by Dick Bourne
I have a good friend, Kyra Quinn, who lives in Pennsylvania, but for a short time a couple years ago lived in Charlotte, NC. In need of an orthopedic doctor and having just arrived in town and with no regular physician to refer her, she began looking through the greater Charlotte area yellow pages and stumbled onto a familiar name and photo.
There in full color was an ad for the Metrolina Orthopaedic Sports & Medicine Clinic. Featured in the ad was a familiar face and name - - Dr. Joseph Estwanik, M.D.
Sound familiar to any of you old school wrestling fans from the mid-to-late 1980s? Dr. Joseph Estwanik was the orthopedic doctor who appeared on television treating Dusty Rhodes in 1985 for the ankle injury he suffered at the hands of Ric Flair and the Andersons in the lead up to Starrcade '85. He reappeared four years later treating Ric Flair for an injured neck after Terry Funk piledrove him into a ringside table in Nashville, TN at Wrestle War '89.
She snapped a photo of the ad with her cellphone camera and texted it to me. We laughed and had a nice trip down NWA memory-lane over that, but for different reasons. You see, Kyra was a young and impressionable wrestling fan when that segment with David Crockett and Dr. Estwanik aired two days before her 9th birthday. She believed! And right off the bat she believed Dr. Estwanik was a real doctor. I mean, he's sitting there with David Crockett and David Crockett says he is, right? I, on the other hand, was much older, in my mid-20s when that angle took place. I was already somewhat of a jaded cynic, and just loved that Flair and the Andersons had beat the crap out of Dusty Rhodes.
So her reaction nearly 30 years later was something like, "Wow, isn't it cool Dr. Estwanik is still practicing in Charlotte after all these years?" while my reaction was "Holy crap, you mean there really is a Dr. Estwanik??"
Yes Virginia, there really is a Dr. Estwanik. Honestly, I never really thought that there was a REAL Dr. Estwanik because...well, it was wrestling, and I just figured Dusty's ankle wasn't really hurt and it was all just the American Dream's big plan to build sympathy for his dramatic John Wayne-like return, right?
So it was very cool indeed to learn that there was a real Dr. Joseph Estwanik and cooler still to know he is still practicing orthopedic sports medicine and rehabilitation in a very successful practice in the Queen City.
As part of a series of features next week to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Starrcade '85, Kyra actually spoke recently with Dr. Estwanik and will share with us some of that conversation, including his insight and great respect for the wrestlers and the wrestling business.
In the mean time, check out Kyra's earlier article written for the Gateway, "My Secret Charlotte", on her short time in Charlotte and the wrestling memories it rekindled for her.