Completed: 7. Go to a Wrestling Super Signing
What is a super signing, you may ask? imagine a room with a lot of tables. Behind each table, there are former or active wrestlers and for a certain fee, a fan can meet a wrestler, get an autograph, take a picture, etc. If you’ve ever seen the movie “The Wrestler,” you know what this scene looks like.
As you may know, I’m a SUPER WWE fan, so it should be no surprise that this was on my bucket list.
Now let me paint the picture of this incredible moment of my life.
At the beginning of last week, I broke my right ankle. This new development could have messed up my plans but luckily, Lyssa accompanied me on this trip to Queens, New York. Plus, a colleague of mine generously lent me her scooter to ensure ankle elevation while “walking” from table to table.
Sometimes, it takes a village to complete these goals, people.
The signing was called “The Big Event NY.” It was held at the Laguardia Plaza Hotel. The event wasn’t until Saturday but we traveled to Queens on Friday afternoon. Arriving earlier might allow me to spota wrestler or two before the big event…
And sure enough, I saw a few. As I was waiting in line to check in, Rob Van Dam (RVD) was right behind me. Oh my God… RVD!!! I freaked. It took everything in my power for me not to go ape-shit crazy, but I was able to hold it in.
After we settled in, we went down to the hotel bar. That’s when Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff showed up. He’s a legend in wrestling. Lyssa took one look at my face and said, “Please don’t embarrass me.”
I kept it together for the second time in one day (but I did stare at him like a creeper, from a distance). Later that night, Ryan Shamrock walked in. Sweet Jesus! She was a diva who worked for the WWE in the ’90s. I had the biggest crush on her during my formative years.
The morning of Saturday, March 5th arrived. Lyssa and I went downstairs to enjoy breakfast at the hotel. A few notables were dining alongside us including Val Venis and “the black superman” Tony Atlas.
After breakfast, I hopped in the event line, which was already 40 people deep. In order to meet/take a photo/get autographs signed, you have to buy tickets (which I luckily bought beforehand). This is how many older wrestlers make money so depending on their fame or desperation, getting a photo with them can be very expensive. All I will say is that my money was well spent.
As I was waiting in line, Lyssa came out from the gym with a devious smile. She then showed me this picture and tells me that she worked out with above-mentioned Tony Atlas. They talked about racism in America. I was so jealous.
After an hour, I finally made my way into the room and it was crazy! There were so many people.
I walked around for a bit, taking it all in. Some former wrestlers looked beat up and depressed. I felt bad for them. Other wrestlers looked just how I remembered them and were upbeat and full of life.
I, however, was a kid in a candy store. I knew exactly who I wanted to see: Booker T, RVD, Virgil, Iron Sheik, and the nature boy Ric Flair!
Every wrestler I met was fantastic. Sure, they’re getting paid to be nice to me, but I’ve heard some not-so-great encounters from other people.
Booker T was great. I thanked him for breaking down barriers… metaphorically and literally.
RVD was exactly how I imagined him. Cool, laid back, fun, and possibly hiding bloodshot eyes behind sunglasses.
Virgil was, well, Virgil. I wanted to meet him because he has gained somewhat of a cult following. He played a servant in wrestling. Yes, a servant. Dark times. But his post-wrestling career is what made me love him. His Instagram account is hilarious. He’s cocky and crazy. Follow him now. #fuckmoney
The Iron Sheik was amazing. He’s a bit frail now, but a legend that I’m happy to have had the pleasure of meeting.
Last but not least, there Ric Flair. In my mind, Flair is the greatest “bad guy” in wrestling history. I waited in line for roughly an hour for Flair. Worth it! Very nice and super clean!
I met people that I have followed for the past 30 years and it was amazing. I’m on cloud 9. What broken ankle?