FINALLY!

Ken Hoffman finds a goldmine for every '80s Houston Wrestling fan

Jake the Snake/Instagram

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

I became a true Houstonian the first night I moved here from Phoenix. I pulled into a dump hotel on 610 near the Galleria, unhitched the 5-by-8 U-Haul packed with all my worldly possessions, and headed straight to the Sam Houston Coliseum for a night of Houston Wrestling.

The main event was the Sheepherders vs. the Fantastics in a tag-team cage match. It was love at first sight … of blood. I heard there was an expression in the south, if wrestlers wanted to see green (money), the promoter wanted to see red (blood). Who knows if that was true, probably isn't, doesn't matter.

Man, that was one wooly night. I grew up in the northeast, so the only wrestling I watched on TV was WWE (formerly WWF, formerly WWWF), and babyface stars like Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, Bob Backlund, and heels like Macho Man Randy Savage, Larry Zbyszko, and the Wild Samoans. But I knew all about Houston Wrestling and Friday nights at the Coliseum from wrestling magazines. I couldn't wait.

I am a wrestling fan. I loved it as a kid, still do, even though it's changed, not sure for the better. Early on in Houston, I got to know Paul Boesch, the legendary wrestling promoter.

Ken wrestles with Houston Wrestling

Quick story about the time he blew up in a rage at me. I had a friend who worked for WWE up in Connecticut. He called one day and said, "We just signed Jake the Snake Roberts and he starts with us in two weeks. Well, Snake was the local champion in Houston, and that meant he had to drop the title before he left for WWE. It's was the unwritten rule in wrestling, if the champion was leaving a promotion, he lost the title on his way out.

Not the smartest thing I've ever done, I wrote in my little column, "Jake the Snake will defend his title Friday night against Dirty Dick Slater, and you can bet the ranch that Roberts will lose … because he's joining WWE in two weeks."

Boesch was so incensed that I gave away the ending to his main event, he had Roberts win the match. I changed the course of history! Two days later, when the match aired on Channel 39 (now CWB39), there was Roberts celebrating his win and threatening me to keep my mouth shut. I was scared to death, sitting in my underwear, watching on TV.

Do a YouTube search for "Jake Roberts threatens me." It's there. You'll understand why I was so frightened. Freddy Krueger in Nightmare on Elm Street had nothing on Snake Roberts.

I was hooked on Houston Wrestling, and Friday nights at the Coliseum became a ritual. But like many regional "territories," Boesh and Houston Wrestling was bought/forced out by Vince McMahon and WWE. Unlike other promotions, Boesch and his family (later lawyers) refused to sell the Houston Wrestling video library to McMahon.

For years, readers would ask, "How can I get tapes from Houston Wrestling? At long last, now.

Continue on CultureMap to learn how to get a DVD from Houston Wrestling.

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