Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Throwback Wrestling Thursday: Remembering Mr. Fugi

My first memory of Mr. Fugi is of him trying to kill Ricky Steamboat.  

It was the beginning of a crazy feud that saw Fugi and his charge at the time Don Muraco hang "The Dragon" with the belt from Steamboats Karate Gi. It was also the beginning of my fascination with one of the most unique villains in all of wrestling.

Fugi immediately struck me as different than many of the other managers because he would often get in the ring as a partner to Muraco and actually be able to hold his own.  That of course was because for many years Fugi himself was a world class competitor and Tag Team Champion.  So Fugi was more than equipped to step into the ring against Steamboat, Santana, Snuka and even Hulk Hogan when it was required.  

Fugi and Muraco were an amazing team, who were not only devious and underhanded villains, but also one of the funniest comedy duos in all of wrestling.  Their appearances on Tuesday Night Titans (TNT) were always hilarious, and to this day I still watch their Fugi Vice, Fugi Bandito and Fugi General skits on the WWE Network regularly.

Comedy and Fugi seemingly went hand in hand as he also was involved in many crazy moments throughout his WWF career.  Winning a marathon in a tuxedo at Wrestlemania (spoiler alert, he cheated) the wacky contests that took place during Saturday Nights Main Event or his over the top appearance with Yokozuna on Conan O'Brien were just some of awesome things that come to mind when I think of The devious one.

Whether it was Tag Team Champions Demolition, Yokozuna, Muraco or any of his other rough and rowdy charges, Mr. Fugi was the perfect combination of enhancement, distraction or foil that made him one of greatest managers of all time. He is part of a wrestling tradition of great managers who made their protégées even better, and it's an aspect of the industry that is truly lacking today.

Thank you Harry "Mr. Fugi" Fugiwara for all of the wonderful memories and laughs you provided, the wrestling world and my childhood was a much better place because of your contributions.

Happy Trails,

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Throwback Wrestling Thursday: how the ring changes a thing.

Since I started this blog series I've been thinking a lot about what a crazy world that the pro wrestler lives in. How once you cross the line from fan to performer how you're perspective changes on a lot of things.  Here are a few examples:

You will never be able to walk into a public venue without asking the all Important question; "could we run a show here?" Seriously, Weddings, flea markets, church luncheons, even my daughters dance competitions it doesn't matter, the first thing I do when I walk into a large venue is check the ceiling and width to see if you could fit a ring and 200 chairs.  I know I'm not the only one that has this infliction since an associate once asked if the dance studio my daughters attend has enough room for a ring... It's not, I checked... A few times.   

Your vernacular is also changed drastically.  
The first thing I noticed is that that the word "gimmick" became akin the the term "smurf" and is a viable replacement for pretty much any noun, adjective or verb. Seriously, someone once asked me to hand him "the gimmick that was sitting over there on the gimmick" and I knew exactly what he was talking about without so much as a non verbal cue.  Words like stiff, brother, heat, and spot are common words whose context often have to be explained to the few people I actually talk to not involved in the wrestling business. 

How you watch wrestling will obviously change, but you'll also equate wrestling into sitcoms, movies and plays.   "I totally saw that spot coming". And  "Alan Rickman is a great heel in this." Are actual phrases I've heard used when discussing films.  Go ahead, try and watch a movie with a bunch of wrestlers, it's fun.

So that's all for this week, I have to get this gimmick posted on the gimmick and start working on my next gimmick.

Happy Trails.

Masked cowboy wrestling hero The Maverick is the host of Maverick's Comic see heard Friday nights at 10pm on the Totally Driven Radio Network and is the host of the "Galactic Clubhouse" Family Star Wars podcast.  He also writes comic book reviews for Totally Driven.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

New Maverick T-Shirt coming soon!

I'm very excited to preview the design of the new Maverick T-Shirt coming soon!  The Shirt design was created by JK Desgins and really captures the Maverick Spirit!  Pre-Orders coming soon! 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Throwback Wrestling Thursday: Denny's should sponsor my next match

"I know the menu of Denny's better than Denny himself" -Bob Holly

I read that quote in an interview Bob Holly did for a wrestling magazine back in the mid 90's.  At the time I was just beginning my pro career and didn't realize then how true that quote would become.

His reasoning made sense, when you're traveling from town to town late at night, you have few options and are usually starving after a show.  The food at Denny's is always the same, and is usually a safer choice than some of the random places you may find on the road.

Because of this, wrestlers often congregate at Denny's after shows.  As you can imagine, that usually leads to some entertaining stories involving pro wrestlers.  Many I can't tell you because the statute of limitations may not have run out, but there are a few are shareable ones.

Like the time I arrived at Denny's to find another local wrestler (who will remain nameless for this column) standing in the lobby.  I though it was odd because he hadn't worked the show we had just come from.  The 6'5" 260 pound beast of a man explained that he was at a local club, got more than a little drunk and preceded to get in a fight with a jealous boyfriend type. I immediately felt awful for Mr. Boyfriend because my associate explained that he went right into worker mode, took the guy down and preceded to machine gun punch the poor guy until security asked him very nicely to leave.  So he came to Denny's to hopefully run into someone for a ride home.  I really hope he found one.

Come to think of it, We once offered to pay our bill with an autographed photo of another wrestler. Silly waitress should've taken it, the wrestler in question is now a big name and former ECW World champ.  Now that I think of it, that is probably why referee Mike Kehner tells me of that this guy still has heat with me.

When you travel with the lunatics I usually travelled with there was always some shenanigans going on.  There was the night good ole' SuperCody saw two elderly ladies walking into the restaurant and announced "Here come Moolah and Mae Young!" As he often did.  Imagine our surprise when the door opened and it actually was Moolah and Mae Young!!  We then sat on awe for the next 20 minutes as they preceded to prove that the crazy ladies they played on TV paled in comparison to the real life versions of these legends. 

Speaking of old S.C., the day we received the infamous four dollar bills, three quarter, two dimes and five penny pay day. It was left as part of a tip for our waitress.  Yeah, even she got a bigger pay day than us that night.

Once I had a rather lengthy discussion own our waitress over how the Denny's cook couldn't make an egg white omelet.  Seriously, straight up couldn't do it.  Ten minutes later I laughed out loud when I heard someone at the booth behind us having a similar egg white conversation.  I turned around to see Al Snow and The Blue Meanie discussing how you can get a job preparing food if you can't separate a yolk from an egg. 
From Hall of farmers to hardcore legends to local hopefuls doing everything they can to live the dream. We all gotta eat and we apparently all like to eat at Denny's.  So the next time you're hankering for a "Moons over my Hammy" look around, you never know who may be sitting neat by. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Throwback Wrestling Thursday: Summertime Wrestling

Every Thursday on the blog I'll be looking back on wrestling memories, both that I've participated in and others that I witnessed as a fan.  So return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear for:

Recently I travelled to Wildwood New Jersey so my daughters could compete at Dance Nationals, and I couldn't help but be surrounded by nostalgia.  I didn't realize how many of my wrestling memories were tied into the Jersey Shore.

My earliest memories, like waiting near the entrance of the old Wildwood convention center whenever the WWF was in town trying to catch a glimpse of the superstars up close. Running into Shane Douglas on the boardwalk and realizing he had a gold chain that had a replica of the ECW Championship belt.  Meeting Oscar from Men on a Mission on the Boardwalk and not being able to remember which member of M.O.M he was, the day we realized that the Undertaker was even scarier in real life, and that Razor Ramon should spring for the full size rental car were all fun memories.

Later when I became a professional wrestler, I had the opportunity to work several shows on the Wildwood Boardwalk, on a week night so we had to make the hour and a half drive to the shore, work our match, spend a little time on the boards, and head home again.

One of the most notable Shore adventures was for a Fourth of July event called "The Belcoville Battleground Bash 98".  Since the show was on the Fourth of July and was only 40 minutes or so from Cape May, Norm The Barfly and I decided to camp in Cape May.  Yes, that said camp... What could go wrong, right? 

We arrived at the venue early, and I was happy to learn that the show would be outdoors, on the field 
and that Foreworks would kick off right after the last match! Sounds awesome right?  immediately I started scoping out crazy things I could do that night. I called dibs on doing something goofy on the sliding board that was right near the ring area. We checked in with the promoter, one of my all time favorite promoters the legendary Doc Diamond and began getting our matches together when.. It started to pour.  One of those classic summer thunder storms that hit hard, short and fast and soaked everything good. 

I was then introduced to my opponent, who promptly explained that due to an injury he had a very poor short term memory.  So we worked out what I thought was an easy match... And he couldn't remember it.  So we shortened it.... And shortened it... And shortened it again until it was a very brief encounter of about four minutes, and then we had to go over that four minute match about 600 times so he could keep it in his head.  Seriously It was like wrestling Dory.

Of course the rain on a baseball field made for a sandy slippery ring, so traction was nil and you got sand everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. We got through the match and the evening and headed back to the campground, sandy, sore and ready to sleep on the ground.  Clearly we hadn't thought that part out when we planned this adventure.

My fiancé' (now Mrs. The Maverick) and I  shared a two room tent we often camped in, and while it was relatively uncomfortable I don't think it was nearly as bad as my tag partner and road brother Normie. He was using our spare one person tent, which just couldn't be comfortable for the big man.  Life of a pro wrestler indeed.

Wrestling down the Jersey Shore was a big deal for a kid who would wait all year for our family vacations, and I'm very glad to have gotten the chance to perfom in various shore towns. 

Next Week: I know the menu of Denny's better than Denny himself" 
Happy Trails,