Autographs are autographs, but the memories behind them is all that really matters.
Here we are again with more of my memories of meeting celebrities. Meeting celebrities at comic cons can be so awkward. On the one hand, you want to share your love for the work they have done. After all, many of the things we enjoy are centered around the characters they portrayed, so to meet the person who brought these characters to life can be an overwhelming experience. On the other hand, the experience often means very little to them. But who can blame them? Fandom is rather fickle, and these paid interactions with these celebrities can be very much unauthentic.
The idea of paying someone to meet them, to tell them how much you love their work, and to then get an autograph and/or photo with them never sat well with me. But I’m a sucker for doing this. I’m not big on inflating people’s egos or engaging in hero worship, but here I am, showcasing yet another series of celeb interactions.
Britt Baker D.M.D. (AEW)
I got to meet Britt Baker D.M.D. at a comic con last year. This was right before she lost her belt, which kinda sucks but I guess it was coming. What an interesting person she is. My wife thinks that I find her irresistibly attractive, but that’s really not the reason I like her. I think she is good on the mic, her in-ring character is funny, and the fact that she is a real, active dentist, as well as a wrestling superstar, is pretty amazing.
I met her twice in one show, actually. I purchased a photo shoot with her as well as an autograph. I like to think I am a good judge of character, being an avid people watcher and all. Britt’s public personality appears to be compartmentalized between a nicer version of her character, and Britt the dentist. While waiting in line, a girl in front of me asked Britt a question about some condition she was having with her teeth. Britt’s personality immediately changed into a professional healthcare personality; she gave the girl tips on what she needed to do to treat her condition and suggested that she see a dentist about the issue she was having. Maybe that detail isn’t interesting to you, but I found it to be rather remarkable.
I could only imagine the kind of life she must be living; with one foot in the world of wrestling where you introduce choreographed pain to someone else (and yourself), and the other planted in the professional world of dentistry, which is a trade based on helping people relieve their pain.
During my photoshoot meeting with Britt, she once again displayed her pleasant and amicable demeanor, while also incorporating a touch of her wrestling persona. Adam Cole was also present in the room, as they were doing photos with fans together, as well as individually. I have to admit that, at the time, I wasn’t really an Adam Cole fan. I didn’t know who he was to be honest, as I only began watching wrestling again a few years ago, and I kinda just walked by him like he wasn’t a big deal. I feel rather bad about that now, as I have come to learn that he’s actually a pretty cool guy from what I hear. Overall I enjoyed meeting Britt; she still continues to be one of the more interesting AEW personalities on the roster.
Jake the Snake Roberts (WWF)
The "clean" version of our photo with Jake the Snake Roberts.
It’s no secret that budding comic conventions rely on wrestling talent to get their legs beneath them as far as meet-and-greets are concerned. At a recent comic convention in my hometown, Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat were on tap to do meet and greets, which overloaded my then 40-year-old brain with nostalgia. Jake was one of my favorite wrestlers as a kid. What’s funny is, my buddies would tell me that Jake was their favorite heel as well, but at the time, I didn’t realize Jake was a bad guy. I thought he was just a cool guy who used his snake to strike fear into his opponents. In hindsight, it is obvious that he spent a great deal of his career as a heel, but at the time I guess I thought the other guys deserved what they got for messing with him. As a kid, I also was unaware that Ghostbusters was considered a comedy. I thought of it more as a sci-fi movie, and I took that stuff seriously. I’ve got some screws loose, I think.
Anyway, Jake was a very nice dude, quite a bit more polite than I expected. Jake’s health struggles are well known, and seeing him having to take some oxygen between meeting fans was rather jarring. A rough go in the wrestling business really did a number on him, yet despite this, he was very appreciative of his fans, taking time to speak with each one of them.
We purchased an autograph and a photo with Jake. For the photo, Jake wanted to do one “nice” photo and one photo with attitude. For the photo with an attitude, Jake wanted us to flip off the camera. My wife and I strive to be Christians, so we shook our fists at the camera instead. Jake noticed and was very apologetic. The whole situation was rather awkward as I didn’t want to be a buzz kill, but I also try to stick to my guns on things like this (though overall there are other things I say and do that I should cut out). Anyway, Jake was a great dude.
Hacksaw Jim Duggan (WWF)
Hacksaw Jim Duggan is perhaps the first professional wrestler I’ve ever met. I did see Abyss at a local show near my hometown before that, but I don’t think I actually met him. That was at a community center gymnasium, where he wrestled a local guy who went by the ring name "Coco Warrior" (if I recall correctly). All I recall from the match was Abyss slinging this guy into the wall of the gymnasium, leaving a man-shaped, deep dent in the wall. Sorry, I got off topic there.
My brief and awkward encounter with Hacksaw Jim Duggan was mostly odd due to my lack of understanding of the comic con celebrity format. It was my first con, and I thought you could just go up to celebrities and get photos with them. The tickets were a fortune, so I thought that was covered in the entry fee. What a dummy I was. So, I approach Jim, and tell him how much I loved his performances as a kid. This guy struck me as a sweet and lovable guy. In fact, he was so kind that it really amazed me that he made his career in the wrestling business, smacking people with a two-by-four.
So, I asked him if I could get a photo with him. His non-verbal gestures suggested that he would really like to, and it really bothered him that he had to charge me for it. He didn’t really know how to respond, as I didn’t have the cheddar at the time to pay for a photo (as you probably are aware, comic cons soak up money fast). Jim Cornette swoops in, shooing my broke booty away in the same manner as a nobleman would shoo away the commoner riffraff. I could see that Hacksaw was upset at the whole thing; I believe it really bothered him. But in all fairness, they were there for business. That’s how these guys make their money these days, so I get it. It was my fault for not knowing what was going on, so I feel responsible for the whole situation. Jim Cornette is Jim Cornette, and he’s doing what needs to be done to keep the business rolling. But Hacksaw Jim Duggan struck me as a guy with a big heart.
Hangman Adam Page (AEW)
Dreamy Hangman. lol. Why can't there be a disease that transforms me into looking like him?
I met Hangman Adam Page at the same event that I met Britt Baker. I also purchased a photo session with him in addition to an autograph. The first thing I noticed about him was that he truly is a good-looking dude. I mean, I have to be honest about that. Unsurprisingly, my wife agrees. Yikes! Anyway, Hangman was a great guy to talk to. Having been around cowboy/rancher types before, I suspect that his Hangman gimmick is just that, a gimmick. But I could be wrong, and I mean no disrespect.
I think we chatted about his upcoming feud match with Adam Cole, which was interesting as they were both at the same event. Hangman is a gentleman, and really takes time with the fans, even if there is a line. I think some of these guys who are at the cusp of stardom really appreciate the fans that are making them who they are. I hope Hangman never loses that essence.
Sergeant Slaughter (WWF, GI Joe)
I technically didn’t meet Sergeant Slaughter. My wife met him in my stead, as he was at a local comic con on a day I had to work. My wife got him to autograph a Funko Pop for me, which was cool. Like many 80s kids, Sergeant Slaughter was one of my heroes as a young boy, being both a wrestler and real-life GI Joe. I remember playing with his action figures as a kid, imagining that I was on the battlefield shooting lasers at Cobra, but unlike the cartoon, hitting my marks, violently blowing gruesome holes in their bodies. I mean, how many of us didn’t use the GI Joe figures with snapped rubber bands as blown apart casualties?
My wife was kind enough to bring the autographed Funko Pop to my work and update me on what the Sarge said. I was stoked to hear about their interaction. My wife told me about how personable he was, that he was a great guy, and so forth. Later, my wife tells me that the Sarge retweeted a photo of her! Not a photo of them together mind you, but a photo of my wife with Third Day singer Mac Powell. I was like “Oh crap, Sergeant Slaughter wants to run away with my wife!”. Part of me was like “Well, he is a real American hero. If he wants to run off with my wife, what can I do about it?” That’s a joke, of course. Maybe my wife left a mark on him? Maybe he’s a Third Day fan? I dunno. But I still love the Sarge.
Bobby Brantley (Lizard Lick Towing)
While not a professional wrestler, Bobby Brantley of Lizard Lick Towing may as well be. Lizard Lick Towing was a brilliant show that combined the outrageous violence of professional wrestling with the trappings of an unbelievable reality TV show. It was pure entertainment gold. I’ve met the cast of Lizard Lick Towing (except for Big Juicy, which saddens me) on a couple of occasions, but my interaction with Bobby is one for the memory books.
Bobby was signing autographs at a local hillbilly event in my hometown. The real Bobby Brantley is a lot like the TV show Bobby Brantley, and although the Lizard Lick Towing show is totally scripted (Bobby being the one to “blow the lid” off of that fact), Bobby really is the Bobby of the show. At least that’s the vibe I got from him.
We had the opportunity to meet Ron and Amy from Lizard Lick Towing as well.
Side note, some people actually believe that the show was not scripted, which is terrifying to see in person. I recall waiting in line with a lady who was practically ready to fight one of the cast because of something that happened on the show. That guy was like “Really? What’s wrong with you.” Anyway, back to Bobby.
Bobby was a gentleman to my wife, speaking with her for a brief bit as he carefully wrote a message on the shirt he was autographing, elegantly signing his name to it. When it was time for him to sign my shirt, he scribbled his name on there and gave it to me. This turned on the male-Karen mode within me. “I see how it is,” I said to him, “you take time signing my lady’s autograph and you scribble your name on mine”. He didn’t take kindly to my words and was visibly irritated, yet he kept his composure. I forget what he said, but I deescalated the situation as I didn’t want a reality TV worthy moment to erupt. I also am not going to pretend that Bobby couldn’t thump me. These days I am a bit more chill about things like this, even though autographs can be rather costly. People will disappoint you from time to time, but overall this isn’t that big of a deal.
So, there we have it. I hope you’re enjoying my reflections on my celebrity encounters. We’d love to hear your stories on meeting celebs. Feel free to post comments on our social media post for this article. Tag us in your post by tagging @toyandtee on Facebook, and @toyandteelife on Instagram.
- Jay C. Shepherd
- Content Creator
- Jay is a graphic designer, board game enthusiast, and professional wrestling fan who loves all things 80's, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and of course, video games. He is one of the rare few that believes that one can be a Trekkie and Star Wars fan at the same time.