Enthusiastic fans, both young and old, lined up outside Royal Collectibles a comic book store in Forest Hills on Saturday to meet wrestling superstar “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and get an autograph.
Duggan, 57, is best known for his time with the World Wrestling Federation during the 1980s. His character is an American patriot who often enters the ring waving the stars and stripes and carries a 2-by-4 piece of wood, which he uses as a weapon. He is also known for shouting “Hooo!” and chanting “USA.” He was inducted into the WWE hall of fame this year and continues to wrestle professionally.
“The opportunity for us to come to places like this to meet the fans is really something special, because wrestling you don’t have an opportunity to interact with them so much,” Duggan said. “So, now to be able to come out and shake hands and take pictures and actually meet the fans is pretty unique.”
Adrian Bacenet, 10, and his friend Adam Lee, 10, both of Elmhurst, beamed with happiness after getting a 2-by-4 and glossy photo signed by Duggan.
“It was awesome,” they said, almost in unison. “We really like him,” continued Bacenet. “We’ve seen him in all kinds of matches and wrestling videos. We liked his matches against Hulk Hogan and Macho Man. Plus, we’re huge WWF fans.”
The duo weren’t the only young fans on line. Sal Pistone, 12, of Glendale was also seeking an autograph. “He’s a really cool wrestler,” Pistone said. “He’s a nice guy. It’s cool to get an autograph. It’s worth the memory. Meeting him is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Dominick Valenti, a lifetime wrestling fan from Ozone Park, said Duggan is “one of the best,” and he was eager to meet him in person. “He’s all-American, nine-to-five, waving the flag, 2-by-4 with him — he’s great,” Valenti said.
Duggan, casually dressed in a black T-shirt and jeans, was warm and welcoming to his admirers and reflected on the popularity of his sport.
“Wrestling is like the black sheep of sports,” Duggan said. “A lot of people like to look down on wrestling, but worldwide it’s huge.”