Happy Memorial Day Everyone! Memorial Day for me will not only be highlighted by barbecues and hang outs with family and friends, as tonight I’ll be spending my memorial day at the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum where I’ll be attending Monday Night Raw live. It’s a pretty exciting time as it will be the first ever live event for my girlfriend’s little brother who is only thirteen. I remember taking my girlfriend to her first show in Los Angeles for Summerslam 2013 and I saw her become hooked on it right before my eyes, it was great to see and so I hope the same happens with her brother on tonight. One of the reasons why I’m excited for Raw on Monday is because it’s taking place at one of my favorite venues. No it’s not the most fancy and many of the newer buildings have many more food options, renovations and features but to me the nostalgia of Nassau Coliseum outweighs them all, perhaps with the exception of Madison Square Garden. The truth is that there have been rumors for years about the Coliseum closing down or going through renovations and losing the Islanders probably only spark those rumors. Thus, I will be approrpaching Raw tonight like it may be my last trip to the Coliseum and look to make the most of it. I thought it would be fun in getting prepared for Raw Monday to look at some of my favorite memories associated with Nassau Coliseum.
WWE History- Other than my personal memories of the building, the Nassau coliseum actually played host to one third of Wrestlemania 2, the first portion of the event took place at the Coliseum which was main evented by Mr. T and Roddy Piper in a boxing match. From there the Nassau Coliseum has played host to three other WWE pay per views, Summerslam 2002, The Bash 2008 and Fatal Fourway 2010, and 25 television tapings from 1997-2013. One of the more infamous incidents took place at the Smackdown tapings on October 5, 1999. In a match originally recorded for Smackdown, D-Lo Brown took on Droz. D-lo went for one of his signature moves that he had done many times through the years, the sit down powerbomb. Unfortunately, D-Lo slipped dropping Droz on his neck and leaving him paralyzed upon impact. It was a sad day in WWE history and a reminder of how dangerous this business could be.
My First Show- My first show at the Nassau Coliseum came on July 9, 1994 and I was only seven years old, it was also the first show that I went to with my mom. Prior to this show I had only been to shows at Madison Square Garden and I remember thinking how cool it was that we could just drive to a show without taking the long island railroad. This was a show in which before the show they were looking for a fan to lead Bret Hart down the aisle and we were chosen. Todd Pettingel came into the crowd and found my mom and I wearing Lex Luger and Bret Hart shirts respectively and offered us ringside seats with me leading Bret down the aisle. Unfortunately at 7 years old, i thought the bad guys were really bad guys and so I refused to do it out of fear. It was a big regret for me looking back but I always refused to sit anywhere other than the upper deck section when I was a kid. What I remember most about this show, other than my lapse in judgment was that it was headlined by a 60 minute Iron Man Match between Bret Hart and Owen Hart. What’s funny about that match is that it went to a sudden death overtime with Bret winning about 8 minutes in. This led to me telling my friends at my Wrestlemania 12 party that this was how iron man matches went, they went to a draw and then was settled in an overtime. Of course, that’s exactly what happened when Shawn Michaels won the title defeating Bret Hart.
Summerslam 2002– This was the first pay per view I ever attended live as I did so with my buddy James. This remains my favorite summerslam of all time and when you consider how tacked the show was you’d know why. On this show you had Shawn Michaels’ return to the ring in over four years, you had Brock Lesnar’s first title win over the Rock, you had a great opener between Kurt Angle and Rey Mysterio and you also had Jericho vs. Flair, Eddie Guerrero vs. Edge an Chris Benoit vs. RVD, such a stacked card and a great show live.
High School Graduation– A little break from WWE, it would be ridiculous of me to mention my nostalgia at Nassau Coliseum without mentioning my high school graduation. I graduated Benjamin N Cardozo High School back in 2004 and because there were so many students in the graduating class the ceremony had to be held at Nassau Coliseum. I’ll freely admit that I didn’t care about high school and don’t remember much about graduation other than it was at Nassau Coliseum. I remember standing on the arena floor, the same spot I saw Bret and Owen tear down the house 10 years earlier. I remember seeing myself on the big screen and seeing my family up the rafters cheering me on. It was simply awesome and the highlight of my, way too many students, high school experience.
Pre and Post WWE Shows- Through the years as I got a bit older, my friends and I attended mostly every WWE TV taping or pay per view from about 2004-2009 at Nassau Coliseum. What was pretty cool was that I attended Hofstra University so I would usually walk over to Nassau Coliseum from Hofstra and get tickets the day of the show for my friends and I to avoid ticketmaster fees. Whenever I would do this I’d always see all of the WWE talents walking over from the Marriot, it was really cool. I remember one time I was stopped at the red light heading back to school and former diva Victoria pulled up next to me looking for a good place to eat. The same would be said for after a show. This may be the only venue where I see an area set up for fans to wait and see the superstars and divas leaving. i always used to make the office folks smile by calling them out like Kerwin Silfies or Freddie Prinze Jr when he was working as a writer. Usually the superstars were really cool as they’d stop and pose for pictures or sign autographs. It was a lot of fun.
More than just WWE- Even though I’ve been to many WWE shows at the Nassau Coliseum, thats not the only memories I have at the arena. I’ve also been to many concerts at the coliseum such as Green Day, Metallica and the Van’s Warped Tour which used to be held in the parking lots of the Coliseum. Other than that there used to be the Craft Beer Festival held at Nassau Coliseum annually. This would be a great event where for four hours you would walk around to different vendors trying beers from around the world and even eating Beer Donuts. I remember one night there was a Beer Festival taking place, the same night as the Disney Stars On Ice so you saw a mass of people coming into the parking lot with a mix of drunks and families with small children. Not exactly the best planning.
So yes, later tonight will be a lot of fun regardless of how Monday Night Raw is. Like many shows in the past I’m excited to head back to the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum.