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Taping up for the Von Erichs

By Frank Dusek

A few years ago, when wrestlers still tried to convince the fans that the matches were shoots, some old timers went to great lengths to conceal injuries from the fans. The idea was that, logically speaking, if an opponent had a brace or other such support on a critical area like a wrist or knee, it would just be common sense to go after that weakness. If you didn’t, the fans were sure to call “fake.” If you did go after such an area, there was a chance you could hurt your opponent.

So, rather than bandage or brace the area that was injured, the guys would put a small piece of athletic tape in the middle of the effected spot. That small piece of tape was a signal to your opponent to take special care of you in that area. 

One night, after talking about this ritual in the heel dressing room, my old partner Bill Irwin and I came up with a “rib for the boys”.

It was 1983 or so & we were scheduled to face some combination of the Von Erich’s (Kevin, Kerry and David) in some Saturday night spot show. When we disrobed after the introductions, it looked like Bill & I had cut ourselves in dozens of places trying to shave the most unlikely spots!

We had small pieces of tape covering every part of out bodies that had been covered by our ring wear, front and back. All the boys, both in the ring and in the dressing room just howled.

The fans didn’t understand. I guess they thought we were really careless shavers. But like I said, “it was one for the boys!”

Frank 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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© 1998 Wrestling Classics: Frank Dusek, Mark Nulty
© 1998 Design: Jan Herod
Created: October 1998