I was organizing the bookshelf in my office and came across my old photo album. For the younger ones among us, a photo album is just like the photo page on your phone, only in paper. Anyhow, several pages are photos from an AWA wrestling match back in 1980. The match was held in the gym of the high school in Fort Atkinson Wisconsin. We had $5.00 seats down on the floor. Looking at the wrestlers it’s hard to believe they would do a show in such a small venue with no more than 500 people there.
I don’t remember the order of the matches. The headliner was a tag team match with Hulk Hogan and Buck Rock-N-Roll Zumhofe vs Ken Patera and a guy I just can’t remember. One of the other soon to be big names was Patera’s manager Bobby the Brain Heenan. The funny thing is at the time Buck Rock-N-Roll Zumhofe was a bigger name then the Hulk. Buck wrestled on a local Milwaukee TV station every Sunday morning. The Host of the show was Mean Gene Okerlund. Buck’s big move was to smash a boombox over the head of his opponent. At this time Hulk Hogan didn’t have a move yet and all the little Hulksters and Hulkamania were a few years away.
When Hulkamania finely arrived, Buck Rock-N-Roll Zumhofe and Ken Patera were already in jail. Buck busted for sexual misconduct involving a minor. And Patera was in for throwing a rock through a window of a Waukesha Wisconsin McDonald’s after a match held at in the gym of my old high school in Watertown. He also knocked out two Waukesha County Sheriff Deputy’s. One of them was a woman. The worlds strongest man vs some cops. Not much of a match except they had guns to fall back on.
Some of the other Wrestlers on the card that night were also soon to become big time names in a few years. After all this time I don’t remember the order the matches were in. So I’m listing them in the order of importance to me at that time.
Number 1 hands down was Baron Von Raschke. The Baron’s end move was the claw. He would grab his opponent by the face with his right hand then grab his wrist with his left hand and crush them in to submission. One of the things you noticed about the Baron was his bald head and the wrinkles covering it. We named our first Doberman puppy Baroness Heidi Von Raschke on her AKC paper work. She had such a wrinkly head, just like the Baron.
Next on my list is Jerry Blackwell. Billed as “Mountain from Stone Mountain”, Blackwell did not have a big move that I remember. He would just out power his opponent. He was also a regular on the Sunday wrestling show, most of the time going against one of my other favorites Mad Dog Vachon.
Last of the notables is The Iron Sheik. Before going pro he was the Amateur Athletic Union Greco-Roman wrestling champion and gold medalist at 180 pounds. After moving to America he became assistant coach to the USA team for the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. The rest of the card were just cannon fodder, like the new guy beaming down on Star Trek.
About 10 years ago I was stuck going to a WWE event. This was at the Bradly Center in Milwaukee, the same place the bucks play and it was packed. From our seats I would have needed a spotters scope to see the ring. All it was, was noise, lights and special effects. You could not hear a thing or see a thing. There was no hope of telling what was going on in the ring. Boy I miss the good old days.
By the way our tickets cost $50 each.