Friday, December 27, 2013

My First Time

Photo courtesy: @TheHistoryofWWE on Twitter
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Although I share a lot on this blog, I'm not going where you might think I am with the title of this post. I'm referring to the first live wrestling matches I ever attended.  Thanks to the power of social media, and @TheHistoryofWWE on Twitter, I confirmed the date.

December 27, 1984, my dad, brother, uncles, cousins, and friends headed to the famed St. Louis Arena for a night of WWF action.  Hulk Hogan defended his WWF championship against Brutus Beefcake, long before he became known as "The Barber." A vile "Rowdy" Roddy Piper locked up with the Junkyard Dog, with Lou Thesz as the special guest referee, and "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka battled Piper's main man "Cowboy" Bob Orton.

Looking back on the night, it was a who's who of the WWE Hall of Fame these days.  The notable absence being Andre the Giant, who I unfortunately never got to see wrestle in person.  But that night at the Arena was so much fun none-the-less.  I had been watching wrestling for just over a year at that point.  I had become a fanatic about it earlier in the year.  I was just buying into the whole "Hulkamania" craze, so, of course, we all went wild when the Hulkster defeated Beefcake in the main event.

We had floor seats at the show, and probably sat about eight rows back.  Fans weren't as obnoxious back then as they are now, holding up signs and standing to block the view with every out-of-the-ring moment.  But since we were young marks, we'd run to the entrance side before and after each match, holding to slap hands with the greatness that was before us.  

Unfortunately, I did not bring a camera to this event and capture the action, but many of the moments are still burned in my brain.  Orton and Piper double teamed Snuka and dropped him crotch-first on the top rope.  That prompted an angry JYD to run off the heels.  Beefcake hit a beautiful high knee (his finisher) in what we thought might end the reign of Hogan, but the Hulkster kicked out and mustered the strength to win.  I also remembering feeling bad for SD Jones and watching him go down in defeat to the Spoiler.  I always had a soft spot for Special Delivery, may he rest in peace.  The night also featured a very young, Bret Hart as he wrestled soon to be manager Johnny V to a draw.

The action reaffirmed my love for wrestling and set me on the path of remaining an obsessed fan.  Who knew that night so many years ago would lead me to several more house shows, live WrestleManias, and even a chance to step inside the squared circle.  Thanks to my dad for taking me and sharing that special memory with my brother.  What a night.

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