My dad beat up Ivan Koloff

Posted: February 3, 2010 in True Story
Tags: , ,

My whole family are old school rasslin watchers and the other night my brother relayed a story from his childhood that I had to post. It’s just too funny. First off, my brother is 13 years my elder and this story takes place at two years before I was born and with me being 35, that’s a long time ago (1972 for you math majors). Here in Richmond we have a place called Strawberry Hill, back in the 70’s there was a wrestling show every Sunday afternoon. With Virginia being a southern state and my father being a redneck drunk, you can imagine the rest of the crowd, just as unruly, just as eager to believe it’s all “real”. Something my father will swear to even to this day “back then it WAS all real, none of this staged bullshit.” Riiiight. Anyway, the story…..

It all began with Paul Jones. For those of you who don’t remember the name, Jones was a popular wrestler in the mid Atlantic region of the National Wrestling Alliance back in the 70’s and early 80’s and became a manager for people like the Barbarian in the mid to late 80’s before Jim Crockett sold the Mid Atlantic NWA to Ted Turner. Jones was a babyface (the good guy) and well loved by the ruffians and drunkards who normally showed up at these wrestling shows that were little more than a backyard barbecue with a ring set up in the middle.

At eleven years old my half brother had just met the woman his father had decided to marry and to be honest, she scared him a little. She was loud, brash and didn’t hold back even when etiquette called for it. (that’s called foreshadowing, one of those nutty things I learned in English Lit) One sunny Saturday afternoon around mid summer, my brother Guy goes along with dad to the “rasslin” match. Imagine if you will, a large outdoor amphitheater filled to the brim with hulking sweaty rednecks swilling more beer than Steve Austin during a pay per view promo and eating some dame fine hog meat right off the spit. Now all of these men have been drinking since 9:00am and by the time the show starts in mid afternoon they’re all pretty drunk. The perfect crowd for then, promoter extraordinaire Jim Crockett. The crowds were unruly which always made the matches seem much better than they were. A great thing for a regional wrestling promotion with a young but promising roster of talent.

The day wore on and my brother saw many matches that lasted twenty minutes or more, a normal time back then. Nothing of any consequence really happened until the end of the show. Paul Jones was in the middle of a heated feud with Ivan Koloff and this being the cold war era, the crowd just ate it up. Ivan was one of the most hated men in the country at the time which made Jones that much more the babyface. Of course, this is just smart booking by Crockett and really, it’s a pretty simplistic way to generate heat but it works wonderfully. The end of the show that day was to be an arm wrestling match between the Russian heel and the all American babyface, the crowd was crazed with excitement. The two men sat opposite each other with hatred in their eyes, both men chomping at the bit to not only prove themselves the most powerful wrestler, but also to prove which country was superior. The match began like any other arm wrestling competition until Koloff, sensing defeat, cleaned the clock of the unsuspecting Jones. The crowd was irate! Women were screaming at the men, the drunken rednecks became something like a mob, seething with anger at the unjustness of it all! The final nail on the coffin happened just moments later as Ivan Koloff smashed the table over the head of the beloved Jones.

That was all my pork eating, beer swilling, America and Paul Jones loving father could take. To the horror of my brother the beer bottle that one moment was in my fathers hand was suddenly hitting Ivan Koloff square upside the head. The crowd cheered as if they had just seen the Evil Empire that was Mother Russia defeated with the toss of one empty beer bottle. Crockett’s security wasn’t quite so excited and they contained the old man and promptly loaded him into the paddy wagon and carted him off to the county jail to sober up and await any charges the Russian Bear might press. My brother was left stranded at Strawberry Hill, a good hour drive from home. After a while he gathered up the nerve to make the call.

“Ummm… could you come get me, dad’s in jail.”

The answer on the other end was something along the lines of, “&^$^##@$#@$%^%%&^!!!.”


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