It’s my 3rd attempt at the 300th column. The first one didn’t work out too well due to my memory being wretched, and the second one got erased because I’m an idiot. Now then, third time’s the charm, and I hope this time it works out well.
I owe my new friend Mario from Minneapolis the credit for giving me the idea for the 300th column theme, but the facts are, I need to tweak it just a little. The theme is simple, yet complicated, especially for someone who can’t remember much, suffering from a bad case of C.R.S. (I can’t say what that means, cause the bosses here would yell at me.)
The topic is my favorite memories in wrestling. I’m keeping this topic specific to memories that affected either me or my family in any way, shape, or form.
First up for me is something that happened when I was very young. The memories are sketchy at best, but I do remember my parents taking me to a then WWF event. The thing that consistently reminds me of that night was one match that featured three men. Corporal Kirchner, Nikolai Volkoff, and the Iron Sheik.
I couldn’t really tell you much more than that about the first memory because it happened when I was really little.
Now, closer to when I am actually capable of remembering, I have quite a few more memories to mention.
Let’s start with the unique circumstances of me winning not one but THREE separate contests on the radio for WWE merchandise. Two were for tickets, and one was for a free year of WWE pay per views. It’s interesting the timing on all three aspects, as the shows I attended, one was a Raw taping at the Nassau Coliseum on November 5th, 2001. That particular day was a day that saw the Great One, the Brahma Bull, the People’s Champion, The Rock, win the WCW Championship over Y2J Chris Jericho. The one thing that was the most funny about this event was Jericho had to do his entrance twice. Apparently, they wanted to edit somethng or something didn’t work. It looked really weird from the live aspect of the show, but it was still fun.
The second show I attended was in the former Meadowlands Arena, now known as the IZOD Center. The show occurred on March 28th, 2002, and was one of the last shows before the brand extension was implemented. I remember a couple of things in this particular show. I remember the tag teams present, the Dudleys, the Hardys, and the APA breaking character and having a toast to the fans before the brand extension. I also remember distinctly Bubba Ray saying about Stacy Keibler, “We may have just put her through a table, but she’s got the best ass I’ve ever seen.” I also remember the main event from this card, as the New World Order of Nash and Hall were scheduled to face a dream team of sorts of Triple H and Hulk Hogan. If I remember correctly, Hall missed the show, and was replaced by X-Pac, but the facts are, Hogan and Triple H as a tag team is something you don’t get the chance to see often, and its something that you’ll remember. I also saw that same day one of the first matches of current UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar as he turned Spike Dudley and the Hurricane in to gobs of broken goo. My buddy Barry, who was with me that day, and I both agreed this guy was gonna be a major player, and he did prove us right on the money.
The last contest I won was coupons for a free year of WWE Pay Per View. It was a contest held by the radio talk show Ron & Fez, who are now on satellite radio, but were on in New York back in the day. I don’t remember the substance or question involving the contest, but the answer I used was to describe the ordeal and trials that my wife and I have been through with our son Jonathan, and the fun he had been going through during his first few years of life. I think I had the personalities on then station WNEW stunned with the information I relayed, and I won the contest easily. It was a lot of fun watching a year’s worth of pay per views as they happened from the comfort of my own home, and it also has been the last time I’ve purchased or watched a PPV as it happened. I got my reasons on that one.
I will say also that winning the year’s worth of Pay Per Views brought me another memory that is directly linked to wrestling. Watching Wrestlemania that year, I believe it was the 17th installment of Wrestlemania, saw Jonathan walk his first few steps ever. It was really surreal how it happened, and it definitely turned in to a life changing experience, as Jonathan has not stopped since.
Obviously a memory involving wrestling is my blossoming career as a writer. I don’t remember the specifics as to how I got the job at wrestleview, but I do remember that I was writing for much lesser known sites back in the day and I just simply filed an application at Wrestleview. I knew because of the look of the site at the time that Wrestleview would give me a lot of exposure. I began as a Smackdown recapper, but I had dreams almost instantly after beginning recapping Smackdown of writing my own opinion piece. Smackdown recaps were fun as hell, but the work load was extensive, as I made it in to a detailed piece that had people talking about how insane I was. (Tee hee.) A couple of years passed, I think, I don’t remember the precise amount, and when the brass from WV offered me a chance to write my own piece back in February of 2005, I jumped at it. It’s been a part of my life ever since. From radio show appearances to live show attendance to even having a fan of ROH approach me and ask for a picture with me, ME of all people, because of my work here, the experience has been tremendous, and I wouldn’t trade it, or give it up for anything in the world.
I love doing what I do, and I guess a lofty goal of mine is to make 1,000 columns. I know it’ll take forever, but hey, time is an ally or an enemy, depending on how you look at it.
With the onset of the Palace column, and the empires that blossomed and fell beside it, because of my own inadequacies in handling side projects, due to time and energy, a lot of effort has been done in trying to study the business, and become more adept at talking about what I’ve been writing about for as long as I have. With that being said, I began attending independent wrestling shows. The first show I attended was in Lynbrook, Long Island for the former USA Pro Wrestling company, now dubbed UXW. The company is now based in Florida, but this show was dubbed GENESIS, and featured a lot of names that I had recognized, such as Raven, Al Snow, King Kong Bundy, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Steve Corino. The show was an experience to say the least for my buddy Barry and I, who first sort of “met” Al Snow as he entered the facility, (Congrats on your marriage, Al), and we were pumped from the word go. We saw the highs and lows of independent wrestling from the work of Jay Lethal, Mike Kruel, and Chris Candido to the attempted pseudo-Nazi supporters of Skinhead Ivan and his gang. This show was an experience up till the match before the final match, almost 4 hours in to the night, when the Outcast Killaz, a member of the Outcast Killaz, was the victim of a missed spot, and literally almost splat himself on the concrete. The sound was bone chilling to hear, and even worse to experience live. The ambulance had to be brought to the building to take Diablo Santiago out of the building, and it took me a long time to get over that sight. It was that memorable.
Also during Genesis, before the show, the Sandman was signing autographs and taking pictures. I swear to God, he scared me to death. Absolutely scared me s-less. I thought the guy was gonna eat me, or something worse. He looked that intimidating. I got his autograph, and I think that was the beginning of my search for autographs from wrestlers throughout the WWE.
My autograph search within the WWE brought in a myriad of talents. From divas such as Trish Stratus, Candice, Jillian, Michelle McCool & Jackie Gayda to mid card talents such as Shelton Benjamin, The Hurricane, Carlito, Mr. Kennedy, Paul London & Chris Masters to hall of famers like Jerry Lawler, to main event talents such as Mick Foley, John Cena, Batista, Edge, Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio, and Batista, I have been fortunate enough to meet some incredible personalities. Some of the highlights however would be as follows:
We met Triple H and Ric Flair at the Toys R Us in New York City prior to Wrestlemania 20. At that time, my two youngest children were photographed and ended up in Raw Magazine later that year. Triple H recognized my wife and youngest son the next day as well when they were fortunate enough to attend the Wrestlemania XX press conference at Planet Hollywood in New York City.
I had a nice conversation about the Make A Wish Foundation shortly after returning from my son’s wish trip when I met and got Mick Foley’s autograph during a Ring of Honor show.
Kurt Angle witnessed my son sing to him. Literally.
One wrestler wanted to know who won the World title belt that he signed for me when my youngest handed the title to him to sign.
The store owner was generous to me when I was sick and hospitalized one time out when Chris Jericho came to Long Island for a signing that he provided me with one picture signed by Jericho of him hanging off a ladder holding the Intercontinental championship. To this day, I say thank you Alex for the gesture.
The sly grin on Shelton Benjamin’s face when I complimented him on the redecoration of Snitsky’s face during the most recent Raw episode.
John Cena telling us as we approached the table, “Every time I come here, these guys are always first in line.”
Bill Goldberg mailing me seven, seven promotional pictures of him while in WWE, personalizing four of them, and doing this simply off of an email written to his website.
Lastly, I have been fortunate enough to see some impressive showings at Ring of Honor events on Long Island and New York City. I was there for The American Dragon, Bryan Danielson’s victory for the ROH World Championship over James “Jamie Noble” Gibson on Long Island. I was there for the Dragon’s defeat when he lost the ROH World Championship to Homicide at Final Battle 2006 that quite possibly was and is the most emotionally laden wrestling event I have ever attended.
I was there when CM Punk “signed” his WWE contract on top of the ROH World Championship in Lake Grove, Long Island. During that show, he probably conducted one of the best heel promos I have ever seen.
I was there for the invasion of Pro Wrestling NOAH founder and sure fire wrestling legend Mitsuharu Misawa to New York City when he defended the GHC Heavyweight Championship against NOAH star KENTA.
I was there for multiple showings of future stars of pro wrestling such as AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels, even if Daniels’s talents have been wasted lately under masks and ridiculously stupid gimmicks.
I was there for the first contest that I know of between an active NWA World Heavyweight Champion in Christian Cage and then ROH World Champion Bryan Danielson when the champions engaged in combat in a tag match alongside Colt Cabana and Christopher Daniels.
I was fortunate enough at a NON – ROH event to see Shawn Michaels interviewed with WWE legend Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake in quite honestly one of the only times I have ever seen the future hall of famer appear in a venue that is as small as the Upper Room in Deer Park.
There has been a lot of memories that I have had from the first moment I was exposed to pro wrestling to the present time. The one thing that I think has drawn me to the sport as much as it has is the accessibility of these celebrities to the general public, and the humble presence these men and women have bestowed, for the most part, on their fan base. With all the negative publicity baseball has gotten, and the absolute inability to relate to other athletes in the major sports simply by the amount of money they make, being able to resonate with your favorite wrestler because he share similar characteristics as you, whether it’s legitimate or played, is quite possibly the single biggest reason why I continue to watch.
I can relate to a Samoa Joe wanting revenge, or The Rock wanting to be the best he can be, or even a Bryan Danielson who is the ultimate student of the game. I can relate to these men, and respect the paths they have taken. Whether or not its a clean or dirty path remains to be seen, and if its ever publicized, I’ll deal with it then.
But in the era of A-Roid and the constant negative squabbling of every single athlete in the major sports, I’d personally rather keep my energy focused on an environment that, although we all know its scripted by people who can, at times, have the IQs of lab mice, can at least be portrayed to be entertaining to its viewers.
I want to take a moment and thank everyone who has followed my columns from the beginning, or whenever you have hopped on the train. I appreciate all the feedback I get through emails, and I do the best I can to answer everyone I receive. I hope I am around for another 300 columns, and beyond. I’ll write another piece in the next day or so going over some of the events I have sseen from this past week’s Smackdown and TNA shows.
Until then, thank you for reading, and joining me in ‘celebrating’ number 300.
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