Jammie Ward is a life-long fan of professional wrestling, and has dabbled in the newsletter scene with his own "The Squared Circle," and was a popular tape trader in the mid '80's. Jammie was also a frequent participant in the UAWF fan conventions of the 1980's, and maintained friendships with various tape traders and promoters in wrestling, including Dennis Coralluzzo.
You can follow Jammie on Twitter @JammieWard
Episode 20 - Transcript (from the Dennis of the Week)
So Jammie, how did you first meet Dennis?
Jammie: Well. I met Dennis through a guest of yours a few months ago – one Thomas Robinson. Tom went to some show over in New Jersey and said “You’ll never believe who I met. I met this guy, Dennis Coralluzzo-“ I don’t know who the name is. He said “You know, from the radio show that Joel Goodhart used to have.” Dennis used to call with a bad-guy personality every week, and he was Dennis the Menace. He just harassed Joel and his partner Carmella Panfil – that was her name – and it was called Rasslin’ Radio. Carmella and Joel then turned around and they started doing a lot of promotion for a guy who’s name was John Burzichelli, and he was doing the Lawler / Idol Cage Match, where Tommy Rich gets involved.
Oh, the VHS Cassette of it.
Jammie: Yes, OK. So they started promoting that, and next thing you know, they’re running the trip to Memphis. So I said to Tom, “Let’s go.” So we went down to the trip, and here, Dennis was on the trip also. Tom introduced me to Dennis, and, you know, I was hanging around with him but I really wasn’t that tight with him, but after that trip was over, Tom started going over to the Monster Factory all the time. I’d go along, Tom would go here, there; we started attending all the different shows that Dennis and Larry (Sharpe) were doing, and just as time went on, I got tighter with Dennis; fabulous guy. Greatly missed. A one of a kind individual, that’s the best way to describe Dennis.
When do you next run into Dennis after the Memphis trip?
Jammie: After the Memphis trip, um, Tom and I probably went to a show – matter of fact, I can tell you that where it was. It was at the Salem County Farmers Market, and they had – not farmers market, a farm show. Larry and Dennis were putting on a show that night, and that’s when I met Dennis for the next time, and it just continued after that. I just kept going to the shows with Tom and just got tighter with Dennis as time went on, and next thing you know, we’re going over to Dennis’ house to watch videos and then going out to dinner and just all kinda stuff.
I know you have some stories about times you’ve traveled with Dennis and things that you’ve witnessed around Dennis – what are some of the good ones you can recall?
Jammie: Well, I’ll start off with my best Dennis story that I have, and then we’ll cycle back. 1990 – I’m going to Memphis with him as part of one of the Joel Goodhart trips, and Dennis said to me – I’m gonna try to do my Dennis voice here – “Hey man, I don’t feel like getting up that early in the morning. The frickin flight’s at 7 o clock! You’re up early anyway, you’re a frickin’ mailman. Why don’t you go down there, get the tickets, and then go back home and I’ll meet you down there about 10:30/11 o’clock?” I said “Dennis, how are we gonna get another flight? This flights-“ “Don’t worry about it man, I’ll take care of it. I’ll take care of it.” (laughing) So I go down, I meet Joel outside the, where you go in, and he gives me the plane tickets and he says “Are you sure you and Dennis are going to fly later?” and I said “Hey, that’s what Dennis wants to do,” and he says “Ok, we’ll see you down there.” So I’m waiting outside US Air, and sure enough, here comes Dennis, pulling up about 11 o’clock. He gets out and I said “What do we do now?” “Well whatever I say, just follow with me man. Don’t’ worry about it! Just nod your head, say yes.” So we go into the ticket counter and some young girl is in there, and he says “Hey, hey honey. Lookie here. Me and my buddy here, we gotta get to Memphis and we missed our early morning flight.” I’m sorry sir, but there’s nothing we can do for you, and Dennis goes “Uh, listen here, sweetie: you see this guy here and myself? We’re heart surgeons. We HAVE to be in Memphis by 2 o’clock this afternoon! You gotta get us out of here as soon as possible!” and she’s like “Really?” “Listen, listen. Would I lie to you? Look at me – I’m, I’m, I’m dressed in a suit! I wouldn’t lie to you!” Next thing you know, she’s calling a supervisor over, click click click – not ONLY do we get on the next flight, ‘cause we only have carry-on baggage, we don’t need to check anything, the next flight is in 20 minutes and they put us in 1st class!
Oh wow. (laughing)
Jammie: On a flight to Memphis, and it’s even better than that, because not only did he finagle for that, he finagled 1st class for us coming back the following Tuesday – this is a Thursday or Friday morning, and he finagles for us coming back the following Tuesday morning.
That’s amazing. (laughing)
Jammie: Him and I fly First Class both ways.
What do the rest of the gang think when you get to Memphis and everyone had that early morning flight and you know, you waited and you end up flying First Class –when you tell everyone that story, what are they saying?
Jammie: Oh, well I wasn’t allowed to tell that story! (laughing)
Oh, OK! (laughing)
Jammie: Dennis said “When we get there-“ Well, first of all, Dennis doesn’t hang with groups – how did he word it – in today’s political correctness, I don’t want to say the wrong thing. Dennis didn’t want to be with Joel Goodhart’s ‘special people.’ You can probably figure out what he said – every other word was usually eff’in that. (laughing) So not only did we show up late, we had our own hotel – hotel room – at a separate hotel because he didn’t want to mingle with Joel’s ‘special people.’ Even though we did, he didn’t want to stay in the same place. He – we rented our own van, did our own thing, and that was a, just an awesome weekend. Also who stayed with us when we were there was the late Brian Hildebrand.
Oh yeah, I was friends with Brian.
Jammie: Brian Hildebrand and most of the weekend we spent with Brian, Eddie Gilbert, and Sam Lowe. So, you know, there’s 5 of us and I’m the only one left, unfortunately.
Anything else funny happen during that trip?
Jammie: Aw, what didn’t happen during that trip? Well, the first one was, the next day we went to the Memphis TV tapings at the studio, and – like I said – we didn’t go with the rest of them. Dennis likes to make the big entrance, so we get there after they’re all in, and we come walking in the front doors of the studio, and Dennis is like “Where’s Lawler, man?! I’m gonna sue that mother – beep beep beep,” (laughing) and then we find our way through the studio. We wind up meeting with Gilbert, and Gilbert tells Brian and I to make sure we sit in the front row – Dennis stayed in the back with the talent. He didn’t’ come out and sit in the audience. So, anyway, just real quick: Gilbert tells us to sit in the front row, and tells Hildebrand “When I call you up, come up to the podium.” So Gilbert’s doing some kind of interview, you know, ripping – or how much he loves the Memphis fans but he hates Jerry Lawler. He brings Brian – Brian yells “Yeah Eddie!” and he brings Brian up, and he has Brian take a picture of him, and then he goes to shake Brian’s hand, he winds up slapping Brian across the face. (laughing) So Brian takes that epic dive down to the ground, and then I’m allowed to get up and I gotta go help Brian and bring him back to the bench. After the TV taping, we go to a Piggly Wiggly to eat, and Dennis is telling Eddie “Man, this food is just horrible, man! Don’t they have any good, like, BBQ places around here?” Eddie says “You want good BBQ?” “Yeah man, I want some good BBQ!” So we get into the van, and Eddie says “I’ll take you to good BBQ.” Eddie takes us to this worst section of Memphis – we park the van, and Dennis is like “I’m gonna have to make sure I lock the doors here because I’m not paying for this van if it gets stolen!” and Eddie said “Don’t worry. These are my people – don’t worry about anything.” We park, we walk around a corner and up an alley. We get halfway up the alley and here is a lady who sells Ribs out her kitchen window. She had two picnic benches set up, and I’ll be damned if they weren’t the best ribs I’ve ever eaten in my life. (laughing) Um. Another story from that weekend – we had gone to, oh! Later on that night, Lawler’s supposed to ride with us to go to Nashville, and we’re supposed to meet him at some place at 5’o clock. Well, it’s almost 5:30, and Dennis is saying to Hildebrand and I “You know what, I think the guy’s stiffin’ us! He don’t wanna ride with us! I’m leavin’!” and Brian and I are like “Dennis, no, you gotta stay. He’s comin’,” and he goes “F him – I’m leavin’!” We left without Lawler, and we drive to Nashville, and we go in and we start mingling around and stuff, and we get introduced to Eddie Marlin’s wife. Dennis says to her “Hey, Mrs. Marlin…I bet you were pretty hot in your day. You’re really hot now!” (laughing) She kinda blushes and is like “Oh! Well thank you.” He goes “Oh I really mean it!” So we continue to mingle around some more and stuff, and here comes Lawler. He says “Dennis! How come you guys didn’t wait for me?!” “Aw, Jer! Jer! It’s not my fault – these guys didn’t want to wait around for ya!” and he points to me and Hildebrand, and we just look at each other “Really Dennis??” Dennis had never taken the blame for anything! (laughing). Alright – this was just a great weekend all together. The next night, we’re driving back from Nashville and we go to the show in Jackson. After the show in Jackson, we stop at a Shoney’s, and after the Jackson show, somehow we added Sweet Daddy Falcone for the ride, and some Spanish wrestler – I wanna say his name was Aldo Marino? Um-
(That’s Ricky Santana, isn’t it?)
Jammie: It wasn’t Ricky Santana but the guy was wrestling underneath that name, and I forget what it was, but he was working both the Dallas and the Memphis part, and he was going back and forth. Anyway, long story short-
Jammie: That’s it. I think that was his name. We stop at a Shoney’s and we’re sitting there eating, and all these waitresses – like four of them – are all gathered and looking at our table. They come over to give the bill, and the one girl goes to Sweet Daddy Falcone first, “Are you Brutus Beefcake?” That’s all Dennis needed to hear, and he looked around and goes “Hey, honey. Yeah! That’s Brutus Beefcake! You see this guy right here? He’s Tito Santana – you know who that is, right?” and then he points over at me and goes “See that guy right there? That guy’s Paul E. Dangerously – the world famous wrestling manager!” and he tells the girl that Hildebrand is Eddie Gilbert, and that he is Gene Okerlund.
(laughing) Cause he had his mustache at the time!
Jammie: Yes, he had his mustache at that time! (laughing) They wind up giving us the meal for free but we leave them a hundred dollar tip out of all of us. We didn’t stiff ‘em, but (laughing) that’s Dennis at his best, right there.
Jammie: The next night – now Dennis had told me before that one of the purposes of him going on his thing was that he was gonna start a new angle with Lawler, and this time, he is playing a lawyer for the estate of Andy Kaufman. I don’t – you guys ever hear about that angle?
I’m not sure – I know the ‘92 stuff he did with Fred the Elephant Boy and Kid Vicious at the illegitimate children of Jerry Lawler-
Jammie: It never made television down there, but I guess they didn’t like his promo in the ring that night. So that Monday night, we’re in Mid-South Coliseum and – or, that afternoon, Dennis told me to put on the best clothes I brought with me, so I did. We get to the arena and he gives me a pair of sunglasses and he says “Come on, let’s go; it’s our turn” and I said “What are you talking about?” and he says “Hey man, you’re gonna go down to the ring with me. I’m gonna tell Lawler how it is!” I wound up standing with him – like his bodyguard – in the Mid-South Coliseum and he’s talking, calling them the Memphis rednecks with their no intelligence down here, I have more teeth in my mouth than the rest of all the audience does together, you know; every slur that he can say. He talks about how he is a lawyer representing the estate of Andy Kaufman and he’s gonna sue Jerry Lawler for every penny he’s got, and while he’s at it, he might even take this promotion and bring real New Jersey wrestling to Memphis because it’s 100x better. The next thing I know, we’re getting pelted with trash (laughing) and that’s when he grabs me and says “Hey man, we better get the f out of here now.” We make the bee-line to the locker room (laughing).
And they decided not to air it, you said.
Jammie: Evidently they never aired it, yeah. I never got a, you know, copy of it or anything. He would have given me a copy if he had gotten it, so that was that one weekend in Memphis. It was – it was something else. I have great memories of Dennis; ‘lotta great times. The man – I know I’ve said it a couple times already – the man was great, and truly missed.
Episode 21 - Transcript (Dennis of the Week addendum)
Jammie, what’s the famous story of Dennis meeting Nate the Rat?
Jammie: Nate. The ‘Effin. Rat. As Dennis would say. We’re at the UAWF convention in Memphis in 1988. I wanna say that we’re coming back from the TV studio back to the hotel, and Dennis is in the front seat. In the back was myself sitting behind Dennis and then Frankie the Thumper I believe was there, and he was sitting behind the cab driver. This guy’s talking and, you know, him and Dennis are kibitzing back and forth and I tap Dennis on the shoulder and say to Dennis (whispering) “You know who that is?” Dennis says “No, who is it?” “That’s Nate the Rat – the former manager.” He goes “Get outta here! Hey buddy, are you Nate the Rat?” He goes “Yeah, I used to be a manager here!” The rest is history – we get back to the hotel and he tells Nate “Aw man, they misused you down here! I’m gonna bring you up to New Jersey – I’m gonna make a legend outta you!” (laughing) So we get back to the hotel and I have pictures of us with Nate the Rat right after the ride, and then he comes back later in the evening because we were having something, and he brings Keith Eric with him. Keith Eric was a cab driver also, so we got pictures with Nate and Keith Eric, and then the next night is, like, the big ceremony of the weekend, and here comes – Dennis talks Nate in showing up in full costume, and Nate shows up (laughing), including Paul E. Dangerously making fun of Nate about never having a career to begin with. Here, Dennis, after that was true to his word. He flew Nate up a couple times to his shows in Jersey and Nate got good heat, believe it or not.
Episode 28 - Transcript (Interview)
So Jammie, I know you had a newsletter called ‘The Squared Circle’ from 1983 to 1990. Tell us a little bit about that – what made you want to start a newsletter and how did you get it going?
Jammie: Well, what made me want to really start my own was back in the early 80s, I’d read the wrestling news and wrestling revue magazines, and, you know, and the other magazines – they always had the pen pal sections. But, this one had different newsletters that people were doing from all over the country, so I would subscribe to a couple. There was Scott Dickinson’s WWF Happenings, Ron Lemieux’s Arena Report…I think a guy named Bob Klassen used to do one out of Ohio called ‘Mat Results’ I think it was? I used to get one from a guy that lived in Dulward (sp.) County outside of Philadelphia called ‘Leonard Orner’s Wrestling Corner,’ where he would just list results from all these different promotions and I remember just how great it was – instead of waiting 2-3 months in a magazine to find out what’s happening in the other promotions, here I was getting it a week or two later; I thought that was just great. So finally 1983 rolls around, and I’m like “You know what? I’m gonna do my own,” and it was real simple: I would just do the weekly WWF TV results, Georgia Championship Wrestling TV results, and the Spectrum or wherever else I was finding stuff out from. I started advertising in the Wrestling News, people would contact me – as a matter of fact, I was doing it I think for free in the beginning; just send me a self-addressed stamped envelope because it would only be like a page or two. Next thing I know, I’m meeting correspondents from all over the country who are all sending me results from their promotions, and I eventually morphed from just results into a quick little news section about what was happening in each promotion, and I just let it – you know; it went on for 7 years. I had a good run: met a lot of nice people – including, as time went on, the same names that I saw doing the newsletters morphed into things like the UAWF convention both in 88 and 89 and went to there; met a lot of great friends which I’ve reconnected on Facebook lately through the ‘Cool Kids of Wrestling and MMA’ Facebook page. Back to my newsletter: it gradually grew with the more people that I had giving me information, and there’s one guy who I used to trade tapes with back in this time named Larry Liable, who was from Hillsville, VA, and he ended up doing a thing called ‘The History of JCP’ – Jim Crockett Promotions – and he would do, like, re-cap 2 or 3 months from 1973. He had notes that he had written as a kid and I put that into the newsletter, and that kinda took ‘The Square Circle’ to kinda like the next level because I was getting all kind of requests now, because they wanted to read the history of JCP. As a matter of fact, I got a call one day from Bill Apter because he wanted to get a hold of Larry Liable to find out all this old information on Jim Crockett Promotions. After that, Brian Trammel and I had become friends again through tape trading and through the newsletter. I kinda gave him half the newsletter and he would do half of it, I would do half of it, and we even got more popular. We probably reached our top around 1988, but then, you know, life starts getting in the way – you don’t have time to do things – and probably by the beginning of ’90, I’d shut it down.
Did you interact at all with the other newsletter writers that were out there at the time – the Dave Meltzer’s, Wade Keller’s who were starting up in the late 80's?
Jammie: Absolutely! As a matter of fact, Dave in the beginning – I’ll show you what kinda guy Dave was: I had this stupid little newsletter and he’s trading me the Observer for my newsletter at the time. So, you know, so did Keller back in the beginning, and that’s how I met a lot of these guys; just through the newsletter. Mike Rodgers used to do Pacific Northwest wrestling news: I still talk to him every now and then.
‘Ring Around The Northwest’.
Jammie: Yes – Ring Around The Northwest; that was it.
You mentioned tape-trading: when did you start trading tapes and what were you trading?
Jammie: I guess it was around 1983 I got my first VCR – my parents bought it for me for, I guess it was my 16th birthday? Yeah; my 16th birthday. So I started putting advertisements along with my newsletter, I’d advertise that I wanted to trade tapes, and that’s how I met this guy Larry Laible – he wanted movies, and I had the Prism Network, where the Spectrum Wrestling would be shown. So, he would send me stuff from Mid Atlantic and other stuff that he was trading for, and I would send him the Spectrum Wrestling shows along with 2 or 3 movies that I would copy off of Prism each month. So he was one of the first guys, and then from placing that ad in the wrestling news, I think I ended up trading with about 20 different people at one time from ’83 right up through the mid 90’s I was still trading tapes.
And in those early days, it was mostly Spectrum WWF shows?
Jammie: Yes – that I was trading off; yes.
What were the tapes that you specifically looked for and were trying to get?
Jammie: I just wanted any promotion. I had a Florida supplier; I had a Mid-South supplier; I had a World Class supplier; I had a Northwest supplier; AWA supplier; WWA with the old Dick the Bruiser. I was getting regular tapes from Southwest; A guy named Roy Kukik (sp.) out of Calgary, AB, used to send me all the Stampede stuff after Vince bought it and he allowed Stu Hart to start back up again when they had Muraco and the Junkyard Dog there. I had, you know, weekly episodes of all that stuff.
(I actually used to trade tapes with Roy too, like 10-12 years ago?)
Jammie: Oh, okay! So he still goin’ strong! (laughing)
(He stuck around for a while, yeah.)
Jammie: Yeah – good for him.
(Is there anything you remember getting back then – or you still have or whatever – that you’ve noticed has not shown up on YouTube or among people that trade DVDs or anything like that?)
Jammie: Um – you know what, it’s been a long time since I looked at my tapes. As a matter of fact, I sold off my collection back in the – I wanna say – 1999; I sold all my tapes off. But, there was a couple that I made copies of and just kept for myself, but yeah. I’m sure I have stuff that never aired on YouTube.
(Was there a certain promotion that became your favorite as you were trading for tapes of stuff from either that wasn’t from the Northeast or on cable here, or whatever?)
Jammie: Mid-South was the best; love Mid-South and of course, Memphis. Now, the tapes that – I had a guy named Richard Vicek out of Chicago that I used to trade with, and he would trade me instead of the entire Memphis shows, it would be “Best Of” highlights – that way, you wouldn’t have all the squashes – but he would send me a list with everything, and those tapes were just gold. I had stuff from, I wanna say, 82 right up through ’85 that were all Best Of, and that was the stuff I looked forward to the most; the Memphis and the Mid-South. But, the Mid-South was complete shows.
(Back then, were there any fans that were, like, anti-Memphis like people in the business were and occasionally you’ll find some fans who are now, or back then, were most of the newsletter and tape trading fans pretty heavily into Memphis?)
Jammie: Heavily into Memphis. Really, only WWF got bad reviews. Every other promotion (laughing) – you know – because back then, Vince was doing squash! You know, squash matches, and then when you’re introduced to - like myself, I first watched wrestling back in ’74 or ’75. I have a half-brother that used to come up and spend weekends with us every now and then, and he was 10 years older than me and he watched wrestling, so I’d watch it with him. Then, here one Sunday night, I just – in my bed – and my parents let me watch TV until I fell asleep; here I’m watching an interview with Stan Hansen with a tombstone of Bruno Sammartino. It was right after he broke his neck, but here, it wasn’t a WWF show – it was Florida Championship Wrestling being aired in Philadelphia.
(Did you get it off the New Jersey TV Station, or did you-)
Jammie: No, no. I wanna say it was on Channel 17 in Philadelphia at the time, and it was on Sunday nights at 10 o’clock, and I watched that for a little bit and then I kinda drifted away from wrestling again. Then, in ’77 – yeah, what year did Backlund win the belt? 77 or 78?
Jammie: OK. In 1978, my neighborhood finally got cable television and we got Prism, and the first show – I remember how excited I was to start watching wrestling again - because I knew the shows were live on Prism - and the first show I ever watched was the Bruno / Graham cage match where Bruno kicks Graham out the door.
(Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that around on video tape or anything either.)
Jammie: Oh yeah – I have it. That was one of the tapes I kept. I have a guy that was a friend of my dad’s that gave my dad a tape to give to me that had a bunch of these Spectrum matches on from ’78, ’79, and ’80.
Jammie: And that’s one of the matches that’s on there, and then I kinda got – watched WWF for a couple of years, and then in ’81, we got TBS so I got hooked into Georgia Championship Wrestling. Right around the same time, there was a station called the Satellite Program Network – SPN?
(Yes – which later became Tempo.)
Jammie: Yes. Well, every Saturday afternoon, they aired – like at 1 or 2 o’clock - World League Wrestling presented by Lars Anderson, and it would have matches on from Mid-South, Lanny Poffo’s – or Angelo Poffo’s – ICW; there’d be some matches mixed in there; a little bit of Florida’d be mixed in. Then, on Sunday nights – almost the same time, 9 or 10 o’clock – they had Florida Championship Wrestling on there for a year or so. Also, (laughing), there was a Spanish station out of Philadelphia, and they’d air the L.A. Sports Arena shows right around the same time, and that ended up going off the air, I wanna say, in ’84 when they had the World Cup; it got preempted – wrestling got preempted for the world cup and never did come back. I think LeBell closed his promotion up around the same time.
(There used to be a guy who had a lot of that later stuff on YouTube – which, like, I think Brian – you would agree with me on this – had NEVER shown up anywhere before, right?)
Yeah, for the most part; yeah.
(I guess you’d say ‘81 to ‘83 Los Angeles?)
Oh yeah; yeah. That stuff you never saw around and all of a sudden, it popped up on YouTube.
(Then the guy got rid of his YouTube channel for some reason and no-one had thought to download any of it.)
Jammie: Oh really. Well, was it in Spanish or was it in English?
(It was the usual Spanish with English interviews type of deal they did, I think.)
Jammie: Yes – that’s what this was; with Jeff Walton doing interviews.
(Yeah. I thought that stuff was interesting because even though there are less ‘stars’ and name Americans or whatever than previous years in L.A., it’s like a weird mix of guys coming in from Mexico. I think it was Chris Adams’ first territory in the US.)
Jammie: When I used to watch, Adams was there, and what really threw me for a loop when I was watching that was that I wasn’t really smart yet: here was Freddie Blassie kissing babies on the show. He was going to do one more match for John Tolos – that’s what they were building up for – and how popular Blassie was, and it threw me for a loop. Here he’s hated, but he’s loved in California. Also, like you said, there was Chris Adams was on there, and they had that gimmick of the Monster – somebody dressed like Herman Munster?
Yes. I think that won the Observer Award for “Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic” in 1982.
Jammie: Probably of all time! (laughing)
(Although, doesn’t Dave explain it now when people ask that the reason that it won was not that it because it was a stupid gimmick, but because they said the promotion actually had the monster built as opposed to the manager?)
I don’t know (laughing).
(Apparently that’s the distinction, though – that the promotion had the monster created.)
In those early days of tape-trading, Jammie – what was the quality like on the tapes that you were receiving from people?
Jammie: I was getting pretty decent quality. I mean, every now and then you’d get a tape that was obviously 5th or 6th generation because you’d have all the – what’s the word I’m looking for – the tracking lines going through the bottom. But, you know, for the most part, I was dealing with people who were doing the same as me – recording right off the original; the original airing. So, for the most part, I was getting good stuff.
Who did you trade with the most?
Jammie: Probably Larry Laible out of Hillsville, VA. I also – later on down the line – did some business with Johnny McAdam, who wound up being a big tape guy, and then Brian Tramel, Roy Kukik (sp.), John Carrish (sp.) – a guy out of San Francisco – used to be my AWA supplier. Aw man – I just tripped into another guy through Facebook the other day: a guy named Jack Lefsito (sp.) from Minnesota that I used to do some trading with in the 90’s when I was one of the only guys around – as stupid as it sounds – that was getting ECW when it first came out, and I was trading that stuff off for, like, Japan or Mexico. That’s where my interests went into the 90’s; that kinda stuff.
(Now, what – I guess – as far as you know, where did some of the people who were, I guess, taping their local shows: did they disappear over the years? Because I mean, most of the time when we find people who, even if they had big collections or whatever, it’s not usually people who were the original source of something. It’s a very occasional thing where you track someone down who – oh, this is the guy who taped all the Memphis, this is the guy who taped all the Mid-South, this is the guy who taped all the Texas stuff. You were saying that most of the people who you were trading with were, if not, everyone’s source, then were people who were a source as far as taping themselves. Where did all these people go? Did they just kinda disappear from wrestling fandom, or what?)
Jammie: Probably. They probably just didn’t have – drifted away. Think about it: back in the ‘80's, I remember buying 10 tapes for $100 bucks. I mean, it wasn’t – it was an expensive thing back then!
(That actually sounds cheap by ‘80's standards, though. I mean, with later – because I’m thinking about people who were charging $20 or whatever in the '90's or early 2000’s and stuff.)
Jammie: Naw, I mean – when I say a hundred bucks, I mean for the blanks.
(Oh, for the blanks! (laughing) I got confused for a second.)
Jammie: Well, let me rephrase that – not so much what you’re buying from people, but just to buy the blanks, they were almost 10 bucks.
(Right, right – then they were $20 as high as early '80's?)
Jammie: Yeah. So maybe that had something to do with it.
So Jammie, here you are – you have a newsletter, you’re trading tapes with all these different people: what is it like at a UAWF convention or in Memphis – wherever it may be – where you actually come face to face and finally meet these people you had been corresponding with?
Jammie: Oh, it was great because, like you said, someone that you have talked to over the phone and make these tape deals, some of them that you’ve never even – you’ve only ever corresponded through writing. It was really neat to meet all these people that you felt like you already knew, but you had never met, and everybody just – I mean, there was people that just obviously just didn’t get along, but for the most part, it was a brotherhood and people just connected. There’s still people back from those days that I lost track of for a number of years, but then with the advent of the internet going on different wrestling websites and stuff, I’ve reconnected with guys who really became good friends back in the day and it’s great to be able to reconnect and talk to ‘em today, especially with the advent of Facebook. You know; made a lot of great friends.
And in the days when you had your newsletter, what was your favorite newsletter?
Jammie: (sigh) I mean, obviously The Observer was the best; Keller’s was good, but my own personal favorite newsletter was Mat Watch by Steve Beverly. I think that was the name of his – Mat Watch.
Jammie: OK. Steve Beverly’s was my favorite, and Steve was a hell of a guy also. He’s also – I wonder if he’s still involved with the TV news business.
Jammie: I get back to that Dennis trip in ’90, I got to meet Steve Beverly in Jackson at that Softball game – very soft spoken guy. He actually called Goodhart’s and Carmella Panfil’s show and busted them for reading HIS material and Meltzer’s material word for word on their show, and saying “Our sources tell us…” (laughing) They were reading their newsletters word for word on the radio. So Steve actually, he called up and said “This is Steve from such and such” – some place around here in Philadelphia – and then after they answered a question, he goes “That’s interesting. I read that exactly word for word in the newsletter Mat Watch,” and they were like “Oh, well we don’t know what you’re talking about,” and he goes “Well this is Steve Beverly.” Busted! They were all apologetic and everything – “Aw yeah, that’s right! We know about your newsletter, but we didn’t read it word for word!” (laughing)
What was it like when you first saw The Observer compared to all the other newsletters?
Jammie: I first joined in with the Observer when it was the legal sized paper before it became the small print thing, and that just took everything to a whole ‘nother level. There was a guy named Daniel Billings – I forget what newsletter he ran but he was out of Portland, Maine. This was before the Observer, and he was the first one I ever read where he was telling who people were behind the scenes. He was – what blew my mind when I was reading his one time, he was talking about Hacksaw Sawyer up in Northwest was Buzz Sawyer’s brother, and then when he showed up in Georgia, he said that he was Hacksaw – yeah, Hacksaw Sawyer. That was the first time I ever learned about somebody who wasn’t what they were saying they were, and then that – so he was the one with all the behind the scenes information. Then, I started reading the Observer and that just took it to a whole ‘nother level.