Good morning/afternoon/evening (delete as to what time you’re reading this post) my fellow wrestling aficionados! How you been? Missed me? 🙂
I have to begin today with an apology. I didn’t attend training last week, and hence no training blog, due to technical difficulties. Now I know you’re thinking that it’s all bull and I didn’t go due to embarrassing myself in front of Doug Williams (don’t know what I’m on about? Click here for a quick recap), but I really had every intention of going. I was up and raring to go at 6.30am last Sunday, only to get a text from Dan Conroy (come on, you gotta know who Dan is by now. I don’t have to explain who he is every single entry do I?) saying that his car was leaking power steering fluid and couldn’t drive. And before you ask, I couldn’t drive us as I had promised my car to the wife, and I’m not going back on anything I’ve agreed with her. Sheesh, she’s more scary than Hogan’s sex face! How you doin’?!?!
Anyway…….welcome back to another diary entry, and as you can gather from the title, it’s another special edition post today. It’s all about my trip to The O2 Arena in London, England to see the WWE Live In London event. I didn’t go alone as the title suggests. I also went with my wonderful wife Donna, my awesome son Logan and one of my best mates and fellow SEW academy pupil Dan Conroy. This won’t be your usual run of the mill, tell it how it was article/blog. Nope this will be told from two points of view. Myself and Logan’s.
Now I was a little bit older than what Logan is now (he’ll be five next month, we’re having a small party but you’re all invited) when I found wrestling. obviously as I’ve got older my thoughts, views and opinions have changed about the business, what with the advent of the internet and suchlike. The live event in London would be Logan’s first ever WWE event and I wanted to see what he felt about the whole day, let alone the event. So ladies and gentlemen, prepare to enter the crazy mind of Logan…..
Now I’m not going to bore you with the exact events of the day, like what time we woke up, what we had for breakfast etc etc, I’m going to jump straight into the car journey to London and give you some of the nuggets of information that Logan provided….
So the four of us bundled into Dan’s car, or as Logan called it “Dan’s Wrestlemobile”, about 1.30pm and headed straight to London. Roughly 70 miles away and a 90 minute drive so not too long a drive.
With Ashford (our home town in Kent) far behind us Logan started to deliver his golden nuggets of information. Now longtime readers will remember that Dan has wrestled South East Wrestling’s last two shows, and bearing that in mind Logan said a few weeks ago that Dan will be wrestling Kane in London, he dropped it into the conversation again. Upon being told by us all that Kane is on Smackdown Live and we won’t be seeing him tonight, Logan shook his head in disgust. Seems he has high hopes for Dan’s career!
We spoke about who we were looking forward to seeing at the event. At that time the only matches we knew we The New Day v The Club, Sheamus v Cesaro, Chris Jericho v Roman Reigns and the main event…..Sami Zayn v Seth Rollins v Kevin Owens. Logan was particularly looking forward to seeing Sami Zayn live as he is a massive fan, has been since Sami’s NXT days. He even has the NXT dvd and always skips to Sami’s matches, especially his match against Cesaro. Talk turned to his favourite number one wrestler in the entire universe (see what I did there?)…..Finn Balor.
Now for the past few months I have told Logan that Finn will be there as he’s now on the Raw roster. He has been beside himself waiting to see his idol in person. So it literally broke my heart when I had to tell him a few weeks ago that Finn wouldn’t be there as he’s injured. The look on his face was enough to melt even the coldest of hearts. He looked up at me and said “That’s ok Dad, I’ll dress as Finn and make everyone remember him”.
He asked again if Finn would be there tonight and again I had to tell him no, but I’ll make sure that Finn sees him (silly things parents tell their children). He seemed happy with that and carried on chomping his Maoam stick.
Before we knew it, and down to Dan’s expert driving, we were at the O2 Arena in double quick time. Parking was a dream, seems that the traffic was with us, a good start to the days and nights activities! A quick change of clothes for Logan (he was now in Finn Balor mode as you’ll see later on) and we were ready for an adventure that would hopefully reaffirm Logan’s affinity not just with the WWE but pro wrestling as a whole.
Just in case you don’t know what the arena looked like, below is a great picture I found online. Only difference is that it was daylight and a hell of a lot more people milling around today!
Donna and myself had told Logan that this place was huge. That there were lots of cafes, bars and restaurants inside as well as the arena and he seemed non plussed about it all…..Until he step foot inside and his eyes bulged! I don’t think he quite understood the enormity of the place!
Now I don’t know if it’s the owners of the O2 or WWE themselves, but one of the first things you see as you walk in is the huge merchandise stand. Being an avid collector of wrestling merch (or a sheep if you listen to the wife!) I made a beeline straight to the stand. I could hear Donna asking who the bigger kid was as Logan and myself rushed to the stand to see what they had on offer. And boy it was like an Aladdin’s cave of treasures…. Tee’s from every superstar you could imagine, programs, posters, Money In The Bank cases (I really wanted one but I’m not parting with £60 for a cheap plastic copy, I want a real metal one dammit!) necklaces, bracelets, hats…..The list was endless.
As Logan eyed up the goodies, I frantically went online to check my credit card balance. By the time I had checked it (it was in a good shape thanks for asking) Logan gave me a list as long as your arm on the items he wanted. After some haggling (and threatening of early nights with no story if he doesn’t behave) we walked away from the stand with a programme, Money In The Bank metal lunchbox, an official box of Booty-O’s and a signed Cesaro tee. Money well spent if you ask me and Logan!
Right beside the merch was an area where an official WWE Championship belt was stood on a pedestal. People were taking pictures right next to it, and as I love a good five second pose, I grabbed Logan and got this picture….
As you can see, Logan had now dressed as Finn Balor and apart from the make up and head dress, he looked the part. So much so that the guy running this little area told us to come back at 5pm for a little surprise.
With that out of the way (and one super excited little dude ready for 5pm to come around), it was time to go grab some food, so off the four of us went to find somewhere that could accommodate 2 adults, a child and a man child. Luckily enough we found a TGI Friday’s that could do just that, and off we trundled ready to eat and drink copious amounts of ribs, burgers and Coke Zero.
While we there, we played my most favourite game while at a wrestling event. Spot The Most Obscure Wrestling T-Shirt game! We saw a shit ton, probably the most tee people were wearing, of Roman Reigns tees, so the people that say he sucks and he’s not over, there’s proof right there that Reigns will be staying as he is. He sells merch by the truckload, something Uncle Vince likes in his superstars.
There were Nikki Bella tees galore, Kevin Owens was well represented as was Seth. Bayley fans were in attendance and there was even a guy in one of her tees with a sign saying “Free Hugs For Bayley Fans”. Needless to say I left him alone. Not that I’m not a Bayley fan, I am in fact, it’s just that the guy looked creepy.
But the winner of the day for me was a close run thing. It was between a man wearing the old school nWo Wolfpac red tee with the wolf on the front…
Or a guy walking around in a vintage Rowdy Roddy Piper tee, not the newer ones, but a proper vintage one…..
Needless to say, representing Roddy tipped it over the edge for me and he won. I didn’t tell him that, be a bit weird some random guy saying that you had won a made up tee shirt competition and receive no prize at all. But I did give him a nod of appreciation as he walked past. Now that’s a prize that not even Uncle Vince’s money could buy.
Merch bought, dinner eaten, it was time to go back and see what that mystery was all about. We queued up for about 10 minutes, walked up too many flights of stairs to mention, to be meeted at the top by a guy who literally slapped a wristband on me and sent us on our way. I was going to go back and slap the taste out of his mouth until I heard Logan shout “LOOK AT THIS!”
I hurried along to see what his fuss was about. Turns out we had reached the Sky Backstage area of the arena. Kinda like a special VIP area to wait before we could take our seats. In this place were make up artists, a huge ass bar (now we’re talking!), a special photo area complete with accessories and some wrestler standees (life size cut outs basically). Easily spend enough time here until we could check out our seats. So, with Logan in the lead, we did it all. Here’s Logan and his mum from the photo area…..
As you can see, that awesome of mine was repping South East Wrestling as well as The Boss Sasha Banks, she has such good taste. Logan on the other hand teamed a New Day unicorn with his Finn Balor outfit, quite a good combo! Myself? Well I went more traditional….
Closest I’m going to get to that belt thanks to the “no more merch” rule that came into force once Donna found out how much I spent earlier!
And “The Original” Dan Conroy I hear you ask. Well I think he’s been practising too much for when he holds SEW gold….
With the photos out of the way, and Logan thinking that the unicorn headband was a present, we walked through into the standee part. Quite a selection, including some Smackdown Live stars which I couldn’t quite gather, but still a nice touch. Logan was ok with them, going up to them and getting pics with Paige,Randy Orton and more until he saw the Brock Lesnar one. He then hid behind me (like I could do anything if it was the real Brock!) and demanded we went……which we did!
Just about to walk into the bar area and Logan had his head turned by the make up ladies. Charging completely nothing, we took advantage of this and finished off Logan’s transformation into the Demon King (well apart from the head dress, I’m no good at haberdashery). Unbeknownst to me, Donna seized the chance to have some Charlotte sparkly stars done which looked pretty cool. A mother and son make up session…..could have been very wrong but worked out A ok!
At last! It was bar time!!!……Until I saw the prices and baulked! I quickly hurried the others to a table to sit down as I didn’t want a “HOW MUCH?!?!” echoing around the bar!
Sitting down, I had a few moments to catch up with Logan and ask him what he thought of the day so far, bear in mind that he hasn’t seen any matches yet. He said he was absolutely loving the experience so far. He was enjoying showing everyone that he was the Money In The Bank briefcase (lunchbox) holder, and really liked it that everyone was looking at him as, and these are his words I shit you not, I’m cool! He’s a modest chap, much like his old man!
From my point of view, all the backstage things were a great touch. Stops the children from getting restless and gives the parents a bit of a break from the “when’s it starting” comments. Obviously it’s to condition the kids to WWE, but I’m ok with that. Logan sees more than WWE thanks to my interest. He knows that the ‘E isn’t the be all and end all of professional wrestling, and he’ll be taught that until he sees it on his own accord.
With Logan in his Balor getup, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to maybe take a few more pics and send them to Finn. He’s known for interacting with his fans, especially the younger ones. So after four or five times of myself trying to get the perfect picture, my wife stepped in and got this on her first attempt….
Absolutely perfect. A quick tweet tagging Finn and the WWE and it was 6.15pm already! Time to blow Logan’s mind with the size of the arena…..
Just a quick break in proceedings to shill some social media bits and bobs. I actually have a page on Facebook totally dedicated to this blog. It’s cunningly called “Diary Of A 30 Something Trainee Wrestler”, and you can find it at this link right here. I’d also like to plug mine and South East Wrestling social media too as I have your undivided attention. Click the links, have a gander and if you’re feeling particularly nice, maybe gives us a like and a follow too
South East Wrestling website – http://www.sepw.co.uk
South East Wrestling Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/SouthEastPro
South East Wrestling Twitter – https://twitter.com/SouthEastPro
My Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/30SomethingTrainee
My Twitter – https://twitter.com/ski101
I’ll now hand you back over to your regularly scheduled reading material…..
We had some pretty sweet seats for Logan’s first WWE event. High up enough that we could see the action without standing and close enough to actually see the superstars not look like little ants! Quite impressed with my ticket buying ability
There was still some time before the show kicked off but I didn’t care. I was too busy watching Logan take all this in. His eyes were wider than I’ve ever seen before as he was scanning the arena, paying particular attention to the entrance ramp, waiting to see a glimpse of anyone.
That right there is why I was here. Yes it’s my birthday present from Donna (again, thank you x) but to me this was all about Logan. He was a fan already but seeing him fall in love with how big and spectacular this business can be, that’s what made it for me. People may bash him about when he gets older, the usual it’s fake comments. He knows and understands that already thanks to Dan and myself. I will not let Logan feel ashamed for liking pro wrestling like I did when I was younger…..Rant over 🙂
To keep the fans excitement levels from waning, they would show some guess who pictures on the tron at the entrance ramp. Even I was impressed when Logan got every single one of them right! Donna does say he watches wrestling more than I do, she may have a point! Some promotional hype videos for WrestleMania 33 in Orlando were shown. Logan asked if we were going to that too, and after some pretty quick mental arithmetic, I had to let him down and say not this year, but one day we will go to a whole Mania week. I even had to pinky promise him too. Does anyone know if that’s a legally binding contract?
Then all of a sudden the lights went out and a countdown appeared on the tron. As soon as it hit zero, the ring announcer (sorry I didn’t catch her name. It looked like Jojo but without the mass of hair) and a referee came out to the ring and welcomed us all. And what better way to start the night than by having a WWE Tag Team Championship match! Logan went mental at that news and went totally ballistic when Big E shouted “OHHHHH LONDONNNNN!” from the back. The New Day had arrived and Logan was in a blissful state I think!
I’m not going into details of the matches, like I would normally for a South East Wrestling show, just the winners and losers. I want to convey to you all what WWE does best…..make young kids care about the product. Once they care, then they can push all the merch and suchlike as much as they can. And then it’s down to responsible parents like myself (hey, stop laughing!) to put an end to the constant asking of tee’s, hats, even title belts. Don’t believe me? Ask my wife!
Their opponents are Gallows and Anderson, aka The Club (a god awful name, but that’s a rant for another time). Logan has seen both these guys in NJPW and understands about The Bullet Club and its history. But even I was surprised when I turned to my left to see him and caught him doing this….
Logan throwing up a Too Sweet!!!One proud parent moment for me!
The New Day were as entertaining as always, playing up to the crowd. Logan found it hysterical when Big E decided to twerk against the ring announcer. It’s the little things folks, or in Big E’s case, BIG things! The match was great and you can see that everyone is using tonight to fine tune their matches for the Clash Of Champions PPV at the end of the month. New Day went over The Club with the Big Ending/Splash finish. Logan throughly enjoyed the match and commented on how loudly Xavier Woods played Francesca II.
Bit of an introduction for the next match, as Neville came out to a rousing ovation, with Logan leading the charge showing off his own title to help cheer him along….
Neville was facing a returning Bo Dallas accompanied by Curtis Axel who is one big dude according to my little dude! It was a typical babyface v heel match, with Axel trying to get involved from the outside. Neville gained the win with his Red Arrow finisher, which seeing live and in person is frickin incredible! The tv doesn’t do justice to the height he gets on that move. Outstanding piece of athleticism. Neville was interviewed after the match and all Logan kept saying was that he couldn’t understand him and is he from this country. Looks like the Geordie accent needs fine tuning for members of his own country, let alone the US audience 🙂
The next match was quickly introduced and Braun Strowman came out. Now this man is one huge thick guy! I mean he looked as wide as a small car he was that thick and wide! Logan had decided to switch off at this point as he normally does when a Strowman match comes on Raw. A usual squash match is normally the order of the day there but not tonight, as for the first time that night I marked out a tad as I had never had the pleasure of seeing him live. Goldust came out to a very good reaction from the crowd, and Logan then switched back on and took interest in the forthcoming encounter.
Now I had two things I wanted to do today. One was to get a tweet from Finn Balor and two was to get a chant starting and across the arena. Now when Goldust was in peril, I loudly shouted “Let’s Go Goldie!” chant from my seat and waited for someone else to pick it up…..It fell on deaf bloody ears! I even had a few sniggers from the people behind me and Dan took it upon himself to say that it had fallen flat and what a prat I was. To be fair I couldn’t disagree with him so I chalked that one down to experience and carried on watching the match.
The match ended when Strowman used his reverse chokeslam on Goldust and got the pin. Not hanging around he went to the back as Goldust, still selling his beatdown, received a warm applause as he walked to the back.
Matches were happening thick and fast as Big Show made his way to the ring. Now I wish i got the shot of Logan that I saw. As Show was walking to the ring, Logan looked shocked at him. I asked him what was up and Logan replied “He’s just so big Dad!”. WWE showing young children that giants do indeed exist!
Show’s opponent ended up being both Primo and Epico, The Shining Stars (damn that’s an awful gimmick. Who did they annoy backstage to get this?) A 2-on-1 handicap match took place with Show winning by double chokeslam and double pin. Again Logan was shocked at the size and strength of the man.
One of my personal fave’s was next out as match four of the Best Of Seven series took place. The sirens went off, Cesaro came out and place went crazy! The Cesaro Section signs came out everywhere as he made his way to the ring. Now if WWE officials can’t see that this guy is super over with the crowd, then maybe THEY need to go to SpecSavers (a UK joke there my overseas fans. Google it and you’ll get it). Sheamus then came out and was booed the F out the building, again Logan was leading the charge. Now I’m not sure on this but I’m pretty sure that Logan actually started a “You Look Stupid” chant that was picked up by everyone else and went around the arena. Logan 1 – Dad 0
The match was as physical as always and as I glanced over at Logan, he was wincing. I asked what was up, and he replied “Those chops are loud so they must hurt”. Ahhh to be that young and innocent to the business again 🙂
After a quite long match, Cesaro won with a roll up pin and the place exploded again. Cesaro was now 3-1 down in the series.
Intermission time now, and after checking my phone to see if Finn had seen my tweet (he hadn’t 😦 ) I spoke again to my little dude about what he thought so far. He said that he was tired (it was about 9.15 at this point) but still very excited. He was dying to see Sami Zayn still and also Sasha Banks as Luke (his elder brother) fancies her bad!
After a quick refreshment, intermission was over and the second most important half according to Logan was about to begin.
And what a way to start it! The WWE Womens Champion made her way to the ring, minus her cloak/robe, to a very big reaction. I even heard folk around me saying that Charlotte is even more gorgeous in real life, something I’ve been saying for two years but hey, what do I know 😉
After the crowd had calmed down, we waited, some more patiently than others for her challenger to appear. Now I didn’t get any pictures of Sasha’s entrance, nope I went one further. I took a video. Mainly because I wanted to rub it in Luke’s face (my eldest son) that we saw her live. So if you click this link, it’ll take you to my Facebook page. Scroll down a bit and you’ll see the video. What I wasn’t expecting was the mahoosive scream to my left that nearly put out of action my left ear. Logan went bat shit crazy and let out such a high pitch scream I though it was going to pierce my eardrum!
With the crowd and ourselves now calmed down the match took place. It was a pretty short match but all the usual spots were hit by both women.Luckily there were no injuries either as when these two meet up, it gets so intense that an injury usually occurs.
Charlotte retained via her Natural Selection finisher and left as smug as her father. Logan on the other hand was miffed that he didn’t see his brother’s crush win!
I’ll begin this section by saying I am a huge fan of Chris Jericho, going back to his WCW days. Him and Ralphus were gold back then. Don’t believe me? Check the 1001 holds promo he did. Check the many ringwalks he did with Ralphus. I’ve loved the guy since then. And today I would be seeing him live for the first time since 2002. The amount of times I’ve watched Jericho at home must have rubbed off on Logan as he too screamed the place down with myself! He made his way down to the ring, mic in hand, repeatedly saying “quiet”, and the rest of the promo was just a masterclass in how to get heat. Both myself and everyone around me had a smile on their face, seeing this legend in action right in front of our very eyes.
Then the thunderous boos started. Roman Reigns music kick had kicked in. The amount of venom that guy got from pretty much every other guy in the arena was immense! It was just a wall of booing for about 5 seconds which properly pissed me off. Logan had wanted to cheer him but was worried that A) he’d get drowned out (he did) and B) If others would pick on him for cheering Reigns. Now I know why people boo him, but seriously! The guy is good to great in the ring depending on who he’s facing and his mood. He has the look that Uncle Vince likes in his champions. It’s not his fault that his gimmick plain outright sucks! If you want to boo, boo the goddamn writers, boo creative, boo Vince! They’re the ones that have made Roman Reigns this way. If people are so blind as to boo the character rather than the person that wrote it, then they shouldn’t be fans at all. Because of them, my nearly five-year old son was in two minds as to what to do. If you do boo Reigns because it’s the “in” thing to do, I hope you feel mighty proud of yourself right now. Logan just sat in his seat and didn’t do a single thing for Reigns entrance, even though all he wanted to do was jump up at down and cheer him on. No, he’s not his favourite, but he would still like to have shown his support to him. Instead he was made to feel bad. Rant #2 over….
During the whole match people were still cheering for Jericho, but like the pro that he is, he turned about 75% of the crowd against him by old school heel tactics. Whether he was berating the crowd (or a particular woman who kept saying Roman was sexier than him!), cheap moves like raking the eyes or even a crafty low blow, Jericho had moved most of the crowd to side with Reigns.
Which was a good thing too, as Reigns picked up the victory in my match of the night, via his Spear. And showing what a nice guy he is too, he went all around ringside to high five, sign pictures, or take selfies with each and every fan. Him leaving was longer than both his and Jericho’s entrances put together! My opinion of him hasn’t changed. He’s still good in the ring, a definate future champion and possible face of the company at some point, but being saddled with this gimmick by writers that no nothing about Roman personally? He’s gonna be booed by STUPID IDIOTS for a while yet.
And there we have it, main event time. I had a very tired Logan on my lap at this point. It was 10pm and he had done so well to last this long. If it wasn’t Sami in the main event, he would have crashed a long time before now, but he’s held on for this match. And he wouldn’t be disappointed. There was a bit of a wait between the ring announcer saying this triple threat match was a title match to Sami actually making his entrance, but boy, what a change I saw in Logan when Sami’s music hit!
I kid you not, Logan was half asleep on my lap, all curled up. And then Sami’s music came on and it was like Logan was hit by a bolt of electricity! He jumped off my lap and went crazy right in front of my eyes! Singing along to his music, chanting the Ole Ole Ole Ole song too, it was like a different boy. See folks, that’s the power these superstars have.
Once Sami was in the ring, it was time for another mark out moment for me. Seth Rollins is a man I’ve seen for about seven years now. When he was Tyler Black in ROH, to his name change in NXT, to now, I have been a fan. He excites me (steady!) in the same way CM Punk did all those years ago, before his request for ice cream bars went unheard.
Seth’s first drum beat started and luckily Logan wasn’t on my lap otherwise I would have thrown him off! Myself and Dan jumped off our seats and cheered, applauded and clapped Seth all the way to the ring. The guy is a talent and I can see him carrying the company on his back for the next decade given half a chance.
Kevin Owens, the longest reigning Universal Champion, made his way to the ring next to a very respectable ovation considering he was the heel. Again, I’ve seen Kevin for about eight years through his time in ROH to now. And this guy deserves all the plaudits he’s receiving right now, he’s been phenomenal all his career.
With Logan, Dan and myself now calmed down we were treated to a 12 minute match that consisted of a lot of their signature spots and some amazing high-flying abilities. KO picked up the win and retained his title with the Pop Up PowerBomb on Sami Zayn, sending home my little dude a bit upset that Zayn didn’t win but ok with the result.
And that was that folks, the night was concluded and the only thing left to do was to carry Logan back to the car (no mean feat when he was pretty much comatose all the way back) and get home. It was a fantastic day spent with my awesome wife that bought the tickets, my best dude Dan who hadn’t been to a WWE event in over a decade, and my little dude Logan. Who made me appreciate and see the WWE product from a different perspective. I’m so glad that I was able to take him and give him memories that will last a life time. A truly fantastic day……
Oh one more thing…..that tweet I sent Finn? I got a reply the very next day. Don’t believe me? See for yourself…..
I’m so glad and grateful that he helped me keep my promise to Logan. Not gonna lie, I marked the F out when the notification came through! I was bouncing off the walls and ceiling when Logan asked what was the matter. I showed him and his reply was “Yeah, that’s cool….” I stood in front of him trying to work out how he was so blase about it while I was losing the plot……Kids eh?!?
Anyway, that’s enough from me this week. Normal service will be resumed next week as I will be attending training tomorrow (11/9) with a friend of mine for his first session ever. Will he make it back to another session? Will he even make it into work the next day? Who knows, but you’ll find out for damn sure next week guys and gals!
So until then, look after yourselves…..and each other (gotta love a bit of Jerry Springer!)