I was there for 4,192.
Sorry, I didn’t do that right. Let me try it again.
“I was there for 4,192.”
I put it in quotes, because that’s something I say every single time I meet a fellow Cincinnati Reds fan. You say that to anyone in the Cincy area, and they know exactly what you are talking about. That magical night, September 11, 1985, when Pete Rose looped a single and succeeded Ty Cobb as baseball’s all-time hit king. I was in the crowd at crappy old Riverfront Stadium with my Mom and my brother. Dad would have been there too, but he had already called off the previous three nights (!!!!) from work waiting for Pete to break the record. No idea what excuses he gave during Pete’s mini-slump, but he ran out that night. While it would have been way better with my Dad there, make no mistake, this was still a game I will never, ever forget.
Passing Cobb seemed to be the zenith for Pete. After that, a series of horrible decisions got him a lifetime ban for baseball. While betting on games in which he managed and played was the reason for that ban, I will forever believe that if Rose wouldn’t have been so dumb and incredibly bull headed in his denials of these allegations and just fessed up and admitted what he did was wrong, he’d be in Cooperstown today. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Pete Rose in all these years of watching him, it’s that he is as stubborn a man as I’ve ever known.
It was that way on the baseball diamond, and it was that way in the wrestling ring as well.
Thirteen years after breaking the record, Pete would find himself at WrestleMania XIV. The event took place in Boston, which apparently brought memories flooding back for Pete. Boston was the town where Rose and his legendary Big Red Machine won their first World Series, an absolute thriller that has long been touted as one of the greatest Series in the history of baseball. The Reds and the Red Sox battled mightily throughout the seven games, including an iconic moment in game six in which Sox catcher Carlton Fisk waved his hands wildly following a 12th inning blast to convince a home run to stay fair. It did. It was such a tense game that Major League Baseball has in the past chosen it to be featured as the greatest game in the league’s history. To game seven we went, with the score knotted until the top of the ninth inning, when Joe Morgan blooped a single to bring Ken Griffey (Sr.) home to take a one run lead. There would be no more magic for the Sox, as they were unable to score. The Reds were World Champions.
On this evening, Pete came out to the ring as a special guest ring announcer. Prior to introducing the combatants, though, he had a couple things to say to this crowd, a group that had the temerity to boo him all those years ago in that World Series. And to be fair, there were a lot of folks catcalling him this night as well.
So Pete, being Pete, just started letting the insults fly.
“The last time I was here, we kicked your ass!”
Amazingly, this factual statement did not endear him to the fans in attendance.
So he continued.
And he was having the time of his life just being a total jerk.
“I left some tickets for Bill Buckner, but he couldn’t bend over to pick them up!”
Now the crowd was getting VERY angry.
“How about it?!”
Finally Pete summed it all up: “THE CITY OF LOSERS!!!!”
You tell ’em, Pete!
I hope you come back soon to run down Tom Brady!
With that, Pete started to make an introduction, only to be cut off by the lights going out in the arena, and it being basked in red. Familiar music played as Kane made his way to the ring. Rose, for his part, just looked on completely baffled.
And then, for absolutely no good reason…
…the big guy grabbed our friend by the neck, flipped him upside down, and tombstoned him right into the mat.
Seriously, what did Pete do to warrant that? He didn’t say anything about Kane, he didn’t say anything about Paul Bearer. He wasn’t cheering on the Undertaker. He didn’t say, “Hey jerk, I was part of the REAL Big Red Machine!” He was just going to announce the guy!
And Kane was a HEEL at this point!
Heck, if anything, he should have grabbed that voice gimmick he had back before he was able to talk and say something like, “I AGREE. YOU ALL SUCK.” (It really helps if you say it aloud like you are a robot.)
So Pete gets carted backstage and that’s the last we see of him. Is that any way to treat a national treasure such as Pete Rose?
Heck no it ain’t!
So Pete went back to Cincinnati, and stewed for an entire year…concocting an intricate plan for revenge.
An intricate plan involving poultry.
At WrestleMania XV, Kane was heading down the aisle for a match against Triple H. As he attempted to enter the ring, he gets jumped from behind by the legendary San Diego Chicken. Now you should have known something was amiss as this event was taking place in Philadelphia. What we would soon learn was this wasn’t the San Diego Chicken at all!
It was our hero, Pete!
And what did that big bully Kane do in return?
Yep, he gave him ANOTHER tombstone.
And again, Pete was wheeled backstage.
And once more…Pete had 365 days to plot and scheme. Because Pete Rose is nothing if not a determined man. He would have his revenge!
WrestleMania 2000…D-X taking on Rikishi and Pete’s arch-nemesis. And sure enough, prior to the event, Jerry Lawler ran into a familiar face backstage.
And on Heat (Sunday Night Heat that is), Pete was PACKING HEAT.
And by “heat”, I mean a baseball bat.
But hey, he’s not going to do anything with it. By golly, he just brought it here as a present for Jerry Lawler. In fact, he’s going to give it to him as a present…right after the show. You know, so he can autograph it!
The King ain’t buying it. C’mon Lawler – if you can’t trust PETE ROSE who can you trust?
To the match we go, and as you’d expect since this is the non-Triple H version of DX, Kane comes out on top with his fat Samoan dancing buddy. A post match dance party is set to ensue with Kish’s buddies Too Cool. And who else should show up to join the victory celebration but…
…our old pal the San Diego Chicken!
And Kane looks on very, very skeptically.
He’s seen that bird before.
But he ain’t ever seen him shucking and jiving like that!
For his part, Kane has decided he’s had enough of this nonsense. Time to pluck that bird!
So Kane attacks the chicken, grabbing him by the gizzard and setting him up for a goozle. Before he can chokeslam him, though…
…a bat wielding Pete shows up to clobber Kane from behind. His best plan yet is unfortunately foiled by Rikishi, who grabs the bat allowing Kane to hit a chokeslam. If that weren’t bad enough, it’s followed up by Paul Bearer crotch chopping poor Mr. Rose.
No really, he did.
And that may be the lewdest GIF in the history of this site. Ewwwwww.
That image really needed a giant “CENSORED” over top of it. Sorry, kids.
Just when it looks like it can’t possibly get worse, Pete winds up in the corner. This being a Rikishi match, y’all know what that means.
That would sadly be Pete’s swan song at WrestleMania, unable to exact his revenge for being viciously attacked for no good reason whatsoever. He and Kane would cross paths once more during the celebrity guest host era of Raw, and Kane would again attack Pete for no good reason. Since it all happened off screen, well, there’s no pics I can give you.
Still, we should all hope that one day, Pete will hunt down Kane and get his ultimate revenge. Gotta admit it would be cool to see Kane emerge as Braun’s partner this Sunday, with a bat-wielding Pete costing them the tag title, right?
You go get ’em, Charlie Hustle! Show them who the REAL Big Red Machine is!!