Posts Tagged ‘Hulk Hogan’

Right Place Right Time

July 13, 2014

Friday July 11th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

One of the few standout highlights of my childhood that has successfully stood the test of time is my extreme love of professional wrestling. It wasn’t so much the actual wrestling itself as the dynamic personalities and charisma of the wrestlers. I was fortunate to have seen some greats.

Wrestling was a regional attraction for much of the 20th century until Vince McMahon Jr. took over his father’s promotion on the east coast and graduated it to a national and then international stage. Like it or not – and none of the old school promoters did – McMahon changed the game.

The star attraction he used to build his empire was Hulk Hogan, and together they created a big splash not only in the wrestling world but in mainstream American culture of the ‘80s. Hogan is the only professional wrestler to date to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated and that says a lot.

Hulk Hogan became a household name during that time, and Vince McMahon became wealthy beyond belief. Most casual fans of wrestling accept as fact that Hogan was the greatest of his era, but in fact he just happened to be in the right place at the right time. That’s the recipe for success.

Hogan’s wrestling abilities have never been stellar, but that doesn’t matter. His look combined with his persona and charisma were exactly what the public was buying at that time. He nailed it. It was just like the Colonel finding Elvis. That was another example of right place and right time.

For every Hogan or Elvis that hit pay dirt there are countless others that never find the winning combo and are destined to languish in either relative or total obscurity. One of those in wrestling was my childhood super hero and fellow Milwaukeean Reggie Lisowski – aka “The Crusher”.

The Crusher was the Midwest Hulk Hogan, even though Hogan got his first big push working for Verne Gagne’s AWA based out of Minneapolis. That was a major promotion in that era, and all kinds of great talent came through there – and through my little black and white television set.

Wrestling on TV then was basically a one hour commercial for live matches, and it worked. It got me to spend my money, and I loved every minute of it. The Crusher was my favorite, and the favorite of everyone else in Milwaukee. He was the original bad ass, way before Chuck Norris.

The Crusher was born on this day in 1926, and was nearing the end of his illustrious run just as Vince McMahon was starting his. Crusher and so many others that earned it never got to taste the mainstream adulation that Hogan and many that came after him did. That’s just luck of the draw.

The Crusher wasn’t born at the right time, and there’s nothing anyone can do about that. It’s an unfair world, and some things are beyond our control. Another great that got screwed in that way was “Superstar” Billy Graham. I used to watch him as a kid, and he turned wrestling on its ear.

Vince McMahon Jr. admits that if he were in charge instead of his father that Superstar would have been Hulk Hogan ten years earlier. But he wasn’t. And now Superstar Graham lives alone in obscurity, wondering what could have – and should have – been. Life is what it is, and trying to figure it out only causes frustration. The Crusher and Superstar are still big stars in my book.

The Crusher flexing one of his '100 megaton biceps'. He was a classic, but never made the big money. What a shame.

The Crusher flexing one of his ‘100 megaton biceps’. He was THE attraction in wrestling when I was a kid. “How ’bout dat?”.

"Superstar" Billy Graham was ahead of his time, and even Vince McMahon admits it. Read Superstar's autobiography "Tangled Ropes". He was Hulk Hogan before Hulk Hogan.

“Superstar” Billy Graham was ahead of his time, and even Vince McMahon admits it. Read Superstar’s autobiography “Tangled Ropes”. He was Hulk Hogan way before Hulk Hogan, but never got paid like it.

Healthy Food For Thought

January 5, 2010

Monday January 4th, 2010 – Chicago, IL

Inch by inch I’m starting to make progress on all my hopes and dreams for 2010. I have a lot on my plate, but I like it that way. I want to pack in as many fun things as I can in the time I have left on earth which could end tomorrow. Or not. I’m in a good space so far.

I want to keep better track of everything this year including records of money spent and what I spent it on, what I eat, where I work, who I hang out with, all of that. I think it will help me plan my life better, or at least allow me to look back and see where I screwed up.

One thing I really want to keep track of is what I’m reading, watching and listening to at any time. I have all kinds of books and audio programs and DVDs that are just rotting on the shelf gathering dust. I want to make use of as many of them as I can, but there are way too many to do that without a plan. I need to pick the ones I want in order and get started.

The first audio program I listened so far was Napoleon Hill’s classic “Think And Grow Rich”. That’s one of the all time greats in the field of self help and most other authors are just a derivative of Napoleon Hill. I hadn’t heard it in a while and it really sounded good.

My next program is one on time management from a guy named Brian Tracy. I always enjoy his programs, and he’s got quite a few of them. I need help with time management the most so that’s the one I chose. I’m almost through the whole twelve lesson program and one of the things he talks about is using down time wisely by listening to this stuff.

I totally agree. It’s so easy to waste time in the car and just sit there like a zombie and do nothing when it can be turned into a rolling education center. That stuff goes into the brain and blossoms. I admit I drift in and out sometimes, but more often than not I’m in.

Books are another thing I want to catalog this year. There are 52 weeks to fill and I’ve got WAY more than 52 books to read. I bet I have more than 365 so even if I read a book a day I’d still not get to them all. Reading one or two books a week is challenge enough.

The book I chose this week is the autobiography of professional wrestler Superstar Billy Graham called “Tangled Ropes”. I remember him very well from watching his interviews on TV as a kid and he was always bursting with charisma. That guy had ‘it’, and he was a trendsetter that paved the way for many others like Hulk Hogan, Jesse Ventura and more.

Unfortunately, often times the innovators in any field never get the true credit and have sad stories to tell. Superstar Graham was the first real steroid guy in wrestling and he paid the price for it later with health problems that almost killed him. It’s an amazing story and that’s why I chose it as my first book of the new year. I’d love to meet the guy someday.

Setting aside time to read and listen can’t help but improve anyone’s life. I’m making a sincere effort to be the best person I can be and that takes time and effort to do it the right way, but that’s the only way I want to do it. I’m starting the year off with solid decisions.