The Purge Report: AWA Wrestling Ring

This is part of an ongoing series of blog posts about things I’m purging from my apartment and why I’m getting rid of them.

I’ve held a lot of boring temp jobs in my time. For the most part they were a means to an end while I looked for permanent job, but they also provided me with plenty of opportunities to shop on eBay. I would say 90% of the shit I’m trying to get rid of was purchased while I was bored at work waiting for my lunch break.

There was a while there when I went through this phase of collecting vintage professional wrestling memorabilia from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. I found the times had this kitsch aesthetic that really captured the colours and style of those decades. I assumed that since there was so little of it out there, it had to be rare and I would eventually make money on it the long run.

The problem with compulsive shopping on eBay is you are so determined to win an auction, you never imagine where it will go once you have it. Most of my eBay purchases are hidden away in my walk-in closet. I display some of the really garish stuff, but some of it so out there I’m too embarrassed to show it to people.

The problem with getting rid of wrestling memorabelia is, while it may be collecting dust in a dark corner, I don’t want to just give it away. There are some serious collectors out there, and although some of what I own might be worthless on the open market, I would like to find a good home for it.

One piece of memorabilia I bought was a toy AWA wrestling ring. The AWA, or All-Star Wrestling Association, was Verne Gagne’s operation and gave birth to many famous wrestlers that would go on to be superstars in the WWF. It was where Hulk Hogan was discovered and Jesse Ventura.

AWA Wrestling Ring

AWA Wrestling Ring

I was a big fan of the TV program when I was a kid. It was how I figured out I was gay. It was the perfect cover for a young gay kid: sweaty muscled guys (well not all of them) rolling around in nothing but a pair of trunks to exhaustion. Watching wrestling with my dad was one of the few things we enjoyed doing together.

Judge's Area

Judge’s Area

Aside from the man on man action, I was always fascinated by the federation’s logo. It was a red, white, and blue shield, with two guys grappling in the middle of it. One look brought back hundreds of childhood memories of repressed sexuality. I didn’t even know the AWA had put out a line of toys until eBay started selling people’s old shit.

I don’t remember the exact circumstances of how I bought the ring, but I remember that it was about $10. It was made of wood and covered in this great canvas with the AWA logo smack dab in the middle of it.

Broadcast Area

Broadcast Area

I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but I knew I had to have it. I figured I would frame the canvas and hang it on the wall, but when it arrived in the mail I thought the ring was too unique to take apart so I kept it in a box. In the ten or so years I owned it, the ring saw the light of day maybe twenty times.  I would pull it out and assemble it to have a look wondering how to display it properly but I’ve never had the space for it. Plus I was kind of embarrassed to have it out in plain view.

I’m happy to say that I just sold the ring on eBay for $18 USD. After shipping I probably made a $5 profit on it, but this was one of those rare occasions where I wasn’t concerned about making money back; I just needed to know that it will get a second chance of someone appreciating what a rarity it is.

About garpinbc

Author of the forthcoming "Same Love" published by Lorimer, as well as the memoir "Foodsluts at Doll & Penny's Cafe", and the YA short, "Haters Gotta Hate".
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