Story Time With Bomb PHL-Mania Edition: Young Bambino vs. King Kong Bundy
Brushes With Fame Are Like A Dice Game
For every seven or eleven you roll, like my childhood Charles Barkley story or later rapping well enough to earn a kiss from Drew Barrymore in my twenties, there is an experience like lavishing the late great Band of Gypsies singer/drummer Buddy Miles with praise then being promptly asked if we knew anywhere he could score some “get high” while making the universal finger-to-nose-sniffing gesture, or the time Lawrence Taylor nearly knocked me over outside the Atlantic City Convention Center the same night as the Barkley story, likely looking for the same sniffle-inducing substance Buddy was inquiring about when we met.
Celebrities are at the end of the day just people, so it probably never hurts to be reminded of this seemingly obvious but oft-overlooked fact from time to time.
You never know when you're catching someone at a bad time, or on a bad day, or what type of stress someone else might dealing with at any given period in their life.
Yet part of the price of fame is that you are just going to have to accept that total strangers are going to base lifelong impressions of you off a single brief encounter.
This is at least in small part why Charles Barkley, Bo Jackson and Tim Duncan, apart from being three of my favorite athletes to ever watch anyway, are elevated in my mind based on their positive personal interaction, while others like Greg “The Bull” Luzinski is hated by my family since the Garden State Park Fair of 1988.
None of these celebrity encounters had taken place yet when a 10-year-old WWF wrestling fanatic version of Young Bambino got dealt his first bump against the turnbuckle turned into body-slam directly from the belly of fame's brooding beast.
It was an otherwise unremarkable afternoon in the TWA line at the Philadelphia International Airport with the family, which made for my second official visit to this over-saturated travel hub in my just over a decade long life to that point.
That was until I spotted King Kong Bundy, then at the absolute peak of his powers, having recently wrestled Hulk Hogan for the WWF Heavyweight Championship belt inside of a steel cage at Wrestlemania 2, while also posing a major threat with partner Big John Stud to wrestle the World Tag Team Championship crown away from the dynastic pairing in the mid-to-late 80's that was the British Bulldogs.
The story itself is fairly unremarkable but the fact that I just re-discovered this journal entry that my fifth-grade-self jotted down that day following our brief meet, accompanied by also finding my seven-year-old second-grade sister’s own written account of the happening, somehow felt worthy of sharing.
It also probably says something about our culture’s obsession with celebrity and how it didn't magically just begin with the dawn of the internet, or the Kardashians, or millennials; it’s always been a thing, while as soon as we could document all of this we made sure to do so in increasingly detailed fashion using whatever technology was then available, for whatever that's worth, word to William Randolph Hearst.
On a personal level, the fact that I was calculating word counts for my journal entries while also assigning the days numerical ratings out of 10 during the mid-to-late-80's as a child, is likely a fairly good indicator that I was probably born a critic several decades before #TheWudder was borne into fruition over this past summer.
Meanwhile my younger sister, making allowances for the fact that she was only seven, was already displaying what went on to become surgeon’s scribble with a pen in hand.
So without further or do, we present to you the official documentation of Bomb’s first celebrity encounter, told by his own hand, with some additional corroborating evidence and criticism from his only sibling, way back in 1987.