Friday, March 31, 2023

Count on Wally Dusek: The Day the Ring Didn't Show up In Asheville

The Day the Ring Didn't Show Up in Asheville
Greenville SC Memories
By Don Holbrook, Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor
Originally published here in March 2017

Back in the mid-1970s when Crockett began running shows on Sunday afternoons in Asheville in the new Civic Center, three of the maintenance guys at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium would get a rental truck, U-Haul size, and take the Greenville ring up to Asheville. Same thing for Anderson, Greenwood, and any spot shows around the area. They used the Greenville ring for all these towns. 

(Photo by Dave Routh)
I went to Asheville this one particular day and got there at 1:00 pm when they opened the doors for a 3:00 pm show. I went in, saw Sandy Scott with a disgusted angry look on his face. He saw me and came directly to me and said, "I was hoping you would come today. Do you have Bill Turner's phone number?" 

Bill was the maintenance manager at the Greenville Auditorium. And no, I didn't have his phone number.

The ring did not show up in Asheville that day and I don't know if Sandy forgot to schedule them to bring it or if Bill just forgot to tell the guys to bring it. Regardless - -there was no ring!

So then 3:00 pm got there, and still no ring and the Asheville Civic Center was nearly full. They stalled, they brought Wahoo out to talk. Then finally the ring announcer came out and said the ring had not arrived from Greenville but another ring was on the way from Charlotte. 

Finally, Wally Dusek showed up with the back-up Charlotte ring. Wally was one of Jim Crockett's right hand guys in those years, and did a little bit of everything, including making the rings. 

The Asheville Civic Center, Asheville NC
(Photo by Dick Bourne)

You can imagine, Wally wasn't thrilled about this. Another guy was with him and they frantically began setting up the ring. Everybody including Sandy Scott, referee Sonny Fargo and even a couple of the cops pitched in to get it set up and poor Wally Dusek was flying around, pouring sweat and as red as a stop sign. By this time, Wally was up in years and moving sort of slow. But on this day he was zooming around and I really felt sorry for him.

When the show finally started, they did the opening match, which was Two Ton Harris and somebody else, and they only went like 3 minutes. Then they went straight to the main event that was Wahoo and maybe Blackjack, I can't remember for sure. But I do remember that they needed to get our main event on and over with because 3 or 4 of the wrestlers had to fly straight back to Charlotte for a show that same night. 

My last memory of that afternoon in Asheville was of poor Wally sitting in the back totally exhausted and ringing wet with sweat after that long drive and rushing to get the ring set up, with Sandy on his ass the whole time to hurry up.  

But once again, as was his reputation, Wally Dusek was the man you went to when you needed to make sure something got done. And his hustle had saved the show in Asheville that day. 

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Don Holbrook is an occasional Gateway contributor as well as a history buff on late 1960s and 1970s wrestling in Greenville, SC. His mother worked for years in the Greenville Memorial Auditorium office and Don spent many afternoons hanging out there as a kid. He became known to all those in charge, which later gave him lots of great access and some great stories to tell. 

Originally published March 2017 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway