NOW AVAILABLE!!! Chronicling one hundred years of Northern California pro wrestling history, and jam-packed with over 200 photos, some never before published, this book is the must-have gift for any fan of classic pro wrestling. especially those who grew up with Roy Shire's Big Time Wrestling brand of excitement.
Set in a deluxe 8x10 format, WHEN IT WAS BIG TIME will take you back to a time and place when wrestling was "real!" Thesz, The Sharpes, Nomellini, Stevens, Patterson, Gomez, Mephisto, Mayne, Piper ... they're all here plus so many more!
The first printing SOLD OUT in only a week and the positive feedback on the book has been tremendous but copies of the second printing are still avaialble. Priced at $26 plus shipping, you can make this one-of-a-kind book yours, or for someone you love, by clicking the link below to order. Chapter summaries are also viewable at the link.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Friday, October 7, 2016
Before the world-wide internet, there were many who felt that they were alone in their fondness for the days of wrestling’s past, the days of “kayfabe.” Now technology has brought together groups of like-minded individuals from around the world, who share memories, discuss and learn about the wrestling product they grew up with or only read about in the wrestling magazines! Below are some great old school wrestling facebook group pages that it’d be worth your while to checkout. Join the groups and join the fun!
Olympic Auditorium & SoCal Wrestling Classics focuses on the Southern
California wrestling territory from the late 1800s to the end of 1982. Torres, Thesz, Moto, Blassie, Tolos, Mascaras, Piper, Mayne,
the Destroyer, the Guerreros and more!
Ray Stevens: Wrestling Hall of Famer explores the career of one of pro wrestling’s greatest performers and most colorful personalities both in and out of the ring!
Lonnie “Moondog” Mayne: Hall of Famer celebrate the life and career of one of pro wrestling’s most memorable personalities. Whether you loved or you hated him, you just had to see what the Moondog would do next!
The cover art for When It Was Big Time: A 100 Year History of Northern California Pro Wrestling was recently completed, bringing the highly anticipated 350-page book project one step closer to release. More rare photos have also been recently contributed, bringing the number of photos contained to over 230, some of which have never been published! This includes a newly added 12-page photo gallery, but photos, ads and images of Northern California wrestling arena programs are spread throughout the book, greatly enhancing the epic story of one of pro wrestling's most exciting territories!
At this point, release of this book is expected within the first half of November 2016, just in time for Christmas. More details on the books contents as well as a specific release date and ordering information will be released in the coming weeks. Please continue to tune if for those updates.
Thursday, June 23, 2016
|MIKE TYSON AND MICK "CACTUS JACK" FOLEY|
Starr's autobiography, entitled "Bad the Bone: 25 Years of Wrestling and Riots", is expected to be released at the end of 2016. Please stay tuned for further updates.
|RON STARR LEAPS OFF THE TOP ROPE|
Thursday, May 26, 2016
|RON STARR VS. RODDY PIPER|
“Rotten” Ron Starr believes that he was destined to become a professional wrestler and he fulfilled that dream, enjoying over 40 wrestling title reigns across North America and in Puerto Rico during his 25-year pro wrestling career. His story is a fascinating and informative look into the world of professional wrestling during its territory-system days, before as some feel, pro wrestling became circus-like, and when it was very real for pro wrestling fans.
Bad to the Bone: 25 Years of Riots and Wrestling contains Ron’s story of being a life-long wrestling fan, the drama he was a part of during his two tours of Viet Nam during the war, and a behind-the-scenes look at his life as a pro wrestler whose career took him all over the world and led to his becoming a two-time World Junior Heavyweight Champion. His ups and downs in the business are discussed, including his battles with wrestling promoters and the truth about their attempts to blackball him from the business. There will also be some interesting and often funny stories about his adventures and misadventures in and out of the ring, and the friendships he formed with other pro wrestling legends, including Andre the Giant, Roddy Piper, Karl Gotch, Danny Hodge, Dutch Savage, Adrian Adonis and many more.
Pictures, stories of practical jokes or “ribs”, stories of dressing room brawls and road stories are also included in a journey that takes us across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Guatemala, Japan and China. Ron Starr is a natural-born storyteller and reading his book will make you feel as if you are sitting across the table from him one-on-one.
Hopes are that the book will be printed and released in time for the 2016 Holiday Season. Please stay tuned for further updates.
Mozart. Picasso. Billie Holiday. Jerry Lee Lewis. Elvis Presley. John Lennon. These are just a few of the artists, whether visual or musical, who have passed through history, though their bodies of work live on, to be acknowledged, enjoyed and discussed by generations to follow. Unfortunately for fans of the art form of pro wrestling, the histories of many pro wrestling eras, territories and personalities have not received the level of documentation and acknowledgement they so richly deserve, but that will soon change for the Northern California Pro Wrestling Territory.
William Muldoon. Ad Santel. Ed “Strangler” Lewis. Ben & Mike Sharpe. Leo Nomellini. Ray Stevens. Pat Patterson. Rocky Johnson. Peter Maivia. Moondog Mayne. The list goes on and on for the amazing pro wrestling performers who made an impact on the Northern California Pro Wrestling scene and the pro wrestling business in general, performers who contributed to making the Northern California pro wrestling territory one of the most exciting, memorable and financially lucrative in the pre-national expansion era of professional wrestling. And now their story and the story of the territory will be told.
With over 300 pages and nearly two hundred photographs, some never published, When it was Big Time: A 100-Year History of Northern California Pro Wrestling, chronicles the evolution of pro wrestling in Northern California, including the record-setting events and the wrestlers whose performances and larger-than-life personalities transported those who watched them into a world; a world where they bore witness to morality plays consisting of epic battles of good vs. evil in intriguing storylines involving characters reminiscent of the gods of Greek & Roman mythology.
With plans to be released in the fall of 2016, the in-depth researched book by pro wrestling research/writer Rock Rims, includes the major events and storylines of the territory’s history as well as interviews with some of the wrestlers, ring announcers, and photographers who worked for San Francisco wrestling promoter Roy Shire. A pro wrestling book unlike any other, it will also include memories of several of the wrestling fans who witnessed firsthand many of the incredible storylines produced by Promoter Shire and both the TV and live arena performances which produced such fond memories for them. This will take fans back in time to the seats they occupied when first viewing the product, and for fans who had never been privileged to witness that product themselves, it will make them understand why it is so fondly remembered and why people have been demanding for a book of this nature for decades.
This book will also go behind the scenes to discuss and reveal the truth of some of the most notorious incidents in the territory’s history and events that led to its eventual decline. Please stay tuned for future updates.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
|"Rowdy" Roddy Piper and his "Army" in Los Angeles|
It was billed as World War III. On June 25, 1976, in what was billed as a bout for the World Martial Arts Championship, boxer Muhammad Ali was scheduled to square off against wrestler Antonio Inoki in Tokyo, Japan, in a confrontation the world would be watching. With a $10 million total purse and with ringside seats going for a then-unprecedented $1,000 a pop, the event was receiving a mind-blowing amount of media coverage. And in the final week before the match, Muhammad Ali was in Los Angeles for his final opportunity to hype the bout with hopes of increasing closed-circuit TV revenue.
A press conference was being held at the world famous Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, a hallowed building for both boxing and wrestling events, and Ali, ever the promotional master, issued a challenge to a young wrestler sitting nearby to enter the ring with him. The 22 year-old-Canadian wrestler entered the ring, not knowing what to expect and when Ali, who had been boasting that no wrestler could defeat him, locked up with the grappler and whispered to him, “Hip toss,” he was quite surprised. But he did what he was told and Ali ended up with his back on the mat. While Ali was obviously trying to increase buzz over his impending bout with Inoki, hoping that wrestling fans would fork over there cash in hopes of seeing a pro wrestler defeat a boxer, that young wrestler, Roddy Piper, was also convinced that Ali was looking to give him a break.
“Muhammad Ali was such a great man,” said Piper many years later. “He saw this skinny kid just sitting there that needed a break, and right in the middle of everything, he just …boom! – gave me a rub. I’m up. He continued on. That’s a great man.” While he undoubtedly was appreciative of what he felt was the boxing champ’s effort to ‘give him a rub’ and boost the attention that the young wrestler would receive, for the wrestling fans of Los Angeles, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper was most definitely already “up.”
It was only five months before that the young man who claimed to be from Glasgow, Scotland but was in fact born and raised in Canada, had arrived in promoter Mike Lebell’s Southern California wrestling territory. After an inauspicious start, territory booking genius Leo Garibaldi had the idea to turn the young baby face or “good guy” wrestler into a “heel”, a wrestling “bad guy.” And the rest as they say, is history.
Less than two months after that fateful decision to turn Roddy Piper heel, he was the holder of the Jules Strongbow Scientific Trophy, a co-holder of the America’s tag team titles and had recently defeated his nemesis Chavo Guerrero for the America’s Heavyweight Wrestling title. While Guerrero was definitely the top baby face of the late 70’s in Southern California and a great draw, a territory is only as good as its best heel, and Piper was inarguably that top heel. He was the Joker to Chavo’s Batman, the great antagonist that every would-be hero needs to battle in hopes of achieving heroic status. For what need would there be for a hero if there was no villain to overcome?
The pairing of Piper and Guerrero was magic for the wrestling promotion and gave it the boost it needed after the previous Freddie Blassie-John Tolos feud had run its course. With his charisma and gift of gab, Piper was phenomenal at inciting the hatred of his fans and opponents alike. And the culture of the largely-Latino fan base as well Chavo Guerrero and his wrestling family members comprised Piper’s favorite targets. Whether it was by offering to play the “Mexican national anthem” on his bagpipes, only to follow that offer by playing “La Cucaracha” on the instrument; or by wearing a t-shirt that said “Conqueror of the Guerreros”; or by hurling insults at a mile-a-minute during one of his high-energy interviews, people hated the things they saw and heard from him but loved that they were there to witness it.
Roddy Piper may have started his career a few years before entering California, but California was the first real platform he was provided to display what he had to offer to the wrestling world. It was the first place he was given the ball to run and run he did. And just like Walter Payton in his prime NFL years, they gave Piper the ball over and over, and he ran and ran and ran. It wasn’t unheard of for him to appear in or near the wrestling ring for the majority of the night, in a single’s bout, a tag bout and as a wrestling manager. For the better part of three years, he was the “go-to” guy of the Southern California promotion.
It wasn’t long before the wrestling czar of the northern part of the state, Roy Shire, brought the “Lean, Mean Machine” as Piper called himself, up to Northern California for occasional appearances to see how the fans responded to him. Fans in some of the towns up north had seen his antics via broadcasts of L.A.’s “Lucha Libre” television show, telecast in Spanish over the Spanish International Network. While Piper’s charisma and star power were certainly out of this world, at first he didn’t lend much to the first several live wrestling cards he appeared on for Shire. But eventually he found himself in another memorable feud, this time with United States Champion Lonnie “Moondog” Mayne.
It’s hard to imagine that as memorable as the Piper-Mayne feud was for Northern California wrestling fans tuning into it during the summer of 1978, that the “feud” only consisted of a mere three matches over a five week period. Oh, but what a feud it was! The intensity of their matches was unbridled, and the fans in attendance at those live events in San Francisco’s Cow Palace were on the edge of their seats during the entirety the bouts. Even so, it’s safe to say that their promotional TV interviews building up to the matches were even more of a highlight.
In Los Angeles, the TV show was taped lived and everything moved just a little faster than they did in San Francisco’s shows. Both men gave compelling interviews but Piper, having the edge in his gift of gab and ability to verbally improvise, was truly remarkable. But with the interviews in Sacramento’s KTXL studios being taped after the matches were taped and with more time being allotted for the interviews, wrestling fans in Northern California were able to enjoy more of Piper’s manic and extremely entertaining rants. But regardless of what part of California he was doing interviews for, he made the fans alternately yell in anger and laugh out loud over what he said and did.
Roddy Piper may have started in Canada, may have made an impact virtually everywhere he went after that, and was thrust into the national spotlight in the World Wrestling Federation during the 80’s, but it was in California during the late 70’s that Roddy Piper first became a wrestling star. – RR
Source for Roddy Piper’s comments:
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper talks about handing his nickname over to Ronda Rousey, by Sarah Kurchak, Fight Land Blog