BEST OF BULLDOG
Inside The Ropes
Restoring A Vintage Toy Wrestling Ring
Originally published February 10, 2016
When I began The Hasbro Classic last month, I envisioned photographing each match from the tournament in my vintage wrestling ring, likely purchased in 1990 or thereabouts.
The good news? The ring was still intact, collecting dust in my parents' basement, so it could definitely be used. The bad news? The ropes were not nearly as elastic-y as they were 30 years ago. Not that I was planning on playing with the ring, but even taking photos of the ropes made the whole ring look dilapidated. The wrestlers kept falling down whenever the rope should have been propping them up. Truth be told, I had to use one of my daughter's hair clips just to hold the ropes somewhat in place. And even THAT looked terrible!
I checked around online to see if anyone (say, collectors) ran into this problem and apparently they do. Once the ropes lose their elasticity, there's no resurrecting them. What you can do, however, is buy new ropes.
So I looked on eBay for colored elastic cord and found a place in China that sold the cord for use in DIY jewelery. For about $6 (including shipping!), I scored myself three two-meter packages of the ropes - in the 90's WWF colors of red, white and blue, natch. If I were so inclined, I could have also gone with orange, black, etc. ropes.
After measuring each rope to go around the ring, I cut the strand to size and tied a rather large knot on them (figuring, I could always trim it later).
Then I threaded each rope through the turnbuckles and hung them on the corner posts like it was 1993 and I was getting ready to watch an episode of WWF Wrestling Challenge.
After tugging a bit to get the ropes to fit, I realized that the first strand (blue) was still too long. So after some cutting and re-tying, I had three ropes of pretty much equal size. And the bonus is, I have enough elastic cord left over to re-rope the ring should I want to do this whole thing again in the year 2046!
Once I had the ropes in place, I trimmed the knots in each strand and the ring ropes were as bouncy as I remember them being back in the day. Possibly bouncier!
Then, to make the mat portion slightly cleaner, I wiped it down with an Armor-All Cleaning Sponge, meant primarily for a car interior, but it's not like the package would advertise that it works on cleaning toy wrestling mats even if that was what it worked best on.
After the mat looked shinier than most independent wrestling shows, I used a magic eraser and brillo pad and went to work on some of the gunge that had gathered in the grooves of the canvas and on what should be the ring apron.
In short, I've become the Martha Stewart of toy wrestling rings. Not bad, huh?