The Night Hulk Hogan Wrestled in El Paso
Last night’s World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) card at the Coliseum reminded me of a special night more than 23 years ago. I was at the El Paso Convention Center on March 7th 1989 when the legendary Hulk Hogan made his first in-ring appearance to wrestle the Big Bossman. Just a few years earlier, the World Wrestling Federation made its first ever trip to El Paso. In those days, house shows were fairly common and El Paso always drew huge crowds for those shows. What nobody knew that night was that the WWF would bring every big name on their talent roster to El Paso. Andre the Giant, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, the Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Jimmy Snuka, and Tito Santana were just some of the stars that wrestled that night in El Paso. Nearly 30 matches were on the card that night, and many were replayed over the next few weeks on WWF Superstars and Prime Time Wrestling television shows.
I have vivid memories of that one particular wrestling card. My dad and I bought our tickets months earlier and we were lucky to be ringside for that huge WWF show. By the time we arrived about 15 minutes before the start of the first match, the Convention Center was packed with thousands of wrestling enthusiasts. The usher looked at our ringside seats and told us that our tickets had been double-sold. There were already people sitting in our chairs with our identical tickets. Instead of sending us home, the usher was able to keep us ringside, but he could not sit us together. I was moved to the third row, while my dad was one section over and in the fifth row. The ironic thing was that my dad was on the side of the ring facing the cameras and his face was all over national television for three weeks while the matches from El Paso were replayed. I recently played one of those matches on YouTube featuring Brutus Beefcake and had more fun watching my dad than I did the match itself.
I was able to find the complete list of wrestling matches from that March night in 1989 on the website www.thehistoryofwwe.com. For those of you that were also in attendance at the Convention Center, the match summary will bring back some fond memories. The WWE came back to El Paso quite often over the next 20 plus years, and even delivered a live Raw show at the Don Haskins Center. However, no pro wrestling show in El Paso will ever boast the star-studded lineup and nearly 30-match card like we witnessed more than 23 years ago. It was a pro wrestling fan’s dream.