This week, the Wrestling Guys discuss Shane Douglas’s promotion, the failure of their inaugural show, and what they’ve done over the last three shows to win the fans of the original ECW back, while offering quality pro wrestling to other fans. Will it succeed long term? Listen in and find out what John & Phil think!
As a special Thanksgiving treat for our friends and fans, we’ve uploaded a “Best Of” show that originally airedboth on the radio and the internet via WREY (1440 AM) out of Vineland, NJ (which later became WMVB out of Milliville after it was purchased by Quinn Broadcasting) in December of 1998. The show then aired on WLFR (91.7 FM) out of Atlantic City, NJ, and later archived for the internet on AudioWrestling.com
We had just completed almost 2 years on the radio when this show was recorded, and it featured highlights of some of our favorite interviews of that year, including Bruno Sammartino, Dan “The Beast” Severn, Dory Funk Jr., Gordon Solie, Jose Rivera Jr, and The Sandman.
We were particularly happy with The Sandman interview because in the midst of it, we were the first people to break the news that Sandman had officially left ECW, and had signed a big contract with World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Even he was unaware that it had become official!
There are many other surprises on this show, some of our greatest, and even not so great moments from 1998, but this particular show reflects not only the rapid changes taking place in pro wrestling, both at the national & regional levels, but it also reflects the changes we were going through, with the station change, and a deal that put both Phil Varlese and John House on television for a while, doing their wrestling talk show for TV. That deal ultimately landed John House his spot with CZW and their “Fake You! TV” show that aired on cable for years.
We hope you enjoy this limited edition of “The Best Of The Wrestling Guys”. It will only be available to hear until 11/26, so don’t miss this opportunity to hear this chronicle of professional wrestling from almost 14 years ago!
It’s no secret that The Wrestling Guys owed a debt of gratitude to NJ pro wrestling promoter Dennis Coraluzzo for many reasons. First, he forged a relationship with them that was mutually beneficial. He was a constant source of guests for the show from 1997 until his death on July 29, 2001. Dennis himself was a frequent guest who always spoke his mind, and often presented himself as somewhere between a circus carny, and a guest from the Jerry Springer Show.
Dennis Coraluzzo with daughter Missy.
Most important, he taught Phil Varlese & John House of The Wrestling Guys much about the pro wrestling business, knowledge that has helped them tremendously in their other endeavors in the wrestling business to this day. Funny enough, he also showed them what NOT to do! After John House left the show to take advantage of his opportunity with CZW, Phil & Dennis got closer, particularly after Dennis was kicked out of the National Wrestling Alliance. It was a lonely time for him, many of his “friends” abandoned him after the accusations & innuendo about his involvement in unethical & illegal business practices. Phil Varlese of The Wrestling Guys has said that Dennis had become quite more open and honest with him during that time.
Not everyone shared the same opinion of Dennis. Here’s a quote from respected wrestling writer and webmaster Bob Magee, from his “As I See It” column, 2 days after Dennis passed away:
This past Sunday, former NWA promoter Dennis Coraluzzo passed away at age 48 from a brain hemorrhage. He had attended wrestling related events this past weekend, and had complained at Sunday’s event of not feeling well.
After the hemorrhage, Coraluzzo slipped into a coma. The family made the decision to disconnect life support after it was determined that brain death had occurred. The death was said by family members not to be related to his recent cardiac bypass surgery.
There’s no question that I’ve been critical in this column and on PWBTS of many things that Dennis Coraluzzo has done in the past. I stand by all that I said about those situations. I don’t believe in posthumous canonization.
That having been said, I do want to send my condolences to the Coraluzzo family on his passing.
It also needs to be mentioned that Coraluzzo was one of only two promoters (along with Ian Rotten) who remembered Eddie Gilbert after his death in any meaningful way.
Coraluzzo promoted the Eddie Gilbert Memorial Weekends held in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area from 1996-1999. These events were truly enjoyable for old-school wrestling fans like me, and served to remember a legend like Eddie Gilbert whose own former promotion couldn’t be bothered to do it to any significant degree.
The 1998 Gilbert Memorial Banquet featured a surprise honoring of Brian Hildebrand by co-conspirators Coraluzzo and Jim Cornette.
As I’ve recounted in previous AS I SEE IT columns, Brian had called me days before the Banquet, wondering why Cornette and Coraluzzo were calling him numerous times to make sure he was coming.
Brian said to me “Bob, what in hell is up here?” I replied, not wanting to ruin the surprise, but knowing he’d smell me fudging a mile away… “Well, if you actually got Dennis to return a phone call…if you got Corny calling that many times in a week…I’d bring a suit… and be prepared to say something”.
The tribute that Jim Cornette did for him at that Gilbert Banquet was pure Cornette, totally irreverent as usual, but also with great feeling.
Whatever else is said about Dennis Coraluzzo, the fact that he did the Gilbert events for four years; and that he provided Brian Hildebrand (who was always a bigtime mark for Eddie) an opportunity to be honored at an event dedicated to his hero, should be considered…especially in view of Vince McMahon’s glaring inability to do so for others who deserved it.
For those who wish to do so, you may pay respects to Coraluzzo this Friday from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at the McGuiness Funeral Home, located at 34 Hunter Street in Woodbury, NJ. For directions and info, you may call them at (800) 993-0888. Flowers may be sent to the McGuiness Funeral Home address for the service.
Those who wish to send cards to the family may do so through this address: Coralluzzo Family c/o 14 Margaux Court, Woodbury, NJ 08096-5734.
Church services will be held at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Wenonah, NJ on Saturday morning, starting at 9:00 am. The church is located at 11 Monroe Avenue in Wenonah.
This interview was done several years before his passing. NWA New Jersey was riding high. While successful shows today by most promotions standards draw 4-500 people, Dennis and NWA New Jersey were pulling in 1500-2000 at the time, in certain venues. They were an important part of the life blood of the National Wrestling Alliance at that time. He knew that, and had no problem telling people he was the straw that stirred the drink called New Jersey Wrestling. In this interview, a rival promoter had accused Dennis & his son of placing flyers for their upcoming NWA NJ show on the windshields of cars attending THEIR show, and Dennis responded by just being Dennis…..
In the studio with The Wrestling Guys that day was “Pryme Time” Amy Lee, one of the more prolific women wrestlers over the past 2 decades, who had a love/hate (but mostly love) relationship with Dennis.
Both John & Phil are planning to do an updated roundtable with some friends (and rivals) of Dennis on a future podcast, but for the time being, enjoy this interview with one of the great characters from the pro wrestling world, Dennis Coraluzzo.
Fred Rubenstein (aka Fred Richards, Senior Official of the NWA) has credentials in the pro wrestling business that most people wish they had. Starting as a beat writer covering pro wrestling show results LONG before there was an internet, Fred worked as a referee for many years, before becoming part of the group that has now taken over the National Wrestling Alliance, a once prestigious organization that has lost some of its lustre, particularly over the past 10-12 years.
John House & Phil Varlese share this interview with Fred, not to talk about his accomplishments in wrestling, but to get to the issues that face the National Wrestling Alliance today, as they attempt to gain respect in the ranks of current indy pro wrestling. We asked many questions that were sent to us, not only by fans, but by critics as well.
On the heels of last week’s show, where The Wrestling Guys discussed what they saw right & wrong with the NWA, as usual, they get right to the heart of the matter by bringing one of the top three men from the new Board of Governors.
On the heels of the longest running promotion in the US crowning a brand new World Heavyweight Champion, Phil & John discuss the National Wrestling Alliance, their interaction with them from when they first went on the air in 1996, the changes that have taken place since the 50th Anniversary of the NWA in 1998, and where they think the NWA resides right now in terms of its place in pro wrestling.
This is part 1 of a multi part series. Part 2 will air next week, and will include an interview with NWA Board of Governors member Fred Richards (Rubenstein), who has promised to answer any questions that the fans may remain unanswered with regard to the NEW NWA, and what their plans are for the future.
If anyone has questions for Fred, you can send them to us at TheWrestlingguys@yahoo.com. The deadline for any questions will be Monday morning (11/12) at 8 am. Listen to this podcast, then get your questions ready!!! In the meantime, enjoy the show……….
NEW NWA World Heavyweight Champion Tokyo Monster Kahagas
In this archived interview from 13 years ago, The originators of the interactive pro wrestling talk show, John House and Phil Varlese, interview UFC President Dana White. This interview was done less than 72 hours after the Zuffa Group had purchased the Ultimate Fighting Championship from the Gracie family. Everyone knows how the UFC has grown in popularity over the years, and Dana White is the driving force behind it. In the interview he made some bold predictions, and made good on all of them.