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WHEN WRESTLEMANIA CAME TO TOWN ( 1 of 4)
BY KEVIN KELLAM ( written on Sunday March 23 2008)
It's only 7 days away, WrestleMania is apon us...
It may not feel like past WrestleManias with the epic hype and pefect match-ups, but it is still 'Mania. It is still the biggest wrestling show of the year. It is still the show that has every wrestling fan talking, and it's usually the show that has some non-wrestling fans talking too.
I have been a wrestling fan and by default, a WWE fan for as long as I can remember. And WrestleMania is the only event that has the ability to generate a child-like fun response out of me, maybe you could say it gave me the 'shakes'.
I GOT THE MANIA SHAKES!
The Mania Shakes was a semi-retarded/insane dance I started to sparadically as the countdown to Wrestlemania 22 began. It started when I first watched Mania 21, and the voiceover began , the camera swept over the Windy City skyline, zooming out the letters "C H I.C A G O". I would be watching RAW and think what I was seeing was building to Mania, I would do 'shake'. I would read about a possible Mania 22 match up that got me excited, I would do the 'shakes'.
To describe the Mania Shakes, makes it look more like physical tourette or seizure of some kind. I would simply cringe my face tight with eyes closed like a kid about to go over that big drop on a rollar coaster. I would clinch my fists and hold them in front of me like I was tearing a peice of paper. And my body as whole shake and shiver, as I grizzled the word "mania" from out behind my clinched teeth. This was something that you might commonly see a 6 year old boy whose all hyped up on coca-colla and surgar, doing all time. I did it almost every time I thought of this weekend of wrestling.
And now I have just confirmed how much a loser, I am.
GETTING TICKETS or a Ticket? OR ANY TICKET?! PLEASE!
When Mania tickets became available in 2006, I wanted to be line but I had to work that mourning. So Pete Kreten and I spoke about getting tickets together...or in reality, he would get them and I would pay him later. But I like a dumb mark, did not figure into it the people traffic at the dirty Evergreen Plaza on that Sataurday when tickets went on sale, or the fact the Ticketmaster was only letting people buy 2 tickets each at that location. Pete ended up going with his dad to WrestleMania 22, which at first, it devastated me. It angered and devastated my nerdy heart when Pete called me later and told me he could only get a ticket for himself and his dad. I wasn't mad at Pete or his dad, whose welcomed me into his livining room so I could scream at their TV, on many occasions. I made a joke around this time to Mr. Kreten about a dad taking his kid to "wrassl'n show" to see some old grizzled Chicago wrestler like The Crusher. I was happy for the father/son tag team making it to the big show....but
I was devastated rather by the situation that hit me like a brick:
WRESTLEMANIA IS COMING TO MY TOWN, AND I DO NOT HAVE A TICKET!
At first , I reconciled with myself.I was still going to see some great wrestling on the weekend of March 30,2006, Ring of Honor was coming to town to do a double shot, and I had tickets to both nights. It was going to be biggest ROH shows the company had put on that point.
Colt Cabana had nearly year-long blood fued with the viscous Homicide, and it was going to be settled during these two shows. Plus Bryan Danielson was set to take on the great Canadian technian, Lance Storm. And little company from Japan called Dragon Gate was sending over 6 wrestlers who were supposedly to be 'show stealers', more about them later. I still had that to look forward too.
But I was still bummed and the Shakes stopped...only for a little bit.
IT'S ALL ABOUT WHO YOU KNOW IN THIS TOWN
Chris "Pooch" PuchMelter who yoy know as regular contributor to Rumble Radio, was at the same time in the same pleight as myself. So what were WE going to do? We were both convinced that we needed to go to Mania, and spending a couple hundred dollars to do it, was going to be apart of it. And also we know something about Chicago, that not everyone outside of Chicago knows. In Chicago, if you know someone special , you can at the right times milk that someone to get something special. Pooch and I needed to milk real hard on someone's utter to get the glorious milk....or WrestleMania tickets. Sorry that analogy went south real quick.
Pooch found a connection through a fellow wrestling fan, he knew someone who had a handful of extra tickets and wanted to sell them. Before I moved forward with the all important negoiations, I had to get an idea of what tickets were going for on the 'Net. The tickets in question were good seats, about 5 rows off the floor , and were just to right off the entrance way.
And I was hoping I could the Mania ticket for something between 175$ to 400$. I was saving my money and working 3 or 4 days a week at crappy conveince store ,helping middle age men with their gambling addictions in the form of scratch-off lotto tickets. I earned this money, I was young (still am) , and I wanted this fun weekend to share with my buds. I was going to spend whatever was needed.
Pooch made the call, and got the price and set up the meeting for the official transaction.
We met about three weeks before the show on a Friday. It was right after Pooch finished his usual rock 'n jock show on WXAV. As are most important things involved my wrestling life, they go down at the WXAV studio. Before the meeting, I made a the withdrawl and my cash was counted , wrapped, and ready. I forked over 225$ dollars for my ticket to my Latino ticket dealer, who graciously accepted my money. It felt like time stopped, and everything was in slow motion when he opened that familiar Ticketmaster envelope. He showed me the ticket, and made sure I knew where it was in the arena and if this was the ticket I was ok with buying. I noddded with a shit-eating grin on my face. I took the envelope, and opened it, even though it was just opened prior. The smooth plastic-like paper touched my finger tips, the ink was bold and black on a light blue and white background. I felt the shakes coming, but I held them in.
Until I had a private moment in the hallway of the studio...breathed in, the goosebumps rise in my arms, and I wispered to myself:
"I WAS GOING TO WRESTLEMANIA 22!"
Tommorow in Part 2 : Rumble Radio comes out of the closet and on air in BIG TIME style, ROH delivers 5 stars , a chair riot, and bloody bandannas...plus more fun from
"WHEN WRESTLEMANIA CAME TO TOWN"
THURSDAY MARCH 27TH 6-9PM CST / 7-10 PM EST
RUMBLE RADIO presents MANIA OF WRESTLING 3 : MY FAVORITE MANIA
3 HOURS OF AWESOMENESS!