A look at the hobby in the 90s

Discuss general topics dealing with the hobby.
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Re: A look at the hobby in the 90s

Post by ICW » April 24th, 2019, 11:11 am

I'm up to 1994 and I think this is the year they started doing Axxess (called Fan Fest) and there's *a lot* of similarities to Axxess today. Stay tuned for those details.
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Re: A look at the hobby in the 90s

Post by AJLe » April 24th, 2019, 11:38 am

WMX was the first Fan Fest, but they did do some sort of M&G stuff in conjunction to WM4 - I remember the Coliseum Home Video version had clips of events and autograph signings.

Starting at about 2:45 in the video below, you can see Jesse Ventura, Steamboat, Gorilla Monsoon, and Mean Gene signing for fans at some sort of event. Doesn't look as organized as a modern con, but it was definitely some sort of sanctioned WWF event where talent was signing for fans.

I *think* I remember seeing a similar thing on the home video for WM5 too, but I can't find any video to confirm that.

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7bdzp

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Re: A look at the hobby in the 90s

Post by ICW » April 24th, 2019, 12:02 pm

AJLe wrote:
April 24th, 2019, 11:38 am
WMX was the first Fan Fest, but they did do some sort of M&G stuff in conjunction to WM4 - I remember the Coliseum Home Video version had clips of events and autograph signings.

Starting at about 2:45 in the video below, you can see Jesse Ventura, Steamboat, Gorilla Monsoon, and Mean Gene signing for fans at some sort of event. Doesn't look as organized as a modern con, but it was definitely some sort of sanctioned WWF event where talent was signing for fans.

I *think* I remember seeing a similar thing on the home video for WM5 too, but I can't find any video to confirm that.

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7bdzp
That's incredible! Thanks for sharing.

---

There are a ton of great nuggets in 1994 and 1995. Man, there were so many opportunities to get Undertaker and Savage for little to no cost. Blah.
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Re: A look at the hobby in the 90s

Post by ICW » April 24th, 2019, 12:11 pm

Also, the Axxess from WrestleMania X sounds pretty much like the Axxess at WrestleMania 35. It's amazing how little has changed.
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Re: A look at the hobby in the 90s

Post by mrira » April 24th, 2019, 12:44 pm

ICW wrote:
April 24th, 2019, 12:11 pm
Also, the Axxess from WrestleMania X sounds pretty much like the Axxess at WrestleMania 35. It's amazing how little has changed.
I remember begging my dad to take me to that back in 94, but he was never able to find a coupon he wanted for whatever it was offered. All I can really remember were those photos with the Undertaker & Paul Bearer with you inside a coffin.


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Re: A look at the hobby in the 90s

Post by Greg2600 » April 24th, 2019, 12:50 pm

Anthony18 wrote:
April 24th, 2019, 10:55 am
Back in the late 90s a place in Cliffside Park NJ(that is now defunct and was run by a con man) called MVP collectibles had a lot of autograph signings with wwf superstars and wcw wrestlers and this was when wwf was hot during the attutude era. WCW was pretty hot then too. Anyway among the people that did signings there were Sable, Mick Foley, Bret Hart, Sunny, DDP and Kimberly, Edge, Kane, Al Snow, and Kevin Nash. Back then combos were like $20 or $25!
Wow, would have died for those! Of course, I lived 20 minutes away and likely never heard of the signings! Oh the 90's!
AJLe wrote:
April 24th, 2019, 11:38 am
WMX was the first Fan Fest, but they did do some sort of M&G stuff in conjunction to WM4 - I remember the Coliseum Home Video version had clips of events and autograph signings.

Starting at about 2:45 in the video below, you can see Jesse Ventura, Steamboat, Gorilla Monsoon, and Mean Gene signing for fans at some sort of event. Doesn't look as organized as a modern con, but it was definitely some sort of sanctioned WWF event where talent was signing for fans.

I *think* I remember seeing a similar thing on the home video for WM5 too, but I can't find any video to confirm that.

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7bdzp
We have an OLD thread on that, because Blue Meanie has posted his photos from there over the years.

http://forum.markedout.com/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=699
ICW wrote:
April 24th, 2019, 12:11 pm
Also, the Axxess from WrestleMania X sounds pretty much like the Axxess at WrestleMania 35. It's amazing how little has changed.
Well don't forget about Lanza's infamous Planet Hollywood 1992 event!

viewtopic.php?f=40&t=3681
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Re: A look at the hobby in the 90s

Post by Anthony18 » April 24th, 2019, 1:17 pm

Where are you from Greg? I'm from Fort Lee(and still live there today). I was able to walk to that place.

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Re: A look at the hobby in the 90s

Post by Jason1980s » April 24th, 2019, 2:12 pm

Here's one that should give Steve a heart attack...it is from some sort of 1991 toy fair related party WWF held for their Hasbro line. It was featured in a write up in one of the WWF magazines. It was most likely a private affair but still...Andre freebies! I wonder where all those signed photos are now.

Credit Fighter Hayabusa on wrestlingfigs.com for posting the pictures.
ERl8pjo.jpg
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Re: A look at the hobby in the 90s

Post by ICW » April 24th, 2019, 2:29 pm

That is incredible! It certainly looks like a private/corporate event but still...those kids are lucky as hell.

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I just read this incredibly story about Dan Severn and Dory Funk getting into a shoot fight while Severn was signing autographs for fans after a show.
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Re: A look at the hobby in the 90s

Post by AJLe » April 24th, 2019, 2:41 pm

Awesome pic of the Andre signing!

You know who probably has a great collection of graphs? A Dallas wrestling fan in his late 40's who was a regular at the Sportatorium as a kid. The kids usually crowded the ring during intros, and most of the babyfaces would always sign a few autographs while the announcer was talking. So if you were a regular as a kid during the 80's, you probably got all of the Von Erichs, Andre, Brody, and every other big name face wrestler who came through WCCW at some point or another.

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Re: A look at the hobby in the 90s

Post by class316 » April 24th, 2019, 3:07 pm

:deadd:

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Re: A look at the hobby in the 90s

Post by Jason1980s » April 24th, 2019, 3:13 pm

I read an article about Andre from his hometown in North Carolina. One of the people interviewed ran a local store and said Andre would frequently do appearances for the local charities and sign autographs.
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Re: A look at the hobby in the 90s

Post by Greg2600 » April 24th, 2019, 3:48 pm

Anthony18 wrote:
April 24th, 2019, 1:17 pm
Where are you from Greg? I'm from Fort Lee(and still live there today). I was able to walk to that place.
Belleville, which 25-30 years ago, was about as far as Philly. No internet. Everything was word of mouth, but more likely that you saw an ad in print, and rarely, on TV or radio.
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Re: A look at the hobby in the 90s

Post by ICW » April 24th, 2019, 4:13 pm

Geez there was a convention in 98 with Austin as a headliner for $20 a pop
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Re: A look at the hobby in the 90s

Post by ICW » April 25th, 2019, 10:29 am

Let's take a look at 1994. As noted in this thread earlier, WWF would hold its first official Axxess for WrestleMania X.

2/14/94
Kevin Sullivan and promoter Joe Lake, who took a hefty loss at his last show, agreed upon a $2,000 talent fee for himself and valet Woman to work two weekend shows and received $500 up front. As it turned out, the only other cash Sullivan and his second saw was from Woman's autographed photo sales prior to the Taylor card.
Woman raking in the dough. She appeared fairly often at these early conventions and I can't help but wonder if she would've done the rounds at Big Event or LOTR if she wasn't murdered.

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2/28/94
The WWF Fan Fest will take place in a series of seven two hour and 30 minute segments, with admission to each segment $22 on 3/18 through 3/20. The session will include historical perspectives of the WWF, opportunities for autographs, opportunities to purchase merchandise, opportunity to commentate on matches, opportunity to get your photo superimposed on a WWF magazine cover and other gimmicky type items you'd expect at an amusement park.
7 sessions, each lasting 2 hours and 30 minutes, and you have to pay admission to each session during WrestleMania weekend. Yep, this is Axxess. Look at what they're back then, too, and compare it to today. It's pretty much the same (even commentate on matches!). Wild.
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3/28/94
Wrestlemania X opened with a Little Richard (the 50s icon, not the former Roller Derby skater) lip-synch rendition of "America the Beautiful" complete with entourage by the Stamford, CT Baptist Church, which came off well on PPV but didn't go over at all in the building. Reportedly after the show there was heat in that Richard got out of the building after doing his thing and wouldn't sign autographs for the guys backstage

WWF's Fan Fest was largely a financial success, as all seven sessions drew a sellout 2,200 fans at $22 a pop. Reports we received were that the only negative were there were far too many fans crammed in for the two-and-a-half hour sessions and the lines for autographs for the superstars was more than 30 minutes a pop in some cases and other lines were lengthy as well for climbing into the ring, calling matches and getting photos taken at the Face-to-face set. The wrestlers and Vince McMahon were said to be very gracious to the fans once they got to meet them. Secondary characters were available for autographs with little or no wait. The WWF was seemingly aware of the problems, so upon leaving, the WWF gave each fan a free pass good for a future WWF event. As mentioned on television, the WWF is planning on including Fan Festivals annually as part of Wrestlemania weekends and perhaps other PPV shows as well. With the upcoming trial, the company is going out of its way to present a positive image to offset what will almost certainly be negative publicity in about six weeks.
Little Richard denying talent of autographs is unbelievable. I'm actually surprised that he's still alive. Anyone have any stories about meeting him?

It sounds like fans were complaining decades ago about how WWE ran its autograph lines. It's pretty amazing that Vince participated in Axxess and that they handed out free passes to a future WWF event as a makeup for how long the lines were. Dave mentions that WWE plans on running these fan fests annually

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4/4/94
Funny story of the week. At an autograph show this past week, a fan came up to John Studd with a photo of him with a mask from the late 70s in Texas where he worked as Captain USA. He asked Studd to autograph a photo as Studd and another photo as Captain USA. Studd was really friendly about it and asked him, "How do you spell Captain?"

Dave promotes an autographing signing in Philly featuring the Sandman and J.T. Smith

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4/11/94
A reader in NJ is selling a Japanese flag autographed by Chris Benoit, Sabu and Jushin Liger
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6/10/94
Dave promotes a signing in Long Island featuring Bruno Sammartino and Randy Savage.
Imagine if that type of signing happened today?
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7/18/94
Dave reports on autograph hounds camping out in the courtroom during McMahon's steroid trial. Dave mentions that Nailz and Afa made appearances but autograph hounds were largely disappointed that so few WWF wrestlers showed up.
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8/8/94
West Four Wrestling Association brought in Mad Dog Vachon to sign autographs at four shows this past week.
Did Mad Dog do signings often?

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8/14/94
Bob Backlund turned heel and is refusing to sign autographs for fans.
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8/29/94
A reader told a story about how mailed JR a list of questions and some cash for an autograph picture. JR replied with thoughtful answers, sent him two autograph pics, and refunded his money.

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10/17/94
Dave promotes a signing with Kimala at the Sacramento Convention Center. Pete Rose, Bart Starr and Johnny Bench were also scheduled to appear.

WCW is charging a crazy $500 for front row seats at a Detroit house show but photo ops with Hulk Hogan and Muhammad Ali are guaranteed. They're also guaranteeing that they'll sign the photo afterward with proceeds going to Ali's charity. Dave reports that, as of the previous week, only three tickets were sold.

Dave notes that Bret Hart is doing a signing at my future alma mater Hofstra University.
Who would've jumped on getting the Hogan and Ali combos for $500 in 1994?
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10/24/94
Dave promotes a signing with Tito Santana, Doink the Keirn and Greg Valentine in Paramus, NJ at Sports World on Route 17.
Keirn is sort of a rarer name but we all know how often Santana and Valentine do signings.

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10/31/94
Dave notes that Tommy Fierro is promoting an autograph show in Cherry Hill, NJ in conjunction with Dennis Coraluzzo's NWA tournament on 11/19. The names scheduled to appear? Jerry Lawler, Jim Cornette, Rock & Roll Express, Ludvig Borga, Johnny Polo, Dirty White Boy, Tracy Smothers, The Gangstas, Chris Candido, Tammy Fytch, Johnny Gunn and Al Snow.
A lot of the same names we see today with the exception of Borga (and Johnny Gunn). Borga sounded like a miserable person with a concealed SS tattoo on his ankle. Gunn is also known as Salvatore Sincere and I think he does M&G today but I've never seen him at Big Event/LOTR
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