Event Review //
Retro World Expo 2021
11/6/21 & 11/7/21
@ Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford, CT

Retro World Expo was one of the biggest events I missed during the pandemic so when they announced their return and also that they were adding Blitzkrieg! Pro wrestling to their shows it made it feel like they were really coming back with a bang.   Unfortunately for us, we didn't get off to a bang on Saturday as it felt like everything that could go wrong leading up to us getting there did go wrong.   But it wasn't major things which slowed us down, it was minor things which you really just had to laugh at.

As an example, when we got to the parking garage there were two lines to take a ticket and enter.  We ended up in a line behind a car that spent a solid fifteen minutes (at least) speaking with the person trying to give them the ticket.  There was sometimes a line behind us and sometimes that feeling of "We don't need to switch lanes, this has to be almost over" but at least six cars went through the line next to us as we waited, the car in front of us debating the nine dollar all day parking fee, to what extent I don't know.

Once we were inside things seemed to flow much more smoothly.  We arrived a short time before Blitzkrieg! Pro was to start and we somewhat planned our weekend around it.   The first day I told Quentin that our main objective was to see all that was to be seen within the walls of Retro World Expo and then when we went back on Sunday he could purchase things which he wanted.   This was mainly done because I didn't want Quentin to just buy the first thing he saw and wanted, as I put him on a budget and I wanted him to really want what he was buying.

After the first Blitzkrieg! Pro show [Editor's Note: There is an entire, separate review for Blitzkrieg! Pro here] we made a b-line to the booths because that was where Tatanka was.  I thought maybe Tatanka would be somewhere near the ring but Best Batch Promotions had him set up in the booths with the other guests, much like Bob Backlund was years back, and that just made him feel even more like a celebrity.

Quick backstory: The reason why I got into professional wrestling was because of Tatanka.  Back in the '90's, my friends were into wrestling (which at the time meant WWE) but I wasn't really into it yet.  We'd all get together and play video games, which would often times be the Royal Rumble video game for SNES.  I would always play as Tatanka because his red hair and wrestling attire made him stand out when most of the other characters all looked the same.  So, in fairness, I loved Tatanka in a video game before ever watching a professional wrestling match, but then I also ended up following his WWE career as renting WWE events on VHS from your local video store was also a thing back then and we did that.

I'm not sure why my mind works the way it does or why it has been conditioned to believe these things, but I just didn't ever think I'd get to meet Tatanka outside of going to a convention which was strictly for wrestling legends (which I have mixed feelings about)  The fact that Best Batch Promotions brought the wrestler who got me into professional wrestling through video games to a convention based on video games that also featured professional wrestling just felt all too perfect.

I had these ideas going into RWX of what I would get Tatanka to sign- as I thought about finding old video game related items or even the WWE album that has his song on it that simply says "Tatanka... Buffalo" (which is on cassette but I had it on CD at one point) but I ended up going in empty handed.   This had me purchasing both a photo of Tatanka in video game form and a Mattel action figure of him to sign.  There are wrestlers who I like that I would want to meet, but there is only one wrestler who got me into wrestling and so I felt good about going all in here.  It didn't feel like I was overdoing it with the poster-like photo and figure because you only get one first favorite wrestler.

When the second Blitzkrieg! Pro show was over, we made our way to the merch tables because Jack Purcell had this amazing poster he made for the event, which we purchased from him and got him to sign.  We had both Big Game Leroy and Logan Black sign it, though we knew we'd have to bring it back on Sunday to also have Riley Shepard sign it.  We purchased some wrestling merch (Mainly a "Dr Cool" Jay Klang shirt, a CPA shirt and a Big Game Leroy hand held game which is also Spider-Man) and the convention was winding down for the night at this point as well, so we made our way around a little bit before calling it a day.


Our second day at Retro World Expo was a lot smoother in terms of getting in and Quentin had three things on his mind that he wanted to purchase and it was just a matter of finding them and if they were still there.   This lead us first to the booth of Tayamation, who we had passed by the day before, and there was still a Vaporeon print there that Quentin wanted because Eevee is his favorite Pokemon and Vaporeon is his favorite evolution of Eevee.  Tayamation also has these "Live Sad / Die Lonely" stickers with Cubone on them so I knew I would have to get one of those as well.

Quentin also wanted to buy a video game (which should come as no surprise at a video game convention) as he saw Nintendogs & Cats for the 3DS.  He told me that he wanted that game because he saw it in a video on YouTube but couldn't find it anywhere to buy.  He's also been playing it a lot (And I've been hearing all about it) since buying it, so we were also glad that it was still there and that it was there in the first place.   Quentin also wanted a Cappy and when we found one we got that as well.

One of my favorite parts of Retro World Expo is that as much as it is about video games (and it is, because if you're looking for a specific retro game this is a great place to be) there are also so many things here related to those who enjoy retro video games such as anime / manga, model kits, comic books, action figures, stickers, fine art, t-shirts, candles, VHS tapes, trading cards and just so much more.   You never know what type of treasures you're going to find and I saw different people walking around with Steve Urkel and Alf dolls.  Amazing.

It was also funny how both Jess and I moved to our own pace but Quentin kept stopping and getting distracted by things.   He saw one booth which had plush toys of Kirby and Pokemon and then another where an artist cut up Pokemon cards to turn them into art.  It's all just so cool that you feel like you want to spend a half hour or so at every booth just talking to the person or people behind it, but there just aren't enough hours in the convention.

When not walking around and feeling like we were shopping, Quentin was playing in the arcade and at other free play games.   At one point I told Jess that if we just let him sit at the table and play the games all day (where Dumpy & Bumpy and Love 3 were set up) he'd be happy just doing that.  I had to kind of talk him into leaving those games to walk around and see other things, which included people dressed up as characters ranging from Casey Jones to Michael Myers.

I really also enjoy the fact that everything about Retro World Expo feels like it fits my aesthetic but also it's slowly what Quentin is growing into as well as each time we go it feels like he's getting more and more into the things which are there.   We didn't see quite as many role playing game people this time though, as he usually tends to find people selling lots of dice and, well, Quentin always wants dice.   I also feel like one of these years I'm going to end up pulling the trigger and buying a retro console so picking up games here will also add a new level of fun for us.  

One of the only ways I feel like Retro World Expo could possibly cater to me more is if they were to bring in baseball players next year, someone from the 1986 Mets for example, as baseball has also been such a huge part of my youth when it comes to playing video games.  (I'm guilty of spending way too many hours playing Baseball Stars on the NES)  Regardless, the future looks bright not only for us but for Retro World Expo in general and that is just such a great way to be.  

For more information on Retro World Expo, please visit: https://retroworldexpo.com/

There is a folder of photographs from this event which can be viewed on Facebook by clicking here.


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