Friday, April 11, 2014

Parts Unknown

I’ve never had any issues with alcohol. Professional Wrestling? That’s another thing entirely.

I owe my former troubles to my junior-year college roommate, Robert "Rockin' Robby-P" Pisco. He got me hooked on the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWF) long before they got in trouble with the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) and then they, the wrestlers, had to change their name to the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). But that’s neither here nor there, for I was beyond step 12 of WWF-Anon by then.

Robert was from the south where professional wrestling is only eclipsed by NASCAR. But from his demeanor and appearance, you'd never guess that he was a rabid professional wrestling fan. 

For one, Robert was very particular about his name. Strict, uptight even. He was not Bob, nor Rob. And don't even think of calling him Bobby. It was simply, “Robert”. That’s it, unless his creole/cajun personality took over. When that happened, he preferred to be called Rockin’ Robby P

What else? Robert presented himself well. He came from good money. He was well educated, and he still had a full mouth of teeth. That last part, about having all his teeth, is all that’s really necessary to distinguish him from a typical WWF fan. 

I should also mention that Robert was studying pre-med. He would later go on to become a successful heart surgeon.

Anyway, this was the guy that got me hooked on the WWF in the fall semester of my junior year. One night, I came home from studying at the library around 10 PM to find Robert yelling at the TV. I could hear his voice as soon as I exited the elevator down the hall. When I got the apartment, I found him standing about three feet from the boob-tube, wearing a baseball cap (backwards), surfer-shorts and flip flops. His shirt was wadded up in a corner somewhere. He had a bucket of KFC in one hand and a beer in the other. 

“What’s going on?” I yelled at him over the noise.

“You just missed it. Warrior’s was getting his ass kicked by Jake da Snake - - Snake had him in a choke hold - - but Warrior escaped, rallied, and then gorilla-pressed the him over the top rope. They just called it a draw. It was incredible!”

What was incredible was that a pre-med student just assembled those words into sentences and fired them in my direction. I even told him so.

"Naw, iz good, you jis doan unnerstand, dats all," he said. 

In my previous two years of knowing him, I’d never heard him talk like that before. He had become red-necked incarnate in front of me.

“Set yerself down an lemme tell ya whas' goin' on rat here.” He continued, fully-rednecked.

“J’eat?” he interjected before I even could sit.


"J’eat?" he repeated, this time thrusting a drumstick in my face.

I looked into his eyes. Robert wasn't in there. In his place was Rockin’ Robby Pisco.

I took the drumstick and sat down. Rocking Robby P began from the top, with Wrestlemania I. He began telling me the entire backstory of professional wrestling. The whole, unabridged version. Three minutes later, I knew everything there was to know about the WWF. And it wouldn’t have taken that long if he hadn't gotten up to take a piss half way through telling it. But when he had finished, I knew every major character in the WWF franchise: Hulk Hogan, Andre The Giant, Ted Diabase, Million Dollar Man, Nature Boy Rick Flair, Junk Yard Dog and some of the newer ones of the Golden Age: Macho Man Randy Savage, Hacksaw Jim Dugan, Jake The Snake Roberts, Honky Tonk Man and The Big Boss Man to name a few. As it turned out, Rockin' Robby P's all time favorite wrestler was The Ultimate Warrior. 

As an aside, the Warrior was my favorite too, but out of respect for Robert, I’d defer the Warrior to him and root on one of the lesser cards featuring somebody like Super Fly Jimmy Snuka.

Somehow, my addiction started that evening, when Robert was yelling like a rajun cajun at the TV. Later that week, I watched my first wrestling match on TV. I didn’t miss many broadcasts thereafter.

I applied what I learned from TV to a heavily pixiliated WWF Superstars arcade game. It turned out that I was a natural at the game, mastering all the button combinations of the Warrior and Hulk Hogan. I was so good, I could get to the title bout vs Andre the Giant and The Million Dollar man on one quarter. Now that was something. 

It was only a matter of time before our other two roommates, Scott and Tom, became hooked on it as well. We split the pay-per-view four ways for Wrestlemania that year. We dressed in WWF costumes for halloween parties or when the WWF came to the Civic. The real Bush-wackers once stopped their bout to acknowledge us (dressed as them) with their synchronized double-forearm salute. When that show at the Civic ended later that evening, Rocking Robby P momentarily disappeared. When I finally located him, he was running around (inside) the unattended wrestling ring, bouncing back and forth off the ropes before getting chased away by security.

Ah, those were good times. Granted, an utter waste of time, but still so good.

Fortunately, I was able to get out of WWF as easily as it was to get into it. The addiction simply went away as soon as I graduated and we went our separate ways.

This flood of memories came back with a rush and a twinge of sadness when I learned of the passing of the Ultimate Warrior this past Tuesday. I remember when Rockin' Robby P told me about the Warrior. He told me that nobody knew where the Warrior came from; that he came from parts unknown. Well, it appears that with his passing, the Warrior has returned to parts unknown. RIP, Ulimate Warrior. Sigh.

The lesson here is that life is short, people. Get out there and get living. Even if it means getting out there as your favorite WWF/WWE Wrestler, your fav Star Wars/Trek character, or even elite World Champion athlete. What are you waiting for? Go Go Go!

Thanks for reading. Happy Friday.


  1. The interesting thing here is the persona of Dr. Robert is the affectation. I can only assume that you spoke in some form of pidgin creole during this period. In fact, I remember a comment you made way back that hinted at this - let me find it - hang on ...

    Carl sat in the attic of the old Victorian adjacent to the barn yard. Through the cracked window pane of lead glass, he spied on that unblemished pig, all the while methodically running a kaiser blade up and down a leather strop. Carl was a simple man. He stared out into the backyard, running that blade up and down, while his mind looped on this mantra: When dat lit'l feller's grown up, I'm gonna eat me some pig, mmm hmmm. Dats gonna be sweet meat. mmm hmmm.

    I heard about that wrestler dying, but I didn't know who he was. Sorry for your loss.

  2. iz fine dat you dont know Warrior, Fred. Say, when ya gots tree minutes, I tell ya all bout dem, starting from the top, Wrasslemania 1.

  3. oh my GOD!!!! Jimmy SuperFly Snooka was my favorite too. I saw him on (Pre-Cable) Tv when wrestling was shown at Midnight from the Mid States Coliseum in Moberly Mo in 1981 back in my college days (daze?) He did his flying maneuver and knocked out the other guy and the ref--he got up--exahusted and fell backwards. QUickly, the other guys manager got in ring, flipped Jimmy on his back, the other guy on top, and slipped out--then the ref "came to" saw the heap on the floor, the two wrestelers "came to", and the Ref raised the other guy's hand. THE PLACE WENT BAT-$#IT Crazy..... the Commissioner had to come down and straighten it out. Then later on I got a fake ID so I could be out on a friday night at Midnight so I don't think I ever watched wrasslin' again

  4. I remember Wrestling at the Chase was on TV at our house a lot. The question I have is: who put the TV on that channel?

  5. Ultimate Warrior was a childhood fav of mine! Turns out the guy was a real nut!