Monday, February 28, 2011

A Personal Anniversary

A couple of months ago WWE Magazine published an article about wrestling. In recent years the magazine has become more of a hodge podge of pop culture than covering the WWE product itself. This particular wrestling article was about house shows.

For those who've never attended a house show, or live event as they're called by WWE, the article probably had the desired effect. It chronicled exactly why house shows are, to this day, something different and special.

Those who know me personally know that I love a good house show. They're the last remaining vestige of true blue professional wrestling. A ring. A single light over that ring. No obnoxious screens. The Fink. The kind of show that still makes you say, "This is wrestling!"

Today, 2/28, also happens to be an anniversary of sorts for me. It was nineteen years ago today that I attended my first live wrestling card. You guessed it. A house show.

I was lucky enough that, although it was already 1992, I was able to see the two biggest stars of the 1980's collide. In my first live main event, Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper defeated Ric Flair and Sid Justice. That coupled with matches featuring other personal favorites like Big Boss Man, Ted DiBiase, Rick Martel, Tito Santana, and the Natural Disasters made it one of the most memorable nights of my life up to that point.

That night I also picked up my first live event souvenir. WWF Program #199 was added to my already growing collection of figures, tapes, and magazines. Marty Jannetty, although not on the show that night, graced the cover with the wonderful, and now extinct, lineup sheet inside.

The matches listed were just as Sean Mooney had hyped them on the event center in the weeks prior to the show. "Other Exciting Bouts Featuring The Warlord And Kato" were also promised on the blue, black, and white sheet. It should be noted that The Undertaker was originally announced to team with Flair but was removed after Taker's first babyface turn.

The event ended up featuring The Warlord defeating Chris Walker, Davey Boy Smith defeating Rick Martel, Tito Santana defeating Ted DiBiase, The Natural Disasters defeating Hacksaw Jim Duggan & Sgt. Slaughter by disqualification, JW Storm defeating Kato, Big Boss Man defeating Repo Man, as well as the aforementioned main event.

Not many bootleg handheld videos of shows from our now-shuttered Pittsburgh Civic Arena seem to exist. Thankfully, the main event was done "around the horn" as it were and was taped the following month at Madison Square Garden. While it's not the exact show, the main event is virtually move for move as I remember it.

While the current wrestling product as a whole isn't always my cup of tea, sometimes you only need to take a look at the kids enjoying it. Seeing the excitement they're experience can take you back. It takes me back to February 28, 1992--the night my television heroes came to life before my eyes.

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