Monday, May 16, 2011

Last Stop for the B.T. Express by Steve Crawford

----Steve Crawford sent the following in.  Thanks Steve!!

During 1988 and 1989, when I wasn’t getting rich from that $3.35 an hour gig at the college library, I spent most of my time at the Arkansas State University College of Business.  I was majoring in human resources.  A guy in some of my classes talked endlessly about professional wrestling.  He gave me the address to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and told me stories about being chewed out in a dressing room by Jerry Lawler and working a major independent card in Philadelphia.  Yes, that man was Brian Tramel.

Five years ago, Brian started the Rasslin Riot Online website, as an outlet to both discuss and promote professional wrestling in Arkansas and Tennessee.  During its existence, it has been viewed 3.8 million times.  He obviously did something right.

Actually, Brian did a lot of things right.  The site became an electronic meeting ground where old school fans and performers that remembered the glory days of Memphis/territorial wrestling could enjoy the cyber community and perspective of young wrestlers.   Brian understands and respects both wrestling history and the evolutionary nature of the business.

While welcoming a variety of opinions and viewpoints, Brian ran the site with a tremendous amount of integrity.  If he saw a lousy match, he honestly reported it.  When he felt a promotion wasn’t making sound business or booking decisions, he stated so.  However, the site was never a personal vehicle for self-promotion.  It was, strangely enough, about love.  A life-long love of the bizarre mixture of athleticism, art, and entertainment that is professional wrestling.

I’ve spent the past three years in the Dallas Fort Worth area and have often wondered, “How come nobody down here runs a site like Brian does?  Why do I not know what is happening in professional wrestling in this area?”   Of course, the answer is simple.  Not many people have both the talent and the passion to accomplish what Brian did.  In addition to the website, he spent countless hours on the Annual Yearbooks, giving workers in the area another avenue for recognition.  Spending approximately 20 hours per week over 5 years equals over 5,000 hours dedicated to this labor of love. 

On a personal level, I have been deeply gratified that Brian has published my submissions to his site.  He also graciously arranged for me to meet Bobby Eaton a few years ago, which was a wonderful moment for this old school Midnight Express mark.  While I have self published a few books, I was thrilled to contribute to the 2010 Yearbook Memphis Wrestling Hall of Fame articles, seeing my insights in print right beside the legendary Dr. Mike Lano. 

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Brian.  He’s successfully pursued his dreams both working in and reporting about the business of professional wrestling.  Even more meaningful, he’s made huge changes in his personal life, getting in tremendous physical shape and helping others do so as well.

Congratulations Brian on your current and future successes.  Thank you for doing such outstanding work. 

Color me impressed by that B.T. Express