The 2019 Posthumous award goes to Larry Matysik!
Larry, who passed away on November 25, 2018, got his start in pro wrestling when, as a 16-year-old writing for newsstand wrestling magazines, he interviewed St. Louis promoter Sam Muchnick. Muchnick told Matysik he would pay him $25 a week to call the newspapers and report the results from the Friday night cards. Eight years later, Muchnick took him under his wing as his protégé in the St. Louis Wrestling Club office. In 1972, Larry became the host of “Wrestling at the Chase” on KPLR-TV.
When Muchnick retired in 1982, Matysik began running the office as general manager. He used methods he had been taught by Muchnick (which had made St. Louis, perhaps, the most sought-after territory in which wrestlers wanted to work), but when co-owner Bob Geigel consistently disagreed with the way Larry was doing things, they parted ways. Larry ran opposition as Greater St. Louis Wrestling Enterprises and did quite well for a time. Meanwhile, St. Louis Wrestling Club business went into the tank. When Larry folded his promotion, Vince brought him onboard to promote WWF shows in St. Louis. Larry worked for McMahon from 1984 until 1993, at which time he was let go.
Larry kept his hand in the wrestling business after that, primarily producing DVDs of St. Louis wrestling and writing for wrestling magazines. He also wrote several very good books on the subject, including Wrestling at the Chase: The Inside Story of Sam Muchnick and the Legends of Professional Wrestling, Drawing Heat the Hard Way: How Wrestling Really Works, and with Barbara Goodish, Bruiser Brody’s wife, Brody: The Triumph and Tragedy of Wrestling's Rebel. For the past several years, he booked shows for Herb Simmons’ Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling promotion, and even though he never wrestled or refereed, Larry made a huge, positive impact on the pro wrestling business during his lifetime.
In 2014, he was awarded the James Melby award at the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in Waterloo. Other non-wrestling accomplishments included working for the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, founding a volleyball club, coaching a girls’ softball team, and was head of the Belleville Auxiliary Police for many years.
At the time of his death, he was working with me on his autobiography, which was to be incorporated into a short book called Sam and Vince to be published by Crowbar Press.
Larry suffered a number of ailments during the past few years, including spinal stenosis, rotary scoliosis, and Rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which skeletal muscle breaks down rapidly.
Rest in peace, Larry!
Pat Matysik, Larry’s widow, and SICW promoter Herb Simmons, will be on hand in Las Vegas on April 29–May 1, 2019, to accept the award for Larry.