Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Guest Ring Announcer in Florence

by Andy McDaniel
Special to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

During the eighties there was no area hotter for pro-wrestling than the Mid-Atlantic territory. Maybe others would argue that, but as one who lived in that area and during that era, I stand by my opinion. As I have written in many articles, my love for action at County Hall in Charleston, SC is beyond measure. However, there are also fond memories of the other venues that Henry Marcus promoted across the state.

While many of us love to remember the great matches we witnessed or those awesome Saturday morning promos that gave us just the right words to draw the crowds to the upcoming events, it is also the funny moments which took place, that we recall with a smile. While looking through some of the archived articles on the Gateway, I ran across a story on an event that took place in Florence, SC. These events were held outdoors at the football stadium. It was normally very hot, and the bugs were always terrible. The wrestlers never truly seemed excited to be there. It was not the greatest venue.

As I read about the card featuring the Rock and Roll Express I was reminded of a truly funny moment that took place at another show from this same venue. The match featured Jimmy “the Boogie Woogie Man” Valiant in his war against Paul Jones and his army. The opponent on this night was Teijo Kahn. The funny moment was not during the match, bur rather during the introduction. The scheduled ring announcer for the night was not there, not sure why, but regardless of the reason, it was determined the getting one of the locals to handle the intros would be a good idea. However, it would soon be learned, in a very comical way, that other arrangements should have been made. The names listed on the card were handed to this gentleman. It was abundantly clear that he had never done such work before and even more obvious was his unfamiliarity with wrestlers and their names.

It was bell time, he began to stumble his way through the first few matches and then came time for the Jimmy and Teijo match. Paul Jones entered the ring with his henchman and the introduction was to follow, but what actually happened caused the crowd filled bleachers to howl in laughter. Our guest ring announcer peered at the paper in his hand and looked over at the mohawked muscleman, looked back at his paper and then without covering the microphone or at least walking over to get closer and less obvious, he simply blurted out: "What the hell is your name?"

It was clear that Paul was fighting back the laughter, but with his tongue being bit, he leaned over to the confused and way out of his comfort zone ring announcer and gave him the name, but it still did not correct the issue and he asked Paul to repeat the name once again. By this time, it had just become funny and the man finally said, “Oh yeah, Kong, here is Kong in the blue corner.”

Just writing these words makes me laugh when I think back to this fun night. The written bloopers that are sometimes featured here on the Gateway are fun to read, but when you got to see one in person, it is even better.