This Legends of the Ring went a tad bit differently than the previous few: the first block of the Superticket was more of a drag than the second. Not by much, mind you, but a change nonetheless.
Jenna and I departed our apartment around 7:45ish and arrived at the Ramada Plaza Hotel just before 9:00 AM. I was gathering my things from the car when it suddenly hit me: I totally forgot my Corporal Kirchner LJN poster back in the apartment. I was PISSED at myself because I bought that damn poster with the sole purpose of getting it signed at this event. Bonehead, I am. I know he’s scheduled for the Big Event in a couple of months but it’s looking really doubtful that I’ll be able to attend. Bummer.
We walked into the lobby, picked up our tickets, and strolled in the vendor room. Most vendors were still in the process of setting up but I spotted a few names on my pre-order list, the first being Bryan Clark. I hopped on Clark’s healthy line and commented to Jenna that I was stunned he actually showed. Clark was polite but very, very quiet. I had him sign the Adam Bomb & Kronik entries in the WWE Encyclopedia, Vol. II. Good start to the day.
Up next was David Sammartino. There was some rumblings that this would be David’s final convention appearance (odds seem to be against that but who knows) so I was happy to get him. I believe he was booked for the previous LOTR but ended up canceling. Polite guy. I had him sign the WWE Encyclopedia, Vol. II.
I spotted Bill Alfonso at the ESS table and cashed in on my pre-order. Fonzie was essentially “in gimmick” – he even had a whistle! – and was very cool to meet. I had him sign my Barely Legal DVD cover which he seemed to really love. The cover is now signed by Fonzie, RVD, Sabu, Sandman, Shane Douglas, Tod Gordon, Paul Heyman (faded graph), and Taz. Fonzie commented that Jenna was beautiful and warned me not to let her go or else he’d take her away from me. Fun guy.
I did a mini-lap around the back of the vendor room and spotted WWE’s Sarah Schreiber settling in. She was incredibly nice and commented that she loves signing programs because she’s so curious to see which picture WWE decided to go with (I had her sign my WrestleMania 35 program). She told me a funny story about how WWE once published a photo in a program of Byron Saxton wearing some sort of silly hat and she made a fan show him the picture. Just a total pleasure to meet and I’ll be rooting for her.
I spotted Theodore Long recording a video with former “client” Ice Train and “White Lightning” Tim Horner at the K&S booth. I had pre-orders for both and Horner was up first. He was a nice guy and commented on my height during the photo op. I had him sign the WWE Encyclopedia, Vol. II.
Ice Train went over to say hi to Ron Simmons and Butch Reed before coming back over. He, too, was really nice. He signed an 8×10.
I made my way back to RDP’s booth to get Alicia Atout. I think she’s appeared at a couple of recent conventions I attended but I always passed on meeting her. She was nice and signed an 8×10.
I saw Nigel McGuinness arriving but left an item I wanted him to sign in the car, so I power-walked to the car to retrieve the item…then realized that I needed to take money out of the ATM. Whoops. The ATM fee, by the way, is $3.50. Gross.
Anyways, I made my way back to Nigel McGuiness’ table and was very surprised that he didn’t have anyone on line. I had pre-ordered a combo but decided to get two additional autographs ($20 apiece). Nigel was really nice and signed my WrestleMania 35 program and two ROH poster/program hybrid things from ~2005. He asked if I was interested in purchasing a t-shirt but I genuinely didn’t have enough cash on me. I asked if he was on Pro Wrestling Tees and he said that he was. I actually intend to purchase a shirt. This was my second time meeting Nigel – Jenna actually met him at a Field of Honor show and got my ROH hat signed by him. I officially met him at Axxess.
I spotted Theodore Long, Ron Simmons, and Butch Reed sitting near each other so I decided to cash in on my Doom pre-order. Interestingly, I saw a couple of people getting the op without Theodore Long, who was just standing at his table mere feet away. I checked with the vendor if the op included Long and he said that it did. I still had to ask Long if he could hop in the photo, though, and he obliged. Jenna went to take the picture in landscape mode and Ron Simmons immediately snapped, “No videos! Don’t take any videos!” Jenna was taken aback but held it together and promised that she wasn’t taking a video. Simmons has been ultra-sensitive to that stuff lately. Anyways, this was a photo op I really wanted and love how it came out. Later on, I saw that they had the old WCW Tag Titles on display. I wish they were on display when I did the photo but oh well…
It was almost 10:00 AM and it was time to tackle the first block of the Superticket. I went out to the lobby and saw a handful of people with white tickets waiting right outside the door. So I waited…and waited…and waited…finally, someone on the line stopped a LOTR employee (the guy with the goatee and spikey black hair. I always assumed that was James but it looks like I was wrong) and told him that we had been waiting for far too long and nobody was even coming out of the room. The employee went into the room and we were eventually let in.
Slaughter was at the first table and he was taking his time with everyone – and a good chunk of people had multiple items for him to sign. I did notice a vendor, who didn’t even bring in a guest for this show, walk right up to Slaughter’s table and had him sign multiple trading cards. It’s infuriating that they allow this to happen though, to be fair, the guy working the door was doing his best to stop it.
While we inched towards the front of Slaughter’s line, one of the employees asked if we’d like to get “Dangerous” Danny Davis first. He was really outgoing and said, “Gimmie your elbow” when we posed for our photo op. I had him sign my WWE Encyclopedia, Vol. III. I really dug that he was wearing an old WWF referee shirt.
We hopped back on Sgt. Slaughter’s line. The Sarge was incredible nice and outgoing. He signed my WrestleMania 32/HOF Program. We took a normal picture and then he asked me if I wanted to be put in the Clutch, which, duhhhh. He also insisted on taking a picture with Jenna and then said afternoon, “I can’t let you have all the fun!” Fun guy.
Madusa was next and she was her usual friendly self. She was my WCW Official Guide from Australia and said, “Now see, I’ve never seen this one before. Where do you guys find this stuff?”
“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff was up next. He signed my WWE Ultimate Superstars Guide and commented that he really, really liked that book because the “art” was different.
Finally, the Killer Bees were up next and they had their table setup with all different kinds of merch. They did seem annoyed at the constant getting up for photo ops. Anyways, they were polite and signed the Killer Bees entry in the WWE Encyclopedia, Vol. II.
We made our way back to the vendor room as I only had a couple of pre-orders to knock out. Up first was Killer Kross, who was really nice. He signed a cool 8×10.
Across from him was Renee Michelle, who was also very nice. She commented that I have the same first name as her cousin. She also signed an 8×10.
Next was “Downtown” Denny Brown. He, too, was very nice and signed an 8×10.G
It was 11:30 AM and I was totally done with pre-orders with the next block of the Superticket not until 1:00 PM. Yeesh. I decided to get an autograph from “Cowboy” Bob Orton Jr. He signed my WrestleMania 32/HOF program
With nothing else to do, Jenna and I hit up a local diner. It was good, not great. I had two pancakes with eggs (Sunnyside up), a sausage link, and some home fries while Jenna had the Chocolate Chip Pancakes. It blew away the $12 “buffet” at Rivazz…
We came back just after 12:30 and, again, not a whole lot to do. I ran into Class, Lanza, and Jabroni Josh. Lanza and I chatted for a bit. I then walked around aimlessly while Jenna sat in the car to charge her phone. Not great!
I finally lined up for the next block of the Superticket where I witnessed an argument. One of the Superticket holders thought a G.A. ticket holder was trying to cut the line and called him out. The guy said he wasn’t trying to cut the line. They had more words before the G.A. guy stormed off, saying, “You’re the reason why this hobby sucks!” Intense.
I didn’t meet the first guest of this block, Roaddogg, until 1:59 PM. Insanity. Roaddogg was nice as usual and signed his entry in the WWE Encyclopedia, Vol. II.
Next was Rhino. He loved my All Jersey Pro/New Japan Pro Wrestling program (~2011) and flipped through the entire program. I met him once before but didn’t score the photo op.
I then hopped on the long MexiCools line. Funny story: some G.A. dude had cut in front of me and was caught by the employee working the door. He approached him and told him he had to wait for the MexiCools with the rest of the G.A. ticket holders. The guy said, “Okay, I have all day. I’m going to use the bathroom and come right back.” The guy, of course, sneaks up to Psicosis and has him sign something before leaving the hotel.
Anyways, all 3 guys were cool as hell. I had Super Crazy sign a Pro Wrestling NOAH program, Juventud Guerrera the WCW Ultimate Guide, and Psicosis signed the Mexicools entry in the Encyclopedia, Vol. II. I was DONE.
Jenna dropped me off at Bridge Plaza and I took a bus across the George Washington Bridge followed by a couple of subway rides to Northern Boulevard. I arrived to LaBoom just before 5:00 PM and spotted WOODMO and his lovely girlfriend with Lanza arriving soon thereafter. Amazingly enough, some dude lost his mind on another guy for “cutting the line.” So silly.
We were let in after 5:30 with all the NXT guys stationed on the left-side of LaBoom. I had pre-ordered combos for Walter, Arturo Raus, and Babatunde. This was organized significantly better than their WrestleMania weekend meet and greet. A line was formed just in front of the small steps leading to the meet & greet and you were given physical tickets that specified what you were getting (“autograph” “photo op” or “Combo”). I decided to get a Candice LaRae autograph for $20.
Up first was the WWE U.K. Champion WALTER. I had him sign my WrestleMania 35 program but, unfortunately, the lighting was very poor and the picture came out dark. Blah. The handler who took the photo even admitted it the lighting sucked and apologized. Oh well.
Next was Arturo Raus, who was incredibly friendly. He put his martial arts belt around my neck for the photo. Again, great guy. He signed the WrestleMania 35 program.
Babatunde was up next and, man, he was SO nice. I told him that it’s pretty rare when someone makes me feel so short and he gave me a big laugh and said he sort of felt the same way. I’ll be rooting for him. He signed the WrestleMania 35 program.
Finally, I scored my last autograph of the day: Candice LeRae. She was very nice and signed, you guessed it, my WrestleMania 35 program.
I said my goodbyes to Lanza, Dana, and his lovely girlfriend and departed for the evening.