Squared Circle Pit

Squared Circle Pit

Monday, December 8, 2014

Before YouTube There Was Pro Wrestling This Week

Welp, it's been awhile since I've posted here but I've been telling friends about this incredibly GREAT show from the late 80's, "This Week In Pro Wrestling" with Gordon Solie (Georgia/Florida/Jim Crockett-era legend) and Joe "The Round Mound of Sound" Pedicino (also from a variety of Southern territories). This aired from 1987-88 and I believe I saw it on KICU one of the independent TV station in San Jose. This was like watching YouTube clips 2 decades before it existed. The show highlighted loads of wrestling action from across the U.S., Canada and the Japan.

The previous incarnation was called "Superstars of Wrestling" which featured highlights from all the territories as well as Japan and Mexico. It aired in Dallas and Birmingham. "Superstars" was hosted by Pedicino, his future wife and co-commentator/radio producer, Boni Blackstone and the excellent named ring announcer, Rhubarb Jones.

Some highlights:

* A young Paul E. Dangerously/Paul Heyman getting dissed by Gordon Solie.
* A young Jeff Jarrett working with some mid-level worker (for 1987 Memphis, anyway) named Billy Travis vs. late-era AWA stars Paul Diamond & Pat Tanaka who were later managed by Paul E.
* Very liberal and pre-copyright use of Eddie Murphy's synth-soul hit "Party All The Time".
* Female wrestler, Misty Blue Simmes with a silly run-in on the legendary editor/writer of Pro Wrestling Illustrated, Bill Apter.

Misty Blue Simmes looks like the wrestling version of every rocker girl from my high school.

More highlights: 
* The Continental match with the very punk and Alice Cooper influenced Chris Colt up against 'bama fan fave, Wendell Cooley whilst Buddy "Who's the REAL 'Nature Boy" Landell babbles on. 
* Curt Henning vs. Wahoo McDaniel having a GREAT "chop-fest" in the AWA. This is well before Henning moved to the WWF and became Mr. Perfect. Though, Henning was deep into his heel run which also included a great match at the Cow Palace
* Wrestling Ninjas! Or Portland-area wrestling ninjas. By 1987 it seemed like every territory had at least one ninja wrestler. It was part of the unwritten rules of 80's kayfabe.
* Portland heel Rip Oliver delivers the softest-ever chair shot to Mike Miller's back but Miller sells it well.

I've also found another episode of the show with the full intro and of course more of "Party All The Time".  Aaaaaand:
* Footage from Puerto Rico with the Terry Funk & Dory Jr. Funk vs. the Invader & Mil Mascaras.
* Great, heelish commentary from manager and G. Gordon Liddy understudy, Gary Hart.
* Your answer to the question "when are we gonna see a good, clean scientific match?"
*  The "Australian Tag-Team" match from Central States (Kansas City)  has a lady in the crowd yelling "bull-shit!" over & over. Gawd how I love how hardcore some of the fans were back then. (And yeah some fans still kinda like that but it's not really the same post-kayfabe).
* Bill Apter & Pro Wrestling Illustrated's editor Craig Peters give ya updates on "Rowdy" Roddy Piper going to Hollywood (where he was off to work on "They Live").
* Hacksaw Duggan vs. Iron Sheik from a little place called the WWF.
* Lest I forget a young, Zubaz-ed, Rick Rude in World Class Championship Wrestling vs. discount heel, Eric Embry. 

Anyway, this show was the wrestling equivalent of what I experienced in the metal and punk scenes. People circulating tapes and info on bands or in this case, wrestlers from all over. Hence, once again the magic of rock and wrestling lived on.