AS I SEE IT
by: Bob Magee
This week...some follow-up to last week's piece on three good PEOPLE in the wrestling business....well, one of them, anyhow.
I mentioned WCW referee Brian Hildebrand and his battle with cancer last week. He has accumulated considerable medical and other bills over the last several months. Friends in the Pittsburgh area are sponsoring a benefit show to help Brian with those medical bills in Pittsburgh at the Rostraver Ice Gardens on Friday, July 30th.
Here's some information from Brian himself on that subject:
Greetings! Hope that this finds you and yours in the best of everything...Pam said it was great talking to you the other day!!!
The show is on July 30th, Friday night. It will be held at Rostraver Ice Gardens. Talent CONFIRMED to be there is Mankind, Shane Douglas, James E. Cornette, Cody Michaels, and a legends match featuring Dom DeNucci, plus a defense of the Pillman lightheavyweight trophy by Shark Boy.
Many other names have said that they would be there but no confirmation from the companies, until we get that I don't want to announce anyone else. Yes, tickets are being sold through Ticketmaster... and hopefully by the end of this week we'll have the rest of the talent set for the card!!
Thanks for the interest...
Mark Madden added some names to the list when he publicized the event on his WTAE radio show (in Pittsburgh) this week: Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, D-Lo Brown, Al Snow, Chris Jericho, Ric Flair, Chris Candido, and Tammy Lynn Sytch.
It should be said that Brian is often embarrassed by the attention he receives at these events, or online. I can safely say that there is no one more deserving of it. If you missed last week's column, please go back and read it. It's at http://pwbts.com/b061999.html. It'll make these statements very clear.
I'll be announcing, as will Indigo and others online, when tickets go on sale via Ticketmaster. You can check it yourself online at http://events.ticketmaster.com. Even if you live nowhere near Pittsburgh, and can't make the show...buy a ticket. Buy two. I'm going to ask Brian and his wife if a mechanism exists for outright cash donations to his medical expenses exists. If not, maybe we need to do that.
We also got some good news on Brian earlier this week. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer and their Hotline reported that Brian is expected to be at the July 5th Nitro in Atlanta. Additionally, Brian may appear at the following WCW Saturday Night tapings.
These would mark the first time since his most recent cancer operation that Brian has worked a televised WCW show. The last time Brian was at a WCW show was at the November 29, 1998 WCW house show in Knoxville, where he was honored in a special night.
Mike Tenay served as master of ceremonies. Those in the ceremony from Smoky Mountain Wrestling included Tim Horner, Sandy Scott, Les Thatcher, Tony (Dirty White Boy) Anthony, and his wife Kim. Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, and Bobby Heenan came representing World Championship Wrestling. Schiavone told the story of how Brian came to earn the nickname within the company, "the shooter", during a match on a Monday Nitro when a fan ran in the ring and Brian took him down almost immediately.
Brian was later presented with the Referee of the Year award and the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Man of the Year Award, a special award given out only three times in history by the PWI magazines. Brian and Pam then received a standing ovation from the Knoxville crowd.
Brian later said at the ceremonies, as he has frequently to friends that "he had lucked out twice in his life, when he got into wrestling and when he met and married Pam."
The second half of the ceremony was held prior to the main event match of Chris Jericho/Eddie Guerrero-Chris Benoit/Dean Malenko. Brian and Pam were awarded an all-expenses paid honeymoon vacation in Las Vegas....according to his wife Pam, to replace the honeymoon vacation Brian had originally set up for he and Pam to go on at Halloween Havoc.
Arn Anderson, Chris Benoit, and Dean Malenko then arrived, with comments by each. Ric Flair then appeared unannounced to a standing ovation awarding a replica of the WCW title belt to Brian.
Then there was the main event... Benoit, Malenko, Jericho and Guerrero are among Brian's favorites in the ring and close friends out of it (longtime AS I SEE IT readers may recall my column on Eddie's reaction to Brian's original cancer diagnosis).
Appropriately, the finish saw Jericho involve referee Mickey Jay in a ref bump. Benoit then hooked the Crippler Crossface on Jericho as Malenko put the Texas Cloverleaf on Guerrero. Brian then came out, ran in and signaled in his trademark demonstrative fashion for the bell. Brian then took off his shirt to reveal a Horsemen shirt underneath. The show concluded with Brian, Benoit, and Malenko doing the Horsemen sign.
One couldn't have created a better ending. That is, unless they could come up with one that's cancer-free for Brian....a wish that's not likely to come true.
So now, Brian will be at the July 5th Georgia Dome Monday Nitro show. For once, there will be a reason for us all to be happy with something on a WCW Monday Nitro...the most important kind of reason....having nothing to do with Monday night ratings wars...or competition. That will be ONE Nitro I tape.
Please watch for these events. Those moments will let you feel proud to be a wrestling fan....but not as proud as I am to say I know this man.
Until next time...
If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org