by Geoff Brown
Recently here in Australia, the old days have come back into the news with the release of three videos from the TV days of the 60s and 70s. On the cover of Volume 1, they have used a photo of Killer Kowalski, but unfortunately he does not appear on any of them. They are quite good with some tremendous footage of the greats such as Dr. Jerry Graham, Dominic Denucci up against one of our all-time great jobbers George Lackey who I cannot remember ever winning a match, Mark Lewin, Tiger Singh, Spiros Arion, Bulldog Brower, Brute Bernard, and Ox Baker to name a few (plus one bout with Gorgeous George). Even our top selling daily paper gave a bit of publicity to it by doing an interview with Mario Milano.
The only drawback with them is that they are hosted by Mark Jackson, who starred in a very poor TV series made in the U.S. a few years back called The Highwayman. Jacko, as he is known here, appears to be a total dickhead who carries on like an idiot, and his forced, over-the-top presentation is the only bad thing about it. You will notice by the newspaper clipping that I have included that he is considering entering wrestling. What pisses me off is that his only motivation is money. Perhaps that is why the old days appeal to me much more than today's stuff, as when I read about people like Ernie Ladd, Bobby Shane, and Kowalski, you find these people were in it because they had a passion for the sport, whereas someone like Mark Jackson will only get involved if the money is right. People like this give me the shits; while he is prepared to "take" from wrestling, I don't see him "giving" anything back.
Shawn Michaels was recently in town promoting WWF merchandise, and one of our regular TV stations has just announced that WWF is coming back on Saturday mornings. The only wrestling we have been getting here is on pay TV, and as I do not have it, I rely on a mate who tapes it for me. I heard Michaels interviewed on radio here and must say he came across really well, as he did the interview as Shawn Michaels the person/wrestler and not as the loud mouthed superstar. He was good-natured and quite humorous.
I am going out tomorrow to photocopy the WT&N '98 Annual cover to add to my now infamous Wall of Honor (perhaps the only toilet dedicated to the greats of yesteryear. I am not sure if Killer Kowalski would feel all that honored though, but until I can convince my better half to allow me to take over our back room with my wrestling memorabilia, then the toilet wall it is).
I have just finished reading the annual, and although I am biased anyway, I think it is your best yet. The Kowalski stuff was great as I expected, the Bobby Shane tribute was a great tribute to a great wrestler who I remember from his days here in Australia, Eddie Guerrero's piece on Art Barr was straight from the heart, and I enjoyed the bit on Dick the Bruiser as the promoters Jim Barnett and John Doyle were the ones who promoted here in the 60s and are probably responsible for the popularity of wrestling in Australia from the Golden Age. When wrestling finished on TV here in 1978, we did not see any TV until the first Wrestlemania, and then that was only on for about 18 months until the introduction of cable about three years ago. Thus, I had never heard of Ed Moretti before, but I have got to say what a fantastic interview that was and found it to be one of the best pieces that I have read on wrestling. Again, what stands out here is another person with that passion for wrestling that is lacking in many of the big names that are headlining today.
I thank you for letting me be part of WT&N. Even though we have never met or spoken to each other, just by reading your Ginzburg's Gab and Dirt Sheet, I feel I do know you and regard you as a friend, not as someone who publishes something I subscribe to. From one 38-year-old wrestling fan to another, all the best and good health.
And one last thing. I have told Jeff Archer, and now I will tell you, as John Tolos will tell you . . . There is only one way to spell Geoff/Jeff and that is G-E-O-F-F and you know it!