The date: August 25, 2001
The place: St. Andrew’s Hall
[adinserter name=”366 left”]St Andrew’s Hall is primarily known as a concert venue for up and coming musical acts. Since 1980 it has hosted such names as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, and Green Day before they broke big, to name just a few. Located in the heart of downtown Detroit, MI, its main fame to claim is its depiction in the Eminem vehicle 8 Mile.
Now, not St Andrew’s Hall per say, but its basement, the venue within a venue known as The Shelter. It is portrayed in the film as the place where Em takes part in his battle raps. There is also a top floor, if you want to call it that, which is basically a circular catwalk looking down on the main floor. Much of my misbegotten youth was spent partying at this Motor City landmark, whether it was watching my favorite bands perform or partaking in their “three floors of fun”.
Over the years St Andy’s has played host to various wrestling events, primarily those promoted by the Insane Clown Posse (I attended one such event in 1997 pre JCW). For the sake of this blog however, the show I’ll be referring to was one promoted by a local band (and sometime workers) the Bumpin’ Uglies.
It was on this date in August of 2001 (I only recall the exact date, because when I arrived home later that night, MTV was reporting that pop star and Detroit native Aaliyah had tragically passed away that day in a plane accident) that I came face to face ( and I do quite literally mean face to face) with whom we today as wrestling fans generally regard as the best in the world, CM Punk.
Right away, even in his formative years, this man had “it”. No disrespect to any of the other workers on the card that night, but with all honesty I don’t remember a sole one of them, save for this lone gentleman. Gentleman is probably the wrong word to describe this man, because quite frankly he was anything but, and that’s a compliment!
This guy was an absolute heat magnet. This was right after ECW went under, and I remember the guy next to me proclaiming “I haven’t seen anybody get this much heat since…” I finished his sentence for him: The Dudleys. No disrespect to Bubba or D-von, but in my opinion they relied way too much on cheap heat, where this dude seemingly didn’t have to. That’s not to say he didn’t rely on cheap heat. As I mentioned earlier we got face to face, and his exact words to me were “do you have a f%^kin’ problem”. But more than that he just came across as such a sanctimonious, colossal, douchebag prick, as if he were say… better than you, and I loved every moment of it.
[adinserter name=”366 right”]I left that night knowing I had witnessed a future star in the making. How big of a superstar he would ultimately become, I never would have guessed.
I raise my glass of Pepsi to you sir, and say job well done.
Bill “Halfway” Hamill is a musician and lifelong pro wrestling fan from Detroit, MI. You can hear and buy his music, read his blogs and listen to his podcast Hamill’s Halfway House at http://HalfwayHamill.com.
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