Friday, June 20, 2008

Wrestlers of Yore: Paul Diamond

ESPN Classic, in what can only be described as “a gift for me and probably no one else,” has been airing 1980’s AWA telecasts. Currently, they’re on about 1988 or so, which means one thing, and one thing only:

Fantastic Mullets!

That strapping young lad is Thomas Boric, better known to wrestling fans and Vegas hookers as "Paul Diamond.” Boric was born in Croatia, but emigrated to Winnipeg (fun fact kids: if ever asked where a 1980’s wrestler came from, guess “Canada” and you’ll be right about 70% of the time) as a teenagers. An avid soccer player, Boric earned a scholarship to Old Dominion as a goalkeeper, and ended up playing two years in the now-defunct NASL for the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The Rowdies uniform was the first of many ridiculous outfits that Boric would wear in public:

After the NASL folded, Boric went to Boris Malenko’s (father of Dean Malenko) wrestling school, where he was a quick study. He took the name “Paul Diamond” and started wrestling in the Texas All-Star promotion, as part of a tag team called the “American Breed.” Mind you, Diamond was Croatian and his partner Nick Kiniski was Canadian, so the promoter must've had a different sense of what "American Breed" specifically meant. Diamond later tagged with a young Texan named Shawn Michaels, though nobody knows what ended up happening to that guy.

Diamond moved to Memphis to work for the CWA and teamed with Japanese import Pat Tanaka to form the tag team “Badd Company.” (Shockingly, their entrance music was the song "Bad Company") The duo immediately clicked, as the bigger Diamond (6-1, 230) matched with the smaller Tanaka’s quickness and martial arts-based offense. Diamond and Tanaka would win the CWA Tag Team championship four times in the next four years, establishing themselves as one of the country’s top non-WWF tag teams. They were signed in 1988 by the AWA, keeping the gimmick of Badd Company, but picking up Diamond Dallas Page as a manager.

Badd Company defeated the WWF-bound Midnight Rockers in 1990 to win the AWA Tag Team titles, belts they would keep for the next year. During this time (which is currently being aired on ESPN Classic), Badd Company was the clear tops of an otherwise putrid tag team division, which included the Top Guns (who?), Russians Soldat Ustinov and Tijoe Khan (maybe the two worst wrestlers ever) and the Guerreros (Chavo Sr. and Mando). Badd Company was one of the company’s featured attractions at this time, spurred by the greatest wrestling outfits in history:

And let me tell you, those outfits are even better on TV. Tasselled zebra-striped spandex pants with mesh on the sides that exposed just-too-much asscheek. Long, flowing mullets. Big-haired strippers walking them to the ring. Tanaka even wore a karate belt, for no apparent reason. They were pretty much everything wonderful about America in 1988.

Tanaka would eventually sign with the WWF in 1990, forming the Orient Express with Akio Sato. However, Sato would quickly leave the promotion, leaving the Orient Express one Oriental short. Rather than choose from one of literally thousands of Asian wrestlers, the WWF instead decided to call up the 230-pound Croatian Diamond, and have him work under a mask as “Kato.”

But being a white guy playing an Asian guy wasn’t the most embarrassing gimmick that Diamond would have in his WWF career. That’s because he would eventually play…a Martian! Yes, in 1992, Diamond was asked to play the role of Max Moon, a wrestling Martian. The gig was initially abandoned by Charles Ashenoff (later known in WCW as Konnan), but Diamond apparently fit the ridiculous costume:

Max Moon lasted for about a year before Diamond was released by the WWF. His biggest victories came against Rick Martel and the Repo Man. Diamond was released by the WWF in 1993, and has since opened up his own wrestling promotion in Huntsville, AL. It is not known whether he kept the zebra-striped pants or the Martian outfit.

1 comment:

Camp Tiger Claw said...

Holy crap when does this stuff air?