AS I SEE IT - 4/21/2000
by: Bob Magee
For those reading this column on one of the sites that have picked up AS I SEE IT during the last month or so, I most often make a point of featuring comment on the human side of the wrestling business; rather than discuss Monday night ratings, PPV buyrates, or who's going over in an upcoming match.
This week particularly brings one of those columns, about life and the need to celebrate it.
As reported this week on a number of online news sources, US independent wrestler Jeff Peterson is in intensive care in a Florida hospital with lung cancer.
All of us at Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets and all the other websites/e-newsletters in the US, Canada, and The United Kingdom and that carry AS I SEE IT ask that you keep Jeff in your prayers. Even though he has worked for some time within wrestling, Jeff is only 18 years old.
It is true that some fans gave Jeff a hard time when he first started, assuming that he only was involved in wrestling due to Jim Kettner running the Delaware-based East Coast Wrestling Alliance. Whatever those fans may have thought, there is no question that Jeff is held in the highest regard by all those with whom he works; whether in his uncle's ECWA, Pennsylvania Championship Wrestling, IPW-Hardcore Wrestling in Florida, California's All-Pro Wrestling, or elsewhere.
Peterson has worked such independent mainstays as Reckless Youth, Christopher Daniels, Jimi V, Chan Hill, as well as Florida's OG Scarface and Frankie Capone.
My favorite thought on Jeff Peterson comes from one night last year at an ECWA show down at their homebase of St. Matthew's in Newport, Delaware. It was at the end of another of the traditional heel-babyface matches Kettner favors. As the end of this tag team match approached, my younger brother and I played armchair booker and tried to guess the finish. Then, one heel stood on the apron holding one of the babyfaces with his arms pinned waiting for the inevitable punch; so we said out loud "rollup, or...".
Immediately behind us, chirped this voice (in a carny stage whisper) "skiz-ool-biz-oy", with a grin on his face. It was Peterson, who was back in the crowd being a fan, after he'd already worked earlier in the evening.
I knew something was up last Saturday night when I attended the monthly ECWA show at St. Matthew's. We were let in unusually late. There was something missing from the workers all night. The sometimes raucous crowd of regulars even seemed unusually quiet. Of course, I found out the next day what that "something" was.
Jeff has had a rough time of it recently, having had what was described by Georgianne Makropoulos and uncle Jim Kettner as a "bad anxiety attack", requiring further treatment over and above the all too serious treatment to arrest his lung cancer.
Those who wish to send Jeff their prayers and thoughts can do so at Jeff Peterson, 435 Carriage House Lane, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689-7251
Georgianne Makropoulos of 1wrestling.com has also offered to forward the thoughts of those online to to Jeff at through her e-mail address at GMakpoulos@aol.com . She asks that readers note in the message box/title "FOR JEFF".
Continuing with the theme of life and the need to celebrate it; we move on to two items concerning the late Brian Hildebrand.
Brian Hildebrand (working name Mark Curtis) was one of the top professional wrestling referees to ever grace a ring. After a 2 1/2 year battle with stomach cancer, Curtis passed away in September of 1999.
Southern States Wrestling will present its annual SSW Weekend of Champions on May 12th and 13th. This year, they will pay tribute to Brian, who worked a shows for SSW only days before his death from cancer last September.
The weekend of shows has historically benefited the Children's Miracle Network Telethon; with SSW talent additionally donating their time to the local portion of the televised pledge drive. The show on May 12 will be in Saltville, VA and will feature Manny Fernandez. On May 13, they return to Kingsport, TN at the Civic Auditorium. SSW Heavyweight champion Tracy Smothers, Manny Fernandez, Buddy Landel, Cody Michaels. Wahoo McDaniel will also be inducted into the Kingsport Hall of Fame.
If you live in western Virginia, please take time to attend this weekend of
shows. If you need information, please e-mail Southern States Wrestling at
Another event celebrating Brian's life, the Mark Curtis Memorial Pro Wrestling Fantasy Camp will be held as a part of the Brian Pillman Memorial Event 2000 in Cincinnati, Ohio. During Hildebrand's fight with cancer, he literally came out of his sickbed to be special referee at the 1998 and 1999 Brian Pillman Memorial Events held every May in the Cincinnati area.
Brian's friends from the wrestling industry and the promoter of the Pillman Event, Les Thatcher of the Cincinatti-based Heartland Wrestling Association, have elected to honor him this year as well as promote the Pillman 2000 card in order to help his widow Pam Hildebrand clear the debt incurred from his long battle with cancer.
The Mark Curtis Memorial Fantasy Camp will be held Wednesday, May 24th, 2000 at the Quality Inn Ballroom in Evendale. The camp will be limited to 60 fans and will run from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm and will be followed by a hot buffet (as well as a question and answer period) for campers and celebrity instructors. Attending as instructors will be some of wrestling's top names including Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, D-Lo Brown, The Road Dogg, Terry Taylor, Eddy Guerrero, Perry Saturn, Cody Michaels, Les Thatcher, and a few more to be named.
The day will entail learning some of the basics of pro wrestling with your favorite stars. Each fan will receive a limited edition T-shirt, a videotape of s/he cutting a wrestling interview with the star of their choice, an 8x10 group photo, along with lunch and the evening buffet. Tickets for the Fantasy Camp are $550.00 for the day payable in advance by cashiers check, money order, Visa, or Mastercard.
The Quality Inn Evendale (sponsoring hotel for Pillman 2000) can be reached at (513) 771-5252. Mention "Pillman 2000" when you make your reservation, and you will receive a $45 a night rate for up to 4 people. Call the Heartland Wrestling Association at (513) 771-1650 for more details about the fantasy camp and/or the wrestling event or check the Pillman 2000 website at http://www.pillmanshow.com.
Finally and again in keeping with the theme of this week's column... as I finish this column on April 20th, today is the anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
I wrote these words on 4/22/1999 for AS I SEE IT. As with the above items, I hope it is a powerful reminder to you of the need to celebrate life and those we love.
"....This is for Fritz Capp's Danny; Jessica, Jordan, and Joey Chimel, the children of [WWF ring announcer] Tony Chimel; Greg and Patty Farrell's Mikeala; and the many children of friends of mine I've met over the years.
The deaths of 14 children and one adult this week at Columbine High School in suburban Littleton, Colorado overshadows anything in wrestling.
The names of Cassie Bernall, Steven Curnow, Corey DePooter, Kelly Fleming, Matthew Kechter, Dan Mauser, Dan Rohrbough, Rachel Scott, Isaiah Shoels, John Tomlin, Lauren Townsend, Kyle Velasquez; and Dave Sanders, a heroic teacher who saved the lives of countless students while mortally wounded, as well as Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (the suspects in the murders)... all are a part of an American tragedy that needs to remain a part of our minds for a long, long time to come.
15 lives ended in a matter of a few insane minutes...
For all of you reading this article: Take time for your children. Take that time today. Take it tonight. Tell them you love them. Make it a priority in your life to make damned sure a day doesn't ever go by when they don't know that. The killings at Columbine High School once again tragically prove the truth that we and those we love aren't promised tomorrow.
Most importantly, LISTEN to what your children are telling you. Find out what they think. Find out what they are experiencing. tell them what you think. Communicate to them what your own religious, personal, or moral values are. Don't assume, however, that if their values are different than your own, that they are wrong.
Begin the process of communication, if it hasn't been going on already for years. Because it's only through changing the life of one child at a time that we will have any chance in preventing future Columbines from happening."
Indeed, those close to Jeff Peterson, Brian Hildebrand, and the victims of Columbine all have had a powerful lesson on how important it is to celebrate life and those we love within the last year.
Please be sure to take some time this week to do it for yourselves as well.
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)