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How old is old school?

December 6, 2012 - John Mehno
I saw Michael Boytim's story in the Mirror about the professional wrestling event coming up at the Jaffa Shrine on Friday.

For a lot of people, the appearances of Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart and Jimmy Hart (among others) will represent "Old School" professional wrestling. They were part of the World Wrestling Federation in the early to mid-1980s when the company went national.

I've mentioned before that I once worked for the late Gene Dargan, the promoter who brought a lot of shows to Jaffa Mosque on a regular basis in the 1960s and '70s. That's my version of "old school." Bruno Sammartino headlined a lot of the shows, battling opponents like Prof. Tanaka, Dr. Bill Miller, George Steele and Killer Kowalski. Sometimes Bruno would join forces with pals like Battman or Domenic DeNucci for a main event tag match. Those were the days when Bruno wore the World Wide Wrestling Federation belt, defending a territory whose world-wide western boundary was Steubenville.

Times change, and the WWF stars of the 1980s were at the forefront of that. By time time it was over, WWF had become WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and had driven most of its competitors out of business. WWE is a company that now focuses more on pay-per-view events than house show revenue. Like almost everything else associated with wrestling, the business plan has also changed radically.

It should be a fun night for those who remember the era of "Hulkamania" that brought in a lot of the changes. If you're going, do me a favor: Offer a silent salute to Baron Scicluna, Tanaka and the other now-departed old-timers who had that building rocking on a lot of nights in the past.

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