Hello and Welcome All, Even though I’ve been through much in my childhood, one “Bright” spot was the introduction to wrestling in the early 70’s by my dad. He was hooked on it, and loved all the old timers back in the day. This little family tradition seemed to be one of the few things we all enjoyed as a “family” together. Who would have thought a thing like that would intertwine as a family outing and gathering?
It continued to even to the next generation of kids, all 4 of my nephews…I know, it sounds “Crazy” that of all things, wrestling is one sport we all enjoyed as a family. My dad is the one who got us all hooked! When we first moved to So. California from the East Coast, my dad found they had live wrestling in the old part of downtown San Bernardino. So he started talking us kids to see it live. Of course, this was a much different time for wrestling stars back then. It had not become “Commercialized” like it is today.
And I feel very blessed that we actually got to see and meet many of the “Real Old Time Superstars of Wrestling” before it did become “Big Business” by way of WWF, which then turned into WWE, “World Wrestling Entertainment”….
Many of the old timers I met back then like, “Andre The Giant, Freddie Blassie, John Tolos, and even the “Ladies of Wrestling” like, “Mae Young” and “The Fabulous Moolah”!! I seen both wrestle back in the day! It was a time when the wrestlers would come out into the lobby area after all the match’s were done to come out and sign autographs and talk with you. But by the 80’s? It became a whole another ball game! It became “Commercialized.”
But, many of the “old timers” became trainers and mentors to the “New Superstars of wrestling.”….
“The Great Mae Young” Later many wrestlers called her “Auntie Mae”..
In current times, staying in one vocation for 20 to 25 years seems like an eternity for most. Even in the rough world of sports-entertainment, where every match could be a Superstar’s last, a quarter-century is considered an incredibly lengthy career. Take that and triple it, however, and you have the span of one of the greatest female competitors to ever lace up a pair of boots — Mae Young.
Johnnie Mae Young began her professional career in 1939. Already an incredible athlete — she was on her Tulsa, Okla.-based high school wrestling team and a national champion softball player — Young embarked on her chosen livelihood at the tender age of 15…
They also changed the WWF, “World Wrestling Federation” to the “WWE ~ World Wrestling Entertainment”…
And brand new superstars became to emerge like, “Hulk Hogan and The Rock”….
Just a little trip down memory lane. Who would have thought that a thing like “Wrestling” could make a family happy together? You just never know what can bring a family together.
My family was not your typical bunch, as many know from my sharing. I remember going to visit my Aunt Joan in the early 70’s, and many times she would get tickets for all of us to go see “Wrestling and Roller Derby.” We would watch roller derby, the LA Thunder-birds, then they would have wrestling after. Those were fun and awesome times as a family. Then as my nephews were growing up, they were introduced to wrestling as we would take them to watch wrestling live.
I’ll never forget the time we all went to the LA Sports Arena, as my brother scored pretty damn good seats for all of us. We were 7 rows up from ringside, and right in the isle where the wrestlers came walking down the ramp to the ring!! I actually seen and touched “Hulk Hogan’s” BICEP!! It was HUGE!! And he even stopped to say a few words and flexed his muscles for us! I just about passed out!! It was such an awesome night. But, sadly as I had moved to So. Oregon, I haven’t seen a live WWE match in years.
And, as I got older, I lost my excitement for wrestling. But I still have all those awesome memories of our family all together. Even my mom loved to go! It seemed for a long stretch that the WWF/WWE seemed to get a bit cheesy and off into more “Script” than wrestling.
That was until the introduction in the form of Mr. Dwyane Johnson ~ “The ROCK”!! I then perked up a bit, and started watching WWE Raw on TV. I actually seen, and had the pleasure of seeing “THE ROCK’S” father wrestler, “Rocky Johnson” back in the early 70’s wrestle.
And The Rock’s grandfather was also a wrestler, “Rocky Maivia”…..
So he had good mentors who helped shape him into the wrestler he is today. And of course, he branched out into acting & movies…. That was all “Rock’s” doing. I have seen all his movies! Sounds crazy, but one of my favorite movie of the Rock’s is “The Tooth Fairy”….
Of course he made that “Fairy outfit and Wings LOOK GOOD”!!
Now at this point, you most likely wondering why I’m writing about my old childhood memories about wrestling, and how it brought our family together?
Well, I happen to see on”The Rock,” Dwyane Johnson’s Facebook page today a photo of him and Auntie Mae Young.
“The Great Mae Young,” professional wrestler passed away yesterday at the age of 90.
I was so blessed to have seen her wrestle. She was a strong and empowered woman.
“Auntie Mae” will be missed. R.I.P…..
“And Auntie Mae, Thank You for being a part of my “Families Good Memories and mine”
*Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon*
“Here are just a few other wrestlers I had the awesome experience of seeing back “In The Day”