How's it going everybody!? WrestleMania is still less than a week old. Most of us here at Nerd901 are still thinking about it. We aren't the only ones. Our friend Dustin "5" Starr was there and still thinking about it. So, why not have Dustin sit down with us to talk about WrestleMania 33 and the Raw afterwards. Dustin and his family attended both shows. After the jump you can see what he thought about the show, Roman Reigns's win over the Undertaker, and more. We want to thank Dustin again from the bottom of our hearts to take the time to talk with us. Enjoy the interview!
Nerd901: Well, Dustin let's jump right into it. How was your WrestleMania experience?
Dustin Starr: Oh man it was awesome. It was my second WrestleMania. I went to WM 25 in Houston. It was Maria (his wife) and Brady (his son) first WM. Everyone was asking what was your favorite match, or what are you looking forward to the most? Maria was really looking forward to the John Cena/Nikki Bella match. Brady's favorite wrestler is Randy Orton. So, for his first WM his favorite guy was in a title match, which was super cool. Those two factors help improved the experience.
Nerd901: Let's get into how your weekend help mold your experience. You had quite the start to you weekend. Friday you had to work you day job, then MC the Memphis Grizzles game, and after that you drove straight down there that evening. Did that have an impact on the experience? I.e. were you able to still get out Saturday and walk around to enjoy everything that is WM weekend?
Dustin: Yeah man, so being a part of the business and performing in front of crowds, obviously not that big, it's all about the spectacle, it's about the fireworks, and the scenery. Especially, it being outdoors you're at like a huge firework show. Plus, we were able to go to the Super Store where they had everything you could ever want. Things from Slammy awards, Money in the Bank briefcases, and all types of exclusive merch. Seeing people dressed up as wrestlers helps as well. We saw maybe 10 Macho Man Randy Savages and these people are dressed to the nine. We saw Stone Cold Steve Austin and Undertaker costumes. So, all that stuff helps with having a great experience.
Nerd901: How was it with Brady? I mean, was in awe of everything? He did he take everything in for his first WM?
Dustin: Oh Brady loved it! We tried to go by Hogan's store. We pulled up and the line was wrapped around the building. Brady was able to peak in there to see Hogan. (Laughs) Brady said "Hey dad, his muscles are almost as big as yours". Later on Brady said "Nah, I think his might have been a little bigger". (Laughter). So, it was $100 just to get in there, and again the line was wrapped around the building. The $100 let you get in, get a picture made, and an autograph. It was hot outside too, and we looked at each other and said no to that.
Nerd901: You said this was your second WM, so of the two did you have a preference of which one you enjoyed more? Was there anything of this WM that maybe didn't hold up to the last one? One being in Houston and this one being in Orlando, did that play a factor into it?
Dustin: Yeah, they were both totally different. Orlando was outdoors at the Citrus Bowl, and Houston was inside. WM 25 was 2008 and I was actually VIP. I bussed over with Kevin Lawler. We bussed over and went to the very tip top in the VIP area. We had beverages and food. We actually had to watch the show on the flat screen TVs in there because we couldn’t see the ring.
Nerd901: So, let's compare it that way; 2008 you’re in VIP, but 2017 you're in the crowd among all the other fans. Can you see the ring?
Dustin: Yeah, we had pretty good seats. We were in the bleacher level. The thing about a big stadium like that is unless you're ring side it's going to be hard to see no matter where you are sitting. You've got to watch the big screen most of the time anyways. WWE doesn't sugar coat it when you buy the tickets. They will let you know your view is going to be obstructed.
In Houston the big difference was I watched Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels part 1 in VIP. I watched that with the entire Dusty Rhodes family, the Ric Flair family, and Ricky Steamboat family. All of us were sitting together. I was literally sitting next to Cody and Dustin Rhodes. It was so awesome because it was really cool getting to see those guys getting into it. Of course now I'm in Orlando watching it with Brady. I'm watching it with Maria. We cheered, we laughed, we chanted and it was all too cool.
Nerd901: How was the crowd?
Dustin: The crowd was crazy and rowdy. The two younger guys sitting in front of me were wearing Taker shirts. I messed with them and said "It might be a long night for Taker huh guys". They were like "oh no, come on". After that match I joked about why Undertaker was putting his stuff back on after losing to Roman Reigns. One of the guys turned around and says "Not funny buddy". He took it dead serious, and then he flipped me off. So, yeah man the crowd was too crazy that night.
Nerd901: This being Maria and Brady's first WM and next year being in New Orleans I assume y'all will be going?
Dustin: Oh yeah man.
Nerd901: Well talking about next year's WM and this year's experience let's get into our first guest question. This is a combined question from David Owens and Brianna Kiplinger. Talk about ticket pricing and budgeting for WM. Plus, the Raw after Mania.
Dustin: (Laughs) Start saving right now. I think the ringside seats are around $3,000-$4,000 each. We had good tickets in the lower level and I think we were around the $200 mark. You're literally all over the ticketing board, but if you want to be there and be a part of the event. I bet you could get them cheaper than $200, but your seat may not be great. You have to get the tickets early because they will sale out. Even the Raw tickets go pretty quick.
Nerd901: If you had to combine the WM tickets, Raw tickets, and hotel. Ball park how much do you think you spent?
Dustin: I think that depends on the size of your family. We had Dread Head Kev with us, so that helped. Let's say it was just my family. You're looking around $600 for WM, $400-$500 for Raw, and $150 a night for the hotel. So, yeah probably around $1,550-$2,000 total. Again, start saving right now? (Laughter)
Nerd901: Okay, we can switch over into the more normal questions? What was your favorite match at WM?
Dustin: Probably Taker vs Reigns. The reason is for one, hindsight it looks like that was Taker's last match. I know a lot of people don't like to hear this, but to me Roman Reigns is the guy. There is no question about it, whether you're a fan or not, he is a stud! I called he was going to beat the Undertaker, and he sure did. No one wanted to believe me; I just didn't see any other way how that could have ended. It was a good match, and they built it perfectly. It took a lot for Roman to beat Taker. Also, I was there when Roman first learned how to lock-up. I helped him with that, and I was there for his first match in FCW. He was always a super cool guy and down to earth. You kind of knew that this guy was going to be a main eventer one day. I started when I was 15 and it took me until I was 26 to make it. This guy has been here for 6-7 years. Now, he has main evented WrestleMania three years in a row.
Nerd901: Well, that leads us into our next guest question from Kevin White: How amazing was the first 15 minutes of Raw with Roman?
Dustin: Awesome. It was absolutely awesome and nothing else needed to be said. Everyone in that building was responding. It was awesome. Look, Roman gets over one or the other. Cheer or boo he is getting a reaction. It doesn't matter if he is getting cheered or booed. As long as people are making noise he is going to be around. He sells a ton of merch, and the people always go crazy for him. I tell you what; if you really want to test it out do an autograph signing. See how many people show up, because I promise you it will be sold out.
Nerd901: What was your least favorite match?
Dustin: Uhh…Dean Ambrose vs Baron Corbin. Nothing against Corbin, and I'm sure he is a great dude. I'm not a fan. Or I'm not a fan yet. Brady loves Dean, so I wanted Dean to win for Brady. Plus, I think it's way too early for Corbin to get a title. He will get it, just may be a tad early. I'm not into it right now. WWE has a lot of the same guys right now. Tall, tattoos, and a menacing look, but to me there is nothing that sets them apart. Oh..oh my least favorite match was the (Pitbull) concert. Yeah, that was certainly a time for a bathroom break. (Laughter).
Nerd901: Okay, great stuff. What was your favorite WrestleMania "moment"?
Dustin: I would have to go back to Taker vs Roman. We witnessed history. It was the only second time Taker lost at WM. And it seems like we may have seen Undertaker's last match. So, I think we saw something really special there. I do think John Cena proposing to Nikki Bella was a cool moment. We'd never seen that before at WM. (Laughter) Maria actually cried during the proposal. That was sweet to see. It was cool to see, and it belonged at WrestleMania.
Nerd901: Okay, next guest question from Scott Frame. What's your favorite Taker moment ever? (We narrowed it down to three).
Dustin: Wow. Wow. That's a good question. Him and Sid Vicious was a cool one for me at WrestleMania 13. I'm a big Sid fan, Sid's from Memphis, and Taker started his career here in Memphis. So, I think the Memphis connection is pretty cool. Man….Taker had so many great moments. Oh of course, the Hell in the Cell matches. The one with Mick Foley and Shawn Michaels are fantastic. I wasn't a fan of the American Bad Ass gimmick. But hey that's just me. I'm an Undertaker fan. I loved him.
Nerd901: Great stuff. Scott Frame also asked who had a better debut after WM? Nakamura, The Revival, or Tye Dillinger? (I added in Finn Balor's return).
Dustin: Okay, Finn's return. The only thing that bothered me was he didn’t have on the demon paint. He came back after 8 months and it's the night after WM I think he should be in the paint. I think they should in the paint, man. So, Nakamura's debut was different from anything we've ever seen. He didn't have a match, he didn't have a promo. It was an awesome music video. First, you think "That's it, that's all we get", but you look back at it you're like "Holy Crap! He had a five minute intro by himself with 20,000 people watch it". That was super cool, and I don't think it gets any better than that. We'll see where we are in 3 months with him though. I like Nakamura. He's awesome.
Nerd901: Okay and so what about The Revival or Tye?
Dustin: (Smiling) I don’t like Tye because he is stealing my gimmick by throwing the 5 in the air (Laughter). Seriously, his work is great though. He is another guy we'll have to watch in the upcoming months. I hope the people stay with him. The whole "10" thing though I think works for him. It gives people to chant with him. Even when he throws a punch the crowd chants "10".I think that's cool and it will help. Sometimes it's all about that catch phrase. As far as The Revival if you're a fan of school these guys are for you. They are great in the ring, I just don't know if they are going to have the success people thing they are going to have. Look and Enzo and Big Cass they are getting over, but haven't won the titles yet. I thought it was happening at WM, but of course the Hardy Boys came out. Oh! That was a great "moment" too by the way. The Hardys coming back.
Nerd901: You kind of think The Revival is plain then?
Dustin: Yeah man, they are plain. They're good, but plain. It's something that Dr. Tom Prichard taught us in wresting. He said "Wrestling is like ice cream. We love it and there are a lot of different flavors. But it's not my flavor right now".
Nerd901: I hear you. I think that's great. I think that's a good mind set to keep throughout this interview and going forward with the product WWE is giving us. Okay a few more here. They have some sort of tie-in for WrestleMania. How do you feel about Brock Lesnar or "part-timers" carrying titles?
Dustin: (Laughing) Ahhh….get out of here. That's crazy (smiling). You don't see UFC guys fight on a regular bases. I don't see why you can't have guys be special features, and that's what he is…he is an attraction. The part-timer thing, hey man that's how contracts are made. IF you can get a contract like that more power to you. We used to see Brock every single week wrestling. Now he has gotten to the level he doesn’t have too, so good for him. Brock helps the product. He put Goldberg back at Survivor Series. That doesn't happen with Brock.
Nerd901: So, you don’t think it hurts the brand or anything?
Dustin: No. You see him on ESPN and all sorts of other places. It's like buying a marketing package because they make news everywhere else.
Nerd901. Next question I hold in high standard. I have a feeling where you lean, but I was dying to ask you. You've been in the industry for a long time. Talk about the evolution of women's wrestling. Going from Diva matches lasting barely two minutes to the highlight WrestleMania with superb matches.
Dustin: Oh man! Oh it's so awesome! I love it. I think it's great. Honestly, I think it's because of the Bella Twins we got this. I think it started with Total Divas, and Nikki's title reign lasting so long. I think that helped kick off the Women's Revolution. I don’t think without the Bellas pushing that, we wouldn’t be where we are with the Women's Division. The "Give Divas a Chance" hashtags and chants all helped get to where we are today.
Nerd901: Do you think the women like Charlotte, Sasha, Bayley, and Becky helped put the women's division on notice. That you can't be just a pretty face. You've got to be able to perform well in the ring too?
Dustin: Yes! Look at Carmella. She is a very pretty woman. She could be all looks, but she has gotten better in the ring over time. It took a minute, and the crowd wasn't with her at first. It took time. You've got to be good. And man these women are good!
Nerd901: Going back to your "ice cream" statement earlier. I assume that's how you feel about Kevin Owens. You think he is great in the ring and on the mic. But not your type of flavor at the moment?
Dustin: Yes. I mean his story is awesome. If I ever see him I'll be glad to shake his hand. Also, to me you've got to look athletic. He doesn't look like that, until he starts moving. (Laughter). He keeps proving people wrong and I think that’s important.
Nerd901: What do you think about the Raw crowd with the beach ball?
Dustin: Yeah, I mean that sucks. That sucks for the guys in the ring. But those people bought ticket and that's what the crowd is expecting to do. But yeah it sucks. If you're out there you have to embrace it.
Nerd901: Sure. That makes sense. I think we are all done with questions. Any final words or something else you want to add?
Dustin: Yeah, one final thing going back to WM moments. A cool story to tell. Matt Hardy was in town last month and I got to work with him. We went out to eat at Huey's afterwards, and we ran into Lawler. We were out having a good time with Matt and my family. Needless to say when the Hardy's music hit we went crazy. It felt like we were seeing one of our buddy's now. That was really exciting. I was able to text him afterwards congrats, and he texted me back saying thanks. Of course, Brady asked if we could go out to eat with him again. (Laughter).
Oh and last thing. We were on TV! People were texting me screen shots and sending them to me. So, not only was it Brady's first WrestleMania, his second favorite (his first being Dustin) won the world title, and then he was on TV. So he took his tablet to school for show and tell from WrestleMania. (Laughter).
I can't thank Dustin enough for talking to me, and being so kind to Nerd901. He is a stand up guy and deserves any accomplishments coming his way. If you feel like I left anything out join in on the conversation. Leave a comment or drop us a line on Twitter. You can hit us up @Nerd_901 or me @WebHeadNick86. While you're on Twitter, give Dustin a follow too. You can reach him @DustinStarr. There you can see his dates for his upcoming events. We should all get out there and support him. He truly does deserve it. All the best!