In this regular column, Justin Rozzero and Jen Engle exchange emails reminiscing about the greatest decade in history: the 1990s. Justin & Jen have been friends since 1997 and have been trading emails and instant messages about 90s nostalgia since the day they met. Now, they take it public. If you have suggestions for future topics, please email us at the addresses below!
Justin: Josh! Much like Ron Renzi and Psycho Sid, we are giving Jen Engle the night off for this installment of We Miss the 90s. And that is because it is the (be ready to throw up in your mouth) 20th Anniversary (!) of Royal Rumble 1994. This is a special show for us, because we were in attendance live inside the Providence Civic Center and have always held the show up in special regard because of that.
But, let us back track a bit and set the stage. We kindled our beautiful friendship and eternal life partnership in the summer of 1993, bonding through basketball but blossoming through wrestling and eventually, making home videos.
Had you been watching wrestling at all prior to crossing that street to play basketball on a random balmy afternoon? Or was it once we started hanging out that you really got into it?
Josh: You…don’t give Jen..the night off. Unless she asked for it in advance or her expertise does not cover mid 90’s wrestling events.
I just threw up in the mouths of several person at that 20 year Anniversary factoid (I had a big lunch). That long? Where does the time go? How many versions of the Undertaker have existed since his “death” that night? Scary business this endless march of time.
Prior to crossing the road that day and realizing that someone else was ALSO playing basketball in a mediocre way, it had been maybe a year to a year and a half since I had last been immersed in the world of pro wrestling. When I was into it, I was really into it: WWF magazines (which I would pore through dreaming of owning every shirt and every foam belt), watching Superstars, Challenge (was that on then?), Prime Time, and one that was on USA on Sunday mornings. Am I imagining that one? I was huge mark for the “good guys” with Hulk Hogan and Jake Roberts being personal favorites, although I also loved teams like Demolition and Legion of Doom. I have very distinct memories of pretending to fall asleep in my finished basement so I could stay up to watch Saturday Night’s Main Event. Aside from reading about it in PWI, I wasn’t into WCW. The names and faces in the magazine were just that. I even think I missed Flair’s entire run in the WWF.
I stopped watching after accepting that it was one big “fake” show, that no matter what I thought I saw, these men were just acting and everything was predetermined. Somehow learning this and that a Piledriver wasn’t nearly as dangerous as it had been sold to be changed my outlook on it. That was until your enthusiasm for it (and all those wonderful toys you had) lit the fire again, albeit briefly. I don’t think I had had any friends who had liked it THAT much until that point, and now I had met two, including your cousin Matt.
Justin: The time just marches on. There had to be at least nine variations of Undertaker’s gimmick since he rose to heavens that night. I honestly don’t think I knew you were that big of a fan before meeting me. Look at that… Already learned something new!
Besides my brother, Matt was a driving force in the development of my fandom for sure. He got me into it in early 1990 and we never looked back. I remember you hopped in the summer of 1993, shortly before SummerSlam and by my Survivor Series birthday party, you were all in.
Who were your favorites at that time when you became immersed back in? By 1994 we were all about Diesel and Shawn Michaels, but which stars did you latch to immediately?
Around this time we also started recording home videos, usually based around wrestling. That was Matt driven as well. Do you wonder if we still would have followed that path even if wrestling wasn’t involved?
And tell us the story of the Tim Hardaway jersey!
Josh: How is it that you didn’t know about my wrestling past? One would think that somehow that would have come up when … you know … when we were wrestling. Or watching wrestling. Or talking about wrestling … or a whole Bueford “Bubba” Blue list of wrestling things.
I didn’t realize that for you it had been so LATE. 1990 was late in the game for me … or the middle of my first run with it when you take into account my revival. I guess it was super easy to jump back in because things had changed enough to intrigue me, while a lot of the faces were still there. And I mean in general, not “Faces” in wrestling terms, or the Rod Stewart version of Small Faces. Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were something else by that point, actual Superstars as opposed to second tier guys (third in the case of the Rocker Shawn Michaels) so naturally I took to them right away. I think I took to Bam Bam Bigelow for the same reason. I thought evil Doink was brilliant and mature version of Josh “The Wrestling Fan” loved The Quebecers and Johnny Polo because it was one big joke, while the budding horror fan found Undertaker to still be fun in a cartoonish spooky way … akin to the Cryptkeeper. Of course you showed me everything I had missed as well as WCW so it was a lot to process.
I think we would have ended up acting – because that is what it was all about when you really break it down-even if we weren’t into wrestling. I believe the first entry into the Moliseum canon was a music video for Coolio’s “Fantastic Voyage”, was it not?
Plus there was those plays that we did with our old theater group, The Four Js Club. Wrestling just gave us an easy way to tell stories and the freedom to play a variety of characters that interacted in the same weird universe – not to mention a formula in which to do it. Later we would figure out how to cut the parts we were bad at out (the wrestling) but still it was about telling stories and trying to entertain each other, who were the primary (only) audience after all.
The Tim Hardaway jersey – my White Whale! Upon coming into some Eighth Grade Graduation cash, I did what many thirteen year old boys would do in 1994: buy a Champion replica basketball jersey. It was the away one of course, because who the hell bought the home jersey? I remember I had to go to the tiny sports store in the already dying Rhode Island mall because none of the chains like Champs or Olympia Sports carried it. It was a wonderful two days before the guilt of spending 40 dollars in 1994 and nearly ALL of my graduation money on one item of clothing finally set in. As a poor kid who was supposed to attend an expensive College Prep school in the fall, it felt irresponsible to blow that money, so I did what many men are forced to do: set free that which I loved. I went and returned the jersey and was forced to relive the brief time that we spent together every Saturday when NBA’s Inside Stuff came on. I keep waiting for it to come back to me but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Especially when it goes for more than double (in 2014 dollars!) on eBay now. Sigh. “In another life…I would make you stay…”
Justin: I guess I must have known at some point, but we probably haven’t discussed it since 1993, so it was deep in the recesses. I am pretty sure you were a big Duke Droese guy too. I hopped on the Sparky Plug wagon and Cousin Matt was all in on Jeff Jarrett. And you are right, we would have been acting and taping anyway. The Four J’s wasn’t wrestling based and it may have trended that way eventually. That jersey was a true piece of nostalgia and it was sad to see it go. It was quickly replaced by the nondescript Duke one, which is an odd choice for you considering how anti-establishment you would eventually become. So as our wrestling fandom increased, so did the recording. By early 1994, we were all in, always wanting to record things, usually wrestling based and our love of both increased daily. It was also at this time that were heavily into playing with the wrestling figures. Supercards. With entrance music. And Lego entrance carts and accessories. And we used to record those matches sometimes too! What was the appeal? Why was it so damn fun? We had notebooks full of results! Amazing.
Also, in the world of real (?) wrestling, Yokozuna was in the middle of a very long World Title reign, but he was now faced with the challenge of the Undertaker, who was building a double wide casket for the champ to be buried in at the Rumble. Any memories of that feud or thoughts on Yoko as Champion? Did we appreciate him at the time? Or did he bore us?
Josh: Nobody is more sad about letting that jersey slip through my hands than me. I had quite a hoard of college shirts before I decided that the whole system was a joke. Remember the Air Force jersey? How funny is THAT looking back?
I was always jealous of your jerseys obviously. Hornets AND Bucks? Superb.
The wrestling figures were an obsession I think because there were two of us, so having things like music and carefully constructed “scaffolds,” “ladders” and our Titantron didn’t seem as silly and time-consuming than if there was only one of us going through all that trouble. We were pretty into storytelling and using our imaginations and we could do it even with your parents around, something that we couldn’t do with most of the other stuff we recorded.
Is it weird that we were playing with toys at that old … or just a symptom of our creativity? As far as keeping track … you love documenting and making lists. It’s your thing.
I did like “The Dumpster” and a lot of the other “wrestlers with jobs” that were trotted out at the time. Sparky Plugg, Adam Bomb (I assume he was a physicist). Monarchs. Peace Officers and The criminals that complement them (though that was a few years earlier). That’s how weird wrestling was then: everybody needed a back story that implied that they just walked off the streets from their identity-defining career and started wrestling in the WWF.
Yokozuna WAS pretty boring. The whole gimmick was that he was huge and that was it. And foreign. Wrestling really tried to play up the xenophobia as a reason to root against someone and in 93/94 we had him in Ludvig Borga, whom the two of us were actually excited about. At least Mr Fuji got to change his look from a Charlie Chan type of character to a Karate Kid II era Miyagi. I forgot about the double wide casket! Man, remember when even the Undertaker was a working man, building caskets and hanging out in cemeteries? Not like that American Badass version that probably just ran guns and girls up and down the coast of Parts Unknown.
Did you find it scary to let me into your world of wrestling and figures and theatrical performance when we met, or did I seem not as much of a judgmental prick that I would come to be later? And did it excite you to get to show someone all the wrestling that I had missed out on?
Justin: The Hornets jersey was my favorite, I wore that thing out. I have no clue how I even got the Bucks Eric Murdock jersey. I doubt they sold them around here and there was no Amazon to hop on? I guess I must have found it at a sports shop somewhere. I can’t remember.
We also had some pretty great Catholic school league hoops shirts between St. Mary’s, St. John’s and St. James. They were all pretty pimp.
Good points all around on the figures and yeah, it was probably weird, especially since I would leave them all out in the living room, including when my parents had company. I have no idea what kind of comments were flung around during dinner as I sat banging my Repo Man figure around and scratching results in a notebook like John Nash. But I didn’t give a shit because I loved every minute of it. I still remember you using my old Funk & Wagnalls (!) encyclopedia set as a makeshift ring while I used the authentic Hasbro version. It sucks that we couldn’t just go out and buy another one.
The wrestlers with jobs thing was bizarre and honestly quite lazy. Instead of giving them any sort of motivation or back story, they just informed us of their employment and that they were coming to the WWF to be successful. It was an odd time. I really liked Yokozuna but always felt dirty for it, because I didn’t think I was supposed to. He was impressive for a guy that size, gliding around the ring and had a weird sort of charisma. I really wanted Undertaker to beat him for the gold at the Rumble though, regardless of my fondness.
I think I was so enamored to have a friend close by that I didn’t give a shit about what your reaction could be. We hit it off pretty quickly and you were fairly easy-going at the time and let me run the show, which fits my Type A deal. As you well know, I attended elementary school a few cities away, so I had no local friends. Cousin Matt was huge into wrestling like me, but due to his whole oddly regimented schedule, we only hung out on Saturdays from 1-4:30 (after they had McDonald’s and before church). So outside of talking to my friend Jim from school or Matt on the phone, I was on an island unless I was able to coerce my sister into something stupid, like refereeing my matches against my wrestling buddy.
So, having a good friend across the street was amazing, it changed my world. YOU changed my world. Being able to call and say “hey wanna come over” and not have to worry about getting a ride or time sanctions was pretty swank at age 12. It only made sense that we would mesh habits quickly just because it was so easy to spend time together.
So, it is announced that the Rumble is coming to Providence, the first ever Rhode Island WWF PPV and we were pumped. Do you remember if you had to work hard to join us? Or was it as simple as asking your dad and he said “sure”? I know money could be tight since he was running the ship on his own, but I can’t remember if we really had to work it to get you in the mix. Matt’s dad got us the tickets and we had decent seats. It is funny, because I go to the Dunk now and the place seems so small, but back then it seemed like the biggest place in the world.
Do you remember anything about the build to the card?
- Tatanka vs. Ludvig Borga (replaced by Bam Bam Bigelow)
- Bret & Owen Hart vs. Quebecers
- Razor Ramon vs. IRS
- Undertaker vs. Yokozuna
- Rumble Match
Josh: I was also on an island of sorts up until that point. Sure I had been involved in youth sports in our home town and had gone to school at small catholic elementary schools (K through 8, actually), but I lived a good bike ride from everyone I was friends with, who all seemed to live in the same neighborhood, one that had many people our age. Our neighborhood was suburbia, but we pretty much lived on a main road which had always made playing with other kids difficult. But that all changed for the better as you said. I finally had that “right across the street” friend and it was pretty much all we did. Using today’s societal rot as a measuring stick, your parents are probably pretty excited that’s ALL you were doing. Better to be a slightly weird (and I mean that in the best sense possible as it also applies to me) than completely obsessed with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and having sex on Molly. History has replaced the oddity of that behavior with “wholesomeness.”
If your brain works right, then any encyclopedia can be a ring. Funk and Wagnalls. World Book. Heck…even Britannica.
All seriousness aside, the figures you let me borrow (you had a bunch of doubles – first world problems) also provided me with entertainment after my family was forced to cut the cable cord for all of junior high and high school. I even dug out some of my action figures and had some crossover action where Man-At-Arms and Repo Man would take on Hulk Hogan (with the arms that opened and close) and Two Bad (same arms and also from He-Man) in some pretty epic falls count anywhere bouts. Because as you said: I couldn’t afford a ring.
Which brings us to another point: how DID I get there? Your family was pretty rad with letting me tag along for a lot of activities – mostly to keep your occupied while they enjoyed their dinner at Chelo’s – but I can’t imagine they being that generous. I imagine my dad somehow came up with it because he wanted me to be able to do SOME things that were on the luxurious side for us at the time. Plus, he knew how much I had loved the WWF when I had been into it and had always wanted to go to a live show, and with the Rumble being such a big deal I feel he would have made it happen anyway he could. He had a way of doing that.
The build-up for us was nothing short of full on excitement from what I can remember. The anticipation was something I wish I could experience now. It is very rare that I get THAT excited anymore for anything. I vaguely recall the on-air build though, the specifics anyway. Bret and Owen were awesome as a team, but you can never work with your bro? Ludvig broke Tatanka’s streak and then was replaced by Bigelow at the list minute? I remember being excited about that even if we wanted to see the match originally booked because Bam Bam had been a child hood favorite. I really really liked doing cartwheels and felt a kinship. Was IRS mad that Razor was an illegal immigrant who didn’t pay taxes on all that gold he won? (How great is it that that joke works even better now than it would have in 1994?). And of course…we couldn’t contain our excitement in seeing the Quebecers in person.
Did we have any predictions for the Rumble? And did we get McDonalds that night to keep Matt in his routine or was it a Elios night at the Rozzeros? Calzone and frozen fries with mustard perhaps?
Justin: I am guessing your dad scrounged together some coin to get you there, which was cool of him to do. Not sure what we did for dinner. Guessing it was not McDonald’s. Could have been some fries with mustard. Now I am hungry.
We were so pumped for that card, it was incredible and the build was really good on TV. I remember the atmosphere in the arena very vividly, especially in the lobby before the gates opened. Everyone was chanting and so fired up, it was incredible. Providence is a really great wrestling town, and we were ecstatic to have a PPV in the house.
Bret & Owen had a lot of tension brewing in December, following Survivor Series, but the thought of them teaming up for the tag titles was really cool and it seemed possible that they could pull off the win. That was a tough one for us, because we loved all five men involved in the match. You should rewatch it on YouTube, I bet you don’t remember just how great that battle and story were.
The Borga injury was announced on TV that morning, but I am not sure we were aware. I feel like we didn’t notice until we saw the card in the program and it had Bigelow’s name in place of Borga. We never got the payoff to the streak ender, and as much as we loved Bigelow, I was dying to see Borga live. You were a cart-wheel fiend and you also portrayed Bigelow in our early video taped WWF cards as well, thanks to your shaved head.
I can’t believe they haven’t brought back an IRS character as it would be a much better fit if you have him working for the Authority. The feud definitely had to do with Ramon not paying taxes on his gold, so IRS stole it and hid it in his attaché case until the match here. When he pinned Razor and seemingly won the gold, we were marking out like crazy, thinking we saw a live title change. Of course, we got the Dusty Finish and Razor retained.
I know I nailed my prediction that Scott Steiner would enter #1 and I think it seemed surefire that Lex Luger would win the Rumble and get his Summerslam rematch at Mania. I don’t believe anybody could have predicted the tie.
Do you remember the surprise return of Ted DiBiase to commentate with Vince McMahon? That was awesome and got the show off to a hot start.
OK…I am going to list a few bullet points around the show itself, why don’t you discuss your memories, if any?
Was this your peak as a wrestling fan? You stayed highly engaged through at least 1996 and still a bit into 1998, but were you ever a BIGGER fan?
Josh: We loved the card. The Rumble match itself was enough to make the entire event worth it, but every other match was one that we already had invested a lot into as fans. Especially the Battle for the Soul of Canada which technically gave us everything we wanted going forward. Quebecers retain, Owen and Bret is set for Wrestlemania and beyond (which made Mania awesome among other things), and we are treated to a soundbite that lives on even if Owen can’t. I’m pretty sure we picked up on the gaffe right away too, the bright bulbs that we were. Plus as a bonus, a part of us really were unsure if Bret would be able to participate in the eponymous headline match, not. We weren’t quite bright enough to shed our entire mark-ish mindset just yet.
DiBiase was a great surprise, Bigelow in for Borga…not as much. Bigelow in the Rumble was a fun bonus, but to lose Borga when we had watched that entire feud was a whole bunch of suck. I always liked Dibiase though, as far as one-dimensional foils to Hulk Hogan go. A smiling slave owner who no matter how much of a jerk he appears to be always comes across as lovable was a good time.
Who or What is the Authority? No, on second thought…I’ll just assume you are right and agree with you. Either way, I vaguely recall the knavery aspect of the feud with Razor Ramon and IRS, but maybe just because it SOUNDS like a scenario that would happen with the one-dimensional Irwin R. Schyster. What color was Razor’s trunks? Purple? Green? That was totally a thing, I remember.
Dusty finish AND a tie for the Rumble. We were a pretty lucky crowd. Plus we got to see the silliest angle up to that point. The Undertaker “rose” from the dead! No, I’m sorry, he magically projected himself to the big screen through Wonkavision (or built the coffin with a camera in it soooooo he can watch people be dead? What a weirdo!). And from the big screen he magically transformed into a man (again) that rose slowly to the rafters in the dark so as to obscure all the ropes. What was that shit? The silliest angle ever, that’s what and we got to see it! A “man” needed like 88 guys to beat him down and his power to be released from a sacred urn (?) which luckily took the form of a green gas so we KNEW that his gas was passing into us? It was the power of the Undertaker and he kept jabbering about how it was with us…is it because we breathed it in? DO I HAVE THE POWER OF THE UNDERTAKER INSIDE OF ME?
What a great age. Being taken as marks with all the Bret/Owen stuff, the finish in the IC title match, and the end of the Rumble (which I recall being slightly pissed about its uncertainty) and then having how cartoonish the whole spectacle could be with the Undertaker crap. And then no Taker on TV for a while. Very strange to be THAT age. I wanted to shield all the children’s eyes so they couldn’t see the Undertaker’s stunt double crawling around the scaffolding above, shattering the cartoonish fantasy that they had just been presented.
I watched it again just make sure I got the sequence of lunacy correct. The commentary is crazy too with Vince and Dibiase really selling the shit out of the supernatural aspect. Hilarious in retrospect and something I wish we could have experienced without having to wait for the VHS release. That and seeing the Undertaker’s entrance that Matt had stolen from me with his successful attempts to get me to watch HIM raise HIS arms to bring up the house lights. It was pretty impressive actually, even with the several stutter stops. You nailed that Scott Steiner prediction. If only we had been able to put some cash down.
It is hard to say when I was a “Bigger Fan.” When i was a kid it was so larger than life. I even started youth league wrestling because I was so into the WWF (that first practice was a pretty disappointing day). 1994 was different because it took up so much of our time and was that THING that a few of us were really, really into together. It was big because it involved other people I guess. The Rumble may have been a peak though, because I also felt part of something: a TV crowd that was super hot for ANYTHING.
Can we talk about Diesel?
Justin: The Undertaker stuff was really fucking trippy to the point that you wonder how anybody created the idea and then signed off on it as well. I mean, as a kid sitting there it was like…wait, what?? What do you think was going through the minds of my dad and uncle? Both were wrestling fans but this? They must have been wondering just why the fuck we were all there. And of course, my sister slept right through the whole thing. Why was she there again? Matt forcing you to watch him mimic Undertaker’s entrance is the stuff of legend. And heartbreak. And when Steiner came out, I don’t think I had ever been happier in my life to that point. Perhaps this was the start of our peak? I mean, we were locked in hardcore through WrestleMania, even attending that great house show that April. At that show, we found out Diesel was the new IC Champ before the match aired on SuperStars AND we got on TV after being interviewed in the concourse. I think our peak was from late 1993 through high school starting that fall.Diesel! Diesel! Holy shit, was that awesome. We were huge Diesel fans to begin with and then to see him mow through guys out of nowhere was fantastic. The crowd rallying behind him was really cool and he was able to save his own career with that performance. What are your specific memories of that moment?The tie sucked, but I get why they did it. I do think they should have called an audible and declared Hart the winner once they heard the partisan reaction, but that would have fucked with their WrestleMania plans big time. Providence has always been a Hitman hotbed, so no shock there that we all chose him over Luger. Did you agree?So, around this time, we were really ramping up the home video production. In the spring and summer, we started to crank out a lot of random entries, culminating in what is known as the Jim Ross Show.
That August, WCF launched and we never looked back. How did those home videos shape your life? Did they? Do you have any regrets about the time we spent creating and editing and watching them all? What was your favorite video recorded during that first year of production? Oh, and Razor Ramon wore light blue that night.
Josh: My only regrets about the times we recorded is that we weren’t more diligent about editing out the parts that we said we would. Although, I guess it makes it more fun to watch now. It would have been nice to have known that we had discipline to make a shiny finished product. Damn our extremely basic setup that made editing into a task more akin to getting your braces adjusted. Perhaps also a pink Speedo?
I am just now beginning to understand the impact it has had on me. Entertaining my friends and just letting go and “being” someone else sure beat playing video games (even the Royal Rumble one for SNES), and made me feel a connection to other people who did the same thing in their youth.Is it cheating to say my favorite stuff from that first year is all the stuff that has been lost over the years?
Justin: True, we never did but I’m happy about it because many times the screw ups were the funniest parts.
It had a major impact on my life and figure career choice heading into college. Hell, it even shaped our high school career because we would make videos for our presentations, which was awesome because it was fun AND it got us out of having to stand up and do a dry presentation.
Obviously, we had tons of practice at exploring characters and rudimentary editing and it also created a bond that we will all share forever. The videos we taped have given us inside jokes and shit to watch and relive that nobody else can really “get”. That is the allure of them. They are our “glory days” stories.
And yes that is cheating. It make sense, but what is your favorite that exists?
Also, just a quick synopsis of your life as a wrestling fan since that time. When and why did you fade?
There is so much more I want to discuss about the evolution of this stuff and our friendship, but maybe we save that for future columns.
Josh: Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the screw ups. They are some of my favorite parts. I just wish we had some finished and POLISHED low quality footage…ya know?
I was afraid you were going to say that it was cheating, so I would like to change my answer and say the episode of The Jim Ross show where we filmed it all outside with the Capron’s and Jim Ross wasn’t in it. Obviously one reason it resonates with me because I took somewhat of a starring role, but I also got to act completely bonkers and even jump off a structure of your house into an amazing camera shot for us at the time.
That and the other Jim Ross episode where Richard Kimble first appeared, an episode that was also unique because it took place solely in your basement. Fun to quote that one endlessly for 19 years.
I never realized how much it impacted me until I started reflecting on my life and what seems like a need to entertain others. I don’t know if it was there prior to you picking up that camera or if it was born out it, but it is there. Which is a big part of my decision to move. So I guess it has had a HUGE impact on my life even now.
And you are right: it really made projects at school something that I enjoyed doing. We were going to tape anyway, at least that way we had something specific to work with and we got out of doing the typical public speaking style presentation. And we got to entertain our classmates! If only we hadn’t done the same video twice, maybe then I would have been kept in Honors English that one year.
It is quite the bond, right up there with magical roadside 80s porn. We spent a lot of hours just WATCHING it over and over. Oops. I meant hour home movies, not Pro Ball Cheerleaders. But it meant a lot to me, and made me one of the first to ever hear your VKM. Even when I see Matt at local shows around Providence that somehow comes up (somehow= alcohol). My one regret is that we never incorporated Jeff Machado. He would have been amazing, and I think It would have changed his life too. I still want to show that guy. One day, One day.
As a wrestling fan, I think the same thing that had caused me to drift away before I met you is what led to the drift as we went into high school. That and I started really getting into music more and more as well as trying to skateboard. There was just no more room for a squared circle in my life…except when performing in it. WCF still plugged on even after my drift happened. I never fully disengaged, however, because you were still showing me stuff. Its weird, but I still have an idea of what went on during times like the Attitide era even if I saw not a great deal of it. I guess that happens now too because of the site. I can’t escape it!
Our friendship has had its gaps and some low points (sorry for being a prick) but I am glad we reconnected…over our shared past and all those tapes! That’s how we started hanging out again after all, watching the mega compilation at your old house. I needed that too. My life at the time had hit some skids and I would end up getting pretty low, but that really made a difference and got me out of the house to hang with friends that wasn’t in the context of having a beer-or-five. I guess we did that too, though, with the annual get together.
What is this salty discharge?
Justin: True, true. Although, the one time we tried to edit and polish, we hacked the charm out of WrestleFest I, so maybt it was for the best.
That outdoor JRS episode really was a breakout on multiple levels, mainly because we were able to prove we could pull off a quality recording without Matt’s involvement. We had done a few things on our own to that point, but mostly just quick hit bits like Pool Spies. The Kimble one was good too, because it was the first time Rich got to show off his underrated skills and yes, the basement look was unique and added to the dark feel of the episode.
I agree with your assessment on how it shaped your life. We were so young when we started, it is hard to know if you were predisposed to it anyway, but it really lit a fire in us that never burned out. It may have gone dark here and there, but through the podcast and this website, you can tell it was always there. I am just happy we have it all archived and it isn’t just dim, hazy memories. We have years of footage to watch and see how we changed and developed, both personally and all as friends, in our most formative years. You can see the cycle of when we were all closest too. In comes Jim, out goes Matt, you come in, Andy comes in, Rich goes out, you both go out, Adam comes in, cycle, repeat.
Moliseum is very much the soundtrack of our teen years. And I never regret sacrificing grades for quality, and I kept that mentality into college. Even at that age I understood what these tapes would mean to us down the road and preferred to have something fun to watch years later than a temporary half grade deduction. Ironically, it was always the name Burke that was involved in those grading issues, whether it be Denise or Tom.Pro Ball Cheerleaders was an amazing discovery. I mean, who the hell finds porn laying on the side of the road at age 15? Charmed, we were. And the fact that Runshe loved the ugly fat chick (Roxy? Roxy.) the most was always disturbing. That tape certainly made the rounds and was a pretty epic piece of film.VKM has certainly come a long way, we can thank Jim for setting the template. The few times I have run into Matt, I haven’t had the balls to bring it up, but some day we have to do it. We have to get him in the PTB Studio to relive his childhood.Machado would and SHOULD have been great with all this and I don’t know why we never brought him in the fold. And I still think he would be into watching it, but where do you start? Maybe I will make that my mission with you gone. Andy and I will need somebody to watch this stuff with.I definitely kept you looped into wrestling through 1998, when we left for college. It may not have been front and center in your life, but it was there and you at least could hop back in at a moment’s notice and understand what was going on and who was who.Going back to the cycles of friendship in our lives, it is happening all over again now. You are leaving, Adam is coming back.
Amazing how it happens. Although I think this time will be different for a few reasons. I don’t think the drift will be the same, even with you three hours away. We can thank this site and social media for that, it is just easier to stay in touch. When we first went separate ways in 1998, to stay in touch we either had to talk on the phone (not something we had ever done, other than “come over” “ok”) or walk down to the computer lab and send an email. Now we can text or Facebook message and be guaranteed a fairly quick answer.
You were a prick. So was I. We were 18, it happens. Everyone is a prick at 18, except maybe St. Rich. I think we were burnt out, to be honest. We had spent so much time together from the summer of 1993 through the summer of 1998 that we were due to just annoy the fuck out of each other. It was inevitable. I wish it didn’t happen in such a public way as it did (and as always, with a girl involved), but it did.
I am really happy I randomly invited you to Smokey Bones in September 2010 to watch the Jets lose to the Ravens on Monday Night Football. It was there that I told you about our weekly Moliseum watches and you shocked me with how willing you were to jump back in. I had no idea just how down you were, but I am happy we were able help you battle through it. Some of my favorite times of living at the 1-9-6 were the nights when you, Andy and Jim all were able to make it over and we just would laugh for three hours. I went to the Atwood Ave Subway last week and immediately flashed back to sitting in the car, waiting until 5PM to hit so we could get the foot long special. Good times.
I am not sure if anyone besides us is still reading at this point. This started as a look back at the 1994 Royal Rumble but ended as a love letter to our friendship, but fuck it. If not now, when?
I am really proud of this chance you are taking. It isn’t an easy one. I did it at age 21 and it was scary as hell. I don’t think I could do it now. I will miss hanging out and playing hoops and going to Boneheads on a whim, but you got to roll the dice and I fully support it.
Any closing thoughts, if you can see the screen through your tears?
Josh: I always forget about that Wrestlefest debacle! Yeah…that edited version was just not the same without the ring coming down several times.
I’m glad you were steering the ship as far as the class projects went, because I was so obsessed with grades that I might have backed down after “Knights” and before “Romans”. That woman really hated me, so it was very satisfying to see Andy’s depiction of her in one of our many parodies of our high school
One day I will surprise you with an MP3 ( or whatever the popular audio format is by then) of the song that plays during the big party at the end of Cheerleaders
I never thought about the recycle taking place with Adam coming back to New England. Pretty funny, but fitting. You are right though: it will be a lot easier now to stay in touch with you breathing down my neck and cracking the whip when it comes to deadlines (kidding of course). I guess we have Zuckerberg to thank or maybe Tom? Either way, I’m thankful we can keep it going.
I am super scared that the dice will come up snake eyes (that’s bad right? I know nothing of craps), but I have to roll them anyways. I’ve never been much a gambler but there are times you might as well jump. Plus…Isn’t 33 the new 21 or something? Either way, I look forward to visiting and finally having a place like Boneheads to go to.
Final thought: in Pro Ball Cheerleaders, a woman tells the owner of the football team that the female nether region will give him cancer, a claim that he finally rebukes at the end of the movie. Well…The future is now!
Justin: That team owner was such a loser, but he wins out in the end. We all did. This has been quite the emotional journey through time and definitely went in a direction that I did not expect, but I am very glad it did.
The 1994 Royal Rumble will always hold a very dear place in our hearts and memories, but it was but a mere snapshot of our journey as buds over the last two decades. I look forward to more decades as friends, no matter what the distance is between us. Best of luck in New York and be sure to visit often!