Forever a Champion: Superman Sam
MORRISTOWN – For professional wrestling fans the words, “and new heavyweight champion of the world,” are designed to elicit emotion. Sometimes it’s a rousing ovation with many cheers, and sometimes it’s booing and anger.
For Sam Hoffman when he heard those words on Wednesday, April 19, the emotion he experienced was tears of joy, similar to that that of Shawn Michaels when he won his first World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 12.
The announcement came as the culmination of an afternoon that included the gift of an “official” Superman Sam t-shirt, a visit from Independent Wrestling Champions Mike Skyros, who visited in person, and Jay Freddie, who visited through a Facebook video chat.
“Superman Sam,” as he had been dubbed by friends and caregivers days prior, sat in his wheelchair with his arm raised and a championship belt across his lap, Mr. Skyros stood by and applauded Mr. Hoffman’s championship moment.
“I was honored to even be asked to take part in an event like this for Superman Sam,” Mr. Skyros said. “People like Sam are the reason that we do what we do. Not everyone will get rich from professional wrestling, but putting a smile on someone’s face is often just as rewarding as a big paycheck.”
Just a few days prior to this Mr. Hoffman, who considers superheroes and professional wrestling two of his favorite things, had been placed in Hospice Care.
Residential Manager Lauren Peters, who has known and helped care for Sam since he first came to United Helpers in 2011 said she wanted to help do something special for him.
“I reached out to a staff member who I knew was a professional wrestling fan to see if we could do a little something for Sam, but neither of us expected things to take off the way they did.”
“I contacted a few guys I knew from being a fan of the North Country Independent wrestling scene,” said Benny Fairchild, who also serves as Marketing and Communications Specialist for United Helpers. “Within minutes of chatting with both Mike and Jay, I knew we would be able to do something.”
Mr. Fairchild then reached out to dozens of other wrestlers through their social media accounts securing videos from Jake “the Snake” Roberts, Kane, Abdullah the Butcher, and Fandango.
However, it was a message to Indiana-based independent wrestling promoter Jason “the Hurricane” Mayples that set the wheels in motion for what would follow next.
“Mr. Mayples was kind enough to ask me about Sam and he asked for a picture of Sam to share on his social media,” Mr. Fairchild said.
Following that posting, videos for Sam began pouring in. Within the next 24 hours, more than 30 videos came in from professional wrestlers located all over the country, including ECW legend Pitbull #1, former WWF and WCW wrestling star Sam Houston, and Gregory Iron, a gentleman who calls himself the world’s only professional wrestler with cerebral palsy.
When all of the videos were put together they totaled nearly 30 minutes in length.
Mr. Mayples created a video where he did several impressions for Mr. Hoffman, leading Superman Sam, who is non-verbal, to shout “Hoeee,” like Hacksaw Jim Duggan, “La Raza,” like Eddie Guerrro, and even flap his tongue like The Rock when Mr. Mayples said, “If you smell, la, la, la, what the Rock is cookin’.” Superman Sam was even named “an official Heroes and Legends wrestling champion.”
Another promotion, Florida-based Knockout Wrestling named Superman Sam an honorary member of their roster.
Jason Davis, who lives outside of Alexandria Bay and wrestles under the name “Myzery the Barbarian,” sent along a video, noting the next time he defended his “Fight for the Mind heavyweight championship,” he was going to have Superman Sam “in his corner” to make sure it was a fair fight.
Mr. Roberts also said he may need to call in Sam for backup. “There’s a bunch of bull crap going on that I want to straighten out and I think you’re just the guy who can help me do it.”
Prior to being named the new Heavyweight Champion of the World, Superman Sam, together with staff from the Morristown IRA, where he lives, and Mr. Skyros watched the videos stirring up a range of emotions that included laughter, tears, and plenty of smiles.
Ms. Peters said Superman Sam would spend lots of time over the next two days watching those videos and smiling almost every time he heard a wrestler say his name.
Sadly though, Superman Sam will not get the opportunity to back up the Barbarian or travel to Georgia to help Jake “the Snake” Roberts take care of whoever it is that’s giving him a hard time.
Superman Sam passed away peacefully just two days later on Friday, April 21.