Member Spotlight: Lewis Curry
Editor’s note: Thanks to Jeff Sharkey for this CAC Member Spotlight on Lewis Curry.
Go back in time. Find a copy of the August 1992 match in Baltimore when Ron Simmons captured the WCW World Heavyweight title from Big Van Vader. Earlier that night, several top contenders had their names submitted into a drawing for a crack at the belt. One particular fan in the crowd had his vision of exactly how it soon unfolds. CAC member Lewis Curry remembers it well:
“With Ron Simmons, there was a really weird thing going in that night,” Curry said. “As the drawing was happening I was telling my best friend Vernon and some of the ushers and people around me, that Ron Simmons was going to win this drawing…and he’s going to win the title! So as the match progresses… Ron Simmons hits the powerslam, and you’ll see me jumping up and down and you see me with tears of joy, because I never thought I would ever see an African-American win a World title. It was weird that it happened like that, but I was overwhelmed.”
The exuberance Lewis Curry displayed that night was hardly a one-night-only event. He’s a little more subdued these days, but his spirit is infectious and you will be hard-pressed to find an occasion where he’s not smiling. Lewis is one of the superfans, always putting forth a respectful appreciation for the legends and newcomers to pro wrestling alike. Recently, Curry talked about the early days of his fandom.
“It’s been almost 35 years; when we moved from Cleveland to Baltimore, the day we moved into our house… my sister and I were watching TV. My mom said we could turn on whatever we wanted, and I turned it onto wrestling, and we were hooked! My mom, my sister and my grandmother watched for 4 years straight,” Curry said. “It was the old WWF, Vince McMahon Senior. My background early was baseball and football, but I was starting to really learn about wrestling, getting acclimated year to year. Then some classmates in elementary school told me about two guys I had never heard of before: Rowdy Roddy Piper and Wahoo McDaniel…I thought they were just making the names up! But they told me told me to turn on Channel 54, and I saw the other league. It was my first opportunity to see Ric Flair.”
Those were the halcyon days of wrestling, especially in the eyes of a true wrestling enthusiast like Lewis. “At the arenas, we may not have always had the best seats, but we came in always had a really good time…it wasn’t like today where a lot of other fans aren’t really fans; they’re here to get some autographs and pictures and make some money,” Curry said. “I just love wrestling; it didn’t matter if it was WWF, NWA, WCW, ECW…as long as I had a way to get there, me and my best friend would go!” This writer fondly remembers a handwritten envelope from Curry at the headquarters of Nu-Age Wrestling in his quest to secure an 8×10 photo of our champion at the time, Tony “The Annihilator” Scrivens, who was originally from Baltimore. Not many fan letters stood out from the other mail, but his return address listing a Lewis “Crash” Curry made us chuckle that we had fans reaching well beyond our promotional scope.
It was just a matter of time before Lewis would start on a trek to outlying areas himself, and talks of his quest to make it to a Cauliflower Alley Club reunion. “I heard about CAC back in the early 90s’. Back then it was in Studio City, California,” Curry said. A couple years later, I really wanted to get out and meet wrestlers. My friend and I had a choice, we could have gone to Memphis for USWA, or we could go to Doctor Mike Lano’s dinner in St. Louis, so we went to the dinner. That’s how I learned about Cauliflower Alley! We went to two reunions in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and I’ve been here seven times in Vegas. It just gets better and better every year!”
Just as the CAC membership has a number of its wrestlers stumping for the club to gain a larger complement of their peers of the ring; Lewis Curry touts the benefits of joining to all he encounters. It is easy to see his sales pitch working its magic as an ambassador-at-large, as he weaves an intricate pattern of his passion for coming to reunions. “I love coming to Vegas, but I’m mainly here to see the wrestling shows, with some of the new talent coming out, and some of the veterans I haven’t seen in a while, meeting a lot of people; it’s like a big ole family reunion,” Curry said. “I hope some of the wrestlers will show their support. Remember, when these older fans pass away, your new fans are not as loyal. It doesn’t matter where you’re from; if you were a top name, semi-final…whatever, come out, have a good time and meet your fans, meet new people and get the blood circulating!”
Curry knows how to work the mic toward those out in the crowd as well. “I’ll just say to the new wrestling fans, what I want you to understand is that these people put a lot of sacrifice on the line. You may not know some of these names, but these people made the names of right now…you need to show them some appreciation,” Curry said. “In the generation now where everything’s on the internet, you can find almost everything, but you need to live it, and be there in person. I’m going to try very hard to make the 50th anniversary, and I always tell anybody: come out to Cauliflower Alley! You’ll have a great time and it’s very cost-friendly!”
— Jeff Sharkey