I’ll never forget the wrestling match that made me a pro wrestling fan. Although I watched it at a much later date than when it occured it was a big deal to me. Hogan vs Andre at Wrestlemania III. Now that you’ve let out your collective groan at how cliche of a match this was to pick let me paint a bit of a picture.
I was terrified of Andre the Giant. Anytime he was on the TV I’d reach for my friend: a plain, boring square blue pillow aptly named Blue. He was a giant man. Huge! He was bigger than my father who proudly stands at six feet six inches tall. I’ll never forget hearing my dad say. “Man, I don’t think I could take that guy in a fight.” I didn’t know what to do. There was a man would my dad admitted that he couldn’t beat up? My reality was shattered and I feared him even more. Sure my ole pal Blue and I were the Tag Team Champions of the Imaginary World Wrestling Federation (I wasn’t that imaginative as a child) but Andre handled 2 on 1 situations with ease and to be honest.. my partner was kind of lazy.
Hulk Hogan was my homeboy. He embodied everything I wanted to be. He was strong, charismatic, and always did the right thing. I took my vitamins and said my prayers simply because he told me to. I had Hulk shirts, headbands, a feather boa, posters, even Hulkamania plastic-wear that I always ate my meals while watching wrestling with. He lived up to his name. He was the Icon.
My uncle invited me to his house one day to watch some of his wrestling VHS tapes which we did from time to time. I didn’t know anything about story lines or kayfabe and his videos were always out of order or didn’t have the whole show or ends of matches but I didn’t mind. I got to spend some time with my uncle over a hobby we shared.
Then it happened. Hogan vs Andre. I didn’t know what to do. I was afraid to watch the match. I didn’t have any of my Hogan gear so if he needed help to hulk up I couldn’t help him. Then a dark thought entered my mind. What if Hogan lost? Would that mean all the stuff he said was true? would I have to just wander around lost without a hero? Would America no longer be the greatest country in the world? My uncle always tells the story that I sat on the couch paying very close attention to the match. I was extremely doe-eyed and quiet, focusing all my energy on watching the match.
Hogan goes for the first slam on Andre and it was unsuccessfully. I remember this moment as it was the closest to despair I’ve ever been. I figured that was it. It was time to pack up and move to Mexico or Canada. Then match went on. Hogan attempted for a second time to scoop slam Andre. I was yelling at him, screaming, pleading. “Just Drop him on his head. Then you can win.”
My Uncle remarks, “He can’t. Andre is too big! He should just give up!.”
“NO!” I yelled, “Hogan never gives up. Never ever everrrrrrrrrr. He keeps trying no matter what.”
Then it happened.
Hogan turned him over and finished the slam. Exhausted and tired he leans into the ropes. He hits the leg drop and the rest is history.
That’s what I love about pro-wrestling. The stories, feudes, characters and choreography of it all. It comes together to create a great show and a great experience. Now that I’ve gotten older I’m a little bit more exposed to the politics of wrestling which makes it a hard for me to go back and enjoy it like I did my youth but it still brings me joy and lets me relive some memories and make a lot of new ones.
Kasey Jones is one of our newest contributing writers at the Warp Zone Network. Lifelong smark, casually serious fighting game player, and comic book aficionado. Currently located in Los Angeles and loving it.