Wrestling Legends Return To Boutwell

Birmingham News – June 8, 2001
By Clyde Bolton

The World Wrestling Federation took wrestling to a new level. Many contend that level is sub-basement, though.

Pornography and profanity are staples of the wildly popular WWF television productions. Its writers create imaginative plots and its TV cameras shoot extra ring scenarios worthy of soap operas.

In the process of becoming symbolic with wrestling itself, the WWF swallowed up the weekly shows that used to play in cities over the country, including Birmingham.

A local woman, Linda Marx Keeble, believes there is a place for non-WWF style wrestling, though. She would like to see weekly wrestling return to Boutwell Auditorium, and she hopes to field a Legends of Wrestling Tour that would feature old favorites.

A wrestling card at Boutwell Auditorium on Saturday night will be a trial run for both endeavors. “This one is just testing the water,” she said, “but I think it will do well. There’s a lot of interest.”

Robert Fuller and Jimmy Golden will meet Bob Armstrong and his son Steve in the main event. Ron Fuller, the Tennessee Stud, will be against his brother as the manager for the Armstrongs.

Other matches will be Tommy “Wildfire” Rich vs. the Dirty White Boy and Girl, the original Lord Humongous vs. Terry Gordy, the exotic Adrian Street and Miss Linda vs. Gemini, Scott Armstrong vs. Robert Fuller Jr., the Great Kaiser and Dr. Johnny Peebles III vs. the Exterminator, and Buddy Landell vs. the Assassin.

Wrestling will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $16 ringside and $14 general admission.

“This will be old-time wrestling, like it used to be,” said Keeble, who used to handle publicity for the weekly shows at Boutwell. “It used to be family oriented. It won’t be anything like the WWF. We want it to be family fun. You can have fun without doing the things they do.”

Keeble said weekly wrestling signed off at Boutwell some 15 years ago. But if Saturday’s turnout is promising it could return.

Ron Fuller hopes there’s a place for old-time wrestling.

“The sport has changed dramatically,” he said. “It’s not similar to what it used to be. I think fans from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s are having a difficult time enjoying this WWF style. It’s kind of on the edge. A lot of the things they do don’t have anything to do with wrestling.

“They allow a lot of wrestlers to do things that are unnecessary. Their language and gestures are more than what they need to do to draw a crowd.”

Ron Fuller is the grandson and son of wrestlers. Roy Welch, his grandfather, was a well known promoter of weekly shows.

Ron Fuller wrestled, but he was equally well known as a manager. “As I got older it was easier to run my mouth than to get slammed around,” said the former Col. Parker.

Fuller, who hasn’t been in wrestling full-time since 1988, said there are no more weekly wrestling shows. “Twenty years ago there were probably 30 different promoters,” he said.

Can weekly wrestling cards make a comeback? “I guess we’ll get a good idea Saturday night,” Fuller answered.

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