CHARLOTTE – The Saturday of NWA Fanfest is always a big day. There are lots of autograph sessions, lots of vendor guests and lots of fans. The lines are longer and there are lots of them. Fans wait to hear their number called so they can snake through the line in the main autograph room and get their photos, posters or belts signed. There is a two-item limit per wrestler, some abide and some hope to sneak that third or fourth item through. The matches highlight the Saturday night. The bar is packed at night with lots of fans and lots of old wrestling stars.
8:50 AM – I finally get to sleep in I get up to check email take a shower and while getting dressed I get a call telling me I need to be in the lobby in 5 minutes to do the Porkchop Cash Shoot interview.
9:15 AM- Waiting with Brad Stutts and Jake Manning for Porkchop, we run into The Stro who is happy to greet us one more time this weekend. Not sure what Cash looks like now but we soon see he hasn’t changed much in the past 25 years.
10:00 AM- Porkchop is going strong telling us about Los Angeles, Memphis and Mid South. He talks about racism toward black wrestlers by the promoters and how Thunderbolt Patterson influenced his style. Porkchop is not a fan of Terry Taylor.
Noon- Back to fan Fest. Mickey James has a line around the room. She finishes and ducks out for a booking in the area tonight. Chief Jay Strongbow is not as busy.
1:15PM- A mini WFIA reunion occurs with me, Dave Routh, Pete Lederberg, Jimmy Ryan and Jim Cornette. Nice photo op.
1:30 PM- Seymour Snott and Jesse Justice are in to work at the Top Rope Belts table. They work for me in GOUGE and are like all the other fans excited to meet their heroes of years gone by. While this is going on the line for Sid Vicious photos remains long. Tracy Smothers and the Armstrongs show up for their photos and signings at Highspots tables. Renew friendship with Tracy Smothers.
2:00PM- Lunch with Seymour, Jesse, and Pete Lederberg at Chick Fila. We discuss the finer points of wrestling memorabilia. Also run into Bill Apter where we renew our friendship and talk about mutual friends.
2:30PM- I get a photo op with Paul Bearer, tell him how PWI once had us separated at birth. His does a good job pretending to remember this or care. Bill Apter hosts a competition for fans to do wrestling impersonations and cut a promo on any wrestler. No future Rich Littles in this crowd but Apter is a class guy and keeps it funny.
4:00 PM- The crowd is thinning out or still snaking through the autograph line. Rocky Johnson, Larry Hennig, Paul Ellering have thin lines in the vending room. Shane Douglas has one of the longest vendor lines of the weekend. I get a chance to stop by and say hello and chat for a minute. There are so many good vendor guests but maybe not enough extra money for everyone to afford everyone and fans have to decided who their priorities are.
6:30PM- Check in the bar and grab Wes Weger and Jimmy Ryan and head to dinner at Broadway Billy’s for dinner, it’s crowded but we get to listen to Jim tell us tales of riding with Johnny Red Shoes Dugan or Paul DeMarco.
8:05 PM- Head back for the matches, till we get situated first match has started and Davey Richards beats Caprice Coleman in a nice opener and part of the Future Legends Cup. Phil Shatter beats Chase Stevens in another semi final. Kimala with Scandor Akbar makes short work of Man Scout Jake Manning, I ask Billy Robinson if he will do a run in and while he says get him to the ring and he will handle the rest, the match ends. Zack Salvation beats Mike Jackson in a highly entertaining, fast-paced match. For an old guy Jackson is like a ROH high flyer and way over with the crowd. Phil Shatter beats Davey Richards in a very stiff match to with the Future Legends Cup. NWA Champion Adam Pearce beats Bryan Danielson to retain the NWA title with a piledriver. Before the match a fan won a silent auction to be guest ring announcer but introduces Danielson as the Ultimate Dragon Bryan Pearce. Pearce cuts a promo on him and Danielson shakes the ropes and does his best Ultimate Warrior impersonation. The regular ring announcer takes over. Run into Bill Apter and we call our old friend Joe Bua to say hello.
10:30 PM- The crowd pours out into the bar or their rooms or the night. Rocky Johnson, Terry Funk and Jimmy Snuka join fans at a table. Percy Pringle and Sir Oliver Humperdink hold court at the bar. Davey Richards, Fifi the Maid and Chase Stevens mingle in the lobby and take photos with fans. The guy with the great mullet is taped by Rob Feinstein and later the mullet guy is cutting promos on other fans in the bar. The Stro is shaking hands and kissing babies but not any babies to kiss. It has been a long weekend with a day to go, so many — like myself — go in early. Is 11:30 early?