|Posted by Johnny Mantell on July 30, 2013 at 8:45 PM|
Today’s story is a great story of Life and being at the right place or maybe the right spot in Life’s great journey or some of you may see it as being in the “wrong spot” either way it was a “Life Moment”.
Vancouver, British Colombia – The Portland crew went there to work about once a month. Sometimes we flew; a few times Ron Starr and I drove. In these days, 1979, crossing the border was not like it is today. The flight this day got me into Vancouver way early, so I sat at the building wasting time for a few hours before more of the crew came in. My dad was in Texas with Ken working the truck stops they had just purchased and my mom was in California getting that house ready to move to Texas. I called my Mom and checked in on her; then I called my Dad at Ken’s house. I talked to Dad about the stops, the horses, Mom and the move; then Ken got on the phone and asked “Who’s all there?” Well, Bobby Jaggers, Roddy Piper, Buddy Rose, Adrian Adonis, Ron Starr, Stan Staziak, Rip Rogers, Dutch Savage, Gene Kiniski, Johnny Eagles and Don Leo Jonathan! Well, Ken had “Hello’s” for each of the boys and wanted me to ask Don Leo Jonathan about some match where he (Ken) took Don Leo “down in Japan?”
Now here is that Moment in Life where youth, inexperience take hold and mold you, as I am not sure when I talked to Ken that I told him that I was working Don Leo (and at this point if you don’t know who Don Leo Jonathan is in the business of Professional Wrestling, Google HIM – He scared even the WWE, with his true Athleticism). I’m pretty sure I did tell Ken, because I’m just sure he knew what the outcome would be and had me say something to the rest of the crew for the same outcome!!
The show and matches were moving along, Don Leo and I talked briefly about our match, and my good sense must have left me right there, as after we talked I said “Hey, My brother said Hi, and to remind you about the match in Japan where he took you down!?” A small grin, and a pat on the shoulder and he shrugged something like “yeah kid, let me finish getting ready!” Again, again youth and inexperience had me shake it off and finish getting ready for the match! I should have seen the Big Danger Sign…
Mr. Don Leo Jonathan – It’s NOW MR. because you see the match was going GREAT, marvelous, moving along like we belonged together; until he snapmared me out of the corner turnbuckle towards the middle, my arms went above my head, he came down behind me and Immediately ALL the air surrounding my head left! I could not breathe, my lungs were screaming. My mind was racing, what happened, what was going on, what did I do??? My eyes were open, I can’t see Mr. Don Leo but I know he’s got me and he’s got me good. He leans down and whispers in my ear…. “Tell your brother, I Do remember!”
All of a sudden, the air came back to the building, into my lungs and I’m sure the look of fear was gone. The match continued on without issue and until I tell my tale no one other than us, the wiser!
Mr. Don Leo Jonathan and I never spoke of the take down in Japan again. And any message my brother asked me to deliver to anyone, were completely thought about and analyzed thoroughly for any Danger before they were delivered!!
Youth and Inexperience VS Age and Experience….