This past week saw some opportunities for us to remember those from wrestling's past.
First...to remember Brian Hildebrand.
It was 21 years on September 8...that marked the 21st anniversary of Brian Hildebrands passing after fighting a two year battle against stomach and bowel cancer. There are few people within wrestling who were held in such universally high regard at the time of their passing. When people eulogized Brian, the words they used werent the kind that social obligation or courtesy often require. Lots of people become posthumous heroes. But Brian was a real hero for the two years of his fight, and was an inspiration to many within wrestling for all the years her worked within the business long before that.
The words used by all who knew him, worked with him, and were fans of him, were deep and heartfelt, epitomized by Mick Foley, when he said about Brian in his best-selling book Mankind: Have A Nice Day: Brian brought out all the better angels of our nature.
Back at the time of his death, it was said that there were only two people in the entire wrestling business without enemies: Brian Hildebrand and Owen Hart. Neither are with us today. Brian was such a special person that he inspired everyone who knew himwhether friends, family, fans, or co- workers to frequently share our feelings on such a funny, dedicated, committed individual who was and always will be an inspiration to live each day of our lives to their fullest and to follow our dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem.
Then, there was Nathan Kehner, known by all in wrestling as Nate Hatred, who died a year ago in a car accident. Hatred was best known in the 2000s as part of the H8 Club with Nick Gage, who were three times CZW Tag Team Champions in 2001, 2002, and 2004.
In gimmick, Hatred looked like the type of person you warn your kids about, or becoming. The entrance to "Voodoo" by Godsmack added to the whole illusion. But that couldn't be farther from the truth. He was known as being very loyal. After being out for years with a back injury, he came back, working shows including the first Nick Gage Invitational in May 2015, and always included Dewey Donovan, who managed H8 Club in CZW. He never forgot people. People knew it and loved him for it. In a touching moment even on WWE's 205 Live, Drew Gulak wore "Hatred" on his wrist/arm tape and made sure it was seen. He was also remembered at this weekend's CZW Chris Ca$h Memorial Show and GCW's Nick Gage Invitational shows.
But well beyond the psychopathic looking wrestler, Nate had a second degree black belt, Kehner was a talented artist and, believe it or not, studied tap and jazz dancing. As seems to always be within wrestling, behind a monster, is a very real human being, who won't be forgotten.
Finally, last year we lost Bobby Heenan, who died after a 15 year battle with throat cancer, and numerous other health issues, including a reconstructive ja surgery 10 years ago that largely, then entirely took away his legendary mouth. But never his mind. Almost everyone who met him at fan events reported that his head was still going at 100 miles an hour, and was still trying to entertain fans of the business he loved...only weeks before his passing.
For those of you who never got the chance to really hear Heenan at his best...as manager and as a commentator...WWE.com has a lot of his best moments. Your favorite social media app no doubt has as many or more. Take the time today to check them out.
I have no doubt that his former partner from years of WWF TV was waiting for him at the Gorilla position, before St. Peter ever got a chance to do the paperwork. Imagine the calls of the wrestling matches in Heaven right now.