I remember starting at a young age that I began to be attracted to a sports-based form of entertainment which was called professional wrestling. My first exposure to it of course had to be watching wrestling on television. Wrestling was one of those things that I gravitated to. It came on the Superstation TBS at 6:05 on Saturday evenings and I would tune into the WCW Saturday Night program where larger-than-life characters were so filled with charisma and energy that it was something that I would describe as contagious. Viewers got to witness the greatness of Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, The Four Horsemen with J.J. Dillion, The Rock N’ Roll Express, The Midnight Express with Jim Cornette, and many more. Also people got to witness many other great tag-team and singles stars in Ronnie Garvin, Doom, Harlem Heat, The Road Warriors, Steiner Brothers, Ricky Steamboat, Vader, Flyin’ Brian, Sting, and Lex Luger and their Starrcade, Fall Brawl, The Clash of Champions, and Halloween Havoc and Bash at the Beach PPVs. Let’s just say it made you either want to cheer for them or you would want to see them get beat up inside the ring. Those interview segments were just as important for me as the individual matches had been.
Then I became aware of the WWF with WrestleMania, The Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, and the In Your House PPVs and their superstars such as Hulk Hogan, Andre The Giant, Macho Man Randy Savage, Rowdy Roddy Piper, The Ultimate Warrior, The Big Boss Man, Hillbilly Jim, Honky Tonk Man, Tito Santana, Greg Valentine, Paul Orndorff, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Hercules Hernandez, Ravishing Rick Rude, Demolition, and also The Hart Foundation with Jimmy Hart, Owen Hart, The British Bulldogs, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Diesel, and Psycho Sid. All those wrestlers including managers, commentators were huge influences on me as a kid and a lot of the times it was based on my first impression of them.
My first live wrestling experience didn’t happen in a large basketball arena however it took place at a local armory in Kingsport, Tennessee when I went with my uncle to go watch some of those stars that I grew up seeing on TV. For me personally this was a dream come true because the Rock N’ Roll Express were there wrestling and so was Jimmy Valiant and “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton one of the most underrated wrestlers ever. Fans who came to those were very passionate and even elderly people would get into the wrestlers faces if they decided they didn’t like them. A lot of the time, wrestlers would throw insults right back at the older folks and the younger aged fans. It was a most memorable night for me, I thoroughly enjoyed myself and the older I get, it’s memories like that I’ll cherish forever. Think about it getting an opportunity to witness some of the best in the business there locally.
Remember that WCW Saturday Night Program which was televised on the Superstation TBS? Well they happened to be touring the different cities across the country specifically the southeast at the time. Well WCW not only recorded a live Saturday Night show, but the company ran some of their house shows in Johnson City, Tennessee at Freedom Hall on the Science Hill High School campus. I can vividly recall when I attended those shows with family and friends on numerous occasions. Those were also memorable and very special times, even highlights in my memory to me. What a reaction from us fans who were there live and getting an opportunity to watch greatness on display by witnessing “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and The “Enforcer” Arn Anderson, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and Sting was one of my favorites as a kid and still is by the way. Here is one of the things I can remember very clearly when referring to Sting – he took on The Giant who later went on to the WWE to become The Big Show. I can recall when Sting picked up The Giant and body slammed him. All of us in the crowd were so amazed by Sting’s strength to be able to get this huge man off his feet and then put him down on the mat. That was definitely one of those goosebumps moments due to me actually getting to be there in person to see that. I’ll never forget it and also all these awesome matches with all the great big name talent who had national recognition even on an international level too.
So, if you ask me still today why I’m so passionate about Pro-Wrestling, well I’ve answered your question then. It started at a young age and I’m still watching it now if that tells everybody anything.
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