When I was a kid, I used to work at Hudson County News Company in North Bergen sorting comic books. It was, at the time, my dream job. Every month when pro wrestling was at the Garden, I’d pull my car up to one of the loading docks and take a bundle of 50 Wrestling Revue magazines to hawk outside on 33rd & 8th before the bouts. Since Pedro Morales was the champion back then, I’d sell ‘em in Spanish by yelling, “Revistas de lucha libre! Solamente cinquenta centavos o dos por un dolar!” And they bought two every time. I’d then use the money to go see the bouts. This went on for years.
When I was a young adult, editing Metal Maniacs and Modern Screen at Sterling’s Magazines in New York City, I also took over the editorship of Wrestling World and turned it into an extreme mag. “Special Blood Issue” and “Boobs’n’Blood” were two issues I came up with. Then I went down to the Caribbean to start a wrestling magazine in San Juan called—what else?—Lucha Libre de Puerto Rico. I had my man at the San Juan Star to translate all my articles into Spanish.
When my cousin Cary Silkin bought an indie federation called Ring Of Honor, I did press and rang the bell. Many of its stars are on TV now every Monday and Thursday and I have to smile at their success because the ones who made it were the ones who were professional enough never to miss an interview. When Cary sold ROH and I was let go, I didn’t watch wrestling for years.
But it’s the baseball off-season now and I need something to fill the gaping hole in my life. Yeah, so I’ve been watching wrestling again.
On January 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, professional wrestling returns to the Sands Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) Event Center in the form of TNA Impact Wrestling for a series of live and taped television events. With most tickets at only 10 bucks, you could do a whole hell of a lot worse for your entertainment dollar. The first three shows start at 6:30 with the last two at 7:00. I’ll be there thrilling to all the moves, the acrobatic high-flyers, the heels who elicit catcalls and curses, the heroes who do not always win, and the women, ahh, the women. Gail Kim could probably make Ronda Rousey submit, and the TNA Knockouts are as lethal as they are lovely.
But the guys I really want to see are Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle and the extreme tag team of Jeff and Matt Hardy. Angle is a legend and, at 46, can still beat you up. Might this be his swan song? The grapplers coming up today seem stronger, faster and more devious than those of yesteryear. Angle can’t keep up this pace much more. Or can he? My personal opinion? I think he’s going down. The Hardy Boys have always been crazy and it’s that craziness that has always set them apart. You truly do not know what the hell they are going to do in a ring: from flying off the top rope into the crowd or continuing to battle despite their foreheads being a crimson mask of blood. If I had a time machine, boy, would I love to see the Hardys against my favorite tag team, The Fabulous Kangaroos, from when I watched Ray Morgan on Channel 5 broadcast wrestling from Washington DC on Saturday nights from 9:00 to 11:00. Buddy Rogers [1921-1992], from Camden, was the champ. He’s the original “Nature Boy.” (Screw that asshole Ric Flair who also uses that appellation. I had to pick Flair up in St. Louis one time and he was a total diva jerk, not to mention a crook whose word means nothing but that’s another story.) Johnny Valentine [1928-2001] was the #1 challenger. Man, I will never forget getting so excited as a 10-year-old when one would win in the first hour and one would win in the second hour and during the interview portion of the program, one would run smack dab into the other to start a Pier Six brawl that would excite my impressionable mind to no end.
So come on out to the Sands January 5-9. I’ll be there, hopefully with my Cousin Cary. Ring the bell!