Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
Genesis of a Wrestling Fan
It was a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon and the year as I remember it was 1976.
I was outside enjoying the day with my friends and came into the house to get a drink of water.
As I walked through the living room, I noticed my father was watching some sports event on television. I did not pay attention to what it was he was exactly watching until he told me to sit down for a minute and watch what was happening.
Begrudgingly, I sat down on the floor and watched two men wrestling with each other. I didn’t want to watch this. I hated watching sports.
The two men wrestling, as I had later found out, were Chief Jay Strongbow and Baron Miguel Scicluna. Chief Jay was the popular, fan favorite in this match, while the Baron was hated by all. I watched as they threw each other around the ring, punched each other and took turns throwing each other out of the ring and then get yelled at by the referee for doing so. A few more minutes and it happened. It was the single event that changed my life forever into a rabid fan of the sport.
The bad guy, Baron Scicluna was thrown out of the ring by the much loved “Indian Chief”. As the referee backed Strongbow up away from the ropes and chastised him for his actions, the Baron came back into the ring with a wooden folding chair and lambasted the Chief upside his head with the chair. The referee immediately signaled for the bell to disqualify the Baron and the Chief lay sprawled out on the mat and blood began oozing from his head. I was in a state of shock and my father laughed when he saw my expression.
“Is he dead?” I asked my father fearing that I had just witnessed a murder.
He just laughed and said that he wasn’t dead but was probably hurting quite a bit.
I just sat there and watched in horror as the Chief was helped from the ring by a couple of men and led back to the dressing room. The cameras went back there and you could see him sitting in a chair as a couple of people were tending to his wound. He was being interviewed about the incident and they kept showing replays of the incident. I was still amazed after repeatedly seeing it and from that day on I was hooked.
I ran outside and excitedly told my friends about what I had seen on television and they told me I was crazy. I tried to watch pro wrestling every Sunday afternoon after that and was dismayed to see that all of the wrestling action wasn’t as exciting as that. However, I was and still am a fan because of that one incident. The next memorable incident I saw was a match between two wrestlers named “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka and the current wrestling champion, Bob Backlund. They were wrestling in this big cage made of chain link fence.
The end of the match came when Backlund was seemingly unconscious in the ring and Superfly was climbing to the top of the cage. All he had to do was climb down the other side and would become the new champion. However, he had other intentions. He got to the top of the cage and turned around. He stood on the top, held up his hands signing that he loved the fans and leaped off. He attempted to nail Backlund with his flying splash from about twenty feet in the air but Backlund rolled out of the way and Snuka came crashing down to the mat. Backlund got to his feet, signaled for the referee to open the cage door and he climbed out to remain the World Wrestling champion.
It was matches like these that made me love professional wrestling and I have been a mark for it after all of these years.
Go to the wrestling forum and tell your story. How did you become a wrestling fan? Do you remember the first match you saw?