Documentarian to explore Detroit’s storied history of professional wrestling

Sheik takes down andreNo one knows professional wrestling in Detroit quite like Mark Nowotarski.

The journalist and award-winning documentarian is a wrestling fanatic who has thoroughly documented Detroit’s storied, grungy wrestling scene since boisterous crowds began packing gyms in the 1950s to see nationally known stars likes The Sheik and Bobo Brazil.

Nowotarski captured rare photos and videos for decades. Now he wants to create “Battles, Bouts and Brawls – The Story of Professional Wrestling in Detroit and the Surrounding Areas – Yesterday, Today and Beyond.”

“This is the story of the history, the people, the bouts, battles and all else having to do with professional wresting in Detroit and the surrounding areas over the past five decades,” Nowotarski said. “I’m telling this story while there are still first-hand accounts of its history.”

But Nowotarski can’t make the documentary without sufficient funding. He’s asking for the public’s help to raise $30,000 by the middle of this week and has set up a fundraising account.

Nowotarski produced the colorful documentary, “The Sheik: Wresting’s Greatest Villain,” and “The J.W. Westcott Story,” which has run on PBS.

Detroit’s wrestling scene has evolved since Vince McMahon Jr. revolutionized the industry in the 1980s.  In 1987, WrestleMania III at the Pontiac Silverdome drew more than 93,000 people – the largest crowd to ever attend a professional wrestling event at the time.

To learn more about donating to the project , click here.

Here is a short video about early professional wresting in Detroit:

Got tips or suggestions? Contact Steve at sneavling@gmail.
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Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for many more daily updates, investigations, photos and videos of the Motor City.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

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