Like all of us we have our good days and our bad days, but the majority of us aren’t getting paid to do autograph sessions that our fans pay for like the wrestlers featured in this edition of Celebrity Encounters.
Those who didn’t come off so well to their fans? There’s an ex-world champion and the guy whose biggest accomplishment remains introducing us to The Funkadactyls.
And of course, there’s an obligatory Virgil story, but one that may change your opinion of the usual autograph story punching bag.
On to the tales!
elias: One of my best was Jerry Lawler. I had front row directly behind the announce table for a Smackdown taping in the winter of 2000. He had a Christmas book that had just come out and I brought it to the taping with me. It was just after he had come out and sat down at the table that I asked very nicely if he would sign.
He said to give him a minute to get situated and he would sign. It was a few minutes and I thought he was going to be too busy, but I couldn’t believe it when he turned around and asked for my book to sign. I was stunned that he actually took the time on his own to do that. That led to him getting mobbed by people running to get stuff signed.
He only signed my book, smiled at me and turned back around to get ready for the taping. I will never forget it.
mikey: Brodus Clay single-handedly made my son never want to get a picture or autograph again. he was at a local PPW (Pennsylvania Premiere Wrestling) show in my town this past summer. My kid had him sign the Elite Series 25. He asked for it in silver, he signed it in black marker instead (and he had several markers there). My son told him how much he liked his character and wished he was still in WWE — no response. He just kept looking down. Then the picture they took together was really epic as well:
In the end, my kid was really put off by the way Brodus was acting and decided the $30 I spent on the pic and auto would’ve been better spent on someone else.
I didn’t expect the guy to be super-cheerful (considering he just got sacked by WWE), or to spill his life story or something. but, you know, it’s a 10 year old kid paying to meet you for a few seconds. you can at least smile, or have the common courtesy to LOOK UP!
But afterwards I heard about tons of horror stories of his signings and picture ops, even when he was with the WWE. so I guess the guy is just a prick. Compare him to Matt Morgan and Too Cool, who were brought in for the previous 2 shows by PPW and Curt Hawkins, who was at the same show as Brodus. All four guys had been in the big leagues before, yet here they were in a little school gymnasium in front of only a couple hundred fans. yet they were accommodating, interacted with people and were super-nice to any kids who came up to them.
brocester: I’d have to say Scott Steiner isn’t too nice to fans. I’m a big fan of his either way, but on both occasion’s that I met him he didn’t seem happy to be there. Once at a Wrestlereunion show my dad and a cousin were just waiting on me and went in behind where Scott was and he got mad and made them move. Like he thought they were gonna jump him or something. The last time I met him at Mid-Atlantic Fanfest 2013 he showed up out of surprise which was awesome as I was able to get my pic with both Steiners but he still sat there like a grouch.
Virgil tries to charge a lot but if you make him a lowball offer he’ll take it. I messed up when I first started getting autographed and paid $25 for his at a comic con. Yea that was dumb of me. He usually will throw out a big number and lower it as you walk away. Then the other 2 times I met him he was real nice and played around with my son.
I once met Scotty Riggs at a fanfest and he was about to get on an elevator and I stopped him and asked if I could get a picture with him. He was happy to do it but as the person was taking our pic my son looks at him and says “Daddy who’s that?” It was funny when you think about it but I was a little embarrassed as I was a fan of his, but of course my 3 year old son (at the time) isn’t going to know who he is.
I met Tommy Dreamer a few times. The last time was last year at Wrestlecade and he was at the bar with several others. My son was walking around and had Robert Gibson sign a photo that had a lot of the talent on it. He then took my son to a table where Tommy and several others were sitting and had them sign it for him. Tommy didn’t seem happy to do it, however I read on his Facebook the next day his dog had died while he was at the show so he may have been upset.
Rosa was very friendly earlier this year at a Raw show. I went to get my photo so I picked up my son for the photo and she put her arm around me for the picture and pretty much squeezed us in close, lol.
Be careful if you meet Jimmy Valiant, the first fanfest I went to I got his autograph which was free to get at the show and he asked for my name and signed it to one of his book, pretty much leaving me no choice but to fork over the $35 he was charging for the book signed.
Guys like Kofi, Big E, R-Truth, Natalya, are very nice and will always come greet fans before the show.
RV f’n D: I did have a great experience with Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne at a TNA show in Columbus a few years back. I had my kids there and my daughter, who was like 5 at the time, loves KO’s/divas so I waited in a little line with her and they were super nice, signed her program (didn’t charge) and went on to her about how pretty she was, which was huge for her coming from them.
y2polhill: I had Honky autograph his Jakks figure for me at a con, and he signed it three times. I think it’s just his thing. The odd thing though is I went to shake his hand and he insisted on fist bumping instead because this was during the big pig swine epidemic lol.
And good ol’ Virgil was at the table next to him, and kept pestering me to get a photo with him and Honky. I had to keep saying no. I had to spread my money wisely that day and only chose an autograph from Honky. Looking back I wish I would’ve done the picture with Honky though cause he actually wore his entrance costume lol.
Second one was meeting Kurt Angle at a TNA signing at a local bar. Kurt was really awesome. You got to sit with him and he took photo with you and chatted a bit. I told him I was at his Survivor Series debut and booed him and that I was sorry lol. He laughed and said I did my job. A couple hours later Kurt decided to hang around the bar and was hanging out with everyone though and telling wrestling stories and said HBK was probably the best performer of all time.
Mickie James was great to meet. Met her first time at a free photo op at Cold stone’s ice cream. Me and my daughter took a picture with her and Evan Bourne. My daughter had brought a toy women’s belt, and Mickie switched belts with her and let her hold the divas title. Second time was at comic con to get said photograph signed. She instantly recognized that it was from the Cold stone’s. She again was very nice and treated my daughter great again. Class act that woman is.
Teddyballgame: Everyone piled in line to see the guests of the headlining guest of the night. My girlfriend and I stood there somewhat near the front when I realized Ricky Steamboats table was right next to the one we were in line for with NOBODY in line. She gladly held my spot while I talked to Steamboat for a bit. Really nice guy. Happy to chat with anyone walking by. He looked like he still took pretty awesome care of himself.
A few tables down from him was Demolition. They were all painted up and super friendly. Both commented on how well the figures looked with the paint pen signature. Ax actually told me the best way to dry the paint is to hold the figure overhead and shout “Demolition is #1” as loud as you can haha.
Once I got to meet them I got back in line for the STYLIN’ AND PROFILIN’ headliner of the evening. The one and only NATURE BOY! It was such an awesome experience meeting the man himself. He was friendly and as charming as you’d hope.
I had him sign the back of my IC title in light pink. I’m trying to have everyone sign it in a color that they wore. Went with pink for Ric and I think it looks great. Pictures don’t do it justice. The whole event was awesome Ric & Ricky got in the ring and told a few stories about working together. Flair made some jokes about ex-wives, light beer, and chicken nuggets.
Have any celebrity encounter you’d like to share? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org