Whether you've planned it or not, you probably have a "bucket list" for your life. If you're not familiar with the term, it's a list of things you want to accomplish in your life before you die. Maybe it's a city you'd love to travel to. Maybe it's jumping out of an airplane and going skydiving. Some of the items on your list can be realistic, and others can be slightly more wild and crazy. Either way, it's what you want to do with however long you have left on this mortal coil.
As wrestling fans, we also have bucket lists. Things we want to see or experience in our remaining years of fandom. Many of you are lucky enough to have been around for historic matches, events, and moments. Your lists aren't very long anymore. Others haven't been as blessed, and their lists remain full of items. I fall somewhere in the middle of those two groups. If you've been reading my work at other sites through the years, you might remember that I did an article like this a long time ago. I'm glad to say that I have been able to cross many of those things off my list.
That's not to say I've seen and done all I wish to, however.
Without any further ado, I now present to you the new and updated version of my own personal wrestling bucket list, in no real particular order.
Watch A Royal Rumble In Person: I've been to two WrestleManias (24 in Orlando & 31 in Santa Clara) in my life, but have yet to witness a Royal Rumble live and up close. It's such a blast watching it from home, and I can only imagine how much that level of fun is magnified when the ten-second countdown begins and the buzz is in the air as everyone counts and waits to see the next entrant in the Rumble. The closest I've come to seeing a Rumble live is the fact that I moved to Arizona in November of 2013... ten months after the event was held in Phoenix. I'll have to make sure I check one of the events out in the coming years.
Witness Shinsuke Nakamura's Entrance In Person: This one hurts. WWE has been in the state of Arizona a handful of times since Nakamura was called up to the main roster. Unfortunately, due to some poor luck, I was unable to attend any of those shows due to prior commitments. I still feel he has the best entrance music in all of wrestling, and his entrance, as a whole, is easily among the most entertaining. I want to be able to feel those vibes, from the light show to the crowd "singing" his music, and everything in between. Nakamura is as electric a talent as the business has seen in a long time, and I'm doing myself a disservice not witnessing that electricity in person.
Fly To Japan To See New Japan's Wrestle Kingdom: Continuing my streak of "I want to see this in person" items, we have one that is going to take quite the effort, but isn't impossible. I got married a few weeks ago, and my new wife and I have already discussed taking a trip to Japan as a bit of a late honeymoon. She wants to go for cherry blossom season, which usually begins around late-March in Tokyo, but Wrestle Kingdom is on January 4th every year. Unless I can convince her to leave her job and take a four-month vacation, or to take two different trips, one of us is going to have to acquiesce to the other. With as much money as we spent on our wedding and vacation to Hawaii, a trip to Japan in three months probably isn't happening, but I'll see if I can wear her down until she agrees to be at the Tokyo Dome for the 2019 edition of Wrestle Kingdom.
Be There For All Three Nights Of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla's Battle Of Los Angeles: We might as well continue the theme of this list, right? Attending PWG shows has become something of a wrestling hipster's dream, with tickets to the company's larger events selling out within minutes of going on sale. Yes, the shows are held in a building that only holds a few hundred people, but their fans are rabid. BOLA is the company's biggest weekend of the year, and it's damn near to the point now where the only way you can attend BOLA in person is if you're a celebrity, have an "in" with the company, are sleeping with someone in PWG, or have a horseshoe shoved up your behind when it's time to order tickets. I'm not a celebrity. I don't know anyone that works with PWG. Last I checked, I wasn't sleeping with anyone on the PWG roster. I guess that means I just have to cross my fingers and hope I get lucky enough to buy tickets one year.
See An Eventual Physical Version Of The WWE Hall Of Fame: Technically, this isn't a "bucket list" item, because there isn't much that I can do to make it happen on my own, but hey, creative license and all. We've seen something like this rumored for a few years now, but nothing has ever come out of those rumors. Having a physical version of the Hall Of Fame would be a blast to visit. Each year, at WWE Axxess events, you'll see mini versions of what could be. You'll see displays of memorabilia, statues, and all types of cool things to look at, watch, and witness for yourself. All of the rumors we've seen said the Hall would end up in Florida, probably in the Orlando area. It would end up being like Disney World, Universal Studios, and the rest of the attractions in the area. You'd have to dedicate an entire day to walking around and taking everything in, but if you're a huge fan of the sport, I'd think it would be worth it.
Meet Vince McMahon: Pretty simple. I literally started watching pro wrestling because of Ric Flair, but it's Vince McMahon and his promotion that helped me to become the fan I am today. I'd just like to shake his hand, you know? He hasn't been perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but my love for the sport was crafted due to Vince's creations.
Meet Daniel Bryan: I've been a fan of this sport for about 31 years now, but Daniel Bryan's rise to the top of the business in 2014 had me as invested as I have ever been in any one person or story. Again, I just want to shake the man's hand and tell him that the "Yes Movement" could only have worked with him at the helm. It sounds super corny, but he made me believe again, and it's fun to not be so negative all the time.
See WWE Stop Using Black As Their Color For Damn Near Every Shirt They Make: It feels like 99% of every shirt WWE has created for their male wrestlers over the last 20+ years has been black. It's boring. It's unimaginative. Acts like New Day, and Bayley on the women's side, are trying to move the needle away from that, and I salute them. Living in an area where it's 100+ degrees for eight months, including 120 degrees during the summer months, means that I prefer a white shirt if at all possible. Is that asking for too much? Nakamura had a white "Strong Style" shirt a while back, and I bought three of them, just to have a rotation. I'm not saying every shirt should be white, but it's time for something different. Variety... spice of life... and all that.
Step Into A WWE Ring: No, not to wrestle. I simply want to feel what it's like to stand in the middle of a WWE ring. I've been inside of a tiny, rinky dink ring for an indy promotion before, but that just isn't the same. It doesn't look the same, and it probably doesn't feel the same. It would be cool to step into the ring, feel the tightness of the ropes, and how much give (or lack thereof) the mat has. If you caught me on an especially daring day, I'd even like to climb to the top rope, just to see the view that countless wrestlers have seen before they tried to kiss the sky with a move that takes your breath away when you watch it. Lord knows I've been watching these rings for so many years, and have been lucky enough to see them up close on a handful of occasions. I just want to live the dream in my head for a moment.
Eat At Ribera Steakhouse: You've probably seen the countless pictures of wrestlers at the infamous Ribera Steakhouse in Japan by now, or have at least seen pictures of wrestlers wearing the Ribera satin jacket. It's a rite of passage for wrestlers to visit Ribera when they're in Japan. If you're not "in the know", Ribera is a steakhouse (there are two of them now) in Japan that is wrestling, boxing, and MMA-themed. The owner is a huge wrestling fan, and has plastered pictures all over the place of different wrestlers that have eaten there. Road Warrior Animal has said they have a "Rubik's Cube" style of wall, where they can rotate things and showcase different photos, depending on who is in town at any given time. The food is usually described to be really good, except by William Regal, who feels the steakhouse is serving kangaroo meat instead of beef, but most of his fellow wrestlers through the years have nothing but glowing words to say. As a red-blooded American male (American male, American male, American male, American male), I'm quite fond of a good steak, so that alone would make me want to experience this. To be surrounded by so much history, though, is the icing on the cake... or the butter on the steak, I suppose. A trip to Japan could possible allow me to knock off two items from my list in the same day. That would be fantastic.
What about you, folks? What's on your wrestling bucket list?
If you're someone who has never been to a WrestleMania, allow me to say that it should absolutely be on your list. Unless you're swimming in money, it's not something I recommend you do every year, but if it's something that is happening close to your hometown, or at least somewhere that you can travel to easily, I think every fan should be in attendance for WrestleMania once in their lives.
I want to hear from everyone, though, and find out what's on your lists. Either drop me a line in the comments section below, or hit me up on Twitter (@HustleTheSavage).
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