Wrestling #8: A Tale From the Road

For a couple of months some friends and myself had a road trip planned for Glory by Honor 6 events. Load up in a car and head out from the Midwest to Philly, then NYC to catch our favorite promotion Ring of Honor, and then back home. Often what you plan doesn't actually occur. One guy changed his mind because a few other people he knew wanted to go and decided to lead another group. Another guy couldn't make it because of a commitment that had to be done on Saturday morning. That left two of us. It was going to be more expensive, but we decided to do it anyways. Come on, it was Misawa and his first (and possibly last trip) to the US. Then last week, my traveling partner called me and found out he couldn't get off work on Friday. Another monkey wrench thrown in the plan. We decided to skip Philly and target NYC after we get off work. Unfortunately he couldn't leave until 9pm. So we met up along the toll road at about 11:30pm and the trip officially began. I forgot to mention that a couple of days before we leave, we discover the NYC Marathon is over the same weekend and will be invaded by several other visitors from other countries. This will be fun.

My friend says he can drive all night and then I'll take the day shift until we roll into NYC. After we talk and realize it's about 2am, I better get some sleep or as much sleep as you can get in a car going down the interstate. At about 5:15am, my friend cant drive any longer. On about two hours of sleep I take over. Man I am tired. But start loading myself up on caffeine and drive in the early morning twilight through Pennsylvania.

The sun never really comes up this morning as a dark gray overcast covers the sky. The time was 8:45am and we're about an hour from being out of the state. I just want to get through to outside the city and let the other person take the wheel. I let out a big yawn and rub my face, taking my eyes off the road for a few short seconds. It's too long as I hear the thumping of the car on median rumble strips. As I regain attention, a guardrail enters my vision as the front corner of the car scrapes up against it. I regain control of the vehicle and pull off the road. I am pissed. My friend abruptly wakes up and tries to figure out what happened. I am pissed. I get out of the car, my friend's car, and check out the damage. The door wont open all the way as the corner panel is pinched against it. Scraps are all down the side from bumper to bumper about 8 inches wide. I am beyond pissed. Looking around, I see no fluids leaking out or flat tires, so we jump into the vehicle and head to the next exit for further examination. Driving a mile down the highway, the vehicle doesn't sway. A good sign, but am fuming at myself as I explain what happened. We get stopped and do a further inspection on the vehicle. It seems drivable and only has damaged to the body. I am beyond angry at myself. My friend is super cool about the whole situation. Obviously, I tell him the repair bill shall be on me. This little accident bothers me the rest of the weekend.

We grab some breakfast and head off to another buddies house in Queens to park the car. We make great time as traffic isn't as bad as what I expected and get their in about an two hours. We meet up with a bunch of other fellas we know and decide it's time to go to the fan gathering. We get what seems like easy directions for the subway. One train to Manhattan, then jump on another to get the gathering. Well, the it's not. The 7 train isn't a big deal. But we find out the C train we need to connect to isn't running that day. We have no clue on which train will get us where we need to be. It's about twenty blocks and we have time, so we foot it.

At the fan gathering I see more familiar faces of the other fans I've gotten to know over the years and our gracious host Greg has once again purchased enough food and drinks for an army. We fill our bellies and hang out for a couple of hours. A group of us try and decide what to since we have a plenty of time before the show. One of the Boston guys leads us on a tour of Central Park, then we walk about thirty blocks to the Manhattan Center. That's a lot of walking! Going through Time's Square at night is amazing to see. This is my second time to New York and the first time I didn't get to see hardly anything as I was in town for work. We eventually get into the venue and it's almost wrestling time.

I love the look of the Manhattan Center. It's much bigger than it comes across on DVD. The audience is hot before the the show even begins. I'm not going to go into the details of the show. But a couple of quick notes. As one of the guys in our group stated, it's like RoH jumped in a capsule and its ECW 97 as it was an unusual show with run ins, dusty finishes, violence, blood, and normal kick ass wrestling. What most impressed me was Misawa. He was on tonight. The 42 year old was doing plancas, diving off the ropes, and brought his usual hard hitting style. At one point in the match, I thought Kenta had won and we just witness history of the GHC Title being changed on US soil, but the crafty Misawa kicked out at about 2 and 3/4's. My one beef with the show was the placement of honoring Joe Huiguchi. The crowd was violently hot after the Briscoes and Age of the Fall match went to a quick double DQ. I thought a riot would break out. To put Joe and Harley Race in the ring after that segment was odd. The crowd was very disrespectful though most of it. However when all is said and done, this may be the best RoH show I have ever seen live. And I've seen many sent 2004.

After the show we decide it's best to get on the road again instead of the after party. We say our goodbyes and hit the subway again. About an hour later, we are on the road. We get out of NYC and I try to sleep as my friend wants to take the night shift. We get into Pennsylvania about an hour later and he cant drive anymore. I take over for about thirty minutes later decide I shouldn't be driving either. It's around 3:30am and we get an overpriced hotel room to get a few hours of real sleep.

I wake up just before 8am. If I go back to sleep it may noon before I wake again. As I see the sun shining and go get some coffee. I wake my buddy up, get some food and lots of caffeine (Java Monster & Rockstar Juice = goodness), and we are on road once again. He sleeps and I drive. I get us into Ohio (about 4.5 hours) and he takes over so I can sleep, but only for a short time. He is totally wiped out and wants to pull over and nap. I am not happy about this, but since I wrecked his car don't complain much. I take back over and with the help of several stations carrying football scores and highlights make it to the place we met about 5pm. I've got over an hour left and he's get about two. We part ways and I hope he can make it home alright. I take one last look at his damages car and realize the irony. It would have been much cheaper to fly from Fort Wayne. I hope the repair bill isn't too bad. With the help of the Colts game on the radio, I make it home and can watch the second half of the game.

All in all, the time in New York was awesome. An outstanding show with good friends is more than you can ask for. I love wrestling, but more and more it's becoming about the comradeships built with others over the years. Now the driving out with two people on hardly any sleep...that need to change for next East Coast trip. I'd love to Final Battle weekend, but now don't know if I can afford it. Guess I'll wait for the repair bill. Man, I am pissed!