This year all the big wrestling activities happened in the New York - New Jersey area. A place I've been many times. Honestly, I wasn't too thrilled about going out there when it was announced. Since it's almost becoming a yearly tradition, I made the plans and went. Though wrestling, for the most part, has been put on the back burner. I am to watch as much these days and haven't been to a live event since last year's Mania weekend.
After waiting to buy plane tickets and debating driving out and vowing I would never work all day then drive through the night to get to my destination... I did just that, along once again with my friend Scott. He drove. I rode and caught a good four hours of sleep, which usually doesn't happen. He was an animal powering through the dark with focus and determination.
We hit NYC early. Scott was staying in Queens while I was in Manhattan at a hotel with a bunch of the usual group. After spending a few hours walking around in Queens and grabbing a nice diner breakfast, they were off to a Mets game. I was off to the hotel and navigating the subway system.
I arrived at the hotel a short time later, after a successful navigation, and found friends waiting our rooms. A short time later a few local friends arrived and we decided it was time for lunch. We headed out to La Lucha, a lucha libre themed restaurant. The place had amazing decor with event posters and other memorabilia plastered on the walls. The food was delicious as well and all dishes named after legendary luchadors. It was a fun place.
So it was back to the hotel where people started arriving included the great organizer himself, Greg. After a couple of hours of simply relaxing we had one big, group meal scheduled at Dallas BBQ. I'm not overly found of the food there, but they do serve some big ass drinks.
The final stop on the evening was for beer and off to the Rattle and Hum Bar is where some of us headed. I liked the feel of the place and it had a nice selection. We stayed until the wee hours of the morning conversing over fine ales. A good night.
|Rattle & Hum|
Friday afternoon was going to be spent doing want I wanted to do... eating and drinking. I talked a couple of guys, Jon and Anthony and Mark, to head over to The Ginger Man with me for brews. Or really to watch me drink. This place was amazing. I loved the atmosphere and the beer selection is even better. We spent a good chunk of the afternoon there and I am fine with the decision.
|The Ginger Man|
On the way back to the hotel we spotted an interesting looking food truck called Domo Taco. It was mid afternoon and I needed food. Really I wanted to go to a charcuterie place but didn't have time. But the food truck filled the void in my belly with delightful Asian-Mexican fusion tacos.
A couple of hours later it was time for the Ring of Honor Supercard of Honor show at the Manhattan Center. I haven't been keeping up the product and really wasn't too hyped. A lot had changed in the promotion since I stopped watching on a regular basis four months ago. I nestled into my front row seats beside my pals and prepared to get entertained. It ended up being a good show with a one of the special moments in wrestling as Jay Briscoe became RoH World Champion.
|New RoH World Champion, Jay Briscoe|
Post show it was off to Irish Times, a place we normally gather after the event, with a quick stop for pizza slices first. A couple hours later I was tired and drained and went back for sleep.
Saturday was going to be a challenge. Three wrestling shows in one day. The first was SHIMMER Women Athletes, an all women's promotion from Chicago. I was excited for the show as I always wanted to go to one of their live events. The promotion only runs a handful of shows a year and they seem to conflict with my work. The ladies did not disappoint. We saw the SHIMMER Title change in a brutal cage match.
|Melissa Andeson, SHIMMER Champion|
The second show was CHIKARA Pro, a family oriented lucha style promotion out of East Pennsylvania. It was another promotion that I have wanted to see live for many years. The show was an extremely fun and good time. Plus I got to watch the legendary Jushin Thunder Lyger in a rare US appearance. YES!
|Jushin Thunder Lyger & Mike Quackenbush|
The final show of the day Dragon Gate USA. I was surprising still up for wrestling. This had one of my favorite matches of the weekend, but that was probably due to Mark and Alexi screaming "King of Chop" during the match and the wrestlers playing up to. I faded fast after intermission and despite the quality matches, I really just wanted it to be over.
|"The King of Chop" - EITA & TT Tomahawk|
We took mass transit back into the heart of Manhattan. As we got off the bus from Jersey I saw another beer establishment that I wanted to go to staring me in the face, The Beer Authority. The small group with me decided to come along for drinks. I might be a bad influence on some of these guys and gals. I had a couple of very rare beers and again wasted time with great pals until late into the night.
|The Beer Authority|
In the morning I awoke to terrible news. My grandmother had passed away. Her suffering and battle with dementia was over. I scrambled around to figure out what I needed to do in order to get back home. After several calls I decided to stick with my days agenda and head back directly after Wrestlemania, which cut the trip short. Alone in the room I broke down in tears. Then pulled myself together.
A large group gathered for a lunch at a Chinese restaurant down the street. I wish I could remember the name because it was delicious. We ate and hopped on the bus to the Meadowlands for the the WWE Wrestlemania event. I go Mania for the spectacle and theatrics of the event, not necessarily for the wrestling. Even though my mind was preoccupied my good friends Jon, Mark, and Chris helped me make it through.
I found Scott after the show and we drove for a few hours, being smart and stopping for at least a couple of hours of sleep.
We woke in the morning and hit highway. Eventually I made it home. Now I had to take care of family business.
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