We Have HERD Enough!
I guess it is time to get this one out of the way.
I first started making signs about 30 years ago. My first was a logical choice; it was a sign for Ric Flair. It was on white typing paper and it spelled out R-I-C. That was it; I would guess it was the first heel sign ever.
I also made about ten Ric Flair Fan Club buttons that we all wore to the shows. They were real ugly pink and made out of typing paper but people did notice. This one group of kids walked over and spotted the button on me and they went crazy yelling at me.
One of the kids said that he bet I was the only Ric Flair fan in the building. A friend of mine Johnny Wooding turned around wearing a button and said, "Isn't everyone?"
All the guys that night had a Flair button on. Rusty Gleason, Jeff Steele, Kelly Brame and Robert Cummings all turned around and said, "Where is your button?"
It brought down the house.
From then on I made signs cheering for the heels. I think it was for the attention mostly and it was a lot of fun when the Heels would acknowledge us. Right after the Tully Blanchard, Magnum TA, I QUIT match, I made a sign that read, "TULLY NEVER QUIT!"
Tully and JJ Dillon saw the sign at the beginning of the match, pointed to it and said I was right. That action got me hit with about four full drink cups, but it was worth it to me. Tully never did quit. He did say and I quote, "Aaaaarrrrrgggreaahhh!"
But that is not "I quit" in my book.
Well, all this leads us to the 'We Have Herd Enough' sign. Jim Herd was the most ignorant guy who ever ran a wrestling company and that is quite a statement.He was the president of WCW with a history of managing Pizza Huts. Herd thought that what wrestling needed was star power and odd gimmicks.
The star power was Robocop at ringside to restore order at one match. His other gimmicks were legendary for their stupidity. First he had a match on TV where he had the loser electrocuted in an electric chair. Abdullah the Butcher was fried alive for your entertainment! (Thank God he lives and now runs a rib joint in Atlanta.)
Then he introduced the tag team, the Ding Dongs. These poor guys ran around in a circle with bells on their trunks and got beaten match after match. Then Herd introduced a new tag team called the Hunchbacks. This team would be unbeatable because you could not pin their shoulders down.
I am not making this up.
No one could for that matter.
Then Herd wanted to change Ric Flair's character and name to Gladiator Ric.
That and all of the above was what made me make that sign. As hard as it was to watch wrestling at this time and I did watch week after week. I felt that I had the right to voice my opinion that the product and leadership of this company was in the hands of a madman. A man that really didn't care how stupid this entertainment sport became. And I did care. I loved wrestling and had been watching for decades.
The usual practice of making signs was we would all get together at my store and throw ideas back and forth. Then I would letter the good ones.
I knew that all the wrestlers would love it, so I used big black block letters and spelled out, "WE HAVE HERD ENOUGH!" No one knew I made the sign. It was my secret.
I knew that one day my four year BFA in painting and graphics would come in handy!
I knew that The Rock and Roll vs the Mid-Night Express match was the perfect time to hold it up because it was going to be a great set that all the fans would pay attention to - and Jimmy Cornette would laugh his ass off.
When I held that sign up the Mid-Nights just fell apart laughing and the camera shot was perfect. You could not miss it. I was right in the middle of the Front Row. It was clearly visible to everyone there and at home.
Security Chief Doug Dillenger walked over and asked me not to hold up the sign. I asked him why?
He said, "Because if you hold that sign up again, I might lose my job."
I did sneak the sign in during the Flair verses Lex Lugar main event match and Doug and David Crockett just sat there and laughed.
At intermission a lot of fans stopped me at the hotdog line to tell me that I spelled Herd wrong.
Aaahhh, the public is always keeping me in order.
For the first time ever I went to the hotel bar after the show to hopefully visit with the wrestlers and the hardcore fans I met the day before.
Ron Lemuix said that he called a friend in Florida who was watching the pay per view and said the sign was clearly visible and everyone loved it. So that was very cool so I went up to the bar and wanted to mingle.
All of a sudden, Chris Cruise walked up to me and started giving me hell for humiliating his boss.
Why did I do it he asked? "If you could have seen the pain on his face when that sign went up!" Cruise said.
I told him it was a joke and I hated the way the promotion was being run. Then some other toady, Dennis Brent said that someone should kick my ass! You know, I know that at 6'3 and 250lbs that I could kick his weasel ass with little trouble but his friends were a whole different deal.
This was not a good place to be with all of these people lining up to defend their boss so I got out of there soon after.
The Herd sign became a huge point of controversy over fan's rights in the Wrestling Observer letters page. I just replied that if you want a positive sign, do a good wrestling show. That would shut me up.
About two or three months later I ran into Tony Shavonie ringside in Greensboro. Tony saw me holding up a sign that night that said, "Gladiator Ric verses Ben Herd". Tony said that I should hold that one up a little higher so it would get on camera. We both started laughing and I told Tony that he knew with all his years in Greensboro that I was going to do something. Tony stated that during that year he was in the WWF and watched that show in Titan Towers with Vince McMahon and his booking committee.
When that sign went up, everyone in the room fell down laughing for about five minutes. Then Vince got real serious and said that the WWF should start making security plans so that this kind of thing could not happen to them. And they did start searching fans and taking signs after that.
WCW started checking fans at the door too.
WCW even began making fake signs to promote the people they were pushing. They would walk out before tapings and ask everyone to hold up their signs for television. When they saw a sign that they did not like, they would walk into the crowd and take it. Then they would give them a Diamond Dallas Page sign or something. Shit, I would have rather light myself on fire that to hold up a DDP sign
Years later, I was sitting front row in Winston Salem for a WCW TV taping when they began confiscating signs from fans. For some reason all of these signs were stacked right at my feet that night and I felt very, very cold
"Folks, it's all true. I was there that night in Greensboro for "We Have HERD Enough", the all time classic sign. It was the toast of the town and talk of the wrestling press for several weeks."