And then there was my pro wrestling phase.
Before Hulk Hogan, Rick Flair and The Undertaker, pro wrestling brought them together at the Lincoln Park Ballroom in Dartmouth. The World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) – the precursor to today’s World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) – was a big thing in the 1960s and 1970s. Fights were televised on Saturday afternoons with all the same wrestlers who would appear in Lincoln Park.
Children, we ate it.
In the early 1970s, professional wrestling lost my focus and devotion. I moved on. Although he had me, however, he had me good.
My buddies and I were wrestling on an old mattress in the basement. We had all the moves down. Of course, we thought it was real at the time – sort of, anyway. My friend’s dad took us to the Boston Garden to see a steel cage match. It was the big moment.
During my short stint as a wrestling enthusiast, it seems our hero Pedro Morales was always the champion. There was no shortage of villains looking to strip Pedro of his belt.
Chief Jay Strongbow, Haystacks Calhoun, Gorilla Monsoon, and Bruno Sammartino were some of the babyfaces (good guy wrestling terminology) I remember. Fred Blassie, “Crazy” Luke Graham, Mr. Fuji and Tanaka, and mischievous managers “Captain” Lou Albano (who sometimes struggled) and the Grand Wizard of Wrestling were among the heels (the bad guys).
I was sad to read that Chef Jay Strongbow, my favorite, passed away in 2012 and Pedro Morales in 2019. Lou Albano passed away in 2009.
Lincoln Park also featured female wrestlers, including the Fabulous Moolah, who died in 2007, and what they then called “dwarf” female wrestlers, such as Sky Low Low, Little Tokyo and Little Beaver. Vince McMahon was always hiding nearby too.
My friends and I collected autographs outside the locker room door and the wrestlers’ black-and-white sparkles. It was weird seeing good and bad wrestlers sharing the same locker room and the Grand Wizard peddling tickets at the door, but what the heck?
The WWWF has evolved over the years, just like me. Lincoln Park is gone, and so is the ballroom. Did you see any wrestling matches in Lincoln Park back then? Who were your favorite wrestlers at the time?
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