This was the easiest Legends of the Ring I’ve ever attended. No major cancellations, attendance seemed considerably down, and all of the talent I met were in great spirits. Plus, I got to see a bunch of friends and fellow Marked Out members (and readers of the blog) which is always awesome.
I love how these photos turned out and I owe it all to Jenna. She’s so beyond awesome. Love her endlessly!
Onto the report…
Jenna and I stayed overnight at the Courtyard Marriott, which is literally minutes away from the Ramada, so we arrived just after 8:40 AM. Right off the bat, I was stunned to see a near-empty lobby. I walked right up to the admission table and immediately picked up my tickets. The vendor room looked practically empty, so Jenna and I ate some bagels in the lobby to kill some time. While having our breakfast, I noticed that they didn’t include my Papa Shango photo op ticket in the envelope but that was quickly taken care of.
We decided to hit the vendor room at 9:00 AM to knockout some pre-orders. “Butcher” Paul Vachon was up first and he seemed to be in good spirits. His table featured a bunch of his books and walking sticks with his name inscribed on them. I had him sign the WWE Encyclopedia, Vol. II before our photo op. Very nice guy and a welcome name to the Encyclopedia.
I spotted the Midnight Express & Steve Kerin, so I decided to hop on their modest line. I had Kerin sign the WWE Encyclopedia, Vol. II (Skinner) while I scored photos with the Midnight Express & the Fabulous Ones (Kerin and Stan Lane). Lane joked that I was 7’4 and went on his tippy toes for the photo op! Great guy who were a pleasure to meet.
It was approaching 9:15 AM and I realized Howard Finkel was not making any announcements regarding the Superticket. I looked over to his usual spot and, shockingly, he wasn’t there. I decided to head over to the Superticket section and was immediately pulled into a room where all the “red” ticket holders were waiting (black went first). We waited inside that room for just under an hour, mostly because Ken Shamrock was late. They had the black ticket holders get everyone else but they had to wait around for Shamrock, which was annoying.
At just after 10:00 AM, we were in the Superticket room. Up first: Ken Shamrock. “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” was in great spirits and was much more talkative than when I met him at Big Event. I had him sign a small UFC IX poster I recently bought from Wal-Mart, which came out great.
Next was Ken Patera. A staffer announced that Patera would not be standing for photos, which was fine by me. Patera was friendly and we chatted about the Yanks/Astros for a bit. He signed the WWE Encyclopedia, Vol. II. Nice first-time meet for me.
Next were the Nasty Boyz. Jerry Saggs signed first and, as he was signing, he pointed to the “Mystery Man” entry and asked me if I knew who played “Mystery Man.” I had no clue off the top of my head and Knobbs replied, “Brutus Beefcake.” Sags went on to tell the story of why Beefcake had to play Mystery Man — which really held up the line! In fact, Knobbs told him to be quiet and pass the book over so he could sign it. I love how the photo op came out. Sags was much friendlier with Knobbs, who was mostly buried in his cellphone.
Slick was next and he, too, was in good spirits. He signed the WWE Encyclopedia, Vol. II. Another great first-time meet.
Rounding out block one of the Superticket was Bill DeMott, another first-time meet. I actually pre-ordered a combo for him when he appeared at the Big Event from Hell but I literally ran out of time to cash it in. Only time that’s ever happened to me. Anyways, he signed the Encyclopedia and was really polite.
We made our way back to the vendor room, which was a little bit fuller but nowhere near packed. It was time to cash in on most of my pre-orders, so I started with TL Hopper, who was incredibly nice. He signed the Encyclopedia.
Next was Dr. Tom Prichard, who took time with everyone (especially the guy in front of me who had an old Axxess program from ~2000). Prichard signed the Heavenly Bodies entry in the Encyclopedia. Really nice guy.
Since he was there, I cashed in on my photo Heavenly Bodies photo op. When Prichard asked Lane to take the photo with us, Lane said “Oh I remember you, Mr. 7’4!” Awesome.
Next was Eric Embry, who was incredibly friendly. He signed his entry in the WCCW section of the WWE Encyclopedia, Vol. III. He wanted to take a bunch of photos to make sure they came out well. Great, great guy.
Erik Watts was up next, who was also very nice. He signed the Techno Team 2000 entry in the Encyclopedia.
The Young Stallions were up next. To make things super easy, I had Powers and Roma sign the Young Stallions entry. I still needed them elsewhere in the Encyclopedia but decided to get them next time (if there’s ever a next time. It’s a gamble but I didn’t feel like spending the dough). They were both real friendly.
It was approaching 11:00 AM, which meant it was time for the Papa Shango photo op. Problem: no one knew where it was being held and everyone ended up waiting outside the wrong room. Thankfully, one of the staffers pulled us into the right room. Charles Wright looked great in his Papa Shango gear and I love how the photo op turned out.
Went back to the vendor room, which was a bit fuller but still nowhere near packed, and I saw a fairly long line for…Rosemary! Seriously, she had a really decent line! I pre-ordered a combo for her but had nothing for her to sign, so I picked an 8×10. She was really nice.
Next was Allie, who also signed an 8×10. She was incredibly nice.
I had pre-ordered an autograph from Shane Helms but he cancelled…
I was done with pre-orders and it was just after 11:15 AM! I walked around the room and decided to get some extra people I wanted, so I started with Laurel Van Ness, a.k.a. Chelsea Green (also, girlfriend of Zack Ryder). Chelsea was incredibly nice but her combo was a tad pricey ($30). Embarrassing moment: I saw a guy behind their table and thought he was the vendor, so I asked him what her price was. As it turns out, he was some indie wrestler I had never heard of and seemed annoyed that I asked him what Chelsea cost. Brutal.
To my absolute shock…Sunny was stationed where the Fink usually is! And guess what? She had the longest line out of anyone in the vendor room. She, too, was a $30 combo, which I thought was fair. I’ve been trying to meet her for 2 years but she always cancels, so I couldn’t pass this up. She signed the WWE Encyclopedia.
Next was SuYoung, an Indie wrestler who I think WWE will sign within the next year or two. I’ve seen her a bunch of times and she was a $20 combo, so I decided to do it. She was real cool and signed an 8×10, which was…well the 8×10 was not very high in quality.
I wanted to get a Steiner Brothers photo op but it was $40, so an easy pass.
Jenna and I thought about going to The Lounge (formerly Yogi’s) but decided to just wait around for the Superticket. There was rumors earlier in the day that Dory Funk Jr. had woken up ill but, thankfully, we saw him walking towards the Superticket room!
The wait for the 2nd block was about an hour, which sucks, but what can ya do? Up first was Charles Wright, who was now in his Godfathergimmick. I had him sign the Godfather entry in the Encyclopedia. I hope he does a signing at the Universe so I can knock out the rest of his entries for one price. Anyways, he was great.
Next was Terry Taylor, who was polite. He saw I made the fist-pose and joked to Jenna, “Why’s he so mad?!!? Don’t hit me!” Great guy and he, too, signed the Encyclopedia.
Francine was up next and she looked great! I had her sign her entry in the WWE Encyclopedia, Vol. III. She joked that she didn’t want to sign over Frank “Spaceman” Nickey’s entry…and then asked who the heck Frank “Spaceman” Nickey was! No one knew lol. She was awesome.
Next was Ivory, who’s always great to meet. I had her sign the Right to Censor entry in the Encyclopedia.
Ted Arcidi was next and he was INCREDIBLY friendly. He was chatting with people like they were old friends catching up. Great guy and another name added to the Encyclopedia.
Finally…the man everyone came to met. There were a ton of people who only bought autograph tickets for Dory Funk Jr., which is understandable. I pre-ordered extra tickets to get everything I had for him signed: WWE Encyclopedia, Vol. II (solo entry and Funk Brothers entry), WM 32/HOF Program (also signed by Terry), and my AJPW ’91 Tag League Determination program (also signed by his partner…Al Perez!). Dory had a guy with him that appeared to be his handler/bodyguard who was watching everyone like a hawk, so it was a bit rushed but zero complaints her. Beyond happy to meet him and he was a real pleasure.
And that was it. Big topic amongst vendors and fans was how empty it was, even for an October show. You know how the vendor room usually empties out at 2? That’s what it felt like around 11 AM, with a tad more people.
Funny story: Eric Embry introduced himself to the Sandman. Their interaction went something like this:
Eric Embry: I’m Eric Embry
Sandman: Oh Eric! Hey! DIDN’T YOU DIE?!?!
Eric Embry: Nope, still here…
Sandman: NO! I REMEMBER YOU DYIN’, IT WAS A THING
Special shutout to my buddy Gene, who surprised me with 8x10s signed by Ultimo Dragon and Sonny Ono! I owe you one, Gene! It was also great to see people from this board and those who read my blog (I need to get back into posting on there). Great seeing everyone and what a great, easy convention.
Autos Gene scored for me:
2 thoughts on “Legends of the Ring XXV — REPORT”
Great recap, Anthony. I also had a great time at LOTR. I wonder where “The Fink” was? Anyhow, thanks and best wishes!
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Thanks, Ron! I believe the Fink is dealing with health problems, unfortunately. Hopefully, we’ll see him at the next one.
Take care and best wishes to you, too!