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A century of professional wrestling: The story of the Cazana family

Three generations of the Cazana's have spent their lives dedicated to the squared circle. This is their story.

William Winnett

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Published: 8:32 AM EDT July 26, 2022
Updated: 8:52 AM EDT July 26, 2022

Professional wrestling has been present in East Tennessee as far back as the 1910s. All-time greats like Randy Savage, Andre the Giant and Antonio Inoki all passed through the area on their way to the top. 

Knoxville holds it's own place in the annals of professional wrestling history. Known then as Sterling Golden, Hulk Hogan won his first championship ever, here in Knoxville, in 1979. In 2018, Knox County voted Glenn Jacobs, known to wrestling fans as Kane, as its mayor.

In the video catacombs of WBIR studios sits a lone computer. Housed on the hard drive is locations for stories aired on WBIR for the first 30 years of the station's existence. 

If one were to type the term “wrestling” into the search bar, they would be met with only three results. Two have very little information in the metadata. The other is a 44-second, silent, black and white clip from 1957 of a wrestling program presented by a man named John Cazana. 

If one were to research the name John Cazana, they would find a history of professional wrestling dating back almost a century. A history that has ties to the very television studio that we still use today.

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