Working in the wrestling business has taught me a great deal of respect for what the people who came before me really did for this business. As a child, I grew up watching World Class Championship Wrestling at the Sportatorium. The larger than life stars of World Class are a veritable Who’s Who of Professional Wrestling history! I cheered for the likes of the Von Erichs, “Gentleman” Chris Adams, The Fabulous Freebirds and booed the likes of “Killer” Tim Brooks, Kamala, One Man Gang, Texas Red aka The Undertaker, Jeff Jarrett, “Stunning” Steve Austin, Cactus Jack aka Mick Foley, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, Jerry “The King” Lawler, Harley Race, the Missing Link and pretty much the entire faction of Devastation Incorporated led by the villianous General Skandor Akbar.
Sitting in the first or second row every Friday night, my brother, cousins and I gave them the business. Yelling, screaming, heckling; you name it, we did it! Of course back then, we thought it was all real. We bought into the storylines. We bought into the epic good versus evil mentality that made going to the world famous sportatorium so great! Back then, there was no internet, cable was still in its infant stages, and all we had was the weekly television program on Saturday nights to fuel the fire and our appetite for professional wrestling. While other families were watching Saturday Night Live, my dad, brother and I were glued to our local television affiliate to take in some professional wrestling! We talked about it all week! We were ecstatic about it and could hardly wait the 6 days until Friday Night so we could head to the corner of Cadiz and Industrial in Downtown Dallas, Texas to get our fix!
Now, 25 years later, I still love professional wrestling. Unfortunately, I find myself longing for the good old days where there wasn’t instant news, internet, 8 wrestling shows a week on television. I think with so much exposure, it really loses it’s luster and just becomes watered down.
Since I started in this business, I have worked with a few of the stars I grew up loving and hating as a kid and become quite good friends with them. One of my closest friends in this business is the General himself! Skandor Akbar, or Ak as we call him, is one of the kindest most giving men I have ever met in this business. He loves it with a passion I can only hope to some day have. Ak is now in his 70s and still loves working shows as much as he did then. His knowledge of this business is endless, and sitting and talking with him is one of the true joys of being around him.
Just for one day, I wish I could go back in time to the mid-80’s so I could just touch, feel, and enjoy what professional wrestling was all about. World Class Championship Wrestling was the bright shining star of professional wrestling back then and it paved the way for a lot of what you see on television today! If it weren’t for Mickey Grant’s visionary approach to filming professional wrestling, things might be a lot different today. But then, it was new, exciting, and believeable. Once that curtain has been pulled back, and once the 4th wall has been knocked down, it’s hard to regain that perspective. It’s hard to regain that youthful love of the sport. Like I said, if I could go back in time for just one night, I would do it in a heartbeat.
– Wil Riggs