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Gordlow

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Everything posted by Gordlow

  1. I saw that DEAN posted a review of Kotoge vs. Harada (Pro Wrestling NOAH Global Junior Heavyweight League finals) and I had to reply to that... figured I might as well update this thread as well. First time I went drinking with Asian Cooger and Ebessan (III) was back in 2009!! Though Kuuga (as he is now known) and I have remained in touch, I hadn't seen either of them for a year. I've got a second kid now, so that really cuts into my spare money and free time. Not that I'm complaining. But, really, it was time to check in on my pro wrestling friends again. It had been way, way too long. I went to the 7/20 Doutonbori Pro Wrestling tournament show. https://youtu.be/YAd9Ud6qS_o Neither of my long-time partners in crime Kenji and Kae were going to be there. Very few of the faces people might remember from this thread on the previous board were going to be there. I hoped I'd see some friendly faces. I hoped a few people might remember me. Well... of course they did. Everyone was just as happy to see me as I was to see them. Mihara actually cracked up laughing in happy surprise when we bumped into each other outside the arena. It was, as you might imagine, a very warm feeling to be welcomed back like I'd never been away. And it was great to see some live wrestling again after all that time.
  2. BUT... Right from the start (and probably the main reason we have always got along) it's been clear that these guys just DEEPLY LOVE pro wrestling, to the bone, and that they truly care about being the absolute best pro wrestlers that it's possible for them to be. They were always down to talk pro wrestling, to watch a match, to get into the details.... And you could literally watch them grow and improve from month to month as their abilities increased and their psychology deepened. I... No... WE have missed them SO MUCH since they moved on, but it's been a real pleasure to watch them grow and flourish in their new expanded environment. If they were just great guys, it really wouldn't matter to anyone who isn't lucky enough to know them... but... maybe... maybe they are on their way to being great pro wrestlers. Everyone here ought to care about that. The two of them making the finals of The Global Junior Heavyweight League has me busting with pride. It's genuinely gratifying to read that they did that opportunity justice. Thank you very much for posting this, DEAN.
  3. I'm so happy to read this review. I've been talking these guys up for 6 or 7 years now. They were superbly entertaining and likable as a young speed (Kotoge) and power (Harada) tag team in Osaka Pro. In addition to being exciting young wrestlers, they were flat-out great guys. I mean, Osaka Pro at that time was filled with fine human beings but Kotoge and Harada often went above and beyond... making a huge effort to reach out to me despite the language barrier, having my back in social situations, and so on. They would sign autographs and pose for photos all evening long if that was what the fans wanted. At various Osaka Pro drinking parties, parents who brought little kids and wanted a few minutes to drink and joke around in peace would just drop their offspring into Harada's lap and he would laugh and smile as they crawled all over him. He was unfailingly gentle and patient, with the kids. One time, a dumb fat racist drunk was trying to start something with me in Namba and I was kind of in a no-win situation considering that odds are very good that hitting him would end up with me in trouble with the law. Out of nowhere, here comes Harada. He stares the guys down, says a few soft words... the would-be troublemaker slinks away, pays his bill, and leaves. Last time I saw Kotoge was at a NOAH show, in the gimmick area, and he seemed pretty busy so I decided against going over to say hello. A minute later there's a hand on my shoulder. He'd made his way through the crowd to greet me, warmly and sincerely. So, I mean... even if these guys were typical skinny indy juniors... I'd still have their backs.
  4. Hey Kyle, where in Canada are you from? It definitely feels like home to me at this point! My hometown of Vancouver seems a little strange to me now, when I visit. It's been an amazing experience so far, and I hope it will be for you, too. It's hard for me to give an accurate guess about how much money you'd need. I have a job and an apartment... it's a lot different from being a visitor. For three months you'd need at least $5000 CDN, probably more. It depends on how you wanna live and what you wanna do over here, I guess. It's easy to blow LOT of money in one night in Japan if you're not careful, but it isn't necessary... A night out for me is usually 20-30 bucks, around 50 if I go to a wrestling show... Accommodation isn't cheap, I usually spend about 50 a night for a tiny room. I guess someone who has visited here recently could be of more help with that question. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge those early posts are all gone forever. I wish I could read the again, myself.
  5. They weirdly showed a lot of respect for the German announce table both at Summerslam and at Raw. I was expecting someone to go through that table as well. It's almost like they're afraid of the Germans. What's up with them having their own table anyways? German announcer: [threatingly] We Germans aren't all smiles und sunshine. JBL: [recoils in mock horror] Oooh, the Germans are mad at me. I'm so scared! Oooh, the Germans! [hiding behind Cole] Uh oh, the Germans are going to get me! German announcer: Stop it! German announcer 2: Stop, sir. JBL: Don't let the Germans come after me. Oh no, the Germans are coming after me. German announcer 2: Please stop the `pretending you are scared' game, please. German announcer: Stop it! Stop it! JBL: [brief pause, then resumes] No! They're so big and strong! German announcer 2: Stop it. German announcer: Stop it, JBL. German announcer 2: Please stop pretending you are scared of us, please, now. JBL: Oh, protect me from the Germans! The Germans... German announcer: JBL, STOP IT!
  6. Great write-up, Evil Otto. Catching a show at Korakuen is still on my to-do list. I envy you that experience. It probably goes without saying, but Doering is an absolutely huge human being. I've taken pictures with everyone from Akiyama to Zeus to Suwama, to Bob Sapp, to Abdullah... and Joe Doering is the only guy who, when I look at the picture, makes me feel small. I was a bit over 250 lbs when we took this pic, and I look tiny next to him:
  7. http://grantland.com/features/antonio-inoki-japan-politics-pro-wrestling-ric-flair-saddam-hussein-iraq-north-korea-kim-jong-un-hostages/ Pretty well a must-read article from Grantland, about Inoki.
  8. Big Country going back to the true roots of the UFC!
  9. I'm not being in any way facetious. It brought me a HUGE wave of joy today when I noticed this: You remember that episode where Bart skipped school and witnessed the Freddy Quimby/French Waiter incident? Remember when he made some fake bids at the art auction? Remember the guy sitting behind him in glasses and a bow tie? Again, no fooling, I felt genuine joy when it hit me that the man in question is in fact: Joey Joe-Joe Junior Shabadoo!!
  10. Man, that has got to be right up there with season 4 of The Wire among the greatest single-season runs any TV show has ever put together. I maybe didn't laugh as hard or as often as I did watching past seasons of Louie, but I was genuinely moved - again and again - throughout this run. So many ideas and moments just hit home with me. That was great TV.
  11. Gordlow

    Hercules

    "Dull" is just about the strangest adjective to try to apply to this movie. I could see saying it looks like it might be terrible. awful, atrocious, cheesy, crappy, execrable, overwrought, ill conceived, preposterous, overdone, unintentionally hilarious, fatuous, asenine, puerile, laughable, imbecilic... "dull" is pretty much the one thing this doesn't look like it has any chance of being.
  12. Gordlow

    Hercules

    Rockules cares not for beans!
  13. Your hatred is misplaced and baseless here, ultimoDANK. Zeus is coming off of a fine run in the CC, and bodyguard is probably the most improved wrestler in Japan over the past three years. They work together really well as a team, and they match up nicely with Suwama and Doering. There is nothing, whatsoever, for AJPW to be ashamed about.
  14. Eszter Balint?! Whoa! Great casting!
  15. If you're going to Spain, DEFINITELY try Cava. Cava is Spanish sparkling wine. It's easy to drink and very reasonably priced. The most famous producer is Freixnet (pronounced like "fresh-net"). Their Cordon Negro comes in a black bottle and has a nice earthy flavour, with more than a hint of mushrooms. What area of Spain are you planning to visit? Raziel403 is absolutely right about going with the house wines. Certain areas of Spain have famous local wines. You might get a pleasant surprise if you ask about them. Asking about local sakes often opens social doors for me in Japan.
  16. We're 4 episodes into the new season, and already Louie has hit GREATNESS twice. Looks like taking a year off was the right strategy. That long-take monologue was trendous.
  17. Sorry about that. It was more or less a copy-and-paste from a series of articles I did for insidepulse in 2004 and 2005. Uncle Coaster's awesome post reminded me of that, and I wanted to read it again. I'd forgotten that I'd written so much about it. Anyway, I returned to Canada in 2001, just in time to catch the gradual rise of Benoit and Eddie to the top of the card. That totally drew me back in again, and watching the WrestleMania 20 "live" broadcast with friends in the cinema and subsequently making the drive to Alberta with my All Star Wrestling senpai Vicious Verne to watch Backlash 2004 and the subsequent RAW were big highlights of those years. I was also just in time to catch the last years of the wonderful tape-trading community that flourished back when it took hours to download a ten-second .gif file. Through guys like Tabe, Rob Hunter, Dan Ginnety, my good friend Verne, and quite a few others I amassed a huge library of tapes and later DVDs of indy and classic and Lucha and - particularly - Japanese Pro Wrestling. And it was a great time to finally get a decent internet connection. There was a ton of great discussion about pro wrestling online at that time, perhaps culminating in the epic Greatest Wrestler of All Time argument, discussion, and poll on the old Smarkschoice boards. Another highlight from that time was watching WrestleMania 21 at a sports bar in Surrey, British Columbia with a huge group of indy pro wrestlers, including at least one you have probably heard of: By the end of 2005, I had started to drift away from watching WWE (yet again) in favour of MMA and puroresu. I still got together with some old wrestling friends to watch the occasional PPV, often at Verne's place... but I found watching great matches on DVD and going to local indy shows was just way more fun for me than sitting through stuff like the xenophobic Hassan storyline, or the rise of Heidenreich. I also visited Japan for the first time in '05, and had the thrill of seeing legends like Fujinami, Liger, Choshu, Muto, Kensuke, Tenryu, Koshinaka, Kobashi, and - a particular thrill for me - Misawa, live and in person. It was awesome. Japanese crowds were amazing. The atmosphere, the action, and the experience were everything I'd hoped for. I ended up moving to Japan and becoming a regular at Osaka Pro shows and seeing many more legends and favourites (from Dump Matsumoto to Fujiwara to Kawada) live and in person. I even became drinking buddies with some of the Osaka Pro guys, and also friends with Jumbo Tsuruta's son Yuji. The experience of being a gaijin fan of Japanese wrestling has been way better than I ever could have imagined. I rarely watch wrestling on TV or DVD or on my computer these days. I get most of my fill from live shows.The rise of Bryan Danielson, though... like the rise of Bret and the rise of Benoit... that has managed to drag me back in. Watching WrestleMania and the subsequent RAW were mind-blowing. It's great to see a genuinely good person reach the very top of the mountain. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Uncle Coaster! I hope you don't mind me sharing mine on your thread. Thinking about how wrestling has given so many of us an escape, and outlet, and a hobby over so many years is making me kind of misty, to be honest. Damn straight, brother!
  18. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin made me a wrestling fan again after years of apathy. The match made a real impact on me for a number of reasons. For one thing, I grew up in Western Canada watching Stampede Wrestling so the wrestlers who got their start there were pretty much guaranteed to be among my favourites. The Hart Foundation, for example, were my favourite tag team when I stopped watching in the early 90s. I still though of Bret Hart as a tag specialist, so it was a real surprise to see him fighting in a key singles match at the biggest show of the year. Another thing that caught my attention was that Stunning Steve Austin had morphed into Stone Cold Steve Austin, complete with a shaved head and a goatee. I grew my first goatee in 1991, and started shaving my head in ’93. Back then, my wrestling friends teased me for going with the Nikita Koloff look. I was actually a little torn over whether to cheer for the Canadian or for the badass brawler who shared my grooming habits. That slight conflict played pretty well into the story being told in the ring. When they took the fight into the stands, I marked out because it was clear that the WWF were no longer putting all of their eggs into the “Cheesy Saturday Morning Cartoon” basket. I could remember seeing Abdullah the Butcher and the Sheik brawl through the crowd on videotape and thinking at the time that it was something I’d never see in the WWF. When Bret slapped on the Ring Post Figure Four, I just about lost it. After seeing that, I was 100 per cent behind Bret, up until Austin got busted open. There was something about the way that Stone Cold refused to give up, even when the Hitman trapped him with his Sharpshooter. Watching Austin pass out face first into a pool of his own blood, I am sure, made many of us bigger fans than we’d ever been before. I was ecstatic that Bret won, bit I also wanted to see Austin get another chance. The trouble was, there was really no way for me to keep up with what was happening in the world of Professional Wrestling while I was living in the Czech Republic. There was also the bizarre experience of watching the rest of WrestleMania 13, being bitterly disappointed by the boring Undertaker vs. Sid Main Event, and realising that I honestly didn't know a single person in country where I was living who might have wanted to discuss that with me. In 1998, when an opportunity arose for me to go back to Canada and work for a year, I took it. I knew that I would miss Europe, but I wanted to see my friends and family again, and I also wanted to watch football, eat chicken wings, drink huge cups of good coffee, and catch up with everything that had happened in the world of wrestling. One of the fist things I did was to pick up a copy of Pro Wrestling Illustrated. It blew my mind to see that both the WWF and WCW had bald, goateed World Heavyweight Champions. My job involved running recreational programs for “special needs” kids. It made me so happy when, on my first day at work, an argument broke out among the kids over whether I looked more like Stone Cold or Goldberg. It seemed that Pro Wrestling was more popular than it had ever been before. I caught my first episode of RAW that evening. The last time I’d seen wrestling on free TV the shows had consisted of nothing but squash matches, and the rules of Kayfabe were strictly enforced. For example, my “insider” friends and I knew that goofy commentator Vince McMahon was in fact the owner of the WWF, but we only knew that because of the connections I’d made while I was working for All Star Wrestling. If you can remember those days, then you can probably imagine my shock when I turned on the TV expecting more of the same, only to catch the Monday Night Wars, and the Austin vs. McMahon feud, in all their glory. Obviously, I picked a pretty good year, wrestling wise, to come home for an extended visit. I saw DeGeneration X invade Nitro. I saw Ric Flair return to WCW. Damn near everywhere I went, I met fellow wrestling fans. If anything interesting happened on one of the shows, there was always someone who wanted to talk about it the next day. I went back to the Czech Republic in January, which was also pretty good timing wrestling wise. I avoided having to see the Finger Poke of Doom, for example. I didn't know what I was missing, though, and it drove me crazy to be cut off from wrestling again. Some of my friends from the Pilsen Tornadoes American Football team were wrestling fans and I got to watch an occasional show with them, but we never got into arguments or even discussions about wrestling. This was partly because of language difficulties and partly because they tended to believe that the matches might be genuine athletic contests. I bought a second hand computer with money that I’d saved while working in Canada. A small mountain of paperwork later, I had a dial-up internet connection. I was pretty happy to find that there were so many sites devoted to Pro Wrestling, at least until I started reading them. The first few sites I tried seemed to be written by people who fit pretty well into the unfortunate stereotype of 14-year-old idiots with limited understanding of the rules of English grammar who were using their parents’ computers to complain about things that they don’t understand. I also found a few wrestling sites and message boards that seemed to be populated entirely by people who took themselves and their opinions far too seriously. The writers on those sites and the posters on those boards seemed to believe that wrestling should be written about in absolute terms. They seemed to be utterly committed to a very narrow and specific definition of what comprised good wrestling, and there didn't seem to be much willingness to discuss any ideas or opinions that were even marginally different from their own. I found the Wrestling Observer website, but it was just too expensive to get a subscription delivered to where I was living. It took me a while, but I eventually found the PWTorch and then the 411 Wrestling websites. It was worth the effort, though. At that time both sites had columns and reviews that were written with humour, personality, and something like genuine insight. I not only got to keep up with the latest wrestling news, but I was able to compare my thoughts on what was happening with those of several reasonably talented writers who, despite their frequently sarcastic and cynical approach, clearly enjoyed watching, thinking about, and writing about wrestling. Of course, that eventually led me here.
  19. I don't know if this will make sense, but when I stopped watching wrestling in the early 1990s it wasn't because I had outgrown wrestling, it wasn't because wrestling wasn't cool any more, and it wasn't because I had developed different interests. It was because the specific version of Professional Wrestling that was then available in North America no longer appealed to me. The main storyline in the WWF at the time had Sgt. Slaughter taking the wrong side in the Gulf War. The National Wrestling Alliance was basically dead, and to be honest, WCW didn't exactly rise phoenix-like from the ashes to save wrestling from itself. Check out the card for the 1991 Great American Bash: Non-Televised Match: Junkyard Dog pinned Black Bart Flag Match: PN News and Bobby Eaton defeated Steve Austin and Terrance Taylor in a scaffold match. (Sooooo bad! How can you waste those guys this way)? The Yellow Dog defeated Johnny B Badd by Disqualification Ron Simmons pinned Oz. (Yikes, this was bad)! Big Josh pinned Blackblood. Elimination Match: Dustin Rhodes, Tracey Smothers, and Steve Armstrong defeated The Freebirds (Badstreet, Jimmy Garvin, and Michael Hayes) in an ”elimination” match. Rhodes was the only survivor. (Possibly the best match on the show, and IMO it was not good). The Diamond Stud pinned Tom Zenk. El Gigante pinned One Man Gang. Ricky Morton pinned Robert Gibson. (So disappointing, this should have been a great an memorable match) Russian Chain Match: Nikita Koloff defeated Sting in a ”Russian chain” match. (Terrible pacing, terrible finish) World Heavyweight Title Match (Steel Cage Match): Lex Luger pinned Barry Windham in a ”steel cage” match to win the vacant title. (This match was the result of Jim Herd firing Ric Flair for refusing to drop the strap to Luger. One of the most disappointing matches ever, IMO). Steel Cage Match: Rick Steiner and Missy Hyatt defeated Arn Anderson and Paul E Dangerously in a steel cage match when Steiner pinned Dangerously. (A decent candidate for The Worst PPV Of All Time ends with a two-minute abortion of a Main Event. The crowd pretty much only popped for Sting's entrance, and they chanted for Flair like a Chicago crowd chanting for CM Punk. It's possible that many of the wrestlers were deliberately wrestling badly to protest Flair's firing). I missed the 1991 Great American Bash, but I had friends that watched it and called me to tell me how bad it was. I missed WrestleMania 7, but I had friends at University who made fun of me for being a wrestling fan because the Hogan vs. Slaughter storyline was so blatantly exploitative. I wasn't watching any more, but I didn't feel like I had turned my back on wrestling, I felt that (once again... dramatic pause) wrestling had turned its back on me. The house my friends and I were renting had a TV, but it didn't have cable. The local stations that we could pick up with the antenna didn't carry any wrestling programs. I suppose my friends and I could have scraped enough money together to get cable but this was the era that brought us The Chamber of Horrors match, and it just didn't seem worth it. We got a Super Nintendo. At the start of the 1992 school year, my housemate's brother gave us a box of tapes that contained every episode of the first three years of The Simpsons. The bands that we used to see at small punk rock clubs started breaking on a national scale, and music became interesting again. After a while, I didn't even miss wrestling any more. In a way, that was too bad, because it wasn't until 2003 that I got to see Ric Flair\’s run with the WWF title, Hogan putting the Ultimate Warrior over cleanly, or Cactus Jack being power bombed on the concrete. My favourite wrestler, Bret Hart, made his big singles run without me watching. I missed Pillman vs. Liger, Hitman vs. Perfect, and the Monday Night Wars. On the other hand I never had to suffer through Spin the Wheel Make the Deal, The Shockmaster, Arachnaman, King Mabel, or WrestleMania 9. From time to time a friend from the old days would come up to visit, and sometimes they\’d bring a wrestling tape with them. I was re-introduced to puroresu in this way, and although I was resistant at first I eventually became kind of a fan of Misawa, Kawada, Hansen, Tsuruta, Muta, Tiger Mask and Liger. I might have gone on to become a full-fledged puro nerd in the early 90s, but in 1995 I moved to Europe, and it would be two years before I saw my next match. In one of those coincidences that would seem too good to be true if it hadn't really happened, I went to visit some of my then-wife’s relatives in March of ’97, couldn't get to sleep, and turned on their television. They just happened to have satellite, and one of the German sports channels just happened to be showing WrestleMania 13. Vader and Mankind were double-teaming Owen Hart outside of the ring! After getting beat on for a few minutes, Owen nailed Mankind with a belly to belly on the concrete floor. He made the hot tag to Davey-Boy! I was blown away to see the two former stampede stars as WWF champions. Even though the match ended in a double count out, I was glued to the screen waiting to see what would happen next. What happened next, of course, was that I marked out like a little bitch as Bret Hart and Steve Austin brawled into the crowd, Bret broke out the ringpost figure four, Austin dripped blood on the canvas, Bret got superplexed, and Austin eventually blacked out from the pain. By the end of the match, I was a wrestling fan again.
  20. All Star folded before the 80s were through, but I still worked occasional spot shows for local legends like Rocky Dellasera. The crowds were small for those shows, however, and they seemed to get smaller every month. Wrestling's Main Event, the magazine that sent me the first cheque I ever received for writing something, also folded. The wrestling landscape had drastically changed, and there were essentially only two successful promotions left in North America. The Brain Busters, Earthquake, Bad News Brown, and the Hart Foundation were tearing things up in the WWF, and Sting, The Steiners, The Great Muta, Terry Funk, The Road Warriors, Brian Pillman, and of course Ric Flair were putting on great matches for the NWA. It was still a good time to be a fan. My friends and I were all getting a little sick of Hulk Hogan, because it was painfully apparent that all of his matches followed the exact same pattern. Still, when we heard that he was going to star in a movie, we made plans to be there on opening night. Seeing No Holds Barred in the theater was an experience that I will never forget. It changed the way I felt about Hulk Hogan, Vince McMahon, and the WWF. The movie was terrible. It wasn't even enjoyable in a campy, Wrestlecrap kind of way. No Holds Barred was irredeemable garbage. I felt ripped off, and so did the people I saw it with. To make things worse, Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon lied through their teeth about it on TV. Heenan claimed that people were lining up around the block to see the movie. Monsoon actually hinted that Hogan's performance had been Oscar-worthy. This was still before the invention of irony, so our only available reaction was to get angry. We had been looking forward to hearing Heenan rip into Hogan's piece of crap movie, and to hear him pathetically shilling it was almost more than I could take. A tape of The Great American Bash ’89 was enough to rekindle my interest in wrestling, but I was pretty much an NWA fan from that point on. I didn't watch the WWF again until the fall of 1990. They recaptured my interest by putting Earthquake in a program with Hogan, and they held my attention by coming up with an interesting gimmick for that year's Survivor Series. The gimmick took the form of a giant egg that they dragged out on TV and at arena shows for months. At Survivor Series, we were finally going to get to see what was inside the egg. Our hottest speculation was that it might be Lex Luger. I had to work the day of the show, but my then-girlfriend's younger brother went to see it on closed circuit. I dropped by their house the next day, and I was more excited about hearing what was inside the egg than I was about visiting my girl. When he told me, it took a while for me to accept that he wasn't pulling my leg. What was in the egg, what we had been waiting months to see, was some guy (Hector 'Lazer Tron' Guerrero, as it turns out) in a giant rubber turkey suit. He ran around the ring flapping his arms, and danced with Mean Gene as the fans booed like crazy and the announcers tried to claim that the kids in the crowd were loving it. The Gobbledy Gooker pretty much turned me off the WWF for years. I was tired of being lied to, and tired of having my intelligence insulted. (Again, ironic appreciation just wasn't something I was into back then) I was sick of Hulk Hogan, I missed the British Bulldogs, and I just didn't care any more. I was still a fan of the NWA, but McMahon\’s empire had pretty much squeezed them out of Canada, and it wasn't always easy to find their shows. I remember how excited I was in early 1991 to get hold of a copy of StarrCade 1990. The show featured the culmination of the Black Scorpion story line! I couldn't wait to see how that would turn out. Those of you who already know may not be surprised to hear that Starrcade 1990 pretty much destroyed the lingering remnants of my wrestling fandom. The story of what happened is covered pretty well on pages 197-198 of Flair\’s autobiography. What it came down to, essentially, is that even the NWA were now running angles that flat out insulted their fans’ intelligence. Later that year, I moved away to go back to University. The local TV station in my new home didn\’t carry wrestling, but I didn’t mind. (Dramatic pause...) I was no longer a fan.
  21. There would be absolutely no way for me to overstate how much I enjoyed my time with All Star Wrestling. I was nothing but a big mark, but I had been given the opportunity to play a bad guy manager and occasional colour commentator on the TV wrestling show that I grew up watching. The show was clearly on its last legs, but it was still broadcast across Canada, and we still got fan mail from all over the country. There were a number of talented and dedicated wrestlers who gave it their all every show, regardless of how few or how many people were there to see them. There were young high flyers like I-Ton, Wolverine Eddie Watts, and The Frog, and there were three hundred pound guys like J.R. Bundy. There were foreign bad guys like Tiger Dory Singh, huge power merchants like Ole Olsen, mat wrestlers like Mike Roselli, and grizzled veterans like Verne Seibert, Rock Dellaserra, Dan Denton, Diamond Timothy Flowers, and too many others to name. Raven spent a little time in the territory, working as Scotty the Body.He had some pretty sarcastic and funny things to say about the promotion in his shoot interview. Big John Tenta got his start in All Star, after leaving the world of sumo. Everyone was happy for him when he made the big time. Almost all of the people I met ’backstage’ were funny and interesting, and the fans were fantastic. I remember that at one of the TV tapings I was finally given the chance to interfere in a match. The fans were screaming and cursing at me. After the taping, as I was making my way to my car, a group of them approached me. I was seriously concerned for my own well-being. Much to my surprise, the same people who had been calling for my blood a half hour earlier were now smiling, shaking my hand, and letting me know what a good job they thought I’d done. A few of them even asked me for my autograph! They had books that were filled with signatures from all of the great stars who'd passed through the territories over the years. I was so honoured at being included in their company that I made the mistake of signing my own name. One of the fans took me aside and patiently explained that most of the wrestlers use their wrestling name when signing autographs. It's probably fair to say that I was the biggest mark in the building that night. I’ll tell you how much of a mark I was: Gorgeous Michelle Star used to tease me about working for Dave Meltzer, and I had NO IDEA what he was talking about. Those were the days when Kayfabe still reigned, and nobody was eager to clue me in. Just from being around the wrestlers, though, I gradually smartened up a little. I also spent a fair chunk of time training to get in the ring. I was physically strong enough and my body was able to take the punishment, but it quickly became apparent that I was never going to be a good wrestler. I simply wasn\’t agile or athletic enough to handle more than the most basic and simple of manoeuvres. I had trouble chaining moves together smoothly, never mind working the kind of match that could keep an audience entertained. I wasn’t even a good heel. Once, at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, a group of young punk rockers came out by the heel dressing room and asked to see me. The veteran bad guys advised me to go out there and treat the kids like crap and intimidate them a little, so that they\’d get mad at me and we’d be able to draw more heat from the crowd later on. Instead, I ended up riding around on the kids’ skateboards and trading corny jokes with them. Frankly, I was a terrible wrestler. About all I was good for was doing a few run-ins and taking the occasional bump. I think that there are a couple of ways I could have reacted to this unpleasant revelation. I could have turned my back on wrestling and become bitter about the whole thing. I could have kept pushing myself and hoped that either nobody noticed my obvious shortcomings, or that they would just be too polite to kick me out of the ring. I could have beaten myself up mentally and emotionally for not being good enough to live the dream. I guess I could have blamed the infinitely more talented guys who were training with me, or claimed that politics were holding me back. What actually happened, though, was that I became a bigger wrestling fan than I'd ever been before. Putting together a compelling match is incredibly difficult. A good wrestler needs to be strong, tough, quick, and agile both physically and mentally. I have a reasonably high IQ and I am able to think on my feet in most situations. Sitting at the announce table, calling the moves and coming up with off the cuff humorous remarks came to me as naturally as breathing. In the ring, though, with the lights shining, the crowd screaming, my adrenaline flowing, and some huge guy laying the chops in, I fell short. There are just so many things to think about, so many decisions that have to be made in a fraction of an instant, and so many distractions. Having trained as a wrestler, however unsuccessfully, has given me some understanding of the precise timing, extemporaneous creativity, trust, and teamwork that go into making even a halfway decent match. That, in turn, has given me enormous respect for the very few people who are able to do all of those things well. In addition to making me a better fan, my time with All Star provided me with a lifetime's worth of unique and special memories. Including one of the coolest things that ever happened to me. In 1989, which was the final year that All Star Wrestling's TV program would be produced, I went to a WWF show at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. I was going to get some popcorn and drinks when the people around me started booing. I couldn't figure out why, since the show hadn't begun and there was nobody in the ring. On the way back to my seat, the same people started up again, and then some of the people from the other sections started joining in. I looked around, but I couldn't see what they could possibly have been booing about, then I realised: They were booing me. I still get a little chill thinking about it now. Up until then, it never occurred to me that so many people actually watched our show. I can remember reading a quote from Jesse Ventura about Verne Gagne's AWA being at about the third to last swirl before it finally went down the toilet completely, and thinking that his quote could have also been applied to our show. For me, All Star Wrestling was a glorified hobby that let me have a blast while being seen on national TV. I loved every minute of it, but I often used to wonder how the serious professionals, the guys who took it as more than a hobby, must have felt about it all. I got my answer a few years ago, on the Wrestlecrap forums, where Big John Tenta used to pretty regularly. Here is what he had to say: "Gordi, All-Star was on its last legs but you must understand, All-Star is what made me want to become a wrestler. When I got to wrestle there, my father, and grandfather got to watch me participate in their favourite ”sport”. My father never watched me play basketball, rugby, or football, and only watched a few amateur matches, but put me in Cloverdale on a Saturday night, he was front row! I'd be there today if they still had TV."
  22. Thank YOU. What an awesome read, and what a great introduction you had to the world of pro wrestling. Andre, Blackjack, Backlund, Buddy Rose... for me it was Gene Kiniski and Don Leo Jonathan: It all started for me with an argument at recess. You could see the BCTV studios from my elementary school playground. My friend Dave asked if I wanted to go there to watch them tape All Star Wrestling. I scoffed at the suggestion, because that stuff is all fake, you know. Dave, who was bigger and stronger than me even though he is almost exactly one year younger than me, got pretty upset when I said that. He told me I should go sit in the front row and get spattered with blood, then see if I still think it\’s all fake. That weekend, I watched my first Episode of All Star Wrestling. It would not be my last. The big stars of the show were ”Canada’s Greatest Athlete” Gene Kiniski and ”The Mormon Giant” Don Leo Jonathan. I\’d like to say that the action and the stories sucked me in right away but I think it would be more accurate to say that I kept tuning in to try and figure out what was going on. I definitely loved Kiniski's growling promos. Whatever the reasons, I was hooked and I absolutely hated to miss an episode. A couple of years later, though, my father got memberships at the YMCA for my brother and I, and I had to sacrifice my Saturday wrestling program in favour of swimming, judo, and weightlifting. That was cool by me, I wanted to be big, strong, and fit like the wrestlers on TV. Looking back at those days on Kayfabe Memories, I can see that Roddy Piper, Andre the Giant, Rick Martel, and Jake Roberts were all on the program then, but I guess I missed most of that. By the time I started watching again in the early 1980s the promotion had changed drastically, featuring home grown talent like Rocky Dellesara, Moose Morrowski, Tim Flowers, Ole Olson, Verne Seibert, and Wojo The BC Hulk. I loved watching that show and I used to dream about being on TV with those guys one day. Toronto’s Maple Leaf Wrestling was changing too, in the opposite direction. After Frank Tunney died in 1983, his nephew Jack sold out to the WWF, and the program started to use the local talent as jobbers, if at all. I didn't know any of that at the time, of course. I became more of a casual fan, occasionally catching a show when there was nothing better going on. I started to develop a fondness for the action from Stampede Wrestling, an independent promotion out of Calgary. My friend Kevin was a more serious WWF fan, he had posters of a bunch of different wrestlers in his room. He was pretty much the only person I knew at the time who ever wanted to talk about wrestling. THE HULKSTER COMES TO TOWN After graduating, I got a job in a video store. The job didn't pay very well, but I got to watch a lot of free movies. I took out a couple of Coliseum Video releases, and I finally got to see what the deal was with all of those wrestlers who were on the posters in Kevin’s room, like King Kong Bundy and The Magnificent Muraco. In 1986, my friend Glen asked me if I wanted to go and see Hulk Hogan at BC Place Stadium. I figured "Might as well." I had no idea that the live experience was going to make fall in love with Pro Wrestling all over again. The show was pure entertainment, as much fun as anything I'd seen or done in years. After that, I took out every wrestling video in the store multiple times. I started dating a girl who worked at one of the other stores in the chain. Her family was from England, and she was a big fan of the British Bulldogs. Her older brother got me into watching the NWA, and I went out and bought my first issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated, to try and figure out who the good guys and the bad guys were. The late 80s were a pretty good time to be a wrestling fan in Canada. In addition to All Star and Stampede, we got WWF, NWA, AWA, and Bill Watts' UWF on television. I hated to miss anything, so I got a VCR and started taping it all. I loved how each of those shows had its own distinct personality. WWF had the great production values, NWA had more wrestling action, UWF was hard-hitting and violent, and the AWA had the Road Warriors. Stampede Wrestling had some of the best young workers in the world, but my favourite was the local show. More than a decade after my argument with Dave, I finally attended my second All Star Wrestling show, a TV taping. It wouldn't be my last. OUTSIDE IN I kept buying occasional Apter magazines, and also a full colour glossy mark rag called Wrestling's Main Event. Frustrated that none of the magazines ever covered the action from Stampede or All Star, I wrote to the editors of Wrestling's Main Event, and ended up being offered the position of Western Canadian Correspondent. The first piece of writing that I ever got paid for was a story on ”Big” John Tenta. The second was an interview with ”Diamond” Timothy Flowers. I wrote about everyone from Velvet McIntyre to Brian Pillman. At the time, Kayfabe was still in full effect, and it was pretty difficult for an outsider to get close to ”the boys." Luckily for me, my father knew All Star announcer Ed Karl, and one phone call later I was backstage. Al Tomko, the promoter, allowed me to stick around, probably hoping that I'd give some publicity to his sons, who were being pushed as the promotion's top faces. Almost everyone who watches wrestling wonders what it would be like to be part of the show. When I was invited to hang out in the heel dressing room at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds that weekend, I realised that I was a lot closer to finding out than I had ever imagined. My foot was in the door.
  23. Yeah, absolutely. Louie somehow managed to take the "unrealistically gorgeous woman throws herself at the regular-guy hero" trope and make it both believable and relatable. Brilliant.
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