Day 2 of the 2013 Cauliflower Alley Club Reunion began much like it does every year. The Nostalgia Room was pumping with visitors and there were seminars going on down the hall. This year, since I was helping out with the EWF booth, I didn’t make it out to the seminars, but from what I hear they were very good. For those who are wondering, here are the titles of the seminars they ran on Tuesday:
Seminar #1: Dan Kroffat, “Life After Wrestling Starts NOW!”
Seminar #2: Steve Hooper, “Working With the Zebra”
Seminar #3: Paul ‘Butcher’ Vachon, Tom Andrews, Beverly Shade, Bruce Swayze, “The Lessons We Learned”
I heard great things about each and every one of these programs, and would have attended all of them if I wasn’t at the EWF table. Some of the wrestlers of EWF were willing to work the table, but since I’m an announcer, I felt the wrestlers had more to learn from the programs than I did, so I was very happy to stay with Jake Alexander and Sgt. Sanders to work the table. Tuesday will someday be notable because we attempted the very first EWF podcast, entitled “Vulgar Display of Podcast,” and it was a complete trainwreck. Black Metal arrived at the table and myself, Metal, and Sgt. Sanders started cursing up a storm. It was fun watching what was going on in the room and goofing at some of the more ridiculous gimmicks being run. As we were talking, Teddy Hart walked by, dressed in one of his custom outfits and carrying a cat around the room. It seemed the latest in Teddy’s long line of attempts to convince the world he’s batshit crazy, since running that gimmick has worked so well for Gary Busey’s career. We also saw Rob Van Dam and Bill Alfonso set up a table near us, so we got to watch wrestling fans walking around doing the thumbs thing all day long. Long story short, the podcast went on for an hour, and only about 10 minutes of it were what I would call listenable, so here is what we managed to salvage from the entire debacle:
It features a few minutes with Willie Mack, then Rock Riddle begins to speak, and after about 4 minutes, Mack decided Riddle wasn’t gonna be quiet anytime soon and just walked away. Unfortunately Jesse Hernandez didn’t join us until Wednesday, so we spent the majority of the day telling people that Jesse wasn’t there. The number of people who saw the EWF banner and came over asking when Jesse would arrive was an awesome thing to see. It serves to remind everyone who works for EWF that you shouldn’t take this guy for granted just because you see him all the time. Being able to use his name as a reference to other promoters is a key that will help open doors.
Now no trip to Cauliflower Alley Club would be complete without a list of amazing things which were overheard at the reunion. Here is a short of list of the best ones, with the names removed to protect the innocent:
By a girl handing out promotional DVDs, speaking to a guy in the Nostalgia room,” Excuse me, sir. Do you like wrestling?”
By a fan talking to Ivan Koloff,”Excuse me, Mr. Vachon. May I take a photo with you?”
By a person walking up to the EWF table,”I didn’t recognize Jim Ross. He’s not wearing a cowboy hat.”
By a person walking up to Nigel McGuinness, who was selling DVDs. “Excuse me, will Mr. McGuinness be here later to autograph the DVDs?”
To Mosh Pit Mike,”Are you a Juggalo?” (This is only funny if you have ever seen Mosh Pit Mike)
Anyway, enough of the funnies, it’s time to talk about the Baloney Blowout. This is the informal dinner held on Tuesday night of each year’s reunion. The dinner is a small buffet with various cold cuts and rolls, alongside salads and cookies. It is suppose to represent when wrestlers are traveling the circuit back in the territory days and all they could afford on the way to the next town was baloney if they wanted to have beer money as well. After everyone makes a plate, they give away some of the smaller awards.
The first award was the Golden Ear award, to someone who has had interesting careers in more than wrestling, and has worked a few different successful gimmicks. This award was presented to David Cantu. He was a veteran of the US Armed forces as well as a hell of a professional wrestler.
The second award was the Jason Sanderson Humanitarian Award went to Lord Zoltan, aka Ken Jugan. After retiring from pro wrestling, Zoltan started a school for the deaf in Pittsburgh, and frequently raises money for this school via fundraisers involving pro wrestling. Mr. Jugan went out of his way to arrange for an interpreter for the hearing impaired at this year’s reunion, as every year there are many hearing impaired attendees, and he wanted them to be represented this year. He said one of his goals in life was “For everyone to be treated the same.” This is the kind of award that makes me proud to be a part of the Cauliflower Alley Club. While it might not seem as glamorous to honor a guy like Jugan, he represents what the “Ring of Friendship” is really all about.
George Schire was presented the Wrestling Historian Award by Dick Beyer in the first great speech of this year’s reunion. This was not a surprise, as every year when the Destroyer grabs the mic everyone knows they are in for a treat. I won’t even try to recap his speech, as the jokes would lose something in the retelling. If you wanna hear the Destroyer talk, you will just have to head to Vegas next year.
The Future Legend Award went to Bobby Sharp of Shadow Park (dramatic pause), Alberta, Canada. He was one of four finalists for this year’s award, but I have to confess this year’s award wasn’t near as interesting as last year when three local guys in Adam Pearce, and Billy Blade, and current Empire Wrestling Federation Champion Brandon Gatson were all nominated. Mr. Sharp accepted his award with a little fanfare, and when he received his award from Melissa Anderson he was also given a kiss from everyone’s favorite cheerleader. If that’s not incentive to aspiring wrestlers everywhere to win this award, I don’t know what is.
In past years they have done a “pass the mic” segment at the blowout where the old timers have cut promos between the awards, but this year host Arda Ocal just interviewed a few of his friends, but didn’t really inspire anyone to cut loose on the mic and give the room a reason to react. I think had he planned better, Ocal would have realized that he had to interview the known promo guys to get good stuff. I’m not sure anyone was waiting for Ross Hart to tell the same Owen story that Bret has been telling for years, and covered in his book. I can’t be the only guy who wanted him to hand that mic to Sgt. Slaughter or Rock Riddle!
After the blowout, everyone headed all over to the casino to the respective bars, and I ended up in the bowling alley where I watched a hotly contested bout of bowling featuring the MPW crew as well as Tab Jackson, Richie Slade, and Yyan Nakano. Watching Whiskeyfists MacIntosh celebrate a strike is something everyone should witness before they die.
All in all, day two of the CAC reunion was a fantastic time, but served to whet everyone’s appetite for the main event of the banquet on day 3, as I hope this article has made you look forward to reading the conclusion to this series of articles. See everyone soon,