Wrestling Then and Now

by Tim Snyder

I don't know how much longer I can stomach today's wrestling. The following things really bug me about today's wrestling product: sexual innuendoes, lewd gestures, foul language, tweeners, soap opera storylines, wrestlers dancing, overacting by announcers, boring turns, angles, and interviews, fireworks/explosions to open a show, single named wrestlers (Goldberg, Saturn, Kanyon, Bradshaw, etc. . . . First names aren't cool anymore?), attire (wrestlers in jeans, T-shirts, vests, etc. . . . Whatever happened to the standard trunks and boots?), and the thing that bugs me the most, no more territories. To me, the 90s represents the worst of just about everything; wrestling, music, television programs, etc.

Back in the 70s, my territory was the Northern California promotion back in San Francisco run by promoter Roy Shire. Once in a while, a local UHF station aired the WWWF television show, and one of these I saw had Chief Jay Strongbow and Spiros Arion against the Valiant Brothers where Arion turned heel on Strongbow and Bruno Sammartino. They just don't do turns like that anymore. This turn was very close to resembling the Don Muraco turn in Northern California at about the same time. Muraco and Pedro Morales were teamed against the Masked Invaders, managed by Gerhardt Kaiser. Kaiser interfered, causing Morales to be pinned. Pat Patterson entered the ring, much like Bruno did when he questioned Arion about hitting Strongbow with a chair. Patterson asked the referee why he allowed Kaiser's interference, and the ref said he can't call what he can't see. Patterson then asked Muraco if he saw the interference, and Don said no. Pat then told Muraco he should have kept his eyes open when someone like Kaiser was around. Don then accused Pat of sticking his nose in his business and shoved him, allowing Kaiser and his Invaders to triple-team Patterson and Morales as Muraco looked on. Here Sammartino and Patterson were both attacked and triple-teamed because they didn't mind their own business.

One of the most brutal angles I ever saw was in '72 for the same San Francisco territory. A heel Pat Patterson was wrestling heel jobber Don Carson (He may have been big in the South, but was a jobber here). After Carson threw Patterson out of the ring, another heel, "Luscious" Lars Anderson, came out and attacked Patterson with a chair, hitting him several times, turning Pat into the most popular babyface since Ray Stevens. Patterson bled like crazy. You could barely see any of his blond hair; it was covered in blood.

I would like to say I would take the WWWF, NWA, and AWA of the past over today's WWF, WCW, and ECW anyday!

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