Remembering Ice Train
... and helping out his family.
As I’ve written a number of times, I was a big pro-wrestling fan in the late 1990s. So, whenever news pertaining to that era pops up in my social-media feed, I take special notice. The other day, I learned that a man named Harold Hogue, who wrestled for World Championship Wrestling under the name “Ice Train,” unexpectedly passed away at the age of 56.
I always liked Ice Train. He had a great look for the business, he was built like a tank (though surprisingly agile), and he oozed charisma. He may have been a little green early on in his televised wrestling career, but he struck me as a guy who had everything it took to become a major star.
But just as WCW was starting to do huge business in 1996, crushing the WWF every week in the ratings and redefining the industry, Ice Train — who I was certain was destined for greatness — mysteriously disappeared not just from television, but seemingly the profession itself.
It was kind of weird.
Then, about four years later — well after WCW had begun its (ultimately fatal) ratings decline — Ice Train, just as mysteriously, reappeared!
Only, he was no longer “Ice Train.” He was a suit-wearing, limousine-driving, slick operator named M. I. Smooth.
He received a hero’s welcome that night… well, at least from me… in my living room (I’m not sure most fans remembered him). One thing that was evident was that he hadn’t spent his sabbatical hanging around the house and playing video games. He was a much more polished performer than when he’d left, both in and out of the ring. (I later learned that he’d been working for a German wrestling promotion while he was M.I.A. from American television.)
I loved the repackaging, and found his character (who was the real him, Hogue would reveal years later) very entertaining. But the company didn’t use him to his potential, and after WCW went out of business in 2021, he retired from wrestling.
Like many professional wrestlers, Hogue passed away too early. But it wasn’t the excesses of his former lifestyle that had caught up with him. As his longtime friend (and fellow former wrestler) Diamond Dallas Page explained the other day, Hogue was born with a congenital heart disease. It was a big enough deal that it kept him, as a young man, from being drafted into the NFL.
It also prevented him, later in life, from being able to get life insurance.
Hogue, who worked as bodybuilder-trainer after leaving wrestling, was his family’s rock and their main provider. He was a tremendous husband, father, and friend, according to Page, who helped Hogue break into the wrestling business decades ago.
Page has set up a GoFundMe account for the family to help them through this difficult time. If you’d like to learn more about Hogue, and what kind of man he was, please watch the below video. And if you have the means and desire to contribute to the fund, you can do so here.
Have a favorite pro-wrestler from back in the day? Tell me who in an email or in the comment section below.
Funnest Interview Ever
In case you missed it, Bernie Goldberg and I interviewed Donald Trump last week.
Well, kind of.
It was actually my friend, and the world’s greatest Trump impersonator, comedian John Di Domenico. John has received international notoriety for his dead-on impersonation, which has kept him very busy over the last several years (including with appearances on Howard Stern and Conan O'Brien). Yet, he was kind and generous enough to make time for Bernie and me for our special 50th episode of The No BS Zone.
I went into the “Trump interview” hoping to keep a straight face throughout most of it, but realized within seconds (as you can see above) that it wasn’t going to happen. A number of his lines had me absolutely rolling. John is a comedic genius, and his remarkable improvisational skills are on full display in this episode.
Oh, and make sure you subscribe to John’s YouTube channel for more hilarious bits.
Obligatory Dog Shot
He has his own seat, but he prefers hers.
Catch Up on the Sean Coleman Thrillers
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading today’s Daly Grind.
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Take care. And I’ll talk to you soon!