Wednesday morning I had an appointment with my doctor. While I was waiting for him to come into the exam room, I decided to see if I could get myself into trouble on Twitter. I saw that Hulk Hogan was on a retweeting frenzy. Now, normally I hate people that beg for retweets and complain that they don’t get retweeted by celebrities. I decided to see if The Hulkster would actually retweet a good tweet. I told him that him superplexing Big Bossman off the top of a Steel Cage during an episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event is the moment I was hooked on wrestling.
I always have trouble thinking of topics to write about which is why I always find myself doing show reviews. Hogan retweeting me gave me the idea for this edition of The Diagnosis. I would do a list of the five moments that helped shape me as a wrestling fan. You can look at it as my five favorite moments in wrestling history. These are the five moments that hold a special place in my heart. This is a countdown so they’ll be listed in reverse order of importance. Spoiler alert: I kind of already gave away number one. Hope you enjoy this. Let’s get started.
5. Hulk Hogan defeats Sgt. Slaughter to become the New WWF Champion at WrestleMania VII
The Hulkster had already won the title a few times when this match rolled around so it’s not like this made the list because of the special feeling of seeing my favorite wrestler win his first title. This made the list because this was the first time I ever saw a live title change and it was awesome. WrestleMania VII was the second PPV I ever saw live. Survivor Series in 1990 was the first. I was seven years old at the time and all I could comprehend was that my hero, Hulk Hogan would be fighting that no good jerk Sgt. Slaughter for the title and to defend our nation. I remember sitting so close to the TV during this match that if I was any closer I’d be inside the damn set.
I was very nervous that after Hulk was busted open and put in the Camel Clutch that he would fall short and I’d be made fun of at school the next day. A lot of my friends were into wrestling at the time and they were all Ultimate Warrior fans. That made it easy for me when we’d wrestle because I’d always want to be Hulk and they would fight over who got to be Warrior. Anyway, I’m rambling. Hulk kicked out of a pin attempt and ripped up the Iraqi flag and I got so excited and then cheered loudly as Hulk hit the big boot and leg drop to win the WWF Championship. A great moment for seven year old me. I was so excited I could barely sleep that night.
When I go back and watch the match now I realize that it’s no classic but I remember how happy it made me feel and it is a match I’ll always love.
4. Stone Cold Steve Austin defeats The Rock to become the New WWF Champion at WrestleMania XV
There are plenty of wrestlers that I’ve become fans of over the years but there are three that I hold in a higher regard than all the rest: Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Austin won his first WWF Title a year earlier at WrestleMania XIV but I hold the title win at WrestleMania XV in higher regard because I saw it live. That’s the thing about being a fan whether it be wrestling, sports, movies or whatever, if you saw it, it means more to you even if it isn’t held in a high regard historically.
Back in 1999, if you didn’t order PPV you could still listen to the event. The audio would come in clear but the video would be all scrambled so it was hard to see what was happening. I listened to many WWF PPVs in my youth. WrestleMania XV was different. I wanted to see it. I knew Austin had a title match and I wanted to see if he could win the belt. It was a long road to get to see the main event of WrestleMania XV. I was never the type to ask to go over someone’s house but I was making call upon call to see if there was a spot to watch the show. I gave up about 15 minutes before the start of the show. I listened to the PPV like I did so many times before. A classmate of mine called me out of the blue during the Hell in a Cell Match to see if I was watching the PPV. We never really hung out although we always talked wrestling in school. It was a surprise that he called and an even bigger surprise he asked me to come watch the rest of the show. I hopped on my bike and hauled ass over to his house.
The match was full of drama with all the ref bumps and Vince McMahon trying to screw Stone Cold out of the title. Eventually a Stunner and Mick Foley counting to three spelled the end of The Rock’s title reign. It was really cool to see Austin celebrate with a beer party and to know he got over on his evil boss. It was even more memorable to know that it took a lot for me to get there. This is my favorite Austin title victory.
3. Shawn Michaels beats Bret Hart at WrestleMania XII to become the New WWF Champion
I sure do have a thing for guys winning the title at WrestleMania, huh? HBK was the first wrestler I liked after Hulk Hogan left WWF. It also helped that my best friend at the time was also a big HBK fan. We were 12 and we would Superkick the hell out of each other and whatever other objects that we could reach with our short legs.
I didn’t see this one live but I did listen to it. I remember the butterflies I used to get in my stomach during big matches that my favorites were in. Being a mark sure was fun. My friend gave me a tape of WrestleMania XII the next day in school. The second I walked in the door after school I tossed that bad boy in the VCR (remember those kids?) and watch the whole events. Then I rewound to the beginning of the Iron Man match and watched it again. Then I watched it every day for the next week until my friend needed the tape back.
There is no match in WWF/E history that I’ve seen more time than this match.
2. Shawn Michaels wins the first ever Elimination Chamber Match to become the New World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series 2002
The WrestleMania streak is snapped but it’s still another title win for one of my big three. I attended Survivor Series 2002 live at Madison Square Garden. Shawn had recently returned to WWE after being away for nearly five years due to serious back issues.
This is my favorite moment that I’ve ever been in attendance for. I’ve been to house shows, TV tapings, other PPVs and even WrestleMania but not one damn moment in any of them come close to the feeling of pure joy and excitement that came from watching this match.
My returning favorite had a chance to be champion again. You couldn’t write a better script for a fan. When Shawn hit Sweet Chin Music on Triple H and got the three count the place went bonkers. It’s still one of the loudest ovations I’ve ever heard no matter the venue or the event. Seeing him hold the title high, signifying that HBK was back was a fan moment that I’ll never forget and one I’m glad to have been in attendance for.
1. Hulk Hogan Superplexes Big Bossman off the top of a Steel Cage on Saturday Night’s Main Event
Well, duh. If you’ve been reading me even semi-consistently since I debuted here on TJR then you should have known this. Hell, I even said it in the open.
Rocky, wrestling, the New York Yankees and the New York Giants. Those are the four things that mean more to more than anything (people excluded) in this world and it’s all because of my dad. He and I haven’t always had the best relationship but those were the things that always brought us together. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched Rocky IV with him. He is the reason I’m a wrestling fan too.
I was five years old and there was no way my mother would let me stay up to watch wrestling at 11:30pm. For that matter, neither would my dad so I was put to bed. The difference between my dad and my mom is my mother was going to let me sleep. My dad though it would be a good idea to wake me up to watch the Steel Cage Championship Match between Hulk Hogan and Big Bossman. I was five and tired when the match started but then Bossman was over the cage and Hulk grabbed him pulling him back up. Then it happened. Hulk Hogan suplexed the son of a bitch off the top of the cage. I was hooked from that moment on. After I saw that I was wide awake and knew this was something that I wanted to watch going forth. Here we are almost 25 years later and I’m still a fan of wrestling and it’s all because of that superplex because at five years old that was the coolest damn thing I ever seen.
Had my dad not woke me up and had I not seen that superplex would I be a fan today? Who knows, it is one of those things that are impossible to predict but I’m glad he woke me up to see it. I love wrestling and God only knows what I would have filled my time with had he not got me up to see that match. Thanks Dad.
This was fun to write. It’s always cool to sit back and think about your favorite moments. These are the moments that mean so much to me as a fan. I’d love to hear from you, the reader. What helped shape you as fans? Following the plugs, I’ve included five comments from Facebook friends on what their fan defining moments are. Without the above moments, I wouldn’t be a fan of this crazy business. This crazy business that have given countless great memories but these have been the five that stand out above all the rest.
(That’s what she said.)
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Here are some Facebook comments from some friends on what helped shape them as fans.
Josh Martinez “The Road Warriors gouging Dusty Rhodes eye with the spikes from their shoulder pads. I was shocked they turned on him like that and since then I was hooked.”
Pat Broadbent “Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect SummerSlam 91. One of the greatest matches I’ve ever watched that still is in my personal top 5.”
Wayne Palmer “I saw Terry Funk in a tuxedo put Ric Flair through a table. I was very young and my grandpa babysat me on a Saturday night because my dad was working and my mom went to some church function. From then on I was hooked. I was always a WWF guy but that moment is what made me interested and from there was Earthquake squashing Hogan, or Hogan saving macho from the Harts and Honky Tonk Man.”
Vincent Prayle “My goodness. That's a tough one. Probably something to do with seeing the tag matches of either the Midnight Express or Flyin' Brian & the Z Man (Tom Zenk) on the NWA highlight shows usually broadcast after midnight here in the UK. It's weird that one of the big story lines in WWE today is about Heyman's "clients" - the "Dangerous Alliance" was a huge story line that really sucked me into the whole "good v evil" scenario that dominates wrestling & featured Paul Heyman in a similar role. Will never forget the "loaded" cell phone!”
Marc Anthony “Hogan slamming Andre.”