I’ve seen some shit.
It all began nearly 15 years ago, when a man by the name of Bill Goldberg speared his way into my heart, crushing my ribcage in the process.
A few sparklers and snarls later and I was hooked. A wrestling fan is born; reluctant, but ultimately hopeless.
Little did I know of the strange and smelly path this newfound hobby would lead me down. Oh yes…I’ve seen some shit.
My baptism would soon follow, as I attended my first live wrestling show. This would become my church for the next several years. Without knowing it at first, I signed away my life to cheer a bunch of ‘roided up douchebags pretending to hit each other according to script.
But just like Santa Claus, the longer I convinced myself it was real, the more gifts I received. It eventually took over my soul once I met Christopher Mullet, who I spent the better part of high school with playing wrestling video games and imagining what it would be like if obscure mascots started their own wrestling promotion.
I haven’t forgotten about you, Kerwin Rabbitroo. Try as I might.
(Editor's sidenote: The fact that it was still possible to find a picture of Kerwin Rabbitroo eight years after the fact is maybe the most amazing feat this website has seen this far. If only you could of found Phlex.)
It’s been a crazy ride, and I’ve since put a lion’s share of substances in my body in an attempt to wipe my memory clean. Alas, here I am.
Now, I sure as hell don’t remember every chair shot I’ve seen live. I’ve even taken some of my own along the way. But to properly enlighten you on my history as a fan – and as a grim reminder to myself of time and money spent – I present a brief summary of the wrestling shows that I’ve had the pleasure of……er……that I’ve attended.
Here’s how I remember them.
Monday Night Nitro, Ft. Lauderdale (Sometime 1997) – Weird crew of friends went with me, as well as my dad. Friendships ended that night. The Nitro Girls danced for like an hour straight. I was too young to be entertained; it was my dad’s favorite part. Either Psychosis or Juventud Guerrero was there…SOMEONE did a Hurricanrana. Oh, and the ring lights were in our eyes the entire time. The whole night was extremely awkward. I wonder where the Nitro Girls are now…
Monday Night Nitro, Tampa (Sometime 1998) – Took place at the Ice Palace in Tampa, which I remember being relevant because I was a Glacier fan. Sorry, I was the Glacier fan. There was a big NWO Wolfpac promo but no Wolfpac match. Sting was wearing red face paint, and I was just old enough to notice how ugly it looked. Was Glacier even there? Did I just imagine Glacier’s entire existence?
Bash at the Beach, Ft. Lauderdale (Summer 1999) – We were up against the rails in the entranceway, close enough to see the scowl on wrestlers’ faces as they walked out. At some point, my friend hit Rick Steiner with a poster board sign and I snapped a picture. Judge Mills Lane and Buff Bagwell’s mom were both there, I think involved with the same match. This was my first wrestling pay-per-view and my first brush with their “no refunds” policy.
Armageddon, Ft. Lauderdale (December 1999) – My first WWF event, before they got the ‘F’ out. There were some cool army tank replicas on the set. At least I think they were replicas. Triple H beat the shit out of Vince McMahon in the main event. The Kat pulled off her top and showed her “puppies” to the crowd, but I was tying my shoes or something and missed it. I think I saw a cage match with Kane and X-Pac and I think one of them rode on the others’ shoulders. Actually, I’m pretty confident this happened. Awesome.
Armageddon, Ft. Lauderdale (December 2002) – Brock Lesnar and his stupid haircut F-5’d the Big Show, which is still impressive despite his haircut’s best attempts to ruin it. Triple H won the title in a crazy match with Shawn Michaels after Michaels fell off a ladder onto a stack of like a hundred wooden tables. My love affair with Triple H began around this show, so I nearly lost my voice cheering when Michaels nearly died. Watching wrestling can really turn you into a heartless bastard.
House Show, Cleveland (Sometime 2003) – My only show ever outside of Florida, while visiting Mullet and his family. We were kind of attached at the anus during this point in our friendship. A-Train and Ultimo Dragon were there. I think those were the only two wrestlers that participated that night. Oh, and future Minnesota Vikings practice squad superstar Brock Lesnar was there. The front two rows were reserved for his neck muscles and that stupid haircut he had. (Please don’t murder my family, Brock.)
Armageddon, Orlando (December 2003) – Triple H won the title again, in a match with my boyhood hero, Goldberg. Out with the old, in with the new. In retrospect, I may have been the only one cheering when he won. Also, one cannot mention this event without giving proper attention to the Rico vs. Heindenreich opening match (see Mullet’s article.) Definitely the worst match I’ve ever seen live, which in some weird, twisted way makes it one of the best matches I’ve ever seen live. You can’t beat quality camp.
Monday Night Raw, Ft. Lauderdale (Sometime 2005) – Sat front row in constant camera view – an incontestable highlight of my career. Mullet and I used the opportunity to show off signs such as “Funaki Sucks Eggs” and “Kane Loves Lemurs” while mugging for the camera. I touched Maven, but missed touching Christy Hemme by a split second because I was tying my shoe or something. Saw a handful of main-eventers moon each other in a weird dark match after the show. Spoke directly with Chris Jericho about the notorious Owl Man sign I had brought with me. He said it was "pretty good.”
House Show, Orlando (Sometime 2005) – Extremely forgettable, except for seeing Carlito in his prime on the microphone. He made fun of the Orlando Magic and theme parks, seeing as we were in Orlando. He also ate several apples for our enjoyment. We all thought Carlito would have a long and successful career. Yeah, about that…
Raw/Smackdown Super Show, Orlando (Sometime 2006) – It was really long. Five hours of wrestling is a chore for even the biggest fans, but we managed to keep ourselves entertained. I shouted “Triple H!” for some reason during an unrelated promo and think it was heard on TV. I convinced Lillian Garcia to pose for a picture while holding the Owl Man sign. The ride home was the first and last time I’ve ever been jealous of a piece of poster board. During Triple H’s entrance, I almost caught his water bottle, but missed it because I was tying my shoe or something. I finally switched to Velcro shoes the next day. Fuck shoelaces.
Royal Rumble, Miami (January 2006) – Ate at Chili’s beforehand and made an infamous “I’mma get you love-drunk off these ribs” joke while “My Humps” was playing. It was all downhill from there. Rey Mysterio won the Royal Rumble match due to nepotism following Eddie Guerrero’s death. A super boring Mark Henry match went on after the Rumble and killed the crowd’s energy, just so Undertaker could come out afterwards riding a horse. I wish I could make stuff like that up. Thanks, WWE creative team. You make it so easy sometimes.
Slammiversary, Orlando (Sometime 2006) – My first TNA event. Sat in line for six hours in the hot sun listening to smarks and annoying little kids, waiting for standing-only room in a cramped soundstage at Universal Studios. Jeff Jarrett won a ladder match to win the main event and the crowd lost their shit. Apparently he’s not a fan favorite. Everyone threw bottles and shouted obscenities, i.e. “THIS IS BULLSHIT!” Worth the wait for all the wrong reasons. Never again, TNA. Never again.
One Night Stand, Jacksonville (Sometime 2007) – Sat really far away and mostly remember watching the group of kids in front of us freaking out about everything. Reminisced about my youth. Also, there was a cage match and John Cena dropped the Great Khali off a building or something.
ROH Supercard of Honor/Dragon Gate Challenge II, Orlando (April 2008) – My first ROH event, meaning no pyro and nobody famous. A bunch of Japanese wrestlers put on a spot fest. Also, a guy was thrown off the rafters onto a table right next to where we were standing. He was then hit with a chair that may or may not have been mine. So, in a small way, I helped him win the match.
Wrestlemania XXIV, Orlando (April 2008) – Got drunk in hotel the night before, watched Open Water 2, Love Stinks, and Night of the Creeps – the best movie in the history of sound. Oh yeah, Wrestlemania. The stadium was really fucking crowded. CM Punk won Money in the Bank, Ric Flair wrestled his last WWE match, and Undertaker won the main event. The wind blew some pyro into the cheap seats during Undertaker’s celebration. Dick move, wind. We got super drunk again that night, to commemorate our first Wrestlemania and not dying.
Wrestlemania XXVIII, Miami (April 2012) – The current plan is to get smashed with my friends and see The Rock beat John Cena. I have no doubt that we will find ways to make it more traumatic.
That about wraps it up. For those keeping score at home, that equals around $800 I could have donated to charity and nearly three days of my life that I’ll never see again. Some would argue I’ve lived a partially empty existence. I would have a hard time proving them wrong.
But you know what? I’ve been on TV. I’ve seen titles change hands and history being made. I’ve lost my voice on several occasions out of sheer excitement. There’s a quaint charm in pro wrestling, and no better place to experience it than surrounded by 15,000 screaming fans, eating overpriced nachos and getting lost in the moment.
If you ask me, that beats donating to charity any day of the week.