Thursday, August 11, 2022

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Mr. Glamazon’s Hitting the Ropes: Issue #1

Based on your response to his efforts as our correspondent on-scene at WrestleMania 26, we are very excited to welcome aboard David aka Mr. Glamazon as a regular featured columnist here at Diva Dirt. Check back every week for a new edition of ‘Hitting the Ropes’.

When Melanie asked if I wanted to write a weekly column for Diva Dirt, I jumped at the chance. Not because I thought I had so much to share with the readers or because I felt I could make an impact on the wrestling community. Nope, it was much more basic than that. Basically, writing a column for this site sounded a lot more fun than changing diapers, making bottles, mowing the lawn, working, and cleaning the house. (Seriously, kids are great, but for those of you who don’t have kids yet… get up, stretch, look around, and appreciate your freedom. Do it right now. Smile. Today is yours!) I need more fun in my life. This column could be therapeutic and give me something to think about while I am cleaning applesauce off the floor. So I said sure I’ll give this a try. I had a good time reporting from WrestleMania and you all seemed to like what I wrote, so let’s hit the ropes and get started!

Here’s my background so you know a little bit about me. Credibility is important. To this point, from the audio shows you know that I a) love Beth Phoenix, and b) don’t know anything about TNA. Pretty impressive credentials, huh? I fell in love with professional wrestling in October 1985 at the old Hershey Park Arena in Hershey, PA. My friend dragged me to a show that night and it happened to be a (then) WWF taping of Saturday Night’s Main Event. Since Hulk Hogan was on the card, the arena was full and all the people were going crazy. From the moment S.D. Jones came out to start the show (I didn’t know what a jobber was back then), I was hooked. I loved everything. The athleticism. The spectacle. The energy of the crowd. The pageantry. I soaked it all in and when Hulk came out for his tag match with Andre the Giant, I knew something inside of me had changed forever. (It wasn’t until Jim Duggan and the Iron Sheik got pulled over by a NJ state trooper that I realized something was “fishy” about this sport. That state trooper smartened up a generation of kids. In a way I hate him for it.)

For the next seven years the WWF was my main interest outside of school and sports. My friend Jamie (who went to WrestleMania 26 with me) and I actually thought we were the Mega-Powers. We begged our parents relentlessly until they agreed to take us to shows in Hershey. We broke more of our parents baking sheets and folding chairs than I care to remember. We watched the TV shows religiously (Brother Love really was my minister). We booked matches with our LJN action figures. And then we hit the jackpot when WrestleManias 4 and 5 came to Atlantic City, NJ. Those trips to AC remain some of my happiest childhood memories because we felt we were a part of something special: Donald Trump, the title tournament, Macho Man’s World Championship, and then the Mega-Powers exploding. (We were also in Hershey the night the “Madness Met the Mania” on SNME… or as I call it, “One of the Best Nights of My Life” somewhere next to my wedding day and the birth of my children, but don’t make me put them in order. I mean, Hogan, Savage, Liz, the Harts, Honky… good lord!)

It all came to an apex when we were juniors in high school and our friend, a HUGE Hulk Hogan fan, asked us to wrestle him in the school talent show. This guy was such a Hogan mark he would walk down the hall calling everyone “brother” and showing off his 24 inch pythons (24… or 16… or 8, most likely). I think he actually did drink milk, say prayers, and eat vitamins every day. So I dressed up as Akeem and Jamie was the Big Boss Man, we rounded up a Slickster, a referee, and a make-shift ring and we blew the roof off the building that night. Kind of. Most of the students were horrified, shocked, and confused… at least until our friend Steve came down the aisle dressed as Hogan. Then they cheered. And cheered. And cheered. Steve put on a show as Jamie and I drew “cheap heat” double-teaming the Hulkster until finally he “hulked up” and beat me with a leg drop Kelly Kelly would be proud of. There was one botch in the match that still bothers me. I guess I need to let it go now 20 years later.

In a related note, I didn’t have a girlfriend at this time. Which is probably a good thing since I would have wanted her to dress up like Miss Elizabeth. Jamie and I went to the school Halloween dance every year dressed as wrestlers – first the Hart Foundation (yes we took heat for wearing pink), then Demolition (we made sweet title belts and masks), and lastly the Powers of Pain. This last one was important because we coaxed someone to dress up as Mr. Fuji. Important stuff back then. This costume cracks me up because right as we were passing the judging booth (we had won the previous 2 years) I raised my arms like the Barbarian and the costume ripped in half! This was probably a sign it was time to find a new hobby. No three-peat. Instead of being the “best costume” winners, we were just dudes dressed up as wrestlers nobody really knew.

Then I went off to college and I met my future wife. She, um, didn’t really like pro wrestling, which was pretty obvious when I asked her what she thought of Yokozuna and she said she had never been there. Well then. Mix in the decline of the WWF (steroids, cartoon characters, etc.) and I let go of professional wrestling for the next 5-6 years, which is ironic to me because Bret Hart is my favorite wrestler and I missed the majority of his IC and World Title reigns. Still makes me sad. I fell back in love with wrestling simply by chance, during a softball game in 1997, I went to grab a soda in the gymnasium and the Bret Hart-Stone Cold classic from WM 13 was being replayed on the TV. Immediately I was drawn back in. It was like seeing an old friend after many years. It all started again for me, with the WWE Attitude Era, the NWO, and the Monday Night Wars (I went to Gettysburg College and I know more about the Monday Night Wars than I do the Civil War). Jamie and I were at Starrcade the night Bret Hart got knocked out by a stiff Goldberg mulekick, and just like that, I fell out of touch again. I was like Bret — bitter and grumpy and ready to leave behind the world of pro wrestling once and for all. WCW was ruining the Hitman character and now Bret was too injured to wrestling. Bad times all around.

Fast forward to 2008. Jamie had started watching wrestling again (it really is impossible to stay away once it is in your blood) and he said I should get back into it. The product was better, etc etc etc. I complained about the two different WWE brands, the multiple title belts, the short title reigns, the bland characters, and everything else that proved I was still stuck in 1987. He looked me in the eye and said, “Dave, get over it!” Those words knocked me over. So I joined him for the Great American Bash PPV and actually enjoyed the show. Then I caught SmackDown that next Friday. And just like that, again, I was hooked. “Just when I thought I was out…Vince pulls me back in!”

Ironically, I didn’t think much of the Divas at first. During SummerSlam 2008, I used the Santino/Beth mixed tag match as a reason to grab another beer from the fridge and to check email. A few weeks later, while I was laughing at the Honk-a-Meter (remember that?) I found myself looking at the WWE Women’s Champion thinking: “Huh, she’s interesting.” From that point forward I fell head-over-heels for the Glamazon and everything about her. When she lost the title to Melina at the 2009 Royal Rumble I sat in silence for about an hour and didn’t even really watch the rest of the show. But what I realized, above everything else, was that I cared again, a lot, about a character. She made the show FUN for me. Good lord I even named my daughter after her! That is the beauty of pro wrestling, we identify with a character or two and then root them on. They become central figures in this glorified weekly drama. When scripted correctly, pro wrestling can take you on a wonderful ride. (It is this aspect, the scripting of the shows, that leads to such strong opinions. I have nothing against Gail Kim, I just wish they USED her differently. Makes sense, right?)

And I believe that is why we are all fans — why we enjoy reading these types of websites and opinions. We enjoy the shows and want to share our experiences and feelings with each other. I may love the Glamazon, but I love hearing how others love Alicia Fox, or Hamada, or Jillian Hall. In a way we are all in this together. I have heard it said for those who hate pro wrestling “no explanation will do” and for those who love pro wrestling “no explanation is necessary.” I hope you enjoy reading my column because I am like you… I am not professing to be a mark, a smark, an insider, a hater, or any other term for people with strong views. I just love this business. I love and respect all the performers. I envision this column being a place I can share my views on the Divas, the Knockouts, and any other aspect of pro wrestling.

By the way, I do promise to learn more about the Knockouts. From what I have seen so far and read on this site, there are a lot of really talented women working for TNA. I would also like to learn more about some of the Divas like Lita, Trish, and Victoria that I don’t know much about. Maybe you all can help me in that regard as we go along.

Lastly, I was saddened to hear about the passing of Chris Kanyon. Another former star taken too soon. When my wife and I moved in 2007, I was cleaning out our old house and decided to throw out my Kanyon autograph (I have been collecting for about 20 years) because direct sunlight had ruined the signature to a degree. I figured I could always get another one at a fan show or wrestling reunion. That won’t be possible now obviously and I feel badly I didn’t value it enough at the time to keep it no matter what. There is a lesson in there somewhere. RIP Chris. “Who’s better than Kanyon?” Not many.

— Mr. Glamazon

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