Father's Day Tribute
by: Hector Vasquez, Jr.
There was always a sense of anticipation and innocence about growing up in the '80s and Saturday mornings. I enjoyed a nonstop list of cartoons, but it was still capped off with WWF superstars of wrestling. Growing up, my mom would tell me stories about the times when she was a young girl watching wrestling with her dad. I was fortunate to be in the same situation with my dad. Wrestling grew as a passion for me on January 23rd, 1984, when Hulk Hogan faced the iron sheik for the WWF Championship at Madison Square Garden. Growing up in New York City, Madison Square Garden was the mecca arena for the WWF. The first Wrestlemania was held there and later on the 10th and 20th edition. In honor of Father's Day, I would like to share with you one particular memory I've had with my dad. We've shared many memorable moments; however, this one stood out above the rest.
On Monday night, January 27th, 1986, Madison Square Garden was hosting a WWF live event. Now back then, we didn't have cable. We would watch wrestling on Saturday mornings and the occasional Saturday night main event, all on local channels. So how did I know the WWF was going to be at Madison Square Garden? The newspaper. Yup, that's right. When you want to know or find out anything, you buy the paper and look for events happening. However, I didn't think much of it until my dad pulled a fast one on me! He surprised me with tickets to the live event. Here is a man who would do anything for me. Looking back now, he went out of his way to make this night happen. Getting those tickets was no easy task.having to travel to manhattan to buy tickets, not knowing what was available and making sure you have the cash on hand, is what made it daunting. However, as a young boy, to see a father's love be put into action was priceless, especially on a school night. No matter what my dad went through in life, putting a smile on my face and spending time with me was his mission, and he succeeded. That night we talked, we laughed and had a great conversation about what we were about to experience. As we entered the garden, my dad purchased a wrestling program, and in it was the line up for the night. We already knew about the main event before the event, but to see who else was going to be there that night made it exciting. Like Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff, Big John Stud, Junkyard Dog, Pedro Morales, and Terry Funk were just some names. Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse "The Body" Ventura was on commentary that night.
So let us get to the main event. Hulk Hogan was defending his WWF title against the macho man randy savage. This match was intense even before the bell rang. My dad said to me before the match that macho man will win. I completely disagreed. I told him, how can hogan lose? He was like a superhero to us kids; he was our champion, the face of the WWF. He trained, said his prayers, and ate his vitamins. Hogan can not be beaten!! Well, I think hogan didn't get that memo! Lol! As Hulk Hogan entered the ring and before the bell ring to start the match, Savage was all over Hogan, just pounding away I mean the Macho man still has his robe on and started choking the Hulkster with his bandana, and then ripped off his shirt and strangled him with that too, also beating the champ with his belt. Then Hulk Hogan turns the table, mocking the Macho man by wearing his shades and commences the beat down on Savage. This match was so physical, Savage got busted open, and blood was everywhere. Back and forth, these two superstars went, and back and forth, my dad and I went. Fans were cheering, and fans were booing. It was exciting.
The result...The macho man Randy savage won by a count-out because Miss Elizabeth kept blocking Hogan from ramming Savage into the post resulting in Hogan hitting the steel ring post shoulder first. However, the title did not change hands. Even after the match was over, these two superstars continue to go at it. Still, Hogan was putting the bear hug on Savage, resulting in other WWF Superstars like tiger Chung Lee, iron Mike sharp, and Danny Spivey having to separate these two Superstars. So my dad and I both went home winners...For my dad, the macho man won the match, and for me, Hulk Hogan kept his title, but for both of us, the most crucial win was that we both bonded so well together that evening. And though it was super late and a long train ride home, we didn't allow our tiredness to affect our evening. We talked about the evening all the way home.
DAD, I KNOW YOU'RE LOOKING DOWN FROM HEAVEN SENDING OUT SMILES WITH DAYS OF SUNSHINE AND SHOWERS OF LOVE. THANK YOU FOR THE EVERLASTING MEMORIES!!