Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Night Spectacular

Scotty The Body (Raven) and Veronica Christmas Night 1990
at the Portland Sports Arena

A regular Christmas gift for me was a ticket to the Christmas Night Spectacular that happened at the Sports Arena every year.  My mom always brought myself and my friends to wrestling, but Christmas night I usually went alone. Most of my friends couldn't get away on Christmas Night to go to wrestling. I didn't mind, even though the Sports Arena was in a bad neighborhood at the time, I had gotten to know all of the staff and most of the wrestlers.  If my mom was late picking me up, Sandy Barr, would sit and wait with me.  I was allowed to sit inside the arena after everyone else was shuffled out.  This allowed me to chit chat, get autographs, hugs and photos with the wrestlers as they left the locker room and went to the office for, what I can only assume was, their paycheck.  According to many stories I have heard, wrestlers were given a cut of the House each week.

Christmas Spectaculars were not televised but they usually had a similar audience to Saturday Night shows or larger.  It was not unusual to have special events like Kendo Stick Matches, Cage Matches and Coal Miner's Glove Matches. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tom Peterson Coloring Book

Tom Peterson Coloring Book
Coloring Contest

Color all of the Fantastic
Merchandise Tom Peterson has to offer.
Ric Flair coloring page

     Oh how I wanted a Tom Peterson coloring book.  They played the commercials for these for years.  I would beg my mom to stop at the store and they would always say they were all out.  We went to buy a couch or VCR or something, and we were the only customers in the store.  The salesman seemed desperate to sell us the couch.  I asked him for a coloring book and he must have thought that it was the deal breaker because he was in the store room for about 20 minutes.  His shirt was dirty and he looked a little out of breath when he got back with it.  He said he had to dig through tons of boxes and files to find it, but that this was possibly the last ever Wrestling Coloring Book.
     More pages to come.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A little Christmas Cheer!



     I was at the Sports Arena for this incident.  Santa gave me a candy cane.  But Santa turned out to be evil!  It got crazy in there.  Fans went ballistic and tried to attack Rip Oliver. 
     I was 9 at the time and slapping hands with the wrestlers as they came to and left the ring was a big deal.  The Sports Arena didn't have much in the way of barriers, just a few security guards, so fans had pretty easy access to the wrestlers during the show.  It's a miracle that many fans didn't get hurt or involved in the action very often. 
     I recall several people needing some kind of First Aid, and lots of people being kicked out that night.  I got caught in the melee and got a pretty good knock to the side of the head from a guy who was trying to get to Rip and "tear his ugly heart out."  Good Times!

Wrestling Extravaganza May 21, 1985

This event was a huge deal, and  DVD of it just came available on Ebay.   Portland Owen 60th Anniversary DVD

Here is the text of the description:
  • Owen Family Extravaganza 60th Anniversary Show DVDRunning Time: 1 3/4 hrs
    Quality: GD

    The very last time that wrestlers from the AWA, WWF and NWA would wrestle together on the same show. May 21st 1985 was the most important day in Pacific Northwest Wrestling history. The Northwest had seen its share of exciting things pertaining to professional wrestling and had broken ground and paved the way for many promotions across the country. In 1949 Don Owen, the son of Herb Owen, who had been promoter of Portland Wrestling since 1925 taped the very first professional wrestling program ever to hit the airwaves anywhere in the world. It was a landmark achievement and led to the formation of many other professional wrestling television shows, but it was one of very few that was broadcast live. Portland Wrestling had been a part of the NWA since it’s inception in 1947 and would be the last remaining of the original member promotions, lasting five years longer than the next longest when it closed its doors in 1992. Don Owen brought Portland Wrestling into its golden age during the 1960’s, 70’s and early 80’s but not without the help of his sons Barry and Mark or his brother Elton. In 1985, to celebrate the contributions of the Owen family to professional wrestling in the Pacific Northwest, Portland Wrestling put on this show. It was the biggest super card in the history of the promotion, and the very last time that wrestlers from the AWA, WWF and NWA would wrestle together on the same show and just two months after WrestleMania. May 21st 1985 from the Portland Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon in front of an estimated crowd of 13,000 fans.
    (1) Roddy Piper vs. Buddy Rose
    (2) Kendo Nagasaki vs. Sgt. Slaughter
    (3) AWA Tag Team Championship: Road Warriors vs. Hennigs
    (4) AWA Title: Rick Martel vs. Mean Mike Miller
    (5) NWA Title: Ric Flair vs. Billy Jack Haynes

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Who Knew?!?

"Mean" Mike Miller Autograph
     Yes, as a YOUNG child, I thought wrestling was real.  I didn't know why Rip Oliver hated Billy Jack Haynes and would go to any lengths to destroy him.  That's just how it was.  Billy Jack was good and he did good stuff, and Rip Oliver was bad and did bad stuff, so they had to fight it out each week in the squared circle.  It made perfect sense to me and I didn't question it. 
     Until one day.  I was selling Camp Fire Candy out in front of a Fred Meyer store and "Mean" Mike Miller walked up.  If you have ever sold candy as a kid, you know that you have to chase most people down and almost beg them to purchase candy, cookies, pepperoni sticks, or whatever at highly inflated prices.  Usually out in front of a store that sells very similar items for MUCH cheaper.  But on this day the "Mean" man himself walked up and asked me how much the candy was.  I was stunned!  I didn't know what to say.  My mom said, "She is so surprised because you are her favorite wrestler."    And I quickly replied, "WHAT?  NO!  He's a bad guy!"  He just chuckled and bought 4, yes 4, boxes of overpriced candy from me.  He smiled and winked and was so sweet, and about half way through him picking his flavors, I started to feel guilty.  I also started to realize that wrestling may not be quite what it seems.  First Santa Claus and now Wrestling?  What else was fake, the gold around Mr. T's neck? 
     That night, at the Sports Arena, I couldn't boo "Mean" Mike Miller.  I never could again.  I was so relieved when he became a good guy a while later.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Kids Free Night

Wrestlers Merchandise from 1985
     I don't know when "Kids Free Night" began, but it sure was a good idea.  I never would have gone to the Sports Arena in the first place without it, and I was there every Saturday night 1987-1992.
     The "Bad Guys" always hated "Kids Free Night".  They would rant and rave about it in their interviews in the Crow's Nest.  Al Madril would make such a huge deal about letting in all of the Little Brats for free.  I recall he fought a match against Steve Doll and when he lost he had to pay for all of the kids himself.  Don Coss ended the show saying something like, "Kids, lets empty Al Madril's pockets.  Make sure to come to the Sports Arena next Saturday and show him how much you hate him."  It was PACKED!  Genius.
      I purchased each of these buttons at a "Kids Free Night" in 1985.  They held about one per month.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My First Trip to the Sports Arena 1985

The S & S Express Steve Simpson and Jumpin' Joe Savaldi
     My first trip to the Portland Sports Arena was in 1985.  I wanted to have a sleep over so I was mad about going. Boy do I sound like a whiny kid!  It was kids free night and we were poor so that was our only chance to go.  Mom packed up the kids and little did she know that she would be making this trip so many times in the future. 
     The first thing you see after you walked under the 7Up Sports Arena sign was some wrestler photos in the entry and then a huge painting of Andre the Giant.  We all assumed it was life size and it looked ENORMOUS to little kids.  That's pretty much all it took.  That Andre painting.  I was hooked before I even walked past the ticket counter that was no doubt manned by Mark Owen.
     The smokey haze in the air, the stale popcorn, grouchy security guards that didn't want kids running around, loud music and non-stop action just got to me and after that night I couldn't get enough.
     I spent all of the money I had on this S & S Express button that night.  I also lost my voice screaming things like , "Break It!  Break It!'  and "Whale on the Beach!"
    

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A New Blog for Old Memories


I have two older brothers.  They both watched wrestling on Saturday nights.  We only had one little black and white tv for the kids to watch and so the boys usually got the pick of shows.  I didn't like wrestling on principle.  I didn't pick it so I don't like it!  I was stubborn that way.  I still watched though because the alternative was going to bed and what 7 year old would choose that?  The year was 1983 and Billy Jack Haynes and Rip Oliver were in a long standing war.  Years later I watched some of those old matches and realized that they were very bloody, but a fuzzy 10" black and white tv showed no red, which was probably better for the five kids gathered around the screen.
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