Sunday, January 5, 2020

Mike's Year in Review

I had composed an awesome year in review post and then a few key strokes from my son, on accident of course, deleted it.  Auto saved did it's job and it was gone.  I considered retyping it all but I became to frustrated with the idea of it so this is the abridged version.  

This was best year in attending wrestling events since 2012 as I managed to take in 23 wrestling events this year bringing my all time total to 248 wrestling events.  Not even close though to my buddy Mikey who has taken in over 50 wrestling events a year for the last half decade at least.

For those wondering:

First event: June 4, 1989 WWF at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine

50th event: February 22, 2002 Eastern Wrestling Alliance in Auburn, Maine

100th event: March 29, 2008 the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony in Orlando, Florida

150th event: March 25, 2012 Big Time Wrestling Augusta, Maine at the Civic Center

200th event: March 19, 2016 Limitless Wrestling in Orono, Maine

At the time of this writing event 250 looks to be Limitless Wrestling in Yarmouth, Maine on January 24, 2020.

I saw 173 matches in person this year in venues ranging from the Fairfield Community Center to Madison Square Garden in three different states and two countries, yes it was Canada but it is another country.  I attended events that were promoted in the United States by companies based outside the U.S. Two New Japan Pro Wrestling events one in New York City and the second in Lowell, Mass, Revolution Pro based out of the UK in New York City, and the Lucha Libre AAA Press Conference held at Madison Square Garden.

The press conference did not feature and wrestling matches but I still count it as a wrestling event because it was an official AAA event where owner Dorian Roldan appeared as well as several AAA talents including Blue Demon Jr, Lucha Brothers, Konnan, and many more.  Footage of Jay, Mikey, & I was used in AAA promotional videos for a few months after that.

My daily consumption of wrestling is greater than it ever has been in the past, of course we have more opportunity to watch wrestling than ever before.  Not just locally but from around the world thanks to the Internet and streaming services.  I watched New Japan on NJPW World, AAA on Twitch, WWE & NXT on the Network, and at the end of the year NWA Powerrr on YouTube and AWE on the TNT app.  Not to mention all the promotions and matches I watched on YouTube and IWTV.

It was an awesome year for professional wrestling all around.

British Tag Team Champions: Suzuki-Gun: Minoru Suzuki & British Heavyweight Champion: Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi and Will Ospreay when Sabre pinned Ospreay at the RevPro UK show on April 5th during WrestleCon was one my favorite matches of the year.  It's the first one to jump to my mind when I think about the topic.  We sat front row, we played air guitar with Tanahashi during his entrance as he stood directly in front of us.  We got to witness close up, Minoru Suzuki physically wreck Will Ospreay not to mention watch ZSJ tie him up like a pretzel.  It was AMAZING!

Before the show we got the opportunity to meet Tomohiro Ishii, Minoru Suzuki, Shibata, and Tanahashi.  Jay, Mikey, & I all get out photos with them and autographs, I got cards signed.  Because of Wrestlecon I got the opportunity to meet and get my photo taken with so many wrestlers like Bob Backlund, Atsushi Onita, WIll Ospreay, Jushin Liger in full gear, and so many more people.

However the one I was most excited about was Faby Apache.  With New Japan touring the US more I thought I'd have more opportunities to meet New Japan wrestlers, but Faby Apache is not in the states often, especially not in my area so this was truly once in a lifetime for me.  I wrote her a nice letter that I had translated into Spanish because I do not speak it.  I also gave her a gift of Japanese wrestling cards of her.  She was very touched by my letter and gift and gave me a hug and kiss on the cheek.  It was awesome!

She was there both days so I found pharmacy with a photo center and had the picture of us printed and got her to sign that the next day. 

I witnessed a lot of other great moments in wrestling this year; attending a sold out Madison Square Garden to witness the first non-McMahon family promoted event since 1960.  It was headlined by Okada reclaiming the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.  

I got to watch Limitless Wrestling grow with near 900 fans attending their anniversary show at the Expo where Anthony Greene defeated MJF to capture the Limitless Wrestling World Championship.  In November at Twilight Zone Limitless streamed live on IWTV and killed it with an awesome card headlined by Ashley Vox & Kris Statlander in a Last Creature Standing Match.  It appears that in 2020 Limitless will be running monthly and I'm excited to be apart of it. 

My favorite show of the year was New Japan Pro Wrestling Fighting Spirit tour in Lowell, Mass.  To me this was a traditional New Japan show, it opened with a young lions match, some great tag team matches, a phenomenal IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship match and finished with a star studded main event.  The crowd was tremendous!  When the Rock n' Roll Express came out it was like we were back in the mid 1980's! 

This three show tour sold out New York and the ECW Arena almost instantly buy Lowell was only a near sell out.  I was concerned that this would prevent New Japan from coming back the next time around however I recently discovered this factoid.  Attendance in Philly 1,030, New York 1,776, and Lowell 2,130!  With the biggest crowd which was loud as hell, tells me New Japan will be back!

I can't even begin to talk about all the great shows and matches that I saw televised this year.  Watching televised live is the best way but I love the availability to watch on demand, it allows me to watch even more wrestling.  

In 2020 my plan is to continue to watch as much wrestling as I can, discover new wrestlers to follow, and stay away from the social media negativity.  

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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