It’s been a different experience for Bad News Allen watching the action from the sidelines.

As Stampede Wrestling’s colour commentator, Allen Coage has to keep on his toes and add insight to the commentary provided by Mauro Ranallo.

Bad News Allen and Mario Ranallo. — courtesy Stampede Wrestling

“I enjoy it, keeping my hand in after doing bumps for 22 years,” Coage told SLAM! Wrestling. “This way I can just sit back and watch these other young guys do it now.”

The former wrestling great and Olympic judo bronze medalist had knee surgery not that long ago and his career in the ring is finished. Now, he finds himself helping the youngsters on the western circuit out. “They are always asking me for advice. It’s funny because when I started out, I broke into Japan, but, in the States, they had so many different territories, independent groups that you could go and learn. There’s nowhere for these young kids to learn. You’ve got the two major groups and they’ve got their cliques and that’s it. And these other kids are out in the cold trying to break in, more or less. It’s really hard.”

He thinks that there more than a few real talents in Stampede Wrestling. “On some of these independent circuits, you’ve got a lot of guys there who are better workers than the ones they have in WCW or WWF. It’s all politics, it’s who you know that’s able to get these guys in. A lot of them don’t get in on their talent, it’s who they are friends with.”

The Stampede Wrestling show on the A-Channel tapes two one-hour shows at a time every two weeks, usually at Calgary’s Ogden Legion Hall.

As one of the best-ever interviews — who can forget the “beer bellied sharecroppers”? — Coage actually initially found it hard to do commentary. “At first it was kind of strange because it was something that I hadn’t done.”

Ranello was a big help. “He’s done commentary for years. He helped me along and we actually are starting to gel now together.”

Despite his newfound rhythm on the air, Coage isn’t totally confident in the future of Stampede Wrestling. And never being one to keep his opinions to himself, he explained a little bit why.

“It’s the same old thing with the Hart Brothers. They have no organization at all, everything’s done haphazardly,” he offered, adding that only having a TV deal keeps the promotion a step above the average indy promotion. “If they keep going the way they are going, I can’t see them succeeding.”