Thursday, May 5, 2016


Not every wrestler who worked for JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS could headline the wrestling card.
Someone had to work underneath at mid-card or lower level to fill out the show. But that certainly didn't mean that these guys didn't give their all, night after night, to give the audience their admissions' worth.
And because of their efforts, I give recognition to five of the many guys who fit into this category, at least during their tenure with JCP.






Tuesday, May 3, 2016

NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race - May 16, 2009

Wrestling icon RIC FLAIR named Honorary Race Director for SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE...

To be the man, you've got to beat the man, so becoming Honorary Race Director at Lowe's Motor Speedway just became a whole lot tougher. Speedway officials announced March 13th that RIC FLAIR, 16-time WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT WRESTLING CHAMPION, will serve as Honorary Race Director for the 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 16, 2009.

Sometimes, things just work out.

Yesterday, March 18, 2009, was such an example.

Scheduling for the 'Nature Boy' to come to the studios of the PERFORMANCE RACING NETWORK (located at CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY in Concord, N.C.) to record his participation in the radio campaign promoting the April race were set for yesterday afternoon. It would take about an hour.

So how did I fit into all of this? I didn't. However, KENT BERNHARDT, my best friend of thirty-five years happens to be Production Coordinator of the PERFORMANCE RACING NETWORK. 

So I invited myself to just happen to be in the vicinity at around the same time the recording session was to take place, pending authorization from PRN.

Fortunately for me, permission was granted.

I arrived a bit early so that Kent and I would have time to go upstairs in the mammoth racing facility to have lunch at the SPEEDWAY CLUB. (Turns out, Ric and his party were doing the same.)

After eating, Kent gave me a neat tour, even to the roof where we watched several drivers (Casey Kaine and Jimmie Johnson) doing tire testing on the track.

Then back to the PRN studios where Ric would do his thing on the mic (and we all know his genius in that area).

Very soon, Ric arrived with his then-agent, Nola Armstrong, and a few other folks, and it was straight to work.

After close to an hour of recording his copy several times over (as well as some great ad-libbing), the work was done.

Everyone then went out into the lobby, where Ric signed some photos and posed for a few pictures.

I had the chance to express my appreciation to Ric for all the great times he had provided me since his entrance into JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS some forty years ago.

Then, everyone went their separate ways on to other adventures, but this time frame on an otherwise ordinary Wednesday afternoon is a moment that I'll treasure until the brain cells are all gone.

Mike Cline, Ric Flair, Kent Bernhardt

Kent Bernhardt has been the official "voice" of PERFORMANCE RACING NETWORK since 1988, and joined the PRN team in December 2000 as Production Coordinator. He produces much of PRN's feature material, and in 2005, Kent was a co-recipient of the prestigious Barney Hall Award for outstanding motorsports radio reporting. He was recently named MOTORSPORTS ANNOUNCER OF THE YEAR, a highly prestigious honor.

My sincere thanks to KENT BERNHARDT and DOUG RICE for allowing me to sit in on RIC FLAIR's recording session.

DOUG RICE is the President and General Manager of PRN, a co-anchor of all of the PRN race broadcasts and can also be heard on PRN's Fast Talk program.

Sunday, May 1, 2016


Had a great run in JCP during the 1960s, often teaming with THE MISSOURI MAULER (Larry Hamilton), big singles program with KLONDIKE BILL (Bill Soloweyko).
He died in 1994.

No question, throughout the 1960s, no performer in JCP generated more heat than this man, and he seldomed wrestled. MR. O'DELL, later COLONEL O'DELL, then GENERAL O'DELL managed ALDO BOGNI / BRONCO LUBICH for a number of years and was on top in programs with every major babyface team in the territory, but most notably GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER. HOMER later managed RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON. This man was so hated, I doubt he could walk down a city street in any Carolina / Virginia town without being accosted.
MR. O'DELL has passed away.

Top fan favorite who actually entered JCP as a heel (SIR NELSON ROYAL). Worked on top with all the JCP babyfaces during the mid and late 1960s, most notably with TEX MCKENZIE, and later with PAUL JONES.
NELSON passed away in 2002.

And speaking of TEX MCKENZIE (Hugh McKenzie)...
TEX and NELSON ROYAL were a top JCP team for several years, feuding with all the major heel teams. TEX also worked a number of six-mans with GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER.
TEX passed away in 2001.

Mostly known as 'Two Ton', GEORGE also used the nicknames 'Bunk' and 'Baby Blimp'. A top heel fans genuinely 'loved to hate'. Always proud of his wavy hair, he lost a hair vs. hair match against JOHNNY WEAVER and received a free haircut in the wrestling ring. Later turned to managing such teams as THE MASKED RED DEMONS and ALDO BOGNI / BRONCO LUBICH.
'Bunk' died in 2002.
Any fan who followed JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS on their local TV or in their local arenas will certainly remember (and I hope fondly), the five gentlemen I spotlight today.
Sadly, all five are gone, but as long as any of us who booed them or cheered for them are still here, they will live on.