As I’ve previously established, for better or worse, I’m a pro wrestling fan.
So when I heard that Wrestlemania 25, excuse me XXV, was going to be held here in Houston I was pretty jazzed. Stephe and I went to XVII (17) and had a great time. It was every bit the spectacle they promised it would be.
Yesterday, the WW(F)E held a press conference at Toyota Center to promote the event. Since it was going to be held at lunch time, David and I decided to head downtown to check it out.
So, this being Texas, we hoped in the SUV and hit the highway. After exiting near MInute Maid Park and working our way back toward Toyota Center we were stunned by the number of people already in line for the press conference. Remember, this is just a press conference to announce the show and probably the date tickets go on sale. The line was already around the building. I don’t know what I expected, but it certainly wasn’t this.
We parked in the designated portion of the garage and then walked over and took our place in line. On the way we passed a kid passing out fliers for TNA’s upcoming “Victory Road” pay-per-view which is being held here as well. What? You didn’t know about that? Don’t feel bad. Neither did a lot of the people in line. Well, at least until the TNA marketing blitz hit. Not only were they represented by an overweight teen sporting the kind of scraggly beard that only the young can grow, but they also had this going for them.
Nothing says we’re ready for the big show (please note the lower case letters) like a rental van with the main event plastered on the side. Can you dig it sucka?
As the line finally started moving, we saw that the E actually had a merchandise tent set up in front of the arena. THEY WERE SELLING MERCHANDISE AT A PRESS CONFERENCE! No matter what my views on Vince McMahon and his ego may be, the man is an evil genius. I mean look at the family in this picture. They’re all gussied up in their WWE best and dad is still lugging a bag of new crap, probably the latest in Umaga activeware.
While looking at the logo being debuted on the DiamondVision outside and wondering if we’d make it inside before it started raining, I saw a WWE camera crew working the crowd, getting soundbytes. In anticipation of my first promo on over a decade, I prepared a speech about my excitement at seeing Cody Rhodes, the son of a superstar, a superstar of the future. All this was done in his father’s trademark lisp…if you will. You either get that joke or you don’t. Alas, the line moved and I never got the chance to wax poetically about the 2nd generation superstar.
Once inside we were filed in and ended up behind the cameras. Not the best vantage point for photos, but it had to do. Some folks got led into the balconies of the upper concourses. They were the ones in line when we got there. Maybe they knew what they were doing after all.
After being told we were going live in 1 minute (feel the excitement), the crowd got vocal. All manner of things were shouted over th opening sequence. Then some guy stepped to the podium and welcomed us to the stifling heat and cramped quarters. That’s not a direct quote, but close. I used this time to try to figure out the best angle for getting some crummy pictures.
Then it was time for the main event.
First through the curtain, though he struggled, was Shawn Michaels. Michaels has never been one of my favorites. I remember his as a UWF jobber and I never could get behind his Blue Oyster/Village People gimmick in the 90s. But, once again, the evil genius of Vince McMahon trumps. He’s had people buying into this guy for well over a decade now. Shawn laid out his history as “Mr. Wrestlemania,” announced the on sale date, flashed some “bling,” and ducked an Undertaker chant.
Then he mumbled something about Intercontinetal airport and San Antonio, likened himself to Elvis and left the building, all the while looking like a homeless vet.
Out next was CM Punk. He was carrying his Money in the Bank briefcase and looked like a trucker on a 3 day haul loaded up on cheap meth. The crowd loved him. Take it for what it is.
He talked about his briefcase, his title shot, his move to Raw and Wrestlemania. Then he sat down. Based on the picture I snapped, he must have sat down on something pointy.
Next up was Edge. He swaggered out with his shades on and the big gold belt over his shoulder, looking every bit like a champion. He took a swipe at the Undertaker and said something else but the acoustics were horrible. I took the opportunity to send John a text.
Then they trotted out a guy from Reliant Stadium followed by a pair of their silicone divas. I didn’t bother with pictures.
Out next was America’s favorite luchadore, not that he has a lot of competition at this point, Rey Misterio. Just back from an injury, Rey quickly noticed the podium was set up for the juice boys in the back. I couldn’t help but notice that with his mask on and his suit, he looked remarkably like El Santo or Blue Demon in one of those old movies.
ATTENTION WWE FILMS!!! MAKE A LUCHA MOVIE WITH REY IN IT! MAKE IT SOON BEFORE HE FALLS DOWN AND HURTS HIMSELF AGAIN!! “REY MISTERIO versus THE DIVAS OF DOOM” IS MONEY IN THE BANK (no offense meant to CM Punk).
He commented on that as well as his string of injuries. Then he entered Mick Foley land telling the Houston crowd that on Wrestlemania night he’s renaming his 6-1-9 the 7-1-3. The cheap pop was huge. Then a few folks in the crowd pointed out that Houston actually has 3 area codes by chanting 2-8-1 and 8-3-2. I’ll take credit for that as I was the first one chanting 2-8-1.
Rey fell in a hole or sat down, I’m not sure which and out came Batista.
How this guy is over is beyond me. Without his scripted promo he just stumbled through a string of random nouns and glared at Edge. The tension was less than palpable.
Then, for no apparently reason, he began to channel Steve Austin ending his promo with “Gimme a Hell Yeah.” WTF?
To nobody’s surprise, the anchor spot went to the poster boy for nepotism, “The Game” himself, Triple H. He swaggered out. Made some lame joke about his makeup, took swipes at Michaels, Misterio and Punk and then teased a DX moment.
Game Over? Damn right he’s over.
The crowd was eating his act up, no matter how stale parts of it are.
Then we were all dismissed so the press could get some soundbytes and quotes.
As we lef t the parking garage, $18 worth of quarters richer, we saw the production trucks lined up in an adjacent field. I’m pretty sure the one with the Great Khali’s face on it is the one they use to move him from location to location, kinda like in “Smokey and the Bandit 2.” I opted for a picture of the CM Punk truck because I thought it would be funny as hell to see that on the interstate.
Oh, and the answer is yes. They did have Hornswoggle hats.
Wrestlemania is in April. You can expect more updates right here on Gonzo Geek.