Saturday, March 5, 2016

My tour of Titan Towers

Originally Posted on my Facebook Page

My tour of Titan Tower aka WWE Headquarters

August 30, 2008 at 7:44pm
July 9, 2008 was one of the greatest days of my life. That was the day that I toured Titan Towers, the headquarters of World Wrestling Entertainment.

To fully explain how this came about we need to go back in time to June 6th, the day I wrote WWE Magazine about an error in the current issue. It was just a small paragraph about how a match on the new Steve Austin DVD had never before been released on home video, nor had it ever been seen on TV. The match in question is Steve Austin vs. Yokozuna that took place prior to SummerSlam 1996.

In my letter I corrected them telling them how it was on the "Free For All" the old PPV preview show that featured a match and hype for the upcoming event. It was also released on a Coliseum Home Video called "Free For All." In my letter I noted that I had no proof to back up my claim as that tape, as well as most of my wrestling collection including over 400 VHS tapes, over 150 figures in package, every issue of Raw Magazine from May/June 1996 to September 2007, and irreplaceable personal items all destroyed in a flood on April 29th.

Being a WWE magazine subscriber for over 20 years and a lifelong fan of WWE I had written them about 2 dozen times and never gotten a reply. I was shocked to see a reply in my inbox only 3 minutes after I sent my e-mail. It stated: "In literal terms, you're right. Sorry to hear about the flood. Do you have picks of that disaster?"

Over the next 7 days Magazine Editor Rob Bernstein and myself exchanged e-mails that went a bit like this: I sent him several photo's of the damage, he asked if they print a few with my letter in an issue and said they might be able to replace something in my collection, but no promises. I was stoked at the idea of having my letter and pictures printed in the magazine, and told him so. Then he asked if I would be willing to drive down to Titan Tower for a tour of WWE HQ. It was a no brainer of course I would be willing to go, so after I checked with the wife, I immediately replied that I would be more than willing to drive to Stamford, CT.

As it happened we were going on vacation to Pennsylvania to visit my brother-in-law the first week of July so we worked out that I would stop in on July 9th on the way back home. The only catch would be that I would have to be willing to be photographed for a feature in the magazine and if they gave me anything I couldn't put it in my basement. Deal!

This was all worked out by June 13th, the only downer was that I would have to wait almost a full month for this once in a lifetime opportunity. Honestly I was extremely nervous that from some reason or another they would postpone or cancel my visit all together. I didn't hear back from them until July 3rd telling me where to park and how to enter the building.

Mr. Bernstein called me on July 8th asking me if there was one thing I could have from the WWE Shopzone what would it be. I hesitated for a minute and then said "Shooting for the stars? The WrestleMania 24 winner's plaque, but I'm realistic and I would love the new Ric Flair DVD that came out today." He asked for more info about the plaque, I told him and reiterated that I was realistic and the Ric Flair DVD would be great.

My wife and I travelled to Pennsylvania with our son in our vehicle, and my mother and father-in-law, sister-in-law, her husband and their son in their vehicle. We all left to go home on July 9th, but stayed the night at Foxwoods on the way. So my wife and son road with them straight through to Foxwoods and I drove myself to Stamford.

I left Penns Creek, PA just after 4am for the 234 mile drive to Stamford. That would give me 6 hours to get there, leaving time for breakfast and extra time in case I ran into traffic. Along the way I listened to "Don't eat this book, the Supersizing of America" by Morgan Spurlock, a book on CD I picked up for like $5. It was informative and it got me there. I stopped in Sleepy Hallow, New York at the Horseman for breakfast, excellent.

I got to Titan Tower just before 10am. I had entered through the gates and into the parking garage to level B and entered the guest entrance. The building is completely secure with electronic key card locks on all the doors, and 2 gates to get into the parking garage. You don't get into the building unless they want you to.

After waiting a few moments in the lobby I went to the first flood and was greeted by Mr. Bernstein, my host for the day. He brought me into the Magazine department and introduced me. We went into his office to talk briefly and go over the days events. Jeremy Brown joined us as he would be the one to bring me around Titan Tower and the TV Facility. Mr. Bernstein told me that my story would be in the October issue and it would be a two page feature. I was shocked to say the least.

First and foremost I must say that everyone I met at Titan Tower and the TV Facility was extremely nice to me and made me feel welcome. My main goal on the tour was to stay out of everyone's way and show my respect and appreciation for bringing me in for the tour. At each department I would be introduced and told why I was on the tour. They would invite me into their office or work area, show me in great detail what it is that they do.

Everyone seemed genuinely happy with what they do for work. They had no problem answering any questions that I had, and for certain departments there were a lot of questions. I made sure to thank everyone and tell them that I appreciated their time.

We toured the halls of Titan Tower with a photographer named Sam with us taking pictures, candid's and posed photo's of me through-out the building. Through-out the building they have multiple TV's that are constantly looping that week's shows. I got detailed tours of the almost every department from the Magazine to creative to accounting. Employee's offices and cubicles were decorated with loads of wrestling memorabilia old and new. It was sensory overload trying to take everything in see everything.

The executive floor were Vince's office is, is wicked nice. They have a huge wall of enlarged photo's that are lit from behind of the current champions. It is bad ass. We went to the roof to Titan Terrace where they have tables and chair set up for nice days. We took a couple photos of me with the flag in the background, once the wind picked up.

The halls of Titan Tower have event posters all over them and wrestling memorabilia in glass cases through-out. The coolest being Andre The Giants boots, and Triple H's leather & jean jacket.

We drove a couple miles down the road to the TV Facility. It's in an unmarked building behind a security gate as well. Next door is the daycare center Titan Tots, awesome name. TV was extremely cool! I got to see the video vault! The room is massive in size with more tapes than you could possible imagine. I learned about the HD conversion, the WWE 24/7 editing process, how they catalog the shows into the computer data base.

I got to enter the editing suite where "Mean" Gene Okerlund, Sean Mooney, and other did the Updates and home Video Openings. They were currently editing that week's episode of Smackdown!. They showed me how they edit out a camera shake during Edge's entrance.

At the graphic design department they showed me how they do the bumpers and teasers for the upcoming matches, the graphics for the Pay Per Views and whatnot. It was all quite impressive and they have top of the line cutting edge technology.

We headed back to Titan Tower to conclude the tour. I sat and spoke with Rob Bernstein in his office. He wanted to go over the days events and ask what I liked the most. There was a knock on the door and in walked Shane McMahon. I did a double take and, to be honest, freaked out on the inside. Shane said, "Hey man what's going on?" It took me a moment to realize that he was talking to me. We spoke briefly for a few minutes, he thanked me for being a loyal fan and for supporting WWE through the years. I was able to get a picture with him, which was very cool. He was wicked nice and I was grateful that he took a few minutes of his day to come over and see me.

Finally they brought me into a conference room that was laid out with TONS of stuff. I was blown away by the shear volume of stuff they gave me. The whole magazine staff was in there clapping for me, I almost got emotional.

One of the items they gave me a piece of that is 16 X 16 with the WWE Logo on it. I had the entire Magazine staff sign it for me in a silver sharpie. They help me box up all the swag and load it into my blazer, it filled it.

It was such a surreal day and the 3 ½ hours I was there flew by so fast. Words can't fully describe what the experience meant to me.

Once I got home I was able to sort through everything. I got:

10 T-shirts and a Sweatshirt

18 autographed pictures

20 Classic series Action Figures

66 DVD's 1 of those was the WrestleMania Anthology so I guess 87 DVD's.

Every Issue of Raw Magazine, plus various WWF Magazines dating from 86 – 90's

The entire current run of WWE Magazine

3 Hats & a Rey Mystero Mask

The Logo wall art

WrestleMania pin set from 1 through 20

The WrestleMania XXIV Winner's Plaque

They called me a week later to ask me some questions for the article in the magazine. I thanked them several times again for the spectacular day.

I debated about posting this blog sooner, but decided to wait until the magazine came out. Again anything could change between then and now and I didn't want to talk about it to not have it happen. Yesterday though, I got the October issue in the mail and there it was, my two pages of glory. My buddy Jay bought it today at Hannaford, so it's on newsstands if you're interested.

Again it's the October issue with Batista on the cover. 

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