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Old building has new life
by Marty Goldstein on 2001-06-04

I rode to the XPW card at the Grand Olympic Auditorium on Saturday with my friend steve Rizzono, baldy Vic Grimes, Pogo the Clown ( Joe Applebaum) and ring announcer Ron Head. This was my first visit to the legendary hall, and the history lesson begins straight in the hallway from the backstage door.

A robe of Muhammed Ali's hangs on the wall encased in glass, and various signatures and well wishes adorne 3 panels not covered by a protective cover along the wall- 2 unlikely sigatures were Shane Helms and DDP, I guess from the filming of Beyond the Mat. In an adjacent hallway pictures of owner Steve Needleman with boxers, hoop stars, celebs, and wrestlers Goldberg, Austin and Big Show.The depth of talent that has come thru the dressing rooms for cards, films and TV shoots is impressive and humbling.

The building had blocked off the the hard cam and balconies, I would guess the crowd at 800 but that is strictly a guess.It has been nicely refurbished and painted and actually doesn't have the feel of an old showcase the way Memorial Hall in Kansas City did , when I did TV commentary for Bob Geigel in 1988. But the lighting and amphitheatre set up gave it a good wrestling building look and atmosphere, the ventilation must be good because the smoke did not hang too long, and the youngish crowd was speckled with fans of Vampiro and ICP who had painted their own faces in tribute to their heros.

They are definately into shock violence but I have worked in front of more bloodthirsty houses. They jump into "boring" chants far too soon, but they were knowledgable enough that they expected Sabu to no show and it really wasn't a big deal, as promoter Rob Black came up with an acceptable way to keep the title under his control in the storyline.

I am surprised at the lack of live reports on Slam!wrestling and other websites, and accordingly I will collect my notes and file an ongoing series with pix of the happenings of the show. Workers came in all shapes and sizes, including New Jack, Kronus, the southern California guys, lucha stars Damien 666 and Halloween, Japanese cruiserweights, brawlers and green flyers and oh yes, it wouldn't be XPW without a TnA quota that were as pleasant and polite and professional as they were stunning to see in person. Lots of news and stories to follow that will be of interest to west coasters and readers across the world !


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