Meeting The Great Luke Perry

Luke Perry

On November 10, 2017, I finally met a member of the Beverly Hills, 90210 universe. No, it wasn’t BWalsh. It wasn’t my once future wife Kelly Taylor. It wasn’t Muntz. Not that despicable John Sears. Nope, not even Susan Keats. It was Dylan.

How did I meet the great Luke Perry? Oh, let me tell you.

In May of this year, the Bay Area’s local independent pro wrestling company All Pro Wrestling (APW) ran a show at the old Cow Palace, which used to be a wrestling haven back in the day. The show was important because pro wrestling hadn’t been in the building in years. They were trying to draw their biggest crowd of the year in a building that time nearly forgot. There was a risk to it as well. Had they not drawn well, it might’ve been a big time money loser. Thankfully, it wasn’t.

One of the young wrestlers on the card (and in the opening match battle royal) was Jungle Boy. Jungle Boy sometimes goes by the name of Jungle Boy Nate Coy. Coy is the real first name of Coy Luther “Luke” Perry. Jungle Boy’s real name is Jake Perry. He’s also Luke Perry’s baby boy.

jungle boyI’ve been able to watch a few of Jungle Boy’s matches and at first, he seemed a bit apprehensive in the ring. He’s young and pro wrestling is extremely hard to master. But he showed a certain presence and there was charisma that was in there that needed to be unleashed. At the show in May, I heard that Luke was there to support his baby boy. Before I found out where he was sitting, he left, since his son’s match was already over.

I figured that I’d see him at some point as long as Jungle Boy continued to work APW shows. Fast forward to August. I was at another APW show and Jungle Boy was on it. Luke wasn’t there, as according to his daughter, he was shooting Riverdale, which is the show on the CW set in the Archie Comics universe, but with a darker spin to it. In quite the role reversal, rather than play a rebel without a cause type like Dylan McKay, Perry now plays the caring and worried dad. Welcome to the life of Jim Walsh.

Jungle Boy’s girlfriend and his sister were yelling and screaming for him during his match. He was much improved inside the squared circle. At some point during the show, they walked over toward some people sitting close to me and I, being the journalist that I am, starting asking them questions. At first, I didn’t make it known that I was a huge Beverly Hills, 90210 fan. I’m not a monster or anything.

I started to talk about Jungle Boy and how he was improving. But I couldn’t hold back. I started to ask where Luke was. And then I asked his daughter if she’s ever seen an episode of the show. Much like Luke has said before, she said no, but mostly because her dad wasn’t into it.

In fact, she said that sometimes she trolls her dad by wearing a 90210 shirt. She also said that if the show is on TV, he makes her immediately change the channel. So it was pretty clear that she didn’t know much about show and my 90210 trivia wouldn’t impress upon her to give her reason to tell me more about her legendary dad.

Being that she was probably bored and only paying half attention because she was nice, I said that I wanted her to say one thing to her dad when she saw him next. I hesitated for a half second before remembering my favorite Dylan McKay line ever and then said she needed to walk up to him in the house and say, “May the bridges I’ve burned light the way.”

She laughed and probably thought I was crazy. I still figured I’d meet him at some point.

Fast forward again to last week. On Tuesday, ESPN premiered a documentary on “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair that they’d been promoting hard. While it was fun seeing Flair on the big screen, I had some issues with the narrative. Overall, it was still well done. Director Rory Karpf tweeted this out during the show.

Perry helped produce the film on Flair. I thought that was super interesting. I tweeted back at the director that I would see his son wrestle a few days later at the second Cow Palace show of the year for APW.

The very next day was the 22nd anniversary of one of the best ever episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210. It was a heavy Perry episode and the last episode he starred in for several years. I posted about it on Facebook, joking that I’ll get to meet Luke when I see Jungle Boy wrestle on Friday.

At the show on Friday, I heard that Luke was sitting in front of me but I couldn’t really see him. It was dark inside the building and I’m sure Perry was trying to not look too available. During the intermission, I went over to see some friends. One of my friends told me that he was just a few rows away and I looked, and low and behold, I saw a golden hue and heard the clinging of charms. Beyond the golden hue and charms was Perry sitting and talking to someone.

I walked over to Perry and gave him a big hug like we were old pals trying to catch up on old times. Okay, I didn’t really do that. Instead, I walked up to him and stood tall, and gave him the line I told his daughter to give him.

May the bridges I’ve burned light the way.

After that, Perry started a slow golf clap, called me “Minnesota” and then said it was the best interpretation of that line he’d ever heard. Okay, I’m kidding again.

For real, I told him that it was nearly 22 years to the day when he screamed, “No, God! Brandon! Oh Brandon! Oh my God! Look what they did to her Brandon!” Fine. I’ll be serious.

For real, for real (when you say it twice, it’s really real), I walked up to him and said that I wanted to say hi. He grabbed my hand with both of his hands and asked me my name. He then said that his name was Luke. In my head and not aloud, I said, “No kidding.”

I told him that I learned that he had produced the Ric Flair documentary and that I thought it was well done and he said, “Thanks. I really love wrestling.”

Then, because I wasn’t going to give him the famous line, I instead reminded him of an episode in the last season of the show (when it was bad) when his character and David Silver were eating food and watching wrestling on TV. Once again he said, “I just really love wrestling.”

It was pretty clear that he wasn’t there to reminisce about the thing that I’m sure that everyone bugs him about. I could’ve asked him about Riverdale. But instead, I walked away, making sure that I didn’t burn any bridges, just in case I see him at another show in the future.

A few minutes later, he got up to walk away. I noticed that he was wearing a fanny pack. And then I thought, “Man, he really must love wrestling.”

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