Wrestling afi­cionado amasses huge mem­o­ra­bilia col­lec­tion

Ja­son Langille’s shelves lined with hun­dreds of ac­tion fig­ures, pho­tos and more

Annapolis Valley Register - - RECREATION - BY KIRK STARRATT KINGSCOUNTYNEWS.CA BLACK ROCK, N.S. [email protected]

He caught the pro wrestling bug dur­ing the en­ter­tain­ment genre’s ex­plo­sion in pop­u­lar­ity in the mid-1980s and has been col­lect­ing mem­o­ra­bilia ever since.

Ja­son Langille has a col­lec­tion that would be the envy of any pro wrestling afi­cionado. You can find ac­tion fig­ures and pic­tures – many au­to­graphed – lit­er­ally all over his Black Rock home. Some rooms have shelves from floor to ceil­ing filled with col­lectibles. Al­though he has all sorts of other sports and en­ter­tain­ment mem­o­ra­bilia, there is no ques­tion that the col­lec­tion cen­tres on pro wrestling.

“I was al­ways big into Mar­vel comics. I was al­ways big into col­lect­ing cards and that but wrestling re­ally is what I en­joyed the most,” Langille said.

Al­though he has never taken the time to gather all of his wrestling ac­tion fig­ures to­gether to get an ac­cu­rate count, a sim­ple look around will tell you that Langille owns hun­dreds of them, many in duplicate or trip­li­cate. He said he’s never costed out the col­lec­tion be­cause he’d prob­a­bly scare him­self.

You can hear the ex­cite­ment in Langille’s voice as he talks about his col­lec­tion and rem­i­nisces about pro wrestling’s sto­ried past and stars. He re­calls look­ing on in awe as a five-year-old boy when he saw one of his all-time favourites, “The Eighth Won­der of the World” An­dre The Gi­ant, live at the old Ber­wick Arena in the late 1970s.

At 7’4” and weigh­ing al­most 500 pounds at the time, the gi­ant stepped in over the top rope, reached up and touched the arena lights.

“See­ing him cer­tainly had an im­pact on me to be­come a wrestling fan,” Langille said.

His love of wrestling was ce­mented with the World Wrestling Fed­er­a­tion’s ex­pan­sion, ex­plo­sion in pop­u­lar­ity and mass mar­ket­ing of LJN ac­tion fig­ures and Coli­seum home videos. This be­gan fol­low­ing Hulk Ho­gan win­ning the world heavy­weight cham­pi­onship in Jan­uary 1984. Sud­denly, the WWF (now WWE, World Wrestling En­ter­tain­ment) was ac­ces­si­ble to any­one with a VCR or who wanted to take the ac­tion home in the form of rub- ber wrestling fig­ures.

Langille’s grand­mother gave him a Hulk Ho­gan ac­tion fig­ure that Christ­mas and his ob­ses­sion with col­lect­ing the solid rub­ber grap­plers was born. He said his favourite mem­ory as­so­ci­ated with col­lect­ing was when his grand­mother gave him a Tito Santana for Christ­mas a cou­ple of years later. Langille won­ders what his grand­mother would think if she were still alive to­day to see what his col­lec­tion has grown into.

Langille said col­lect­ing brought him a lot of hap­pi­ness as a child and his in­ner child still loves it. His pas­sion has rubbed off on his son and daugh­ter, par­tic­u­larly his son Tyler. They go to the shows when­ever wrestling comes to the Val­ley – or any­where else within rea­son­able driv­ing dis­tance.

Langille has a whack of au­to­graphed pho­tos and other mem­o­ra­bilia of wrestling stars from the past four decades. Some peo­ple don’t un­der­stand how he was able to meet so many top stars but most of them wres­tled in the area at some point and Langille met them in per­son at the are­nas.

He said pro­moter Emile Dupree of Grand Prix Wrestling fame and his pre­de­ces­sors don’t get enough credit for start­ing this trend of bring­ing top stars from around the world to the Mar­itimes to per­form. It’s a prac­tice that to­day’s Mar­itime pro­mo­tions, in­clud­ing Ul­ti­mate Cham­pi­onship Wrestling and Vic­tory Cham­pi­onship Wrestling Can-Am, have con­tin­ued.

KIRK STARRATT PHO­TOS

Wrestling mem­o­ra­bilia col­lec­tor Ja­son Langille of Black Rock with what is per­haps his favourite item: a 16-inch pos­able Hulk Ho­gan fig­ure from the mid 1980s. He now has three of them in his col­lec­tion.

Some of wrestling mem­o­ra­bilia col­lec­tor Ja­son Langille’s wrestling fig­ures. The two top shelves are mainly filled with eight-inch solid rub­ber LJN fig­ures pro­duced be­tween 1984 and 1989.

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