When famous names in wrestling come up in a conversation, you may mention Ric flair, Bruno Sammartino, Harley Race, and Terry Funk, chances are the name Alvin Minnick might not come up in that same conversation, but he too is a veteran in the sport of wrestling.
The man who grew up watching Memphis wrestling has been a wrestler, a manger, and a booker. Even though he might not have left the same impression that Jackie Fargo, Jerry Lawler, Bill Dundee, and Austin Idol did when they were on television. Minnick has been in and around wrestling for over 30 years and is currently booking with Greg Anthony in NWA Mid South.
“I have loved wrestling from the time I was growing up until now. Every aspect of it,” said Alvin Minnick. “When you walk out into that crowd and they are yelling or they are booing, it’s a rush.”
Minnick started wrestling in 1983 with his childhood friend Doug Worley, and they wrestled in the Outlaw shows throughout Dyersburg, Tennessee, and Malden, Missouri.
Minnick took a break from wrestling between 1984 and 1987 while he served in the U.S. Army. When he returned home, he was back wrestling in the Outlaw shows trying to get his big break in the sport.
“They were what you would call the independents now,” said Minnick. “The bigger promotion would look down on us, but we were guys that were starting out or had been around a while and just couldn’t make it to T.V. yet.”
He wrestled under the name of Mr. Charisma, but in 1991, Minnick found the opportunity he was looking for and he started wrestling for the USWA, a promotion run by Jerry Jarrett, Buddy Wayne, and Eddie Marlin. He would be called Al Hodge and he would start wrestling against opponents such as Brian Christopher, Doug Gilbert, King Cobra, and Dutch Mantell.
“At that time, the USWA was the biggest thing going. It was a dream come true,” said Minnick. “I was in the same dressing room as Lawler, Valiant, Steve Keirn. Tommy, Eddie, and Doug Gilbert.
It finally had looked as if all the hard work that Minnick had invested in his wrestling career started to pay off, but unfortunately he suffered what would turn into an injury that would force him to stop wrestling all together.
“I picked up somebody and I felt a twinge in my back, but I didn’t think much of it. As time went by, I started limping, my foot was asleep, and I was hurting,” said Minnick. I finally went to the chiropractor and found out I slipped a disk in my back. I was in bed close to two months and I was just going to the restroom or going to the chiropractor.”
The injury was so serious that his chiropractor thought that he should see a neurosurgeon, but Alvin did not want anything to do with surgery. His Chiropractor tried some different methods of treatment and they started to experience some progress.
That was almost 25 years ago and though he never had surgery, he continues to get chiropractic treatment.
“When you can’t do something you really love to do, and you are watching people you know doing it, it brings you way down,” said Minnick. I literally had tears in my eyes because I knew I couldn’t go back out there and wrestle.”
When Minnick was able to get back on his feet, he stayed close to the business. He would start managing, and from time to time, he could take a bump. In 1994, he had his first crack at booking matches in Dyersburg with All American Championship Wrestling, and he was drawing packed houses.
For the next couple of years, he would be in and out of the business, but in 1997, he got a call to book for the Warrior of Wrestling Federation, which would eventually turn into the NWA Mid South.
“We drew crowds. It was a time when wrestling was hot,” said Minnick. “I enjoyed wrestling probably more, but when I could put something together and keep the crowd coming back, that was satisfying to me.”
It was so satisfying for Alvin that he wanted to keep the momentum going and the people coming back. He would sit and the crowd and watch the fans cheer. He also observed their reaction and he could tell what they liked and what he needed to work on.
“I get a rush from it when the crowd is into it from the start to the finish,” said Minnick. “I tell the guys all the time that the opening match sets the tone for the night.”
Alvin didn’t make a lot of money or gain a lot of fame from being in wrestling, but he has gained a wealth of knowledge and a strong understanding of what it takes to be successful in the sport.
”The match isn’t about you or your opponent. It’s about telling that story in the ring, and if you can keep the crowd on the edge of their seat, there is no feeling like it,” said Minnick.
In 2012, Minnick started promoting and Greg Anthony came in to do the booking. Together the two have been successful putting on over 100 shows a year. NWA Mid South has a wrestling event in Ripley, Tennessee every Friday night and in Dyersburg, Tennessee every Saturday night.
“We put on a good professional show and they are family oriented,” said Minnick. “There are fans out there and they want to see good wrestling, and I feel like we do that.”