Tag: firstontario centre; copps colisem

Top 8 WWE Live Moments!

funniest wwe moments

 

World Wrestling Entertainment’s Road To Wrestlemania Tour comes to Toronto this Friday, March 8, and thanks to my friends at the WWE, my family will be attendance for the show! It should be a great way to kick off March Break. As someone who’s been to an event or two over the years, I can tell you that the experiences are always memorable. Like, listicle worthy memorable. Check it out! Here are eight of my top WWE moments, experienced live, in person:

8. The Royal Rumble is one of the biggest shows of the year that the WWE puts on. I actually went to the very first show, in 1988, in my hometown of Hamilton. It also happened to be the first show that I went to. Even more memorably, despite coming from very modest means,  my family somehow had floor seats, just a few rows from the ring!

wwe best moments of all time

A picture that my mom took of the action. Hulk Hogan, wobbly, after Andre The Giant overturned a table on him.

7. While leaving the above event, heading back to our car, I had my first celebrity encounter! We bumped into legendary wrestler Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and legendary wrestling personality ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund outside of the rear entrance of what was then known as Copps Coliseum. As Jake was my favorite wrestler at the time, little kid me was in awe and starstruck.  They had clearly downed “one too many” beforehand, but were incredibly nice and talked to us for a while. For those not around in the 80s, we couldn’t just bust out our phones, to take a selfie, if we met a star (crazy, eh?), so you’ll have to take my word on this encounter.

6. A couple of years later, I went to a house show with one of my sisters, also in Hamilton. Again, for reasons unknown to me now, we somehow had floor seats, a few rows from the ring. My favorite wrestler at that time, Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart, was scheduled to be on the card. One of his gimmicks was that, during his entrance, he would give his sunglasses to a child who was ringside. Knowing that we would be close, I brought my Bret Hart action figure with me, with the intention of waving it, and drawing Bret’s attention, so I could hopefully score a pair of shades. When the big moment came, and Bret came strutting to the ring, he took off his glasses, looked right at my frantically waving little butt, and headed over. BUT, before he got to me, he saw a kid rocking a Bret Hart shirt, so gave the glasses to that boy, instead. Yo, I didn’t say they were all of these top WWE moments were good moments, peeps.

5.  When attending any event live, the crowd can really add to the experience . Wrestling is no exception to this. The hypest atmosphere of any concert/sport that I’ve been to occurred at the 2006 WWE Unforgiven Pay Per View, in Toronto, during the main event. Local hero Edge versus challenger John Cena, in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. The crowd was bananas for Edge, and the hatred for Cena was hilariously harsh, so the place was rockin’. When Cena ended up winning, grown men were legit furious. Just a very surreal match, to say the least!

4. 2007. Saturday Night’s Main Event, in Toronto.  Batista’s music hits, followed by his pyro routine. Here’s an example of it, for reference:

Needless to say, it is LOUD! However, I looked over at my buddy…..and he was fast asleep. Slept through the whole thing. I was surprised, but impressed. It takes a special kind of tired to saw logs through that kind of noise explosion.

3. I’ll cheat a bit, as this wasn’t at an official WWE event. However, when a guy like ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted Dibiase wants to lock you up in his signature move, The Million Dollar Dream, you suck it up and do it! Everyone has a price, right?

best wwe moments

Tie 2. & 1. First times always trump everything, so my top moments are when I took my oldest two oldest kids to their first shows. B a few years ago, to a Smackdown house show, and J, last year, to a WWE NXT show.  We had a good time, and they’re both looking forward to the upcoming Toronto show. At the end of the day, man, that’s what it’s all about – creating memories with your children. Who knows, maybe we’ll add to this list of top WWE moments Friday.

See you at the fights!

 

 

 

 

The Canadian Basketball League – Turning Hoop Dreams Into Reality

 

I’ve mentioned before on this site that one of the best things about being a parent is sharing my interests with my kids. Take basketball, for example.  It’s always been my favorite sport. B’s picked up on that vibe and become a huge hoops fiend, too.  If he’s not playing ball, then he’s talking about it constantly.  It’s that interest which led me to stumbling onto the Canadian Basketball League  (CBL).

The CBL is the brainchild of Butch Carter, the Toronto Raptors’ former head coach. It’s a fledgling, four team professional league in its first season, with all four teams located in the GTA. I discovered this while randomly looking at things to do one weekend recently. To my surprise, one of the teams is located in Hamilton. As such, I copped a couple of tickets, and B and I checked out a game: the Hamilton Basketball Club vs. the Scarborough Basketball Club.

You’re probably now wondering what the game was like. And to that I say it was…….professional. Lemme explain.

I think one of the keys to operating any sports league or team is to not come across as rinky dink, or lame. With that said, I think the CBL does a pretty good job with that. The league website looks pretty slick, for example. They also have their own online ticket buying site, as opposed to going through Ticketmaster, which I think is pretty clever (both them and the consumer save paying Ticketmaster fees).  They even have a TV deal, as they show some games on Yes TV.

Hamilton plays it home games at Mohawk College, which has a decent sized facility, and a fair number of rafters. B did ask about buying snacks at the game, as we were driving there. Being familiar with the campus, I knew that there weren’t any concessions. However, that just meant we had to make a quick stop at Bulk Barn, to load up on goodies. When  we got there, the attendants at the game didn’t care that we brought our own food and drinks. In a neat touch, we were given a free Hamilton Basketball Club rally towel as we walked in, too.

In terms of in-game presentation, I was pleasantly surprised. There was an announcer who did his best to hype the crowd up, and played music throughout the contest (similar to an NBA game).  The players looked like real basketball players, for lack of a better term, which was good, because they were real basketball players.  I read their bios, and they were all legit. From local stars, to former US high school standouts, to college grads looking for another chance, there were a lot of talented dudes, which made for some quality, entertaining basketball.

It really is an interesting niche to go after. Ballers who aren’t ready to give up their hoop dreams yet, and need a place to play, to take the next step up in their careers. They are paid for their services, too.  There is another league in Canada, the National Basketball League, which is bigger, and has been around longer, and I think does the same type of thing. However, the CBL’s rosters seems to skew on the younger side, most likely by design.

One other interesting thing of note.  B and I sat in the front row, so we could hear everything that was being said on the court. I don’t know if it was conscious effort by the players and coaches, but we only heard one use of profanity the whole game. The rest of time, there was a lot of “Shoot!” or “Dang it!”, stuff like that. When you’re with small kids, this is huge. I was happy that the atmosphere was so family-friendly.

Now, obviously, it’s not the same as going to an NBA game, or even a D-League game. To say the attendance was sparse would be putting it generously. It’s a shame, but I guess that goes with the growing pains of a new league that isn’t heavily promoted. Regardless, it was still fun.  We went to a Hamilton Bulldogs (a  junior hockey team who play out of the FirstOntario Centre, which is a borderline NHL-caliber arena) game a few weeks prior to the CBL game, and the products were similarly entertaining.

B was really into it, by the end, cheering the home team on (even though they ended up losing).  It was also an eye-opening experience for him, as he didn’t realize that you could make a living playing basketball outside of the NBA or D-League.

When I say that the CBL is professional, I mean it as a compliment. The effort is obviously there, to make for an enjoyable fan experience, and it’s pretty good value, relative to other pro sports in the GTA.  Hopefully, the league continues to grow and improve!

 

https://canadianbasketball.com/

https://secure.cbltickets.com/online/index.asp

 

 

Giveaway – Marvel Universe LIVE!

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A few months ago, I was out and about, when I saw a poster saying that Marvel Universe LIVE! was coming to Hamilton.  Not even knowing that this tour existed, my initial reaction was ‘That can’t be real!’

Oh, it’s real, though. It’s so real.

MUL Group

Canadian Marvel fans, assemble! Here’s a summary of this original live action arena experience, from their website:

Marvel Universe LIVE! will captivate audiences with an authentic and original story that brings more than 25 Marvel characters together on one epic quest.  The story is framed around the battle over the Cosmic Cube, the source of ultimate power and one of the most feared and coveted treasures in the Marvel Universe, that has been shattered into pieces by the Mighty Thor in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. With the pieces scattered across the globe, Thor’s villainous brother Loki devises a scheme to clone its powers, inciting a threat that could not only decimate Earth but also obliterate the Universe.

To defeat Loki, Marvel’s biggest Super Heroes must band together, including The Avengers – Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Thor along with Spider-Man and Wolverine, must trek across the globe to retrieve the Cosmic Cube fragments and unite them. As the Super Heroes track the Cube, they will encounter some of their biggest adversaries including Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Red Skull, Madame Hydra, Aldrich Killian, Electro and more, in the quest for the very same fragments. These foes have no problem teaming up if it gets them closer to their ultimate goal of world domination.

 

Superheroes, stunts, martial arts, pyro and movie-like special effects, in one live show? Count me in, yo!

StageShot

 

Marvel Universe LIVE! will be at the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton  through August 6-9 2015. If you’re looking at buying tickets, I may be able to help you out with that. Use promo code MULOC, and you’ll receive a 20% discount (Valid on select performances.  Service charges and handling fees may apply. No double discounts.   Excludes FR, VIP and all premium seating   Maximum 8 tickets per code). You can purchase tickets here.

 

Cap and Red Skull

Now, Feldman Entertainment generously hooked me up with four tickets to the show. My family is pretty pumped about it, but my son in particular can’t wait. This is right in his wheelhouse!

Wanna go, too? Enter below, for your chance to win a family pass of four tickets to the August 6 show in Hamilton!

 

Good luck!

Canadian Contests at AllCanadaContests.com

Review – WWE Live!

Some high flying in-ring action

Some high flying in-ring action

 

As I’ve noted before on this site, my son is a big fan of World Wrestling Entertainment.  On May 2, the WWE Live tour came to Hamilton, and, courtesy of two tickets from the WWE, we were able to attend the event!

In the weeks leading up to the show, to say that B was excited was an understatement. This was his first time seeing it live, and he was pumped to see a bunch of Superstars in person.  Not going to lie, though. As a parent, I was a bit nervous. I had been to live shows in the past, and it wasn’t the most family friendly environment. Now granted, this was years ago, before the shift to the more PG rated product that B was familiar with. I did do some online research beforehand, as well, and the general opinion seemed to be positive, in terms of taking small children. So off B and I went!

The first thing that I noticed, when we got to our seats, was that there were a TON of families with little kids in attendance. Almost all of them had merchandise and/or signs, supporting their favorite Superstars.

Me being old school, I had decided to rock a Mr. Perfect shirt to the show:

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No. No I am not perfect.

And B being new school, he decided to rock a bunch or random wrestling stuff, along with a shirt of his favorite wrestler, Kofi Kingston:

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The second thing which I noticed was that letting B pick cotton candy as a treat probably wasn’t the best idea, as he devoured it within minutes.

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Uh, can you say sugar rush?

The show started with Bad News Barrett’s entrance music filling the FirstOntario Centre. When he came strutting out, B hopped out of his seat and booed him, along with most of the other fans. Wrestling is all about good versus bad.  The babyfaces and the heels. B gravitates to the nice guys and girls. Through the whole night, I could tell that he had a blast cheering all of them on to victory. The atmosphere really was bananas, too. Thousands of people just losing their minds at the performers. It really wasn’t that hard to get caught up in the excitement!

My concern about the family friendliness also turned out to not be too big of a deal. In our section, someone did let a profanity slip once, but I heard him be quickly admonished for it (because there were kids around). From then on, “Kick his butt!” or “So and so sucks!” was the extent of the bad language.

Speaking of sucking, let’s go back to the aforementioned Kofi Kingston. B loves him, mainly because of the fact that he has always been a good guy. Recently, though, Kofi started a team with two other wrestlers called the New Day. They’re basically three happy-go-lucky guys who fans should cheer……but they don’t. So basically, Kofi’s character is a good guy who people boo. As a result,the New Day are slowly turning into bad guys.

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New Day, in action.

As luck would have it, the New Day actually wrestled at the show! B instantly recognized the first chords of their entrance music, and started freaking out when they entered the arena. This made me freak out, too. We were the only freaks, unfortunately. They got booed lustily by everyone else, and pounded with ‘New Day sucks!’ chants, throughout their match. Our feeble attempts to start a ‘New Day rocks!’ chant fell on deaf ears. The highlight/lowlight was B hopping onto his chair, to yell “New Day does not suck! They rock!” (don’t worry, I did pull him down, and told him not use the word suck).  New Day lost the match, but still walked out with their tag team championship belts, which thrilled B. He got to see his fav wrestler in person, who left with his gold title, to our cheers. Sweet!

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New Day’s opponents that night, Cesaro and Tyson Kidd, celebrating like nobody’s business.

All in all, the show was about two and half hours, but it flew by. In terms of the Squirm Test (how I tell if my kids are feeling something, based on how much they squirm), it was a success. B was on the edge of his seat the whole time. The only time he started to get fidgety was during the last match, a wild brawl  between Dean Ambrose and Luke Harper, which went all around the ring, and had them putting each through tables. B was getting pretty tired by that point, so I don’t blame him for getting restless.

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One sleepy looking lil man, on our way out.

One final note – man, some of these wrestlers are huuuge. TV doesn’t do them justice. The fact that dudes that large can pull off the athletic stunts that they do is pretty incredible.

Thanks again, WWE, for the hookup. Sports entertainment at its finest. Great night at the fights!

 

 

 

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