SPRINGFIELD -- Ox Baker spent his adult life as a wrestler audiences loved to hate, but there was a fair amount of respect, if not affection when Baker made an appearance at the recent Big Time Wrestling Show in Chicopee.
Selling autographed pictures and copies of his cookbook, Baker was certainly friendly with fans. That might be temporary, though, as the old Ox Baker -- the man who used to wear a T-shirt that read, "I like to hurt people" -- may be back.
Baker will be making a special appearance as the manager of Bruiser Costa in a mixed-gender tag team match that will be the main event for "Old School Professional Wrestling." The show will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Knights of Columbus, 2071 Page Blvd.
Promoter Richard Blake is a local and longtime wrestling fan who remembers the sport before the advent of national television shows and the World Wrestling Entertainment.
"We do the real stuff," Blake told Reminder Publications. "We're not a soap opera."
Blake said his shows are family oriented. "You're not embarrassed to bring your kids," he added. "We do it the way when you used to sit on your dad's lap and watch TV."
Blake started thinking about running his own wrestling promotion in 2006 and 2007 when he scouted the area for potential talent. He said he knew then he wanted to get rid of "all of the soap opera, glitz and sex."
His show on Dec. 12 will feature seven matches and an appearance by former WWE star Antonio Thomas.
His first show was in 2008 and he's happy with the reception from the fans. He believes each show is getting better, while still remaining "old school."
Blake added there is no one more old school than Baker, who wrestled around the country before the start of national broadcasts and was known to be ruthless in the ring.
His infamy gave him the opening to appear in two movies, "The Big Brawl" with Jackie Chan and "Escape from New York" with Kurt Russell. On the DVD commentary for "Escape to New York," Russell revealed that Baker didn't hold his punches much during a climactic fight between the two men.
Baker confirmed that he was a "little mad" about being paired up with a "punk kid" in his first movie and took some of his frustration out on the star.
Although in his seventies, Baker still cuts an opposing figure at six feet five inches in height. Seeing this reporter's microphone, he launched into a rant about how he was bringing a "secret weapon" to the match to assure Costa's victory.
"Are you going to be there?" he asked this reporter while putting him in a modified headlock. I assured him I would be.
"You better not be lying to these people," Baker replied. I said I wouldn't.
Tickets will be available at the door. For more information, log on to www.T3WP.com.
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