Friday, May 29, 2020

Blaine Hutchens

I never met Blaine Hutchens. 

I’ve never seen a picture of him nor do I know much about him. 

The one thing that I do know about Blaine Hutchens is that he loved professional wrestling more than life and because of that I was compared to him throughout my childhood.

My father’s side of my family calls the Foothills of North Carolina home. They are small town, country folks who spend their weekends hunting, playing the fiddle, and watching The Race. My great-grandmother, Granny, grew up down a tiny dirt road and with exception of coming to live with us for a couple years in Orlando, she never left that street. It was where she grew up, where she called home, and where she died.

Granny suffered from Alzheimer’s and usually sat in silence, dipping snuff until the sun went down. That’s when she started talking about needing to go home. Despite being in her 80’s, she was terrified that her mother didn’t know where she was and that she was going to be in trouble for not getting back home before dark. It would take some convincing, and some lying, but eventually she’d settle down, start rocking in her chair again, dip snuff, and watch TV.

My grandmother, Nanny, lived with her and took care of her, and I spent many of my summers with them throughout the late 90’s. Nanny was great about allowing me to watch whatever I wanted on the TV with exception of a few set times.

-I couldn’t touch the dial at noon because the news was on.

-After the news, Days of Our Lives came on.

-And then at six o’clock, it was time to turn the dial back to WXII Channel 12 to watch the news yet again.

Basically, I had to find something to do for about two hours each day, which was not a problem when hanging out in the country.

During those summers with Nanny and Granny, I really only wanted to watch a couple things on TV. One was MTV Spring Break and the other was wrestling.

Looking back on it, I feel bad for my poor grandmother and great-grandmother. They sat through at least two months of everything the Attitude Era could throw at them. They sat in the living room watching stuff I’m almost embarrassed to say that they watched with me. I can distinctly recall Nany spending a good portion of every Monday night catching up on all the latest tabloids. She was rarely without an issue of the Inquirer or Star within arm’s length. But Granny didn’t care. She just sat there packing in the Dental Mild Snuff and watching whatever Vince McMahon would throw at her.

Of course, being the fan that I was/am, it was rare for me to sit in silence and watching wrestling. I’d be jumping off the couch cheering my favorites, and in general marking out over everything. I’ll never forget sitting in her living room watching the WWF debut of Chris Jericho and absolutely flipping out like a little girl at an N’Sync concert. Granny sat rocking in her chair and laughed a little and remarked something I heard every time I watched wrestling, “Rassie (my grandmother), he’s just like Blaine Hutchens. Look at him go.”

Nanny would look over and with a sincere smile say, “Yes he is.”

I was usually too busy watching the action to really care what was being said, but during one slow show, probably a WCW Worldwide, I finally decided to ask about this mysterious Blaine Hutchens that I was so commonly referred as being like.

Nanny proceeded to smarten me.

Blaine Hutchens was a family friend who came over every week to watch wrestling back in the 50’s and 60’s. Like me at the time, he didn’t watch silently. He was constantly jumping up from the couch, throwing punches, and screaming for someone to kick the heel’s ass. According to Nanny, it was more entertaining to watch Mr. Hutchens than the wrestling.

People in Yadkin County North Carolina don’t usually have much money, and Blaine Hutchens was no different. Mr. Hutchens couldn’t afford tickets to wrestling, so each week he experienced wrestling the way most people did, on the television and not in person. But his passion for the product and years of loyalty was rewarded when my great-grandfather decided to surprise him with a trip to Winston-Salem to watch a show live. He was beyond himself and you would have thought that he had won the lottery. He was finally going to see wrestling live and in person.

I wish I could say the story has a happy ending but it doesn’t. According to Nanny, Blaine Hutchens stop coming around to watch wrestling after attending the live event. He was reportedly crushed to find out that wrestling was not real fighting, and he felt betrayed. He gave up on wrestling after that night, but to his friends he would always be defined by his love for professional wrestling. I take pride in knowing that my passion for wrestling was compared to his on a weekly basis for several years and I really wish Mr. Hutchens wouldn't have lost his passion for pro wrestling.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Signed Trading Cards: Masked Superstar, Prince Iukea, Simon Diamond, & Steven Regal

Some more signed cards I got through the mail

Masked Superstar

This is a first for me, this is a custom card that I bought off eBay.  The card is just a bit smaller than a normal sized trading cards, it has decent thickness and a really cool retro look to it.  The seller is 2015greatcustoms and with 12,219 positive feedback I took a chance on buying a couple cards from him.  He currently has almost 10,000 items for sale in his eBay store, I linked his account on his name.

Simon Diamond

Both of these cards came from TNA's first card set released in 1994 by Pacific Cards. Now I just need to get Johnny Swinger to sign his side of the card.

"Mr. Electricity" Steve Regal

I mailed these cards back on May 28, 2019 and got them back May 18, 2020.  He sent a letter stating that his wife had tuck it away and he just found it.  The card on the left is from 1983 Wrestling All Stars set and the card on the right is from the 1986 Monty set.

Prince Iukea

I mailed these cards to the Prince, not only did he sign my cards but he also sent along an inscribed 8 x 10 photo, which I think is really cool!  The card on the left is from the 1999 WCW Embossed card set and the card on the right is from WCW's last trading card set from WCW Magazine released in 2000.


It's not usual for me to send cards to a wrestler to sign for me twice in a short period but I found that I had this Crowbar card from the final WCW set that was released in 2000 in WCW Magazine. 

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Until next time!

Friday, May 15, 2020

Signed Trading Cards: Joey Styles, Cougar Jay, Retro AG, & The Blue Meanie

This blog looks at more through the mail trading card signatures

Joey Styles

This card is from the 2007 Topps WWE Action line.  I wanted this card to get signed by Joey because in the background it has the big ECW logo.  I think it's hilarious that he covered the entire card and I love it!

Cougar Jay

This card is from the NWA Wonderama set released in 1988 in conjunction with Jim Crockett Promotions.  These are my favorite wrestling cards to get signed.  Cougar Jay aka Dion Moore, began wrestling in 1986 after being trained by Gene Anderson.  He wrestled for several promotions and his last run was as a tag team with R-Truth called Rock-n-Rapp 2000.  He left wrestling in 1999 and currently runs his own Ghost Tours company in St. Augustine, Florida.  He can read more about him on his website here: Dion Moore Ghost Tours

Retro AG

This card was released by AG himself, limited to 100 cards it reflects his WrestleMaina 2020 weekend.  This card is done in the same style has his first two sets of self released cards.

The Blue Meanie

This card was created by 4 Corners Cards in 2019.

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Until next time!