I’ve had a strange relationship with professional wrestling. Through some parts of my life, I was a big fan, others – including now – not as much, but I’ve gotten to know a bit more about the current state of the sport ever since I added Heel/Face Wrestling to the Project Spurs Network and started producing the podcasts.
As a kid growing up in San Antonio, I loved wrestling. I enjoyed WWE (WWF at the time), but what I really loved was something called World Class Championship Wrestling. I believe it was in Texas only, but it used to show on Friday nights and my brothers and I were glued to the television.
One time, when we had several inches of snow in San Antonio, I went outside and walked around in the snow and took it all in, but left my brothers out playing in the snow to go home so I didn’t miss wrestling. It was where I was introduced to several wrestlers before they made it to the WWF and even others that caught my attention but didn’t make it big. Some of the names I remember watching the most were the Von Erich brothers, The Fabulous Freebirds, Bruiser Brody, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Gino Hernandez, Terry Gordy, The Missing Link, Kamala, Jose Lothario, “HBK” Shawn Michaels and Andre the Giant among others.
I grew up as the youngest of five boys, and my poor sister was the only girl of the family, so all the boys loved wrestling. My brother Steven probably loved wrestling the most. We didn’t want to just watch – we wanted to be the wrestlers and relive all the action in our own back yard. Steven has always been the most creative and ingenious, so while we first started wrestling just on the cushions from our old camper, Steven found a way to build a ring. The two back fences at our house were two sides, and he repurposed some old water hoses as the ring ropes and made a corner with a turnbuckle to tie the hoses to. As kids who had just watched wrestling religiously every Friday, we were amazed and loved it because it felt like the real thing.
But Steven took it one step further. He had some carbon paper and would make contracts for us to sign for our matches, and then made championship belts out of cardboard and aluminum ashtrays you would see in hotels or bars. His belts were pretty epic, and he has them saved so once I find them in storage, I’ll make sure to post them here.
So we had real wrestling matches, with contracts and belts. Obviously we just wrestled and never looked to hurt each other or else my parents would’ve put a stop to it quick. It was a big part of my childhood. Obviously I was the youngest, so my record wasn’t the best, but my love of wrestling then was at an all-time high.
For one of my brother’s birthdays, my parents got all of us tickets to go see WCCW live at Joe & Harry Freeman Coliseum. That must’ve been my first live sporting event, and we went all the way to the bottom to shake the wrestler’s hands as they walked to the ring. The Missing Link even had an exchange with one of my brothers. I remember booing as loudly as I could when the Freebirds came out and cheering my head off for the Von Erichs, especially Kerry, who had been one of my favorites. It was an awesome experience. Little did I know that my parents were also fans and had gone to see it live with some of their friends one time.
That’s when I was the biggest fan of wrestling. It was still pretty pure to me and I believed everything I saw. I lost interest after I got older and WCCW went defunct. I still watched it occasionally, but it was more of a “if it was on, I would watch” type of situation.
I regained some interest in wrestling a bit more when I was older and in college. I had moved in with my brother Tony, my sister-in-law and their two young sons. The entire family loved WWE. They would watch everything from Raw to SmackDown and would order all the pay-per-views. It was an event at their house, kind of like the boxing pay-per-views are at mine, so I obviously joined the party and started watching. It became ritual again. It was at the time that the Rock, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and my personal favorites, D-Generation X (HBK and Triple H) were pretty popular. Every week I watched wondering how storylines would play out.
I ended up losing interest about a year or two later. Wrestling had become a big time investment and going to school and working just didn’t allow it. It was also around the time that I was asked to start covering the Spurs, so several games weekly meant my free time was very limited.
I enjoy reading the articles here. I also enjoy listening to the Heel/Face Radio podcasts as I record and edit them and the knowledge and passion from everyone on staff is very evident.
I’m not sure I’ll ever get back to being a fan as much as I had been, but getting to work with Heel/Face Wrestling has me right back in the middle of things
Going to my first live wrestling show in over 25 plus years a few weeks ago at River City Wrestling brought out some nice childhood memories, and watching two kids enjoying wrestling as if they were at Disney World told me not much has changed since I was that age.