Larry Matysik radio interview

By Matt Burrows

Larry and the host discuss the host’s wrestling training and the level
of athleticism it takes to do pro wrestling and how hard the mat is.
Larry mentions NFL players Ernie Ladd and Wahoo McDaniel who were
among those who said pro wrestling was harder on them physically than
professional football.  Larry mentions that Brock Lesnar has said
while UFC will beat you to death, professional wrestling over a period
of time is harder because of the different things you have to do, no
time to heal, the repetitive falling on your back.  Larry says
wrestlers like Von Raschke and Ken Patera and many others had
surgeries like knee replacements, hip replacements, shoulder
replacements, and all from taking falls and bumps in the ring that
while it made for great excitement, they paid the price for it.
                Larry plugs his wrestling tv show on Charter channel 8
in Illinois Sundays at noon with talent roster that includes Ron
Powers, Gary Jackson, Mike Sydal (Evan Bourne’s brother) and wrestlers
trained by Harley Race and Carlos Colon.
                Larry is asked who his favourite wrestler is from the
“Golden Age.”  Larry answers that he was probably closest friends with
King Kong Brody.  He says they were so lucky in St. Louis with Sam
Muchnick where wrestling was a cut above what it was in any other
town.  Larry mentions his interview with Wrestling Observer and
discussion about problems with WWE is having today because nobody
takes the cards seriously and nothing seems important.   Larry says
the way Sam ran St. Louis is that he cut away some of the over crazy
showbiz stuff, that while its always been showmanship, but you can go
too far.  Sam cut it back and made everything feel a little more
important and a little more professional.   Larry says we were blessed
because of that as it meant all of the really truly talented stars
like Harley Race, Jack Brisco, the Funk brothers, Johnny Valentine,
and many others came to St. Louis at one time or another.
Larry says he started watching in 1959 at 12 years old.  He mentions
his on-line book “The Golden Age of St. Louis Wrestling” that has all
of the television results, Kiel Auditorium and Checkerdome results
starting from back when he was a fan to when he started working for
Sam Muchnick, through when he was an announcer and involved in booking
matches.  He says in the 320 pages that he saw every one of those
matches and he worked for Vince McMahon for ten years in the WWF.
When asked about current wrestling Larry says WWE is challenged most
by the UFC.  Larry compares UFC promotion to Sam Muchnick’s time in
St. Louis.  Larry says wrestling is entertainment just like baseball
and pro football and there is nothing to be ashamed about watching
wrestling and being entertained for a few hours.   Larry says while
he’s not a fan of the WWE product the bottom line is to make money,
and WWE makes money.
                Larry says he still has the desire to make matches and
be involved in the creative portion of it.  He says if you’ve been in
the ring or involved in what’s happened in the ring you cannot walk
away from it because it’s so much fun when it clicks with the people.
He says Lou Thesz once told him “Isn’t it great when you have them all
in the palm of your hand and they’re enjoying it?”
                Larry is asked if he’s disappointed that wrestling
today is about sex appeal and storylines.  He says yes, that it was
more challenging to incorporate the athleticism in the storyline
booking/plotting, all words that describe the same thing.  Storyline
is a modern term for an old thing that was used in his day.  He says
if you’re doing a skit that you think is cute with a diva and one of
the women that’s living with one of the wrestlers that it’s not
challenging.  It’s much more challenging to build a product where you
have a star and he is your champion.  How do you create a pennant race
to get to him?  Every match leading to the championship match means
something.  To Larry that is entertaining especially if you have
people who have the ability to work with inside the ring.
Athletically, most of the guys in WWE do have that.  But they’ve never
been stretched as far as they could be athletically anymore because so
much of it is storyline, showbiz, skits, attempts at humor.  He says
when watching Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross having to laugh at something
while the fans behind them are all blank faced that it means nothing
and it didn’t get anywhere.  He says he’s sad that building up to the
big match has been devalued and if done right, tying the two together
(build and storyline) could probably make them more money.

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