Saturday, 4 February 2012

Running Wild

It's been a big few of weekends in terms of my favourite American Sports. My New York Giants defeated the San Fransisco 49ers two weeks ago to become NFC Champions and will compete this  Sunday in the Superbowl against the Manchester United of American Football; The New England Patriots. This match will be a repeat of the Superbowl that featured these two teams four years ago in what was my favourite NFL game of all time. It was a really back and forth match that saw both NY and Pats stealing the lead even throughout the final minutes. When all was said and done back in 2008, it was the underdogs, my team known often as Big Blue defeating the Patriots in a real upset (New England had been undefeated all that season right up until the Superbowl). Will history repeat itself? I hope so; and I also hope to be able to stay awake as late as possible on a work-night to watch the drama unfold live.

I'd also like to note that the Giants (and Patriots for that matter) seem to always make it to the Superbowl in the seasons that I attend the International game at Wembley... looks like I need to get tickets to the Patriots/Rams game this October then. Who's coming with me?


Last weekend was a big one wrestling-wise, as Team Blockbuster (Sam, Andy, Nick and myself) trekked on up to London and tubed it over to Wembley for the first television taping of TNA's Impact outside of North America. Due to TNA still being a relatively young company, and there being plenty of hype surrounding the occasion, it wound up selling so many tickets that it became the biggest event in their history to date in regards to attendance.
Holding some super-special tickets that allowed us into the arena early to meet some of the wrestling men and women, it would be an understatement to merely describe it as an exciting day. We were expecting to meet some of the lower-card wrestlers and were quite content with it. We were let into the warmth of the building and guided the backstage section of the arena. We were near the front of the queue and the excitement built higher as the wrestlers started assembling themselves behind a table at the far end of the room, including Olympic Gold Medallist and childhood favourite of mine Kurt Angle. The owner of TNA, Dixie Carter was wandering around the room greeting the fans and kindly posed for a photo with me and Nick. The ring announcers were also walking around and Andy managed to pose for a quick photo with his arm around former Playboy covergirl Christy Hemme.

Walking along the front of the table, we got to shake hands with each of the wrestlers, all of them signing my Beer Money cap. I had a quick chat with Kurt Angle about his current bid to make the 2012 Olympic wrestling team for the USA, and was left rather speechless as I believe most were by the women who were even more striking in person. Some were friendlier than others, with Christopher Daniels extending his hand first to thank us for coming and to hope that we enjoyed the show.

We were then told that Hulk Hogan was on his way and that as we'd already been through and met the wrestlers, we could wait inside from the cold to meet him when he got there. After a brief wait, the Hulkster walked in - 24 inch pythons in tow - to a huge cheer from the room. He was set up at a table and we were told that we could take a picture of him, but not with him and that he's sign one autograph per person. This was the staff at Wembley arena imposing these rules though as Hulk actually seemed to want to talk to us fans. Reaching the front of the queue, I went to shake his giant hands in the normal fashion. He however went in for one of those hip, trendy handshakes where you point your hands more upwards and grip with your thumbs. We fumbled completely and eventually shook hands awkwardly. 
'We messed that up a little didn't we?' I said.
'Sure did, Brother!' replied Hogan.

Nick then very excitedly met his childhood hero while I defied the security personnel at the arena and took a sneaky photo:

Nick meets the Hulkster... BROTHER!

Andy then stepped up, followed by Sam, who approached the table wearing his giant foam finger that we'd all been given out and cheekily asked Hulk Hogan to pull his finger. 

Our view from ringside

After the meet 'n' greet we all stepped back out into the cold, stopping for a quick McDonald's before heading back into Wembley Arena for Bell time. Sat in the 7th row, we had an awesome view... except for the parts when people in front felt compelled to stand up, which due to the raucous atmosphere was often. TNA filmed two weeks worth of their show Impact for us, and gave us some outstanding matches. The show of course featured the grand return of Hulk Hogan who entered the arena to a deafening ovation. We were also witness to the last ever match of Sting (not the singer, but the Stinger) in the UK. The atmosphere was electric all night and I can safely say it was one of the best shows I've ever attended. At the time of writing the first of the two episodes that they filmed will be on tomorrow night on Challenge at 9pm (just before the Superbowl). Try and spot me with my big yellow foam finger!

Bring on January 2013....

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