I return today for the second episode of the Wrestling Drive and this time we’re looking at the conclusion of Shinsuke Nakamura vs Finn Balor and what this could be for Finn Balor moving forward. Be sure to be on the lookout for my money guarantee to the spotlight faithful. Then I looks back on last night’s Espys and the job that John Cena did hosting the event. Finally I give my thoughts on the Wrestlemania match that may come out of it involving the Big Show and Shaquille O’Neal.
Check out episode one of the Wrestling Drive as I preview the premiere of tonight’s Cruiserweight Classic. We’ll look at some of the standout contestants and what this may mean for the future of the cruiserweight division in WWE. We’ll also talk about Daniel Bryan’s return to WWE television as an announcer/ host of the Classic. Finally, we’ll turn our attention to tonight’s big episode of NXT and the big number one contender match between Shinsuke Nakamura and Finn Balor. Check it out and be sure to subscribe to us on youtube right here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy_gVqjuaWDp2QW6go6e0Xw
The Sights and Sounds of Wrestlemania!
Nothing like seeing a Wrestlemania Banner at Baggage Claim!
This is the first time over the past three years in which I’ve been flying to Wrestlemania that I was able to get down to Wrestlemania on a Thursday and I can honestly say that this is the day to come down if you’re going to do it. For one, most fans arrive on Thursday and so you really feel like you’re all heading to Wrestling Haven together. Everywhere you look fans are wearing wrestling t shirts and carrying memorabilia for the show. My girlfriend made me a really cool Chad Gable towel that I carried around with me at the airport and was a big hit with the other fans attending the show. Unfortunately, the security checkpoint was horrendous at Laguardia Airport. Seriously people need to learn how to take off their shoes, belts and have their laptops ready for stowing prior to getting up to the checkpoint. I realise that when you travel as much as I do you become Geroge Clooney (In Up in the air) esque in being able to fly through the airport but really some people really slowed us down. We were so delayed that we almost ended up missing our flight altogether and had to jet to our gate once we finally got through. When I finally got there I let out a big sigh of relief and I heard a familiar voice greet me by saying “That’s ok let it out, you made the flight and now it’s officially Wrestlemania, nothing else matters!”. It was WWE hall of famer Howard Finkel who happened to be on our flight (You can go back and read my post about meeting Howard at a Dean Ambrose signing to get an idea how big a fan of his I am).
Nothing Says Wrestlemania more than the sight of the Wrestlemania City Banners!
Once you arrive in the city, it’s all about Wrestlemania! In the past the airports have been decked out in WWE decoration. It literally feels lke if you’ve ever flown into Orlando and taken the Magical Express back to Disneyworld except instead of the world of magic, this is the world of wrestling. I’ll never forget when we landed in New Orleans a couple of years ago and were greeted by a brass band playing John Cena’s theme song. Or last year when we were greeted at the airport by Dean Malenko. This year, we ended up flying into a smaller airport in Dallas so there wasn’t as many Wrestlemania signs at our airport but enough to let you know that you arrived and it was Wrestlemania.
My girlfriend Eri, excited to see the boss get her own Wrestlemania city banner
What we do each year is start our week off at the with a trip to the Wrestlemania store. We did this on Friday morning and it was a lot of fun. If you have time to set aside for the store, I suggest doing it as a separate time then axxess. If you’re like me, you’re pretty tired after Axxess and the store is so big that there is more than enough to do there to spend an hour of time there on it’s own. As we walked up into the Wrestlemania store, every nearby street post had a different superstar banner hanging proudly. Everyone from the Rock to The New Day to Charlotte were represented proudly. By the entrance of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center, there were a number of larger banners with every superstar you can think of taking up their spot on the walls of the building. These are always great for some photo ops and to go and see all of the different decorations. The KBH center was the home for all things WWE this weekend and there were just loads of fans everywhere.
Fans from all over the world take to the WWE Superstore
As we made our way upstairs into the actual store, there was a large WWE painting booth featuring the great work of WWE artist Rob Schamburger. Rob is always on hand at Axxess working hard creating his next masterpiece. Even though he’s hard at work, Rob is always very gracious and down to earth. He’ll always stop to talk to you and is glad to sign any painting that you purchase of his. Rob started out as a fan and has been embraced by WWE for his talent but is still a fan at heart and just an all around great person.
WWE Artist Rob Schamberger paints for the fans outside of the WWE Superstore
The store itself is a sight in an of itself and a reminder to us long time fans of what the old WWF New York Store used to be like back in the day. There are different types of shirts everywhere you look, whether it be related to the members of this year’s hall of fame, the NXT Roster, the premier matches on the wrestlemania card or Wrestlemania event specific shirts they have everything you can think of. The people working the store are also generally pretty cool about letting you pose for photos in the different masks (who woudn’t want to take a photo as Asuka or a couple photo as Gold and Stardust?) or hats. Decked on the walls of the store are different images of the WWE superstars and divas wearing all of the different memorabilia for sale, which always reminds me of the old superstar catalogs in the old WWF magazines. The store also has some rare pieces of merch that you won’t find anywhere else like the new Sting Defining Moments figure that won’t be released for months or the new John Cena coffee table book(my favorite are always the replica Slammy and replica Undertaker’s Urn). Lastly in the center of the store is your high end pieces of merch that can go from anywhere from $90 to $3500. These range from signed figures to plaques featuring event used mats or even a replica winged eagle scale belt. While it’s not realistic to expect everyone to have the dispsobable income to afford such pieces, they are great to look at.
Eri channeling her inner boss
Checking out the NXT section of memorabilia, surprised they didn’t have one of these Chad Gable towels on sale, which my girlfriend was nice enough to surprise me with before going.
When in Texas…
Two great couples, eh? The Authority & Tom/Eri…by the way you all know what a huge fan of Shane McMahon I am but could he look more awkward on the wall of the superstore here?
Eri is a proud resident of Suplex City! By the way, I can’t believe Brock agreed to pose in his T shirt for the store. Pretty cool!
The Black and White Wyatt masks are two of the more popular items available for sale at the Superstore!
It doesn’t get much cooler than these high end plaques which will run you $1500! That said, such a badass replica belt and Wrestlemania 12 Tribute!
If you noticed that we look a little different, good job this was taken last year but nothing beats a Dust couple photo and the Rhodes masks join the Wyatts and Kalisto as the most popular this year.
At some point I will justify dropping the $40 for one of these urns and yes this photo is here because my girlfriend can do picture perfect Undertaker Eyes and I think that’s pretty cool!
One frustrating piece was that the wristbands for the free superstar signings were given out randomly 2-3 hours prior to the signing but there was no way of knowing that ahead of time. Thus we showed up at 11:30 hoping for a chance to see Sheamus or Kane (one of my girlfriend’s favorites) and were told we needed a wristband to wait on their line and the bands were all given out before 10AM. That said, it was still cool to see both Sheamus and Kane on hand in the store, who were in years past VIP only signings at Axxess.
“The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus awaits the fans at the Wrestlemania Superstore
That’s going to do it for me for right now but I want to take a minute to thank WWE and the folks running the superstore for letting us run around the store like kids and try on a number of the pieces for sale. Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at WWE NXT Takeover, one of the best events of the entire weekend.
Hello everyone and happy Monday! Ok ok we all know that today is much more of a slow and plodding Monday following an extended weekend but alas we’re all here so let’s make the most of it and get into some updates for the day.
Thanksgiving: I really hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. My family and I went down to the Milleridge Inn in long island, New York. The Milleridge Inn is always a great time as there’s something about taking the classic photos outside of the inn and checking out the stores that remind me so much of Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season. I also went down to the Macy’s Day Parade for the first time ever on Thanksgiving. The folks down at the parade were more than accommodating in letting us know the best areas to view the parade and tips for getting up close to get the best content possible. I’m working on a video and piece about the parade that should be up tomorrow.
Black Friday: I used to be the guy that used to gather up a group of family and friends and really get into Black Friday. If doors opened at 4 am, my friends and I would meet up and head straight to Best Buy and wait on line to get in there and would often continue shopping until 12 noon or so where we would make our way to the food court at Roosevelt Field Mall, have lunch and then head back home for some much needed shuteye. Black Friday 2009 is probably one of my fondest memories because it was my reintroduction to coffee. My original introduction to coffee occured back in 2004 when I was dating a girl who would drink cups and cups of coffee a day and it was strong Serbian coffee, no milk and no sugar. Well from that moment on I convinced myself that I hated coffee and so I drank tons of mountain dew every day in order to get that jolt of energy. It was completely ridiculous and very unhealthy. Well that night in 2009, at the Milleridge Inn my father fixed me up a cup of coffee with milk and sugar and convinced me to try it. I tried it and loved it back! Nowadays Black Friday doesn’t have the same appeal to me. I still went this year and got some good deals but my girlfriend and I didn’t get started until around 1 pm. I think what killed it for me was the idea that Black Friday now starts on Thanksgiving. As much as I love a good deal, I value my time with my loved ones a little more. By starting Black Friday at 4pm Thanskgiving Day, it just kills the holiday for me and isn’t worth it. Today is finally the end of the bargain shopping with Cyber Monday. I will say that hands down the best site I’ve seen today has to be Abercrombie which has a 50% off sitewide sale. While Abercrombie isn’t really my cup of tea, kudos to them for really going above and beyond. Target also deserves a kudos for their 15% sitewide sale although everything I noticed being good seemed to already be sold out and their site traffic is at a premium. Of course, my favorite Cyber Monday site is Amazon who continue to lure me with their lightning deals throughout the week.
Site Updates: I got some great feedback on the first video we launched on the official daily spotlight YouTube channel on Thanksgiving Day. That video, for those who’ve asked was shot during my annual tradition on Thanksgiving Eve in which a few out of town buddies and I gather at Aunt Bellas Restaurant. It’s always a great time and as you can see at the end of the video, everyone really got into it. If you haven’t done so you can check out our first video right here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hp_U76Nifok! The plan with these videos is to roll them out 3 times a week to start on Tuesdays, Thursdays and at some point over the weekend. There will be a definitive focus on Travel type videos that I’ve shot over the last three years. The plan for this week’s videos is to roll out my video on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Tuesday, a video on the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting (which I will be attending live on Wednesday night) on Thursday and then a video on Dubai’s historic Burj Khalifa this weekend.
We’ve also gotten a ton of great feedback on a few posts we did last week on the Lapsed Fan Wrestling Podcast’s new Starrcade journey and on a look at the WWE’s 2002 appearance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s been a lot of fun interacting with a number of wrestling fans and wrestling legends over on twitter @tommyonthespot or @daily_spotlight. I have plenty of fun posts on the way this week including a sports update that I’m finishing up right now looking at one of the crazier weekends in all of sports this past weekend and a movie review on The Night Before, which I thought was fantastic. Until then I appreciate all of your support and hope you all have a kick ass week.
This past Wednesday evening, as I mentioned in the daily spotlight blog that day, I was able to check out Disney On Ice: 100 Years Of Magic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. With the show running the Barclays Center over the weekend and around the US over the next couple of months, I thought it would be fun to give you guys some of the highlights of the show. Without any further ado, let’s get right into it.
1) The Disney Experience In Your Neck of The Woods- I had a chance to chat with one of the ladies on line with her family at the concession stand and she mentioned how her and the family come see Disney On Ice every year. She explained that it’s a bit pricey for the whole family to get down to Florida or California every year and so this is a more affordable way for the family to still get some Disney on their life. I couldn’t agree more! Being as big of a fan of Disney as I am, it really felt that for the two hours that this show was going on that the Barclays Center was transformed into Disney World. There were photo ops, souvenirs, Disney themed desserts and people wearing costumes (Mickey ears and mini princesses were everywhere) filling the lobby of the Barclays Center. On top of that with over 50 classic Disney characters and 14 different stories, you really got a similar Disney experience that you would come to expect at the shows featured in the parks. 2) Fun For The Whole Family- I attended the event with my girlfriend and our 3 year old god daughter and while she enjoyed seeing the princesses and Frozen there was a lot there for my girlfriend and I to enjoy as well. The classic four Disney characters, Donald Duck, Goofy, Minnie and Mickey (where was my boy Pluto by the way?) act as the narrators of the show and continue to appear in between the different stories to talk about Disney history and to introduce the different characters. From there many of the classic Disney stories from The Little Mermaid to Beauty and the Beast to even Pinocchio get their time to have their story told and we had our chance to feel like a kid in the process (there’s even a segment dedicated to “Its A Small World”). The finale featuring the Lion King is a sight to be seen and features all of the characters in a way that only Disney can do right.
3) Frozen Fun- That’s right, for I believe possibly the first time ever Frozen is now a part of the “100 years of Magic” show. Not only is it featured but it has the most time dedicated to it with about 30 minutes including all of the classic characters and songs. It is quite the sight to see 16,000+ people at the Barclays Center singing “Let It Go” in unison. I will say that I think if you want to see Frozen included with all of the classics you should go sooner rather than later because Disney is as smart as they come and, if they haven’t done so already, it’s only a matter of time before Frozen gets its own “Disney On Ice”.
Overall this was a lot of fun and I would definitely recommend it to any fan of Disney. There were definitely a few times where I had to remind myself that the performers were all on skates as they were incredible in how much they could do without a stumble, they were simply flawless. One thing that did surprise me was that there wasn’t a classic character or two available for photos. They did have the classic Disney sets where you can take take a picture with Anna, Cinderella or Mickey & Minnie butt they were all cardboard cutouts. I can tell you that I would have gladly paid for a photo had it been the “real” characters. That’s just a small constructive criticism though because in the end this was definitely worth it and 2 hours flew by and kept our 2 year old goddaughter engaged the whole time. If you’re in the New York City area, Disney On Ice: 100 Years Of Magic runs the Barclays Center through November 16th!
If you have specific questions feel free to leave them in the comment section below or hit me up on twitter @TommyOnTheSpot.