I've been meaning to write a blog on this for a while now, but better later than never I guess lol. On July 21, I attended my first TNA live event. As to any wrestling fan, this was a great experience for me. It was a packed live crowd and each match was up to par and very entertaining. However, there were some major differences during this experience compared to a WWE live event.
First off, I was 10 rows from the ring, and my ticket only cost $40. Unfortunately, the $75 tickets had sold out during their presale. For $75, it included seats close to the ring plus a Meet & Greet before the show. I was disappointed that I wasn't able to get these tickets because as any wrestling fan, it would be a great experience to meet some of my favorite wrestlers. However, all was not lost. When I got to the event, they announced that they were selling $50 passes to attend a meet and greet during the intermission. The pass was for two people. So for $25, I had the pleasure of meeting Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, RVD, Sting, Dixie Carter and Bully Ray. During this session, it was crowded, but it was intimate enough that I was able to meet each superstar twice, talk to them briefly and get multiple pictures and autographs. Everyone was very friendly and down to earth. After that, we returned to our seats for the main event, which was Austin Aries vs Bobby Roode. I got to witness my dream match in person, which was also amazing. After the match, they announced that for $20 (free if you had purchased the $50 package from earlier) you and everyone in your group would be able to enter the ring and get a professional photo with Sting, which they would print for you on the spot. With this opportunity, I was able to meet Sting once again and experience being in a professional wrestling ring for the first time in my life. At the end of the night, I left the arena with the biggest smile on my face. Again, as a huge wrestling fan, this will always be remembered as one of the best nights of my life.
Now, on September 22nd, I will be attending a Raw live event at the Westchester County Center. I've been to countless events and they have all been entertaining. For this event, I am sitting in the second row from the ring (I'm such a wrestling seat snob lol.) I paid $111 for this ticket (damn you ticketmaster fees). However, for this price, all I will be getting is to see this event. Since I'm in the front, I may get a few high fives from some wrestlers but nothing more. This, unfortunately, is a normal WWE experience. Expensive ticket prices and not much for your money. The only event that I know of where you get to meet and greet WWE wrestlers is at a Wrestlemania or Summerslam Axxess event. I attended my first WM Axxess event this past year in Miami. If I remember correctly, it was about $50 for general admission for each session. They held about two sessions each day from that Thurs-Sun, and only certain wrestlers were booked each day. So if you were looking to go to more than one session, you see how much it could add up too. Now, this doesn't even include the special signings they had for certain wrestlers throughout the four days. Because this was my first Wrestlemania experience, I went all out and bought the special pass that guaranteed me to meet Sheamus at Axxess. We all know how much I admire him, so I didn't care about the price. After the ridiculous ticketmaster fees, my ticket to meet him came out to $130. With this ticket, I was guaranteed to meet him, get an autograph and picture, and entrance to that session of Axxess and meet who ever else was booked for that time. The event was crowded, the lines for the wrestlers were extremely long, and each wrestler only stayed about an hour or two, so you weren't even guaranteed to meet everyone. To this day, I'm still upset that while waiting to meet Sheamus, I missed out on meeting Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio, who were there and left while I was on line. Fortunately, instead, I was able to meet Wade Barrett during this session, who is one of my favorites on the current roster. I also was able to meet Paul Bearer, who is a legend in his own right. As a Sheamus fan, I would do it over again 100x if I could. Otherwise, I do not feel the event was worth the amount I paid.
As a wrestling fan, going to any live event is an amazing experience. However, the WWE who harps on being a PG rating and a family oriented show, does not make attending their events easy for a family to attend. The tickets and merchandise are overpriced, you have no real interaction with the superstars unless you are right in the front of an event, and with the few interactive events they host a year, the lines and prices take away from the experience. For less than half of what I've ever spent at a WWE event, I was able to meet several TNA stars and Dixie Carter herself. I could never see Vince McMahon doing a meet and greet with fans. With that being said, if the WWE really wants to become the PG show they
claim, they need to some notes from TNA and make their live events more
family friendly and give the fans their money's worth.