Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Prologue: The First Step to 'The Road to WrestleMania'

The Road to WrestleMania officially opened for us this past Saturday 16th November 2013 at 16:00 GMT - and as with any Road to WrestleMania, we had our fair share of bumps along the way which I think would be best summarised by this Whatsapp message I received from Rihan:

"On Saturday a 60 minute Ironman match took place with 6 laptops, 5 tag team partners, one conference call with false finishes, ticket timeouts, banning of ip addresses by Ticketmaster, kickouts of the "Submit Order" finisher and a screwjob by the bank, with one final tag team assist & a Money in the Bank Cash in.. WrestleMania 30 was BOOKED!"

Now if you're reading this and you're not a wrestling fan or you're not too familiar with all the wrestling jargon (well first of all you probably shouldn't be here, but if you stick around I'm sure you'll pick up a thing or two) I'm about to break down exactly what Rihan just gave to us as play by play via that Whatsapp message.

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60 Minutes Earlier... Maybe 120 Minutes Earlier..
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Well first thing's first, when I met up with Rihan on the Saturday again after a significant number of months the first thing I said was, "AYO! You know who I am.. But you don't know how I got here!". A pretty clever play on Razor Ramon's infamous catchphrase if I say so myself ;) On top of which I wasn't sure how I'd gotten there myself - not a frequent enough passenger on the National Rail Service. But that's besides the point - The first thing I recall Rihan saying was, "When did you cut your hair?!"

So we get back to his, and soon after we were setting up the makeshift 'Command Center' from where we would try and take the first step on that long road to WrestleMania. It consisted of his own 2 laptops, his phone & tablet, my own laptop (brother's laptop infact, which I had to hijack from our living room and leave a copy of Call of Duty: Ghosts in it's place as a trade-off), my phone and his flatmates' 2 laptops, one of which would be signed in from another part of the planet, that was Aruna's laptop. Boy, does Aruna play an important part in this story, but we'll get to that. I think.. that was everything, but I could be short by a device or two, it wouldn't surprise me. I remember Rihan saying something about hoping that they don't ban our ip address, but it didn't seem likely. The centerpiece had to be his old school laptop, which was plugged into the TV, displaying an image of the seating chart for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.



After discussing where we were planning to get seats over some pre-match warmup Tea, I allowed Rihan some quiet time for some last minute research and of course to mentally prepare and get psyched up for 4pm. You might be reading this thinking, 'Man these guys take this shit seriously'. Yes. Yes We Do. Wrestling is more than just Sports Entertainment. It's a Religion. It's a Culture. It's a Way of Life. Anyway, where was I? As I recall we went into this without really having a 'Plan B', it seemed that our strategy was to go out hunting and see who could catch the best seats. I went into this situation for the first time, not realizing how stressful this might actually turn out to be. It hits 3:45pm and Aruna and their other flatmate join us and Rihan introduces us, but for the life of me I can't remember his other flatmates' name, and if you're reading this I am really sorry! The coconut toffee barfi sweets you offered me were really nice though! And for the purposes of this blog I'm going to refer to her as 'Burfi'. So Rihan debriefs us one last time on what we're doing and we're all logged on to a laptop with the Ticketmaster website open.

I call out, "2 MINUTE WARNING!" and the clock hits 3:58pm, and a minute later I thought there'd be no more appropriate time to play, 'The Final Countdown' by Europe. 3.. 2.. 1.. It was on!

Now these next 60 minutes as Rihan pointed out, could be compared to an Ironman match - man it was grueling and full of drama. In wrestling terms, this was the no#1 contendership match for the World Heavyweight Championship. The 3 of us in that living room were joined by Shanks and Pradip (I hope that's the right spelling, ok I'm just going to use 'P' until I know for sure dude) LIVE! via Satellite, and by that I mean we were on a conference call to them.

The Rules were simple: 5 Man Inter promotional Tag Team trying to find the best available seats. After the search criteria had been entered it would spit out seats for us and hold them for 2 minutes until we decided whether or not we wanted to keep them (for the benefit of those who've never used Ticketmaster before) or gamble for better seats, while at the same time keeping an eye on each others results to determine who'd been offered the best seats. This process will then continue until we find the deal we deem suitable enough to make 'Submit'. I feel like Howard Finkel before a Royal Rumble match right now.

So the Rumble was on, calling out seat numbers and sections we'd been offered and comparing amongst ourselves, I figure this must be somewhat similar to what happens at the stock exchange. Some of the highlights included Barfi not getting any results for what seemed to be about 15-20 minutes and then managing to get some real hot seats (might have been in that 115 section), but in the confusion of who had which seats with one of the boys on the phone, the timer ran out and the tickets were lost! As the clock rolled on the false finishes Rihan referred to were taking place with the guys on the phone. It had seemed like we had secured some good seats and every time they went in for the kill something would happen like the timer expiring or the 'Submit' button botching or the most devastating one was when they weren't allowed to use Rihan's Ticketmaster details to make a purchase! Were they clocking onto our strategy? Were we overburdening the queuing system by having so many of us attack from the same address and 2 outside guys? So many close shaves and false finishes, and by this point we were deep into the hunt.. At this point we were in trouble.. Were the banks conspiring against us? Rihan had to ring them up to get to the bottom of all this.
The stresses of actually getting onto The Road
Meanwhile, a former concern had arisen and slid back into the picture much like Randy Orton, The Viper, slithering into the ring. At this point, Ticketmaster might as well have hit us with an RKO as Barfi and I were BANNED from the Ticketmaster site! That was as good as eliminating us from the team! Luckily Aruna was still in the game looking for prospective seats, as Rihan was being told that his bank had indeed NOT tried to block any purchases on his end. Things were looking up a little but, it wasn't long after that Aruna had been taken out of the game also. The clock rolls on. P (think It was P) must have had some good seats, but once again - some force of the WWE Universe was preventing him from landing his finisher and securing us the deal, so he opts for the proverbial "HOT TAG"! by adding the seats to basket, which could be accessed by Rihan at our end. Rihan goes for the finish. However the, 'Submit Order' button, much like John Cena kicks out at 2! Now What? Just when we'd thought we'd seen the last of Aruna - he cashes in his Money in the Bank! By which I mean he makes the payment from his card.. and picks up the 'W' for the team! *Screen loads* "Congratulations! You're going to WrestleMania 30!" AYO ADRIAN! WE DID IT! /-D

I'm sure that last paragraph made crystal clear sense to the wrestling smarks, and if you're not a wrestling fan, like I said I hope it made sense to you for the most part - and you're picking up some wrestling terminology, if there's anything you don't understand feel free to leave a comment below and I'll try get back to you as soon as I can. So where were we? Oh that's right:  Rihan jumped into the air as I shook Aruna's hand and then slapped Rihan a High-5. Some would say it's a mark out moment. I know Rihan was marking out. At that point it had not sunk in just yet for me, the realization of what had just happened. It still hasn't I don't think, not fully. But I'm getting tingling goosebumps every time I see a WrestleMania promo - so I think we are most definitely getting there. Right after that we got on the conference call to the boys on the phone and had a Broski Bonding moment, acknowledging that we were all on the same road now, the road we've been dreaming of being on for years.. The Road to WrestleMania, and the first stop was soon approaching. We would be entering the lion's den. Or the Wolf's Pack. Or even the Wolfpac if you will. Straight to the infamous, n.W.o...

STAY TUNED!

Thanks for taking the time to read /-) There's plenty more to come,
Mau (20/11/13) 3:57

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