I want to take this moment to tell a little story about the time we were in Downtown Bartow this year for our second time at the SYFY Bartow fan event. Last year had been fun but then this year there was one event that will always remain with me and once again, as seems to be happening a lot lately, it has to do with a wrestler.

Right down the street from where the All Things Geek/Draxis Soaps booth was set up they had a line of wrestlers set up in front of a building. Some real classics and while not all of them were in the Hall of Fame I would sy they were the types that all should be in there for one reason or another. They had Tugboat AKA Typhoon AKA The Shockmaster who was always one of my favorite wrestlers. They had one half of the old tag team The Killer Bees who were before my time and they also had The Outlaw. If you ever want to see a real wrestling fan cringe then you need to be where I was that day. Standing there talking to another wrestler and having someone come up to you and asking a man who was best known as the Outlaw “What do you think when people say that wrestling is fake?”  FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PEOPLE DON’T SAY THE F WORD TO A PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER!!!!!!!!!

Yup that really happened…then I got to see him show his wrist and a nice scar that ran from his palm down his arm that he said happened in ring. He mentioned how he now has to move 3 of his fingers together to even move them at all because of another in ring accident. The kid who asked the question went white as the Outlaw continued to describe some in ring accidents and what those accidents have done to him long term…..yeah never use the F word to a wrestler…especially an old timer.

By this time I had been up at the table talking with Luke of the Bushwackers. These guys were just let into the WWE Hall of Fame last year and since I was a kid they had always been one of my favorite fun filled tag teas with how they used to go around licking the audience and how they would bite their opponent and then Mean Gene would say they were only gumming them. They were just fun and always one of my #1 picks in anything…even if I did get those picks wrong most of the time it seemed (yeah as usual I don’t think the WWE used them to their fullest potential…this is a trend with the WWE). Anyway I was talking to Luke when that whole “F” word dropping happened and I kinda cringed and shook my head saying “people never learn do they” and he just laughed and asked how long I had been a fan. I told him I had been a fan of theirs since like the 80’s when I was introduced to the WWE by my uncle. He asked if I knew much of their stuff as the sheepherders from New Zealand and I said no to which he said they have tons of stuff on youtube for those day and that if I looked it up they had some real hard core matches back then like the barbwire matches and such. I still need to do that look up I keep forgetting.

Back to the story at hand however. All of the wrestlers I talked to were very nice but I got to talking to Luke more than the others for some reason. He was just very nice and very easy going and I told him that I considered myself very lucky to meet him and to know so many great wrestlers such as the guys in the WXW. He asked why it meant so much to me and I told him my story. I have said a lot about this, while my story went worldwide and many people prayed for me it seemed that those I was closest too friend wise fell silent when I was diagnosed with cancer. I still had my family and that was wonderful but to be honest I needed my friends and the ones I needed just didn’t seem to be around all that much at all and when they were around it always seemed that I was walking on eggshells around them. Then came the wrestlers from WXW…they one by one friended me online. They became the stars of my website at least once a month and they all started sharing my blog. As they started to recognize me and that I was their fan that had cancer they started to find me at the shows during intermission and talk to me. They took their time to find me and ask me how I was doing. I even had one tell me he had dedicated his winning match in a very important tournament to me and took his time literally seconds before the match started to come and shake my hand and thank me for being there.

The WXW cared about me as a fan but also as a friend, as a fellow human being. I found out from them that while I look up to them for what they can do in the ring that I know I could ever do that these same people looked up to me because of my fight against cancer. One of my biggest supporters during this time has been the wrestler Marc Mandrake and I can’t even begin to tell him or even you the reader just how much his support through all of this has meant to me. So I told Luke all this, he said those guys were obviously great guys and he asked how I was and how my fight was going and then that’s when he did something I will never forget. He looked right at me and said

“You got  camera?”

“Ummm I have my iPod that has a camera.” And I pulled it out.

“Any of these guys here with you?” Nods to the crowd to which I shake my head. So he points to a guy and says “Hey you…take this guys camera and get our picture.”

12733625_10208236413805205_5131330790242402845_nSo that’s how I got this picture of me and Bushwacker Luke that I will always treasure. A little something he gave me for free that he was charging everyone else for simply because I had a respect for him and his fellow wrestlers and he respected me as a fellow warrior even if our fights were different. Mine may not have barbed wire and nasty piledrivers, but he said mine was no less a fight and to keep up the good work against cancer. That is something I will never ever forget.

6 thoughts on “Meeting a Bushwacker

  1. The story lines might be a little wacky at times, but for the most part, I always felt wresting was a very athletic event. The pain is hardly fake.

  2. As a fellow wrestling fan let me say this- I am so jealous you have been able to meet these great wrestlers! I’d love to meet some of my wrestling heroes from my childhood!

    1. ::Tries again to respond:: OK try number 3….first…never try to respond to someone at 6am in a dark room its not seeming to work very well.

      Anyway the trick to meeting some awesome wrestlers and some awesome other famous people seems to be easy honestly and I’ll let you in on it here.

      1)Find your local indie promotion. These are best if run by a local wrestling school. Lots of wrestling schools are run by old wrestlers. For instance just near me we have the WXW which has the Wild Samoan Pro-Wrestling Training Center this is run by Afa the Wild Samoan….we also have in my area a school run by Dory Funk that has shows in Ocala every so often. I know Tugboat has a school nearby as well as do a few others. The great thing with the indie promotions is if they are run by anyone who has made a name in the business then you never know who will be there. With WXW I was able to shake the hands of people like Afa the Wild Samoan, Tugboat, Meng, Ricky Santana, The Puerterican Assassin, Ricardo Rodriguez and Camacho.

      2) Find local mediumsized geek conventions. The older wrestlers always end up at geek conventions to sign autographs. At SyFy Bartow which is a one day outdoor convention I met Bushwacker Luke, The Outlaw, Tugboat, one half of the killer bees and a womens wrestler whose name escapes me right now (Kelani?) Anyway that was just at a small convention thing, I know at places like Spooky Empire I have met DDP and my friend met Roddy Piper and got me his autograph. Ric Flair is commonly mentioned for Florida Supercon and some of the other ones down here and I am sure he ends up going to others too.

      So keep your eyes out for those two things and you may be able to do a fan squeel about some of your fav wrestler and meeting them in person too!

      1. It is such special moment to be able to meet someone you look up to and to be able to talk to them like the real person they are! That is why we love the indie conventions and events because they are smaller and more laid back and you can actually take time to talk to your idols- rather than a 10 second encounter of a handshake, signature and quick photo. So definitely take Kevin’s advice and look for the indie events!

  3. Ahhhh I cannot BELIEVE someone asked the Outlaw about wrestling being fake. Kind of a great story though. Love your pic with Bushwacker Luke — super fun. Very cool that you got to meet some of your heroes. Any other funny stories?

    1. Lots more great stories from lots more places…..while it may be hard for me to go out and do a lot of stuff right now as I a still recovering from my surgery one thing I can continue to do is blog. Check out some of my WXW Blogs they have some great stories on them about how we almost ended up in the middle of the action…..I also hope to be doing some blogs soon remembering my time Role Playing on AOL with the Rhydin community and there were some fun stories from that. A little of everything will be talked of so stay tuned.

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