Dean Silverstone, a former promoter in the state of Washington who was the Treasurer and head of business as the Treasurer for the Cauliflower Alley Club, passed away on Thursday at the age of 75.
Brian Blair and the CAC confirmed the passing. Silverstone was a key figure when it comes to the 60s and 70s in pro wrestling, as much for his work historically. For years, he hosted the Northwest Wrestling reunion at his home, where former territory stars from all over the country returned. He was a neighbor of Ichiro Suzuki, who one year was enamored by the idea that Dick Beyer, The Destroyer, was vacationing near him.
In real life, Silverstone ran the Golden Oldies! record chain in the Northwest from 1975, after he stopped promoting pro wrestling, until 2017, when he retired. He attributed all his success in his other business to the business lessons he learned promoting pro wrestling. He also wrote perhaps the best book ever on small territory pro wrestling, "I Ain't No Pig Farmer!" about his life and career in wrestling, particularly the ups and down of the five years he ran a regional promotion.
Silverstone was friends with the late journalist/radio host and pro wrestling historian J. Michael Kenyon, meeting at pro wrestling shows when they were teenagers. While the two took different paths in life, they remained friends and both were avid students of the history of wrestling.
In 1959, at the age of 15, he went to work for Harry Elliott, the regional wrestling promoter in the area, doing publicity and programs. Silverstone pioneered the concept Tony Khan uses on Dynamite of having legitimate win-loss records for the talent like if it was boxing or MMA in the programs. By the time he was 19, he was promoting spot shows and working as a referee.
After Elliott retired in 1968, Silverstone continued working for Vancouver promoters Gene Kiniski and Sandor Kovacs, as they bought rights to the territory. After a split with them in 1969 feeling they weren't running Washington effectively, he started his own promotion which ran in Washington and Idaho. His book detailed his issues with the power brokers in wrestling because he was not an NWA member, and both Kiniski and Don Owen felt he was infringing on their territories, even though they weren't running there at the time.
Silverstone used mainly talent from Mobile, Alabama as he liked how that territory ran, so he contacted Lee Fields, who ran the promotion, and booked eight wrestlers from the territory as well as used wrestlers living locally.
He ran shows for several years with mixed success. At one time his television show at 6 p.m. on Saturday in Yakima was doing 90 shares, which is unfathomable. He syndicated television around the state and ran, using a crew that would be threatened by the establishment for working for him, and running into all kinds of unforeseen problems.
In 1975, he decided to get out of wrestling and open up his record store in Seattle. He was far more successful in that business, and at one time owned 11 record stores throughout the state.
Silverstone and his wife Ruth were friends to all the wrestlers of that era who would attend his annual reunions. He handled all business for the CAC as well, and his loss would have to be considered devastating to that club.