|As the Million Dollar Man at Wrestlemania 26|
Oh yeah, by the way Goldust and Marlena I think are my favorite couple in wrestling for those who do care.
But I am sticking with the love theme. Instead though I'm going to talk about my love for this great sport. Yes, for the sake of argument, I am going to refer to it as a sport because calling it sports entertainment all the time gets too wordy...
My love for wrestling started off more than 25 years ago. At first though, it wasn't really love. In fact, when I first watched wrestling sometime in the late 70's or early 80's I couldn't stand it. I often wondered why my dad, brother, and uncle liked it so much. They would attend matches regularly at the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis. My brother would tell me about the matches with greats like Ric Flair, Bruiser Brody, Dick the Bruiser, and Andre the Giant. Still, I wasn't impressed.
That all changed sometime around 1983. While I don't remember the exact moment I became a fan of wrestling, there are some definitive moments that helped nudge me along the way. One being on World Class Championship Wrestling. Kerry Von Erich was my hero as a kid. In my eyes, he could do no wrong. I remember watching him body slam the Ugandan giant Kamala. This of course meant Kerry was owed $10,000 from Kamala's manager Skandor Akbar, who reneged on the deal. Then in May 1984 when Kerry won the NWA world title from Ric Flair, I was hooked. To me, at age 10, Kerry was much bigger than Hulk Hogan.
Another one of those defining moments that I remember so well was Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka jumping through the ropes and onto "Rowdy" Roddy Piper who was on the floor badmouthing the Superfly. Snuka was in a fit of rage and literally ripped the clothes off Piper's back. I'm guessing this was around the same time as the coconut incident, another action I remember all too well.
Anyway, these actions in and outside the ring hooked me on the WWF. Of course I didn't discriminate though. My friends, family, and I would head out to the NWA house shows when they came to town. I saw Kerry vs. Flair in a rematch for the world title in 1985. Flair got disqualified in that contest. The same thing happened when Flair faced Bruiser Brody for the title.
|Me & Hacksaw, tough guy!|
Even in adulthood, I continued collecting the magazines and watching as often as I could. In college, I was the odd man out and would catch matches when I could. On Monday nights I would go into the campus pizza parlor and watch Raw (which had just started) on the TV there. Many times I was by myself, but I didn't care. This was all before the big boom of the late 90's. So I was enduring TL Plopper, Max Moon, and Damien Demento. I'm telling you, I was dedicated.
In my professional life, I got the opportunity to interview several wrestlers. Big time mark out moments. But I still hadn't experienced my greatest love of all, attending a live Wrestlemania. That all changed in 2006, and now I'm addicted. Chad and I make it every year now. I hope it's a tradition we can continue. As Wrestlemania gets closer, I'll share some more thoughts on my love of the granddaddy of them all. (Sorry Starrcade)
I should also mention the other love(s) in my life, my wife of 14 years and my kids all make this possible too. They've put up with a lot and I'm glad to have them and share my experiences with, even though my wife could care less.