September 21, 2008
Upcoming Legends of the Ring convention has Flair
By CHRIS SOKOL - SLAM! Wrestling
Over the past few years, wrestling conventions have grown bigger and bigger, transforming from small meet-and-greets to mega events. In 2004, Legends of the Ring ran their debut convention, with a modest line-up and high hopes. On October 11, LOTR returns with their seventh convention, featuring over 50 guests, including "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair.
"Patience, organization, fan loyalty, being honest and offering the fans the guests they want to meet has really been the key to our success," said promoter Terence Brennan. "We have come a real long way since our debut event."
The convention, which will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Monroe, NJ, will feature the most extensive guest list in LOTR history. "Ric Flair, Don Muraco, Scott Hall, Wendi Richter, Mean Gene Okerlund and Jake "The Snake" Roberts appear to be the front runners in terms of ticket sales," said Brennan. They will be joined by Konnan, Howard Finkel, The Killer Bees, "The Taskmaster" Kevin Sullivan, Raven, One Man Gang, Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie, The Young Stallions, Glacier and Mr. Fuji to round out the LOTR guest list.
As with any convention nowadays, vendors from across the east coast are flocking to LOTR with guests of their own. "The last I counted, there was 54 guests total. It is just overwhelming how this show has snowballed. We are ready and prepared for it though. We have our set line-up and the vendors are bringing in dozens of guests as well. It's a can't miss event and a wrestling fan's dream come true."
Vendor guests for LOTR 7 include Bruno Sammartino, Ray Rougeau, Ronnie Garvin, Tully Blanchard, Diana Hart, Ashley Massaro, Marty Jannetty, Buff Bagwell, Disco Inferno, X-Pac and many others. Brennan told SLAM! Wrestling that he is very pleased with how the vendor guest line-up has formed and is looking forward to seeing all the stars on October 11.
Even with such an extensive line-up, there's no doubt that the primary focus will be geared towards the featured guest, Hall of Famer "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair. "Ric Flair is hot coming off his retirement. We have positioned Flair in his own private room. From what I heard, he was extremely fan friendly at the NWA legends fanfest in Charlotte, so that's a good thing. The response for Flair has been overwhelming."
For fans looking to make a weekend out of this experience, Legends of the Ring has added a very special event on the evening of October 10, as they team up with Kayfabe Commentaries for Ring Roast I, a tribute to the Iron Sheik. The concept of this revolutionary event is like any other "roast." Stars from wrestling and comedy will get together and "roast" the Iron Sheik. "Sean Oliver from Kayfabe Commentaries came to us with the idea. Kayfabe Commentaries has pretty much re-invented the shoot interview. They bring a lot of great ideas to the table with this concept. Sheik is unpredictable and anything can happen. Unfortunately for contract boundaries, we could not use some of the talent we originally wanted to, but the initial ticket push has been strong enough to make this event successful before it even goes off. Hopefully this sets the stage for future ring roasts."
Just as original as the concept itself, the line-up for Ring Roast I is also very unique. "We have the Sheik and Brian Blair going face-to-face for the first time. The Sheik/Blair 'heat' has been a topic of conversation for the last few years because of Sheik's over the top comments as to what he would like to do to Blair," Brennan said. "I'm even worried about what might happen. Somebody is going to get humbled." Blair will be joined alongside a slew of the Sheik's former running mates, including Nikolai Volkoff and King Kong Bundy.
Despite all the success, Brennan remains modest and humble when it comes to the competition. "It seems conventions come and go. We have a very positive track record. I don't think it's fair on my part to compare our show to others. In most cases if a specific convention runs a second or third show, they must be doing something right. Let the fans decide what they like the best. We are running our seventh LOTR show since 2004 so I guess we are 'okay' in the fan's book."
Legends of the Ring is less than one month away and Brennan encourages fans to get their tickets early. "We have record ticket sales so far. I don't want to turn anyone away, so come out and have a good time. Check the website and make yourself aware of how the event is run, this way there are no surprises the day of."
For for those planning way down the road, Brennan also acknowledged that Legends of the Ring 8 is already in the works.
Chris Sokol will be covering Legends of the Ring 7 for SLAM! Wrestling.