Dallas Flyers Club

So after New Orleans was the main event of the holiday: a trip to Dallas to tick something off the bucket list: Wrestlemania!

We actually spent a week in Dallas, but the first 3 days was in a pretty sweet AirBNB and we spent 3 days chilling in the city (including the newest entry on my favourite BBQ Pit ever, Lockhart Smoke House), but that was largely having a few drinks, a round of mini golf, and generally getting ourselves into a food coma.

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On the Friday, we arrived in Dallas’ Sheraton hotel for the Wrestlemania weekend. We attended an all you can eat BBQ meal at Texas De Brazil. This came a close second in “Best BBQ food of the trip”, as it was slightly different. However I think the 3 day food coma after Lockhart scared me a bit so I avoided eating too much.

After that was probably the show that most of us were looking forward to that weekend, the NXT Takeover: Dallas. NXT is WWE’s separate brand which it’s developmental brand and the participants are often well liked by the hardcore audience. One such participant is Shinsuke Nakamura, widely regarded as the best wrestler in the world. Imagine if Freddie Mercury was Japanese and really good at kicking people in the head. NXT Takeover Dallas was Nakamura’s debut, facing long time favourite Sami Zayn.

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This match didn’t disappoint, and was easily the second best match I’ve ever seen live. The crowd was lively for this match and it went longer than 20 minutes. It’s well worth checking out! The rest of the card was pretty good too, with the two title changes being standout matches, if the main event was affected by the early cut on Samoa Joe.

The next day I woke relatively early and headed to Wrestlemania Axxess. This was relatively disappointing mainly because the queues were incredibly long. It was expected to be fair and I am glad I went early as the afternoon session was just crazy. I did get to meet Goldust though which was cool, although the picture hasn’t shown up online yet.

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The evening we got all suited and booted for the WWE Hall of Fame. This was actually a pleasant surprise on how good this was. It was good listening to the stories and tales, admittedly one speech dominated all – The Fabulous Freebirds speech was 45 minutes of just “I’ve a live microphone, I don’t care”.

After the event we headed to the House of Blues for probably one of the more crazier moments of the weekend, a Ringside Chat with Jim Ross. It was in the notorious House of Blues in Dallas and although the drinks were probably the most expensive of the weekend (even more than Wrestlemania beers in the AT&T), everybody was suitably sloshed. Jim told a few stories and then brought on his guest – Rob Van Dam – and then things kinda went drunken and rowdy. Not rowdy enough for the gentleman sitting next to me, who slept through most of it, but nevertheless it was rowdy. After a while Hurricane Helms and Jeff Hardy (who were not scheduled to be there) turned up and then it went really downhill with the Q&A section seemingly falling by the wayside. Nobody really complained though as it was a fun evening. I just wish I could remember more of it.

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Onto the big day – Wrestlemania 32 at AT&T stadium. We started early, attending the Wrestlemania Terry Funk Tailgate which saw BBQ food, live wrestling, and an appearance and a meet and greet by legendary Terry Funk. The BBQ was wonderful (though the mash potato was cold? Was this a Texan thing?), and a nice surprise was that fairly well known wrestlers showed up including So Cal Val, Sami Callahan and (I think) Johnny Gargano. All – as well as Terry Funk – were lovely people. But after being fed and chatting with a few people, we headed over to the AT&T.

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It has been documented that getting into the stadium was a nightmare. That it was. It opened late (not too late, about 15 minutes or so late), and it was blistering heat outside. After running to the concessions for a drink, we then went and took our seats a good half hour before the show started. Thankfully we were lucky, as even as the show started people were still filing in, some not getting to their seats until well into the show.

So what of Wrestlemania itself? As a spectacle, it was wonderful (and weirdly despite being 7 hours long, it didn’t drag). However there was some strange decisions made, and the main event was the only match that I felt was really poor. I enjoyed the pre-show, the Intercontinental Title match and the Women’s match. The battle royale was fun, AJ & Jericho was a masterclass, and Shane vs. The Undertaker was a stuntfest. The rest was middling to poor though. Overall it wasn’t a dreadful Wrestlemania, and there was enough “Spectacle” to make it feel special.

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The next day was the final day, and we arranged to meet a few people from the BBQ for drinks and this is when I really began to appreciate the trip, after having  a few drinks, we headed to a memorable Monday Night Raw in the American Airlines centre. This show, which usually drags (as it’s another three hours) seem to fly by, with genuine shocks, returns and a rabid crowd, made this probably the second best show of the weekend.

All in all, 3 very different shows, but why you should attend Wrestlemania weekend if you’re a fan? You meet fans from all over the world. You can actually have conversations about a crazy sport and not bore people to death. Now I can count friends from all over the globe as fans of a crazy “sport”, from Americans who offered me couches, to Aussies who were super nice, and Irish people who came up with the best Roman Reigns chant I’ve ever heard. And that makes me so happy. In short, to borrow a chant, the people who went to Dallas, were awesome.

Other Notes

  • The single most frustrating thing about the weekend was the hotel. The WiFi was paid for which sucked immensely. If you have a large international contingent, WWE, please wrangle free WiFi.

Unboxing Loot Gaming’s March 2016 Box – Legacy

One of the most popular posts since relaunch has been the Unboxing of the Mass Effect N7 Loot Crate, so when I saw that Loot Crate had introduced a Loot Gaming box, I thought about doing another couple of unboxing videos. After dropping about £75 for 3 subscription boxes, I received the first one over the weekend. Here is the video of the unboxing.

Overall, the t-shirt is the beauty of this box. I wore it to Play It! Manchester later that day and did drunkenly check myself out in the mirror wearing it, it’s that good. The scarf and socks are nice and well made if you’re a fan of the franchises. I’m very happy with the badges too as they seem like nice pieces, but the figurine I couldn’t really see a point to, which is a shame. So yes, the t-shirt I’d probably pay about £15 for, which I’d keep.

Also, according to the email received from Loot Crate, apparently there was also a BloodsportsTV game which, errr…wasn’t in the box from what I can see. Rubbish.

I’ve at least 2 more of these to do. Next month has seemingly franchises I don’t care much about (yes, I never got into Fallout 4 or Resident Evil, which is a big thing from next month’s box), so maybe the final one after that may be a lot more positive. Who knows? Be sure to like the video and subscribe to my YouTube channel so that you will find out about them first!

Own Part of the Crate!

From the crate, I’ve put the following things on eBay:-

To to subscribe to Loot Gaming, check out the official site here. Use SAVE3 to save $3 off your first crate.

That Shit Cray(fish) – 3 Days in New Orleans

So recently (and actually when I write this, due to the fact I’m wanting to write something as it’s fresh in my head) I went to New Orleans for a visit. I’ve always want to go to The Big Easy after a friend of mine waxed lyrical on how brilliant it was, and hearing great things about the place I’ve always wanted to go. With Wrestlemania in Dallas, I decided to head out a few days earlier to go to New Lorleans for a much-deserved break.

I arrived at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Hotel after arriving on an Uber. The driver, Nicky was wonderful, but unfortunately it seems like Uber is crippled in New Orleans due to minimum fares from the airport that is twice as much as normal fares. So try to avoid using Uber from the airport, and arrive carrying cash so you can get at a taxi. The hotel was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, a huge behemoth of a building spread over 30 floors, with an element of luxury, I was reminded that the main tower seemed almost Citadel-from-Mass-Effect-ish.

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After a quick change, I headed out to the famous street in New Orleans, Bourbon Street. I wasn’t sure what to expect as generally speaking the United States isn’t known for it’s drinking culture, this was a lot different, and absolutely crazy because of it. Bourbon Street is a hive of jazz music, debauchery and cocktails in rude shaped glasses.

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There is so much here it’s an assault on the senses, so after some food (a fairly substandard Chicken Jambalaya), and checking out a few bars I found a great little bar for a bit – Ticklers Piano Bar. This bar featured some dueling pianos which was a great form of entertainment.

Bourbon Street was fascinating to see, but I think I was just a little too old for it. So heading home I found Hobnobber’s Variety Bar and Restaurant that became a home from home in New Orleans. It had a range of craft beers that were brilliant, my personal favourite was the 7th Street Wheat Lemon & Basil Beer. I’m not a fan of wheat beers nor flavoured beers, but this was absolutely delicious and eventually became my craft beer of choice. Plus it was $3 cheaper than the artificial shite on Bourbon Street. Thanks to the staff there, I was pointed in the correct places to go during my stay in New Orleans, and invited to their Easter celebrations.

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After a fairly good sleep, I woke with the sad news that today was going to rain. Nevertheless, I headed out and had a pretty decent breakfast in Daisy Dukes (a Veggie Omelette, if you must know), before – joy of wonderous joys – the heavens opened. This kinda put me back an hour or two, as I missed one of the three Easter Parades that were happening that day on Bourbon Street. So after a while of standing under some shelter in borderline monsoon conditions, I dived into a shop for some souvenir shopping.

After a while, the rain stopped, so I set off to explore the French quarter a little bit more. It was Easter Sunday, so at the cathedral there was mass. After a leisurely stroll along the Mississippi, I checked out the Chris Owens parade, the second parade of that day.

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The parade was superb! Lots of colourful floats and the participants were throwing beads and other keepsakes from all the floats, all with live music. Thankfully the rain had stopped so a lot of the expensive dresses and suits weren’t ruined.

I rested for a bit and then returned to Hobnobber for an evening of (free) food and (paid for) drinks. As everybody was bringing something I did bring some crisps, and it was here where I had a mish mash of Southern Easter Cuisine of BBQ Shrimp, Ham & Sweet Potato Casserole (which was delicious and I’m definitely cooking that at home!) and Apple Pie. After an enjoyable evening putting the world to rights, I said goodbye to my new found friends at Hobnobbers, and left.

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The final day was spent walking through the Garden District. I had a gorgeous lunch at Joey K’sIt was a simple Shrimp Poboy, with a side of french fries. Simple, delicious, and very filling.

The evening was spent at the Smoothie King Centre which was beside the hotel to watch New Orleans Pelicans vs. New York Knicks. Now I had seen NBA Basketball before (though I was introduced to the sport – like most Brits who grew up in the 1990s – in the game NBA Jam), and I cannot say I enjoyed it that much. It was a preseason game and I ended up paying £50 for a ticket that they were giving away for free the day before the event. Although it was seen as something important for Manchester, I couldn’t help feel most people didn’t want to be there, including the players (Oklahoma City vs. Philadelphia).

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Thankfully, this game was much better. I am not sure why, maybe it was there seemed to be a lot more to do before and during the game, maybe it was because I was surrounded by people who were invested in the game, maybe it was simply that the tickets were cheaper. In short, it was a good fun evening, and as I wanted to avoid drinking, it was a good way to do something fun and stay sober.

All in all, I think the one thing I’d take away from my time in New Orleans is the hospitality. Everybody was really friendly and to be invited to an Easter feast with a bunch of strangers was an absolute treat that made my visit there. That wasn’t unique, as from the taxi ride there to the taxi ride back everybody was so incredibly friendly, and I’d love to go back again.

Other Thoughts

  • Rather disappointingly, outside of the Hotel, Hobnobbers and the Smoothie King Centre, I couldn’t find WiFi anywhere. I’m assuming chains generally do as well.

Rocket League Review

I had a bit of time over my Birthday Weekend (I turned 32 last week), so I thought I’d do a quick Rocket League review, probably one of my favourite games at the moment.

In short, Rocket League is a great game, and worth checking out if you’re an Xbox Live subscriber (or indeed on the PC or PS4), I’d recommend get this. It’s a great game to pass time with and you can easily play for 30 minutes or 2 or 3 hours. Online play really is where it’s at, as although there are some modes that you can play offline, it doesn’t have the same competitiveness as playing against your fellow human. As such, if you don’t play online, I’d probably skip this game. However, if you have Xbox Live, then this is a great game to add to your collection.

To find out more about Rocket League, be sure to check out their official site. You can get the game on Xbox One, or on PC via Steam.

Unboxing Mass Effect’s N7 Loot Crate

Before Christmas, I bought Mass Effect’s N7 Day Loot Crate, which was a special crate full of Mass Effect themed goodies. Mass Effect is one of my favourite franchises out there, so I snapped at the chance to buy it.

As a way to try and introduce some different content to the site, I thought about doing an unboxing video. So – a few months late – here is the video of the unboxing of the N7 Day Loot Crate.

Other Thoughts (Not Shared On The Video)

Whilst I’m happy with what I got, I do think that the crate focussed too much on the N7 Logo and less on the entire universe. I’d have liked to see something for some of the characters like Liara, Garrus, Tali or Grunt. The only race that was represented was the fairly minor race of Volus. So that was slightly disappointing.

I still haven’t read the comic either, but it’s on my “to-read” list!

Own Part of the Crate!

From the crate, I’ve put the following things on eBay:-

The crate is no longer for sale, but you can check out the range of Loot Crates. Use SAVE3 to save $3 off your first crate.