Grappling with Tragedy is a series of articles that deal with unfortunate, tragic incidents that have occurred throughout the history of professional wrestling. It is unlike the ‘Wrestling with Sin’ series that deals more with the seedier side of wrestling like arrests, murders and suicides. Grappling looks more at particular tragic incidents that have in some instances altered pro wrestling in some way.
Larry Booker was trained to become a pro wrestler by both Dominic Denucci and Herb Welch. He made his wrestling debut in 1976 under the name of ‘Larry Latham’ teaming with Carl Fergie as ‘The Ragin’ Cajuns.’ He would also team with Wayne ‘Honkytonk Man’ Farris as The Blonde Bombers in the Memphis, Tennessee territory. They would win tag team titles of three occasions.
His biggest break came in 1981, when he was used as a replacement in the WWF tag team championship team the Moondogs managed by Captain Lou Albano. Booker was renamed ‘Moondog Spot’ as in taking the spot of Moondog King….who was having legal troubles and couldn’t get into the United States. Spot teamed with Moondog Rex as the WWF world tag team champions and eventually lost the belts to Tony Garea and Rick Martel.
Rex and Spot moved on to the Memphis territory to feud with the Rock N Roll Express, the Fabulous Ones and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler. The team would win several titles along the way. They eventually returned to the WWF initially managed by Jimmy Hart…but ultimately would be used as glorified enhancement talent for the company. Spot would compete in the Wrestling Classic tournament beating Terry Funk by DQ and then losing to the Junkyard Dog in the next round.
The Moondogs would tour Japan and wrestle for various independent promotions. After Rex returned to the WWF to start the Demolition gimmick with Bill Eadie…..Larry Booker continued to use the Moondog gimmick elsewhere teaming with various other “Moondogs” such as Cujo, Spike, Splat and Puppy Love. Moondog Spot made a couple of appearances for TNA Wrestling earlier in the promotion’s existence.
On November 29, 2003, at the Mid South Coliseum in Memphis…The Moondogs (Spot and Puppy Love) were booked for Jerry Lawler’s “Birthday Bash” card. They were wrestling in a four-way concession stand brawl along with the Rock N Roll Express. During the course of the match Spot asked his manager/ valet to hand him a weapon. Soon after, Larry Booker collapsed in the corner. His partner realized something was not right and the finish to the match was quickly rushed.
Medical personnel rushed in and began administering CPR on the fallen Moondog Spot while his wife and son were watching ringside. He was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. It was later revealed that Larry Booker suffered a heart attack. He was just 51 years old at the time of his death.