This...is one of those stories.
When I was in high school during the late 90s, professional wrestling had hit a major high in popularity. I had been a fan for years...so it was pretty awesome to finally be into something that was popular. There was a small group of friends that had started watching wrestling together before this, that had ended up growing to quite the large group. The small group was Josh, Scott, Eric & myself. We called ourselves the Four Horsemen, after the pro wrestling group of Ole Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson & THE Nature Boy, Ric Flair.
Our group would watch weekly shows and Pay-Per-Views together. We wouldn't actually pay for them. This was during the little black box period. Where you could get all your movies and shit for free. The cable companies would always put out their propoganda ads saying you could pay a fine or do time or whatever...but they couldn't track that shit.
So anyways, every PPV we would watch together. We started talking about going to live shows. As we were getting older, and could drive to places outside of the quad-cities that would house big events. Birmingham, Nashville & Atlanta.
One in particular was a Monday Nitro in Birmingham, Alabama. We got awesome seats for the event, they were four rows back from the front. We were so pumped, we got there about three hours early for the show, in hopes of meeting some wrestlers.
The problem was...there was no way into the arena until about an hour before the show. We thought, "no big deal, we'll hang out, and meet some cool folks before the doors open." Except, we were about the only people who got there early.
Boredom and having to pee began to set in. The BJCC didn't have any outdoor bathrooms, and we didn't want to leave lest a crowd showed up, and stole our (pre-paid, ticket owning) places in line. So, we looked for an open door in the arena to take a piss.
We went around to every door. None of them would budge. They were those doors that operated by pushing down a large bar to open. They all had a large chain around them, so as that they were impossible to open.
Except for one.
There was one door that wasn't chained. We automatically figured out how to open the door. I could almost hear the A-Team theme playing in my head. I pulled out a knife, and slipped into the door jam, as my friend Josh pushed down on the door bar. IT OPENED.
Fear actually gripped me, and my other friend Kevin as we saw Josh walk in. Which was odd for me, as Josh wasn't someone who broke the rules. He should have been in my spot telling me to come back. But off he went, as the door shut behind him.
I could only imagine the trouble he was getting into behind those doors. Getting arrested or the shit kicked out of him. I ran back around the front to my friends waiting at the front door. "JOSH IS INSIDE!"
We told them the story, as we began to imagine how we would get back home, as Josh had driven us there. We thought the worst. He was busted by security, and was held down below, waiting for the cops to come. We were soooooooo. SOOOOOOO wrong.
One of us spotted him in the isle, walking directly towards us. As he walked by, he unrolled a signed picture of Ric Flair. The HOLY FUCKING GRAIL.
He then pointed towards the door that he had gotten through.
Kevin and I immediately ran, while the others stood vigilant at the front door.
Almost as soon as we got to the door, Josh popped it open to let us in. He said. "If anyone asks, we're with merchandise and vending, and we're looking for the loading dock."
Josh isn't supposed to be this guy, who thinks of things like this on the spot. This was my job, and he was knocking it out of the park. Truth be told...I didn't care, because we were having a kick ass time.
We went down a winding set of stairs to the basement of the arena. There were some b-c level folks that we said "HI" to.
Then, we found our way to the mecca. We were into the 1996-99 area of 100 grade pure popularity. We were in the same room as Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Sting & others.
It seemed as soon as we were there, security was there too. I buckled, and stepped backwards into an office...which was held by one Eric Bischoff. I freaked out, and stumbled back into the hallway, just in time to see Doug Dillinger head of security telling us to get the hell out, and how to do it.
We did just what he said, lest we be arrested, but we got to meet some cool wrestlers on our exit, as well as some behind the scenes folks.
It may seem lame to some folks, but this is very much one of the coolest moments I've ever had.