I was already looking forward to seeing Sting on this tour – it’s been his first visit to the UK in a decade, and probably his last ever appearance here – but then days before the tour began Hulk Hogan announced he would also be making his first visit to the UK since 1994. This was going to be unmissable.
We set off to arrive at the MEN Arena in plenty of time, enjoy a beer and browse the merchandise before watching the show, but we ended up stuck in traffic just outside Manchester. The show’s starting time of 7:30 came and went, and although we were getting constant updates from friends at the show, sitting in the car waiting for the traffic to improve was painful. We eventually made it to the arena around 9, parked the car and rushed down to our seats, just as the interval was ending and the second half of the show was beginning. We’d missed four bouts, including Austin Aries, Crimson, A.J. Styles and Mickie James, but the real good stuff hadn’t happened yet.
The first main event of the evening was for the World Heavyweight Championship, with current holder Bobby Roode up against Samoa Joe. Roode was getting some big boos and Joe was getting just as many cheers, but Bobby managed to successfully defend his title in a well-paced match. Joe stayed in the ring for a while afterwards, pulling out an English flag and showing his appreciation for the fans’ support.