"Portland is a place of class."
That was PDX's beloved own "Rowdy Roddy" Piper speaking Monday night during WWE's Wrestlemania 23 at the Rose Garden - and there was no classier place to be. With iconic mike in hand and kilt around the waist, Piper thanked a packed Rose City crowd for its overflowing support during his recent recovery from cancer.
"All the WWE sent me was a chocolate bar," said the 52-year-old wrestler who toiled long, long ago in the Portland Sports Arena on "Portland Wrestling" before reaching the heights of national fame.
As for Portland fans, Piper says they sent him countless letters, flowers and phone calls.
On any other night in Portland, Piper would have stolen the show. But on Monday, Rowdy Roddy was upstaged by Manhattan philanthropist and humanitarian Donald Trump - who promised to make WWE chairman Vince McMahon "an offer he couldn't refuse."
Trump entered the ring escorted by Playboy gals Ashley and Torrie, who were dressed to kill in a pair of tight-fitting black and blue dresses - a color scheme most certainly premeditated as a harbinger of the pain Trump planned to inflict on McMahon.
The Donald took his time to get right up in Vince's face. "I'm taller than you, I'm better looking than you, and I'm even stronger than you," Trump said with conviction. Puckered lips in full action, he continued, "I'm here to challenge you tonight to a match at Wrestlemania...AND I WILL KICK YOUR ASS."
"Aww shit...no he didn't..." the woman next to me uttered to herself. By this point, the decibel level was so high in the Rose Garden, I'm sure there's certain flute pitches I'll never hear again.
McMahon, whining like a baby (a baby with giant, over-developed pecs, that is), took no time to come up with a laundry list of excuses not to fight. He immediately received a chorus of "You're a pussy, Vince!" rants from angry Portlanders, afraid they might not get all the mayhem they payed for.
But in a moment of improvisational brilliance, Trump, thinking quick on his feet, came up with a manly alternative - a so-called "hair match."
"Let's make this a little more interesting. As you know, I have quite possibly the most famous head of hair in the world," Trump asserted with confidence. In the hair match, a wrestler would fight on behalf of each gazillionaire. "If my guy loses, you can shave my head,” Trump said. “But if your guy loses, I'm going to shave your head!”
The prospect of a bald Donald turned the Rose Garden to a mad fury. If PGE had a way to bottle up all the energy fuming from the stands, it would have solved Oregon's power concerns in the blink of an eye.
But...sadly, the Bic razor blades never saw the light of day. No heads were shaved at Wrestlemania. Nor was there a "hair match" in the first place. Donald and Vince went home with the same doos they started with. It was all just part of the show...
Overall, it's been a busy week at the Rose Garden in the carnage department. From Friday through Sunday afternoon, the arena also hosted its annual Monster Jam, where 1500 horsepower 4x4's the size of my house raped and pillaged mountains of dirt, and crushed salvaged Ford Tempos and Econoline vans in their paths without mercy. Noxious fumes from the trucks' high octane gas offered a curious light-headed feeling that gives Oregon's boutique medical marijuana growers a run for their money. Lots of big names showed up to compete: Jurassic Attack, The Patriot, Tropical Thunder, The Maniac - even "The Grave Digger" made an appearance.
The best part of Monster Jam? The sublime moments in between heats, when a mustached man slowly drove a beautiful, yellow two-ton CAT bulldozer into the dirt arena to smooth out the racing surface. Think of it as a Zamboni for the monster truck world.
message to you, Paul Allen: once you're back at the Rose Garden's helm, do us a favor and keep things interesting, like they were this weekend. Almost anything's better than Barry Manilow. Unless you can get Trump to face off with the guy who "writes songs that make the whole world sing" in the squared-circle. Then I'll be there in a heartbeat.