New World Class Championship Wrestling Exhibit Opens at UTA

Photo courtesy: Cirrus Bonneau

Photo courtesy: Cirrus Bonneau

The wrestlers. Their extravagant costumes. Overly exuberant fans yelling for their favorites. The referee who wasn’t entirely necessary. The old-time arenas that smelled of sweat.

It’s the staple of World Class Championship Wrestling, and the focus of a new exhibit at The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries Special Collections debuting Monday, Aug. 24.

Among other matches featured in the photographic display are those involving the famed Von Erich family, once considered wrestling royalty.

Ringside: Memories of World Class Championship Wrestling showcases more than 30 photos taken by Cirrus Bonneau, who spent Monday nights in 1982 and 1983 at the Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth documenting the interplay between the costumed stars and their captivated audiences.

Oliver Bateman, a UT Arlington assistant professor of history and collegiate wrestler, is curator of Ringside. He hopes to introduce those unfamiliar with wrestling to the sport through the exhibit. For fans, he hopes to reignite their passion or help them relive memories of wrestling.

“Everyone today thinks of wrestling as one single entity; the WWE,” said Bateman, noting that WrestleMania 32 will be held April 3, 2016, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. “However, wrestling used to be much more than even that. Throughout the 1980s, the Von Erichs were far more popular in Dallas than WWE stars like Hulk Hogan.”

The exhibit is free to the public and runs through Jan. 16 at the UT Arlington Central Library, 702 Planetarium Place. Call UTA Libraries Special Collections at 817-272-3393 for more information.

One thought on “New World Class Championship Wrestling Exhibit Opens at UTA”

  1. I worked the Von erichs over America tour as the tour director. Traveled all over Texas with the wrestlers. It was fun and a great learning experience.

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