CARTARET, NJ – Another weekend, another convention. As with most conventions, the Valiant Brothers reunion at the Holiday Inn in Cartaret, New Jersey came with great memories and great opportunities.
For the first time in history, Johnny, Jimmy, and Jerry Valiant were all under the same roof, meeting and greeting fans who were delighted to meet one of the greatest tag teams in history. When all was said and done those in attendance left with a smile on their faces and more than a few stories to tell.
Once you stepped through the doors, you were met by many vendors including the “The Boogie Woogie Man” Jimmy Valiant, who was selling shirts and videos and inviting fans to come on down to his Virginia based wrestling school and Hall of Fame, which is free of charge. Valiant claimed that it’s his way of, “giving back to the fans.”
At 9:00 a.m., Johnny Valiant took center stage to perform his critically acclaimed one man show. Johnny talked about the hardships of being on the road constantly and the toll it takes on ones family, body and mind. Johnny told road stories galore, and really captured the essence of what it was like being a wrestler in his era. The fantastic show earned Johnny a loud round of applause.
Between the show and the autograph session, fans got a chance to check out some of the great vendors on hand, including Mike Trash from Trash Talking Radio. A silent auction was held with rare merchandise, including various programs. Independent stars The Mambo King, “Dangerous” Johnny Diamond, The Diamond Vixxxen, Cindy Rogers, Joe Rules and Rick Silver were on hand to show their support and sign autographs for the fans.
“It’s great being here at the reunion and seeing the Valiant Brothers, I got to talk to Lanny Poffo earlier, Greg Valentine, and Brutus Beefcake, it’s a great honor to see these guys and to talk to them.” Rogers told SLAM! Wrestling.
At 10:00 a.m., the line for autographs began, as The Valiant Brothers, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Nikolai Volkoff, Nikita Breznikov, “Leaping” Lanny Poffo and referee Dick Woerlhe sat down to meet and greet the fans. “It’s good to be at the Valiant Brothers Reunion, because it helps people to remember their wrestling roots. People like to talk about the guys on TV, but they wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for guys like The Valiant Brothers and Nikolai Volkoff. You had to have then, before you could have now.” said a passionate Breznikov.
The middle table at the autograph session was occupied by the three Valiant Brothers who were all in high spirits. “I think were getting as much out of it as the fans are. I am enjoying it quite well,” said “Gentleman” Jerry Valiant during the session. “This is the first one I ever went to, and I would go to one again.” Next to Jerry sat Johnny. “This is a very pleasantly surprising way to spend a Saturday morning into the afternoon with some old friends, and to spend some time with our fans. We are very fortunate to be a part of this,” Johnny told SLAM! Wrestling. Rounding out the trio was, Jimmy Valiant, who said that, “this is a great day in my life, God bless everybody.”
At the very end of the autograph line stood a man with many limericks in my mind, “Leaping” Lanny Poffo. Poffo was there to honour the Valiant Brothers and later hosted the question and answer session, which also included Volkoff, Woerlhe and Breznikov. Poffo also had his new book, Limericks From The Heart and Lungs, for sale.
The Q & A session was long, in depth, emotional and one of the best ones seen at a reunion. All the men held nothing back and really brought the fans into their state of mind.
After the Q & A, the wrestlers and fans headed down into the Holiday Inn’s steakhouse for a VIP brunch. In a nutshell, The Valiant Brothers Reunion made for a fantastic day. Those who attended left the Holiday Inn with a new sense as to what wrestling was like way back when. Due to the efforts of promoters Evan Ginzburg, Tim Beal and In Person Entertainment another successful reunion in New Jersey has left an indelible mark on so many wrestling fans.
In the words of Lanny Poffo:
“Go back to the annals of history, and the wrestling hall of fame.
Men from all nations with courage to spare struggled to carve out a name.
And now we have come to New Jersey, and the Valiant Brothers are here for handshakes, pictures and autographs, and hopefully buy them a beer.
Because for the price of admission, they always gave more than they took.
They always went over in two straight falls, and I don’t care who had to book.”