Mid-Atlantic Legends Fanfest Diary: Day Two – New legends join the festivities and some of them are in poor physical health
By Chris Shore
Day two of the Mid Atlantic Fanfest brought some new faces to the convention. Shane Douglas, Larry Zbysko, Arn Anderson, Matt Hardy and Reby Sky, and Wildfire Tommy Rich all either signed autographs or took pictures. Lex Luger and Bobby Heenan were also here. Both men looked rough. Luger was in a wheelchair and had to sign autographs with a pen stuck between his ring and pinky fingers. Heenan’s face is horribly disfigured from numerous cancer related operations, and many fans voiced their heartbreak over seeing Heenan and Luger in these states.
Heenan’s mind, however, has not been hampered at all. When the photographer tried to handle him as if he was an old, senile man that needed to be handled, Heenan gracefully stuck his middle finger in the man’s face. The man laughed and told his assistant that his life is now complete that he’s been flipped off by The Brain.
Which brings me back to the fans who were upset over seeing Luger and Heenan in their current states. While I understand that impulse, I really wish more people would reject it. The key is you got to see Luger and Heenan! Is it terrible that they aren’t in better health? Of course it is. Better that than not being able to see them at all. We don’t live in a perfect world, so perfect options are never available. We should focus then, on what good there is. Like the photographer, I’ll take the finger from a hollow-faced, emaciated Heenan over not taking the finger every day of the week.
Sadly, due to some questionable Mexican food at lunch, I was unable to attend the Hall of Heroes induction and the late night karaoke/trivia party. I understand both were excellent and I’m going to try and talk with some people who attended to find out more. Other random notes:
-Somebody stole Bobby Fulton’s son’s WWE Encyclopedia. After a couple of impassioned pleas from Fulton, someone found the book at the car rental desk. All is right in the world again.
-The “It’s still real to me, dammit,” guy is not only here, but he’s known by every one of the legends on a first name basis. He’s forever an Internet meme for that one moment, and he takes the ribbing for it well, but it’s mostly cool to see that he hasn’t let that potentially embarrassing moment ruin his love of wrestling.
-Signed belts are a BIG deal for this crowd. I’ve seen at least 20 today alone. Considering how much more important titles were during the NWA heyday I shouldn’t be surprised by this. I even see old WWF belts, but nothing branded WWE.
-After looking at the photo-ops and autograph sessions it has become clear that whereas WWE has looked to make stars by focusing on the men themselves, Mid Atlantic NWA made stars by focusing on hot feuds. In fact, I did a short interview for a podcast and was asked what my favorite angle as a kid was, not who my favorite wrestler was. I am not advocating one over the other, but it is an interesting difference I have gleaned this weekend.
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