Feature: Steve Anderson on the Wacky World of Indy Wrestling

WrestleZone


A few days ago, Tactical Public Relations, the firm representing Jake â<80><9c>The Snakeâ<80> Roberts issued the following statement as part of a press release.

â<80><9c>There is potential speculation that with the state of the economy as it is, an unscrupulous individual could have sought to make Jake look bad and in so doing possibly raise his or her stature in the wrestling world.â<80>

Finally, the â<80><9c>magic powderâ<80> culprit has been found.

Itâ<80><99>s the economy!

I knew it. The economy has been acting funny lately. Kinda suspicious and shifty. Makes perfect sense. Itâ<80><99>s effect on other people struggling to make ends meet. So what do they do? Drug a wrestler who is known for alcohol and drug problems.

DAMN YOU ECONOMY!!!!

Sheesh. What a business. Iâ<80><99>m really starting to feel sorry for Jake Roberts when crap like this comes out. If he has fallen off the wagon. If he truly does have a problem, he needs help, NOT SPIN!

When I started drawing silly little cartoons for Pro Wrestling Illustrated, I decided to get to know this business that we call pro wrestling, so the above statement sadly does not surprise me. Par for the course.

In 1990, I started hanging out at Pro Wrestling America shows. They were a Minnesota-based indy group that held monthly shows at a nightclub called Georgeâ<80><99>s in Fridley. I willingly made the long trek and pretty much held every type of job there. Did bad color commentary. Sold tickets at the door. Played the entrance music. Served as the ringside timekeeper, in-ring announcer, and run-in guy to check on the injured referee.

You name it, I did it, for the PWA and other groups. It was exciting and fun, but it had its share of bizarre moments from less than scrupulous people. Again, time for yâ<80><99>all to sit a spell and let olâ<80><99> Uncle Stevie tell you about his early days in pro rasslinâ<80><99>.

Trekked to a show up in Mora, Minnesota held at an at-best dilapidated hockey arena. If I recall correctly, the main event was Sheik Adnan vs. Baron Von Raschke. My job was to play the entrance music for a whoppinâ<80><99> twenty dollars. Figured it paid for my gas for the 200 mile roundtrip. Letâ<80><99>s just say that the show was not a sell-out. The promoter, who is still active but will remain nameless, told everyone he was going into the locker room to divvy up the money and would be out in a minute. One minute turned to 15 when the janitor approached us to vacate the premises. We told him we were waiting for â<80><9c>the promoter.â<80> He described him perfectly and informed us that he had skedaddled out a side door and drove away.

A small show in the Twin Cities area featured an MTC Bus Driver Tag Team Battle Royal. Yes, your favorite professional bus drivers would pair up and compete in the ring. Everything was booked prior to the match and the winning team was selected. So, these men, not in the best of physical condition, lumbered around the ring for a bit. Then, things went wrong. Apparently, other teams now wanted to win and refused to cooperate with the finish. This went on seemingly forever until the promoter came out, screamed at the wrestlers, and demanded that the bell ring to signify the end of the match. It was a multiple-team draw in a battle royal. A first.

A suburban show at a local bar attracted maybe a dozen fans in a fairly sizable establishment. And that was because one of the boys invited family members. Iâ<80><99>m serious. No one was there. It was like a wrestling in a library, it was so quiet. The referee for the night, the legendary Eddie Sharkey, stopped caring about the horrid match that was going on. It featured a chiropractor who wrestled occasionally. Letâ<80><99>s just say that his chiropractic skills had to be better. Sharkey literally went to the corner and rested on the turnbuckle, watching this debacle. Jerry Lynn, also wrestling on the show, went to the bar and brought Eddie a glass of brandy, a favorite libation for our Ed. He stood there, sipping his drink, while the two â<80><9c>wrestlersâ<80> put on what seemed to be a match. After that, it became a gimmick with fans bringing Eddie more brandy as the match and night went on.

Well, thatâ<80><99>s three stories just off the top of olâ<80><99> Uncle Stevieâ<80><99>s head. There are more. This is a business not for the weak-at-heart or the easily-freaked-out. Itâ<80><99>s fun and frustrating at the same time. Rewarding and discouraging, with or without shady promoters, unruly bus drivers, or PR firms.

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