Welcome to another edition of the Professional 3 HERE on 411mania.com. I'm Jon Harder and I hope this edition of the P3 invokes conversation as my other columns have as well. It's great to see this column bring positive looks at wrestling's past instead of utitlizing a negative perspective at what I write.
There is one item I definitely wanted to discuss. In a lot of the comments, I've seen a repeated question asked about whether or not the 3 topics I list in my columns are in any particular order. The answer is surprisingly NO. When I write my columns, I normally get a vision in my mind of what to write about and whenever I decide to go into the next number, I just throw it in. My goal isn't to necessarily list things in order, but to mention them in my own collected manner. Hopefully, this clears up the confusion. If nothing else, I've probably confused you more. Either way, good grief.
Before I go any further into the P3, I wanted to invite you all to check out this week's Hardway Podcast on TheJonHarder.com, as I bring THIS IS YOUR LIFE, GOOD NEWS HUGHES! to the table. Trust me, this is an episode that should be listened to. This is STANDARD Hardway material.
Also, the Hardway Podcast will have a table at WrestleCon April 6 and 7 in Secacus, NJ at the convention. We have so much going on and if you read this column or listen to the Hardway, stop on by and say Hello. Your support is endless and it would be awesome to see some of your guys say Hello. We have a lot of activites that will be happening around our table, including a LIVE Hardway with 1/2 of the NYWC Tag Team Champions Bill Carr, so come on down to WrestleCon and check out the Hardway Podcast!
Now then, when it comes to pro wrestling for me, I feel as if it has inspired me in a totally different way than other people. Growing up, pro wrestling has practically molded my life. Having a tough childhood and not a lot of real happiness inside it, watching wrestling was my escape. The characters, the stories, and the matches especially were a work of art to me. Utitlizing my passion, I watched everything I could get my hands on. Wrestling truly was a venture out to where the most incredible athletes could dominate and tell an amazing story in the ring.
Part of me wanted to add this little nugget to the list...
But I felt I needed to be a little serious with my choices this week. On a side note, I was a Max Moon fan for the times I read about him in PWI back in 1992 and 1993. The Repo Man, well, at seven years old, renting WrestleMania 8 from Video Vault, was comedy fodder, especially when Big Boss Man popped him in the junk and was called a thing with no genitalia by Ray Combs from Family Feud. Regardless, it was a fun little match.
The Professional 3: Jon's Top Wrestling Matches
1) Michinoku Pro 6-Man Tag: ECW Barely Legal, April 13, 1997
In 1997, my father had a VHS of the first-ever ECW pay-per-view. Until 1997, my only real ECW exposure was watching stuttering Buh Buh Ray Dudley dance with the Public Enemy off ECW TV back in 1995. However, once my eyes were laid on this pay-per-view and I was HOOKED. Barely Legal had EVERYTHING thrown together in one. Brawling, technicalism, a grudge-match of the century, and drama were the order of the day, but the final piece was state-of-the-art wrestling. The six-man tag with the guys from Michinoku Pro really caught my eye. High-flying, cool costumes, and the Blue World Order. Just seeing the Great Sasuke was incredible. Ultimately, this match got me extremely interested in ECW and Japanese wrestling as a whole. More importantly, this high caliber match might possibly have been the kickstarter of the fast-speed wrestling you see today on the independent circuit.
Now, although this match was before my time, I first viewed this match in 1993 on my dad's beta-max player. Yes, my old man had WrestleMania 3 on Beta. The Macho Man and the Dragon put on one Hell of a show that day. So much passion and drama built into the match. I didn't realize then, but now I know that this match truly inspired my love for the story of a match. It had everything. It was fast-paced, it had drama, and it had George "the Animal" Steele. Most of all though, it had me hooked. So many incredible pinfall attempts and counters. In front of 93000 people, Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat had the PERFECT match. The Intercontinental championship became a true WRESTLING championship to me from that point. This match still holds up and most importantly, STILL rules.
3) Broad Street Bully Match for the WCW Tag Team championships: Cactus Jack and Kevin Sullivan vs the Nasty Boys - WCW Slamboree, May 22, 1994
I remember this as my first ever LIVE pay-per-view experience. My parents ordered this event for me back in 1994 and I loved everything about Slamboree. Johnny B. Badd vs Stunning Steve, Lord Steven Regal vs Larry Zbyszko (NOTE: That three match series for the WCW Television championship is an epic series and is a MUST WATCH), and Sting vs Vader was on the show, but it was this match that woke me up to hardcore wrestling. At the time, I thought Cactus Jack was insane. This match didn't change my opinion. With former Philadelphia Flyer Dave Schultz as the referee, I just remember watching in awe on how nuts this match was. After ten minutes of barbaric action, Cactus and Kevin Sullivan won the WCW Tag Team belts. Three seconds later, Cactus let out the loudest, most awkward scream of all time and instantly had me rolling on the floor. To this day, I burst out laughing on how out of place that was. Regardless, this match showed me that Mick Foley was tough as nails and someone very different.
Though I definitely watched a thousand different matches over my lifetime, none were as important as these three. They took my breath away then and still do to this day. What are your three all-time favorite matches that molded you into a wrestling fan? These were mine and hopefully, you get a kick out of them too.
Thanks for reading the Professional 3. If you come to WrestleCon, stop by the Hardway Podcast table and tell me your thoughts of the column. Have a good one.