Wrestling with Reality – Part One

By Phil Dimitriadis

In 1974, living above a milk bar in Victoria Street, Richmond, reality was clearly defined. Richmond was the powerhouse of the VFL, Spiros Arion was God and The Great Mephisto was Satan.

At around midday, every Sunday, pandemonium would break out in front of the old black and white HMV telly as we gathered round to watch World Championship Wrestling. We would laugh, cringe, curse and cheer as this seemingly cartoon-like world came to life and touched us at a level that betrayed any sense of logic or cultural taste.

Spiros Arion represented all that was admirable about Hellenic masculinity. He was tall, hairy chested, ruggedly handsome without having to pose and avuncular in his demeanor. He was the archetypal ‘good guy’ who carried the weight of Greek expectations and went into battle with   Mephisto to protect ‘noble’ Christians from the scourge of Islamic fundamentalism that was perpetrated by Mephisto.

Mephisto was portrayed as the evil Arab, who’d come to purge the infidels and beat them up at every opportunity. He entered the ring in the manner of a Sheik. He was bearded, fat and wore black tights. In reality he was a Yank with a really bad middle-eastern accent, but what mattered was the way he symbolised a character that was an alterity to accepted Christian sensibilities. I was frightened and intrigued by this angry Arab. After the show I would steal one of mum’s tea towels and wrap it around my head pretending to be Mephisto. I cheered for Arion, but I found Mephisto much more interesting, theatrical and complex. I was in awe of the way he could instil fear into my five year old psyche. Arion would usually win his matches with Mephisto after unleashing his patented ‘Atomic Drop’. The Greeks and many Italian and Australian fans would be in raptures as the Golden Greek made the world seem safe for one more week.

After the shows my older brother Tim and brother-in-law John would play wrestle with me in the living room. Cushions and pillows would be strewn around the room and generally I’d get strewn around too. I enjoyed the thrill of being thrown around and the comfort of a soft landing. At this stage I thought the wrestling on TV was real, but I knew the play wrestling was fun. We acted out roles and had tag teams where me and my brother would gang up on John, as you do to the bloke who just married your sister, to protect the honour of the Dimitriadis family bloodline. We still laugh about those matches and realise that wrestling helped bond us and gave us a common interest before Sunday lunch.

It is the exaggerated, almost hyper real symbolism and language of wrestling that keeps me interested in the ‘sport’. In what other sphere do you see an Elvis impersonator battling an Undertaker for the World Championship belt? Wrestling is about making the fake seem real, it works at a level where it can awaken irrational fears and hopes for a happy ending.  Until recently wrestling was protected by the fact that performers would not break character under most circumstances. It maintained a mystery that made one wonder if these people were really like the characters they portrayed in the ring. Now wrestlers speak openly about their experiences in the ‘business’. There have been a number of documentaries and books released that detail the nuances of a world that was once shrouded in Mason like secrecy.

World Championship Wrestling ended in 1978 and it wasn’t until 1985 that the renaissance happened when promoter Vince McMahon decided to link wrestling with rock n’ roll and Hollywood glamour. The poster boy was Hulk Hogan who with the help of the then popular Mr.T and Cyndi Lauper, brought wrestling back into the psyche of popular culture. The symbolism of these three characters was particularly potent. In Hogan you had the blonde muscular Christian who urged the kids to “train hard, say their prayers and eat their vitamins”. Mr.T symbolised the angry black man who was not going to be bullied or subverted, physically or linguistically. For anyone who was mad enough to take him on he would say: “I pity the fool!” Cyndi Lauper was the working class girl from Queens who became a star and suddenly had clout in the entertainment world. She was not ashamed to display her love of wrestling and managed the then Women’s champ Wendy Richter.

Hogan’s matches would be metaphors for Christ-like death and resurrection. Usually, he would enter the ring with fanfare, Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’ blaring, start well and then slowly be beaten by the cheating bad guy, often bleeding and seemingly unconscious, the fear of impending symbolic death permeating the arena. Out of nowhere, a surge of adrenalin sent from above would awaken the Hulk and battered and bleeding he would defeat his nemesis. Impervious to pain, blows would rain on him with no effect until he delivered the big boot to the face and finished his hapless opponent off with his famous guillotine leg drop. Order was restored, death was leg dropped into oblivion, the resurrection complete and faith strong until the next battle.

Wrestling is meaningless without an effective saboteur. In the Australian days we had ‘heels’ like Steve Rackemann (Donk from Crocodile Dundee), who loved to pour scorn on the pretty boys through his toothless kisser. Ox Baker whose feared ‘heart punch’ had apparently killed two wrestlers in the States, Big Bad John whose biker persona together with Nazi helmet and other dubious paraphernalia of white supremacy, declared war on ethnic wrestlers.  Japanese wrestlers like the Hito brothers were always portrayed as evil and double-crossing schemers,  animating the still fresh memories of  WW11 extreme stereotypes. In Australia, the Arabs, Japanese and Germans seemed to always be linked with skulduggery. In America, it was the Iron Sheik from Iran who lost the belt to Hulk Hogan in 1984. The Sheik had played his role so well and evoked such patriotic outrage that it helped precipitate the rabid nationalism that Hogan stood for when he came to the ring waving an American flag and bringing the holy grail back to the good old USA.

Fostering harmonious inter-cultural relationships was not a strong point in wrestling and the racism used to draw heat is nothing to be proud of. Thankfully, the racial stereotypes began to be shelved by the late 1980s. In 2005 the Iron Sheik was inducted into the WWE hall of fame to a standing ovation from the same fans that used to jeer and hiss at him twenty years earlier. They appreciated the character he played in this flawed, yet intriguing morality play.

About Phillip Dimitriadis

Carer/Teacher/Writer. Author of Fandemic: Travels in Footy Mythology. World view influenced by Johnny Cash, Krishnamurti, Larry David, Toni Morrison and Billy Picken.

Comments

  1. Phil – very impressive knowledge of the wrestling fraternity. Sunday morning at our place was pretty similar: mass, home to watch Bob Santamaria’s “Point of View”, then mum would cook up ham steaks with fried eggs (a real treat) and we would watch World of Sport usually to watch the wood chopping, footy highlights, and, if we were lucky, one of Fammo or Lionel Rose’s fights. Happy days.

    I liked Abdullah the Butcher because he had a great name.

  2. Steve Fahey says:

    Great stuff Phil

    I remember even earlier the days of Larry O’Dea (crossed over from the dark side), Mario Milano, the Tojo Brothers (who administered The Rack and The Claw), the massive Haystack Calhoun etc. Great charcters one and all.

    In kindergarten in 1967 I had 5 stitches inserted in my eyebrow after slipping on a wet floor while trying to deliver a flying dropkick (to a willing sidekick who had pulled a few moves on me, including the sleeper hold)!

  3. Great piece Phil.

    Yes, similar memories of a Sunday becoming a teenager in the mid ’70s (including, from a WA perspective, The Winners, our weekly fix of VFL footy and Countdown).

    Straight after WCW had finished my older brother and I would head outside to practice the moves. As the younger bother I was on the receiving end of many wrestling moves, including the brain-buster and various Nelsons. The image of wrestlers running at the ropes to bounce off them, once, twice and three times before they land the body blow is still one of my favourite sporting thrills.

    My son turned 9 during the week and he got what he asked for – a 22″ wrestling ring and a few wrestler figurines to play SMACKDOWN!

    Cheers

  4. Peter Flynn says:

    I could be a couple of years younger (born in ’67).

    Ox Baker and the heart punch. How many blokes did he ‘kill’ with it?

    I recall Bulldog Brower getting Larry O’Dea with the sleeper hold one day. The referee’s floppy arm test. EJ continually hamming it up. “He’s got im in the SLEEEPPAAARRRHHH.”

    This stuff was gold (and real).

    Dips, I loved Sunday mornings as well. Race replays etc after “It is Written” and that Catholic show (what was that called?).

  5. #1 Dips, you’ve described my Sunday mornings almost exactly. Lunch for us was usually a sandwich/bread roll free-for-all, or sometimes in winter (canned) tomato soup with Saladas. We’d watch WCW sonmetimes before switching to World of Sport.

    Phil, Haystack Calhoun was my favourite.

    Dips, my Dad was (and still is) a B.A. Santamaria disciple. I think Point of View was the highlight of his week. Remember the compass logo?

    If you went to Mass early enough you’d be home in time to watch “World of Sport Replay”, where they’d show the full replays of the Saturday metro races and the trots from Moonee Valley the night before. Then you’d get a quarter of footy, usually a different one to what was on “The Big Replay” the night before.

  6. PF #4 – “that Catholic show” indeed!! It was the late, great Bob Santamaria’s political viewpoint. My old man made it compulsory viewing. He used to sit on his chair saying “listen, listen” to us boys as BA spoke.

    Gigs – my old man’s the same. Still keeps and read BA’s books and essays. I wonder if they know each other from back in the day. Dad was pretty active. What’s your Dad’s name? I remeber the logo and the TV ads – priceless.

  7. #6. Dips, my Dad’s name is John. Was an active DLP man and also in the *gasp!* National Civic Council. It’s fair to say that his political views and mine don’t converge very often!

    What’s your Dad’s name?

  8. Hey guys, let’s not remember Santamaria too fondly through rose coloured glasses. He supported Franco, Mussolini and the Vietnam War. He held very strict traditional views about the Catholic Church, including the woman’s place in family and community.

    However, to bring it back around to Phil’s topic, if “Wrestling is meaningless without an effective saboteur”, then B.A. (Bad Ass) Santamaria would have made for an intriguing contestant.

    Cheers

  9. Rick, note my last comment to Dips: “It’s fair to say that his political views and mine don’t converge very often!”

    No rose-coloured glasses on me! Although I do understand my Dad’s views, while disagreeing with most of them.

  10. Yeah Gigs, I reckon I must have been typing my comment as you were sending yours through.

    Similar situation in our home growing up. Very Catholic family, Aunty is a Nun and Uncle a Marist Brother. I recall reading Santamaria’s column in The Sunday Times (WA rag). It certainly helped shape my view away from his (Catholic) messaging. Not so much the content per say but the force o the conviction. A bit like Christopher Pearson does these days for The Weekend Australian. I would wonder how somebody could be so articulate (applying basic scientific rationale to his argument/point of view) and still be so imbalanced in his reasoning.

    Cheers

  11. #7 – Gigs – my Dad’s name is (wait for it) – John

  12. My old man’s name is Laurie Michael Ignatius (Confirmation name of course).

  13. Dips,you sound like you might be a far away cousin of mine. Very similar upbringing although we usually had a roast on Sunday. In North Queensland you occassionally come across Torres Strait Islanders with Islamic sounding surnames eg Sultan or Abdul Rahman. They are probably the descendants of Malacan fishermen. When I was a kid I too was awed by Abdullah the Butcher not so much because of his persona but because there was a huge TI in town whose surname was Abdullah. Needless to say he was universally known as Butch. Was “Wallaby” Bob McMasters the referee in Victoria?

  14. lee donovan says:

    Skull Murphy (from the 60’s era) was my favourite. I can still feel the pain when my brother got me in the step over toe hold

  15. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    Thanks boys,

    isn’t it amazing how so many memories can be linked to something as inane as wrestling.

    I also remember ‘Point of View’ because my old man was very anti-commie as his family were driven out of Albania by Enver Hoxha.He was a fan of Bad Ass Santamaria(Beautifully put Rick)

    Many of mum’s relatives were committed communists and they would come around late Sunday afternoons where discussions often threatened to descend into WCW style free for alls.

    I wish I could remember more clearly but #2 Steve didn’t Larry O’Dea team with Bobby Hart as a bad guy? And those flying drop kicks were dangerous as you could attest.

    Dips, Abdullah the Butcher now runs a Steakhouse in Florida and still wrestles local promotions at nearly 70 years of age. He still carries knives and forks into the ring (plenty to choose from his Steakhouse).

    Although popular, I was never a big fan of Australian Champ Ron Miller. He seemed slow and devoid of personality. I loved Milano and his head butts,Brute Bernard,Bulldog Brower and Larry O’Dea while E.J.Whitten was a great commentator towards the end.

  16. Damo Balassone says:

    Good piece Phil. I was too young in the 70s but remember the 1985 WWF explosion very well. Everyone was talking about it. The more I think about it, the more I’m inclined to believe that Vince McMahon owed a lot of his success to Sylvester Stallone and the Rocky movies which were huge at the time. Mr T and Hulk Hogan both starred in Rocky III (1982) and “Eye of the Tiger” was of course the theme song. When I first watched the WWF and saw the Hulkster, the first thing I thought was “Hey, that’s the guy from Rocky III”. Very clever stuff by Vince McMahon. I think Sly also made an appearance at the inaugural Wrestlemania.

    I agree that the bad guys have always been more interesting: was there ever a more outrageous character than the Honky Tonk Man?

  17. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    Cheers Damo,

    Part 2 will focus more on the WrestleMania era until the present. You’re right, Hogan’s involvement with Rocky played a huge part in bring the caper to a wider audience. Stallone wasn’t at the inaugural WrestleMania, but Ali and Liberace were. Only wrestling could bring those two together!

    I do miss the competition that WCW Nitro gave the WWE in the NWO days, 1996-99, when Hogan became a bad guy. TNA is not bad, but is comprised of up and coming unknowns or washed up has beens.

    Honky Tonk Man and his guitar ‘Peggy Sue’, managed by the Colonel Jimmy Hart were crackers! Honky is very outspoken about the ‘business’ and if you type ‘Honky Tonk Man shoot interviews’ on Youtube, you’ll find him a funny guy. Swears like trooper!

  18. Phil #15 – be good to your mother and always listen to your father.

  19. #15. Phil, My dad’s story also played a huge part in the views he formed. In the late 40’s he tried to escape from Czechoslovakia a couple of times, was caught and sent to labour camps. He eventually got out by swimmming across the Danube on 1949 and made his way to Australia in 1951. As a Catholic who was very well read, he was very much around at the time of the ALP/DLP split. He fell the DLP way, although most of the others in our parish (St Albans, very working-class) went the other way. Jim Cairns was our local member in the early ’70s and I have memories of Dad baling him up outside Coles to argue some points with him. He was always respectful of other arguments but the views he formed while still in Bratislava were never going to change, (at least it seemed that way from my perspective) and he became very skilful at arguing for his viewpoint and against the other. He would’ve been (and, at 88-years-old, still would be) a valuable acquisition for any debating team.

    #11. Dips, I’ll give my Dad a call and see if he knows of yours.

    #10. Rick, Christopher Pearson sounds like my Dad, in respect of how articulate and well-reasoned his arguments are. I think it’s fairly natural to seek out evidence and arguments that support your own point of view, sometimes to the extent that you either deliberately ignore evidence and arguments against it or seek to pick faults with them. I know I’ve been guilty of that!

    Interestingly, B.A. Santamaria was a communist sympathiser in his early days. I remember reading his explanation of what caused him to change his views but I can’t remember what they were. I’m sure my Dad will have that book somewhere…

    And back to #15: “Isn’t it amazing how so many memories can be linked to something as inane as wrestling?” – Phil, that’s what makes the Almanac site so great. Fantastic pieces such as yours, which provoke so much comment, discussion and banter. Love it.

  20. Rick Kane says:

    Phil (#15): Totally off topic – re your comment about your Mum and Dad’s political leanings – Have you read Dead Europe by Christos Tsiolkas? It is a deeply insightful and disturbing examination of family, old and new cultural values, the weight of European history and the Greek Diaspora. Now, I’m not imagining your family as described above resembles in any way Tsiolkas’ story but the protagonist’s parents were similarly portrayed (I think the father in DE was pro-commie).

    Cheers

  21. Gigs #19 – gee this is turning into a political blog, BUT – I also remember going to Dallas Brookes Hall (must have been about late 70s?) to hear a rallying of the troops from Lech Walesa’s right hand man (at the time that Poland was getting rid of the Soviet scourge). It still sits in my memory quite clearly. What a remarkable night. Your old man was probably there too.

    No wrestling took place.

  22. johnharms says:

    Sunday mornings, World of Sport and B.A.Santamaria all get a mention in Loose Men Everyhwhere and Memoirs of a Mug Punter, so this all resonates with me as well. Only Dad preached sermons on Sunday morning. So we were into him about not waffling on for too long, else we would miss some of World of Sport.

    It will be interesting when Ben Santamaria wakes from his Londaon slumber, gets to work, and reads that his influential grandfather is subject of much analysis on a wrestling thread on footyalmanac.com

    But where else would you find the lines of P. Dimitriadis:

    “Many of mum’s relatives were committed communists and they would come around late Sunday afternoons where discussions often threatened to descend into WCW style free for alls.

    I wish I could remember more clearly but #2 Steve didn’t Larry O’Dea team with Bobby Hart as a bad guy? And those flying drop kicks were dangerous as you could attest.”

  23. johnharms says:

    Mulcaster, are you OK up there in the deep north?

  24. Mulcaster says:

    Thank you John, All is in order. I knew we were out of trouble when on the day after Yasi blew through I saw a man staggering through fallen branches and power lines with a slab of VB on each shoulder. Congratulations on the birth of Evie, a beautiful child who I bares no resemblence to you at all. Give my best to the child bride.

  25. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    #19 That is an incredible story about your father. That generation did go through a lot…swimming across the Danube to freedom? Unbelievable!

    My old man mellowed with time, he even voted for Hawke and shook Whitlam’s hand in Queenstown before the ’77 election. However, many of his relatives died in prison in Albania and he was always suspicious of any extreme left leanings, which was the case with some of mum’s relos.

    Your dad’s story would be well worth reading Gigs.

    #20 Rick, I have read and taught Dead Europe to 2nd and 3rd year Lit students. It is one of the most powerful books I have read and the most divisive book that I’ve taught. People either loved or hated it. One of my students did an oral presentation about how growing up in Bosnia seeing and smelling the death around her and how Dead Europe captured that feeling of utter helplessness and an uncertain future. Most of the class was reduced to tears.

    At the book launch you attended for ‘From Tsamanta to Melbourne’ one of the problems we had was that a few prominent families would not contribute because they felt uncomfortable with their family’s communist sympathies. That civil war was such a brutal war that people who I spoke to in the village last year still carry the scars and refuse to talk to each other because of sides that were chosen 60 years ago. Dead Europe expresses the hopes and fears of those people and ones today with an honesty and poignancy that is rare in modern literature.

  26. #25. Phil, my Dad has many many stories and loves to tell them. I will put a piece up about him one day. My nephew is currently making a documentary on his life. And years ago, my brother taped hours of conversation with him which we have on about 12 cassettes.

    On top of all that, my Dad’s written a fair bit of his own story. I might be able to convince him to post a piece himself!

    And from memory, I reckon he didn’t mind a bit of World Championship Wrestling over Sunday lunch either.

  27. Phil,

    I hate to be a stick in the mud, but Spiros Arion always won with the ‘Bear Hug’ rather than the Atomic Drop. It’s still great to see Mario Milano is still getting over the line with the ‘abdominal stretch’

  28. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    You’re right about Arion using the Bear Hug Chris, but I have seen him win matches with the Atomic Drop also. Those ‘holds’ are so lame compared to what goes on today.

  29. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=rcfLkytLikg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFL2689eWxQ&feature=player_detailpage

    Boys, the first link is Spiros Arion taking on Abdullah the Butcher.
    followed by interference from Big Bad John and Waldo Von Erich. The save is made by King Curtis and Maniac Mark Lewin.

    The second shows Arion finishing off Hans Shroeder with the ‘Atomic Drop’

  30. John Butler says:

    Lovely article Phil, and a fascinating discussion gentlemen.

    Such memories! My folks were in the ballroom dancing game. The major comps used to be held at the Southern Cross, where the wrestlers stayed when in town.

    I would often sneak out to the foyer and see them returning. They seemed huge to a kid.

    I’ll never forget the scarring on King Curtis’ forehead. It wasn’t all fake!

  31. Phil Great Read,
    I remeber my older brother taking me to a touring WWW show at the Wodonga Twon Hall. All the above mention characters were there. The ring had the consistancy of a trampoline and blood capsules were plentiful. I took my kids to a WWE RAW show up in Sydney a couple of years back. It was one of the funniest night I can remember with all the preidictable outcomes but it was a hoot. One thing that did stick out to me was after Triple H had eventaully seen off the Somoan Bulldog with the aid of a “steel bin”, he spent the best part of 20 minutes signing autographes,posing for pistures etc and was still going when we left. That dear pro golfers, Tennis sooks et el is what you are paid to do
    cheers
    TR

  32. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    Thanks JB and Tony,

    JB, I remember a picture of Dermott standing next to Brutus Beefcake early ’86. Dermie looked short and Beefcake was not huge by wrestling standards. Kind of gives you a sense of perspective.

    Tony, dead right about giving something back to the fans. Triple H has put his body through a fair bit of pain to entertain the punters. Although wrestling is fake, now they go through tables,ladders and chairs matches that take much more out of an athlete than Golf or Tennis. Good call.

  33. Stan Giamalis says:

    Accidently got on this website. I love the nostalgia. I remember putting the “Claw Hold” on my younger bro many times. Once tried Mark Lewens “Sleeper Hold” and boy did I cop it from the old man

  34. Martin Heppell says:

    Cant ever say I saw Brower use a sleeper. O’dea used the sleeper. Brower may have had him in the bear hug.
    Grew up watching Wrestling at the Hordern. Started in 72 for me. Wish it had been sooner but glad i get to see the war. Great times, never to be repeated

  35. Loved watching the Australian wrestling from about ’72 – ’75. Except i used to watch it at midday on Saturday. World of Sport would take precedence on the Sunday. I would turn it over to the wrestling when dad left the room but on returning he would say ‘turn off that bloody rubbish’.

    Mario Milano, Spiros Arion (i used to love when the interviewer would ask them to send a message to their ethnic communities!) ; Larry O’dea and Ron Miller would team up (Ron would always give a shout out to the ‘police boys clubs’ he worked at); Steve ‘the crusher’ Rackman (my mate swore his real name was Danny Kerr and he had gone to Colac High; Killer Kowalski; Johnny Gray and Kevin Martin who were basically cannon fodder and never won a match; Tex McKenzie who used to strut around in comical fashion wearing a cowboy hat; Bulldog Brower’, The Mississippi Mauler, King Curtis, Haystacks Calhoun, Mr X, the Von Steiger Brothers, etc

    Brain busters, pile drivers, figure 4 leg locks and the ‘fatal’ sleeper; a mate and i used to try to imitate them all on our front lawn before giving up with a bad case of ‘grass rash’. Did i mention the mysterious ‘foreign object’??

    And the referee? The most incompetent sports official on the planet.

    Rip Mario Milano.. great days

  36. I remember when they showed an xray of Skull Murphys cranium showing that it was much thicker than normal humans and so explained his head butts.
    Also the time Mario Milano went over to the dark side because he was being framed.
    Then there was Jack Little commentating and Wally Bob McMasters as the ineffectual referee.
    Wasnt Combat on after the wrestling?

    Its seems so long ago maybe this is all in my head and it never quite happened as I remember..

  37. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    RIP Mario Milano.
    A hero to many young migrant kids who grew up in Melbourne during the 60s and 70s. Terrific and vivid memories will always remain.

  38. Vale Mario Milano, a great performer.

    The halcyon days of my youth, having to bypass the rubbish on Point of View then when that was over one could watch World Championship Wrestling and/or World of Sport. No remote controls in the 60’s & 70’s, get off your arse walk to the TV twiddle the knobs, all the work require in changing the TV in the 20th century .

    Mario Milano, his real name was Mario Brufone, was up there with Spriros Arion, Ox Baker, Tiger Singh, the Tojo twins Brute Bernard, our very own combination of larry O’Dea and Ronny Miller,along withe girls like Patty Sinatra. all were legends in my youth.

    Goodness Kevin Martin, there’s a name i’d forgotten with good reason. Did he ever fight Kid Hardy?

    Phil can you recall anything Spiros aid to the Greek fans? Was it just to promote the next bout.

    Memories.

    Glen!

  39. Wow Glen, Kid Hardy… I’m sure if he had fought Kevin Martin it would have been a nil all draw. Mind you i vaguely remember the Kid being ok with the ‘flying dropkick’!
    Whenever those two or Johnny Gray fought they were always built up as ‘upcoming Aussie boys’ but invariably 3 minutes later they would be laying on the canvas…

    Thanks Phil, you’ve generated a lot of discussion from blokes of our generation.

  40. Chris Allan says:

    Totally dispute Phil’s comment about Arion ever winning with an Atomic Drop. It would have been more than ‘no comment’ from Jack Little if he won with anything but a Bear Hug. I loved them all, but probably loved Tex McKenzie and his Texas Death Lock the most. Happy to concede the ‘Abdominal stretch’ marked the end of a match for Milano’s opponent.
    Biggest problem for me was getting half an hour of WCW time during World of Sport.

  41. G’;day JD, another Aussie Battler of that period was Freddy Berger.

    I think Johnny Gray may have actually won a fight.

    Glen!

  42. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Glen! I used to hate ‘Point of View’ couldn’t wait for it to finish so I could see what was happening in the real world of WCW. Arion used to speak Greek to encourage the fans to get along. Can’t remember Kid Hardy and Kevin Martin. There was Bobby Hart who held the tag team title with Larry O’Dea as bad guys. Great theatre.
    JD – Blokes our generation could appreciate the symbolism of it despite the fakeness. It seemed real enough to a 5-10 year old!
    Chris – The above video, since deleted, showed Arion pinning Hans Shroeder after using an Atomic Drop. Agree his main move was the Bear Hug, but the Atomic drop was used against the Jobbers to effect. Some more clips of mayhem featuring Milano, Killer Karl Cox,Brute Bernard and others in this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ph_1JJIMzs

  43. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    And this beauty with the Brainbuster somehow giving Bulldog Brower superhuman strength:

  44. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    And the last WCW show with Andre The Giant and Teddy Whitten as host “That $5,000 could buy you a few beers here.” : December 16th 1978. WCW Television ended thereafter, sadly:

  45. Love how the ref, after being on the receiving end of the ‘killer’s ‘brain buster’, spent the next 5 minutes writhing around the ring with mayhem going on around him. Miraculous!

  46. Just on ‘Point of view’; Dad used to turn it on every sunday just to abuse Bob Santamaria. That Labour Party split of the 50’s was certainly bitter…

  47. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Handy highlights package here too JD:

  48. Well Phil, so many questions swirling around my head.
    Firstly, for some reason i can only view the left hand side of the screen but anyway.
    Were the wrestling referees the most insipid and unlucky sporting officials? They commanded zilch respect and seemed to spend a lot of time on the canvas. Mind you this bloke looked as if he could have stepped out of an early 70’s fashion catalogue,

    Somehow i don’t recall Tojo. What was the hold called he was applying?

    Didn’t you used to love when some poor bloke is getting pummelled but inching towards his tag. Then at the last moment he is dragged away by his opponent,,

    Check out the kid in the front row at 4:23 emulating his hero.

    Finally what of the guys in the white coats (ushers?). They seem to wander around like the walking dead and then at one stage they all congregate in one spot like the monsters in Pacman. I can’t imagine the audience behind them would have appreciated it.

    And that’s just from the first 6 minutes…..

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