Life was good
I grew up in a wrestling family. My grandmother’s cousin was a wrestler during the 1950’s and because of him a collection of wrestling fans were born.
When I say professional wrestling I’m talking Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant and the earliest of super stars, Gorgeous George.
As a child and into my teens it was all real. There was no rehearsing. There was no fix. There was hatred. Blood. Broken bones. It was legalized violence to the extreme.
What’s not to love?
Suddenly, life wasn’t so good.
But all of that changed on a day in Tijuana, Mexico.
I was visiting my dad in San Diego. His super cool girlfriend Wanda and her three kids took me down to Mexico for the first time.
It was there that I saw the baddest wrestler of them all:
The legendary Bull Ramos.
Shaking in my shoes
He was the biggest, the meanest and the most feared wrestler in the world. He never played by the rules. It was his world, his rules and that’s all we needed to know.
I once heard a rumor in school he killed two wrestlers in one night.
I remember walking down the street when I heard his voice. He was sitting on a bench shooing away a street salesman when he looked up and caught me staring at him.
There I was, a skinny kid, my mouth open, my eyes wide. How is it possible the street salesman is still alive, I wondered?
With all the courage I could muster I took a deep breath and introduced myself.
Why are you so normal?
“You’re Bull Ramos,” I said. My voice was probably shaking as much as my extended hand.
I remember he paused and smiled and with a gentle voice he replied, “I sure am.”
I watched as my hand disappeared into his giant paw. It was the same hand that eliminated hundreds of challengers. Probably a thousand. I could not believe I was actually touching the hand of a living legend.
I quickly asked what brought him to Tijuana. Not surprisingly he had a match in San Diego the night before. With a day off this was a perfect way to spend it, he said.
I probably glanced at his hand to see if the blood of the challenger was stained to his knuckles. Another notch on his belt I presumed.
To my surprise he wanted to know about me. What was my name? Where did I live and what did I like to do? In a way he sounded like a parent talking to someone’s kid.
You’ve got to be kidding me!?
As my mind was racing to conclusions as to why the meanest wrestler in the world was acting so kind two little girls raced passed me and pulled on his giant arms.
They called him daddy and told him it was time for lunch. Suddenly my mind became twisted into knots. How is this possible?
Daddy? Lunch? Do they realize who they’re talking too?
As the illusion of the biggest and baddest wrestler ever to walk this earth blew up in my face a beautiful woman and an older woman the girls called grandma appeared.
This isn’t happening!!!!!
Bull Ramos obeyed their orders and stood. With his massive frame inches away from my skinny body he laid his giant hand on my shoulder and expressed how nice it was to meet me.
With a shake of my hand and a pat on my back I watched with utter confusion as he slowly walked away.
As I watched the living legend being led away by two little girls, a beautiful wife and his mom I started to wonder if professional wrestlers had a secret life.
No. Impossible, I said, as I quickly turned and walked away.