Over The Top Rope; Professional Wrestling's glory days delivered World Championship Wrestling


Over The Top Rope; Professional Wrestling's glory days delivered World Championship Wrestling, by Greg Tingle - October 2017

Wrestling historian Libnan Ayoub delivers a night for the ages

Draft article in progress

Over the Top Rope - Trailer - Documentary about World Championship Wrestling Australia
1964 - 1978

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It was a night for the ages.

For one night only (way too short - take note Australian cultural centres, museums) et al , wrestling historian and son of the late, great Waadi Ayoub, Libnan Ayoub presented the equivalent of the Australian Pro Wrestling Hall Of Fame, complete with living legends of Aussie pro wrestling.

Sydney's inner west based Canada Bay Club at Five Dock hosted the unique event that drew wrestling fans and even non fans from far and wide.

For me it helped bridge the gap between the past and the present, even catching up with one of my late father's Sydney waterfront mates, 'The Balmain Tiger' George Barnes.

There were plenty of notables in attendance, some friends, associates, and some I had only ever have a brief encounter with. I'm not going to turn this into a name drop fest, but just to give you an idea of what went down the organically selected special speaker for the evening for well respected sporting and sometimes political figure, Mike Clearly (who I now know hails from Coogee Beach - just down the road from us). Former Australian Tag Team Champions were there (Ken 'Dazzler' Dunlop and Wayne 'Lofty' Pickford), gentle giant Dominic Bianco, Andy 'The Animal' Harpas and journeyman Lou Marcelo, who I draw parallels to the WWF wrestler, likable Mario Mancini. Marcelo never won that many, but you always rooted for him, unless you went for the heels (villains).

What Lib had assembled here was nothing short of incredible. He drew a formidable group of wrestlers, families and friends, and of course fans who for one night only could reminisce about the good old days of pro wrestling in Australia, focussing on the World Championship Wrestling years, which ceased in 1978 to make way for Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket. Being an inclusive evening wrestlers for the 80s, 90s and even current day were there, and many got a trophy for just turning up, which is fair enough. It was also wonderful to see office staff and management acknowledged, including a few ladies who assisted the legendary Jim Barnett with accounting and other important business matters...

Promo by Over The Top Rope:

The Project: A labour of love

10 years in the making – the most comprehensive documentary about World Championship Wrestling in Australia is finally here. Compiled by wrestling historian Libnan Ayoub, (son of Sheik Wadi Ayoub)­, it charts the events and extraordinary characters of World Championship Wrestling that mesmerized the nation between 1964 – 1978. It was a world where good triumphed over evil, heroes and villains fought – and a sport not for the faint-hearted. World Championship Wrestling became an iconic part of Australian sporting history, the likes you will never ever see again.

 

The Legends

– the wrestlers, referees, commentators and fans
The wrestlers were the ultimate characters of World Championship Wrestling – larger than life and each with their own unique style. Many were from different cultural backgrounds, and all appealed to the fans. Legendary wrestlers like Spiros Arion, King Curtis, Mario Milano, Abdullah the Butcher; commentators Mike Cleary and referee Tony Marino; and prominent Australians who were touched by the magic – like Ray Hadley, Santo Cilauro and the late, great sports doyen, Mike Gibson – all talk in their own words about the hey day of World Championship Wrestling – the events, characters and experiences that indelibly marked the time.

Media Man verdict:

A world class effort and result by Lib and his team. The event at the Canada Bay Club was fantastic, and I think it would be wonderful to see the likes of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, MCA, National Gallery of Australia or a venue in the same vein host what is basically the Australian Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame on an ongoing basis. In a day and age when we hear the Australian government talk of multiculturalism and to embrace differences and Australian and international culture, you think they would be leaping at the opportunity to showcase Lib's pro wrestling showcase to the masses. This showcase would come under a number of categories including but not limited to: Sports Tourism, Entertainment Tourism, Culture and History Tourism, and would draw patrons far and wide across Australia and indeed the world. This expo has tremendous potential, and it would be fitting to see the Australian government and other backers get right behind it. Media Man would love to support such an initiative, and we will be watching this space very closely. Again, world class effort by a world class team to put on such a wonderful effort and to produce arguably the greatest documentary of all time on Australian professional wrestling. As wrestling legend Jack Little would say. WOW! That's all there is - There isn't any more.

with 'The Balmain Tiger' George Barnes

 

with Wayne Pickford

Mike Cleary

The late, great, Andre The Giant and friends

 

 

 

Lou Marcello

 

Andy "Animal" Harpas

 

 

 

Libnan Ayoub