Talent not paid for their participation in Georgia’s Legends Fest

Aug 14, 2016 - by Steve Gerweck

Former WCW announcer Scott Hudson posted the following on his Facebook page:

First, the results:

Paul Orndorff, Ron Simmons, Teddy Long, B. Bran Blair, Sabu and Melissa Coates were the legends that stuck it out until the bitter end. Hats off to them . They were signing and posing all night long.

1. Stunt Marshall (with Rico), Sal Rinauro & B. Brian Blair over The Backbone ( Zack Edwards, Drew Adler & Michael Stevens)

2. Zane Stevens over Ox Haney (with Merica Strong)

3. Turk over Tommy Lee (with Ace Heffner)

4. Pain over Tommy 2 Much (with Merica Strong) to win the NWA Georgia Heavyweight Championship

5. Tyson Dean & Eric Wayne over Francisco Ciatso & Chris Nelms (best match of the night)

6. Logan Creed over Zane Stevens

Now, the story:

I got to the Millville Alumni Association Complex (a/k/a the old Millville High School) at 11:45am. To say it was off the beaten path is to do a disservice to beaten paths worldwide. This building was literally a quarter mile from any other structure of any kind (and that was a quaint farmhouse down the road). Regardless, when I arrived I spent the first 30 minutes hanging out with Dutch Mantell and Ole Anderson. It was everything you could imagine. Both are still sharp as a tack and full of great stories (also, please catch Dutch’s comedy act when it hits a club near you – it is hysterical). Eventually, almost everyone on the flyer showed up with a couple of exceptions. Here are those that were in attendance:

Arn Anderson
Ole Anderson
Tully Blanchard
Barry Windham
Larry Zbyszko
Sabu (with Melissa Coates)
Tracy Smothers
Tammy Sytch
One Man Gang
Paul Orndorff
Tom Prichard
Ted DiBiase
Nikita Koloff
Ron Simmons
Dutch Mantell
Bill Eadie
Joel Deaton
Teddy Long
Del Wilkes
B. Brian Blair
Curtis Hughes
Buff Bagwell
Johnny Swinger
Del Wilkes
Joyce Grable
Tessa Blanchard
Velvet Sky
Rachel Ellering

Yeah, all of them were there signing autographs and taking photos. 2 Cold Scorpio, Davey Richards, Angelina Love, Bob Armstrong and Rick Steamboat were not in attendance. Everything was going great until about 4:30pm when Eadie walked into the only air conditioned room in the place (where Dutch and Tammy and I – along with a family of fans – were trying to cool off) and told us that the show may be cancelled as the promoter had no money to pay the talent. That led to a rather heated confrontation between the promoter and several of the talent (no doubt you have heard which ones) about the lack of a pay-off. The story I heard (with props to Tammy Sytch who provided eyewitness video evidence) was that the local constabulary had notified the promoter that he was going to pay the talent or the entire show – everything – would be shut down. Thus, began the cartoon.

A legend accompanied the promoter off-site to scrounge up a check book. 45 minutes later, they returned and the promoter began writing checks to the impacted talent (again, thanks Tammy for the evidence and the vivid description of what she intended to do with said check). Upon receiving their checks – almost all of the legends hit the road. Although they made a tidy sum from photos and autographs, their guarantee was specious at best. It was 6:00pm. The show started at 7:00pm.

Francisco Ciatso took the lead in organizing the dressing room, laying out the show and keeping things organized. The cobbled together card did not resemble the one on the flyer, but the 250+ in attendance loved the show. Until the third match.

That’s when the lights went out. I mean – out. We were in an abandoned high school gym out in the middle of a thousand acre farm. It was. Pitch. Black. The guys in the ring kept going full throttle. Bumps, screams, slaps – all of the normal sounds of a wrestling match, but they were basically invisible. After the finish (which, take my word for it, makes it hell on the ring announcer), the lights came back up. The crowd was really, REALLY into the show, having little or no idea about the cluster that preceded it. The show picked back up at a torrid pace and was hot as hell. Until the fifth match.

That’s when the toilets exploded.

Well, not exploded. More erupted than exploded actually. A day’s worth of – usage – came gurgling up. After making sure Bugsy McGraw had not made an unannounced legend appearance, the bathrooms were sealed off.

The show wrapped up with the fans not much the worse for the wear. They got everything they wanted. The legends got nothing. Well, not much, and a dubious check. All in all, it was “one of those shows” and will be a legendary story for years to come.

Just wish The Atlanta Boys (Steven Prazak, Jon Horton, Lou Ladinsky, Greg Yarman, Gary Lynch) could have been there.

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