Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Grab The Bucket...I'm About To Drop Some Names--Part 2

...and now the fun part!

With the exception of "Macho Man" Randy Savage, nearly every wrestling star has done a "modern" autograph signing appearance. Yes, even Dennis Stamp has been booked. While many factors go into talent appearing, it should be obvious to anyone that stars cannot continue to be booked on every show. While some fans have an endless supply of items for various stars to sign, others, especially those who are only interested in photo ops, are satisfied with one meeting. This means that talent has to be switched up from show to show.

Many shows base their talent lineup around trends in memorabilia collecting. If a talent is included in a "hot" item that is begging to be signed, their phones are much more likely to be ringing than not. During the height of Jakks WWE Classic Superstars figure line, many collectors found these handsomely packaged figures ideal to be autographed. The WWE Encyclopedia has proven to be another popular autograph "project" with some collectors amassing several hundred signatures in the book. Other collectors prefer the promotional photos put out by nearly every major wrestling company of the past twenty years. The difference between authentic promo photos and a standard 8x10 glossy is something that even some wrestlers themselves have caught onto over the years.

While some shows focus on the autograph aspect of fandom, others strive to make it a more personal experience. The multiple-day NWA Fanfest promoted by Greg Price is a complete celebration of pro wrestling's glory days while still extending a ray of hope towards modern wrestling that is continuing tradition. No matter which style of show is preferred, attending any of these shows is something that the wrestling fan would not soon forget.

Perhaps the most poignant fact of these shows is remembering times spent with stars who are no longer with us. It's no secret that each and every year we lose more and more of our childhood heroes from the squared circle. When one has had an interaction with any of these stars even for a fleeting moment, it makes that opportunity all the more important when one passes on. Sherri Martel, Sir Oliver Humperdink, Luna Vachon, Captain Lou Albano, Ernie Ladd, Gary Hart, and Jack Brisco are just a few of the legends that have appeared at shows such as these shortly before their deaths.

Of course, conventions are not the only places that you might be able to meet your heroes. A quick internet search can pop up various independent wrestling promotions around the country. These promotions often book wrestling legends on their shows in order to boost attendance. These stars are often available to meet either before the show or during intermission. TNA has even taken the independent style of easily accessible stars and integrated it into their house shows as I've previously written about.

Obtaining autographs and photos from your favorite stars is always a thrill, but occasionally there will be an extra special moment that defines your entire experience. Seeing two stars reunite after many years. A star taking special interest in an item you're having signed. Making a special connection over a memory long past. Whatever the case, these are moments that make the time traveling and money spent all worth it.

Even with all of the words and photos, the only way to truly experience the things I've illustrated on this blog over the past few years is to join the party. It's never too late and never a disappointment. Be it that you want to get that old magazine signed or just finally go beyond simply being a face in the crowd, welcome to the world of fan interaction. Be prepared to make more memories than televised wrestling has given you in years.

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