SLAM! Sports SLAM! Wrestling
   October 23, 2014



News & Rumours
Bios
Obits
Canadian Hall of Fame
WrestleMania 30
WrestleMania 30 photos
Video
Movie Database
Minority Mat Report
Columnists
Features
Results Archive
PPV Reviews
SLAM! Wrestling store
On Facebook
On Twitter
Send Feedback




Photo Galleries

SHIMMER tapings


Alexia Nicole


Ox Baker


BCW Excellence


WWE in Montreal


ROH Unauthorized


Smackdown in Philadelphia







SCOREBOARD
PHOTO GALLERY
VIDEO GALLERY
COMMENT





It's time to come out of the... change room
By Peter Lapinskie, Daily Observer


Right off the bat, I'm not going to apologize for being an addict. I can't help it. It was bred into me from an early age and now it's just second nature.

But I have to come clean. After all these years of hiding behind closed doors, I have to admit - I am a big fan of professional wrestling.

Sure, I know it's fake (for the most part, although the performers do get serious injuries occasionally). Most wrestling fans know it's an act, but that doesn't matter to us. We love the sheer athleticism, the grand theatre of it all. It's good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, a microcosm of life played out for 60 minutes on your TV screen. Above all, it's a hoot.

My father was a big wrestling fanatic. No matter what we were doing on a Saturday, we dropped everything and settled in at 12:30 (back then it was an early afternoon gig) to watch stars of the ring do battle. I grew up idolizing Edouard Carpentier, booing Maurice 'Mad Dog' Vachon and laughing at the antics of Sweet Daddy Siki.

And when a travelling show would land in one of the local arenas, we were right there at ringside, yelling and cheering and tossing paper cups at the wrestlers. We marvelled at how The Sheik could bleed so profusely from a head wound yet still carry on and usually win his match, or how Haystack Calhoun could move his bulk so swiftly around the ring. Those were good days.

All that in preamble to let you know I possess a certain degree of passion for pro wrestling, and that's why I want to enthusiastically endorse a new book written by a familiar face to Observer readers. Gary Howard has authored "The Rassler from Renfrew," a loving look at the halcyon early days of professional wrestling with the focus on Renfrew's Larry Kasaboski, one of the first "superstars" of the game who went on to become a great promoter.

This book brought back countless fond memories for me. I never had the pleasure of seeing Larry Kasaboski in action, but his name was as familiar around our house as Mac Beattie. He was an icon in this part of the world and he made wrestling what it was for many like my father, who lived and died with their favourites (my dad's was a mean bugger called Gene Kiniski, who I never liked but pretended to in order to placate my father, who got pretty worked up during the matches).

At any rate, Gary's book takes readers through the dawn of professional wrestling during the Great Depression, right into the modern era of Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Entertainment empire.

Of course, wrestling afficionados will know that Larry's older brother, Alex, was a wrestler of some note himself and made a name for himself south of the border while Larry was becoming a trusted promoter with Northland Wrestling Enterprises north of the 49th.

The book explores their strong personal bond and how it kept them anchored through many hard years on the road, suffering innumerable injuries and sleeping on hard mattresses in questionable gin joints. Throughout it all, the Kasaboski clan never lost track of their roots, and many of their offspring still reside in and around Renfrew to this day.

Gary Howard's book is a loving look at "rassling" in its early years, full of colourful anecdotes and historic detail that makes it not only a 'must' for the wrestling buffs among us, but also for the many Ottawa Valley historians who can add "The Rassler from Renfrew" to their stockpile of local lore.

With Christmas just around the corner, this might be the perfect gift for that avid wrestling enthusiast in your family who also has an appreciation for the diverse and rugged ordeals many in Renfrew County went through during the lean years of the Great Depression, and the exciting times that came after.

It is published by General Store Publishing House (1-800-465-6072) or go to: www.gsph.com.

Then settle back, put your feet up and...get ready to rumble!