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Lee B.

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About Lee B.

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    Seattle Yannigan

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  1. In 1991 I interviewed wrestler, trainer, and referee Eddie Sharkey at a Minneapolis Denny's over breakfast. Eddie had the following reminiscence about Harley Race: We did have a lot of fun. The fights were classics. I used to hang around with Harley Race. I bought a house here in south Minneapolis, and he lived with me. Harley's a tough son-of-a-gun, you know. He can fight in the street like you can't believe. Harley's tough. Our fights were classics. He was in court all day. It wasn't a question of if we'd win or lose, it was how quick we could knock the guys out. And we went out for years like that. Never run, you never run. You'll panic the crowd, you know. You'll never see a guy run from the ring with a crowd after him. You see, in those days we didn't have the police protection we have now. There were no barricades, there was one cop. Now there's barricades and a dozen cops. We never had that. I remember one time in Denver, I was standing around talking to some girl or something, and Harley Race came out. Somebody got the crowd mad, so they said, "Let's grab Harley." Now a guy grabs him around the waist, and somehow they were down. And in the meantime a woman was hitting him with a high-heeled shoe, and I'm only a few feet away. So I took about six steps and kicked the guy as hard as I could, right in the head. And it didn't move him. So I said, "We're in trouble. I'm just gonna stick my finger in, and pull this guy's eyeball right out." I reached down, stuck my finger in his eye, and I stuck my finger in an empty eye socket. Harley had already ripped his eye out! The guy bit through Harley's finger. I'd never felt anything like that in my life. It was just unexplainable, how that felt. And I looked down, and the guy's eye is ripped out, and by this time, you know, we're out of there. We were both barred for about three months. We couldn't go back to Denver.
  2. Here's what Bruno told me in 1991 about his mid-1980s run in the WWF: My son [David] was wrestling against my wishes. I never wanted my son to be a wrestler. I wanted him to go to college, and after college if he wanted to wrestle, he had my blessing, and I'd help him. Because I felt that if he was put through any of the stuff I'd been put through, maybe he might not want to deal with that, and he could have something to fall back on. That's why I so desperately wanted him to go to school. But he told me, with or without my help, he was going to go into wrestling. And he got other people to help him. Honestly, I can't take credit for him wrestling because I did not help him, absolutely not. But by this time I also had to face up to reality in 1984. David had been wrestling for about four years or so at that time, and there was a question of now accepting that fact. When this guy [Vince McMahon, Jr.] offered me the chance to come back to New York for my input and color commentating, he also said, "We can keep the Sammartino legend going with David." I thought, since David is stubborn, if I can help him, why not? When I went there, it was false promises. First of all, all [McMahon Jr.] wanted me for was because of my name and reputation with the WWF. I was never asked for any input about anything. In fact, what he wanted was for me to put on my tights again. I refused, but then he got to my kid and he said, "You know, if you can get your father to put on the tights, it'll be a big break for you." My kid and I, unfortunately, never saw things the same way. He said, "Why can't you, Dad? You're in great shape, you're still running. You're not heavy, but so what, you don't have to be 275 pounds anymore." To not be accused later, if things didn't go well with my kid, I put on the tights. But I was very angry about it. I saw the changes that were going on in the WWF, and I didn't like it. The ridiculous bizarreness, the gimmickery, the painted faces, stuff that I just didn't believe. Stuff that I didn't like. And I felt that if I don't believe or like this, I shouldn't be here. So I tried to get out, and David said, "You're going to blow it for me to get a chance." So I stayed, but then David became disenchanted, and he quit. And then I knew he had no place to go because by this time, it seemed like all the other territories had gone under. So I stayed in there because I knew David would want to come back, but he's a hot-head. I stayed, McMahon asked me to put on the tights, and I did, because I felt that if I didn't meet his wishes, then how could I bring David back. I felt very angry and frustrated because I felt I was being used to a certain degree, and I blamed McMahon and my kid, I blamed them both. Finally, I reached the point where I said to myself, "I have to get out of this, because I'm embarrassed to be associated with this organization." I got out, I quit.
  3. I interviewed Bruno back in 1991 at a wrestling fan convention outside of NYC (anyone else there?), and my interview was posted on the old DVDVR site before the great crash. Due to the magic of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, you can read it here: https://web.archive.org/web/20050406100904/http://www.deathvalleydriver.com:80/Benaka/Sammartino.html Cheers, Lee
  4. I don't think there has been a t-shirt available recently featuring the logo for Abdullah the Butcher's House of Ribs and Chinese Food. But just in time for the holidays, a high school friend has turned the restaurant's logo into a t-shirt design: https://www.teepublic.com/t-shirt/2178462-abdullah-the-butcher?store_id=129271 You can even get it on a onesie, which I would post here if I knew how to post a downloaded PNG image on this board. Thanks, Lee
  5. I'm sorry it has taken me a while to respond, but I was disappointed with the Hillbilly Jim bio. It was written by a person who specializes in bios of Kentucky basketball stars, so the book spends a lot of time on Jim's high school basketball career. Interesting anecdotes about pro wrestling are few and far between, and about 2/3 of the way through the book, the author truly runs out of things to say and just kind of starts repeating blandishments about how surprised that good ol' Jim became one of the most popular wrestlers ever. The quotes from Jim seem to indicate that he encountered unsavory characters during his wrestling career, but specifics lacking, other than a story about Jerry Lawler buying extravagant leather biker gear for Jim's "Harley Davidson" gimmick in Memphis, and then charging Jim for the gear. I was especially looking forward to reading about Jim's transition from wrestler to satellite radio DJ (I do like his show), but the book didn't say much about it. There are a lot of photos of Jim with various wrestlers and music stars. And as a slightly fun fact, I learned that after Jim retired from wrestling, he worked as a sales rep for the company that produced and distributed WWF videos in the 1980s. Overall, it was a drag to finish this book, and I can't recommend it.
  6. I agree with this review of the Pete Gas book. It was given to me, along with the Hillbilly Jim bio, and the Pete Gas book was much, much better. I can't say it is worth $14, but it is worth the few hours it took for me to read the book, and time is money, as they say.
  7. I have fond memories of JJ Dillon when he was in the Bob Geigel/Harley Race Central States promotion based out of Kansas City. JJ led a group of heels called the Rat Pack. I can't remember who else was in that group. Their main goal was to be able to put Rufus R. Jones in a rat suit. I can't remember how that turned out, but I would imagine JJ ended up in the suit, much like Bobby Heenan in the weasel suit.
  8. Thanks for the great feedback! That was very helpful. If I make it to the show, I'll share my impressions here. Best, Lee
  9. Hi all! I'm spending two days in Tokyo beginning this Friday. It looks like there may be a New Japan show at Korakuen Hall that evening. Is it possible to buy tickets at this point? Also, are there any other pro wrestling-related sights to check out in Tokyo, like shops that sell wrestling stuff? I'm staying in the Koto Ward, for what it's worth. Thanks! Best regards, Lee
  10. Did you see them last week at the 930 Club Phil? It was sold-out, so I didn't. If so, how was the show? I didn't know this band and thought the idea was a bit precious when I first heard of it, but having bought the album, I am sold. It is all so sincere. I really like it.
  11. I should mention that I am looking forward to the next set as well. I have some long flights coming up in late April and late May, and watching some good wrestling would take my mind off of my fear of crashing. Although when I hit turbulence and feel like I could die, it's slightly comforting to think that one of the last things I will have seen in my life is a good Dick Murdoch match.
  12. I finally finished my ballot. Thanks to Will, Ohtani's Jacket, and everyone else who made this a great learning experience, and a lot of fun. Now I know why Phil is so crazy for lucha. This was a challenge to get through, but totally worth it in the end. Here are my top 20 matches. I favored singles and stipulation matches, apparently: 1. Sangre Chicana vs. Villano III (12/7/84) 2. Satanico vs. Super Astro (10/26/84) 3. Tony Salazar vs. Herodes (3/2/84) 4. MS-1 vs. Sangre Chicana (9/23/83) 5. Espanto Jr. vs El Hijo Del Santo (Mask vs. Mask) (8/31/86) 6. Sangre Chicana vs. Perro Aguayo (Hair vs. Hair) (2/28/86) 7. Arandu vs. Guerrero Negro (Hair vs. Hair) (1988) 8. Atlantis vs. El Satanico (1984) 9. Emilio Charles vs. El Dandy (Hair v. Hair) (7/28/89) 10. El Hijo del Santo vs. Negro Casas (Mask vs. Hair) (7/18/87) 11. El Brazo, Brazo Del Oro y Brazo Del Plata vs. Hombre Bala, Pirata Morgan y El Verdugo (Super Libre) (11/10/89) 12. Pirata Morgan vs. El Dandy (Hair vs. Hair) (9/23/88) 13. Atlantis y Satanico vs. MS-1 y Tierra Viento y Fuego (Hair/Mask vs. Hair/Mask) (9/22/89) 14. El Hijo Del Santo vs. Espanto Jr. (4/10/88) 15. Sangre Chicana vs. Satanico (5/26/89) 16. Fuerza Guerrera vs. El Hijo Del Santo vs. All Star (Mask Match) (12/8/89) 17. Emilio Charles Jr., MS-1 y Tierra, Viento y Fuego vs. Atlantis, El Dandy y Mascara Sagrada, (11/24/89) 18. Emilio Charles, Fabuloso Blondy y Pirata Morgan vs. El Dandy, Atlantis & El FaraĆ³n (7/21/89) 19. Sangre Chicana vs. MS-1 (Hair vs. Hair) (9/21/84) 20. Espectro Jr., Satanico y MS-1 vs. Mocho Cota, Sangre Chicana y La Fiera (9/30/83)
  13. I forgot to watch this match the first time around, but it was really easy and enjoyable. The only problem is that I will have to manually bump down a bunch of matches on my ballot when I place this in the top 30 or so matches. I thought this was great. Fiera did a great job of selling. His partners were useless to an annoying extent, stalking around, waiting to be punched, but that didn't spoil the match for me. Everyone has done a nice job of pointing out the several fine moments in this match. I would add to them a moment where Babyface is headbutted (I think) by Fiera and screams, them grimaces, then just looks dull and out of it. Also, the slugfest between Babyface and Fiera, with some amazing week-kneed selling from Babyface, was a lot of fun. The post-match abuse and mask-tearing almost makes this match seem a bit one-sided in retrospect, but overall it was good stuff, probably around top 30 for me.
  14. This match was long, but the three wrestlers involved were talented and all had very good moments. Rudo Santo? I need a Lucha history lesson here. Guerrera was masterful in the first two falls, starting with the ambush of All Star as he was trying to leave the ring. I loved Guerrera's quick and desperate escapes from Santo's camel clutch. That match-up meandered a bit around the bulldogs, but overall it was good. The violence of the second match-up was compelling, and Guerrera did a nice job selling the damage before pulling out a clutch win. Santo-All Star features blood through the mask and some nice dives, plus the crowd turn. The ending is effective, even though it is kind of a weaselly win for Santo, which I guess is appropriate considering the crowd's attitude. Santo's continued abuse of All Star after the match is intense, including his kind of punching the mask off of All Star. This match is too solid and memorable to drop out of my top 20 or 30.
  15. I thought Timbs singing voice was pretty good for a heel national anthem-singing wrestler. Timbs seemed to be the Larry Z. of Mexico in the first fall with his quite vocal selling and stalling by jumping out of the ring. I also thought Timbs's second was added to the match. The ending was a surprise. The hair-pulling schtick and the knee-pad controversy was novel for a Lucha match. The ending has awkward moments, like when Timbs is kind of dropkicked into the ref twice in a row, and the ref kind of no-sells it. Timbs's bag of tricks is pretty limited, and I agree that this match will settle toward the bottom of the 100 matches.
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