Mike Capano, Wrestling Historian & Vice President
of the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame:
5th June 2003
your background, and that of the PWHOF?
the early 50's, my uncle was a professional wrestler
who went by the name of Leonardo
wrestled mostly in the northeastern part of the United
States. Because he could not speak English, being
from Argentina, my father was his manager.
was close friends with Antonino Rocca. They trained
and wrestled together until my uncle enlisted in the
army. In 1997 I had an opportunity to apply for my
wrestling promoter's license in the state of New York.
As the owner of "New Breed Wrestling", I
conducted shows in New York State from 1997 to 2000.
During this time I had met Tony Vellano who was an
official with the New York State Athletic Commission.
In 2001 Mr. Vellano contacted me to see if I would
be interested in helping with events for the Professional
Wrestling Hall of Fame.The PWHF is a not for profit
organization. The founding fathers were Tony Vellano
and George "The Animal" Steele. Since I
was no longer promoting,I was more than happy to be
involved. After running several autograph sessions
I was elected to sit on the board of directors for
the PWHF. One of my main functions is promoting the
are your aims and objectives?
Profesional Wrestling Hall of Fame is also a chartered
museum with the the New York
State Department of Education. We not only
hold induction ceremonys for those being enshrined
but also have a museum located at 123 Broadway in
Schenectady, New York. There are hundreds of displays
of pictures, posters, ring attire,memorabilia and
also a library. Many of these items date back to the
1900's. The Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and
Museum honors the inductees and educates the wrestling
enthusiast. Many of the younger fans are only interested
in what they see on TV and don't realize there is
over one hundred years of wrestling history or that
wrestling has been on TV since the early 1940's. The
first televised wrestling show was produced in Schenectady,
is your position?
was elected Vice President of the Professional Wrestling
Hall of Fame and Museum in 2002. My functions include
everything from promotion of the PWHF nationally and
internationally to assisting with events to displaying
memorabilia at the museum.
how and why did you start making a real difference
to pro wrestling heritage and history?
of the biggest obstacles we have had to over-come
was credibility. Because this had not been done before
the wrestling community watched to see how this was
going to turn out. The weekend of May 17th 2003 we
completed our second annual Induction. We have gained
national recognition and we are being supported by
the wrestling industry. The PWHF has also been promoted
world wide. There were about one thousand people that
attended the last induction weekend. There were also
people that flew in from Japan and around the world
to attend.Without the support of everyone in the wrestling
industry and the fans the PWHF would not be able to
continue. There are many retired wrestlers that have
been forgotten. These wrestlers are the fathers of
professional wrestling and do need to be remembered
and honored. Wrestling was and still is a big part
of history not just in the United States but world
is the biggest misconception about old time pro wrestling?
biggest misconception is that wrestling is not real
or fake. Of course everyone knows wrestling is a predetermined,
that's were the entertainment comes from. What the
wrestlers of today and yesterday put themselves through
is not fake.If you talk to just about any one who
has been in the business for many years, they will
tell you it takes a special person to fall off of
a 20' cage, go threw a table and continue to wrestle.
Almost every wrestler that has been on the road for
a number of years lives with the physical pain every
day. Many wrestlers have had surgery at one time or
another. How many athletes in other professions can
continue to perform with a fractured rib or a broken
hand. This is part of life if you want to wrestle.
There is nothing fake about a broken bone.
are your biggest supporters?
support the PWHF gets comes from several different
areas and groups, that is what makes the PWHF continue
to succeed. The support also comes in various forms.
The wrestlers support the PWHF by donating memorabilia
and also by promoting within the wrestling industry
or attending functions the PWHF puts on. The promoters
help by letting the PWHF sell and promote at wrestling
shows. The fans support the PWHF by attending the
functions and also by donating memorabilia or purchasing
PWHF merchandise such as shirts, hats, posters, etc..
. The media supports the PWHF by covering events,
running stories or by posting press releases and upcoming
events. We also get financial support from the local
community and sponsors.
do you raise awareness?
are continually promoting the PWHF and events. This
is done through the internet, newspaper, radio and
TV. The PWHF is promoted not only nationally but worldwide.
are your most treasured wrestling items?
of the items at the museum are treasured. Many of
the items or memorabilia at the PWHF can never be
replaced. You can get an autographed picture of "The
Rock" or "Hulk Hogan" but you will
never get another autographed picture of "Antinino
Rocca" or "Andre the Giant".
other media exposure have you garnered?
Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame has had coverage
from television, radio, newspaper and internet. We
have done TV shows and nationally syndicated radio
talk shows. Madison Square Garden
Network conducted interviews during the induction
weekend. Reporters from Japan flew in to cover the
you think the general public respects pro wrestling
more these days, than days gone past?
think fans today take wrestling for what it is, entertainment.
Twenty to forty years ago more of the fan base thought
the storylines were real. Wrestlers were physically
attacked or had their cars attacked by a mob of fans
that were angry at them for what they had had done
or said at a show.
was the greatest worker and brawler of all time?
greatest worker or brawler 100 years ago is so much
different from the wrestler of today. Each era has
had it's great wrestlers.
are the most well known wrestlers and wrestling personalities
that you have dealt with re the PRHF?
this is the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame &
Museum, the majority of wrestlers we deal with are
legends. This past induction Nick
Bockwinkel, The Fabulous Moolah, Killer Kowalski and
Dick" the Destroyer" Beyer were all
in attendance. We have also had functions with George
"The Animal"Steele , Ox Baker, Butcher and
Mad Dog Vachon, Johnny Valiant, Greg "The Hammer
"Valentine, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka,
Captain Lou Albano, "Hacksaw "Jim Duggan,
Brutus Beefcake and these are just a few.
years does the PRHF cover, and what are your favorite
eras, and why?
this has never been done before the PWHF had to go
as far back as the 1800's so we cover over 100 years
of wrestling history. I personally do not have a favorite
era but if I did have to pick a period I would have
to say pre 70's because the storylines were less complicated
and wrestling was not as over-exposed as it is today.
do you think pro wrestling fans are particually passionate
about what they love, and how many fans actually respect
what the wrestling legends did for the business, to
get it to the state it is in today?
Wrestling Fans of today are more educated about the
sport of wrestling. They understand the abuse the
wrestlers put themselves through to entertain the
crowd. They understand that the wrestlers are not
doing this to win the superbowl or a world series
but to win over the fans.
do you think, or know, the reason was that inspired
Vince McMahon Jr to start to acknowledge wrestling's
Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum has
no affiliation with any wrestling promotion. The WWE
does have its own hall of Fame which is for those
who have worked for WWWF, WWF or WWE. We include everyone
in the professional wrestling business and date back
to the 1800's. Vince McMahon knows very well what
it takes to be a professional wrestler. He knows these
wrestlers of the past deserve to be honored and are
very big part of wrestling history. You can not have
a great promotion without having great wrestlers and
I believe Mr. McMahon is giving those the recognition
they deserve. Mr. McMahon is in his 50's and still
climbs into the ring on occasion, how many athelets
can do what these wrestlers do when they are over
50 years old? How can you not give them respect?
are your curretn projects?
are currently putting a fundraiser dinner together
and possibly a Legends Cruise.
has the internet helped and hindered you?
internet has definately been a help, without it we
would not be able to reach thousands of wrestlers
and fans world wide.
wrestling websites do you visit?
I send out updates or press releases there are about
300 news sites and reporters I mail. I also send to
wrestlers and promotions that also have websites which
totals around 2000 mailings worldwide.
What else should our audience know?
Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame consists of a
14 member board of directors and a 22 member selection
committee.No one on the board or committee gets paid
for their time and input spent with the PWHF, it is
strictly voluntary.The function of the board of directors
is to promote,operate,maintain and conduct the induction
ceremonies for the Professional Wrestling Hall of
Fame & Museum. The selection committee is to nominate
those to be inducted.The board of directors are made
up of an attorney, accountant and businessmen . George"The
Animal" Steele and Hillbilly Cousin Luke
both are board members. The selection committee is
made up of wrestling historians, writers and authorities
on the pro wrestling business.
further information contact Tony Vellano (518)356-3473,
firstname.lastname@example.org or Mike Capano (518)725-5272,
or visit www.pwhf.org