One of the most cherished memories I have of my younger days involving my Grandfather was going to the old New Glasgow Stadium during the tours when Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling would come through town. The New Brunswick run promotion was so busy it was running in multiple towns during the weeks.
Sunday nights were usually the nights for New Glasgow. Because I was a fan of the old school WWF, I was happy to see any sort of wrestling in person. Fortunately the television tapings of Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling were airing weekly so those of us who watched the shows could identify the performers very easily. It was great to see so many of these guys come through town to work the shows. And they did put on a show. For my grandfather, he cheered loudly at The Cuban Assassin and would look forward to seeing him perform. I personally was always elated to see the great Leo Burke. Burke in my opinion still one of the greatest to ever be in the business.
As a kid I never wanted to believe it when anyone would tell me that wrestling was a theatrical act. I refused to believe it at all. Even the Atlantic Grand Prix performers somehow had me convinced that they were truly at war with each other. I was convinced no matter what goofball promotion I was watching on television that the faces were good people and the heels were absolute scum of the earth.
It was after the WWF’s Wrestlemania VI when I finally lost most of my interest for good. Just before that I remembered my dad telling me that “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and The Iron Sheik were both arrested at the same time over some weed. I was dumbfounded on how they could be caught together when they were opponents in the ring? Even so, I started to finally suspect everyone around me was right and that I may have been a complete idiot. Come Wrestlemania VI, that was the end of it. I was finished. I realized it was all a show and that was the end of it.
Hearing and reading about what has happened to wrestling is nothing short of disappointing. I see through articles and old video clips how horrible many of the great performers were treated and how theatrics have replaced athleticism in the business. It is now apparently all about the stupid stories.
If anyone were to ask me to write a storyline for a wrestling promotion today, my response would be to have matches that were all about the holds and moves. A return to simplicity. Good guys, bad guys, a referee and a crowd. That’s it. In this day and age that would pass as original!
Every now and then I will drift on YouTube to some great old clips of those times when I thought it was all very legit. When sports entertainment gave the illusion of violence with a cheering section.
When wrestling was real.