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Thursday, July 12, 2007

My Uncle, The Wrestler...

Life can be very cool sometimes. For instance, when I was about 6 years old, I went to school and a daycare, and there I made a best friend. A few months later, he moved into an apartment two houses down from mine. I thought it was just about the coolest thing that could happen, until...

My girlfriend loves me, but hates wrestling. It's an interesting dynamic, considering just how big a part of my life the faux-sport is. Years ago I attempted to take her to see the WWE and some indy shows, and while she made the most of those events, she never really got into the product. I don't hold it against her.

One day, she came up to me rather excited. She informed me that her Aunt had been dating someone. Forgive me, but this news didn't exactly make or break my day. That was until I heard the kicker. She wasn't dating just any man. She was dating former NWA/WCW professional wrestler the Italian Stallion. God Bless America!

Immediately, the gears in my brain began to grind. Was I going to get the chance to talk about the wrestling business with a guy who had worked with Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Sting, and so many other greats? Was I going to be able to call him "Unkie Stallion?" Was the jacket pictured above in this article lying in a basement somewhere unwanted, so that one day it could become the property of me?

When I learned that I would finally be meeting the Stallion, I sorta marked out. I went through some of my old PWI magazines and my old tapes. I found a few PWI 500's and year end issues from when he ran the old PWF with George South. I found matches of him wrestling Arn Anderson and the Midnight Express on my VHS tapes. This was indeed sweet.

The Stallion had some stuff for me. Upon meeting him, he had brought a great deal of magazines of his own, admittedly from a bit before my time, but cool as hell. Magazines from Japan and various Apter mags that kept me from socializing and had me parked at the dining room table for hours.

The more I got to know the former World's Spaghetti Eating Champion (which I always thought was a rib, but now know that Gary actually ate a whole pound of spaghetti in like 12 seconds or something ridiculous like that), the better our relationship became. At first he was a bit reserved when it came to talking about the wrestling business. I don't blame him. He probably thought that I was some no-nothing shmuck who thinks Goldberg is the greatest wrestler ever. Once I gained a bit of credibility, I was getting to hear stories about "Gorgeous" Jimmy Garvin piloting a Cessna while high, and taking a few chops every time we said goodbye (Thank you Daron Smythe for conditioning me to this).

If you are a true wrestling fan, there is something about having a wrestler marry into your extended family that makes you act like an 8 year old who's dad is a trucker. Haha, that is a quote among quotes, but let me explain it. When he comes around, the first thing you do is run up to him excitedly, and wonder if he brought you anything. Make sense?

Well, Gary has brought me some doozys (Is that how you spell doozys?) I think he felt out my pension for appreciation by bringing me an 8x10 picture of Luna Vachon while we were eating at the nicest Italian restuarant perhaps in the whole state of West Virginia. Once he saw how freaking sweet I thought that was, he sent up a goodie bag which contained the following:

- A photograph of the Barbarian putting on his facepaint that I am guessing is from WCW circa 1991, but I could be mistaken.
- A promotional photograph of "Hands of Stone" "Rugged" Ronnie Garvin during his brief reign as NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
- Two black and white photographs of the Italian Stallion in action.
- An autographed picture of the "Greatest Intercontinental Champion of All Time" The Honky Tonk Man

and...

wait for it...

- An autographed 8x10 of the Eighth Wonder of the World, the one and only Andre the Giant, totally suitable for framing, and likely to cause fights between me and my girlfriend when I want it displayed appropriately in the living room next to pictures of the children.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Stallion, let me tell you, he is an incredibly charismatic personality. His best days in the business probably came around 1985 or so. I didn't start watching until 88 or 89 (give me a break, I was born in 83). At that point, the Stallion's main purpose was to make other people into stars.

The Stallion had runs in all the major wrestling companies, including the WWE. While co-running the PWF, he was instrumental in giving current Smackdown superstar and US title contender Matt Hardy his break.

Most recently he can be seen on the WWE DVD release "Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen", teaming with Pez Whatley and Rocky King to meet Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, and Ole Anderson.

His thoughts on the Chris Benoit tragedy have been published in People Magazine. You can find more information on that issue here: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20044655,00.html

For your entertainment, straight from YouTube, here is the the Italian Stallion taking former All Japan Triple Crown Champion, WCW and NWA Tag Team Champion, and UWF Heavyweight Champion, "Dr. Death" Steve Williams to the limit. (How sweet was the Varsity Club?)

Part 1:


Part 2:


Part 3:


(Yes, that was Tony Schiavone and Lex Luger interviewing a very young Jason Hervey a.k.a. Wayne from the Wonder Years)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great Article Tim.....Mama Jo

The real results man said...

Great work Tim need more Info on the Stallion wanted needed a book is coming out about the story between he and the hardy boyz try hot spots in charlotte they are doing an interveiw

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Anonymous said...

It was deffinately my pleasure in meeting him today and working with him today. Coming from a 45 year wrestling watcher. Thank you Stallion. From Tony Thomas. You have the card I gave you and I have yours I will be in touch.