Friday, July 31, 2015

RIP Rowdy Roddy Piper - He passed today at age 61

Roddy Piper is probably one of the most famous wrestlers to get his start here in the Pacific Northwest.  He never forgot us here, and returned to the Sports Arena periodically.  He even tried to start a new wrestling promotion a few years ago, where his son Colton wrestled.  According to TMZ.com, Roddy died of Cardiac Arrest at home.  He was survived by his wife, 4 children and millions of adoring fans. 

 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse - Art Barr


Art Barr, otherwise known as Betelgeuse, was a Portland Wrestling star. His dad was the referee Sandy Barr, and his brother was Jesse Barr (Jimmy Jack Funk).  Art started wresting in 1987 and became Betelgeuse in an interview with Roddy Piper in 1988. They spelled it Betelgeuse, the correct spelling of the 9th brightest star in the sky.  But were obviously going after the fame of the movie Beetlejuice.  There was no mention of him being a ghost, or anything like that.  It was pretty much just used as a character name.  Art Barr changed his interview techniques and the way he wrestled and it really helped his popularity.  He became especially popular with kids and sometimes had hundreds of Little Juicers following him around the ring before a match.  I even dressed up a time or two with full face paint and hair full of baby powder.



Art was accused of rape and his Oregon wrestling license was taken away after being convicted of 3rd degree sexual assault.  He wrestled in WCW and then really gained fame in Mexico as the Love Machine.  He did wrestle a few times in Sandy Barr's Vancouver, WA promotion, for special events, in 1994.  I recall an event where he and Eddie Gurerro came to the ring with Tonya Harding as their manager!

Art passed away in 1994.  The official cause is still unknown.  I was once listening to a wrestling radio show that had Sandy Barr as a guest. Maybe in 1996 or 1997. In my recollection, he stated that Art was hit in the neck with the top edge of a folding chair by an irate fan, in Mexico, the night before he came home. (He died a day later.) Sandy said that he felt that the trauma to his spinal cord and lack of oxygen to the brain caused Art's death.  His cause of death will never truly be known, but it was another sad loss of our Portland Wrestlers too soon.

Art Barr as Betelgeuse

Art Barr as Betelgeuse with his partner Jeff Warner.  They later became the Juicers.
Behind him you can see kids in Betelgeuse makeup.

Art Barr before Betelgeuse.  I always remember seeing him around the Sports Arena with chewing tobacco in his cheek.

Steve Doll and Art Barr at the 21st Birthday Party of Sandy Barr's Flea Market. 1991.

Kevin, the Little Juicer who always came to the ring with Betelgeuse.
Betelgeuse after a match with Bodyguard Ray in the background.

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