If you read part one of the Starrcast/ ALL IN Recap, you’ll know what Starrcast & ALL IN was. You’ll also read about our travel experience getting to Chicago and our hotel, along with the first events that we went to. If you haven’t read it yet, I’ll wait…
…are you finished yet?
Ok, good. I’m going to try to recap the next 3 days in one post. You ready?
We got up early (side note: Nikki & I are night owls) to begin getting ready for the activities of the day. Myself along with two of the friends we roomed with (the other two had a room a few doors down) had breakfast from the lobby. Unfortunately for Nikki, the only option they had for her was a banana. She was prepared for this and packed Glutino’s Toaster Pastries to eat with her banana.
We ordered a Lyft to take us to the train station after breakfast. From there, we took a train station into Chicago and headed to Pro Wrestling Tees. We were there for a Meet & Greet with former wrestler & current UFC fighter, CM Punk. I have been a big fan of him for years and HAD to meet him. When tickets first went on sale, they only made 50 available. They sold out in under a minute. I was lucky enough to grab a ticket. They ended up releasing more tickets.
Pro Wrestling Tees
After leaving the train station, we walked about a mile to the store. Luckily, it was in a residential area & was actually pretty nice. We had tickets for the Photo Op only session (there was also a photo op + autograph signing). The Photo Op session was from 11 AM-1 PM. We got in line just after 11. There was already a line down the block. We got our wristbands and got in line. If we had known we’d being waiting outside, we would’ve gotten sunblock (the back of Nikki’s neck got sunburned). It was in the 80s. In front of the store, there was a hot dog truck. They were out of water & only had soda. Nikki can’t have soda because it makes her stomach burn. She struck out twice as there weren’t any food options around for her (there was a Popeye’s across the street, but she definitely can’t have that).
Since we waited about an hour and half, we were all sweaty, but finally closing in on our turn. Finally, we were ushered in to the storage room-turned-photo-op area where Punk was waiting. I started to walk to Punk’s right side & he asked where I was going & had me come back to the left side. I realized Nikki was still in line & told her to get in the picture because she had forgotten she was my +1 & we were sharing the picture. As she was walking over, Punk asked her what she was doing. Without missing a beat, Nikki replied, “being an amateur” which made him laugh. He’s rumored to not always be the nicest guy (he was), so Nikki was proud of herself for making him laugh. The photo op was over very quickly, but it was worth it!
Since we were sweaty & a little gross, we decided to skip the other line to peruse the store & head back to our hotel. We all had another meet & greet later that afternoon & wanted to freshen up. After changing shirts and getting as fresh as we could (shoutout to baby wipes & deodorant wipes!), we headed to the Hyatt Regency for more Meet & Greets. Nikki & I had a ticket to meet oVe (Ohio Versus Everything), which is a trio consisting of Sami Callihan, Jake Crist, and Dave Crist. Though we’re fans of all three, we’re huge Sami fans & were excited to finally meet him. This meet & greet went much faster than the CM Punk one. In fact, the longest part was actually finding oVe since they weren’t in their designated spot when we got there. Once we found them, the whole thing was pretty informal. Sami mentioned Nikki’s shirts (which was one of his limited edition ones). I asked if they were doing their meet & greet, which they were. We took a photo with them & received our autographed picture. Then, it was over.
We meet up with friends in the lobby & waited on our other two friends to finish their meet & greets. We originally planned to go back into the city to sightsee, but we were all pretty tired. We opted to go back to the hotel & figure out dinner plans.
After going through the Uber Eats app, we discovered American Wildburger. Nikki ordered a beef patty with lettuce and no bun (they had just ran out of their gluten free buns) and fries. I haven’t had BBQ outside of the South, but decided to try their pulled pork. This was a very good decision. Since this blog is long enough already, I’ll have a separate post on this & another restaurant we found that had food Nikki could eat.
TODAY IS THE BIG DAY!!! In just a few hours, the biggest independent show to ever take place would be starting.
But, first more meet & greets. The early morning trend continued as we had to get ready for a 10:30 meet & greet. We actually weren’t sure if we’d have time to do all three and flipped a coin to decide to buy tickets for a couple weeks prior. The universe told us to see Firing Squad. The Firing Squad consists of Tama Tonga, his (real life) brother, Tanga Loa, and their father, Haku (some of you may know him as Meng). We were pretty excited for this one as we’ve become fans of Tama & Tonga over the last year or so. Their characters are badasses and a little cocky. As is often the case, they were all very nice. Tama also had a lot of energy for 10:30!
We made our way through the large crowd to make it to the other side of the building for our next set of meet & greets. There was another very long line to get into a meet & greet next to our room. Luckily, we eventually made it to a shorter line for our room and were the fourth and fifth people in line. Sweet! This meet & greet were for the lucha sensations, Penta El Zero (aka Pentagon, Jr.) and Rey Fenix (aka Fenix, King Fenix). They are also real life brothers and two of the hottest wrestlers in the industry. The wait was a bit longer than Firing Squad, but still shorter than Punk. The interactions with both were brief, but they were both nice.
After we all finished our meet & greets, we walked across the street for a lunch at Longhorn Steakhouse. They were very accommodating of Nikki’s dietary restrictions. Again, this will be in a separate blogpost.
It was finally time. We took an Uber to Sears Centre, which was about 20 minutes away. Even though the pre-show began at 5 PM, doors opened at 3. We arrived just before 4 PM and there was already a pretty large crowd waiting to go through security. Once we got in line, the whole process took maybe ten minutes (security wands, bag check, and ticket scan). I was very impressed with how quickly & smoothly the process was. We headed directly to our seats & waited for the show to begin.
Prior to our trip, Nikki contacted the Sears Centre regarding outside food since it’s generally not allowed. She explained her dietary restrictions and asked if she would be allowed to bring something in her bag. She received a prompt response & they were very accommodating. Her response even asked where are seats were & was told that if she has any problems for that person to contact her directly. We were very appreciative and impressed with their response.
The pre-show was aired for free in the US on WGN. This gave them HUGE exposure to a national audience. The main show aired on PPV, Fite TV, and Honor Club (Ring of Honor’s membership network). A couple days later, the show also became available on NJPW World. The show was viewed by millions of people globally.
I have been to many wrestling shows, including WWE pay-per-views. This was by far the best show I have ever been to. The crowd was loud all night long and on their feet on and off. Every match was great and I was never bored. The energy was electric and you could feel the passion from both the fans and the wrestlers. The whole thing went by way too fast. I loved every single moment of it!! I still can’t believe that I was a part of such a historic event.
The one downside was getting back to our hotel. A majority of the 11,000 in attendance took a Lyft, Uber, or cab to get there. We all needed them to get back. There weren’t enough cars available and to make it worse, it was surge pricing. Uber was charging $220 for a 6 person vehicle ( you read that right) and Lyft was charging $160 for the same. After discussing for a few minutes, we decided to make the mile walk to a hotel nearby to try again. About 25 minutes later, we finally made it to the parking lot. Exhausted and hungry, we all tried for about 15 minutes to find a way back to the hotel. I finally found us a car that was $18 (the price surge is criminal). By the time we finally made it back, we decided to skip the All In afterparty that we had tickets for since it was nearly over.
Sunday was our last day and kept with the early morning trend. Nikki & I headed back to Pro Wrestling Tees for our final meet & greet. We were meeting one of our favorite Japanese wrestlers, Kazuchika Okada. The line for Okada was long, but not nearly as long as Punk’s. We learned our lesson & brought water bottles with us. The whole process of waiting in line & our photo op with Okada was less than 30 minutes (granted, they didn’t release as many tickets for Okada’s meet & greet). Side note: Okada is one of the most beautiful men in the world. Just thought you’d want to know. 😀
After the meet & greet, the line to get into the store wasn’t very long. The store was smaller than I thought it’d be, but it’s very cool. There’s all kind of wrestling memorabilia around the store. They have a pretty nice selection (the online store has merchandise for hundreds of wrestlers). We both bought a couple of shirts.
We weren’t expecting the meet & greet to be over so quickly. We headed back to the Hyatt to charge our phones & kill time since we didn’t have to be at the airport until 7 PM. One of our friends was there for her final meet & greet, so we were able to exchange goodbyes. I looked for food at Midway Airport that Nikki could eat. Of the four options that came up under gluten-free, there was a Froyo place, two coffeeshops, and one pub. The pub didn’t specify if they actually had gluten-free items. Not wanting to risk it, we decided to utilize Uber Eats again. This time, we ordered from Nic’s Organic Fast Food. Nikki was able to get a lettuce bun (not shreds of lettuce like before). I’ll discuss it more in the next blog.
Our flight was at 9:45 PM CT and we landed at 12:35 AM ET. By the time we got our luggage & our dad came to pick us up, we made it home after 1:30 AM. I was so glad the next day was Labor Day so that I could sleep in.
There were a few bumps in the road and finding food for Nikki was a struggle at times, but it was a wonderful trip. We’re patiently waiting for the All In 2 announcement.
YOU MADE IT! Thanks for reading this far. 😀 I wanted to make sure non-wrestling fans could appreciate our trip without going into super wrestling nerd mode & making them lose complete interest. lol
Thus concludes the Starrcast/ All In Recap: Part Two.
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