I Guess We Looked Like We Needed the Work
By Frank Dusek
was looking through the lineup cards for This
Week in Wrestling. I discovered the name of an old
friend, Tor Kamata. On April 18, 1970, Tor was
part of a big card at the old Philadelphia Arena.
the summer of 1979, Tor was working for Fritz
von Erich (B-19) in Dallas. Although Tor and I came
from vastly difference worlds, we hit it off immediately.
We traveled together, ate together and even went to the
In 1979 the radical concept of World Class Championship
Wrestling, with its rock and roll music and four camera
shoots was not yet even a dream. Fritz ran the territory
in the old, traditional way. We were stars, but nothing
on the scale of what was to come a few years later under
the guidance of Ken
gym where we worked out was located in an old building
in a run down portion of downtown Dallas. This place was
truly a "sweat box", much like the gym the character "Clubber
Lang" used in Rocky 3. There was no air conditioning or
showers. . Fans provided the only ventilation. Someone
had used a sledgehammer to knock a hole in a brick wall
to open up more space for a ring. Like I said, this was
an old-style boxing & wrestling gym.
one morning, Tor and I were sitting outside the gym, waiting
for it to open. As you can imagine, we weren't dressed
in our best togs. I can't recall what Tor was wearing,
but I had on an old pair of sweat pants, bandanna, a faded
T-shirt and a pair of sandals.
we waited, we saw one of those temporary work force vans
slowly drive by. You know the kind that carries temporary
workers to some minimum wage, horrid job that no one else
wants to do.
few minutes later, the van approached again. This time
it pulled to the curb in the street in front of Tor and
passenger in the front seat rolled down his window and
leaned out. "You guys want to work today?" he asked.
looked at Tor. It was all we could do to keep straight
faces. "You want to work today?" I asked Tor.
a sew seconds consideration he slowly shook his head and
muttered, "no." I agreed.
sure?" the guy asked, giving us one more chance to change
our minds and do something productive with our day.
sure," I answered and the van pulled away from the curb.
After that I always took a little more care in how I looked
when I left the house.
all I reasoned I'd never become a wrestling star if I
kept being confused with the winos outside the Sportatorium!
Dusek is a second-generation wrestler from one of
the most famous wrestling families ever. He had a solid
career as a wrestler and later managed several wrestlers
to major titles. He also spent time as a broadcaster,
promoter and matchmaker. His first memories of the wrestling
business are selling programs for his father when he was
4 years old.
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