Friday, January 08, 2010

The Monster Factory

This past Saturday my family and I watched a Champion defend his title in the Squared Circle at The Monster Factory in Bellmawr, NJ. I was hoarse after the show from cheering for the good guys and booing the bad guys and egging on the crowd and just plain laughing. I have not had such a cathartic and liberating experience in a long time. Seriously. At the Monster Factory one is encouraged to yell, to laugh, to shamelessly have a good time; well, Gentle Reader, I have no shame.

Now not to give those who hold the opinion that I am about to disclose to you any ammunition but there are those who say that Professional Wrestling is fake. I cannot comment on such baseless accusations but I can say that I know the Champ who successfully defended his title on a personal level and he is a very real and genuine, stand up young man. Come to think of it I know one of the referees too and the same can be said for him. Although I have not been to a wrestling match in a LOT of years the experience was like greeting an old friend once more and picking up exactly where the two of you left off.

When I was a kid my family and I loved to watch professional wrestling. Growing up in South Jersey, this was a given. Hey, what can I say, back in the seventies the drive-in and the custard stand were the high watermarks for culture. I’m from an incredibly small town that you will miss on your way to Wildwood if you happen to blink as you drive through it called, Green Creek. I love it and, to no small degree, miss it to this very day.

But enough of that; we are talking wrestling. I remember when my family made our very first foray into the higher tiers of cable television to get a channel named “Prism” just so we could watch live WWF (now WWE I think) wrestling matches from the Spectrum in Philly. This was pretty amazing since Gorilla Monsoon himself would call the matches. It was great stuff. We would invite people over just for the matches. Bob Backland, Andre the Giant, Superfly Snooka, Mr. Fuji, the Iron Sheik, and some new guy named The Incredible Hulk Hogan all played across that small television. I was still the remote control (“Hey change the channel!”) but the TV set was now in color. Wonders truly never cease.

I remember my father taking us to see The Polish Power – Ivan Putski Vs. George “The Animal” Steel wrestle at the Wildwood Convention Center. Bliss. I still remember my mother yelling at the referee, Dick Whirly that she was “Going to get him fired!” She really got into it. In Mom’s defense, just how could Mr. Whirly be so completely and utterly oblivious to the evils of George “The Animal” Steel’s green tongue and term buckle gnawing? Couldn’t he see the horrible miscarriages of justice this monster known as “The Animal” was dealing out to our hero? My Dad and I would watch my Mom and we got as much entertainment from observing her than some of the matches.

And then the world changed. We moved to Vineland, I did a little growing and professional wrestling was not as important as it once was in my family. And so it goes. It was not until this past weekend when I took MY family to see the Professional Wrestling matches at The Monster Factory in Bellmawr, NJ that the dry spell came to an end. It is a warehouse (literally and figuratively) where future pro wrestlers are made. There are matches held every month for $10.00 a head and, believe me, it is worth every penny. There are a lot of athletics; ability and training that go into an event such as this; plus the crowd is fun to watch and be a part of. If you have never been or if you have not been in a long while do yourself a favor and check out what’s going on at The Monster Factory. Here’s their website: It does not have a schedule for when the next bouts are but there is a phone number (856-933-0500).

I’ll be there to root for the Middle Weight Regional Champion as he defends his title and for a certain talented referee at the next extravaganza. Gentle Reader, you should consider it too. I promise we will have a blast and that’s one you can take to the mattress.

UPDATE: here is a much better website for the Old Time Wrestling league: There are matches every Saturday at 2:00 at The Monster Factory. The OTW was a blast but don’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself.


RDOwens said...

Many of those I recognize. Chief Jay Strongbow & Billy White Wolf, "Superstar" Billy Graham, Nikolai Volkoff, Ken Patera, Bruno Sammartino, and George "The Animal" Steele were the ones I really remember. Backland was a favorite given he used actual wrestling moves.

While in college, one day at the gym I worked out in (yeah, hard to tell these days), a short man showed up. He was benching a lot of weight. On closer inspection it was Ivan Putski, another favorite of mine. He worked out at that gym for about a week and then we never saw him again. By then I was over the faux sport anyhow.

Evil Chicken said...

Chief Jay Strongbow! Nikolai Volkoff! How could I forget them?

Those are some names from the past, aren’t they? Those guys are legends of near forgotten lore. I’m real happy to hear them recalled once again.

When I saw Putski wrestle he was short but man that guy had muscles!

That had to be an interesting development at your gym!