WrestleMania Weekend/ROH: As Experienced Through My Lens

Cagesider 'FezzHimself' graced us with a glorious FanPost today featuring photos from his 'WrestleMania 29' experience, here they are for you in a handy gallery format for the front page and various sections of Cageside Seats. Enjoy!

Editor's Note: This Gallery FanPost from Cagesider 'FezzHimself' has been mildly edited for promotion to the front page and various sections within Cageside Seats for your enjoyment, Cagesiders! It has been altered to a Gallery Format for ease of browser loading and multi-device functionality by CSS Management but we thank him immensely for sharing it with us. Be sure to check it out!

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I know it's one week removed from the event (WrestleMania 29-April 7, 2013), but it does take some time to rifle through over 1,000 pictures during the editing process to pick out the right ones. If anybody's curious, I used a Nikon D7000, a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8, and a Nikon 55-200mm telephoto.

I figured I would share my WrestleMania experience with you and include some of the pictures I took as well. It was my first WM ever, and I couldn't have been more excited. So, let's get to it.

FRIDAY

ROH - Supercard of Honor VII, Part I

My buddy and I booked a place in Edgewater (just across the Hudson River) using www.airbnb.com (great alternative to booking hotels), and arrived Friday afternoon. We unpacked a bit, and headed into Manhattan for ROH's Supercard of Honor VII (I won't spoil any results, except for the main event -- which was already revealed on CSS when it happened).

Unfortunately, there was an insane amount of traffic, and we got stuck in the tunnel for a bit. What sucked even more was that we had GA tickets (General Admission), so we were in the 3rd last row of the famed Hammerstein ballroom. However, nothing could take away from this experience. [IMAGE 1]

To be in a place where so many great ECW, ROH, and hell, even a few WWE matches took place was awe-inspiring. The first match with "QT Marshall and a mystery partner vs ACH and Tadarius Thomas" was a great way to open up the show. RD Evans' promo before the match to tease who QT's partner would be was amazing, and the crowd loved every moment of it. [IMAGE 2]

Also, after finally having the chance to see ACH live, I can only say that this kid is something else. His in-ring ability is top-notch, and I hope he keeps getting better. [IMAGE 3]

Up next was Shelton Benjamin trying to find an opponent to replace Charlie Haas, which led to a Cheeseburger appearance, the return of "The Prodigy" Mike Bennett. The NY crowd did their best to get to the Boston-native, and even started chants of "She screwed Punk!" What was Bennett's response? He imitated CM Punk's running knee in the corner and mimicked the "Go to Sleep" motion before actually (unsuccessfully) attempting a GTS. Overall, a decent match. [IMAGE 4]

Jay Lethal and Michael Elgin squared off next in a Number-one Contender Match. I think Michael Elgin makes a vow to himself to steal the show at the Wrestlemania-weekend events, because this is two years in a row where he has put on a Match of the Night performance. Of course, Jay Lethal had his part in this too, so I tip my hat to him as well. It was an incredible back-and-forth affair, and nobody could really figure out who was going to go out on top (I picked Elgin, and my buddy picked Lethal). [IMAGES 5-8]

The second the match was done, S.C.U.M. hit the ring to take out both Lethal and Elgin, and called out the five members of Team ROH to start the 10-man tag match. The crowd was completely burned out after the Lethal/Elgin match, and had no energy whatsoever to chant or cheer anything for this one. It was a wild match with plenty of brawling around the ringside area, but there wasn't really much to progress the storyline. [IMAGES 9-10]

ROH - Supercard of Honor VII, Part II

We then had an intermission, where my buddy and I thought about getting food, until we saw the ludicrous prices: pizza slices for $10, and a regular hot dog for $6. (Words of wisdom: eat a big meal before watching an event at Hammerstein.)

We began the second half of the show with Roderick Strong vs "Machine Gun" Karl Anderson. Now, I'll be honest and tell you that I have only really gotten into the indy wrestling scene over the past year, so I haven't seen much of Karl Anderson's work, but boy oh boy, does he move well for a big man. These two put on a solid match, and it was a great way to get the crowd hyped up for the second half of the show. [IMAGES 11-14]

It was now time to begin the first of the three title matches on the card with the Triple Threat Match between Matt Hardy, Adam Cole, and, the current TV Champion, Matt Taven. The NY crowd absolutely ripped Matt Hardy a new one during this one, and there were a few "Adam 'F*cking' Cole" chants. It was a good match overall, but the ending was a little botched, so it did put a little damper on what was otherwise a fun affair. [IMAGES 15-18]

It was finally time for the Tag Team Title match between reDRagon (can somebody please explain to me how this name came about?) and The American Wolves. This match was everything I expected it to be and more. When you put these four in the ring together, expect a lot of excitement and some excellent technical wrestling. There were countless moments when you thought that either team was walking away with the belts, and that's exactly why I love watching shows like this. [IMAGES 19-22]

It was finally time for the main event, with the challenger Jay Briscoe facing off against current ROH World Champion Kevin Steen. I've seen Steen wrestle a couple of times before this, but for some reason this match just didn't feel as top-notch as some of his previous matches. (I've previously seen Steen/Richards and Steen/Elgin.)

The ending caught my buddy and I off-guard, as we didn't really think that they would give Briscoe the title. However, after reading different blogs/tweets, I saw that the promos (that I didn't get a chance to see) made it seem like Briscoe had worked his ass off to finally get his chance in the spotlight. I guess I just didn't think that they would give him the title, because now you have Mark without a tag partner. It was great to see Jay celebrate with his family after the match. [IMAGES 23-29]

Also, we managed to finally find a White Castle....it wasn't as great as I thought it would've been. [IMG 30]

SATURDAY

We didn't get a chance to catch any wrestling-related events, as we decided to be tourists during the day and visit Times Square, and went to the Maple Leafs vs. Devils game in the evening. I'm from Toronto, so it was awesome to -- a) see my first-ever hockey game, b) watch Martin Brodeur play, and c) watch the Leafs win. I won't bore you with pictures from there, as you've all likely seen pictures of Times Square.

What was cool was that we stumbled upon the WWE Business Partner meeting, but didn't try to get in, as there was a security guard at the door, and we didn't feel like trying our luck. [IMG 31]

SUNDAY

Axxess Event

We woke up bright and early to head to the 8am Axxess session, and I think we made the right choice. There was just enough of a crowd to make it enjoyable, but not enough to make it a nuisance. We got in and decided to do a lap around the concourse to see what was there. It was incredible to see some of the memorabilia throughout the ages. [IMAGES 32-35 -- depicting HHH Headress/Crown, Shawn Michaels' Entrance Gear, WWE Championship Belts, Mankind's Mask ]

They had a few spots setup where you could take pictures with WWE Superstars, and then go online after and download them. We managed to take a few pics with FAAAAAAAAN DAAAAAAAAAAAN GOOOOOOOOO, and Primo & Epico with Rosa. [IMAGES 36-37]

They had the Legends doing their autograph signings in the concourse, and the current roster doing their signings inside the arena itself. While we didn't get to lineup for any autographs, I was able to get some pretty good pics. [IMAGES 38-41]

One thing I will give WWE my utmost respect for is their preferential treatment of those with disabilities. They had designated areas in the concourse level where those with disabilities would wait, and the wrestlers who were doing signings inside the arena would come outside to spend some time with them. We respectfully kept our distance, and I was able to get a few good pics in. [IMAGES 42-46]

On a side note: Jack Swagger and Daniel Bryan are incredibly nice and caring individuals. You can tell how humble they really are when they interact with fans, and especially children. My favourite part was when a little girl asked Daniel Bryan, "Where's Kane?", to which he responded with, "Oh, he's probably sleeping...he sleeps A LOT!" It put a smile on my face. [IMAGES 47-48]

Inside the arena, they had the VIP autograph signings, an area where you could see the newest toys, a "Fruity Pebbles" foam pit, a WWE 13 game station, and the house-show ring/setup, where they had NXT talent putting on a few matches. The NXT demo matches were more fun than I expected, with the fans and wrestlers interacting with each other (Hunico was pretty awesome at that). For example, fans started a chant for referee Scott Armstrong prior to the Usos/Hunico & Camacho match, and he got up on the ropes and soaked it in. [IMAGES 49-54]

There was also... A GUEST APPEARANCE BY NORMAN SMILEY! He even did the Big Wiggle!!! [IMG 55]

SHOWTIME:

It was finally time to head out of the arena, and count down until the show. We got into the Metlife Stadium ground around 5, and headed to our seats. I can't explain in words the feeling that rushed through my veins when we finally walked through the concourse and saw this:

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My childhood dream had finally come true. After spending $11 on a pretzel and medium drink, I headed back to my seat and got ready for the pre-show IC Title Match between The Miz and Wade Barrett. Not much to write about here, except the crowd was seemingly pro-Barrett. [IMAGES 57-59 Side note: I managed to snag a pic of 6 guys dressed up as different wrestlers, and everybody was trying to get pictures of them and giving them high-fives for their efforts. - IMG 60]

It was finally time to get the pay-per-view (PPV) started. I think everybody in the stadium was taken a bit off guard when there was no national anthem/fighter jets/pyro to open the show. Anywho, I think you guys have read enough reactions/commentaries on the event, so I'll just post some of my favourite pictures from the night at the end of this photo gallery in order to close out the post. [IMAGES 61-81]

And that ends what was one of the greatest wrestling experiences of my life. In case anybody would like to see the rest of my photos, here's the link.

Hope you enjoyed this!

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Editor's Note: This Gallery FanPost from Cagesider 'FezzHimself' has been mildly edited for promotion to the front page and various sections within Cageside Seats for your enjoyment, Cagesiders! It has been altered to a Gallery Format for ease of browser loading and multi-device functionality by CSS Management but we thank him immensely for sharing it with us. Be sure to check it out!

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