By Lane Walbert (Maryland Historical Society, 9/17/2015)
Long-time fans of professional wrestling will remember the sport’s golden age—the ’80s—when stars such as Dusty Rhodes, Bruno Sammartino, Ric Flair, Ivan and Nikita Koloff, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, and many more entertained cities up and down the East Coast. The non-televised “house shows” were the big money earners in those days, and the Baltimore Civic Center (now the Royal Farms Arena) hosted many of these, along with pay-per-view events such as several installments of the Great American Bash series. The house shows, with their lack of TV cameras and generally looser atmosphere, were a great opportunity for still photographers to get up close and personal with stars big and little.
Joe Kohl was, as usual, right on the front lines of any Baltimore action. In this case, he seemed to be constantly ringside, getting shots of the wrestlers and the fans alike. In fact, the riled-up Baltimore fans spent a lot of time in front of Kohl’s lens—and among Kohl’s many wrestling pictures are several classic shots of the Baltimore “superfans” who became known around the city and beyond.
Continue reading at Maryland Historical Society’s “Underbelly” Blog.