WrestleMania Rings -- WWE Warehouse -- Ep. #1
WWE.com takes the WWE Universe to the top-secret WWE Warehouse. In the premiere episode of WWE Warehouse, Ben Brown shares one of the oldest artifacts from WrestleMania. Plus, find out just how the WWE Superstars stayed warm outside at WrestleMania 29.
Tags: World Wrestling Entertainment (Organization) WrestleMania (Recurring Event) WrestleMania Rings WWE Warehouse Joey Styles WWE
Added: 6 months ago
[various shots of the WWE's storage facility are shown (featuring items like old wrestling props and toys), then cut to Joey Styles running into young male archivist Ben Brown (red hair and beard, WWE jacket, blue jeans) driving a forklift carrying the "King of the Ring" throne]
JOEY STYLES: Whoa!
[Brown stops the forklift and gets out]
JOEY STYLES: Hey Ben!
BEN BROWN: Hey Joey, how are you?
JOEY STYLES: Good, good to see ya!
BEN BROWN: Ah, pleasure to see you as well.
[they shake hands]
BEN BROWN: What brings you to these parts?
JOEY STYLES: Well, we're doing a new show called "WWE Warehouse" ...
["Joey Styles, @JoeyStyles" and "Ben Brown, @WWEArchivist" appears on screen]
BEN BROWN: Okay.
JOEY STYLES: So I'd like to introduce you to the WWE Universe! Ben Brown, what do you do for WWE?
BEN BROWN: I am officially the WWE archivist.
[cut to more shots of items stored in the WWE warehouse (Ultimate Warrior's airbrushed jacket, Brutus Beefcake's barbershop clippers, etc.), as "Ben previously worked at the Smithsonian" appears on screen]
JOEY STYLES: [in voice over] So you procure, restore, and keep safe all of these treasures of sports entertainment? That's not just a job, that's a dream!
[cut back to Joey talking to Ben (who is now sitting in the throne)]
JOEY STYLES: We are speeding down the road to Wrestlemania Thirty ...
[cut to a poster of Hulk Hogan and Mister T from Wrestlemania One]
JOEY STYLES: [in voice over] But before we get there, we wanna go back to the first WrestleMania ...
[cut back to Joey and Ben]
BEN BROWN: Oh, I got the perfect piece for you.
JOEY STYLES: You do?
BEN BROWN: Yeah.
JOEY STYLES: Alright!
BEN BROWN: We have to walk a little ways.
JOEY STYLES: Oh, that's fine.
[cut to the two walking down a hallway]
BEN BROWN: What you're gonna see if gonna blow your mind!
JOEY STYLES: Really?
BEN BROWN: Absolutely!
JOEY STYLES: I feel like a little kid again!
[cut to a pile of turnbuckles and ring ropes lying in a pile on the floor]
JOEY STYLES: What am I looking at?
BEN BROWN: That is the ring that Wrestlemania One was contested in ...
["This ring was stored in the basement of MSG" appears on screen]
BEN BROWN: I'm sure you have questions ...
JOEY STYLES: Well, I have lots of questions!
BEN BROWN: Yeah ... I don't know much about rings, but I'm gonna introduce you to Mark Carpenter ...
[the camera pans over to show a man walk up and shake Joey's hand]
JOEY STYLES: Hey Mark!
BEN BROWN: Master ring maker!
MARK CARPENTER: Hey Joey!
["Mark Carpenter, WWE Ring Master" appears on screen]
JOEY STYLES: Alright, now I'm gonna get some answers, 'cause I got lots of questions about this ring!
[cut to Mark and Joey standing in front of the deconstructed ring, as "These same springs were found in old Camaros" appears on screen]
MARK CARPENTER: This ring had a spring in it, years ago.
JOEY STYLES: Just one?
[cut to a closeup of a spring in the pile]
MARK CARPENTER: [in voice over] Just one spring in the middle, it was made in the core.
JOEY STYLES: [in voice over] Okay.
[cut to sped-up footage of a modern-day wrestling ring being put together]
MARK CARPENTER: [in voice over] Because they had five-by-ten sheets of plywood, and they stacked them across.
JOEY STYLES: [in voice over] So we have a video of a ring being constructed, and it seems to have many more pieces than this ring.
[cut back to Mark and Joey talking]
JOEY STYLES: So, these are not the original ropes that were used ...
MARK CARPENTER: No.
[cut to footage of Liberace from Wrestlemania One]
JOEY STYLES: Since the first Wrestlemania.
[cut to closeup footage of the ropes]
MARK CARPENTER: [in voice over] They originally used one-inch sisal.
JOEY STYLES: [in voice over] Okay.
["Sisal is a specie of agave plants" appears on screen]
MARK CARPENTER: [in voice over] Instead of manilla rope, because it doesn't have the kerosene in it, so the duct tape sticks.
[cut to Joey holding a piece of the ring rope, as "Kerosene helped ropes avoid mildew" appears on screen]
JOEY STYLES: So this would be example of using manilla rope, which is just sisal treated with kerosene, and the kerosene melted away the glue ...
[he lifts up some of the duct tape around the rope, as "Sisal is also used to make dartboards" appears on screen]
JOEY STYLES: On the blue duct tape, and now you have a ring rope that is falling apart and can no longer be used.
[cut to the three standing next to the metal part of the ring]
JOEY STYLES: This is the structural support of the ring that was used at the first Wrestlemania?
MARK CARPENTER: Absolutely.
[Ben reaches over and holds up one of the steel bolts]
BEN BROWN: And I guess the other piece of this, which hasn't ever changed ...
[cut to footage of a match between the Miz and Kofi Kingston]
JOEY STYLES: [in voice over] So, if you're watching a WWE match, and one of the Superstars pulls the turnbuckle pad off of the turnbuckle, you've not only got the steel ring ...
[cut back to Joey holding the bolt]
JOEY STYLES: But you've got the bolt on this side as well.
[cut to a still image of the ring bolt]
MARK CARPENTER: [in voice over] You'll have a nice hex on your forehead.
JOEY STYLES: [in voice over] And you're definitely gonna lose that match!
[cut back to the three talking]
JOEY STYLES: Alright Mark, so hypothetically speaking, if we wanted to restore this original ring ...
["WWE held monthly MSG live events in the 70's & 80's" appears on screen]
JOEY STYLES: From Madison Square Garden, and the first Wrestlemania, what would we need to recreate the ring?
MARK CARPENTER: Buy some plywood, some mat, and some rope ... and we're good to go!
[cut to the three standing around a modern ringpost]
JOEY STYLES: Alright, so this is truly the evolution of WWE's ring. This is from Wrestlemania Twenty Nine ...
[cut to footage from Wrestlemania Twenty Nine, as "Wrestlemania 29 had 80,676 WWE fans in attendance" appears on screen]
JOEY STYLES: [in voice over] The first time ever that Wrestlemania held in a stadium in cold weather.
[cut back to Joey pointing at the ringpost]
JOEY STYLES: To the fans who saw this, it looks like a normal ringpost, but then if you spin it around ...
[they turn the opposite side of the ringpost towards the camera, revealing several small holes]
JOEY STYLES: This is what was facing into the ring ... What's with the holes?
MARK CARPENTER: We had heated the area underneath the ring, and then we had separate furnaces for each pole that shot ninety-five-degree heat up the poles.
[cut to a computer graphic simulating the heat rising from underneath the ring]
JOEY STYLES: [in voice over] Alright, so we had the ring heated from underneath, and we had hot air blowing into the ring from all four posts ...
[cut to a still image of the ring being constructed]
JOEY STYLES: [in voice over] So hypothetically, if it had snowed during Wrestlemania Twenty Nine, the show could have gone on?
MARK CARPENTER: [in voice over] Yes.
[cut to footage of the ring outdoors, with streamers tied around the ringposts to show the movement of the hot air being blown out, as "Night before Wrestlemania" appears on screen]
MARK CARPENTER: [in voice over] Because it was twenty eight degrees on Saturday night, and the ring itself was seventy eight degrees.
JOEY STYLES: [in voice over] Wow.
[cut to the three standing in front of several large metallic boxes]
JOEY STYLES: So, these signs say "Heated Ring" ... What exactly are in these metal boxes that heated the ring?
[cut to several shots of the materials used to construct the ring's heating system]
MARK CARPENTER: [in voice over] These are electric furnaces that were underneath the ring. There's five altogether.
JOEY STYLES: [in voice over] There were five furnaces underneath the ring at Wrestlemania Twenty Nine?
MARK CARPENTER: [in voice over] Well actually, there were six.
JOEY STYLES: [in voice over] Did you need the sixth furnace?
MARK CARPENTER: [in voice over] We used it.
[cut to the three walking through the warehouse]
JOEY STYLES: Alright, so we saw the ring from the very first Wrestlemania ...
BEN BROWN: Yes.
JOEY STYLES: We saw the evolution all the way through the heated ring from Wrestlemania Twenty Nine ...
BEN BROWN: Yes.
JOEY STYLES: [pause] Is, uh, any of the stuff for Wrestlemania Thirty in the warehouse yet?
BEN BROWN: Funny you say that ... There are a few things that are ready to go--
JOEY STYLES: Right right right!
BEN BROWN: For Wrestlemania Thirty
JOEY STYLES: Where where where?
[Joey jumps up and down in excitement, and Ben points behind him]
BEN BROWN: Right over there!
JOEY STYLES: Here?
BEN BROWN: Yeah, over there!
JOEY STYLES: Oh man ...
[he turns and walks off camera]
MARK CARPENTER: Joe ... Don't do it, Joe!
BEN BROWN: No no no!
MARK CARPENTER: Don't do that!
[cut to Joey about to touch a stack of sealed shipping crates, when the "PA system" crackles to life]
VINCE MCMAHON: [in voice over] Somebody back there's about this close to getting fired!
[Joey stops and looks up at the ceiling]
JOEY STYLES: [whispers] He's everywhere ...
[he sighs and walks off camera, then "What would you like Ben to find in the Warehouse? @WWEArchivist" appears on screen]
GREAT NEWS! WWE WAREHOUSE feat me & @WWEArchivist will air on the 1st Monday of every month on http://You Tube.com/WWE
1:03 PM - 30 Apr 2014
From The Garden to an attic: How the original WWE Title was lost for 50 years - and found
BY Ryan Murphy
May 17, 2013
Fifty years ago on May 17, 1963, Bruno Sammartino defeated Buddy Rogers in Madison Square Garden to begin his historic 2,803-day reign as WWE Champion. That night, Bruno won a title with a brick-colored leather strap and a golden faceplate of the contiguous 48 United States, but he did not hold this version of the championship for long. Soon, an authentic WWE Title was commissioned and the original prize disappeared.
And then someone found it. In August 2012, the widow of former pro grappler Johnny Barend discovered the original WWE Title in her attic and sports-entertainment historians began scrambling to get their white gloves on it. Luckily, Ben Brown - WWE's equivalent to Indiana Jones, or at least one of the guys from "American Pickers" - was able to acquire it, but it wasn't easy.
In recognition of the 50th anniversary of WWE's first title change, WWEClassics.com spoke with the archivist to find out how this pivotal piece of wrestling history was lost - and found.
WWECLASSICS.COM: How did you first find out that the original WWE Title had been discovered?
BEN BROWN: A story popped up on the Internet that the title had been found in the attic of Johnny Barend's widow. Honestly, it was the first time I ever even thought about that original title.
WWECLASSICS.COM: Any idea how Bruno Sammartino's first WWE Championship ended up in Barend's attic?
BROWN: You didn't see Bruno with it for very long. I guess the decision was made by [Vincent J. McMahon] to make a new title. I would assume that Vince gave this title back to Buddy Rogers as the physical title belonged to him. You'll see in the middle of the title is a little circle with a loose piece of plastic - that is where you would put in the photograph of the titleholder. When the title was found, it had a photo of Johnny Barend in it. Bruno confirmed that Buddy and Barend were, in fact, good friends.
WWECLASSICS.COM: Why was a title belonging to Rogers originally recognized as the WWE Title?
BROWN: The story is that Lou Thesz had won the National Wrestling Alliance Title. Vince didn't think that Thesz would draw money in the northeast territory, so he split off from the NWA and promoted his own champion in Buddy Rogers, who he thought would be a better headliner for that area.
WWECLASSICS.COM: So it was something that had to be done quickly. There wasn't exactly time to produce an official WWE Championship.
BROWN: As you notice, the title is shaped like the continental United States of America, which seems odd for a World Championship. Buddy Rogers actually defended it as a United States Championship before he brought it with him to become the first-ever WWE Champion. The only indicator that it's the World Championship is that there's a little plate on the bottom - possibly screwed on over something - that says World's Champion.
WWECLASSICS.COM: How did you initially go about acquiring the title?
BROWN: The fact that it was coming together at the 50th anniversary of the WWE Title's inception and Bruno Sammartino's induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, it was just too important to pass up. I forwarded the story to Triple H and he said, "Go and get it." That turned out to be a little more complicated than it initially seemed.
WWECLASSICS.COM: It had already changed hands by the time that article was published, right?
BROWN: The title was in the ownership of Dave Millican, who designs a lot of our championships. I got in touch with him and he let out a sigh, knowing that it was inevitable that someone from WWE would call him. It was made clear fairly quickly that it wasn't going to be exchanged monetarily.
WWECLASSICS.COM: How did you get him to give it up?
BROWN: We had to give him one-of-a-kind WWE memorabilia.
WWECLASSICS.COM: This was all happening literally days before WrestleMania. Were you nervous you weren't going to pull it off?
BROWN: We were cutting it very close, because we wanted to have it at both WrestleMania Axxess and at the WWE Hall of Fame to show Bruno. So I took the memorabilia items from Washington, D.C., took a couple of different planes into Memphis [Tenn.], traded the memorabilia for the title with Dave Millican in the airport and got back on the same plane, which led me to New Jersey to set up for Axxess.
WWECLASSICS.COM: Being able to actually hand the title to Bruno must have been a thrill.
BROWN: It was a great moment. Bruno said, "Make no mistake about it - this is definitely the real thing." I think one of the most interesting things that came out of the conversation was Bruno saying when he won the title 50 years ago he looked at it and said, "How old is this title?" Just to know that it had that history before becoming the first WWE Title was fascinating.
WWECLASSICS.COM: It looks good for something that's been around since Eisenhower was in office.
BROWN: It has actually held up really well. The construction is nice, the jewels are pretty much all still in there. There's a certain type of rust on the back that indicates that it is well more than 50 years old. It's a beautiful thing and it's a great piece of history to show the WWE Universe.