Wrestling unleashes the child in me.
For the first few years of my life, I was under the care of Tom and Nancy Young, a couple with three sons -- Philip, Derrick, and Colin. They were family friends who also were my nannies.
I spent a lot of time at their home. Tom, along with his three teenage boys, always had professional wrestling on the television.
They were always flipping between channels that aired World Wrestling Entertainment's (which was formerly World Wrestling Federation) Monday Night Raw and World Championship Wrestling's Monday Night Nitro.
For those who don't know, WWE and WCW were two different promotions, which created competition. They were on separate channels, so it was a ratings war to see which would have the higher viewership.
WCW lost the battle, and was bought out by Vince McMahon, WWE's chairman, in 2001-02.
Because of the exposure to professional wrestling, I was hooked soon after I was born. On days that there wasn't wrestling on TV, Nancy, Tom, or one of the boys would put on Caillou or Johnny Bravo, two cartoons that aired in the late 1990s, for me to watch.
I didn't approve of any of this, and would have a temper tantrum. I would grunt or cry, and put my left hand on one of their biceps.
I did that because Tom and the three boys always loved to flex their muscles whenever they were watching wrestling to imitate some of the wrestlers.
All I wanted to watch was wrestling, but I was so young that the only way I knew how to communicate was by doing little gestures like that. They understood.
They would say to me “it's not on today” or “it's not time yet.”
realize now that if it was time, wrestling would be on. I didn't need to stress. Who can blame me, though? I was basically still a fetus. OK, maybe not, but people will get my point.
I remember staying up against the wall to get balance, putting my fists up, and pretending to be a wrestler. I actually watched wrestling before I found a passion for hockey.
That love and passion for WWE and professional wrestling remains the same to this day, and always will. I watch and follow the product religiously, never missing a show.
I may not watch every show right at the time it goes live, but I would make the effort to go back and catch it whenever I am free.
I also keep tabs on the independent and international circuits as well.
That being said, I had never attended a televised show. That changed when I attended the Aug. 10 edition of Monday Night Raw live in Everett at the Xfinity Arena.
The crowd was electric. It was like nothing I had ever experienced.
I left the building thinking to myself, “I want to feel this again.”
Right then and there, I made up my mind that I was going to attend WrestleMania 32 along with everything else WWE has to offer in the days prior to and after the event.
People come from all over the world to take part in the biggest event the company has to offer.
This year, it was going to be inside AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. That stadium can hold more than 100,000 people, so it was being hyped as having the potential to be the largest attended event in WWE's history.
It was trying to break the WrestleMania 3 record of 93,173 from inside the Pontiac Sliverdome in Pontiac, Mich., on March 27, 1987.
I wanted to be a part of history.
For those who don't recall, this was around the time I had been going through all sorts of different problems. This was the perfect opportunity to get away.
I was set on going to take part in all of it. I gave a call to Parker Schmidt, someone I know who loves WWE.
“Hey Parker,” I said. “I want to go to WrestleMania 32 and need someone to go with.”
“Ooooooo,” he said. “I'm in, but just let me talk to Katie. I'll send you a text tonight.”
Katie is his wife.
I spent most of that day anticipating an answer. I wanted to get things figured out as soon as possible.
Around 7 p.m., I got the green light. Katie had approved and he was in.
When I finally received all my tickets for all the events, it was like Christmas morning for me. I was actually going be a part of everything and for the first time. I was extremely excited for all of it.
After months of anticipation, it finally came . . . the biggest trip of my life.
I had booked our flights to fly out of Seattle and arrive in the afternoon of April 1, then go to the first event of the trip, NXT TakeOver: Dallas.
NXT is WWE's developmental program. Don't be fooled, though.
I love, love, love NXT. It's amazing, and this specific show had high expectations because it had, on paper, an unreal match card.
Schmidt knew this, too, so instead of starting our trip on Friday, which would have meant that we had to wake up really early, get to the border, and then and rush to the airport, we wanted to be fully energized.
That meant Schmidt and I packed our bags and headed for a hotel in Seattle a day prior to our flights.
We got to Seattle around 6 p.m., and stopped by a restaurant near the hotel. I order a burger, had half a plate of a Nachos, and an ice-cream sandwich.
Boy, I should have known that the food portions in the United States are double the size of those in Canada.
omeone please remind me not to order so much next time. I had no problem finishing it all, but, well, let's just say I regretted it the next morning.
I didn't really sleep that much the night before the flight. I was too excited for NXT TakeOver: Dallas. I closed my eyes for a little bit and, just like that, the sun’s brightness woke me up.
Just like that, NXT TakeOver: Dallas was hours away.
I was more ready than ever.
NEXT: NXT TakeOver: Dallas