Telling his story

A former Spec­trum ring an­noun­cer is per­form­ing his one-man stage show “Bodyslams! & Bey­ond” this week­end.

Mi­chael Cap­pet­ta’s show, “Bodyslams & Bey­ond” will take place at CSz Com­edy Club on Feb. 19 at 3:05 p.m. The start time is a trib­ute to wrest­ling on TBS. Photo provided by Gary Mi­chael Cap­pet­ta

You may not know his name, but you’ll def­in­itely know his voice.

Gary Mi­chael Cap­pet­ta was the man who in­tro­duced thou­sands of pro­fes­sion­al wrest­ling matches. He worked for the World Wide Wrest­ling Fed­er­a­tion, now known as World Wrest­ling En­ter­tain­ment, the Na­tion­al Wrest­ling Al­li­ance, which went on to be known as World Cham­pi­on­ship Wrest­ling, an­nounced the first-ever match to be broad­cast on ES­PN when he was with the Amer­ic­an Wrest­ling Al­li­ance and still oc­ca­sion­ally throws on the suit to an­nounce spe­cial matches across the coun­try.

Cap­pet­ta, born and raised in Cent­ral New Jer­sey, has been all over the world an­noun­cing wrest­ling matches, but it’s fair to say his roots are in the Phil­adelphia area.

He got his start an­noun­cing wrest­ling in Wild­wood at Con­ven­tion Hall, but it wasn’t long be­fore he was an­noun­cing in front of nearly 20,000 ra­bid fans at the Phil­adelphia Spec­trum.

“I was just a ring an­noun­cer, I would an­nounce the name, weight and place they’re from,” Cap­pet­ta said. “If you watch an hour show, I was on maybe 1 minute, 45 (seconds) but I’ll meet a lot of fans, and I be­lieve I had the con­nec­tion with them. I was around a long time, and I am a wrest­ling fan.”

Cap­pet­ta was just a ring an­noun­cer, but he hap­pens to be one of the most well-known ring an­noun­cers and for many wrest­ling fans, he was the soundtrack to the be­gin­ning of some of the greatest matches in wrest­ling his­tory.

On his very first night, he was able to an­nounce his all-time fa­vor­ite wrest­ler and the man he re­ferred to as his hero, Bruno Sam­martino.

He was front and cen­ter in Ger­many when Mick Fo­ley lost his ear in a his­tor­ic­al match against Big Van Vader. In fact, Cap­pet­ta helped the now-WWE star re­trieve the ear fol­low­ing the match.

Cap­pet­ta has done it all, has seen it all and has plenty of stor­ies about his days in the strange but al­ways en­ter­tain­ing busi­ness that draws great rat­ings on tele­vi­sion and has for dec­ades.

On Feb. 19, at 3:05 p.m. (the start time an
homage to what time wrest­ling would start on TBS in the 1980s and 1990s), Cap­pet­ta will put on his one-man stage show “Bodyslams! & Bey­ond.” The show is based off his suc­cess­ful auto­bi­o­graphy, Bodyslams: Mem­oirs of a Wrest­ling Pitch­man.

The show will take place at the CSz Com­edy Club, 2030 Sansom St.

For Cap­pet­ta, who was al­ways en­ter­tain­ing in the ring, wheth­er he was set­ting the stage for the main event on pay-per-view, or pitch­ing next month’s list of matches dur­ing his days at the Phil­adelphia Spec­trum, this is an­oth­er chance to en­ter­tain and give back.

The high­light of the show will be Cap­pet­ta talk­ing about his ca­reer, and, hence the name, he prom­ises the show will go bey­ond where his book takes you. The part Cap­pet­ta is look­ing for­ward to the most is help­ing in­de­pend­ent wrest­ling pro­mo­tions.

As part of his nine-show tour, which opens in Phil­adelphia, Cap­pet­ta will have an in­de­pend­ent wrest­ling out­fit on hand, in­clud­ing stars of the pro­mo­tion. In Phil­adelphia, wrest­lers from the Mon­ster Fact­ory, based in Pauls­boro, N.J., will be there to in­tro­duce them­selves to the fans.

“I think in­de­pend­ent wrest­ling is the lifeblood of the sport,” Cap­pet­ta said. “They’ll be there, people can in­ter­act with them. They can talk about up­com­ing (shows). I want to give back, and in­de­pend­ent wrest­ling is the fu­ture stars of pro­fes­sion­al wrest­ling.”

But the main event will be Cap­pet­ta’s stor­ies.

He’d love to give you a quick pre­view of what he’ll be talk­ing about, but that’s not en­tirely pos­sible.

A pro wrest­ling his­tor­i­an, Cap­pet­ta has spent enough time around the sport to pick up tricks from the guys he an­nounced. They would feed off the audi­ence and after feel­ing them out, they’d do their best to give the crowd ex­actly what they want.

That’s very sim­il­ar to what Cap­pet­ta will be do­ing dur­ing his tour. 

“Stor­ies like Mick Fo­ley’s ear and the time I woke up and saw wrest­lers in a knife fight in Eng­land are my greatest hits and they’re stor­ies people al­ways want to hear,” Cap­pet­ta said. “I have an out­line for the show, but once I get up there, I’m go­ing to feed off the audi­ence.”

The good news is Cap­pet­ta will prob­ably have a story for every wrest­ling fan.

“I worked for the WWWF and WWF, and then I was on the road with WCW,” Cap­pet­ta, who doubles as a school teach­er in New Jer­sey, said. “I have stor­ies with Mick Fo­ley, I traveled in a car with the Un­der­taker. Some of the best stor­ies are ones when you’d have three wrest­lers in a car, trav­el­ing to­geth­er. In WCW, it was in my con­tract that I would travel alone be­cause at times, I needed my space, but there were times when guys would travel with me, and those are where the best stor­ies come from.”

The show will be a great way for his­tor­i­ans to learn a little more about the sport.

And if you’d like more than just the one-man show, Cap­pet­ta is of­fer­ing a bo­nus plan. Tick­ets to the show are $20, and for a $40 fee, you can gain early entry in­to the show, take part in a meet and greet with Cap­pet­ta, get a copy of his book, and en­joyoth­er perks


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