Wrestling has come a long way: Back in my poor ex-student post-college days in Raleigh NC, WRAL Television 5 used to film wrestling every Wednesday evening at 6:30pm. They PAID students from the local colleges and universities $5 each to be in the audience during taping (a 22-minute segment took about an hour to tape). The "dressing room," used by Ric Flair, Chief Wahoo McDaniel, and others, was a section of the studio cordoned off by blankets hung from scaffolding. I got paid $25 to shoot publicity stills (which barely covered the cost of film & processing). Afterward, we'd often go over to the NCSU campus and party for a while, eventually winding up at the local IHOP on Hillsborough Street about 1 in the morning.
I remember once shooting Ricky Steamboat "arriving" for a "match" in a '50's Rolls Royce belonging to NCSU assistant basketball coach Eddie Biedenbach and "chauffeured" by a waitress from the IHOP. Fond memories.
Within about a year, the spiffs for attendance stopped and filming moved to one of the local coliseums, complete with major publicity and high ticket prices. That's capitalism for you.
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