17. December, 2012


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I feel like I had the best of both worlds being born in west Texas then moving at 10 years old to east Texas.  I got to see Dory and Terry Funk at the beginning of their career and saw many others who were great but I didn’t realize they were top stars everywhere they went. The Amarillo territory had a studio wrestling show that aired on Saturday afternoons with a cast of colorful characters.  While I appreciated their talent at the time, once I got in the business I appreciated their contributions even more.  As a kid watching they made me believe and want to do what they did.

Peter Birkholz recently published a book about the history of Houston Wrestling called “When Wrestling Was Rasslin.”  It takes you back to the origin of the promotion with Morris Sigel and the transition to Paul Boesch.  It takes the reader from the 1930’s through the end in the 1980’s.

It was an interesting read for me as I was fortunate to work at Houston wrestling office at 1919 Caroline for years and Paul Boesch gave me my start in this business.  It took me back to that time when wrestling was not just ‘rasslin’ but it was men going out every night protecting their business and livelihood with all they had.  It was a nightly existence, traveling most of the time by car  down some two lane back woods highway to get to the next destination.  Why that life appealed to me is something I can’t explain.

There was no pyro and music. It was a ring, set up in a coliseum, armory or high school.  You went out and wrestled to the best of your ability and had a blast.  The dressing room was full of real life characters who kept things interesting.  The rides to and from the events were just as much of the overall lifestyle and business as being in the ring.  You never knew what adventures lied ahead.

There was TV to plug the shows. Promoters used newspaper ads to promote shows. Posters, fliers, whatever means necessary to get people in the buildings were devised to attract ticket buying buying customers.  Peter does a great job chronicling the events and names who passed through the Texas area.  It really was a who’s who of professional wrestling.

I also recently acquired Stan Hansen’s book.  Just browsing through it I’d say it would be required reading for anyone who loves to read about the old school and stories from a guy who was an influential star not just in the United States but one of the biggest stars in Japan when Japan was a prime place to get booked.

The Christmas season has always been an interesting time (to say the least) for me.  For some folks they get in the festive mood and savor everyday. Others, not so much.

This has been a crazy year and I have to confess I’ve struggled with what to write about lately.  I don’t want to list reasons because I’ve been told I make it “all about me.”  That’s probably true.

But with the insanity that has taken place with movie theatre, mall and school shootings, not to mention some friends and acquaintances (Buddy Roberts and Mike Boyette) along with my best friend (Brad Armstrong) passing away I haven’t felt like telling ‘old school’ stories much.  I’ve started maybe 9 times in the last week to write something new but nothing’s come to me.

I always liked Buddy Roberts.  I rode with Mike Boyette when I made shots in Louisiana at the start on my career. I stayed with Mike and his girlfriend a couple times and he was an interesting guy to say the least.

I have a new project starting January 2013 and am excited about that.  You can email me at bookdrtom@aol.com if you have any questions.  It involves a wrestling school as well as a reality show production.  Information is also in the column on the right…

I’m going to take a computer break for a bit.  If you order a book or shirt I will check my email and get it to you asap.   But this will probably be my last blog for 2012.

I wish I could say it’s been a great year.  It’s been a surreal year for sure.

I hope everyone has a great Christmas and New Year.  Any questions about Next Level Wrestling can be answered in the column or via email.  Hope to see those in Knoxville and surrounding areas January 3 for Open House.

Please be safe.  I recently did a show in Maryville Tennessee for Dutch Mantell and to get Amelia’s Law passed.  I’m no saint but I’ve seen what the destruction and devastation can do to families left behind by impaired drivers.  Please don’t drink and drive.  That’s easier to do than you think… And it’s really not worth what could happen.

See ya next year…

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