ROAD STORIES & RIBS – 12.19.2017: A Leg Up on the Competition

By Jim Phillips, Columnist


Welcome, to our little logbook of road trip craziness. I have been lucky enough to attend many live events over the years for numerous promotions, Indy and prime-time all over these sprawling United States.  Some with historic significance in the annuls of wrestling, and others that would only go down in the annuls of a VFW Saturday night. Let me tell you, with all honesty it’s the little shows that I savor attending so much more. These shows that make up the independent network are the training grounds for so many of the young stars that we see, making their way through the ranks to the major circuit running promotions such as WWE, ROH and NJPW.

 

One such promotion is Old School Championship Wrestling out of Charleston, SC. Ran by Joe and Mary Sue Blumenfeld, they have been bringing high quality wrestling to coastal South Carolina for a decade now. They have passed such stars as Dash Wilder, Cedric Alexander, with many others through their ranks over the years. They continue to foster and grow the wrestling business at the ground level.You can also find the top name draws from the big promotions at each of their events.It was one such event featuring WWE legend Al Snow, that our story takes place.

It was the February Feud, emanating from the Hanahan Recreational Center, near Charleston.  I was riding there with a close friend of mine and a road soldier in his own right, Vordell Walker.  We shared many a mile, in more than a few rental cars across the southeastern US. On this night, we were headed to my second OSCW event. I was excited to be on this road trip because not only was I going to get to see great Indy wrestling, but I was also privy to the staff appreciation dinner afterwards.  This meant the chance to pick the brain of one of wrestling’s greatest historians, Mike Mooneyham.  These nights were very special to me.

The event itself, was crisp and extremely entertaining. That crew always brings their A+ game, providing their fans with really great product at each show.  I always sat on the back side of the gym in the risers because I was never a fan of floor seats at any event, unless you could get within the first 5 rows.  I always like to have a view from a little way back, so you the opportunity to get a good view of the ring, and see how the crowd feeds off the action and vice versa. I enjoyed cheering my beloved bad guy “heels” and seeing the crowds favorite “faces” get made fools of.  For those few precious hours, we are all kids again.

Afterwards, the ring crew started to break down the ring and scoop up the seats and always threw in a couple extra hands to help stack the folding chairs as I waited for Vordell to get finished.  He popped out of the side door at the back of the gym and we headed out.  

Miss Mary Sue and her gang of helpers always laid out a great spread of food, with coolers full of varied beverages for all to enjoy.  She and Joe treat the crew like a family.  It is without a doubt, one of the best ran promotions I’ve been privileged to be allowed to be a part of. Everyone was waiting for Joe to emerge through the door to attack the food. It was a level of respect shown by his crew.  Once he opened the door the grub line quickly formed up and everyone made a big plate.  The laughter and good times, were indeed, had by all.  This included the four-legged ruler of the house, Bruno the dog. You had to keep a close eye on your plate and your head on a swivel if you weren’t sitting at a table eating.  Bruno was famous for picking your plate if you were looking the other way.  Little did I know that he would become famous for something else before that night was over.

As things started to wind down, Al Snow said he had to catch a flight and was headed to the door with his ride. We stood up, shaking hands and sending farewells.  All of a sudden, I hear laughter and hear a voice say, “Bruno, stop that!”.  I turned to see that Bruno had taken a shine to Vordell’s leg and was takin it for, what Barry White would call, some “sweet sweet lovin”.  Both Al and myself drew our phones like six shooters and started recording.  It was the capper to a great night and quite possibly a doggy engagement by Bruno to an unreceptive Vordell Walker that made the evening.  Bruno isn’t with us anymore but his food munching, leg humping legacy will never be forgotten by those of us who were there to witness it. 

I urge all of you to get out and support your local independent wrestling promotions. These are the real places where these young people learn their craft.  Only a select few are born into the business. The rest are out there, weekend in and out, putting on the miles and paying the dues that will lead them to their dream.  Until next week, keep the wheels turning and the freedom burning. Peace Bruthas and Sistas!



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