CHRIS CANDIDO, BUDDY ROSE, BOB HOLLY’S BOOK…

I am looking forward to doing a camp and live event for the Southern Wrestling Alliance next Saturday, April 27 in Crestview, Fl.  I have a camp earlier that afternoon, then a tag match involving Hall of Famer “Bullet” Bob Armstrong that night at the Crestview Armory. Doors open @ 6:30.

April 28 will mark 8 years since my friend and partner Chris Candido passed away.    Chris loved professional wrestling and was a great person.  We all battled demons but Chris had his under control at the time of his death.  He was in a match with Sonny Siaki and broke his leg after taking a freak bump from a drop kick. The match happened over the weekend if I remember correctly.  He flew from Orlando home to New Jersey and I talked to him Tuesday before he went to see his doctor.

Thursday night I got the call from Tommy Dreamer that Chris had died.  I couldn’t believe it.  Apparently a blood clot formed and went to his heart.  It doesn’t seem like 8 years have passed.

Playboy Buddy Rose also passed away on the same day 4 years ago. I had the pleasure of getting to know Buddy Rose in Portland, Oregon   in 1984.  I had some great times with Buddy.  He made his mark in Portland and decided to call the Pacific Northwest home.  When I first arrived, Buddy and Curt Hennig were the first two to come up and let me know they would help me any way they could.  Both are gone but I’m grateful for the time I got to spend with them.  Never a dull moment!

Just finished reading Bob Holly’s book “The Hardcore Truth.”  I recommend this to any wrestling fan or student of the game.  Bob gives his brutally honest view of professional wrestling and WWE.  I’ve known Bob a long time and while we were never the closest of friends, Bob is one of those no nonsense people who will tell you how it is whether you like it or not!

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WRESTLEMANIA RESET: WHAT’S NEXT?

Wrestlemania 29 is in the books and I had an interesting weekend to say the least… Not sure where time went.  The week since getting home has been non stop and writing a blog was next to impossible.

First of all, 7 out of 9 of my WM predictions were correct.  I was unable to see the event live as I had to catch an 8 PM flight from Newark back to Knoxville but I was checking tweets and texts prior to boarding.  It looked like rain was threatening but wound up ‘teasing’ everybody and the weather held up.

I’ve heard good and bad reviews about Wrestlemania 29.  That’s the great thing about wrestling fans and pundits; most are passionate about how they feel and don’t mind expressing those feelings. You can’t please everybody. RAW more than made up for any disappointment the night before in my opinion and we quite possibly might have witnessed a new ‘movement’ of sorts in the way a live event is viewed.  Crowd participation is always an added bonus for performers in the ring and Monday’s crowd took it to the next level!

Dolph Ziggler cashing in his MITB brief case was long overdue in many people’s opinion.  I remember when Gerry Brisco recruited Dolph and he went through the ranks of OVW.  I had the pleasure of knowing him a lot better during his developmental time in Tampa.  Mr. Brisco has an eye for talent and I could imagine him beaming with pride when Dolph defeated Alberto Del Rio to become the World Champion…finally!  Congratulations to Dolph Ziggler for his perseverance, dedication, sacrifice and hard work paying off.

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WRESTLEMANIA 29 IS HERE…

Wrestlemania week is here and it’s going to be a busy weekend.

I fly in Friday night for the PWS event at The Sportsplex in  Metuchen, NJ (www.prowrestlingsyndicate.com) for a 6 PM autograph session and bell time @ 8 PM.  Bret Hart, MVP, Matt Hardy, The Iron Sheik, Paul Ordorff, The Rock and Roll Express, New Jack, Amy Dumas (Lita), John Morrison, Jushin Liger and many more will be in attendance.

Saturday April 6, join Jordan Coulson and me for a Wrestlemania pre show live from Queens NY @ 1 PM!  Check out www.wrestlemaniapreshow.com and @maniapreshow on Twitter. I would like to thank Vegas Fuel and The Guys From Queens for allowing us to use their studio Saturday afternoon.

Saturday night I will be at Shenanigans across from MSG  for a pre Wrestlemania party.  I’m looking forward to catching up with a lot of people I haven’t seen in a while. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over this last year is I didn’t really lose any friends.  I just found out who my real friends were and will see quite a few this weekend.

Unfortunatly I have to fly out Sunday night just as Wrestlemania is getting into full swing.  I’ll catch the replay and see how my predictions faired…

I knew writing a blog would invite comments good and bad.  And did I get slammed for saying I thought WWE did a great job promoting Wrestlemania! Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  Even me.

Someone even questioned my being a “Doctor.” I love it…

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WRESTLEMANIA IS COMING…

On April 6, join Jordan Coulson and I for a Wrestlemania pre show live from Queens NY @ 1 PM!  Check out www.wrestlemaniapreshow.com and @maniapreshow on Twitter. Presented by Vegas Fuel.

Just got off the phone with my good friend and mentor “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes and during the course of our conversation he came up with this gem: “Yesterday’s dead, tommorow’s blind; We live one day at a time…”

Words of wisdom to be sure.

March 20 marks two years that Sir Oliver Humperdink passed away from bladder cancer.  Sir Oliver (Red Sutton) grew up a wrestling fan and became one of the greatest managers of all time.  He had a look that got instant heat and a passion for the wrestling business.  He was a great guy and a lot of fun.

March 22 will mark the one year passing of Joe Blanchard and four years since Steve Doll died.  Joe is the father of HOF’er Tully Blanchard as well as being a former wrestler turned promoter in San Antonio.  Joe was always good to me when I started out and was well respected throughout the wrestling community.

Steve Doll had success in Portland, Texas and Tennessee before heading to WWE as one half of “Well Dunn” with Rex King.

Over the years we’ve lost some good friends and great people. The recent passing of Paul Bearer is now the cornerstone for an intriguing match at Wrestlemania.

I love this time of year.  WWE will put on a tremendous show and set the bar higher each year at Wrestlemania.  Truth is stranger than fiction.   Putting matches together and letting them evolve organically can cause twists and turns no one could imagine.  The best laid plans are never set in stone and even then there’s no telling what will happen…

Many of us were saddened by the death of Paul Bearer.  When CM Punk interrupted The Undertaker during RAW and stole the urn at the end of the show, people were outraged at the disrespect and lack of class by WWE.  Now the urn and Paul Bearer’s memory will be used to help the build up for  Taker VS. Punk at Mania. How could they!

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PAUL BEARER AND WWE MOVIE TIME…

I liked the RAW tribute show for Paul Bearer.

I also believe PB himself was looking down smiling with approval of the video tributes as well as Punk interrupting and stealing the Urn at the end of the show.  Percy was a showman and consummate professional.  Paul Bearer/Percy Pringle III/Bill Moody had a passion for the wrestling/Sports Entertainment business.  It was a fitting tribute to one of the real good guys.  Having Punk as a pure antagonistic A-hole was a perfect touch.  Those who thought it was distasteful will never understand. It reminds me of a quote years ago when anyone asked if pro wrestling was fake:

For those who believe, no explanation is needed.

For those who don’t, no explanation will do.

Percy was five years older than me but we grew up on the same style of wild, Southern wrestling and a lot of the same wrestlers.  While he lived in Mobile, Alabama, I grew up in Houston, Texas.  The “Southern ‘Rasslin” and “New York” style was a slight contrast.  Someone explained it as “The New York style was punching and kicking; in the South, they do more ‘wild and crazy’ angles with ‘rasslin.”

Right…

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PAUL BEARER, PERCY PRINGLE, BILL MOODY…RIP

I have too much to do here.  I’ll go next year.  Man, I’ll probably see him at PWS or sometime over WrestleMania weekend.  If not, he’ll understand.  I have too much on my plate right now…

I saw pictures of him sitting down by the stage.  I didn’t know he was in a wheelchair.  I’d read on Facebook that he hasn’t been feeling well, but it has been chilly and the flu’s been going around.  I will make it NEXT year!

Paul Bearer/Percy Pringle/Bill Moody sent me an application last year to attend the Gulf Coast Wrestle Reunion.  I wanted to go.  It’s been a hectic couple of months and I was unable to make the trip.  Life got in the way.  The Gulf Coast reunion will never be the same.  Even moreso, the many lives Percy touched will never be the same.

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OLD SCHOOL…THE AMERICAN DREAM DUSTY RHODES

I made a 12 hour, 800 mile round trip to Clayton, NC last weekend for the 5th Annual Ivan Koloff Tag Team Tournament.  I forgot how scenic and introspective a six hour drive through the mountains can be.  My thoughts were racing and my CDs seemed to find the mood I was looking for.  Make no mistake, this event was ‘pro wrestling’ with entertaining performers; Not ‘sports entertainment.’ It could be classified as “old school.”

NCWA ran in a decent size building and drew a SRO only house.  This was a special event of sorts as it was a tribute to one of the true icons in wrestling, Ivan Koloff.  In the day and age of glitz, glamour, instant gratification and the internet, a lot of people might not be familiar with “Uncle Ivan.”

Ivan Koloff is the man who ended Bruno Sammartino’s seven year run as champion in Madison Square Garden.  Bruno was champion for a long time and set the  standard of what champions should look and act like.  When the evil Russian Ivan Koloff defeated the Super Hero of the east coast it was a big deal.  Still is to many who were there.

Ivan went on to have a successful career and wrestled all over the world.  We had a nice talk and it was nice to see him in great spirits.

I had the pleasure of wrestling George South.  George is somewhat legendary in the business, mainly around the Carolinas.  He’s known for being smooth as silk and understanding how to make the most out of everything in the ring.  The match took me back to my early years when the business was so different but still a lot of fun.  Going to the ring and creating as you go is the way you not only learn but stay enthused and enjoy this “job.”  George is a rare breed and I’m glad he’s still around to help and show up and coming wrestlers there is another way to do things besides talking in the back planning A-B-C-D…

Bill Eadie (Masked Superstar, Demolition Ax), Hacksaw Duggan and Baby Doll were also in attendance.  I never worked the Mid Atlantic territory and most of the guys on the card had.  Being a special event people were more accepting and appreciative seeing stars like Bill and Hacksaw.

Old school.

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NEW WWE TITLE, PAUL HEYMAN

I like the new WWE championship belt design.  Not sure how durable it will be but it looks better than the spinner belt IMO.  I didn’t see anywhere to put the champ’s name on the main plate.  Maybe they will make custom side plates  as done for The Rock.  A simple eye catching design has been a long time coming.  My favorite championship belt was the NWA title last worn by Harley Race and retired in Houston on July 20, 1973.  That belt was worn by Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers, Gene Kiniski and Dory Funk Jr. before losing it to Harley.

Harley took the belt off before his match with Jack Brisco and made the exchange with then NWA president Sam Munchnick. He then posed with the new belt wrapped in red felt that was dubbed “Ten Pounds of Gold” years later.  The spinner lasted eight years.  It will be interesting to see how long this one stays in service.

There will be those who love the design and others that don’t.  I remember some WWE belts that didn’t last two years much less eight.  Remember Brock Lesner and Eddie Guerrero’s title reigns?

My good friend JBL wrote a blog last week about his experience with The Public Enemy (Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge).  John was teaming with Ron Simmons as The Acolytes during this time and were in “tag team limbo.”  PE got a bad rap right from the start by showing up late and perceived to have a bad attitude.  I know all four guys and my perception was there was a severe misunderstanding!

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ROAD TRIP FROM HELL…JBL, ‘ZEB COLTER’ (AKA – DUTCH MANTELL)

Anyone who had the pleasure of wrestling in the Tennessee territory during the 1970’s through 1999 could appreciate The Rock’s comments on RAW recently.  Rock wrestled there early in 1996 prior to coming to Stamford to ‘get ready’ and make his official WWE debut at Survivor Series that same year.

With RAW being in Nashville, it gave Rock a chance to reminisce about the days his dad wrestled in the 70’s as well as his own road stories from the 90’s.

Ah, the payoffs were special.  But the territory was a place you could wrestle 6-7 nights a week and get experience, that’s for sure!  Virtually every big name in the business went through Memphis and ‘The King’ Jerry Lawler is still considered a great talker whether it be promos or commentary.

There’s no denying the rich tradition and history of Memphis rasslin’.

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THE SUPERDOME, BILL DUNDEE, BRUNO, VINCE..THERE’S STILL HOPE!

I used to be such a sweet, sweet thing
‘Till they got a hold of me
I opened doors for little old ladies,
I helped the blind to see.
I got no friends ’cause they read the papers
They can’t be seen, with me and I’m gettin’ real shot down
And I’m feeling mean…

No more Mister Nice Guy
No more Mister Clean
No more Mister Nice Guy
they say, he’s sick he’s obscene

Ahh, Alice Cooper had it so right.

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