2014 Mid Atlantic Fanfest Diary: Chris Shore reports on Day 1 of the final Mid Atlantic Legends Fanfest in Charlotte, NC including “All the Dream’s Men” panel discussion and the Jim Cornette Experience live
By Chris Shore
July 31, 2014 – Charlotte, NC
Night one of the final Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest is in the can, and if the relative lack of vendors in the daytime dampened anyone’s mood, the evening festivities more than made up for them. A few quick notes before diving into the discussion panel and Jim Cornette Experience…
-The event draws from all over the country. I have spoken with fans from Alabama, Texas, Maryland, New York, and Chicago. Most are 35 or older, but there a smattering of 20-somethings and a few kids.
-It’s a lot of fun to see the wrestlers greet each other. A lot of these guys—even though they are inextricably attached in our minds—only see each other once or twice a year at these events. The emotion is genuine, and even in the post-kayfabe world it is rare glimpse into how close these men are. Watching Kevin Sullivan and Sabu embrace was certainly the highlight of the day.
-There are a disproportionate amount of fans in wheelchairs. I have no idea if this is indicative of people in wheelchairs disproportionately like wrestling or if wrestling fans disproportionately end up in wheelchairs, and I present this merely as an observation.
-All the acts seem to be having a legitimate good time. So often these events are painted as sad, poor, old wrestlers who are clinging to their youth. While I cannot speak for every wrestler here, the many I have had a chance to interact with are genuinely excited to be here. Even the curmudgeonly Ole Anderson.
-In the interest of full disclosure, if you watched the panel on iPPV, it was me who knocked the audio board out. However, I had nothing to do with Cornette’s mic failing!
The evening festivities were a panel discussion called “All the Dream’s Men” and a live recording of the Jim Cornette Experience podcast. The panel, which had a capacity crowd, was moderated by JJ Dillon and featured Magnum TA, Barry Windham, Tully Blanchard, and Kevin Sullivan. The panel was ostensibly about Dusty Rhodes as booker of the Mid Atlantic territory, but as most of these panels do, the conversation took many wild jaunts.
Sullivan dominated the discussion, though I don’t think JJ will lose his job over it. All agreed that Dusty had an ego that ultimately hurt him, but they also agreed that ego is what grew the territory. All rejected the idea that Dusty alone was to blame for the collapse of the promotion. Tully mentioned Crocket letting he and Arn Anderson leave. Sullivan mentioned the wild shuffling that had to be done when Magnus had his accident. All agreed there were money problems too.
The word “genius” was bandied around quite a bit too. Magnus talked about how Dusty never mentored him as far as working, but he learned a ton from Dusty about psychology. Sullivan attributed that to Dusty being mentored by Eddie Graham. Tully and JJ gave Dusty credit for the Horseman act in that Dusty led the opposition to the Horesemen and allowed them to get big heat for it. All agreed that Dusty deserved the NWA World Championship when he held it. In the end, Dusty maintained his place in history: he’s culpable for the fall of Mid Atlantic, but far from guilty for all of it, and deserves major credit for helping to turn it into the powerhouse it became.
After the kids went to bed, it was time for the live Jim Cornette Experience podcast recording. About 175 people joined Cornette for a fun, and blue, two hours of interview with Lance Storm, Les Thatcher, Tommy Young, and Dr. Tom Pritchard. Nothing was off limits and, sadly, I can’t recount much of it because of the colorful language. TNA and their situation was discussed with Storm provided the best comment:
“At the end of the day this comes down to Dixie Carter not listening to the right people. Her Japanese partners said, ‘No Russo.’ Her TV partner said, ‘No Russo.’ Everybody with half a min in wrestling told her, ‘No Russo.’ And then she went and did what she wanted.”
The crowd loved Cornette. I do not think there is a man more aware of who he is than Jim Cornette. He gave the crowd exactly what they wanted and had them eating out of his hand. Yes, that same attitude got him run out of every company around, but for this crowd he was spot on. It was also great fun.
Bedtime came at 2:30 the night before so it was a long day, but also fun. Day two offers more interactions and the Hall of Heroes induction where the Poffo family and Tommy Young will be honored. I’ll have more on that tomorrow.
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