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Lee B.

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Everything posted by Lee B.

  1. The Professional Wrestling Studies Association has posted my 1992 interview with Jeff Jarrett, conducted at the Mid-South Coliseum before the start of the night's matches: https://www.prowrestlingstudies.org/2022/09/14/before-shoot-interviews-jeff-jarrett/ The main event was a wild and memorable brawl between the Moondogs and Jeff, Jerry Lawler, and Eric Embry, which ended with a Moondog throwing "battery acid" in the face of Embry! I seem to recall seeing burn marks on Eric's face as he was helped to the back, or maybe Eric's convincing selling made me believe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbomhzyIFoo
  2. The Professional Wrestling Studies Association has now posted part two of my 1991 interview with Pro Wrestling Torch publisher Wade Keller: https://www.prowrestlingstudies.org/2022/08/25/before-shoot-interviews-wade-keller-part-2/ I'll be back to interviews with pro wrestlers for the next installment.
  3. Continuing the "dirt-sheet" theme, the Professional Wrestling Studies Association has published part one of my 1991 interview with college student Wade Keller, who was around four years into publishing the Pro Wrestling Torch at the time: https://www.prowrestlingstudies.org/2022/08/11/before-shoot-interviews-wade-keller-part-1/
  4. I spent a few minutes with Dave Meltzer in 1991, just 1 year into my 33-year-long subscription to The Wrestling Observer. You can read Dave's thoughts on creating the newsletter, and his time writing a column for The National Sports Daily, here: https://www.prowrestlingstudies.org/2022/07/28/before-shoot-interviews-dave-meltzer/
  5. I'm impressed by your memories of the Eddie Sharkey review in that 1992 magazine! If anyone wants more Eddie Sharkey insights, part 2 of my 1991 interview with Mr. Sharkey has just been posted: https://www.prowrestlingstudies.org/2022/07/14/before-shoot-interviews-eddie-sharkey-part-2/ My favorite line from the interview: "Harley had already ripped his eye out!"
  6. Very cool about the 1992 interview with Eddie Sharkey in (possibly) Wrestling Today! I would love to see that. I wonder whether Eddie repeated any of the stories he told me. I am happy that folks are enjoying these old interviews. They will continue to be published every other week, usually around Wednesday, at the Professional Wrestling Studies Association Website (https://www.prowrestlingstudies.org/).
  7. Anyone heard of Eddie Sharkey? He trained the Road Warriors and Rick Rude, and had lots of other adventures in the wrestling business. I interviewed him at a Minneapolis Denny's in 1991, and you can see part one of the interview here: https://www.prowrestlingstudies.org/2022/06/29/before-shoot-interviews-eddie-sharkey-part-1/
  8. I think the WWE missed a great opportunity by not announcing a special tournament to crown the Interim WWE CEO. I guess the winner of that tournament would have a PPV unification match with Vince when he is cleared of all wrongdoing.
  9. Hi all! A 1992 interview I conducted with Teddy Long has just been posted on the Professional Wrestling Studies Association website: https://www.prowrestlingstudies.org/2022/06/15/before-shoot-interviews-teddy-long/ This interview includes some interesting reflections on making a transition from ref to heel ref to heel manager. Anyone have any favorite Teddy Long moments? One of my favorites was a goofy 1990 angle where Teddy was forced to serve as Ric Flair's chauffeur, but then double-crossed Flair with the help of some "kidnappers."
  10. A new, non-Bruno Sammartino interview--this time featuring former WWF Women's Champion Rockin' Robin--has been posted on the Professional Wrestling Studies Association website: https://www.prowrestlingstudies.org/2022/06/01/before-shoot-interviews-rockin-robin/ This interview includes some charming recollections of Robin wrestling in Japan. Enjoy!
  11. The third part of my 1991 interview with Bruno Sammartino has now been posted on the Professional Wrestling Studies Association website: https://www.prowrestlingstudies.org/2022/05/12/before-shoot-interviews-bruno-sammartino-part-3/ This kind of makes me want to watch some David Sammartino matches from the 1980s. But maybe not. Enjoy!
  12. That seems to be a dead link. Also...spoilers! The interviews will all be posted on the Professional Wrestling Studies Association's website in the coming months. Thanks!
  13. Part 2 of my 1991 interview with Bruno Sammartino is now up, wherein Bruno recounts his early years as a professional wrestler, including getting blackballed by the WWF in the early 1960s: https://www.prowrestlingstudies.org/2022/04/27/before-shoot-interviews-bruno-sammartino-part-2/
  14. In the olden times, Phil Rippa posted on the DVDVR website a bunch of interviews I conducted with folks in the pro wrestling business in the very early 1990s. When the board went kablooey, the interview page disappeared. However, the interviews are back, courtesy of a new blog series on the Professional Wrestling Studies Association website. The first post is part 1 of an interview I conducted with Bruno Sammartino at the tail end of John Arezzi's 1991 Weekend of Champions in Queens, NY. I will be adding additional posts every two weeks, featuring interviews with Lou Thesz, Jeff Jarrett, Marc Mero, Teddy Long, Rockin' Robin, Larry Sharpe, Dave Meltzer, Wade Keller, Eddie Sharkey, and several others. I hope you enjoy the interviews!
  15. Hi all! As the newly elected Non-Academic Representative of the Professional Wrestling Studies Association, I would like to invite you all to attend WrestlePosium III on April 9, 2022: https://www.prowrestlingstudies.org/home-2/wrestleposium-the-online-symposium/wrestleposium-iii/ Registration is free, and the day will be filled with interesting presentations and thought-provoking roundtable discussions. At 11:00am Central, I will be moderating a roundtable discussion on Critiquing Matches, featuring panelists Alan Counihan, Tyler McDowell-Blanken, and our own Phil Schneider. Please let me know if you have any questions about this event. I hope you can make it! Best regards, Lee Benaka
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Thanks for the great feedback! That was very helpful. If I make it to the show, I'll share my impressions here. Best, Lee
  24. 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
  25. 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.
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