be the man to end it all. But at WrestleMania 29, he fought in a long and grueling battle with Triple H, which could have gone either way it seemed, but it was a thunderous Pedigree to Lesnar onto steel steps that would slay the beast that night. Triple H was victorious over Lesnar. So surely he shouldn't find his opponent this year at WrestleMania a tall order? Or perhaps that's where Triple H slips up, by underestimating Daniel Bryan. Allowing Bryan to land a running knee into the face of the COO and advance to the main event of WrestleMania XXX. Or will the Cerebral Assassin be holding both belts over his fallen former Evolution members? Time will tell... Maybe Batista will win. XD Deal with it!

In the main event of WrestleMania 29, The Rock was set to defend his WWE Championship against the winner of the 2013 Royal Rumble, John Cena. It all led back to this. The re-match that would give John Cena a shot at redemption. I remember not even being so anti-Cena in that year simply because you couldn't help but feel a little bit bad for the guy, and I thought I would never say that! No doubt he is a work horse that had lost to Brock Lesnar, CM Punk and even John Laurinaitis following his inital loss to The Rock at WrestleMania XXVIII. This match itself was nowhere near as good as their first match, and the crowd being fairly quiet during it, didn't really help their affairs. I liked the little spots that referred to their previous match, (such as when Cena went for the People's Elbow again but stopped himself by holding onto the ropes and learning from his mistake the previous year) because it helped tell a story of how well they seem to know each other now, after feuding on and off for about two years. I particularly disliked the unimaginative finish to this match, but when it was all said and done, John Cena defeated The Rock and became the new WWE Champion... Once in a Lifetime, I think not.

John Cena's earns his redemption - The Rock shows his respect
This would also be the last time that we would see The Rock in the WWE to date.

WrestleMania Moment: The Undertaker's entrance

Move of the Night: Undertaker's final Tombstone on CM Punk

Match of the Night: CM Punk vs. The Undertaker

If you watched WrestleMania 29, let us know what you thought and fill us in on your favorite moments! Do you think it was the greatest WrestleMania of all time?

I want to thank you for taking the time to read and I hope you've enjoyed reading the WrestleMania CountDown here with us on The Road to WrestleMania 30 blog as much as I've enjoyed reliving these moments in wrestling history.

Remember you can tweet to us from anywhere! Whether you're in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, India, Germany, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the Maldives, Italy, Belgium, Japan, the Philippines, or your name is Neo and you're in Sri Lanka, send us a shout via our Twitter:

Check out our official Facebook page by clicking right here: The Road to WrestleMania 30 Blog on Facebook! Be sure to hit that 'Like' button so you know all the latest about the blog as it happens, and it's just one more way for everyone to join in on the conversation!

So where do we go from here?

TO WRESTLEMANIA XXX OFCOURSE! We will continue to document our journey, our experiences, our thoughts, emotions, our story and everything in between, so as always...

THANK YOU! For taking the time to read,
WrestleMania XXX is fast approaching! #Hope2EntertainU /-)
Mau (28/03/14) 03:55

Wrestling Toy Story

I think they're trying to say something...

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

WrestleMania CountDown: WrestleMania XXVIII - Once In a Lifetime

AYO! What's popping everybody? We are only 12 days away from WrestleMania XXX, and last night on RAW, 2 more matches were added to the card as well as the latest inductee into the Hall of Fame Class of 2014. The Shield will take on Corporate Kane and the New Age Outlaws in a 6-Man Tag Team match - not the match I was expecting but it should be a war! AJ Lee will defend her Divas Championship against (currently) 14 other women in a Divas Championship Invitational. Before there was DX, before there was The Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin, there was 'the Bad Guy', Razor Ramon. The newest inductee in the WWE Hall of Fame class 2014 is none other than Razor Ramon! It's about time Chico! Speaking of time, let's take it back 2 years and relive WrestleMania XXVIII. The Rock vs. Cena was billed 'Once in a Lifetime.' What we needed to take into account, was the date on which this pay-per-view was held.


Date: 1st April, 2012
Venue: Sun Life Stadium
City: Miami, Florida

For the second time in WrestleMania history, the World Heavyweight Championship was contested for in the opening match. However this match still made history by being the shortest World Heavyweight Championship match in WrestleMania history. Although Daniel Bryan would lose the match, and the World Championship to Sheamus in only 18 seconds, this was the grassroots beginnings for the #YESMovement. This was the point in time where the people really got behind Daniel Bryan, and made their voices heard, especially the next night on RAW.

Here we are, two years later and Daniel Bryan finds himself in a situation at WrestleMania XXX, where if he is able to defeat 'The Game' Triple H, he'll get his chance at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Will Daniel Bryan's career reach it's culmination or will The Cerebral Assassin crush the #YESMovement once and for all?

The "Daniel Bryan!" chants would continue well into the second match on the card as Kane took on Randy Orton. This was the Kane that seemed like a threat, and proved it by chokeslamming Randy Orton off the top turnbuckle and sent him crashing into the mat allowing him to pick up the 1-2-3. I remember watching this match live thinking that as dangerous as Kane had been in recent months, there was no way that he would beat Orton at a WrestleMania stage, but I guess he proved us wrong!

The following match also seemed fairly straight forward to predict because it had the Big Show in it. For those of you that have been watching WrestleMania over the years know that the Big Show doesn't have the best record (and that's an understatement) for WrestleMania victories. So would his victory over Cody Rhodes for the Intercontinental Championship in this match be considered an upset? I'm not sure, because by pure size Cody Rhodes would be considered the underdog. What I do know is that the Big Show is my pick this year to win the André The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, you heard it here first!

The following match was an injustice in my eyes as Beth Phoenix (Divas Champion) was pinned by Maria Menounos in a tag team match between Beth Phoenix/Eve Torres and Kelly Kelly/Maria Menounos. No, okay... just no. Menounos was afriad to climb the top turnbuckle and she somehow managed to beat Beth Phoenix? Bah! Not happy with that at all. However Kelly Kelly did perform a pretty impressive rolling senton off the top rope to a standing Beth Phoenix. Kudos.

The re-match that everyone was waiting for was up next. The match that would be the End of an Era. Triple would grant the Undertaker a rematch, and they would compete inside Hell in a Cell! If that wasn't enough, the special guest referee was going to be Mr. WrestleMania himself, Shawn Michaels! What a brutal match this was indeed, with Triple H getting the early advantage and simply assaulting Undertaker with steel chair shots, one after the other. There came a point in the match where Michaels got close enough to the Deadman to ask if he wanted to end it, but he only got himself caught in the Hells Gate submission. Never in my life have I ever felt that the streak was actually going to be over than when Shawn Michaels would retaliate and hit the Undertaker with Sweet Chin Music, only for Triple H to follow up with a Pedigree. 2 finishers. That was the point that time stood still and I believed that the streak was over. 1.. 2.. AND THE DEADMAN KICKED OUT! BY GOD WHAT A MATCH! Also, having Jim Ross do commentary for this one just added that much more emotion to what we were seeing. As the match went on, it would appear that Triple would be running on empty, as he couldn't seem to finish Taker off. In a final act of defiance, as though his mid wanted to continue fighting but his body had failed him, Triple H would motion the DX crotch chop to The Undertaker, which got him a blow to the head with his own sledgehammer. Followed up with a Tombstone Piledriver, for the 3rd time at WrestleMania, Triple H was set to rest in peace by the Undertaker. The Streak had officially reached the milestone second decade. The Undertaker was 20-0. We had just witnessed the End of an Era!

The End of an Era
Team Johnny (David Otunga, Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Drew McIntyre, Jack Swagger) (with John Laurinaitis, Vickie Guerero and Brie Bella) defeated Team Teddy (Santino Marella, R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder, The Great Khali and Booker T) (with Nikki Bella, Aksana, Eve Torres, Hornswoggle and Theodore Long) to determine who would become General Manager of both RAW and SmackDown.

CM Punk was set to defend the WWE Championship in a singles contest with Chris Jericho. Both men were battling to prove who was 'The Best in the World.' The match stipulation would be changed by John Laurinaitis just as CM Punk was getting ready to come out for this match, and Johnny Ace would state that if CM Punk were to get himself disqualified, then he would lose the WWE Championship. After weeks of Jericho making personal attacks on Punk as well as insulting his family, Punk was finding it hard to keep his cool during the match, and Jericho would continue to shout insults such as, "Your dad's a drunk!" during the match to add fuel to the fire. Not only did Punk manage to keep his cool, he managed to keep the WWE Championship after making Chris Jericho tap out to the Anaconda Vice. Quality performance from both wrestlers.

Once in a Lifetime - After a year long back and forth between John Cena and The Rock, they were both set to FINALLY go one on one in the main event of WrestleMania in Miami, Florida. I absolutely loved the year long build up for this match, it makes you feel invested as a wrestling fan and in my opinion just makes it that much more epic! I remember thinking going into this match, that it was at WrestleMania X8 that Hollywood Hulk Hogan would pass the torch to The Rock, and here we were, 10 years later and The Rock would be passing the torch to John Cena. The opening sequence of this match seemed VERY similar to the opening of The Rock vs. Hogan - with both men looking around and slowly soaking in the moment. Followed by a collar and elbow tie and and a throw, displaying one's power over the other. Having watched the match back again, it was actually a pretty decent main event! John Cena would end up getting cocky right at the end, and would attempt his version of the People's Elbow, only to be caught by The Rock and planted with a Rock Bottom! 1-2-3. This began the tailspin in John Cena's career where his following year was full of defeat. The Rock on the other hand would appear on RAW the next night and proclaim that he would one day return to become WWE Champion.

After the dust had settled, John Cena was defeated in Miami @ WrestleMania XXVIII
WrestleMania Moment: The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and Triple H leaving the ring and embrace after the match

Move of the Night: Kane's Chokeslam on Randy Orton off the top rope

Match of the Night: End of an Era - Hell in a Cell: The Undertaker vs. Triple H (Special Referee: Shawn Michaels)


If you watched WrestleMania XXVIII, let us know what you thought and fill us in on your favorite moments! Do you think it was the greatest WrestleMania of all time? Join the blog next time as we take a look back at WrestleMania 29 from 2013 as a part of the 'WrestleMania CountDown'! It will be THE LAST WRESTLEMANIA COUNTDOWN before the Big One! You can also tweet to us from anywhere! Whether you're in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, India, Germany, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the Maldives, Italy, Belgium, Japan, the Philippines, or your name is Neo and you're in Sri Lanka, send us a shout via our Twitter:

Check out our official Facebook page by clicking right here: The Road to WrestleMania 30 Blog on Facebook! Be sure to hit that 'Like' button so you know all the latest about the blog as it happens, and it's just one more way for everyone to join in on the conversation!
Thanks for taking the time to read,
There's plenty more to come! /-) #Hope2EntertainU
Mau (26/03/14) 19:30