Wednesday, November 23, 2016

tell by the signs

oh geez, how do i even begin to talk about this past weekend?

because it was epic. it was really, really epic. it didn't have that crazy road-trip festival journey feel, given that we were attending all these wrestling shows right here in our home city, but it still felt like a total break from our everyday lives. plus, there was that added awesomeness of being able to be with your people, delivering knowing nods and fist bumps and too-sweets. just the best.

(this is going to be long and fairly picture-heavy, by the way. if you're not down with that, i got two words for ya)

i guess it all really started on friday, when an old friend of mine (hi jeff!) invited me to come hang out and meet eric young and chris jericho. uh, obviously yes. so that was seriously cool (chris liked my hat!), and it went a long way towards reassuring me that i can still muster up the chill professionalism of my music journalist days and not just fangirl out all over the place.

while i was doing this, sean - with his brother and sister-in-law, who'd flown in the previous day - was a bit further downtown at a meet & greet with the nxt champ, shinsuke nakamura. suffice it to say, when we convened at my place later to make signs for the weekend shows, we had plenty of rad stories to exchange.

my two signs for the two ppvs (i didn't feel like doing one for raw, sry):

we'll come back to this in a sec.

saturday evening was the first pay-per-view of the weekend, nxt takeover: toronto. (for the uninitiated, nxt is more or less the wwe's minor league.) of course, that meant hanging out with pals, drinking a shit ton of booze, and eventually heading down to the air canada centre to take our seats. and we had a great view:

i was already raring to go in my 10 gear (niagara's own, tye dillinger - aka "the perfect 10" - is one of my top 5):

...and here's an adorable pic of our #squad, courtesy of kat's facebook:

it's definitely not a stretch to say that saturday night's show was the hottest of the weekend; since it was the first one, everyone was psyched and ready to go, plus the entire match card was stacked and exciting. (i was a bit soured by the fact that 10 lost his match - "soured" meaning "close to blind rage" - but the rest of the night was fun, at least) tons of chants and cheers and excitement. and by far one of the most emotional moments was when the tag team #diy won the much-deserved tag championship:

love u both, precious diy.

also, upon watching the rerun of the ppv the next day, sean and i discovered this:

that's goddamn right. (my shrieking-banshee facial expression makes me laugh every. single. time.)

sunday was up next, and it was going to be a tough one -- i'd barely slept, and we needed to be up and downtown early. but i soldiered through, and we got to the bassett theatre at 10 a.m., in time for the talk is jericho podcast recording at 11:

his guest was, of course, the wwe universal champion - and his best friend - kevin owens. ko's long been a fave of mine, so it was super awesome to get to be there for the podcast recording. here, sean captures me asking ko and jericho a question during the fan q&a at the end (i asked about how many of their interactions are improvised versus scripted; it's basically half and half, they said):

then this happened:

picture. of. the. weekend.

so we got some autographs then hightailed it out of there (there was a huuuuuuge crowd waiting for the meet & greet), met back up with keith and kat, then found places for food, beers, and refuge from the cold and snow. sean will tell you that i was flagging pretty badly at this point, and it was true -- i was actually getting kind of woozy from lack of sleep, and daunted by the fact that we'd again be out until around midnight. couple that with the thought that i had to be up at 6 a.m. the next day to work a trade show, and i was pretty worried about how i'd fare up.

fortunately - and with the help of some drinks at c'est what - i pushed through, and we headed back to the acc for night 2: the survivor series ppv.

it was pretty, pretty nuts. as with the previous night, we were in a section largely without kids - but unfortunately with guys with dumb signs and drunk dudes trying to start shitty chants - and it was raucous and ready to go. the ppv had been advertised as six hours long, and even though we arrived late (missing the two preshow matches, sigh), it didn't feel like it. the show moved at a good pace, and the majority of the matches were fantastically executed. even the, ahem, "controversial" main event finish was a big deal that we all discussed and dissected long after we left the arena. so, big victory for the wwe here. (plus, it was just fun to dance along to seth rollins' and aj styles' themes.)

then yep, night 3 in a row. monday was a bit rough, since i'd had to be up so early for work, but again i soldiered through and made it to the air canada centre in full wrestling-fangirl gear for 6:30 p.m.

A photo posted by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

it's actually pretty cool how we did three nights of wrestling shows, and we ended up getting different sections every night -- so we essentially had a new vantage point every night (saturday from stage left, sunday from stage right, and monday from center). the view on this one once the show got going was sweet:

also, look at this fucking mark:

A photo posted by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

i bought a bunch of souvenir-type merch throughout the weekend (i have all the wrestling t-shirts i want right now, and they weren't selling hoodies), including the above wristbands, a pair of aj styles gloves, an official program book, an nxt: takeover poster, another connor's cure bracelet, and sean bought me one of the creepy asuka masks. nothing to break the bank, but more than enough silly tat to keep me happy.

with our final night done, we trucked back home one last time and collapsed. tit either says something about the wwe live event or the state of my sanity that i was actually sad i wouldn't be going to ottawa for night four (smackdown live + an nxt tv taping) on tuesday. (also, i'm considering going to barrie or peterborough in a few weeks to see a smackdown house show. don't judge me.)

but at the end of the day, it was just a crazy, fantastic whirlwind of a few days. my phone kept blowing up with tweets and dms and texts to say hi and chat about wrestling and compare seats and make drinking plans, which was all just a great feeling (everybody likes being popular). plus, i definitely have a new appreciation for everything that goes in to a wwe live event, from the talent to the crew to production to everyone in between. they all put in 110% this past weekend and it showed.  so if you were at all involved and are somehow reading this, thank you. we had a blast and it's a weekend we'll remember for years to come, i'm sure.

everything is awesome and i'm going to watch more wrestling then go to bed, the end.

[ music | the weeknd, "false alarm" ]