Taking a Trip Down Cauliflower Alley

By Paul Stratoti, Contributing Writer


Ever since I realized that I was going to have to miss this year’s reunion a few weeks back I contemplated not even posting this article for fear that it would be too dry and redundant for interest. I was having a hard time extracting comments for publication for this article but I did get some.

After all, I don’t think there is much news that others may have seen already in this article, however, what the hell; I gave it my best try and in the process I have made a few new social media friends of interest, had to fire a long standing Facebook friend from my network and in addition I caught the EZ bug. Over the last few weeks I’ve been able to chill out despite thinking that I was going to be super stressed. I’ve actually been joking a lot more, a trait that I lost many years ago. So once again, thank you, EZ!

So on behalf of those for whom I have covered and produced for in the past as well, my fellow constituents, the pro wrestling Universe as well as the Sports Entertainment Universe here goes…

Les Thatcher: “Every year I suggest young wrestlers watch both American Idol & The Voice as one of the most important things the judges/mentors on both shows stress is “If I can’t feel the story in the song then it doesn’t hook me”. The serious trainers/coaches I know feel the same about your performance in a wrestling ring. We see too many just going through the motions at every level. Don’t care how many dives you do, how many false finishes, if there isn’t the small things like facials, body language, then we aren’t getting hooked emotionally, nor is your audience.

Mariko Yoshida as she looked just before her 5 gal elimination win

All the great ones have it: Flair, Steamboat, Bockwinkel, Race!”

Killer Brooks trained with Les during the very 1st 2006 CAC seminar

In the following photo Special Guest Referee Harley Race delivered his patented Suplex on to NEPW manager Eddie Edwards during the 2003 CAPW 10 year anniversary spectacular for his interfering ways.

James Beard: “ There are a lot of parallels between wrestling and music, dramatic books, TV shows and movies. The common thread is (or should be) the development of the story in a way that builds and relates to those listening or watching. Wrestling is not or should not be a video game that is designed for an individual user to get his kicks, it should be an emotional experience. The athleticism should highlight that, not overcome it.”

In the following photo, referee James is taking possession of Tim Storm’s belt just prior to the 2016 Casino Royal title match:

Just like a singer who overuses runs, it more often takes away from the message. In a vocal performance, the ability to use a run in the right place with the right intent enhances. Too many young and inexperienced singers tend to believe the vocal gymnastics is what gets them over…It’s the way and when you use them that makes them effective. The same is true in wrestling….It’s nice to be athletic and capable of impressive moves or spots, but if you overuse them and depend on those to be the basis of your “performance”, you have failed to connect emotionally and that is the true intent of wrestling.”

Here James has just been distracted by a brutal attack on another CAC official while Tim Storm pinned Jax Dane for well over 3 seconds.

“If you grow up a fan of Professional Wrestling and then have the fortune to work within the sport, you can understand how special it is to get to know and even work with some of those you looked up to as a young fan. I have been blessed to know, work with and become friends with many of those hero’s I looked up to as a young fan. That’s one of the great and special things about our business.

“Lou Thesz was the standard for wrestling and the most prestigious Championship within Professional Wrestling. Even as a kid, it was obvious to me the way he carried himself and represented that title was iconic and standard setting.

“I had the great fortune to know Lou Thesz and converse with him many times. By that time, I was well established in our business, but I was still in awe of him and his stature. That is the sort of respect he generated within our business and why The Lou Thesz Award established by the Cauliflower Alley Club is such a prestigious honor.

“This year, the honoree is most definitely deserving of this award because his career and status is so in line with the man it was named for. I actually had the honor of sharing the ring with Dory Funk, Jr. To say that experience was special is a vast understatement.

It’s also one of the wonderful things about The Cauliflower Alley Club and the annual reunion. So many of those iconic stars are there to meet, renew friendships with and see in a completely different light.

Seeing fellow Texan and one of the truly elite Champions of my lifetime receive The Lou Thesz Award makes this year’s reunion even more special. Congratulations to Dory Funk, Jr., as the ultimate deserving honoree.

Former NWA Champion Tim Storm, Former NWA World Champion Dory Funk Jr. and James Beard photo contributed by James Beard

(Shown here with former NWA Champion Tim Storm and myself at the NWA 70th Anniversary Event last October in Nashville)”

Wrestling results that I obtain will be recorded by Brain Wescott (unless somebody else may be able to shoot them over to me in real time if I am able to remotely produce some content in real time.

Taking care of our CAC brethren, in particular our Legends and members and the preservation of their legacies is key when talking about the mission of the Cauliflower Alley Club.

Tom Burke: “ Looking forward to seeing Kevin and talk about those golden days of wrestling in New England!!”

WWE head Trainer Adam Pearce when he was NWA World Heavyweight Champion with our beloved late President Nick Bockwinkel (after which our Baloney Blowout was renamed) says: “Your thoughts…

Become your words, which…
Become your actions, which…
Become your habits, which…
Become your character … which defines your legacy!

Speaking of Adam, he has given me permission to post his recent Note as part of this article:

The only thing standing in the way of your success is your fear of failing. The thing is, failing teaches you how NOT to. Don’t be afraid.”

AJ Kirsh (shown here in 2011) says,

I’m excited to share the news, as recently broken by Ron Hutchison, that I will be hosting a seminar at this year’s Cauliflower Alley Club reunion featuring ECW originals Brian Heffron (a.k.a. “The Blue Meanie”) and “The Quintessential Studmuffin” Joel Gertner on the art of character development in professional wrestling. THIS is gonna be a fun one!”

On February 2, Malia Hosaka wrote: “So, I’m learning that when I ask a girl if they know how to work a body part and they say “yes” that the answer is really NO. Are trainers not teaching this any longer???”

Former CAC member and live action card attendee Leva Bates as she looked applying pressure on the neck of former CAC member and live action card attendee Hailey Hatred in AIW action.

Princess Victoria responded: “Wait until you see Lucas Dakota’s matches. His first match was a technical 20 minute draw and had the fans chanting “5 more minutes!!!” until both wrestlers left the ring. When a man was thrown into the turnbuckle the ring moved 6″ in that direction. The entire crowd sounded off including myself.”

The Cauliflower Alley Club wishes Princess Victoria Vicki Otis a speedy recovery. We look forward to seeing you once again during a the future reunion.

Do you see the final name on the above 2006 CAC Training Seminar slide? Jesse James was the name authorized by WWE for DeGeneration X to use on its programming and for it’s trademark. There is nothing fake about it’s name and it elicits near main event status due to the subliminal seduction of memory of a true well-known outlaw with the same name.

Ron Hutchinson from the CAC Website: Unlike traditional, one-off seminars or events held around the country, the Cauliflower Alley Club is unique in that, in addition to our fabulous banquets, awards and other CAC related activities, the CAC offers it’s reunion attendees an opportunity to attend a full two days of seminars conducted by industry experts. You can choose to attend one learning experience or, hopefully, all of them. The choice is yours because admission to every one of the seminars is included in the purchase of your reunion ticket and up-to-date CAC membership.

The CAC is so fortunate to have a wealth of very knowledgeable industry professionals in our midst — professionals who graciously volunteer their time to instruct, educate and share their knowledge with those who are willing to listen — professionals who all do it for free because, like us, they believe in the CAC mission to financially assist those in the wrestling industry who have fallen on difficult financial times.

We are eternally grateful to our Learning Series presenters and hosts, as well as all of our CAC membership. Please drop by our Learning Series presentation room when you are at this year’s reunion. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn and the fun you’ll have while learning it!” Sincerely, Ron Hutchison CAC Eastern Canada Liaison Reunion Seminar Administrator

Tuesday, April 30, 2019, 2:00 noon Seminar 1: “DON’T CALL ME FAKE!” – Live with Dr. D. David Shultz
Featuring Dr. D David Shultz and hosted by Jim Valley

2019 CAC Men’s Wrestling honoree, “Dr. D.” David Shultz has requested the microphone to speak his mind. Who’s going to say no to the Doctor? … David will talk about his storied career, which spanned the globe from Tennessee, Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling, the American Wrestling Association, Stampede Wrestling, the National Wrestling Alliance, the World Wrestling Federation, and all points between. Mr. Shultz will be free of the time constraints of his CAC honoree speech as the CAC, for the first time, spotlights it honorees by giving them a forum for an intimate and interactive career retrospective. A question and answer session will be included for all reunion ticket holders.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019, 12:00 Seminar 2: CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT – Featuring The Blue Meanie and Joel Gertner and hosted by A.J. Kirsch

The psychology and importance of character development for all performers in the professional wrestling industry will be the topic of Tuesday’s noon-hour seminar… Presented by Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) stalwarts and CAC lifetime members, “The Blue Meanie” Brian Heffron and “The Quintessential Stud Muffin” Joel Gertner (who makes his first visit to the reunion), this is a seminar that no young talent will want to miss. These two gentlemen and AJ will discuss how to do the best with the character you have chosen or, in most cases, the character that was given to you to portray!

May 1, 2019 11:00 am – TERRITORY TALK/”AWA Memories” Hosted by Mick Karch Featuring George Schire, Eddie Sharkey, Dawn Lemke, Al Burke, Carol Castle, Rock Riddle & Ed Hellier

May 1, 2019 1:00 pm Final Seminar “A Champion’s Champion” Featuring Dory Funk, Jr. and hosted by Jim Valley

Photos from past training seminars:

Then CAC’s head trainer Harley Race as he looked during CAPW’s 10 year anniversary April 13, 2003 showing that it doesn’t pay if he is around and he sees a wrestling manager interfering in the matches.

Les Thatcher (shown here as he trains during the first 2006 training seminar) says,

“Harley & I started the training camps as a team & ended it as a team when we were no longer given space at the conventions to run them… Have a great time in Vegas, members! 👍

Les stands at the very left shown as Harley speaks of his stellar career

…and Scott Romer has just confirmed that Rip Rodgers will be attending this year!

CAC, Las Vegas, 2006 memory by Tom Burke: THURSDAY THROWBACK – 21 FEBRUARY 2019 – # 1 With Ross Hart!

“I have known Ross since the late 70’s. I used to write to his dad, Stu. His dad would send me programs and then Ross took over the task and even though the world of wrestling has changed we have remained in contact via the net and phone calls…I look forward to seeing Ross at the 54th Annual CAC Reunion this coming spring. Then a visit by the Calgary Cowboy to the City of Homes in the summer.”

CAC, Las Vegas, 2016 Memory … Strat to contestant BJ Darden, What was your biggest thrill in Vegas. this week?“

BJ: “Winning the NWA Heritage Championship. That title has been held by some great guys such as Adam Pearce, TJ Perkins etc.”

“Anytime you speak of the NWA you speak of the most prestigious pro wrestling organization in the world!”

We’re so proud to announce this year’s “Lou Thesz Award” recipient — Dory Funk, Jr

Monday, April 29, 2019 at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada our beloved CAC President B Brian Blair and Rock Riddle, both Hall of Famers and both title-winning veterans of professional wrestling have signed to face each other for one final match.

…and a big shout out to Andrew Anderson from the Big Daddy of Destruction, J Rocc! Recently, when I saw J Rocc, I asked him whether he’s ever considering attending a CAC event after which he asked what this year’s dates were. When I told him he checked his schedule. “While I most certainly look forward to attending a CAC reunion someday, as I look at my current schedule now I can tell you that I am booked to wrestle during 2 of the 3 days that the reunion takes place. I cannot currently commit, but we’ll see.”

AJ Kirsh says, “I’m excited to share the news, as recently broken by Ron Hutchison, that AJ Kirsh (?) will be hosting a seminar at this year’s Cauliflower Alley Club reunion featuring ECW originals Brian Heffron (a.k.a. “The Blue Meanie”) and “The Quintessential Studmuffin” Joel Gertner on the art of character development in professional wrestling.

THIS is gonna be a fun one!”

April 6, 2019: Dr. David Reiss “It’s great to be heading back to CAC after scheduling difficulties the last two years! Looking forward to seeing everyone. (Anyone who would like to chat with me informally about the issues I’ll be talking about – stress, depression, concussions – never any cost or obligation; catch me in Vegas or DM me to arrange to meet.”

Our final learning series seminar to announce may well be one of the most important to take place at the CAC reunion … Depression and Mental Health in Wrestling. Led by Dr. David Reiss & Dan Murphy, they will focus on signs of depression and other mental disorders and methods of treatment. Find out about this and our other exciting seminars at http://www.caulifloweralleyclub.org/learning.html

David as he looked during the Faces, Heels and Turns seminar in 2011 with Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase:

April 6, 2019: Dr. David Reiss “It’s great to be heading back to CAC after scheduling difficulties the last two years! Looking forward to seeing everyone. (Anyone who would like to chat with me informally about the issues I’ll be talking about – stress, depression, concussions – never any cost or obligation; catch me in Vegas or DM me to arrange to meet.”

CAC reunion 2011

…The Lighter Side Of Our Camaraderie…

During the time that I had to digest the fact that I will not be attending this year’s reunion I began to think of a way that I could put out this note with some level of newsworthiness. I then began to think of how the GLOW ladies have been a big part of our reunions since my last visit…

I then got impatient. I knew that it was a gamble to ask the GLOW gals a question and expect a reply from any of them taking in consideration that I never covered any of their matches or had any communication with them in the past but it was worth a try so I responded to a message on EZ (aka Chris Monaco)’s Facebook page with:

First past or present GLOW gal to respond to a question and GO…

(2 hours go by and then EZ added a laughing icon and said, “Form a line Girls…”)

Soon I replied to EZ’s comment…

Wait a f’n minute here… You could have put this icon in there too, EVIL ONE! (a laughing dog icon) Let me try this again: First present or past GLOW gal to respond to this question I’ve been wondering and GO!

Soon, my then nothing-happening Facebook Friend(name withheld) from a promotion that I once produced for finally spoke after more than 10 years of silence on my page. I knew him as some kind of manager to the former CAC training seminar attendee that I once sponsored. He never said a word, so I thought hey, maybe this guy has something to offer after all. He said, “I hope it’s Shannon Rose Hollywood!”

2 more hours went by when EZ added another laughing icon, and stated, “Boy, the gals are really breaking down the doors here!”

During the next few hours I was busy, going from my apartment, to work at Select Restaurants for a full time shift, back home and then to the Lakewood Public Library where I can more effectively work on the internet as opposed to doing so at home merely with my cell phone. During this time this guy kept harassing EZ which is totally unacceptable and NOT in accordance with the Stratmandu Mission Statement…

Dr. Reiss (during his Faces, Heels and Turns seminar with Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase) – “Who Hasn’t had someone turn on us?”

Anyway, soon GLOW’s Patricia Summerland “aka Sunny” became the 1st GLOW gal that I ever spoke to with: “For your information, Afterglow has a booth too which is us original Glow Girls too. (Sunny smiles) We are on both sides of the Nostalgia Room. Its all GLOW but separate now as Afterglow Original Glow Girls. We are advertised there. Our banners is there too with Forest Grump, myself, Roxy Astor and Matilda the Hun.”

Strat: So let me get this right; Afterglow is the original GLOW and the GLOW advertised on WWE is new, like with Kia Stevens. I don’t have WWE intel so I may be clueless here. I just know my anxiety level is off the roof.

Sunny: “WWE? There is GLOW Netflix which is paying homage to us Original Glow Girls that is going on its 3rd season. Then there is Roxy and myself, Dallas, Matilda , Angel and MTV is Afterglow – the original Glow girls. Hollywood and some were a part of it but they are no longer with us as we had to release them from Project.

“I hope I did not confuse you. There is no Glow Girls at the CAC from WWE. Our Tina Ferrari, who was in WWE as Ivory wont be at the CAC next week.”

Strat: Thank you for the clarification

NOTE: Patricia Summerland was called Sunny before former CAC honoree Tamara Sytch used that name.

Papa Stro: “To Stratman, Jasyn Kross and Jamie Benton… Papa’s Dorothy says thank you all for thinking of her. She’s flattered!”

Photo by Waynhe Palmer

The following is a short photo gallery that I took during the 2011 reunion that I am passing on for the benefit of Roddy’s lovely daughter Ariel as we honor his achievements and Legacy

Photo provided by Ariel Toombs

…and hats off to Thunder Rosa! While it doesn’t seem as though she’s going to be able to make it this year I’m pleased to learn that she will be active during the WOW TV tapings

Props to Becky Lynch!

Photo contributed by CAC Lifetime Member/Marketing/Communications Consultant Bambi Weavil

The Man was able to make a true WWE believer out of me once again (aka I’ve been hooked more on NXT over the past couple of years over the main roster). She has busted her butt for years to make a future Legend out of herself and has lead the divas revolution into the women’s wrestling evolution with determination and ease, and with an unprecedented stop during the recent WrestleMania and shows no sign of letting up. Becky 2 Belts is the kind of champion that the Cauliflower Alley Club would someday like to honor. I think placing this picture is a fitting tribute to what the CAC represents as it is with great honor that this reporter would also like to introduce our Lifetime Member Bambi Weavil . She is our Marketing and Communications Consultant and in the above photo below, she stands proud during WrestleMania weekend with the lovely Man herself, Becky Lynch!

This reporter would at this time like to invite 2011 WWE HoFer, 2019 PWHoF’er Abdullah the Butcher to join us if he is able to make it for our celebration of Legends in 2 months as well as to offer our condolences on the loss of his most recent manager Honest John.

Article and photos by Cauliflower Alley Club Lifetime member Paul Stratoti unless otherwise noted. WrestleMania photo copyright WWE.

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