I first met Robb Roemershauser in 2007; he was the maestro behind the Aboveground Zine Library, a vast archive of self-published periodicals that was one of many wonders within 511 Marigny before that building's tragic yuppification.
Robb's an inveterate collector, but he's also a dedicated volunteer. He volunteers for the Crescent City Classic, for festivals and for special events. If there's something big in town, he's likely donating his labor to it.
When WrestleMania 30 came here in 2014, Robb volunteered for Axxess, WWE's WrestleMania fan experience. To provide the inside scoop on the life of an Axxess volunteer, Robb agreed to a debriefing at Waffle House following his first volunteer shift Thursday night.
Gambit: Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed!
Roemershauser: Yes, today was the very first day of WWE Axxess in New Orleans for WrestleMania 34. I previously volunteered for WrestleMania 30 and I enjoyed it. Before I volunteered at Axxess today I gave blood, so really I volunteered twice today.
How'd the shift go?
Well, there were two separate things you could sign up for, and I made sure I definitely did not sign up to be a front-entrance greeter, but that's what they ended up making me do for a few hours. It was okay because I got to hand out information. Of course there were questions about where this person or that person was signing, and you don't know until they put the signs out.
Would you recommend volunteering?
It's a good experience. For instance if you're somebody who grew up being a fan of WWE, you would never get to be someone who gets to work for them. But [at Axxess] you're working for the WWE, and they bring happiness to millions of people all around the world, and to be a part of something like that is awesome.
During the media tour, I was very impressed by the size of Axxess and all the different displays.
There's a lot of new things they didn't have before, like Piper's Pit. You can also do a video of you coming down the ramp to the entrance [theme music] of your favorite wrestler. I did get kind of tired of hearing John Cena; I started singing "John Cena sucks" to myself.
Belts for sale at the WWE Superstore
If you haven't gone to it, I would plan on going to it because you might get to see some people you admire, who are inspiring to you. For instance a person called Sasha Banks, I got to meet her. I cracked a joke, I said, "Oh, you're The Boss... I know the real Boss [Bruce Springsteen], but he's not the boss of me." It was an inside joke. And I also saw a person called Jimmy Hart, one of the people there today, who was featured in Gambit recently
Did anything surprising or strange happen?
There was someone who actually gave me a tip. He asked me, "Is there someone walking around selling programs?" I said, "No, would you like one? I'll be back with it shortly." I came back with it and he insisted I keep five dollars. I was like, "Okay." I didn't know what to do with it, so I went to the WWE Store and bought a WrestleMania cup they had for five dollars.
One thing they asked me to do for an hour was [the booth for] the video game for WWE. You got to take a picture with Sin Cara, and I had to stand out front because there was nobody in line, and say "Get your picture taken with Sin Cara. Nobody's in line!"
There was a few people that noticed that I stutter, and a few people made faces at me because I do somewhat make a face sometimes, I guess because I have aspergers. It didn't bother me, and some people did go see Sin Cara because they heard me.
How does volunteering for Axxess compare to volunteering for the NBA All-Star Game or the Superbowl?
A foam-filled ring at WrestleMania Axxess
I didn't get to volunteer last time for the NBA All-Star Game because it was very late when they decided to come here and the Convention Center was already booked. The only job that they had was being a greeter at the airport and I didn't feel like doing that; it was a long drive. But I did get to volunteer for the NBA All-Star game the time before that.
I did volunteer two times at the Pro Bowl, but the only thing I did there was take pictures of people standing in front of the big Pro Bowl football, and the picture would go to the app. At the Superbowl and Pro Bowl there were a lot of football-related physical activities. There's not much like that at Axxess except jumping into a foam pit, but of course you can't really do too much for physical activities in regards to wrestling, because it's dangerous.
But I was surprised at the Pro Bowl they had "Run the 40 yard dash," and the time they had on there was Kareem Hunt's time, and I ran the dash one second over his time —
Is that true?
And I was like, Whoa, I can't believe I ran that fast!
I cracked a joke to my Mom that I thought I was going to run out of my shoes.
You're telling me you almost hit Kareem Hunt's time at the 40 yard dash?
Yes, almost beat him.
This sounds like fake news.
Well, I did get to meet him at the Senior Bowl. Kareem Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Do you have any specific advice or recommendations for people who are going to Axxess?
Robb inside the Elimination Chamber with the Riott Squad's Sarah Logan (left) and Liv Morgan (right)
The very first thing is only clear bags are admissible, and if you don't have one, you can get one for five dollars. If you have your own bag and can't leave it someplace, then for five dollars you can leave it out front.
For autographs, they don't have pictures of each of the Superstars when you get their autographs, but they do have a program, which is a great collectible. It's $25 and has a spot for each of the Superstars' autographs in it. That's better than having them sign some piece of paper. Most people aren't autograph collectors who go there, they're just in line to meet the wrestlers and get an autograph for the sake of the autograph.
Get there early, and just take it in and have a smile on your face, because you're with people who have come a long way to be there. Personally I could be walking around something like that and start crying because I would say to myself, I'm not worthy to be here. When I went to the Pro Bowl, I started to cry because I couldn't believe I was there. So don't take it for granted is what I'm saying, because you don't know the next time WrestleMania will come to New Orleans, or if it will ever come again.