By Bob Magee of Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets (PWBTS.com)
Some sad news this past weekend as another wrestling venue is being demolished, the home of the first wrestling I ever saw, a story I’ve written about before when watching the Sheik’s TV off of CKLW in adjacent Windsor, ON one Saturday as a seven year old.
It was announced that Cobo Arena, the indoor arena that was the home base of The Sheik’s Big Time Wrestling Detroit territory; will be demolished to permit an addition onto the adjacent Cobo Hall meeting and convention space. Many times the Arena was referred to by the Cobo Hall name, which is actually the name of the entire complex.
Cobo Arena was also the home at one point of the Detroit Pistons, the WHA’s Michigan Stags, and other minor sports teams over its long history. The venue also hosted the revival of WWF’s Saturday Night’s Main Event show in 2006, as well as other shows for WCW and WWF.
Cards were promoted with the tag line: “THIS SATURDAY NIGHT at the beautiful air-conditioned Cobo Arena…. be there for the excellent card of Big Time Wrestling… call 961-9557, don’t be left out!”
The territory featured names like Bobo Brazil, Fred and Bull Curry, Pampero Firpo, Killer Brooks, Tony Marino, Haystacks Calhoun, Tex McKenzie, Johnny Valentine, Abdullah the Butcher, Dory and Terry Funk, Gino Hernandez, Mark Lewin, Dusty Rhodes, Ripper Collins; and had the classic Sheik bloodbaths with Dick the Bruiser and Abdullah The Butcher.
Speaking of other sad memories…It was a little more than four years ago, on August 18, 2005, that CZW wrestler Christopher “Chri$ Ca$h” Bauman Jr. was killed as the result of a motorcycle accident near his home. Bauman had been riding a motorcycle on Ellis Street in Glassboro, NJ when a Ford Taurus turned in front of it from Higgins Drive, striking the car on the driver’s side of a vehicle driven by Daisy Gwin of Glassboro, NJ.
Christopher J. Bauman Jr., 23, died at the scene, as did his cousin 27 year old Jeremy Bauman, 27, of Franklinville, NJ the driver of the motorcycle. Gwin, 68, of Glassboro, died en route to Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Washington Township, NJ.
Chris was always genuinely friendly in a way that a lot of wrestlers aren’t, but had the wild side we all had at age 23. He was a nice young man, in every sense that the phrase used to mean; and always felt obligated to call me “Mr. Magee” when I came to a show (even when I told him he didn’t have to), would always say hello when I saw him at a CZW show and tell me he’d seen something or another on my PWBTS.com site.
Bauman worked for CZW from 2001 through 2005, with many non-CZW fans even taking notice of him at Cage of Death 5 in his absolutely psychotic ladder match with Blackout’s Joker (who left the promotion shortly afterwards to serve in the US military over in Iraq for one of his tours of duty). The oddest thing is that this match wasn’t even supposed to happen in the way that it did; as it was originally scheduled as a tag team bout, involving Deranged and Azriael, who were working the Jersey All Pro Wrestling show in Rahway, NJ, then come down to Philadelphia for CZW.
But in an almost unprecedented moment for those who know CZW… the show was actually running ahead of schedule. As a result, Deranged and Azriael were not yet at the building. Another version of the story had the two calling the building, telling CZW they were just leaving…and were told not to bother, because they’d never make it in time. In any event, this forced the promotion to go ahead with a singles ladder match, which turned out to be the best thing that could have happened, as it made two stars for CZW in one night with Cash and Joker nearly stealing the entire show. Psycho spots in this match included Cash bulldogging Joker while his head was inside a rung of a ladder off the ropes onto a chair, a top rope superplex onto a ladder stuck at a 45 degree angle into the rungs of another ladder; ending with one of the sickest spots I’ve ever seen in my years of shows at the ECW Arena, as Joker hit his Joker Driver (tiger driver from an electric chair position) off the top of a high ladder with Cash through a table for the pin.
Cash also main evented Cage of Death 6/War Games, as part of the babyface Team Ca$h (Nate Webb, Sexxy Eddy, Cash, JC Bailey) against heel team (turned babyface and heel again) Blackout (Ruckus, Sabian, Kingston, and Jack Evans. As usual, the match featured the daredevil spots for which Cash was known throughout his all-too-short career; including dumping Jack Evans via backdrop off the COD to the floor, and giving Sabian a Cashflow off of the scaffold through four tables, landing in the second row of the ECW Arena.
All I could think when I heard the news four years ago was: God…Chris was easily young enough to be my son. Sons aren’t supposed to die before the parents…or their contemporaries. At the same time, I can’t imagine Chris as a 40 or 50 year old. His spirit was too free and wild to have ever been anything but young.
Chris will be remembered agian this year with the annual Chris Ca$h doubleheader on September 12. Matches signed for the evening show are thus far:
ULTRAVIOLENT UNDERGROUND CHAMPIONSHIP
UVU Champion Danny Havoc vs. “The New Horror” Sami Callihan
DREAM PARTNER TAG MATCH
Jon Moxley and ??? vs. xOMGx and ???
CZW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
The Best Around vs. Adam Cole and HD Tyler Veritas
AERIAL ALL-STARS COLLIDE!
“The Full-Figured Jr. Heavyweight” Greg Excellent vs. “Quick” Carter Gray
The Spanish Armada (LJ Cruz and Alex Colon) vs. Team Macktion
Until next time….
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