THERE REALLY WAS WRESTLING BEFORE JOHN CENA AND HULK HOGAN!

It’s that time of year again and I couldn’t be more proud of our daughter Aleah for graduating with honors from the University of Tennessee.  Congratulations to her and all the graduating class of 2013.

Jordan Coulson and I are getting dangerously close to launching our “Odd-Cast” and doing something with Vegas Fuel Energy drink.  We’ve all been busier than ever but these projects should come together within the next couple weeks so stay tuned!

I was in Union SC May 4, for a camp and live event promoted by Trans-South Wrestling.  It was a productive day and I believe the participants heard some things they most likely never heard before.

I did have a good time and want to thank everyone for coming out. I wrestled a promising young rookie by the name of Alex Avgerinos at the Fairgrounds Saturday night.  Everyone worked hard and I was impressed with the crowd Trans-South drew.  Derik Vanderford did a tremendous job promoting and I appreciate his hospitality.

I can’t fault anyone for things they have no control over.  Nobody chose when they were born.  I can only hope that people who want to be in the pro wrestling/sports entertainment business today would be students of the game and want to study who and what came before them to blaze the trail.  More times than not, just the opposite is the case.

Many years ago when I was the developmental manager for WWE I came up with 100 influential names of professional wrestlers, promoters, managers and personalities and handed them out to all talent.  They were to write at least a paragraph on each name and have it by my next trip to town.

OVW talent were given tapes of matches and interviews from the past so new, along with experienced people could get an idea of what the business was and maybe see or hear something that they could use in training. Jim Cornette provided notes pointing out what to look and listen for.  I thought it was an invaluable tool and it’s a shame it’s not being done today.

One of the agents during that time questioned why “it was important to know who Jack Brisco was…”  I understand it is today and while yesterday might be dead, how ’bout this:

Those who don’t remember the past are condemed to repeat it.  And we can all learn from who came before us; what they did good and bad!

I’ve said time and time again that there is not just one way to learn pro wrestling.  I called an O’Connor roll up as a move during my seminar.  Now, I could’ve left off “O’Connor” and just called “roll up.”  But I just wanted to see…

Nobody had a clue what an O’Connor roll up is.  They never heard it called “by that name.”

Later that night a referee was going over a match and I said “school boy.”  He had no idea what that was!  When I asked him what he would call it he said “ROLL UP”!  NO! THEY ARE TWO DIFFERENT MOVES!!

I realize professional wrestling isn’t baseball, football, golf or beach volleyball.  But I would think aspiring ball players would know who Mickey Mantle and Joe Namath were.  And at least golf has Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicholas while beach volleyball has…well they have….OK…Beach volleyball has nobody worth mentioning, but I think you get my point.

I mentioned a couple times during the camp that there actually was wrestling before Hulk Hogan.  The O’Connor roll was a finishing move used by former NWA world champion Pat O’Connor.  Because he was associated with the move it was christened the O’Connor roll.  O’Connor and Nature Boy Buddy Rogers had a famous match in 1961 at Comiskey Park in Chicago that some say was the catalyst for change in the business back then.

The term “mark” is used hand in hand too often to describe hard core fans.  I don’t think they are one in the same although there are a few marks out there.  I’ve met fans who know the history of wrestling and even go so far as to buy classic championship belts, jackets and various ring artifacts as a hobby.  I met a guy years ago at a convention who had the original North American championship belt from Bill Watts Louisiana territory in the 1970s.  It was held by legends like Watts, Ernie Ladd, Ted DiBiase, Mr. Wrestling II, Dick Murdoch, Dusty Rhodes; most of the top stars of the 70’s held that title at one time or another.  I was interested in seeing it up close and learning how he aquired it.  He wasn’t interested in going into details…

Mick Foely needed a finishing move  he could use on everybody during his WWE run.  It was Jim Cornette who remembered an obscure wrestler by the name of Dr. Sam Sheppard who used the mandible claw as a finish.  Look up the good doctor to find out what trials and tribulations he went through…

I know good ol’ JR is a proponent of talent learning about wrestling history.  Danny Hodge, from Perry Oklahoma is still a legend in that state and the business to true students of the game.  JR continues to be a student of the game and educate and amuse new talent when they enter the developmental system.

Does it really matter if anyone knows or remembers who Jim Londos was?  What about Dick Shikat or Fred Beel?  By the way, the hip toss out of the corner?  That’s called a “beel.”  Named after Fred…

History is always written by the winners.  Vince won when he raided all the territories and became a global brand.  It was inevitable.  Someone was going to do it eventually, so why not Vince? I hope the ones in charge of handing history and educating the future Superstars understand it is important to know who came before…

Wrestlemania Axxess does a great job displaying various items from the past and it’s a way to present and preserve history.  Having Bruno Sammartino is the WWE Hall of Fame was a huge coup.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Check out who came before Bruno in the earliest incarnations of MSG.  Why?  If you have to ask, never mind.

I enjoy hearing stories and meeting the true characters this business produced over the years.  A lot were just as colorful outside the ring as they were in.

I believe it wasn’t just what guys like Jack Brisco and countless others did in the ring.  It’s about knowing what they did and how they conducted themselves outside the ring that intrigues me.

I’ve said many times that professional wrestling/sports entertainment isn’t for everyone. You don’t have to know the history or names of holds to be successful. That’s been proven.  But I would hope if you played another sport you might take it upon yourself to see how wrestling evolved to what it is today.  Maybe see if anybody did something before you try the same gimmick.  You might see something you like, make it your own and find something new and creative in the process.

To all you football, baseball and golf players out there looking to make it in sports entertainment, good luck. Beach volleyball players? Please stay loyal to your “sport” and stay on the sidelines watching and supporting the cause.  It’s safer for everyone there…

Thanks for reading.

 

 

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