Saturday 31/03/12 - Wrestlemania Fan Axxess Session 2 and 3
On the Saturday we had two Axxess sessions to attend. The General Admission 8am morning session, and then an hour break, before the 1pm session. So it was wake up at 6:30am, get ready, and take another taxi to the Convention Centre. It was a long day bearing in mind we also had the Hall of Fame ceremony to attend in the evening.
As we had picked up all our tickets for the different sessions on the Thursday, we didn’t have to queue at the ticket office, so this time we went straight in. We headed over to the General Admission waiting area, and we had a plan this time. When we got in we were just going to run straight to one of the signing tables and hope that it was someone worth meeting. We’d done all the other activities, so today we were simply trying to meet as many wrestlers as possible.
I’d definitely suggest going to the early session, it was no where near as packed as the later sessions, when we got in most of the queues were nearly empty. So we jumped in to a line, it was the one that had previously had Beth Phoenix and Daniel Bryan on on the Thursday, so we was expecting someone semi-decent. Who was it going to be? Christian? Zack Ryder? Eve? No, Ted DiBiase, who we had previously done the photo-booth meet with on the Thursday. We were right at the front though, so we decided we might as well get his autograph too, and I even told him that I just had to come and meet him again after meeting him Thursday, I hope my sarcasm didn’t cut too deep.
Afterwards we quickly scooted around to the photo-booth set up behind the DiBiase signing, where Alex Riley was taking pictures. The queue wasn’t that big so we got in line. It’s always good to scout out what is going on in the signings around you while you are waiting in line, so that you know where you are heading once you finish.
It was then a case of navigating the room and working out what queues were moving fastest, who we really wanted to meet, and getting to meet as many wrestlers as possible, hence heading over to the signing of Rikishi and The Usos, 3 for the price of 1!
Would help if I looked at the camera right? This is a common occurrence. If you don’t have anything for the wrestlers to sign they will just sign a generic piece of white A4 paper with the Wresltemania logo in the corner. I really wish I bought a bunch of 8x10 promo photos before I went to Miami and got those signed, but you always think of these things in hindsight. I did bring some old WWE magazines that I dug out of my loft space.
Next door to the Rikishi and Usos signing, Hunico and Camacho were in one of the photo-booths, along with their low-rider bicycles, we thought this would make a cool picture, and again, the queues for the photo-booths move fairly quickly, so we jumped in line.
Next we went over to the Legends table where Jim Ross, Gerry Briscoe and Jimmy Hart were signing. We knew it was coming up to switch over time in about half an hour, and we knew it was Rowdy Roddy Piper coming out next, so we jumped in the queue, happy either way with which ever we got to meet. We were nearly at the front when JR, Briscoe, and Hart left, and out came Roddy Piper and Rocky Johnson. Piper was clearly inebriated, which is part of the course for Hot Rod I guess.
Rowdy Roddy Piper is a certified legend so getting to meet him was a real pleasure. There was one guy in the queue behind us that had been a Piper fan for over 30 years, he was beyond ecstatic to get to finally meet him, and he later told us that Piper said he was going to wait around afterwards to have a chat with him, whether that was true or not I don’t know, but that’s a really cool thing for Piper to do if so.
After Piper and Johnson we headed down towards the entrance because we knew Lita was doing a signing down there, and Lita was one person I actually had something specifically for her to sign, I had an old WWE magazine with her on the cover. Before I got up there Lita was signing the A4 piece of paper for a young girl, the paper already had autographs from other wrestlers on it, Lita was reading it and this is what she said “Skip Sheffield - who is that?”. Amazing.
Lita’s was probably the coolest autograph I got, her signature in the silver sharpie really stood out on the magazine cover, I’m thinking about framing it and putting it on my wall, because I’m a super nerd like that. In other Lita news, she was CM Punk’s “plus-one” at the Hall of Fame, oh yeah!
It was almost coming to the end of the first session, so we wandered around seeing if we could fit anyone else in. I think Jack Swagger and Vicki Guerrero were signing, but their queue was still pretty big. We headed over to where the VIP session was to see if we could get a couple of snaps of Randy Orton from the side, but to our surprise Orton had left and William Regal was now occupying that table. His queue wasn’t massive but had a fair amount there, so we quickly got in, just in time because soon after they closed it off.
Regal was easily the nicest guy we met, he actually took time to talk to you and personalised the autograph. The staff kept trying to rush us along and told us there wasn’t time to take photos, but Regal was more than happy to pose for snaps.
And that was it for the first session. We had an hour to kill before the 1pm session started, so we went to grab some food from the McDonald’s around the corner before heading back. They do have places to eat inside the convention centre, various food stalls and stuff, but they are expensive.
We arrived back at the convention centre just before 1pm and went straight in to the VIP holding area, where we were given our yellow Chris Jericho wristbands. There wasn’t much waiting around this time as we’d got there quite late, so after a few minutes we were inside and you could already tell that this session was going to be a lot busier.
Much like on the Thursday we went straight over to the VIP signing table for our Chris Jericho meet, but we were surprised to see that Shawn Michael’s was doing the first VIP, and that Jericho wasn’t coming on til 3pm. With that we did the same as earlier, we jumped in to a queue and hoped for the best. No, it wasn’t Ted DiBiase again, although I kind of wish it was, instead it was The Great Khali.
If William Regal was the nicest guy we met then Khali was easily the most ignorant. You can probably tell from my expression in the photo that I wasn’t impressed. He looked like he couldn’t be arsed to be there, he didn’t even look up at me or respond to me, he was too busy talking to the staff member next to him, and apparently my mate said that he was complaining about having to keep walking down the steps to take photos with the disabled fans. I don’t know if that is completely true, but it certainly looked like it was an inconvenience for him to have to keep moving.
After that thrilling meet with The Great Khali my friend and I split up for a bit. We had different priorities, I wanted to meet Rosa Mendes, who was doing a photo-booth meet along with Primo and Epico, while he wanted to meet his favourite The Miz. So I jumped in to the Rosa, Primo, and Epico queue. While I was waiting I had a decent view of the ring, and got to see a Brodus Clay squash match, yay!
I don’t know if Rosa could’ve worn a tighter fitting dress if she tried! When we met back up it turned out that The Miz hadn’t come out yet, although he was booked for our session, so my mate instead met Michael McGillicutty, I still say Rosa was the better choice.
At this point we thought it would be smart to start queuing for the Jericho VIP so that we were at least some where near the front of the line, and could then maybe fit in a couple of other signings afterwards. We walked over to the VIP section and the queue for Shawn Michaels was still huge. The people waiting for Jericho had already started forming a line to the side, so we joined the queue.
It had gone 3pm and HBK was still signing away, his line didn’t look as if it was getting any shorter. They ended up moving Jericho to the Legends table, which was just opposite the VIP section. Having Chris Jericho in front of the Legends logo felt very appropriate in my opinion. It was nearly 3:30pm before Jericho finally showed, I thought at one stage that he was going to end up trolling us, come out, get us all pumped up, and then just leave.
I can’t even remember what I said to Jericho, as I was too concerned that my photo came out okay after the CM Punk disaster. I did get him to sign a copy of his book though, so that was pretty sweet.
A lot of our time had gone while waiting for Jericho, and many of the other queues were now being closed off. My mate really wanted to meet The Miz, but they had closed off his line, however, there was still around 20 minutes of the session left, and there was a few people hanging around outside the line, so he waited there while I went to get a bottle of water and see if I could sneak in to Kaitlyn’s queue, I was only successful in one of those things.
I returned back with my bottle of water, and my mate was now in a new line that had formed outside the waiting area, I joined him. The staff member was slowly letting people back in to the line a few at time. One guy was getting pissed off because he must have been sent away earlier, and now they were letting people back in. We got to the front, and finally, the staff member lifted up the rope and let us in. It really topped the day off, because it had been very successful in terms of meeting wrestlers, it was just The Miz who my mate really wanted to see, and luckily we got him in the last few minutes.
So if you ever attend Axxess and you see that they’ve closed the queues off too early, it’s worth hanging around outside them and seeing if they let people back in. We still had a few minutes spare after The Miz so we went to find the shortest queue, which happened to be Alicia Fox, so we asked the staff member if we could go in, and she let us.
Could Alicia look any more interested? And her autograph was basically a squiggle. She should be grateful, we only met her because there was hardly anyone in her queue and we had a few minutes spare. Sorry Alicia, I’m sure it was a long day.
And that concluded a very successful day at Axxess. It was now 5pm and we had to get a taxi back to downtown, and then get ready for the Hall of Fame at the American Airlines Arena. We luckily met two other people at Axxess who were staying in the same hotel as us, so we split the cab fare on the way back…although it did take us a good 45 minutes to find a cab, and it had started raining.
We ended up taking a shuttle that also included a film crew from Eurosport that wanted to film us for something called Clash Time, where we had to pretend that we hadn’t just spent 8 hours trawling around a massive convention centre, doing our damnedest to meet as many wrestlers as possible, plus a subsequent hour wandering in the rain trying to find a taxi, instead we were to pretend that we were on our way to said Axxess session, and to act all excited, yay!
I will be back with Part 3 soon to discuss the Hall of Fame ceremony.
by Martin Holmes