Man, Parv struck a nerve on the latest Supershow talking about how you can make real friends on the internet through this crazy thing called wrestling. Fucking true. Besides the hundreds of hours doing podcasts, I have met some really cool and nice people on the internet and in real life through wrestling. I want to throw a shout out to people I have hung out with outside the internet's boundaries in real life. Some of this will be perceived as name dropping, and it is, but in the best possible way and I am glad all of these guys have entered my life.
-- One of our old posters, Teke184, came to my house back in 2005 or 2006 and we sat and watched wrestling while eating pizza in my living room. If anybody ever picked up a master of any WWF coliseum video or old shoot interview from me, it was because of teke184, one of the guys who was instrumental in helping me build up my collection.
-- I hung out with Loss for a weekend in 2009 in New Jersey and Philadelphia for a weekend of wrestling. After not sleeping the entire night before our flight left in the morning, I told Loss we were in town, he came over to the hotel room and my wife and I crashed out while he was calling my phone in vain and rightfully pissed off we wasted his time. After he forgave me, we watched New Japan at his house that weekend before heading to Philly for the first Dragon Gate USA show. The next night we went to the WWE Night of Champions PPV and years later, we still find time to do the Wrestling With the Past shows and work on PWO every day. I am glad to call him my friend for over a decade.
-- My buddy Tim Noel came to Texas and my wife and I went to a local steakhouse with Tim and his better half. Tim and I talked wrestling. The wives talked about how they didn't watch wrestling. I have also had lunch with Tim in Washington DC and hung out with him after the first Dragon Gate USA show. The reason I went into doing podcasts is because I was a regular on Tim's old podcast so often that Tim is a class act and I am glad he is my friend.
-- In 2007, I found out that one of my customers was the roadie for ZZ Top. My friend Elwood was a Crazy Max regular and offered to give me 4 tickets to a ZZ Top, Pretenders and Stray Cats (stole the show) tour and treated me, my wife and my friends like VIPs when we are just a couple of working class shmucks. When he was touring with Black Crowes, he took my friends and I backstage, on the tour bus and treated us as VIPs. Elwood has scored me more concert tickets in the last half decade than in the entire 35 years before I knew him. 7 years later, I hang out with Elwood every time he is in town. We talk wrestling and music and kids and bullshit and when his touring is over, we'll still be hanging out, talking wrestling and music and kids and laughing at the absurdity of it all.
-- Also in 2007, I met an Indy wrestler named Chris Hero. Hero has always been super cool with me and I saw him wrestle 5 years straight every time he would roll through South Texas. He started out as a customer and ended up a friend. In 2011, he called me up and told me he was wrestling in Austin the night of the Money in the Bank PPV. I told him I was not missing that PPV. He said we would find somebody to watch the show with up in Austin but he knew he was going to WWE and we wouldn't hang out for a long time after. Well, I go to Austin, watch Hero wrestle a kick ass match and ask him where we are going to watch the PPV. Well, nobody was picking the show up. Thankfully, I ended up recording the show because I didn't want to take a chance so Hero crashed at my house after we drove 90 minutes back to my house to go watch Money in the Bank with no spoilers and neither of us knowing what the fuck happened at 2 in the morning.
-- My buddies Johnny P and GBBrutal were also at that first Dragon Gate USA show. GB doesn't trade DVDs anymore but the wrestling world lost a great asset when Gene decided to stop acquiring wrestling footage. One of my proudest moments as a bootlegger was selling a set to help raise money for Gene (and a co-worker of mine who has since passed) who was battling cancer. Johnny P has been my bud since that night in Philly and I loved being a part of the process in seeing him finally complete his documentary. I love both of these guys and wouldn't know either without wrestling.
-- Also at that first Dragon Gate USA show, I met this little manic mother fucker named Rob Naylor. Between Loss and Naylor, I don't know... I have talked to these guys as much as I talk to my own wife. Maybe that is hyperbole but maybe not. I loved doing Good Will Wrestling with Rob and I lived vicariously through Rob when he was at FCW and living his American dream working for the Fed. I have talked to him every week since he has bee let go and Rob is still the biggest wrestling fan i know. I went to WrestleMania 20-something in Miami with another buddy of mine and Rob had to sleep on the couch of our hotel room because WWE wouldn't let Rob arrive in Miami until the day of the show but Rob had so many friends in town, we were low-key enough to be able to smuggle Rob into Miami without getting into trouble. He even bought us lunch the next day. Fucking A Rob! I also met Alan4L at a show that weekend and Alan was really nice. Nothing but good things to say about meeting Alan.
-- Speaking of WrestleMania in Miami, I went with my buddy Brent Baker. Brent, ever the economist, took care of the tickets, hotel room and rental car. I probably still owe him some cash from the trip. Brent has been responsible for bringing tons of Japanese wrestling into American living rooms and he really is a quiet hero in the world of distributing footage to the masses. Brent and I have had dinner here when he was rolling into town with his wife and has always gone above and beyond to help me with whatever nutty project I am working on. I am glad to call him a friend.
-- 2009 was busy and that was when I met Lars Frederiksen. People who have listened to Good Will Wrestling know that Lars is my friend but he started out as my customer. We developed a friendship and I have seen him play in Austin, Vegas and San Francisco and he has always treated me as a VIP when he didn't have to. He introduced me to CM Punk, we watched a UFC PPV at my house and him and Punk have always been awesome to my family and to my wife. We had dinner in Vegas and San Francisco and here at a cool BBQ joint here in San Antonio. Lars is my friend and I he really is cool as fuck.
-- IN 2010, our friendly neighborhood mod, Childs, picked my wife and I up from the Baltimore airport, drove us into Washington DC. We dropped my wife off at the hotel and hung out with Phil Schneider and Tom K at Phil's apartment and watched some wrestling. Childs might be the nicest guy I have ever met... much nicer than that asshole Phil Schneider. Since he is a journalist, Childs is a great guy to talk sports with and he might be the most knowledgeable guy I have ever met.
-- I have said it before and I will say it again, but Phil Schneider is responsible for showing me more better wrestling than any other human alive. I had no idea when this guy was shilling Schneider comps in the late 90s that I would be hanging out with this guy in a bar during trivia night and eating at a steakhouse with me, him and my wife. I love arguing with this guy and talking basketball and his devotion to the Warriors has even rubbed off on me a bit and I root for the Warriors when they aren't playing my beloved Spurs. Phil also opened me up to the idea of synching up on matches and nothing like killing time watching wrestling when synching up with Phil Schneider on a match. He'll never admit it publicly but Phil once called me a mensch and he is one of my dearest friends. One of my biggest regrets in the last few years is not being able to go to his wedding.
-- Last year, as I took my family on a trip of the Great Plains, we stopped by the Rocky Mountains and I met a hippy named Johnny Sorrow. Johnny and his fam opened up their doors and treated my family with nothing but love and respect. Johnny cooked for us and played tour guide in our time in Colorado. We were able to watch some cool fucking lucha matches and just talk wrestling. I know if I ever go back to Colorado, I will always have a friend there. I think I need to go up during that Polar bear shit that Johnny hosts. I think my kids would get a kick out of that.
The guys I mentioned above are people I have met in real life but don't include people I have spent hundreds of hours on the phone with (total, not each). Whether it was talking on a podcast or just watching matches on youtube or just bullshitting. I want to throw a quick shout out to guys like Dean Rasmussen, Dylan Hales, Sarp, Kris Zellner, shoe, soup, Birdman, Eric Ritz, Steven Graham, Scott, Bix, BusterIRA, Mother Fucking Parv (He's going to be my UK tour guide, he just doesn't know it yet) and countless others who have taken time out of their day to talk to my old, grumpy ass about our shared love of wrestling and whatever other topics have come to mind. Happy Thanksgiving Mother Fuckers!!!!