Cedar Rapids IA Gazette – May 26, 1999
By Suzanne Barnes
Professional wrestling has had a headlock on Tim Burrow since he was a youngster.
And the wrestler who put the hold on him was Andre the Giant, the 7-foot 4- inch 540-pound professional wrestler Tim first spied from the fourth row of Chase Arena in St. Louis. Tim had gone to the match with his father.
In August 1989, when Tim was living in Cedar Rapids and attending Prairie High School, he again saw Andre the Giant. This time it was “when they had that little incident with the (KCRG) TV-9 cameraman.”
Andre the Giant apparently was upset that the cameraman had filmed his losing match with the Ultimate Warrior and, after ripping the camera from his hands, put the cameraman in a headlock. Police arrested the Giant, who went quietly with the officers.
“I got his handprint from jail,” says Tim, who produces his photo copy. “I had a teacher who was friends with a guy down at the jail.”
Andre the Giant has since passed away, so these days, Tim watches “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. Hogan used to be considered a good guy in wrestling but now he’s gone to the other side. Flair seems to be turning into a bad guy too, Tim says.
After the election of Jesse Ventura as governor of Minnesota, there was talk that Hogan would enter politics. Tim grins and says if it happens, he’d be really proud. “I’ll probably definitely vote if that happens.”
Tim, who works in maintenance at the Five Seasons Center, likes professional wrestling so much he considered going to wrestling school. The $1,000 or so tuition has kept him from actually enrolling though.
However, Tim doesn’t like the direction he sees some professional wrestling taking. “Wrestling is different than it was in the ’80s,” he says. “It’s not so much like family entertainment. It’s going toward more the adult-oriented type entertainment.
WWF (World Wrestling Federation) is going that way and WCW (World Championship Wrestling) is more the family show.”
Tim doesn’t think kids should be watching some of the female wrestlers or the violence in the ring or hearing the cursing. “I know it’s all entertainment, that they don’t go out there and try to hurt each other,” but children may not understand.
Karen, Tim’s wife, will watch televised wrestling with Tim, but she won’t go to a live event. Too noisy, she says. Yet it’s not just noise that makes live events different from TV.
“You see things that you normally wouldn’t see on TV,” says Tim, such as the action that continues during commercial breaks, or when a fight goes on after the telecast has ended.
He says before a live event that is being recorded for TV begins, the announcer comes out and inflames the crowd, reminding them it’s a nationally televised event. Tim, who is relatively mild mannered, gets pumped for wrestling. “Every now and then I’ll yell at the TV when I’m watching,” he admits. “She’ll have to calm me down.”
Tim scans the TV magazine for any appearance by a pro wrestler so he or Karen can tape it. He also collects pro wrestling tapes, finding bargains at garage sales or video store sales. Tim keeps a list of what tapes he has in his collection so he doesn’t buy duplicates.
Because of his job at the Five Seasons Center, Tim occasionally gets a glimpse of a pro wrestler during a live event, usually during someone else’s match. They’ll say “Hi” or something, he says.
And, in spite of all the violence in the ring, pro wrestlers are fairly tidy in their dressing rooms. “They’re clean, they’re tame compared with the rock stars and stuff,” says Tim, who cleans up after both.
“You’d think it would be the other way around since they’re so rowdy and stuff like that.”