We’re two weeks away from WrestleMania and you see the title of this article saying to yourself “What!?”
Well, we all have our own stories about how we got into watching professional wrestling and how it has affected our lives in one form or another. As far as I can remember, I started watching professional wrestling in the late 70’s before my age hit double digits. It was those Saturday afternoon shows I’d watch with my father and my older brother; and sometimes my mom would check out the program too.
There are times where you thank one or both of your parents for getting an interest in something. I thank my mom and dad for getting me into professional wrestling. I had to write this article before I move onto an article about current day wrestling topics. For now, this is a personal article that I need to write.
Sad to say I’m writing this article because my mother passed away in her sleep in hospice care on Sunday night January 22, 2017. Almost 27 years before that my father passed away on Monday, April 2nd, 1990. Why do I bring up their respective passing on at this time of year? Because both deaths had a connection to professional wrestling.
Back in 1990 my father suffered a heart attack on Friday March 30th. He was taken to a hospital for surgery that lasted almost five hours. Long story short, he was in and out of consciousness all weekend while I was trying to find a distraction. Sunday, April 1st arrived. Not only was it April Fool’s Day but it was WrestleMania Six at the Skydome in Toronto. The main event was Hulk Hogan vs. the Ultimate Warrior. At the time it was the furthest from my mind but later that evening when I heard the Ultimate Warrior pinned Hogan to win the WWE Title it felt like an era with my dad had ended.
I remember watching Hogan beat the Iron Sheik on that historical professional wrestling date of Monday, January 23, 1984. From there my dad and I would follow week after week, month after month, the reign of Hulkamania defeating one contender at a time. But it was that evening of April 1st, 1990 when I heard Hogan lost to the Warrior that I felt a sense of deflation. Like an era had ended. The next day my dad passed away.
And now we come to the present where my mom’s final days were spent in hospice care. It was Saturday January 21st when I stopped in to see my mom. She was asleep and I didn’t want to wake her up; it likely wouldn’t have worked anyway if I tried to wake her up. As I was sitting in the chair beside my mom jotting notes on my phone’s memo I got a text from my friend who hosts the Royal Rumble with a reminder about the event on the 29th. He mentioned something and I responded in an obvious manner. He replied by calling me Otunga for stating the obvious. I smiled as I glanced over at my mom.
And then it was Sunday, January 22nd when I saw my mom in her room for the last time with each breath getting slower and slower. It was there when I sat bedside watching her and smiling at times and I continued to jot down notes. I always called my mother the day after the Royal Rumble with the results. And it was that afternoon on the 22nd where it felt like I could’ve stayed in her room for the entire afternoon. Ironically, this was the same hospital where my dad was admitted back in 1990. It was the place where his life was coming to an end while my mom’s life came to an end in the same building. She died at 9:00 pm on Sunday night January 22, 2017.
It was the night of the Rumble; January 29, 2017. It was a week after my mom had passed. It approached 9:00 pm. All eyes at my friend’s house were on the TV while I glanced at my watch. When 9:00 pm approached I looked at the TV, looked up to the heavens, and smiled sipping a beer in honor of my mom and dad looking down. The tradition of calling my mother the day after any WWE pay per view came to an end. I have no one to call anymore.
So as I look back to the old days of watching professional wrestling, I will always cherish those times with my mother and my father watching in laughter, in awe, in seriousness, in absurdity, but most importantly, spending time together along with my older brother. That is what I will always cherish and that is the connection with my parents and professional wrestling.