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Journal 5
by Tony Kozina on 1999-09-28

The story begins Thursday afternoon with a scary plane ride. Not that the ride itself was bad, it's just that i'm a bit uneasy not knowing if i'm going to live to see tomorrow. While flying, i'm wishing I had driven to Charlotte, but once I arrived safely, I was glad I flew. Go figure...

The rib begins with a $25 taxi ride from the airport to the hotel. Michelle Starr busts the drivers balls the entire way, asking God knows how many questions. It was funny.

By the time we arrive at the hotel, it's almost 1am, and Starr, my girlfriend, Chris, and I are ready to hit the sack. Friday is the NWA board meeting where the members vote on several issues regarding the direction of the NWA for the next year. Unfortunately, NWA-PNW commissioner Dave Republic was sick, and couldn't make the trip. When we met NWA President, Howard Brody in the lobby friday morning, and told him about Dave, he invited Starr to sit in on the meeting, and vote in Dave's spot. The meetings lasted ALL day. Chris and I hung around thinking it would only be a few hours, but Starr came out at a break, and told us it would go well into the evening. So, we hopped a bus, and ventured into downtown. What a neat place...

Starr rolled out of the meetings at around 9:30pm. Keep in mind that the meetings started somewhere around 10am. He said that Republic wasn't voted into the Board of Directors for the coming year, but after being present at the meetings, he felt really positive about ECCW being an NWA member. A fancy schmancy bus took those who wanted to go, to some nightclubs in town. We all wanted to mingle, so we hopped on the bus. Everyone I met was really cool. I think everyone was just plain excited to meet the guys they've only read about on the internet. I chatted with NWA Ohio/West Virginia Jr. Heavyweight Champion, Chris Hero, and NWA Canadian Champion EZ Ryder for awhile, and then Chris (girlfriend Chris, not Hero Chris) and I sat down and had a drink. All of a sudden her eyes got as big as saucers, and she punched me in the shoulder. "Oh my God" she said with her teeth clenched. "I'm marking out. Look..." I turned and saw Abdullah the Butcher being led to a table. "Gimme a quarter" she said (referring to an interview that we watched where Abdullah stuck a quarter in one of the slices in his head). I joked back "just make sure there's no forks on his table". We went to another club where we talked with NWA/CWF promoter Ernie Todd and NWA Southwest promoter Ken Taylor along with many others. We headed back to the hotel where we ordered pizza and talked with EZ Ryder, and Sabastian Ice from NWA Ohio/West Virginia until the wee hours of the morning. Saturday morning we all headed down to the Fan Fair which went from 9am to 4pm. There was a lot of neat wrestling memorabilia for sale. Lou Thesz, Wahoo McDaniel, Swede Hanson, Rick Steamboat, Abdullah, and Don and Rocky Kernoodle were all on hand signing autographs at different tables. Starr and I talked with George South for awhile about his PWF promotion which runs in the area. He was very friendly. I talked with Don Kernoodle at his table for a bit. When I told him I was from Portland, he asked how Len Denton was. He told me a bit about when they all wrestled together and spoke very highly of him. Stan Lane arrived later and signed autographs at a table. We met Nelson Royal and Chris talked with him for awhile. He told her about all his travels back in the day, and gave her a business card for his Western store. We walked around and looked at all the things on display and for sale until 4pm. We went back to the hotel to grab our bags, and then we headed down to the arena again. My match was up 8th, so I mingled with the others for a bit.

I met Gary Royal in the back, and we talked for about 15 minutes. He said he came to Portland to work for Don Owen years ago, but it didn't work out. Michelle Starr and Crusher Carlson went out third and wrestled The Rage- Samu and Quinn Magnum from NWA East/PWX to a double DQ. Samu put Starr through the timekeepers table after the match for good measure. I only saw a little bit of that match, but Starr and Samu wrestled very well against each other. Apparently the NWA told Starr to tone it down out there before his bout. When he told me this, I suggested that he give Howard Brody a lap dance at ringside. Unfortunately that didn't happen, but he did work the mic before the match which got the crowd going. My match finally came. A Royal Rumble rules battle royal with the winner to get a shot at NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Champion Logan Caine. I was the first one out to the ring. There must have been at least 12 guys in the battle royal because I was out there a long time. I was the last one to be eliminated, and was really exhausted. I sat down in back and felt like puking for a minute. NWA New Jersey wrestler Twiggy Ramirez won the battle royal, but was pinned by Caine.

NWA Vice President Bill Behrens shook my hand and complimented me on my performance. That made my night. Win or lose, all I wanted to do was perform, and they certainly gave me the chance to. Needless to say, I went back to the hotel, showered, and was out like a light. Sunday morning we rented a car and went to the Charlotte Coliseum. "Just walk in like you're wrestling tonight" Starr said. Yeah, sure, I thought as we walked passed the trailers with the WWF logo pasted on the sides. We walked in, and Chris and I sat down in the arena while Starr went to find Dave Hepner. It was amazing to watch the crew set up everything. One by one the wrestlers came in and checked out the progress of the arena as the crew continued to work. Starr came back out, and invited me to the back. We talked with the WWF talent coordinator and I gave them some photos and my tape, as did Starr. They were very honest with me about my size, but also said I had a good look, and that the WWF management was very creative. It was similar to what Billy Jack Haynes said to me when I first showed up to begin training. Starr and I sat in the backroom and hung out for awhile. George South, and Gary Royal both showed up, and we all talked for a bit. They sure are neat guys. Starr talked with Chris Jericho for a minute. Jericho complimented Starr for losing weight, and they talked about British Columbia, and how it's been doing lately. We got comp tickets for the ppv, so we left and grabbed some lunch before the show. I really enjoyed the show, as did Chris. She had never been to a bigger show like this, and she had a great time. We all did. I haven't been able to watch wrestling for at least 3 months because i've been so busy, so this was a treat for me and I was ready to be entertained. The action was great, but the highlight for me and my twisted self came when these guys held up 3 individual signs--EAT MORE BEAVER-- is what it said, much to my delight. The crowd popped for it which made it even funnier. Now the security comes to take the signs away,but the guys fold them up and pass it down about 15 rows when others eagerly display the sign. The crowd pops again, and i'm laughing once more, cheering them on. Now the security nabs the signs and the arena erupts in boos. 15 seconds later I can hear the faint chant which soon grows to deafning proportions. EAT MORE BEAVER. The entire arena is chanting EAT MORE BEAVER.

It was the greatest thing I have ever been a part of. I was laughing so hard, and couldn't stop. I desparately wanted to shout with them, but I couldn't utter a word. I just clapped my hands along with them, and laughed myself into oblivion. For those who know me, you know this is my kind of thing, and i'll bet your laughing now as you read this. I just wish you were all there to enjoy the carnage with me. It was like my birthday, Chrismas, and New Year's all rolled up into one. Anyways... the show ends and we crashed in the car at the airport before retuning it. (Oh, crashed as in slept, not crashed as in KA-BOOM!!) our flight left at 7am, and Starr's flight left just before us. I was a bit more relaxed on the trip home. Perhaps after hearing the beloved chant of EAT MORE BEAVER, my life beacame complete and I could go to a peaceful grave if it was to be. In closing, I had an excellent time, we met a lot of people and Starr said I made more connections in one day than I have in the past 2 1/2 years. Dammit... I reread this thing, and i'm giggling like a fool again. Ya know, Degeneration X may have "two words for ya" but from now on, i'll always have three...

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Quotes from the boys: Moondog Manson says "After a long hard thought about what I wanted to do, I realized retirement isn't what I wanted. Why would I give these knuckleheads the satisfaction of retirement when I can terrorize them ten fold in the ring.".
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