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"Big Time Wrestling" Back In the Day


Keith Nivan

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Back before cable TV, the WWF and Hulk Hogan and friends nationalized the business, professional wrestling was an intensely regional "sport".

Pro wrestling was a TV programmer's dream come true: a camera, a ring, a couple of sandlot field bleachers, a few packs of Cub Scouts and you had a show!

Usually on Saturday night. Usually at dinnertime. Usually on UHF. (The channels with the big numbers.)

What was the pro wrestling scene where you grew up?

In Cleveland circa 1970 I recall:

*** "Big Time Wrestling" was on WUAB, Channel 43

*** They played "Classical Gas" as the theme music

*** Johnny Powers was the ultimate good guy

*** Bulldog Brauer (The Man of the Hour) was the ultimate bad guy

*** Then Johnny snapped and became a REALLY Bad Guy, beat the crap out of Bulldog Brauer and they played Bulldog for sympathy

*** Bobo Brazil -- he of the "Coco Butt" head butt fame

*** Pampeiro Firpas -- the Wild Bull of the Pampas, and Bobo's continent neighbor, I presume

*** When one of the stooge / loser wrestlers got kicked in the groin, the announcer would intone, "That's gotta hurt."

Why / how I recall all this: I have no idea.

What am I forgetting about Cleveland?

What was the scene in your town?

Wrestling was so much simpler back then . . .

"Keith"

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Ahhh... those were the days...

mid-70's "Florida Championship Wrestling"

Announcer: Gordon Solie

Main stars included Jack Brisco (World's Champion), his brother Jerry; Mike Graham and his father, Eddie; Steve Kiern, Dusty Rhodes (who was still a "bad guy" in the attatched video), Pak Song (part of Gary Hart's "army"), Dory Funk, Jr. and his brother Terry; Don "The Magnificent M" Morocco, Killer Karl Cox, Olie Anderson, Barry Windam... and a lot of comers and goers... laugh

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That was Bulldog "Brower", by the way, not "Brauer".

Hell, everyone watched rasslin' back in the day......except, I guess, Tony, who was busy, to use Tracy's words, knitting doilies, and (in his own words) listening to songs that actually make you feel like you're swaying back and forth in a boat....

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When my husband & I got married in 1985, he was a big wrestling fan, so I sat and watched it too. I soon became as excited about it as he was. However, being the naive woman I was and not understanding a lot about wrestling, I really pitied George the Animal Steele. I really thought he was the pitiful person he portrayed to be till my husband read that he had been a college professor and was the actual father of Miss Elizabeth! That just blew me away. crazy

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