When I was twelve years old, I went to see WWF wrestling
, at Copps Coliseum
, in Hamilton, Ontario
. This is called a house show
, as stated above in RimRod
. Was it fun? Christ, yes. Was it what I expected? May I say, with great relish
: Shit, no! I expected the hugeness of the WWF
televised show. Anyway, being in Hamilton as it was, it wasn't exactly a house show. Maple Leaf Wrestling
was filmed there; Maple Leaf Wrestling was a program put out by CHCH
, Hamilton's television station
, in conjunction with WWF. This TV show
was always jobber
s v. Midcard
ers, with live interview
s and segment
s. That was the inconstant format. Today, it's much different - all the top-of-the-card wrestlers appear on RAW
. In the past, they didn't do that. I can't recall Hulk Hogan
ever being on a show like that.
This house show was filled with jobbers, useless, pissant wrestlers. There was one in particular named Chico-something. Maybe it was Rodriguez. Chico Rodriguez. Anyway, over the course of the whole house show, he made a few appearances. Three, I believe. Once, against a little known Jobber To The Stars named Razor Ramon, again in a tag team match, and once more against The Genius, I think it was. Anyway, I had no idea, having grown up on televised wrestling as I did, that these guys were required to work so much in a night. He was a decent wrestler, didn't appear to fuck up once (at least, not to my untrained eye). But he was a nobody. We wanted to see the big names. We wanted Randy Savage. We wanted the Undertaker. And thus, by Chico's second match, we were heckling. Now, you don't see much of that at a live show. We (by "we," I mean "just about everyone of the fans on my side of the coliseum who had loud voices") heckled the hell out of that guy. This carried on through the show, and the legend of Chico will appear again throughout this writeup.
I was twelve years old, 'Taker was huge, and Razor Ramon was an unknown name. His vignettes hadn't come on TV yet, and not only that, at this live show, Vince McMahon hadn't even decided what to do with Scott Hall's character yet. He came down the aisle to no entrance music, and he wasn't even oozing machismo. He just walked down. No toothpick, either. He got in the ring against my pal Chico, and trounced him brutally.
The Legion Of Doom were quite big, as I recall. They had a match against some no-name jobbers, and trounced them quite thoroughly, I might add. But before that, they did a live interview. I should say, "tried" to do a live interview, showing off this new attitude they had as tough guys, with some manager named Paul-something that they'd picked up. Mean Gene Okerlund came out first, trying to get us to be noisy; I suppose, trying to get a boisterous crowd noise for the opening of the televised show. We humbly obeyed. Then, he introduced the Legion of Doom, they started to do the interview, but the interview with this new manager was crap. A steaming pile of dogshit, to be precise. So, we heckled more:
"HEY! Why don't you get Chico as your new manager? Get him to beat the FUCK out of this Paul prick!"
So, to you who remember this manager guy, and the interview, that was Hamilton, Ontario, and I was there in the crowd.
Later, the FAULTY LIGHTS OF DOOM, FOLLOWED BY THE BONG OF PAIN: the Undertaker, in a match against a midcarder, someone like Shawn Michaels, maybe. No, wait. That can't be right. Maybe it was Marty Jannetty. Anyway, it was an amazing match. Those who doubt Mark Calloway's wrestling prowess should be ashamed. When you're twelve rows back, the tightrope-walking clothesline looks...well, indescribable. He was doing armdrag takedowns. He even did a powerbomb. He was doing all sorts of wrestling moves. Real shit, no chairshots, no beatings in the corner. Paul Bearer was there, too, with the urn. 'Taker was an unstoppable Juggernaut of destruction. I guarantee you.
Who I came to see: Randy "Macho Man" Savage. He was sort of a headliner, the last event. He fought a big name, but I can't recall who now, for the life of me. He was amazing, too. He did my favourite heelish move, too: the one where he jumps over the top rope, grabbing a guy's chin, and bouncing them backward.
I wanted to point something out that you don't realize about the live shows: everyone's bigger than you'd think. 'Taker is a huge man, he makes Randy Savage look puny by comparison. But the Macho Man was a massive guy, when you get a good look at him.
So, things to keep in mind about a house show that is, to some extent, being televised, circa 1992:
1. Everyone's big, physically.
2. Bret Hart wasn't exciting.
3. You see a lot more real wrestling. The matches actually last more than ten minutes.
4. Such long matches are not boring.
5. Even jobbers can wrestle, and wrestle well.
6. The Undertaker steals the show, always.
7. You won't see Hulk Hogan Here, either.
8. Placards annoy the living shit out of the people behind you, or Your radical ideas about bringing a witty placard to a wrestling event have already occurred to others. (TWAJS)