I cannot remember a moment where I was not a wrestling fan. I don’t have that moment everybody else seems to have where it’s like “The minute I saw Junkyard Dog, I was hooked” or “Once the NWO formed, I had to tune in every week”. If they ever interviewed me for a WWE Countdown, I’d probably end up never being used due to my rambling nature of how awesome things are ( Also, has anyone else noticed how insincere Booker T and Alex Riley come off when they talk about stuff in the OMG 50 Moments DVD?). I tend to get mad at people who started watching after I did, and anytime a random person tries to start a conversation with me I usually ignore them. I have my opinions and with the exception of a handful of people, nobody can really change them. To me, things have always been awesome or shit and very few in between.
I’ve been a fan all my life, and recently I found myself in a bit of a quagmire. I was sitting down and attempting to redesign the biography pages on this very site. I had the genius idea that we should make it like a fictional professional wrestling roster page. If anything, it gives me the vain excuse to put up a picture and show people what I look like. Before informing the staff, I figured I’d throw together some little tidbits of information and give them a template. I had my weight (180 pounds), height (6’1) hometown (Carver, Massachusetts represent) and then favorite wrestler.
That’s where I hit a rough patch.
I can’t even begin to figure out who my favorite wrestler of all time is. In a heartbeat I can tell you Rocky IV is my favorite movie , The Misfits are my favorite band and Ava Devine is my favorite Asian Milf adult performer ( I hope my mom doesn’t choose to read this article). I can name all those things within moments, but I have never been able to fully answer who my favorite wrestler of all time. With that being said, I’ve decided to try to track down who my favorite professional wrestler of all time is. To do so, I decided to sit back through the memory banks and old Apter magazines and try to remember who claimed what year in the mind of Ben Pasco. I was born in the year (of the dragon!) 1988, and we’ll start the countdown with the earliest years, and moments, I can recall. I proclaim at the end of this, I will have an answer for that very question.
1992, 1993: Bret Hart
When you’re a little kid you immediately find two heroes. For me like everybody my hero was my dad, but unlike some people my other hero was a Canadian guy in pink and black tights. To say I worshipped Bret Hart would indicated that I don’t worship him now. The man was my hero, and at age five you’re always looking for heroes. I’m sure for my parents Bret Hart was a fantastic role model. Bret Hart told me that with respect, honor and hard work I can go everywhere. Hogan was obnoxious and annoying, but Bret matches allowed a moment of recollection for my parents where they could relax while I sat glued to the television. Although, I suspect my father didn’t enjoy my attempts at Sharpshootering him anytime he lied down.
To give you a perspective on this, when my Uncle Shawn died of diabetes I didn’t cry. I was too young to really understand death and wasn’t close with him. When Bret Hart lost the world title to Yokozuna at Wrestlemania 9, I bawled my eyes out. Ironically enough, I threw a temper tantrum when I couldn’t order the Iron Man match between Bret and Shawn because of my uncle passing. I was too young to understand the work of it all, and Bret Hart was everything to me. Bret may have been usurped as my favorite over the years, but few would ever match the devotion I had.
1994: Koko B Ware.
Bret Hart obviously dominated the year for me, but Koko has a special place in my heart. It took just one night for Koko to dominate a year. I’ve yet to really tell this story in full so allow me to take a moment of your time
My dad hates professional wrestling. His son on the other hand, ended up starting a blog about it. Part of the requirement of being a father is sometimes being nice to your son and taking him to shit that you hate. Case in point one night in 1994 when my dad, myself, cousin and his friend all traveled to the luxurious Middleboro High School gymnasium. The rest of the show was forgettable and I’m still unsure if that tall guy really was El Gigante or I just made it up. What I will never forget though, is that main event. In a classic that would leave Dave Meltzer locking the door before his mother came in, The Tazmanic took
on Koko B Ware. I can’t tell you all what happened during the match, but I can tell you about what could be my favorite moment in my life (The closest we’ve gotten to the level of joy was seeing Great Sasuke sing Bon Jovi). My dad brought me down to ringside and The Birdman’s eyes met mine and he made a motion. Next thing I know my dad had lifted me up in his seemingly giant arms and put me in the ring. Koko started flapping to the beat and for ten seconds that I’ll never forget I DID THE FUCKING BIRDANCE WITH KOKO B WARE.
My life peaked at Six
1995, 1996 Shawn Michaels
Before he was a denim vest that brought me good luck, Shawn Michaels was the coolest cat. You’ll see as I grow older that everybody I loved was somebody I aspired to be for some reason. If you don’t remember Shawn in the mid 90s then you missed the dude who was the absolute raddest dude on the planet. He was funny, could do moonsaults, and pretty much flew to the ring. I still loved Bret, but when you’re getting started in school like I was it starts to become about being cool.
A lot of people have their specific Shawn Michaels memories, but mine’s a little obscure. The moment I remember thinking, Shawn Michaels is awesome was a match against King
Kong Bundy at all people. Shawn dives onto Bundy and then decides to just go in the front row and sit with the fans. He may have been a political, manipulative, little prima donna BUT DID YOU SEE THOSE FINGERLESS GLOVES!
If my love of Shawn Michaels was about being cool, then my love of Sting was about being a hero. In 1997, I turned my attention fully to World Championship Wrestling as Sting lurked in the shadows. I had never heard of, or seen The Crow at this point so as far as I was concerned Sting was just being the raddest dude ever. I and my best friend got in a huge argument over who would be Sting for Halloween, so we both ended up as Sting. I could receipt the “when a man’s heart is full of deceit….” Speech off the top of my head for years following it. I mean, what’s not to love about Crow Sting? As far as pro wrestling has gotten, he may have been the closest we ever got to an actual superhero. Bret may have talked a big game, but Sting was out saving those who need to be saved. I was nine years old and faced with the injustice of not being able to eat the food I wanted, or not play with the kids I wanted to play with. I needed a vindicator. I needed to be a vindicator. I needed Sting. He waited for evil to strike, and then came down and bashed people with bats. He was a vigilante before Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page made it cool in the movie Super (Awesome movie, and Ellen Page is….awwman). Crow Sting was the baddest of the bad.
1998, 1999 Mick Foley
Our next wrestler takes me back to my wonderful, prepubescent days as a young lad. I had moved from Pembroke Massachusetts to Carver Mass. I had hit double digits, which was a big deal for me, and in 1998 I went to my best friend’s uncle house and saw what could be my favorite match of all time. I don’t need to go into details about King of the Ring 1998 and Mankind vs. Undertaker, but when you’re ten years old it blows your mind. It’s still crazy now to think about what Foley did in that match, but when you’re ten years old it’s the craziest shit ever. Mick Foley made a ten-year old boy feel like a pussy. That summer I went to my friend’s house and fell with my legs spread open on the metal part of the trampoline and bawled my eyes out. It was the last time I cried from physical pain and not from emotional pain/ the end scene of Sesame Street: Follow that Bird. If my love of Foley was about anything, it was about the love of underdogs. I had just moved and I was always really shitty at making friends (if you didn’t like wrestling, then well…what do I possibly have to talk to you about?). I knew I was a weird kid and I also knew that I thought most people were fucking stupid. I saw Mick Foley and the Dude Love videos and all that and saw somebody who reminded me of myself.
I can count on one hand, the amount of times I have ever got up out of my seat because of professional wrestling and Mick Foley has the first time it ever happened. I had forced my fandom upon my brother which I used as a weapon against my parents. I had used him as a tool with which to order PPVs which worked like a charm. On this night, my brother and I were actually glued to the television set as Mick Foley took on The Rock for the world title. It was the greatest episode of RAW I ever remember between HBK coming back and Degeneration X being totally awesome. Road Dogg and Xpac were numbers two and three on my favorites list and so this was a megapower of dudes I adored. When Foley finally won the belt me and my brother lost our collective minds. I woke my mom up as she slept on the coach to tell her Mick Foley won the belt. This was big news in my world, and if a fucking presidential address can take up a whole night of TV then why shouldn’t the news announce to the world that Mankind won the world title? Mick Foley was the guy who taught me it was cool to be an underdog, and that it was cool to fall off cages.
2000: The Hardy Boyz
The Hardyz are currently punch lines, but at one time they really were amazing. The year 2000 was the year of the first triple team ladder match as well as The Tag Team Tables match. At this point in my life, I was into numetal and having feels and well, I mean just look at The Hardyz. The Hardyz were for the Kid Rock n Roll Express generation. Foley may have been thrown off of cells, but the Hardyz chose to dive off of things and risk injury and that’s awesome. Between the hardyz and MTV’s Jackass, I had decided that I was bold enough to be a daredevil and that fear was just a four letter word. Well, fear may have been a four letter word but coward was six letters that seemed all too familiar.
I aspired to be The Hardy Boyz, so much so that I cut one of my long sleeved shirts in order to make those wrists things they had. Every CAW from 2000 to like 2005 had those things on my guy, regardless of the gimmick I was looking for. I guess I was just looking at two young dudes who proved the Kevin Garnett theory, that anything is possible. In retrospect, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t keep the fan love going. Man, they suck now.
I’ll spare the rod and spoil the children with this one, check back soon for part two of this article. In the next edition, there’ll be a lot more stories about how dumb I am as a teenager as opposed to how dumb I was as a child
Keep your stick on the ice,
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