Jan 27 2012

I’m just going to have to find myself a new giant

André the Giant died 19 years ago today.

André was always one of my favorite wrestlers. When I was a kid, we didn’t watch wrestling at our house. Whenever we were at Grampa’s (my Dad’s dad), every Saturday morning was Bugs Bunny followed by, as Grampa called it, rasslin’. This was back in the early 80’s, with Hulk Hogan, Ricky the Dragon, Jake the Snake, King Kong Bundy, and of course, André.

The only match I remember was between King Kong Bundy and André the Giant.  Bundy was obviously the heel (villain), as evinced by his shaved head, his black unitard, and his being 500 lbs. He did a splash (jump from the top rope with arms and legs out, landing flat) on André like five times, breaking the giant’s sternum. I remember after the match when you saw André walking out, you could see his sternum pressing against his skin. I already thought KKB was bad, but to break a man’s sternum? Pure evil.

At least that’s the way I remember it. I’ve done some searching around online and found out that that was a kayfabe injury. In wrestling lingo, kayfabe means that whatever happens inside the ring is presented as real, but in real life it is not. Examples: The Undertaker is not really dead and Kane is not really his brother. In and out of the ring Vince McMahon really is a jerk, and Mick Foley really is hardcore. In wrestling lingo, a mark is a fan, and a smart mark is a fan who knows wrestling isn’t real. I was not a smart mark.

At any rate, I still don’t know how they did that sternum thing.

Anyway, celebrities die all the time (who doesn’t?), and it’s not like you actually know any of these people, but it was really sad when André died, like we really had lost the 8th Wonder of the World.

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Apr 2 2010

Free Wallpaper: Undertaker 1997

In 1997 I went with my friends The Celt, his wife (Mrs. Celt), Tony, and Stickler to my first rasslin’ event: WWF Monday Night Raw is War on October 6 in Kansas City, Missouri. The previous day had been pretty eventful, with the Kane and the Hell in a Cell match making their first appearances in St. Louis, and wrestler Brian Pillman passing away in his hotel room.

The Undertaker was by far my favorite wrestler. I mean, he’s scary, he wears all black: it was pretty clear he looked up to me, so I had to go to support my biggest fan.

I had brought my Pentax K-1000, several rolls of 400 and 800 speed film, and a telephoto lens I borrowed from Mrs. Auggie. Before they started the show, all of the wrestlers came out on the entrance ramp while they tolled the bell for Pillman. All except the Undertaker.

Anyway, the show that night was great, and we had awesome seats. I took a lot of pix, pushing the film as far as I thought I could get away with. I also found out what they do in the stadium at a live event while they are airing the commercial breaks on TV: absolutely nothing.

We saw some great matches, but I was still kind of bummed that the Undertaker hadn’t been there. Finally, the show was over, the lights dimmed, and people started going home. We waited around a little bit just in case there was something else, and they started taking the aprons off the ring that said ‘RAW is WAR.’ Underneath was another set of ring aprons that said ‘Shotgun Saturday Night.’ It turns out they tape it after the live Monday night broadcast (sorry to spoil it for ya).

The final match was scheduled for a one hour time limit: Bret ‘the Hitman’ Hart vs. the Undertaker.

I had about eight frames of my last roll of film left, and I got this shot:

Undertaker 1997 is available in 1600 x 1200 (standard) and 1440 x 900 (wide). Just right click and Save As (Windows) or Option-Click (Mac).

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