Monday, Feb. 5, 2001 | 8:55 a.m.
John Katsilometes is the Sun features editor. His column appears Mondays. Reach him at [email protected] or 259-2327.
Gruff Las Vegas caricature Buffalo Jim Barrier is headed for the Beach.
The indestructible local icon is teaming up with the rowdy nightclub across the street from the Las Vegas Convention Center for the "Bash at the Beach" Sunday night at 6:30.
The show follows the Las Vegas Outlaws at Memphis Maniax XFL game on the club's big-screen TVs and is part of Buffalo Jim's vision of lifting local professional wrestling to a higher level of entertainment.
(A cynic would say there is no lower lower level of entertainment than pro wrestling, but anyway ...)
"I see setting it up like a variety show," said Buffalo Jim, who has promoted wrestling cards through his Buffalo Wrestling Federation at such varied Las Vegas casinos as the Orleans and Silver Nugget. "You can have two matches then a comedian, two more matches and some dancers, two more matches and a guy riding a motorcycle around in a steel cage."
This is Buffalo Jim's dream.
"I hit on it about six months ago," he thoughtfully confided.
Buffalo Jim also plans to unveil a new Buffwagon, a tricked-out four-wheel motorcycle made up to look like a buffalo, naturally. Its nostrils emit smoke and the rig would retail for more than $27,000, according to Buffalo Jim's estimate.
Also on hand for Sunday's $25 show is a wrestling menace known as Visira, who, Buffalo Jim excitedly notes, is a 6-foot-11, 625-pound mountain of a human making his BWF debut.
"Visira's like Yokozuna, but bigger," Buffalo Jim said. "Yoko was kind of heavy in the rear end, but he was a kind man and the kids loved him." (Yokozuna, real name Rodney Anoai, weighed around 700 pounds and died of heart failure in October.)
In real life, Buffalo Jim remains entrenched on Industrial Road in his Allstate Auto and Marine business, having survived an effort by Schiff Properties (owner of the Industrial strip mall that is home to Buffalo Jim's business) to run him out of the neighborhood. But Buffalo Jim is still snorting smoke toward Rick Rizzolo, proprietor of the Crazy Horse Too topless dance club next door. The Buff has been in a legal back-and-forth with Rizzolo for nearly a year and is seeking some closure -- in the squared circle.
"I'll settle this once and for all," Buffalo Jim challenged. "I'll challenge him to a match. If I win he has to vacate the premises within two years. If he wins I've got to leave."
That might mean (sniff) the end of the Crazy Horse Too, which would upset Dennis Rodman, for one.
The match would be of the popular no-holds-barred, steel-cage variety and would be at a site to be determined (the Beach, anyone?). The favorite would have to be the 6-2, 298-pound Buffalo Jim, who dwarfs Rizzolo (an estimated 5-9, 220).
Even if his challenge to Rizzolo never materializes (and it won't), Buffalo Jim is hoping to book monthly events at the Beach. Chugging toward age 48 -- his birthday is next month -- Buffalo Jim has thus far survived every challenge, in and out of the ring.
He's even become reflective. At the end of each year Buffalo Jim makes a list of New Year's resolutions. Next year, he says, "I want to get myself into great physical condition."
That's great for Jim Barrier. But it might spell the end of Buffalo Jim.