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Grappling, With the Truth

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Where were you when Kerry Von Erich died? If you have an answer to that question (sitting in stunned disbelief in front of the parent’s TV, wondering just what the hell could take down the Texas Tornado), then you are a true-blue St. Louis wrestling fan. The glory days of the sport, when Wrestling at the Chase was a weekly ritual and the Von Erichs dominated the scene, are now mythology, or maybe hazy memories overshadowed by the commercial slickness of the WWE version of the sport. Irvin Muchnick, author of Wrestling Babylon: Piledriving Tales of Drugs, Sex, Death and Scandal, delves deep into the mythology to reveal the truth behind the ring personas. According to Muchnick (nephew of St. Louis wrestling promoter Sam Muchnick), heroes and heels alike were flawed men with too much money, too many drug problems and too little restraint. Honestly, we knew it was fake all along. But reading about the Von Erich family suicides, or Hulk Hogan’s reputed steroid problems -- it doesn’t tarnish the myth so much as it humanizes men who seemed like demigods when viewed through a child’s eyes. Muchnick discusses his book and wrestling at 7 p.m. at the Pro Wrestling Shirt Shop at South County Mall (South Lindbergh Boulevard and Lemay Ferry Road; 314-487-6500) on Thursday, June 21. He also appears at the Borders Books & Music-Sunset Hills store at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 22.
Thu., June 21; Fri., June 22

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