Wrestlemania 34 / Wrestlecon Report

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luiginyc84
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Wrestlemania 34 / Wrestlecon Report

Post by luiginyc84 » April 20th, 2018, 2:01 pm

I have been off the board for probably a few years now. Different things going on between moving, work etc. I have still been going to cons and stuff just not active on the board. I have been checking it out from time to time but I figure I would start to become active again and I'll start with my week in New Orleans for Wrestlemania.

My friend and I booked one of the Wrestlemania Travel Packages. The 5 night which was from Friday-Wednesday and included Mania, Raw, Smackdown, nXt, Hall of Fame and 2 Axxess Sessions. We planned on doing some Wrestlecon and other stuff so we flew in Thursday and got a hotel for one night near the airport. Because we came in a day early we chose the Thursday Night Axxess as one of our sessions.

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Axxess started at 6pm. We got there around 20 min after it started and walked right in. It was the usual setup with Autograph Signings, Photo Booths, a mini arena setup with a ring which would have nXt and 205 live action all weekend. Also a play by play booth you could record with a WWE announcer. At one point Tom Phillips was there to record with. You could cut your own backstage promo and also record an entrance on a mini entrance ramp with the theme song and entrance video of your choosing.

My favorite parts were the actual event items from shows. Like last year they had the old RAW letters used as the entrance for Raw, but they also had the old neon lights entrance from the early 90s. That was really cool to see. Plus a Pipers Pit set.

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They also had the usual Hall of Fame Exhibit with ring worn gear and other stuff from this years Hall of Fame Class

Jeff Jarrett
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Dudley Boys
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Mark Henry
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Ivory
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Hillbilly Jim
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They also had a Womens Evolution Exhibit. The cool part of that was the Sensational Sherri Ring Gear and the different Womens Title Belts over the years.

Sensational Sherri Gear
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Mattel also had a booth with their new line of figures out and upcoming figures. One figure that caught my eye was a Daniel Bryan Figure, BUT it was an American Dragon Bryan Danielson figure! It looks awesome.

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As far as meeting superstars i learned from past Axxess unless its someone I really want to meet to stay away from the Autograph Tables as those lines go really slow. They do usually allow photo ops but they are over the table. The best option is the Photo Booths. They usually have 2 and this year was the same. One was in front of the cover of WWE 2K18 and the other was in the Elimination Chamber. Axxess is a 4 hour session and they seemed to have two 2 hour sessions at each booth. I got Tye Dillinger and Mike Kanellis during the first session and then Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan during the second session in the Chamber. The 2K18 booth had Sin Cara(who barely had a line) and then someone else I was not interested in. I forgot who it was.

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I also picked up the Chalk Line Wrestlemania jacket which was a Wrestlemania Superstore Exclusive. I saw them advertise it a month or so ago and I HAD to have it! lol. I bought it Thursday Night which was a good thing because they did not last long!

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After Axxess we checked out Bourbon Street. The first of 2 nights we did. Its cool but at night its wall to wall people. Kind of hard to walk around. At around 1am when the wrestling fans started to leave it was just homeless people who would follow you around asking for money. Kind of a turnoff but nothing major. Was definitely fun, but I would go there with a place to hang out in mind. Its really not meant to walk around alot. Streets are very narrow!

Friday morning we checked out of our hotel and checked into our Wrestlemania hotel which was in the downtown area. A PERFECT location. The Superdome, Smoothie KingCenter(Raw,Smackdown,nxt,HOF) and the convention center for Axxess were either about a 15 min walk or short uber ride away.

Next up was the first trip to Wrestlecon. I had tickets for a Trish/Lita and Kenny Omega Photo Op. The place was PACKED! When I arrived I had to get on a line to redeem my photo op tickets. The line was ridiculously long, but I had to redeem my tickets. It turned out 90% of the line was Shawn Michaels ticket holders and the line was slow moving because they were having problems scanning the barcodes on the tickets. Then I find out there are Ric Flair photo op ticket holders waiting to. He was supposed to start his photo ops at 10am. It was now almost 11am and he was still in the main room signing autographs at his table so that was backing things up. Flair finally walked over to the photo op room and started and then they had everyone with a HBK ticket line up to one side and just took their ticket as they entered the room for the photo. So after they all moved I got up to the table to redeem my tickets within a few minutes.

The whole photo op procedure was not well organized. They only had ONE camera to do ALL the photo ops. They had one lady at the door shouting out down a short hallway into the lobby area who was doing photo ops at the time. I dont think anybody started at the listed time. After seeing this and realizing my Trish/Lita photo was only 30 minutes away. I just stood right by the entrance to the room. Turned out to be a smart idea. Other than Trish/Lita, HBK and Flair everyone else had maybe a handful of tickets sold for Pro Photo Ops. Because of this they were in and out of the room quickly and people who were not in the area missed out. I saw people miss out on Steiner Bros, Jerry Lawler and Emma photo ops because of this.

The original schedule was for Lita Photos at 12pm, Trish and Lita at 12:10pm and then Trish Photos at 12:20. Well it was now 12:30 and nothing yet. People were coming for Bret Hart photos which were supposed to be starting soon and also Kenny Omega who I also had. Lita finally comes and they call for her solo ticket holders. Myself and a group of people are waiting for the Lita/Trish photos. All of a sudden the lady comes out and yells "Last call for Trish & Lita!". LOL. What a mess. While in the room waiting to get Trish and Lita, Bret Hart and his handler walk in thinking they will start Photo Ops. They realize the one camera and the line still for Trish and Lita and walk out. Bret looked angry. Same thing happened for Kenny Omega. He walked in and out after noticing the same thing. He seemed cool about it though. I get up to Trish and Lita and they are both really sweet and really pretty and got my photo.

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At this point its a little about 1:15pm. According to their schedule I should be done with my Trish/Lita AND Kenny Omega photo op. People start complaining about the lines. The guy in charge comes over and make an announcement how everything is backed up and they are gonna finish Trish/Lita photos, then do Bret, then do Omega. He said it will be about 45 min until Bret starts and he had a big line so probably another hour until Omega. Im not a huge Omega fan but I figured i would get him now before he becomes more expensive. So i sold my ticket to someone there who was willing to wait. Turns out Omega stayed well passed the time he agreed to take care of everyone which was a cool move. I heard Bret left before getting everyones photo ops done. Cant confirm it, but heard thats how it happened. My friend was able to get Omega and the Young Bucks at their tables in the main room. They both had steady lines. I saw alot of complaints online about how Photo Ops went down that whole day. Im so glad I have pretty much everyone I want to at this point and dont have to do all these cons anymore. I forgot how much of a headache they can be!

Friday Night was the Hall of Fame Ceremony. As always they are fun speeches but the night drags on for what feels like forever! After getting out went back to the hotel to get some sleep as we had the 8am Saturday Axxess as our 2nd Axxess session.

We had seen all the exhibits and stuff on display so we basically went for the appearances in the photo booths and also checked out some of the action in the mini arena in between. My friend wound up getting Gallows & Anderson at their autograph table as he is a big bullet club fan and he waited awhile in the line since it was at an autograph station and not a photo booth.

First up for me was Goldust who was at the WWE2K18 photo booth. I had met him once before back in the 90s but never had a photo op with him and he was in face paint which was cool.

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Baron Corbin was in the Elimination Chamber photo op but I am 50/50 on him so I didnt get on his line. I did notice they were about to change the sign for the Chamber photo op. They did and it was Big Cass who would be replacing Corbin in a few min, so I got on the line as I am/was a big Enzo/Cass fan. Cass was really cool. He saw my Yankee hat and I told him I'm a fellow Queens guy and he responded "Fuck outta here. What part?" We took the pic and as they were handing me my card to get the photo online they said to hold on because it didnt take. So i had an extra minute to chat with Cass and talked about the area. Different spots he used to go to in the area. The photographer said we need to retake the picture and he said "Anything for a fellow Queens guy!" and we retook the photo.

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After Cass my friend was still on the Gallows/Anderson line so I walk around checking out the other tables. The other photo op is Dolph Ziggler who I already have so i passed on him. I then notice one of the autograph tables says "The Armstrong Family". It has Road Dogg, his dad Bullet Bob and his brother and ref Scott Armstrong. Road Dogg was my favorite growing up and I was actually wearing his shirt to this session. The line wasnt big at all so I got on.

When I got up to the table I showed him a picture on my phone from back in 1998 when I met him and Billy Gunn at a USA Commercial taping for the US Open. It was DX and Undertaker and Kane in the commercial. They filmed it at Flushing Meadow Park in Queens, NY and my cousin worked for USA at the time. They invited USA employees and their friends/family to be extras in the commercial so I definitely went. In the downtime during shots the Outlaws did photos and autographs with everyone. They were really cool

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When i showed him the picture he remembered it and even named the location and commercial that was filmed without me mentioning it which was cool. He joked how "that was back when he kind of had biceps". He showed his dad and brother and then we took our picture. I have to do some photoshop though. The lady took 2 pics but none of us are all looking at the camera in one photo. lol

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That night was nXt Takeover which was a PHENOMENAL show from start to finish. The crowd was hyped the whole night to.

The next day was Wrestlemania Sunday, but a few months prior Wrestlecon announced they would be bringing in Stone Cold Steve Austin for an appearance! I was a little worried when they said Sunday morning, but then they announced an Austin 3:16 package which was a VIP Type package which would be from 9-11am Sunday morning. It included 3 autographs and a pro photo op. I jumped at this as it sold out quickly. I didnt want to take a chance on going to the later GA session and running late getting over to the Superdome for Mania. Turns out Austin sold so many tickets some people ran into that problem later and had to get their tickets refunded. One of those people happened to be sitting in front of me for Mania and he was pissed.

I got there for 8am and there were about 15 Austin 3:16 package holders already on the line. They checked everyone in and promptly started the Photo Ops first at 9am. Austin was in a really good mood. Periodically stepping out from the photo booth and joking with the crowd. Walked into the photo booth. He asked where i came from, took the pic and thanked me for coming. After this they directed us over to the line for the autographs. At about 9:45 they started the autograph line for Austin 3:16 package. I brought my Wrestlemania 14 poster which i just needed Austin to complete it. For my other 2 autographs I brought 2 posters from the WWE Ultimate Poster Collection Book. Austin was just as friendly at the autograph table. Commenting on my WM14 poster that he liked it and was surprised I got Tyson AND Taker on it already. He thanked me again for coming out and I was done. I was out of there by 10:05am. I couldnt believe how quick I was in and out. Very well run. Plenty of time to head back to my hotel and meet up with my friend for some breakfast and then head over to the Superdome for Wrestlemania.

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They had a "Wrestlemania Block Party" outside the Superdome which was nothing special. They had a band doing horrible covers of Bon Jovi, Metallica and other rock songs. They also had some food/drink stands but that was about it.

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Wrestlemania itself was fun. I had great seats! The event itelf was good imo except for the last two matches. Strowman/Tag Title match and Lesnar/Reigns. Styles/Nakamura was not as good as expected but still good. The whole stage setup in person was spectacular. Pictures dont do it justice. The Superdome looks great from the outside, however inside it is dated. The concessions area is way too small. People trying to walk had to go through the concession lines. I dont know how they do it for Saints games. Very small areas. Last year in Orlando was much bigger and even Metlife in NJ is bigger.

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VIEW FROM MY SEATS
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My seats were dead center ring on the tv side but just far enough back where I couldnt be seen on TV unless they did a wide shot or a closeup. I did see myself a couple times while watching the replay. Here is one of the clearer shots

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Sunday was a long day from being up early for Austin and then Wrestlemania itself being so long. We just went back to the hotel and crashed. Monday and Tuesday we had Raw and Smackdown. The afternoons were open so we were able to checkout some local food spots and tried out a Swamp Tour. Overall it was a very fun trip. Way better than last year in Orlando. It kind of sucks that next year Wrestlemania will be back here in the NY/NJ area. Its fun to travel for Wrestlemania.
Last edited by luiginyc84 on May 13th, 2018, 10:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
My Photo Ops / Autographs Collection
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Greg2600
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Re: Wrestlemania 34 / Wrestlecon Report

Post by Greg2600 » April 20th, 2018, 2:16 pm

Welcome Back! Love the HOF photos. Would love painted goldust op, and the divas and Austin stuff is no brainer. Armstrong fam nice as well. The steel cage ops are very clever.
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Re: Wrestlemania 34 / Wrestlecon Report

Post by Lasskicker » April 20th, 2018, 4:05 pm

It was such a great week. Can’t wait for next year and I agree....I love traveling for Mania but it’ll be good to save on hotels and airfare

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Re: Wrestlemania 34 / Wrestlecon Report

Post by WOODMO » April 21st, 2018, 7:11 pm

Looks like a helluva time!! Awesome

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Re: Wrestlemania 34 / Wrestlecon Report

Post by ICW » April 22nd, 2018, 1:56 pm

Wow amazing stuff, love that WM 17 autograph
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luiginyc84
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Re: Wrestlemania 34 / Wrestlecon Report

Post by luiginyc84 » April 22nd, 2018, 2:12 pm

An update. Just got my poster back which I had framed. Love the way it came out!

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Re: Wrestlemania 34 / Wrestlecon Report

Post by Greg2600 » April 22nd, 2018, 2:15 pm

Shit that is nice
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Re: Wrestlemania 34 / Wrestlecon Report

Post by class316 » April 22nd, 2018, 3:30 pm

Welcome back Luigi, great report :clap:

Poster looks great. Pity you can't get Bearer on it. What did that frame set you back?

Such nice displays at Axxess. I really hope they have them at NJ next year. Sadly given how lame it was the last time in NJ, I'm not holding my breath.
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Re: Wrestlemania 34 / Wrestlecon Report

Post by WOODMO » April 22nd, 2018, 8:31 pm

That frame job is dynamite.


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