Rev your engines for WCW Road Wild

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August 10, 2012

Since 1938, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has been an annual tradition in America. During the first week of August, motorcyclists from all over the country descend on Sturgis, S.D., for the gathering that includes races, stunts and other two wheeled activities. In 1996, WCW decided to add to the famed rally and held the first Road Wild event — originally known that year as Hog Wild. (PHOTOS | VIDEO PLAYLIST)

“It was a great idea … for Eric Bischoff,” former WCW Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko told WWE Classics. “It was an excuse for him to ride his motorcycle into Sturgis and participate in the rally.”

The brainchild of the WCW President, a motorcycle enthusiast who thought the rally and sports-entertainment would be the perfect blend of Americana, the event was obviously unique. In lieu of an indoor arena, the ring was set in a Sturgis field.

“The heat was the worst,” Malenko said. “The ring was set up in a parking lot at the base of a mountain. There was nothing but gravel and dirt; it was very hot.”

Although the event aired on pay-per-view, the audience was admitted for free. And while there were some seats set up for the crowd, many fans watched the action from their motorcycles and revved their engines as opposed to cheering for the action inside the squared circle.

“There were some weird looking people,” the former United States Champion said. “You know, very different from what we were used to, but it was crazy — definitely a different and distinctive experience.”

WCW Superstars cruise into Road Wild on motorcycles.

The unique crowd also stood out in former WCW star Billy Kidman’s memory of Road Wild.

“I remember it not really being a wrestling crowd,” Kidman explained. “Being that it was free for anyone there, they really just wanted to see a show without being invested in the competitors.”

While the crowd was unfamiliar with WCW’s stars, Kidman told WWE Classics that the revving of the engines wasn’t at all distracting. It was just more difficult to feed off of the audience at the outdoor event.

“The acoustics of being outside were just bad, so it was hard to feel any energy from the crowd revving their engines,” recalled Kidman. “The sound would just fade away, not allowing us to get a sense of the audience’s emotions to draw from.”

The most famous match of WCW Road Wild came in 1998 when Jay Leno teamed up with Diamond Dallas Page to battle Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. (WATCH) Kidman was involved in training the talk show host for the match and recalled dressing as Leno and performing his patented Shooting Star Press in a training vignette.

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