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  1. #1
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    Chair Shots Presents: 25 or 6 to 50


    That’s kind of a vague title isn’t it? Well, in 5 days I’ll be turning 50 years old; one half of a damn century. I figure I’m probably the oldest person in the LOP Forums, and probably have been for some time. For much of that 50 years I’ve been a fan of what brought us all to LordsofPain in the first place, professional wrestling. I figure I started watching somewhere around 7 or 8 and honestly never looked back. I’ve gotten to the place where I’m comfortable hanging up my hat and calling it a day on this writing thing. I’ve been around for quite some time at this point and now it’s time to sit back and once again just watch wrestling as a fan.

    I’ve been able to bear witness to some astounding and unforgettable moments in the sport, having seen all the great ones not only on television but live as well. I’d guess at this point my bucket list would only include those new breakout stars that are starting to emerge. I’ve been blessed. So for the next few days I’m going to relive my wrestling fandom with you, sharing with you the 25 (or 6) most memorable moments of my time as a wrestling fan. Some are huge moments, while others only mean something to me in a very small way. I’m sure each and every one of you have a similar list. I hope you enjoy mine.

    1.) My First Live Show- Many of you have heard me tell this story before about watching wrestling in my basement with my Dad on a very small black and white television on Saturday mornings. It was my Dad who introduced me to wrestling, and it’s something we shared for a very long time. For a couple years I bothered him about finally taking me to a live show at the Baltimore Civic Center. Month after month of advertising shows I’d ask him, because at that time there was no PPV and the stars came around about every 6 weeks for a new card. Finally he relented, and we went to a show around my birthday. It was magical. It featured a Battle Royal to determine who would face Champion Bob Backlund later that night, a match won by Mr. Fuji of all people. The Main Event was actually Superfly Snuka and Buddy Rogers vs. Ray “The Crippler” Stevens and Lou Albano. I don’t remember much more of the card, but the memory will always be there.

    2.) First Road Warriors Appearance in Baltimore- After a while, more than just the WWF started airing in Baltimore. We’d get the NWA, UWF, and various other regional promotions. After airing for a few months, we were going to get a non-WWF card at the arena. Honestly, the shows changed pretty rapidly, so I’m not even sure what promotion the card was for, but it was topped off by the first appearance of the biggest tag-team in the sport in my hometown, The Road Warriors. I remember the crowd going totally nuts as “Iron Man” played over the sound-system. That night, they’d wrestle Jerry Lawler and Austin Idol, and of course they came out victorious. I’d see them many times more, but there was nothing like the first time.

    3.) AWA on ESPN- As I mentioned, we’d get a lot of shows airing in Baltimore, but in the early days of ESPN I was able to watch the weekly AWA show. It aired around 4 or 4:30 a few times a week and I’d be able to catch it when I got home from school. My parents were still at work, so for a brief time I’d be able to watch eventual Superstars come across my screen. Guys like Scott Hall, Curt Hennig, Jimmy Garvin, Rick Martel and more moved through the AWA before becoming huge in the NWA and the WWF.

    4.) PPV’s With My Dad- Eventually the PPV era was ushered in. No longer would I be able to see my favorites every month, as the touring schedule slowly decreased, but Vince McMahon had begun to create a juggernaut with the Big 4 PPV’s; Wrestlemania, Summer Slam, Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble. Of course I convinced my Dad to order them for us, something you had to do by telephone back in the day. They also only cost about $20 or so, which pales in comparison to what they’d eventually be. Of course we’d tape them on the VHS and re-watch again and again.

    5.) The First Royal Rumble on USA Network- Most people forget that the very first Royal Rumble was on basic cable. I was dating my future wife at the time, and it was pretty early in our dating. I remember being on the phone with her and basically commentating the entire 20-Man Rumble just so we could keep talking. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan won the first Rumble and several years later I got married and had 2 kids with that same girl. We’re not together anymore, but it stays one of my favorite memories.

    6.) First Time Seeing Jake “The Snake” Roberts- My all-time favorite wrestler without question is Jake Roberts. Every time he got on screen he captured the crowd. He never yelled. In fact he rarely raised his voice at all. He wasn’t the biggest wrestler either, but he always had a psychological edge over his opponent. There was just something about him that grabbed me from the start. I remember seeing him for the first time live and just being captivated by how he worked a crowd and a match. He wrestled a jobber, probably someone like Salvatore Bellomo and while it wasn’t a long match, it was perhaps the most important check mark on my Bucket List.

    7.) The Great American Bash Years- Over time I eventually became more of an NWA guy than a WWF guy. Their popularity grew with some quickness and it didn’t go without notice. From 1988-1991 the Great American Bash was held at the Baltimore Arena, and I was in attendance for each and every one of them. ’88 saw Lex Luger challenge Ric Flair for the title and the first ever Tower of Doom. ’89 featured Flair defending again vs. Terry Funk as well as a WarGames match. In 1990 I sat 7th row ringside for a card that will pop up a couple more times on my list. Lastly, in ’91 Lex Luger defeated Barry Windham for the vacant belt as Ric Flair had just left for the WWF. The GAB would return in 1996, but not with me in attendance.

    8.) Vader’s US Debut- The 1990 GAB had a lot of memorable moments, including the United States debut of the Man Called Vader. He had been highly touted as one of the best big men in the sport. He came to the ring with his giant headpiece, shooting smoke into the sky. His presence was terrifying. On that night he’d wrestle The Z-Man, Tom Zenk. Well, he wouldn’t exactly wrestle him, more like destroy him in a matter of minutes. Poor Z-Man, at least you got paid.

    9.) Sting Defeats Ric Flair- I’ll admit it, I was a huge Sting mark. I much preferred blond-haired happy Sting to the dark, brooding Crow Sting of later years. In 1990, after chasing Ric Flair for some time, Sting finally captured the World Heavyweight Championship. As I mentioned, I sat in the 7th row for that card, but for much of that match I didn’t even need a seat. I’m sure if you watch the card on the Network you’d see an almost 22-year old blonde dude losing his shit. Honestly, the entire crowd was as well. I miss crowds like that; crowds that were truly invested in the matches in the ring.

    10.) Ron Simmons Stuns the World- 2 years after Sting won the title I witnessed another dramatic changing of the guard, albeit for a short time. At a live event Sting was to challenge then Champion Vader for the title, but a storyline injury from Jake Roberts caused the match cancelled. Oddly, to determine Vader’s challenger for the evening a random name draw was done and Ron Simmons came out with the opportunity. Not one person in the building thought they’d see what happened next, as Ron Simmons shocked Vader with a Snap Powerslam and a victory, becoming only the second black man to become World Champion. Just a stunning moment.

    11.) A Random Encounter at Wendy’s- The NWA/WCW made many trips to Baltimore, and I was in attendance for a lot of them. On my way to one of the shows, before I went to pick up my Dad, I stopped at a local Wendy’s to get some food for both of us. It was early, as I wanted to make sure we had enough time to eat and park as we’d have to walk a few blocks to get to the Arena. When I went into the Wendy’s, there were three people ahead of me. It didn’t take but a moment to realize those three people were Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton and Pee Wee Anderson. What are the chances of that happening? I said Hi, shook their hands and told them I’d see them later at the show. That was it, the entire encounter, but yeah it was kind of cool.

    12.) Random Encounter #2- You all remember Stacy Keibler right? I mean how could you forget that gorgeous 5’11” woman with the 42” legs? Well, prior to being in the WWE she was a Ravens cheerleader. In fact, she grew up in Baltimore, not far from where I did. For quite some time, even when in the WWE she still held residence in Baltimore, near a local mall. One day, shortly after my first daughter was born I was walking that mall, trying to get the kid to take a nap and who did I encounter in a pet store? Yup, there was Stacy Keibler in all her magnificence. And yup, I was too damn nervous to say anything to her. Instead, I maybe sort of kind of followed her through the mall for about ten minutes. No, that’s not creepy at all. Seriously, no it’s not!

    13.) Survivor Series 1995- Despite having been to a ton of live shows, I’ve only ever been to one of the Big 4, and that was Survivor Series ’95 in Washington D.C. The card had The Smoking Gunns, Aja Kong, Alundra Blayze, Bam Bam Bigelow, Triple H and just a host of big stars. It was capped off by a No DQ match with Bret Hart ending Diesel’s year-long reign as Champion. But my favorite moment of the night was the fact I got to see The Undertaker. Oddly, it would be the first and last time I ever saw ‘Taker live. How freaking cool is that?

    So that’s it for today. I figure I’ve rambled on enough for now, so come back tomorrow for the second half of the list, which takes us into more current wrestling memories. Thanks for coming along for the ride for as long as it’s been going on. It means a lot.

    Until next time,
    Rob Out!
    Last edited by Rob S.; 07-12-2018 at 02:21 PM.

  2. #2
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Wasn't Ron Simmons the first black world champ then? Wikipedia says he was, but it does say something like "WWE recognise him as" which makes me think my WWE created knowledge may be flawed....

    No idea how old the rest of the guys here are, I'm 43 though so even though you've got a few years on my I wouldn't be surprised to find out I'm 2nd oldest!

  3. #3
    The Brain
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    I believe he's talking about Bobo Brazil, who was NWA Champion in the 60s. His reign was disputed and now is not officially recognized, but it did happen!

    Rob, this was great. I hope your retirement is as peaceful and permanent as Terry Funk's. You've been around for some amazing stuff. I loved best remembering stuff from when you were real little. In honor of that, I've dug up a few cards that might jog your memory, though they may not jive exactly with what you remember...


    12/11/82 WWF Baltimore Civic Center

    WWF Heavyweight Title #1 Contendership 20 Man Dollar Battle Royal
    Mr. Fuji defeats Mr. Saito and Buddy Rose and Chief Jay Strongbow and Curt Hennig and Eddie Gilbert and Ivan Putski and Jules Strongbow and Mac Rivera and Pete Sanchez and Salvatore Bellomo and Superstar Billy Graham and Swede Hanson and The Black Demon (23:17)

    Eddie Gilbert vs. The Black Demon - Time Limit Draw (20:00)

    Salvatore Bellomo defeats Mac Rivera (8:10)

    Jimmy Snuka & Rocky Johnson defeat Captain Lou Albano & Ray Stevens by Count Out (6:20)

    WWF Heavyweight Title Match
    Bob Backlund (c) defeats Mr. Fuji (23:17)

    Superstar Billy Graham defeats Pete Sanchez (6:08)

    Buddy Rose defeats Curt Hennig (12:15)

    Jules Strongbow defeats Swede Hanson (9:22)

    Ivan Putski defeats Mr. Saito (3:10)


    6/9/84 GCW Baltimore

    Jake Roberts defeats King Konga

    Ole Anderson defeats Paul Ellering by DQ

    Nikolai Volkoff defeats King Kong Bundy

    Brad Armstrong & The Junkyard Dog defeat Ted DiBiase & The Spoiler

    Harley Race vs. Wahoo McDaniel - Draw

    The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk) defeat Austin Idol & Jerry Lawler

    NWA World Heavyweight Title Match
    Ric Flair (c) defeats Ronnie Garvin


    Also loved talking your future wife through the '88 Rumble, and celebrating in the crowd at Simmons' title win. What a pop that win got. Looking forward to the rest!

  4. #4
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Bobo Brazil has now been googled!

  5. #5
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    A little feedback before I get back to it.

    TNT- Yeah Mizzie is right, Bobo Brazil technically was the first Black World Champion, but racism and all that nonsense wiped it from the record books. But it happened whether people wanted it to or not. Appreciate you reading man.

    Mizzie- Man, the memories outweigh the details it seems. I'm sure Buddy Rogers had something to do with that match with Snuka, perhaps a second at ringside. I honestly don't remember Rocky Johnson being in it at all. That's crazy. The Battle Royal came down to Fuji, Saito and Billy Graham, in his karate phase. Graham bowed to the other two and was tossed over the top. Saito gave way to Fuji who took the title shot. I was spot on about the Warriors against Lawler and Idol though. That was fun. Thanks for reading.

    Now, let's get back to it!

    Over the years Iíve been lucky enough to have people who enjoyed wrestling as much as I did. When I started going to live events, it was with my Dad. After a while, my girlfriend and eventual wife would go. Iím not sure if it was to just hang with me or if she really did like Lex Luger that much. From there I went to several events with my friend Chris, then most recently Iíve taken my daughter to NXT and come into some new friends who Iíve seen other shows with. Itís great to have like-minded people who you can share the wrestling experience with.

    There was a period where I didnít go to live shows as much as I once did. I got married, had a couple kids, started steady work and just didnít have the time to go. I did watch still, and during the Monday Night Wars youíd catch me with two TVís going at once. Where a lot of people chose sides, I often flip-flopped from one to the other just based on interest of storylines. I equally enjoyed both the Attitude Era and the NWO era. The next batch of memories misses a chunk of live events, but theyíre not any less important to me, some quite personal and deep.

    14. A Childís Loss- While I was married, my wifeís Aunt and her family had a devastating fire in their home. They pretty much lost everything. She had two small children, now both grown and one with children of his own. It was that boy who I truly felt for. He was about 4 or 5 at the time and due to an electrical wiring issue, heíd lost all his toys. At the time I was collecting the original WWF figures, and had been for a while. They were the ones of hard plastic with almost no articulation at all. I had probably 40 of them. In my house, they sat on a shelf. In the hands of Nick, they were hours of enjoyment when he was in desperate need of them. Without hesitation I turned them over to more suitable hands. Years later, in his late teens I still saw the Sgt. Slaughter figure in his room.

    15. Over the Edge 1999- I donít think Iíll ever forget the night Owen Hart died. Very few events in wrestling have affected me as much as this one, an event that I watched with my Dad on PPV. Itís difficult even today to put into words how I felt when Owen fell, and how it must have felt for the performers to continue with the show that evening. Much second guessing has occurred over the years as to what SHOULD have been done. Should they have stopped the show entirely? I still donít know the answer to that. All I know is that rattled me for weeks after, and for a brief time I had to step away from wrestling to let that all settle. Owen is missed, every single day.

    16. Monday Nitro- I had the opportunity at the end of 1999 to go to Monday Nitro, the night after Starrcade at the Baltimore Arena. I was again at ringside, along the entrance walkway. Iíd not been to a Nitro before, and while WCW was floundering a bit at this time it was still a worthwhile experience. Bret Hart defeated Goldberg that night for the Vacant WCW title, and Jeff Jarrett wrestled Chris Benoit in one of the worst ladder match Iíve ever seen; a match that was just short of 7 minutes long. But I also got to see Curt Hennig, Kanyon, Bam Bam Bigelow, Sid, Harlem Heat and The Varsity Club. Overall, it was worthwhile, despite not being the best show.

    17. June 24, 2007- I watched in horror. I hugged my kids. I cried some. Itís still unspeakable.

    18. Daniel Bryan Cashes In- Somewhere in the back of my mind walking to the Arena I had an itch telling me that this would happen. TLC 2011 on paper was a bit of a mediocre card, but my buddy Chris wanted to go so I tagged along, despite not being totally sold on the event. Mark Henry was Champion, and he was in a Chairs Match against Big Show which was the blow-off to their really good feud. Show won, but after the match Mark Henry beat him down with chair shot after chair shot. Then the music hit and here came DB with his briefcase. A few seconds later and Daniel was World Champion. Zack Ryder won the US Title that night, and CM Punk retained in a Triple Threat TLC match as well. Years later and Punk is gone, Ryder is almost non-existent, and Daniel just returned to action.

    19. Best in the World 2013- It had been years since Iíd seen anything other than WWE or WCW live, going all the way back to my early years watching wrestling. In 2013 I went solo to Ring of Honorís Best in the World, headlined by Briscoe vs. Briscoe for the RoH Title. Since then, most of the talent on that card has gone elsewhere, with only a few remaining with the promotion. Mike Bennett, Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Tommaso Ciampa, Fish and OíReilly, Cedric Alexander, Matt Hardy, and Kevin Steen all became WWE bound. Just goes to show the level of talent that has gone through Ring of Honor through the years. That would be my only RoH show until just this past month.

    20. Interviewing Matt Morgan & John Hennigan (Mundo/Morrison/Nitro/Impact) - For a little while I was involved with LOP Radio. I briefly had a show until life got in the way, but I also tried really hard to book some interviews with wrestlers. Over Twitter I got to talking with Matt Morgan, who at the time was only wrestling sporadically. I always felt Morgan should have been bigger than he was, and TNA really dropped the ball not giving him the title when they had the chance. He was set to wrestle John Morrison for the first time at an Indy event and I managed to book an interview with them both. We chatted for a good half hour about their early days in WWE, Mattís time in TNA, Johnís fitness program and their upcoming match. Overall it was a great interview, and I thank both of them for doing it.

    21. Battleground Baltimore- A few years ago I was found out about a book that was being put together about the history of professional wrestling at the Baltimore Arena. In the notification it asked for people to contact them with any stories/memories/details about their experiences watching shows there. Since Iíd been going for decades I got in contact with the author and we chatted for close to an hour. As it happens, Iím quoted about 4-5 times in the book. Oddly, one of the quotes is misrepresented as mine, but isnít. But hey, Iím in the book.

    22. Lucha Underground- I suppose you can imagine after watching wrestling for so long Iíve seen just about everything. Well youíd be right, almost. As an older fan Iím always looking for something new to keep me invested, and thatís where Lucha Underground comes in. I remember back in the day watching Wrestling Society X on MTV, a show that LU harkens back to in a lot of ways. I was immediately drawn into its storytelling, not shying away from the absurd or insane. This is a story-driven show with wrestling, to the point where the action supplements everything else that is going on. The core story is deep, and while I donít know if it will ever be fully told, Iíd love to see it come to fruition. Itís not always a home-run, as evidenced by the 4th Season premiere, but week after week it is Must-See for me. My daughter Josie has enjoyed it as well, but itís also a show I have to screen in advance because it can be quite adult in theme.

    23. Josie and Going Full Circle- I never much thought about how my Dad felt taking me to wrestling when I was younger. It was something he enjoyed, and now he had a kid to share it with. But I never thought about that at all. Now I have kids of my own and Iím lucky enough to have my middle daughter enjoy watching wrestling with me. She follows the WWE on her ESPN app. She watches Lucha with me and most recently she and I have gone to several NXT Live shows, not missing a single one since they started touring in Baltimore. Much of the roster of the first show is now on the Main Roster. Weíve watched talent grow. Josie has slapped the back of Killian Dain, had Samoa Joe glare at her when she called him a Girl Scout Cookie, been scolded by Velveteen Dream and been chosen as Fan of the Night where she won some NXT swag. Now I know how my Dad felt. I wouldnít trade this for the world.

    24. EVOLVE- I continue to try and broaden my wrestling horizons when I can, and in the past year Iíve been able to go to a couple of EVOLVE shows. I was at Lio Rushís last appearance in Baltimore before going to the WWE. I saw WALTER beat the crap out of Fred Yehi. I chatted with the King of Bros Matt Riddle. I saw Keith Lee, Zack Sabre Jr, and even an appearance by William Regal. Thereís some great action in EVOLVE, so if you get a chance, go check them out.

    25. Best in the World 2018- After 5 years I was back at Ring of Honor, just a few short weeks ago. I went with some friends of mine to their first appearance at a much bigger venue for them. They filled up about 4000 of the 6000 seats in the place, with only the smaller upper deck empty. It was a damn entertaining show, and during that time I checked off another stupid check-mark on my Bucket List. I was part of starting a chant. At one point Austin Aries kick the living shit out of Kenny King as he dove through the ropes. Two rows back a ďYou Killed KennyĒ chant started. Without hesitating I started the response chant of ďYou Bastard.Ē It caught on around the entire arena. We were applauded by our section. Hey, itís the little things.

    26. You Guys- Being a part of this crazy community at LOP has meant more to me than I ever thought. I love you all, even the assholes. While Iím hanging up the keyboard, Iím not going anywhere.

    So before I go, hereís some trivia around the Number 50.

    50th WWE Champion
    Triple H, winning the title in 1999. It was his first reign and he held it for 22 days

    50th WWE PPV
    In Your House 7; April 28, 1996
    Main Evented by Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel

    Wrestlers Turning 50 This Year
    Kurt Angle
    Bull Buchanan
    Bull Nakano
    Mideon
    Disco Inferno
    Minoru Suzuki
    Viscera
    Vickie Guerrero
    William Regal
    Yuji Nagata

    Wrestlers Sharing My Birthday (July 17)
    Daffney
    Mike Knox
    Mojo Rawley

    Thatís it for now. Hope you enjoyed this trip down Memory Lane.

    Until next time,
    Rob Out!

  6. #6
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    I don't think Viscera will be turning 50 any time soon!!!

    These have been a great insight, especially the more personal ones like 14 & 23.

  7. #7
    The Brain
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    Well, you never know with these old records. Your memory could be right and they could be wrong! But yeah, so strange how that stuff can shift about. I've been watching back some of the early stuff I saw in wrestling, only 15 years ago, but even some of that isn't quite the way I remembered it.

    Really enjoyed this Rob. The personal stuff was so touching, like giving your toys to that poor kid, and experiencing wrestling with your daughter. I hope in 20 years I have memories as rich as yours to look back on in my wrestling fandom, I'm well on my way but there's so much more to be experienced. Thanks for all you've contributed around here, I really hope even if you're not writing you still stick around the site as much as possible.

  8. #8
    Forgotten Ponder
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    condolences on sharing a birthday with Mojo lol

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the feedback guys, much appreciated. And yes Randall, sharing a birthday with Mojo Rawley is very disheartening. At least I got Daffney too. I dig her.

  10. #10
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I enjoyed this, Rob. A nice trip down memory lane and fun to see some of the landmarks of your own fandom.


    One thing to add to the black world champions thing... a name to add in is probably Bearcat Wright. He was around the same kinda time as Bobo Brazil and held a spur of the NWA title out on the West Coast after the NWA preferred to pretend that Carpentier's reign never happened and just reverted to Thesz. As the west coast title has diminished in importance over time it's faded from memory, but that's largely because neither the WWF or WCW ever recognised it as part of their belt. But it was considered a 'world' title at that time. And if nothing else, it's very interesting that in the early 1960s you've got Brazil and Wright at pretty much exactly the same time, and Wright's achievements even stayed on the record books.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  11. #11
    The Brain
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    Pete, that's an incredible bit of history I've never heard before. Love it.

  12. #12
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    It was something I discovered and implicit in the first column of the LoP Championship series, but I never really had the space in there to pull it out and do any more with it. It's definitely interesting though!

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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