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