Additional Photos can be found in the Facebook album here :::
At some point in your life, you have to stop fighting the current and just relax and enjoy the wave. I'm by no means a surfer, but that sounds really deep, right? I saw this show posted on the Twitter of Riley Shepard and came to two conclusions: 1) We weren't going to see Riley Shepard again until the end of March and 2) that didn't seem like soon enough. Funny now how this will become a hopefully monthly tradition of seeing Riley Shepard. Also, I've never been to a wrestling show in PA before and Quentin has never even been to PA as a state before so this was one of those "Let's do it!" things.
I had called out of work a few days earlier in the week (I told them I had a stomach bug, but it was more of a mental health breakdown) and so I told them I was going to a doctor's appointment on this day and left work at noon. I then went over to pick up Quentin from school, who I promptly pulled out at 12:30 because what is that school going to teach him that he won't learn on a roadtrip with his dad? When I signed him out, I had to fill out a line on a paper and I just copied the person above me and for the reason I wrote "appt".
Reading, PA is about a four hour drive from us but we wanted to leave early because a) I don't like getting stuck in traffic (I didn't want to feel rushed) and b) I remembered that Cici's exists in PA and somehow there was one right on the way to Reading so I knew we would hit there as a late lunch/early dinner. Plus, Quentin has never been to Cici's before even though he was born in Texas but this trip was about firsts, right?
Once we got into PA we went to their welcome center and picked up some literature. Did you know PA has a Crayola factory? I do now! How great would it be to go there for a tour on a Saturday afternoon then go to a wrestling show that night? It's the dream. We drove through the Poconos and apparently fireworks are legal in PA because they are EVERYWHERE. We stopped at aTurkey Hill looking for the good birch beer but they let us down. We went through Milford and the 209 and it felt like we were taken back to the past.
We legitimately spent an hour at Cici's because Quentin had broken his car charger for the DS so we found a booth with an outlet, sat down, charged his DS and ate all the pizza, pasta and salad we could (and desserts!) It was well worth the $15 and change and I wish they would bring Cici's a little bit closer to us. Until then, it just becomes a special sometimes trip I suppose.
Apparently there are no good ways to get to Reading. We had to drive a lot of back roads and at one point we went up this hill and I felt like we were just going to drop off into nowhere. There were also some funny names for roads and towns but I don't remember them right now. Just look at a map.
The thing I like about Atomic Championship Wrestling is that this show page on Facebook had a disclaimer where it said that you could bring children but it isn't entirely family friendly. I like that type of warning, like "Kids aren't banned but they might see some shit". I also really enjoyed that this show was called "Come As You Are". We waited in line for less than ten minutes and then they started letting everyone in. I, like a good wrestling fan, did my research before this show so I knew who was on it and if I hadn't heard of someone before I looked them up a little bit.
We first saw Megan Mason when got inside and started looking around at the merch. At Weekend At Sean's House Night 2 we saw her in a triple threat match so this was our second time seeing her. During that show, she was one of the few people who set up merch during intermission and I was impressed with her in the ring as well, so I decided I wanted Quentin to take a photo with her (which he was on board with) and to get an 8x10. Since it was so early in the night though, Megan Mason did not have change for a twenty so I just ended up buying two 8x10's (let that be a selling tip for all pro wrestlers-- don't make change, make more money!) We talked with Megan Mason about Sheetz and Wawa, death matches and Casanova Valentine and then it was time for the show to start.
I like when wrestling shows have this mix of names I know and names I don't and this seemed to be this perfect combination because there were a handful of people I'd seen before and wanted to see again, some I knew about and had not yet seen live and then a lot that I had never really heard of before which is good because that's how you get to learn new names and meet new faces. Megan Mason was the first wrestler we saw wrestle we knew and she was in the second match versus Christina Marie, who is apparently all over as well. An older woman sitting near us said to someone else that she didn't like Megan Mason and she didn't know why and all I could think was "Because she's a heel! Duh!"
We saw a guy called Jack Hershey lose his title and he's some kind of combination of Chris Jericho (younger years) and Jack Evans. And then we got into a match between Avista Varlowe and Dani Mo. Dani Mo I recognize because she's in a tag team with Facade, who we would see later on, and I've seen them on Uncharted Territory among other shows on IWTV. Avista Varlowe is someone who I was seeing for the first time here tonight *but* I did manage to look up and... if you think Kris Statlander has an alien gimmick you like, you really need to see Avista Varlowe. It's that sort of idea, only different, and turned up to 1000.
Tim Donst had his own fan club section. There were huge signs for him and it was crazy because he was fighting someone who I was believe was supposed to be the face in Breaux Keller. This is where I believe intermission happened, because there was also an in ring segment where Felicia Rose interviewed Crazzy Steve. Jamie Senegal also came out to say that no one was good enough to fight him and he left mad, which apparently meant his scheduled opponent wasn't there.
During intermission we made the rounds and found so many wrestlers to talk with. First we found Riley Shepard, of course, and we talked with her for a little bit and Quentin took a photo but then we realized we had to let her talk with other fans as well. We found Avista Varlowe just walking around, carrying trading card pages and selling merch in an unconventional way. But I still bought a trading card, some pins and a tiny glow in the dark alien which Quentin promptly lost.
From Avista Varlowe we made our way over to Felicia Rose who also had a trading card (Yay trading cards!) and I told her about how I pulled Quentin out of school early and left work early to make the drive and she called me a badass dad. I'll never forget that. We talked about how with children it's important to teach them respect, with women, and that if it's something they learn when they're younger they'll hopefully always have it in them. Quentin was also a fan of resting his head on her chest.
Second half started with I believe the battle royal but there was also a singles match happening at some point that I didn't really get pictures of but it was between Gory and Andy Header (I believe) Apparently ACW has their own Battle Royal Champion and his name is Bones and he successfully defended his title here against a lot of other wrestlers- one of whom is named "Hot Shot" Scotty Jeffreys and he had thought he won. He has that Rock n Roll Express look to him, but I enjoyed how the first three or so guys to come out during this battle royal, the crowd just booed them all.
Riley Shepard is back and it was great seeing her win the ROGUE World Championship from Layna Lennox. Facade and Crazzy Steve had a match which could have been the main event as both of them are equally unique in their style and it just kind of works somehow. Earlier in the night, during the interview segment with Felicia Rose called The Rose Room, she asked Crazzy Steve how he's legally blind and wrestles and he said something like "I'm not very good" but this was such an amazing match between two wrestlers who can really go and wow has 2020 been such a "never would I have ever imagined I'd see this but I'm glad that I did" year.
The main event saw Stockade take on ACW Heavyweight Champion Dame. Dame has this very femme character while looking somewhat like Carrot Top, but it just works. Stockade is this huge tank that's done death matches and I most know him for his time in CZW. Stockade is one of those wrestlers that I know about in legend but this was my first time seeing him in person.
So there was this one fan- and I hate when fans try and get themselves over but I need to make a point with this- and this fan was taunting Stockade as soon as he came out, yellling insults and flipping him off, which is fine because Stockade is the heel or even if he wasn't, it's wrestling. Insult the characters you don't like-- to a degree. At one point, Stockade ran out of the ring and charged the guardrail and the fan just went into the fetal position like he shit himself scared. Whatever that fan said, Stockade was not pleased with it.
Now fast forward to the end of the show, after the last match. We were hanging out in the merch area. Stockade is over there after just having his match. The fan comes over to try and apologize or whatever and says something like "I was just joking" but Stockade is having none of it. Stockade got up from his chair several times to chase the fan off. He told him that it doesn't matter if he was joking, he said something racist to him and that wasn't cool. In the end, security finally kicked out this "fan" but... Number one: don't say racist things. Ever. And secondly: you're there as a fan. We're all there trying to enjoy the show. Stop trying to get yourself over. Don't be like this "fan".
Stockade went to the back to change and at that point Quentin decided he wanted to buy this plush dog that Stockade sells, which wears a Stockade shirt and, yeah, if there's any sort of odd merchandise like this out there Quentin and I will find it and buy it. We got an 8x10 signed as well and then Riley Shepard came out. This was the show where we bought a Riley Shepard pin and t-shirt and I'm quite pleased by this, though next time we see her I might buy her other shirt because I'm still torn on which one I like better.
Last time, the first time, we saw Riley Shepard she asked me if she could hug me and it turned into this whole thing and I felt badly about it after I thought it over so this time I decided to ask if I could hug her and then it was funny because Quentin came over for a group hug. The drive home tried to take me back through NJ for some reason but eventually I found my way to 84 and there were not a lot of places to stop but I suppose that's what happens when you go to PA.