- Jan 9, 2020
My dad was on that Mean Machine team. I'm sure I could get some more details if you'd like them.And here’s the kick to the face story:
“Wade and I, as well as others from Clarion, had wrestled for the Erie YMCA (Tom Canavan) a number of times. We would catch rides with Tom or meet his entourage at the various tourneys and wear the Erie Y uniforms but we always pay our own entry. So for a few years, we had a local Clarion business man that created our own summer team (predecessors to today's more organized/sponsored clubs) and he provided transportation, travel expenses and entry fees (not so coincidentally, Wade and I had summer jobs in his factory). We had a lot of talent with many Clarion and Lehigh guys (e.g. Lieberman bros).
Tom Canavan was a bit upset because this was the first real organized competition he got in western PA and the big summer gig was always the Erie Open, Tom's baby. This was a big/tense showdown and his biggest guns were all the Carr brothers - Fletcher, Joe and Jimmy at that time; Nate was still very young. The match in question was Joe Carr vs Wade. One of the hecklers was an older Carr brother (Ed?) that wasn't wrestling. He was right on the edge of the mat. The referee was Ray Hartlee. He kept taunting Wade and mocking the team name, "Mean Machine" (the business guy had a thing for the original Longest Yard movie). I am not sure what was the last thing the elder Carr said but Wade had enough, he took a few steps and kicked him right in the face. Of course a fight resulted and people had to pull them apart. Years later, Ray Hartlee told me he had no idea how to handle this since DQ'ing Wade would have escalated things and he had heard what that guy finally said - he felt Canavan should have controlled the crowd (e.g. his Carr friends) better. But in the 70's and summer tournaments, politics ruled the day. Regardless, the match went on and Wade won (as did the Mean Machine!).”