Clooney's Pub Softball     Backwards K Softball     The Patio

Home  Photo Albums  Stats  Win/Loss Records  Lifetime stat rankings 

Offensive MVP's  You Tube Videos  Gear & merchandise  Field Directions  Softball Links 

Bats  Amazon Store  Contact Us


Vandy! (September 1996)


Beer!  (February 2006)

Issue # 309

Date:  Sunday September 12th, 1999  1:03 pm

The Wrestling Booking Sheet

Hildebrand stood tall in pro wrestling world
Sunday, September 12, 1999
By Mike Mooneyham

Pro wrestling is a world filled with jealousy, paranoia and mistrust.
Every now and then, a gentle soul emerges, a peacemaker who embraces
the business in spite of its shortcomings, and more importantly, earns
the respect of an entire industry.

Brian Hildebrand may not have been the biggest name in pro wrestling
and probably never even had his name on a marquee, but few in the
business have ever stood so tall. Mike Tenay once said that if heart
and determination were a measuring stick, Brian would have been a world

Brian Hildebrand, known to many as WCW referee Mark Curtis, passed away
last Wednesday evening at
7:15. Brian, who was surrounded by family and
friends, had fought the good fight, with amazing degrees of
determination, tenacity, courage and, finally, dignity.

His friends, numerous in number, shared their thoughts about Brian. One
amazing fact spoke volumes about Brian Hildebrand. No one had ever
recalled hearing anyone say a bad word about him, a rarity in any
business, much less the pro wrestling business. And if Brian Hildebrand
did have a fault, it was his intense demand for perfection, said
longtime friend Jim Cornette.

To say he was only a referee would be far from accurate.

"You don't find many referees who are presented world championship
belts by Ric Flair," said former wrestler Les Thatcher. "Brian was more
than that."

Brian Hildebrand was, indeed, much more than a referee. He was the
catalyst for bringing together a number of diverse personalities in a
diverse business, all of whom were linked by a special friendship with

"I was thinking," Thatcher noted, "that a lot of us who are going to
show up for that funeral on Saturday are probably pulled together by
Brian. We might not have ended up being friends if it weren't for him."

WCW had presented Brian with a show in his honor last November in
Knoxville. Backstage back-stabbing, political power plays and the
relentless race for ratings all took a night off as WCW paid tribute to
one its own. It was one of the most emotional moments in Brian's 37
years, a genuine outpouring of love and support from his many friends
in the wrestling business. The highlight of that evening saw Ric Flair,
on behalf of The Four Horsemen, present Brian with a replica of the
world championship belt with Brian's name on it.

"I just lost it (when Flair came out). I was crying. The stuff that he
said just killed me," Brian later said, joking that "that belt weighed
damn near as much as the regular belt." He admitted he couldn't get to
sleep from the excitement.

"It blew me away. I couldn't have dreamed of anything like that. I woke
up the next morning and looked at my wife and asked her if that really

"Brian, without a doubt, was one of the most genuine and real people
I've ever known in my life," Flair said Friday. "I was fortunate enough
to have someone who really admired me - not really sure why - and
treated me with the most respect. For some reason he admired me and
thought that I was something special, and I wish that I would have been
able to do more for him because he always supported me and backed me.
He was a tremendous young man who deserved more than he got."

Brian Hildebrand did everything there was to do in the wrestling
business, from shooting photos for wrestling publications to putting up
rings, to driving wrestlers to and from airports and arenas, to
announcing, promoting, refereeing, managing and even wrestling. its
funny to think that a man of his small physical stature (5-7, 140)
actually wrestled, but the fact is that the former high school and
college wrestler was an excellent bump artist, having trained at the
same time with future stars Mick Foley and Shane Douglas at Dom
DeNucci's training camp. Tony Schiavone gave him the name "Shooter"
when Brian turned back a fan who had charged the ring one evening on
Nitro and subdued him with a front facelock.

Brian, who used the stage name Mark Curtis (his middle name was Curtis
and he admittedly was a "mark" for the business) since his ring debut,
was a lifelong wrestling fan and historian who became close friends
with Cornette and the late Eddie Gilbert when all three were
teen-agers. He first met Cornette at a wrestling fan club convention in
Memphis in 1979. It was the beginning of a long friendship and business

"He was a true friend who would never let you down," said Cornette. "If
Brian told you he was going to do something, you never had to worry
that not only would he get it done, but he'd have it polished for you
as well," said Cornette, who used Brian as his right-hand man for his
Tennessee-based Smoky Mountain Wrestling operation during the early

And nobody was happier than Cornette when his friend finally cracked
the "big time" several years ago when WCW hired him.

"Brian was the best referee in the business and had worked harder than
anybody I know to get there," said Cornette, who added that Brian (in a
turtle costume as Cowabunga The Ninja Turtle) was also the best
opponent he ever had.

Former mat great Sandy Scott, who knew Brian for nearly 11 years and
whom Brian had considered "like a second father," called Brian an
inspiration to others and said he lived his life to the fullest.

"He was one of the most honest and straight guys you could ever meet,"
said Scott, who served as Brian's best man at his wedding. "He was
kind, and everybody liked him. When you were in his company, you could
feel a sense of pleasure and relaxation, and you could just talk about
anything. I never ever heard him talk badly about anyone. It was just

Scott said Brian never let his size pose an obstacle to his goals.

"I guess he was told he was too small to accomplish anything in the
wrestling business. He proved all those people wrong when he went with
WCW. He lived his dream."

Brian married Pam Murphy in spring 1998 and took a honeymoon trip to
Charleston later that month to attend a legends reunion where he served
as one of four special refs: two of the greatest from the past (Tommy
Young and Ron West) and two of the greatest from the present (Brian and
Charles Robinson).

But Brian, who was no stranger to adversity, was dealt yet another blow
shortly after realizing his lifelong dream at WCW. He was diagnosed
with an ulcer which prevented him from keeping food down, and when
doctors removed the ulcer, they discovered cancer in 11 lymph nodes in
his spleen. Doctors removed them and put Brian on chemotherapy.

Although being forced from the ring for eight months, he came back with
renewed vigor until exploratory surgery last October revealed that the
cancer had spread. And although he was told that the cancer was
inoperable, he vowed he'd return. And he did, on several occasions,
despite at one point dropping to 75 pounds before being fed with IVs to
boost his weight.

"Brian was a good friend and a real professional in the ring," said
fellow WCW ref Charles Robinson. "Even with a slow match - because of
the excitement that he brought to the ring - even a boring match was
exciting with Brian in it. He really loved the sport and he gave his
heart and soul for it. During his illness, he never gave up his faith
in God. God will take care of him. I love him and I miss him, and I'll
see him when I get to heaven."

Mike Mooneyham can be reached by phone at (843) 937-5517 or by e-mail
at mooneyham. More wrestling news with Mike
Mooneyham is available every Monday on The Wrestling Observer Hotline.
The number is
1-900-903-9030. Calls are 99 cents per minute, and children under 18
must get parental permission before dialing.

Visit My Home Page At:

As everyone knows by now, WCW Czar Dr. Harvey Schiller announced that
WCW was now going to be the responsibility of one of his bean counters.
Notice that in the corporate way, it never said Eric Bischoff was
fired. Instead he has been "Reassigned" to other duties in the Time
Warner / Turner Empire. That's a nice way of saying he will now be
responsible for such important duties as sharpening pencils, making
copies, etc., until his contract expires. At that time he will be
"Reassigned" again, this time to the unemployment line. A more likely
scenario is that he will seek other employment and quietly slip away
into the night. I hear Jim Ross has kept his old job as Ross's
assistant open for him. I'm sure Ross would love to have Good Pawn
Eric back under him. Paybacks are a bitch.

It wasn't a secret that I felt Bischoff had to go before any meaningful
changes could take place in WCW. What WCW needs is someone with a
vision to take control. I have been reading all kinds of booking plans
for the past few weeks, with each author suggesting that implementation
of his plan would save WCW. That just won't work. WCW needs an entire
new direction, not just a series of matches to fix the problems. Love
him or hate him, but WWF Owner Vince McMahon had a vision. He took a
floundering company who had lost virtually all of it major stars,
changed directions and turned the WWF into the juggernaut you see
today; A strong and vital company about to go public with an IPO.

Changing "rasslin" into "Sports Entertainment" saved the WWF from going
under. This was a major gamble on McMahon's part that succeeded. He did
this while fighting to survive against WCW's seemingly bottomless

ECW Owner Paul Heyman is another man with vision. He started a brand
new company, with a new concept. Heyman saw a niche for "Hardcore
Wrestling." He began operations in an old building in South
Philadelphia. Operating on a shoestring and continually losing many of
his stars to WCW (and some to the WWF), he persevered and now ECW has a
national TV contract. Heyman kept the course despite overwhelming odds.
Not to sound corny, but that's the American way. Now some of his talent
is returning, disillusioned by what they saw.

Turning back to Bischoff, he was fated to fail from the start. He saw a
concept in Japan (NWO) and brought it to WCW. This was hardly
visionary. Transferring a concept such as he did was destined to run
its course. The NWO idea could only last so long and stand just so many
variations. He had the financial advantage that only being part of Time
Warner / Turner Empire could afford. He brought in all the major names
he could, ending up with a bloated roster, but had to incorporate them
in the NWO concept. The problem with this is obvious: There is only so
much TV time and only so many could be involved in a substantial way.
With all the big names, egos quickly surfaced and soon the inmates were
running the asylum. Bischoff never had a vision. He had a purloined
concept, financial and broadcasting advantages.

With so large a roster and with so many people having input to how
their matches and characters would play out, he ended up with what we
have today. WCW became a rudderless ship, without a captain. It was
demonstrated recently when the West Texas Rednecks were given the Tag
Team Titles for apparently no other reason than old Wrestling From
Florida connections between The Rednecks (especially Barry Windham) and
a couple of WCW's bookers, Kevin Sullivan and Mike Graham. It is
reported that Bischoff was furious that it happened, but it goes to
show how he lost control of the company he was charged with running. It
is hard to imagine something like that happening in the WWF, or even in

There were other reasons for WCW's decline, including Bischoff's own
ego. Two years ago when WCW was winning the ratings every Monday, it is
reported that he said he wasn't interested in seeing the ratings
because they bored him, and that the WWF would be out of business
shortly. If nothing else, comments like that serve to energize the
opposition. It is why football coaches tell their players to keep their
mouths shut and not wake a sleeping lion by denigrating him.

When he was winning the ratings, you never heard him complain about the
content of the WWF programming, other than to say it was a fad and
people would soon tire of it. When the WWF's brand of programming moved
past WCW in the ratings, Bischoff complained they weren't on equal
footing since he couldn't do some of the things the WWF did. That just
doesn't wash. The "Family Programming" that WCW advertised, what just
that, an advertisement. Randy Savage said and did things the WWF
didn't. His women wore more revealing clothes than any ever used by the
WWF. In fact one night Gorgeous George, Miss Mona and Alundra Blaze
were hanging out to point that would have had Jerry Lawler screaming "I
see the Puppies, in fact, I see the whole kennel."

Kevin Nash admitted later that it was done on purpose in an attempt to
improve NITRO's ratings.

Over the last two years, Bischoff tried all kinds of gimmicks to
improve WCW's ratings. He spent a fortune to bring in several bands,
all of which bombed. He used "Gimmick" programming with Jay Leno and
Dennis Rodman, none of which proved successful. Almost everything he
tried failed. Why? Because they were all short term, stop gap measures.
There was no long range plan, no vision. Say what you want about the
quality of matches, but in the final analysis, wrestling is a business,
and the purpose of business is to make money. Neither Time Warner nor
Ted Turner exists as a charitable organization. Higher Ratings equal
Higher Commercial Income. Plain and simple.

The WWF increased their profit from $8.5 to $56 million and almost
doubled their revenue to $251.5 million in the fiscal year ended April
1999 (Orlando Sentinel, September 11, 1999, in a story about the
upcoming WWF Stock Offering). While the WWF has been playing to
virtually all sell outs and increased PPV revenue, WCW has struggled to
sell tickets. Just the other day Ric Flair came to the ring in
Baltimore, where there were empty seats all over the place and promised
that WCW would make a comeback and pass the WWF.

I want WCW to succeed. It is to the fans benefit that all three major
Federations are healthy and viable. This will force them to give us
what we want to see. This can only happen if the new leader(s) of WCW
come forth with vision of where WCW is headed. Just redoing cards wont
be a long-term solution. They need an entire new direction. McMahon
came up with "Sports Entertainment; Heyman came up with "Hardcore;"
let's hope they come up with something new that we can get behind.
There are plenty of creative minds they can draw from. Just making
changes in booking isn't the answer.
"Pro Wrestling Between the Sheets" ( very own Bob
Magee has shared more memories of Brian Hildebrand, courtesy of Jon
Owen, a friend of Hildeband's. For more of the same, please be sure to
check out the PWBTS site...

By Bob Magee (bobmagee1)
Jon Owen is a young man well known by wrestling fans in the
Philadelphia area. He's conquered tremendous physical and personal
challenges in his young life.

In 1994, several of us, including Jim Cornette, helped get Jon down to
the SMW Fanweek 1994 I've referred to in my stories about Brian through
the Starlight Foundation.

Jon sent me this e-mail last night, and I wanted to share it with
readers. It talked about the way Brian treated him as a very special
person by Brian during one very special week in 1994.
-Bob Magee

Jon Owen's story:
"The first time I met Brian Hildebrand, I was privileged enough to be
able to go to Smoky Mountain Wrestling's Fan week in the August of
1994. For a 17 year old teenager that had little self esteem and who
grew to love the spectacle of professional wrestling, this week would
be a week of great expectations.

When I arrived at the hotel a funny thing happened. My friend Bob Magee
was there. He introduced me to this guy who introduced himself as Brian
Hildebrand. A 17 year old boy has ways of looking into somebody's eyes
and seeing what is in that man. This seventeen kid saw something in
Brian's eyes that the kid rarely saw in others. I saw that he was
really listening and actually cared what I was saying. Few people that
I have met in my life have had that look at that first meeting.

Then throughout the entire week, I saw a man who gave of himself in
making sure everything went right. This man worked as a referee,
allowing me the great honor in riding with him in his car to the
matches that were sometimes more than 3 hours away, organized where
everyone would stay, and basically doing everything for the week that
we did not know.

This wasn't just one week out of the life of Brian Hildebrand.

This week reflected the way he was, no respecter of person based just
on who they were. Brian would talk to you til you were blue in the face
no matter who you were. He saw you as a human being worthy enough to
joke around with and to get serious and talk seriously too.

The last time I saw Brian was in New Jersey at a convention.

We got to sit down and all have a wonderful dinner and just joked
around about all the wild times we have had... including Ricky Morton's
girlfriend. Brian that is for you.

One thing I have learned through this is that you have to tell people
how much they mean to you. Brian loved the wrestling business and
devoted his whole life to it. I believe that Brian found true happiness
in his life because he found his great love and became a star in it.

Make no mistake, Brian was one of the brightest stars of the world of
professional wrestling. He might have not been a household name but he
became the mold for every person that takes part in the wrestling
business. He had a passion for the business and it showed through the
endless hours of sacrifice he gave. We will all miss his passion.

I want to take time to thank his parents and his wife, Pam, for sharing
him with us all. It was a awesome blessing knowing him. I think we can
all learn from looking at his life. We have to find our passion in life
and then give our whole life to it. That is the only way to truly be
Written by reader: MAULER814

RE: FRITZ CAPP and his review of the Fabulous Moolah

In 1996 I was lucky enough to accompany several wrestlers from my
organization, and its promoter, to Las Vegas for the 11th annual
l.i.w.a. wrestling extravaganza and awards dinner held by Moolah and
the members of the l.i.w.a.

The highlight of the weekend is the GOLDEN GIRLS of WRESTLING (stars of
womens wrestling, past and future) where the likes of Moolah, Mae
Young, Joanie Lee (Chyna) and other stars show what it was that made
or will make them.

I have never in my career seen anyone, let alone a women, take such
clean bumps in the ring, hard chops, vicious hair pulling flips, and
all out female nastiness in the ring.

These women (most over 50) take these bumps with the same grace and
skill as Mad Dog Vachon getting his leg ripped off and used as a weapon
by Jerry Lawler or Kevin Nash.

Why was Mad Dog Vachon in the ring? Because that's where he belongs.
Instead of looking at moolahs presence in the ring as why, why not look
at it and say, SHE WAS

Footnote: and I didn't see Moolah put up her arm or hand to cushion the
blow, like I have seen other BIG TOUGH guys do.
The staff of The Wrestling Booking Sheet
Editor: Steve Appy
Columnist: Mark George
Columnist: SamJerry
Columnist: Fritz Capp
Columnist: Rick Phelps
Columnist: Cindy Barnes
Columnist: Josh Hewitt
Columnist: Swami
Columnist: Tom Misnik
Columnist: Nate Pelley
Columnist: Robert Troy (Osiris)
Tom Kirkbride
Columnist: Ryan S. Oaks
Columnist: Darren Kramer

Any submissions sent in by readers or columnists become the property of The Wrestling Booking Sheet, and are subject to editing due to grammar, spelling, or content. Any information taken from The Wrestling Booking Sheet must be credited properly, with our E-Mail address listed. We have no problem if you want to use our stuff; just credit it properly.

Copyright- Steve Appy of The Wrestling Booking Sheet ©1998, 1999, 2000


"When you're young and you pick up a guitar, it feels so powerful. It feels like you pulled the sword from the stone. I used to believe that it could save the world. But I don't really believe that anymore." - Bruce Springsteen

"The greatest challenge of adulthood is holding on to your idealism
after you lose your innocence and believing in the power of the human
spirit after you come crashing into the limits of the real adult
world." - Bruce Springsteen


Copyright© 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005. 2006, 2007, 2008 Clooney's Pub Softball
All Rights Reserved.

Home  Photo Albums  Stats 

Win/Loss Records  Lifetime stat rankings  Offensive MVP's

  You Tube Videos  Gear & merchandise  Field Directions

  Softball Links  Bats  Amazon Store

  Contact Us  Links  Entertainment Links

  Sports Links  Peninsula Bay Area  WBS

Real Estate  Names

 Clooney's Pub Softball of Burlingame, CA