|Looking Back - Part 3|
To say that our industry has changed during the 30-years that I have been a part of it is certainly an understatement. I have been asked many times if the fans have ever attacked me. Sure, fan attacks happened. However, those assaults all happened during the 1970’s and 1980’s. I never had a physical experience with fans during my entire time with World Wrestling Entertainment.
Several memories stand out in my mind as I write this. The first happened in Laurel, Mississippi on March 12, 1979. The reason I have the exact date is because, I have mug shots in one of my scrapbooks to prove it. I will have to put them in my photo gallery for you to see.
Back in the day, security was virtually non-existent. Not only were there no barricades around the rings, actual security guards were few and far between. Even if we had a guard, most were fans themselves. Heaven help you if you were a “bad guy.” They would always turn their heads just as a fan slapped the hell out of you.
Anyway, on this particular night in Mississippi, I was on the way back to the dressing room with my Mongolians. Somehow my wrestlers got ahead of me, when a steel chair came crashing down across my back. I immediately turned around and caught the culprit on his forehead with my walking cane, resulting in one of the late Gordon Solie’s proverbial crimson masks. Needless to say, the fan decided to file charges against me. Of course, I filed charges against him too. The case never went to court, but it was just a hassle to have to go to the police station and go through the booking process.
My second memory was a bit more exciting. I was working in the Florida territory during the mid-80’s, managing “The Pretty Young Things,” KoKo B. Ware and Norvell Austin. We were in the Miami Beach Convention Center, I just can’t recall who we were working against at the time. At this point we had a barricade around the ring. One gentleman’s alcohol consumption got the best of him and he decided to make his way into the ring. Bad decision. KoKo and Norvell began to give him a wrestling lesson, one boot at a time. The guy’s girlfriend saw that her man needed some help so she jumped the barrier too. However, all KoKo and Norvell saw was another troublemaker. By the time she got up on the apron, my boys knocked her right back down.
This was too much for the local police and they entered the ring, but put the handcuffs on Norvell and KoKo! When the fans saw that, they started towards me. Not one or two, the entire ringside! I remembered a lesson an old timer taught me. He said anytime you get into trouble with the fans, have your opponents start beating the hell out of you. So that’s exactly what I did. I told the “baby faces” to start beating me all the way back to the dressing room. It worked, thank God! The fans just parted like the Red Sea as we headed up the aisle to safety.
The old Sportatorium in Dallas had its stories too. It seems like I got jumped on every week. But our security there was top notch all the time. Any fan that thought they were a part of the show quickly realized that wasn’t the case. Sportatorium guards used to enjoy their Friday night brawls with the fans. It was something that I never got accustomed too. However, the late Rick Rude would pray for somebody to step on his turf, he would gladly become their welcome wagon. Bless their hearts.
Join me next time for some more memories. Thanks for stopping by!
Until Next Time!