Jeremy Samples sent this in:

WWE AXXESS

I arrived to WWE AXXESS a little late due to the FanFest. I was only able to get down there around 7:15. They did away with the card aspect, and it was just first come-first serve with the line. They could still improve it a little more if they would comfortably allow you to take a photo with a wrestler and if they didn't close the lines off near the end of the AXXESS session. I was in line to meet Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase. However, just as I was about to get to them, they switched off and on came...Mark Henr & FuNaki!! That finally happened to me...Oh, well...I got to meet them, anway.

Tonight, they held the THQ Superstars Video Game challenge. There were many interesting match-ups in the first round, such as Ted DiBiase Sr. v. Ted DiBiase Jr., Sgt. Slaughter v. CM Punk, Nikki v. Brie Bella, Ezekiel Jackson v. 'The' Brian Kendrick, who actually just let Brian win. Kofi Kingston made it to the finals against Cody Rhodes. Kofi Kingston ended up winning...and there was suprisingly a significant number of media present for the finals of the THQ Challenge. Shelton Benjamin came out after the contest, and challenged Kofi to a match next year. However, they ended up having the match-off tonight. Kofi came out on the top of that one, as well...So, I guess if you have Legends of Wrestling play as Kofi Kingston you can't lose. Cody and Kofi had an interesting discussion about playing each other on XBox live with Halo. Jimmy Hart came back before the finals, as well, and Kofi picked Jimmy as his manager on the game. Thought it was interesting that Jimmy Hart was brought back as soon as he was finished with Booker T's FanFest. It was also an interesting dynamic to see Jimmy in two different situations today.

Howard Finkel was the main host in Jimmy's place tonight. It was interesting watching The Fink perform in the ring for so long. Howard and Jimmy also shared a memory about how Howard was the whole reason Jimmy ever got a job in the WWE.

So, AXXESS with the video game challenge was actually pretty good, as well.

Jeremy Samples

Jeremy Samples sent this review in:

Booker T's Legends of Wrestling Fanfest

This was the first time that Booker had done this event, so it was expected that a few things would not be run correctly. First, I know it probably wasn't Booker's fault...but the Convention Center ticketing was extremely slow, and had to wait in line 1.5 hours just to pick up my Will Call tickets, and to purchase a VIP Pass. Inside, they were supposed to have something for you to have the wrestlers sign. However, you actually had to have your own item. I decided to buy a FanFest T-Shirt, but they all mostly just had black sharpies--and with the shirt being black, that wouldn't show up very well. They also were supposed to either have a polaroid to take your picture with the wrestler or a camera that would then print off an 8x10. The only way you could get a picture was with your own camera, or you could purchase a camera from the merchandise stand. The merchandise stand was also very slow, as I had to wait 45 minutes to an hour to get the T-Shirt, with only a few people in line.

Saying the negatives, there were actually many positives. Most of the wrestlers at the FanFest were very into it, even Jake "The Snake" Roberts was in very good shape, and was joking around with fans. Jimmy Hart was allowed to participate in the FanFest. The lines were extremely long, and took awhile to get through along with the building being very generic...kind of felt like having a few wrestlers sit down in an abandoned warehouse...led to unexciting time when not meeting a wrestler.

I asked Samoa Joe about his current gimmick in TNA and whether he liked it: He said that he did. That TNA was paying him to run around, beat people up, and hold knives to their throat...how could you not like it. He kind of seemed to be defending the company, but that his answer. Stone Cold's former wife Debra McMichael was also there. I asked her what she thought about Austin being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. She said she thought it was great, as he was a very nice man and did a lot of things to deserve it. Kind of interesting answers, I'm not sure if they were just the 'positive' kind or not.

Also, an interesting part at Booker T's Fanfest, was a concussion session with Christopher Nowinski and Booker T poviding insight on Chris Benoit's death. Nowinski did much of the fact talking, pointing out interesting point and showing images of Chris's brain, how it compared to older brains with dementia, etc...and what exactly went wrong inside of his brain. He had pictures and video to show where the major places were the Chris injured. Booker provided insight on what it was like to work with Benoit. He said that could definitely see signs of depression in Chris, but that he really hid it well and kept to himself. He also talked about matches Chris had had, one where he actually had landed on Booker's hipbone. Booker went to talk to him about it the next day, and he said that he was unable to remember that match. It was a really interesting session, with many heartfelt stories from Booker T. Chavo Guerrero Sr., who was there as part of the FanFest came over, and also listened to the discussion about concussions.

Booker also stated before the concussion discussion and during that WWE would not allow anyone to take any time off. Chris said that he was trying to recieve help from WWE for information on concussions to start off his SportsLegacy. WWE subsequently told him that he either had to stop his current research or he would be released from his contract. Booker also talked more about the involvement WWE had had in pulling people from the FanFest. He also mentioned how originally this was just going to be a one-time FanFest, just to try to help out his kids foundation, but since the WWE "hacked" around with him...he was going to make it an annual FanFest. He mentioned how he was already looking at booking a building in Phoenix, which was supposed to be right next door to where that AXXESS would be held. He said he was also going to be bringing TNA shows along with him next time. He talked and put over TNA more and more. He said how he was now someplace where he was appreciated. That TNA was accommodating to any needs that you had, even if it meant time-off.

This was a nice FanFest, for the first one. If it hadn't been for charity, I would have been upset at the prices and the way it was handled. However, with it being a charity event...I was just glad to be able to give a little back.

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