Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas In The Squared Circle

Just like Thanksgiving, Christmas was once a major night to head to the matches.  What greater gift than a pair of tickets to see your favorite stars?  Of course, it wasn't so great for the talent who had to be out working instead of home with their loved ones. Today, Christmas themed wrestling events and seasonal stops are instead positioned before and after the actual holiday.  It may be better for the talent themselves, but the events don't have quite the same feeling when pre-taped.

The most famous Christmas wrestling event was undoubtedly the 1982 WCCW Christmas Star Wars event. Ric Flair successfully defended the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against Kerry Von Erich in a cage match. Special referee Michael PS Hayes seemed to be calling the match evenly when the unthinkable happened.  Just as Von Erich was about to exit the cage, Hayes' Fabulous Freebird "brother" Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy sent the steel door crashing into Von Erich's skull.  This event began the legendary Von Erich-Freebirds feud that is credited for making World Class Championship Wrestling one of the hottest promotions of the '80s.

Of course, WWE has been no stranger to holiday themed events, even in recent years.  The company has received a lot of positive press for its annual Tribute To The Troops event.  Although in the past few years it has become more of a USO-style variety show taped in the U.S., original incarnations of the event were actual wrestling cards taped at overseas military bases.  While any version of these events are a wonderful holiday gesture, those first events were extra special, playing to an audience that needed such an escape brought directly to them.  It should be noted that Vince McMahon and a group of WWE Superstars and Divas still personally visit the troops overseas each holiday season.

Closer to home, wrestling can be part of your Christmas motif right along with Rudolph, Frosty, and Snoopy. WWE regularly rolls out a full line of Christmas decor featuring all of your favorite WWE Superstars.  In the late 1990's WCW produced a line of ornaments featuring the best of WCW and the nWo including "Santa With Muscles" himself, Hulk Hogan.  But perhaps my favorite Christmas themed wrestling items are the various publications with grapplers "enjoying" the holidays.  Bundy Claus?  It happened!  And what better holiday gift than Jameson Winger?

From my heart to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  We'll see you in 2015 where all of January the blog will be celebrating the silver anniversary of a retro wrestling favorite!

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