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!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Clickjab Wrestling FanFest PT1

Last month I found out off of Ric Flair’s official Facebook page that he would be a part of a wrestling convention in Phoenix and Tucson. Checked out the link that he posted and found out that the VIP ticket had a $150 price for a picture and autograph with every celebrity there ….. only for Flair I remember that 2 years ago in LA they were charging $200 for a pic & autograph. And considering that stars like Bret Hart, Goldberg & Edge, plus my favorite TNA Knockout Brooke Adams would be there, it was a no brainer.

The event in Phoenix on Saturday June 19 was from 1 to 5, with a Q&A session with Flair & Goldberg one hour prior (12 to 1).

The event in Tucson on Sunday June 20 was scheduled from 2 to 5, with a Q&A session with Flair & Goldberg one hour prior (1 to 2). Understandable that it was shorter, considering that Phoenix is a bigger city and that it’s closer to the Cali peeps.

I checked out of my hotel room like at 11:45, thinking that there wouldn’t be a lot of people at the Grand Ballroom, boy was I wrong ….. the line was already like 150 people deep. Fortunately at around 12:15 the staff opened the doors for ticket sales & wristband pickups for those who purchased VIP tix online.

Things went smooth, I picked up my wristband and bought some extras: inscriptions ($15) for Flair, Hall, Lita & Edge (WWE HOF) and Brooke Adams (personalized). Plus an additional pic with Flair. If you had already purchased a pic or autograph from the celebrity, the price was $5 to $10 cheaper.

Purchased some TNA Knockouts pictures because the quality of the ones I bought on EBay was really bad. Merchandise available was very good and with reasonable prices.

Once inside, a lot of fans rushed towards the stage for the Q&A with Goldberg & Flair, I got in line for Flair. After 15 minutes I decided to go grab something to eat because I found out that you can leave the place and go back in (unlike Summerslam Axxess).

When I got back (like 1:45) the lines for Flair, Hart & Goldberg were huge, so I decided to get in Brooke Adams’ line because I did a sign for her and if I got her autograph-pic first I would be able to leave the sign & her poster I bought back in my car and be able to move easily.

Event started a little late, like 10 minutes late …. mainly because the organizers did intros for all the celebrities.

I had Brooke sign a poster and a 8x10 I had, plus our picture together. She was awesome, told me she will be back on TNA TV in November.

Lines for the female wrestlers were empty, so I decided to get them first. Taryn Terrell was next to Brooke, so I went to her and got an 8x10 autographed. The guy before me told her that she looks prettier in person, she didn’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. I talked to her about her great matches before she left TNA when she was pregnant and how glad I was that she was back on TV with TNA.

Maria Kanellis was next, I bought a lot of magazines online for the celebrities that were going to be there and of course I was going to get the Playboy she was featured in the cover. After signing it she asked me if I watched ROH, I told her the truth ..... that I don't, but that on social media I saw she was dating one of the wrestlers there, she corrected me and told me that they were actually engaged. I promised her I'd check out their show more often and she said that I should because she's the women's champ!

Lisa Marie Varon, formerly known as Victoria in WWE and Tara in TNA was right next to them and same thing ..... no line. She's so nice with the fans! As she signed my 8x10 I told her that I got excited when she started following me on Twitter and she stopped me and said "And I unfollowed you like 10 seconds later, right" and I was like "Yes!". She let me know that there's something wrong with her account, that it wasn't intentional.

After we took a normal photo, she faked like she grabbed my throat .... that was a pretty cool photo.
I decided to get in my first big line of the day, Scott Hall. It was pretty crowded, even though it was the Grand Ballroom of the Double Tree Hotel, it wasn't big enough for the # of fans that were there early. After waiting around 25 minutes, I finally got Hall's (Razon Ramon) autograph ..... paid for his WWE HOF inscription.

Got 2 pics with him, the "Clique/Wolfpack" hand signal and the other one with his closed fist under my chin.

Kept seeing big lines for the big names, thought that eventually those lines would lower down ..... so I went back to getting autogprahs/photos with the ladies that were there, thinking that how they weren't that busy they might finish early and there would be a chance on me missing out on them. Candice Michelle and Chirsty Hemme were together at a table, but Candice took a quick break as I headed there ..... so went to Christy, had her sign a 8x10 because I didn't buy her Playboy magazine (she was a last minute addition).

Angelina Love's line was empty, so I went straight to her. She's a really good wrestler! I only wished that Velvet Sky could've been brought to this event.

Lita's line had a crowd, but not too big .... so she was the next one. Funny part, VIP line was crowded and General Admission didn't have but 2 people ..... so I went to the GA one because I also paid for an extra autograph and inscription. Got her to sign a WWF Raw magazine with her on the cover, had her add the HOF inscription and 4 time Women's champ.

Talked to her for a bit, asked her for her favorite diva in the current WWE roster and she said Paige .... asked for favorite superstar and took her a while, but she went with Cesaro.

Candice went back after her break and I got her to sign the Playboy mag I bought online, didn't know what color to get it autographed (silver or gold) ..... so I asked her which looks better (I mean, she has signed thousands of those) and she said that it looks good in blue.

She said that we were going to do 2 pictures, I was more than fine with that (only paid for 1).

I'm a huge fan of the WWE Divas and TNA Knockouts, so getting to meet these ladies was an awesome experience.

I'll upload another post soon with the other 6 superstars I met: Ric Flair, Edge, Sean Waltman (X-PAC), Kevin Nash, Goldberg and Bret Hart. Plus my comments on this event organized by Clickjab Entertainment and the FanFest's they're going to have on September in Phoenix and Southern California.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Chihuahuas vs Isotopes graphing in El Paso

Southwest University Park opened its doors on April 28 and is the new home of the El Paso Chihuahuas (AAA Affiliate of the SD Padres).

I was really excited since the beginning of this project because I'd be able to cover AAA baseball and get to watch a lot of baseball in the city I'm currently working in.

This was my first weekend of going to games with the objective of getting autographs (I work M-F and get Saturday's & Sunday's off), and what a better team to do it with than with the AAA affiliate of my LA Dodgers: the Albuquerque Isotopes.

Stadium doors open 1 hour before first pitch, so that takes BP out of question and makes autograph opportunities a little bit more limited for fans, but fortunately I'm not in LA where there's hundreds of graphers.

I had a ticket for a general seating area (lawn in center field), so the first thing I did was go to it and put my Brooklyn Dodger fleece blanket to mark my territory. Great view and a great deal for $5!

With 35 minutes left until first pitch I walked over to the first base side, where there was a small crowd of approximately 15 people waiting for autographs (only 5 or 6 with baseball cards or ROMLB baseballs, all the others rookies with tickets, Chihuahuas programs, etc.).

As the players started walking out they were all really cool and walked over to the fans and signed. Clint Robinson was the first to sign for me, I went with 8x10's that day.

Joc Pederson was personalizing most items, I have no issue with that because I don't sell or trade.

Trayvon Robinson and Cuban sensation Alex Guerrero didn't sign before stretching, they said they would get us later. They didn't disappoint, Trayvon actually caught me off guard, just asked: "Still want my autograph?". I had a picture of his amazing catch on his MLB debut, asked him to give me a second to get a silver marker, he personalized it too .... this has to be one of the best autographs I have in my collection.

Alex Guerrero was the player that had the most fans wanting his autograph, I had 2 pictures but he was signing 1 per. Unfortunately I gave him a blue marker (thinking he would sign in the white jersey area), but he signed in the darkest part, so you can't notice it a lot. But still, I had the experience of meeting this great player.

I was surprised to see starting pitchers walking out and signing too ..... Zach Lee being one of them, he signed my 8x10 and I was pissed I didn't give him a silver or metallic blue marker.

As I was walking back to the center field general seating area I noticed that Paco Rodriguez was in the bullpen, I had a picture of him so as Stephen Fife finished his warm-up pitches with Fed-Ex I called Paco over and he signed for me, man does this one look amazing with the silver auto!

This was my first time watching a game from center field, it's a great view and it was really cool congratulating Joc Pederson after each of his 2 homeruns and even more awesome him saying "thanks!" afterwards.

Alex Castellanos, former Dodger player & now with the EP Chihuahuas, was cool enough to toss a ball at me before the start of the 8th inning. I was so happy I didn't drop it that I decided to give it away to a kid that was decked out in Dodger blue, hope that it made his night better.

Sunday was a 1:05 pm game, so I got to the stadium around 12:40 pm. I stopped by the press box first to get a lineup card and a roster ..... to my surprise AJ Ellis waas in town with the Topes! I was pretty disappointed because I didn't know about it and he's a pretty hard autograph to get at Dodger Stadium because he's the catcher and they're pretty busy.

 If I had known I would've taken a picture I have of him I bought like 3 years ago. For this game I had an assigned seat I bought at the Santa Fe Pavillion for $18.50, so I didn't rush to leave my stuff and took my backpack next to the dugout. Met another grapher' named Robert and started talking to him about the hobby at the stadium and how AJ Ellis was in town, caught him by surprise to and I won't lie ..... as we were talking about AJ, he walks right by us. Wished him luck!

First 2 players to walk out to stretch were Clint Robinson & Joc Pederson, how I had already gotten them to sign 8x10's the previous day, I started a team baseball with them, the other 8 players that ended up signing it too were: Matt Magill, Colt Hines, Zach Lee, Paco Rodriguez, Griff Erickson, Carlos Triunfel, Trayvon Robinson & Mike Baxter.

While waiting between one autograph and the other, I started talking to Robert about wanting to get AJ's autograph and he told me that at the end of the game some players sign autographs next to the dugout, so I already had a plan for the end of the game. Unfortunately after the position players finished stretching I walked upstairs and AJ Ellis signed around 4-5 autographs after him & Red Patterson finished warming up in the bullpen. 

I went to my seat in the SFP I was talking about earlier, this time neither of the center fielders threw a ball at me. Not even the Dodgers bullpen catcher who I called by name .... sometimes you're lucky, sometimes you're not. But hey, the view was amazing!

At the start of the 8th inning I left my seat to buy a ROMLB, because I wanted AJ Ellis to sign it instead of my team ball. Team store sells them for $25 plus tax ($27.5, pretty expensive). Lines were moving quickly, so I just missed around half an inning. Went next to the dugout and also took out my Stephen Fife 8x10 that I couldn't get signed Saturday because he was the starting pitcher.

 As soon as the game finished me and a group of around 6 people stood next to the dugout and Fife was one of the first players to walk out, asked him for his auto and he was kind enough to sign the 8x10.

AJ was picking up his equipment and he had his hands full, I told other people "I doubt that he's going to sign". Guess what? We asked and he said he was putting his equipment away and he would walk out ..... he did it. Got thim to sign the ball in the SS, pretty rushed but I don't care about it .... I got AJ's autograph once in LA and once in EP!

A huge surprise while Ellis was signing autographs was that Clint Robinson walked out and put his bat up and after nobody said anything he just said: "Does anybody want it?", of course I said: "ME!", but a little kid was a better option .... I guess my day was good enough already with 12 autographs, so I can't complain.

For this being the first time I ask for autographs at Southwest University Park I consider it a great success! Had fun, way easier than the majors, got to see the Dodgers AAA prospects and the starting catcher of our major league club.