|Jake "the Snake" Roberts prior to his retirement match|
By Chad Smart
This weekend marked the return of Wrestle Reunion to the Los Angeles area. Wrestle Reunion is a convention where wrestling fans can meet and get photos with some of their favorite wrestlers. In addition to the meet and greets, Ring of Honor held a show on Friday night and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla is holding a show on Saturday night.
After last year’s excellent PWG show, I bought tickets to this year’s show as soon as they went on sale. I hadn’t planned on going to the convention itself. Fans that went to the convention had the option of buying VIP tickets for either $99 or $129, depending on when they were purchased. VIP tickets got you a picture and autograph with all the non-vendor guests. If you didn’t have a VIP ticket, you could purchase individual autographs or pictures usually for $20 an autograph and $10 per picture. Since I didn’t have a VIP ticket, I didn’t feel like paying extra to simply get into the convention and walk around. When my PWG tickets arrived in the mail, there was a note included informing the tickets could be used to get into the convention. I figured if I can get in for free, might as well go check it out.
Saturday morning I headed to the LAX Hilton eager to see what type of crowd would be in attendance. I spent about 90 minutes walking around the room looking at various vendor offerings and watching fans interact with the wrestlers. Guess I should mention that while I’m a wrestling fan and have a lot of respect for what wrestlers put their bodies through for my entertainment, I don’t really have an interest in talking to wrestlers. I have met several wrestlers over the past 5 years since I started going to indy shows and autograph signings during Wrestlemania weekend, but I’ve never really felt the need to carry on extended conversations with any of them. Most of my interactions have simply been complimenting them on a match while purchasing a t-shirt or saying thank you while they signed a photo or DVD. So while there were several wrestlers in attendance at Wrestle Reunion I am a fan of, there wasn’t anyone I had anything to say to. If I was more informed on the local baseball deals and knew anything about the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, I would have talked spring training with Joey Ryan, but what would I try to discuss with Torrie Wilson or Shelton Benjamin?
There were several vendors selling various DVDs. Some were legit releases of various WWE, TNA, ROH and PWG shows. Others were burned DVD compilation of certain wrestlers or events. I broke down and bought a Best of Georgia Championship Wrestling and Best of the 4 Horsemen Vol 1. DVD. There were also action figures, autographed photos and various other merchandise for sale.
|"Superstar" Billy Graham & the Iron Sheik|
Since I was there for short amount of time, I didn’t get to see all the scheduled wrestlers. I did get to see “Superstar” Billy Graham and the Iron Sheik talking to each other when Sheik entered the room. Jake “the Snake” Roberts, who is having his retirement match during the PWG show was hanging out with his opponent, Sinn “Kizarny” Bohdi and Stacy “the Kat” Carter. Raven was hanging out at the Insane Clown Posse’s JCW booth. The World’s Greatest Tag Team: Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Hass, along with Charlie’s wife Jackie Gayda seemed very approachable. Torrie Wilson and Tammy “Sunny” Sytch (I think it was her) were at tables that weren’t very busy. PWG’s Joey Ryan, Candice LaRae, Colt Cabana and El Generico were together at one table. It seemed like Colt was the busiest of the four in dealing with fans. Across from the PWG table were Mondo and Chavo Guerrero Sr.. As I was getting ready to leave, Mil Mascaras and Dos Caras (father of WWE superstar Alberto Del Rio) showed up to a very receptive crowd.
Overall it was an interesting experience and had I not been there alone, I probably would have stayed a little longer. Since Wrestle Reunion has already announced they’re coming back to LA next year, hopefully Kevin will be able to make the trip out here and we can shoot some video reports. That’s only going to happen if we can get more fans to check out this blog and the My123Cents YouTube channel. So tell your friends to check us out. Now I have to rest up for what should be a spectacular PWG show in a few hours.