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Posts Tagged ‘Cauliflower Alley Club’

Herb Simmons Presents Larry Matysik’s Wife Pat with His Posthumous Award at the CAC in Las Vegas

Posted by flairwhoooooo on May 2, 2019

Tonight I was privileged and honored to be invited to the 54th Anniversary of the Cauliflower Alley Club where my great friend Herb Simmons has the distinguished honor to present Larry Matysik’s Pat wife with the Posthumous Award for his dedication to Professional Wrestling.

Herb delivered an excellent speech inducting Larry and sharing their life together in professional wrestling. I cannot think of a better person to bestow this deserving honor on Larry.

Bryan Whitaker

Photo courtesy Bryan Whitaker

Photo courtesy from Bryan Whitaker

Photo courtesy from Bryan Whitaker

Pat Matysik and Herb Simmons – Photo courtesy from Darla Staggs

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Larry Matysik to Receive a Posthumous Honoree in 2019 at the Cauliflower Alley Club

Posted by flairwhoooooo on December 21, 2018

 

The 2019 Posthumous award goes to Larry Matysik!

Larry, who passed away on Nov. 25, 2018, got his start in pro wrestling when, as a 16-year-old writing for newsstand wrestling magazines, he interviewed St. Louis promoter Sam Muchnick.  Muchnick told Matysik he would pay him $25 a week to call the newspapers and report the results from the Friday night cards.  Eight years later, Muchnick took him under his wing as his protégé in the St. Louis Wrestling Club office.  In 1972, Larry became the host of “Wrestling at the Chase” on KPLR-TV.

When Muchnick retired in 1982, Matysik began running the office as general manager.  He used methods he had been taught by Muchnick (which had made St. Louis, perhaps, the most sought-after territory in which wrestlers wanted to work), but when co-owner Bob Geigel consistently disagreed with the way Larry was doing things, they parted ways.  Larry ran opposition as Greater St. Louis Wrestling Enterprises and did quite well for a time.  Meanwhile, St. Louis Wrestling Club business went into the tank.  When Larry folded his promotion, Vince brought him onboard to promote WWF shows in St. Louis.  Larry worked for McMahon from 1984 until 1993, at which time he was let go.

Larry kept his hand in the wrestling business after that, primarily producing DVDs of St. Louis wrestling and writing for wrestling magazines.  He also wrote several very good books on the subject, including “Wrestling at the Chase: The Inside Story of Sam Muchnick and the Legends of Professional Wrestling,” “Drawing Heat the Hard Way: How Wrestling Really Works,” and with Barbara Goodish, Bruiser Brody’s wife, “Brody: The Triumph and Tragedy of Wrestling’s Rebel.”  For the past several years, he booked shows for Herb Simmons’ Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling promotion.  And even though he never wrestled or refereed, Larry made a huge, positive impact on the pro wrestling business during his lifetime.

In 2014, he was awarded the James Melby award at the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in Waterloo.  Other non-wrestling accomplishments included working for the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, founding a volleyball club, coaching a girls’ softball team, and was head of the Belleville Auxiliary Police for many years.

At the time of his death, he was working with me on his autobiography, which was to be incorporated into a short book called “Sam and Vince” to be published by Crowbar Press.

Larry suffered a number of ailments during the past few years, including spinal stenosis, rotary scoliosis, and Rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which skeletal muscle breaks down rapidly.

wRESTle in Peace, Larry.

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My Once-in-a-Lifetime Friendship with “TNT” Keny G (1967-2018)

Posted by flairwhoooooo on December 13, 2018

‘Cause I’m TNT! I’m dynamite
TNT! and I’ll win the fight
TNT! I’m a power load
TNT! watch me explode

I am taking this time to honor former wrestler, promoter and my good friend TNT Keny Garrett. I am still reeling from his loss at age 51 on December 10th. Though there is sadness in my heart that we will no longer be able to talk to each other, I would like to focus on our wild and crazy friendship.

I remember meeting TNT Keny G for the very first time in Granite City, Illinois at a High Voltage Wrestling event (his company). He had reached out on the St. Louis Wrestling message board, and asked Missouri Wrestling Revival to cover his show. He realized that if you were to have a show that it would only make sense to have as much attention on his product as possible. We walked in the building and noticed right away that it looked like the place to be.

His family and friends helped with the concession stand and were all decked out with branded tees, and the night’s action delivered shocking surprises with stars from around the Midwest and his home state of Florida. His special guest was former Wrestling at the Chase announcer Larry Matysik. Keny respected and loved wrestling so much that he knew that having Matysik in the house brought legitimacy to HVW. Keny himself was dressed to the nines, and thanked everyone for coming. I was impressed, to say the least.

One of my personal favorite photos of all time.

Wrestling started our friendship, but we eventually became like brothers. He invited my girlfriend Dubray and me over to talk wrestling, and so much more. His quick wit and sharp tongue made him a true character.

We didn’t always get along. There were times that I bothered the hell out of him and vice versa. Yet, I can swear on the Bible that Dubray and I loved Keny as much as anyone that we met at wrestling. There were so many good times with him. It saddens me more as I try to think of them all.

In fact, there is no way that I could remember them all but I would like to share a few of them on here:

Here’s 2 a better day even if only slightly better ill take it as progress here’s a snapshot from the story of my life old road dog of mine —- Keny posted these words for this photo on his Facebook

If you ever get a chance ask the former NWA World Champion Kahagas what he thought of this promo!

How Keny got the nickname “TNT,” I can’t honestly tell you, but if I was to have a gallon of gas for every time I heard it I would be driving for free to shows for life. Every time I hear it, I always think of him and I remember being on the road with Kahagas in Illinois and his ringtone on his phone played that AC/DC song. If someone told me on that three-day weekend that we heard it a thousand times, I would believe them. I can still hear Kahagas telling him to change his damn ringtone.

My friend Kari Williams (the best pro wrestling writer in this generation) stated in her post about Keny giving her advice of the who, what, where, and when over and over. Keny had these words of advice that he made his own, even though they had been around forever. He delivered them in a memorable way, just like his hero Dusty Rhodes.

He was creative and tried to give everyone a chance. He took a chance on my friend (and MWR founder) Josh Ray and me behind the scenes of HVW, making us “co-bookers.” I use that term loosely because I had no business being a booker of any wrestling company. Still, I have no regrets even though there were crazy arguments about what should be done but talk about some good times.

One argument was that I wanted to bring in the Mississippi Madman for an event. He knew I loved the Madman and thought that he was over like a million bucks and said that he didn’t want him on the show. I truly believed that he liked him as well from the get-go, but because I was such a huge fan of him, he razzed me about him not being worth a spot. I told him that if he would not book Madman, then I would pay his booking fee and show him that he would be one of the most over wrestlers on the card.

Keny quickly said that if I paid for Madman that he would let the Madman carry him to the ring like a baby. Why? I do not know why he thought that was funny. Maybe it was just to get me to pay Madman, but I held him to his promise when I did. The moment was priceless.

One of Keny’s closest friends was “Tokyo Monster” Kahagas. They ran up and down the roads long before I knew Keny. Kahagas was the premier talent of High Voltage Wrestling. There was no doubt that Kahagas was and is one of the best wrestlers in the country, but I believed that Jeremy Wyatt was the best. We would have these huge arguments about who was better night after night early on in our relationship. He would harp that I should “get my Jeremy Wyatt pajamas” on when I stayed at his house before we called it a night. It did not take TNT Keny G very long to come around to Wyatt and then I was kidding Keny G on his own pajamas.

Years later TNT Keny G became a proud owner of the Jeremy Wyatt pajamas.

Keny would be quick to tell me and anyone who would listen that it was he who made me a “wrestling journalist.” He told this story a million times about how we drove many miles to Illinois for a big wrestling show with plenty of legends. I wanted an interview with the Honky Tonk Man and Jake Roberts but I ran out of time. I was happy to get a promo from “Bloody” Harker Dirge (an underrated talker and wrestler in the Midwest).

Keny called me out that day (and years after) for giving up on Honky Tonk and Roberts, and and took me to the back.

He said, “You deserve to be back here. You work as hard as anyone to make these guys look good. You get this done.”

I conducted interviews with all the stars on this huge card.

Keny often said he was responsible for some of my success, and it’s true. He vouched for me, called me out when I did wrong, and gave advice when it was needed.

Every time Dubray and I came to St. Louis for a wrestling event, we stayed at his house. Dubray loves pugs, and Keny had a pug named Gracie. Gracie always slept with Dubray. One evening when we were to return back home for the two hour drive, Dubray told me that Keny had given her Gracie as a gift.

I thought that Dubi had begged to have the dog, and I said “No way.” That was Keny’s dog and we were not taking it from their home. Gracie had to stay there.

But then Keny explained that he was tired of the dog wanting food from the table and he was done with her. I just think he knew Dubi loved that dog and wanted to make her happy. Gracie ended up as a part of our family until she passed away on our anniversary: December 10th, 2015.

On the mic and in the spur of the moment, Keny was at his best. We did a wrestling feud with a big build with Donovan Ruddick and Mark Bland that, I swear if it had money behind it, would had packed huge houses. Bland had a popular UFC and pro wrestling radio show, Absolute Wrestling Radio, on the Fox Sports radio affiliate in St. Louis, Team 1380 AM. Josh Ray and I spoke to Keny about putting together an angle for a diabetes charity show. A little known secret is both Keny and Bland were both diagnosed with diabetes and the pair had always been active in fundraising.

The feud started when Bland, a former wrestler, bragged that he could take on any local wrestler week after week on the show. Who would answer the call? Wrestling promoter TNT Keny G and the 6’9″ Donovan Ruddick, a big star in Saint Louis.

Mark Bland has a conversation with Kenny G of HVW regarding his recent infiltration of Absolute Wrestling Radio. Contains EXPLICIT WORDS!

We went on a publicity tour to hype the match at Mark Bland’s radio station and the show even broadcasted live from Six Flags St. Louis. We taped a video at the Pro Wrestling Shirt Shop that featured an attack from Bland on Keny, forever one of my favorites. We did our best to bring attention to the wrestling scene in the area through Absolute Wrestling Radio, and had fun doing it.

It was common to dine with legends at the Garrett dinner table. I remember Larry Zbyszko and Mike Sydal sharing stories in Keny’s living room after a HVW event. I wish I would have gotten our photo with each other! Still, I experienced it, thanks to TNT Keny G.

After one visit at TNT Keny G’s Dubray made the mistake of leaving her sweatpants that had the words Flirt printed on the back of them. This would not be a big deal at most homes, but Keny saw this as a way to rib Dubray in a way only he could. One day I received a call from Dubray telling me that Keny was in Florida visiting his family and had tagged some photos to her. Awesome, he wanted to share with us what a good time he was having.

Nope, they were photos of Keny holding up her Flirt pants in different States. He was entertaining himself with joking with her, and it did not stop there. He somehow talked WWE Legend Larry Zbyszko to hold them up in a photo. He got his daughter Santana G and another female wrestler to pose with them for a photo. Keny was proud to say that he went on tour with those flirt pants.

This year I have lost a lot of love for pro wrestling. That does not mean that I will ever quit but I have slowed down making trips. This summer, I took a job as an assistant manager at a convenience store that had me working a ton of hours.

Keny told me that if I came to St. Louis and took him to the premiere of the movie “350 Days,” he would pay for it. I was not interested in the movie, but because Keny wanted to go, I said yes. I am glad, not because I enjoyed the movie, but because in the past few years it was hard to get him out of the house. On that night we did, just like old times.

Keny could be so funny. A natural storyteller that often would have you wonder if you were being told the truth. He could be overbearing and political incorrect even during the days of that not even being a thing. His friends referred that to “Keny just being Keny”.

 

Photo taken for the Stroke Aint No Joke Fundraiser with Fox 2 News TV.

TNT Keny G proudly teamed up with Dynamo Pro for a MS Fundraising effort.

 

 

 

Though in the crazy world of pro wrestling were everyone is a taker, Keny was a giver. Even after I covered his promotions High Voltage Wrestling, and sent him photos he was always there for us. We were so different in so many ways. I remember going to a St. Louis Cardinal game and he loved to leave shows early, the Cards game being no different. He knew that if I went somewhere then we were staying to the end. He razzed me about leaving but we did stay to the last pitch.

 

Dubray and I were never without a place to stay when we came to town or a bite to eat with Keny living in South County. He was a big part of our relationship and would have been one of my best mans if we would of gotten married in Vega during the CAC reunion this year. He often bragged about keeping us together (even though he stirred the pot sometimes lol) so in what seems like a rib (A practical joke played by or on a wrestler) Keny, like the pug (Gracie) that he gave us passed away on our anniversary. I would like to think that it was his way of making sure that we would never forget him. Like there was ever a chance that that could happen.

Thanks to Keny, I have made countless friendships and experiences over the past decade. I could write a book about them.

TNT Keny G loved his family.

Photo Thomas Rude

Most MWR fans know of his daughter, Santana G. She has become one of the top women wrestlers in the world. I was blessed to see her first match and watch her debut at Harley Race’s World League Wrestling. Her dad supported her at all times and was so proud to see her in Japan and on the WWE Network.

He was just as proud of his other children too, and I was able to see his boys Dusty, Sam, and lil’ Keny grow up. He loved them with all his heart, and as he grew sick they were there for him. Keny had a daughter Savannah and a granddaughter in Florida that he thought of often as well. He loved his wife Luanne who was just as quick-witted as he was.

TNT Keny G, we love you and we will always remember you.

Keny Garrett

1967-2018

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One on One with “The Voice of Minnesota Wrestling” Ring Announcer Mick Karch

Posted by flairwhoooooo on May 13, 2015

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It is a pleasure today to be joined with “The Voice of Minnesota wrestling” Mick Karch for this edition of Missouri Wrestling Revival’s One on One. MWR fans will have a special oppurtunity to get to meet Karch in East Carondelet, Illinois on May 16th during the SICW “Bruiser Brody Memorial” event that will also include the afternoon “Meet and Greet” with several Wrestling Legends including Brody’s lovely widow Barbara Goodish, former American Wrestling Association (AWA)Champion Stan Hansen, Wrestling at the Chase announcer Larry Matysik, Wrestling superstar “Cowboy” Bob Orton, the first ever WWE (Then known as the WWF) female ring announcer Mike McGuirk starting at 3:30pm that will conclude with a memorable night of action featuring the stars of SICW.

Please note: All photos courtesy of Mick Karch.

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With Terry Taylor and Missy Hyatt, my broadcast colleagues in the American Wrestling Federation Warriors of Wrestling.

Brian: Mick, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us at MWR today.

Mick: Brian, it’s my pleasure. You do a terrific job.

Brian: Today’s wrestling fans have many opportunities to discover wrestling through the WWE on the USA Network, TNA on Destination America, Ring of Honor on Sinclair as well as various outlets on the internet including Youtube and promotions own websites. Yet, as a man that started his career in the 70’s, I have to ask what was your first exposure to the sport as a fan and who was it that created that spark for the love of pro wrestling?

Mick: I did behind the scenes print publicity for the AWA from 1973-1986. In 1987, I was hired on as their ring announcer and occasional color guy for their ESPN tapings at the Showboat in Las Vegas. It is so ironic to have eventually worked for them, because my hero as a child was Verne Gagne. I was flipping through the TV channels at the age of nine, and I saw big Tiny Mills, a 6’3″, 275 pound lumberjack, pushing around the TV announcer, Marty O’Neill. Marty was all of about 5’6″. Tiny was ranting and raving about wanting a match with Verne Gagne.

I saw my first live event May 17, 1960, in Minneapolis, and Verne was in the main event, teaming with football and wrestling star Gene “Big Daddy” Lipscomb to face Mills and Stan “Krusher” Kowalski. I was hooked on wrestling for life.

Brian: You entered the business during a time that it was hard to break in due to the laws of Kayfabe being enforced. At what point did you realize that the matches were predetermined and how were the doors open for you to be included among the circle of people that were involved in the sport?

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Mick: Like any kid from that era, I refused to listen to my parents and siblings, who told me that wrestling wasn’t on the “up-and-up.” Of course, I refused to believe it—for a while. As time went on, I began to pick out certain things that didn’t seem quite right. When I ventured down to the Dyckman Hotel in downtown Minneapolis, which housed the Minneapolis Boxing & Wrestling Club (AWA) a few years later and saw Reggie Parks and Moose Cholak standing by the elevators, laughing and joking, the light bulb went off. Parks and Cholak were in the midst of a “feud” at the time. Now it all made sense.

You are so correct that this was the “kayfabe” era, and the wrestling business was protected to the hilt. No one was automatically allowed even remotely close to the inner circle. I literally hung around the TV tapings and the arena matches for years before I was semi-trusted. That is certainly a far cry from today’s scenario, when it seems just about anyone can finagle their way into a locker room or back stage.

Brian: Before we go any further with the AWA we have to mention the great Verne Gagne. Last month on April 27th , Gagne passed away at the age of 89, but his contribution to the sport of wrestling as a Champion, promoter and trainer defined an era of wrestling that continues to this day. What were your memories of Verne Gagne and out of those three different aspects of wrestling do you feel was his biggest accomplishment?

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Former AWA World Champ Verne Gagne by the Artist of Champions Rob Schamberger

Mick: As it relates to Verne Gagne, I don’t think his impact and imprint on the business can be overstated. His influence was monumental, going back to the mid-1950’s when he was really the first national “babyface” wrestler on the old Dumont Network. Televised pro wrestling was an absolute mainstay back then, and Verne was its original big star. As the years went on, his star shone brighter and brighter. He was the epitome of a champion: good looks, tremendous conditioning, smart, articulate, and always the ultimate professional. As a promoter, he had a keen eye for talent and he ruled with an iron fist. Verne was first and foremost a WRESTLER, and you damn well better know how to wrestle if you worked for him. The AWA had its share of off the wall characters, too, but nothing like the circus “sports entertainment” that the WWF/WWE foisted on the world.

As a trainer, there were none better than Verne. Look at the roster of guys he turned out: Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Sgt. Slaughter, Greg Gagne, Jim Brunzell, Scott Irwin, Bob Backlund, Khosrow Vaziri, on and on. Amazing.

Brian: The AWA was filled with several larger than life characters throughout the years that thrilled fans with exciting action in the ring and memorable interviews that drew huge crowds night after night. Men such as a Nick Bockwinkel , Mad Dog Vachon, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Dick the Bruiser, Larry Hennig and Baron Von Raschke just to name a few. Who were your favorites to work with personally and can you share a story with the MWR fans of one of those stars?

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With Nick Bockwnkel, 1982.

Mick: My favorite wrestlers over the years tend to be the “heels.” My all time favorite, bar none, is Nick Bockwinkel. I honestly believe that he was the standard bearer for the wrestling business in the 1970’s and early 80’s. I was also a huge fan of the late Dr. Bill Miller, Dick (Dr.X/Destroyer) Beyer, Stan “Krusher” Kowalski, and Bobby Heenan. The stories about these guys could fill a book, but I’ll share one kind of bizarre and scary one.

Dr. Bill Miller wrestled in the AWA under a mask as “The Mysterious Mr. M.” He won the AWA title from Verne in January 1962. In August of that same year, Verne won the title back in Minneapolis. The end of the match saw Verne twist the mask so Miller couldn’t see, then he dropkicked and pinned him. The stipulation was if Miller lost, he would unmask, which he did right after the match. On his way back to the locker room, a crazed fan leaned over the railing of the balcony and viciously hit Miller over the head with a 2 x 6 board with a 1/8″ steel spike on the end. A nearly unconscious Miller was assisted back to the locker room.

Some 12 years later, Miller returned for a short stint in the AWA and I spoke with him at the TV tapings. We discussed the incident, which Miller said he remembered like it was yesterday. He explained that when he went back to the locker room and was regaining his senses, he could actually put his pinky finger into the top of his head a feel his brain! Miller was a veterinarian and he knew how serious it was. He showed me the scars which were still clearly visible. The perpetrator, by the way, was never caught.

“The World’s Most Scientific Wrestler” Wilbur Snyder teams with “The Man With The Cast Iron Stomach” Pepper Gomez, to go against the feared master of the heart punch Ox Baker and Dr. Big Bill Miller. This is the first of a two fall battle.

Editors note: SICW fans were fortunate enough to meet OX Baker in 2014 at the East Carondelet Community Center , before he passed away months later.

Brian: Here at Missouri Wrestling Revival, we work with many ring announcers throughout the MWR coverage area. What would be your advice to someone that is looking to become the best ring announcer that they can be?

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With AWA/WWF announcer Ken Resnick, 2015

Mick: To aspiring ring announcers, here’s a few tips. Take a deep breath and relax. The audience will pick up on it right away if you are nervous. Do your homework. Make sure you are clear on all the weights, hometowns, and match stipulations. Most importantly, don’t be too overbearing. Deliver your intro forcefully and clearly, but don’t try to be flamboyant and outshine the wrestlers. Remember, it’s about them, not you.

Brian: On December 29th, 1985 Stan Hansen defeated Rick Martel to become the AWA World Champion? Hansen was also a Mega Star in Japan with his good friend and partner Bruiser Brody who is set to be honored next week at SICW with the Bruiser Brody memorial event in East Carondelet Illinois. As a fan that Grew up in the 80’s, Hansen’s version of the clothesline, the Lariat was a feared move that every wrestling fan “knew” had broken WWWF Heavyweight Champion Bruno Sammartino’s neck in the 70’s. I don’t remember a match that involved Hansen that the commentator put over the fact that he could win the match with the lariat if he was able to land the move. Who and what were some of your favorite finishers to call during a match while you did color commentary?

Mick: My favorite finishing maneuvers to call play by play on? Wow, that’s a tough one. I would say Bruiser Brody’s boot to the face and flying knee drop, Greg Gagne’s sleeper hold, Jerry Blackwell’s big splash, and Mad Dog Vachon’s piledriver rank right up there. It’s sad how the business has changed and the finishers I’ve mentioned are just another move in the matches these days, and usually the opponents kick out at least once.

Brian: Fans of today can relive the AWA through the WWE DVD release WWE: The Spectacular Legacy of the American Wrestling Association. Was this a worthy look of the AWA, and what would you have liked to have seen showcased more or less on the DVD?

Mick: I thought the AWA DVD was pretty decent, especially when you consider it was a WWE release. Watching some of the old footage is particularly great to an old school fan like me. If there is anything I had a problem with it would be how much emphasis was placed on the erosion of the promotion. I guess that’s to be expected, but the AWA had 50 years of greatness before the wheels fell off the bus.

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At Cauliflower Alley Club with Sir Oliver Humperdink.

Brian: Recently you and I had the pleasure of spending time in Las Vegas at the 50th Anniversary of the Cauliflower Alley Club. The event was filled with memories and moments that will last a lifetime including what I felt was one of the most entertaining acceptance speech’s of All-time when one of my heroes, Harley Race presented Hennig  the “Iron” Mike Mazurki Award. The two, along with Hennigs’ wife Irene could easily take their show on the road as they delivered laughs and good times that exhibit what the CAC is all about. This is a multi-part question, how long have you been a member of the CAC, what have been your highlights of attending the reunion and why should a wrestling fan join a club that we feel so passionate about?

200px-cac_logo

Mick: I have been attending the CAC reunions since 2000. There is no way to describe the feeling you get rubbing elbows with the legends of the business. I have met so many amazing people. Since I started going there, I have seen the likes of Steve Austin, Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat, Antonio Inoki, Pat Patterson, the Vachons, Hard Boiled Haggerty, Tex McKenzie, Kurt Angle, Sputnik Monroe, Larry Hennig, Harley Race, Lou Thesz, Bobby Heenan, The Crusher, Jim Cornette, JJ Dillon, Nick Bockwinkel, Terry Funk, The Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young, Judy Grable, Stan Hansen, Tim Woods and Johnny Walker (“Mr. Wrestling” 1 & 2), Ox Baker, Superstar Graham, Jimmy Valiant, on and on and on. Hundreds of superstars. I would tell anyone who is truly passionate about the wrestling business, you NEED to attend at least once. You owe it to yourself. I would also say, don’t wait. Many of the people I just mentioned have passed away. You just never know.

Brian: As we prepare for an exciting weekend built around the memories of Bruiser Brody at the show of the year for SICW, what were your memories of Bruiser Brody?

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With Bruiser Brody, 1987

Mick: My memories of Bruiser Brody. God, so many. I was a fan of his long before I ever saw him wrestle in person. Watching him on various syndicated wrestling programs and reading about him in the magazines, I always looked forward to seeing him. When he first arrived in the AWA area, it was incredible. His aura, his mystique, his sheer presence. I don’t know if I have ever seen a feud to match the one he had with Jerry Blackwell. In 1986, I had the tremendous honor of doing two television interviews with him at a show in Winnipeg, Canada. Bruiser main evented against the guy I know many fans in this area are very familiar with, “Bulldog” Bob Brown. Their match was a war and spilled out into the crowd. Even though I had been announcing for a couple years at that point, Brody was my first “big time” interview, and needless to say I was initially scared to death. But he spoke with me beforehand, laid down a few guidelines, and the promos went perfectly. When he thanked me for a job well done, I felt as if I had truly arrived as an announcer in the wrestling business. I will never forget that.

Brian: Since AWA has closed doors you have stayed active in the world of pro wrestling. Please tell the fans what you have been up?

Mick: During the time frame that the AWA was shutting down, I left there and became host of a four-hour wrestling block in the Twin Cities called “Saturday Night at Ringside.” Joe Pedicino and Paul Heyman were instrumental in getting me the job. Besides carrying NWA Worldwide, World Class, Pro Wrestling This Week, and Windy City Wrestling, I incorporated localized tie-ins for independent wrestling shows, brought in both local and national wrestlers, created angles and storylines, did trivia contests, answered viewer questions, and had fans appear as a “Ringsider of the Week.” In fact, the famous lady wrestler “ODB” was a “Ringsider” on my program at the age of 8 !!

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On the set of “Saturday Night at Ringside,” with Stan Kowalski, Baron Von Raschke, Larry Hennig, Al DeRusha, Wally Karbo and Mad Dog Vachon (1990.)

I have worked for the American Wrestling Federation “Warriors of Wrestling” under the direction of Sgt. Slaughter and Tito Santana; I have done television for literally dozens of independent promotions in the United States, Canada, and Australia. For the past 17 years, I have been lead booker and TV host for Ed Hellier’s Steel Domain Wrestling, based out of Minnesota.

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Hosting Steel Domain’s “Championship Wrestling from the Twin Cities” program with promoter Ed Hellier, 2015.

In the early days, SDW had future world champions C.M. Punk, Adam Pearce, Colt Cabana, Ken Anderson, Shawn Daivari, and Austin Aries on the roster AT THE SAME TIME!!!

Brian: Mick, thank you so much for taking the time with Missouri Wrestling Revival and we look forward to seeing you at SICW’s Bruiser Brody memorial event that starts with the 3:30 Q and A. Do you have anything that you would like to mention as we end this interview and prepare for such an exciting weekend?

Mick: I would like to extend my most sincere thanks to you for the opportunity to share part of my story, and to Herb Simmons and Larry Matysik for inviting this old AWA guy to such a wonderful event!!

hss

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Missouri Wrestling Revival makes their way to the 50th Anniversary of the Cauliflower Alley Club in Las Vegas

Posted by flairwhoooooo on March 29, 2015

 

Missouri Wrestling Revival Logo

For the past seven years Missouri Wrestling Revival has supported pro wrestling in the Midwest, while working with many of the top minds and talents in the sport. Throughout that time, MWR has sought out to gain recognition for the hard working men and women so that their hard work can be seen around the world. MWR has built relationships with many of the top websites, promotions, artist and media to meet those goals.

 

MWR’s owner Brian Kelley has been a lifetime member of the Cauliflower Alley Club for quite some time, and in the past MWR has sponsored the CAC through their annual reunion program with information on the MWR site including award members and the MWR Trading Card set.

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This month for the very first time MWR Owner Brian Kelley and MWR Fan relations Dubray Tallman is set to attend the biggest CAC reunion ever as a sold out CAC of over 700 will be attending a 3 day event that will also be attended by many of the greatest wrestlers of yesterday to the greatest of today. There will be 2 nights of wrestling action, meet and greet, Q and A’s, Award banquets and much more.

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Look for a recap of the event in the near future on this very site as well as the 2015 MWR Yearbook on the must attend event of the year in the world of pro wrestling. Several of the MWR Family and friends are scheduled to be in Vegas are two MWR lifetime Achievement award winners CAC’s very own Karl Lauer and SICW Promoter Herb Simmons. Our good friend Mickey Simmons, the wife of Herb, former MWR Wrestler of the Year Adam Pearce, MWR Fans Choice Referee of the Year for 2014, Jay King, Ring Announcer Ben Simon, The Artist of Champions Rob Schamberger, 2-time MWR Female Wrestler of the Year Stacey O’Brien and WLW Champion LeLand Race, “The Great one” Gary Jackson, Promoter TNT Keny G and his daughter and former CAC Future Legend, Santana G, former WLW Champion Steve Anthony, Pro Wrestler Matt Riviera, former wrestler and a big part of SICW, Keith Smith and his wife Michelle, Barbara Goodish will be there to honor her husband, the great Bruiser Brody,

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Darla Staggs,Former NWA World Champion Kahagas, AWA Ring Announcer Mick Karch, Ring Announcer Tom Seib, MWR friend Jack Tierney, High Risk Wrestling’s play by play man Steve Murphy are just a few that we believe will be in Vegas for his historic event.

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Santana Garrett (Brittany in TNA) Named as the Cauliflower Alley Club 2014 Future Legend

Posted by flairwhoooooo on June 4, 2014

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Karl Lauer Presented with the 2013 MWR Lifetime Achievement Award in Richland Missouri

Posted by flairwhoooooo on April 4, 2014

 2013 MWR Lifetime   Achievement recipient Karl Lauer

MWR Fan relations Dubray Tallman and the 2013 MWR Lifetime Achievement recipient Karl Lauer

Missouri Wrestling Revival was thrilled to be at NWA Central States Wrestling to honor the 2013 MWR Lifetime Achievement plaque with artwork by Raven Johnson prior to intermission on a night that saw a new NWA Missouri Champion crowned.

 

Lauer has done it all in the sport while being a friend to wrestling fans for many years. Lauer is a family man prior to adding his talents to the wrestling world. Throughout his banner career he has been a successful promoter, a World Champion wrestler, excelled as a stuntman and actor in Hollywood for classic such as the Six Million Dollar Man, Remington Steel, Atomic Blue and Personal Vendetta. Lauer’s dedication and expertise as the CEO has helped the Cauliflower Alley Club since 1989 and the non-profit organization is preparing for their annual convention in Las Vegas in June this year.

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Lauer a current resident of Missouri was a co-founder of World Legion Wrestling, which was the beginning of what we now know as Harley Race’s World League Wrestling. Today Lauer is the Senior Inspector for the Missouri State Athletic Commission.

During the presentation we were thrilled to see the NWA Central States Wrestling fans give Karl Lauer a well-deserved standing ovation. Once again we would like to congratulate  Lauer for his many positive accomplishments in the world of Pro Wrestling. At the young age of 75, Lauer shows no signs of slowing down.

Past Honorees

2012 MWR Lifetime Achievement Award: Herb Simmons
2011 MWR Lifetime Achievement Award: Bob Geigel
2010 MWR Lifetime Achievement Award: Mike Chapman
2009 MWR Lifetime Achievement Award: Larry Matysik
2008 MWR Lifetime Achievement Award: : Harley Race

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WLW/WWE/Pro Wrestling Noah presented a magical week for wrestlers and fans in the Midwest in October.

Posted by flairwhoooooo on October 25, 2011

By Brian Kelley

For the past 10 plus years the must attend wrestling weekend in the Midwest has been held in Eldon Missouri at Harley Race’s World League Wrestling Academy. Race is considered by many to be the very best wrestler in the history of the sport. During his time as the 8-time NWA World Champion he would travel across the globe defending the title including the very best in Japan. When his career was done those trips and relationships would help build a relationship with Pro Wrestling Noah, one of the top wrestling companies not only in Japan but around the world.

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-Wrestling NOAH Ken Hirayama and Ryu Nakata with Harley Race. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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Trevor Murdock has been a star around the world but there is nothing like being home with the ones he loves. Here he is joined with his daughter and Wife before meeting his fans. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

WLW and NOAH would team up to trade talent to allow the best to compete against each other in matches that would prepare one Trevor Murdock to not only be ready to make a run in WWE but flourish with tag team partner Lance Cade to become a 3-time WWE Tag Team Champions.

The WLW school would introduce fans to stars like Matt “the Missile” Murphy, Griz, Derek Stone, Trevor Murdock, Wade Chism, the Drill Instructor, Warcloud and Johnny Jett as they mixed it up with many of the top names in the sport like Meng, Butch Reed, Bobby Eaton, The Harris Brothers, Rick Stiener and Japan’s Takeshi Morishima, Takao Ōmori and Go Shiozaki as they toured towns for fundraisers around the Midwest.

While the school runs year round to season the young talent, the annual WLW/NOAH camp works with WWE as past trainers have been John Laurinaitis, Ricky Steamboat, Tom Pritchard, Takashi Suguira, Go Shiozaki, Takeshi Morishima, KENTA, Naomichi Marufuji, Kenta Kobashi, Ty Bailey, and many more.

This year’s camp featured Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, William Regal, Kevin Von Erich, and Harley Race along with representatives from Pro-Wrestling NOAH Ken Hirayama and Ryu Nakata as students around the country came to hone their wrestling skills in the ring.

I was honored to be a guest to sit in during the weeks camp as the 40 plus students took part in the camp. During the days that I was there I was impressed with the patience and dedication that each of the trainers gave each of the students.

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Superstar Steve and Pro Wrestling Noah teaches to the students. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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Jason Jones and Noah show young Joe Reiling some pointers (Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

Due to the size of the groups there were two locations for the students, one for the beginners and one for the more seasoned wrestlers. While each group would be able to get great hints on how to work a match, logic, moves and where to be in the ring with hands on from the trainers.

As the camp went on during the week, the Pro Wrestling Noah and WWE representatives wanted to see the wrestlers come up with a match, then perform it in the ring. After the match was done advise was given to each of the wrestlers on what they did right, what they could have done different and how to improve it for the fans.

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Dustin Bozworth (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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Dillon Divine (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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Jonas Albert Robinson (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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(Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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SBC (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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(Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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(Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

During the Saturday wrestling show I sat down with a few of the students to get their take on the weeklong camp and what they got out of it. One Jonas Albert Robinson from Oregon had already been to Lance Storms camp and been wrestling since 2008 stated honestly “What I learned this week was that I don’t know anything about wrestling. When I walked through the door I thought I knew about 60% of how to have a great match but in reality it was more close to 5%. The trainers at the camp really opened my eyes on how to improve my game and give the fans their money’s worth when I get in the ring. Then I was amazed at the positivity and information that Kevin (Von Erich) provided. In the end he was such an added bonus with Steamboat and Regal.

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The Freebird -Von Erich feud did not get started again at the camp but Freebird Buddy Roberts son Buddy Roberts JR poses with his dads arch enemies sons Marshal and Ross Von Erich. All three took part in the camp. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )(Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

While Jonas have been able to be in the ring prior to the week, Joe Reiling has yet to have a match but knew the importance of getting the proper training and the luxury of having Race’s camp so close to his home in Warrensburg Missouri. Reiling stepped up the plate when Regal asked for two young men to get in the ring to work the arms. Though his experience was limited he gave a 100 percent and tried to soak in all the information that his trainers were given him. During my conversations with his fellow peers in the camp they relayed to me that he had earned their respect that week and had improved a ton from day one to the final day. Reiling stated to me that he did not know when his first match would come but the camp added to the fire to learn more to live his dream to be a pro wrestler.

I watched another Oregon native Dillon Divine as he worked under the watchful eyes of Steamboat and Regal. I was impressed with his facial expressions and Divine said it best to be when said “You get what you put out of it. So go for it.

While many of the Harley students took part in the camp one young wrestler fans at MWR are aware of is the 2010 MWR Future Star recipient Sir Bradley Charles.

The award is given not only to the wrestler MWR feels has the talent but the dedication and work ethic to become better, to be the best that they can be. SBC had been to Lance Storms camp, wrestled outside the country and is a rising star at Metro Pro Wrestling, 3xwRESTLING , NWA Dynamo and SICW but he once again proved that he is deserving of the award by seeking out more training to be the best that he can be.

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Ryan Drago looks to slow down Lee Walker. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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SBC receives a punishing blow from Dustin Bozworth. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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OUCH (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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Jeff Strong stretches SBC. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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Jeff Strong, Ryan Drago and Dustin Bozoworth with the win. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

At the end of the week SBC debuted for WLW as he teamed up on the Saturday show with Lee Walker. & Ethan H.D in a tough loss against the team of Ryan Drago, Jeff Strong, & Dustin Bozworth. Even though SBC did not get the “W” the skills that he learned this week will give him that much more a chance to become a star around the world.

In what was one of the most surprising moments for me during the week the students were all smiles as they told me that Regal had invited them to his hotel room on the final night to discuss wrestling in a special Q and A on the week’s events, his opinions and stories from one of the most traveled wrestlers from the past twenty years. What an invitation from a man who could of easily of stayed to himself during a time that he was not required to but instead respects the sport so much that he wanted to give back to the students who took the opportunity to take part in the camp. To say that with that bit of information from the students didn’t move Regal up on my favorites of all time would be a lie.

The week would not be complete as WLW would bring the action and love to the fans. A great night of wrestling as always added with a request from Regal to actually wrestle on the card. His opponent former WLW wrestler who has worked at WWE and ROH as well as a two time WLW Tag team champion with Matt Murphy and Superstar Steve Fender respectably.

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Steve Fender meets the fans. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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Ms Natural and her fans. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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This lovely grandmother brought her granddaughter to the matches. They were so adorable that a picture had to be taken. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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MWR Dubray Tallman poses with friends from ST Louis Kyle Valle and Joe Bates. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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(Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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Everyone wants to talk to the WLW Champ Brian Breaker. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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For 5 hours Kevin Von Erich signed autograph after autograph then took photo after photo. One of the nicest guys MWR has ever met.

The night started off with the fans having a chance to meet the stars of WLW as well as Ricky Steamboat and Kevin Von Erich.

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Is Kevin Von Erich Teaching the WLW Women's champ Lucy Mendez how to do the claw? (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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Ricky Steamboat was in high demand. Bringing smiles to fans young and old alike. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

I had the honor of meeting a true Superstar on the night when I spoke to the Cauliflower Alley Club’s Karl Lauer.

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Master Sgt Ira Scott, 87 yrs young and served in WW11, Korea and VietNam total over 30 yrs

He introduced me his “hero” Master Sgt Ira Scott, 87 yrs young and served in WW11, Korea and VietNam total over 30 yrs. was in the US Air Force and done everything from crew chief on fighters, to copters to bombers to medical attention in emergency and sewed up guys so would not bleed before the medics go to um. A very remarkable man and what a real hero is really all about. 5″6″ about 145 lbs and sharp as a teen ager. Later in the night WLW announcer Dan Gier would introduce him to the fans. Out of respect everyone in attendance gave the man a well-deserved standing ovation.

As fans took the time to get their autographs and pictures taken with the stars, The personal highlight of the night for me was to have a few fans come up to introduce themselves stating that they visited the site and enjoyed it.

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Here I pose with a fan of MWR, a great guy who we hope to see in the matches soon.

I have many friends that I know visit the site but it truly makes it worth it when I meet new friends that check MWR out so that they may know when WLW will be back in action or an interview with an up and comer.

One of my very childhood best friends Billy Howser came up for the show on the night with his friend Steve. Billy showed great taste in women once again when the love bug hit him for the “Catholic Schoolgirl” Stacey O’Brien.

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Every schoolboys dream is now every wrestling fans as Stacey O has the boys hearts in the palm of her hands. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

Billy bought him an 8×10 of her and wanted to know when I thought she would be at in the future as I stated that she is a star as well for Metro Pro Wrestling.

As we gear up for the first ever MWR Yearbook, I have called on friends to help me add some special features for the book. One of them is famed artist ICON who work includes the world renowned painting The Gods of Thunder painting, as seen at WWE Magazine January 2011.

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Kevin Von Erich with my friend Icon. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

When he told me of his newest project called “Fantasy Warfare” where he will be drawing two wrestlers from different eras going to war. The first one he did was former WWE Champion the Ultimate Warrior taking on current WWE Star and former WWE Champ Sheamus. I quickly asked to have a special one drawn for the 2011 yearbook and when he asked me who I would like to see go to battle I chose two of my very favorites of all-time, Harley Race vs. Kurt Angle. A match that I think could have won multiple awards throughout the years. Fans be sure to look for this great feature in the book to see who got the edge in this exclusive feature from ICON.

We had posted the importance of Kevin Von Erich coming to the Midwest prior to the show at MWR but little did we know how friendly the man was. All night long he posed for photos giving the fans the famed Von Erich Claw and signing autographs.

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Young Jalen Ray will never forget having the claw put on him by a true master of the move Kevin Von Erich. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

One friend came up to me and was impressed on how respectful his sons Marshall and Ross were to them when they asked for a photo. Their comment, Kevin raised them kid’s right. Marshall and Ross by the way took part in the camp as they look to make a name for themselves. Their dad Kevin, proudly told me how talented they were in their high school sports during a special interview with MWR.

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Corey Dunken leans on Jason Jones. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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The Prince Jason Jones wins once again in 2011. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

An exciting night of action started off with one of the hottest wrestlers in the country as “The Prince” Jason Jones continued his momentum with a win against young Corey Dunken. Jones would have been a real threat for the NWA JR title if he would have been able to get in the tournament for the vacated title left by former champion Craig Classic.

The WLW women’s title has not been as red hot since Malia Hosaka and Brandi Alexander went to war for the championship.

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Ms Natural delivers a punishing move on O'Brien. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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Payback from Stacey. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

With Ms Natural, the most decorated champion in the company’s history back in the game the fans got to see a classic as Champion Lucy Mendez showed her heart to win a match that also featured former MWR Female of the year Stacey O’Brien.

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Lucy keeps the WLW title much to the delight of the fans in Eldon. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

In a WLW Classic match it would be ALL THAT Matt Murphy teaming up with Steve Fender to meet Trevor Murdock and Bull Schmitt in tag action. Each of these men have been able to take the skills taught to them by Race to make multiple trips to Japan and WWE in years past and their battles have always had a special place in the WLW faithful’s hearts.

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Welcome back to wrestling Matt Murphy says Trevor Murdock. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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(Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

During the match Murphy looked to have a leg injury and would not be able to continue. It looked so bad that Ricky Steamboat who was watching in the bleachers with Ms. Natural came to ringside to assist Murphy.

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Steamboat shows some heart to help the "injured" Murphy. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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Murphy was proud of himself as he taunts the former NWA World Champion Steamboat. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

When out of the blue, Murphy showed his true colors and attacked Murdock and Schmitt to the shock of Steamboat and the fans.

Murdock and Schmitt would be able to recover to get the win in what many fans said was one of the most special moments in WLW History. Out of respect each men hugged one another to end the match.

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RESPECT. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

This past spring WLW Stars Trevor Murdock and Brian Breaker toured Japan for Pro Wrestling Noah. While the two stars were on the plane tragedy struck when Hurricane Katrina exploded on Japan. The country was left in shambles and many lost loved ones during one of the saddest moments of 2011. During intermission Harley thanked his friends at Pro Wrestling Noah for their support throughout the years. In response Pro-Wrestling NOAH Ken Hirayama and Ryu Nakata spoke to the fans. They spoke about the promises of many countries to stay and help the country during the aftermath but when it came time for action many was no where to be seen, while Switzerland and the USA were front and center with support for Japan. They then thanked the fans and the country while starting a USA Chant out of respect for the men and women of the USA for their help.

Back to action the man who is the current WLW Champion Brian Breaker would defend his title against fan favorite Jack Gamble. In what I thought was the match of the night, Gamble took a beating but refused to lay down to the champion Breaker. It looked as if the speed of Gamble may pay off but Breaker was just to good as his moves of crushing power was too much for Gamble.

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Jack Gamble took a beating throughout the match but never once backed down. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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Jack Gamble can exploded at any time during a match. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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DROP!! (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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WWE'S William Regal.

In the main event it would be a wrestling clinic as Steven Regal and Ace Steel would go old school as they traded moves and punishing blows that could have been a headlined anywhere in the country.

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Sit back and watch a classic wrestling match in front of your eyes as Regal goes against Ace Steel. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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(Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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(Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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(Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

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(Photo Credit Brian Kelley )

Regal would be able to capture a hard earned win on Ace Steel to finish the nights.

Once again World League Wrestling proved that they provide the fans with moments that will be cherished for a lifetime. For the aspiring wrestler , they gave them a chance to become better and be seen by WWE and Pro Wrestling Noah Scouts and for the fans a chance to meet their favorites and watch wrestling the way it was meant to be.

If you missed this years event be sure to keep an eye out at MWR for info on all WLW shows and as soon as we know more about the 2012 WLW/WWE/NOAH camp we will post it here.

Editor’s Note: We would like to thank Harley Race, Pro Wrestling Noah for their hospitably to bring allow us to bring you the fans this awesome look at one of the most important weeks of the year. WLW for over the past 10 years have been dedicated to giving back to communities through fundraisers of their exciting family friendly wrestling shows.

Thank you to the wrestlers of WLW and the students that attended the camp for working with MWR for photos and comments for this story.

Last and most importantly thank you to the fans for their support of MWR and your local wrestling promotion.

Hope you enjoyed this feature and we hope to see you at the matches real soon.

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MWR is a proud sponsor for the 2011 Cauliflower Alley Club Reunion Program in Las Vegas with Honorees SGT. SLAUGHTER, MICK FOLEY, RICK MARTEL, DAN KROFFAT, THE HONKY TONK MAN, AWESOME KONG, TOMMY, DOUG and Eddie Gilbert plus many more.

Posted by flairwhoooooo on March 13, 2011

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The 2011 CAC reunion will be at the Gold Coast Hotel the week of April 18 – 20, 2011 and we hope that you take the opportunity to make the trip for one of the must see events of the year.

While you are there be sure to pick up a 2011 CAC Reunion Program.

Look inside the front cover and you will see your favorite website that covers wrestling in the Midwest front and center.

Click here and check out our friends at the CAC with all the info on the weekends events

If you are not a member of the CAC I highly encourage you to become one in 2011 by clicking here to start the process.

We would also like to thank High Voltage Wrestling for offering to help support our goal of putting an advertisement of MWR in this prestigious program.

Please note that we are very proud of the ad that is below though the checklist for the MWR Trading Cards have changed a bit with card number of Mike Sydal being #37 with  hopes that our good friend Dan Gier coming later in the set.

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2010 MWR Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Mike Chapman

Posted by flairwhoooooo on January 1, 2011

History should
be studied
because it
is essential to
individuals and
to society, and
because it
harbors beauty.

Pro Wrestling fans are passionate about their love of the drama and action inside the squared circle. In a sport where the desire for us, the fans to know more about our heroes and villains more than ever, we are very fortunate to have websites, shoot interviews, movies and documentaries to fall back on.

Growing up I dreamed of a Hall of Fame for the stars that I saw in publications such as Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Wrestling needed a Hall of Fame just as baseball has Cooperstown New York and the NFL Canton Ohio. Sure, many magazines had a Hall of Fame on paper but I wanted more. I wanted to see the championship belts, photos and posters from past shows.

To be honest, coming from a boom time for pro wrestling in the 80’s with “Rock and Wrestling”, I still lived in a small town in the Midwest where there were still many that did not understand my love for wrestling. I thought that if a Hall of Fame was to exist I would have to make my way to New York or California to see such a wonderful museum.

Thankfully, we have one of the leading authorities on wrestling history in Mike Chapman living right here in the Midwest. Mike took his passion for amateur and pro wrestling and parlayed his talent to provide wrestling fans around the world a chance to gather to celebrate the accomplishments of our heroes.

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Mike and Bev pose for a photo in the ring in the Pro Wing of the Museum. (Photo Courtesy of Mike Chapman’s website)

Now fans young and old can come together to look back and remember the stars of yesterday at the The Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum in Waterloo Iowa. Mike Chapman founded the museum in 1998. With several years of hard work he retired from the museum on October 31, 2009 to devote full time to his new magazine, Iowa History Journal, and to write books.

Mike has represented the Midwest and the wrestling world with class and honor by promoting the sport as a public speaker, an author of 21 books (14 about wrestling) and his work has appeared in dozens of national and regional magazines.

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In his books wrestling fans are able to take a trip back into time to look back at the incredible careers of Frank Gotch in “Frank Gotch: His Life and Legacy” and one of my personal favorite wrestlers and human beings Dan Hodge in “Oklahoma Shooter: The Dan Hodge Story”.
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Fans of today are well aware of the talents that the collegiate wrestling world has as many in wrestling such as Bill Miller, Jack Brisco, Bob Geigel Brock Lesnar, Ken Shamrock, Steve Williams, Bobby Lashley, LeRoy McGuirk and of course Kurt Angle . Each of these men have all become important wrestlers in the pro ring at one time or another.

If some of these names are people that you may not know, I urge you to check out the museum or look them up, each a champion in their own right.

Let’s look at just a small part of his resume.

Mike is the founder of W.I.N. Magazine, considered by many the nation’s top amateur wrestling publication; the WIN Memorabilia Show, which draws 8,000 fans each year to the NCAA Championships.  Mike has been important in the jumpstarting the “Dan Hodge Trophy,” which goes each year to the top college wrestler in the United States. It has been called “the Heisman Trophy of wrestling.”

Mike has earned the respect of many in the sport by being named in six Hall of Fames the AAU National Wrestling Hall of Fame. In 2002 he  received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cauliflower Alley Club (CAC), an organization of boxers, wrestlers and movie actors. In 2007 he received the Order of Merit for lifetime achievement from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and the President’s Award from the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association.

As a reporter, he has attended 38 NCAA wrestling tournaments, two Olympics and two World Championships. He has won numerous awards for journalism and writing. He has been named National Wrestling Writer of the Year five times, by four different amateur wrestling organizations.

He has met and interviewed such people as Ronald Reagan, Muhammad Ali, Robert Redford, Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk from TV fame), Denny Miller (Tarzan actor and star of “Wagon Train”) and many other famous stars of movies and sports.

Mike has appeared on numerous TV shows –including the networks ESPN, A&E, Fox Sports, Iowa Public Television and Fox and Friends. He has been the guest on over 200 radio talk shows. He has produced three wrestling videos and has two screenplays in Hollywood, including “GOTCH: An American Hero.” The movie rights are owned by Empire Film Group and it is currently in pre-production.

As an athlete, he competed in wrestling, judo, sombo and bench press contests. He once bench pressed 440 pounds at a bodyweight of 205.

I first had the pleasure of meeting Mike Chapman in Newton Iowa, the original home of the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum several years ago during an annual Hall of Fame. Several of my heroes from years past where in attendance in 2005 along with theInduction of Harley Race to the HOF.

Terry Funk, Verne Gagne and Larry Hennig were just a few that where there to sign autographs for the each and every one of the fans in attendance. Still one of the fondest memories that I had of that trip to Newton Iowa was how nice this guy that worked for the museum was towards Dubray and I. He spoke to us just like he had known us all of his life, telling stories of the displays and the posters on the wall.

We left that day in Newton with the perception that he just worked there and enjoyed what he done. I would later find out that that worker was none other than Mike Chapman, the founder of the museum, a man who had rubbed elbows former World Champions in Boxing and wrestling, Presidents of the United States, and some of the top Hollywood stars.

At Mike’s website this quote was stated

The mission of the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum (DGIWIM) is to preserve, maintain and promote the long and illustrious heritage of mankind’s oldest sport in a manner which will benefit the sport, educate and entertain the public, and to inspire youth to dream big and work hard.

Mission accomplished Mike, this Lifetime Achievement Award is a thank you from the fans of the Midwest and around the world.

Editors Note: Please come back to MWR in the future for updates on the progress Mike latest project as he has been working with a committee in Humboldt, Iowa – the hometown of Frank Gtoch – to build an eight-foot statue of the world heavyweight champion (1908-1915) in the center of town.

If all goes as plan we hope to cover this historic occasion at Missouri Wrestling Revival
Please take the time to check out more information of Mike Chapman at his website here.

Fans of wrestling should check out the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum website here and make plans to see it live in 2011.

Brian Kelley
Missouri Wrestling Revival

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