TNA Fan Party Report – Manchester, May 26th, 2011

From right to left: Magnus, Laura Doyle, Johnny Moss, Steve Lynsky (back), Ryan Horrocks, Mark Ashworth (back), Sam Ibby.

From right to left: Magnus, Laura Doyle, Johnny Moss, Steve Lynskey (back), Ryan Horrocks, Mark Ashworth (back), Sam Ibby.

After finally catching up on much needed and sorely missed sleep, your Xplosion reporter for TNAUK.tk is ready to finally write about the TNA VIP Fan Party in Manchester.

We enter the “secret location” and are directed straight up stairs to a private function room packed full of disco balls and colourful lights. On the dancefloor is a projection screen, currently showing the very latest, and unaired Impact Wrestling. To the left is a closed off area, with Jeremy Borash and the lovely Jade O’Malley, who will be helping to give out merchandise throughout the evening. Along with JB and Jade were other staff, there to not only help the night run smoothly and take over in the “production” booth when JB was elsewhere, but also to film segments such as a special Spin Cycle later on.

We kick the evening off straight away with Jeremy trying to find out who had traveled the furthest to get there. The obvious choice was JB himself, who’d flown directly in from America to put the event on, but JB wanted to hear from the fans. Sam Ibby was one of the few that had traveled some serious distance, making a full EIGHT HOUR journey from Bournemouth to get here. Myself and my entourage would stick with Sam all night. A great guy who’d traveled all that way and offered to put us up in his apartment for the night if we so chose to stick around after the party had ended.

After another short break, and a little more of the unseen edition of Impact Wrestling, we’re joined via Skype by the “King of the Mountain” Jeff Jarrett, who garners massive boo’s from the crowd. JB had actually previously hung up on Double-J while we were watching Impact, which was very amusing to sections of the people in attendance.

Jeff stayed in character throughout the call. Whilst admitting he was grateful that the UK audience had continued to set viewership records on Challenge, it was because of Jeff that the programme had been so popular. He still maintained that we were “freeloaders”, and had even signed Jeff Jarrett shirts with the word clearly visible on the back!

During the call, Jeremy asked if we would get to see the lovely Karen Jarrett during this call, but Jeff out right refused, stating that Karen was “pay-per-view” and that the “freeloaders” of the UK had not paid to get in to this event, thus didn’t deserve to see Karen. Karen would eventually take matters into her own hand and sit in Jeff’s lap, in full view of the camera, and gets a big cheer from the attendees.. We experience some technical difficulties through the call, which Jeff puts down to the “freeloaders” not paying their cable bill. He also states that Prince Phillip and “the other one” wouldn’t stand a chance against Jeff and Karen in a match.

British wrestler Johnny Moss, who actually was beaten by Jeff in the last UK tour after taking a massive guitar shot to the head, has a few words for Jeff, challenging him to a fight in the next UK tour in 2012. “If the fans demand it, they’ll get it,” says Jeff, and given the circumstances of the last meeting between the two, as well as the excellent physique and talent of Moss, this match should be put on the card.

Lionheart, another popular British wrestler takes to the mic to wish Jeff and Karen well, before handing back to JB who then closes the call by asking if he should hand out some more merchandise. Jeff responds with a definitive “NO! Make some money off of it!” While Karen drowns out Jeff by saying “Yes! Throw it all out there!”

You have to admire Karen’s ability to come across so well as a heel on screen, but in the flesh, even across Skype, such a gracious and lovely human being.

The introduction of the special guest TNA wrestler is next up, and it is none other than British Invasion member Magnus. He manages to wriggle through the crowd of people, taking photo’s and signing autographs all the way, before making his way next to us at the bar. I asked him if he was indeed drinking tonight, and he said he was, absolutely. We shared a joke that the bar doesn’t serve egg whites while the fans bought him a few drinks. At first he was drinking Jack Daniels and Diet Coke, but I think I’m right in saying that his drink soon changed to Jagermeister. A few more photo’s and autographs from Magnus, and it’s on with the event. Borash continued to hand out merchandise and prizes while Magnus remained with fans at the bar and up in the seated area with Johnny Moss and Lionheart.

From right to left: Sam Ibby, Ryan Horrocks, Magnus, Mark Ashworth.

Robert Roode is up next via Skype. He says that he’s recovering from a shoulder injury, which I believe he may have suffered last week on Impact. He shares his favourite memories of the country, as well as how excellent the fans were on the tours he has been on. He also lets us know a little more about himself, such as his favourite sports. He says he occasionally watches soccer, but named Ice Hockey as his favourite.

JB brought up Roode’s possible jump into singles competition, saying that many fans believe him to be the strongest candidate to have a highly successful singles career ahead of him. Roode states that while he did get into the business to win World Titles, he’s winning World Tag Titles, which is an incredible feeling.

After the call with Roode, we go back again to prize giving. This time, JB throws out signed trading cards everywhere, with stars such as Devon, Scott Steiner, Shark Boy, Booker T and Eric Young having signed their respective cards. One of the attendees had just been in hospital and was given a signed Hulk Hogan bandana, which was a very touching offer.

It’s back to Skype again, and we are joined now by Abyss! The first port of call here is Abyss’ teeth. Abyss explains it was the kick from Rob Van Dam that knocked them out. He is then asked about the UK, and Abyss states he doesn’t like many people, and doesn’t even like the UK, “but I have to admit, they have some pretty incredible fans over in the UK, I’ll give you that.”

Borash says that Abyss had become a bit of an “ass licker… ass KICKER I mean”, and  wondered where he lived. We’re then given an insight into Abyss’ home, where he takes us through each room. Pictures are mounted on the walls of his accomplishments and achievements, along with some of his most memorable moments on TV, and even many stills from Abyss’ flaming table spot from Bound for Glory mounted and framed on his wall. Abyss even shows us his black cat, but what Abyss really wants to show us is his recently won X-Division Championship, of which Abyss had been told by Eric Bischoff to now call the Xtreme Championship.

Abyss signs off with one more thing to say. “To the fans in Manchester I will say this: I love you guys, you’re some of the best fans in all of Wrestling. I love you, but at the same time I can’t wait for the UK tour of 2012 I’m coming over there and kicking some butt!” The fans applaud Abyss’ comments as the call is ended.

Straight after the call to Abyss, Borash takes a moment out to acknowledge the passing of the “Macho Man” Randy Savage. We all raise a beer to the “Madness” and an almighty chant from the fans in attendance rings out throughout the club for him. Rest in peace, Randy.

The surprises are not done by any stretch. And this is a HUGE one, as Jeremy Borash introduces two of his close friends to the party. Those who follow them on twitter, or follow 1PW on Facebook knew these two would be in attendance tonight, but the cheer they got when they walked through the door was electric. The former TNA World Tag-Team Champions, Kip James/Billy Gunn and BG James/”Road Dogg”!

From right to left: Kip James, Ryan Horrocks, Sam Ibby, Mark Ashworth, BG James..

The two spend a LOT of time in the far corner of the club taking photo’s and signing autographs, while JB hands out a few more prizes to the crowd in attendance. The two were absolute gentlemen to everyone they spoke to, and were happy to spend time with the people.

When they finally made their way up to the booth where JB was situated, they offered their thanks to the fans for coming out and received a massive cheer from them. Jeremy Borash announced that they would be filming a very special anniversary edition of the Spin Cycle, which will air on Xplosion in around three weeks. JB said it was actually BG James who came up with the concept for the Spin Cycle.

A little more time passes by as we set up for the Spin Cycle, with guests BG James, Kip James, Magnus and Johnny Moss. And after the finish of that filming, all four were happy enough to mingle with the fans and sign whatever was put in front of them. BG and Kip left soon after everyone was happy with what they got, and Magnus and Johnny, along with 1PW booker Steve Lynskey continued to enjoy their night at the end of the bar.

After inordinate amounts of alcohol and standing up for three hours straight, I was at the point where I needed to sit down. We managed to grab a seat behind the projection screen, which projected right through, allowing us to see what was on the screen anyway. Short videos were shown of TNA wrestlers talking about the UK and the UK tour. AJ Styles in particular was raring to go for the UK tour, however I suspect some of that energy could have been from the Red Bull he was drinking. He said that he didn’t want to wait for January, and would prefer to come over in August. If viewership records are broken again, who knows?

The final segment of the night I didn’t enjoy much at all. An all-female fan panel of the Spin Cycle, with participants asked questions from TNA stars via pre-recorded videos. I think the highlight of this segment was Magnus invading the show with huge beer-goggle glasses on his face, parading around imitating a very geeky TNA fan. Magnus seemed to truly be having an excellent night.

And so, the TNA Fan Party came to a close. Jeremy Borash and Magnus both hung around the entrance/exit for fans leaving to have their photo’s taken and sign autographs, while we remained at the bar drinking and having a good time. Simon Rothstein had been running around all night, handing stuff out and keeping things in check, while finding time to shake hands with fans that knew how much effort he had put into the whole event. A big shout to him. Very nice bloke and worked extremely hard that night.

After many of the attending party had exited, JB, Magnus, Moss and Jade all came over to the bar to relax allow the other staff members to pack up before they headed home. Magnus and Johnny Moss continued partying, dancing to Michael Jackson on the dancefloor and having a laugh with all. Jeremy looked burned out after it all, but still managed to dance a little with Jade, who looked like she was enjoying the night now that they were off the clock.

From back right to left: Sam Ibby, Mark Ashworth, Jeremy Borash. Front: Jade O'Malley.

We missed our train home, were stuck in Manchester, and our night was far from over. But do any of us regret it for one second? Absolutely not.

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About Mark Ashworth
Life-long Blackburn Rovers fan. Long-time wrestling fan. Passionate Juventini and Culé. 19 Year's as a "little Stinger."

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