OCTOBER SURPRISES AND CHANGES ARE COMING….

As I write this I’m thinking about this weekend.  Friday night I will actually be wrestling in Rahway, NJ for Pro Wrestling Syndicate against The Big O.  Saturday I’m doing an autograph signing in Monroe, NJ for www.legendsofthering.com.

The Real “Big O”

This might come to a shock to some but I remember seeing the original “Big O” AKA Bob Orton Sr. wrestle when I was a kid.  Yes, Randy Orton’s grandfather.  I understand that the Big O I’m facing is young, in great shape and is close, personal friends with Zach “Woo Woo” Ryder.  Impressive credentials to say the least.  And of course, that is the least I will say.  I am looking forward to it as there will be many former associates and friends there as well.  Pat Buck and PWS are a class act and I’m sure this event won’t disappoint. Check out www.bedofnailz.com for more info.

Hawk

Looking ahead to a lot of changes.  Also have to take a look at the past for a moment.  October 19 will mark 9 years Mike Hegstrand AKA Hawk of The Road Warriors and Legion of Doom passed away.  It almost seems surreal that it’s been 9 years but time keeps marching on.  Hawk was a friend and one of the nicest, funniest, caring people in the world.  He was lean, big and bad no doubt; but if he was your friend he would do anything in the world for you. 

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Nick Kozak

October 20 will mark my 33 year wrestling debut in Bryan, Texas.  I started working in the Houston wrestling office for Paul Boesch during the summer of 1975-76 and then full time from the time I graduated high school in 1977.  Paul let me go down to the coliseum with the Iron Sheik (who was wrestling as Muhammid Farouk at that time) Friday afternoons before the matches started to work out. Finally in 1979, a local wrestler and his partner (Nick Kozak and Joe Mercer) booked a show in Bryan, Texas with former Pittsburgh Steeler Ernie Holmes in the main event.  I had been training at Nick and Joe’s wrecker service after Sheik left the territory and Paul gave me his blessing to do the show.

With Paul Boesch 1980

I was in the opening match against the evil, masked  “Satanico # 2.”  I think Santanico # 1 had to babysit while his wife worked the late shift.  Anyway, # 2 was one of Joe’s wrecker drivers and he’s had a few matches ‘here and there’ (always suspicious of that term), and made sure he laid everything in and was stiff as he could be.  I knew I was going to take a beating and I gave receipts back.  I won my first match!  And I got $12!  I was on my way!  I wouldn’t have traded that experience for anything in  the world.

Ring Announcer Boyd Pierce

It was the “wild, wild west” back then. I’d been working in the office, Paul Boesch’s assistant at the matches on Friday nights and got to know the wrestlers.  I was working out with Mark Lewin and would pick him up to go to the gym at his small apartment on Telephone Road.  Once I got that first match under my belt Boyd Pierce helped me get booked in Louisiana,Oklahoma and Arkansas.  I would still work at the office and make my shots on the weekends.

Eventually Paul got me booked to go to Portland, Oregon for Don Owen.  Gary Hart booked me in Los Angeles at the same time.  I went to LA first and eventually made it to Portland in 1984.

It’s been a long road.  I made some good calls and some horrible ones as well.  I think they call that “life.”  Nobody’s perfect. 

There was no Internet when I started.  No VCRs.  Promoters taped over their shows to save money on stock.  But there are a few early matches out there that make me cringe. I’ve kept a lot of stuff from my days as a fan.  Hell, I’m still a fan!  I recently found autographed pictures of Bobby Shane (a good one to look up), Tim Woods, Red Bastien, Harley Race and me together when I was 16 working in the office and that’s just the tip of the pictures, programs, posters and clippings I’ve managed to keep through the years. 


One of my most treasured possessions came from Paul.  One day as I’m answering phones and selling tickets, Paul walked out of his office and placed something in front of me.  I looked at it and saw it was a wrestling license.  HIS wrestling license.  On the back he wrote “To Tom Prichard. This is my last wrestling license-Save it along with your first.” 

Needless to say I did and still have it after all these years.  It might not mean much to anybody else but Paul was always trying to discourage me from getting into the business.  Maybe because he understood the other side and didn’t want me to experience that.  I don’t know. But that day I think he realized I was bound and determined and there was no stopping me from fulfilling my dream. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything in the world.

I got to live my dream.  Travel. Wrestle. Have fun.  I never envisioned wrestling in the mecca, Madison Square Garden.  But I did.  Many times.  Chris Candido and I defended and also lost the WWF (before the “E”) tag team championship in the Garden.  I wonder what would have happened if I REALLY tried!!

Great times lie ahead.  I’m not done by a long shot.  The day I’m writing this (Oct. 11) is “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes birthday.  I got to know The Dream over the last five years and while we haven’t always agreed, I can’t deny my respect for him and all he’s done for this business.  He is the definition of “STAR”.  Happy birthday Dream and many, many more.  I wish I could’ve got that shot in Charlotte with ya!

True legends are extremely rare these days.  The American Dream is one of those rarities.  A new day and era has been slowly creeping in.  Look how things have changed in just two short years.  I hope the wrestling/sports entertainment business learns from the past.  Both good and bad.  I don’t know if one outweighs the other.  But I do know that hard work and perseverance pays off.  Nobody knows it all.  But there’s a few that can definitely help the young men and woman who are the future of this business become better and more prepared at their craft.

It’s going to be a crazy month. Some new adventures and can’t wait to see what is ahead.  That old “One door shuts and another one opens” saying is true more times than not. 

Don’t believe the hype.  Look at the facts.  Results.  Don’t resign.  Get working on something to breathe life back into the patient, AKA the WRESTLING….There’s still a few out there that understand a great story can be told by two masters of psychology and timing.  Body language.  Emotion.  Feeling.  Getting an audience to “believe” their really, truly is an American Dream….

Thanks for reading.  

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