Wrestling major part of Wizard World phenomenon
By Mike Pankow
August 21, 2018
Wizard World is a cavalcade of artists, vendors, Hollywood celebrities and cosplayers, and professional wrestling comprises a significant portion of the annual convention.
This weekend’s Wizard World Chicago, running Thursday through Sunday at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., will be no exception for wrestling fans.
Ten wrestlers are scheduled to appear at various times during the event, headlined by WWE legends Kane and Mick Foley. Former WWE and IMPACT Wrestling stars Christian, Tommy Dreamer, Billy Gunn, Road Warrior Animal, Velvet Sky, the Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags) and Enzo Amore will also appear.
Kane, real name Glenn Jacobs, who is the mayor-elect of Knox County, Tenn., has wrestled for more than two decades, mostly as the “Big Red Machine” in WWE, the storyline brother of the Undertaker. He will appear Thursday afternoon for autographs and photo opportunities.
Foley, known as Cactus Jack and Mankind for the bulk of his wrestling career, will attend Thursday and Friday. Foley is a multiple-time WWE Champion, a WWE Hall of Famer and a New York Times bestselling author. Two of Foley’s most memorable matches took place at Allstate Arena, including his tag team match with Maxx Payne against the Nasty Boys at WCW Spring Stampede 1994 and his hard-core match with Edge at WrestleMania 22 in 2006.
Christian, Dreamer, Gunn, Animal, Knobs, Sags and Velvet Sky will appear all four days while Amore, aka “Real 1,” will be there Friday through Sunday.
Gunn, Velvet Sky and Amore will have a panel discussion Friday afternoon while Christian, Dreamer and Animal take their turn Saturday afternoon. WrestlingAudio.com’s Mo Lightning and Ballz also will host a discussion on Saturday.
In the last few years, Wizard World Chicago has welcomed John Cena, Undertaker, CM Punk, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Alexa Bliss, Charlotte Flair, AJ Lee, Lita and the Bella Twins among others.
The wrestling quotient doesn’t stop with the superstar guests. Too Sweet Cosplay, a group of fans who dress up as wrestlers, will have a table at the convention and will be there in full force. RF Video will also have a booth, selling DVDs and memorabilia.
Many other vendors there also sell wrestling action figures and some artists sell portraits of wrestlers. Noted artist Rob Schamberger also has been a past guest of Wizard World Chicago.
So among all of the Batman, Harley Quinn, Captain America, Star Wars and Walking Dead cosplayers, don’t be surprised to see some wrestling favorites walking around as well.