Sunday, August 11, 2019

Buying Wrestling Tickets

I love professional wrestling and I want to see it succeed, the only downfall to that is it makes it so much harder to buy wrestling tickets during those times when wrestling is popular.  We are in one of those times.  Except this boon is like no other boon that we have had before.

With my WrestleMania XXIV, Hall of Fame, and Midday Madness tickets, 2008
Thanks to the Internet and streaming we can consume wrestling from around the world live no matter where we are on many different devises and platforms.  Because of this we have companies from other countries coming and running shows in the United States, something that never would have happened 10 years ago.

New Japan talents has been appearing on joint shows with Ring of Honor for years, however in July 2017 they ran two solos shows in Long Beach, California.  In 2018 they ran six solo shows and now in 2019 almost a dozen.  AAA is running Madison Square Garden this September and in Los Angeles in October, Progress Wrestling from the UK has run tours in 2017 & 2018 and independent companies from around the world pack in the fans during WrestleMania weekend. I myself went to RevPro and NJPW in New York this past April.

All of this makes it very difficult to get the best seats when buying tickets. 

The first time I ever got wrestling tickets was with my Dad when I was nine years old in 1989.  We went to the Ticketron outlet at the back of the Sears and my Dad but us tickets to WWF.  That's how you did it back then at the box officer, by phone, or at an authorized ticket outlet.

My first wrestling ticket stub, this image is two tickets placed together to from one as they tore opposite ends, 1989
My next couple of wrestling shows my friends bought the tickets.  My first experience buy wrestling tickets was driving down to Boston and standing outside overnight for WCW Monday Nitro, you can read all about it here.
My first of many wrestling shows in Boston, WCW Monday Nitro, 1997
It wasn't too long after that when Ticketmaster exploded and online ticket sales became the way to buy tickets for most venues.  This meant to try and get the best tickets standing in line or ordering by phone became a thing of the past as you were competing with everyone that had a computer and the fastest Internet connection. Some venues tried to stagger the on-sale time so the box office could sell tickets for an hour before online sales launched but that didn't last long.  

In fact many venues have multiple pre-sales if you a member of a certain club or credit card.  Also Ticketmaster jacks up the prices of tickets with their platinum seating charging astronomical prices for tickets.  For instance the New Japan show at MSG advertised front row at $290 and yet Ticketmaster made those tickets platinum premium seating charging over $700 each.  I'm not going to even start with secondary ticket sellers.

New Japan at Madison Square Garden, April 6, 2019
The Augusta Civic Center handled their own ticket sales until switching to Ticketmaster in 2004.  Prior to that they had no online ticketing just by phone or at the box office so in April 2003 I stood in line overnight at the Civic Center for tickets for the July 29, 2003 Smackdown Brand house show.  I met my buddy Rood for the first time that night and in the last 16 years we have gone on many wrestling adventures.

I got the last two front row tickets and it was my first time getting front row for WWE.  It was well worth it as at that show Vince McMahon appeared on the Brother Love Show with Zack Gowen and the cared was main evented by Brock Lesnar & Kurt Angle vs. John Cena & Big Show.

Some smaller venues like The Colisee in Lewiston & The Lowell Memorial Auditorium handle their own ticket sales and have online ticketing.  I managed to get front row in Lowell for two ROH PPV's All Star Extravaganza VIII in 2016 & Best in the World in 2017 and front row for War of the Worlds.  Having front row for those PPV's were amazing!  

But no matter if it's Ticketmaster or a smaller venue the same thing always happens to me.  I get all excited because I want to get front row, so I sit down in front of my computer and start hitting the refresh button as the butterflies building in my stomach.  Then when tickets pop up I move as fast as I can and except for a few instances I'm always initially disappointed because I don't get what I want. 

I'll tell my friends and they are always happy and positive about it, but not me, not for a couple hours actually.  I don't know why I put myself through it but I do.  Every time!  For instance when New Japan Pro Wrestling Fighting Spirit went on sale on July 26th at 10am I was up in northern Maine at a campground, we were actually leaving that day.  After getting all pack up I went into the lounge area where I could get on the wi-fi.  The night before I had logged up and checked everything out and it was fine.

Ten am hits and I start to try and buy tickets and it's moving like sludge.  At first I think it's the ticket website because I knew these tickets would be a hot item.  Finally it comes back and it's fifth row in the parquet, not even floor seats.  I search again and it gives me balcony.  So I go to buy the parquet seats and the Internet crashes.  I can't get back on and I have no cell reception for data.  That's it we are not getting tickets.  

We head down the road and notifications on my phone start going crazy so I drive until I see a good place to pull over and I pull up the website and as it's now 25 past ten and I'm know I'm getting nosebleeds, but I want to be there.  So I check the sections because you can pick you seat and there's nothing on the floor.  I then selected four tickets best available and it gave me second row on the floor and I didn't hesitate.  Got super lucky.  New York and Philly sold out in a couple hours, maybe less, and currently there aren't many left for Lowell.

upcoming New Japan in Lowell, 9/27/2019
In the past for indy shows I never bought tickets in advance, just show up at the door and typically you can get front row or general admission isn't bad.  Now with Limitless Wrestling, I get that same pit in the stomach feeling.

For their fourth anniversary show on Sept 6th, VIP and Front sold out in under three minutes and over 250 sold within the first hour.  I was lucky and got a VIP.  Part of me is happy that Limitless is doing so well and packing in the fans, but another part of me wants to not stress about getting tickets.

My least stressful wrestling ticket buying experiences in the last three years are the WWE shows at the Augusta Civic Center because I have no interest in front row, I go to the box office where I can pick out my seats and I buy particular ones in the $25 section and they are a great view.  Also by going to the box office I save all the Ticketmaster fees and just pay the venue's $2 per ticket fee for the twenty five dollar ticket is $27 and not $38 each.

I also want to add that I have an album with every single ticket stub I have ever gotten from any event that I went to that was ticketed, other than the movie theater.  Wrestling, concerts, monster trucks, sporting events and more.  It's really fun to go back and look at them when I add the new ones to it. 

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 The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Until next time!

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