Mr. USA Tony Atlas will always hold a special place in his heart for the convention celebrating the history of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling.
“For many years, it was the largest wrestling organization in the world,” Atlas said. “Not only were they the largest, but it was the last wrestling organization in the world. There is no more professional wrestling. You have sports entertainment now. There is no such thing as wrestling anymore.
“The last company that focused on strictly on wrestling was Mid-Atlantic…There are also many people here I haven’t seen in years. Me and Ken Patera haven’t seen each other in 20 years. There are several people I haven’t seen here in 20 or 30 years. That is what is so great about this convention.
“It’s not only about the wrestler’s reuniting, but the fans getting to see the guys they grew up with. I would hear parents say they are seeing the ones they saw when they were a kid.”
Long-time Promoter Jerry Jarrett gets the same feeling from those in attendance.
“It’s a wonderful platform to see old friends and presents new appreciation for the fans that after all these years they still come,” Jarrett said. “That’s very meaningful to us old wrestlers who are in the autumn of their lives…The induction of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express and Midnight Express was very special for me. Seeing Johnny Walker Mr. Wrestling II was also very special. I haven’t seen Johnny in years and years. He was the one wrestler that stands out that made me look smart when I went to Atlanta.”
Ox Baker has attended the Fanfest on numerous occasions and says he runs into a lot of grapplers from his era.
“I saw Baron Von Raschke, who I haven’t seen in years,” Baker said. “It is quite a joy to meet guys you’ve met over the years. It’s amazing how they’ve changed. You remember them as young bucks. Some of them have canes now. Some of them are limping…You remember the good old days.
“Like Ox Baker was nominated the meanest man in wrestling five different times, he always loved his wrestling fans. After 40 years of wrestling, I never pushed a fan or hit a fan. I didn’t curse. I love my fans. You have to love them. I came three years ago, and they are still coming here and haven’t forgotten wrestling. I don’t think the wrestlers should forget the fans because without them you have nothing.”
Tammy “Sunny” Sytch beamed with a smile on her face, as she said hello to many she has known in the business for years or grew up watching.
“I always tell everyone that this is the one convention to go to,” Sytch said. “There are a lot of legends that worked in this [area] that you don’t see a lot in Los Angeles or New Jersey or other places. It’s really nice. You get to see old friends and meet fans. It’s a really fun time. I got to host the Hall of Heroes, so that was a blast. We are doing legends karaoke, which is a lot of fun.
“It’s just a very enjoyable time…I’m really proud that my current boyfriend is here, David Starr, a good looking guy who did the four-day seminar with Dr. Tom Prichard, Tully Blanchard and Les Thatcher. He is doing fantastic. He has only been in the business about a year, but looking at him work, you would think he has been doing it for five. It’s very good. I want people to learn who he is. I’m working the ‘Sunny’ magic.”
Popular photo opportunities included the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, Midnight Express and Jim Cornette, as well as Blanchard and Magnum in a steel cage setup. There was a Flock reunion with Raven, Lodi, Sickboy and Scotty Riggs, who also posed with his former American Males tag team partner Buff Bagwell. The autograph room and vendor room, which had one-of-a-kind memorabilia such as Ric Flair’s robe and original championship titles, were heavily trafficked. Fr. Jim Mitchell hosted a late night karaoke session on the event’s final evening.
Tickets for next year’s Fanfest are already on sale. The 10th installment is being dubbed the last by promoter Greg Price.
For more information, visit www.nwalegends.com.
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