The story for me begins at the March 1998 WWF house show at the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh. At the time, tickets for the next show would either go on sale before the show that night even started or at intermission. On this occasion, it was the latter, and I think it surprised me that King of the Ring tickets would be sold this far in advance. My dad was always big into getting tickets in advance, so he had no problem going by himself during intermission. When he got back, he'd missed Bradshaw defeat Barry Windham. Always a fan of "BW," I'd have been upset had I missed one of my few chances to see him live. Nonetheless, my fantastic father secured us tickets.
I recall that the promotional ads touted seeing "Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie" at the event, which got my hopes up that I'd get to see Terry Funk live and in person for the first time. This was long before I actively started meeting wrestlers regularly, so I was very much disappointed when "Card Subject To Change" rang true. Needless to say, the history that ended up going down that night made up for it.
Then, it happened.
As soon as Mankind crashed through the table and hit the floor, I was sure that the event would be ended. There was no way that he was okay or that this was planned. There wasn't a chance in Hell that Mick Foley was getting up from this. This show had to be over. Even Vince McMahon, at the height of his heeldom as Mr. McMahon, had come to ringside. This was serious. But as we all know now, it didn't end there. In fact, the worst of the two big bumps for Foley was yet to come, though my attention at that point was focused elsewhere. Terry Funk had shown up after all and took an Undertaker chokeslam for good measure.
Even though Ken Shamrock was crowned "King of the Ring" that night, it's but a footnote. The Hell in the Cell antics stole the show. While it's not a technical classic, it is one of the best remembered matches in WWF history. It's a historic wrestling moment that I have my own unique memory of. While I'd much rather be able to say that I was at "The Ultimate Challenge" or among the tens of thousands at the Pontiac Silverdome when it was all "Bigger, Better, Badder," I'm still proud to say that "I was there." Attitude and all.