The hardest part of being a part the wrestling family is when you have to say goodbye to your favorites to often and sometimes too soon. Late last night it was reported that Mr. AWA, Legend Wrestler Verne Gagne had passed away at the age of 89. In his early years Verne was a three sport athlete in High School at Robbinsdale High School, exceling at Football, Baseball, & Wrestling. After high school he was recruited by the University of Minnesota where he was named to the Big Ten Team. After one year in college Verne decided to enlist in the US Marine Corps, following the war he chose to return to the University of Minnesota; not only did Verne become a two NCAA champion, but he also was an alternate on the 1948 US Olympic Team. Verne would even get drafted in the 1947 NFL Draft by Chicago Bears, but because Verne was forced to chose between wrestling and football and the fact that he could make better money in wrestling, he chose wrestling; and as they say the rest is history.
Then fast forward to 1960 when Verne had enough of the NWA and decided to break away and make his own company called the American Wrestling Association. Gagne's first World Champion would be crowned as NWA legend Pat O' Connor. Verne would go on to not only become the sole owner of the company after taking over the company, but he also becomes a 10 time World Champion. Some of Verne's biggest feuds were with the greats from the era like Gene Kiniksi, Ray Stevens, The Crusher, Larry Hennig, Nick Bockwinkel, Mad Dog Vachon, and many other greats. As a promoter Verne seemed to value the technical wrestling specialist as opposed to the hulking brutes that most companies had. The one problem many say Verne had was being caught in a time warp and even the old-school style was outdated Verne stayed with it.
Around late 1983 to early 1984 is when the talent exodus of the AWA began with the company’s biggest draw in Hulk Hogan heading to New York for the WWF. Others talents that would soon follow Hogan include: Slaughter, The Rockers, Nasty Boys, Bobby Heenan, Mene Gene, Iron Sheik, Bob Backlund, Steamboat, Curt Hennig, and many others. By 1991 the AWA the damage had been done and the AWA was officially Out of Business, after 30 years. Those who may not have heard of Verne Gagne or all he did for the wrestling industry will not be able to understand how much Verne meant to the industry. Verne gave more than half of his life the wrestling business and that debt is something we can never pay back, but something we can be extremely grateful and thankful for.
Without Verne's willingness to teach the business to a new breed wrestlers which included some wrestling biggest name like: Ric Flair, Ken Patera, Ricky Steamboat, Dick The Bruiser, Curt Hennig, Blackjack Mulligan, Bob Backlund, The Iron Sheik, Buddy Rose, Greg Gagne, and many others. Thank You Mr. Gagne for all you did for this wrestling industry and though your influence hasn't been felt in a couple of years your effect on the business will be remembered forever. I would also like to send my condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Gagne during this most difficult time.
RIP Verne Gagne
1926 – 2015
You May Be Gone But Will NEVER Forgotten Bottom of Form
As a wrestling fan it is always hard to say goodbye to your favorite wrestler from either when you were growing up or in some tragic cases while your still growing up. This aspect of being a wrestling fan is the hardest part of the job, but no matter how many times we get hit down we just keep coming back for more. That is one of the reasons why wrestling fans are the greatest fans in the world and I am not just saying that.
Now I will say that before I did some research about him I didn't have a clue about who Ron Wright was or where he wrestled. But it didn't take long for me to find out why Ron Wright was a Kingsport wrestling legend and why he will be missed by so many. If you went to a wrestling event in Kingsport during the 60's and 70's then the name Ron Wright, but if you didn't then keep reading and you will find out a thing or two about a territory legend.
Ron was such a good heel that in many respect he could get heat from the crowd just by standing up out of his chair and that would be enough to get people mad. Wright was said to be an incredible talker many have said that he was so good that you would be shocked to see the heat he could get just by talking. Below is a little story about Ron Wright from his career:
"Wright began his wrestling career in the early 1950s at the Kingsport Boy's Club, then began working for a local boxing and independent wrestling promoter who ran events out of the Kingsport Civic Auditorium. Wright initially worked as a referee, but his first big in-ring break came in 1961 when he faced his friend Whitey Caldwell in a television match. During the match, Wright threw Caldwell out of the ring so hard it broke his shoulder and sidelined him for a year. James said that's how the feud started between Wright and Caldwell.In the 60s and 70s, no one drew more heat in the ring than Wright; he was the quintessential East Tennessee redneck heel. Matches were held weekly in Kingsport, Bristol and Johnson City, with Wright teaming up with his brother Don and others, including Tiny York and Fred White."
A perfect comparison that could be made for people to better understand how important or how big a star that Ron Wright was is he was to Kingsport what Mr. Wrestling II was to Atlanta or what Jackie Fargo was to Memphis & what Johnny Weaver was to the Carolinas. Ron set box office records in Tennessee that may never be broken again by anyone and I guess you could say that Ron was hated, but also loved and respected at the same time. Near the end of his career Ron actually managed the Mongolian Stomper & Dirty White Boy just to name a couple. Former Southern States Wrestling Promoter Beau James said that it was Wright's health that made him stop making appearances; one of the last appearances Ron did was for the Brad Armstrong Memorial Event in 2014. After nearly 65 years in the wrestling business Ron passed away a few days due to a lengthy battle with an undisclosed illness. Though Ron may not have been known the world over he was known enough and respected even more in the great state of Tennessee and will surely missed by all those who knew and loved him.
RIP Ron Wright
Gone But Never Forgotten
Though most may be aware some may not know that Mick Foley actually started his career at the end of the territory era, but in many respects didn't really start getting noticed until he started going to Japan and wrestling in Death Matches. Then got his first main stream exposure in the United States as Cactus Jack in the WCW, from their proceeded to bring his death match style of wrestling, his high tolerance for pain, and unique look to the fledgling promotion known as ECW or Eastern Champion Wrestling at the time (Later Extreme Championship Wrestling.) Then finally Mick would get the call to come up to New York and become apart of the WWE, and as they say the rest is history.
However, this isn't just about Mick this is also about Dean Ambrose and how he has the makings to become this generations Mick Foley. Now I am aware this generation has a lot more limitations of what one wrestler can do in a Hardcore match unlike one had in Mick's generation, but that is when the wrestlers have to be creative. Ambrose's personality, gimmick, and in-ring style makes him seem unique and different from the rest. I guess the best way to describe this connection would be like this just as Edge is the Master of the Ladder Match, Undertaker was a dominant force in a casket match, Mick Foley was a Hardcore legend, Ambrose could be the connoisseur of carnage. The writers could book him so that Street Fights and Steel Cages are his specialty. This would only feed into his character, allowing him to show off his determination.
"So many of 's stories revolve around its titles. Those are the easiest narratives to write. It's rare that someone can catch fire without hunting one of those down. Making Ambrose a guy bent on wrecking havoc, a man more concerned with the thrill of the fight than what victory will net him, is the ideal path to doing just that." This is just another way to prove what I said earlier, and also wasn't Mick not really always centered in the title picture or focused on a title shot. Seeing Ambrose adapt a similar aura would be a breath of fresh air and make Ambrose stick out from the pack a little easier.
No better way to end it then like this:
"It's an easy way to plug him into the product at any time. He doesn't need a complicated story, just a man willing to step into his domain. At and in the various weapon-heavy bouts he has had at , Ambrose has shown himself to be adept at this side of wrestling. It's a way to amplify his character and give him a stage at all times. If there's no room for Ambrose to be a headliner right now, being the macabre sideshow would do him just fine." Looking at this statement this reminds me of more like an Al Snow type then Mick Foley, but think about Mick in WCW always being the one who fought in the "hardcore matches" or later in his career just having the ability to plugged in wherever he was needed. If the WWE could do that with Ambrose it could give them a valuable tool to look when they need a "night in shining armor."
Good in-ring skills
Solid on the microphone
Even though many fans nowadays view Tazz as a color commentator he was actually a top name in ECW, and a main feature of the WWF Hardcore division before injuries ended Tazz’s career early. Tazz whose real name is Peter Senercia began his career working for WWC under the name Kid Krush, before moving into the name The Tazmaniac which he has used variations of the name over the course of his entire career. In 1993 still trying to make an impact in Wrestling Peter debuted in the fledgling wrestling organization called ECW or Eastern Championship Wrestling still using the name Tazmaniac. But it wasn’t until 1995 after Peter returned from his neck injury that his career started to take off as that is when he became the "Human Suplex Machine" Tazz.
From that point until leaving ECW in 1999; Tazz became a solid wrestler and one of the many reasons ECW succeed for as long as it did. However, it wasn’t long after he joined WWF in 1999 that Tazz would unfortunately be forced to retire due to injuries in 2002. In 2009 Taz would walk away from the WWE and appear in TNA first as a mentor type figure for Samoa Joe and also a member of the Main Event Mafia. Then after the end of the MEM Taz would take Don West’s spot in the booth as Color Commentator.
Though in 2013 Tazz would join the Ace’s & Eight’s from the time he took over for Don West till now he hasn’t left the booth and it doesn’t seem like he will anytime soon.
“I don’t need a weapon my hands are my weapons, Beat me if you can Survive if I let You”
Below is a list of achievements from Taz's career:
2 time ECW World Champion, 2 ECW World TV Champion, 3 Time ECW Tag Team Champion, 2 Time FTW World Champion, 3 Time WWE Hardcore Champion, WWF World Tag Team Champion, 4th ECW Triple Crown Winner, First Person to Commentate for both TNA & WWE.
Below is one of the Biggest Matches of Tazz's career in my opinion: Tazz's Last Match To Date:
When I first started writing I used to look back all of the time, but then I started thinking that doing that was just too easy so I stop. Now I think of it like maybe doing it once in a while would make when I do it seem a little more special, because of how rare the concept is on this site. I know most of the time people look to go back a long time in the past with these types of posts, but in this case I don't have to go back that far. On this day last year we would see the return of a WWE Legend and Hall of Famer who hadn't been seen on WWE programming since June of 1996. I am of course speaking of The Ultimate Warrior, who had just got inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame the weekend prior. Warrior would proceed to come out and really talk about life, and the effect that people can have on each other. Below is that promo:
"Speak to me, Warriors! As I thought about what I was going to say this evening, it's been hard for me to find the words. [Puts on mask.] Well then, you shut up Warrior, and let me do the talking. No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own. Every man's heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe a final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others, and makes them bleed deeper, and something larger than life, then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized. By the storytellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make the running the man did live forever.
You, you, you, you, you, you are the legend-makers of Ultimate Warrior. In the back, I see many potential legends, some of them with warrior spirits. And you will do the same for them. You will decide if they lived with the passion and intensity. So much so that you will tell your stories and you will make them legends, as well. I am Ultimate Warrior. You are the Ultimate Warrior fans. And the spirit of Ultimate Warrior will run forever!"
Tragically this promo and this appearance would be the last time we saw The Warrior who passed the following night after having a heart attack leaving his hotel in Phoenix, AZ. Warrior was only 54 years old, but in hindsight at least he got to say goodbye and thank those who were so loyal to him over the years. Looking back, I remember being online and seeing the report and not believing what I saw or maybe not wanting to believe it. Though many things about this situation are still very hard to believe, there is one thing that is true and that is as long as there are fans of the Warrior his spirit and memory will always stay alive forever!
RIP Ultimate Warrior
You Maybe Gone But You Will Never Be Forgotten!!
Over the course of history a lot of it gets forgotten, because nobody is there to tell the story. That is one of the many reasons why that I knew I had to have a section on this site dedicated to the history of wrestling. Because I believe that if history isn't talked about it's forgotten and to much of the history of wrestling gets forgotten. Here and there you will see me posting videos/trailers of shoot interviews done by talent from a particular period in wrestling to try and help me give you all a little more information about a particular era of wrestling history.
I am not going to talk to much about this and ruin it for you all, but I will say that both Jim Cornette & JJ Dillon have been part of the wrestling business for a very long time and have an incredible knowledge of the business. I would say though this a trailer still the most interesting part of it has be when they talk about Jim Crockett Sr.
I love looking back wrestling's past. I view my job as bring new life to the part of wrestling some people thought was gone.