For someone who’s been following pro wrestling for more than three decades, I actually have run into very few wrestlers personally. I don’t seek them out to begin with (I’ve never made a side-trip to the Kowloon in Saugus after a WWE show in Boston), and autographs don’t do a lot for me.
My most memorable run-in with a wrestler occurred randomly in 1996. I was out in California for the first time ever with some friends, as we were all visiting another buddy who had moved out to LA six months earlier. A bunch of us were at a bar at the Santa Monica Promenade (sort of like Faneuil Hall in Boston with more nightlife), and my pal, David, and I went outside to get some fresh air.
As we were hanging by the palm trees, David looks across the Promenade and saw Brutus Beefcake walking with a huge bodybuilder. David had seen Beefcake many times at Tower Records in Burlington, MA, at which David worked security. Beefcake lived in nearby Winchester, MA.
So David, who has a loud voice, started yelling across the outdoor strip, “Hey Brutus! You! Brutus! Brutus, get over here!” Poor Beefcake tried to pretend he didn’t hear us, but David wouldn’t let up, and Beefcake gave in and walked over with his bodybuilder friend.
David introduced himself and said we were big wrestling fans, and that he had seen him shopping at Tower Records in Massachusetts. Beefcake and his pal were surprised about the Tower Records story and that we had all ran into each other in Santa Monica. I remember the bodybuilder kept saying, “Small fucking world. Small fucking world.”
Beefcake at that point in his career had left the WWE and was wreslting as Zodiac for WCW. They had their Bash at the Beach show in Southern California that coming weekend.
Soon after, Beefcake and his friend walked off, and David and I went back into the bar. One of other buddies said, “Where have you two been?” and David replied, “We were talking to Brutus Beefcake.”