Recap: Legends of the Ring XX

Legends of the Ring XX tomorrow morning! (Photo Credit: legendsofthering.com)
Legends of the Ring XX (Photo Credit: legendsofthering.com)

Hey now.

Well…I’m almost speechless. Almost.

I’ve just returned from the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Monroe, New Jersey, which was the venue for Legends of the Ring XX. This was my first LOTR (and 2nd convention overall) so I was very anxious to see if it would live up to the hype.

It did. And then some.

I’m doing a full, detailed recap of the event. It’s going to be a LONG read with LOTS of pictures but hopefully you’ll enjoy it.

But, first, let’s start with a bit of a downer: Terry Funk was a scheduled “Superticket” guest but, unfortunately, had to cancel due to illness. He came down with a nasty case of pneumonia back in late April and he still hasn’t recovered. It also sounds like Mr. Funk is retiring from all wrestling related shows/conventions. That’s obviously very upsetting because Mr. Funk is one of the greatest icons wrestling has ever known. I know all of us wish him nothing but good health and a full recovery very, very soon.

Also, it was announced that the Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray) canceled. Again. I was supposed to meet them back in March at the Big Event but they canceled due to plane trouble. Okay, no problem. I was excited to catch them at Legends but…nope. “Travel issues” prevented them from coming. Ugh.

Other cancellations: One Man Gang/Akeem, Jake “the Snake” Roberts, and Sunny. I’m not sure about Greg Gagne because I don’t remember seeing him.

Horrific accident. I hope they're ok!
Horrific accident. I hope they’re ok!

Okay, so the day began bright and early. My lovely girlfriend and I left Long Island a little after 7:15 AM and reached the Crowne Plaza a little after 9:00 AM. There was relatively no traffic although we did see the aftermath of this horrific accident, pictured above. Man, I hope those people are ok.

We walked into the hotel lobby, picked up our G.A. tickets, and headed inside the vendor room. Before I go any further, I have to describe to you what this room looks like. It’s absolutely jam packed – I mean JAM PACKED – with tables. What’s normally a fairly big event room suddenly felt and looked a lot smaller. The tables are usually occupied with the wrestler’s but there were plenty of vendors selling various pieces of memorabilia. It’s definitely overwhelming, even if you’re used to dealing with large crowds.

Immediately stationed to your left upon entrance is WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel, who is hosting Legends of the Ring. The Fink was even attired in his tuxedo! Kayfabe will never, ever die! On your right hand side was a vendor seemingly selling every single action figure ever made. Okay, that’s a bit dramatic but damn.

Luke signing
Luke signing Encyclopedia
Buschwhacker Luke and I
Bushwhacker Luke and I

The first stop of the day was newly inducted WWE Hall of Famer Bushwhacker Luke, who was stationed all the way in the back of the room and had no line. Luke was very, very nice and took a great pic. He signed the Buschwhacker’s entry in the WWE Encyclopedia.

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Meeting The Franchise
Meeting The Franchise

I aimlessly walked around the room until I spotted someone I have always wanted meet: “The Franchise” Shane Douglas! The ECW Original was unadvertised so this was a very pleasant surprise. Douglas was absolutely FANTASTIC! Seriously, what a GREAT (x100) guy! We talked about ECW, a new promotion coming out of Vegas that will hook wrestler’s up with health benefits (about time!), and just about the event in general. He signed his entry in the WWE Encyclopedia, an 8×10, and took this awesome picture with me. The best part? I saw him about 30 minutes later and as I passed him he said, “Hey there, Anthony! Getting a lot of autographs?” HE REMEMBERED MY NAME! I’m still marking out, bros.

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Rockstar Spud and I
Rockstar Spud and I

I then made my way over to Rockstar Spud, who was dressed in his finest floral blazer. He was a really nice guy, especially with the kids. I had him sign my 2014 TNA program and took this cool picture with him.

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Doring and I
Doring and I

ECW original Danny Doring was up next, who immediately complimented my t-shirt! Doring was very nice and signed his entry in the Encyclopedia. I also got to pose with the ECW World Tag Team Championship! How freaking awesome was that?!?! Also of note: The Amish Roadkill, Doring’s former tag team partner, was also at the convention as a figure vendor. I didn’t see them pose for pictures together, which is odd. Maybe I just missed it.

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The NWA World Heavyweight Championship around my shoulder.
The NWA World Heavyweight Championship around my shoulder.

Up next was Rob Conway, who also complimented my t-shirt! He told me he owns authentic Macho Man shades and he’s lending them to Damien Sandow, who’s now doing a Macho Man impression/gimmick. Nice little nugget of info there! Rob signed his solo entry in the Encyclopedia as well as the La Resistance page. I also posed with his NWA World Heavyweight Championship, which was so overwhelmingly awesome. Rob wanted me to point at the belt like Macho Man is doing on my t-shirt.

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Cornette signing his Midnight Express 25th Anniversary scrapbook (must read).
Cornette signing his Midnight Express 25th Anniversary scrapbook (must read).
Jim Cornette and I
Jim Cornette and I

I then found the man I was really looking forward to meeting: Jim Cornette! Boy, Mr. Cornette did NOT disappoint! What a PHENOMENAL guy! He eagerly signed my WWE Encyclopedia and took this awesome picture with me – all before I handed him the money! I asked him how much and his response was unreal: autographs AND pictures were…FREE! However, he was selling numerous items and he asked if I would be interested in any of them. I saw something that originally caught my eye online a few weeks ago: “The Midnight Express and Jim Cornette 25th Anniversary Scrapbook.” I decided to make the purchase and he gladly signed that as well. Great stuff from a great man.

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Colt Cabana and I.
Colt Cabana and I.

Colt Cabana was up next. He was very nice and signed his entry in the WWE Encyclopedia (Scotty Goldman!). He also took this cool pic with me. Cabana was a few tables away from Mr. Cornette, which is interesting considering Cabana’s recent Kevin Owens jab at him.

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“The Iceman” and I putting up those Four Fingers.

I then spotted “The Iceman” Dean Malenko, who was a bit pricey but I pre-ordered a combo because he’s rarely makes appearances. Malenko was actually a lot more personable than I thought he would be. He signed his entry in the WWE Encyclopedia and took this awesome pic of us throwing up the four fingers. He’s the 2nd Horsemen I’ve met this year. Truly an honor meeting one of the most gifted technical wrestlers of all-time.

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The Big Valbowski and I.
The Big Valbowski and I.

I made a stop at Val Venis‘ table, who was very nice. He signed his entry in the WWE Encyclopedia, a small towel, and took this cool pic. Val was a staple of the Attitude Era and I think he’s really underappreciated/underrated. He was a solid worker who was gold on the microphone. I remember feeling so pissed when he abandoned his gimmick to join the Right to Censor. They were the worst! Boo censorship.

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“The Fink” and I.

I decided to get a combo for Howard Finkel, who was very nice and made sure our picture came out well enough. He signed his entry in the Encyclopedia. By the way, The Fink did a great job hosting the event. It’s not an unimportant job: he let you know who was currently signing in the vendor room and he announced all the blocks for the Super Ticket and Shawn Michaels signings. Great job.

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It was time to hit the Super Ticket room and boy…talk about crowded and congested. That room is TINY. There’s a maze of tables that serve as stanchions and there’s so many damn people. I was pleasantly surprised that they allowed G.A. Superticket holders to come in before 11:00 AM.

I passed on Magnum T.A. because I met him back in March at the Big Event and I just didn’t have anything else for him to sign. I also didn’t splurge for a Jackie Moore ticket because, well…I can always get her signature at the next con.

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Baron Von Raschke signing my Encyclopedia
Baron Von Raschke signing my Encyclopedia

Up first was Baron Von Raschke, who was very nice. He signed his entry in the Encyclopedia. I’m kicking myself for neglecting to spring for a picture of him and I doing the Claw. Oh well, maybe next time. It was still an honor meeting a legend!

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Kimberly Page and I.
Kimberly Page and I.

Next was Kimberly Page of WCW fame. She was stunningly beautiful and, predictably, had the longest line in the room because she’s a rare get. I believe she did LOTR years and years ago but I could be wrong. She was very sweet and signed her small picture that was featured in the WCW: Ultimate Guide book that I’ve had forever. Seriously, that book is over a decade old. Flipping through through it gave me an odd mix of nostalgia and bad feelings towards WCW. It’s still hard to believe they messed up the way that they did.

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“The Soulman” Rocky Johnson. He’s a WWE Hall of Famer and the proud father of The Rock

Rocky “Soulman” Johnson – a.k.a. The Rock’s father – was up next. Johnson replaced Terry Funk on the Super Ticket and he was very, very pleasant. He signed his entry in the Encyclopedia. He, too, commented on my Macho Man shirt but it wasn’t a happy conversation. Apparently, Mr. Johnson saw Macho Man pass away after his traffic heart attack (that resulted in a bad car accident). As I was trying to take my photo with Mr. Johnson, he kept telling me how sad he was that Savage was gone. Everyone felt that way. You’re truly missed, Macho Man.

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Pat Patterson, first ever WWF Intercontinental Champion, signing my Encyclopedia
Pat Patterson, first ever WWF Intercontinental Champion, signing my Encyclopedia

The last Super Ticket guest during this block was the first ever Intercontinental Champion and WWE Hall of Famer: Pat Patterson. Funny story time: Patterson kept screaming, “FIVE MINUTES! FIVE MINUTES LEFT” literally every 30 seconds or so. I’m pretty sure everyone waiting on line had a heart attack the first time they heard him say that! Patterson was very nice and signed his entry in the Encyclopedia. I also enjoyed overseeing his chatter with Rocky Johnson, who was seated to his right.

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Funny story #2: There was a fan who purchased the Superticket (which is $200) and he had nothing to sign. He also didn’t want any pictures. What DID he want? He was requesting every S.T. guest to do a video recording of them plugging his podcast. Patterson had the best reaction. He literally had no idea what this guy was asking him to do because the fan did a terrible, terrible job of explaining what he wanted. Patterson just stared at him blankly before the guy gave up and got a picture with him. It was hilarious.

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We then made a brief trip to the car to put away the WCW book. We quickly hit the vendor room, which had filled up considerably.

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Mickie James and I.
Mickie James and I.

Current TNA Knockout and former WWE Diva Mickie James was next on my list. Mickie was a real sweetheart and was super, super friendly with everyone she met. I also want to give a quick shout out to Ultimate Starz Promotions, who brought her, Magnus, and Bobby Roode in. They’re a great promotion. Mickie signed her entry in the WWE Encyclopedia and took this picture with me.

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“The It Factor” and myself.

Following Mickie was Bobby Roode, who I met back at Big Event. This time around, though, I had him sign something: his entry in the 2014 TNA program. Very nice but quiet guy. On a sidenote, he was conversing with fellow TNA wrestler Ken Anderson. I had no idea Anderson was scheduled for this con! He’s a really great guy and a must meet for anyone considering him.

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TNA star and fiance of Mickie James: Magnus
TNA star and fiance of Mickie James: Magnus

Next was Magnus, who was VERY nice! He, too, signed his entry in the TNA program and took this cool pic with me. He was very outgoing, just like his fiance Mickie James.

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TNA World Heavyweight Championship! That beauty of a title is MASSIVE.
TNA World Heavyweight Championship! That beauty of a title is MASSIVE.

Here’s a pic of the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, which is MASSIVE. Say what you will about TNA but they make some awesome titles.

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“Have a Nice Day!” Mankind and I at LOTR

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this: Mick Foley, dressed as Mankind, had NO LINE whatsoever. Before I went into the Super Ticket room, I had gotten on the LENGTHY Foley line. I expected the line to be even worse by the time I got back but…nope. Mick was just sitting there, checking his phone. I immediately jumped at the opportunity to meet him once again and I’m glad I did. Mick – Mankind, excuse me – was awesome! He signed his entry in the WWE Encyclopedia and took this awesome pic.

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Taryn Terrell and I
Taryn Terrell and I

Next was the “Divas” section. Up first was Taryn Terrell, formerly known as Tiffany in the WWE. She was VERY sweet and very personable. She signed her entry in the Encyclopedia and took a pic with me. Very sweet person.

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Melina and I, one of the nicest wrestlers I've met.
Melina and I, one of the nicest wrestlers I’ve met.

Following Taryn was Melina, who brought her little dog Bandit! Melina was unbelievably awesome! She was very sweet and talkative. She said she loves coming down to these conventions and talking to her fans. “You guys are like family,” she said. She signed her entry in the Encyclopedia and took a pic with me! Definitely go out and meet Melina if you have the chance.

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Doofy me and Kelly Kelly
Doofy me and Kelly Kelly

Rounding out the Divas corner was Kelly Blank, formerly Kelly Kelly in the WWE. She was VERY sweet. She, too, signed her entry in the Encyclopedia and took this pic with me.

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“The Total Package” and I.

Up next was “The Total Package” Lex Luger, who was looking great! Lex and I had a brief discussion about the Yankees, particularly how awesome Alex Rodriguez is doing. Lex signed his entry in the Encyclopedia and took this awesome pic with me. Great, great guy.

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Hardcore Holly and I with the Hardcore Title
Hardcore Holly and I with the Hardcore Title

Following Lex was Hardcore Holly, who was having a chat with X-Pac while I patiently waited. I get a kick out of seeing wrestlers converse with one another. It’s the mark in me, what can I say? Anyways, Holly was once again awesome and signed the “Holly Cousins” and “New Midnight Express” entries in the Encyclopedia. I also took this sweet pic posing with his WWF Hardcore Championship!

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Molly Holly and I
Molly Holly and I

Next was Molly Holly, who was nice. She signed her solo entry and the “Holly Cousins” entry. She had her WWE Women’s Championship but I didn’t get a chance to hold it.

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“The Whole F’n Show” signing

Following Molly Holly was “The Whole F’n Show” Rob Van Dam, who also had no line! RVD was cool as hell and signed his entry in the Encyclopedia. By the way, all the Divas came up to RVD. Always the coolest guy in the room, that RVD is.

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Eric Young and I
Eric Young and I

Next was Eric Young of TNA. Very nice guy who commented on how tall I am. “You’re taller than me…damn it!” Great guy! He signed his entry in the TNA program. When he was signing he looked at the photo and says, “Damn I look angry!” He sure did!

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Larry and I admiring his HOF ring
Larry and I admiring his HOF ring

Next was Larry Zbyzsko. I pre-ordered his “Hall of Fame” package, which included the following: 1 signed 8×10, 1 of your own items signed, and a picture wearing his HOF ring! Larry’s an awesome guy, very approachable and friendly. I didn’t get to wear the ring – it actually looked too small – but Larry showed it to me in great detail. It’s a really nice ring.

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It was now lunch time. We ate at Yogi’s, the restaurant inside the hotel. We were seated right behind Baron Von Raschke and his wife (who was getting so annoyed at the waitress lol), a few seats away from Kevin Sullivan, who was right in front of Aksana. If that wasn’t cool enough, New Jack, Rob Conway, Mr. Anderson, Rockstar Spud, and Bill Apter came in while we were eating. Funny story #3: New Jack was drinking at the bar when two fans approached him for a pic. New Jack obliged them but man…you can tell that man did not want to be at LOTR. He seems to genuinely hate marks.

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Me with
Me with “The Homicidal, Suicidal, Genocidal” Sabu…and the Genie?

After our meal, I went back into the vendor’s room and purchased a combo for Sabu! I always wanted to meet him and I’m glad I did. Yes, he was quiet and didn’t say much but I didn’t mind. He was actually very polite. Someone named The Genie posed with us…no idea who she was. She introduced herself after the the photo op. She seemed nice enough but…yeah. No idea. I think she’s Sabu’s new valet.

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Me with the leader of the BDC, MVP!
Me with the leader of the BDC, MVP!

The end was near. G.A. was called for the 2nd block of the Super Ticket and it was a looonnngggg wait. MVP had his own room and a short line so he was up first. Nice guy, especially with the kids. He signed his entry in the Encyclopedia.

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Bart Gunn signing the Encyclopedia
Bart Gunn signing the Encyclopedia

After waiting on line for 20-30 minutes, a LOTR staff member noticed that only 15 or so G.A. Super Ticket holders were left. The line inside the room was MASSIVE. It just turned 3:00 PM and I was sure I wouldn’t make it out of that room before 4:00 PM. But guess what? Another staff member asked me who I had from this block, which was Bart Gunn and The New Age Outlaws. He decided to ESCORT ME into the room and I cut the MASSIVE line! I quickly met Bart, who signed the “New Midnight Express” and “Smokin’ Gunns” entries in the Encyclopedia…

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“Oh you Didn’t Know?!?” The New Age Outlaws and I.

….before I was quickly ushered to The Outlaws, who were AWESOME. They signed their entry in the Encyclopedia before taking this pic with me. Yes, it was a little rushed but man…THEY LET ME CUT THE WHOLE LINE!!! Granted, I didn’t get the other Super Ticket guests (The Conquistadors were the other S.T. guests) but still…toally didn’t expect that. Big shout out to the LOTR event staff on that one.

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Woof. That took FOREVER to write!!! But man, what an awesome experience! And I just wanted to take this time to thank my amazing, wonderful girlfriend for putting up with me. What a champion and what a supporter of my crazy, time and money consuming hobby. You’re the best, babe!

Let me know if you were at LOTR! Share your experiences, stories, anecdotes, etc!

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