Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

Back in 2009. I reported that the Cobo Arena/Cobo Hall was to be demolished. It’s the home of the first wrestling I ever saw, a story I’ve written about before when watching the Sheik’s TV off of CKLW in adjacent Windsor, ON one Saturday as a seven year old.

Cobo Arena, the indoor arena that was the home base of The Sheik’s Big Time Wrestling Detroit territory.

Well, the final event of any kind took place nearly two years later with a Detroit Derby Girls roller derby show last night.

Cobo Arena was also the home at one point of the Detroit Pistons, the WHA’s Michigan Stags, and other minor sports teams over its long history. The venue also hosted the revival of WWF’s Saturday Night’s Main Event show in 2006, as well as other shows for WCW and WWF.

Cards were promoted on TV via black felt boards with push in letters giving the lineup spelled out for fans…with show promos concluding with the tag line: “THIS SATURDAY NIGHT at the beautiful air-conditioned Cobo Arena…. be there for the excellent card of Big Time Wrestling… call 961-9557, don’t be left out!”

The territory featured names like Bobo Brazil, Fred and Bull Curry, Pampero Firpo, Killer Brooks, Tony Marino, Haystacks Calhoun, Tex McKenzie, Johnny Valentine, Abdullah the Butcher, Dory and Terry Funk, Gino Hernandez, Mark Lewin, Dusty Rhodes, Ripper Collins; and had the classic Sheik bloodbaths with Dick the Bruiser and Abdullah The Butcher.

Now…to our friends in TNA/Impact/nametobedetermined Wrestling.

It didn’t even take 24 hours.

Remember this from last week?

Well, four years later, now its been reported that Universal Studios has ostensibly demanded that TNA, Impact Wrestling, (or whatever Panda Energy’s tax writeoff is being called this week) about limiting the leaking of spoilers from TNA/Impact tapings, and to ban anyone who uses a cellphone to provide live TV taping spoilers from the Impact Zone, with a system featuring a warning for first offenses, 30 day ban for second, 60 day ban for third, 90 day ban for fourth and for a fifth offense, a lifetime ban.

News bulletin: just TRY and police this, folks. Does TNA want to monitor all cell phone use? Bet the FCC might have something to say about that if they tried to jam cellphones. More practically, there are tons of smart phones out there, and even dumbphones like my own, with web and texting capability, which can send live results anywhere in milliseconds.

Are TNA and Universal going to make people check in their cellphones?

Rrrrrrright. Good luck with that one. The ECW Arena tried to do that to limit the rampant bootlegging of Ring of Honor, CZW, and other shows held inside the venue, and found that it was basically impossible, because they’d lose half their crowds, with people refusing to give up their cellphones or “put them back in the car”, since the ability to be contacted 24-7 is why they have cellphones in the first place (especially since its the actions of one or two that are the problem). It won’t work any better in Orlando.

There’s also a crucial difference between the two actions. It’s illegal to bootleg copyrighted content, even if an admirable idea is impossible to enforce so globally at the ECW Arena. As far as Orlando is concerned…it’s not illegal, last I looked, to post spoilers of a wrestling show, no matter what the Univeral and/or TNA and/or Panda Energy executives think. Are TNA/Universal executives actually going so far as try to tell us match results are copyrighted?

So at the Memorial Day tapings, TNA/Impact went right to it…at least once.

So…in a happening reminiscent of what was mentioned in that AS I SEE IT column about TNA/Impact’s new media censorship policy, Mike Johnson of reported that John Benoit, a semi-regular correspondent for TNA and other independent wrestling events, was ejected from tonight’s Impact Wrestling tapings.

Benoit was ejected from the event by a TNA Producer and then physically walked off Universal property….actually by an ORLANDO POLICE OFFICER. The reporter was shown’s website on a mobile device owned by a member of TNA security, presumably as some sort of “evidence” of him sending in spoilers, and then removed from the property.

Hmmm….”when spoilers are outlawed, only outlaws will post spoilers”? Think the NRA will go for that one?

Oh and Mick Foley was given his release…

The only person who’s given TNA any mainstream positive publicity in the last year (no, Chyna’s newfound porn career or Ric Flair’s potential arrests don’t count)…with his hard work to riase money for sexually abused young women with the RAINN charity was deemed “hard to work with”. Seems he had idea of how TNA/Impact/nametobedetermined Wrestling could be improved. Foley responded on his Twitter account “I can see how some might think that meant I was hard to work with”.


Countdown to Smackdown, nyone?

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Until next time…

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