It’s completely bonkers to me that one week ago I was at WrestleMania. A million things feel like they’ve happened between now and then (which we’ll get into a little later). This was my second time going to the event, so I felt like I would have a little bit of a better idea of what to expect. Turns out I was completely wrong on that front, but still managed to have a pretty exceptional time.
Like last year, my travel buddies and I spent some time at Axxess. For those of you who don’t spend time at these things (99% of my followers. Thanks for clicking on this post anyway), it’s kind of a convention-like situation that the WWE puts on around the big event. It’s also highway robbery. Days are broken into blocks, some with several, others with only one, and those blocks each cost $55 for general admission ($77 with all of the taxes and fees included). That means, if you choose to go to all three blocks in a given day, you’re spending upwards of two hundred bucks a day to attend this thing.
Why go then, you wonder? I go to support/meet my faves and to hang out at the NXT ring, but other folks’ answers might be different. I also try to choose a max of three sessions to keep an already insanely pricey trip a little bit more reasonable. This year’s adventure included meeting three of my forever faves: Alexa Bliss, Candice LeRae, and Finn Bálor. All three spend so much time working with charities and elevating their fellow wrestlers (even when story suggests otherwise). Meeting Finn, unfortunately, came with a little bit of drama attached.
This year’s Axxess was run differently than last, which meant any knowledge I had gleaned about the process was completely useless. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a change for the better. Shout out to the poor volunteers and event staff who spent their whole weekend getting attacked by pissed of “fans”. The short version is that the WWE decided to have each photo op/signing include three super stars. Those three would switch out in the middle of the session for a new set. The thing was, the change never happened on time, and the staff was not notified who would be in what area. This resulted in complete chaos, particularly for the talent that had previously been at the VIP and Premium VIP levels (read: Finn Bálor and Alexa Bliss).
The line for Finn got moved four separate times (just from my experience, others got moved more). By the time things had finally gotten sorted, many of us were told there was no chance, but that we could go wait in the overflow line if we still wanted to try. Most of us decided to do so. Others decided screaming at staff would get them what they wanted when instead it just got the cops involved. Lots going on on the Axxess floor on Saturday, haha. Clearly, not being a jerk paid off, and both myself and everyone else around me were able to get through the line.
Don’t be a dick to event staff, fam.
Wrestling events always mean that I get to play with new makeup looks for the show. Whether I’m watching from home, or checking out a show on the road, it’s always my excuse to mess around with new glam. From right to left on the above is: Alexa Bliss, my variation of the Demon Queen (for Finn Bálor), and a look inspired by The Man, Becky Lynch. Lexi and Finn were both for Axxess, but Bex was for the main event. Which is exactly what she was.
We bought our tickets well before it was announced that the women would finally be in the Main Event of WrestleMania where they belong, but that didn’t stop it from being a major perk of attending. So let’s get on to the big show, shall we? Let’s kick things off with a simple question:
What. THE FUCK. IS WRONG. WITH YOUR GODDAMN STADIUM. NEW. JERSEY?!
MetLife Stadium is a purgatory level nightmare of which we were lucky to escape. No one knew where to go or how to get in. Event staff was all confused (likely because, once again, no one shared critical information with them). When we, by some miracle, finally made it INTO the damn thing, we then searched four our seats for forty minutes. Why? Well, because the levels at MetLife Stadium don’t connect for some inexplicable reason? Who designed this place?! I want to have a conversation. It will be an angry one.
Eventually, we found our destination. Immediately, a nice woman told us that our seats have unfortunately been relocated, and that we’ll need to see the man standing at the back wall. Beaten, downtrodden, and at this point just hoping to find some stadium nachos, we see the man who hands us a new set of tickets. Offhandedly, I note that they were better seats than we had before, and we trudged our way through a new labyrinth trying to find them.
As it happens, these new seats were infinitely easier to find, and weren’t just “better” than the ones we’d had previously. They were about fifteen rows behind the seats that are considered ring side “better”. Like, worth hundreds more a piece than what I had initially spent on the tickets “better”. Our quest had paid off! We were victorious! Why were we upgraded? I’m not 100% sure. I think it was a visibility thing. I honestly don’t care because holy shit we were so close!
WrestleMania 35 ended up being the best event I’ve seen since I started watching a decade or so ago. I’m not going to go into specifics, because if you care about the details, you probably watched it already. The Beast was slain (and hopefully gone forever), Kofi and Becky killed it, and Finn is finally wearing gold (even if it’s the wrong belt). It was exceptional moment after exceptional moment, and I doubt I’ll ever walk away 100% happy with the outcomes of a wrestling event again in my time. Delighted, satisfied, and ready for some shut-eye, we vacated our seats to start the journey home. We were so innocent then…
Remember me mentioning that MetLife Stadium is purgatory? Yeah, I meant that shit literally. You expect a stadium to be a cluster when an event lets out. What you don’t expect is that the transit situation to be so hosed that the MTA issues an apology the following day (even if that apology rightfully blamed the WWE). Trains were backed up, there were no busses, and the Uber/Lyft areas were a disaster. It had begun pouring rain, but we were going to get drenched no matter what. So, my compatriots and I decided that we would simply walk a few blocks away from MetLife and catch a ride there.
Listen to me, people: you CANNOT walk away from MetLife Stadium. Why? I’ve already told you why. BECAUSE IT’S FUCKING PURGATORY.
We walked for hours. We tried every possible exit route we could. Everything is either dead ended, blocked off by police ensuring you don’t kill yourself, or leads right onto the medianless high way. Finally, soaked to the bone, freezing, and resigned to our fate, we return to the rideshare area. We then began the desperate dance of trying to find a driver that wouldn’t immediately drop our ride upon arrival because people were literally offering hundreds of dollars in cash to get the hell away from the stadium.
Finally, our savior arrived. Mohammad picked us up in a black minivan and turned the heat all the way up. He didn’t bark at us for getting his seats wet. He only kindly chatted us up to distract us from the fact that we were all freezing and had puddles of water in our shoes. He was tipped heartily and will forever be remembered as the best human to ever live. We finally made it home at 2:30 AM.
Miraculously, none of us caught pneumonia. I’ll have more on my New York/Jersey trip soon!