Not Big Sam on Wrestlemania XXIX for the Paddy Power Blog
As I sat in my office on Thursday morning, my thoughts — though sprightly, and infused with my trademark synergy — travelled no further than the day ahead, and my continuing quest to carve a footballing Pietà out of the cheap, lifeless block of clay with which I’ve been asked to work.
As I sipped sophisticatedly on my Espresso Con Panna, and nibbled on a blueberry muffin that was bigger and more daunting than Richard Griffith’s coffin, I browsed nonchalantly across the internet portal on my Nexus 7, searching for pictures of celebrity feet, and updating my LinkedIn profile with the previous day’s training innovations.
With the casual causality that I have become famous for, I then clicked onto my least-hated news site and got ready for a perusal. And that’s when I saw the headline. My eyes darted around the screen in stunned anarchy; information pouring in from all angles, like rushing streams of cascading data.
“The little podgy f**kpig has said what??!!!” I roared incredulously, slabs of damp muffin exploding out of my gub with violent velocity. As I continued to read the full article, the sheer weight of the situation seeped into my pulsating brain-nodes. A portly, preposterously-dressed toddler-king in North Korea was threatening — actually threatening — the world with nuclear strikes. My world.
“Not on my watch, fat chops!” I thought to myself. It then occurred to me that this would be a great little catchphrase. I said it out loud and, unsurprisingly, it sounded fantastic, so I made a mental note to use it again later on the wife.
Get me Mean Gene Okerlund
I lifted my phone immediately, and barked down the handset at my secretary Josh, with an intensity and clarity that left him in no doubt that I meant business. And yes, before you start snickering like fingered college girls, I have a male secretary at the moment; he wears a bum-bag and I’m pretty sure he’s blackmailing a Tory MP, but he’s not a bad lad.
“Get me ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund – NOW!” I yelped. After 24 minutes of listening to some old woman prattle on about playing Hilda Ogden in ‘Coronation Street’, I gripped Josh by the pashmina, and wheeled him into my office. As he sat there — quivering and making feeble excuses — I made him watch my tattered but cherished VHS copy of Wrestlemania VI. “THAT is Gene Okerlund,” I said, pointing to the immaculately-tanned professional on the screen. “Now, go fetch me him on the blower, you thick, flamboyant tart.”
As I settled into a rich, rewarding transatlantic conversation with Mean Gene, my frustrations frittered away, like bread crumbs sinking to the bottom of a thick, comforting broth. We talked about the good old days of the WWF, before it lost its identity to shock-value gimmickry, and its name to a f**king panda. “Remember when Tatanka was on that unbeaten run?” squealed Gene, with unrestrained glee. “Or that time we met up in Florida, and you made love to one of Doink’s midgets for a bet?” After a few awkward glances, I corrected him on this last point, and we moved on.
“So, Big Sam, what can I do for you today?” he asked, his voice resplendent with poise and authority.
“I’ll tell you what it is, Gene. You know the way Wrestlemania 29 takes place this Sunday night, at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey, in front of an expected crowd of 90,000 adoring WWE fans?”
“Aye,” said Gene, lazily.
“Well, I’d like to be added to the line-up.”
There was a moment of gorgeous silence. I smiled with conceited satisfaction. I knew I’d just blown that little bald bastard’s mind.
“You heard me, Okerlund. I want to come out of retirement and snap on my spandex one more time, and I want you to make it happen. I want to take on and destroy that shit-haired little pudding, Kim Jong-un. In a caaaaaggggge.”
The way I said “cage” — all elongated and full of implied terror — was just magical. It added an instant air of mystery and intrigue to my proposal.
Bring it on, Kim Jong-un
After what seemed like an eternity of silence — and a few strange attempts to make another call while I was still on the line — Mean Gene finally spoke. “You want me to arrange it, for you to take on the Supreme Leader of North Korea, at a pay-per-view wrestling event, which is happening in two days time, in the United States? Have a got this right?”
I could hardly contain myself from exploding with excitement. I was unable to articulate any words, such was the intoxication of my delight. “Woooooooooooooooooooooooh” I exclaimed, smashing a framed picture of Elton Welsby on my desk, and throwing my hard-copy edition of ‘Blood Meridian’ at Josh’s bleached head.
Then, out of the blue, my dream was dashed. “Nah,” said Gene, before hanging up immediately, and in the process, popping my metaphorical balloon of hysteria with the cruel, pricking pin of denial.
And that was that, really. I sent him an email asking if he would at least pop a Wrestlemania programme into the post for me, but he hasn’t replied. It makes me feel quite inadequate that the whole episode ended with such a damp squib, but there you go. Not everything Big Sam does ends with f**king explosions.
This Sunday night, the WWE’s Wrestlemania wagon skids into town. I have no idea who’s fighting who, to be honest. The Rock might be there. And The Undertaker. And that fella with the beard and the plank of wood. Harvey Price might be the current Intercontinental Champion for all I know.
What I do know, however, is how tantalisingly close the world came to seeing a true champion of freedom entering the squared-circle again, to squash the wobbling, terrified jowl’s of a despicable despot against an unforgiving steel cage, and thus exterminating the threat of nuclear warfare. But as usual, Mean Gene Okerlund had to ruin it for everyone. Now, you tell me — who’s the real monster?
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