Top Rope Memories

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I was a huge professional wrestling fan as a kid, and I still remember going to my first live event (that I successfully begged my father to take me to). I was in junior high at the time, and it was a non-televised WWF show at the Denver Coliseum. My father and I had stood in line at Sound Warehouse months earlier to snag front row tickets. The main event was a tag-team steel cage match between the British Bulldogs (my favorites) and the dastardly Hart Foundation, and I absolutely loved it — all of it.

Lots of imagery remains from that magical night, including the iconic Dynamite Kid leaping from the top of the cage with a diving headbutt. But the memory I cherish the most is a moment I shared with legendary heel (bad guy) manager, Mr. Fuji.

Mr. Fuji

Throughout a match between Fuji’s tag-team (Kamala and Sika) and the Can-Am Connection (Rick Martel and Tom Zenk), Fuji, floor-side, discretely sneaked around to the good-guys’ corner of the ring and raised his cane with the clear intent of hitting one of them from behind.

“Watch out!” I (a half-believer at the time) kept warning the good guys. “Fuji’s coming!”

Fuji thought it was hilarious, and kept breaking character (which was pretty unheard of back then) to laugh at me (much to my father’s amusement).

I went to several more WWF shows after that (with a group of high school friends), and after taking a dozen or so years off, I went to a number of WCW live televised events (including one with my future wife). I just love the spectacle of it all.

By the way, that wrestler on the left (in the red and white trunks) is Lance Storm… who would, years later, write a front-cover blurb for my fifth novel, Restitution. The circle of life, folks!

Anyway, I let another 15 years or so pass without doing the live show thing (though those of you who’ve read my Sean Coleman thrillers during that time may have picked up on a little pro-wrestling inspiration). But when AEW, a wrestling promotion aspiring to compete with WWE, announced a televised event at Blue Arena in Loveland (a mere 20-minute drive from my house), I felt the call again. And I was delighted that my son wanted to go with me. It was his first time.

I’m not exactly invested in AEW the way I was with the WWF and WCW back in the day. I very rarely watch their television shows, and I wasn’t familiar with most of their talent or any of their current storylines. Yet, the two of us had a blast.

My son was way more into it than I would have expected, marveling at the athleticism and showmanship, and laughing at the over-the-top characters and dialogue. I think I enjoyed watching his reactions as much as what was going on in the ring, which drew my mind back to that first WWF show, years ago, with my father.

Like I said, the circle of life.

Thanks, AEW, for another cherished memory.


Who was your favorite childhood wrestler? Let me know in an email or in the comment section below.

We Interrupt This Week’s Newsletter for a Special Announcement

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Random Thought

Obligatory Dog Shot

Bringing her water game.

Featured Vinyl

Another Record Store Day exclusive this week.

“Bury The Hatchet” is the fourth studio album by the Cranberries. It was originally released in 1999, and includes the hits “Promises” and “Animal Instinct.” This “Complete Sessions” two-LP edition features the original album and five bonus tracks.

Since lead-singer Dolores O’Riordan’s untimely death in 2018, lots of her and the band’s work has finally made it to vinyl.

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