It’s been awhile since I’ve written a new column here at RasslinRiotOnline. That is what being on the road will do to a person! Anyway, I have a few minutes to spare today so I’ve decided to produce a new edition of “The Thompson Perspective” on what is traditionally the biggest weekend in wrestling – WrestleMania weekend. Later in the column, I’ll share some Mania memories and thoughts; however, first I want to recap what was, for me, a very rewarding couple of days last weekend.
As you have probably read by now here on the site, Midnight Gold – “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton and “Golden Boy” Greg Anthony managed by yours truly – officially debuted as a “unit” at the World Wide Championship Wrestling (WWCW) event in Cape Girardeau, MO, last Saturday night. As a lifelong wrestling fan, Cape Girardeau holds a special place in my heart. It is the town where I saw my first live wrestling event – a World Wrestling Federation card at the Show Me Center headlined by Hacksaw Jim Duggan taking on “King” Harley Race in late 1987. Getting to perform in Cape more than 21 years after that moment was certainly an honor.
Due to Bobby’s travel schedule, he was unable to get all of his Missouri licensing issues resolved, so he joined me as a manager in the corner of the “Golden Boy” for his match with Brandon Espinosa. This was the first time I had the chance to meet Brandon. I was impressed with his talents in the ring and his attitude outside the ring. Here’s a prime example of how good this guy’s attitude is. We were discussing an interview segment that Midnight Gold would have early on in the show. I wanted to say a few things about Brandon, putting him over as opposed to saying something like “he’s a no talent bum.” If I establish Brandon, then it (1) helps him and (2) makes a “Golden Boy” victory that much more meaningful if he beats someone who means something. The idea was that the match with Brandon was a “final exam” for Greg to cement his place as a member of Midnight Gold. We believe in him, but we want him to prove us right against a top athlete like Espinosa.
Anyway, I’m having a conversation with Brandon, getting a few tidbits about where he has wrestled and who he has trained with. He mentioned a name that was a mutual acquaintance for both of us. However, he asked that I not mention that he was trained by this gentleman because he does not have “permission” to say that. Wow! What respect that is. How many times do we see wrestlers make false claims to get themselves over? Too many that’s for sure. It was nice to see that Brandon truly respects wrestling.
Speaking of conversations, I also had a nice long chat with my former Lethal Attitude Wrestling (LAW) business partner Jeff O’Dell during the WWCW event. As most of you know, back in the fall of 2001 I helped break Jeff into the wrestling business along with Brian Tramel and his Chaotic Championship Wrestling (CCW) promotion. Jeff and I have had an interesting, to say the least, relationship since the beginning of this millennium. We haven’t always seen eye-to-eye. Well, I’m happy to say that our conversations last weekend at least put some old, meaningless issues to rest. Life is far too short to waste on petty grudges. No, Jeff and I will not be teaming up next week to run a show at the Black River Coliseum in Poplar Bluff or anything like that, but at least we came to an agreement on some things. Who knows? Midnight Gold may show up in LAW…. crazier things have happened. I know Jeff has had some tough luck recently with LAW and its former Rector, AR home. I think I recall him also running a few shows in Brownsville, TN as of late. I’m not sure of the status of LAW moving forward, but I wish Jeff the best of luck. No matter any disagreements from the past or whatever, my career will always have strong ties to LAW from being a part of the promotion’s original management team. Thanks Jeff for taking the time to at least listen to my side of the story last weekend. That was a rewarding moment of closure.
As I mentioned at the start of this column, this is what is traditionally the biggest weekend in wrestling – WrestleMania weekend. This is also the 25th edition of the event, although technically not the 25th anniversary that is being advertised but I won’t be too picky.
This year’s card has received a lot of criticism. I would have to agree. Nothing, other than the Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels and maybe the battle of the Hardys, feels like a “WrestleMania” match. That’s not to say that the other matches won’t be good. There’s just nothing that blows you away on paper other than the matches I mentioned. That is not necessarily a bad thing as sometimes the weak card on paper turns into the legendary card after the fact. I’m looking forward to seeing how this year’s show goes.
I’ve really enjoyed reading some of Dustin Starr’s WrestleMania memories over at his blog. It makes me feel a little old when he talks about how young he was when WrestleMania III went down. I was just 6-years-old, but I remember that show like it was yesterday. I still think that is one of the best shows ever, top to bottom, with the huge main event of Andre vs.Hogan, and the fantastic Savage-Steamboat bout. It had the look and feel of a Super Bowl, that’s for sure. We were watching the show on pay-per-view, which was a new concept at the time. When Hogan slammed Andre, everyone in my house popped. It was a memorable moment. I’ve re-watched that show dozens of times. It never gets old.
What I hate about today’s wrestling world of 30 plus pay-per-views a year, is that even WrestleMania sometimes doesn’t feel as special as it used to. I remember counting down the days, starting like two months out when I was a kid for certain events. Blink now and it’s time for the next PPV between WWE, TNA and ROH all three now on PPV and it was similar in 1997 with WCW, WWF and ECW. I guess that’s how times change.
Regardless, WrestleMania will be a memorable event. Bobby Eaton and I will be racing back from a long road trip to West Virginia trying to get back to my house in the Wynne, AR area to catch the show. That is just what we wrestling people do I guess!
Until next time, take care and thanks for reading!
(Brian Thompson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)