That philosophy was drummed into my head by veterans from my first weeks as a rookie manager. Of course, back then it had very different implications. In the simpler times of the Seventies and Eighties, it meant that if the wrestlers got a great rate at a nice hotel, somebody would end up trashing the place and ruin it for everybody. Or if they found a fan who ran a restaurant, and you could eat free if you tipped the server, somebody would stiff the server. Or if a promoter agreed to ease up on some draconian rule the talent had to follow, within weeks some fuckup would abuse that so bad it would go back in place even stronger. Part of life's aggravations, sure, but nothing lifechanging.
For some time now, speculation from pundits had it that this year's WWE Hall of Fame inductions would not only include the long-overdue Randy Savage ceremony, but also, in a nod to the Bay Area location, the incomparable Ray Stevens. Tim Hornbaker had written an excellent bio of "The Crippler" for this issue of FSM, and I had planned to jump on board with my recollections of the Blonde Bomber.
It seems like a day never goes by that someone doesn't email me, twitter me, or talk to me at a live appearance where the subject comes up--either "Who is the greatest manager of all time?" or "Jim, you're the greatest manager of all time". I appreciate very much those who put me in that position, but I always disagree--noting that while I'll accept the number two spot, number one is reserved in my mind for Bobby Heenan. Another name on nearly everyone's list of top managers, James J. Dillon, feels the same way and pegs "The Brain" as the best ever.
Then I looked at Twitter.
There were condolences popping up everywhere on the death of Jimmy Del Rey, one half of the Heavenly Bodies with Dr. Tom Prichard and the cornerstone tag team of Smoky Mountain Wrestling. He was 52. Initial information I received was it was a car accident.
This past month was another sad one for wrestling as we lost another of the sport's all-time great personalities with the passing of Douglas "Ox" Baker at the age of 80. The "Fabulous" Ox Baker was another of those unique, only-in-wrestling types that made an impression on you from the second you saw him, and he certainly did on me as a 13 year old fan when he appeared on Dick the Bruiser's WWA TV show from Indianapolis, Indiana.
It was just a few days before I began writing this month's column that I was speaking via transatlantic telephone to our erudite editor Elliott, bemoaning the fact that I had not had the time to dwell on a topic for same, due to the ridiculous schedule I ribbed myself with in the month of September. Suddenly, as he usually does, he cleared the clouds with a simple statement--"Jim, THAT'S your column!