Hey Boy! Where’d You Get Them Ears by Paul Boesch

October 22, 2019

This is one of the few out-of-print books that is worth tracking down. Boesch, the promoter in Houston for 20 years, was keen on sharing the lessons of wrestling history, in particular encouraging Wrestling Observer Newsletter editor Dave Meltzer to attend the Cauliflower Alley Club at a time when “outsiders” were rarely seen at the events.

He continues these efforts in a book that’s part history of the US business, part autobiography. The book itself has quite this history: Boesch circulated a first draft manuscript among a few trusted friends including Meltzer and Jim Cornette that was reportedly far more critical of some wrestling figures, notably Vince McMahon.

The finished version, published 13 years after his death, was somewhat toned down. It was never available through mainstream book retailers, but Boesch’s widow sold copies at events such as Cauliflower Alley (where I picked up my copy.)

The book is a perfect example of how the kayfabe issue can be a red herring in wrestling books. At no point does Boesch question the legitimacy of match outcomes, but it’s an easy task to read between the lines when it comes to points he makes about booking and similar issues.

While the book is great purely as a factual record of events, it’s the lessons to be learned that make it a must-read. A key example is when he held a fan vote to decide the next main event, predictably leading to a bout with the area’s two leading babyfaces against one another, yet the crowd proved disappointing. It taught Boesch that what fans say they want to see is not always what they really want to see.

The book also repeatedly makes a point illustrated by Meltzer in his obituary in the Wrestling Observer: <blockquote>I recall one time, after a fairly bad house, he called me up out of the blue. He told me about the house, and then started giving excuses one after another. The weather was bad. It was the end of the month and money was tight. The economy is bad of late. The TV show got moved back an hour the week before the card because the baseball game went into extra innings. We had to change one of the main events because a guy got hurt two weeks before the card. He had about 15 of them in a row. What I’ll remember most was his last comment. ‘I’m telling you all these things now so you’ll know every excuse I can give you for the fact that I put together a card nobody wanted to see.</blockquote>

It’s a real shame that with so much knowledge to share, the book is not more widely available. It was published and printed by Houston firm <a href=”http://www.minutemansw.com/”>Minuteman Press</a>, but to the best of my knowledge it is no longer on sale. If that is the case, this is worth setting up an eBay alert for.

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