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Kayfabe Code-Breakers

February 15th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments
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Belt-maker Neal Snow, of All-Star Championship Belts, continues his humorous series of would-be Apter mag covers that break the kayfabe code:

 

Just what were in those Hulk Hogan Vitamins (“the Hulkster’s Powerful Python Pack”) all those years? Only Dr. George Zahorian knows for sure.

 

When a blogger named Kelly Stewart moved into his home in Nashville about six years ago, he found some battered 35mm negatives in the attic of what appeared to be “men in underwear and one man as an Elvis impersonator.” He says, “I carried the negatives around for a year meaning to get prints made of them. I finally did that and here were the results.”


The man in his undies and the Elvis impersonator turned out to be one and the same: George Gulas, son of longtime Nashville promoter Nick Gulas. George, arguably the worst second-generation wrestler ever to receive a major push (which covers a hell of a lot of ground), was the catalyst for Jerry Jarrett breaking away from Nick to form his own wrestling company. Nick had aleady pushed George to the moon in Nashville, including a 45-minute time-limit draw for the NWA World title (poor ol’ Harley Race), which had caused the houses in Music City and the surrounding towns to plummet. Even Jet Set tag-team partner Bobby Eaton (pictured above), already an exceptional worker shortly after breaking into the business in the ’70s, couldn’t hide George’s many shortcomings. Jarrett refused to put George over strong in Memphis and convinced Jerry Lawler, the area’s biggest star, to make the jump with him. The rest is Memphis wrestling history.

Mulkey Mania runs wild on WTBS

The Mulkey boys were an infamous jobber tag team for Jim Crockett Promotions who developed a cult following as they were beaten unmercifully by the likes of the Midnight Express, the Road Warriors, the Steiners, and the Andersons on WTBS. The legend of the mullet-wearing, pasty-white Mulkeys was cemented when they scored an “upset” win over the Gladiators to a huge pop at the WTBS studio, which landed them in the 1987 Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup tournament. (The Gladitors were billed as “champions from the West Coast;” in reality, they were fellow JCP jobbers George South and Gary Royal under hoods.) Randy and Bill Mulkey, who looked like skinny, nonathletic versions of Ric Flair with mixed-up chromosomes, disappeared from the scene a year or so later.

Male wrestling fans from other areas often ask me something like, “How the hell did the Fabulous Ones get over in Memphis with the pretty-boy gimmick and borderline homoerotic music videos?” Well, that was only part of the story. The Fabs were  not only great brawlers and talkers, but they also had the personal endorsement of the original Fabulous One, Jackie Fargo, a legend in the area who strutted his stuff in high hats and sequined jackets when Stan Lane and Steve Keirn were still in diapers, pally.

Believe it or not, male fans in Memphis in the early ’80s thought the Fabs were cool, and no one questioned their sexuality (the Fabs’ exploits in their van were the stuff of legend), except maybe “Lumberjack” Joe LeDuc, who often pretended to mistakenly refer to them as “The Fags.”  OK, OK, maybe I suspected Stan and Steve were more than friends when they released this video:

 

 



  1. February 15th, 2010 at 20:57 | #1

    You’re right about how the Fabs were percieved back in the day. I thought they were cool, and so did my dad, someone who usually didn’t care for pretty-boy wrestlers. The Fabs had something special going with the Memphis fans.

    Looking back now…hooboy. I guess we were all a lot more innocent back in the day.

  2. Steve
    February 16th, 2010 at 06:46 | #2

    As always, another great post, Scott.

    I’ve often wondered about George Gulas. I’ve only seen him in Youtube videos, and it’s pretty clear how bad he was. But I’ve always wondered: was this something George always wanted to do, or was he pressured by his dad to become a wrestler? What if he only wrestled to please his dad? If this was the case, I kinda feel sorry for him. You know how it is when sons only want to bring joy to their fathers. Maybe this was George’s way of making his dad proud of him. The only ones who can answer this are the ones who worked for Nick back in the day.

  3. Mike M
    February 17th, 2010 at 04:31 | #3

    For some reason when I see George Gulas, I think his long lost twin brother ended up running the book in Memphis.

    On that note, how did Randy Hales end up running the book in Memphis? Was he friends with someone? Whose ass did he kiss to get that gig?

    I remember Randy when he did some annoucing from the Coliseum matches with Lance Russell. Besides that, I never knew his background.

  4. February 17th, 2010 at 04:50 | #4

    Scott,
    The best jobber from my tme watching Memphis wrestling has to be Jerry Bryant. Dude had a good look and often times put up a good fight but would always loose.
    One Saturday morning he scored an upset pin fall on Al Green and before he could get out of the ring he was busted up pretty good.
    Did you ever hear stories about this guy?

  5. admin
    February 17th, 2010 at 07:25 | #5

    By all accounts, Jerry Bryant was a heck of a good guy. Bryant was one of Lawler’s true friends in the business. In the mid-80s, Bryant had developed a bit of a cult following, as many subscribers to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter who were receiving tapes of Memphis wrestling often raved about the guy. If he had been saddled with a better gimmick (Memphis Vice was pure comedy with his partner Big Lou Winston), his career might have taken off. I believe, though, that Jerry had a real full-time job that he worked, so he enjoyed his limited wrestling schedule. (I think he onlh worked Memphis TVs, Monday nights and the Friday night and Saturday night shots–no Louisville shows. Again, the Memphis Vice was a bit of a joke at first, but they actually started getting over and were given a babyface push eventually, due in large part to Bryant’s work. He died of Lou Gehrig’s Disease/ALS in 1989.

  6. PG-13
    February 18th, 2010 at 00:12 | #6

    C’mon Scott give us a story on Randy Hales and he came into power for “power pro” (i hated that name change and opening intro) especially I would like to know your take on the incident where Doug Gilbert said Hales smoked crack on Saturday morning TV (poor Dave Brown in that clip) and whatever became of Doug.

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