Sunday, July 19, 2015

Wrestling 101 (Excerpts)

by Wayne Brower
Excerpts from "Wrestling 101",  an article published on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

My desire to watch wrestling was limited only by our television’s ability to receive the distant signals. In the early 1960s there was neither cable nor satellite TV available. Most reception was either through “rabbit ears” – with or without tin foil – or from a roof mounted antenna.

Growing up in Trinity, North Carolina did not allow for reception of numerous stations. The area programming of that time was from WFMY Channel 2 in Greensboro and WSJS Channel 12 in Winston-Salem. Neither broadcast wrestling. The best we could occasionally receive with ideal atmospheric conditions was WDBJ Channel 7 of Roanoke and Charlotte’s WBTV Channel 3.

Two events would occur that had a significant impact on my viewing habits. In October 1963 WGHP Channel 8 in High Point signed on the air. Shortly thereafter wrestling was held in their studio on Tuesday nights for broadcast the following Saturday afternoon. Next, my dad purchased an antenna rotator connected by wire to a control box that sat on top of our television. With a turn of the dial pointing to the preferred direction we now had clear signal access to the aforementioned stations, plus another wrestling provider, WRAL Channel 5 in Raleigh. Talk about sensory overload. And it was so much more interesting than anything I was being taught in school at the time.

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In almost every conflict the heels would consistently create mischief and mayhem, all in cowardly ways or while holding an unfair advantage. The hosts of the TV shows would passionately describe the action, and often disagree with the cheater’s denials during their interviews. Nick Pond warned many bad guys that scores would be settled at Dorton Arena next Tuesday night. Big Bill Ward argued with manager Homer O’Dell, and told him that he and his team should be very concerned about facing the Scott brothers at Charlotte Park Center. Charlie Harville provided detailed results of matches in Greensboro where more often than not the good guys ultimately defeated the heels and from there would go on to the next challenge. Virtue and honor had been satisfied.

[ Read Wayne's entire article Wrestling 101 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. ]

For more information, history, and memorabilia related to the broadcasters mentioned in this story visit the Studio Wrestling website, part of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

For an in-depth look at the career of Charlie Harville, see Wayne Brower's excellent look at the NC Broadcast Hall of Famer: Charlie Harville: Remembering His Remarkable Journey