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July 2001 - “A TV Taping in St. Louis, Circa 1981”  

 - John Edwards

The St. Louis NWA Promotion presented a weekly television program, “Wrestling At The Chase” (WATC) on KPLR-TV Channel 11 in St. Louis from the 1950s until 1983. The program aired on Sunday mornings at 11:00 am and was a perennial leader in its time slot, very similar to the success enjoyed by Memphis wrestling for years in its timeslot on WMC-TV in Tennessee.

What made the program so great (among many things) was the local flavor - when watching the show, local fans knew that the show was taped at the Channel 11 studios in west St. Louis, with “our” host Larry Matysik, “our” ring announcer Mickey Garigiola (brother of famous baseball player and TV personality Joe Garigiola), and “our” talent: Bulldog Bob Brown, Harley Race, the Von Erichs, Ric Flair; Funks, Briscoes, and many, many others. This is something I truly miss today - as great as Jim Ross is, I think the product loses something watching a WWF event taped from Boise, Idaho.

Around my house, as a kid, the Sunday morning routine was very familiar - 7:30 am mass, followed by breakfast, followed by chores, completed in time to tune in to Channel 11 at 11:00 am. I mean every Sunday for years, through high school. By the time the promotion was waning and the TV show ended I was in college, in the few years that I stopped following wrestling. At one point, in early 1984, I remember being home from college and turning on the TV at 11:00 Sunday. I saw Hulk Hogan et al and knew it was over. I remember being disappointed, then sad, then mad. Compared to the wrestling I was used to, it was WWF 1984-style crap, as far as I was concerned. But I digress, back to today’s subject………..

During my formative years, I attended Christian Brothers High School (CBC) on Clayton Road in St. Louis. Being an all-male school, there was a large base of wrestling fans - and WATC being as popular as it was, the matches, interviews, and angles always made for popular discussion on Monday mornings in school. We weren’t really “marks” back then - we knew that Ric Flair and Harley Race probably had a Budweiser after the matches - but back before dirt sheets, cable TV, and the internet, there was still some innocence regarding “our great sport” We didn’t realize that many of the grapplers in St. Louis that Sunday afternoon had probably squared off in Bob Geigle’s Central States shows at Memorial Hall in Kansas City Thursday night, or Bruiser’s WWA in Indiana or Illinois, or even an AWA show in Chicago. And it didn’t matter to us either.   More...

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KM Belt Gallery 4

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Old School Tape Review 4

Reviews of various PPV's, commercial tapes and regional wrestling TV shows are available in this section. To read more, click here.


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