Credit: Chris Shore and Prowrestling.net
WrestleCade 2013 opened with a Fan Fest that featured several star from the Mid-Atlantic/NWA days including the Rock and Roll Express, Manny Fernandez, Jimmy “Boogie Woogie Man” Valiant, Ivan Koloff, Bob Caudle, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Tully Blanchard, JJ Dillon, and more.
Diamond Dallas Page and Jake “The Snake” Roberts were there and drew a huge crowd. Steve Corino, Crimson, Matt Hardy and Reby Sky, Maria Kanellis, Robbie E, Gunner, Brooke Tessmacher, Cedric Alexander, Caprice Coleman and other younger stars were also in attendance.
There were also the usual vendors, including High Spots, R Video, and even PW Torch staff members Bruce Mitchell and Pat McNeill were there hanging out with Jonny Fairplay. You would have to ask them why.
The crowd was somewhere between 1500-1700 people for the Fan Fest. They had a ring set up in one corner and ran a few matches during the event but I think that did little more than periodically distract people who were walking by. The guys working really didn’t get any attention and it just made a bunch of unnecessary noise.
Speaking of noise, there were a couple of emcees who shilled the entire time guys weren’t wrestling. Pointing out major acts is a smart thing to do at these events because the floor area is big and people may not see someone they wanted to meet. But the constant chatter started to dilute the effect and began to annoy many people.
That said, everyone there seemed to really enjoy themselves. There were easily an equal number of younger fans to older fans and it was nice to see bridges being built between the past and the future of both fans and stars. DDP had the biggest line by far, though he was not the only big draw.
I spent the last 90 minutes of Fan Fest working the PWX table with Brooke Tessmacher who was very nice and super accommodating to all the fans who came by for pictures and autographs. She signed several free autographs for kids and toughed out a very cold corner in a very flimsy outfit with grace.
After closing down the Fan Fest, fans moved to the next room where the iPPV started about two hours later.
1.Gunner defeated Robbie E (w/Brooke) in a dark match. TNA talent can’t appear on the iPPV so this was dark. Brooke made Robbie twerk after the match and hit him with a low blow. Robbie’s act is dated and terrible on one level but he still draws good heat.
2. Caleb Konley defeated Adam Page, Hurricane Helms, Sonjay Dutt, and Steve Corino in an elimination match to retain the PWX Championship. Steve Corino is the smartest guy in professional wrestling. He came out cut a promo, took a chokeslam from Helms and was eliminated. Still got paid full price. Genius. Konley eliminated Page to win the match and retain. Helms was over big in his home state.
3. Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Davari (w/Ryan Shamrock). Duggan won after hitting his ninth (roughly) clothesline. Davari was introduced by two masked guys in Arab/Muslim garb, Davari is still playing the evil terrorist part which I get, but I fail to understand why the blond in the high heels and mini-dress fits that gimmick. Still, the years have been kind to Ryan Shamrock. She looked great.
4. C & C Wrestle Factory won a tag team turmoil match. C & C defeated the Bravados ultimately, but the first chunk of this was all old teams/old wrestlers making teams. The Rock and Roll Express (w/Boogie Woogie Man), Headbangers, George South and Manny Fernandez, Buff Bagwell (who wrestled in a shirt) and Rick Steiner, Powers of Pain (w/Kevin Sullivan) and Demolition all appeared. It was every bit the train wreck you would expect, but it was also a lot of fun, especially when Demolition and the PoP got double disqualified and beat up our ring announcer in the process. We even had a ref bump which saw NWA legend Tommy Young run out to finish reffing the match.
5. Tommy Dreamer defeated CW Anderson (w/Steve Corino and James J Dillon) with Justin Credible in an I Quit Match. First of all, I had forgotten how much heat JJ Dillon could draw with just his face and his hands on his hips. If you are unfamiliar with his work as a manger, go YouTube him right now. Wow. This ended up with Anderson blading and bleeding all over the place and Justin Credible turning on Dreamer after Dreamer accidentally hit Credible with Anderson. Dreamer took everyone out and used a fork to the forehead to make Anderson quit.
6. Matt Hardy (w/Reby Sky) defeated Carlito (w/Jonny Fairplay) in a ladder match to become the first ever WrestleCade Champion. I realize Matt Hardy is from NC, but not from this part of NC, yet he was way, way, way over. Good for him. This match saw several gimmick spots and a couple of chair shots to the head. They were protected, but I still feel they were unnecessary. Reby Sky ended up spanking Fairplay after giving him the worst wedgie. All the guys at my table gasped when she did it. After Hardy won the match, Caleb Konley came out and challenged him for title vs. title when PWX comes to Winston in February.
I’ll have a couple of blogs this week talking about different things I saw at WrestleCade, but for now I’ll say it was an enjoyable day of wrestling reminiscing and action. They announced almost 1700 pre-sale tickets and I would guess around 2500 attended and they raised a lot of money for Toys for Tots. It wasn’t Starrcade from my youth, but it was a great way to spend Thanksgiving weekend. You should try and come next year if you live close enough to do so.