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Journal 11
by Tony Kozina on 2000-03-10

Scream for me life mates!! Scream for me life!!! Yes it's true. I went to England for five days at the end of february and I still wonder if it really happened or if it was just a dream. Travelling is a strange thing. Especially when you fly for nine and a half hours and you arrive the following afternoon.

It was a last minute thing and I didn't know it was finalized until I had arrived in Canada for what was to be a two week tour of Vancouver Island. When I awoke in the morning I was greeted by Dave Republic who informed me that I had some phone calls to make and that I was indeed going to the United Kingdom. My tour was cut in half to four days and I was to drive back home only to repack my bag and head out to the Sea-tac airport and catch a flight (GULP) to England.

I called the good folks in England who were pleased that everything could work out. They asked if I had any questions and after careful thought I figured i'd at least ask and see what happened. "Do you have any ties with any celebrities over there?" I asked. "No, not really. Why?" Nick replied. "Well, I thought perhaps I could meet Iron Maiden." Nick giggled a bit and said "I'm sorry I can't help you there, but if you didn't ask you wouldn't have known." "Exactly!", I said.

So I didn't get to meet Maiden... But I was super psyched about the trip and made a mess of cassette tapes with misc. music on them recorded from my CD player. Alot of which was the Mighty Iron Maiden. Nine and a half hours. How on Earth will I survive this trip I thought. After careful thought I gathered some things to occupy my time so I didn't dwell on crashing into a remote part of Greenland. I had my music, a book, and an assortment of reading materials which I figured would keep me busy. I got lucky in that on the way there I was the only passenger in my row of three seats, so I flipped up the arm rests and kicked my feet up. I arrived and this taxi guy had a sign that read 'Kosina". Close enough, I figured and he took me to Southampton where there was a hotel room waiting for me at the Hilton. I check in and it's maybe 2:30pm. So I figured i'd sleep. I had heard about this jetlag thing, but wasn't really tired. I figured a quick nap would cure me of the time difference. At 5:30 they call me to inform me of a dinner meeting at 8pm. I was still half asleep so without thinking I showered, dressed up and went to the lobby and sat for a half hour before I realized that I still had over an hour until the meeting. So, boom, boom, boom we all meet, they give us out itinerary for the weekend, and tell us what's in store for us as far as food, and what not. We all mingled after dinner in the restaurant part for quite awhile. There were guys there from NWA Nashville, and NWA Georgia, as well as the NWA UK crew. Everybody was very pleasant, and the Georgia guys had heard positive things about me from Bart Sawyer so they were very friendly. I headed off to bed about 1am.

I wake up roaring and ready to go friday morning. Great! I thought. A good night's sleep, and I even woke up before my wake up call. Comb the air, brush the teeth, and now I figure i'll turn on the tv to see what time it is. 4:27am it reads. Hmmm 4:27am and i'm not tired a lick. The breakfast buffet didn't even open for another 2 hours for goodness sakes. Anyways, I read some of my book to pass the time, eat breakfast- a heavenly feast I might add and hop on the bus to the Meridian television studios. Once there they bring us crates of orange juice, bottled water, and fresh fruits up the wazoo. It was fantastic. An hour later and sandwiches start pouring in like it's nobody's business. They even had a massage therapist in the dressing room for us. It was out of control. On Friday most everyone shot interviews and stuff, and they explained to everybody what was going on. The set looked like RAW IS WAR with the ramp, lasers, lights, and pyro. It was really neat. The studio was enormous. In fact the one room where we wrestled seated over 500 and had around 100 lights, and lasers fastened to the ceiling. I'm crappin' you negative. It was just incredible. The tv crew did some test shooting, getting familiar with the set. lights, and 6 cameras that were everywhere you turned. This thing was filmed from every possible angle. WOW!!!

So we eat, go back to the hotel, and I went to shower. I was going to hook up with some of the UK fellas who I started chatting with, but once I got to my room I laid down on the bed for a minute and that was it. I woke back up at 1am still in my clothes, so I decided just to stay in for the night.

Saturday morning, another round of breakfast from paradise. I chatted with JJ, who referees in Georgia, Tank, who wrestles in the UK and is so funny I laughed everytime he opened his mouth, and a few of the others. They had monitors all over the studio, so it didn't matter where I wondered, I could follow the action. It was great to watch all the guys wrestle and meet all these people that you hear about on the internet but never get to see wrestle. I enjoyed the entire day. I beat Psycho Steve from the UK, and Jon Ryan who also wrestles in the UK. I also wrestled TJ Grey who wrestles for Bill Behrens in Georgia. All the matches had a 5 minute time limit due to the tournament format. In fact, TJ and I went to the draw. The matches went very well, and i'm sure some of us could have really great matches with a longer time limit. After the day's events we went back to the hotel, and I hung out with Johnny Moss, Gary Steele, and NWA UK promoter Andre Baker who is another funny guy. He's got a wise crack about everybody, including himself. I talked with TJ Grey, and David Young who both wrestle in Georgia. Both guys were super cool. One by one I made my way around and chatted with them all.

This trip was especially unique in that there must have been every single accent present of the English language. In England alone, there seem to be many different accents. Add to that Ashley Hudson who is from Australia, the boys from down south with their southern accents, and me- the only normal one there!!! HAHAHA Just kidding. It really was quite an assortment, and I found it to be very interesting.

Sunday rolls around, and again breakfast as if it fell from heaven. Sandwiches pour into the dressing room like you can't imagine, and so on. I wrestled Kory Williams, and Chris Champion, who went under the name Sinn. Chris is a neat guy, who I remembered from watching WCW, and I talked with him in great length after the show. He ended up winning the tournament, after beating Gary Steele. After the final taping on Sunday, we were directed across the parking lot to a dining room where they had all kinds of food, and drink. It just never stopped. Spicy wings, pizza, and warm beer- what th....Once I got home my girlfriend, Chris told me that they don't chill their beer in Europe. They also get free Pay-per-views in the UK, so we stayed up all night and watched the WWF PPV. We all hung out and went around talking to each other. Finally, at the end of the tour, I was wide awake. It figures... Monday afternoon, I took off back for home and slept nearly the entire flight which was great.

The weekend was without question a first class experience and my hat goes off to Andre Baker, Nick Halling, and all the others who organized the event. Just a fantastic crew of helpful people. Hopefully this is the start of something very special in the UK. They will air these 6 programs on tv starting in April. I suppose there's a chance that we'll go back, and what fun that would be. I look very forward to it. Until next time.... cheers

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Quotes from the boys: Ed Moretti says "Lastly...after one of today's typical card is over..."well, what are we gonna come back with....a murder"?
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