LaBar: A match against Bret Hart and British Bulldog Jr.
I walked in the building, up the steps from the back door and could see a ring and 2,000 empty seats surrounding it. All I could hear was the soft tone of AJ Styles' voice as he lectured some young wrestlers. It was the calm before the storm.
After the Saturday daytime drive on the interstate to Meadville, I had arrived at the venue for IWC Wrestling's Night Of The Superstars 3. I was pointed in the direction of where my locker room would be, as I was managing my associate RJ City against Davey Boy Smith Jr., who had Bret “Hitman” Hart in his corner.
In my time doing this, I've learned these are the hardest parts of the day — the waiting game. Getting to the building to beat the crowd, prepare, but having to wait for your music cue.
RJ City currently holds the Super Indy title, a title that has been the prize for over a decade of Super Indy tournaments. Some of the past holders of the title include AJ Styles, Colt Cabana, Chris Sabin, Low Ki, Delirious, Sami Callihan and Shima Xion.
Mr. City doesn't concern himself with all of that and is there to be Mr. Entertainment, not Mr. Indy. We've officially changed the title to the Super Entertainment title. Needless to say, some are offended by this. Something about tradition.
As the hours go by, the catering gets spread out on the table, the energy in the building begins to rise. The Steiner Brothers, Matt Striker, Matt Taven, Bobby Fish and many more are featured on the show.
Live music of The Delaneys could faintly be heard through the locker room walls as they played in front the crowd for the final moments before the action began.
My nerves and excitement are in a blender as I pace around the locker room waiting. RJ City, who's entertainment endeavors stretch to film and television, including playing a character on a Nickelodeon series, is focused but much calmer than I am.
We finally get the cue that we're up next. Standing just feet from the curtain for those final seconds are the quietest seconds ever. RJ pushes the curtain open as he sings his way to the ring with me trailing behind him presenting the Super Entertainment title for all to see.
Just as you walk through the curtain, there is about four feet of open space on each side of the guard rails before the row of seats begin. It felt like the entire audience rushes to that open space and are all within inches of slapping your face. All the attention is on us.
RJ sings us all the way to the center of the ring. Just before he can finish his version of “I've Got To Be Me,” he's cut off by the recognizable screeching electric guitar riff of Bret Hart's music. All at once, 2,000 people erupt in excitement for his appearance and what the future held for RJ and I.
Just minutes ago it felt like I was in the most claustrophobic situation ever. Now, with the energy of the music blasting, Hart appearing from the curtain, anticipation of what was going to happen to us, it felt like RJ and I were in isolation. The storm had come.
RJ and I stand on the outside as Hart controls the ring and gives a speech about the Western Pennsylvania fans. This then brings British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith Jr. to the ring.
It leads to an intense match between the two that lasts nearly 20 minutes. The back and forth had me in a sweat as Smith punished the left arm of City, while City responded with offense to Smith's leg.
I thought for sure City had things in control. He got Smith on his back and prepared to give a reality check to him and Hart by putting Smith in the famous Sharpshooter submission. Smith overpowered and escaped, knocking City down.
It was at this point, I had no choice, I happen to have some brass knuckles in my jacket.
Now, before you judge me, you have to understand that I am a licensed manager and deserve to be out there. There also is this multiple former world champion in Bret Hart who is out there at ringside, which he shouldn't be. Nonetheless, I had to come prepared for all possibilities.
Without the referee, Hart or Smith seeing it, I slipped the brass knuckles to City. The important lesson of the story, it all resulted in City and I walking out on our own two feet, still possessing the Super Entertainment title.
Once again, that aisle way with the hands gesturing over the guard rails seemed the most space-invading, longest walk ever to get to the other side of the curtain and call it a successful night.
Hart and Davey Boy's father were on the card of the first wrestling event I ever went to. It was an honor and fulfillment getting to share a match graphic and match segment with them. It was even more of an honor getting to outsmart them and lead my client to victory.
IWCWrestling.com and its YouTube channel will have it all for your viewing pleasure to celebrate this wonderful career night for RJ City and myself.
Justin LaBar is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7949 or firstname.lastname@example.org.