First off, I’d like to thank violentshadows for giving me the idea, and encouragement to do this blog. From one of his excellent “The Opinion” articles, an idea came up, and here I am, writing my experience and memories from wrestling shows I’ve seen live when WWF/E, WCW and TNA have made their way over here to England.
Now, before I get started just want to state one thing: This will be split into a series of posts, because as stated in a comment or two on here, I’ve been to quite a lot of shows since the early 90s. If I did this all in one post, you’d be reading it from now till Wrestlemania 29! It’s better to split it, and make it a series.
I do feel quite fortunate and lucky to have been able to see as many live shows as I have done so far in my life. It’s brought some great memories, so good laughs, and I’ve met plenty of cool people along the way, from both sides of the barriers.
So, let’s get started on this, and go back to my first event. It was a WWF house show on April 16th, 1993 at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham. I remember feeling pretty excited going to see the likes of Bret Hart, Tatanka…and the Bushwhackers (hey, I loved their “Bushwhacker walk”!!).
Here’s the results from that show: Virgil defeated Terry Taylor, Doink the Clown beat El Matador, Tatanka defeated Papa Shango, Steiner Brothers beat Money Inc. by DQ, Bushwhackers defeated the Beverly Brothers, Undertaker defeated Giant Gonzalez and Bret Hart beat Bam Bam Bigelow.
I mean, this show was 19 years ago, so I can’t remember much. But I do remember getting excited thinking Undertaker was walking around with the fans, when it turned out to be a fan dressed up as the Deadman. I got excited too when the Steiners won by disqualification, thinking “new Champs!”..boy I was wrong. Giant Gonzalez looked freakin’ huge, even from where I was sat. They did the chloroform spot from Wrestlemania IX between Gonzalez and Undertaker, except this time, Taker used it on the Giant to bring him down to his knees to defeat him. And the main part that stands out? Bam Bam getting boo’d in the main event and threatening to “come in the crowd and kick all our asses”. Needless to say, he didn’t, and Bret beat him via a victory roll (repeated at King of the Ring 1993).
Later that year, December 4th 1993, I went to the NEC Arena, also in Birmingham, England to see another WWF House Show. Now, the NEC Arena is smaller than the NIA, so despite having “crap seats”, we had a pretty good view.
The results that night were: 1-2-3 Kid beat Rick Martel, Smoking Gunns defeated the Knights (Red and Black Knights), Tatanka beat Diesel via countout, Razor Ramon retained his Intercontinental Title by defeating I.R.S, Randy Savage beat Shawn Michaels thanks to Razor Ramon getting involved, and the main event saw The Undertaker beat Yokozuna by DQ, thanks to Mr Fuji hitting Undertaker with the salt bucket.
I felt a bit gutted that my favourite wrestler, Bret Hart wasn’t there. But, seeing Macho Man live made up for it. Little did I know, how big his opponent would go on to become. Mr Perfect was scheduled to be on this show, but was unable to (due to his back injury), so was replaced by Tatanka. Not much really stood out from this event, but one part that amused me, was during the main event, as the ring seemed to move slightly due to Yokozuna hitting the mat. I didn’t think it was possibly, but it did!
My 3rd event came on the 25th March, 1994. This time, I went to a small town near Birmingham, called Telford. It was weird, as this was held at Telford’s Ice Arena, and back then, I didn’t expect a company like WWF to go to such a small place. The benefit though, it was a small place, and we had a GREAT view.
The results from Telford were: Kwang pinned Koko B Ware, Earthquake beat I.R.S., Diesel pinned 1-2-3 Kid, Bam Bam Bigelow (with Luna Vachon) defeated Tatanka, Jeff Jarrett beat Doink the Clown (with Dink!), the Quebecers beat Men On A Mission (with Oscar) and Bret Hart defeated Owen Hart.
The main part of this show that stands out, is the Hart Brother battle, and only 6 days after their Wrestlemania X match. To see these fight live in front of me was amazing. They put on a great show, something which Bret agreed with recently on his Facebook page (I asked him about his favourite match with Owen, he replied the ones on the European tour directly after Wrestlemania X). The downside, my sister got to touch Bret on his way back to the dressing room and teased me all the way home. Bam Bam Bigelow, Earthquake and Mabel looked much bigger than I expected them too, and I gotta say, Men On A Mission were over big time with the crowd. I was also pretty happy to see Dink the Clown, and remember seeing the wrestlers get on the coach to leave too. I thought it was weird seeing Kwang in his mask, while cheered when I saw Jeff Jarrett too (he just looked towards the gates then got on the coach, had his cowboy hat on).
A bit of a gap between shows now, and we move forward to October 2nd, 1999. This time I went back to the Birmingham NIA, to see a UK exclusive Pay Per View called Rebellion. In the late 90s, early 2000s, we here in the UK used to get these exclusive PPVs twice a year. I wasn’t due to go, but at the last second, a friend of the family had 3 spare tickets, he passed them onto me, my Dad and my brother, so we went.
Results for Rebellion were: Christian pinned Crash Holly (dark match), Jeff Jarrett retained his Intercontinental Title against D’Lo Brown, Godfather beat Gangrel, Val Venis defeated Mark Henry, Ivory won a fatal 4 way against Luna Vachon, Tori and Jacqueline, Chris Jericho beat Road Dogg, Chyna defeated Jeff Jarrett by DQ after British Bulldog got involved, Kane beat Big show, British Bulldog beat X-Pac, Edge and Christian won a 3 way elimination tag against Acolytes and the Hollys, and the main event saw Triple H retain the WWF Title in a cage match against The Rock, thanks to Chyna and the British Bulldog.
This was quite a hectic show, with so many crazy memories. It was funny seeing Jarrett open the show offering cash to a woman to clean up some dust in the ring (obvious plant, as he put the Figure Four on her). I was excited to see Godfather’s hos…only to then realise they were ugly. Someone on the opposite side of the ring had a sign saying “Val Venis has no penis”, which Val spotted and wasn’t happy over! British Bulldog knocked Stephanie McMahon out backstage when he threw a garbage can…and quite a few people cheered this! When they tell you the Rock electrifies a crowd, trust me, it’s true. Before his match with Triple H, he cut a promo that had the crowd laughing, and had them in the palm of his hand. As for the match, it was strange seeing British Bulldog come down and help Triple H retain, considering he’d interfered and cost Chyna a match earlier, and she was with Triple H here. Afterwards though, Vince McMahon came down and locked Davey Boy in the cage with the People’s Champ, and I clearly heard Vinny Mac give a big ol’ “fuck you” to Bulldog!
Here’s a slideshow of photos from the first 3 events (sadly my camera didn’t work properly at Rebellion, so no photos from that). Sorry about the quality of some of the photos, had to scan them and then use GIMP to try to lighten the images better.
Photos: April 1993 – Doink the Clown and El Matador, Money Inc, Steiner Brothers, Beverly Brothers, Bushwhackers, Bret Hart. December 1993 – Rick Martel, 1-2-3 Kid, Smoking Gunns vs The Knights, Tatanka, Shawn Michaels, Macho Man. March 1994 – Earthquake, Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna Vachon, Men on a Mission vs The Quebecers.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. In next week’s, I’ll be discussing my trip to 2 WCW shows, including why I missed the end of a WCW Tag Team Title match, as well as an emotional speech from Bret Hart, and also my trip to 2 WWE TV Tapings, including meeting a WWE Hall of Famer.
@GoofyVillain of @TheTopRope