Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Meeting Sasha Banks (& Kalisto)

Exactly a month ago, May 7th, WWE had one of their house shows (which they call "WWE Live!") scheduled in Las Cruces, NM .... city which is only 45 minutes away from El Paso, TX.

I was so excited when a month before that it was announced that Sasha Banks had been added to the card. She is easily my favorite female superstar right now and one of my Top 3 favorite active superstars in WWE.

I wasn't able to meet her in Dallas during Wrestlemania weekend, her line at AXXESS was one of the longest that they had during the 3 day event .... but I've always say "If it's not supposed to happen, there's a reason why it doesn't happen".

When WWE has a show in Las Cruces, the superstars fly in through El Paso and then drive up to Las Cruces. Unlike other airports in the US, the one here is so small that if you fly to El Paso, it's easy to be spotted at the airport and that's why there's always a fairly big crowd there waiting for the WWE superstars when they come here.

I was one of those folks, and guess who was the first superstar to arrive? You guessed it, Sasha Banks. She took every photo, signed every autograph.

A night before I posted this on Facebook.

She RT'd me a couple of times, replied/quoted a couple of tweets I mentioned her in and even posted a pic of mine on her IG. So after there wasn't a big mob around her I approached her and introduced myself, surprisingly she said she knew who I was. Asked her for a photo and she was cool with that (notice that I was so freaking nervous that I didn't even smile).

Because I don't want to give a lot of details of why I was able to hang out with her and her travel partner, Kalisto, I'm just going to post pics of the opportunity in which they allowed me to give them a small tour around El Paso.

                               (Last 6 pics courtesy of Jesus Rosales)

Big thanks go out to Sasha Banks and Kalisto for letting me hang out with them for what it felt like an eternity, but it was actually like an hour overall .... but heck, I always watch them on TV and now I had the chance to not only approach them for an autograph/photo, but also talk to them for a long while.

Hopefully soon I'll have a chance to share some of other autographs / pics I was able to get that weekend when I attended the WWE Live! shows in Las Cruces and Rio Rancho.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Wrestlecon 2016

Well, it's been a while since I've been here .... and again it's for a wrestling autographs / photo ops.

2 years ago I went to Tucson for an amazingly priced event organized by Clickjab, $ 200 for an autograph and photo with every guest there (including Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Goldberg, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash .... plus many more).

Well, this time I was in Dallas for Wrestlemania and when I saw some of the people that would be appearing Friday/Saturday at Wrestlecon, I decided that it was worth it stopping by on Saturday.

$40 get in price, pretty high considering the only thing including was being able to listen to live Q&A's and podcasts. Everything else was extra.

Got there an hour before they opened at the Q Hotel in Downtown Dallas (was probably 30 people deep), by the time the doors opened the line was huge (at least 200).

There was a couple of people signing by the time the gates opened, one of them being former WWE Diva Ashley Massaro. I bought online the Playboy she was featured in to get it signed, so I bought a combo for $30. The lady in front of me at her line had the same magazine and Ashley told the promoter "I'm not signing this, I said no Playboy's". The fan said "Well, nobody told me that when I paid my money". The promoter offered a refund, but Ashley ended up saying "I'll sign it, it'll be the only one". When it was my turn I said, "well I have the combo, but I got the same magazine as her. So let's just take the picture and I'll go get my autograph money back". She ended up signing it.

Torrie Wilson was scheduled to sign from 10 to 1, and I had also bought the Playboy mag she was on the cover of, so walked over like at 9:30 and next to her booth I saw Ricochet (Prince Puma from Lucha Underground). Well, he was originally scheduled to only appear on Friday, so seeing him there was a real surprise.

Went over with him and paid the $20 for his combo (that included the photo for him to sign). He told me he was only there for around an hour because he had to wrestle in an Evolve show in the same hotel.

After that I went back to the Torrie line, which 20 minutes away from 10 it was already kinda long (25 people), she got there a little late but everybody was happy to see her. That combo was $40, well worth it.

 I had pre-paid for a couple of combos online to take advantage of some money I had in my PayPal account, one of them was Pentagon Jr., his line was so big that I tought it was still Torrie's line .... but it was actually the "Cero Miedo" of Lucha Libre who had people from all over the US and other countries waiting to meet him. Line was so big it went all the way back to where Colt Cabana was, who I told "Want to take some of my money?", paid $10 for a pic with him.

For Penta Jr.: $30 combo, plus when he saw my shirt he told me "you should buy the new one". Did so to match on my photo op.

 Back to walking around the ball room and another big line was the one Kelly Kelly had, so there I go for it. She has been out of the wrestling business for a while, but fans still love her very much.

$ 40 combo, got my Maxim mag signed.

With the same promoter as Kelly Kelly were Brooke Adams, Melina and Velvet Sky. I was going to come back later for Brooke, but right there I stopped for a photo op with Velvet (who kicked a** at TNA).

$ 20, if she looks amazing on TV .... in person she looks even better! Told her that and she gave me a huge hug.

As I was going to start walking away I saw a pic of her dressed up as a TMNT on her table and asked the promoter: "any chance I can pay the difference for the combo to get an autograph from her?". He said yes, so paid the extra $10 for the autograph and $5 for the photo.

Afterwards I headed over to the Clutch City Promotions area where the ladies of Lucha Underground were at. If you follow me on any kind of social media, you know I'm a HUGE Lucha Underground fan. First I had to go to the table because I had pre-paid for combo's from Melissa Santos (ring announcer), Karlee Perez (Catrina - Mil Muertes valet) and Ivelisse (wrestler) .... but how Ivelisse had to cancel her appearance because of an injury, then I had to fix that with the promoters. It was $30 for each combo, but I only wanted the auto's / photo's from Melissa & Karlee because I didn't know the other girls they had there.

So we came to an agreement that I could get an extra autograph from each Mel & Karlee (which they were selling for $20 each). First I stopped with Karlee, of which despite having a photo of her already printed I prefered taking a couple from her table (which they included in the price). Both came out amazing .... photo not so much because the lady didn't know how to use my camera.

Afterwards went with Melissa who is a total sweetheart, I had contacted her before about doing an interview because she is fluent in Spanish .... so we chatted up a bit. She signed a photo I already had, plus one that I took from the table. Unfortunately she went with a silver marker and it doesn't pop out as I think it would've with a blue or black marker.

 I would come back later with her to do the interview, I was just waiting on my friend Jose who was traveling from San Antonio to help me out recording it so I could be on-cam too.

My last pre-paid item was a photo op with Jeff Hardy. I've gotten his autograph before at a TNA house show like 4 years ago, and how he was priced on the high-side .... I wasn't gonna go $50 for a combo, preffered just the $30 for the photo. There was a HUGE line that almost didn't move much. Fortunately a promoter assistant was walking down the line and asked if there was anybody with a pre-paid ticket and we were all taken to a smaller line. That's pretty smart because that way you guarantee that everybody who has already paid gets what they paid for and then take everybody else's money afterwards.

After the pic I went over to drop off some stuff in my car and pick up a sign I did for Brooke Adams (ABSOLUTELY LOVE HER from her time in TNA and meeting her in Tucson last year). Walked back to the hotel and paid for the photo op which was $20, cool part is that she remembered me even by name!

This probably was her last signing until after she has her baby, and she was cool enough that she asked me "are you going to keep the sign?", of course I said yes and she grabbed a marker to sign it despite me not paying for an autograph.

Back I go to the car to drop off the sign with a huge smile in my face. Went back to the ballroom and got in line for my friend Jose who paid to get into Wrestlecon just to get an autograph/photo op with both Rey Mysterio Jr. and Konnan, but the thing was that both only had an hour left in their scheduled time and their pre-paid line was already huge and my friend hadn't paid yet.

Saved my friend's spot until he got there and waited with him, but the line barely moved .... we saw Catrina walk by and that convinced him to go help me out with the interview. Melissa asked me if we could have Karlee (Catrina) in it and I said OF COURSE!!!

Very cool talk with the ladies who I named a couple of weeks later as the "QUEENS OF LUCHA UNDERGROUND".


After the lenghty interview we went back to see what happened with the Rey/Konnan line and it was smaller, but already closed. Hopes diminished, right? WRONG! Rey was the one signing more autographs, taking more photos and I noticed Konnan was just hanging around. Got my buddy to get close to Konnan and offer to pay him for an autograph because the line was closed, mentioned to him he was from Juarez and when he saw the photo he didn't hesitate one bit to sign it .... FOR FREE! Konnan wrestled in Juarez a long time ago and the photo he signed he was next to Eddie Guerrero and Cinta de Oro, both who have already passed away.

Pretty cool gesture. Well, at least he got Konnan and didn't pay for it, but it sucked he wouldn't get Rey .... oh look, security guy isn't looking, BAM! Convinced my friend to sneak to the end of the line which was pretty short by then. Gave him a couple of bucks so he would pay for his Rey Mysterio combo and get a photo op with Konnan too. He helped me big time with the Melissa / Karlee interview, it's the least I could've done.

 Had a great time .... EXPENSIVE, WRESTLECON IS EXPENSIVE .... but how many times would I get the chance to get the autographs / photo op's I did? Not many, if any! So I had to do it.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Clickjab Wrestling FanFest PT2

So, this took me a while .... almost a freaking year to complete my blog post about the Clickjab Convention from last year (June 20, 2014). Fortunately it happened because I've been crazy busy at work. I'll keep this short and single.

The wrestlers that I missed on the last post are gonna come out in the order I got their autograps:

After Candice Michelle, I had 6 autographs/photo ops left that I was there for .... Edge had a line that was between medium and big and he was a guy I really wanted to meet.

Dude was very awesome, autographed my magazine and said that he remembered that cover very much because the photo was blurry.

After taking a first photo, he said one more just in case the other one didn't come out well .... I freaking messed it up, should've asked him for the 5 second pose! 

I thought that by that time Ric Flair's line was going to be smaller, but all day him and Bret had the biggest crowd. Flip-flopped between him and Hart, ended up at the Flair line. I paid for 2 photos (one VIP, one additional) because I wanted one with the 4 horseman hand sign and one with both going "WOOOOO!!!", unfortunately the guy that was taking photos in that line wasn't bad .... he was AWFUL!! I'm uploading the unedited photos and the one I cropped it down to that didn't end up so bad.

For autograph I paid inscription for HOF & 16x world champ in a "The Wrestler" magazine of when he won the Royal Rumble to get his first WWF world heavyweight championship.

 So, that was an experience I will never forget: THE NATURE BOY!! I was so excited! But still had more graphin' to do! Sean Waltman didn't have a big crowd by then, so that was the next stop. What an amazing down to earth dude! I had spotted him at breakfast with Scott Hall at the hotel restaurant, but didn't bother them to say hi or ask for a photo or autograph. But I did tweet that they were there and told Waltman about it and he said he did see it. 2 photos per his request: DX & Clique

Autographs, I didn't find any "premiere" items to get signed by him so I helped a co-worker get an action figured signed and paid extra for another signature on a 8x10 for a friend of mine who was a big 1-2-3 Kid fan.

Time was running out, I was freaked out that I wouldn't get Goldberg, Nash & Bret. But I saw Brooke Tessmacher sitting there just talking to Taryn Terrell and I said "what the heck". Asked her if she was willing to take a pic with me with her amazing a$$ facing the camera, she said "Of course not, why would you ask that?" .... awkward silence and then she said "Just kidding! Go ahead". So I went up to the front and paid for another photo op and had this pic with her, which to this day is still one of my all time favorites!!

 I followed that with Kevin Nash, whose line was the smallest of the 3 remaining for me. He loved the magazine I had for him to sign, he even when with the Big Daddy Cool Diesel auto that I think pops out nice with the marker I had him sign it with.

So it came down to Goldberg and Bret .... it pissed me off that I made the wrong decision of going to Edge earlier because his line was empty and he was signing photos for the promoters while I was in Bill's line. But that's the hobby, sometimes you gotta make a decision and I went to Edge's line first and that time I could've been at Goldberg's and right then and there with Edge. But hey, everything happens for a reason.

As a fan you would always see Bill Goldberg in WCW as the biggest monster EVER! Would go into the ring, destroy his opponent and walk away without saying a word. In person he was the complete opposite, probably the most kind person in this convention towards his fan. In his podcast where he had Edge as a guest he talked about the convention and said "people paid money to go see me and spend time with me, I'm was going to make it worth it". And boy did he, there were fans getting pics while Bill picked them up and put them in the PILEDRIVER pose! Without dropping them of course.

After that, one of the best ever Bret Hart was the only one left to get for me. Time was ticking down, I think there was only 15 minutes left until the scheduled time was up. Line was pretty big, but I ended up getting to the front and their handlers told Bret "This is the last one because we gotta leave to the airport and catch your flight" .... boy was I lucky!

All in all it was a great experience, for $150 to get all of these great wrestlers was a homerun. If I understand correctly it was the first time Clickjab organized this kind of convention, so I'll give them a solid B+ on it with space to improve.

There was a VIP line (for those who paid $150 for everybody) and a general public line (for those who prefered to pay GA + single autographs and photo ops), good idea but the execution wasn't good. People in charge of the line were allowing 1 VIP, 1 General Admission. So there were GA lines that were shorter than VIP's and the VIP's had to wait more time.

Plus, people who are there handling the lines are also the ones who took the pictures for fans who paid for that ... and there were some who seemed like they never grabbed a camera in their life (like the one at Ric Flair's line).

But I can say I got my money's worth, enjoyed my weekend in Tucson and if Clickjab ever has an event again there I will definetly be there! Good job Chris!