AWA memories

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?
jjoyce
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AWA memories

Postby jjoyce » Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:13 am

When I was a kid, I was practically addicted to "All Star Wrestling" on Sunday mornings, well before wrestling turned into a pyrotechnic, nu-metal display. This is when the theater of the absurd was cranked down to reasonable levels and big personalities, not big pecs, ruled. I'm talking about Jesse "The Body", Baron Von Raschke, Rock 'n Roll Zumhoff, Jumpin' Jimmy Bronzell, Greg Gagne, Vern Gagne, etc.

When they'd list the upcoming promotions, they always included stops at the Dane County Coliseum (I lived in Minneapolis and the promotion up there usually went down at the St. Paul Civic Center or Minneapolis Auditorium). My question: Did anyone here go to any of those matches? What was wrestling's presence here?

A lot of those guys lived in the Twin Cities, where the Gagnes ran their academy. In fact, I grew up playing hockey against, and getting dominated by, Mean Gene Okerlund's son.

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Postby narcoleptish » Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:45 am

I was also a huge fan of AWA and later NWA out of georgia. I never went to any of the coliseum events though. I think my first was a card at edgewood's gym in the early 80's. Andre and hogan were both supposed to be there, but one didn't show, and I can't remember which one.

I believe they used to have matches at Breese Stevens field on E. wash.

I did have the pleasure of knowing "Sailor" Art Thomas. Art was a prominent wrestler in the old days and a madison resident. He still came to the gym well into his 60's or even possibly 70's and was an imposing figure. One of the strapping young guys gave him some shit one day and Art grabbed him and flipped him onto his back like he was handling a child.

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Postby LoopBo » Thu Dec 28, 2006 5:14 pm

fuck yeah. i grew in mpls too and loved the AWA. my dad taught jim brunzell at high school. i played little league with ravishing rick rude's kid. (he was such a dick).

one night, my parents took me to get the road warriors' autograph at a gas station in robbinsdale. hawk and animal. i wish i still had that 8x10 glossy. i believe their manager was there too: bobby "the brain" heenan. never made it to any bouts though. but i remember watching most of them on channel 29 (the KITN that roars).

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Postby Mr.Punke » Sat Dec 30, 2006 8:12 am

Living in southern Wisconsin and being a wrestling fan in the early 80s, you had to be an AWA fan. Man, I loved Da Crusher. His interviews were classics. They were usually about one of 3 topics: 1.) Beer 2.) Milwaukee 3.) Doing the polka

I was a fan of Hulk Hogan, Baron Von Raschke, Buck Zumhoffe, but my favorites were The High Flyers: Greg Gagne and Jim Brunzell.

The WWE recently put out a DVD called The Spectacular Legacy of the AWA. The documentary portion of the DVD set was really well done. You should pick it up.

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Postby white_rabbit » Sat Dec 30, 2006 8:51 am

I once saw Nature Boy Rick Flair defend his belt at Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, circa 1981.

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Postby acereraser » Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:02 pm

I scoff at pro wrestling now, but yet I will gladly and proudly claim to be fan of the AWA forever. I only saw one live event, but I watched it on TV every chance I could. That one time was kinda scary, some mostly toothless woman behind us was constantly screaming profanity laced threats over my eight-year-old head; I was pretty much oblivious to her and completely focused on the action in the ring, but my parents related later that they were very stressed out by her. The hate that Bobby "The Brain"/"Weasel" Heenan elicited was really remarkable (he was still wrestling and on the card when I went). I still have Buck Zumhof's autograph somewhere.

Mad Dog Vachon changing from villain to hero was the dawning of a new age. Felt like it to me, anyway.

The Crusher's electronics store ads were perfect and inspiring. If I would have lived closer to the store, and had been older than ten, I would have shopped there, no question about it, solely because of the ads. "Sick a'yer old teevee set? T'row it away!"

My favorite wrestling handle? The hard working, Kenny "Sodbuster" Jay, of course.

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Postby shyguy » Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:38 pm

Great memories. Grew up in Chicago, and lived in downstate Illnois for several years. So we mostly had the AWA and the related promotions in Chicago and Indy. Saw a great show freshman year in high school at the International Amphitheater in Chicago - Bruiser and Crusher vs. the Assassins with Bobby Heenan as manager. Ernie Ladd vs. Bobo Brazil. Pepper Gomez. Cat named Prince Pullins. Sailor Art was there. Not remembering all the others.

Also remember seeing a less impressive show in a high school gym in Springfield, Illinois, where Bruiser Brody (aka King Kong Brody) and Dick the Bruiser beat the crap out of each other for twenty minutes or so. One of those times I wasn't totally sure it was "fake" - like these two guys were the type to go out to a bar on Saturday night and get hammered and get into a fight anyway, so they just wailed on each other for a few minutes and got a few grand for their trouble. Know what I mean?

What passes for wrestling now is a shame. Really dug Mad Dog Vachon, he was crazy. Later, the Road Warriors were intense.

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Postby Ned Flanders » Thu Jan 04, 2007 8:56 am

Loved the Barron and Horst Hoffman. Used to practice "the claw" on siblings.

Bobby "the Brain". Not a more evil character 'til the Clintons showed up.

Who was the wrestler who also played for the New England Patriots?

And who was that funny old man with the dark glasses who used to do all the interviews between bouts?

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Postby Kyle Motor » Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:00 am

Ned Flanders wrote:And who was that funny old man with the dark glasses who used to do all the interviews between bouts?


Gorilla Monsoon?

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Henry Vilas
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Postby Henry Vilas » Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:16 am

Johnny One Note wrote:Not a more evil character 'til the Clintons showed up.

Ned Flanders
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Postby Ned Flanders » Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:26 am

Kyle Motor wrote:
Ned Flanders wrote:And who was that funny old man with the dark glasses who used to do all the interviews between bouts?


Gorilla Monsoon?

Image


No, this guy pre-dated Gorilla Monsoon. I've done some quick googling and it appears that his name was Marty O'Neil. This guy was old back in the late 70's. Very small and thin, work dark glasses. Here's a link:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0295762/usercomments
Here's a link to a picture of 'ol Marty. It was too large to post:
http://www.superstarbillygraham.com/ima ... ham193.jpg
Wasn't the show call "All Star Wresting"?

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Postby SombreroFallout » Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:41 pm

Mr.Punke wrote:Living in southern Wisconsin and being a wrestling fan in the early 80s, you had to be an AWA fan. Man, I loved Da Crusher. His interviews were classics. They were usually about one of 3 topics: 1.) Beer 2.) Milwaukee 3.) Doing the polka.


His training regimen was legendary.

jjoyce
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Postby jjoyce » Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:01 pm

acereraser wrote:My favorite wrestling handle? The hard working, Kenny "Sodbuster" Jay, of course.


Was he the one who went bear hunting with a switch?

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Postby jammybastard » Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:55 pm

Remember the "Camel Clutch"?

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My faves were his battles against...

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Postby Paco » Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:24 pm

Wasn't it "The Ever-capable" Kenny Jaye?? He always lost, but I remember one time he came thru and beat The Baron or someone like that.

I saw one a long time ago....I know it was Da Crusher vs Mad Dog Vachon.....I think it may have been a cage-match. Blood everywhere. Mad Dog brought brass nuckles and Da Crusher took them away from him and beat him with them.

Vito Martino was from my hometown, and my brother went to school with his kid.

Why isn't this in the Sports category???


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