Thursday, March 1, 2018
There were many times we would have minor things happen, like a top rope popping out in one corner from one of these big guys being thrown hard into the turnbuckles, but things like that were usually easily fixed, even while the match is going on. Then there are the other times like what happened in Hattiesburg, Mississippi one night at the National Guard Armory. It was during a match with Gene Lewis and someone, I cannot remember who for the life of me. I was walking in the back headed for one of the dressing rooms when all of a sudden there was a huge, loud explosion that sounded like a bomb, and I believe the building actually shook. I looked around real quick and saw that everyone had jumped to their feet except for three people. Those three people were Gene Lewis, his opponent and the referee. The damn ring had collapsed big time! I saw a huge puff of dust in the air, the referee hanging onto the sagging ropes trying to pull himself up out of the hole in the center of the ring, but no sign of Gene or the other wrestler. As I was running towards the ring, fearing the worse, I see the two wrestlers heads and shoulders pop up. Thank God they are alive!
Saturday, February 24, 2018
Security was on their toes stationed between the dressing room and the ring watching for signs of trouble when here he comes, Bobby bolting out of the dressing room running straight towards the ring. The crowd was on their feet yelling and screaming and it seemed for a moment he had made it there safely and security was prepared to get all involved safely back to the dressing rooms. As Bobby hit the ring the referee was calling for a disqualification, the time keeper was ringing the bell, then it quickly became obvious that there was quite a bit of blood on the ring canvas. Someone was bleeding very badly, but who? About as soon as Jack and Bobby jumped out of the ring there was no doubt. It was Bobby with blood gushing out from what appeared to be between his legs! As soon as he got back to the dressing room, leaving a trail of blood from the ring, he was immediately rushed to the emergency room. I don't think anybody knew exactly what happened, not even Bobby, but later it became clear. At some point during the excitement someone had slipped underneath the ring, right behind the ring post where they knew Bobby would be coming, and as he was jumping into the ring they thrust a knife upwards into him, catching him with one leg in the air as he jumped! The knife had hit a artery on the inside of his upper thigh, about as close as it could come to where I think you can imagine the assailant intended, then he or she vanished into the crowd and out the door. It all happened so quickly. That was a night when a fan's emotions could have easily become deadly.
Saturday, February 17, 2018
The referee could not control it or get them to leave. They would just shove him away. Then, next thing you know there were several other wrestlers that had come from the dressing rooms and my father in the ring, trying to restore some kind of order. Bell still ringing. Things had gotten out of hand. There was pushing, pulling and shoving going on trying to pull everyone apart and at some point my father got shoved by Miller. He let that one slide. Heat of the battle. Then with the bell still ringing away, more wrestlers in the ring pushing, pulling and shoving, Miller turns around and shoves my father hard. Really intentional and much harder this time and I guess that was sorta a breaking point. If you knew my father you knew he always wore a suit for business and was very serious and professional about anything he did. When he threw his jacket off the crowd started going a bit crazy, the ring was full of guys and they ended up having to try and separate Miller and my father, Whew, what a night! Did not see that one coming.
Monday, February 12, 2018
When I went over his match he stopped lacing his boots and just sat there for a few moments not saying anything. Then he looked up at me and said “I'm not going to do it. I'm not putting that son of a bitch over”. As you can imagine I was a bit stunned and after a moment I said something like hey, I'm just the messenger and so forth which didn't change things at all and he said that Johnny would know why. I will tell you at this point Frankie had quite a reputation in the wrestling business as not only a really tough guy that had basically come up on the streets, boxing at a very young age and wrestling in carnivals taking on all challengers. He had also been known to punch out a promoter or two over disagreements of some sort and was even “blackballed” from the wrestling business at some point, but he had always been very nice to me and easy to get along with. With this in mind I left the dressing room and thought for a moment of what to do.
Thursday, February 8, 2018
I explained this to Bill but he wasn't really in the mood to talk I guess. I figured after a while it would all be forgotten and maybe even share a good laugh about it. It never was brought up again, to me anyhow, so I assumed it was all forgotten but never shared the laugh. Several years ago someone told me that Bill thought I did that intentionally. I assure you I did not. Why would I? Oh well, at least one of us can laugh about it. Y'all just should have been there and seen those faces! Priceless memory!
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
BREAKING NEWS...... I'M BACK!!!!
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Finally! In my last post I talked about keeping in touch with friends and told you that I had spoken to Pork Chops Cash and Izzy Slapawitz both of whom are doing great, and that I was still trying to get in touch with another old friend. Well today I talked with my friend James Harris from Senatobia, Mississippi. I know many of you are wondering who James Harris is, so I am about to tell you. I first met James in Greenwood, Mississippi in 1978 at one of our weekly wrestling events at the Sportatorium. This is during the time that we were running our own AWA Wrestling Promotion and we were bringing in new talent since we had broken away from the Mid-South promotion. Some of the talent we brought in was on recommendations from other wrestlers already here and The Great Mephisto Frankie Cain, who was our Booker, brought a few guys in that he had worked with in different territories. We also received a lot of letters and photos from young guys wanting a chance to work. I don't remember if James had sent us a letter and pictures or if someone else knew of him but since he was not too awfully far from Greenwood we told him to come in early, bring his wrestling gear just in case and we would talk and possibly get him on the card, no guarantees. None of us knew what to expect. Well, a car pulls up in the parking lot early before the crowd started arriving, a bit earlier than we had told him to be there and this huge guy gets out with bag in hand and I happened to be outside the door at the time. He introduced himself, we walked in the building, I took him to the ticket office and then went and got my father and Frankie. When they came in we began talking, well actually I was mostly listening, and Frankie began asking him questions as to who he had trained with, what he could do, etc.. James was very mild mannered and seemed a bit nervous and the whole time I am standing there thinking how comical this actually looked because Frankie was maybe 5'8" tall looking up at this huge man of around 6'7" and 300+ pounds and grilling him with questions! Come to find out that James had been "training" with an old timer Mario Gallento in Memphis but so far had only been running around a track and doing exercises. He had never had a single match! And no real wrestling training! After a bit Frankie told him to go get dressed and get ready for the opening match... against HIM... The Great Mephisto!! James was Really nervous now! Frankie was great at seeing potential in guys and making the most of it and being creative, and since he (Frankie) was already wrestling in the Main Event that night we announced this opening match as a special added Challenge Match, or something of that nature. That way if it looked like it was going to be a real stinker of a match Frankie would have just eaten him up and ended it quick. If however, Frankie saw that the guy had any potential at all to learn and his attitude was right, then he would try and stretch it out and see how the crowd reacted. Well, the crowd reacted well and so began the career of "Sugar Bear" Harris, later known as "Ugly Bear" Harris here in Mississippi when Percy Pringle began to manage him.
If you were a wrestling fan during those days in Mississippi you remember this well. If not, then you remember seeing James as Kimala or maybe The Ugandan Warrior in territories such as Memphis, WCW, WWE and others. He became a huge star and I am proud for him! Super nice guy! For those that are not aware James has been through some very difficult times since November 2011 when he had one leg amputated due to Diabetes and high blood pressure then shortly after that had to have his other leg removed. We had a great talk today. His spirits are high and I was so glad to hear him laughing in that low, child like laughter I remember so well. Of course I had to pick at him a bit about some funny memories but it all goes back to the Brotherhood and friendships that were formed during those days. And by the way, the last time I actually saw James was in the summer of 2011 when I went to a match that Pork Chops promoted in Madison, Mississippi. I went just to see some old friends and "Kimala" was on the card in the main event. So happens one of the wrestlers was unable to make it and Chops had to juggle the card around a bit and asked me if I would do him a huge favor and referee the Main Event. Of course I did. It was fun. Another story for another time.
Till next time, Stay Tuned! And, Keep In Touch!!