It’s been fifteen years now. Fifteen years of pain. Fifteen years of fury. Fifteen years of disgust.
On November 9, 1997, an event took place in Montreal, Canada, that changed Big Sam forever. An act of sheer treachery, it devastated and deflated me like no other, sucking out every last droplet of trust that had previously percolated throughout my sensational body. I sat in front of my television in a state of catatonic horror, my entire world collapsing like a prolapsed uterus.
My feelings on the utter travesty of the ‘Montreal Screwjob’, witnessed at the 1997 WWE Survivor Series, are well documented, and I really don’t want to open up that festering wound again.
Big Sam has never seriously contemplated suicide before; there’s been times when my resolve has been gravely tested – when I was dismissed at Blackburn Rovers, for example, and that time I made love to a homeless woman and my piss turned purple – but I’ve always retained my strength.
As the events at the Molson Centre unfolded, however, and I was forced to tearfully watch Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart being cruelly swindled out of the WWE Championship by a heartless Vincent K McMahon, I seriously considered ending it all. At one point, I had a Durite 12v Heavy Duty 8″ Oscillating Fan in my hand, and was seconds away from plunging my chiselled face deep into its powerful blades. Thankfully, and suddenly, my brand new Motorola StarTAC began to ring, and I was saved. It was Chris Akabusi. I didn’t answer.
The Survivor Series has always been my favourite of the ‘Big Four’ WWE events. A hark back to the classic era of old-school wrestling merriment, it marries the vigorous dynamism of tag-team combat, with the joy of watching the humiliation of oversized men being forced to walk forlornly back to the changing room, upon elimination. I’ve also always been a huge fan of the very act of survival; the ability to display the kind of intestinal fortitude needed to be a survivor. That fella Terry Waite? The Uruguayan rugby team, whose plane crashed in the Andes? The band who sang that song in ‘Rocky III’? Really brilliant blokes, the lot of them. The warm, fuzzy affection in which Big Sam held the Survivor Series, just made the whole sorry mess all the more cutting. Like that time I got dumped by Des’ree.
With a heavy heart, I washed my hands of the WWE that night. A few days later, I took a long walk through the mean streets of Nottingham, my head still in a nightmarish whirl of bewildered indignation. I ended up in a disgusting, desolate and depraved part of the city – well, one of them – and had the first of my many mini break-downs. I turned over cars, defecated in a phone box, and pushed over an old man in a mobility scooter, and, like, totally just left him there on the ground. It all culminated in me furnishing a rudimentary bonfire out of disused tyres, and the rotting carrion of a chubby Yorkshire Terrier I found in a skip.
As the flames raged in angry magnificence, I threw my vintage, WWF-era foam finger into the ceremonial pyre. That finger meant the world to me. It was a true, 1980’s original, and was given to me as a birthday gift from my close friend, Mean Gene Okerlund. I’d done everything with that foam finger, and not just within the realms of professional wrestling fandom. I’d waved it at pop concerts, given team-talks with it; I’d even pleasured myself sexually with it on a few (seven) occasions.
As the cheap foam incinerated into a black bubble of powerful symbolism – releasing the finest plumes of toxins the far east can muster – members of Nottingham’s infamous St. Ann’s Crew gang circled me, chanting my name and espousing the very virtues that made me such a potent destroyer of enemies. I renounced their endorsement, however, as I thought they were a right bunch of bad bastards. Instead, I threw £3.64 at them in loose change. As they scampered around the bonfire, hoovering up the precious bounty and dancing their dance of hate, I simply slunk away into the shadows, and went back home. I’d shown the world what I thought of Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels, but still I felt as hollow and useless as 50% of Heather Mills’ foot spa.
It’s been fifteen years since I’ve watched the Survivor Series. I made my peace with the WWE a few years after the Montreal incident – the raw, sleazy excitement of the ‘Attitude Era’, and Stacy Keibler’s exquisite hoop saw to that – but I still haven’t been able to watch that particular event since that traumatic night back in 1997. This is all about to change, though.
This Sunday, Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana plays host to the 26th annual Survivor Series, and Big Sam will be watching. I’ll be sat in my Inada D6 Robostic Massage Chair – in sumptuous red leather – with a pitcher of Goose Island Honkers Ale, and a tray of cheeseburger sliders, cheering on the WWE’s new generation of superstar vanquishers. I couldn’t pick any of them out of a fucking line-up in all honesty, but I’m sure they’re just wonderful.
The pain of what Vince did to Bret that night in 1997 will never subside, I suspect, but I’ve moved on. It’s this sort of tolerant benevolence that marks Big Sam out as one of the true greats of this revolving little planet of ours. I do miss that foam finger, though.
Not Big Sam is a parody account on Twitter which can be found here. It is in no way related to Sam Neill, Sam Adams, Sam Allardyce or Sam Fox.