From the Publisher
"The book has all the iconic images of the past few decades . . . and it's all done to perfection through the amazing camera work of one of the most famous pro wrestling photographers." www.f4wonline.com (August 30, 2011)
"[A] fascinating cross-section of pro wrestling that spans nearly three decades." —www.slam.canoe.ca (October 2011)
"Another excellent work from the author . . . a perfect gift for that wrestling fan, no matter what their age." —www.slammer.us (October 2011)
"[A] great coffee table book . . . a ‘MUST HAVE’ for all wrestling fans." —www.WrestlingFigs.com (October 2011)
"It's not difficult to state that any wrestling fan with a true love for the art of pro wrestling will be enthralled with the turn of every page. . . . I give this voluminous production the highest recommendation possible." —www.PerspectivesOnWrestling.blogspot.com (October 2011)
Read an Excerpt
I became addicted to professional wrestling in the early ’60s. Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, you could watch it three nights a week on channel five. Tuesday’s matches were broadcast from Sunnyside Gardens in Queens. On Wednesday they came from the Bridgeport Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Thursday’s action came from the Capital Centre in Washington, D.C.
My heroes at the time were Bruno Sammartino, “Cowboy” Bob Ellis and the Bastien Brothers. As far as I was concerned they could do no wrong. The champion was “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers, and no matter who he faced, he would always find a way to win — despite the best efforts of men like Dory Dixon, Bearcat Wright, and Johnny Valentine. It wasn’t until May 17, 1963, that Buddy Rogers finally met defeat — and in a mere 47 seconds no less — to my hero, Bruno Sammartino, in Madison Square Garden. What made it even more special was that I was there in person, sitting in the balcony watching as Bruno was crowned the new champion of the world.
After Sammartino’s victory I continued to watch wrestling and root on my favorites, but as 1964 rolled in and a group of “lads from Liverpool” known as the Beatles took the world by storm, my interest changed from wrestling to music and girls. Like so many boys my age I picked up the guitar, learned how to play, and started a band, called the Creations, with my childhood friends. Soon we were practicing every night, and eventually playing every weekend. There was no time to watch wrestling, or any other sport for that matter. In 1965 the Creations became a local Brooklyn favorite, and Mercury Records eventually signed us to a recording contract. For a variety of reasons we didn’t release our first record until 1968, when we were known as the Ox–Bow Incident. We went on to release three 45s, none of which became hits — though all are hanging on my wall. It was an experience I will never forget.
Around this time I was fortunate to get a Nikon camera and I began photographing the band and the various people and places we’d encounter on our travels. In June of 1970 while reading the New York Daily News, I noticed an ad for a wrestling show at Madison Square Garden. I asked Jackie, my girlfriend at the time (we were later married and have been happy for 40 years), if she wanted to go. I hadn’t watched wrestling in years, and she had never watched a match on TV or in person. She readily agreed, saying it would be a fun thing to do. On July 10, 1970, we watched Chief Jay Strongbow, Victor Rivera, Mario Milano and my all–time childhood favorite, Bruno Sammartino (who was wrestling Crusher Verdu). We sat in Section 108 in the Loge and during the matches I would run down the aisle with my trusty Nikon in hand, trying to take photographs. During the evening the MC announced that there was going to be another card the following Saturday afternoon at Sunnyside Garden in Queens. When Saturday came we went to Sunnyside to see the action up close and personal. Once again I took my camera, and during the matches I ran down the aisle to try to get a better shot. At some point, a man sitting ringside said, “You must be getting great pictures; you have a great camera.” When the matches were over the gentleman introduced himself as J.F. Sanchez–Acosta and said that he worked for Ring magazine. He told me that if I ever came back to Sunnyside Gardens to bring some photos with me. Needless to say we went again the following month, and I brought some of the pictures I took. The man looked at the photos and must have liked what he saw, because he asked me if I wanted to work for Ring magazine.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into!