The King Of New Orleans
January 15, 2014 3:50 PM   Subscribe

Lost Dog: The Search For A Forgotten New Orleans Superhero
On a recent Friday night in the Harahan Community Center, the master of ceremonies had the capacity crowd’s attention. “This here,” he promised, “this tonight is gonna be some old-school professional wrestling.” All of us cheered. “Some of you may remember– folks my age, a little younger– the kind of old-school wrestling New Orleans was famous for. I’m talking about a certain Bill Watts. I’m talking about the Junkyard Dog.” Some jumped to their feet, howling in approval. “Junkyard Dog!” they shouted. Most just clapped politely. When I spoke to people outside during the show’s intermission, no-one younger than forty had much to say about Junkyard Dog. Of the younger attendees, a few knew he was from here, but to the majority he was just another name, a minor figure from the distant days of Hulk Hogan. Thirty years ago, Junkyard Dog was a New Orleans demigod.
posted by the man of twists and turns (15 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
" the Superdome, where he drew crowds of over 20,000, his fans chanted “Who dat say dey gonna beat dat Dog?” years before the Who Dat chant caught on at Saints games."

That got my Nola freinds' attention! Thanks for this!
posted by stinkfoot at 4:01 PM on January 15, 2014 [5 favorites]

In perhaps his most famous feud, he battled the Freebirds, a villainous trio of Skynyrd-inspired outlaws. They couldn’t beat Junkyard Dog in the ring, so their head honcho used a special hair cream to “blind” him.

I think it's safe to assume that every member of every Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band is a heel.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:18 PM on January 15, 2014 [7 favorites]

JD was my favorite wrestler as a kid because motherfucker got down.
posted by middleclasstool at 4:41 PM on January 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

I was all set to come into the thread and shout "No! Koko B Ware was the first black wrestler!" Apparently, he didn't debut until a year after the 'Dog.

When I was a kid we used to go over to Grandpa and Grandmas' house Sundays ostensibly for brunch, but what I remember most is watching AWA wrestling with Grandpa and Dad and Uncles in the finished basement on the old Curtis Mathis console while we wrestled on the horrible vinyl sectional. That and a ton of headlocks and elbow drops.

There was something oddly pure about that '70s wrestling. Even though it was fakey-fake-fake-ultrafake.

On topic: That was a really well written review. Sold me.
posted by Sphinx at 5:24 PM on January 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

Great post.
posted by brundlefly at 5:34 PM on January 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Late night wrestling found on double digit channels is great entertainment when you are at the verge where you are too tired to read but not sleepy enough to drift off and can't be bothered to be vertical. So moral and so simple.

Hell, it was fun too for a kid when I saw Gorgeous George [There were two versions] on the TV back in the late 60's and early 70's.

Are there any entertainment wrestlers that have escaped both bad luck and controversy?

[I live in NO and am old so this will be fun to talk about tomorrow, thanks for the post.]
posted by vapidave at 5:41 PM on January 15, 2014

Thanks for this awesome post.
posted by eustatic at 5:54 PM on January 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

What a fascinating story. Thanks.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:39 PM on January 15, 2014

I saw mention of the junkyard dog and came to post that same review! It is by one of my friends, jules bentley, though so er - um i guess it is a friendlink.

Wrestling mixed with anti-racist analysis and good writing is always a satisfying read. I do think though that one of the interesting things about wrestling in America is that African American wrestlers were often faces, because it was literally dangerous for them to be heels.

Jules Bentley has a great article about surveillance up at AntiGravity.
posted by goneill at 6:46 PM on January 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

RIP JYD! My college buddy's mom lived next door to him* and we stalked him one time to get a chance to meet him! He was a really nice guy and I got to talk with him several times afterwards without having to stalk him (usually he was washing his car). Later at a local minor league wrestling event we caught his attention at ringside and he introduced us to Jake "the Snake" Roberts and Mick Foley who was in his "Cactus Jack" persona at the time (and stayed in persona the whole time). We sent flowers when he died.

*Note: When you go to school in Mississippi these are the kind of celebrities your friends' moms live next door to.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:49 AM on January 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

I knew this was going to depress me but I read it anyway because I loved him as a kid. I'll be humming "Another One Bites the Dust" all day. Now 38, it's crazy to think I had an action figure of a guy who came through all that.
posted by yerfatma at 6:04 AM on January 16, 2014

Bobo Brazil was ahead of JYD. And Joe Lewis even wrestled after his boxing career was over.
posted by Billiken at 6:11 AM on January 16, 2014

I was all set to come into the thread and shout "No! Koko B Ware was the first black wrestler!"

Another action figure I owned. Thinking about their average lifespans, I look forward to the inevitable biography documenting the trials, the tribulations, the battles with demon liquor and the salvation in Christ of Koko's parrot.
posted by yerfatma at 6:17 AM on January 16, 2014

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