Jack Venom and the night at the Sports Palace that immortalized him


Jack Veneno was the face of the Dominican Republic.

Photo: Erika Santelices / AFP / Getty Images

Jack Venom vs Ric Flair in it Virgilio Travieso Soto Sports Palace for the championship of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), the largest wrestling company in the world. We are in 1982 and the Dominican hero is about to become a legend.

The stands are packed to see a film-tinted crossover. It’s the nation’s hope against a certified villain. And although the favorite was not the local, the support of the fans intimidated Flair, who ended up succumbing to Jack Venom after 15 minutes of fighting, his forehead full of blood.

At the end of the fight, as soon as the referee finished the count of three, a sea of ​​people invaded the ring to merge in a single hug with their icon, the one that gave many the greatest joy of their lives. Flair would regain the title when he returned to the United States.

In January 1983 the “Revenge of the Century” took place, one more confrontation, the last between the two, which ended with the rivalry. And as it was in the Dominican Republic, Jack Veneno was presented as a champion, as he was for the thousands of people who saw him triumph days before.

Ric Flair described Veneno: “He looked like Rocky”

His opponent on that magical night in the Dominican Republic, the living legend Ric flair, He remembered Venom Jack in his autobiography To Be The Man, published in 2004. It was not about his struggle, but about an image that was recorded in his mind while he was in the hotel hours before the dispute, and that allows us to understand a little more the importance of the Dominican for his compatriots.

When I opened the window, I saw about thirty thousand euphoric people in the streets. A guy who looked like a dwarf was jogging on a bridge with a crowd of people screaming and running after him, it looked like a scene from Rocky Balboa. My opponent, Jack Veneno, was training for the biggest fight of his career. OMG it was amazing“Were the words of” The Nature Boy “, reviewed by ESPN this afternoon.

Finally, we annex the fight that made him immortal. The night the Dominican Republic saw its hero rise to the top of the world.