TORONTO – The Junk Yard Dog was in the house but not the wrestling legend who passed away a few years ago.
As the second session of WWF Fan Axess took place last night, Tracy Murray and Jerome “Junk Yard Dog” Williams of the Toronto Raptors kicked off the festivities in the Pizza Pizza Arena.
Williams, who is a huge wrestling fan, has appeared at many World Wrestling Federation events in Toronto over the past year and was acting as the commissioner of the Axess event.
Despite the relatively unexciting launch, there was something for everyone last night – long lines for autographs, expensive merchandise and beer.
There were some very cool exhibitors including Fleer Trading Cards, Figures Inc. and Comic Images. Fleer’s booth will feature a redemption program for autographed cards when collectors open packs at their booth. You can also trying out the WWF Raw Deal customizable card game at the Comic Images booth…and believe me, it’s fun.
WWF backstage personality Dr. Tom Prichard, who some fans will remember as Zip from the Bodydonnas, took time to give his impression of the event to SLAM! Wrestling.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “If you’re a wrestling fan, this is the place to be.”
But what did the fans really want? The chance to meet a WWF superstar. Long lines for autographs were commonplace at all three upstairs signing areas along with the Hall of Fame area. Signees last night included Sgt. Slaughter, Killer Kowalski, Jim Cornette, Michael Hayes, The Hardy Boyz, Kane and to my chagrin after waiting 45 minutes in line, Test. In my opinion, the WWF could have put anyone there besides the Pickering, Ontario, native… even Chavo Guerrero!
nWo members Kevin Nash and Scott Hall were also spotted signing at the area where WWF publications were being sold. Fans should take note that current wrestling personalities will not be personalizing autographs or posing for photos with fans. However, the legends will take the time to let you take their picture with them.
One of the biggest things for fans who couldn’t attend was seeing the Score’s interview with Ric Flair. I spotted hosts Martine Gaillard (who visits SLAM! Wrestling on occasion) and Greg Sansone prior to their meeting with the “Nature Boy”.
Les Thatcher, who is helping develop future WWF talent for the Heartland Wrestling Association, clearly appeared to enjoy the event.
“It makes me feel like a kid again,” he said. “This is my first time. I’m a wide-eyed sightseer like everyone else.”
All in all, the second night of Axxess was a bit of a disappointment for some fans, especially some of those who waited in line to get Test’s autograph instead of a bigger star. There’s a lot more going on today, including appearances by Kane, Edge, Lita and Linda McMahon. Keep in mind that there is a lot to do but be prepared to stand in line. This is a great opportunity for wrestling fans to meet their idols, even for a brief second or two.