A tight new hold on our TV?

A tight new hold on our TV? by Ross Brundrett - 18th July 2006
(Credit: Herald Sun)
Media Man Australia interviewed and pitched

It might just be crazy enough to work . . . the return of wrasslin' to the telly. Not the steroid-pumped US hyperbole version, but World Championship Wrestling, Australian-style.

Back in the 1960s it was big. Compulsive viewing on a Sunday for a generation of mainly young male viewers.

Sandwiched between the footy review and Epic Theatre were the big men in trunks pulled up way too high.

Chairs smashed on heads. Blood flowing like claret. Sometimes maybe it was claret. People threatening other people with extermination.

Killer Kowalski, Brute Bernard, Andre the Giant, Skull Murphy, King Curtis, Big Chief Little Wolf and the darling of the Italian community, Mario Milano.

"Oh, it was big all right," said Milano, still alive and kicking but hazy about just how old he is these days.

"Guess," is all he would say.

Somewhere in his 60s probably, but you wouldn't say that to the man who made the "Abdominal Stretch" his signature bout-stopper.

"Wrestlers today can't do that move. They try but they haven't got the arms and the legs for it," he said.

Milano still gets stopped in the street by fans who watched him at Festival Hall or on TV.

"It did a lot for the sport (the TV show)," he said.

"Jack Little (the over-the-top American host of the show) was a great man," Milano said.

"I remember when I went to his funeral there was only a few people there. That was very sad, a man who helped so many.

"We used to do four or five bouts, live in the studio, and there would be interviews with Jack.

"Sometimes there was, you know, more fighting out of the ring than in it."

These days Milano lives a quiet life in suburban Gladstone Park, but says he has been heartened by whispers among people in the wrestling business that the Australian version could return to the small screen.

"Geez, I hope so," he said.

"The American wrestling has some big men, but there is too much talking and not enough action."

While Milano has hung up his tights for good there is a chance, if the sport does make a television comeback, that he will return as a referee.

"I hear (Nine boss) Eddie McGuire was a fan. It would be good if he got it back on TV. Have you got his phone number?" he asked.



News Limited

Media Man Australia



Mario Milano



Festival Hall, Melbourne