Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Caudle, Schiavone, and Ross a Highlight of Fanfest

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

One of the things I love most about the Fanfest Weekend in Charlotte each year is getting to see and hear from the great voices of wrestling from my youth. There were many great TV wrestling broadcasters in the various territories during the "territory era." Three of them are going to be in Charlotte during the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest Weekend.

Bob Caudle, Tony Schiavone, and Jim Ross will be making appearances at this year's Fanfest.

David Crockett and Bob Caudle
Bob Caudle will always be my favorite, having grown up listening to him call play-by on "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" every week for almost 20 years. Bob called the action on that program for over three decades. He has been at almost every Mid-Atlantic Legends Fanfest event since they began in 2004, and is one of the most popular attendees with fans each year. He was a member of the inaugural class of the Hall of Heroes, which is a special part of Fanfest on Friday nights each year.

Jim Ross was the voice of "Mid-South Wrestling" in the early-to-mid 1980s before coming to Jim Crockett Promotions in 1987 and joining Tony Schiavone and David Crockett on "World Championship Wrestling" on the Superstation WTBS. The younger generations know him primarily as the voice of the WWE in the 1990s and 2000s. Ross is still a player in the wrestling business today, hosting one of pro wrestling's (and the country's) most successful weekly podcasts. Ross returns to Fanfest this year and is heavily involved in the entire weekend, hosting his own "Ringside with Jim Ross" event on Thursday night, a roast of the legendary Ole Anderson on Sunday morning, and taking photos and signing autographs throughout the weekend in between.

Ric Flair with Tony Schiavone
But I'm perhaps most excited about the appearance this year of longtime JCP and WCW broadcaster Tony Schiavone. It will be his first Fanfest appearance.

Tony is a tough guy to schedule because Fanfest always falls right in the middle of baseball season. Tony is the radio voice of the Gwinnett Braves, the AAA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, and is always in Atlanta or on the road calling the Braves games during Fanfest. This year, however, it worked out that Tony would be right up the road in Durham, NC, calling the series of Braves games with the Durham Bulls, and was able to schedule time in between to be in Charlotte at Fanfest. Don't miss this opportunity to meet one of the great voices from Jim Crockett Promotions in the 1980s and WCW in the 1990s. Tony hosted the syndicated "World Wide Wrestling" for JCP from 1985-1988, "World Championship Wrestling" on Superstation WTBS from 1985-1989, as well as many other stints on other JCP/WCW programming ("The Main Event" for example) during that era. A younger generation will remember him as the host of "WCW Monday Nitro" during the famed Monday Night Wars when WCW dominated the WWF in TV ratings for several years, and of "WCW Saturday Night" with co-host Jessie Ventura in the mid-1990s.

There are, of course, other great voices that aren't at Fanfest this year that we were fortunate to be able to see and hear at earlier Fanfests, including Les Thatcher, Rich Landrum, David Crockett, and Lance Russell. Hopefully, we'll get to enjoy them at Fanfest again down the road.

But this a rare and special opportunity to see Tony this year as who knows where the Braves might be playing during future Fanfest weekends. It will be special to see all of these great broadcasters again, as just hearing them talk today takes you back to a great time in wrestling.

Late edit: All three will be available for various photo ops through out the weekend in various combinations. Visit for complete details.

This year's big Fanfest Weekend is August 4-7, 2016 at the University Place Hilton in Charlotte. Visit for complete details.