Did you see the recent New York Times article profiling wrestling legend Abdullah the Butcher? If you get a chance, give it a read.
I like the fact that Abdullah is still punching the clock (and opponents) well into his 60s and 70s. I’ve had conversations with more than a few of my fellow midlifers for whom, given the economy, a gold watch and a one-way ticket to Boca at age 65 are not likely options.
But that’s another conversation.
What I really enjoyed about the article is that it gave me an opportunity to let my mind wander back to my youth, when professional wrestling (wrasslin for my Georgia peeps – long live the Nature Boy!) was real, and not the sports entertainment it’s become. Well, at least we thought it was real!
I have fond memories of going to see wrestling cards (they weren’t called shows back then) at the old Convention Hall in Atlantic City – yes, the one where they used to crown Miss America. I remember seeing guys like The Butcher, legendary champion Bruno Sammartino and one of my favorites – Polish Power Ivan Putski – who would come to the ring gnashing on a kielbasa. In those days, that was as high-tech as the props got.
Back then, there were no pyrotechnics, no light shows, and no Shakespearean story lines. It was just a couple of guys in a ring beating the crap out of each other. On a good night, you might see a little juicing. That and a box of popcorn made for a great evening.
So while the superstars of the WWE and TNA are reigning over the ‘sport’, it’s good to know that independent old timers like the Butcher, while they aren’t filling the Garden, can still get a few fannies in the seats at the local high school and bingo hall!