We’re big fans of the American Major Leagues, so when we were in Los Angeles in 2009 we were determined to see some sporting events. We already had our tickets booked for an Anaheim Angels game and decided to check the Staples Center schedule to see what else was in town when we were.
The result? WWE SummerSlam was happening the same weekend we were in Los Angeles. Amy grew up watching superstars including Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage while Kieron was obsessed with wrestling in the late 90’s during the WWE Attitude Era featuring the likes Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho.
When we saw that the latter two were on the card of the second biggest wrestling event of the year, we knew we wanted to go. So onto StubHub we went and bought the most affordable tickets we could find as well as passes to SummerSlam Axxess, the interactive fan experience. When the day finally arrived, we excitedly got on board the Metro Rail in Hollywood destined for Pico Station, the Staples Center and WWE Summerslam – our first major event in the USA.
Held in the Nokia Plaza outside the Staples Center, this “interactive fan experience” was designed to enhance our overall SummerSlam experience. Unfortunately the searing LA summer sun meant that we probably didn’t get the full experience as we needed to have constant breaks from the sun under the solitary tree in the entire Plaza area. As the afternoon wore on, this quickly became the most popular place within the event so we decided to leave early to enjoy a delicious lunch at nearby The Farm of Beverly Hills.
To be honest, most of the “experience” was a money grab in our opinion and while they did offer cool things like being able to create your own wrestling theme (something I always wanted to do!), these cost quite a bit of money which we just weren’t willing to spend – not to mention the lines were huge!
On the upside, we did get to see John Cena up close as he was interviewed in the lead-up to his match with Randy Orton – and let me say that Cena’s arms were nearly as thick as my head!
We were also in the front row of a Primo vs. Chavo Guerrero wrestling match in the outdoor ring which was an awesome experience. Pro-wrestling seems to be a lot slower in real life than it looks on TV but perhaps that’s just because it was an exhibition match?
WWE Summerslam – The Event
After a long afternoon at SummerSlam Axxess, we queued in an enormous line to finally enter the Staples Center. While waiting in line, we watched the crowd directly in front of the main entrance go crazy and start chanting their heroes’ names as soon as the cameras were switched on!
The atmosphere was electric both inside and outside of the arena which helped pass the queuing time quickly. Before you knew it we were in our seats looking at an empty wrestling ring sitting amongst the retired Lakers jerseys hanging from the rafters. On the way to to our seats we picked up some merchandise for Amy’s brother and a bottle of water which led to the subsequent mocking of my Australian accent by another wrestling fan.
“I totally love how you say war-tah!”
Surely I don’t sound like that?
We won’t go into detail about the specific matches that happened on the night but some of our highlights included:
- SummerSlam starting with a dark match featuring a Divas Battle Royal.
- Being a part of such a passionate and intense crowd – those wrestling fans sure take it seriously! The only downside was that Amy had beer spilled on her from one overzealous fan halfway through the night.
- Watching D-Generation X (Shawn Michaels/Triple H) enter the arena on a tank with plenty of fireworks and plenty of noise from the crowd.
- An epic main event which was a ladder match between Jeff Hardy and CM Punk. Massive credit must go to both of these guys for putting on one hell of a match with some very dangerous stunts! Check out the photo below – you can see Hardy in the air next to the ladder!
To ours and much of the crowd’s disappointment, CM Punk went on to win the ladder match and the championship belt. Upon the completion of the match, we quickly stood up, determined to make a hasty exit from the arena when suddenly the lights went out! What the hell?!
The toll of bells then rung throughout the arena which made the hairs on the back of our necks stood up and the crowd went insane – we knew what was coming!
When the lights came back on, The Undertaker stood in the middle of the ring and chokeslammed CM Punk to the crowd’s delight! This was a fantastic way for the show to end (we unexpectedly got to see a wrestling legend that we both grew up with!) and we look forward to hopefully having another wrestling experience on our upcoming travels.
Have you been to a unique event while traveling? Tell us what event you’ve been to in the comments!