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Cornette roasted, stars meet fans at Legends of the Ring
By BRYAN SOKOL - SLAM! Wrestling


Jim Cornette looks on as Dennis Condrey, Bobby Eaton and Bill Apter joke at the Ring Roast. Photo by Mike Coons


MONROE, NJ - Mix a comedic roast of a legendary, mouthy manager in with a fan fest, with wrestlers current and past, and you end up with Legends of the Ring 11.

It was a reunion of nearly 40 current and former pro wrestling stars, with such old-school wrestling stars as the Guerreros, Mando, Hector and Chavo Sr., more recent vintage stars like Torrie Wilson, Booker T, and the Steiner Brothers, and current personalities such as TNA's Chelsea, Miss Tesmacher and The Shore -- Robbie E. and Cookie.

Many fans arrived to Monroe, New Jersey’s Crowne Plaza hotel in the mid-afternoon on Friday, October 15th for the Jim Cornette Ring Roast presented by Kayfabe Commentaries. The third comedy roast -- following the Iron Sheik and Terry Funk -- was a raucous event, with lots of work with from the lengthy managerial and on-screen career of James E. Cornette.

Best known for managing the Midnight Express, and more recently as an on-air figure in TNA and Ring of Honor, Cornette claimed to have a great time being roasted by many of his friends.

While the best-known combo of the Midnight Express, "Beautiful" Bobby Eaton and "Loverboy" Dennis Condrey, were obvious choices to roast their long-time manager, others may not have been natural selections to roast "Corny." Quick, can you make the connection between "Primetime" Amy Lee and Cornette? Or Ring of Honor manager Prince Nana and the "Louisville Slugger"? The likes of Missy Hyatt, Al Snow, Nick "Eugene" Dinsmore, "Dirty" Dutch Mantel and the host, Bill Apter, all had more identifiable time in their career with Cornette.

Hosted by Apter, who took a pie to the face at one point, the roast had many high points and a few low points.

A big part of the roast was a near-30-minute monologue from Hyatt, who fought back and insulted everybody, as she herself had been tortured at previous roasts. Earlier in the evening, she was roasted nearly as much as Cornette, with her well-known promiscuity a target.

Hyatt responded by making jokes at Prince Nana, and asking if Amy Lee was a last-minute replacement because Shockwave the Robot was previously booked. "Hardcore" Bob Holly and Kip James (a.k.a. Billy Gunn) also were the butt of jokes over their reported sexual activity with ring rats.

But if there were a theme to the roast, it would be Cornette's hatred of all things Vince Russo. So it was only natural that he receive a Russo book and the ultra-rare Russo edition of Playgirl, courtesy Apter.

A DVD of the Ring Roast will be available soon from Kayfabe Commentaries.

The following morning, the eleventh edition of Legends of the Ring got under way,

By 9:30 a.m., the "Superticket" line began to form for a photo opportunity with each member of the first autograph block, which consisted of "Mr. USA" Tony Atlas, former WCW and WWE diva Torrie Wilson, WCW ring announcer Gary Michael Capetta, former WWE referee Tim White, Jim Cornette, and Mando, Hector and Chavo Sr. Guerrero.

It was a very odd mix of new and old, well-known and not-so-well known. It was very interesting to see the big names of Atlas, Cornette and Wilson mingle with the Guerreros, Capetta, and White. Atlas is still in very good condition, and Wilson still stunning. The Guerreros were class acts to all of their fans, with Hector inscribing "Eddie Lives" on nearly every piece, reminding them of their late brother.

"I am having a great time," White told SLAM! Wrestling. All seemed to enjoy meeting fans and reconnecting with old friends.


Aloisia makes "Wee Willie" Bill Apter even smaller. Photo by Christine Coons
After all autographs were signed, a 30-minute break was taken to clean up and re-organize the Superticket room. Fans took the time to meet vendor guests such as: Isis the 6-foot-9 Amazon formerly known as Aloisia from WWE NXT, Booker T, TNA’s Miss Tessmacher, and The Shore -- Robbie E, and Cookie. More colorful guests included Little Boogeyman, and the original Doink the Clown, Matt Borne.

In the early afternoon, the next Superticket group was up and ready to take pictures with fans. The second block had a tag team feel. The pairings included Rick and Scott Steiner, the superhero duo of Hurricane Helms and Rosey (formerly known as the Super Hero in Training and one half of 3 Minute Warning), and the Islanders Haku (a.k.a. Meng, King Tonga) and Tama (The Tonga Kid) -- who looked remarkably like his late relative Eddie "Umaga" Fatu. Aside from the tag teams, there was also TNA Knockout Chelsea and ECW announcer Joey Styles, who said he really enjoyed the signing, and hopes to return for another event run by Legends of the Ring.

Back in the vendor room, there were interesting sights, such as Booker T returning to his King Booker character, and a photo opportunity with the giantess Aloisia and Sunny (Tammy Sytch).

All in all, this convention was very well run. All the advertised stars showed up and seemed to enjoy the weekends activities. The crowd of 250 or so seemed to have a great time, and many no doubt were already planning to attend the next edition of Legends of the Ring, set for May 7, 2011. Already announced for that event are Diamond Dallas Page, the Godwinns, "Bullet" Bob and Brad Armstrong, Mike Tenay, Dan "The Beast" Severn, Terry Taylor, and Demolition (Bill Eadie and Barry Darsow).

RELATED LINKS

  • Legends of the Ring 11 Photo Gallery
  • Jim Cornette Ring Roast Photo Gallery
  • Legends of the Ring website

    Bryan Sokol is from Long Island, New York and has made his return to SLAM! Wrestling. Let's go Philadelphia Phillies! Bryan can be reached at: bsokol7slam@yahoo.com.