BANKIE'S HOT TAKE #21 - FROM THE VAULT: Quebecers vs Bam Bam/Adam Bomb, 9/25/93
After writing the Hydrox Cookies piece, I began to think of my father. I started to think of other things we bonded over. Obviously, professional wrestling was the biggest thing.
So I decided to think back to live events I went to with Papa Bruce.
This FROM THE VAULT is from the first ever wrestling show I attended at Madison Square Garden with my Dad - The World Wrestling Federation on September 25, 1993.
I had just turned eight years old. I had been indoctrinated into the world of wrestling, thanks to my father. A few months earlier, I had watched my first live pay-per-view with him: WCW Beach Blast 1993. I got really worked up when the WWF champion Yokozuna Bonzai Dropped the Hawaiian Crush four times on Monday Night Raw. I cried when Big Van Vader cheated to beat the British Bulldog at the Clash of the Champions.
I was hooked. My Dad loved every second of it.
My father became a die-hard fan of wrestling in the late 1960s-early 1970s. Living in Queens, he was able to watch a plethora of professional wrestling growing up, especially the World Wide Wrestling Federation. He went to a plethora of shows. He went to Sunnyside Gardens in Sunnyside, Queens, the Ridgewood Grove Arena on Palmetto St and St. Nicholas Avenue in Ridgewood, Queens, NY, Madison Square Garden, and even a few shows at Shea Stadium in Flushing, Queens, NY. He collected wrestling magazines and programs, taped television shows on Betamax and VHS, and even played a Wrestling Strat-O-Matic game frequently in the mid-1980s.
Everyday, I realize I am my father’s son.
Once my Dad knew I loved professional wrestling, he made it his mission to take me to a live show. On my eighth birthday, he surprised me with a gift: we would be going to the Garden to see the World Wrestling Federation, live and in person, on September 25, 1993.
Excited as Hell, leading up to the event, I would watch WWF Superstars and Wrestling Challenge. “Mean” Gene Okerlund, the infamous voice of the WWF, came onto the screen and started hyping up the live event. I waited, with bated breath, for the announcement of the card.
The Undertaker would face Yokozuna for the World Wrestling Federation championship. Shawn Michaels would defend his Intercontinental championship against the 1-2-3 Kid. WWF Tag Team champions The Steiner Brothers would face off with the makeshift monster team of Adam Bomb and Bam Bam Bigelow. Razor Ramon and Mr. Hughes would get it on. Mr. Perfect aimed for revenge against Michaels’ bodyguard, Diesel. Tatanka and IRS would continue their rivalry, while Men on a Mission would make their tag team debut in the Garden against Well Dunn.
I even found a journal I kept in third grade, detailing how excited I was to go to the event with my Dad. I was over the moon. Pro wrestling was so exhilarating, and I was going to see it.
Of course, I learned a valuable thing about pro wrestling that would carry on for a long time after this night:
“Card subject to change.”
This might have been thirty years ago, but the evening of September 25, 1993 remains ingrained in my brain.
My Dad and I took the Suburban Transit bus from East Brunswick to the Port Authority in Manhattan. After walking several blocks, we ended up in front of the majestic Madison Square Garden. The old man then took me to the McDonalds across the street and I had a cheeseburger and fries. We crossed the huge street and walked into the building, hopping onto a short line. After a few minutes, we entered through the security and headed up an elevator. I instantly got butterflies in my belly. It was a rush I had never felt before. After checking out the merchandise stand and buying a WWF 1994 calendar, which I still surprisingly possess, we walked to our seats.
Before sitting down, I looked around in awe. This was the place that Patrick Ewing played in for the New York Knicks. This was the building where Mike Richter played goalie in for the New York Rangers. This was where the first WrestleMania took place.
At that moment, I knew I was in an entertainment version of Mecca. I was officially in “the World’s Most Famous Arena”.
I was overjoyed and excited to no end. The minutes felt like hours. When was the bell going to ring? Let’s get the show rolling! My mind was in hyperdrive as I waited.
Finally, the house lights went down, the fans started to cheer, and ring announcer Howard Finkel strutted out to the ring, tuxedo pressed and stoic. “The Fink”, with his natural cadence, introduced us to the World Wrestling Federation!
After the formal introductions, the infamous “Card Subject to Change” came into play. Mr. Finkel alerted us that Mr. Hughes would not be facing Razor Ramon; in his place would be Rick “the Model” Martel! Also, WWF Intercontinental champion Shawn Michaels WAS SUSPENDED, due to refusing to meet certain obligations as it came to his championship defenses. The 1-2-3 Kid would wind up facing the gross Bastion Booger.
Although I was disappointed by the match changes, I was still excited to just be there.
The memories that were made were incredible. I watched Yokozuna and the Undertaker beat the tar out of each other over the WWF title. I saw a surprise debut of “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher against the RETURNING “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka, with the Superfly flying high off the top rope and delivering an epic Superfly Splash! I got to witness Tatanka save his undefeated streak by going to a draw with the IRS. Hell, I was able to see a fantastic battle between Ramon and Martel, which would subsequently happen three weeks later over the vacant Intercontinental championship on Raw.
This night was unbelievable.
As I learned from my Dad, thanks to the MSG Network no longer airing WWF live events, this was just for the live crowd, not filmed at all. It made me sad, but I knew the memory of my first ever wrestling show would live on in my mind until the end of my days.
Until last week.
Almost 30 years later, I started researching old results of house shows that I went to on both YouTube and The History of WWE, which are tremendous resources for wrestling historians.
I noticed there were quite a few guerilla filmed live events, recorded by fans on VHS and transferred over digitally throughout the years. I found countless shows, from New York, Los Angeles, and everywhere in between, especially from the 1990s.
On a whim, I looked up the September 25, 1993 live event results from Madison Square Garden and started typing in different search results regarding that night. Nothing was working at all.
The last thing I typed in was “bam bam bigelow adam bomb”, and the first video that popped up from that night! In fact, it was something I completely forgot about:
“Card subject to change.”
Going purely on recollection, after watching the 1-2-3 Kid lose the opening contest to the grotesque Booger, the Quebecers, Jacques and Pierre, strolled out to the ring with their new WWF Tag Team championships.
Two weeks prior at the Manhattan Center, which was literally a couple of blocks from the Garden, on the September 13, 1993 edition of Monday Night Raw, the Mountie cosplayers defeated the Steiners in a “Province of Quebec Rules” match to win the belts via disqualification, shocking the wrestling world.
As is standard in wrestling, once a title changes hands, the champions take over the previous titleholders scheduled defenses.
Jacques alerted the audience that they would be taking the place of the Steiners in MSG and would be facing “the Beast from the East” and the Three Mile Island native with the championships on the line.
For starters, this was going to be a very rare heel vs heel match. Four heels in one match in 1993 was unheard of, especially in a WWF ring.
From a storyline perspective, Johnny Polo would be conflicted, as he debuted Adam Bomb in the Summer, while recently becoming the manager of the Quebecers on 9/13. Whose side would he choose?
Looking at this match, they employed a simple strategy. As the more annoying duo, the Quebecers were the heels, while Bam Bam and Adam Bomb acted as the de facto good guys.
I’ll be honest; the Quebecers weren’t as bad as I used to think. They got such strong negative reactions from the crowd. Also, their double team maneuvers were simple but effective. Even though Jacques was starting to show his age, Pierre was on the rise as a great talent.
Also, Bam Bam and Bomb were getting strong reactions throughout the match. Bomb was the face in peril, and once he got tagged in, “the Beast from the East” was a proverbial house of fire in between the ropes. I know Bam Bam didn’t become an official good guy until after WrestleMania XI in 1995, but on this particular night, the fans LOVED him.
In the end, Johnny Polo made his way down the ramp and got into the grill of Luna Vachon, who, in turn, shoved him down to the arena floor to a huge ovation. Adam Bomb noticed it and left the ring to yell at Luna. Bam Bam, naturally, got into Bomb’s face, defending his “main squeeze”. Referee Danny Davis counted the challengers out and, thanks to the distraction, the Quebecers retained their championships.
After the match, the Quebecers abandoned Polo with Bomb, and both men were taken out by Vachon and Bigelow respectively. The fans absolutely loved seeing the rich yuppie Polo, in particular, get destroyed.
It was such a blast watching a battle from an event you never thought you’d see again. I have to thank the person that illegally filmed it inside the Garden.
I also have to thank PCO! Apparently, PCO posted the footage on his YouTube channel almost a decade ago. Pierre the Quebecer was definitely on the rise, as he wound up becoming Jean-Pierre Lafitte in the mid-1990s, X in the early days in TNA, and PCO across the circuit, until he was reborn as “the French Canadian Frankenstein”, found a new lease on life, and at 51 years old, won the Ring of Honor World championship at Final Battle 2019.
Regardless, it really makes you wonder where all the time has gone. It makes me miss Bam Bam Bigelow, who passed away in 2007. It makes me miss the time period of youth and wonder, where the world and possibilities look endless and gigantic.
Most of all, it makes me miss my old man. He made me fall in love with so many different things, but wrestling was the greatest gift we shared together. It’s the present I will always continue to re-open, because of the time he put into it.
September 25, 1993 began a long strange journey with professional wrestling. I hope it continues on until the end of my days.