Sunday, April 21, 2002

Wow. I really don't know what to say. It's nearly 3:30PM the following day, and I'm still at a loss for words. To put it simply, last night was amazing.

We left for Topeka around 6PM. The drive there was pretty nerve-wrecking as it was raining heavily. Since I wasn't driving, I took the opportunity to catch a quick nap. When we go to the Expocentre, the rain had died down a little. We were able to go inside right away, so Adam, Eric, Wes and I headed to our seats. When Wes and I got to our section, we realized we were a little farther from the center than Adam and Eric were. Wes thought that I might want to switch, but I told him I'd wait, as there were still thirty minutes until the show was scheduled to start. During that time, I had discussed with Wes the possibility of going behind the building after Holly's match in an attempt to catch up with him before he left. A little bit before showtime, I asked Adam if he'd mind switching with me until the Holly match so that I could get some good pictures. He was okay with it, so he went back to seat with Wes, and I sat down with Eric.

Before long, the show was on its way. The first match was a cruiserweight match with the Hurricane, Tajiri, Chavo, and Kidman. It wasn't too bad. Kidman won, but the faces got destroyed afterwards. Next up... well, I forget... It was a singles match, but I can't remember if that was the Albert/Hugh Morrus match. Sometime after that there was a ladies match. At this point, the crowd was dead. Soon after, Christian and Lance Storm fought Mark Henry and Randy Orton in a surprisingly strong match. Very nice, indeed.

At this point, I had a feeling that I should get the camera ready. Sure enough, as soon as I reached for the camera, Holly's music hit the arena. As soon as it started to play over the PA, I was up and out of my seat. Slowly making his way down the aisle, Bob received more cheers than I was used to hearing. It was a good feeling. He got in the ring and made his way over to the corner that I was in. I thrusted the 8x10 I had in the air. It got his attention. Hands in the air, he pointed right at me and flashed a quick smile. My adrenaline was still pumping as I made the trip back to my seat. Eric asked if I had Holly point at me, but I was still out of it. Tazz came out and the match was quickly underway as Holly started beating him down. The match was essentially a sqaush as Holly just beat the living hell out of Tazz. Oddly enough, Tazz ended up slapping on the Tazzmission and got the W. Oh well, I still had the chance to see Holly wrestle live again. Wes had suggest that I run over to where the wrestlers were entering and exiting for their matches. I hurried over as Holly was making his way out and snapped a quick picture. Little did I know that this wasn't the end of the evening.

I went back to my seat long enough to grab my coat and head on my way to try and meet Holly. I told Eric what I was doing and that I'd meet him back here. I exited the arena and started to head around to the side, trying find the doors where the wrestlers would be leaving. As soon as I found the doors, I asked the two people standing there if these were in fact the right ones.

"Yeah, these are the ones, but there's no way you can't get an autograph. We're not even supposed to let people back here."

"What if I stand over there, behind the cones?" I asked.

"Sure, I don't see any problem with that."

So I headed past the first set of cones and waited for a while. During this time, Dean Malenko was walking around talking on his cell phone. He gave a quick hello and kept up his conversation. After about thirty minutes of waiting, a security guy walked up and asked for my pass. I explained that I didn't have one, that I was just waiting. He told me I wasn't supposed to be back there, and I explained that the other people said it was okay as long as I was behind the cones. He pointed to the set that was a little farther back and said those were the cones I was supposed to stay behind. I asked him if that would be okay and he said it would be fine. I thanked him for his help and made my way a little farther back.

I kept waiting. It had only been misting for a while, but around the forty-five minute mark, it started to rain a little harder. I moved under a tree for a little bit of protection, but I still had a good view of the doors. During this time, Kidman and Torrie Wilson had left. An hour into the wait, a kid came up to me and asked if I worked for the WWF. I explained what I was doing. He explained that his name was Brett and that he was there with his parents. They were participating in the horse show that was going on behind me. The funny thing was that Brett was from Great Bend. When I explained that I was from Ellinwood, he was stunned. The conversation with Brett was nice as it helped to break the solitude of my rain-soaked wait.

I was standing next to a Pepsi truck for most of the time that I was back behind the second set of cones. The security guard from earlier came over and cracked a joke about me guarding the truck. He was pretty nice, and just wanted to make sure that I was okay. Not too long after, the driver of the Pepsi truck came out. He seemed amused when I mentioned the security guards joke.

For the next thirty minutes, cars were being parked by the back of the arena, obviously ready for the wrestlers to make their way out. I saw Albert leave earlier, and then Christian left with the Hurricane. I thought it was only a matter of time until Holly would come out.

It was an hour-and-a-half after I had left my seat, and there I was still outside in the rain. It had started getting a little nastier, but I was doing fine. That is, until a police officer came up to me. He asked if I had a pass to be back where I was. I said no, but that one of the security people had said it was fine for me to be where I was, as long as I stayed behind the cones. I figured this would be a satisfactory answer, but the cop shot back something about the security guys not having the authority to tell me something like that. Disappointed, I said that I was sorry about the misunderstanding and started to walk away. After waiting over ninety minutes in the rain, it was these to rent-a-cops that were going to end everything. I went through a quick moment of depression at the lost moment. As I was walking back to the front of the arena, I took one last look at the doors.

There he was. Standing outside the doors, Bob "Hardcore Holly" was waiting for his car to pull up. It was now or never. I could either walk on by, or I could do something about it. Without hesitation, I slowly made my way into the "secured" area. Bob was leaning on his suitcase and when he glanced in my direction.

"Bob, I hate to bother you, but could I maybe get a quick autograph? I'd really appreciate it."

"Sure." While he didn't sound overly enthused, I couldn't blame him. I was kind of intruding, but I would have been mad at myself had I not taken this chance. I pulled the 8x10 out of the envelope, but forgot to take it out of top-loader. I handed him the picture as I grabbed the pen from my pocket. He had me take the cap off and started to sign the top-loader. As I realized this, I apologized and started to take the picture out of the top-loader, at this moment, I felt really guilty for wasting Bob's time, but Dean Malenko was cracking a joke about my shirt. He pointed out to Bob that I was wearing one of his shirts, and that I must have represented the twelve cents he'd earned in merchandising. Bob told him to shut up as I fumbled around trying to get the picture out. I finally got it out and he signed it quickly for me. I thanked him and asked if I could also get a quick picture. He agreed, but said we'd have to make it quick as his car was waiting on him. I thanked him again as I reached for the camera. I was trying to see who could take the picture and when I turned around, I saw the cop staring right at me. Without thinking, I handed the camera to him. He just looked at me oddly, and tried giving me back the camera. I took the opportunity to make sure the flash was on, but Bob could sense the cop wasn't going to take the picture.

"Can you just take the damn picture?" Bob and I posed quickly, and the cop snapped the photo. I told Bob that I appreciated it and he said no problem, he was glad to do it. I reached for my camera and started to walk away. The other cop approached me on my way out. I could hear Bob yelling at the cop who hesitated.

"What, you weren't going to take the fucking picture?"

"He wasn't supposed to be back here!"

"All he wanted was a fucking picture, godamnit! Just a fuckin' picture. Was that too much to ask?"

I couldn't believe it. Bob was actually sticking up for me to the police. Priceless.

The other cop wasn't so happy.

"You disobeyed a direct order. You try that again and we will arrest you."

"Don't worry, I won't be back, that was all I wanted."

"Even so, if you try coming back here, we will take you downtown."

"Like I said, you won't have to worry about it because I'm not coming back here."

Pointing to another security guard in front of me, "If this man comes back here again, detain him and call us over to arrest him."

"You won't have to worry about detaining me, I'm not coming back, so don't waste your breath. Thanks for the escort."

And with that I made my back into the arena. Needless to say, my adrenaline was pumping. I nearly got arrested, but I got the chance to meet Bob Holly. Needless to say, I was on Cloud Thirty-Seven. The main event was already over as I walked back in, but Adam were still at their seats. I explained to them what had happened, but I don't think they could understand what I was feeling at that point in time.

What a night.


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