Note from John: The following guest column is written by my good friend & TJR Radio co-host Frank the WWE Clown. It's a piece about his adventures going to a number of WWE shows last year. It's a great read. Enjoy. The WWE Clown Year in Review 2011By Frank Mustari
Ever seen some wacko dressed as a Clown in a WWE crowd? That guy has to have some serious problems, right? I mean, who would ever subject themselves to such humiliation like that?! I would.For those of you who are not familiar with my antics, my name is Frank Mustari, and I am the WWE Clown. If you have ever watched WWE programming and saw a colorful wig, or a white and red clown face, then you have laid your eyes upon thee, and I'm sure you were very, very confused.<!--more-->The backstory of me being a Clown? Its a secret, but it was only supposed to be a one time deal that took a life of its own and here I am typing this out right now in the year 2012, and not looking back.Looking back, I have to say that 2011 was a tremendous year for me in many different ways. For now, I will focus on the one thing that gathers us all here today, and that is professional wrestling, and namely, the WWE.Coming off the heels of quite the year in 2010 in which I attended 7 PPV's, and over 30 shows total, I wanted to try and top myself in 2011 or continue this crazy trend that I was on. When 2011 began I found myself in the small town of Hammond, Indiana for a Smackdown house show, errr….live event! It was the afternoon of the Packers/Bears NFC Championship game, so Hammond being a neighbor to the big city of Chicago, the crowd was quite ruckus throughout the show. The main event of the show was a triple threat encounter for the World Heavyweight Championship between Kane, Edge and Dolph Ziggler. This was where the world started to take Ziggler seriously as a main evener, and he proved it again at the Royal Rumble weeks later in a very underrated match vs Edge. After a nice shout-out from Edge post show following his victory, I was preparing myself for the weekend that was to come…Royal Rumble weekend.The Rumble was held at the TD Garden in Boston, MA in 2011. Much speculation was abuzz throughout the week on who was going to return, and how the Wrestlemania card was going to play out. This was my very first Rumble, so my excitement level was off the charts. I've had the privilege of visiting many cities and sitting in many different wrestling crowds, and Boston is one of the best crowds in the country, without a doubt. They were hot from the opener all the way to Alberto's victory, which got a much bigger pop than I expected. I sat front row right behind the anonymous RAW GM (remember him?), and found myself heckling Michael Cole throughout the night. His heat was through the roof every time he "received an email from the Anonymous RAW General Manager." The highlight of the night for me, and I'm sure many other who attended live, were the returns of Booker T, and Kevin Nash. The feeling and electricity that echoed through the Garden was truly spectacular. Despite the dirtsheets spoiling their returns the night before, it didn't have any effect because the roof was blown off the Garden both times. It was pure nostalgia to see, one of the reasons I am a fan today, Kevin Nash, big booting Rey Mysterio's head off, because I still remember him and Scott Hall throwing Rey into a trailer and brutalizing him on one of the Spring Break editions of Nitro. The show from top to bottom was very solid, and set the bar for WWE PPV's to come in the year of 2011. Personally for me, I do not see any way I will be missing a Rumble live from here on out. Its exciting to watch on TV and guess who's coming out next with your friends, but its a whole new experience when you are inside the arena with 20,000 people anticipating and wondering what is going to happen next. If the Rumble ever is near you, I strongly suggest you go and feel the electricity, my typing does not nearly do it justice.The Rumble wrapped up and back home to Chicago I went, but it wasn't much of a break because I found myself sitting front row at RAW in Milwaukee 8 days later! The most memorable event of this night was the infamous R-Truth, "Green Bay, Wisconsin…WHAT'S UP?!" I'm not even from Milwaukee, but even I was somewhat offended! I'll never forget looking over at Michael Cole and seeing him standing on his chair screaming and yelling for Milwaukee. Hilarious moment. You could tell Truth felt pretty bad about it, poor Little Jimmy.Onward I went and hit a Smackdown live event in Fort Wayne, Indiana a few weeks later. If I recall correctly, the main event of the night was a tag match between Cody Rhodes and Alberto Del Rio taking on the team of Edge and Rey Mysterio. It was exactly the type of match you'd expect from all four of these solid workers. Cody worked the crowd by jumping the barricade and taking timeouts, one of which was in the seat next to me, as Alberto came over and tended to his partner.The Road to Wrestlemania was in full force in the WWE, and for yours truly. March was a big month for the WWE as the Rock had already made his return and was involved in the Miz/John Cena story on RAW. CM Punk and Randy Orton were finding new ways to strike each other. Edge, Del Rio, and Christian were putting on great matches on Smackdown, and Snooki had a really bad fake tan! I now found myself in one of my favorite cities in the world, St. Louis, MO (Go Rams!) for Monday Night RAW only three weeks before Wrestlemania 27. This RAW in particular had Snooki on live, Trish wrestled Vickie Guerrero, Sheamus won the United States Championship from Daniel Bryan, and Miz came out dressed as The Rock, which I will admit totally fooled me because as soon as you hear The Rock's music hits, no matter where you are, your head turns and you lose all reasoning and logic in your head of what's going to happen next. I personally wanted to hop the barricade in front of me and attack the Miz myself, but he did his job as a great heel and got people to boo him relentlessly as he took out John Cena. The Miz and I have had run in after run in and confrontation after confrontation but on this night he won, and he knew it with the little, snarky smile he had on his face. After the camera stopped rolling, HHH and Randy Orton teamed up to face Sheamus and CM Punk (he was a heel, remember?). This was interesting because this was HHH's first match since Sheamus took him out back in the summer of 2010. It was your typical short, dark match that is more comedy than anything but it was nice to see The Game preparing for the biggest battle of his life in a few weeks vs The Undertaker. I understood it was a dark match and that nobody except the live crowd will see it, but after all this history with Orton and HHH, I couldn't believe they were tagging. HHH broke into Orton's home! Randy RKO'ed HHH's wife, and kissed her lifeless body! HHH assaulted Orton with a sledgehammer, and slammed his head in a car trunk! That irked me, but hey, its professional wrestling, we don't need logic for anything and that's why we love it!Two weeks passed by and the night had finally arrived. It was time for RAW in Chicago just six days before Wrestlemania. Being a Chicago native, I'm somewhat biased, but I believe that Chicago is the best wrestling crowd in the world today. I think we proved that in 2011, and WWE understands this because they continue to book landmark shows at the Allstate Arena. There was so much that went down on this night that it deserves an entire column to itself. When was the last time you had HHH, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, and The Rock on the same RAW live? This was without a doubt, the best RAW I have ever been to live. The show opened up with the hometown hero, CM Punk cutting a riveting promo followed by him taking out Randy Orton. Edge and Christian tagged together for the first time in years. Sheamus and Daniel Bryan put on a solid match. Everyone tends to forget that Shawn Michaels made a surprise appearance to play the middle man in the Undertaker/HHH saga. Of course though, the show was based around the first ever face-to-face confrontation between The Rock and John Cena. I was front row, on the camera side in my clown wig throughout the night, and if you go on YouTube and watch this segment all the way through, you will see me lose my mind from beginning to the end where Cena hit Rock with the AA, in which I jumped about 15 feet in the air, or so it seemed. I was getting tweets like crazy throughout the segment because millions saw me absolutely lose my mind and mark out like I was a child all over again. I love reacting like that because isn't that what wrestling is all about? Don't we watch for moments like that where you forget that it's just "entertainment" and just look on as everything unfolds in front of you and you're on the edge of your seat wondering what's going to happen next? I'll never forget as John Cena entered the ring, he looked down at me and gave a very subtle head nod, almost letting me know that history was about to be made. Bottom line, amazing show, in the perfect atmosphere. Wrestlemania was officially here.About eight hours later I was on a plane to Atlanta, GA and Wrestlemania week was officially underway! Tuesday tends to be the rest day because I figured the next 6 days would be as hectic as can be. Wednesday night was the night of the Wrestlemania Art Show. For those of you who may not be familiar with it, or are interested in attending this year, its a great event for a great cause. Its a relaxing night, in which you can enjoy and view great art by some of the WWE Superstars, bid on them with all proceeds going to charity, and get to interact with your favorite WWE Superstars and Divas, all while enjoying some appetizers and drinks. The crowd for last year's was not too out of control so everyone had an opportunity to chat with stars like Zack Ryder, Beth Phoenix, and Booker T to name a few. Overall, there were about 20-25 Superstars and Divas who attended and showed off their artwork which was sold to the highest bidders in silent auctions. I strongly suggest if you can attend this year's Wrestlemania Art that its affordable, well worth the money, and its for a great cause, so you can't beat it! As the granddaddy of them all approaches, with it comes Wrestlemania Axxess. Wrestlemania is not just a one day event, its a week long extravaganza, and Axxess is a great place to take in all the grandeur of Mania. Axxess runs many sessions from Thursday night through Sunday afternoon. The question that comes from Axxess isn't what can you do, it's what CAN'T you do there?! Meet your favorite Superstars/Divas and get an autograph and your picture taken! Last year The Undertaker, John Cena, HHH, Randy Orton, Edge, CM Punk, and Shawn Michaels all did meet and greet sessions! Where else can you get this up close and personal with the biggest names in sports entertainment?! Walk through memory lane and take a gander at some ring worn memorabilia, championship titles, and things such as Mr. McMahon's exploded limo. Walk through Undertaker's Graveyard, visit Hornswoggle's house, or take part in some trivia competitions to win great prizes! Also, there is a ring set up inside where live matches will be held, along with Q&A's with your favorite stars, or games and competitions against other fans for prizes such as tickets, autographs, or whatever else they hide under the ring! Personally for me, its a great time to meet people that I keep in touch with through social networking and get to see some familiar faces from within the company. I did some serious networking, did a bunch of interview, took pictures, and chatted with some very intelligent and cool people. I even did an interview for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno while at Axxess! Yes, this wacky Clown, don't ask me why! You just never know what's going to happen, or what you may partake in while there. I can't stress how fun Wrestlemania Axxess is, and it truly does have something for everybody of all ages. Even the most casual of fans will find something they can relate to and enjoy while walking through the fan festival celebrating Wrestlemania. I will for sure be marching through there, clown gear and all this coming year so if you see me, please stop me and let's chat!
While in the host city of Wrestlemania, no matter where you go, or where you turn your head, you will almost inevitably run into a familiar face. The entire week is truly a free for all, and as the fans from all around the world arrive, you will see all the different cultures and people that are wrestling fans. Another thing about Wrestlemania week is you never know who you might see walking down the street, in a hotel, or restaurant. Last year I met/saw people such as Ric Flair, Steve Austin, DDP, X-Pac, James Laurinaitis (LB for my beloved St. Louis Rams), Drew Carey, and Rob Dyrdek just to name a few. As Saturday night rolls around, you better break out your suit and tie and get ready for the Hall of Fame ceremony, which is personally maybe my favorite night of it all. Its a nice, relaxing night to honor some of the greatest Superstars from yesteryear and pay homage to those who paved the business for what it is today. It's a night to reflect, and look back on some of the good ole days of professional wrestling and seeing Shawn Michaels, who in my opinion is the greatest performer of all time, was an emotional, and surreal moment to watch. After the ceremony is over, the decision is up to you whether or not to go out and have a good time on the town, or rest up for what is to come in about 24 hours. Wrestlemania day has arrived.On the day of Wrestlemania last year, I decided to play it cool, and relax in the hours leading up to the show. For me, I was very excited for CM Punk vs. Randy Orton and thought they had the potential for the match of the night. I sat front row for half of the show, and the other half sat 3rd row. I almost felt like I didn't belong because sitting next to me was Carolina Panther All Pro-RB DeAngelo Williams, then over to his right was professional skateboarder, and someone who I got to know a little bit throughout the week, Rob Dyrdek. To my left was former baseball player, and World Series Champion, Carl Everett, and down from him was X-Pac, and Pee Wee Herman (never thought I'd type their names in the same sentence.) Here's the thing with Wrestlemania, no matter how the show plays out, if you are there live you will always be biased and never say it's a bad show. There is a feeling when you walk inside the venue of a Wrestlemania, and I have been to the past six, so this isn't my first rodeo, it's a feeling of electricity and anticipation that you cannot feel anywhere else. I have been to many different sporting events, playoff games, all-star games, and I promise you that nothing compares to the feeling of walking into Wrestlemania. Once you lay your eyes upon the stage, and realize that history will be made tonight, you understand the importance and immortality that is Wrestlemania. Although the Atlanta crowd did disappoint me a bit, it's very hard to keep 70,000 people screaming for four hours straight, especially in an arena such as the Georgia Dome where sound isn't going to travel as well. In my opinion, it was one of the better Wrestlemanias in recent memory, with HHH/Taker being the match of the night. For a split second, I honestly thought HHH was going to win after hitting the Tombstone, and if you go back and watch it, you can see me grabbing the back of my head in complete awe thinking it was over. Truly remarkable match by two of the most legendary, and larger than life figures in the business. You can see how focused every single one of the performers are as they march into the ring, it's all business, and they understand careers can be made or broken on this night. When you're sitting that close to the ring as I was on that night, you can feel the pressure and the emotion from every single person involved in the show. It's real in that sense. Everything builds up for this one night, and it shows. Hats off to the entire WWE, from the offices, all the way up to Vinnie Mac himself for putting on a spectacle for all to see.The next night RAW was in Atlanta and once again, a very solid show which saw Cena and The Rock make their Wrestlemania 28 match official, something that I never thought would hold up, but we are less than 3 months away and its happening! The highlight of the night for me was starting the "Stun Them All" chant while Stone Cold was speaking to the Tough Enough competitors. SCSA stopped dead in his tracks as myself, John (the WWE's Biggest Fan), and Nick (The Orange and Green Sign Guy), began chanting the three words. Stone Cold looked directly down at us and gave us the classic Austin smirk, then the rest of the Phillips Arena began chanting it. Five minutes later I get a few texts/tweets and "STUN THEM ALL" was trending worldwide on Twitter. Pretty cool moment for me which didn't stop there. After the show, as a huge storm hit Atlanta we headed back to the hotel to watch Tough Enough and grab a bite to eat. We ended up sitting next to Stone Cold, and JR who were watching Tough Enough on the bar TVs as well. We got to chat a little bit with the Rattlesnake himself, he mentioned he loved the chant. We took some pictures, chatted some more, watched the encore edition of Tough Enough, and I proceeded to buy double shot after double shot of Grey Goose for Stone Cold. Once in a lifetime opportunity as he toasted to me after he drank. I can say that I had the honor of getting Stone Cold Steve Austin somewhat intoxicated the night after Wrestlemania. Mark out moment for sure. Perfect way to cap off one of the most amazing weeks of my entire life. The next morning I hopped a cab and went to the airport to fly back home to Chicago, and on my plane ride home, I wasn't thinking about the rest I was going to get; it was all about where am I heading next?! Little did I know that South Beach was calling my name only a few weeks later.
About three weeks later, I was lying on Clearwater Beach in Tampa, Florida taking in some rays. I decided it was a good idea to make a spur of the moment trip to Florida for Extreme Rules and The Rock's Birthday RAW. I don't know how anyone can't enjoy soaking the sun up in Florida, so I don't need to ramble on forever about how great it is down there. Extreme Rules has replaced Backlash as the PPV following Wrestlemania, so we saw many rematches but this time they were contested under Extreme Rules (how fitting?) I was sitting front row, TV side for this show, in a blue shirt, and my Clown wig for portions of the night, and it was another very solid show which saw Christian FINALLY become World Heavyweight Champion in one hell of a ladder match with Alberto Del Rio, and John Cena winning the WWE Championship in a triple threat steel cage match versus The Miz and John Morrison. I do admit that I marked out for both title wins because they were both somewhat unexpected and shocking to me. I'm all about being there live for big moments, or first time championship wins, and this was the perfect moment for Christian who has worked his tail off to get to the top of the ladder, pun intended. Following the show, John Cena took to the mic and cut an emotional, real passionate promo announcing to the crowd that Osama Bin Laden had been killed which was received the ovation of the night. It was one of those moments you'll remember for the rest of your life as 15,000+ people chanted USA while Cena saluted the crowd. Class act in every definition of the phrase. That was definitely one of the best moments of the year for me just because of the importance of the situation and how Cena delivered the news. Emotional moment for our country and our people.After a three hour drive and Will Smith's "Miami" on repeat, we had arrived in South Beach for the Rock's Birthday Bash. Unfortunately my front row ticket streak came to an end on this night, but it was all about being there for another big "moment." I have had the honor to attend every single one of the Rock's WWE appearance in 2011 except for his surprise return on Valentine's Day. Rocky was always one of my favorite stars so I've almost felt compelled to be there live for his appearances since they have been few and far between. The crowd was very anti-Cena from what I remember from this night, as they popped huge when they thought The Miz won back the WWE Championship, which in the end was all for naught. The Rock was very emotional as Vince played the "Coming Home" video package for him, and you could tell Rocky did not know it was coming. His family was sitting ringside, and watching on as The Rock electrified as only he could. Balloons poured from the rafters, and we were all given parry hats to wear, which I still wear to this day…I mean…anyways, Miami treated the hometown boy with the warmest of welcomes, and they set the stage and tone for things to come on April 1st, 2012.The next day I changed my flight to a later one so I could take in the sights and sounds of South Beach and get to stroll around a little. Before that, I had the honor of meeting the Chairman of the Board himself, Vince McMahon at the hotel. It was my first official time meeting him as I have seen him out of the ring multiple times, but he was as down to Earth, and as kind as you could get. He represents the company in the best light, and his personality shows that he is humble man, who truly appreciate every fan from around the world, because without us, there would be no WWE. Vince respects that, and understands it. As I left Florida, and returned back home, summer was nearing. The Summer of CM Punk.I will fast forward right to July. CM Punk was the hottest commodity in the wrestling world. He made wrestling "fun" again. He made ears and eyes bleed with his scathing promo in Las Vegas. He had John Cena's hometown booing their hometown hero relentlessly. CM Punk made wrestling relevant in the mainstream again, and I knew it was only a matter of time as the guy I spent years watching, as he clawed through the independents, wrestled in gyms in front of 15 people, fractured his skull and wrestled 3 months later, was misused, and disrespected as he made his OVW and WWE debut, it was just a matter of time until he put the wrestling world on notice. On July 16th, the night before Money in the Bank, I went to a Supershow Live Event in Milwaukee, WI, and yes, the show was great as always, but my mind was inside of the Allstate Arena, already taking its seat for what was to come the next night. The Miz was in my face screaming, "Heath Slater: Money in the Bank tomorrow night!" but I was still so amped for Punk/Cena in my Chicago, for the WWE Championship, and in my estimation, the most important wrestling match in years. July 17th rolled around, and as an homage to Punk, I shied away from my traditional Clown facepaint, X'ed up on my face and slapped on my wig. Cena and Punk have been my two favorite performers for the past 5-7 years and I am not ashamed to say it. I have the upmost respect for both of them, and I'd be hard pressed to put together a more perfect match for myself in the perfect arena, and city. This night could not have been more storybook. The chants of "CM Punk" rang through the Allstate pre-show, during the Divas match, and throughout the rest of the night. The card from top to bottom was quite stacked, and every match was solid to great. The bump Sin Cara took from Sheamus through the ladder happened right in front of me and I swear I broke a rib watching it. Brutal. I was quite shocked as Christian walked away with the World Heavyweight Championship, although it wasn't clean, you can catch my reaction on the DVD, jaw-dropping, literally. As the video package played for Punk/Cena, I thought I was going to have an anxiety attack, and I wasn't alone. I'm relatively sure about 15,000 other people were in the same boat as I was. As Punk's music hits, the pop was absolutely deafening. If you think it sounded great on television, then imagine that sound level multiplied by about ten. I couldn't even hear myself think. As Punk emerged from the curtain and made his way to the ring, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I understood how big this moment was not only for the business, but for Punk in general. Call me a softie, but I felt tears building in my eyes throughout that entrance just because of the atmosphere, the importance of that moment, and the understanding I had of watching one of my idols reaching the pinnacle that he so deserved. This is what being a wrestling fan was all about for me. This is why I'm the fan I am today. Next, Cena came out and I wasn't surprised by the amount of heat he was getting, but like a true professional he took it in stride. I'd honestly go as far as saying that the crowd was 95% pro Punk, and the other 5% was for Cena. That's how big the discrepancy was between the fans in the crowd. This was the first night that I saw with my own two eyes that people were embarrassed to be John Cena fans, and were just sitting on their hands during Punk's entrance and type of offensive move he executed. As I said before, John Cena is one of my favorites in and out of the ring, I cannot say a bad thing about him, but even on this night I was Team Punk just because of the hometown emotion and the importance of what was on the line. The crowd was hot for this match from the opening bell right through the moment that Punk left the building. The camera was loving me throughout the match, catching me candidly cheering on Punk, and literally on the edge of my seat the entire time. Colt Cabana, Ace Steele, Punk's Mom, and his sisters were all sitting ringside and they were standing and cheering for the entire duration of the match. Smashing Pumpkins lead singer, and wrestling fan, Billy Corgan was also sitting front row as well. I definitely thought the match was over when Cena hit his second AA, but Punk managed to kick out again. When Vince and Laurinaitis emerged, everybody in the building was expecting some sort of screwjob, but I don't think anybody was expecting what we saw happen. Cena stiffed Laurinaitis, who came up with an immediate black eye. The impact of Laurinaitis hitting the floor was as loud as can be. As Punk hit the GTS and pinned Cena for the 3, I swear I almost jumped over the barricade. I actually knocked off the protective padding from the top of the barricade as I leaped into the air, which startled the security guard to my left, but I could care less because I knew I was watching history. As Del Rio ran to the ring, a little silence swept over the Allstate, but Punk stood tall and kicked his skull off. Punk paused, stared down Vince, and took off towards myself and the barricade. He propped himself about four feet to my right, blew a kiss to McMahon and took off through the crowd in which I instantly followed. Everything happened so fast that my brain was not comprehending everything that was going on. I think this was the longest, and most prolonged mark out that I have ever had in my entire life. Vince stood dejected on the ring steps in front of me as the crowd began chanting, "Screw You Vince" after the camera stopped rolling. Vince slowly descended from the ring steps and I found myself in a stare-down with the most powerful man in wrestling. He slowly approached me which in turn, made me even more relentless with my chant. He gave a dirty look and began to turn to walk towards the stage. Needless to say, my heart was racing as I had this moment with Vinnie Mac himself. It took me about 15-20 minutes to refresh and gather myself before heading out of the arena, and back home to sleep in my own bed. This weekend was far from over, however.
The next day I found myself driving north to Green Bay, Wisconsin (yes, R-Truth, this time we are in Green Bay.) Nobody knew what to expect from this RAW with CM Punk tweeting pictures from him at the Cubs game, and John Cena "fired." Prior to the show beginning, Justin Roberts informed the crowd that Vince McMahon does not want to hear a single CM Punk chant throughout the night, which of course did its job in making 15,000 people in unison chant his name as the show opened up. Vince entered the ring in the midst of the chants, and I once again had a long staredown with him. This one was much longer than the night before, as he stared right through my Clown face for a good seven seconds or so. I loved it. HHH made his surprise return and informed Vince that his services were no longer needed which garnered a huge pop from the crowd, but as Vince let his emotions get the best of him, the Green Bay crowd understood what to do, and began chanting "Thank You Vince" and gave him a rousing ovation. As the cameras stopped rolling Vince called out John Cena who he verbally tore apart, and then basically challenged him to a fight in which he was then assaulted by a few heels. I'll never forget this because then Santino, Zack Ryder, and Evan Bourne of all people came to make the save for Cena and cleared the ring. It was strange to see because Ryder was still never on TV through this point. All logic is thrown out the window when the camera stops rolling. Anything can, and will happen.After a few weeks of much-needed relaxation, I was on a non stop flight to LAX and Los Angeles, CA, for the Biggest Party of the Summer (do they even call it that anymore?). Summerslam was here, and the Summer of Punk was still in full swing as he and John Cena would have their much anticipated rematch inside the Staples Center. Like Wrestlemania, Summerslam holds its own Axxess outside the Staples Center at the Nokia Plaza. It's one long stretch of autographs, photo op's, live matches, and other random wrestling fun. On the Saturday prior to the show, WWE holds multiple sessions in which you can meet stars such as John Cena, HHH, Randy Orton, Edge, and Rey Mysterio. THQ also revealed the WWE 12 roster with help from The Miz, and Randy Orton, who had some interesting things to say about Michael McGuillicutty and how he wants his name switched back to Hennig. I won't forget as they announced Husky Harris into the game, Randy's reaction was priceless. He had the facial expression of "What the f***?!" Later in the day, CM Punk engaged in a Q&A session in which he took to the people instead of reading pre-screened questions, and approached me for the first question. My question to him was to put the night of Money in the Bank in words as best as he could, and he mentioned how he of course saw me there, and went on to say how perfect of a night it was and it was a dream come true. Following that we had a meet and greet session with John Cena, HHH, and Randy Orton, who are always great guys, and very personable. Myself, and the WWE's Biggest Fan John, had a nice few minute chat with Cena about the show and tickets, and such. Cena told us something special was going to happen tomorrow night, which sent us into a frenzy of what it could possibly be. HHH questioned my Clown gimmick, but told me he appreciated my dedication in which I thanked him, and I mentioned its probably not the strangest thing he's seen in his day, to which he laughed and replied, "You don't even want to know what I've seen." Good dude. After a long 6 hour day in the hot LA sun, we spent the night with friends and went out to Hollywood and did all the "interesting", to say the least, sightseeing in LA. Summerslam had finally arrived, and with much anticipation. This was my second consecutive Summerslam, and I can say that the crowd was definitely not as hot this time around as it was in 2010 with the Nexus, and the rumors of who was joining team WWE in the main event. The opening match got the crowd going a little bit, which was basically a filler match with all the stars who did not have a real storyline. Orton/Christian tore down the house again in a brutal battle in which Randy regained his World Heavyweight Championship, and inevitably pushed Christian out of the running for it. Punk/Cena was another great match, but will be overlooked in the future due to everything surrounding their match at Money in the Bank. Some people have went as far as saying that their match at Summerslam was better than MITB. I believe Cena has been quoted as saying that, as well. The crowd was real hot for Punk, but it was not totally anti-Cena, either. Not many people expected Punk to win, and NOBODY could of predicted Kevin Nash making a run-in. The LA crowd, myself included was very confused and had no idea what the hell was going on. Alberto then came out, did his thing, and stole the title, which garnered a mixed reaction. I was livid, and could not make any sense of what I just saw. Kevin Nash just interrupted the Summerslam main event in 2011. Just think about that for a second. Strange, strange world. Following the show, we returned back to the hotel, relaxed, and spent some time story telling with friends from all around the country.
The next day we drove out to San Diego for RAW and to be honest, not much happened on this night for me to report. Rey/Alberto had a WWE Championship match, and Rey's kids and family were sitting in front of us in the front row. They were very disappointed when Rey lost, and realized he was hurt in the process. Nash received a decent reaction, but Punk made him look like a fool on the microphone, and Nash seemed awkward and uncomfortable in the ring. It was a weird feeling watching him talk on this night; almost hard to watch. The Summerslam weekend had wrapped up, and it was time to take some time off from the traveling and get back to this thing called the "real world." But that didn't last too long as Survivor Series was here before I knew it.November was one of the strangest months in my WWE travel days. This is how sick in the head I truly am. I flew out to Boston on Sunday morning for the Rock RAW the next night. I flew home on Tuesday morning, actually shared the same flight as CM Punk that morning, and then I flew back to New York City on Friday morning. RAW was in Hershey, PA the night after Survivor Series, so we drove out there on Monday morning, then drove back to Newark after the show to fly back home from there Tuesday morning. Silly, I know. Anyways, I felt like I could not miss the Boston RAW, so there I was back in the TD Garden, Clowned up and ready to go. The crowd was hot from the get go, as everybody was ready to get Rocked (that sounds bad). I sat next to some of the Rock's personal friends, and family. Also, Sib Hashian, former drummer of the band, Boston, was sitting in front of me, as well. This night was special for me because I received the surprise of a lifetime from the man known as John Cena. During the purposely brutal "This Is Your Life" segment, Mick Foley continued to bring out guest after guest until Cena began to cut him off and announce it was over. Foley pleaded and said he paid a lot of money and has more guests lined up in the back, to which Cena responded, "Who ya gonna bring out next? Frank the Clown?" He glanced at me prior to him saying it, almost letting me know it was coming, but I still did not realize it after he said it. (The video is below in case you don't remember it.) It took a few seconds for it to register in my head, to which my phone began blowing up non-stop shortly after. He then shouted out my buddy John (Twitter @WWEsBiggestFan), right after me, and he also had no clue, so I had to run over to him and let him know what just happened. Surreal moment, and I cannot thank John enough for the cheap, little plug. Once again, a class act. The Rock then came out and Rock Bottomed Foley, but I barely remember that because my head was still in shock. The night ended with The Rock cutting a signature promo, and then him taken out The Miz and R-Truth. After RAW went off the air, CM Punk, and Randy Orton hit the ring to tag with Cena against a group of heels, and I apologize I can't even remember who. The crowd was chanting "We Want Ryder", so Cena whispered to Punk to grab him, and sure enough Punk ran backstage and minutes later, Ryder's music hit and they sprinted to the ring together, Ryder was in street clothes. The place went nuts as Ryder performed all of his signature moves on I believe The Miz or Ziggler and ended up getting the pinfall. Cena allowed Zack to get on the mic and make a speech to which Ryder thanked everyone and he never believed he would be tagging with the biggest stars in the company and getting the reaction like he did. He had no clue he was going to be in this impromptu match, and he was truly appreciative of the Boston crowd. Great moment for him, all the hard work was truly paying off.http://youtu.be/GhC9RllhKEAMy East Coast Invasion continued into New York. It was my first time in the Big Apple, so I was soaking in all the sights and sounds throughout the weekend, and being a total tourist snapping photos left and right. Beautiful city. Seeing it on TV or in a movie simply does not do it justice. On the Friday I arrived, CM Punk was doing an autograph signing outside the Garden, and even cut a short promo from up top the Garden using a megaphone. Classic stuff. My weekend was great aside from the wrestling stuff as I got to stay in a luxury suite at the London hotel. Thanks to my friend Jessica…had to throw that in there! I visited all the landmarks of NYC, and got to be with many friends I do not see too often so it was nice to have the crew back together. Its always been a dream of mine to visit New York and mainly the Garden, so finally my dream came true, and it was everything I expected and then some. The crowd was phenomenal, I mean who thinks of the "Sexual Chocolate" and "D'Lo Brown" chants like that? All the matches on the show were very solid. Zack Ryder got his MSG moment, in which I have never heard, or envisioned 20,000 people screaming "Woo, woo, woo" in unison. Strange, strange world. In the main event, John Cena came down to a chorus of boos, as expected, but his tag partner, The Rock got an amazing ovation. It was surreal to watch him walk down the ramp, mere feet away from me, getting ready to wrestle his first match in over seven years. Definitely a moment I will never forget. The Rock started the match, and it was like he's been still wrestling for the past 7 years, because he did not miss a beat. I think everyone in the crowd was somewhat surprised by his lack of ring rust, but if anyone could pull that off, it's definitely Dwayne. The match ended with the traditional People's Elbow, and I swear I had an opportunity at that elbow pad, if I was not marking out as much as I was. I have never seen a Superstar as amped and as jacked up as The Rock was for the entire match. He must of dropped 100 f bombs, and would not stop pacing back and forth on the apron. He was letting the atmosphere and electricity all soak in as much as all the fans were too. Afterwards, him and Cena exchanged some words which from my perspective seemed real, and personal. These are two of the best showmen in the world, so they can make anyone believe anything, but there seemed to be some real tension as they had a staredown. The Rock Rock Bottomed Cena, and went on to talk to the NYC crowd for about seven minutes or so. The crowd began chanting "We Want Ryder" again, and The Rock seemed like he didn't know what to say, but then proceeded to put Ryder over. Imagine that, The Rock putting Zack Ryder over. Think back to the let's say, 2007, and imagine that ever happening in any scenario! The Rock also got the NYC crowd to chant "We Want Weed!" because somebody in the front row yelled out "You're gonna cry!" The Rock then accused the fan of being under the influence. Classic Rocky. After his speech, he went around the ring greeting the fans, and I get to share a quick word with him as he smiled all the way through. His passion shined through, and his love for the business was back in full force. I was one of the last fans out of the arena as I just looked around and thought about the history that went down in that building. Being a Chicago Bulls fan, I remember Michael Jordan torching Spike Lee and the poor Knicks there multiple times. I got goosebumps as I entered the Garden, and got even more as I left. After the show, I ran into the Miz, and had a little conversation with him, in which he began to mock me in typical Miz fashion. The ongoing feud continues.
The next night I was in Chocolate Land, Hershey, PA. I visited Hershey's Chocolate World, and drove the around the very small city. On this night, Punk and Ziggler wrestled one of the better TV matches of 2011, and they showed their great chemistry which they are demonstrating to this day and into the Rumble. I was continually taunted by The Miz in the post show dark match, once again. And John Cena came around to speak with us, and mentioned how he got us on TV. Awesome stuff. It was a solid show, which began building for TLC, and saw The Miz turn on R-Truth, which the crowd was not really buying into. It all made sense over the course of the next few weeks, however. I had one more show on my plate for 2011 and it was back home in Chicago.There's nothing more I love than a show in my backyard of Chicago, and as I said before, the WWE understands the Chicago crowd, and we, the Chicago crowd, understand our role and the WWE. The ovation for CM Punk was rousing, but Johnny Ace emerged and received HUGE heel heat. Brilliant stuff. Punk then got his hometown ovation which was not as strong as MITB, but still blows almost every other city out of the water. I was surprised as to how many more Cena fans there were in the crowd on this night. Kane was trying to work the crowd to boo Cena, but many were confused and burnt out from Punk. I guess RAW's bring in a bit different crowd than PPV's. Cena introduced and put over Punk prior to the dark match. Punk then wrestled The Miz in a steel cage match, and quickly defeated him. Punk then cut a speech on the hometown crowd and how he received a phone call from someone he loved and how they thanked him for staying. He vowed to continue to work on change and thanked everyone for coming. He went around the ring and slapped hands, and stopped and personally thanked me for being there. I sat next to his entire family and friends and he shared a moment with all of them. Punk is really proud of his roots, and definitely did not forget where he came from. It was the perfect way to cap off 2011 in the WWE, and for my WWE travels, personally.Overall, I had a fantastic year, and would go as far as saying it was the best year of my life, not only WWE-wise, but just life quality in general. I got to meet some amazing people throughout my journeys. I had the pleasure of meeting and having interactions with almost everyone in the WWE it seemed. I made friends for life, and I now had the opportunity to tell you all about it. I have memories that will live on forever, and moments I will never, eh, eh, EVER forget! I am hoping to conitnue this into 2012 and beyond, and keep "clowning around." Thanks to John Canton, who I love doing TJR Radio with and am looking forward to meeting at WrestleMania in Miami. Keep an eye out for me on your television screens more and more in 2012. You never know where I may pop up!
Youbtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/FrankTheClown?feature=mhee
A WWE.com feature article about Chicago
that also involved CM Punk.Video of Frank asking CM Punk a question
from Summerslam.Questions? Comments? Add them below.