WOW Appearance by Clint Wolf
(plus one Caucasian)
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ASIAN INVASION AUTOGRAPH SIGNING
It's been said that you can't tell a story in L.A. without including the traffic. This one came close to being nothing but.
I myself posted the warning on WOW-fan that interested fans should leave early due to the possibility of heavy traffic for the long weekend. But I arranged to get off of work at 3pm, leaving a whole three hours. Sure I work in Marina Del Rey right next to the Ocean, and Fontana is sort of completely opposite to that-- but even in my most pessimistic L.A. native timeframe three hours should have been enough.
Never underestimate the power of gridlock. Traffic on the 10 freeway is backed up all the way to the coast. Two hours later it's 5pm and I've just barely passed into smogtastic San Gabriel, with over half the trip still ahead. I suppose at least the air pollution is providing a pretty sunset. Don't get me wrong, the air in L.A. is incomparably better to what it was like before the Clean Air Laws were passed, but poor San Gabriel is just a natural crossroads-- first for the Mission, now for the ozone and hydrocarbons. It suffers for Our Sins.
I did end up getting sick this week and so the car is packed with all sorts of good drugs... unfortunately I can't use most of them until I'm not driving. You never know just how annoying that cute personalized license plate in front of you is until you're staring at it for hours. In this case it's a silver Probe that mocks me with "KIMSTRY" and a plate border saying "Don't Bother Me! I'm Eatting!" I don't think Carl's Jr. made that one, unless they forgot how to spell.
I consider the brightside that at least I made it past downtown and into the suburbs before rush hour hits. But that's just silly of course, because L.A. doesn't have a rush "hour". It has a rush afternoon. It has the Rush Epoch, if you will. Bring a book and catch up on your reading. I do.
I look longingly at the carpool lane and consider that I need to grab some child to take with me next time. I bet that'd go over real well with the police: "But officer, I was just taking little Timmy to see the Riot, and the Asian Invasion!"
I'm going to be lucky to make it there by the end of things, much less on time. Six o' clock rolls around and I've reached Claremont, home of several colleges and damn little else. I should know better than to have Primus playing on my stereo, it's not helping my mental state.
Six twenty and my cell phone rings. It's Russell a.k.a. Tofuninja, who for once is actually closer to the event. In fact almost right next door, as he says he made it in half an hour... well of course he did, he's coming in from Riverside going the opposite way from all these people fleeing the city. He confirms it's free parking and free admission, and says the WOW ladies haven't arrived yet or he hasn't seen them-- and since the auction is basically a parking lot of cars and a big central tent it's unlikely he hasn't seen them.
He also warns me to say I've been there before when asked, or they'll assign a dealer to me who's going to want to walk around and show me cars. Duly noted. I just bought my Corolla in December, am exceedingly happy with it, and still have fresh memories of the hell I was put through shopping around by hard sell bastards. Hurrah that I found Hertz's used car sales with their "no haggle, no hassle" policy.
Well, I finally pull into the Speedway lot at about 6:35, and my first priority is to find a bathroom since I've been liberally nipping at a water bottle the whole way over here. The people at the door don't ask if I've been here, they ask "Are you here for the car auction?" Is there another event? Guess I'd better say yeah. Besides, nature is calling too fiercely to get into negotiations. "Yeah. Where's your bathroom?"
"Oh, okay, come with me... this lady will show you..." They lead me to a short blond woman who falls into step with me as I reiterate my need for bladder relief.
She asks me what kind of car I'm looking for...
"I'm looking... for a BATHROOM!" This finally gets the idea across and she points them out, mumbling something about me coming back after. Suuuuuuure... you bet...
After doing what's necessary I make my way to the central tent and find Russell and his buddy. To my horror, the little blond approaches unhappily... she's apparently "lost her place" because I satanically deceived the front entrance staff into thinking I was here to purchase a car, and proceeds to scold me about that. I'm afraid I reacted to this less than repentently. They didn't ask me if I was here to buy a car, and they just threw me at her with the statement she was going to point out the bathrooms.
I didn't bother to explain all this to her because I really hate used car salespeople. They almost inevitably take advantage of the natural human compulsion to not be rude, or to be sympathetic to someone trying to make a living. The urge to be a decent human being is what keeps you in the dealership while they keep pressuring you to cave in and buy their car, and then you feel like crap when you finally manage to leave. It's part of their whole sales training to take advantage of people, and so I'll be damned if I'm going to stand there and be lectured on ethics or proper behavior by one.
Whoo. Was that outburst bitter enough? I realize there are exceptions out there... they happen to be the ones I've actually bought cars from.
Blondie shuffles off, probably to regain her place in the sacred line of, oh... 4 or 5 people? I'm sure she'll be clinging to another prospective in no time.
They should have an option where you pay $5 at the door and they just leave you the hell alone. Anyhow, still no sign of WOW, but as I walk down to the far end of the tent again I spot Jade and Lotus just now coming in and getting seated. Lotus has her costume on but with a thick coat thrown over it, while Jade has stayed in street clothes. Jade got here earlier, and apparently the Speedway people advised her that wearing her little red number would be a fast ticket to hypothermia. Lotus just now arrived and wore her costume out, so she unfortunately just has to grin and bear the 50-odd degree temperature.
No sign of a WOW representative, just a couple of Speedway "Guest Relations" fellows... looking at them I have to deduce Guest Relations is a thinly disguised euphemism for "Security Guard". The ladies apparently had to drive themselves out here, and this happens to be why Riot isn't present. They last talked to her at 6:30 and she'd only made it as far as Santa Anita (note to the non-Angelenos: nowhere close), so she gave up, turned around and went home. Russell's disappointed since he went through a fair amount of trouble finding a tiny little baseball bat for her to sign for his friend, whose birthday it is this weekend. But there was no way Riot would have made it by eight o'clock, which was the scheduled end time.
So it's just the Asian Invasion tonight. The signed photos at this event are actually free, as if to acknowledge how out of the way it is compared to the Shrine or the Burbank appearance. I've met Lotus before but have never had a chance to meet Jade, so we have some good chat opportunities in between waves of autograph seekers. I don't think most of these folk have ever watched the show or heard of it, but it's snowballing as they see other people carrying their 8x10's out and get curious. I suggested at one point that the A.I. actually put "Saturday, Channel 13 @11pm" along with their autographs, but I don't think they thought I was serious. I think it should be standard issue for these L.A. appearances... how many of these guys are going to take the trouble to comb their TV Guide?
Jade talked about the swimsuit videos and how she was freezing up there on the cliff for almost two hours, hoping the camera didn't pick up how much she was shivering. I allowed as how once she removed her top I didn't think any of the guys was concerned with such minutiae. She was really glad to have finally "spoken" on WOW TV, even though she had no idea they were going to use the candid shots they did. Lotus and Jade agreed that if they had been Lana they would have been upset about the "Doritos in my teeth..." line airing.
They then ask me about the whole issue with the website, which I explain to the best of my knowledge. None of the wrestlers seems to have had a clue what was happening, which actually doesn't surprise me since I've noticed they often seem to be the last to know on a lot of developments. I don't know if that's intentional or just negligent. It could just be another symptom of the same communication problems that caused wow-fan to supercede wowe.com as the place to find things out. Much as wow-fan is now merging with the main site in order to address that, I hold out hope similar internal issues are being addressed.
Anyone wondering why Wendi Wheels isn't out here, representing at a venue that would seem tailor made for her gimmick? One simple reason above all... anyone who doesn't have 8x10's printed up yet isn't being booked for these appearances. They have to have something to hand out, after all.
So here's hoping printings are on the way for some of the other ladies people want to see.
Lotus talks about how she has mixed feelings concerning the webboard these days. On the one hand she loves communicating with her fans, but on the other trying to moderate her forum against the inappropriate wears her down, and there's no overarching moderator that can and will pick up the slack. Hopefully Mike's new version of the board will see a more active gubernatorial hand.
The sign debacle comes up again, with Lotus and Jade expressing that they were upset it happened. This is one of those instances again where the wrestlers were the last to know, since they all encouraged their fans to make and bring signs to the PPV.
They still have no idea why it was done, either. I tell them the latest theory I've heard, which I suppose makes a certain amount of sense: the Forum staff are dumb.
What I mean by that is a lowest common denominator situation. If you've read past reports of mine then you know how long it took for the Forum folk at the doors to get the idea that "just sit anywhere" wasn't really the right thing to declare. Therefore the theory is that shortly before the PPV McLane or some other WOW exec wakes up in a cold sweat thinking about dirty words on live television. The order is given that the signs have to be screened... but to sort through them requires initiative, discretion, and common sense. The door staffers' track record on this so far has not been good. Therefore, it's just safer to say "no signs".
I still vehemently disagree with the solution, as I believe weeding out the obscene signs is not rocket science. The ticket takers should be able to handle it. Or hell, have a WOW guy stand at the entrance and thumbs-up/thumbs-down as necessary.
This assuming the theory has any basis in fact, of course. It's still guesswork. Jade says she'll definitely bring it up at the next meeting.
The Speedway relations people offer the possibility of the WOW ladies coming out at some later date to ride in the stock cars. This also brings up Jade and Lotus asking me if I know WOW has a racing car now... I say yes, and it crashed last week. "It crashed *already*?" Interestingly enough, Lotus says Vince McMahon tried to have his lawyers put a stop to the WOW car being allowed to exist and race. I have no idea if that's a verifiable story, but if it's true I guess that means WOW is definitely on the radar.
No word yet on a new taping date, but this coming week WOW ladies will be appearing Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at the L.A. Convention Center. Jade and Lotus didn't know the exact specifics of that appearance, and I can't seem to bring up the Convention Center website right now, so I'll leave the new webmaster of wowe.com to track down those details for you.
Oh, and a tidbit I missed from the last signing. Russell says Thug told them her reverse-splash-off-the-second-rope finisher is named the "Last Call". I suppose it's catchier than "Thugbomb", anyhow.
The drive back home was much better.