Recap: Legends of the Ring XXI

Legends of the Ring XXI (Photo Credit: Legends of the Ring)
Legends of the Ring XXI (Photo Credit: Legends of the Ring)

Hey now.

Two words perfectly sum up my experience at Legends of the Ring XXI: stress free.

A stress free convention is always a good thing. While I would’ve loved to have seen a stronger vendor’s guest list, I walked away from LOTR XXI feeling very satisfied.

There were a couple of bumps in the road – that’s to be expected – but overall it was a pleasant experience. Here’s my detailed recap:


Welcome to Legends of the Ring XXI
Welcome to Legends of the Ring XXI

My girlfriend & I arrived at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Monroe, NJ, at roughly 9:25 AM and were mildly surprised to find a parking spot a few feet from the hotel’s entrance. We walked into the lobby, immediately claimed our tickets, and walked into the vendor’s room. My Superticket number was 75 – they were only calling 1-50 – so I had some time to kill in the vendor’s room.

My strategy heading into any convention is to immediately knock out my pre-orders. I can’t imagine paying $25.00 + to meet someone and just flat out missing them because I was reckless with time management. Vendor’s will not sympathize with you, let alone issue you a refund. You missed them, your problem and that’s perfectly understandable.

Paul Orndorff & I
Paul Orndorff & I

With that strategy in mind, I immediately hopped on “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndroff’s surprisingly long, slow moving line. The line came to a screeching halt thanks to a fan who had about 5 photos and a mini Jacksonville Sharks helmet for Orndorff to sign. Orndorff seemed genuinely shocked to see the helmet, which was cool to see. After about a 15 minute wait, it was my turn to meet Orndorff and he couldn’t have been any nicer. Very pleasant guy and asked me what color I would like him to sign with. He signed his entry in the WWE Encyclopedia and took a nice photo with me.

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Charlie Haas & I
Charlie Haas & I

I made my way to the back of the vendor’s room and spotted Charlie Haas. He signed the “Charlie Haas” and “World’s Greatest Tag Team” entries in the WWE Encyclopedia and took a picture with me. Polite guy, not very talkative.

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Oscar & I
Oscar & I

Next to Haas was Oscar from Men on a Mission. I passed by his table and he immediately called out to me to get an autograph. I actually intended on getting him to sign the M.O.M. entry in the Encyclopedia so I decided to help him out and get a relatively cheap combo. He was a nice guy so no regrets.


Okay…rant time. I walked by Chris Morrow Production’s table and they had a few guests I was interested in meeting. They were offering a pre-sale deal: if you pre-order a combo ticket for John Morrison or The Headbangers, you received a free Robbie E. combo. I emailed them a few weeks before the event…no answer. I sent a Facebook message…no answer. They never got back to me.

I wasn’t going to hold a grudge – and I really wanted a pic with the Headbangers, who were dressed in full gimmick – so I approached the vendor. The flyer stated that a Headbangers combo was a reasonable $25.00. When I gave the vendor the cash…she told me it was $40.00! She claimed the $25.00 combo only covered one of the Headbangers! WTF! So, like the sucker that I am, I ponied up the dough. I am pissed though. Not even responding to my inquiries? Freaking bush league.


Headbangers & I
Headbangers & I

Anyways, The Headbangers were very nice guys. They signed their entry in the WWE Encyclopedia and took this awesome pic with me. Very pricey – I know I was jipped – but what can you do? I wanted a pic and an autograph. Ugh.

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Debra & I
Debra & I

Up next was Debra, who was part of Lucky 13’s V.I.P. package I pre-ordered a few weeks back. Debra was wearing a short black dress with knee-high boots and those long gloves she wore in her WCW days. Personally, I think she wore the gloves to avoid making contact with everyone’s hands lol. If that’s the case then kudos to you, Debra. Smart thinking. Anyways, she was very friendly and signed her entry and the Jarrett/Owen entry in the Encyclopedia. She took this very nice pic with me as well.

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“Cowboy” Bob Orton & I

I made my way over to “Cowboy” Bob Orton, who was a somewhat pricey $40.00 combo. Funny story: after Orton signed his entry in the Encyclopedia, I went to shake his hand but accidentally poked him in the gut. Whoops. Anyways,he was a quiet but nice enough guy. Here’s our picture

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It was finally Superticket time! They actually used tables as stanchions to separate the lines for the Superticket talent, which actually worked well. The last show featured a maze of tables that just didn’t work, in my opinion. I felt this went much smoother.

While waiting in line I spotted The Blue Meanie – who was unadvertised – speaking with Tazz. They had a brief conversation before Meanie left the Superticket room. I’ll have more to say on other wrestler’s interrupting the Superticket line…


Don Muraco & I
Don Muraco & I

Up first was Don Muraco, who was quiet but nice. The person before me asked him if he would return to the WWE and Muraco was blown away by his question. After a few awkward moments of silence he said, “Maybe as an interview or something.” Haha. Anyways, Muraco signed both entries in the Encyclopedia – he voluntarily signed the 2nd one – and took this picture with me.

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Carlito & I
Carlito & I

Carlito was up next. He wasn’t very talkative but was pleasant enough. He signed his entry in the Encyclopedia and took this picture with me. Sidenote: it’s almost criminal he didn’t bring an apple with him for a photo op. Hell, I should’ve brought one lol. Oh well.

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Sgt. Slaughter & I
Sgt. Slaughter & I

Next was Sgt. Slaughter, who had BY FAR the biggest line. That’s not very surprising: everyone loves Sarge! Sidenote: the person before me had Sarge sign a really cool WrestleMania VII poster…but apparently Sarge signed in the wrong spot. The guy seemed slightly crushed but hey…what can you do? Anyways, Sarge was a class act. He signed his entry in the Encyclopedia and took this great picture with me.

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Vickie Guerrero & I
Vickie Guerrero & I

The ultra-sweet Vickie Guerrero was up next. Seriously, she’s easily the nicest wrestling personality I’ve ever met. She introduced herself to my girlfriend, asked us where we’re from, and was interested in what I had her sign. She was amazed that the La Famila entry didn’t have a picture – something I agree with. She was an absolute sweetheart and I really love our picture together.

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George
George “The Animal” Steele & I

Up next was George “the Animal” Steele, who I met back in June, and he was an absolute class act once again. He signed the Oddities entry in the WWE Encyclopedia before he made me choke him in our photo op.

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Taz & I
Tazz & I

Finally, the man I was most excited to meet: Taz! I was a little curious how Taz would be due to his rough and tough reputation but he couldn’t have been nicer. He was an absolute class act and was VERY engaging in our conversation. He asked if I listened to his show, if I listened live vs. podcast, etc. Great guy. He signed his entry in the Encyclopedia and the DVD cover of Barely Legal before taking this picture with me.

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Jazz & I
Jazz & I

Back to the vendor room. I went back to Lucky 13’s table to get Jazz (she was part of the V.I.P. deal). She was very quiet but polite enough. She signed her entry in the Encyclopedia before taking a picture with me.

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Bob Backlund and I
Bob Backlund and I

Up next…was Bob Backlund. I’ve always heard some hilarious (and frightening) stories about him so I was really curious to meet him. I had him sign his new book Backlund: From All-American Boy to Professional Wrestling’s World Champion, his entry in the WWE Encyclopedia, and a photo op.

Backlund immediately signed his book “To Anthony, Never Capitulate, Mr. Bob Backlund.” That’s quite an inscription! He then signed his entry in the Encyclopedia…and then pulled me in real close before our photo op. He said in a very soft voice, “I’m just so excited to promote this book. Please read it and tell me what you think about it on Social Media. I don’t know how to use it but I want to know what you think. Email me as well.” I totally forgot his email address but I’m sure I’ll find it somewhere. He then pulled me into the Chicken Wing for the photo op, which was awesome. Afterward, he pulled my girlfriend close to him and said, “Never stop smiling!” That was…something.

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Hillbilly Jim & I
Hillbilly Jim & I

Following that intense encounter with Backlund, I went over to K&S’ table to meet Hillbilly Jim. While I waited on the short line, they refunded me my pre-order for Outback Jack. They’re awesome, I loved not having to wait days or weeks to get my refund via PayPal. Anyways, Jim was AWESOME. Easily one of the nicest wrestler’s I’ve ever met. He was very engaging, acknowledged my girlfriend, asked us where we were from, etc. He also signed both entries in the WWE Encyclopedia. Great guy.

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John Morrison & I
John Morrison & I

Up next was John Morrison, now known as Johnny Mundo from his Lucha Underground fame, who was a pricey $50.00 combo. I’ve always wanted to meet Morrison so I bit the bullet and purchased the combo. On a happy note, Melina showed up as an unannounced guest. I didn’t have the cash for a Melina/Morrison photo op but I wasn’t heartbroken over it. Morrison was a very nice guy and we talked a bit about Lucha Underground. He’s excited as hell that they were renewed.

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Billy Kidman & I
Billy Kidman & I

Following Morrison was Billy Kidman, another pre-order. He had no line so I went right up to him. He was polite, not very talkative, but wasn’t rude by any means.

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Snitsky & I

I decided to head over to Eric Simms (!) table to get a cheap Snitsky $20.00 combo. Snitsky was really cool – he’s a STRONG dude. I thought he was going to crush my hand when I shook his.

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We then decided to grab some lunch. Funny exchange with the waitress: I asked her if they served Raspberry Iced Tea and she said they did not, just sweetened or unsweetened. So I decided to order a sweetened and my girlfriend ordered an unsweetened. So the waitress asks, “So two Raspberry’s?” We looked at her like she had two heads! “You said there isn’t any Raspberries…” and she said “well the sweetened tea is Raspberry flavored.” Yep…

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Nikolai Volkoff & I
Nikolai Volkoff & I

After lunch, I went back to Lucky 13’s table to complete my V.I.P. Package. The package offered two autographs from their guests but I didn’t have a need for two Heidi Lee Morgan and Jazz autographs so they allowed me to use them for Nikolai Volkoff extras, which allowed me to complete him in the Encyclopedia. Volkoff was very nice although he kept referring to my girlfriend as my “daughter.” That was…weird. Here’s our photo:

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Heidi Lee Morgan & I
Heidi Lee Morgan & I

Up next was the last Lucky 13 guest, Heidi Lee Morgan, who was an absolute sweetheart. She thought the Encyclopedia was very cool. Class act.

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Vince Russo & I
Vince Russo & I

Next was the most controversial man in wrestling history…Vince Russo. Pro Wrestling Syndicate wasn’t offering a combo so I settled for a $20.00 photo op, the first time I’ve ever done that. It felt weird meeting Russo because I have a lot of hate for what he did to WCW and TNA. But he’s such an important figure in wrestling history…I felt a need to at least get a photo.

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Bill Apter & I
Bill Apter & I

I went to Bill Apter‘s room to get his book signed. He also took a photo with me and insisted I held up the book for our photo op! I later overheard him say he completely sold out of books! Good for him, he’s a great guy.

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Lacey Von Erich & I
Lacey Von Erich & I

The day was coming to an end…but not before I made another trip to the Superticket room. Up first was Lacey Von Erich, who was an absolute sweetheart. She signed an 8×10 and took a photo with me. She also played music on her phone which is something I actually appreciated lol.

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Maven & I
Maven & I

Next was Maven, who was AWESOME. He was so engaging and friendly to EVERYONE who came up to him, especially parents and significant others who were only there to take pictures of their kids or S.Os. Here’s one annoying thing: Snitsky came into the room to say to Maven and that literally halted the entire S.T. line for about 15 minutes. UGHHH!!!

Funny story: I mentioned to him that we spontaneously met at a bar in the city a few years ago and his first response was, “Was I nice to you?!?” (he was). He then took a picture with me…and told me to take a picture of him and my girlfriend! He said, “This is the only time I can get a picture with your girlfriend without getting mad at me.” Everyone “Ooooo’ed!” Good stuff.

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Jerry Brisco & I
Jerry Brisco & I

Jerry Brisco was next. I felt so bad for the gentlemen in front of me because Brisco barely acknowledged him. Why? He was busy talking to Don Muraco, who came back to the room to say hello. When it was my turn, I waited for Brisco to finish his conversation. He signed his entry in the Encyclopedia and stood up for our picture. He commented that my Cactus Jack t-shirt was his favorite Foley t-shirt. He then chuckled and said, “Actually it’s Dude Love’s t-shirt.” Nice guy.

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Dan Spivey & I
Dan Spivey & I

Next was Dan Spivey, who was polite but quite. He signed the “Danny Spivey” and “Waylon Mercy” entries in the WWE Encyclopedia before taking a picture with me.

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Mike Rotunda & I
Mike Rotunda & I

Next was Mike Rotundo…and boy was this exchange awkward. He signed all his entries in the Encyclopedia and stood up for our photo op. While I was on line, I noticed he did the I.R.S. point in nearly everyone’s photo ops so I decided I wanted that as well. Well I’m pointing…and he’s extended his hand waiting for me to grasp it. So for several awkward moments, I’m doing the I.R.S. point while he’s waiting for me to shake his hand! Finally, he decided to make a fist! He didn’t point! Like…what the hell lmfao. I didn’t mind but man…that was weird.

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Barry Windham & I
Barry Windham & I

Finally, the last guest of the day…Barry Windham! I had Barry sign the “Barry Windham” and “U.S. Express” entries in the Encyclopedia. He didn’t stand for the photo op but did throw up those four fingers, which meant a lot to me, so I was more than happy. His hands are HUGE. Good guy, very quiet.

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And that does it. A very solid experience, although I was a little soured with the people at Chris Morrow Productions. I know I could have refused to buy from them but I wanted to meet Morrison and the Headbangers were dressed in gimmick so I bit the bullet and did it. Oh well.

The day was filled with lots of laughs and some good autographs. I can’t wait for June 11th, the date of the next LOTR. That seems like forever from now (it is!) but hopefully the next two Big Events will hold me over.

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