Hi gang…. Eric the Web Nerd checking in. Apologies for the late newsletter, it was a bit of a long weekend. I had a pretty fun Friday night when the Ring of Honor folks came to Kalamazoo, and Dave asked me to do a write-up. Mostly because I think he was being lazy and wanted someone else to write this thing 😉
Pro Wrestling X Meetup #1
If you’ve been in our Tuesday Night Twitch streams, you might have seen the name RPColtrane pop up in chat. His name is James, and it turns out he lives about 90 minutes from Kalamazoo. When Ring of Honor announced they were coming to Kalamazoo, it was a no-brainer – it was time for our very first official Pro Wrestling X meetup!
Although I probably wasn’t the most entertaining host, it was awesome to put a name with a face, and it was fun to watch the show with a fellow fan. I definitely plan on doing more of these (Wrestlemania meetup, anyone?)…
So when I saw the ROH card, one name jumped right out at me: AJ Styles was coming to town! For you old school PWX’ers, AJ goes way back with the project. AJ is an avid wrestling gamers, and he helped out with ideas very early in the project’s history; I even met up with him by accident after a TNA show outside of Detroit.
With the instability of the project and AJ’s busy schedule, we’ve lost touch over the last few years. So I thought it would be awesome to show him where we are currently at. We’ve come a long way since he’s last seen the game!
Now I had to construct a battle plan. Do I crash the arena early and try to catch him entering the building? Do I stay late and catch him after the show? Both seemed like long shots – and little stalker-ish, if I’m honest. Not really my jam to jock wrestlers like that. Thankfully, a few days before the event, ROH announced a pre-show autograph session, and AJ was going to be in the lineup. Score.
Next step: what was I going to show AJ? My only laptop is a Mac, and Pro Wrestling X has only been cleared for the PC. Enter Robert the Man. I tossed him an email asking for a down-and-dirty Mac build, and he turned in around in less than 24 hours. It took a few throws – and a lot of rubber bands and duct tape on my end – but I got it working damn near flawlessly. Check that item off the list.
Day of the event: OK, so I knew I could pay my $20 to get an autograph, but would AJ even remember who the hell I was, or even remember the game? I figured my best bet was to reach out on Twitter, so I sent him a message. I didn’t hear anything all day – bad sign – but 20 minutes before I was headed out to the arena – I got this message:
Big win. Game on. I threw on my Pro Wrestling X Believe shirt, and headed out.
I get to the arena about an hour before belltime, and all the wrestlers were out there for autographs – AJ included. Guess who had the longest line? I was being cheap – didn’t want to have to blow $20 if I didn’t have to – so I hung out waiting for a break in the line. In the meantime, I met up with James and hung out for a bit.
After about 20 minutes, the initial rush died down, and I made eye contact with AJ and said “I brought the game if you want to see it!” He seemed to recognize me – the dude is super polite – and invited me over to set up at the signing table. Security was cool, and AJ continued to sign autographs while I set up.
Once he got another break, I basically shoved the controller in his hands and said “Play it like No Mercy.” After a few button pushes, his muscle memory kicked in and was grappling like you’d expect. James snapped a pic:
First thing he commented on was how good the game looked, and I put over Kola like crazy. He picked up on the fact the game wasn’t super deep yet – the moveset was obviously limited – but he was totally getting it. I did the best job I could explaining where we were at, Steam Early Access, blah blah. But I was trying to not mark out, and I knew I had very limited time, so I’m sure I forgot some stuff.
I didn’t want to abuse AJ’s generosity – he was still signing stuff in between playing – so I packed up my stuff after a few minutes and let him get back to work. But he genuinely seemed impressed – like I said, super polite guy – and he couldn’t have been nicer to me.
Just to drive it home even more how classy AJ is: it turns out he was injured after his last trip to Japan. He wasn’t going to be able to wrestle that night – he cut some promos during the show, and he was really slow getting in and out of the ring. And yet he’s out there signing stuff and talking to all us marks.
So a really cool experience. I told our crew they had a lot to be proud of. AJ picked right up on Robert’s engine, and he commented on how cool Kola’s art was. Great start to the night, for sure!
Glory By Honor
So after that fun, we still had the wrestling to experience. It was a lot of fun, but man that’s a long night. ROH was doing TV tapings, so that’s four solid hours of matches. And genius that I am, I bought tickets right in front of the loudspeakers. Oy. Some quick highlights:
- Best match of the night by far was Roderick Strong v. Jay Lethal.
- Biggest pops: Moose was over huge, the Briscoes were obviously over as hell, great heel heat for Daniels/Kazarian (no surprise there). Biggest pop from me was a 300+ pound Beer City Bruiser busting out a Frogsplash.
- Funny story: there was this really drunk guy with a sign. It was easily the worst wrestling sign I’ve ever seen – simply said “Tell your mom to stop calling me.” This guy thought it was the funniest thing ever, and he would hold it up for every single wrestler coming down the entrance ramp. Heel, face, didn’t matter. We all wanted to choke him out by the end of the night. It was such a bad sign that it just might have to make its way into the game, haha.
Anyway, a really fun and memorable night. Hope I can meet up with more of y’all in the future. In the meantime and in between time, that's it, another edition of Wrestling Gamers United.