Up and down the hallways and corridors leading to the Riviera Royale Pavilion, scene of Sunday night's Extreme Midget Wrestling Federation card, there are giant photographs celebrating the Riv's proud and glorious past.
Liza Minnelli. Milton Berle. Shirley MacLaine. Sammy Davis Jr. Ginger Rogers. Liberace. Bob Hope. Andy Williams. Dinah Shore. Mickey Rooney. Engelbert Humperdinck. Elvis.
Engelbert Humperdinck and Elvis, together.
There are no giant photos of Sky Low Low, who stood 3 feet 6 inches and, as they say around the midget wrestling circuit, weighed very, very little.
Sky Low Low, a Canadian whose real name was Marcel Gauthier, was born in 1928 and died in 1998. He was my favorite midget wrestler when I was 11. Sky Low Low supposedly worked in the tail of World War II bombers, fixing rivets, but that wasn't why I liked him. I just thought he had a cool name. Like Engelbert Humperdinck.
As I said, that was years ago, and now Extreme Midget Wrestling is back, though I'm not sure it ever went away. There must have been more than 1,000 spectators at the Royale Pavilion. This goes to show that Extreme Midget Wrestling is still popular in Oklahoma and in other states with a panhandle and elsewhere, despite using the M-word.
It also goes to show that not everybody can get Neil Diamond tickets on Labor Day weekend.
"Half the size, twice the violence!" barked the ring announcer, who called himself Sean, perhaps to limit any comparisons between himself and Michael Buffer.
Suffice it to say that Sean was not wearing a white tuxedo coat when it finally was time to rumble. A fog machine belched a few thin wisps into the air that looked more like cigar smoke, when you could smoke cigars in a casino, and then Sean introduced the small wonders.
This was right after a few bars of Randy Newman's "Short People" were played over the public-address system.
I was sort of questioning that decision, and feeling a little weird for being there, and thinking that the Little People of America, Inc., just might have a point. This was before I learned that 3-foot-6-inch Baby Jesus, who sports a cross on his sparkly yellow-and-blue wrestling tights - at first I thought he might be from Sweden instead of Oklahoma - had taken the championship belt from Little Show on Saturday night.
Then an eight-little-man battle royal broke out in the middle of the ring, knocking over the flag, and then it was just like real - er, the wrestling you've seen on TV. Except instead of a folding chair, the midget wrestlers mostly used thin TV dinner trays made of aluminum to smash political correctness - and each other - upside the head, because a folding chair would have been too big.
The kids in the crowd and three guys sitting ringside wearing Mexican wrestling masks really seemed to enjoy it. The attractive woman wearing a red evening gown, holding a poofed-out Shih Tzu on her lap that also was wearing a red evening gown, seemed only mildly amused.
The head of the Extreme Midget Wrestling Federation is Skyler Ward, a friendly fellow of 44, who, like seemingly everybody else in attendance Sunday, hails from Oklahoma City.
Ward recently moved to Las Vegas to become a professional poker player. He's the Vince McMahon of midget wrestling, but he sees himself more as its George Bernard Shaw - some men see things as they are and say why, Ward sees things as they are in Las Vegas and says why not Extreme Midget Wrestling?
"You've got 15 shows on the Strip; five circus shows (which is what Ward calls Cirque du Soleil) and a million comedy and magic acts branded in every different way," Ward said after pulling his long hair into a ponytail. "Why can't midget wrestling be a legitimate act here?"
Half the size, twice the violence. Extreme Midget Wrestling might be the polar opposite of the Big Elvis show at Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon. It catches you in a trap, and you can't walk out.
Because security wasn't tight, I was able to go backstage after 4-foot-8-inch Little Fabio defeated 4-9 Madd Mexx "The Immigration Sensation," who was billed as an evil Mexican but from a distance looked somewhat like Mickey from "Seinfeld." I introduced myself to Little Fabio, whose real name is Chris Blanton, the 23-year-old son of a little-person father and full-sized mother.
Blanton studied history and political science at Georgia Southern University in Savannah before he quit school to travel the world, or at least most of the U.S. tornado states, as an extreme midget wrestler. He got his start on the Georgia circuit, wrestling full-sized opponents under the nickname Too Tall Shortts.
"I'm no different than anybody else, except I'm short," Blanton said, looking me squarely in eye. He was standing on a riser and I was standing on the floor. But he was right, there really is no difference between us. It was just one guy talking to another guy about an unusual way to make a living. Not everybody can write about sports and get paid for it.
In a little while, Chris Blanton would be Little Fabio again, throwing back his mane of hair and cooing at the women and smashing guys upside the head with a TV dinner tray, and I would be leaving the Riviera.
On the way out I would walk past a giant photo taken in 1967 of Mitzi Gaynor kicking a football with Hank Stram as her holder.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0352. Follow him on Twitter: @ronkantowski.