As you know if you’ve been reading our essays on our First Favorite Wrestler, a group of contributors wrote about their early pro wrestling fandom, which included which wrestler hooked them on wrestling.
There were others from our Fight Game Podcast Facebook Group who wanted to contribute but didn’t want to contribute full essays. We’ll add their contributions below.
Wade: I’m a wrestling fan because in 1987 my dad sat me down and we watched Hulk Hogan.
Doc G: Probably Piper. Hogan was the hero and I was crazy about the character but Piper was the guy that me and my friends all talked about.
Producer Rob: I’ve told this story on the air with Bryan before, but for me, it was Mad Dog Buzz Sawyer. Right after we got cable in my house in 1983, I was flipping through the channels and came across this bald-headed man, screaming and spitting like a maniac, with a face a shade of purple I had never seen on another human before. It was a Buzz Sawyer promo, hyping his upcoming match with Tommy “Wildfire” Rich at the Omni. I was mesmerized like I had never been before in my 12 years of existence and was pretty much hooked on wrestling from that day.
Dennis from bWb Wrestling: For me, it was Barry Windham. I fell in love with wrestling in a much different way than most. I had to sneak up out of bed to watch it on my black and white mini TV. Dusty Rhodes was the first wrestler I ever laid eyes on. Then Ric Flair. But it was Barry Windham who really drew me in. He moved so elegantly for such a big dude, plus his long blonde hair was cool. He seemed different. He was a “pretty boy” but he could fight anyone it seemed. I still watch his matches with awe. I feel like he should have been a bigger deal, but apparently, he himself didn’t really care. Damn shame.
Young Randall: I really liked tag teams as a kid. The British Bulldogs, The Hart Foundation, and Strike Force were a few of my favorites in WWF. Road Warriors, Harlem Heat, Rock N Roll Express, Midnight Express in NWA/WCW.
JD: Bret Hart in 1992. I started watching in the summer heading into Junior High and the first feud I connected with was Hart vs. Davey Boy Smith. The idea that two good guys, brothers-in-law nonetheless, could fight each other blew my mind. SummerSlam ’92 was the first PPV I ever saw and the main event was everything to me. As much as I loved Bret, I lost my mind when Bulldog won. A month later, when they announced Bret beat Flair, I was genuinely excited, even if I didn’t quite know why.
Nick: Seeing Dynamite Kid sacrifice himself to win the belts from the Dream Team at WrestleMania 2.
Cian: First the British Bulldogs and Ricky Steamboat. After that Macho Man once I’d forgiven him for crushing Steamboat’s larynx.
Brian: Bob Backlund believe it or not. I was a promoter’s dream as a kid. I booed the heels and cheered the faces and bought everything Bob said, even in his monotone promos. Then we got NWA TV in 1985 and I saw Flair and loved the heels ever since.
Jeff: Tully. Talk smack. Fight. Talk more smack even though you got your ass kicked.
Sean: Wrote about this long time ago for a now defunct wrestling site but Bret Hart is my first love in wrestling. Everything from demeanor to colors to promos. I watched WrestleMania XII scrambled because we couldn’t afford it and I cried because Bret got screwed out of his 60 minute tie and had the match won.
Peter H.: My first wrestling memory was the one that made me a life long fan. I was at the video store and rented WrestleMania IV and there was something about the tournament and the battle royal that was new and exciting for me. I became a fan of the good guys quickly but it was the crowd reactions and the characters that really drew me. After that, I went back to the video store every weekend and would pick up a new tape to watch (though they had a limited supply) but I still have fond memories of the late 80s wrestling from my childhood.