Gray Block Party 2017

Gray Block Party 2017

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Story Time 1 Preview of the Book

From the Chapter the Yankees are Coming!

"These People are Like Nothing I have ever Seen"

  In 1996 I met a guy who I always considered (after I got to know him) to be one of my favorite people the one and only "Duke, The Duke of New York" Al Getz. Before I met him I already had heard of him and he was not even in wrestling yet. He had a talent for making people mad for his letters he wrote and sent into the sheets. So mad in fact people would write in saying they wanted to B*^#h slap him.

 The Duke like myself and many others in wrestling is a life long fan. He grew up in New York, went to the same High School as Andy Kaufman, went to wrestling at MSG and The Meadowlands. He went to College in Philadelphia. He was straight up no doubt about it what we like to call here in Tennessee a "Yankee" and even worse proud of it.

 I first met the Duke at a wrestling event in Ashville,NC. About two days later Al calls me wanting to rent my ring for a event he is promoting. I asked when is the event and he answers "tomorrow" talk about last minute. I did not take my ring but I got him a ring from NC. I rode over to this event with Ricky Morton because I had to see how it would be ran, draw, etc. I wanted to see just how bad it would be.

 I walk in and man what a surprise! He had a loaded card Rock N Roll Express, Head Bangers, Terry Gordy, Brad Armstrong, The Gangstas. In fact he had such a loaded card there was more TV Stars in the dressing room then there was fans in the building. He learned his first lesson PROMOTE.Later we would laugh and call this "The Greatest Show No one ever saw". He lost thousands and his face showed it. Most guys who run failure events like this leave at intermission without paying, write bad checks, short everyone, or tell you they will make it up next time. But this was the night that Al got over with me. He lived up to his word and paid every guy what he promised  them.

 A few weeks later Al calls me and says he is coming to my event Friday he wants to talk to me about managing in SSW. I tell him to come on and I have him a spot. I was looking for a guy and he would be great. So he shows up and tells me that he wants to be called "The Duke,The Duke of New York". He is wearing a Yankee jersey and cap and is carrying a ball bat. I said ok go out and say this and that and PJ Sharp is handing over Bubba for you to manage. When it came time for the Dukes debut he went out and started off in a very loud New York voices "MY NAME IS THE DUKE,THE DUKE OF NEW YORK" and then went on to tell the great southern people of Fall Branch TN that he had came here to help them because ever since the North dropped the A bomb on the South in World War One the south has been a waste land. He went on to make each and every person in that building including myself (because he did not say what I told him) want to kill him. And in that night The Duke was born, I had a 2nd managers people wanted dead, and a new traveling partner.

  I started in wrestling at a young age. By the time I was 15 years old I was making towns a few nights a week. I had a few great guys that taught me how to travel cheap, how to survive on the road, and in return I tried to help others the same way over the years. Also the trips in the car were kind of like school you learn more riding in the car with guys that had been around. All you had to do was shut up and listen. They would teach you all you need to know about wrestling, life, family,etc. It seemed all the world's troubles could be fixed buy a group of half tanked wrestlers on a 200 mile trip.

 About 3 months into the Duke's wrestling career we promoted an event in the wonderful land of Lee County,VA. Over the years I had wrestled in Lee and surrounding area many times. Back then all the events in those mountains drew well, had lively crowds, and you made money. This area was also famous for one of the world's greatest wrestling fans. A large man that loved the good guys and had no trouble hating the bad guys much less fighting them. And to top it off he had did some jail time for.....uh for...well let's say loving his farm animals just a little too much.

 On our hour twenty minute trip form my home to Lee County I was telling the Duke about these wonderful wrestling fans. Who in the past had jumped in the ring to fight me, threw drinks and cups of tobacco spit at me and one me. And a few of them had shown me their pocket knives and wanted me to come close enough to feel it. And of course about the large animal loving fan who would rip The Duke in half if he got a hold of him.

 As we pull into town the Duke tells me "Look I appreciated the story and the trouble you went through telling it to me but I'm from New York and Lived in Philly. I been mugged and beat up. I'm not afraid of these people". So I tell him "these people are like nothing you have ever seen".

 As we are sitting in the dressing room waiting on our turn to go out I keep telling him to keep his eyes open. If anything starts roll in the ring. Don't let them get a hold of you. During intermission the late great ref and my dear friend Mark Curtis comes in our dressing room. I asked how it was going. He says "matches been good, crowd is rowdy, had couple coke cans thrown in the ring, big guy in front row has went after couple of the boys". Duke jumps in and say "Come on guys I get it and how far  you going to take this?". Mark looks and me and just laughs.

 It's time for my match. I knew it was going to an educational night for my pal from New York. As we start out Duke ask why I'm not wearing my multi colored cape or one of my ring jackets? So I tell him it would not be a good idea because of the chances of some fan throwing something on me or grabbing me. He still thinks I'm ribbing him. As we get close to the ring the people start to rumble. We get in the ring and my dad is the ring announcer he looks at me and says "Please don't push it"  (this comes from a Marine with 3 tours of Nam) and my reply is "not going to, the Duke is". So Mark Curtis tells my dad announce the Duke as Jim Cornette's favorite cousin.Mark tells me this large guy came after Jimmy many times in Smokey Mountain. As my dad announces The Duke the large animal lover in the front row yells I hate Jim Cornette.

 The Duke Starts like he did every night my "my name is The Duke,The Duke of New York" and as he gets New York out he is hit with a cup of snuff juice right in the back of his white Yankee's Jersey. He turns and  looks at me. I said don't stop. Keep talking get the heat. As the Duke continues telling these proud rebels that he has come to help them their voices get louder, couple more things tossed at him. He ends short. I take the mic and tell old Mr. Ed that "he should be ashamed and needs to sit down and apologizes to the Duke". You can imagine how that got over. I then tell the cops "would please make the mayor sit down". He starts telling me to make him sit down and is coming toward the ring. He has a cop and two football coaches in front of him. I turn tell the Duke "get ready". I said hey Duke says "Tell your mom to stop calling him and if you get in this ring" that was a far as I made it. The large angry fan tossed all three men in front of him away and charged the ring. As he came through the ropes Mark Curtis trips him, and as I draw back to punt his head, out of no where "The Ragin' Bull" Manny Fernandez hits the ring and drills the guys right between the eyes.

 Now I think to myself ok our Main Event good guy has just knocked out a local "how is this going to work out?" . Manny looks down a the guy and says hey I told you can't jump in the ring. With tears in his eyes not from the punch but from letting one of his favorites down the fan looks up and say "I'm sorry". The cops and coaches trying to drag him out of the ring. Manny says let him go its ok. The large man gets up and goes back to his seat. All of this happens before our opponent ever comes the ring.

Out comes Scott Sterling . We have a 20 minute match that the crowd is in to. Everyone of in the ring was hit by something thrown by a fan. I get beat but after the match the Duke jumps in and we do a number on Scott. I take the Duke's bat and whack Scott in the knee and here comes a few fans over the rail and after us. The Duke and I make our exit and as we walk by our old friend in the front row he say "I'll be waitin' on ya ya Yankee B@#%%^d". We make it back to the dressing room. The Duke is covered in soda and snuff juices, a hot dog, and who knows what else. He falls in the floor and says "These people are like nothing I have ever seen"

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