Saturday, 1 March 2014

TNA Wrestling presents 2014 Maximum IMPACT! VI Tour (01/02/14)

AYO! It was time for our annual tradition, the weekend that kicked off 'Wrestling Season' - This year the Royal Rumble would be on the Sunday 26th January, followed by TNA Wrestling bringing us the Maximum Impact Tour VI the following Saturday. Two episodes of TNA Impact were taped when we were in attendance at Wembley Arena, the first airing in the U.S. on Thursday 27th February, and the second airing the following Thursday, 6th March. To avoid spoiling the second taping, I'll avoid going into play-by-play of the event as it happened and stick mainly with our experiences and memorable moments. This can be almost like bonus DVD content in addition to the 2 editions of Impact. You can watch the rest of the shows as intended on TV /-)

If you haven't already figured it out, you may be wondering why this is a Throwback? It's because this edition (27th February) of Impact Wrestling was taped on February 1st, 2014 at Wembley Arena - The night that Kurt Angle was inducted into the TNA Wrestling Hall of Fame. Oh it's Real, It's Damn Real.




The Interaction Before the Impact

So the last time we had fan interaction, we got to meet 'the Immortal' Hulk Hogan in 2012, which will forever go down in history for me as meeting one of the biggest icons in professional wrestling. But enough about the host of WrestleMania XXX... actually before I stop talking about Hogan, I want everyone to know how lucky I feel to have met him then, because I believe WWE Fan Axxess tickets for Hogan went on sale this past Monday at 4pm GMT and not only were they as rare as 'gold dust' as Rihan likes to put it, but they were priced at about $190 to boot. God bless TNA for bringing him to us in the UK at the low price of £35 that year, along with a great bunch of top TNA talent /-)

This time around we were excited to meet above all else, the guy who we believe carried TNA on his shoulders throughout 2013, and probably one of the best heels in the business, and definitely the last of a kind - Do You Know, Who He Is?

We had gotten into the queue for TNA Fan Interaction at about 3:30-3:45 p.m. and were queued at the side entrance of Wembley Arena, with the Hilton Hotel on the opposite side of the road. While shuffling around the numerous programmes from previous years we had in our hands between the four of us, we caught a glimpse of JB walking past on the other side of the street as Rihan continued to pass me sticky notes so that I could label the right pages on my copy of the WWE Encyclopedia. I have to say, the WWE Encyclopedia is a great item to get signatures on, and the debate I had much earlier in this blog was which one item to get, to have signed. The WWE Encyclopedia is the answer. Although it doesn't cover every superstar in the history of Pro Wrestling, it has a enough to get you by, and that's putting it mildly. Good investment for anyone looking to Catch 'em All. I don't know why that sounded like a Pokemon reference. I was talking about signatures, not Pokemon. One of the guys who wasn't in the encyclopedia (as far as I know..) was Chris Sabin, who happened to be casually walking past the queue on the other side of the road, until he got a little pop from everyone to which he waved back politely. By this point we were sure we had sticky notes in all the right pages, and this was coincidentally the same day that the Undertaker's Fan Axxess session tickets would go on sale at 4 p.m. As the time drew near we all pulled out our phones and tried our luck to try and secure Undertaker's VIP Axxess tickets but to no avail! Shanks, who is coming to Nola with us also tried from a undisclosed location but with no luck. I absolutely hate Ticket Master. I'm sure many of you who are reading this and have tried to book events for New Orleans understand exactly how I feel. Nontheless, the queue was moving along and we were making our way slowly but surely into the building...

The setup was fairly different from the last Fan Interaction we'd been to, 2 years prior to this, for one, this was all out in the hall way. As we approached the first table, we started to discuss tactics, on who was taking the pictures and with what camera/phone. You have to work out your camerawork skills if you want the job done the right way! Definitely things to consider if you're going to New Orleans. It may sounds stupid and a little funny at first but camera skills and poise are important! I always have a little trick I like to use to battle the 'mark out' syndrome that so many people suffer from, resulting in botched camera spots. The trick I use is to tell myself that I have all the time in the world, so take your time and do it right. Now that doesn't mean move at a snail's pace, because you don't literally have all the time the world but you can't allow yourself to think that - it just mean's don't rush! However sometimes, you might not have any control over it, because the person taking the picture could be marking out and f it all up for you! It's a serious problem, and we need to develop good camera skills in order to take good pictures and have good pictures of ourselves taken by our friends in a swift and controlled manner. And that's all I have to say about that... Now we were with our first Superstar, the Legendary Earl Hebner...


Rihan meeting and greeting Earl Hebner
Earl Hebner was kind enough to sign the WWE Encyclopedias for us, but sitting next to him was the man that we really came to see, one half of Team 3D, Bully Ray! Now before actually seeing Bully Ray, we were in the queue outside and I remember thinking, "How cool would it be if I got him to take a picture with me in a headlock or something?" But that was before you see him in the flesh and realise how intimidating he really is. I mean for some reason, he looked Pissed with a capital 'P'. I couldn't tell if it was a work or a shoot, but there is no way I was going to try ask him to get me into a headlock in the mood he appeared to be in. He looked like a legit wild zoo animal that they put on display, who wasn't very happy about it! A complete bad ass!

Bully Ray & Rihan

Bully Ray & Mau
Right after having this picture taken, I had just passed my copy of the WWE Encyclopedia to Bully Ray for him to sign on the Dudley Boyz page. He had a nice good long look at it and said that Earl Hebner should have his own damn page in that book.

Taking a good long look
After signing it, he started whispering something to Earl Hebner about something that was in the book, and they talked amongst themselves for a good minute or two, while I was being asked to "move it along" by the security. I wasn't going anywhere with that book!


For a moment I thought I wasn't going to get it back! Oh please, don't do anything stupid with my book Bully Ray! But eventually he returned it and just before I took Anuj's picture with him I started shouting something from a distance at him, along the lines of, "You're the guy! You're the reason, and you should be champ 24/7, 365!" and he really seemed to appreciate that.

Bully Ray & Anuj

Right after that we got to meet the lovely Gail Kim, who was accompanied by her right hand woman, Lei'd Tapa! I sure I saw Rihan blushing around Tapa ;)


Gail Kim & Anuj

Gail Kim & Mau
I had no idea that ODB was on the next table around the corner, so it caught me by surprise and I said, "BAM! I didn't even see you there!" and she replied, "BAM! Well here I am!" and there was a small moment of awkwardness when I realised that I had nothing for her to sign for right now, and she said it's ok, we can just talk for a minute. I think Anuj had then brought over a programme with her on it and we got that signed which was pretty cool.

Mau & ODB

Eric Young & Mau

Rihan & ODB

Eric Young & Anuj

It was awesome meeting both ODB and Eric Young, they were really friendly and we could have a down to Earth conversation with them, I even took the time to show Eric Young my epic beard which saw it's last day the day before this event! He approved - Thumbs up /-)

There were only 2 superstars left to meet, and they were TNA's latest acquisition, and possibly one of the greastest tag teams in the world today. They were the team of Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards - The Wolves!

Eddie Edwards & Mau

Mau & Davey Richards

Eddie Edwards & Anuj

Eddie Edwards & Rihan

Rihan & Davey Richards
I remember saying to both Wolves, "Best of luck with everything in TNA!" and let's hope they get treated as they should!


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TNA Live from Wembley Arena!

I don't want to go into a great deal of detail about what happened on the shows taped in Wembley, because I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who's reading and in addition to that, you can just watch it on TV! I will say that when Kurt Angle was inducted into the Hall of Fame, there wasn't a single person sitting down and there were multiple instances where, "Thank You Angle!" chants broke out over the period of the night.

I'm just going to be straight up and say that the show itself, was fairly confusing to me and everyone else we were with, due to the fact that we were at least a few weeks behind - so story lines were out of the question! After the last Impact that aired on TV, they recorded weeks worth of TV which was un-aired and they didn't do much to bridge the gap and fill us in on what was going on with what we were being presented. In fact it's made more sense now after watching all those weeks of Impact leading up to the show we were at. Like watching a prequel and then all of a sudden everything comes to light...

It can also be noted that Bobby Roode is a legit workhorse. We got to see him compete 3 times that night, and he definietely backed up why he is the IT Factor of professional wrestling!

The most frequent chant of the night had to be, "Creepy Bastard!" for Samuel Shaw.

Second loudest pop was for Eric Young! Second to Kurt Angle during his Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

The Alpha Female, a German talent, made her debut in the ring with TNA and she looks awesome! Really think she has a bright future with TNA but only time will tell, keep your eyes peeled for her.


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TNA Maximum Impact Tour VI The Verdict

Although this may not have been the greatest year for TNA's UK Tour in Wembley in terms of the show (storyline) itself, it was probably the best year in terms of getting to meet the talent, and watch some great quality wrestling. Anuj is lucky enough to say that on the night that Kurt Angle was inducted into the Hall of Fame, he was able to get (probably one of very few, if only) signature from Kurt Angle... 
"Oh look... It's Kurt Angle"
It has to be said that Kurt Angle is a great guy! And I'll tell you why. Rather than Anuj having to go up to Angle, he willingly came over and signed his page in the WWE Encyclopedia for him. That was really nice of him and he seems like a genuine quality human being! He's real. He's damn real!

Ethan Carter was pretty funny also, I popped open the page on the WWE Encyclopedia on "Derrick Bateman" and asked him to sign it and he replied, "I don't know who that is... But I'll sign it" right before he crossed out his former gimmick and wrote EC3 over it. I reckon EC3 is another one of those few guys that has a bright future ahead of him.

ECIII & Mau
Rihan & Gunner
Samoa Joe & Anuj
The Alpha Female & Mau
Anuj, Abyss & Mau
TNA Impact Moment: Meeting Bully Ray

Superstar of the Night: Kurt Angle
 
Well, that's a wrap for the TNA Maximum Impact Tour 2014, and it served as great stop along our journey towards WrestleMania XXX, and there aren't many stops left, as we continue to go down the road...
 
 
STAY TUNED!
Thanks for taking the time to read,
There's plenty more to come! /-) #Hope2EntertainU
Mau (02/03/14) 03:00

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