I’ve received word of an upcoming independent professional wrestling card at the Schenectady Armory on Friday, April 22. The “Spring Slam Tour,” co-promoted by local pro wrestling federations North East Wrestling and World of Hurt Wrestling, plan to bring several world famous superstars to Schenectady for a night of wrestling action.
This is great. I definitely want to attend this. Way back in the day, I used to go to independent wrestling matches and cards like this over at the IUE Hall in Schenectady. There would be a mixture of local talent and independent grapplers, along with a few national stars who would come in and give the local talent a run for their money.
And with that in mind, I bring you back to one of those early wrestling matches. It was July of 1997, and the local federation known as New Breed Wrestling had an independent card at the IUE Hall that night. The card featured local pro wrestlers – I think one of the wrestlers also worked a day job over at the ActionMan comic book and action figures store in Latham Circle Mall – but the big deal that night would be a two-falls-out-of-three match between King Kong Bundy and Primo Carnera III.
Just a few years earlier, King Kong Bundy wrestled Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 2. He was a big monster of a wrestler, a guy who could use his 450 pound body as a weapon. He could throw you into the corner and run into you like a freight train. And if he pinned you, he demanded a five count from the referee. That was big time heel dominance.
Bundy’s opponent that night was Primo Carnera III, who was allegedly the grandson of the great professional boxer. Yeah. And my last name is Miller, which means I’m descended from the great bandleader Glenn Miller. Pfft. Anyways, Carnera III at the time was the New Breed Wrestling heayvweight champion, and he was scheduled to face King Kong Bundy at the IUE Hall that night. This was going to be epic.
During the match, King Kong Bundy had Primo Carnera III on the mat, and decided to hit him with a jumping kneedrop.
I just typed that sentence. King Kong Bundy, a man who weighs nearly 500 pounds, is going to jump in the air and bring his knee right on Carnera III’s forehead. That would have probably knocked him down to Carnera II.
When he landed… there was a big snap.
No, it wasn’t a broken bone or a crushed skull.
The snap came from under the ring; Bundy’s jump actually cracked one of the ring’s crossbeams.
And for the rest of the match, the ring had the consistency of a bed mattress.
Don’t believe me? Here’s the match. And the ring lasts till about 1:32:45 of the video, then it breaks.
Well, that certainly made the match interesting.
But there was one more match on the card – a “Battle Royale,” in which all the wrestlers entered the ring at once, and the only way to win the match was to have your opponents all thrown out of the ring. Well, the fractured wrestling ring would have collapsed under the weight of all those grapplers, so they did the next best thing.
It became a “Battle Royale” outside the ring, and the winner was the first man to get IN the ring. Which eventually was won by classic wrestling heel Iron Mike Sharpe. You remember him? Guy used to wear a black forearm pad due to some kayfabe injury, but he would often hit his opponent with that loaded forearm and it would feel like getting clubbed with a club.
And near the end of the Schenectady get-in-the-ring battle royale, at around 1:41:00 of the clip above … a chair goes flying into the wrestling ring. Then another. And another. Fans are throwing steel chairs into the wrestling ring. Fans must have thought they walked into an ECW match or something…
Yeah that was fun. Fun times.
That was nearly twenty years ago. And I still remember it as being both fun and entertaining.
And although I don’t think we’ll see any broken wrestling rings or flying chairs, I am sure that next April we’ll see some great professional wrestling matches from some of the top grapplers in the business.
Can’t wait. For more information on purchasing tickets, visit northeastwrestling.com. Good seats are still available.