I remember being three and doing Jeff Hardy's entrance with him. I remember being seven and watching Randy Orton's gold pyro fall in awe. I remember being 12 and discovering Ring of Honor and NJPW for the first time. I remember watching the Motor City Machine Guns vs Generation Me at my grandmother's house, at 11:30 on a Thursday when I had to be up for school at 6:00. Point being, I have been mesmerized by professional wrestling since the day I was born. It never mattered the company, the time or place.... just the hype of the sport is amazing to me.
Last Saturday, I stood in front of the men I have idolized and loved for years. They were not pushy, not arrogant. They were sweet, funny, and attentive. I expected to be nervous, but as I walked up to the Young Bucks table, I felt nothing but peace and a sense of calm come over me. We talked like they didn't meet hundreds of fans every night like I was the center of attention and that meant so much to me.
As I was chatting it up with Nick Jackson and having the time of my life, Cody, Brandi, Bernard and Colby Jack were right behind me. Cody erupted with "IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY! Happy birthday sweetheart." and gave me the biggest hug I could have ever asked for. I shook hands with Bernard and met Brandi Rhodes (who is an inspiration to every woman with a dream). Then still had more time with The Bucks.
Meeting Cody was surreal. Of course, everyone knows what a personality he has, but he fills a room when he walks in. It's not just the suits or his physical appearance. It is his smile, his voice, his warmth. I did the stereotypical fan thing and told him I had loved him since '07, but he just laughed and told me I was a trooper for sticking it out this long. Brandi was everything a woman dreams of being. She is beauty and elegance personified. Bernard is the most business driven bear I have ever met and gives amazing handshakes.
Marty may call himself The Villain but when it comes to his fans, he is a hero. My little sister L O V E S Marty Scrull and thanks him for her addiction to the UK indy scene. The way he talked to and interacted with her melted my heart. My sister is normally very shy and timid in public situations but when she was talking to Marty, her smile never left her face and she was so excited to interact with him.
Before we found our seats, I talked my loyal Bullet Club fan sister into meeting the Kingdom with me. I remember when I first got into ROH, Matt Taven was really coming into his own and was TV champion. I was instantly hooked on Taven and his whole persona. Then when Vinny and TK came along in this Kingdom, I was sold. I got the shirts, I believe that there is a conspiracy against The Kingdom and there is no good reason Matt Taven is not world champion.
It was terrifying, walking up to a heel group, not knowing if I should expect the characters or the guys behind them. This is when all the nerves I had built up throughout the night came crashing down. Until we started talking. Instantly, Taven wanted to make fun of me for my BC shirt, then I told him it was my birthday. This caused TK to laugh really loud and then it took off. Every nerve melted away, again. We talked about small drives through towns and what we would do to see a good wrestling show.
When it was time to take our pictures, Matt Taven looked down at me and asked how old I was...when I told him 19 he nearly screamed: "19! Ah, I remember what it feels like to be young!" and we all laughed. Holding the six-man belts AND the CMLL title was an amazing moment for me. He told me happy birthday one more time before we had to go and we hugged. "Thanks, Taven!" was the only response I had at the time (there are so many Matt's in the wrestling world), earning a laugh from TK and Vinny since apparently that had never been said before??
Whoever said you shouldn't meet your heroes, they looked up to the wrong people. As I am writing this article, it has been seven days since I met the coolest people on the planet and I still can't shut up about it. This was something my sister and I had been dreaming about for years and we made it happen, we did it. I always get told I'm too much...too excited, too loud. Not one of them made me feel that way. I felt loved and accepted. When you love something the way I love wrestling, to know even a part of that love is reciprocated is the greatest feeling I have experienced in my 19 years of life on this planet.