Thursday, August 8, 2013
The Fallout Of Fanfest 2013
As has become tradition, Fanfest began with two Q&A sessions on Thursday evening. The first was a celebration of the infamous Starrcade '85 "I Quit" cage match between Magnum T.A. and Tully Blanchard. For over three hours, the two legendary NWA stars took any and all questions regarding their long running feud, the business at the time, and even how their lives intertwined beyond the ring. Any fan of the classic Jim Crockett Promotions wrestling product will want to go out of their way to see this. The second Q&A was yet another hilarious couple of hours with Jim Cornette. Always controversial and uncensored, Cornette debuted a new, slimmer look in what is said to be his only wrestling-related appearance of 2013.
My two favorite tables had me stopping to chat as much as I did to shop. New to Fanfest this year was the booth run by Pam and Robert Allyn. You may not recognize the names, but you definitely saw them at the 2008 WWE Hall of Fame as well as WrestleMania 24. They are the daughter and son-in-law of the late Gordon Solie. The Allyn's are two of the nicest people that you will ever meet. They greatly miss the late "Dean of Wrestling Broadcasters" and have much respect for the business that he thrived in for so long. Pam and Robert had a huge number of items from Gordon's personal collection for sale at extremely reasonable prices. They explained to me that they want the items to go to collectors that will cherish them. With the amazingly fair pricing, I was able to add several of these treasures to my own collection. One of these items was an authentically signed picture of the legendary wrestling broadcaster. Pam and Robert made sure that I did not leave Fanfest without this, and I cannot thank them enough. I'm hoping that they return to Fanfest 2014 just so that I can talk with them more!
Friday night witnessed yet another grand Hall of Heroes banquet and ceremony. My group was honored to have 2013 Hall of Heroes inductee Magnum T.A. at our table. The NWA legend was gracious enough to answer and discuss any questions we had, including info regarding his unproduced Mattel action figure. It doesn't take much to correctly guess just who asked about that! Also honored were Les Thatcher, Danny Miller, Lars Anderson, and both The Rock & Roll Express and the Midnight Express with Jim Cornette. It was touching to see the always boisterous Cornette choke up a bit at the honor. In addition, it was comforting to see "Beautiful" Bobby Eaton happy and smiling the entire weekend in light of recent health issues.
Saturday night featured a card of wrestling matches that were absolutely the best yet to be presented at Fanfest. The match of the night may have been perennial Alabama Junior Heavyweight Champion "Action" Mike Jackson pitted against Bobby Fulton of "The Fantastics." A highlight for many of us in the audience was Fulton's young sons taunting the crowd and doing it better than many talent that we see on tv week in and week out. I should mention that the boys were probably between 11 and 13. Possibly a new generation of "Fantastics" for the future? Fulton and his sons performing "The Fargo Strut" at the end of the match was a particularly cool moment.
Sunday wrapped things up with more signings, photos, and another trip around the vendor room for some great last minute deals. Fans that were able to stay for the afternoon were even treated to a second live wrestling card. Due to a very, very long ride home, it is always best for us to begin the long trek right after the final signing. Although it was difficult to leave beautiful North Carolina, is was nice to be able to settle back and take in all of the autographs, photos, and memories once again collected at Fanfest. It's amazing to think that all of that could be accomplished in what now feels like the blink of an eye.