With Wrestlemania 25 coming this week, it got me reminiscing about the love affair that I had with the sport as a child. There was a window in time where professional wrestling was bigger than any other sport for me. This era of time also represented the biggest growth the sport of professional wrestling ever saw.
When I first started to watch wrestling, it was just a Saturday morning show in syndication. This was your only opportunity to watch wrestling. The only other update you could get during the week was from George Michael. He always had highlights on Wrestling Wednesdays. In fact, it was here that I learned that Hulk Hogan was the new WWF Champion. Hulkamania ran wild, and the next thing you know wrestling was everywhere. Saturday Night's Main Event, Wrestlemania, Royal Rumbles, and Summer Slams.
So what does a 13 year old kid who watches wrestling all the time do in his spare time?
#1. He practices all his wrestling moves on his 7 year old brother. My brother Steven was piledrived, figure 4 leglocked, and camel clutched until he screamed bloody murder.
#2. He and his friends create the BWA. The Backyard Wrestling Association.
The BWA was comprised of Artie (the only person I could bodyslam or piledrive) Mike, Adrian, Bigboy(the One Man Gang of the crew) and myself. I cut an imposing figure when I entered the squared circle at the age of thirteen. And in this corner... standing 5'5" and weighing in at 105 lbs (according to my baseball card.) My wrestling attire consisted of a pair of O.P. shorts, Air Jordan high tops, and the most beautiful mullet you've ever seen. I came into the ring to "Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi. It's all caught on tape, we filmed the whole thing including our "promos" during the week.
Like my baseball/football card collecting, wrestling faded out of my life as I grew a little older and started making out with girls. Other than a brief period of time where I followed The Rock and Goldberg, wrestling faded away a long time ago. But it still reminds me of an awesome summer of my life spent in the backyard....
...and it's the reason I got excited a few years ago when I learned that Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake were at my work. Hulk Hogan was a different kind of celebrity to meet. When you meet someone who was on your lunchbox and had his own action figure...it's a little different. So as I stood there toe to toe with Terry (definitely not 6'7', maybe not 6'4") I shook his mammoth hand and I said "hey Hulkster" and he replied "What's up bruuthhherrrrr?"
Whatcha gonna do?
Cheers and Hail