Wednesday, May 5, 1999
SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column
Tales from a Montreal mark
As a longtime mark of WWF wrestling, I've had the chance to meet almost every one of my favorite superstars. That was an easy sentence to say but what do you think I had to go through to get there?!
In high school, it meant skipping classes, taking the subway to the wrestlers' hotel, avoiding hotel security, and then perching out like the mark that I am/was and waiting for Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Brutus Beefcake & Greg Valentine, Butch Reed, Jimmy Hart, and so many others to arrive.
The bad news was that security was instructed to boot any fans from the posh marble lobby -- the good news was that the hotel was attached to a mall and gym. So when the wrestlers would shop, eat, or play, that's when we could approach them and there's not much they could do but chat with us since it's a public place.
This was the first time I ever met my heroes out of character. Ironically, the Undertaker and Moondog Spot are the only two of all time that remained in character even while riding in the mall elevator with them!
Here are some of my candid memories:
1) Savage telling me "not too f***ing bright" when I couldn't get my camera to work.
2) Seeing The Conquistadors in the hotel lobby, (Moondog Rex & Jose Luis Rivera) with their masks hanging out of their pockets as they waited for taxi. (Same story for Kamala and Steve Lombardi)
3) Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid asking me to walk their dog, Mathilda. When I completed this, I was rewarded with a topless photo of the Bulldogs. I also got to visit their hotel rooms and try on part of their outfits.
4) Savage took a walk downtown but couldn't find his way back into The Montreal Forum (RIP). As he walked along St. Catherine St., he was banging on the door of the Forum in the hopes of being let in. He was subsequently mobbed by the unruly fans. (I secretly believe this is one of the reasons the wrestlers never brawl on the floor in Montreal because the fans are nuts).
5) Meeting The Undertaker and him screaming "MOVE!" when I was in his way. I was scared even after 10 years of being a mark!
6) Taking a cab with Koko B. Ware (let's not forget he was involved in the first scaffold match--he lost) and then getting stuck with the bill! Cheapo!
7) Seeing a big butt getting out of a dark van. It was Andre the Giant!
8) Having Hogan sign my friend's birthday card. I didn't say he was nice about it!
9) Meeting Vince McMahon. He was tall and very friendly. Rumour had it, he was in town to see if there was a chance of having either a WWF Superstars taping or a Saturday Night Main Event in Montreal.
10) All the times we got to watch the wrestlers train. A man in a lab coat would appear and take the wrestlers into a back room. As a kid, I didn't understand it but then I heard of the big steroid controversy and it made some sense.
I'm a mark today as I ever was, only now it's from the penalty box at the Molson Centre.
Harris Black is from Montreal, Quebec, and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.