As we are seated the announcer calls down each legend and the accolades related to the superstar, and the wrong guy comes out, the host gets worked before any questions start. At that point i knew this was going to be something special. Jake ‘the snake’ Roberts, Ricky ‘the dragon’ Steamboat, Lex Luger and Howard Finkel take the panel. With the caliber of childhood icons that sat in front of us left the room silent and in awe.
As Jake, Lex, and Ricky faced each other many times, they shared stories and answered questions from the fans in the most honest interview possible. As the Fink was not a performer, he still maintained the legend status as he is the longest tenured ring announcer in WWE history and held different job titles throughout some of the most important eras in wrestling history, as mentioned by Ricky, Howard actually gave the moniker of “The Dragon”. This mention led into a very funny story by Ricky.
“In the early 90’s, they had me doing the whole fire thing, unlike the bar trick where you could use liquor in ring i had to use kerosene, imagine that stuff being in you mouth during a match 20-30 minutes long.” He continues the story with a smirk “this is something i never told anyone but 3 to 5 minutes into the match after doing the fire blowing I ended up with kerosene farts.” At this point Jake gets up jokingly and starts to leave, Steamboat continues “guy picks me up and slams me and pfffffftttt.” Laughter fills the room.
A question was asked of how after all the ups and downs of each career, does it bother you, after all you did for WWE, that they didn’t have your back? Lex immediately jumped in and stated this stigma to be false, even after all these years, they make contact to make sure everything is good. The Dragon followed that one up with “6 years ago i had a brain aneurysm, a brain bleed with a sixty percent death rate. I was in ICU almost a month. The medical bill was 300 thousand without surgery,WWE had my back the whole time, and they took care of it. 7 months later a recurring back injury that i never took care of, again WWE took care of it. Three months after that hernia. They have always had my back, the amount of talent that are not on contract that are help is huge. From surgeries to rehabs” Jake raises his hand at this point, with nine fingers in the air. Laughter again. This led into an off topic quote from Roberts that gave chills “two disc removed out of my neck, both hips replaced, compound fracture to my arm, wrist reconstruction and and i did swallow some ovaries in ’87, they are still looking for.” (more laughter from the audience) “and I wouldn’t trade all the injuries, but just to have one more match with him, Dragon, because you don’t understand until you’ve been in that ring…..what a rush.”
Another question was given of who would you want to face that you never had the chance to be in the ring with? Jake was quick with his response, “Trish Stratus!!” The room erupts. “Randy Orton, i feel i could teach him a couple of things that would bring him to being one of the greats, and its not something you can teach or speak of, only something you can learn from being in the ring with him.” Made me think ‘Viper vs. The Snake’….what imagery!! Lex took the mic and stated Triple H, “we always just missed each other, between WCW and WWF.” The Dragon’s response is a dream match for one and all “Shawn Michaels” he than expanded his answer to speak of the talent in development and with the brand split to what comes next , “I like Roman Reigns, I had a hand in his training and he was always open to suggestion, not one of those guys that think they know everything, and I’ll tell you what, I see Hollywood written all over him. Another guy that I worked with for a while that we had to try multiple characters until we got the right fit was Bray Wyatt. Seth Rollins is another guy I had a hand in, although he already had been in the business a while when we got to him, I see big things from him.” To further whats next for WWE, “with people about to or have retired, the HBK’s, the undertakers, i mean those are some big wrestling boots to fill, and its no doubt the company will get there because they always have.”
The Niagara Falls Comic Con hit a home run with this panel. I have never been involved in such an intimate and interactive appearance with the caliber of superstars. This is one, neither myself or the audience will never forget. A standing ovation for the Legends Panel.
Five Armbars out of five.