Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ring Technicians Gone Too Soon

In my career as a radio talk show host I've been privileged to meet many entertainers, including professional wrestlers. I can tell you that these performers are not only great athletes and actors but are always under so much stress to perform at top level every single day. Most of them work well over 300 days a year and it seems their jobs and income are always on the line.

In a way it's not surprising that they are gone so early but in another way it is. And it's heartbreaking. Many are gone in their 30's and 40's. Some even younger.

I started viewing Mid South and Mid Atlantic Wrestling with my Granddaddy Semones at age 5 when the territories were strong and exciting. I always liked the story lines more than the actual matches. The interviews and altercations were what made my eyes open wide and pay close attention. I'll never forget the antics of Managers like "Classy" Freddie Blassie, Bobby "the Brain" Heenan, Paul Heyman, Captain Lou Albano, Joel Gertner and Jim Cornette! Announcers like Jim Ross, Jerry "The King" Lawler, Lance Russel Joey Styles and the one and only Gordon Solie! And of course, the ring technicians and entertainers who made me jump up and down on my sofa every Saturday. Roddy Piper, The Freebirds, Buzz "Mad Dog" Sawyer, Terry Funk, Sting, Mick Foley (in any persona) Rob Van Dam, Shane Douglas, The Road Warriors, Nikita Koloff, Ricky Steamboat, Bret "The Hitman" Hart, Andre the Giant, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, (okay... Hulk Hogan) "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, Arn Anderson, the Four Horsemen and their leader and greatest champion of all time... "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Plus many many more that I haven't mentioned here.

I don't watch wrestling anymore. The love faded away after WCW folded and my friend Vance passed on. Vance was in his 30's too. But I still have a deep respect for the men and women who perform in this business. And every time I hear that one of them has passed, I think back to the wonderful people I met and the great memories I have because of them. - Michael