Sunday, September 11, 2011

We're No Angels

Paul Diamond, 6'3", 235#, and friend

Paul Diamond and foe
Paul Diamond

Paul Christy

Paul Christy

Greco-Canadian heels John and Chris Tolos

After yesterday's post, I got an email from Gary, a reader and fellow admirer of old-school rough-and-tumble wrestling, which, he noted, "had a real physicality (and a sense of danger and spontaneity) that is totally lacking in anything being produced today" (although, like me, he sees some reason for hope in UK wrestler Terry Frazier, featured prominently on NewPro Wrestling's Lads of the Ring 20). Gary attached some photos of one of his favorite wrestlers from the golden era, Paul Diamond. Above are two of those pictures, to which I added one more I found of Diamond and three of other 1950s stars Gary mentioned.

I would not want to romanticize that decade, dead center of the twentieth century and high point of cold-war paranoia and American homophobia. It was, however, the last gasp for "he-men" before the Beatles, feminism, and gay liberation made the notion verboten or ridiculous--at best, quaint and ironic. After 1970, sweaty, growling, stomping masculinity became self-conscious--and gauche. Of course I am 100% behind feminism and gay liberation--but with every major paradigm shift that comes with cultural progress, I believe something good is often lost as well.

For the past forty years, macho and masculinity have appeared in "quote marks," almost always accompanied by a knowing wink (the Village People, Burt Reynolds, Ronald Reagan, Magnum PI), as the new "lite" male emerged (the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Heath Ledger, Barack Obama, The Hangover). I'm all for change and progress--I'm not opposed to androgyny, and I don't crave strong gender boundaries--but I hope we can still find room for rugged, square-jawed, hairy-chested manliness, without the quote marks, apologies, or right-wing cro-magnon baggage, as one possible identity style among many.


  1. Not only Terry Frazier but Rampage Brown{fomerly Monty Lynch FCW]another tough no nonsense reason for hope.

  2. Wasn't John Tolos of Greek descent? He was billed as "The Golden Greek" back in his prime.

  3. You're right, Bruno: Greek. I'll make the correction.

  4. Any possibility of the chance of finding this Paul Diamond on DVD from vintage matches? All I can find is the other paul Diamond, from the 80s.



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