Orlando Sentinel – August 27, 1985
By Frank Carroll
KISSIMMEE — Osceola High School will give professional wrestling a try in the hope of raising money for its basketball program.
The International Wrestling Alliance brings a six-match card to the OHS gymnasium on Thacker Avenue Wednesday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $7 ringside, $5 general admission and $2 children. They are available at the school or at Don Olson Firestone on Vine Street. The Kowboys net $1 for every advance ticket sold.
It’s the ninth stop on a nine-city Florida tour for the 80-member IWA, a four-month-old organization that ultimately hopes to rival the World Wrestling Federation, National Wrestling Alliance and American Wrestling Alliance.
The two-hour card will feature Bugsy McGraw, Super Pak Man, Golden Boy Chick Donavan, Crazy Luke Graham, Randy Rose, Suki, a mystery man from the Himalaya Mountains; Tracy ”The Arm” Richards, Beverly ”The Hammer” Shade, Weona Little Heart, Judy Martin, Chris Champion, Dr. Red Roberts, Cowboy Billy Mack, Big Vernon Henderson, a former Green Bay Packers linebacker; The Super Star, Mark Starr, Dangerous Danny R and Mike Majestic.
Shade, a 22-year veteran who assists in promoting IWA matches, said the current summer tour has been popular among Florida fans. ”We have been playing to sellout crowds every night,” Shade said.
Shade becomes upset when asked whether the matches are ”for real, or is it fake?”
”I get so mad when people holler fake,” she said. ”That’s just not true. I have invited lots of people between the ropes to find out just how fake it is.
”It burns me to a crisp when people say that it’s fake.”
Shade has taken issue with a five-part series on the sport published earlier this month by The Orlando Sentinel that questioned its integrity.
In the series former pro Eddy Mansfield, better known as ”The Continental Lover,” confessed that he lost matches on purpose, cut himself with hidden razor blades, and generally did anything promoters wanted to help promote his career.
”I know Eddy personally,” Shade said. ”In his day, he was a very good wrestler. Why he did what he did is beyond me. One reason might be because he didn’t make it big in the business and this is his vendetta against wrestling. ”I’ve lost teeth and broken more than one bone. And I’ve seen a lot of blood. Some of it has been mine. But I’ve never seen a blood capsule or anyone cut themselves with a razor blade.”
For Shade wrestling is an alternative to jogging or racquetball. ”As an exercise, it’s terrific. It’s working out, only with bruises,” she said. ”Skill and showmanship add to what we get out of it.”
Being thrown all over the ring, and sometimes out of it, is enjoyable, she said. ”If it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t do it.”
With the exposure wrestling has achieved through television, pro wrestling is returning to the glory days it enjoyed in the 1950s, Shade said.
”Wrestling is hot,” Shade said. ”On any given Saturday, people can watch good go head-to-head against evil and enjoy themselves.”