Title: Blue Jays’ Curtis Granderson trades his bat for title belt, brainbusters at Slammiversary main event
Date: July 23, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Curtis Granderson’s involvement in Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary event, his wrestling fandom, and Impact’s growth under new ownership.
As far as introductions to professional wrestling go, there are few as attention-grabbing as watching one wrestler use a staple gun on the head of another. That’s the first image Toronto Blue Jays reliever Joe Biagini saw on Sunday at Impact Wrestling‘s Slammiversary event at REBEL in Toronto. Biagini was accompanying teammate Curtis Granderson to the show out of sheer curiosity, and as Granderson led Biagini to a backstage area, wrestlers Tommy Dreamer and Eddie Edwards were engaged in a “House of Hardcore” match that wound up as, somehow, only the third-most sadistic affair on the card.
“I got to bring Joe Biagini with me, who had never seen any type of wrestling ever in his life,” Granderson said after the event. “So he’s like, ‘What am I going to see tonight?’ I was trying to explain it to him and sure enough we came in for Tommy Dreamer’s match. I go, ‘Umm, this is kind of a good intro, so pay attention to this one.’ And sure enough, here comes the staple to the head. That was his first introduction to wrestling. He goes, ‘Man, I think I might become a fan of this.’ Not because of that but because of the fans and because of everything else that you get a chance to see.”
Biagini seemed more interested in discussing the various outfits and pageantry after the event — more sequins, he suggested — so this wasn’t quite the same passing of the fandom torch moment that Granderson himself experienced back in 2006. It was then that teammate Sean Casey brought Granderson, a long-time wrestling fan, to an event and began making introductions to a number of wrestlers. In the time since, Granderson has become as much of a staple at pro wrestling events as a major leaguer’s schedule allows, attending WWE’s Wrestlemania 23 in Detroit and a number of smaller, weekly shows. It’s not just something to do, either. Granderson, who calls Booker T his favorite wrestler of all-time when pressed, is a passionate fan.
“I think it’s a combination of seeing all ages represented, all diversities represented, old, young, male, female, the energy, the pyrotechnics, the music, the choreographed moves, along with the impact, the noise, the sound, and how the crowd reacts,” he said with rapid-fire delivery. “I think it’s a combination of all of that.”