Thursday, October 26, 2023

On This Day And Beyond: October 26 1993

It's the American football season, so that means - every Thursday here on the blog - I publish a post with my spreadsheet and database predictions for the first NFL game of the week.

I cannot do that today. The Thursday Night Football post was published a day earlier this week.

The reason why I've changed my schedule on this very day is because October 26th 2023 is the thirtieth anniversary of the first time I went to watch a professional wrestling show by an American company.

I had obviously been to many British-run shows long before 1993. However, on that day - thirty years ago - I went to see World Championship Wrestling's opening night of its Halloween Havoc UK Tour which took place from the Cardiff International Arena.

That autumn was very big for Cardiff. The city was a few weeks removed from the world watching Lennox Lewis .vs. Frank Bruno. There was a huge buzz around my group of friends about that. Then, in late October, we had WCW visit and - beyond that - the World Wrestling Federation made its first visit to the Welsh capital on December 5th of that year.

I wrote about The Day WCW Came To Town and followed that up with The Day The WWF Came To Town ten years ago. 

There's no point replicating those posts, but thought I would share some memories I still have from that day.

In the post about the WCW's event, I wrote about getting the opportunity to go backstage and being able to meet Sting and The British Bulldog. I was also briefly able to greet Arn Anderson and Johnny B. Badd when they were both coming back down to the dressing room after their match against The Nasty Boys.

I still laugh when I recall patting both guys on the shoulder saying 'Hello Arn!' and 'Hello Johnny!" while wearing a Nasty Boys t-shirt after they had just lost to them.

While backstage waiting for Sting and Davey Boy Smith, we were stood by a table which had the ring entrance gear some of the wrestlers who had wrestled before the intermission had worn. Going by memory, I recall seeing Maxx Payne's long leather coat, the Hollywood Blonds' waistcoats, Ricky Steamboat's Dragon costume, the Nasty Boys' coats and we also managed to see the WCW Tag Team Title belts on the table.

One of the lasting memories I have of the event was after we first entered the building and were waiting in our seats. The music system was playing songs from the WCW Slam Jam album. I cannot recall who was doing the voiceover for the commercial. I surmise it was Tony Schiavone. Anyway, they kept plugging the fact you could own a copy of the CD. 

At the time, I didn't own a CD player. However, I asked for one for Christmas that year. Can you guess what the first album I had for it was? 


WCW Slam Jam CD

Another lasting memories of that night was seeing Sid Vicious wrestle on the card.

I was a huge fan of Sid back then. He had re-signed for World Championship Wrestling earlier that year after quitting the WWF in 1992. 

Even though he was meant to be a heel, my friend and I were both yelling his name during his match - alongside 'Ravishing' Rick Rude - against Sting and Dustin Rhodes. Our chants were doing their best against those cheering on Sting (and Dustin, I suppose). A girl sitting directly in front of us was wound up because she was rooting for the babyfaces.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, Sid - while standing in the corner as Rude was the legal man in the tag team contest - looked over at my friend and I. We continued to shout his name. He nodded at us in appreciation.

What a moment. And one I still remember to this day.

It didn't end there, though.

After the match, I ran to the the barriers by the aisle and leaned over the rail to try and tap his hand. Or something. I reached out and missed, but I contorted my body in a way where I was able to touch his back as he walked by. 

'I touched Sid!' is not something I would say at my current age. Back then, however, it was a crowning achievement.

Sid Vicious' career took a huge detour later that night.

The next stop on the tour was Blackburn. After the show in Cardiff, the crew immediately left for the next town and would spend the early hours in the hotel bar. Sid and Arn Anderson got into a fight and it resulted in each of them stabbing the other with a pair of scissors.

Sid, at that time, was being built up as the person who would dethrone Vader for the WCW World Title at Starrcade in December. Instead, he was fired from the company for the incident. 

In what turned out to be serendipitous of sorts, Ric Flair was moved into Sid's place for WCW's biggest show of the year and he won the title from Vader. The event took place in Charlotte - Flair's home town, so WCW more or less came up with a bigger match despite having to shift from its original plan.

I often wonder what would have happened had Blackburn not happened. 

Sid would eventually return to the WWF and finally win a world title by defeating Shawn Michels at the Survivor Series show in 1996.

Back to October 26th 1993, though.

The event made me a bigger wrestling fan than I had been before walking into the Cardiff International Arena that night.

And, on that note, I'm off to listen to WCW Slam Jam.

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