Monday, 9 November 2015

Epilogue: The RAW after Mania [07/04/14]

It was the morning after WrestleMania and we were going to a swamp tour to check out the bayous, swamps and alligators in New Orleans. We were booked with the Jean Lafitte Swamp Tours group, as were so many wrestling fans. In some ways I couldn't think of a better activity than this for the morning after. It was a touristy activity to soak in some of the environment of the Big Easy, and at the same time I could be big lazy too. To be fair, WrestleMania so full of emotions and energy is a pretty exhaustive experience, and I guess what I'm trying to get across is that this activity was perfect for catching our breathe a little. On top of that as I mentioned, most of the people on these swamp boat tours were also wrestling fans.

Shanks was probably more devastated than anyone else about The Undertaker having lost his undefeated streak the night before. Don't get me wrong, we all were, but the wind was really knocked out of his sails. We met a fellow wrestling fan on the swamp tour who had just met Taker the morning before and he told us about his experience. It was unfathomable - if you would have said that 24 hours ago Undertaker was going to lose his undefeated streak at WrestleMania. Nonetheless the Swamp Tour served as a good distraction and there was something peaceful about drifting down the bayous surrounded by alligators on a nice Monday morning. Holding the baby gator was awesome, and the lil guy felt like creased leather almost. I would definitely recommend you check it out if you're ever down there.

After the Swamp Tour Rihan and I decided to check out Mardi Gras World as I was really leaving it down to the wire to pick up a couple of souvenirs for the folks back at home.

Luckily I did find a few things that would do, and we even got to see many of the floats, as this is where they were stored when they weren't on parade during Mardi Gras. That's another time of year that I would love to come back to this city in, I'm assuming that would be another great experience. I'm not sure if I mentioned this before in previous posts but people I had spoken to (and stories I had heard) had said that they would go back to New Orleans, just to eat the food. At the time I heard this I thought that that was pretty ridiculous. However, after eating some New Orleans very own recipe for jambalaya, I'm putting it on the bucket list to go back some day and have some of that! Preferably during Mardi Gras :)

Rihan decided to go for the full tour of Mardi Gras World, where they would dress him up, and doll him up so he could get his picture taken and look like a fairy. I wish I could share that picture, but I can't. Not because I don't want to but because I can't find it! :) If I ever do, I'll post it, don't you worry about that! I opted not to go for the full tour as I wanted to get back and start packing and just be prepared for heading out for our flights the following morning. I can't leave things like that till the very last minute because my brain won't work under that kind of pressure. The way I saw it, just pack most of my stuff back into the suitcase and that way we could enjoy RAW, and maybe some time on the town after that, and be good to go the next day - rather than worrying about trying to do all that with a potential hangover. Not saying that it would have been guaranteed but it's good to plan ahead :)

Monday Night RAW:

The show would open with Daniel Bryan, with one of the most deafeningly loud crowds that's I've ever had the privilege of being a part of - damn we made a lot of noise! I knew it came through on TV as I recall texting back and forth with Anuj who stayed up late to watch RAW from home. He sent me one message about how insanely loud the "You deserve it" chants were, that were directed at the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Bryan. I remember when Bryan said: "You guys never get tired, do ya?" and the arena exploded with "NO!" chants. It was ELECTRIC in that building.

The night had a 'changing of the guard' feel, almost like a new era was beginning with all the promos featuring superstars from NXT (the likes of Rusev, Adam Rose, Bo Dallas and even Paige) who were making their transitions onto the main roster. Not to mention the Undertaker's streak ending an era of destruction as well as other changes - such as Cesaro becoming a Paul Heyman guy.

Speaking of Paul Heyman, it was a given that he would be on RAW to brag about his managing of the Beast, Brock Lesnar and their monumental victory over the Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX.

Rob Van Dam would make his WWE return, which was pretty cool for us since we'd met him at WrestleCon on Saturday and had bumped into him on Bourbon Street earlier too as he walked by.

Going back to the aforementioned NXT superstars, we got to see the dominant debut of the Bulgarian Brute, Rusev - who's theme was overly loud, I distinctly remember his theme. Along with the ravishing Russian, Lana. Rusev would go on to CRUSH Zack Ryder.

One of the many great highlights of that Monday night RAW was when for the first time in many years, The Ultimate Warrior came out to speak to the WWE Universe for the last time.

Having the Ultimate Warrior as part of WrestleMania week and the 30th anniversary celebrations was truly something epic, something special. Something once in a lifetime. I am truly glad that we were able to be a part of it all with him because this would indeed be the last time as we would soon find out.

AJ Lee had successfully defended her Divas Championship the previous night at WrestleMania, but would end up in an impromptu match against Paige on RAW - who beat AJ for the championship! What a shocker that was! Paige - the first woman to hold both the NXT Women's and WWE Divas championships at the same time - adding to the already rich history we were able to witness during this week.

As I alluded to earlier, Cesaro would become a Paul Heyman guy, soon after Hogan presented Cesaro with the trophy. The perfect mouthpiece for a great professional wrestler like Cesaro!

In the main event, Triple H would challenge Daniel Bryan for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship - with the Shield and the rest of the Authority given their marching orders. However, in a dire situation for Daniel Bryan - he was assaulted by Orton and Batista in the ring prior to the match taking place. With the Authority at ringside, Triple H would make his way to the ring and ask referee Mike Chioda if he wanted to keep his job, and if so, to ring the bell! Chioda had no choice. The match was about to get underway.

Enter - The Hounds of Justice! Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins would make their way down to the ring from the crowd and even the odds and clear the ring of the Authority. The Shield officially turned it's back on the Authority!

The RAW after WrestleMania delivered above and beyond expectations, aside from the little fact that Sting was nowhere to be seen. For me being a huge Sting fan, it was a little disappointing, but not enough to take away from what a outstanding RAW we were able to be a part of that night in the New Orleans Arena.

Coming Home:

After RAW we went out to grab our last dinner in New Orleans and got back to the hotel soon after. Rihan stayed out a little longer I believe and lucky for him because he bumped into one third of 3MB: Jinder Mahal. The next morning we were getting set to leave the hotel and head to the airport so we could make our way back home! I'm glad I did my packing a little earlier because then it would allow me to take videos like these:

What an incredible week we had in the lovely city of New Orleans! All the way from arriving on the first night and hitting the same club as all the NXT superstars, to meeting so many superstars, divas and legends at WrestleCon all the way through to witnessing the end of a legendary streak and the culmination of the YES! Movement - I wouldn't trade it for the world. Not to mention the jambalaya which has reached legendary status IMO - I'll be back for you some day :)

As it happened, I would bump into Sean Waltman (X-Pac) at the airport who seemed like he was in a major rush and he was going by when I asked him if he was alright to take a picture, and he waved his hand and called me over so I began walking with him and simultaneously unlocking my phone, getting to the right page, and then opening the camera mode, and then flipping to the front facing camera. All these things seem to take 3 times longer when you're in a rush or the moment is fleeting. Even though X-Pac was in a rush he was super cool and took a picture with me, when he could have easily denied me.

There's a lot of guys who would simply have waved me off, but Pac didn't! Also from what I remember of him in one of the first stops of this blog when we met him in London as part of the nWo tour - was that he was a down to Earth and genuine guy. For him to be the last person I met was sort of like bringing things back to full circle.

We were all set to go now, and as it happened - X-Pac ended up being in the same gate as Rihan, Shanks and myself, and at the same time Pradeep who was taking a different flight was at the same gate as Scott Hall! Full circle or what?

The flights back were fairly uneventful but seemed to go faster than when we were actually on our way out there, as they always do. Tried to get some sleep in but it wasn't really happening, tried to take a selfie on the boys while they were trying, and Shanks woke up:



Tried to put a film on for the rest of the flight, but ended up knocking out here and there. Like I said the flight itself was pretty uneventful and we made it back to our airport safely. After landing at Heathrow, Rihan had checked his phone and was shocked to hear about some news concerning the wrestling industry. I remember telling him I didn't want to know, and that I would check it when I got home because I thought he was referring to spoilers for a show maybe, or some kind of announcement. We said our goodbyes and parted ways after an incredible journey we had all shared together. A lifetime of memories in that week we were sure to never forget!

THANK YOU! For coming along with us for this journey along our Road to WrestleMania XXX and allowing me to share all of our experiences with you, the reader - all the way from buying our tickets to the main event of YestleMania! I truly am grateful if you've stuck with the story all the way through and you're still here reading - you may not know it but it means a great deal to me and I hope that you've been entertained and somewhat educated about the Dos and Donts of WrestleMania week. Like I mentioned before, always be ready because you never know who or what is around that next corner - Get your sleep in! Get your fuel/food in! Do what you have to do to keep your energy levels up - especially if you're planning to do 3 weeks worth of activities in a week like we did - although I may not have blogged about every second of the day, I want you to know that it was pretty non-stop, intense and there were very little breaks to catch your breathe, and I wouldn't have changed a thing! I couldn't have asked for a better way to have my first WrestleMania experience and I was lucky enough to go with some good friends who were, as Triple H may put it, best for business! Shanks was entertaining as hell, full of energy and had that edge of traveler's experience. Rihan was the architect of the group, always planning ahead and making sure we had a game plan for whatever it was we were doing, which always gave us the best shot at getting the best experiences out of events and activities. However, if there is one thing I've learned it's that no matter HOW organised you try and be, there are some things you just can't plan for - and things happen as they will, the same as in life! You have to roll with the punches. So be prepared.

Final Words: Rest in Peace, Warrior:

After I had reached home, I was happy to see the family and vice versa, but as I was putting my bags down my mum asked me something along the lines of: "Oh, by the way did you hear about that dead wrestler?"

"Which dead wrestler?" I ask my mum, not expecting to hear about the passing of the Ultimate Warrior in this way. I couldn't believe my ears. My brother was around and I think he may have confirmed the name to me because I was thinking that my mum might have made a mistake, as parents do when it comes to names and wrestling sometimes. I turned to the internet to find answers - as we do in today's day and age.

I couldn't believe it. It was true. It hit me like a bolt of lightning that this was probably what Rihan was trying to tell me at the airport when we landed. How could this be? We were just there with him in the same building on Monday for RAW. I put the pieces together and figured that he most likely died while we were in flight. We were there when he made his last appearance and final address to the public, to the WWE Universe, to the Ultimate Warrior fans and the Warriors of tomorrow.
"Speak to me, Warriors! As I thought about what I was going to say this evening, it's been hard for me to find the words. [Puts on mask.] Well then, you shut up Warrior, and let me do the talking.
No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own. Every man's heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe a final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others, and makes them bleed deeper, and something larger than life, then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized. By the storytellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make the running the man did live forever.
You, you, you, you, you, you are the legend-makers of Ultimate Warrior. In the back, I see many potential legends, some of them with warrior spirits. And you will do the same for them. You will decide if they lived with the passion and intensity. So much so that you will tell your stories and you will make them legends, as well. I am Ultimate Warrior. You are the Ultimate Warrior fans. And the spirit of Ultimate Warrior will run forever!"

This is my tribute to the Ultimate Warrior,

The Warrior Spirit is something that will indeed run forever :) Thank you Warrior!


The End?

Ok so this is it, the end of the Road. This is where I ride into the sunset. For now at least. As always you can stay tuned to the latest and stay in touch by following our Facebook page or sending us a Tweet. If you really liked us you can follow us on our social media platforms, which would be doing us a solid and it'll keep you informed too! Let us know what you thought :)

Thanks again to Rihan, Shanks and Pradeep for going on this journey with me. I want to say thank you once again for reading and sticking with the story till the end to all the blog readers and I know it took a long time to get it all out but it's done now! I hope I was able to provide you all with at least a little bit of entertainment and education from what we've now been through - and I'm glad my mission of writing this blog is complete. I hope to look back on the blog again one day many years down the line, because that's what my original goal was - to look back one day and say to myself:

"So THAT's what I was up to that day!"

Thank You for making it to the end!
I hope you enjoyed reading,
As much as I did telling the story :)
Mau (10/11/15) 03:16

1 comment:

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