Big Time Wrestling (And Die-Hard Fans) Came to McCoy Stadium

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"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan celebrates his victory in the ring with his tag team partners.

A good chunk of the area’s wrestling fans turned out for Big Time Wrestling promotion’s third annual show at Pawtucket’s McCoy stadium on Friday evening. 

The doors opened around 6 pm.

The show didn’t begin until 8 pm, but there was plenty to see before the show. Fans lined up in droves to get an autograph from what were legendary, albeit now washed up, professional wrestlers. 

I was a huge wrestling fan when I was knee-high-to-a-grasshopper. As I got older, my interest in professional wrestling waned.

The stands, before the event got underway, were at least two-thirds empty.

By the time I left high school, I had stopped watching any wrestling at all. 

But when a friend of mine texted me asking if I wanted to catch this particular show, I was open-minded about it. Here was the key: he had free tickets. He won them in a contest. 

A Free Show (For Me Anyhow)

Seeing I had nothing in my calendar for the evening, I decided to go. 

Some of my memories previous times watching live wrestling made me think it would be worth my time. When I was probably 12 or so, I went to watch what was then WWF at the Providence Civic Center. I don’t remember the card, but I do remember two guys throwing hay-makers at one another in the street after the event. 

Remembrance of Things Past

I went to “Wrestlemania” XIV, which took place in 1998 at the Boston Garden. That night, Mike Tyson was a guest referee. Fortunately, no real violence took place outside the venue. 

It may seem like I’m being nostalgic. This show, however, was all about nostalgia. The event’s main attractions were WWE Hall of Famers Mick Foley and Kevin Nash–three men well into their 50s, who made their bones decades ago.

Mick Foley spent about 5 minutes or so in front of the crowd. He didn’t have a scheduled match. 

Then there was former WWE Tag Team Champion Billy Gun, also in his fifties. 

And how could anyone forget “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. Duggan, known for his patriotism, leading chants of “USA! USA!”, is 64-years-old. Sadly, it seems like he has trouble walking at this point. But that didn’t stop him from “wrestling”. 

“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan leaves the wring after the match. At age 64, he still hasn’t retired from professional wrestling.

The whole evening was built on nostalgia. Most fans wore T-shirts saluting their favorite wrestlers who would have been in their heyday at least 20 years ago. 

In any wrestling event, the fans are the most interesting aspect of the show. It’s interesting to see people take such a keen interest in a scripted show that makes pretend it’s real. Friday night was no exception. 

For instance, one fan told me I looked like one of the evening’s headliners, “Jack Swagger”. I waited for him to ask me for money. Seeing he was serious, I told him if I was 7 inches taller and subtracted 30 lbs of fat and added 50 pounds of muscle…maybe.  

This man points at me, and explains that he thinks I like like the wrestler, former WWE World Heavyweight Champion “Jack Swagger”, who is shown raising his arms.

The event also took on a Comic Con-like feel. The wrestlers, prior to the event, sat at tables to meet fans. They were charging $30-$40 for an autograph and a photo with the wrestler. 

Former WWE superstar Kevin Nash charges fans $40 bucks for a picture with him and an autograph. He had a long line waiting.
Fans were willing to wait in line to pay their favorite wrestlers for the privilege of meeting them.
Jack Swagger meets fans before the event and looks to earn money for allowing people to take photos with him and get his autograph.

There was some decent action inside the ring. The fans seemed to be pleased with the product. 

The venue is actually a pretty cool place for wrestling. The concessions were expensive, but I have to be honest–they’re nowhere near the ripoffs at the Xfinity Comcast Center in Mansfield or the Blue Hills Pavilion at Boston’s Seaport. 

Do you feel better paying $4 for a bottle of water because it’s healthy? Imagine paying $6.50 for a fruit cup?
The beer is expensive. But the price gouging isn’t as bad at other venues. That counts for something, right?
I have to call a spade, a spade. All things considered, McCoy’s concession prices are very reasonable.

I was happy, since I ate dinner before heading there. That meant I didn’t spend $1 on the night’s entertainment. How can I complain about that? 

Russell Moore
Russell J. Moore is the publisher and founder of rirelevant.com. He’s been writing about Rhode Island since 2005. You should definitely follow him on twitter @russmoore713. If you want to send him email, you can send it to russmoore713@gmail.com
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