From One Fan to Another: Wrestling's Holy Grail
Copyright 2008 by Mike Rickard II
Originally published at World Wrestling Insanity November 17, 2008
Ever since I began watching wrestling in 1979, the Holy Grail for me and friends was being able to see a title change hands in person (This was back when title changes were few and far between and before world titles changed hands routinely at house shows in East Bumblefuch). Whenever I'd go to a house show with my brother and my friends, we'd look for TV cameras in the belief that if there were TV cameras there, there could be a title change (after all, the cameras would only be there if something big was going to happen).
Despite our dream of seeing a title change, we were pretty realistic. If a WWF title was going to change hands, it probably wasn't going to happen in our humble hometown of Buffalo, New York. While Buffalo has been a traditional hotbed for wrestling in general, it was never one of the WWF's like Philadelphia, New York City, or Boston. The odds of a title changing hands in Buffalo were about the same of one of our sports teams winning a major championship.
That's not to say our fair city didn't get its share of really interesting house shows. Buffalo held its fair share of cage matches, WWF title matches, and even an "anything goes" Battle Royal (back in the days before hardcore) with "Leaping" Lanny Poffo wearing a suit of armor into the ring (and subsequently getting crushed in it by "King Kong" Bundy. Yeah, we had some fun but we pretty much gave up on the idea of seeing a belt change hands.
Flash forward to June 2, 1987. Buffalo was going to host its first ever TV taping. Naturally, everyone had to go because if ever there was a chance to see a title change hands in Buffalo, this would be it. Even if the belt didn't change hands, there was that chance to appear on WWF television! Anyone who called themselves a fan had to have a ticket.
My friends and I all got our tickets but I had a problem- I had to work that night. After a couple years going from job to job, I had secured what I thought was a decent job (at the time). Unfortunately there was no way to get out of working. I was on probation and if I called in sick to go to wrestling, I knew I'd be up the creek. For once in my life, I did the responsible thing and skipped wrestling to go to work. Boy, was I ever sorry.
The next day my friend Keith called me to tell me about the show. "You'll never guess what happened!". I knew I was in trouble. "The Honky Tonk Man beat Steamboat for the Intercontinental Title". First off, I was shocked (as was Keith) that the HTM actually beat Steamboat. Second off, I was pissed because I'd missed the belt change hands-of all the nights to miss a show! Worst of all, I was the biggest Honky Tonk Man (I still love his run in the WWF) and couldn't believe I was absent on the biggest night of his career.
Since then, I've seen my fair share of title changes in person but I still rue the day I decided to do the right thing and ended up missing the beginning of the "Greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time"'s reign. The worst part of the whole I-C debacle was that I would eventually get fired from that very same job (after blowing it off to spend a day with my girlfriend). If I was going to get fired, it should have been for a title change!
Nowadays, title changes have become a lot more common so I wonder if it's really that big of a deal for fans to see a belt change hands in person. Maybe the Holy Grail of wrestling fans is something more like going to Wrestlemania. What's your Holy Grail for wrestling?.
6.75 x 9.75 in, 300pp, paperback
Published by ECW Press
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Every fan of professional wrestling remembers the moment that captured their heart forever and hooked them for life. Whether it was Ric Flair regaining the NWA Championship from Harley Race at Starcade, the Freebirds turning heel on Kerry Von Erich, Mick Foley flying off the cage at King of the Ring, , Samoa Joe's epic trilogy with CM Punk in Ring of Honor, or the premiere of WCW's Nitro: these are the matches and moments that thrilled, terrified, or outraged overwhelming you with real emotion.
Mike Rickard's Wrestling's Greatest Moments brings you all the most memorable and controversial moments from modern wrestling history. It's an insightful and essential compendium of thirty years' worth of groundbreaking matches, angles and interviews. From Hulkamania to the Montreal "screwjob," from the NWA to the nWo, you'll rediscover what really occurred in arenas and on the air worldwide, and learn all the backstage and behind-the-scenes secrets that made these highlight-reel moments possible from the men and women who were there.
Whether you watched Stone Cold Steve Austin point a gun at WWE honcho Vince McMahon's head, or stood outside the building as D-Generation X "invaded" WCW; whether you look back with nostalgia to "The King" slapping Andy Kaufman silly on Letterman or believe wrestling was better when Bruno sold out Shea; whether you were one of the Philadelphia "bingo hall" faithful who made ECW "extreme" or a casual observer of the Monday Night Wars; whether you're reliving these moments or discovering them for the first time, Wrestling's Greatest Moments will enthrall you with the exploits and extravagance, the tragedies and triumphs of the sport of kings.
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About the Author: Mike Rickard has been writing about the sport of kings since 2005. His work has been seen on Pro Wrestling Illustrated's website, Pro Wrestling Torch, Gumgod, World Wrestling Insanity, and Canadian Bulldog's World.