Monday, March 19, 2007


The Wrestlers! In the 1990's, my wife Ruth and I hosted a series of annual "Northwest Wrestling" reunions at our home in Issaquah, Washington (yes, our neighbor is indeed Ichicaro Suzuki). We invited all the local talent that had performed in this area and then opened it up to "national" talent that wanted to make the trip to Sea-Tac Airport to partcipate in a Seattle happening.

We were amazed, because word spread very quickly about our events and within two years, "national" talents outnumbered the "local boys." We learned a great deal about wrestling reunions hosting these events, but the most startling fact we learned was that the biggest marks in wrestling are the wrestlers themselves, not the fans.

When Red Bastien heard that Kay Bell was going to attend our reunion, Red & Carol were on a plane from Dallas to get here. The late Kay Bell, an old time local guy had been a wrestler in the 1930s and 40s as well as a movie actor in some of Cecil B. DeMille's classics. Red came in the front door of our house and said, "...where's Kay Bell? I've got to meet him." He later confessed that as a kid growing up, Kay Bell was his favorite wrestler and Red was in complete awe upon seeing Kay there live and in person. Red looked like a 12-year old fan asking Kay Bell for his autograph and we all learned something from our CAC President's desire to meet a childhood idol.

Then, one reunion Lou Thesz decided to attend with his wife Charlie. Also there were Johnny Valentine, Ray Stevens, Pepper Gomez, Fab. Moolah, Pat Patterson, Fritz von Goering, Don Leo Jonathan, and others. Names that would send a mark over the edge, but do you know what happened? All these top stars just mentioned, absolutely became unglued when Billy Wicks and when Ray Eckert walked in the front door. They were all "marks" in the presence of these two guys.

You see, in this business, where you take bumps with your body and later pay for it, every professional wrestler is respected by every other pro matter how much money you made, or how little money you made, every wrestler "marks out" when they see a talent that may have influenced them at one point in their career.

And so come April 21st, 2007, at the Riviera Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, the room will be filled with wrestlers, promoters, bookers, referees, announcers, publicsts, historians, and fans. One thing will be for sure, everyone in attendance, I mean everyone (including me) will mark out.
Dean Silverstone
CAC Executive Director