Rood, Jay, & I traveled south to Orlando for the 24th annual WrestleMania!
Thursday March 27th
Our adventure begins by flying from Portland to Orlando a day early to beat the rush, and I’m glad we did. We bought packages from WWE that included 3 night hotel accommodations at the Double Tree Hotel, ticket to Hall of Fame, ticket to WrestleMania, exclusive signing, exclusive souvenirs, and a two day pass to Universal Studios which was right across the street. We paid for an extra nights lodging because I figured most would be coming in Friday and the hotel lobby would be mobbed, and it was.
We lucked out as there was three of us we got a room with two beds and a couch, Jay took the couch, so the sleeping arrangements were set. With nothing on the agenda we got settled into the room, had a quick dinner at TGI Friday’s then played some in the arcade. Rood and I called it a night know the long day ahead whereas Jay decided to go to the bar, a pattern that would continue over the weekend. Jay called the room twice from the bar to tell us there were TNA wrestlers in the bar and we needed to come down. As it was past midnight we were all set.
Friday March 28th
Rood and I arose early to get a start on the day. The earliest we would be able to get out travel packages was noon. We hit the Ponderosa for some breakfast buffet at a great price then picked up some groceries for the room at a Publix. When we got back to the room Jay was fast asleep. We tried to wake him so he would come down and join us in line to get the packages but he just wouldn’t budge and instead cocooned himself in the comforter to ignore us. So I cranked the heat in the room to sweat him out. The line had already started and as we would rather wait more before than after we too got in line about 9am. What’s cool about this is that we are all here for the same thing Pro Wrestling so it was easy to talk to people in line and make quick friends
Promptly at noon the opened the doors and ushered us in to start handing out the packages, Jay never came down. It was so exciting to finally have our tickets in hand and we ended up with fantastic seats for both the Hall of Fame and Mania. Along with the tickets we got a generic WWE program, key chain, WrestleMania XXIV beanie buddy, small photo album, and a couple other small odds and ends. Some cool stuff!
We got back up to the room and were shocked to find Jay still cocooned in the blanket, but now it was sweltering in the room and you could see sweat stains coming through the blanket. We cranked the air conditioning peeled back his blankets. The noxious odor of sweat, booze, and pure heat radiated off of him. He was coated with this viscous layer of sweat and his lips were discolored. We tried shaking him a few times to no avail. So I gave him a sternum rub to which he promptly shot up gasping for air looking around with a “what the fuck” look on his face.
It was now about 1pm and we were all hungry, and Jay was severely dehydrated I imagine. We never told him what had happened or how we’d cranked the heat. There is a lot of stuff that Jay probably doesn’t recall as at this time he was still drinking. TNA Wrestling tapes at Universal Studios and as it was WrestleMania weekend they were taping Thursday, Friday, & Saturday to take advantage of all the wrestling fans in town. I really wanted to go to the Impact Zone. We headed over to the park and I agreed to go first standing in line as Impact was first come first serve seating, or so we thought.
Basically they gave out a bunch of VIP passes to the regulars, which I understand, and to those that were there Thursday night but couldn’t get in. Basically after standing in line for over an hour I realized that there were so many people in the VIP section that we would either not make it in, or would have horrid seats, couple that with that fact that they doors didn’t open for another 5 – 6 hours I had no interest in standing in line any longer. The only good thing that came from it was I got a couple cards signed by Don West and Earl Hebner as well as getting my photo taken with Earl.
As I left and went out to search to Rood and Jay, as luck would have it Rood was heading my way with a PowerAde which I really needed as it was oppressively hot for March. We tooled around the park with Jay riding Roller Coasters, taking in the Beetlejuice show, and other attractions. We concluded with dinner at the ESPN Zone before heading back over to the hotel. Once again Rood and I headed to the room while Jay headed to the bar. When he eventually came back into the room he fell on top of me, twice, I assisted him to his couch.
Saturday March 29thAnother early start for today as we wanted to get in line for our Midday Madness special meet and greet with WWE Superstars. Jay opted not to attend this event. After waiting in line for a few hours we were herded into another queue where you ushered into one of two rooms that had WWE Superstars in them. Not to sound ungrateful but the next room was so much better than ours. You went in and sat between Big Show and Mark Henry for a Polaroid photo, while waiting Coach worked the line signing autographs and taking pictures, which was cool. The on the other side of the room you could get autographs from Melina, Ashley, Santino Marella, & Jamie Noble. The other room has Lillian Garcia working the line, Polaroid with Edge & Chavo, and at the table I could only see Beth Phoenix and William Regal, but that was enough for me to feel jipped!
We rounded up Jay and left for the Central Florida Fairgrounds for some UXW Pro Wrestling. I had found this indy show searching the internet and it was perfect because it was a 1pm bell time and it advertised Jake “The Snake” Roberts (fresh out of rehab) Abdullah the Butchers, and plenty of mayhem. Boy did it deliver the mayhem! It was in and open air building right on the Fairgrounds and the weather was just gorgeous for it. I snagged a photo with Jake, Abby, Big Vito, and a couple others. They has two 6 way matches, a triple threat, and the most insane 2 out of 3 falls tag team match I have ever seen.
March 29, 2008
UXW Pro Wrestling
Central Florida Fairgrounds, Orlando, FL
Mike Tobin defeated The Greatness, Naphtali, Wade Koverly, Chris Jones, & Craig Classic
Francisco Ciasto w/ Ron Neimei pinned “Lifeguard” Darren Smythe
Skull Von Crush pinned Vordell Walker to win the vacant United States Championship
Extreme Triple Threat Match: Ray Beez defeated Aaron Epic & Sideshow
Raymond Snow won a 6 way match
Jake “The Snake” Roberts pinned Kenny Kendrick with a DDT
2 out of 3 Falls Match: The Heartbreak Express: Sean & Phil Davis w/ Amy Vitale defeated Jon Davis & Bruce Santee 2 Falls to 1. Fall 1: Double Dog Collar Match, Fall 2: I Quit Match, Fall 3: Last Man Standing. Jon Davis required 16 staples to close a wound on his head.
Lou Cypher pinned Jason Sorrow
Abdullah the Butcher defeated Lou Cypher
The Heartbreak Express and Jon Davis & Bruce Santee battled all over the building, used chairs, barbed wire, thumbtacks, light tubes, blood everywhere. Jon Davis took a hard-way to the back of the head and blood just gushed, I’ve never see so much in a match ever! I read online later that he needed 16 staples to close the wound. Rescue showed up and he was legit taken away during the main event. We definitely got out $20 worth!
That night was the WWE Hall Of Fame Ceremony. We headed back to the hotel and but on our dress clothes for the prestigious event. Here were the inductees:
March 29, 2008
Amway Arena, Orlando, FL
WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
“Nature Boy” Ric Flair by Triple H
Gordon Solie by Jim Ross accepted by The Solie Family
The Brisco Brothers: Jack & Gerry by John Bradshaw Layfield
“High Chief” Peter Maivia by The Rock accepted by Ata Johnson
“Soul Man” Rocky Johnson by The Rock
“The Great” Mae Young by Pat Paterson
Eddie Graham by “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes accepted by Mike Graham
Hosted by Jerry “The King” Lawler
Our seats were fantastic! On the right side of the stage It was cool to see the Rock but he went too long and it cut into Ric Flair’s awesome and impassioned speech. I feel very fortunate to have been there for it. It had been rumored that he would be going in and it is why we came to Orlando this year. They gave us very nice programs that featured a mini bio on all those being inducted.
After the Hall of Fame Rood and I were ready for some food and tonight was the night we planned to hit What-A-Burger because we had never been. Jay asked me to drop him at the hotel, he didn’t want to go and he wanted to hit the bar before it closed. I didn’t want to stop because it would have been very inconvenient because of the location of What-A-Burger in relation to the hotel. To set it up we were on a 4 lane one way highway going west to our left is a 4 lane one way highway going east, the hotel is on our left. To drop Jay off we would have to drive past the hotel, cross over, drive east, drop him off, drive east some more, cross over west again, drive back past the hotel then turn left down a side road that brought us to What-A-Burger get back on the highway east and stop at the hotel. The easiest solution was to have him wait a few and drive with us to grab our food so we didn’t have to drive all kinds of extra and drive back and forth. He started becoming cranky, demanding to be dropped at the hotel, and just generally annoying. So with the hotel in sight to out left I stopped in the middle of the road and told him to get out. If he wanted to go to the hotel so bad now was his chance. Much to our surprised he jumped out of the vehicle hopped the center barrier separating the roads and froggered his way across the 4 lanes of traffic, almost getting struck in the process.
What-A-Burger was fantastic!
Rood and I decided to rib Jay and left bags, shoes, and whatever else we could along the walkway Jay would take from the door to his couch. Sure enough when he came in the room he immediately fell down, and continued to do so, repeatedly and with running commentary the entire way. Rood and I were trying so hard not to laugh, even in the dark I could see the shape of Rood convulsing on his bed as Jay hit the floor again yelling “this is bullshit!” Of course in the morning we were up before Jay and had the room squared away as if the obstacle course didn’t exist.
Sunday March 30, 2009
Finally WrestleMania Sunday was upon us! Such a fantastic day is WrestleMania Sunday!
When Jay was brushing his teeth he kept walking back and forth in the room like he was looking for something, he then told us of how last night when he came into the room he kept falling down. We fought back the laughter.
We stopped at Hooters on the way to the Citrus Bowl and I have my first ever fried pickles, and I fell in love with them that day.
I had pre-paid for parking and studied the map diligently in doing so to find us the best parking area and then were to park for a strategic departure. When it was time to leave after the event we were able to get right out onto the main road, also I had learned the back way in so when we headed back to the hotel we didn’t have to deal with traffic at all. In fact when we crossed over the interstate you could see the traffic backed up for miles!
Outside the Citrus bowl WWE had a fan access of sorts set up. Nothing like they do today, but some minor stuff to entertain people before the Showcase of the Immortals began. Rain threatened and it did mist a bit, but in the end it was just overcast. I bought the official WrestleMania XXIV program that highlighted all the matches on the card. A wonderful souvenir of the day.
Once again we had fantastic seats in the first row off the field dead center with the ring. No complaints at all! It’s pretty warm out, I’m dry mouth but I don’t want to leave my seat and miss anything. It’s time for the ECW Championship Match with Chavo defending against Kane, a guy shows up selling Coke. I HATE Coke, but I’m thirsty and as Kane’s entrance takes a long time I figure I have time to buy the stupid Coke. As I have my head down getting money and talking to the guy I hear the bell ring and the crowd cheer and Rood laugh. I look up and Kane is holding the ECW Championship! The friggin’ match was over! Kane had been hiding under the ring and won the match in seconds! I missed it buying a stupid Coke!!!
The match we came for was the retirement match of Ric Flair. The gimmick was that if Flair lost a match he would be forced to retire and since last November had been on quite the winning streak. Well now he was facing Shawn Michaels and it was obvious that Flair was going to lose. He came out in a glorious new robe reminiscent of his most famous Starrcade 83 robe. The pyro was that of a Fourth of July Celebration. With Mania being outside the pyro all night was something, but this was marvelous. It was one of Flair’s finest matches in years and after 20 minutes it was crystal clear that it was time to go home. Michaels was in the corner, is set up position for the finisher the Superkick, I was watching Flair who was getting off the canvas and as he was doing so he was already crying, which made me cry. The fans were on their feet and Flair gave him the “c’mon you son of a bitch” and then HBK kicked him in the face for the 3 count and that was it. Even though I knew what was going to happen it was very emotional for me. Jay said that he was going to get a drink and be right back.
I’m not sure how much later, it was during the next match when Rood asked where Jay was. I checked my phone and found a text message, “I saw what I came to see, I took a cab back to the hotel.” Really! Come all this way to leave with 4 matches left on the card?
It was a great night of wrestling action and even though Flair didn’t stay retired you can tell he regrets coming back to wrestle in lesser matches on a tour in Australia with Hogan and for TNA, instead of going out at WrestleMania.
It was a Superfantastic Weekend and here are the full results of the card:
March 30, 2008
Citrus Bowl , Orlando, FL
Shown live on WWE.com: Kane won a 24-man battle royal by last eliminating Mark Henry with a boot to the face at 6:23; stipulations stated the winner would earn a ECW World Title shot later in the night;
Belfast Brawl: John Bradshaw Layfield pinned Finlay w/ Hornswoggle at 8:37 with the Clothesline from Hell
Money in the Bank Ladder Match: CM Punk defeated United States Champion: MVP, Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho, WWE Tag Team Champion: John Morrison, Shelton Benjamin, Ken Kennedy, and Carlito at 13:54 after Jericho's legs became stuck in the ladder; late in the match, Matt Hardy came out of the crowd and dropped MVP with a Twist of Fate off the top of the ladder
Batista pinned Umaga at 7:07 in an interpromotional match with a spinebuster and botched Batista Bomb
Kane pinned ECW World Champion: Chavo Guerrero Jr. with the chokeslam to win the title in 11 seconds
Career Threatening Match: Shawn Michaels pinned “Nature Boy” Ric Flair with the superkick at 20:25
Lumberjill Match: Women's Champion: “The Glamazon” Beth Phoenix & Melina w/ Santino Marella defeated Maria & Ashley at 5:58 when Phoenix pinned Maria with a fisherman buster after Maria became distracted by Jerry Lawler punching an interfering Santino on the floor; lumberjills for the bout included Mickie James, Jillian Hall, Layla, Cherry, Victoria, Maryse, Kelly Kelly, Katie Lea, Michelle McCool, and Eve; prior to the bout, Snoop Dogg was the special guest MC for the match
No DQ No Count-out Match: WWE Champion: Randy Orton defeated Triple H and John Cena in a at 14:10 by pinning Cena after Triple H dropped Cena with the Pedigree and Orton kicked Triple H in the head
No Holds Barred Match: WBC Welterweight Champion: Floyd “Money” Mayweather w/ several corner men defeated the Big Show via KO at 11:36 after landing a low blow, three chair shots to the head, and finishing by punching Show in the face with a pair of brass knucks;
The Undertaker defeated World Heavyweight Champion: Edge via submission to win the title at 23:48
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The following photos are from that very bloody UXW Match: Caution they are Graphic!