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As I was sitting ringside Saturday night at the Ohio Valley Wrestling show, I was approached by a young fan with a pen and paper in his hand.

“Are you some kind of wrestler?” he sheepishly asked me. I guess he saw the OVW shirt I was wearing.

“No, I’m not,” I told him, and he walked away. “At least, not anymore,” I said to myself.

Not that I was ever that great of a wrestler, but for a brief time back in 1998, I did get in the ring and was having a blast.

That was back in the old Diehard Championship Wrestling days, and seeing Country Earl Owens at the matches Saturday night brought back a lot of memories.

Those were some good times, as I got into the sport totally by accident. Having been a life-long professional wrestling fan, I kept a close eye on DCW, and back then, Owens and his broadcast partner, Ramblin’ Ray Henson, had a weekly talk show on Rock 105.7 dedicated to wrestling. Owens and Henson were also associated with DCW.

Well, one day I was listening to their show, and I happened to write about it in a column back in the Laurel News-Leader, the paper I was working at during this time. I just mentioned how I thought Henson, who was working as a heel announcer, didn’t know what he was talking about. That’s what started it all.

The next thing I knew, Ray was dissing me on the air, which of course led to me eventually calling their show, and even being on it a couple of times. From there, I got my manager’s license, and the next thing I knew, I was in the wild, wild world of professional wrestling.

I managed Oscar Miller to the DCW title with his victory over Jamie “Too Cool” Stone, with a little help from my camera flash. After that, I was forced to actually step into the ring against another manager, Michael “The Mouth” Capone. It was my manager’s license against his mask. The match took place at the National Guard Armory here in London, and let me tell you, there were so many people there they had to go get extra bleachers so everyone would have a place to sit.

I lost the match, but it wasn’t Capone I was facing. It was Antonio Cruz under the mask, and when the real Capone came out and distracted me, Cruz nailed me with a chain and got the pin fall.

But that wasn’t the end of things for me. No, I battled the Rat Pack in Jackson County and at Young’s Riverside Club in Manchester, which was their equivalent to the ECW Arena. Small, cramped, and hotter than hell during the summer, but boy, when that place was full, you couldn’t beat it. An old cock fighting arena, you could still find dead roosters tucked away in some dark corner.

And if it rained too much, there was always the chance that the bridge leading up to the arena would be under water, trapping all those inside. But that never stopped the fans from coming. And if management saw a car coming up the road, they would hold the opening bell under the last car was parked.

I remember getting pile driven by Stone in Manchester, then tripled teamed by the Rat Pack after I stuck my nose where it didn’t belong. I remember clotheslining Capone outside of the ring in Jackson County, then laying my boots to him. Yes, back in those days, my hair was longer, and temper shorter, but it was a grand old time.

I even got my name mentioned in the December, 1998 issue of Wrestling Superstars, in their guide to the independents. Right in the DCW section, under other stars, is my name. My crowning moment!

As the old song goes, “those were the days my friends.”

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