Monday, March 19, 2018

My Madison Square Garden Adventure

March 16, 2018 was the day my lifelong dream finally came true.  It was the day that Jay and I attended a show at Madison Square Garden, the world's most famous arena!

Back in December 2017, after the last Garden show, I was talking to Jay and we agreed that after 24 years of talking about going we needed to stop talking and take action, so we did.  We picked up tickets that we thought would be decent, front row of the balcony on an aisle near the entrance.  Jay used his points and booked us a hotel nearby and in February I bought us train tickets, $400 spent ensured we wouldn't be backing out.

Thursday March 15th after dropping my daughter at school I headed south to New Bedford, Mass where Jay has called home for eight years. I got there about noon thirty just as Jay was waking up from working the night shift.  After he gathered himself we headed to a place he'd wanted to try but hadn't for some reason The Dog House.

We had actually tried to go a few years back but it had been closed.  In side they have counter service and a few tables.  The place is very clean and the staff was super friendly.  They have a decent sized menu but all I wanted to try was the hot dog and burgers.  The dogs were all beef and served in the side split roll, they were good.  The burgers there are made daily from fresh never frozen meat.  I got cheese, mayo, tomato, pickles, and red relish on mine and it was excellent.

After grabbing some snacks and sodas we headed back to Jay's to watch night six of the New Japan Cup on NJPW World.  Sanada defeated Toru Yano and Zack Sabre Jr defeated Kota Ibushi to advance.

Once Amy got home we went to dinner at DNB Burgers in New Bedford.  They have been talking about this place since they opened how fantastic it is, they even dine there weekly, and I must say it lived up to the hype.  What was funny to me is that they both commented that it wasn't as good as usual, but I enjoyed it.  The hand cut herb fries and onion rings were fantastic.  The meat used in burger was delicious on it's own.  I'll go again.

Friday morning we got up at 5 am to make the drive to Providence to catch out 6:45 am train to Penn Station.  The train ride was uneventful and took about 3.5 hours, we had some good views along the way through Connecticut.

We arrived in New York we were underground and walking out of Penn Station we found ourselves directly across from Madison Square Garden.  There it was essentially the first thing we saw and it was glorious.

We walked to our hotel and checked out bags and then headed out on the city.  First stop was at the Houdini Museum at 213 West 35th  Street on the fourth floor of the building.  The building is not marked at all and there is no sign designating that the museum is there.  I asked the door man and he confirmed it was on the fourth floor.

The place isn't very big, but it is very awesome!  We were given a tour by Nick Padilla who works there and is a magician himself.  He explained in great detail all the items they have on display, the significance and history of each of them as well as showed us a few magic tricks.  The museum itself is free and I think is a hidden gem of New York City.

Next the stopped at Gray's Papaya for a couple hot dogs.  Jay's plan was to each small portions and graze at a lot of places.  We only got hot dogs they use Sabrett frankfurters grilled with toasted buns and when you ask for mustard apparently it's spicy brown, which is cool, they cost only $1.

Jay wanted to go to Ripley's Believe it or Not he'd been to one before, this was my fifth odditorium.  At $30 though it was the most expensive one I had been too.  It was really nice and quite large it just seemed to keep going.

We took in the sights of Time Square; seeing where the ball drops on the New Years, all the big video displays I've seen on the news, TV, movies, and ect.  It was all really cool for like 20 minutes.  Then you notice the odd people in character suits, the pan handlers, hustlers, and vagrants.  It's just one big giant tourist trap.

I don't really have a reason to go back the Times Square unless Kate and I go to a play.  There is still a lot of New York City that I want to explore; Central Park, Rockefeller Center, the Statue of Liberty, and more.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped at Midtown Comics which was just ok for me.  We also passed a street vendor selling records and he had Piledriver: The Wrestling Album II, which was pretty random and cool.  Sadly he wanted $40 and wouldn't budge or else I would have that in my collection.

We checked into the hotel to relax a spell, I took a shower in their amazing large stall shower.  The water pressure was great and they supply Paul Mitchell Tea Tree shampoo and body wash.

We headed over to the Garden and Penn Station to find some dinner.  After much deliberation and searching we located and settled on Shake Shack.  I got a cheeseburger with bacon and shake sauce, it was tremendous!  They press the burgers so they get caramelized and crispy and the cheese is all gooey and melty and the bacon is thick and cooked perfect.  I don't know what the shake sauce is but it's so good.

We entered the The Garden and headed up the eight floors to our seats.  The venue is round so you can walk all away around the concourse, which we did check out the food options and these displays of historic events at The Garden.  Talking to one of the ushers, he was a fellow wrestling fan, he said on the main concourse on the sixth floor they had a WrestleMania one display.

We headed straight down and sure enough found this awesome display featuring posters of the event, a program, "Rowdy" Roddy Pipers boots, Hulk Hogans trunks, and more.  Around the ceiling was a timeline of sorts, not in order, featuring great moments and a couple were wrestling related.

When I was a kid watching WWF or now watching old footage all the big matches took place at Madison Square Garden.  It's always been sold to me as being the world's most famous arena and that anyone who is anyone wants to have their Madison Square Garden moment.

There is always this iconic shot of the showing the a wide shot of the crowd and the very recognizable circular ceiling, it's the first thing I think of when I think of the garden.  From our seats I was able to take a picture of this scene and it's something that I will always cherish.

Let's get to the matches!  We were treated to a pay-per-view caliber line-up but house show caliber matches.  A few unadvertised names appeared, and matches changed, but no huge surprises.

Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Kevin Owens with Sami Zayn by disqualification

This was supposed to be AJ Styles and Nakamura vs Owens and Zayn but after the faces were in the ring the heels jumped them from behind injuring Styles making it a singles match.  Owens was DQ'd when Zayn ran in attacking Nakamura.  Styles came out with a chair making the save on Nakamura from the double beat down.

Cedric Alexander pinned Drew Gulak with lumbar check

This is a candidate for match of the night.  This was also Drew Gulak's Madison Square Garden debut, which was really cool to see someones Garden debut in person.

Asuka submitted Mandy Rose with Paige with the Asuka Lock

Asuka had been advertised and then her name was pulled from the card after she challenged Charlotte Flair on SmackDown.  So it was a surprise when her music kicked on and she got a huge pop from the crowd.  Match was more competitive than I thought it would be, but in the end Asuka tapped her out with the Asuka Lock.

Bray Wyatt pinned Matt Hardy with Sister Abigail

Fantastic entrances by both, match itself was ho-hum.  Possibly because they have been fighting each other for months in standard one on one matches. Hopefully the match at the Hardy Compound will be better.

Four Way Match: Raw Tag Team Champions: The Bar: Cesaro & Sheamus defeated New Day: Kofi Kingston & Big E with Xavier Woods, The Club: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson and Titus World Wide: Titus O'Neil & Apollo with Dana Brooke

Originally a three way match they added The Club, I was really hoping to see The Revival in this match.  Match was decent but there was no way the Bar was going to lose the titles.  If they weren't in a program with Braun I thought maybe I'd finally see my house show title change.  I think Kofi was pinned after a Brogue kick.  Post match The Club called New Day nerds and got beat up for it.

Triple Threat Match: Universal Champion: Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman defeated Braun Strowman and Kane pinning Kane with an F5

Big pop for Strowman, bigger pop for Lesnar.  Not going to lie I got chills when his music hit and he and Paul Heyman walked out.  Since his return in 2012 Lesnar has only wrestled 47 matches, that's only 4.2 matches a year so to actually see one in person is pretty special.  Match lasted longer than I expected, was actually pretty high impact with Lesnar hitting a bunch of suplexes.  Strowman using the stairs on Lesnar and Lesnar taking Strowman out with chair shots to the back before he finished Kane with an F5.

The Bar ran out attacking Braun post match.  They tried to put him through a table but Braun ended up putting Cesaro through it with his powerslam.

Triple Threat Match: Raw Women's Champion: Alexa Bliss with Mickie James defeated Sasha Banks & Bayley

The second contender for match of the night had these three tearing it down like they have in the past.  Bliss got the cheap roll up with a handful of tights to retain.  Post match Nia Jax came out to a big pop.  She confronted Bliss in the ring who tried to blame Mickie for her comments on Raw on Monday.  Jax bear hugged Bliss until Mickie tried to break it up and ate a Samoan Drop for her troubles.

John Cena & Nikki Bella defeated Elias & Sonya Deville after both hit their finishers and a double pin

Elias opened with some singing, it was received well until he insulted the crowd.  Cena and Nikki came out to a big reaction.  This match was completely predictable especially the finish.  There was no doubt that Cena & Bella were going to win.

Finn Balor, Seath Rollins, & Roman Reigns defeated Intercontinental Champion: The Miz and the Miztourage: Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas when Reigns pinned Miz with a spear

This match was better than I thought it would be, once again though the finish was obvious so it took me out of the action.  They should of have Miz get a cheap unexpected pin and then the faces could have hit all their finshers to send the crowd home happy with an unpredictable finish.

Whenever the matches his a lull I would just look up at the ceiling and think I can't believe I'm at Madison Square Garden.  When the show was over they announced that WWE would be returning to The Garden in July with Ronda Rousey and tickets are on sale at the box office now.  I was shocked at the number of people that were lined up to buy tickets after the show and they had 8 - 10 windows open too!

We tried to find a convenience store to buy snacks and drinks but couldn't find out.  We ended up hitting up this late night deli called the 876 Market Deli and I got a sandwich: turkey, provolone cheese, mayo, tomato, pickle, salt & pepper on a bulky roll.  It was fantastic and only $4.75!

Getting back to the room for the night we hooked Jay's laptop to the TV to watch some of night seven of the New Japan Cup tournament.

Saturday morning before heading to Penn Station I grab my wife a couple fresh bagels.  Then Jay wanted to get a breakfast sandwich at Shake Shack because he figured if the burgers were so good so would be their breakfast.  When get there just after 9 am we found out you could get burgers so that's what we did.  I got me a double with cheese, bacon, & shake sauce.  It was flipping amazing!

The train ride back to Providence took 4 hours instead of 3.5 and we made three more stops than we did on the way down.  We spent just 24 hours in the city and I feel we made the most of it.  I got home about 5:30pm even with stopping to grab her a Jimmy Johns in Waltham, Mass.

With that checked off the list I'm not really sure what my new number one is, it's going to take me sometime to figure out.

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast Podcast of 1,000 Holds on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Later Readers!

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