Duke’s Adventures – One More Time ?

Written by: ‘Duke’ Kieran Burns, retired 20 year Pro Wrestling Ring Announcer.

Cartoon: Mr J

One More Time ? – (Part 1)

With having heartfelt retirement shows both here in Australia and The USA , I was left feeling more than empty. After so many years of doing shows and travelling, there was a void within me that I wasn’t sure how to fill.

I had heard about this similar void from not only retired wrestlers and ring announcers but other friends in the entertainment industry who for whatever reason had to stop what they were doing. Some refer to what we do as an addiction, a high that is very hard to replicate and a feeling that you chase your entire career.

Now I was trying to fill that void in retirement, I was trying to think of what was the best way to go about it. I thought of the idea of just bringing it back to basics, to a time where it was just about enjoying Pro Wrestling. For the first time in years, I would just enjoy being what I’d first been and remained all along. I’d just be a fan.

Over a near 2 decade career as a travelling ring announcer, I’d been to very few shows just to sit in the audience and be a fan. No responsibilities, no requirements, just pay my ticket, sit there and enjoy a show. One dream I’d always had from the time I was a kid in the 80s, a dream that many of us had, was to go to the biggest show of them all, Wrestlemania.

With WWE putting on Wrestlemania 35 in New Jersey just out of New York at The Meadowlands Arena in 2019, my mind was set. I was going to go. All excited and pumped at the idea, I set about securing tickets, taking care of travel and getting a hold of old friends to help make this dream happen. Plane tickets were booked easily enough and I also got a hold of my good friend, WWE Legend Samu Anoa’i, about coming back to Allentown Pennsylvania for a visit.

Samu was more than happy to have me back for a visit and informed me that he was having one of his WXWc4 shows as a tribute to recently passed Pro Wrestling lend Salvatore Bellomo. It would be happening just after Wrestlemania and he said that if I wanted to guest announce one match on the show I could. I readily accepted with honour and knew the privilege of working such an important show to the Bellomo and Anoa’i families. I also figured I’d expand on my being just a fan again and book tickets to WrestleCon in New York so I could meet in person many of the Wrestling stars I’d grown up watching.

This was fixing to be not only a fun trip but perhaps for this now retired ring announcer, a trip of a lifetime. Being that I was going to be in New York and truly spend extended time there after so many trips there, I thought I’d get in touch with an old friend from school Stuart, about catching up while there. Not being sure if he’d be able to, he informed me his younger brother Paul, who I also knew, was living in New York as well and was not only still a Pro Wrestling fan but would probably love to go to Wrestlemania.

I got in touch with Paul and reconnected. He was not only more than keen to catch up and go to Wrestlemania but he would open up his apartment in Manhattan to me to stay while there. Being that he lived just near Central Park and a 20 minute walk from The Hilton Hotel where WrestleCon would be.

Everything was falling into place perfectly. I simply could not wait. Little did I know how good this trip was to be ….

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