Brushes With Greatness
Brushes With Greatness

After being on-line for almost two years, I've come to feel that Brushes With Greatness has run its course. This posting, on 11/8/98, will be the last posting for Brushes With Greatness on DDT Digest. Hopefully, you'll enjoy this last set.

Dan in NJ: The first of the three was following Wrestlemania I at Madison Square Garden. I was a freshman in HS, and after the event in NYC, we went to a Japanese place in NJ. There were five of us, and they sat us at a table in another room with just one other table in it. We had been there eating for about a half hour, when Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo came in and sat at the table next to us. I waited until they ordered to start bothering them, and I was asking them all kinds of stuff. When I finally asked Rotundo how his head was, from getting hit with Blassie's cane (and ultimately getting pinned by Volkoff, or the Sheik, can't remember), he must have forgotten about it, and came off lamely saying, "Oh yeah, it's still kinda sore". I left them alone after that.
Three years later, maybe about 1986, I was working in a McDonalds on a Sunday morning, and a friend and I noticed a guy who had come in, bearing a striking resemblance to Junk Yard Dog. We were in the grill area, and watched the guy get his food to go (don't know why he just didn't use the drive-thru). As he was walking away from the counter my friend yelled, "HEY DOG!!", and I gave a JYD "bark". He turned around, smiled, and gave one back. Class, and early in the a.m., also!
In '94, I was in a Wal-Mart in Sanford, NC, with my wife, and all of a sudden, who was sitting at a table in the store, but Ivan Korloff! He was huge when I started watching WWF in the early 80's, and I said to my wife, "I gotta talk to this guy!" She rolled her eyes and said, "Oh geez..." I went up to him, and he said hey, and gave me an autographed pic, asking me for a donation to yadda, yadda, yadda, and I started telling him a story about how I saw him wrestle, and then he was interviewed by Pat Patterson, and he slapped Pat, and boy, was Pat pissed! Then, in what caught me as off guard as I have ever been almost in my life, he said "Oh, Yeah! I remember that", and gave me the date, the location, the this, and the that to everything about that particular incident, and literally went on for at least five minutes...
By the way, absolutely NO trace of a Russian accent. I was disappointed.
Andrew from Orcman's Wrestling Website: In 1997, I went to Wrestlemania XIII, and after the event we went to the hotel where they were all staying. The guy I went with knew Mick Foley (Mankind at the time), so we got to go up to his room. He was really nice. He signed one picture for me and one for my friend who wasn't there. I also got a picture with him holding the Slammy he had just won. I also got Hawk's autograph. I saw Stone Cold Walking down the hall, he seemed pretty pissed. I also saw Goldust, Pillman, Sid, Sunny (with Candido by the way) and many others.
David S. from South Carolina: The first was in November, 1985. I was changing planes in Charlotte on my way home for Thanksgiving. I was walking from one gate to another when I heard a commotion behind me. I turned around and there was THE MAN, Ric Flair talking to some people. Don't know if they were fans or people he knew. I slowed way down, pretty much coming to a halt. When the people left Flair, I turned around and said "I wish I had a pen so I could get an autograph because no one will believe I met you." He shook my hand and said "How are you today, sir?" Keep in mind, at this point of his career, he was virtually a unanimous number one on every most hated wrestler list. Yet, he was a class gentleman when I met him.
By the way, he boarded a flight to Charleston, WV with Magnum TA and Dusty Rhodes. Dusty reminded me of a line from the movie Airplane: "the fog is getting thicker -- and Dusty's getting LARGER!"
My other brush was in November, 1996. (What is it about November and wrestlers every 11 years. Next brush: November, 2007.) I was at Nitro in Florence, S.C. This was the one where Bischoff revealed himself as the leader of the nWo. A friend of mine who was a newspaper sports editor got me a comp ringside ticket. After the show, I went backstage with him and another sportswriter. We were in a hospitality room where Kevin Nash was on the phone.
By the way, the sports editor went backstage before the show, went into a room by accident and ended up face to face with Ric Flair. Flair gave him a great interview which was in the paper the next day.
Jeremy: My brush with greatness came over Valentine's Day weekend this year. I was up in Boston with my debate team for a tournament at Harvard. Anyways, the hotel that we were staying at near MIT was also the same hotel that the "Macho Man" Randy Savage was staying at while he was up there to receive his "Man of the Year" Award. One day, a couple of my friends and I were in the weight room working out and in walks Savage. We talked to him for a bit and he told us why he was up here and everything and he eventually gave us some autographed pictures of him. The thing that I found funny though was that he sounded just like he does on tv with his voice and everything.
Chris: My brush came during 1992 Baseball Season at Tiger Stadium in Detroit. The WWF had a Saturday afternoon house show, and I was at a Tiger game the night before. Randy Savage was there, probably to meet with his old minor league roommate Larry Herndon who was the Tiger batting coach. He was being interviewed in the press box by the Tiger announcers during the game, and since the game is played over the loudspeakers in the concourses, everyone could hear it. We immediately ran towards the press box and waited. After several minutes, Macho emerged, and exchanged autographs and small talk. I made the mistake of asking him "Macho, is your voice always like that?" He responded with "F*** you man." This got a huge pop from the few who were there, although I don't think Macho wanted that reaction. It was pretty cool and funny.
Brian: When WCW Nitro tickets went on sale for a show in Minneapolis, my friends and I found out that Ric Flair was going to be at a gas station signing autographs. We left straight from school, got there at four, and we were the only ones there besides a lady from the radio station that was promoting it. We waited two and a half hours and we were the first in line. When Ric got there we told him how long we were there so he gave us all Flair t-shirts. Not only that, but the radio station hooked us up with tickets for the show. That was easily my brush with greatness.
Keith G. from The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University: I used to work at McDonalds in Rogers, MN, and I went to school in Elk River. We've had a couple well known people live in the area (Joel Otto of hockey fame is probably the most famous), but Curt Hennig's original home was also Elk River.
Anyways, it was late one night, and we were about an hour away from closing up. The drive through speaker went off, and someone ordered a value meal. I didn't notice right away, but when I handed the man his food, I noticed it was Curt Hennig. He seemed to be in a tired mood, but he said thanks and drove off. I don't know if he was visiting his family or what, but I didn't get the chance to say anything to him. This was pre-nWo and post Mr. Perfect time, but I would have liked to tell him that I once saw him in a match back in his AWA days when he fought Greg Gagne. But, oh well.
P.S. I believe he ordered a plain quarter pounder with cheese in case anybody was wondering.
jopat: I was going to D.J. a spring formal for my college at the hotel across from the old Spectrum. My buddy and I went into the bar because we couldn't check into the room. The waitress found this out and helped us get checked into our room. On our way back down to the bar, who was standing at the check-in counter was none other then Greg "The Hammer" Valentine!!! Also standing next to him was Wendi Richter. I went up to him and shook his hand and he was nice, however my buddy said "always see you on TV" and he hasn't been on TV for a long time.
Also found out that they wouldn't let him check into his hotel room.
M: I meet Arn Anderson in Charlotte after a Panther football game. We invited him over for a drink, and to our surprise he came over just as he said he would. We talked for at least 30 minutes. The place was packed, but Arn found time to talk to four of his biggest fans. We have also meet Ric Flair many times and they are nothing but first class men.
Robert: I live in Atlanta and travel a lot so I run into wrestlers fairly frequently. I also work out at Sting and Luger's gym in Atlanta so I see them and other wrestlers all the time.Here are a few examples:
I once was flying home to Tampa at Christmas (I believe it was 1995) and got on the plane with: Hogan, Savage, The Giant, and Brutus, Booty man or whatever he was calling himself at the time and Madusa. All of the above except for Madusa was in first Class. Hogan was sitting next to the Giant. Madusa sat behind my wife, my son and me. She was wearing some kind of Mickey Mouse shirt and was playing peek-a-boo with my kid (he was 1 at the time).
I went up to Hogan, shook his hand and he called me "brother" about 10 times. At the gym I have seen: Luger (nice, but kinda quiet), Sting (real animated - runs around a lot), Larry Zybszko (in there mostly in the mornings, usually works out alone), Disco Inferno (was in there on a Sunday with Larry Z.), and Goldberg (cuts up a lot and lifts a TON of weight).
I have talked to Sting and Luger several times and they are both cut-ups and down to earth. I never "mark-out" when they are around and I think they appreciate it.
Here's one more "brush". I was in a Sports Authority store about a year ago looking for a pair of tennis shoes when in comes Terry Taylor and (I assume) his kid. I did say hey to him and he was really nice. He laughed when I told him that I worked out at Sting and Luger's place and asked how much work they really did in there.
Chris S.: On Friday, June 19th, ECW debuted in my hometown of York, PA. Well after the show, when everyone left, I stuck around. Even though I was told to leave by security but the one guard didn't mind so he let me hang around. I was standing where the wrestlers walk from the dressing room to the bathrooms. I was standing there and Rob Van Dam walks by. Of course I'm a huge RVD mark and I wanted to shake his hand but the security guard wouldn't let me so I told him that he "was the F'N man" and he looked over at me and said something.
Then the next wrestler was Axl Rotten, Axl seemed really cool. I shook his hand, and then a few kids asked for autographs and of course Axl signed them all. Then I saw Sign Guy and said hello to him. Earlier that night, I met Johnny Grunge who came along with the Sandman to the show, I shook his hand. Johnny mumbled something so I thanked him and left. And then I spoke to an indie wrestler from the PA/MD area, Adam Flash. He was jobbing in ECW for a little while. Whenever Adam comes around here I always talk to him at shows.
Last time we went to a sub place after the show and chilled with some other indie wrestlers. Then while I was talking to him I met the Blue Meanie and shook his hand. All in all a great night, not as good as my trip to the arena on 7-18, but it was great.
Cornbread, from Ohio State University: I recently attended the ECW's Heat Wave 98 pay-per-view in Dayton, Ohio. On the day before they had a "Fan Fest" at the Dayton Marriott. I went hoping to get some merchandise, and ended up talking with most of the ECW roster.
People were lined up waiting to get into the sessions, and security was walking around in the lobby keeping order. One guy was walking around acting goofy, and nobody was paying him much mind. Bam Bam Bigelow showed up, and he was huge. Finally the session opened and we got in. Shane Douglas and Bam Bam were at the same table, talking about the sexual exploits from the night before, and being pretty loud about it. From what they were saying, Tommy Dreamer had a wild night with Francine. Shane had a wedding ring on. Bam Bam was being a dick and not signing autographs unless you bought a picture from him. Francine was there and being very nice to everyone, and Chris Candido was being very quiet.
Before the next session started we were all out in the hall again. Someone had been passing out flyers for an independent card, and the goofy guy walked up and asked me how to get to Xenia, where the card was held. I didn't know, cause I'm not from Dayton, so he thanked me and moved on. New Jack came out, and started posing and acting goofy. He finally stated he was going to the bar, because he had to "get drunk before signing autographs for all of us muthaf***ers". A fight broke out somewhere and from out of no where Balls Mahoney and Spike Dudley took off.
The second session started, and first up was Kronus. He seemed a little slow, and was taking up a whole piece of paper signing autographs, which pissed off Dreamer and New Jack at the end of the line. Kronus finally had enough and popped open a beer that his wife had snuck in. Balls and Axl were next, and they were trading war stories with people about their scars. The Blue Meanie was next and the guy next to him was the goofy guy from the hall, who ended up being Nova. I sort of felt like an ass, since this guy was out with the fans for two hours and no one had recognized him, even though he was mingling and talking with people. He was nice, and held up prisoner numbers when I took his pictures. Next up was Spike Dudley, who looked to be about 17 years old. He looks quite normal out of character. Tommy Dreamer was next up, and he asked me who would be calling him from Dayton, as his cell phone was ringing. I told him I didn't know, and he signed an autograph. I asked for a picture, and he told me that to have a picture taken of him I would have to be in it, so I went around back of the table, and another guy in line took the picture. He shook my hand, thanked me; an all around nice guy. Since I was there, I asked New Jack for a picture with me. He acted surprised, and I told him I was serious. We posed and he put his head on my shoulder. He was cool as hell, and his forehead it really scared up from all of the blading.
It was a fun event, and the wrestlers were all very approachable and loose. They didn't mind being there, and were having fun taking pictures and talking with the fans. As soon as In get them scanned in, I shoud have pictures up on my website, the Westside Wrestling Connection.
Wendy D.: About ten years ago, while I was visiting New York City. I was walking through the lobby of the New York Hilton, where we were staying. I saw this HUGE man. I was in awe over how huge he was, height wise and muscle wise, he was just a big HUGE redwood. He had long straight thin platinum blonde hair and he was BALDING big time. He also had a blonde mustache and beard. He was wearing a tan suit without a tie and he didn't seem like he wanted to be there. I also found it strange that he was wearing dark sunglasses in a hotel lobby in the middle of February.
Well, I wasn't a big fan of wrestling at the time, but I figured out, then and there, it had to be HULK HOGAN because I had seen him on TV. I mean who else is that tall, has muscles like that, with long blonde hair and balding?? I was in a hurry and I really didn't care, so I didn't stop and ask him for an autograph, now, I wish I had, but it was Hulk Hogan. HE IS HUGE!!
Jeremie from Virginia Beach, VA: My brush with greatness was pretty cool. I was playing in a golf tournament in Norfolk VA on 8/7/98 for the re-election fund of the local sheriff. My brother and I were in the group that played early in the morning. Well, about 20 minutes before the afternoon group went off my brother taps me on the shoulder and says, "Hey, that guy over there was a pro wrestler."
Now, I kind of chuckled the first time I looked at him, but it seemed like it could be true. Well, I looked again and I did recognize his face, I just couldn't place it with anyone of the last 5 or 6 years. I asked my brother his name and he said, "Terry or Tully Blundard or somelike like that," Well, guess who... Tully Blanchard (IV HORSEMEN IV LIFE).
Well, he came up and asked if we could find someway to attach his kid's car seat to the golf cart that his wife was driving (DAMN, his wife is HOT.) Well, I asked him a few questions about the old days and he very politely answered and seemed enthuiastic about everything I had to say. We also talked about Ric Flair and the current Double AA and Horsemen angles. This guy was pretty cool.
Andy: Here's a "brush with greatness" for your site that's related to the Road Wild PPV this year. Though it falls into the "heard it from a friend" category, I think it's hilarious...
I was in Spearfish, SD (about 10 miles from Sturgis) on business this Monday, and the manager of the plant I went to told me that his oldest son was at a local water park during the weekend. While there, a girl asked him if she could borrow the inner tube that he'd brought with him to go down the water slides. He obliged, and after a couple of trips down the slide, she brought back the tube and introduced him to her daddy... Hulk Hogan! For his kindness, he got to spend the rest of the day zipping down the slides with the Bollea family.
It just struck me as being really funny that, considering the bad-ass persona he portrays, instead of hanging with the bikers in Sturgis, Hogan spent the day sliding down a water slide with his family!
Bob R.: This was several years ago, around 1992 and I was a manager at an arcade in southern Indiana.
The arcade was located in the upstairs of a mall and on this particular day, Jerry Lawler and Jeff Jarrett were scheduled to sign autographs. Well, about two hours before the signing I was doing my walking tour of the arcade when I rounded a corner and came face to face with Lawler and Jarrett sinking all kinds of money into this quarterback football game. Being sure not to mark out, I watched them for a minute while they played this game and then kinda made my way through the arcade. As I was going on break, I ran into them again when they were on their way to sign some autographs and shook Lawler's hand (Jeff seemed really out of it, he may have caught a chair upside his head the night before).
A little later on I was working our prize counter, where people could exchange tickets they won from the games in for prizes, when up walk Lawler and Jarrett. Jerry then proceeded to get himself a Cleveland Browns squeeze bottle while Jarrett just kinda' hung out. Lawler is a super nice guy if you ever meet him, a real professional. I just happened to have a "rolling eye of doom" (one of those big eyeballs that you roll along a flat surface that constantly looks up) in my pocket and while Lawler was looking at the counter I said "Hey, Jerry, why dontcha' drop this on the floor at your next match!" and rolled it accross the counter. Lawlers face lit up like a little kid's and he said "Hey, cool!" and snatched up the eye, checking it out.
He asked how many tickets it was, and seeing how many he had I knew he didnt have enough, so I told him it was on the house. He said thanks and he and Jarrett took off. A couple of really nice guys and complete professionals. That's my brush with greatness.
Vinnie F.: This might amuse some older wrestling fans. In the mid to late 70's the WWF used to have Monday Night shows once a month in Madison Square Garden, which is located on 33rd Street and Eight Avenue. Around 1978, I was working the midnight shift in the Post Office that was down the block from Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge on 52nd Street and Eighth Avenue. One Monday Night, as I was walking to work from the subway and passing HoJo's, who should get out of a cab but Tony Garrea (who at the time, I believe, was a tag team partner with Larry Zybszko) and Dominic DiNucci (who, if I remember correctly, was supposedly a cousin of Bruno Sammartino). I waved and said hello, and they waved back and I think they seemed surprised that I recognized them.
But here is my favorite part, the hotel bar had these huge plate glass windows where patrons could sit and people watch. While passing the bar windows I spot the midget wrestler Wee Willie Wilson with two rather statuesque young females sitting at a table. Only in New York.
Josh B.: I worked at a Kroger in Athens, Georgia for the last six years and we've seen the occasional celebrity (members of R.E.M., Kim Basinger, Ian Mackaye of Fugazi, Jon Schneider of Dukes of Hazzard fame) but a face that showed up several times in the two months before I quit was none other than Jake "The Snake" Roberts. I was aware that he lived in Stone Mountain for some time, but apparently the guy who takes care of his snakes lives in Athens.
Anyway, he came in from time to time and sent money via Western Union and bought groceries (not usually very much at one time). He seems to be a rather dour fellow, but one of our baggers recognized him right off the bat and asked for his autograph and Jake was very nice and obliging and chatted with him for a little bit before leaving.
John C.: I don't know if this is a brush with greatness, but I figured you'd want to hear about it. I was at a convention on Saturday that catered to wrestling, rock, toy and other fans. Scheduled to appear were: Goldberg, The Giant, Sable, and The Undertaker.
I went with my nieces to see them. Unfortunately the line to meet them was waaay too long. So we stood by the edge of the ropes waiting to see them come out: After an hour of waiting, the "Gold-berg" chant erupted and he came out with the Giant. The security guard made us move back, but while he was distracted this girl (must of been about 15 or 16) jumped the railing and gave the Giant some flowers.
We went walking around for about two hours and bumped into a table where the Iron Sheik was sitting at. He walked over to where Giant and Goldberg where sitting and their faces let up when they saw him. They took pictures and autographs. They also took pictures with Elvira, who was also there. We waited another hour and I was talking to one lady who told me she met the original Four Horsemen. I also met another who was a little fanatical. (She named her kids after Austin and Shawn Micheals.) I then saw Sable come out and had to wait another hour before his dark majesty showed up.
Scott D.: When I was 11 (I'm now 16), my dad took me and a friend to see WCW live at some building in Wildwood, NJ. My favorite wrestler Sting wrestled in the main event that night. I was so excited, I wore one of those Sting headbands, after the show was over my dad took us to McDonalds to eat, while standing in line a guy with bleach blonde hair and Sting's pants and some face paint on walked in. When he walked into the bathroom, we followed (me and my friend). We got back in line and so did he behind us, finally I told my dad who it was and my dad said something to him, then Sting said hi to us and signed our Sting headbands and talked to my dad for like 10 minutes. He was extremely nice from what I remember.
Kris H.: Well, I was on the way home from a WCW house show in Charleston, WV. It was around the time Steve Austin had first entered WCW. Of course, he was "Stunning" then. Anyway, I stop at a McDonald's for some eats. As I'm ordering, through the drive through window I see Austin's valet Lady Blossom in the back of a limo with, get this, Mr. Head of Security himself, Doug Dillinger. The thing is, wasn't Austin married to Lady Blossom at this time? Guess I should send that question to Chan and Charlie.
Anonymous and North Carolina State University: I've been reading your webpage for over a year now and I just have to let you know how great your site is! Keep up the good work.
Now with that out of the way, let me tell you who I ran into. I currently stay in Raleigh, NC. I was hanging out with a guy I work with, and we decided to go out. Being Saturday night and all, there were plenty of parties to go to.
Around 4 a.m. we end up at this guy's placed. We're there chillin', and this guy asks me if I lived at the house. I told him no, and we just start talking and hanging out. Next thing I know, he starts talking about wrestling and putting people through tables, and I thought he was just zoned. But then, this guy next to me tells me he wrestles for WCW as part of a tag team. I looked at the guy again, and I realized it was the blonde guy from Public Enemy! I couldn't remember which one he was, but it was him. He was a pretty decent guy. Might see him there again this weekend when I go back to that place since WCW doesn't seem to be using PE lately.
Oscar T.: This summer, while I was on vacation in Orlando, I was at Disney's Animal Kingdom when I saw Konnan, I knew it was him because had his name tattooed on his back. This was while I was in line to see some bug movie. Well, he was in line too, so my aunt and I caught up with him and they talked in Spanish. Then I got his autograph and took a picture with him, it was pretty cool.
Tommy J.: I think my best memory was going to Great American Bash 1992. And my dad, a general manager of Telecable, got some free tickets and BACKSTAGE PASSES! WHOO! So I went into the room not knowing who was gonna talk to and there are two of my faves. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat and "The Natural" Dustin Rhodes. So I went over and they were extremely nice. Not in character, just like they were at a school charity fund. I got autographs and pictures. (Though, I lost the Steamboat autograph. :-(
Six years ago in first grade, I was in to wrestling big time. And, of course, a big WCW man was "The Worlds Strongest Man" Bill Kazmaier. Well, one day, I see him walking in my school. Then I found out his son is in the class next to me. So I go around and I am freaking knowing this wrestler has a son in my school. So I would get into talks with him and then one day I started to almost cry in front of his wife after the Enforcers broke his ribs. It was at a soccer game and she is like "Ummm...OK."
Then about four years ago, as my dad hit 38, he decided he wanted to get big and tough again. So he decided to work out. One day he comes home and tells me that Scott Steiner was at the gym. So one day I go with him and find he isn't there but someone has gotten me an autograph. And then out of nowhere, here comes this huge man with long black hair. Scotty Steiner! Looks awesome and wearing a Monday Night RAW shirt. So I go up to him frozen and he holds out his right hand and I shake it with my left. He signs my card with a marker and it rubs off. So I have go back all embarrassed. He signs it again.
These three things made my life worth living.
David M.: This is a second-hand "Brushes With Greatness." My cousin, Adam was on the plane coming from Florida back to Atlanta. He turns around a sees a man who looks familiar and it is Scott Hall. Hall was going to Atlanta to be at the July 6, 1998 Nitro, which I attended. He later went up to him and asked if he would sign an autograph for my dad who was in Shepherd Spinal Center after a serious spinal cord injury. Hall asked what my dad's name was and Adam told him it was Greg. So my Dad got his gift. We now have an autograph from Scott Hall that says:
2 Sweet
Scott Hall
Scott Hall managed to be very cool to my 14 year old cousin.
Slick: A few years back, when I was six or seven, I went to a house show at the Palace of Auburn Hills. After the matches, I waited for autographs. We saw Hacksaw Jim Duggan walking with his wife and kids to his car then we saw the Nasty Boys. Then we were about to leave, but out came the Undertaker, it was his third WWF match. Warrior, and my favorite at the time Macho Man Randy Savage, they all stoped and I got all their autographs and talked to Macho Man for a while. I was disappointed because he didn't talk cool, though.
Bela L. from Ohio State University: My friend and went to the Columbus Convo Center last Saturday after a house show let out. While sitting around the bar at the Hyatt, we spotted Mickey J. and the Giant enter the hotel. The Giant stopped and signed a couple of autographs and then had his picture taken with some girl. We were standing only a few feet from him. When he finished with the picture he walked right at me and I extended my hand to shake his but he kept on walking.
The point of the story is not that he didn't shake my hand, but that people soon spotted him and started yelling things at him off the balcony. They started a Goldberg chant, and the Giant reacted by pointing at his crotch a la Scott Hall and chanting "seven digit paycheck...".
Dave: Ran into Masato Tanaka (sp?) during the last ECW show in Revere, MA. He was signing tee shirts and he was really cool about getting a picture taken with me. Ulf Herrman was also around, but he seemed kind of goofy. Masato signs his name in Japanese, which is sort of neat. Then again, why wouldn't he?
Richard M.: From time to time, I work out at "Gold's Gym" in Nashua, NH. You can imagine my surprise one day when Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna walked up to the exercise equipment beside me. They seemed very friendly but I decided not to bother them. It turns out that HHH is actually from my hometown of Nashua, NH, not Connecticut. He is a graduate of Nashua High School.
Farrell M. from St. Andrews Presbyterian College: I have met many wrestlers such as Hogan, Jake the Snake and Ahmed Johnson. The best one was when I met Bret Hart. It was two years ago . I was like 15. He was still a "face". He acted real nice to me.
Walter: On 10/5/98, I was with my friend Jeff at Tower Records in Los Angeles. I was checking out the video section while Jeff was in music. Jeff came over to me and told me that he thought he spotted Chyna in the cassettes area. So, I go and check it out for myself. Sure enough, there she was. I thought she'd be a lot taller in person but she's as tall as I am. But I have to say that this woman was friggin HUGE as far as the muscle goes.
I sort of felt intimidated at first to go up to her but I said what the heck. I approached her and started talking to her. It was just small casual talk such as when the WWF was going to come to Anaheim again and how I told her about being in some of the WWF shows such as the Royal Rumble and a couple of house shows. After that, I said bye and she thanked me for being a great fan. She was a very nice person. Hopefully, I can go to the November 21 show when they come back to Anaheim.
Jeloni: I was at the store one day when I was seven or eight with my mom's ex-boyfriend (boyfriend at the time).This could be called a brush with greatness.I lived in St. Mary's County, MD at the time where meeting Scott Hall or his mom is common place.
Hall even went to the high school I go to now, Great Mills High School. I was a total mark then, so when I met his mom, and she asked if I would like to meet him, I said no because I was afraid of him. This was 1992 when Hall came to the WWF with his "bad guy" heel gimmick, so he was really imposing at the time. I hope she wasn't really serious because Hall now is one of my favorite wrestlers.
Donald R.: My two brushes happened recently and they were both at separate autograph signings. First, I met Goldberg when he was promoting Nitro at a local Harmony House. He was nice and when I first walked up to him, I had the biggest grin on my face he smiled back and said, "Hey, Brother, how are you? and I said "Good, how about you?"
I am about 6' 1" and he didn't look much bigger than me. When I shook his hand, mine was about the same size as his. Then, a few weeks later, I met Sgt. Slaughter. He is bigger than Goldberg and I got a Polaroid with him. He put this little kid in a half nelson and picked him a foot off the ground. They both talked different than when you hear them on TV.
Mike C.: Back in the summer of '84, I was at Newark International Airport bright and early one Sunday morning (to pick up my girlfriend at the time on her way back from Florida), and I saw this short old guy in a Hawaiian shirt on line behind me for breakfast. In short order, I realized this was not just any short old guy, but Classy Freddie Blassie. I said "You're Fred Blassie!", and he said "That's right, kid" and shook my hand (though I'd always hated his 'heel' persona, and at the time I still thought wrasslin' was 'real', I was honored to meet him nevertheless).
He was travelling to Toronto for a WWF house show with Jose Luis (at the time he was billed as 'Mack') Rivera, perhaps the quintessential 80's WWF Jobber, Kamala the Ugandan Giant and a man I can only assume was Kamala's handler. Let me tell you, Kamala is BIG, and even though he was out in public, in jeans, a T-shirt and one of those round denim caps that were cool in the late 60's, he still looked like he was sizing up the crowd for a helping of 'Long Pig'.
Years later (circa '86) I also happened to meet Ricky Morton's wife & (at the time) young sons when I had ringside seats for their winning the NWA tag belts at the Philadelphia Convention Center (the only time I ever witnessed a title change first hand, BTW). His youngest son (probably no more than 3 or 4) thought *I* was his daddy from the way I was screaming in the southern accent I tended to take on whenever I saw live wrasslin'.
Another time, again circa '85 or '86, I went to meet Captain Lou Albano at a personal appearance (in Vineland, NJ no less) to promote his 'guest star' role in the "HONEYMOONERS" Comic adaptation (where he trains Ralph to be a pro wrestler. What a stretch....). The Captain was a lot of fun, since he was not only pleasant in person, but had his grandchildren with him and was every inch the doting Italian grandpa.
But, that wasn't the best part of the day: An old friend of Lou's who owned a nearby diner dropped by for a visit. Turns out, this guy had been a 'jobber' for YEARS in both the WWF and the local South Jersey & Philly area indie federations, and sat with me and my friends as he recounted lots of stories of the old days: Talking about how one time when Antonio Rocca turned heel, he became unfriendly on and off stage; about how Ivan Putski (a favorite of mine at the time) was not exactly the friendly guy he played up to being; about the time he wrestled his son and bladed himself after being tossed out of the ring, just to scare his son out of wanting to be in the business, and lots of stories about backstage hijinks that I've long since forgotten, alas. I never even thought to ask his name, so 'starstruck' was I.
The best two bits of info he imparted: he was one of the 'Lumberjacks' at ringside in the match where Stan Hansen broke Bruno Samartino's neck for real (in fact, he was one of the guys to threw him back in after it happened, he later found out), and he explained that because he held a wrestling licence (at the time, NJ still licensed wrestlers. They still do, I think), he could not use any wrestling holds against someone outside the ring (like in a fight) without being thrown in jail on weapons charges.
On the one hand, this experience showed me once and for all that wrestling was 'fake'. On the other, more important, hand, it showed me that even if it was 'fake', it was still gruelling, physically demanding and a lot of fun, and it solidified my fandom 4 LIFE!
Tim K. from Detriot, Michigan: I was in college during the early '80s and had not been following wrestling as much as when I was younger when I heard that the original Shiek was wrestling across the river in Windsor, Ont. The Shiek had always been my favorite heel, so I went to the show.
During the show, I struck up a conversation with the guy who was his manager at the time. The Weasel and Eddy Creachman had died by then. I told him I was a writer and that I'd love to write for a wrestling program or something. I gave him my phone number and he invited me to dinner with the guys. I went and ended up dining with The Shiek and a bunch of nobody local guys wrestlers who were still fun.
The Shiek was very gracious and talked trivia all night.
A week later I get a call from the manager who asks me if I wanted to travel with he and The Shiek to a small town near Toronto for a weekend of small house shows. Of course I agreed....and had to drive. Whatever.
I picked up the "manager," then drove to Toledo to pick up the Shiek, who normally lives near Lansing, MI, but his latest girlfriend was in Toledo at the time. Then it was back to Detroit, through the tunnel and off to Canada.
That weekend, I had the pleasure of watching the Shiek wrestle Luis Martinez twice, met Chris Tolos, and Al "Kangaroo" Costello, had a barbeque dinner at the cottage of the Canadian Wildman and saw The Shiek beat the snot out of a fan who had taunted him during a match and followed us into the locker room. The cops looked the other way.
It was quite a weekend. I had a great time except when I questioned the reality of wrestling, he threatened to put me in my own car trunk for the rest of the trip if I kept asking questions.
I also met George "Crybaby" Cannon and Chief Jay Strongbow at early WWF house shows in Detroit a couple of times. Both nice guys.
Tony Y.: My brush came on January 24th, 1998. My friends and I came up with a fundraiser to benefit our Senior class (in high school). The Century Wrestling Alliance, now NWA New England, came and put on a show for us.
After all the preperation, I almost didn't make it, due to a severely twisted knee. We had some big names, (King Kong Bundy, Tito Santana, Devon Storm, Johnny Grunge, etc.) and I was front row ringside. During intermission, I hobbled up to the ring apron through the mob to get a Poloroid with Tito. I was rudely stopped by a ring attendant for not having money. My friends all booed Tito for me and I realized he was a jerk. However, my friend who organized the thing, introduced me to Johnny Grunge of Public Enemy and Tony Rumble (Promoter of the fed). They shook my hand and signed autographs. I pointed to my leg brace, because Rumble pretended to smash it earlier, while in character. Grunge even asked me later if he had my pen. I also got Killer Kowalski's signature (It was Killer Kowalski night), as well as Knuckles Nelson's. (Nice guy for a heel :)
Finally, after the match with Devon Storm, Judas Young (manager of the opponent) was beaten up by Storm. Young rolled out of the ring, grabbed my crutches out from under me, and took off. I had no idea what was going on, but my friends thought it was a work and started cheering my name. I got them back later. It was a fun night, I met a lot of stars, and to this day, Tony Rumble still remembers my name! :)
Danny E.: My Brush with Greatness dates back to 1989. I was 16 at the time and I was just getting into the phase of thinking that I am the greatest and God's gift to women. Well on this particular day I was so happy 'cause I had gotten a new girlfriend and 'cause I had tickets to the World Class Wrestling that was coming to my hometown of Brownwood TX that very night.
After school me and my best friend went to a small gym close to my house, called "Flex It". I usually worked out there about three times a week and wanted to get it done 'cause we were going to WCCW that night. Anyway, while we were working out and cutting up as usual a man in a cowboy hat walked in and started talking to the owner. I noticed him immediately as the bodyguard of Kerry Von Erich. I mean you see this guy everywhere Kerry is, on TV, I mean everywhere. Anyways, a few seconds later, in walks the Modern Day Warrior. I was dumbfounded 'cause Kerry has always and still is my favorite wrestler. Kerry looked around the gym which is probably this size of a garage but for Brownwood that is saying a lot. He shook hands with the owner and went to the back dressing room. I still couldn't believe this and my friend was all hyped up, also.
A little later Kerry came out in his workout clothes and walked over to an open area to begin stretching. I just stood there and watched his greatness. He was so cool. I started lifting again and a little later Kerry came over to the curling bench beside us and started lifting himself. He smiled at us and began pounding the weights. After about an hour he noticed that we didn't lift much weights and just stood there staring at him so he spoke up, "You guys must be fans". I was like, "Tou have no idea, Kerry. You are the best" He thanked me and asked if we would like to join him in his workout. His bodyguard just sat to the side talking with some guys. We lifted with him for about another hour and a half and he said he had to get to the coliseum for the matches. I told him that we would be there and couldn't wait. He said that he would look for us, we had second row so we wouldn't be that hard to find.
We went home and showered and got ready. I loaded up with two posters and a magazine that I had of Kerry hoping that I might get them signed. We got there and headed to the back 'cause that is where the wrestlers come in. Just standing there I seen Kerry walking by with drinks. He noticed us and opened the doors letting us in. We followed him up to the dressing room. He introduced us to his brother Kevin and we got to meet the other wrestlers, also. Kerry signed my posters and magazine. He was in the main event against Billy Joe Travis and during the main event he pointed to me in the second row and raised his hand symbolizing the claw. As he clamped it on I looked on proud to have a new friend, and even more proud that my new friend was a Von Erich. This is a day that will last in my mind forever. RIP Kerry, I miss you and all the great things you accomplished in your fabulous career. Wrestling is not the same without you.
Scott: Last September, I was working foy my father in New Orleans at the NATPE televison convention. This is a convention where all the TV shows and buyers, promote and sell their shows to distributors (which is what my dad does). He was the international distributor of RAW then, but I was more into WCW.
So after I was done with my meetings, I went to the WWF booth, but only saw a lot of guys in suits. I asked if any of the wrestlers were there...some guy said that they all left. So I went over to the WCW booth, and there were a TON of guys there. Now most of them had their tights on, which must've been extremely embarassing for the guys in "speedos". First I went and talked with Lex Luger, who took a picture with me, like he was about to Rack me, which was pretty cool. I asked him about where the nWo was going to go. Being very kayfabe, he said "we're gonna kick their butts out of WCW" Since I wanted to have a "real" conversation, I quickly said goodbye, and went over and found my idol...Dean Malenko. I talked with him for about 20 minutes, about Japan and ECW. He said he really enjoyed ECW, because it was a lot fun, and because it gave him a lot of ime for his familiy.
I started noticing that a lot of the guys were starting to leave, so I quickly got autographs and pictures with Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Sting, Eric Bischoff, Booker T, DDP, Ultimo Dragon (who didn't speak any English, but put me in the Dragon Sleeper for the it HURT!), The Public Enemy, and others. But the funniest part was when, I saw some muscular guy, who I didn't recognize...he said his name was Bill Goldberg (it was the week before his first match) and he said he was gonna be wrestling soon... I figured him a jobber, but out of kindness (I felt sorry for him, no one knew who he was) got his autograph. I would have never known that he would have been my biggest Brush with Greatness.
Heather{DB} from Ohio: Well, it all started quite a while ago while I was watching WWF, I saw Tom Brandi on there. I thought "Wow, that guy's built! He's cool!" Well, by the time early October 1998, I had forgotten all about that. I was reading the newspaper and see this ad; "Steel City Wrestling. Ringside $12". I looked in my purse, $15. Just enough. I get a ringside ticket and find my seat. 2nd row, seat 70, about 10 feet from the ring. Everyone's here, the buildings full of people. everyone settles down and we watch the first match, OK, cool.
Intermission. Guess who I see. Tom Brandi. I think to myself, "Where have I seen him before?". I remember the WWF match I saw. I run over and get over to his side. He lets me take a picture and gives me his autograph, I shake his hand. I wish him luck on his match tonight. He smiles and goes back to signing autographs before leaving and getting ready for the main event.
Main event time, Lou Marconi's already in the ring with his manager type person. They're dressed in the weirdest purple color. I talk with the troublemakers in the first row. We start a "Barney" chant. The occasional "Suck it" is thrown in.
Here comes Brandi, the cheers are overwhelming. He slaps my hand and a mess of other kids hands as he heads to the ring. He takes the mic once he's ringside. He calls all the kids up to the ring, I join them all.We're all at ringside, huddled around the ring, Tom insults his opponents then tells them that the people in Cambridge, Ohio have something to say to them. He counts "1,2,3!". All the kids scream, "SUCK IT!". His opponents jump. Tom says "I don't think they heard us! 1,2,3!". Once again, at the top of our freakin' lungs, (my voice was out for a week after this!), "SUCK IT!!!!". His opponents fell over! All the kids pounded on the ring apron many times causing the ring to shake and causing the guys to fall over again!
We stood beside Tom for a moment and watched the guys recover before we went back to our seats. During his match, we chanted many times and encouraged Tom. There were chairs and stuff involved and one of the people in the crowd gave his chair to Tom to use. Tom won, and as everyone was leaving the arena, (the show was over), Tom walked out, slapping peoples hands and smiling.
I met other wrestlers including ECW's Pitbulls and two of the indy wrestlers, but Tom was my Brush With Greatness.
Spencer Chestnutt: I'd like to share a quick story about my experiences at the WWF house shows in Hampton and Richmond, VA on October 1st and 2nd, 1998. I had a great time, thanks in large part to Mick Foley. I didn't get to meet him, but I did have a rather interesting experience.
Being big fans, my friends and I will usually wait an hour or so after the show in the parking lot to see the guys drive out. When Mick Foley drove by with his window down, I yelled "Don't sell the elbow, Mick!", a reference to Mankind's disdain for the People's Elbow. Mick's expression went blank for half a second, and then he started cracking up! He honked the horn at me, and then drove away. I was proud of myself for being able to do what not many people have done. I made Mick Foley laugh. Little did I know he'd return the favor the next night.
I was shopping in the Wal-Mart in Newport News, VA, about an hour later when I encountered D-Lo Brown shopping with one of his friends. I congratulated D-Lo on his great match with X-Pac, and he proceeded to give me the "I'm not me" business, the lamest excuse for a work I've ever heard. If there had been other people in that section, I would have understood his evasiveness, but I was the only one there. I could tell they were in a hurry, and made no effort to stop them. A simple "thanks" would have sufficed, but D-Lo chose to insult my intelligence and treat me like an idiot. I still think he's a great wrestler, though.
One other thing about D-Lo. I thought I was being very considerate and discreet by not mentioning the fact that I recognized D-Lo's "friend" was none other than Glenn "Kane" Jacobs. They were probably out in their van laughing hysterically at the fact that I had no idea that I was standing right next to Kane. I'd love to see the expression on their faces if they ever read this and discover that I knew EXACTLY who I was standing next to, but chose not to mention Mr. Jacobs' identity for their sakes. Maybe their attitude will change the next time they encounter a genuinely appreciative fan in an empty Wal-Mart.
I was walking around the store feeling extremely disappointed when I saw a tie, of all things, that reminded me of Mick Foley. It was a bright yellow tie in the shape of a giant Mankind happy face, and had the Tazmanian Devil busting through the middle of the happy face. I took the tie and a greeting card with me to Richmond to give to Mr. Foley, and after about an hour of waiting beside the entranceway before the show, I finally found a sympathetic crew member. He said that if Mick was in the back then, he'd hand Mick my gifts, but, if he wasn't, he'd give them back to me . After about three minutes he came back and gave me the thumbs up, which I knew was the best assurance I'd get that Mick actually got the stuff. I thanked him and took my seat. Lo and behold, he wore it on the November 2nd RAW!
After a great show, my friend and I again went to the exit to watch the wrestlers leave, and wouldn't you know it, Mick Foley comes by with his windows down again. Of course, I took the opportunity to yell "Don't sell the Elbow, Mick!" He looked around, but didn't see me. My friend, who was further up the road waited until the vehicle was stopped, and yelled "Foley! Don't sell the elbow!" Mick looked right at him, actually leaned out of the window, and yelled back, "I'm not gonna sell it!!" I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life. I yelled "I hope you like the tie, Mick!" He then faded into the distance, but not before giving us some great memories. I went to what I thought would be run of the mill house shows, and ended up with some great matches and great experiences.
I'd like to thank all the WWF wrestlers for working hard for the local Virginia fans in matches that will never be seen on TV, and, of course, a very special thanks to Mick Foley for some experiences I'll never forget.
Josť from Stockton, California: I went to a house show in Stockton California in January of 1997. Since it was at the University here in town, a friend and I decided to walk around the building the event was being held at and try to get a better place to where we would be able to see the wrestlers walking around. Well, we went behind the building to a place that was 25 feet away from the back entrance of the Arena and the dressing room. So as we stood there, who else walks out of the dressing room. None other than Shawn Micheals. He walks by us as if we were nothing and walks into the Arena. Then Psycho Sid at the time was champion, walks into the Arena to make a phone call. As he was walking out, he walks straight to me and my friend. He started asking how we had found our little hiding place. We were totally excited, because we had watched wrestling for over 12 years at that point, and in front of us was a Former Skyscraper & A Former Horseman. He was totally great to us. He gaves us autographs and took pictures. Well as we stood there in the cold, Shawn Micheals walked by us like three more times without even coming over. And on the fifth walk by, he finally came over. He told us that he felt bad, because each time he walked by us he kept ignoring us. He said that we must be true fans if we stood in the cold for over an hour and a half. So he stood there talking to us for 15 mintues. He was a very nice guy. He told us about how he loved being a bad guy and how he was trying to get everyone to boo him, but no one wanted to boo him. He came off as a very down to earth guy, who really loved wrestling. He was very smart and knew much of the industry. He also gave us autographs and took pictures with me and my friend, and told us that we very lucky because a lot of the wrestlers knew we were out there waiting and were going to come over and talk to us as soon as they were dressed. That night we ended up meetting a lot of different wrestlers and officials, but Shawn and Sid were the 2 that made an impression on me. Over the years we have met a lot of other wrestlers and officials from the BIG 2. But nothing will ever compare with my frist Brush with Greatness.
If you'd like to see the previously posted brushes with greatness, click here for the Zip file (141K).
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