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 - Bill Camp

There seems to be several types of columns written by those of us at Kayfabe Memories.  There are columns looking at specific titles, specific wrestlers, and specific years.  However, some of the best writing seems to come from writing about personal experiences when attending live matches.  Therefore, this month’s column will be about my first experiences attending wrestling matches back in Erie, Pennsylvania.

First some background.  Erie is not well known for anything particularly, not in pro wrestling nor anything else for that matter. No titles ever changed hands at the city’s WWWF or WWF cards.  The first television taping didn’t take place there until 1991.  Yet, it was a regular stop on the WWF’s spot shows between bigger cities like Pittsburgh and Toronto.  Instead of getting all the stars, we would get either a big main event and minor stars on the under card, or we’d get a sub-par main event and then a descent under card, but never the twain shall meet.  Bob Backlund defended the WWF title often, but usually against guys you wouldn’t expect to take the title, like one of the Samoans.

On personal background, I started watching wrestling as far back as the late 70s, but I didn’t watch often at that time, and no names have stuck with me from that era.  I started watching every week in 1982, and the first name I can remember being a recognizable star was “Playboy” Buddy Rose (when he probably really did weigh 217 lbs.)  Often I would hear Howard Finkel’s voice preempt commentators Vincent McMahon and Pat Patterson to barker for the upcoming shows to the Erie County Fieldhouse.  I wanted to attend these matches, but my mother told me I was too young.  The old Fieldhouse was known primarily for two things: blood and guts hockey (Slap Shot was originally supposed to be shot there, but they changed it to league rival Johnstown at the last minute), and blood and guts wrestling.  Finally, sometime after my tenth birthday I talked my mom into taking me to my first wrestling matches.  Unfortunately, that was just after they began tearing down the old Fieldhouse to build the new Civic Center, so there was a long lapse between a WWF swing in Erie.

Then they announced that wrestling would come to the Tech Memorial High School gym, and my mom agreed to take me.  More...

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