Jeff Bradley, who helps out for CarltonPrescott.com, actually asked me to do an interview recently, which many of you will be happy to know is chock-full of wrestling…and nothing but opinions about it and some of my experiences. I thought I’d share it with readers.
Feel free to e-mail opinions regarding any of the subjects contained in it.
How did you become a fan of pro wrestling and at what age? What is your first memory of pro wrestling?
It goes back to 1964 when I was seven years old and living in Detroit. I was a kid, and the Saturday morning cartoons were done at 1:00 pm or so, and I was looking for something to watch on TV. I flipped the channel to CKLW Channel 9 in Windsor, Ontario, where Hockey Night in Canada aired (my mom, dad and I were hockey fans, so knew the channel) when I saw, quite by accident, the Sheik’s Detroit TV show. I looked and saw The Sheik going nuts, my mouth dropped open, and I said “What is THIS?” I’ve been hooked ever since.
Somewhere in there as well, I have a late cousin who did some smallscale promoting up in Utica, NY involving shows that used Ernie Ladd. There are also relatives on my mom’s side that ran circuses…so I suppose the carny has been around one part of my family in way or the other for even longer than I can document.
What wrestling shows did you watch growing up?
Earliest was obviously The Sheik’s stuff. The early wrestling I have more detailed memories about would be 1970s WWWF, then later Georgia Championship Wrestling’s early days on TBS after moving out to Toledo, Ohio in the late 1970s/early 1980s.
Do you remember the first live show you went to?
First major promotion show I can recall was NWA shows at the Philadelphia Civic Center, probably 1985 or so.
Do you follow any other sports?
I’m a bigtime Philadelphia sports fan, particularly the Philadelphia Flyers.
When did you first decide that you wanted to be involved in pro wrestling in some form?
It happened by pure chance, actually. Fritz Capp, the original owner of PWBTS when it was in newsletter form…asked me if I’d mind contributing my (even back then opinionated about what I liked and what I didn’t) thoughts to his monthly newsletter called Pro Wrestling Between the Sheets.
Was your website, http://www.pwbts.com, your first step into the wrestling business?
Is your site a full time job, or something you focus on in your free time?
Definitely something in my free time. I’ve been working full time in education and counseling in for-profit schools and non-profit agencies since 1983.
How many hours a day do you spend on your site?
3 hours or so
Do you have contacts inside of the industry that you talk to, for the site or otherwise?
Yes. Most of them are in independent wrestling, but I have some in WWE as well.
What are some of your memories of Dennis Corraluzzo?
As an always colorful character who in many ways, was the epitome of an old-time wrestling promoter. It seems appropriate that on the last weekend of his life Dennis went to a wrestling event, then complained on the way home Sunday of not feeling well, then suffered the brain hemorrage that took his life. It figures Dennis would be around the wrestling business until the every end.
While Dennis was what Dennis was as a promoter (and I don’t believe in posthumous canonization, so I recognize both sides of him), he also had the other side that not everyone saw. For all the carny (and a few other things) that Dennis had in his soul, I remember that he was the one who honored Eddie Gilbert with the Memorial Weekends; not other who should have been the ones who honored Gilbert, but stabbed him in the back instead.
One of the nicer things he ever did was during 1998′s Gilbert Weekend, when he conspired with Jim Cornette to do a surprise honor of Brian Hildebrand. I met Brian through Dennis actually…I saw Brian him for the first time in 1990 during a combined Dennis Coraluzzo-Joel Goodhart benefit wrestling show for Philadelphia area wrestling fan Tom Robinson, with Brian doing his “Dr. Mark Curtis” manager’s gimmick.
Brian had called me days before the Gilbert Banquet, wondering why Jim Cornette and then Dennis were calling him numerous times to make sure he was coming, and said “Bob, what in hell is up here?” I replied, not wanting to ruin the surprise, but knowing he’d smell me fudging a mile away… “Well, if you actually got Dennis to return a phone call…if you got Corny calling that many times in a week…I’d bring a suit… and be prepared to say something”.
The tribute that Jim Cornette did for him at that Gilbert Banquet was pure Cornette, totally irreverent as usual, but also done with a great deal of feeling. But it wouldn’t have happened at all if Corraluzzo hadn’t helped set it up.
I believe you were a part of the SMW BBQ? Is this correct? If so, tell us about that experience.
The SMW Fanweek were two of the most fun summers of my life. Hell, looking forward to it all summer until August was half the fun.
To explain for those who aren’t familiar with them, SMW Fanweeks were a combination traveling road show, along with barbecues, shoot Q&As, and marathon videotape parties, as well as lots of beer… and excursions to a Knoxville establishment called “The Mouse’s Ear” for those so inclined.
Fanweeks were a chance to experience Southern wrestling and mark out with other wrestling fans. Brian Hildebrand, who I mentioned earlier, was the reason these yearly Fanweek celebrations were possible, because of his non-stop organizational work during the weeks leading up to them; and during the moment to moment problems that occur when one is trying to please 55 human beings, please Jim Cornette and Sandy Scott, AND work as referee “Mark Curtis” all at the same time. An example of the problems was the infamous tour bus to Johnson City that was outraced by the Mongolian Stomper on his bicycle, due to the bus engine not working well as we traveled over mountains.
My favorite Fanweek story involves the time in August 1994 at Fanweek that I had to go with Brian to Knoxville’s West Town Mall to get Jim Cornette a new tennis racquet (a local fan had taken it upon himself to steal Jim’s racquet at a SMW house show the night before).
Brian and I went to a sporting goods store and got the racquet. The clerk fell all over himself meeting “Mark Curtis”. I stood and watched. As the clerk rang up the purchase, he asked me “Can I help you, sir?”. I replied, in full kayfabe mode, “I’m just here with Mr. Curtis”. We walked away into the Mall to grab lunch, and Brian asked me, “How in hell did you just do that?”
My reply was “Because you and Jimmy taught us to remember that your folks down here ‘still believe’.” Even the “smartest” of smart marks wanted to help the people of Tennessee keep their special “belief” even though we knew better….all because of the atmosphere Cornette, Hildebrand, and the SMW crew created.
I believe you were a part of the famous front row of ECW that included many people involved in wrestling related sites or companies, such as Smart Mark Video and PWInsider. What were your feeling on the Shane Douglas/NWA Title situation? And did you know anything about it ahead of time?
Yup, I was part of that front row in the early years. Some of the people in it included Frank Iadedvia and Ray Sager who later started Jersey All Pro Wrestling, the Smart Mark Video crew, some of the original 1wrestling.com crew (now all with PWinsider.com)…and of course, “Hawaiian shirt” John Bailey (who is as recognized as some of the ECW crew, even years later…to the point that people at Hardcore Homecoming asked him for autographs).
No one in the crowd knew a thing about the Douglas swerve. If you take a look at the DVDs of the ECW TV of that night, you’ll see my younger brother and I front row as shocked as anyone could be.
How about some of the other famous ECW incidents? What were your recollections and opinions on:
The burning chair incident?
I remember it all too well. The seats that the flaming material came onto were either the old seats of my brother and I…or right next to them. I lucked out only because when ECW started asking people to buy four seats at a time for “Club ECW”, I decided I’d rather sit in the bleachers. ECW should never have used fire in a building where the crowd was that close to the action. They are very lucky that the incident didn’t result in a catastrophe.
Disgusting. That’s about all I’ll say. Even ECW should have known there are absolutes you don’t go beyond.
The first PPV?
I was there, if jammed in the corner and not able to see that much. Garden State Cable carried it (one of the few local systems that did) and I actually got to see later a lot of what I missed behind hundreds of people standing in front of me.
But going back to the pre-show…even with the usual pre-show craziness at the ECW Arena…that day was something special. Fans waited outside the ECW Arena from early on that morning. The Arena was filled as full as physical space would allow, well beyond anything permitted by city or state fire laws. The atmosphere was really electric outside our little Bingo Hall.
Think about it…all this came from what we saw as “our” wrestling promotion, which was founded by a downtown storefront pawnbroker that got its fame from running in the most unusual of locations, a converted Bingo Hall that was first an old freight warehouse. ECW staff had to paint and fix itd up on their own, down the street from a bargain basement store and vacant buildings. The promotion went in that building within four years from drawing crowds that wouldn’t fill a bar…. to going on PPV. It amazes me to this day.
Whatever happened later with Paul Heyman’s business inepitude…anyone around that night saw magic that will always be remembered.
Yup. I was there as well. I’m not sure what surprised me more….Lawler being there, or when Jim Cornette did. And no, I didn’t know either time.
Did you ever meet Paul Heyman?
Heh. On more than one occasion. My personal dealings with Heyman were primarily limited to a situation in 1996 where he unfairly let go a person who worked behind the scenes with ECW. I’ve said more than enough about it in the past.
Other memories of ECW?
Texas Chain Match Massacre, Terry Funk vs. Eddie Gilbert, June 19, 1993 – This show was the first ECW show sold on tape commercially, with what was then the largest crowd in the young promotion’s history. These two gave the fans at the Arena an old school all-Arena bloody brawl of a kind not seen anywhere in Philadelphia, save Gilbert’s own program in 1991 with Cactus Jack in ECW’s predecessor, the Tri-State Wrestling Alliance.
The Night The Line Was Crossed, Shane Douglas vs. Terry Funk vs. Sabu, February 5, 1994- The original “Three Way Dance” (although it wasn’t referred to as such at the time) was a one hour long match that put the cartoon shows that masqueraded as professional wrestling of the time to shame. Between the blow-away effort of the three wrestlers, Heyman’s booking had fans going with a match that told a story in creating the storylines that moved along the three pivotal characters of the golden era of ECW.
For earliest memories, I also have to mention the match with The Sheik/Pat Tanaka – Kevin Sullivan/Tasmaniac; primarily for being one of the few times I got to see the Sheik wrestle live. It kind of made things come full circle with what I earlier mentioned about my first site of The Sheik.
Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton crash the ECW Arena, April 13, 1994 – What was the single loudest, wildest, out-of-control crowd reaction in my memory of the six and a half years at the ECW Arena occurred when Bobby Eaton, then Arn Anderson ran in to conclude a two match multi-part angle involving Shane Douglas, Curtis Hughes, The Public Enemy, Tommy Dreamer, The Bruise Brothers, and Sabu. Seeing Anderson sent the crowd into some other level of sound. Anderson and Eaton were always favorites in Philadelphia, because they were hardnosed and actually seemed to wrestle, a perfect counter to the cartoon show going on in the WWF and WCW during that era. So, when they hit the ring that night to set up the main event for When Worlds Collide the next month…it’s another one of those “you gotta see it for yourself” moments.
The Public Enemy vs. Funk Brothers (Barbed Wire Match), Heatwave, July 17, 1994- In an building that was estimated by some to be as much as 120 degrees, PE and the Funks tore down the house, with an incredibly violent match, remarkable given the temperature, let alone any temperature, at Dory and Terry Funk’s ages.
The Raven-Tommy Dreamer feud, March 1995 to June 1997 – In an era where storylines are non-existent, where feuds are dropped at the drop of a hat, and where fans are too “smart” to get emotionally involved, this two and! a half year feud with ECW’s ultimate babyface against the character t hat was the masterpiece of Paul Heyman and Scott Levy’s careers was the most memorable feud in recent memory anywhere in wrestling…to this very day.The feud has twists and turns; starting off with their “mutual girlfriend from summer camp” (now the real-life wife of Dreamer) Beulah McGillicutty; concluding with an actual payoff at the end at Wrestlepalooza in June, 1997 with Raven’s departure to WCW.
Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Psicosis, Mexican Death Match, November To Remember, November 18, 1995 – This match gave fans another once in a lifetime experience to see Rey Misterio Jr. before injuries and being unmasked by Eric Bischoff took away some of his ability and mystique. Seeing these two go full blast (without being told not to show up oversized, overpaid mastodons on top as happened in WCW), was a thrill that I’ll never get again. The match made what they later did in WCW look like a shot and a beer indy opening match.
Shane Douglas vs. Chris Jericho vs. Pit Bull 2 vs. Too Cold Scorpio, Heatwave, July 13, 1996 – Jericho’s mid-air rana out of a PitBull top rope powerbomb all in one motion still amazes me when I watch it on TV eight years later.
Great Sasuke/Gran Hamada/Masato Yakushiji-TAKA Michinoku/Dick Togo/ Terry Boy, Barely Legal, April 13, 1997 – For many, it was the first time they’d seen Japanese wrestling live. The incredible match combined with an unbelievable atmosphere among the fans so supercharged to even have that PPV at the ECW Arena, along with the added touch from many of the fans throwing streamers ala traditional All Japan created a helluva memory.
Sabu vs. Terry Funk, Born to Be Wired, August 9, 1997 – The almost psychotic violence of this match probably goes beyond even the Taipei Death Match at Hardcore Heaven 1995 with the Rottens. Even the bloodthirsty violent ECW Arena crowd of the time was shaking its heads at this one.
Jerry Lynn-Rob Van Dam, August 8, 1998 and August 28, 1999 – For two straight years these two created Match of the Year candidates. For whatever reason, Lynn and Van Dam seemed so perfectly matched with one another that they could turn the Arena crowd on, and made them remember the way they used to before the Arena crowd changed, and before the pure bloodmarks discovered ECW.
Did ECW change the way fans viewed and behaved at shows? If so, is that a good thing or a bad thing?
How it changed the way fans viewed and behaved at shows depends on who you ask. I go with the Bobby Heenan theory in the foreword of his book. He said that traditionalists should quit being worried that others were giving away too much about the business and that they should realize that the fans knew about as much about the “magic tricks” of the business and those in it.
Being smart and reacting accordingly, isn’t a bad thing, provided one tempers it with respect for the wrestling business at the same time. As for the fans making themselves part of the show, it worked in ECW because of the uniqueness of the ECW atmosphere. It doesn’t work everywhere.
If promoters are worried about fans popping for heels and not babyfaces, then they should create more babyface characters that are as interesting as the heels are, and not bitch about fans behaving “wrong”. Characters like Steve Austin are interesting because they are more real with layers in their character, really a “tweener” by traditional wrestling definition. He wasn’t a Bob Backlund “bland, boring babyface”; but someone fans could be interested in and get into.
I believed you were/are involved in some for with CZW. How did that come about?
Pretty much as a fan first, then as someone who could help them given the PWBTS website. I’ve tried to pass along helpful hints on the need to promote more aggressively in the community, get monthly show lineups out sooner to the public, and be creative in how they bring in fans. I still offer opinions about things, but that’s pretty much all I’ve done before and do now.
It seems CZW tried to capitalize on the hardcore audience ECW built. Why do you think it never got nearly as big (although still remains as a consistently running indy)?
Because there will never be another ECW. Promotions should stop trying to be another ECW and worry about carving out their own niche. Ring of Honor did that, and look where they wound up.
On the other end of the spectrum is the ECWA. What are your thoughts on Jim Kettner and the ECWA?
A lot of people don’t realize that the people they see (or have seen) regularly in Ring of Honor, such as Christopher Daniels, were brought to the Philadelphia region first by Jim Kettner. His product was a mix of that and old time faces vs. heels family friendly matches. It was a great mix. A lot of the fans who came for the Chriostopher Daniels caliber matches have gone to Ring of Honor as the years have passed, with the exception of the yearly Super Eight tournament, which takes place in a few weeks.
Kettner’s formula worked for his audience and still does. When he turned longtime babyface (the late) Boogie Woogie Brown heel, kids were actually crying in the crowd.
This may sound a bit out there, but besides the Super 8, one of my favorite things about ECWA (at least when they ran St. Matthews as I haven’t been there in a few years) was their food! The pizza and fries and everything else was cheap and very good. Out of all the shows you have been to, who has/had the best food? PWF in Pottstown has to rank up there too! But someone needs to get the ECWA French fry recipe!
Amen to that for those St. Matthew’s “opium fries”. Yum. Probably more salt on those things then people need in a month, but God, they were good.
For food at indy shows, in recent years, the ECW Arena (and yes, I’ll always call it that….not by any other name) has had some of the better food, as Roger Artigiani and the new Arena management has done a great job improving the Arena food. Along with the usual indy food suspects….they have some good local South Philly pizza and even occasionally, meatball sandwiches. Gotta mention the muffins, too.
Since we are on food, I have to ask this as well. The Oregon Diner in Philly was a key part of a story I wrote for the site about my trip to an Eagles game earlier this year. Was the Oregon Diner a regular stop of yours during the ECW years like it was for so many others?
Actually, not every often. But I’m the exception to the rule. Lots of people soaked up their post-ECW alcohol with food from the Oregon Diner. Lots of post-show stories, too.
From hardcore to family fun, back to hardcore again. XPW came to Philly and a feud was immediately started between their fans and XPW fans, or people who went to XPW shows. Can you give us your opinions on XPW’s stint in Philly?
They tried to be a 900 pound gorilla when they might well have been successful had they just run shows and carved out their own niche. Instead, they tried shutting out other promotions from the ECW Arena and throwing money at people to make them change loyalities. The result, or lack thereof, is well-known.
It was rumored at the time that you were leading the charge to run XPW out of Philly, including printing fliers that were handed out around town. Is this true? And why was it done?
I never printed any flyers, designed flyers or any such thing. I showed people a leaflet that was already circulating in the community. That fact was reported in a neighborhood newspaper article on the matter.
The only “charge” I led was to demand that XPW follow the same regulations every other promoter had to. As a wrestling fan, I was pissed that they were shutting other promotions out of the ECW Arena, seemed to be getting away with not presenting a bond and not having a license, and with publicly stating they were going to do things like running concerts and other events on literature, then denying that fact to the community.
They also tried to deny that XPW and Extreme Associates, the porn company owned by Rob Zicari were affiliated. EA had a catalog that included movies featuring rape, underage girls and snuff films, even though the evidence was right out there for the public to see.
All I did was report what they were doing.
What was rumored at the time was that all someone with enough money and a lawyer had to do was threaten a certain member of the PSAC with a lawsuit, and this PSAC member would back off on enforcement. This was said to be XPW’s strategy, to threaten lawsuits every time this Commission member pointed out things like a lack of a bond or lack of a license. When the things cited above were made public, the PSAC had to deal with things and enforce basic business-related regulations that they were looking the other way on.
Both XPW and the Parents Television Council made legal threats to me as the result of what I wrote. One problem: the truth always wins out. It did with the PTC’s lies about the WWF…and it won out about XPW, their ignoring of PSAC regulations, their attempts to bulldoze their way into a monopoly of the Philadelphia market and the cult-like behavior of some of their fans and supporters.
Once XPW arrived, the PA Athletic Commission suddenly started to try and enforce such rules as no fighting in the crowd, no blood, and many others. Yet they were selective in doing so, only targeting XPW shows, and rarely targeting CZW and others. What were your thoughts at the time, and do they differ today?
I think the State Athletic Commission realized they had a problem with the violations on XPW’s part being made public, and wanted XPW to go away as fast as possible. The PSAC realized some of us weren’t going to be quiet and finally dealt with the situation they allowed to happen in the first place. They chose to use their typical selective enforcement policies against XPW. Don’t worry, the PSAC has done it enough on other indies versus WWF/E that no promoter has gotten away without dealing with their selective enforcement altogether.
All State Athletic Commissions NEED to do is insure that promoters are solvent, follow basic business regulations, pay taxes, and leave EVERYONE’S in-ring product alone. But that’s another conversation altogether.
After the XPW/CZW feud ended, the indy scene in Philly got a little quiet for awhile. ROH was around, and some other random feds.
What were some of the groups you attended regularly after that time, on up until today?
CZW, Ring of Honor, Pro Wrestling Unplugged, 3PW, CHIKARA, and Jersey All Pro Wrestling to name a few.
Do you ever cover events for your website? Doing your own event reports?
I actually cover events as such less so than I used to. I prefer to go as a fan more than as if I’m “working”.
Do you ever go to a show just as a fan, or are you always “working”?.
I’m always a fan first. The day I stop being a fan is the day I stop my involvement in or around wrestling.
Do you have any idea how many shows you have attended, and for how many groups?
Lord….I’d have to go back and count old ticket stubs. It has to be in the hundreds.
Do you have any souvenirs or memorabilia you have collected over the years?
I have tickets from most, if not all of the shows I’ve attended over the last 20 years.
Have you ever made a trip to Japan for pro wrestling?
Never. It’s something I hope to do so someday.
Back to the famous front rows of ECW. I believe your brother attended the shows with you, not only for ECW, but for many other groups. Do you two have the same tastes in pro wrestling?
Which death in wrestling hit you the hardest?
Chris Benoit, Chris Candido, and Eddie Guerrero…all for very different reasons.
To this day, I can’t understand how the Chris Benoit I got to know in ECW turned into the Chris Benoit that murdered his wife and son. I think very few of us ever will understand. That’s probably all I want to say about Benoit.
I knew Chris Candido when he worked for Philadelphia independent promoters Joel Goodhart and Dennis Coraluzzo…with his claim to fame being that he was the grandson of former WWWF preliminary talent Chuck Richards. Tammy Sytch was just his 16 year old girlfriend hanging out with the other girlfriends and “ladies supportive of the business”.
As Richards’s grandson, he grew up around wrestling; and hung out with Balls Mahoney. The two started as backyarders (before the term even existed) until starting with formal training at Larry Sharpe’s Monster Factory. Candido then worked for Dennis Coraluzzo.
Years later, I was on vacation in San Fransisco, and took in a WWF show at the Cow Palace, not so much to see a WWF house show…but mostly to see the historic wrestling venue.
So I’m standing around the parking lot, waiting for the doors to open with the locals and kids milling around…and a car screeches to a stop, and goes into rapid reverse. The door opens, and it’s Chris and Tammy (who had already broken up in storyline, but even the kids in the parking lot knew better than to ask) with a collective “What are YOU doing here!?!?!” We said our hellos and they drove into the building. Until the doors to the Cow Palace opened, I had to listen to at least a hundred kids screeching at me without end…”You know Sunny?!?!?”.
In WWE and WCW, Chris and Tammy got into drug problems and it affected them badly. Finally Chris got himself clean, then Tammy.
In the last years of his life, Candido went back to the indies and started resembling the guy we all remembered from years past. He worked in higher profile Northeast independents and in TNA, working with The Naturals tag team. The last time I saw Chris Candido alive was at a Jersey All Pro Wrestling show at the ECW Arena as a surprise match against JAPW’s E.C. Negro. Negro came out, only to be told by announcer Steve DeAngelis that he wasn’t on the lineup. Negro went into a promo how he wasn’t leaving until he got a match, telling the crowd how tonight the ECW Arena was the “E.C. Negro Arena”….and on and on.
The lights went out…”Back in Black” cranked up…and the loudest pop of the night ensued, as Chris Candido came out to a standing ovation that seemed to truly shock him. Chris was on that night, looking like the Candido of old, with a sick looking table bump after Candido put Negro on a table and went for a legdrop off the turnbuckle. Negro got out of the way, with Candido plowing through the table like a freight train.
What seems so damned unfair with all this, is that Chris had beaten drugs, had gotten his life together, was working independents again… and working well. He was sharing his knowledge with lots of up-and-coming indy talents. He’d gotten his gig in TNA and was the Chris Candido we all remember…the goofy, old school heel who loved the hell out of what he did. In his last TV appearance, taped less than 48 hours before he died, even after his broken leg and from a wheelchair; he was getting over a young tag team, The Naturals, for the NWA Tag Team Titles.
As for Eddie Guerrero, I first met Eddie Guerrero when he came into ECW in April 1994. There have been few within wrestling who’ve ever been genuinely nicer, or more approachable to fans than the Guerrero I got to know.
To this day…one of my most vivid ECW memories was the farewell show for Dean Malenko and Eddie on August 26, 1995. This may well have been the best match I’ve ever seen for the overall emotional experience combined with the actual match itself anywhere in wrestling. While Dean and Eddie worked better matches in ECW and in Japan, the sheer emotion of the toughest crowd in North America, with the “Please Don’t Go” chants; not to mention the fans, locker room, and Dean and Eddie themselves in tears, accompanied by Joey Styles doing the match call of his life as Guerrero and Malenko worked their last ECW match.
As I rode with my brother to an independent wrestling show the morning after Eddie’s death, he said pretty much what I felt…that he felt like he’d been kicked square in the balls and for someone like him who can talk about anything to do with wrestling…all he wanted to do was drive to the show. He didn’t want to talk about Eddie at all.
For my brother and myself…and undoubtedly for many, many others; the fact that Eddie was sober (four years according to his brother)…and had been so for some time makes Guerrero’s passing that much harder to deal with to this very day. Guerrero was a man who’d found God, dealt with his demons, worked on his addictions to alcohol and other drugs being taken by God with so much to live for. That makes it hurt…again to this day… all the more to see someone so talented…and such a fundamentally decent person leave this world far too soon.
Met any life long friends through wrestling?
Have you lost any friendships due to wrestling?
None that mattered.
Who is the one wrestler who when you first saw him/her before they were established, you knew they would be a star?
Sadly enough, its the THREE people I mentioned above as having had their deaths affect me the most. I saw Chris Candido years before anyone knew who he was outside Philadelphia and South Jersey.I saw Eddie Guerrero while he still worked in AAA with Art Barr as part of Los Gringos Locos. I saw tapes of Chris Benoit working as Pegasus Kid in Japan when Ameican promotions wouldn’t take a chance on him.
To end this list a bit more happily, for the future…I’ll put Mark and Jay Briscoe on that “can’t miss” list for the years to come. I watched them work for CZW before anyone outside the Philadelphia area knew their names, and saw them work each other in a ***** quality match at a soccer arena in South Jersey that had their mother in tears of pride out in the crowd.
Who is your favorite wrestler of all time to see perform live?
Until a couple of years ago, I’d have said Chris Benoit. Now even seeing him on an old tape makes me sad. Now, I’d say seeing my favorites I’ve seen live are Kenta Kobashi or Jushin Liger.
What is the best match you have seen live?
Christopher Daniels vs. Low Ki vs. Spanky vs. Doug Williams – 60 minute Iron Man Match, Ring of Honor, Philadelphia, PA, July 27, 2002. An incredible job of working coupled with the job of putting together the match by Gabe Sapolsky and company coupled with the endurance contest fans and workers suffered given that it was in July in the Murphy Recreation Center with people ready to pass out (and Low Ki losing 10 pounds).
What is the best match you have seen overall?
WWF: “Tables, Ladders and Chairs” Match – Matt/Jeff Hardy vs. Dudley Boyz vs. Edge/Christian, SummerSlam, Raleigh, NC, August 27, 2000; WCW: Rey Mysterio, Jr.- Eddie Guerrero, WCW “Halloween Havoc” PPV, October 27, 1997, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV; and Ring of Honor’s Samoa Joe vs. Kenta Kobashi, New York, NY, October 1, 2005
Has there ever been anything at a show that made you jump out of your seat in shock or to cheer?
Probably the Bobby Eaton/Arn Anderson apperance at the ECW Arena. That was trhe single best job I’ve ever seen at keeping something a secret, (and from a crowd like that at the ECW Arena to boot).
Do you believe that New Alhambra at one point was the mecca of wrestling? Or indy wrestling at least? Do you believe it still is?
Overall, places like Korakuen Hall and Madison Square Garden are obviously the two most known wrestling venues overall. In the territorial days, there are tons of old classic venues that are mostly gone, places like the Irish McNeil Boys Club, the Sportatorium, and the Omni. But for indy wrestling today, name one indy venue that beats out the old Bingo Hall at Swanson and Ritner.
Before we end this, tell us again about your website Pro Wrestling Between The Sheets.
PWBTS.com was originally designed to push independent wrestling, as well as report on what was then the Big 3 of WWF, WCW, and ECW. It’s continued that aim to this day, with the sad exception that it’s now solely indies and WWE that we report on domestically. We get reports on lucha, MMA and puroresu as well.
I hope readers will take the time to check us at at http://pwbts.com.