A look back at the hobby in 1991

Nearly a decade ago, a Marked Out forum user made an interesting post. He comprised a list of wrestlers who had rarely (if ever) pariticipated in a wrestling convention/autograph signing. He dubbed this “the Savage Realm” as Randy Savage was essentially MIA before his untimely death.

As I was looking through the post, it made me regret not taking up this hobby sooner because I missed out on some pretty great names.

With that post in mind, I eventually made my way to F4W and Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter archive. They have a search engine within the archive and decided to do a very general for search “autograph.” The results went as back as far back as January of 1991 and, to my pleasure, I found a couple of hobby-related stories that made their way to the WON.

I’m going to summarize those stories from 1991 and might continue going back through the years to see how the hobby was evolved. If you haven’t already, I HIGHLY suggest that you subscribe to F4W because Meltzer’s Newsletter archive is a goldmine.

With that being said, I hope you enjoy!

February 18, 1991 WON:

Dave reports on an incident that occurred on February 2 following a WCW houseshow in Philadelphia. Sting and the Steiner Brothers were slated to appear at a local telethon for a national charity that worked with disabled children. ~150 people arrived to the telethon with the money they spent on combos going to the children of the Delaware Valley. Dave estimates that this autograph appearance would’ve raised $2,000.

The crowded waited for 40 minutes until Todd Gordon (described as a Variety Club staff person. I’m not sure if this is the same Todd Gordon who would run ECW) told the crowd that Sting and the Steiners wouldn’t be appearing because they had decided to drive to Baltimore in order to catch a flight. The crowd was understandably upset as many of them ended up waiting well past 11 PM for Sting and the Steiner.

There is a small silver lining to this story: Ric Flair, Bobby Eaton, Curtis Hughes, Ron Simmons, Barry Windham, Terry Taylor, Tracy Smothers as well as road agent Terry Allen, decided to visit a young wheelchair-bound boy at the local hotel everyone was staying at. Still, all the other fans were not as lucky.

April 15, 1991 WON:

Dave reports that John Arezzi is doing an autograph show on 4/27 at Colonial Bowling Lanes in Staten Island. Admission was just $5 and included autographs from Paul Orndorff, Lanny Poffo, Boris Zhukov, Cactus Jack, Sonny Beach, and Barry Horowitz.

June 24, 1991 WON:

Another story that makes Sting look bad. Dave reports that WCW made their St. Louis debut on June 24th but they didn’t draw very well. They did advertise an autograph session advertised with Sting but he ultimately refused to honor the appearance.

August 21, 1991 WON:

Dave reports on a major 2-day convention run by John Arezzi. The convention would be held at the Ramada Hotel near La Guardia Airport and was held from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM on both days. Admission was $5 for adults, $3 for kids, while an autograph pass was $10.00. The autograph pass granted you an autograph from every single guest. The guest list? Ric Flair, Bruno Sammartino, Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers, Superstar Billy Graham, Fabulous Moolah, Rick Rude, Jim Cornette, Johnny Valiant, Woman, Cactus Jack, Lanny Poffo, Angelo Poffo and Paul E. Dangerously!

November 25, 1991 WON:

We’ll end this with a rather humorous story from a reader in Chicago. The WWF had partnered with the Cook County Republican Party for a fundraiser on October 22. Tickets were $35 and included:

  • Combos from Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Jim Duggan, and Sgt. Slaughter
  • Main floor tickets to the show that afternoon
  • Free hotdogs and soda with wrestlers present

So he confirmed with the venue that this was happening and all was well. He shows up day of and a police officer tells him that he doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about and forces him to park in a lot for $6 (they advertised free parking as part of deal). The meet and greet was scheduled from 12:00 – 1:30 PM but started at 12:50 PM…and it featured Virgil and Jim Neidhart. Fans only received a rushed autograph from each (no photo op) and that was that.

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