Okay, which one of you pencil-necked geeks wants a piece of me? Yeah, that's right. I'm talking to all you wimps out there and you know who you are. Which one of you has the guts to step inside the squared circle and risk a Coco-Butt, a Cobra Clutch, a Dive Bomb, a Thunderbolt or a Heart Punch?
I'm gonna pull your ears off. I'm gonna gouge your eyes out. I'm gonna rip your lungs through your chest.
I'm gonna hit you so hard, I'll kill your whole family.
To quote the immmortal Junk Yard Dog, "Grrrrr."
Oh, excuse me. I must have gotten carried away. You see I've just come back from watching pro wrestling at Capital Centre, and I guess the, dare I call it the ambiance, got to me.
But after almost three hours of watching choke holds and body slams and the ever popular head bash into the turnbuckle, courtesy of Moondog Spot, Mr. Fuji, The Tonga Kid, J.Y. Dog, Ivan Putski, Adrian Adonis, Samoan No. 3, The Spoiler, Kamala, Big John Studd and Andre The Giant -- to name just a few -- can you blame me?
Yeah, maybe Thursday night's card wasn't one of the all-timers, since Hulk Hogan, Sgt. Slaughter, the Iron Sheik and Tito Santana weren't on it. And maybe not every punch hit its intended target; maybe the wrestlers hit the canvas out of sheer fear for what might have happened if they had landed. And maybe just a bit of the action is, dare I call it, scripted. But as George Michael, WRC-TV's eclectic sportscaster and unparalleled Chancellor of the Canvas, says, "You go see wrestling and you know that from the moment you walk in, until the moment you walk out, you'll get your money's worth."
And amen to that.
This was my first time at a live wrestling match, and because I didn't want to appear, dare I say it, the naif, I asked two of Washington's most avid fans to come with me. Since they are both lawyers and threatened to sue me for every cent I have if I printed their last names, I will refer to them only as Jon and Gary. Perhaps you saw them. They were the ones who got to the front of the beer line and asked for two dry martinis.
Since they watch televised wrestling religiously, they were able to school me in the nuances of the sport. For openers they pointed out that pro wrestling was essentially a conflict between the forces of good and the forces of evil, a subtlety that became obvious when Moondog Spot was introduced as hailing, "from Parts Unknown." That Moondog was one of the bad guys was further illustrated by something he carried into the ring with him -- a bone. Moondog was, as they say, some piece of work. He had that tell-tale far-away look in his eyes. Very far-away. Like Parts Unknown might be somewhere west of Venus. His opponent was David Bruno Sammartino, son of the revered one. All Sammartinos, of course, are Good Guys, so I had a notion that the Moondog's karma was about to check out.
"Where's your flea collar, you mutt?" someone yelled at Moondog.
"Break his arm!" someone else yelled, encouraging young Sammartino.
Knowing how the expert wrestling commentators talk, whenever Moondog landed with a thud -- which was often -- Jon turned to me and said, "Oh, that's got to hurt! You can bet that hurt Moondog, bad!"
And Gary would say, "I'll tell you, Bruno's got to be proud of his boy. He hurt Moondog, bad!"
Next up were Mr. Fuji and The Tonga Kid. Mr. Fuji had the kind of smile you associate with a man who has just tossed Mr. Rogers into a tankful of piranha. Plus, he had a foreign object concealed in his costume. Well, maybe not that well concealed. I saw it, as did 9,000 others. The only one who didn't see it was the ref. So I got the idea Mr. Fuji was a Bad Guy. The Tonga Kid, on the other hand, was clearly a Good Guy, even if his outfit made him look like a Don Ho roadie, and even if, as I suspect, all he knew about Tonga was that it was something Fred Astaire did with Ginger Rogers.
"Tonga got a lot better than the last time," offered someone behind me. "He was a real wimpy dude when he started out."
Next up was the Ivan Putski-Adrian Adonis bout. At various times in the match, Putski, who grabs the microphone to bellow "Polish Power!" before he wrestles, appeared to be hurt, bad! But the -- dare I say it -- rather lumpy Adonis, who came into the ring wearing biker gloves and a black leather jacket, and who jumped on the lowest ring rope with such animation that I thought he was trying to kick-start it, was no match for the wily veteran.
By the Salvatore Bellomo-Greg Valentine match, the fans were screaming for blood.
"We want blood!" they screamed.
No sooner said than done. Blood appeared from under Bellomo's nose. Strange blood at that, the color of strawberry Jell-O.
Luckily for Bellomo, Valentine pinned him early without having to resort to his fearsome hold, the "Figure Four Grapevine," a maneuver designed to bring a man to his knees, then break them.
"It's what we in wrestling call a real devastating hold," Gary told me. "It can put a man out of commission for a long time. Until tomorrow at least."
Time doesn't permit me to go into detail on the rest of the bouts, but rest assured that in each one at times it appeared one -- if not both -- wrestlers were hurt, bad! Dick Murdoch, a Bad Guy, beat S.D. (Special Delivery) Jones, a Good Guy, but was later KO'd by a ref. I'm ashamed to say it, but I've forgotten who won the match between Nikolai Volkoff and Samoan No. 3. (I can only assume that Samoans Nos. 1 and 2 were otherwise engaged with the Reagan-Bush campaign.) But I do remember how the crowd responded when Volkoff grabbed the microphone, and demanded the fans join him in singing the Soviet national anthem.
"Go home, you Commie!" they shouted.
For a moment there I thought he was going to be hurt, bad!
The last match was a tag-team, Andre The Giant and The Junk Yard Dog versus Kamala and Big John Studd.
Words fail me.
You have to be there. Honest.