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.”
So 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.