One thing I’ve found in my travels is that people almost always have questions about wrestling conventions when going on a wrestling trip.
The most prominent wrestling conventions are Wrestlecon WrestleMania weekend every year and Starrcast, which goes along with AEW PPVs. If you want my honest opinion, these events are the detail that take a wrestling weekend to the next level. Getting to hangout with all those fans and wrestlers is amazing. You get to have some truly one off opportunities that may never happen again. In this article I am mainly going to touch on my experiences at Starrcast, but in the future I am sure I will hit Wrestlecon.
I’ve been lucky enough to attend 2 Starrcasts, the first in Chicago for ALL IN and the second in Vegas for Double or Nothing 2019, AEW’s debut show. The first one though, we decided too late to go and weren’t able to get wristbands.
The first thing to understand about these Starrcast events is if you want to enjoy everything they have to offer, you need a wristband which gives you access to all the events for the weekend.
It’s possible to go without the wristband, but you are seriously missing out. Starrcast 1, during ALL IN weekend in Chicago, was a great time even without the wristband. We went to ALL IN and decided to check out Starrcast before heading home on Sunday the morning after the show. It was very fun, there were vendors selling memorabilia and wrestlers signing autographs. I was able to get autographs from Scarlett Bordeaux, Brian Cage, Tessa Blanchard, and Veda Scott at this show and my buddy I was with picked up some autographed Funko pops of the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega. This was a great day of a wrestling trip, but I really didn’t know what I was missing at the time. We really only had access to the vendor room, and I saw other events going on but didn’t comprehend how much there was to see and do.
Fast forward about 8 months, and I was going to Vegas for DoN.
I was able to talk my friend I was going with into buying the wristband. Now this was a whole weekend event Thursday through Sunday. Unfortunately, I missed the first day of Starrcast as my flight got in too late Thursday. So Friday rolled around and I was ready for some wrestling content. The first event I went to at Starrcast was the Taz Show Live. Now I don’t normally listen to a ton of podcasts, but it was very cool to see this live. MJF even did an interview with Taz. MJF is great - he blurs the lines between reality and performance like it is 1975 and was a total jerk the entire interview. Not to mention I love Taz and was very excited for the opportunity to see this. I even got an FTW belt signed by Taz at this convention the next day.
After this I moved on to the vendor room, which was what I got to do at the first Starrcast.
This was very similar but probably a little larger than the first time around and was awesome. I had a lot of fun in this room. I met the Blue Meanie and got my figure signed, he was one of the nicest guys I have ever met, very excited to see someone with his figure and then he also gave me a flyer for Retrofest Wrestling a new game being developed by Retrosoft Studios as a sequel to the arcade game Wrestlefest. He went on to tell me about the game which sounded very cool and signed the flyer with his game sprite for me along with my figure. I met a few other people while I was there but the coolest thing was yet to come. I ended up back in the vendor room on Sunday after DoN and who else but Cody and Dustin Rhodes, fresh off a 5 star match, walk through the room. They proceeded to sign a bunch of Starrcast turnbuckle covers and I managed to snag one.
The next event is what the people had been waiting for. The Double or Nothing official weigh in.
Right off the bat, MJF is there and gets kicked out of the show, he was supposed to be banned from Starrcast. Cody came out and answered some questions from the crowd. There was a weigh in for the Sammy Guevara Kip Sabian match. The Young Bucks and Dustin came out and spoke to the crowd. It was a fun time, very much a type of pep rally for the kickoff show the next day.
Next I headed to the Wrestling Observer Live Q&A.
This was very cool. Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer doing a Q&A with the crowd. After this I stayed in the same venue for the Ready to Rumble watch-a-long. This was a star studded affair. Imagine Mystery Science Theatre but wrestling. They screened the movie with Tony Schiavone and Shane “The Hurricane” Helms doing commentary over it but here’s the kicker… David Arquette was also on the panel. Terrible movie but fantastic experience.
Once this show ended I made my way down the street to the Tuscanny where the second part of Starrcast was going down. The main Starrcast was at Caesar’s Palace but the auxiliary base was at the Tuscany right off the strip. At the Tuscany we attended Ron Funches Get High and Watch Wrestling. This was fantastic, there was a panel of personalities commenting on clips of wrestling matches. This panel included of course Ron Funches but also Sean Waltman and they did a great job. This show was hilarious and a great end to my first day.
The next day I went back to Starrcast in the early afternoon to attend one of their “eat and greets.”
These eat and greets are really cool and I’ve never seen anything like it before anywhere else. I ended up eating lunch with Hornswoggle and Barry Wyndham, I had purchased the mystery option but there were other ones you could chose the specific wrestler. This was awesome because I think it was limited to 12 but there were probably only 10 of us hanging out just talking with these guys and it ended with a photo op and autograph. This was extra cool for me because Hornswoggle is a regular at my local indie, so I was able to talk to him about that. After this was the main event DoN and Starrcast shut down for the day. Now don’t forget to watch out for other things going on outisde these conventions. After Double or Nothing we ended up going to an indie show put on by Suburban Fight Pro which was awesome and you can check out my experience there in a past article.
The next morning I woke up and headed over to the Tuscanny for an event titled “Joey Janela’s Spring Breakfast.”
This was very unique and gave a cool intimate setting similar to the eat and greet but not quite as close. This was a breakfast buffet and a Q & A with a panel of wrestlers led by Joey Janela.
Some of the other wrestlers on the panel included Nick Gage, Shazza Mckenzie, Mance Warner, and Marko and Logan Stunt. Fat Ass Masa even sat at my table while I was eating. T the end of this event was a meet and greet with a photo op which was fun. The coolest part though was towards the end I had stepped outside onto the balcony of the room we were in and next thing I know Joey Janela, Nick Gage, Mance Warner, Marko, and Logan Stunt walk out and next thing I know I was hanging out with them. I don’t know where else you will get something like that. I went back to the main Starrcast after this and got acouple more autographs. The last event I had planned on attending before catching my flight home was Talk is Jericho Live which was cancelled unfortunately. I was super bummed because Jericho is my favorite of all time.
If you ask me, I will never go to an AEW Pay Per View again without a Starrcast wristband if it is available. This experience really made the weekend. It made it more than just going to see a show. It provided me countless opportunities to expand on the thing I love so much in a very special interactive way.
Follow Jon on Twitter @Badger751