Friday, November 14, 2008

The Holy Grail of Wrestling Fans

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.

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 never seemed like one of the crown jewels of the WWF like Philadelphia, New York City, or Boston.

That's not to say we didn't get some really interesting house shows. We had our 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. 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!

We 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.

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!

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!

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