Where could you see Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, the Nasty Boys, Trish Stratus, the Mountie and many, many more all in one room? The answer is that over the weekend of 20-21 June 2015, you could see them all at PSI events inaugural 'London Wrestling Convention'.
Nothing on this scale, with this many wrestling talents had previously been attempted and it was a given that the Royal Ramblings team would venture out to take in the event for ourselves and review it for our loyal readers.
It is perhaps worth noting that prior to the convention the PSI team had developed two important attributes, namely credibility and excitement. If you read our interview with PSI's founder Paul you can find out how the company began and developed and you can also see our reviews of its early shows with Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho, for example, which were very well run indeed. The excitement for 'LWC2015' meanwhile, was palpable and fans across the Facebook and Twitter pages were simply buzzing about meeting their icons.
On the day, things began extremely well. The welcome desk was well-staffed and moved quickly. Our ticket allocation was bundled together and when an issue arose it was resolved at speed. Moving downstairs into the convention, we were treated to an alley of wrestling delights with T-shirt vendors, DVD traders and others selling their wares - including our good friends at the excellent TNA eurostore who had a particularly impressive offering.
From there, it was into the big hall, packed with people and talent stretching around the room. We were straight in for a picture with Jacques 'the Mountie' Rogueau and queued to see some of the other talents that were signing and meeting fans, including the Nation of Domination members and more. There were PSI staff on most tables willing to help with pictures and fans weren't too rushed when speaking to the guests. There were announcements about the slight changes to the card and all progressed rather smoothly given the size of the event. It was particularly impressive that for those that had paid to meet every star attending, there was as PSI had promised, ample time to do so.
Things had progressed so well, given it was their inaugural attempt at putting this level of event together, that something was bound to slip-up. Sadly, the photo printer broke and 'Team Bestie' (Lita and Trish Stratus) proved so overwhelmingly popular at the autograph table that their photo-shoot was delayed which in turn had a knock-on effect. Regrettably, this has led to some disappointed fans but to be fair to PSI, everything was delivered just slightly later than planned and we know that PSI's founder Paul will be personally frustrated and keen to rectify things for the future, given he prides himself on efficient timing and short waiting times for fans.
It is perhaps, important to put these minor issues in context though. Whilst Jim Neidhart cancelled in advance, there was not one talent that withdrew. It is simply remarkable to deliver no less than 26 talent and have thousands of fans meet and interact with them. The early photo-shoots ran to time and there was ample opportunity to talk to the stars. There were even free digital downloads of pictures after the show!! The fact that PSI ran two further back-to-back shows with Jim Ross and Shawn Michaels following the two-day convention is all the more impressive.
Following the photos and autographs, Justin Roberts interviewed Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart together with Jim Ross in what fans have called a "fantastic" and "exemplary" show. It was a great way to cap off the event and a unique opportunity to see so many top-level stars on one stage.
The problems that arose this year can only surely help PSI to make changes for a return next-year. Virtual queues, more and lighter photo-booths, re-shoots for fuzzy pictures, venue maps, multiple printers, better briefed and badged staff, a relocated merchandising desk and more announcements to queuing fans when problems arise would all be sensible upgrades in our opinion. So too, more low-key fan talks throughout the day and perhaps current British wrestling stars on site would be welcome, not to mention some exhibition matches. That said, we salute PSI. If one looks at the lists of wrestling conventions around the world, there is only one in Europe and its run in our capital city of London (although Showmasters do of course have plenty of great wrestling talent and run excellent events too).
PSI ran an event at which thousands of fans got to meet more than 20 wrestling stars. The talent, from their tweets, appear to have been very pleased with the convention. The majority of the fans are pleased with what they received and surely PSI must be feeling proud of their efforts. We can't wait to see what they have planned for next year...