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From the Wrestling Magazine Archive | Summer 1988

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This is part of an ad from Wrestling 88 magazine, published by T.V. Sports Inc. It's for a videotape that brings "the dynamic action of Japanese women's wrestling into your own home" for "only $29.95."

I remember looking at this ad 20 years ago, when I was 15, and being amazed that someone would choose such a racist title. I also remember thinking that someday, many years later, I would be even more amazed by it. And now the prophecy has been fulfilled.

The thing is, I'm not sharing this with the Internet world because I'm outraged and offended by it. I'm sharing it because I have to admit I think this ad is hilarious.

It's not hilarious because it stereotypes Japanese people and I get a racist kick out of that. No, it's hilarious because it makes me imagine a meeting in which some person comes up with this idea, thinking it's awesome, and then everyone else at the table agrees.


In my opinion this was not worth unearthing. Best for these things to remain in the trash heap of history.

Wrestling was full of this kind of stuff. I still remember when Mr. T fought Roddy Piper at Wrestlemania II in 1986. Bob Orndorf held Mr. T down while Piper whipped him with a belt. Jesse Ventura, who was color commentating, said "This looks like Roots II."

And in more recent history we had the blatant anti-gay bit starring West Duluth's own Lenny Carlson. He and his tag team partner played "flamboyant" wrestlers that were booed and jeered by the hicks in the audience.

Two of my favorite WWF (now WWE) bits were:

1) During the Cold War, Nikolai Volkov would ask wrestling fans to rise and respect his singing of the Soviet national anthem before matches. His rival, often Hulk Hogan, would run to the ring in the middle of the song to beat him up, and the fans would go wild, because that's what real Americans should do.

2) The Iron Sheik was always announced as being from Tehran, Iran. Once the Gulf War was under way, he suddenly became from Bagdad, Iraq. In the world of pro wrestling, Iran and Iraq are pretty much the same place.

Ah, wrestling. You gotta love it.

Oh, and Barrett either meant Bob Orton or Paul Orndorff. They are pretty similar, and either one could have been holding Mr. T down, I don't remember which one did.

And Magus, you are probably right. I just couldn't help myself.

Does wrestling still come to the Duluth arena? I guess when the "sport" was more localized and coming out of Minneapolis, they'd bring the shows up north. I'm talking old time wrestling with the Crusher and his nemeses Pretty Boy Larry Henning and Handsome Harley Race (The Dolly Sisters). The Crusher would threaten to stuff them into a garbage can and roll it down from the top of Lake Avenue and into the lake. My buddies and I would sit up at the top row of the arena and throw raw eggs down at the ring. We're lucky we didn't get caught or actually hit anyone.

Gah! It was Cowboy Bob Orton -- I'm pretty sure.

Nikolai Volkoff also changed at the end of the Cold War when he became a good guy and started hailing from Ukraine, rather than Moscow.

I regret that I never saw the Crusher in person. I did, however, shake Baron Von Raschke's hand. He's actually a nice, soft-spoken guy in real life.

"I did, however, shake Baron Von Raschke's hand."

That is why Barrett's right hand resembles a rubber glove half filled with corn mush.

Xpat, I think the last All-Star Wrestling card in Duluth was in about 1986. The WWF/WWE came to town semi regularly in the very late 1980s and into the 90s, but I think it's been at least five years since there's been a major wrestling show in Duluth.

Da Crusher made a surprise appearance at the Duluth Arena in the fall of 1988 (and Barrett was probably there and doesn't remember).

I'll make a new post about that.

Correction: Da Crusher came in the fall of 1987.

All this talk makes me want to have my mythical party where we rent one of the first three Wrestlemanias, and watch it like it is live.

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