The Blizzard of ’96 hit parts of the East Coast of the US on January 6, 1996. School was definitely out for a while and I can still remember how awesome snow days were. I don’t get them anymore, as I have to work whether there is an inch or multiple feet of snow, but those memories won’t leave my head. Waking up with a whole day (or more) of absolute free time and no parents around — it didn’t get any better than that.
In those days there were a couple of places in town to rent videos and one of those places was a smorgasbord of old wrestling tapes. My cousin lived next door so we planned a full day of ordering pizza, playing SNES and Genesis, and watching movies. We’d gotten a ride to town the night before in order to rent some movies and he picked Hulkamania Forever, a two hour video about the Hulkster’s dominance in the WWF. I had always thought wrestling was cool. I remember watching occasionally in the 80’s and playing with those huge rubber LJN figures, but I’d never been a massive fan. Somehow Hulkamania Forever converted me into a hardcore fan.
Over the next few months I became addicted. I found the “Immortal” Hulk Hogan had moved to WCW and taken several of his pals with him. Meanwhile I saw all kinds of new guys in the WWF and I got up to date on who they were by renting every old pay-per-view I could get my hands on.
Wrestling hadn’t quite hit its 90’s boom yet (that would begin later in the year), but I was into it big time. Now what I really wanted more than anything was to go to a live show. Luckily I found out that WCW was coming nearby on May 11th, only 2 days before my birthday. It had to have been a sign that this was where I needed to be. I got floor seats for an early birthday present and on Saturday May 11th at 7:30 I got to see my first show. Granted this wasn’t a pay-per-view, it wasn’t Nitro or Raw, it wasn’t even WCW Saturday Night; it was just a house show but it was totally awesome and I loved every minute of it.
I kept notes on what happened (because I’m a dork) so I’ll never have to wonder about the results of that night:
“Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright beat Disco Inferno
The Booty Man beat “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson
Chris Benoit beat Eddie Guerrero In what I’m sure was probably the best match of the night.
The Nasty Boys beat Public Enemy in a Street Fight And I bet this was a good little brawl.
Lex Luger beat “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
“The Macho Man” Randy Savage beat Ric Flair I remember really being into this one as I was a big “Macho Man” fan and I hated (in the way I was supposed to) Flair.
WCW World Champion The Giant beat Sting by DQ When Luger ran in. This was another match I was really into as I hated the Giant for “stealing” the title from Hogan and I loved Sting.
It was an awesome night and was the first of many live shows for yours truly and it all began with a snowstorm and a school day. I left that night with a Hulkster tank top, a foam Hulkster hand thing, a giant foam Macho Man cowboy hat, and a horribly wonderful 90’s Sting shirt. Since that night I’ve been to many shows. I’ve even been to Wrestlemania, but that one little house show in Tennessee is one I’ll never forget.