Fast forward to this past week, where on Tuesday, I briefly spoke with P.J. and he was dealing with some passport and paperwork issues at the Department of Motor Vehicles that he would need to take care of in order to make his Friday morning flight to Winston-Salem. After a brief conversation, I assumed all was in order and we had made arrangements for Steve to pick him up at the airport as he traveled north to WrestleCade. Just checking to make sure all was ok, I touched base again on Friday, just hours before his scheduled take off, and after repeated attempts with the DMV, and thanks in part to the recent government shutdown, he was not able to renew or receive the documentation that he needed to board the flight. Our first thought was, although we would be disappointed, that obviously sometimes things happen that are out of one's control, but as our conversation continued, I came to realize that P.J., along with his wife Jill had already started on the road, driving the 675 miles completely on his own dollar so to not disappoint us and more importantly the fans at Wrestlecade who were looking forward to a rare southeastern appearance by the "Extreme Icon." "I will be there," he told me, asking for the hotel's address and going on to explain that in his past he has regrets from some of his darker times in the industry and that he was not going to disappoint his fans no matter what he had to do to make the show.
A stop along the road on Friday night in Virginia for an exhausted former World Champion and his wife where once again they had to deal with the same issues regarding forms of identification would not defer his journey either, as after a brief stay for a few winks (very few winks, actually), P.J. and Jill were back at it first thing in the morning in order to arrive just on time to walk in and meet the thousands on hand at the fan fest just as it was set to begin. Myself and Steve, who have only briefly met this man prior to this were amazed at his dedication, as he stepped right from behind the wheel of his car, got his wife settled with a room key, and headed directly into the convention center where even before the pictures and banner were set up, the early entry fans were thrilled to stop over for a few words, a photo op, or for Justin to sign an autograph or two. Without missing a beat (or even eating the entire day), we came to discover through our conversations throughout the day with him that it wasn't at all surprising that he made the long drive to the convention, as we came to see that first and foremost, Justin Credible, former ECW World Champion and WWE superstar, is still after all the years a fan, just like you or I. Hearing him tell us about growing up a fan in the Northeast and following many of the legends that were at the event that day through the old wrestling magazines, and his genuine excitement at performers such as Tully Blanchard, the Rock n Roll Express, and even referee Tommy Young being at the event made it crystal clear a\s to why Justin Credible would make that trip on his own expense…he is genuinely appreciative of what he has been able to achieve and see as a result of his wrestling career and is even today still as big a fan as there was amongst the thousands on hand that day.
As the day wore on and with a brief hour break to grab a bite and get ready for his appearance as the official in the Dreamer/ C.W. match, there was not a mention of his long drive or the expenses he had to have endured in getting there. On the contrary, he went out of his way to continue taking pictures with any of the youngsters backstage and to introduce Steve and I to anyone in sight, even sending them our way for interviews and such for our show. After the intermission at WrestleCade, it was time for the "I Quit" match and it certainly didn't disappoint, as Justin and Dreamer renewed their classic feud briefly when an errant elbow from "The Innovator of Violence" floored the guest referee and once regaining his feet, Justin turned on his ECW rival only to see his efforts backfire and lead to a Dreamer victory to the delight of the fans on hand. After the bout, once again, it was tough to not see P.J. Polaco, the fan, and not Justin Credible, despite the referee's shirt, as he enthusiastically told us how once the match got rolling and it was Tommy, C.W., and Steve Corino (Anderson's corner man in the bout) that he couldn't help getting "that itch," and wishing it was him competing against his longtime rivals from years gone by. While the man had to be completely exhausted given the events of the past 36 hours or so of his life, Justin was then insistent that he give us a full length interview for our show that to be honest with you was the most real and heartfelt conversation that Steve and I have had for our program out of the 25 or so performers from "Wrestling's Glory Days" that we have spoken with to date. (Unfortunately, this may never be able to be aired as we believe that some of our equipment, including the recording device used for this was stolen at our hotel before we had left Winston-Salem) But, regardless, Justin spoke with passion for nearly an hour with us, proving without any doubt what I had said earlier in this piece about him being such a diehard fan of professional wrestling even to this very day.
Short URL: http://winc.cc/i7XH7Q
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