Inspired by the saga of "Wrestling Superstar Virgil," we continue with readers' encounters with the titans of the squared circle. If you've had your own run-in with pro wrestlers past or present, e-mail us, subject line "Virgilbag."
Back in 1999 I went to a WWF house show at Madison Square Garden. Mid way through the under-card an announcement is made over the PA saying "Former Wrestling Legend and candidate for Connecticut State Congress, Bob Backlund will be doing a meet and greet in section 119". Being from Connecticut and that I had seen Backlund wrestle back in 1994 at my first live wrestling event, I decide to head to section 119.
Bob Backlund is standing there with his wife and an aide shaking hands, taking photos and talking about his platform to a small crowd that has lined up to get a picture and shake Bob Backlund's hand. I am about 14 at the time and like most people in line, way too young to vote. I start to debate about what I will say to Bob Backlund when I meet him. I decide I will tell him about when I saw him wrestle in 1994, which for some reason I think he will care about. Unfortunately the person right in front of me tells Bob Backlund that he saw him wrestle in 1995 and Bob Backlund doesn't care. Being a quick thinking adolescent I say "Mr. Backlund even though I can't vote I am from Connecticut and I will get my parents to vote for you." He asks me where I live and I tell him Stamford (about 25 miles from New York City). He tells me that he is running in Glastonbury (at least 45 miles outside of NYC) and that I am not in his voting district. I reply that my Grandmother lives in that district and I will get her and all her friends to vote you. Bob Backlund lights up like a kid on Christmas. I think that over the course of this meet and greet Bob Backlund has realized that doing a campaign stop in Manhattan is not the best way to win votes in Central Connecticut.
At this point Bob Backlund pulls me aside to tell me the high points of campaign. The only thing I remember from this stump speech is that Bob Backlund says he will have people save on energy by lowering the thermostat and putting on a sweater. I don't care much about his campaign platform but am willing to listen if I can take a picture with the man. My wish is finally granted and I hand my disposable camera to a bystander and stand next to Bob Backlund in front of the autograph table. At this point Bob Backlund throws me into the table and applies his signature move the "Cross-Face Chicken Wing". I feel a pain like I never had in my life of both my arm and neck breaking at the same time. Noticing I am in agony Bob Backlund demands that I tap out, which I believe I was already doing. I stand up a broken and defeated man about to walk away when Bob Backlund turns to me and says "Kid, remember: Wrestling isn't fake and don't forget to tell your grandmother to vote."
I used to moonlight as a somewhat decent independent wrestler in the OH, PA, WV, and Ontario areas. I was undercarding on a show in Cleveland, and Buff Bagwell was drunk/high/on bath salts /out of his mind. Seeing his condition, I had no idea how he was going to make it through his match. The venue had a hall of horrors backstage area to get to the curtain. It was a set of stairs (probably 15 stairs), into a hallway, into a dark room behind the stage, up 3 more stairs onto the stage in complete darkness, to the curtain. I was standing in the dark area watching the co-main event, when Bagwell stumbled in from the hallway, loudly rambling on about something.
Coming into the room I was in, he tripped over the transition and fell to the ground like a 200+ pound musclebound pile of dog shit. Shocked, I just stared at him, when he blurted out this gem: "HELP ME UP BROTHER! I'M DRUNK!" At this point a few kiss-ass backyarders materialized and helped him up, while I was pretty much stuck there, in awe. It was so shocking to me that I had looked up to this guy at one point, and this is what he was reduced to..lying on the floor, in full turtle mode….too juiced up and hammered to even stand up on his own.
Weirdest part of the whole thing, as soon as he got to the curtain, he put on the shades, baby oil, and totally flipped the switch on the Buff persona. As a fan, there was no way to tell he was even drunk...his movement, equilibrium, and everything in the ring was 100 percent normal.
In May 1998 WCW came to my hometown for a house show. I was in high school at the time, working part-time at a Wendy's right off the interstate. The day of the show I had my back to the counter when a female co-worker tapped me on the shoulder and said "Um, isn't that one of those wrestling guys?"
I turned around to see Scott Hall walking away from the counter, having just gotten the plain chicken sandwich he ordered. This was when WCW was still a hot product and Scott Hall had probably been the coolest guy in wrestling for the past two years, so for a wrestling geek like me, it was pretty awesome seeing him where I work. But it was twice as awesome because he had been off TV for a while and there was no reason to expect him at the house show. With WCW, the bigger stars rarely seemed to come to town, especially if they weren't being used on TV.
He didn't sit down to eat, he walked right out. The place I worked at was a big gas station/food type complex, and there was no drive-thru which is why he had to come inside. So I grabbed the recipt he left behind and ran out after him. He was walking towards the gas pumps and I saw fellow WCW wrestler Konnan standing there like he'd just finished filling up. This was right after the nWo Wolfpac had formed and Konnan was one of the members. So he was a big deal at the time too.
Anyway, long story short, they were both incredibly nice, autographed the receipt, and somewhere I have a poloroid of the three of us with Scott Hall wearing my stupid Wendy's visor while he and Konnan fake choke me. The very night next was a PPV show and Hall returned as Kevin Nash's mystery partner, only to turn on him and betray the Wolfpacc in favor of Hulk Hogan's nWo Hollywood.
It seems like most stories of Scott Hall encounters tend to be unpleasant, so I just wanted to mention that for one day in 1998, he couldn't have been cooler to a teeange wrestling nerd at Wendy's.
About 10 years ago I was working as a sports anchor in the bubbling media powerhouse of Joplin, Mo./Pittsburg, Kan. A small-time, regional wrestling tour run by Harley Race was coming through town. Harley called and asked if I—as a CLEARLY recognizable local celebrity—would be willing to referee a match (with the implicit quid-pro-quo of publicizing their event). No problem.
I was to referee the women's match of the evening. Before showtime, I sidled up next to Harley to get some direction (read: tell me who is supposed to win and how). I get nothing except: "Just don't let them pull each other's hair, give them a warning, and then throw them out if they do it again." I figured these chicks know this so I quickly forget about it.
Anyway, the match starts and these broads IMMEDIATELY start pulling each other's hair—-it was their only move. I give them a warning which they failed to heed. The match is 20 seconds old and Harley, still an imposing gentleman despite his gingerly gait, told me I should disqualify them if the hair-pulling didn't stop. Now, these women weren't knockouts, but certainly in the upper ecehelon of females the crowd sees on a day-to-day basis. Was I supposed to throw them out? I would have been booed mercilessly (which might have been cool in retrospect). So, I just let it go. It was one HELL of a workout trying to copy the refs I rememberws from WWF. I can't remember if the blonde or the Asian got the pin, but afterwards I approach Harley thinking he's going to give me the what-for, but he was nothing but smiles and seemed genuinely pleased with the performance.
It was year ago. According to the picture, it was 9/11 at 4:03 in the morning. We got done with some LAN gaming at Howie's Game Shack here in Arizona and decided to go to IHOP to eat. We got seated near a group of muscular guys, three total, with one guy being really bald. As we were eating, I overheard the guys talking about wrestling. It sounded like they were part of a local wrestling company doing shows at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill, which was odd as I never heard of a restaurant that did shows(apparently that restaurant was big enough to hold a pretty decent sized ring). But I didn't really pay attention to it.
SAs time went by and while we were silently eating our food, my buddies and I could hear the wrestlers talk. We recognized one of the voices, as it sound a little deep and a bit raspy like VAL VENIS, but we weren't sure. Later, the guys started leaving and my buddy who was able to see, noticed it WAS Val Venis. We got all startstruck but we didn't know if it was OK to approach them and take a picture with Venis. I told my buddies, "dude, this is a once and a lifetime chance, and we'll regret it if we don't do anything. If we get shot down, at least we tried." I noticed they stopped by the entrance and Val Venis had gone missing. It looked like he had gone to the restroom. So we all finished our food and made our way towards the entrance. We asked the two unknown wrestlers if it was cool we could take a picture with Val. They said that it was fine and we waited for Val to come out. I was pretty nervous and excited at the same time. When he came out, one of the wrestlers told him that we wanted to take pictures and Val Venis happily obliged. The waitress who waited on both our tables came out and asked Val, "So how do these boys know you?" And in Val Venis's signature voice, he says, "They've been watching too many of my movies!"
My friends and I went to a wrestling show put on by a local promoter at a Middle School Gymnasium in Franklin, Penn. Needless to say it was a (fallen) star-studded event. Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake, The Honky Tonk Man, Koko B. Ware, Raven, Ted DiBiase, The Genius, Virgil himself, and finally Doink were all there along with the local talent.
SBefore the showcase of the immortals started there was a meet and greet with the wrestlers. The wrestlers were signing autographs and taking pictures with the fan for a fee. The fans loved the chance to meet their heroes but the room was still filled with a mixture of sadness and body odor (don't know if that was from the wrestlers of the local yokels). Doink was charging $15 (maybe $10?) for a picture with him. As much as I wanted that for my Facebook profile picture I couldn't rationalize shelling out that much cash. We came up with the idea that I would stand kinda near the table and my buddy would try and get Doink in the picture. The resulting picture was more amazing than we could have even imagined. The look of hate on Doink's face is priceless. This picture was better than any posed one I could have taken because of his look and the fact that it was free. Sorry Doink!
My story takes place on a typical freezing January night in the south side of Milwaukee. My buddy and I (who were die-hard wrestling fans) went to a local indy show held at the Ramada hotel next to the General Mitchell airport. Both of us had seen WWE plenty of times when they rolled into Milwaukee, but had never truly experienced the 'indy scene' until that night. Boy, we were in for a surprise.
We arrived to find the show was held in a small convention room inside the Ramada. There were maybe 30 other fans there that night. Tables were set out along the walls of the room for wrestlers to meet, greet and sign autographs after the show. As fate would have it, Jerry Lawler couldn't make the show. Instead, Lawler left the audience and Buff Bagwell a message (via a television and VHS tape). We watched as Lawler, sitting in his living room, half turned to the camera as if we interrupted him watching TV, tell all of us that he couldn't make it but he had found someone who wanted to "kick Buff's ass" just as much as him. Enter, DDP! These two WCW "greats" put on a five-minute showcase that echoed the catch phrase of Al Snow's famous JOB t-shirt, "pin me, pay me."
After that was intermission which meant we could meet the wrestlers! I was in college, broke and spent all my money on beer, while my Buddy had some cash and wanted to get his picture with Buff Bagwell. We entered the line for Buff (which actually was pretty packed). As we moved along, we passed various other wrestlers' tables. All of the tables had fans....besides one table...just one table with ZERO fans in front of it... I'm not talking about Virgil...oh no...it was DOINK THE CLOWN! We were three feet away from THE Doink the Clown! Now, normally, I would have marked out for Doink and begged my buddy to pay for a picture with the clown...but not tonight. There with Doink was his wife...or girlfriend (looking pretty haggard herself)...and sitting on her lap was a baby. The kid was crying, his girl looked to be in a foul mood, and Doink sat there...blank stare into the distance. We stood there, at the end of Buff's line, right in front of Doink's table. Not a word was spoken. Doink looked up at us with this puppy dog look as his girl continued to try to calm this baby down. Words can't describe the mood as Doink gazed up at us. Again, not a word is spoken. Moments pass like eternity as I'm praying this damn line would move. Doink doesn't try to talk to us either, just sits there staring. I elbow my buddy to take a look at this, but he already knows and refuses to look to his side and see Doink. The line was at a standstill as Doink continued to stare at us, not saying a word but yet almost trying to say, "Help me". Finally the line moves and eventually we moved out of Doink's sight.
The night moves on and Doink has a match, which he loses. The show was pretty terrible so we decide to bail before the main event (an 11-man battle royal, featuring everyone who had wrestled already that night - excluding DDP and Buff, who probably already bailed as well). Before we leave, my buddy needed to use the restroom. We make our way down this empty hallway looking for a restroom. Finally we see a men's room and before we know it, Doink emerges from it. Maybe the man had the shits again, but here we are, alone in this hallway with Doink the Clown. If it was any other wrestler I would have been going crazy, but not that night. Instead, we quickly turn around and give Doink the cold shoulder. We high tailed it out of there that night and NEVER looked at Doink the same way. I guess we never truly met the man but after seeing him there at that table with his woman, child and hopelessly staring into the abyss, I'd glad I never did.
When I was about 21 or so (this would be 1998), I decided to answer a call for freelance writers from a not terribly small internet pro wrestling rag. I needed a subject, of course, and the call happened to coincide with a local wrestling show which was going to feature the Iron Sheik as a one-off match with a local guy become mid-card legend of the 80s named "Beastmaster" Rick Link.
I decided to see if I could interview the Iron Sheik about... well, I didn't know what. I'm an OK bullshitter on the fly so I figured I'd just make it up as I went along. I either called or emailed ahead, I can't recall, and set up an interview after the show. It was in my old high school's gym so I gathered up my kid brother (still in high school) and his friends in my car and went to the show. The turnout was pretty good and a lot of my old teachers were there.
The show was surprisingly good for a small promotion limited to central North Carolina. In particular, there was a guy named Rikki Nelson who was so hot on the mic he almost had a woman and her husband in the front row charging him. The crowd was into it and anticipating the Sheik's battle with Rick Link.
Now, Iron Sheik does this thing in the ring where he challenges anyone in the audience who wants to a test of strength. It involves these about three feet long handles with round, 20-pound weights on the end. You pick them up by the handles and you have to swing them in a circle over your shoulders and head, alternating, using only your wrists. Just look it up on youtube if you're curious; it's a little tough to describe the movements.
So, before I became the doughy dad-bodied 30-something I am today, I was a not entirely non-athletic, wiry, baby-faced guy. I also was and am a self-deprecating sort without a lot of regard for not poking fun at myself. So when Sheik calls for any "real men" in the audience to challenge him to a test of strength, I looked at my brother and said, "Fuck this, I'm going to do it." He and his friends laughed and egged me on. I stood up, Sheik (who had no idea who I was at this point) motioned for me to come down.
Down I went. And I'm in the middle of a fucking wrestling ring with the Iron Sheik. Being raised in the South, I was a Mid-South/NWA/WCW guy but, still, the electricity of the moment wasn't lost on me. Sheik looked me up and down, kind of laughing, and my brother and his friends were cheering wildly. I caught my high school chemistry teacher shaking her head with a rueful half-smirk on her face (I was not a good student, particularly in dreaded chemistry). I bend at the waist, grab the handles and...
It's important to note, here, that the FIRST thing you have to do with the Iron Sheik's test of strength is to stand the handles up straight, weights on top, one in each hand. THIS IS INCREDIBLY FUCKING HARD TO DO! You don't think the 20 or 30 pounds or whatever is that much. "Shit yes, 20 pounds, fuck you!" Maybe if I had Dad Strength at the time. Probably not. The physics just aren't right here. I still don't know how it's physically possible to do it.
I get the handles in the proper position and, immediately, the one in my right hand tips inwards and clocks me in the head. It hurt. But fuck that, I'm going ahead anyway. I try to do a spin and nearly clock Sheik in a head. He nabs them out of my hands with a partially toothless grin and shoos me away, bellowing for more challengers while my hometown laughed at me. He ended up being challenged by a local football star, who did OK. Sheik ended up doing something like 60 of the rotations in the time allotted, which was insane.
I got my interview at the end of the show, after everyone had left. Just me and my brother, waiting for Sheik to get out of the showers. He came in and recognized me, said not to worry about it, that the challenge was tough. He looked at my brother next to me and asked if it was my brother. I said yes. He got this really soft look on his face and he smiled big, eyes twinkling, and said, "This is good. Family is so important. Very good to see."
He was a remarkably charming man. My questions sucked because I was still mostly a doofy kid, but he indulged me. He wasn't remotely the weird caricature he is today... except when Hulk Hogan came up. Toward the end, I asked him about Hogan's stranglehold on the WCW title and what their relationship was like. Sheik immediately got angry (not like today's version of Sheik getting angry but still angry) and called Hogan a filthy liar, a cheat, a backstabber, etc, etc. It turned on a dime and, in retrospect, was a little weird. The interview over, we thanked him, he smiled to us, and we headed out.
I wanted to go see the film Legendary in an indie theater a while back, during its release, because it was the first film in a while that had been about amateur wrestling. I didn't realize that the film starred John Cena, current uberstar in the WWF, and as such there was a pro wrestler there signing autographs as part of your ticket purchase. This one was Hornswoggle, the little Irish midget guy.
My friend Nick was still a big wrestling fan so I opted to get one for him. Years ago, however, he had a one-night stand with a woman who wasn't all that attractive and as such she was nicknamed "The Shaved Ewok" by a mutual friend. We've for years taunted the poor kid with it in a series of shenanigans and I wanted to raise the bar.
SI asked Hornswoggle if he could help us pull a prank on my friend, to which he agreed, and as such I got him to sign it "Nick, she looked like a shaved Ewok" for Nick. I framed it and everything for the kid, of course, and he wasn't really all that happy. Nick promptly threw it out, though, but I scanned it before we gave it off for immortality.
In the late '90s, my friends and I supported WCW for the bulk of the Monday Night Wars. We didn't support how WCW was forcing Goldberg down our throats. On a fateful trip to the mall, I came across an official(?) WWF shirt that read "Austin Rules" on the front and "Goldberg Sucks" on the back. The back was the part I was interested in.
Two months later, my friend and I had floor seats for a WCW house show. I wore my lucky new shirt. The Main Event was Goldberg vs. The Giant (future Big Show). Goldberg goes through his usual repertoire of four moves, finishes off The Giant and grabs his championship belt and exits the ring. I bolt for the barricade by the ring entrance aisle and my buddy looks at me asking "what the hell are you doing?" As Goldberg is working his way back to the dressing room high-fiving little kids, I position myself with my back to the aisle to display the back of my T-shirt for all wrestlers named Goldberg to see. I look over my shoulder, Goldberg spots me, drops the belt and slowly starts walking over. I look back to see my buddy's eyes bugging out as Goldberg nears, I felt a thud on my back as Goldberg grabbed the back of the collar, and with one effortless motion, he ripped the entire back off of my shirt leaving me with two short sleeves and the front of a shirt (similar to what Ted DiBiase used to wear under his fake tux). As I walked back to my seat, people in the crowd kept asking if I was a part of the show. Reading a review of the show on a wrestling website, the reviewer pointed to this incident as a sign of a possible heel turn for Goldberg. I was just happy the shirt gave as easily as it did or I was going over the barricade.
About a dozen years ago I was getting ready to attend an ECW show (the real ECW, not Vince's version) in Lebanon, Penn. A girl from my church found out I was going and begged me to take her (because nothing says good clean Christian fun like an ECW show). I found this request curious as at the time she was about as stereotypical of a church girl as I had ever met. I warned her that this was not a typical wrestling show and could be, shall we say, a tad offensive. She shrugged off my advice and still wanted to come.
So we get to the show and it's very typical ECW. Francine was showing off her "assets," chairs were as common as arm bars, and the language was incredibly un-PC. My friend did not seem to mind. About halfway through the show I come to find out why. In her pre-church days she was the steady girlfriend of non-other than Hardcore Legend Axl Rotten. For those unfamiliar with Mr. Rotten, he and a gentleman named Balls Mahoney formed a tag team in which they brought personalized chairs to the ring and beat their opponents within an inch of their lives. All in good fun of course. Axil stands about 6'5", 300lbs.
He of course notices us in the stands (there are less than 300 people in this small arena) and comes out to say hi to my friend. There I am, this skinny dork (about 180lbs soaking wet), with his ex-girlfriend (who had ended the relationship for Christian related reasons). Had Mr. Rotten wanted, he could have snapped me like a twig with one hand tied behind his back. To his credit he gave me the stink eye but was kind enough to shake my hand. I asked him about a future in the WWF and that loosened him up a bit. At the time he was seemly headed there but I can't recall if he ever made it or not. Overall he was a pretty nice guy and I got out of there with all my limbs intact so I guess I should say thank you, Mr. Rotten.
Back in 2008, my friend and I took a road trip to a few cities in the Midwest. One of our stops was in Memphis, and since he is a big wrestling fan, we caught the Raw show that was in town that night. I didn't have much interest, but I was happy to go along with him. The show was fun, and I have to say it's pretty exciting in person, even for someone who hadn't watched in at least 10 years.
After the show, we decided to hit one of the many bars on Beale St. and found a place that had karaoke. After a couple hours of watching people murder good songs, there was some commotion outside on the street. Turns out, some of the wrestlers were out for a night on the town. We went out and got a couple pictures, and figured that was the end of it. About a half hour later, they all came into our bar. From what I remember, it was Ted Dibase Jr., JBL, Mickie James, Rey Mysterio, and Kofi Kingston. They all got their drinks, and then the Jr Million Dollar Man got up on stage with one of the other wrestlers, I forget who, and did a few songs. He also asked people to buy him shots. We did. We also didn't know of his recent DUI at the time.
Anyways, my friend asked Mickie James for a picture, but she declined. He seemed upset, but I told him not to worry about it. Later that evening, she came over to us and apologized for the picture thing, saying that she just gets tired of it. She was extremely nice about it, and my friend bought her a drink. Overall nothing crazy, but I realized how nice and normal all of them are, minus the DUI thing.
During college I worked as a bus boy at a Perkins in Central Florida for roughly six months. Central Florida is one of those flytrap areas for former wrestlers, so it was no surprise when John "Earthquake" Tenta took a meal at my restaurant one sunny Tuesday afternoon. I was in the kitchen hosing down the prep line when one of the servers walked back and announced to no one in particular, "I think the guy at table [whatever] is a wrestler." Intrigued, I poked my head out. Somehow Mr. Tenta, whom I recognized pretty straight away, had managed to squeeze himself into our of the booths. He was, in fact, wearing a wrestling unitard at the time, I assume because he had just finished working out. Across from him was a petite asian woman. My WWF fandom had never been explosive (and, like I said, it wasn't too surprising that a wrestler would suddenly materialize in these parts), but I was still instantly awed by the sight of this grappling giant. There was no one else in the restaurant at this time—-thus, any attempt I made to try and get Earthquake's attention would have seem incredibly transparent and sad. Thus, I remained in the kitchen as best I could, sneaking a glimpse every now and again. Once he left the woman who had waited on him told me he was very polite and funny and left a sizable tip.
About a year later, for reasons unknown (aside from what you could readily assume), John Tenta took a job at a nearby Dillard's in the men's section. I didn't believe, or maybe didn't want to believe, any of my friends who told me they had seen the giant amongst the racks of slacks in that department store. Eventually I buckled and went down to see for myself. Sure enough, on a Friday night, there was Earthquake, decked out in business casual attire, folding sweaters like he had never once rubbed elbows with Bam Bam Bigelow or Jimmy Hart. Again I refused to make eye contact, because what was I gonna say to the guy? "Hey Earthquake, measure my inseam?"
We close with not one, not two, but three Virgil stories. President Camacho:
I was managing a retail store in a Baltimore mall circa 2001, and one Wednesday morning (which was odd, in retrospect) they had a card show/collector type thing in the food court. Mainly a bunch of old fat guys sitting at folding tables trying to sell baseball cards, etc. Of course there was Virgil, sitting at the far end of the festivities, completely alone and not appearing to give much of a shit either way. I didn't think much of it, but when I wandered back down to the food court a couple hours later to grab some lunch I saw him again. The card show had ended, but he was still loitering over by the Sbarro's Pizza. As I got closer I saw that he was talking to one of the girls working there, apparently trying to trade some glossy 8x10s for a slice. The poor 16-year-old girl didn't have any clue who this guy was, and the pizza negotiation was falling apart rapidly. Finally Virgil stomped off in disgust, but not before stealing one of the red pepper flake dispensers and about a dozen packets of parmesan cheese.
My dad entered his street rod into the World of Wheels car show at Wisconsin State Fair Park a few years ago. As an exhibitor, you get into the show early as things are getting set up. So, my brother and I are walking around as things are getting set up and we found a booth right in the middle of everything with a banner hanging up that reads, "Virgil: Wrestling Superstar." As a lifelong wrestling fan, I found this to be mildly exciting and very perplexing. "What the hell is Virgil doing here?" and "Who the hell wants to see Virgil?" seemed to be the questions of the day. I wondered why in the hell he would get himself booked at a car show in Milwaukee in January.
Eventually, our curiosity got to us as my uncle led the way over to the all-but-deserted Virgil booth. Virgil barely greeted us as we started thumbing through his pictures. One picture is of Virgil standing next to the nWo street rod. My dad pointed out something about the car. Virgil quickly told us that he owned the car, which I somehow believe wasn't true. He then explained to us about the air cleaner on the car that rotated and spelled out "nWo" in diamonds. I thought to myself. "Wow. He has no idea what he's talking about." He continued by telling us that he only enters the car in car shows that pay big money purses to the owner of the best car. I've been going to car shows for 20 years and I've heard of or attended one of these "big money shows." Then he regailed us the story of how the promoter of the last car show in New York City stiffed him on his purse. Someone grifting Virgil, I think not. He concluded by telling us that he only accepts checks from billionaires like Ted Turner and Vince McMahon and that's why he won't sell the car he clearly doesn't own. We slowly backed away and somehow managed to get away without buying a damn thing from Curly Bill. (That's Virgil's lame WCW cowboy gimmick. Look it up.)
Apparently, nobody else was buying anything either as we later saw the sign promising the appearance of Ted DiBiase alongside his old pal, Virgil, tomorrow. Well, I guess that "The Million Dollar Man" must only accept checks from billionaires because he did not show up as promised by Virgil. I later found out it is commonplace for Virgil to promise the appearance of DiBiase and then when he doesn't show, blames Dibiase. Who else but Virgil?
Last November, I spotted Virgil set up at the big Toronto Sportcard Expo where he had his lemonade stand setup. I have a friend who is a big classic wrestling aficionado, so I thought, hey why not drop $20 (I think) and get him a signed pic. Virge had several 8x10 prints to choose from, but I had to go with the glossy option of retirement-ready Andre The Giant flanked by the Million Dollar Man, and our hero "The Lonely Bodyguard".
SIn the photo, a menacing Virgil sports a fanned-out wad of US bills, which I suggested to him were probably all singles—a jibe that sailed miles over his head. Anywho, I got him to sign "These are all ones" on my friend's photo, on which he also improvised "Be Cool" for an added touch of southern class.
Virgil went on to have a conversation with himself for about 20 minutes, with an audience of just me and a guy who was trying to politely moonwalk away from the booth. If the guy had just turned and run I don't think Virgil would have skipped a beat. He talked about how Vince dealt with the threat of a wrestlers' union forming (he upped Hogan's and Andre's salaries to keep them from joining the brotherhood), and how that got Brian Blair and Jim Brunzell blacklisted from the Federation.
The best thing about that Virgil Tumblr feed is that in almost all of the photos, he seems to suggest that DiBiase is just taking a washroom break, or had some other last-minute commitment keeping him from being at the autograph session next to his trusted sidekick. According to Virgil, on this particular weekend, DiBiase had cancelled his trip to Toronto in favour of a lucrative financial offer to walk on field at the University of Texas (I assume he meant "a university in Texas") before their homecoming football game.
Thanks for your stories. Keep sending them in.