Tons of Backstage News From The Huge WrestleFanFest

Ryan Clark


Nick Dylan sent this report: Hi- I live in SF and just came back from this ‘event’ and one word can sum it up; Disappointment.

Out of the card that was posted as of 1pm today, only 2 of the matches actually took place, with the rest being somehow rearranged or just not happening at all. The main event ended up being Steve Corino vs The Sandman. The only advertised matches that took place were Team 3-D vs the Steiners and Gail Kim (with TNA belt in tow) vs Tracy Brooks vs Unknown local women’s wrestler.

The sound was horrible, with pretty much everyone’s entrance music sounding the same and garbled. I arrived at 4pm and everyone was talking about how Hall, Nash and Angle all cancelled, then the next rumor (which turned out to be true) was that Sid pulled out. Angle wasn’t scheduled to wrestle, but Sid, Hall and Nash were the main event, so people sounded disappointed before the show ever started.

The promoters did not announce that certain people were not going to be there, and I guess they hoped that people wouldn’t notice, but we surely did. When they announced the main event, a collective groan, along with a trail of people making their way to their cars ensued. Oddly enough, the National Anthem was not played, which is a first for wrestling matches at least in the past 20 years that I have been going to shows at the Cow Palace. There were maybe 300-350 people who stayed for the wrestling matches, with 75% of them being the VIP ticket holders who get seats in the first 4 rows. Although, I paid general admission, and I was in row 7, and it was much easier to see. Security was even asking people to move up closer since our side was in the camera shot. The ring bell was some guy behind the curtain, banging two pipes together, no joke!

With the card in complete disarray, the promoters needed to get creative in a hurry, but seemingly did not. The hardcore rules match didn’t get in the least bit violent, with the closest thing to hardcore was the top turnbuckle being taken off and a guy being whipped onto it. Sometime around 9:15pm there was a 32 man battle royal that was added with guys that came from the local indy fed’s like All Pro Wrestling and Big Time Wrestling. There was so much weight in the ring that it looked like it was going to break at any moment, with the center being about 8-12 inches below the border of the ring. The biggest pop of the night came from this match directed toward a rail-skinny asian guy with a afro. This guy was being tossed all over the ring, showing little or no offense, but kept on going and never giving up. After about 10 minutes, the crowd was going nuts for the guy with chants of, “Asian guy! Asian guy! Asian guy!” and “Screech! Screech! Screech!” (The Saved by the Bell character), and everytime anyone hit him or did anything to him, whomever hit him was booed unmercilessly. Sadly, he was last guy eliminated, but it breathed some life into the card.

The convention side of things was interesting to say the least. Either the promoters didn’t hire enough staff or they were just lazy, but people like DDP and other stars literally had to set up their own tables, banners and anything else they needed or were going to use. There was a puzzling separation of autograph areas. One section had security guards, security barriers and a line, while other stars were sprinkled inbetween vendors (read that as random guys selling old wrestling paraphernalia). I could sort of understand it if one side had headliners and the other had lesser valued stars, but that wasn’t the case. Team 3-D were on the same side as Virgil and Greg the Hammer Valentine, and on the security fenced in side had One Man Gang, Maven, Francine, Sunny (who is looking damn good again) and Steve Corino; very weird if you ask me. The third section was right next to the front doors, that had the Steiner brothers sharing a table with The Warlord and Barbarian, and across from them was Rikishi, Orlando Jordan and another unknown, Black Pearl.

One real nice thing I saw was wrestlers who apparently havent seen each other in a while, running into each other and giving hugs, shaking hands and catching up with each other like it was a high school reunion. Team 3-D were the guys that all the wrestlers flocked to, and Bubba was Mr. Social, going to most all of the tables, saying Hi to everyone, shaking hands with everyone who asked (including me) took pictures left and right, and seemed very professional.

Biggest pop: Unnamed Asian guy during the battle royal

Best Match: Billy Kidman vs Ultimo Dragon

Worst Match: Greg the Hammer Valentine & Brutus

Beefcake vs Dr Death Steve Williams and Koko B Ware

Overall Rating: 3 out of 10 stars

Final comments: The show felt like it was put together by someone who only knew 1980’s wrestling and just wanted to get through the night, delivering the no
minimum of what was needed. If the show actually makes it to DVD, I would only consider seeing it to see if I showed up on camera.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask.

Here are some addition notes from Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com:

The first night of the Wrestlefanfest convention in San Francisco was said to have drawn in the 200 range, which sounds scary since it’s in the Cow Palace (same building Eddie Guerrero won the WWE title from Brock Lesnar).

Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Dan Severn and Missy Hyatt are among those no longer appearing. Hall and Nash claim there were no deposits sent per their contractual agreements. Fanfest posted in response that first class plane tickets were bought for the pair, but didn’t mention the deposits. Kurt Angle is missing the event due to illness as well. His airfare and pay was taken care of in advance as he was booked via the TNA office. In the case of Severn, the promoters noted that they dropped the ball on their site and were trying to make arrangements.

There are already concerns about wrestlers’ pay being covered, but until the weekend ends, we won’t know for sure. One story making the rounds is Roddy Piper was handed a personal check that at this point, wouldn’t clear when he tried to cash it at a bank. For the sake of everyone booked and the fans that paid in advance, I hope this one ends up as urban legend, but you never know. When there are major bombs of this magnitude, all it does is sour the talent and fans on future conventions, even ones organized by upstanding promoters that have their head in the game.

In regard to Lex Luger’s health, Rob Serita, who was identified as the event’s marketing director, posted, “LEX IS FINE…. it’s not a stroke. he was not feeling well after his morning workout so he went in for a few tests. HE IS 100% FINE!!!!!!!!” so take that for whatever it’s worth. Luger was hospitalized yesterday.

We are seeking live reports for last night’s live event, which apparently didn’t even have a booker until some point yesterday and ended up headlined by Great Muta vs. Sandman vs. Steve Corino. I need a tape of that ASAP. There is an MMA show scheduled for tonight and Ring of Honor has a live show on Sunday. Goldberg and Steve Austin are the top names scheduled to appear this weekend.

Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report? Submit it now!
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