There are two types of people in this world; those who were at Joey Janela’s Spring Break II and those who weren’t. I want that inscribed on my tombstone or the park bench erected in my memory. JJSBII is the sole reason why my live report and documented experiences of New Orleans and the wrestling around it are coming at you rather late; I needed a month to really process what I had seen in the early hours of that Saturday morning, in a rather quiet suburb in North-Western NOLA. It’s definitely got nothing to do with jet lag, catching up with work and making up for lost time with family. It is definitely not due to general incompetence, laziness and lethargy. I just needed time to gather my thoughts into an internet friendly list.
That’s my story and I’m sticking with it, now fuck off or please read on ahead!
Here’s a quick run down off my trip; we drove up from Birmingham to Manchester and flew to Houston. We spent the weekend there before grabbing a rental car (re: rental tank) on a seven hour drive to New Orleans. After acting like tourists for a few days, we attended 6 shows from the Thursday to the Sunday; WrestleCon, Progress, Mercury Rising, Spring Break, NXT and a New Orleans Pelicans game. Oh, and something called Wrestle Mania but that’s not important. We then drove back to Houston before catching a flight back to Manchester and somehow driving back to Birmingham. Then a month passed and I wrote these two paragraphs and also this:
28 Days Later: My Top Twenty-Eight Moments From Indy Wrestling Mecca (in no real order)
1. Pete Dunne hitting a pumphandle tombstone piledriver at Progress. This made me jump out of my seat with such velocity that I could’ve accidentally propelled myself through the venue ceiling. As we all know by now, the Louisiana State Athletic Commission had banned such moves, as well as bleeding, fighting in the crowd and Christmas. So when Pete hooked up Mark Andrews for the Bitter End but instead transitioned into a real skull crushing finale, I screamed loudly with glee. It’s a shame that the two PROGRESS shows didn’t properly translate well to video as I feel the reaction to this (as well as other happenings) don’t carry the same weight that they did in the building.
2. Forgetting that Hiroshi Tanahashi was announced for WrestleCon and losing my mind when he appeared.
3. Discovering the pure joy that is iHop and it’s pancakes, coffee and sweet iced tea that I swear are made out of heroin.
4. Being mistaken for Chris O’Dowd for the umpteenth time. I’m 8000 miles away from home, this has to stop. IT ALSO MAKES NO SENSE.
5. Meeting Kung-Fu Chicken Noodle of Kaiju Big Battel fame. I used to actually watch these shows back in the day and KFCN was my favourite Kaiju. Always meet your heroes, especially if they’re giant aluminium tins.
6. Minoru Suzuki making a surprise appearance at Wrestle Con and losing my shit to KAZE NI NARE!
7. Wondering into a dive bar just off Bourbon Street for a quick night cap before heading back to our lodgings, only to find ourselves surrounded by some of the biggest names in pro wrestling. Joey Janela, Nick Gage, Penelope Ford, Corey Graves, Renee Young, Samoa Joe, Carmella and Bray Wyatt were all drinking and having a good ol’laugh together! It was a real reunion of sorts, as some of these guys probably only see each other once in a blue moon. We sat at a table in the corner, kept to ourselves, chatted about the Pelicans and drank a quick beer before leaving them to it. Whilst I regret not seizing the moment and getting a few photos with them all, I thought it best to leave them be. After all, they’re human too and they probably just wanted a night out with friends they rarely see without some British lad and his terrible accent asking for a picture on his shitty phone. Still, the image of Bray Wyatt walking into the toilet and noping the fuck out of there due to how gross it was will forever linger in my fondest memories.
8. Falling in love with seafood po’ boys. It’s probably ruined food for me now as I occasionally day dream about them before having to pull the car over for the safety of the general public.
9. Joey Janela getting super frustrated at the tired crowd during the Spring Break main event. I was sat in the third row and you could see he was really agitated that the crowd had become a sleepy, gloopy mess. This probably made him even more reckless in an attempt to wake us up, and it kinda worked as we reacted to all the big spots but most of the audience were fucking knackered, mate. Also, let the record show that I stuck around and sang Bon Jovi at
the end of the show, sleep and taxis be damned.
10. SINGING BON JOVI AT HALF 3 IN THE MORNING WITH JANELA AND GREAT SASUKE!
11. Experiencing a dualling piano bar in Houston and signing along to country songs that I never thought I knew the words to.
12. Wandering into a BBQ restaurant and wondering why we weren’t being served, only to find out that it was BYOM; yes, BRING YOUR OWN MEAT. Fucking hell, Texas.
13. Jerry Lawler shooting a fire ball at Joey Ryan’s dick.
14. Jimmy Havoc papercutting the webbing between Matt Riddle’s toes. Dirty, disguising bastards.
15. Getting into a dance off with a cockney at a rodeo bar and promptly failing because I can’t actually dance. Not all of us took dance lessons at school, lad.
16. Going to NXT Takeover and feeling an extra sense of joy having all ready seen most of the roster perform at Fight Club:Pro, Rev Pro and other indies. There’s a great feeling of pride seeing a guy like Pete Dunne wrestle at your local pub, then seeing him at premier British promotions, then fighting imports in the main events and now HE is the import and wrestling on a massive stage. Fantastic.
17. Will Ospreay’s multi-promotion story arch and the incredible pay off at Mercury Rising. Coming into NOLA straight from a really ugly injury that he suffered in New Japan, every match he took part in felt different as you cared for his well being and every little bump he took made you wince and concerned. This all came to a head when he faced Matt Riddle on the Friday Night, which is probably the best match I have ever seen live. Drama, intensity, great story telling, the works. It had me screaming at the top of my lungs!
18. Seeing all my faves from the ’03-’05 CZW days! Teddy Hart! Nick Gage! Mike Quackenbush! LuFisto! NATE WEBB!
19. Going on a huge American road trip. In a huge American car. With huge American tunes and huge American cups of soda. Massive!
20. Bourbon Street and all the wonders and incredible sights contained within, most of which I can’t remember because it’s Bourbon Street.
21. Rey Fenix & Rey Horus vs Bandido & Flamita from Wrestle Con. These four came out to silence and little fan fare. 12 minutes later, the crowd were going insane and were chucking money into the ring. Balls-to-the-wall lucha craziness from the opening bell to the final pin. A real underrated gem that’s not being talked about enough.
22. Buying a t-shirt off Matt Riddle and asking how much a photo is; “Dude, I don’t charge for photos, I’m not the Young Bucks!”. God bless that man.
24. The Golden Corral buffet. Oh my, the Golden Corral buffet. I think I’m still digesting plate 4 as I type this.
25. PCO vs WALTER. Best described as an out of body experience. I will never forget this match. PCO’s chest. PCO’s moonsault. PCO’s comeback.
26. Willie Mae’s restaurant . Best fried chicken in the world!
27. Flip Gordon getting being the third most-hated man of the weekend (behind only Roman Reigns and Donald Trump).
28. Everyone we met being super cool, super nice and just super in general. Not a single bad egg. Houston, New Orleans…a great bunch of lads.
Yeah, that’ll do. I could’ve gone onto 58. Or 95.
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