What happened to my professional wrestling? You remember, the kind of territories and different promotions and different owners, all battling to make sure we all loved the “sport” that it was. The days of the Midnight Rider and the man from “Parts Unknown” and the Texas Bull Rope Match.
Those were my days of professional wrestling. Yes, those were the days.
Up until the 1920s, professional wrestling was a legitimate sport. This did not endure as professional wrestling became identified with modern theatrics or admitted fakery (“kayfabe”), moving away from actual competition. The worked nature of the art have made critics consider it an illegitimate sport, particularly in comparison to boxing and amateur wrestling.
Now, it is a mere form of entertainment, no suspense, we all know the outcome and we all have an idea of how the matches will turn out three and four pay-per-view events ahead of time.
Where is the mystery? Where is the Iron Claw and Bruno Sammartino in Shea Stadium or Dusty Rhodes and Superstar Billy Graham in a blood bath or the famed Mongolian Stomper who broke Andre the Giant’s leg?
Wrestling was an art form. Wrestling was grueling. Wrestling was real.
There was no Hulk Hogan, there was a young Ric Flair and Verne Gagne was the best pure wrestler in the business.
I remember a time when Barry Windham was Blackjack Mulligan Jr. and Jake Roberts was a thin kid who served as his tag team partner. I remember a time when a drop kick by Bob Orton Jr.
could knock you out. I also remember a time when Harley Race out a bounty of Ric Flair’s head and the bad men like Dick Slater and Orton tried to take out the “Nature Boy.”
Yes, those were the days.
I remember when Jerry Lawler and Randy Savage were in Memphis, Tommy Rich and Buzz Sawyer were in Atlanta and some family named Von Erich ruled Dallas. There was Greg Valentine and Roddy Piper and Rick Steamboat in Charlotte and Buddy Rose in Portland and the Fullers ruling the roost in Tennessee.
There was Super Brawls and Starrcades and Bunk House Stampedes. The Road Warriors were green and Ole Anderson was a brawler and Jimmy Garvin and Kevin Sullivan held their own in Florida.
I miss the golden raspiness of Gordon Solie, the awkwardness of David Crockett and the southern style of Lance Russell. There was fire in those words.
There was Magnum TA and Tully Blanchard and Paul Jones. I remember the NWA trying to make a case for Charlie Cook and Butch Reed as superstars. I remember the toughness of Steve Williams and Ted DiBiase and some guy named the Junkyard Dog.
I remember the first Clash of the Champions and some guy named Sting and a 45 minute draw with the champ. I can recall the days when Sir Oliver Humperdink was as crazy as it got until
you saw the look in Gary Hart’s eyes. Eddie Graham and Mike Graham and Terry Funk, oh my.
There was a time when it is cool to like “Back Street USA” and a time when watching War Games meant more than playing a video game.
And all I want to know is where the hell did my professional wrestling go?
[amazon_link id=”B00DBPBOYM” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Legends Of The Mid-South Wrestling[/amazon_link]
[amazon_link id=”B00DBPBQB8″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]WWE: Summerslam 2013 DVD[/amazon_link]