Thursday, March 24, 1977
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Page. N ne
Thusda..arc-2, 17- -EMIC-G N.D.L
Tony Marino, the ref, and Luis Martinez
Ivan Kaloff (top) and Gino Hernandez
By DAVID GOODMAN
Photography by STEVE KAGAN
MY MOM HATED Big Time Wrestling. She never let r 8F
me watch it. "Thii is garbage, she would say
"Turn the set off."E, :
But lots of moms were in Detroit's Cobo Hall last
Saturday to take in an evening of Big Time with a
line-up topped by The Sheik's match with Bobo Brazil. t
Lots of dads were there, too--and they brought their
kids and the kids brought their grandparents.
A Big Time Wrestling crowd is not the typical
fight audience. Entire families as well as city kids with
their weekend dates come in significant numbers to
see the bouts, and cigarette, not cigar smoke, turns
the air a hazy blue.
As we enter the half-filled arena, two overweight,
middle-aged men are grappling on the mat of the
converted boxing ring. They look like Olympic weight-
lifters e hot-putters of twenty years ago, with sag-
ging bellies and shining, sparsely covered crowns. f
Charlie Cook, the good guy, is battling The Spoiler, 4
the bad guy.
There's always a good guy and a bad guy in Big
Time Wrestling. The good guy almost always won
Saturday night, but not before being sorely tried by
Cook is straddling the Spoiler, grabbing his mask
and threatening to reveal his hidden features. "Take
it off!" roars the crowd which has never seen his
face. "Off, off, off!! !"
Cook never rips off the mask, but he does pin his
rival. The crowd shouts its approval as victor and
vanquished clear the ring for the next contestants.
O ENJOY BIG TIME Wrestling, you have to will-z
ingly suspend your sense of disbelief. You have to F.:...
pretend for a few hours that the feigned brutality and.r.4w:
the simulated agony are the real thing, and that the ..8 v'. .
pre-arranged, pre-determined exhibitions are in fact
real life-and-death struggles. The Spoiler
Anyone standing or sitting close to the ring can
hear the wrestlers cuing each other in on the next
move. "Ok, now I'm going to jump on you," a wrestler
whispers to his rival. "I'm going to throw you against
The referee gets into the act as well, telling the >
fighters to liven it up when the action gets too slow. 8
See MOTOR, Page 10
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