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WrestleReunion Night 1 - Dusty Rhodes, Roddy Piper, Jake "The Snake", Mick Foley

Jan 29, 2005 - 12:23:00 AM
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By Derek Burgan, Torch Contributor

WrestleReunion
January 28, 2005
Tampa, Fla.


Okay folks, heres some quick thoughts on the first night of WrestleReunion. Later during the week the Torch will have a full recap of the weekends events.

I arrived in Tampa a full half hour early after leaving New Hampshire (which was a whole 0 degrees today. Thats ZERO kids) at 2PM. The Double Tree Hotel, which is where the convention is taking place, is about 5 minutes away from the airport. In the lobby of the hotel I immediately walked right past former ECW ref Bill Alphonso and hardcore icon Sabu. Seriously, this was straight out of those This is ESPN commercials in which major sports stars and college mascots are just walking around ESPN studios. Several steps later we passed Hack Myers, another former ECW wrestler who now operates out of Florida.

Upon entering the main ballroom of WrestleReunion it was like walking into a wrestling fans dream world. Along the walls there were vendors selling every piece of wrestling merchandise available. There were books I didnt even know were out on sale here. Action figures. Wrestling masks. Wrestling belts. Everything. If only Wade hadnt taken away my Torch Gold Card after that incident in the Atlanta strip club. Anyway, the company Highspots had an especially big display and looked to be making a fortune on selling 8X10 color photos of wrestlers for two bucks a pop.

In the middle of the ballroom was a wrestling ring and surrounding that were tables in which wrestlers were set up at signing autographs. Fridays autograph session was from 5-8PM and had Sherri Martel, Nick Bockwinkle, Ricky Steamboat, Terry Funk, Mick Foley, Roddy Piper among several others. I wanted to meet Mick Foley first and, of course, he had by far the biggest line that didnt seem to move at all. Across from Foleys table was Lex Luger, who had set up his own gimmick table selling pictures and was with Scotty Riggs. Luger looked absolutely out of it.

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Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka


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Mick Foley


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Mick Foley and Dr. Death Steve Williams



The table Mick Foley was at had Nick Bockwinkle on Micks left and Tom Pritchard on his right. I almost felt a little bad for Pritchard as so many people basically just stood in front of him while waiting for Mick. I was able to talk to Tom about his recent Torch Talk with Wade Keller. While I was with Pritchard, Dr. Death Steve Williams came over and started talking to Mick Foley. Williams looks pretty good for a guy who apparently just spent a lot of time in the hospital, although when he talks he has to put one of those things to his neck. Finally Mick opened up and I was able to get him to sign my The Rise and Fall of ECW while talking about his appearances in Ring of Honor. Foley turned to Bockwinkle and started to talk about ROH and especially Samoa Joe. Foley asked me if I had any ROH DVDs on me, and of course, like an idiot, I didnt as I only took the covers with me. So I went over to one of the vendors and bought World Title Classic and gave to Mick Foley who immediately gave it to Bockwinkle to check out. Although at 70 years old I bet Bockwinkle tries to play it in his car CD player. Regardless, I felt like I did my good deed of the day.

Next up was Dusty Rhodes, and his table included his son Dustin, Tully Blanchard and some guy who I didnt know. Apparently this guy was Mike Graham and Im sure Ill never hear the end of it from the wrestlingclassic guys now. Torch ROH News Guy Sean Radican sent me his Secrets of the Ring with Dusty to sign, so I got that accomplished along with getting Tully to sign my WWE Cage Match DVD which I thought Tully was going to rip up. I had to point out he did indeed have a match on that disc.

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Harley Race


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Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat


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Terry Funk and Roddy Piper



We made our way over to Harley Race so I could have him sign his book King of the Ring: The Harley Race Story. Sitting next to Harley was Ricky The Dragon Steamboat, who also had nothing but good things to say about his stint in ROH. I think Les Thatcher was with Steamboat but must have left for a bit because he wasnt around when I was talking to The Dragon. The next table over had The Missing Link, of all people, and Jimmy Super Fly Snuka.

The biggest group of fans were huddled around the next table where Rowdy Roddy Piper and Terry Funk were signing. The congestion in this area was incredible. I didnt even bother standing in line. Next to Terry were Virgil and some hot girl I didnt recognize who may or may not be Jenny Taylor. I only say that because Jenny Taylor is in the list of people appearing but Ive never heard of her. Instead I skipped that mad scene and went over to Sherri Martel. Around this time promoter Rob Russen told all wrestlers it was time to stop signing so they could get ready for the Q&A. I made my move for Terry Funk as he was getting up and had him sign my ECW DVD. I think I would be good at being a member of the paparazzi as my obnoxious ability to stalk wrestlers is pretty sharp.

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Q&A hosted by Bill Apter


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DDP locking up with Some Kid


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DDP and Jake "The Snake" Roberts



Everyone but vendors and the wrestlers were kicked out of the room for the next 15 minutes. While waiting, I saw Terry Funk run into The Taskmaster Kevin Sullivan. Funk said he had recently suffered a heart attack but would be wrestling on Saturdays show. I also finally got to meet Fritz from BetweenTheRopes radio show who just happens to be one hell of a guy. When we were allowed back into the room, Bill Apter, Ricky Steamboat and Ted DiBiase were on stage for the Q&A. This was actually quite fun and I will have a better rundown of what was said later during the week. The next Q&A was with Diamond Dallas Page and Jake The Snake Roberts and was also really good. However, it is past 1am right now and Saturdays WrestleReunion events start pretty damn early, so Im going to cut it short tonight. If you have a chance to make Saturdays show, you should try to come because the event is a total blast and so far each and every wrestler has gone out of their way to be cool with the fans.

Check out WrestleReunion for details. All photos in this article are copyright WrestleReunion.

Derek Burgan reviews all sorts of media for the Torch and can be reached at derek@gumgod.com


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