Welcome once again to the Rise and Fall of an Underdog. I?ve given Jake the week off so I can present a piece about my trip to the Memorabilia Show in Birmingham this past weekend. But don?t worry, Jake will be back next week. As always you can send any questions or comments to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading and enjoy.
This past weekend I, along with my only other wrestling fan friend Matt, headed up to Birmingham for the annual Memorabilia Show. I didn?t know what to expect as we boarded the train for the two hour journey and I was a bit nervous because the next day I would hopefully be meeting some of my heroes; Scott Hall, Ted Dibiase (with Virgil of course), Dawn Marie and my first ever crush Tammy ?Sunny? Sytch.
Before that though, we had to check into our hotel room. Room is too strong a word, our hotel box! I?ve never seen a room this small in my life. If you lay on the bed you could put your feet half way up the wall, the shower was next to the bed in the room along with the sink, and the toilet was in a separate room no bigger than a casket. Oh, and I had to sleep on a bunk bed! But hey, what do you expect for ?30 a night.
We settled in for an alcohol induced sleep and awoke bright eyed and bushy tailed and headed to the National Exhibition Centre. We made our way to conference room 9 (passing the Model Train Fair, Christmas Fair and even the Cat Lovers Expo!) and beheld the wonder of this shrine to geekiness. Their was table after table of comic books, Star Wars toys, autographed glossies, and European DVDs that I had never heard of. Every second person was dressed in some sort of costume and if I had a nickel for every storm trooper I passed I?d be rich! Then there were the celebrities. Sitting behind folding tables, pen in hand, ready to charge ?15 to sign their name on any matter of things they were faced with. There was something sad about this whole thing. Some of the celebrities had line ups that snaked around the place; Warwick Davis and the kid who plays Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter, the President from Battlestar Galactica (and Donnie Darko’s mom) Mary McDonnell, and one of the scariest characters I?ve ever known, the Candyman himself, Tony Todd. I managed to muster the courage to talk to Candyman and I?ll admit that despite his lovely demeanour, he still scared me. But then there were the celebrities with no line ups. Bit actors from Dr. Who and British soap operas. There was even a guy from Dawn of the Dead, but sadly no line up. I felt bad for these stars and was reminded of the scene in the Wrestler where Randy takes part in one of these shows; bleak to say the least. None of this mattered though as we headed to the back of the centre to the wrestler’s booth to meet our grappling heroes.
I was actually nervous as we approached the booth. I had limited funds so unfortunately I would have to be picky about whose picture and autograph I would be getting. But when I saw that there was a package deal for Dawn Marie and Sunny, my mind was made up. It’s just as well that I didn?t choose Scott Hall because he was not feeling too well. The event organizers said that he had food poisoning and it’s so unfortunate that my preconceptions made this hard to believe. Matt and I had placed bets on whether or not he would even be there. In all fairness to the man, he held out for most of the day and even made the wolf pack sign in a few pictures with the fans. Dibiase and Virgil were drawing a good crowd and raking in the ?’s. Dibiase certainly wasn?t in fighting shape and Virgil was acting very odd. He grabbed me later in the conference to look at my picture of me, Sunny and Dawn Marie and called me a ?pimp daddy?. Classy. But I was here to meet these beautiful ladies of the squared circle and they didn?t disappoint.
Well, Sunny kinda did. She was amiable enough but between checking her make up and fiddling with her camera , she didn?t really seem like she wanted to be there. I had made the whole trip up on the basis of meeting her but the one who really made this trip amazing for me was Dawn Marie. When we finished getting our picture taken I mentioned to Dawn Marie that I write for WrestleView.com and that I would love to chat with her about her charity Wrestlers Rescue. For those of you who haven?t heard of it, Wrestlers Rescue is a charity that Dawn Marie set up to help with the medical costs of retired professional wrestlers. They are also trying to organize health care and disability for active wrestlers and generally create a better standard of living for a business that has no guarantees and no pensions. She was very animated as she told me all about the upcoming events they will be having, in particular their Wrestlers Rescue Cruise. Imagine sailing to the Caribbean with Umaga and Balls Mahoney. I?m sold! The main thing that struck me about Dawn Marie was her humility. She admitted to me that she was so lucky to have had a career in this business and it’s due to the kindness of others that she made it. Now she just wants to give back to the business and all the competitors who are discarded and needy. Most people would never link professional wrestling to humanitarianism, but Dawn Marie has done just that.
Before I knew it twenty minutes had passed and I realized that I had been having a normal chat with Dawn Marie! She wasn?t standoffish or stuck up, she was just a woman with a cause she believed in and the platform from which to get her message across to the public. My buddy Matt was flabbergasted as I found him waiting by the table. He couldn?t believe we chatted that long. I was on cloud nine and wouldn?t come down for the rest of the weekend. All in all it was amazing weekend and I would recommend Memorabilia shows to any fans of the industry. So put on a costume, find a budget hotel and enjoy!
As a postscript I would just like to recommend that everyone check out http://www.wrestlersrescue.org. I have no ulterior motives, I?m not getting some sort of kick back, I just think that what these guys are doing is important. We all enjoy the performances of these amazing athletes but what happens to them after their careers is just as important. Also check out the upcoming cruise, book your travel through the site and look out for upcoming events. And thank you Dawn Marie!