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|He didn't feel the last
chair-shot to his head. Nor did he feel the forearm
shoved in his face during the three count. And he sure as
heck didn't feel the cement floor of the bingo hall that
he landed on as his victorious opponent's tag-team
partner tossed him outside the squared circle.
It wasn't what he had planned for his ring debut. But after the six weeks of training in Jimmy "the Greek" Romano's basement, he was ready for each bump and folding chair to the head he received. As a kid, he dreamed of headlining a Super Card Spectacular in the middle of Shea Stadium, defeating a legendary wrestler from the days when people still believed the sport was real. Jimmy "the Greek" used to say it almost was.
"Yeah, kid, when I was green I didn't get the kind of training that you're getting, here. Nah, " saying as he puffs from a stoagie, whose ashes have yet to fall off, "one of my first big-time matches was against this guy they called 'Admiral Von Steubing'. Did this guy stink."
"Couldn't hit his spots?" the youngster asks.
"B.O. Real bad." He scratched his armpit. "This guy had the worst hygiene of any guy on the circuit at the time. So what d'ya think his signature was? Headlocks. And Headlock takedowns. The guy never let go. I'm not surprised though. I was kinda cute back then."
"Oh, yeah what happened."
After delivering a slap to the back of the kid's head, "the Greek" said, "just listen to me. You might learn something. Anyway, you know I don't think the German Navy had a 'Don't Ask, don't tell' policy. Because he was a little funny, you know. So that's why he held on to me for so long."
"Did you win?" the rookie said sheepishly, anticipating another hit to the head.
"Not that first time, kid. But that didn't matter, because I made sure he didn't beat me. Kid, remember you can lose the match, do the job, but man don't let him beat you!"
Jimmy smacked him again on the head. This time not so hard.
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November 8, 1997.