The golden age of the American Wrestling Association, as documented by a nine-year-old boy in 1960s Omaha. Mad Dog Vachon, “Tarzan Tyler,” Masao “Rusher” Kimura–the ring names of the wrestlers who grappled for glory in the American Wrestling Association were as evocative as they were hair-raising. In 1969, the Swiss-born photographer Darius Koehli (born 1960), then just nine years old, spent nine months with his father in Omaha, Nebraska, where a neighbor took him to the hottest spot in town, the Civic Auditorium, to see some catch wrestling. With a remarkable eye for slapstick, and using his brand-new Kodak Instamatic, Koehli produced hundreds of snapshots of these formidable hulks, during and after their bouts. In the summer of 2019, Koehli uncovered the photo album he’d assembled 50 years ago in Omaha and decided to revitalize the pictures of this extraordinary time.
The selection featured in Why Omaha?provides a glimpse of a bygone era in which professional wrestling was just taking off, enrapturing TV audiences.