Breakin’ all the rules

Story by Chris Graham

zkk9_heels.jpgYou’ve probably never heard of Lord Landsdowne. You’re familiar with Ric Flair, might know a little about Gorgeous George, but Landsdowne, no way.
Lord Landsdowne was only the forefather of the modern-day pretty-boy wrestling bad guy. But he wrestled in the 1930s – a long time before pay-per-view, before Monday night TV.
“It’s really interesting to see how everything that we consider new or innovative has its roots in something from 60, 70, 80 years ago. And if we remember that little bit of history, I think we’re all a little bit better informed about the sport that we enjoy,” said Steve Johnson, the coauthor of Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels, a book that takes an exhaustive look at pro wrestling’s top rulebreakers.

The story of Landsdowne was the one that got my attention the most – if only because I had always assumed that the star of the late ’40s and early ’50s, Gorgeous George, was the man to whom we could attribute the flowing robes and bleached-blonde locks that so many mat stars have as part of their acts today.

“Everybody today knows Ric Flair, ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair, and the robes, the entrance music, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’ And there are people who know that Ric Flair was derived from ‘Nature Boy’ Buddy Rogers. And there may be a few people who know that ‘Nature Boy’ Buddy Rogers was derived from Gorgeous George. But there’s hardly anyone – and this is wrestling historians included – who can trace where Gorgeous George came from,” Johnson said.

“He came from a little-known wrestler from the 1930s – I say little-known, but he was well-known at the time; he was a national star, a phenomenon – named Lord Landsdowne. He was the first to have valets accompany him to the ring, to wear the long-flowing robes, to have his hair down just so, to have his valets spray disinfectant into the ring before he would get in it, the first to come out to ring-entrance music,” Johnson said.

Dozens of other heels get their due in Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels. Also of interest is a lengthy opening chapter that goes into detail on heel psychology – and how it has changed over the years.

“We tried to go back to the beginning of the last century to trace the development of heels from the very beginning to today’s pay-per-view events – where the delineation between heel and hero has kind of gone by the wayside,” Johnson said.
“It’s fascinating to trace the development of the heels from the ’20s and ’30s all the way to the ’80s and ’90s and explain their role and why they were so important to the development of wrestling,” Johnson said.

“Although people hated heels, they wanted to kill them, and they tried to kill them, in some instances, the heels were an absolutely essential part of the business. They were the glue that held wrestling together,” Johnson said.

  

Chris Graham is the editor of The SportsDominion.



augusta free press
augusta free press news

UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Buy here.

AFP Business

As professional consultants, Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including website design, SEO, TV/radio, video work, branding and logos, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation. Augusta Free Press LLC was founded in 2002.

Web Design

Augusta Free Press has designed more than 800 websites for clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia. We take care of all facets of web design – visual design, layout design, content development and SEO. Short on staff? We’ll work with you to update your AFP-designed website in a timely manner or train your staff to make changes.

Marketing/Social Media Management

Augusta Free Press manages advertising campaigns for small- and medium-sized businesses across Virginia. You don’t need to hire a full-time marketing coordinator. Bring the experience of the Augusta Free Press team to work for you – for a fraction of the cost.

Graphic Design

Augusta Free Press will help you take your vision to the next level. From branding and logos to print materials, our team will work with you to develop products to showcase your business. From brochures and rack cards to full-color magazines or print/digital ads, we’ve got you covered.

Event Planning/Fundraising

Augusta Free Press will help you plan the best event for your organization. From an open house or anniversary to a 5K or Pay Per View, we can handle it all. Looking for training for your sales staff? We can help energize your employees or board. Need ideas to raise more money? Let us help you plan a successful event. Want to hold a news conference or need help with a press release? We can do that too.

Click here for more.