THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No.51-2001
KEN HOLLIS EXPLAINS THE ROUGH STUFF
(Springfield, Mo., News-Leader, Sunday, April 23, 1933)
One of the most striking of "Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde" personalities in the wrestling game today is none other than Ken Hollis, better known to the fans of Springfield and the Ozarks as just Cowboy Teddy Waters.
Inside the squared circle, Hollis is a snarling, biting, clawing, kicking, slugging, diving 175 pounds of dynamite. His tactics arouse the wrath and boos of 99 percent of the fans despite the fact that he has seldom met his equal in the wrestling ring.
Outside the ring, Hollis is one of the best mannered, quietest and best all-around sports we have met among the wrestlers.
Since the Texas rules went into effect months ago, the wrestling game has narrowed down to a survival of the fittest. Wrestlers have had to use every single leniency the law allows to "get by" in their struggles against the brawny giants of the mat game.
And Hollis, with his 175 pounds of bone and muscle, has many times been pitted against such larger opponents. He has developed the rough tactics to defend himself and never wastes any time. He is out for the kill from the opening gong.
"Fans like the rough-and-tumble, blood-and-thunder stuff," Hollis told me. "Show me a popular wrestler and I’ll show you one who takes a licking more often than he wins. This wrestling business is mighty tough. You have to give and take a lot and when you don’t know how to give more than you take, it isn’t long before you’re walking on your heels, talking to yourself. A lot of the rough stuff in the ring would kill the average human being. But the wrestlers have to learn to take it. Some can take more than others. I have trained myself to absorb punishment, as well as deal it out, and I have encountered some wrestlers who could punch a lot harder than fighters. They have taught me plenty and I have learned a lot from each licking I took. Naturally, I don’t want the fans down on me and I will always assure them that when I’m in the ring I will be putting out everything I have for their entertainment, but they needn’t expect me to ease up on my rough tactics. When I do, I’ll be taking it on the chin so regularly that it won’t be long before I wouldn’t draw flies."
Hollis is only 26 years old. He has been in the professional wrestling game for seven years; prior to that he was an amateur fighter of some note. He will be giving Red Lyons 10 pounds when they clash here Tuesday night and will be facing one of the toughest of the tough wrestlers, but that does not worry the Cowboy one whit. He can take it and – take it from him – he also can dish it out. Anyway, it ought to be a great fight.
LITA WORKS HARD OUTSIDE RING, TOO
(Montreal Gazette, Sunday, July 15, 2001)
By Dave Stubbs
Hundreds upon hundreds of them came to the Molson Centre box office yesterday morning, in midriff-baring tank tops or windbreakers, sandals or sensible shoes, funky shades or tinted bifocals, hair dyed out of fashion sense or apparent necessity.
By 8:30 a.m., 90 minutes before the eight wickets opened, there were a few hundred people already queued in Windsor Court, including the handful who had slept at the door overnight.
But one who surely stood out was the elderly woman in a black T-shirt that featured twin lightning bolts, a sinister skull-and-crossbones, and the words "Stone Cold Steve Austin: 100% Hell Raiser" on the front and "Bye-Bye Jackass" on the back.
As she did for every man, woman and child who stopped at her table, Amy Christine Dumas smiled warmly at this earnest woman, gripped her hand in greeting and in a fluid stroke signed "Lita XXOO" on the magazine the woman offered to be autographed.
Lita, Amy Dumas's alter-ego, is one of the biggest stars in the World Wrestling Federation, and for 85 minutes yesterday, as tickets went on sale for the WWF's Sept. 4 Molson Centre gala, she charmed her fawning fans.
Dumas posed for photos and signed hats, pictures, shirts, posters, videotapes, calendars, CD liner notes, even her own stomach in a provocative WWF magazine centrefold, sending each worshipper joyfully on his or her way with a "thanks for coming" or a "merci beaucoup."
She wore a T-shirt decorated with three cartoon angels, the sleeves cut away to reveal her finely cut triceps, and purple checked pants tied with a pink sequined belt.
To her left was Pat Patterson, a Montreal native wrestling legend and current WWF executive, who more than once signed his name for a fan who was gushing: "Remember when you wrestled so-and-so 30 years ago at the Verdun Auditorium?"
Only near noon, as she walked back to her block-long limousine in the Molson Centre garage, would she discuss her whirlwind visit.
"I enjoy sessions like this because I get a chance to make eye contact with people," said Dumas, who flew into Montreal late Friday night from her home in North Carolina, and jetted out yesterday afternoon to Albany, N.Y., where she was to wrestle last night.
"I'll never do an interview during an autograph session. I don't want a kid who's been waiting in line for an hour to get in front of me for just these few seconds and not have me look them in the eye - just have a signed piece of paper handed to them while I'm talking to a reporter about the town I'm in."
In fact, she'd call a starstruck child or adult back for a handshake when they had stumbled away, having traded faculty of speech for an autograph.
It's for this reason, and probably because she's the ultimate in elaborately tattooed, raven-haired cool, wearing risque, shredded tops and two-sizes-too-big pants to the ring that expose more than just a hint of her thong, that 26-year-old Dumas is hugely "over" in this business, wrestlespeak for someone who has colossal fan appeal.
"Lita" will be one of the headliners at the Sept. 4 show, a pyrotechnic-rich, earsplitting, nostril-burning, live-to-tape production of the hugely popular TV show Smackdown!, seen on cable here each Thursday on WSBK and The Score. The Montreal taping will be telecast continent-wide on Sept. 6.
Dumas counts her blessings every day, having reached these dizzying heights only a couple of years after having discovered the business. The native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., had been studying for a career as a schoolteacher, playing music in bands on the side, when she fell hopelessly in love with televised wrestling, especially the acrobatic Mexicans, who often sail so high they should file flight plans.
So she poured her life savings into a 1998 trip to Mexico, spending six weeks absorbing the unique culture of Mexican wrestling and being cast as a manager before the cash ran out. Dumas eventually returned to train there, and in Chicago, North Carolina and Nashville, and to work independent promotions with the now-defunct Extreme Championship Wrestling, only to fall deeper into debt.
Her dream almost crushed, she finally enrolled in former wrestler Dory Funk's renowned Funking Conservatory training camp, and her abundant athletic skill and charisma caught the eyes of the WWF in the spring of 2000. Dumas has been on a rocket ship to the wrestling stars ever since, teamed with the popular Hardy Boyz tag team and involved in challenging, often outrageous sketches that make professional wrestling a modern-day, entertaining soap opera.
The demands on her time, and her body, have kept pace with her heftier paycheques; Dumas will do another autograph-signing in Trumbull, Conn., this afternoon, hours before another arena show, then will wrestle in Providence, R.I., tomorrow (after first meeting with children for a learn-to-read program). She'll wrestle in Boston on Tuesday, before she attends the Wednesday launch of her own videotape at WWF New York, the company's Times Square restaurant.
Yesterday at 11:30, having signed autographs non-stop for nearly 90 minutes, she finally excused herself, her bladder having given out before her pen.
When she returned for her final few strokes of Lita XXOO, Amy Dumas might have seen the wide-eyed teenager in the WWF T-shirt that read: "Would You Please Shut the Hell Up."
By now, long gone from the Molson Centre, the elderly lady wearing Bye-Bye Jackass was clutching an autographed photo -- and perhaps even considering a tattoo.
SURGEON GRIPS WRESTLING MARKET
(San Antonio Express-News, Sunday, July 15, 2001)
By Jeff Lehr
Word seems to be getting around in the wrestling world about a San Antonio surgeon's out-of-the-ring remedies.
More than a year after Dr. Lloyd Youngblood removed bone spurs from the neck of World Wrestling Federation superstar Stone Cold Steve Austin, fellow wrestler Chris Benoit, aka the Canadian Crippler, underwent a similar operation by the doctor.
And with neck and spine injuries as common in wrestling as body slams and three counts, Benoit said Youngblood's name is quickly becoming known among his colleagues.
"If you X-ray any wrestler, you're going to find some type of problem with their neck," Benoit said recently from his home in Atlanta, where he is recovering from the June 28 surgery.
"A lot of guys have it, and a lot of those guys are very aware of who Youngblood is," he said.
Benoit, in his 16th year of professional wrestling, is expected to fully recover in about six to 12 months, at which time he hopes to return to full contact in the ring.
Austin, a Boerne native, recovered from the January 2000 surgery and this year won the WWF Heavyweight Championship title.
"It's a very physical sport," Benoit said. "It's a lot more demanding than it looks. You really don't know until you're in it."
About four weeks ago, Benoit, whose signature moves include the "Diving Headbutt" and "Crippler Crossface," said he received a blow to his body during a pay-per-view event that intensified the pain in his neck and right arm.
Youngblood, chief of neurosurgery at Methodist Hospital, said the pain eventually became unbearable for the 34-year-old wrestler.
"He is exquisitely tuned to every muscle in his body," Youngblood said of the 5-foot-11, 220-pound Benoit. "He noticed the triceps in his dominant arm was weak — the strength was gone."
Benoit said he consulted several doctors before learning of Youngblood from WWF officials.
During the four-hour procedure, Youngblood made an incision in the front of Benoit's neck and removed two cervical disks from his vertebrae. This allowed a team of surgeons to remove bone spurs — abnormal growths that develop from constant wear and tear — that were irritating nerves along the spinal cord.
Youngblood said that by that afternoon, the Canadian-born wrestler was walking. By the next day, he said, Benoit was climbing about 10 flights of stairs to limber up.
"He refused all of his pain medication," Youngblood added. "He wanted to know exactly where he was feeling pain."
Benoit said his only discomfort is from wearing a neck brace while the bone heals.
Youngblood is modest about his seemingly increasing following in the WWF, attributing his reputation simply to understanding his patients' needs.
"I think people go where they're comfortable going," he said.
"You've got to have faith in your doctor when he's operating near your brain or spinal cord."
WWF IS KIDS’ MAIN EVENT
(Boston Globe, Tuesday, July 17, 2001)
By David Arnold
T he arms and legs of the 9-year-old were all motion outside the FleetCenter ticket window yesterday, a mix of ballet leap and infantry charge as he imitated the infamous leg drop of the mighty Matt Hardy.
''Then it's gonna be like this,'' Jessie Carranza of Somerville gushed, unleashing a climactic knee drop on the imaginary stomach of his imaginary victim sprawled out on the linoleum floor.
Such was the anticipation yesterday for the coming of the World Wrestling Federation at the Fleet Center, a nearly sold-out spectacle.
If you are not a fan or the parent of one, the WWF extravaganza will pass without a whisper. But to a young boy fond of cartoon-like heroes, the event screams of mythical mayhem.
The likes of Stone Cold, Kane, Chris Jericho, Lita, and the Hardy Boyz are slated to bash their way into Boston tonight, wearing leather and lace, and maybe less.
Catering to a predominantly male audience, they particularily are the favorites of boys between the ages of 8 and 12 years old, according to an informal survey of parents buying tickets yesterday.
''It's like seeing a cartoon, one-half wrestling, one-half soap opera, and it's really, really cool,'' said Jeff Huberman, 12, a student at the Brown Middle School in Newton.
And it matters not that the chair-throwing malcontents of the WWF seem to have power over youngsters like the Pied Piper on a bad hair day. Some parents questioned the bullying message of the acts, but others were content to call the show theater and let the entertainment stand on its own merits.
''For my son, nothing means more,'' said Victor Maldonado of Chelsea. Young Victor, an 8-year old who attends the Kelly Elementery School in Chelsea, said he had no issue with the ''fake'' punches.
''It looks like everyone's hurting everyone else, but it's all an act,'' the youngster said. ''After all, they hit each other in the privates and they don't die.''
Two decades ago, professional wrestling was more street theater than pyrotechnic spectacle, according to Terry Allen, a.k.a. The Masked Invader. When Allen was not in the ring in the early 1980s, he was a Boston-based illustrator, and now lives in Chappaqua, N.Y.
''The good guys were obviously good, the bad guys were bad, and humor was the rule of the day,'' Allen said. ''Now the hero is most likely to be an antihero, someone who doesn't seem to stand for anything,'' he said.
Today, the billion-dollar World Wrestling Federation, based in Stamford, Conn., leads the competition with a 300-employee display of flamboyance, theatrics, and athleticism that draws 20 million viewers weekly to several television shows. Tonight's ''match'' is being taped for ''Smackdown,'' scheduled to be aired on network television later this week.
''Our fans vicariously live the lives of our superstars,'' said Adam Hopkins, a WWF spokesman. ''No guns, no knives, just cartoon-like characters occasionally armed with a folding chair and a message that these stunts should not be tried at home.''
Do-good messages can be part of the tour. For example, prior to a show last night in Providence, Chris Jericho, the self-styled ''Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Roll-a'' (and once an aspiring journalist) tagged up with female wrestler Lita and US Representative Patrick Kennedy, Democrat of Rhode Island, to encourage youngsters to read.
Under a circus tent at a local library, Jericho and Lita read passages from books to about 300 young fans seated before them, and urged them to get library cards, as they had.
Reading ability aside, the victors in today's pro-wrestling events ''most often are the guys who are the biggest bullies,'' said Grace Mahoney, a South Boston resident and parent of 12-year-old Christoper. ''In this day and age, bullying is not to be taken lightly,'' she said.
Nor is it to be taken too seriously. Mahoney was next in line for tickets. ''Hey, I have as much trouble as the next parent saying no,'' she added.
THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No.52-2001
REFEREE KAYOED BY WILD HEAVYWEIGHT BULL
(Bellingham, Wash., Evening News, November 18, 1936)
By Joe Caraher
Rumpus reigned and pandemonium resulted in promoter R.C. Hennig’s mat extravaganza at Liberty Hall last night when everything in the books was turned topsy-turvy and a few things not included in the code volume were put on display during a main event battle between Bob Stewart, Jules Strongbow and Chet Camp.
And it isn’t often a dyed-in-the-taffeta villain encourages the sympathy of a wild, orge-eyed, peanut-throwing crowd. A short paragraph in history was written, though, when the fans sidled in with Jules Strongbow, curly-haired Cherokee, in a manner not lacking in enthusiasm. When the ticket buyers clamour for a win on the part of the Indian violinist he’s really up against a nasty opponent.
Bob Stewart was the handlebar-mustached villain of the piece. He ired the crowd with his challenges to battle anyone in the arena and had the local law enforcers on his neck when he kayoed Chet Camp, the arbiter, with a lusty smash to the face.
It all resulted from a questionable undertaking by the portly Omahan in the last canto of their five-round debacle. The bout was even up with each owning a fall till that stage of the spree. Stewart had floored Strongbow after tyng him up in the ropes and then handing him a vicious body slam that took a little ozone out of the fiddle-player’s sails.
Stewart offered to help Strongbow to his feet. While in the process of establishing Jules in a vertical position, Stewart gathered up all 280 pounds of the Indian and pinned him to the resin cloth. Referee Camp stepped in to halt the occurrence but Stewart rapped the hardware salesman on the button and the lights went dim for Chet.
At this stage – Camp was out and Jules was convalescing – a host of policemen rushed into the circle along with big Jerry Poelargio, Jules’ second, and chased Stewart to the shower room.
Camp, there in person but missing in spirit, was unable to render a decision, although a disqualification for the Nebraska cornfield jockey was justly earned.
In one of the smaller tents, in which only officials were present, Jules put on a dramatic comeback by whacking Stewart over the head with an unupholstered chair, but that was behind closed doors and the actual damage done was not determined by sun-up today.
In the semi-final bout Reb Russell, who, believe it or not, has fallen right into the laps of Joe Fan because he changed his tactics from roughhouse to chivalry, lost a two-out-of-three falls bout to Chief Chiwaki, olive-skinned Rumanian.
Dutch Osborne and Art Morse, as playful as a pair of hungry wildcats, went to a no-fall draw in the first match of the night. The affair was far from being a typical opener and no horses were spared during that curtain-raiser heat.
ROBIN REED NEAR DEATH AFTER SUICIDE TRY
(The Oregonian, Portland, Ore., Wednesday, December 23, 1936)
SALEM, Dec. 22 – Robin Reed, well-known Oregon wrestler and newspaper publisher, who attempted suicide here early Tuesday, was conscious and resting easily at midnight last night in a local hospital. Physicians said that unless complications set in he had a good chance for recovery.
SALEM, Dec. 22 (Special) – Robin Reed, professional wrestler and owner of the Umpqua Courier at Reedsport, was hovering between life and death in a hospital here this afternoon as the result of an apparent suicide attempt.
Police said that Reed early today went to the basement of his home, 794 North Summer Street, where he mounted a box, placed a noose about his neck and tied the other end of the rope to a rafter. He then jumped into space.
Either before or immediately after jumping from the box, Reed shot himself under the heart with a .22 caliber automatic pistol. The pistol was found on the basement floor under his feet. Physicians said he probably fired the shot as he stood on the box.
The report of the pistol was heard by Mrs. M.W. Johnson, his housekeeper, and Eva L. Ferree, his stenographer. They rushed into the basement and cut him down. Police were then summoned and Reed was rushed to a hospital.
Both Mrs. Johnson and Miss Ferree said that Reed appeared mysterious this morning, but gave no indication that he intended to attempt suicide.
Friends of Reed declared that he had suffered spells of despondence since Mrs. Reed sued him for divorce a few months ago. She charged failure to provide for herself and their minor daughter, plus cruel and inhuman treatment. Reed, in an answer, denied the charges and said Mrs. Reed was comfortably provided for in her own right. The divorce suit is pending in the circuit court here.
Reed has lived in Salem for the past five or six years and is reported to be about 38 years old. He had followed the wrestling profession for many years and has appeared in many parts of the United States.
Mrs. Reed and her daughter live at 1236 Southwest Hall Street, Portland.
Miss Ferree said Reed dictated several letters this morning prior to the suicide attempt.
Reed, who won the 1924 Olympic Games featherweight title, turned professional later and at one time claimed the national welterweight title. He appeared in leading cities throughout the United States until his recent retirement.
CONDITION OF MAT CHAMPION IMPROVES
(United Press, Wednesday, December 23, 1936)
SALEM, Ore. – Condition of Robin Reed, 38, prominent wrestler who police said tried to commit suicide Tuesday, was better early today, although still grave, an attending physician said.
The doctor gave the former world’s champion wrestler, who won an Olympic title and also a professional crown, a good chance to recover from a bullet wound a half-inch from his heart, barring complications.
"Unless he suffers another hemorrhage or contracts pneumonia he has a good chance to live," the physician said. "He rested comfortably during the night." An operation was decided against because it was too dangerous now.
Reed was found in the basement of his home, with a bullet wound in his chest and a rope attached to a beam and his neck, by his housekeeper Tuesday morning, she told authorities.
(ED. NOTE – Readers are invited to diagram the sentence that comprises the final paragraph of the United Press dispatch.)
ROBIN REED IMPROVES FROM BULLET WOUND
(The Oregonian, Portland, Ore., Sunday, December 27, 1936)
SALEM, Dec. 26 (Special) – Robin Reed, professional wrestler, suffering from a self-inflicted bullet wound under the heart, continued to improve at a local hospital, physicians reported today.
Police said Reed apparently fired the bullet after he had been denied the privilege of spending part of Christmas with his 10-year-old daughter. Mrs. Reed and her daughter live in Portland.
The attempted suicide occurred last Tuesday.
MAT BEHEMOTHS SET FOR TOURNEY
(The Oregonian, Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Dec. 23, 1936)
Portland wrestling fans will sit in judgment on one of the hottest wrestling arguments that has taken place in the northwest in years tonight when they weigh the comparative ability of the two Red Shadows, the one who has been wrestling in the northwest and the one whose exploits have been just as great a sensation in the Rocky Mountain region.
Both Shadows are entered in the sixteen-man, one-night tournament which features Steve McPherson’s annual Christmas charity program at the auditorium. The appearance of the Rocky Mountain Shadow at Lewiston, Idaho, two weeks ago, the same night the Northwest Red Shadow wrestled Ed Lewis in Portland, finally brought them together in the Portland arena. After tonight there will be but one Red Shadow, the one who survives the series of battles they both face tonight – if one does survive undefeated.
Sixteen of the greatest heavyweights in the west are entered in the tournament. Many local favorites, including the three who have given the Northwest Red Shadow his toughest battles, Pat Fraley, Vic Christy and Rebel Bob Russell, are among the number who will draw for places in the opening round of tonight’s tournament which will select an opponent for Dean Detton, world heavyweight champion.
There will be eight first-round bouts, 15-minute one-fall to a referee’s decision. The eight winners will then meet in four second-round bouts, also one-fall 15-minute limit, to a decision. Then two semifinal and a final championship bout complete the program. Three referees, headed by Vern Harrington, will have charge of the bouts.
ONE RED SHADOW TOURNEY WINNER
(The Oregonian, Portland, Ore., Thursday, Dec. 24, 1936)
The Pacific Coast Red Shadow used his back breaker to good advantage last night to take the final tussle of a 16-man tournament from Glen Savage.
The windup of the wild and wooly grappling program was just as wild and action-filled as the 14 preceding encounters which led up to the final.
The hooded mat artist took the final imbroglio from Savage after about 15 minutes of tough tussling by hoisting Savage aloft and cracking him across his knee.
The Shadow, slated to meet the Rocky Mountain Red Shadow in one half of the semi-final engagement, was forced to take on Pat Fraley when the Rocky Mountain mystery man was unable to enter the ring because of a leg injury.
Against the Coast Shadow, Fraley went berserk, slugging Referee Harrington and a handful of would-be arbiters who swarmed into the ring. For his roughhouse tactics, Fraley lost the fall on a foul.
Savage won his way into the finals by defeating Harry Kent, the Hillsboro ace. Kent made a flying dive at Savage, only to miss his mark and crash to the orchestra pit. Groggy when he re-entered the ring, Kent was easy prey to Savage’s figure-four head scissors.
Lightning action in the second round melees saw Savage, Kent and the two Red Shadows emerge victorious.
Savage won from Bull Martin with a right to the jaw and a figure-four head scissors after ten minutes of torrid tussling, while Harry swept Dave Johnson off his feet with a series of flying tackles after seven minutes of fast and furious action.
The Rocky Mountain edition of the Red Shadow took an unpopular decision from Pat Fraley while the northwest mystery man thumped Don McIntyre.
The equally torrid first round saw the 16 mat behemoths start out from scratch to earn their way into the second and final heats. Dave Johnson, 220, Calgary, won from Glen Stone, 210, Olympia, in 4:30. Glen Savage, 205, Portland, took a no-fall decision from Leo Numa Anderson, 220, Seattle. The Rocky Mountain Red Shadow, 218, dropped Rebel Bob Russell, 208, Chicago, in 9:32 with a body press while Don McIntyre, 215, Scotland, used flying tackles to flop Bob Hanson, 215, Montreal, manager of the Coast’s Red Shadow.
Ed Anderson, 200, St. Paul, lost to Pat Fraley, 220, San Francisco, when Fraley used toeholds after 9:48. Harry Kent, 230, Hillsboro, won from Jim Maloney, 215, Boston, with flying tackles. Bull Martin, 230, Boston, subdued Les Grimes, 203, Australia, via the headlock route and the Red Shadow, 230, took an unpopular decision from Vic Christy, 220, Los Angeles.
FROM THE FRONT, HENRY BRINGS GRAPPLE NEWS
(United Press, Wednesday, December 30, 1936)
By Henry McLemore
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – There is a wrestling war being waged up in New York, and this is a direct appeal to the citizens of the United States for funds.
Unless a goodly amount of money is raised by subscription there is a danger that the war will be discontinued. This would never do. In the name of fair play, decency and civilization, this war must be waged unto the bitter end and there isn’t a single combatant left to menace society with "Indian death grips, billy goat butts, boa constrictor scissors, airplane swings, Irish whips and head hunter hammerlocks."
Any funds raised – and, in my opinion, you can’t any more afford to refuse the appeal than you can the cry of the community chest or the Red Cross – will be used to purchase bigger and better guns, and larger and more deadly ammunition. It will be distributed without favor. For every gun and every high explosive shell given one side, a gun and high explosive will be furnished its opposition.
Much more money is needed – more than in an ordinary war. This is because wrestlers are involved, and a weapon that would destroy a Uhlan, a Riff, a Moor or a Chinese pirate with a football headguard on even, won’t so much as dent a wrestler.
The ordinary army Springfield bullet only gives a wrestler a temporary buzzing in the temples. Even the dum-dum bullet is useless, because dum-dum as the bullet is, the wrestlers are dumb-dumber. Anti-aircraft weapons are considered the most effective, largely because they don’t fire on the level.
The wrestling war broke out several months ago when the great trust (next to Swift & Co., the largest beef handlers in the world),which had controlled the industry for years, went on the rocks. The fact that it probably went on the rocks because of lack of "rocks" only adds to the confusion.
Details of the war are difficult to get for two reasons, the first being that the combatants won’t come out in the open. They probably figure that as they never came out in the open even in peace times, there’s no sense in coming out now. The war is being waged behind the doors of their grubby little offices and on the gray canvas rings of the city’s wrestling joints.
The second difficulty in securing reports from the front is the unwillingness of anyone to become a wrestling "war correspondent." The hazards are too great. To pass safely through the lines a man must have at least 15 sets of papers, each crossed and double-crossed by the proper authorities. Furthermore, to deal safely with the opposing camps a correspondent must memorize the entire list of grunters operating as "world champions." To learn all five hundred of them is work for a mental giant, for scores of the "champions" have names which would indicate they were named, not after relatives, but after bones of the body and prehistoric animals.
THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No.53-2001
(ED. NOTE – Back in days of yore, long before the Internet made it simple to send pro wrestling news folks, William Wilson of Kansas City maintained one of the better, and longest lived, wrestling bulletins of the 1950s. Herewith, a sample of what WRESTLING RESULTS looked like . . . with the exception of the match results being reproduced in the Universal Teal/Luce Format.)
VOLUME 5 -- W R E S T L I N G R E S U L T S -- NO. 1
Published for all that are interested in professional wrestling as a sport of science, strength and skill. Subscription: 6 issues $1.00 or 25 cents per issue.
St. Joseph, Missouri: March 7, 1959
(KFEQ-TV Live) … (Midgets) Cowboy Bradley drew Tiny Roe … (Midgets) Tiny Roe and Lord Littlebrook beat Cowboy Bradley and Bull Brummell … Referee: Charlie Triggs … Announcer: Bob Whyte
WAYNE BOCK, 250-pound Chicago Cardinal defensive tackle retired from football and the National Football league to be a fulltime professional wrestler. Bock, who was injured, played only four Cardinal games in 1957 and none in 1958.
SUBSCRIBE TO: Wrestling Life Magazine. This is a fine Chicago publication with lots of action pictures and stories of wrestlers appearing in Chicago & vicinity. Write to: WRESTLING LIFE, WAYLI, Inc., 817 West Grace Street, Chicago 13, Illinois (12 issues for $3.00)
Portland, Oregon: February 27, 1959
Gentleman Ed Francis beat Kurt Von Poppenheim … The Avenger beat Eric Pedersen … Wild Bill Savage beat Don Manoukian … Jerry Kozak beat Haru Sasaki (dec) … Promoter: Don Owen
WRESTLING SHOWS profit in New Mexico high schools. New Mexico’s 1959 state high school wrestling tournament was not only the biggest but the first one to show profit. The tourney drew $914.50 but after expense of medals, trophies, two referees (at $45 each), secretarial help, tourney director, ticket sellers, janitor service, and P/A system the profit was $466.50. Albuquerque won the tournament with 109 points, Albuquerque Sandia was second with 85, and Aztec was third with 74 points.
Tulsa, Oklahoma: March 2, 1959
Ivan the Terrible and Tito Carreon beat Lou (Shoulders) Newman and Antone (Ripper) Leone (The tag teams had a brawl and the fans had a ball as the clanies beat the meanies) … Carlos Rodrigues beat Chief Lone Eagle … Joe Costello beat Al Szasz … Promoter: LeRoy McGuirk
Toronto, Ontario: February 26, 1959
(Maple Leaf Gardens, att. 12,000) … Whipper Billy Watson beat Gene Kiniski (dq) … Gorgeous George beat Wally Sieber … Ilio DiPaolo beat Mike Valentino … Great Bolo beat Bull Montana … Pat Flanagan beat Al Korman … Referee: Bert Maxwell
Kansas City, Kansas: March 5, 1959
Edouard Carpentier beat Bob Geigel (dq) … Sonny Myers and Bobby Bruns beat Red McIntyre and Bob Geigel (McIntyre sub for Lee Henning, Geigel sub for Mighty Atlas, Bruns sub for Dino Bravo) … Bobby Bruns beat Frank Altman (this bout replaced Rip Hawk vs. Lou Spindola, cancelled) … (Midgets) Lord Littlebrook vs. Bull Brummell (cancelled) … Red McIntyre drew Bob Langevin … Referee: Lou Spandle (due to a heavy snowstorm most of the scheduled wrestlers were caught out of town)
Knoxville, Tennessee: February 27, 1959
Corsica Joe and Corsica Jean drew Pat Fraley and Fred Fraley … Red Roberts and Len Rossi drew Tor Yamato and Dan Dunn (Corscia Jean had seven stitches to close a scalp wound after tangling with a spectator) … Promoter: John Cazana
READ THE RING MAGAZINE. For information, write to: Nat Loubet, Ring Magazine, 307 West 49th Street, New York 19, New York ($4 per year subscription)
Memphis, Tennessee: March 2, 1959
Red Donovan and Doug Donovan beat Billy Wicks and Jesse James … Art Nelson beat Eddie Sullivan … Ann Villa beat Millie Stafford … Charlie Carr beat Richard Youngblood … Promoter: Buddy Fuller (Memphis has an amateur vs. a pro wrestler each week. A ringsider challenges a pro wrestler for a match. Charlie Carr was the professional wrestler and Richard Youngblood was the challenger.)
IN EARLY DAYS San Francisco was known as Yerba Buena.
IN EARLY DAYS Kansas City, Mo., was known as Westport Landing.
THE TORONTO GLOBE & MAIL (February 26, 1959) had this comment on Gorgeous George’s neat, petite valet Cherie: "Gorgeous George was a repulsive as ever, though the fans got a great kick out of him. But that Cherie! Wow, as an Oxford don might say. From her auburn hair to her golden heel shoes, a living doll. In between were sheer black stockings, white shorts, a white modified cutaway-style coat and white ruffled blouse. Bring her back any time, Mr. Promoter."
READ BOXING ILLUSTRATED & WRESTLING NEWS. For information, write to: Stanley Weston, Boxing Illustrated & Wrestling News, P.O. Box 384, Rockville Centre, Long Island, New York (subscription: 12 issues for $3.50)
Kansas City, Missouri: March 4, 1959
(KMBC-TV LIVE) … Legs Langevin drew Lou Spindola … Edouard Carpentier beat Red McIntyre … (Midgets) Beau Brummell beat Tiny Roe … Referee: Frank Altman … Announcer: Pat Petree … Promoter: George D. Simpson
FRANK ALTMAN, wrestler and referee, is a fulltime government employee. He works for the Post Office in Kansas City.
THE BEST TIME to wash your dishes is right after the wife tells you to.
A TEN-MAN Japanese amateur wrestling team (all newcomers to international competition) will wrestle in the western U.S. championship at Oakland, California March 5 and the national AAU meet at Stillwater, Oklahoma, April 15, 1959.
IVAN THE TERRIBLE is billed in Missouri and Oklahoma as "Ivan the Terrible Managoff."
Joplin, Missouri: February 24, 1959
Carlos Rodrigues beat Pepi Pasquale … Antone Leone beat Tito Carreon … Promoter: Jack Gott
READ OFFICIAL WRESTLING MAGAZINE, the Buffalo wrestling program. For information, write to: Photorama, 11 Niagara Street, Buffalo 2, New York (subscription: 12 issues for $1 or 38 issues for $3)
Buffalo, New York: January 9, 1959
Ilio DiPaolo and Bobo Brazil drew Bill Miller and Ed Miller (nc) … Yukon Eric beat Baron Gattoni … Hombre Montana beat Tarzan Tourville … Bobby Brown beat Frank Fozo … Dick Beyer drew Fred Atkins (Reported by Doris Jill Leonard)
Washington, D.C.: February 5, 1959
Duke Hoffman beat Bob Corby …
Joplin, Missouri: March 3, 1959
Ivan the Terrible and Cowboy Bob Clay vs Angelo Savoldi and Antone Leone … Ivan the Terrible vs Angelo Savoldi … Bob Clay vs Antone Leone … Promoter: Jack Gott
St. Joseph, Missouri: February 27, 1959
(att. 2,900) … Bob Geigel beat Sonny Myers (cnc) (referee Lou Spandle stopped the match when the weary, injured Myers was having his head banged on the ring turnbuckle; Myers injured his neck falling from the ring) … Mighty Atlas and Rip Hawk beat Bobby Bruns and Farmer Marlin … Dino Bravo beat Lee Henning (dq) … (Mixed Midgets, Ladies) Kay Noble and Lord Littlebrook drew Kathy Starr and Cowboy Bradley …
READ THE AMERICAN SPORTSCASTER. For information, write to: Harry Kehoe, American Sportscaster, 617 ½ West 33rd Street, Kansas City 11, Missouri (subscription $7.50 a year, weekly)
Kansas City, Kansas: February 26, 1959
(att. 3,800) … Edouard Carpentier beat Bob Geigel (after this bout Bob Geigel attacked referee Bobby Bruns and kicked the referee after knocking him down; Lou Spandle came to Bruns’ aid and pulled Geigel off) … Cowboy Bob Ellis and Dino Bravo beat Lee Henning and Mighty Atlas (dq) … Sonny Myers beat Rip Hawk … Lorraine Johnson drew Kathy Starr … Farmer Marlin beat Bob Langevin … Referees: Bobby Bruns, Lou Spandle
ANYONE HAVING CLIPPINGS, photos, or information on Art Nelson (Neilson), write to: Miss Doris Jill Leonard, 185 Lake Avenue North, Albany 6, New York.
Washington, D.C.: January 1, 1959
Johnny Valentine drew Zebra Kid No. 1 … Frank Townsend drew Zebra Kid No. 2 … Tokyo Joe beat Ace Freeman … Chito Lopez beat Buddy Rosen … Arnold Skaaland beat Dom Doganiero (reported by Doris Jill Leonard)
Washington, D.C.: February 5, 1959
Antonino Rocca and Haystack Calhoun beat Zebra Kid No. 1 and Zebra Kid No. 2 … The Sheik and Bull Curry beat Hurricane Anaya and Cyclone Anaya … Steve Stanlee beat Tom Bradley … Donn Lewin beat Tokyo Joe (reported by Doris Jill Leonard)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: February 20, 1959
(Stockyards Coliseum, att. 5,000) … (World Jr. Heavy Title Match*) Ivan the Terrible Managoff beat Angelo Savoldi… (Midgets, Mixed) Pepi Pasquale and Little Beaver beat Antone Leone and Mighty Schultz … Lou Newman beat Bob Clay … Tito Carreon beat Al Szasz
Seattle, Washington: March 3, 1959
Mysterious Texan beat Don Kindred … George Strickland beat Treach Phillips … Don Moore won Rassle Royal
Toronto, Ontario: March 5, 1959
(WTM) Pat O’Connor* vs Dick Hutton, Bobo Brazil and Bearcat Wright vs Lord Athol Layton and Abe Zvonkin … Fritz von Erich vs Mike Valentino … Mike Mazurki vs Great Bolo … Pat Flanagan vs John Foti … Promoter: Frank Tunney
St. Joseph, Missouri: March 6, 1959
(att. 2,000) … Edouard Carpentier beat Mighty Atlas … Sonny Myers and Dino Bravo beat Hans Schmidt and Lee Henning (dq) … Bob Geigel beat Legs Langevin … (Midgets, Mixed) Lou Spindola and Lord Littlebrook beat Red McIntyre and Beau Brummell … Promoter: Gust B. Karras
Portland, Oregon: March 6, 1959
(PNWTM) Gentleman Ed Francis* beat Kurt Von Poppenheim … Wild Bill Savage beat Oni Wiki Wiki … Haru Sasaki beat Jerry Kozak … The Avenger drew Nick Kozak … Al Kashey beat Professor Shiroma
ED CARPENTIER’S name is pronounced CAR-PON-TE-NA.
Kansas City, Missouri: February 11, 1959
(KMBC-TV LIVE) … Dick Hutton beat Carlos Rodrigues … Edouard Carpentier beat Legs Langevin … Referee: Lou Spandle … Announcer: Bill Grigsby
ASSOCIATED PRESS reports from Odessa, Tex., March 9, 1959: "Archie Moore T.K.O. Sterling (Dizzy) Davis. Moore is the world’s lightheavyweight champion and Dizzy Davis is a top-notch wrestler. It was not a mixed boxing-wrestling match, but a boxing match. Referee Paavo Ketonen of Phoenix stopped the fight one minute into the third round. Moore had opened deep cuts over each of Davis’ eyes. Attendance was 2,000.
Knoxville, Tennesse: March 6, 1959
Adrian Baillargeon beat Red Cloud (cnc)
Fort Worth, Texas: March 2, 1959
(Texas State Title) Joe Christie* beat Luigi Macera … (Midgets, Mixed) Little Beaver and Amazing Zuma beat Major Tom Thumb and Martino Angelo … Tom Thumb beat Little Beaver … Amazing Zuma beat Martino Angelo … Yvon Roberre drew Andre Bollet … Pancho Lopez (Lorenzo Parente) beat Thor Hagen … Promoter: Ken Moore
St. Petersburg, Florida: March 4, 1959
Hurricane Anaya and Cyclone Anaya beat Eddie Graham and Dr. Jerry Graham (dq) (Fans joined in a near free-for-all against the Graham brothers after the last fall) … (Ladies) Judy Grable beat Rita Cortez … Eddie Graham drew Hurricane Anaya … Cyclone Anaya beat Jerry Graham (dq)
New Orleans, Louisiana: March 5, 1959
Firpo Zbyszko and Prince Nero beat Al Massey and Gino Angelo … Carlos Mendoza beat Frankie Kovacs … Prince Nero drew Gino Angelo … Referee: Jack Scarbo
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: March 6, 1959
(Stockyards Coliseum, att. 5,000) … (World Jr. Heavy Title*) Angelo Savoldi beat Ivan the Terrible Managoff … Antone Leone and Lou Newman beat Chief Lone Eagle and Tito Carreon … Carlos Rodrigues beat Pepi Pasquale … Cowboy Bob Clay drew Joe Costello
Amarillo, Texas: August 21, 1958
Iron Mike DiBiase beat Tokyo Joe … Art Nelson beat Chief War Cloud (sub for Danny Plechas) … Hard Boiled Haggerty beat Bob Geigel … Great Bolo and Doug Donovan beat Tito Carreon and Al Kashey … Promoter: Doc Sarpolis (reported by Will Mobley)
Knoxville, Tennessee: March 6, 1959
Red Roberts beat Tor Yamato (dq) (Both wrestlers used pepper in each other’s eyes and were rough, but Yamato was disqualfied for changing his tactics and tangling with outsiders, including the referee and the police) …Pat Fraley and Fred Fraley beat Mark Starr and Corsica Joe
(to be continued in The New WAWLI Papers 54-2001)
THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No.54-2001
(ED. NOTE – The legendary wrestling historian, Uncle Burt Ray, used to forward excerpts such as the following to his "Allsies" mailing list.)
TED CHRISTY, 1946
1-2 Bakersfield … Danny McShain … draw
1-9 Bakersfield … Danny McShain … won (dq)
1-16 Bakersfield … Danny McShain … won
1-23 Bakersfield … Red Berry … won
2-6 Bakersfield … Ernie Piluso … won
2-13 Bakersfield … Red Berry … won
2-20 Bakersfield … Danny McShain … lost
3-13 Bakersfield … Danny McShain … won
3-20 Bakersfield … Danny McShain and Leo Wallick (with Vic Christy) … lost
4-17 Bakersfield … Morris Shapiro and Billy Varga (with Leo Wallick) … lost
4-24 Bakersfield … Morris Shapiro … won
5-1 Bakersfield … Ernie Piluso … lost
5-8 Bakersfield … Jesse James and Ernie Piluso (with Leo Wallick) … won
5-15 Bakersfield … Red Berry … lost
5-29 Bakersfield … Ernie Piluso … won
… Jesse James … won
… Danny McShain … lost
6-19 Bakersfield … Danny McShain … lost
7-24 Bakersfield … Nanjo Singh … won
7-31 Bakersfield … Billy Varga … won
8-7 Bakersfield … JIM LONDOS … lost
Bouts – 21 Won – 12 Lost – 8 Draw – 1
VIC CHRISTY, 1946
1-4 St. Louis … George Koverly … lost
2-27 Bakersfield … Danny McShain and Morris Shapiro (with Jesse James) … won
3-6 Bakersfield … Danny McShain … lost
3-13 Bakersfield … Leo Wallick … draw
3-20 Bakersfield … Danny McShain and Leo Wallick (with Ted Christy) lost
4-3 Bakersfield … Leo Wallick … draw
4-10 Bakersfield … Carlos Rodriguez … won
6-19 Bakersfield … Nanjo Singh … lost
8-14 Bakersfield … Danny McShain and Tony Morelli (with Ernie Piluso) … lost
8-17 Fresno … Dr. Len Hall … won
8-24 Fresno … Pat Fraley … won
8-28 Bakersfield … Jesse James … won
8-31 Fresno … Willie Davis … draw
9-4 Bakersfield … Danny McShain and Tony Morelli (with Stan Hackney) … lost
9-7 Fresno … Joe Corbett … won
9-11 Bakersfield … Nanjo Singh … won
9-14 Fresno … Angelo Cistoldi … won
9-18 Bakersfield … Tony Morelli … lost
9-21 Fresno … Frank Sexton … lost
9-28 Fresno … Joe Benecassa … draw
10-5 Fresno … Tiny (Don) Lee … lost
10-16 Bakersfield … Nanjo Singh … lost
10-19 Fresno … Dutch Hefner … lost
Bouts – 23 Won – 8 Lost – 11 Draw -- 4
(William Wilson’s Wrestling Results, Vol. 5, No. 1, continued from The New WAWLI Papers 53-2001)
St. Louis, Missouri: December 26, 1958
(WTM) Dick Hutton* beat Edouard Carpentier … Pat O’Connor and Bobby Managoff beat El Lobo and Killer Kowalski (dq) … (Ladies) Penny Banner beat Kay Noble … Joe Tangaro beat Legs Langevin (sub for Red McIntyre) … Joe Scarpa drew Johnny Ace (Johnny Weaver) (reported by Irene Baker)
St. Louis, Missouri: September 20, 1958
Otto Von Krupp and Stu Gibson beat Sonny Myers and Bobby Bruns … Thor Hagen beat Red McIntyre (cnc) … (Ladies) Peggy King beat Kathy Starr … Suni War Cloud beat Joe Millich (sub for Bob Geigel) (reported by Irene Baker)
Baltimore, Maryland: January 27, 1959
Johnny Valentine beat Donn Lewin … (Ladies) Judy Grable beat Rita Cortez … Chito Lopez beat Duke Hoffman … Frank Townsend beat Tom Bradley … Gene Stanlee beat Charles DeVona … Abe Jacobs beat Alex Mulko (reported by Doris Jill Leonard)
Washington, D.C.: January 29, 1959
Haystack Calhoun beat Bull Curry (hdcp) … Haystack Calhoun beat The Sheik (hdcp) … (Ladies) Judy Grable beat Rita Cortez … Donn Lewin and Ted Lewin drew Karl Von Hess and Tom Bradley … Gene Stanlee beat Charles DeVona … Duke Hoffman beat Chris Averoff (reported by Doris Jill Leonard)
Toronto, Ontario: February 12, 1959
Bobo Brazil and Yukon Eric beat Gene Kiniski and Fritz Von Erich (dq) (With referee Bunny Dunlop knocked from the ring, and Yukon Eric being booted out repeatedly, guest referee Henry Armstrong disqualified the bad boys. They then ganged up on Bobo and Bearcat Wright ran in dressed in civvies to chase the villains from the ring) … Bearcat Wright beat Lord Layton (cnc) … Ilio DiPaolo beat Ivan Klimenko … John Foti drew Len Montana … Pat Flanagan beat Tiger Tasker (reported by Doris Jill Leonard)
Buffalo, New York: January 2, 1959
Hombre Montana beat Al Albertino … Happy Humphrey beat George McArthur … Mike Gallagher and Doc Gallagher beat Bob Leipler and Tony Marino (reported by Doris Jill Leonard)
SEND YOUR RESULTS to: William A. Wilson, P.O. Box 7003, Country Club Station, Kansas City 13, Missouri
READ THE FORT WORTH, Texas, Sports News, the official program for the Fort Worth matches. Fort Worth publishes two programs. One is sold via mail subscriptions and the other is sold only at the North Side Coliseum. Both are published by the same man. For information on Sports News, write to: Sports News, North Side Coliseum, 121 East Exchange Avenue, Fort Worth, Texas (subscription $1 per year, weekly . . . well worth the money)
St. Louis, Missouri: January 9, 1959
(Kiel Auditorium, att. 4,896) … (WTM*) Pat O’Connor beat Dick Hutton … Gene Kiniski beat Adrian Baillargeon (sub for Tex McKenzie) … Edouard Carpentier and Bobby Managoff beat El Lobo and Hans Schmidt … Bobby Bruns drew Rip Hawk … Legs Langevin beat Suni War Cloud (reported by Irene Baker)
Baltimore, Maryland: February 3, 1959
Haystack Calhoun beat Zebra Kid No. 1 (hdcp) … Haystack Calhoun beat Zebra Kid No. 2 (dq) (hdcp) … Donn Lewin beat Chris Averoff … Johnny Valentine beat Gene Stanlee (dq) … Abe Jacobs beat Jack Terry … Frank Townsend drew Duke Hoffman (reported by Doris Jill Leonard)
Washington, D.C.: January 22, 1959
Antonino Rocca beat The Sheik … Happy Humphrey beat George McArthur (hdcp) … Happy Humphrey beat Tom Bradley (hdcp) … Don Curtis and Mark Lewin beat Eddie Graham and Dr. Jerry Graham … Gene Stanlee beat Chris Averoff … Bull Curry beat Charles DeVona (reported by Doris Jill Leonard)
Toronto, Ontario: February 5, 1959
Bobo Brazil and Bearcat Wright beat Karol Kalmikoff and Ivan Kalmikoff … Ilio DiPaolo beat Abe Zvonkin (It was feared that Abe had a broken back from an airplane spin but the East Toronto General Hospital disclosed it was a "dislocation of the sacroiliac.") … Len Montana beat Frank Thompson … Mike Valentino beat Tiger Tasker … John Foti drew Al Korman (reported by Doris Jill Leonard)
Buffalo, New York: January 16, 1959
Hombre Montana beat Baron Gattoni … Edouard Carpentier beat Legs Langevin … Ilio DiPaolo beat Gorgeous George (in 17 seconds) … (reported by Doris Jill Leonard)
Buffalo, New York: January 23, 1959
Ilio DiPaolo beat Bill Miller (dq) … Hombre Montana beat Ed Miller (dq) … Joe Brunetti beat Frank Fozo … Gorgeous George vs Bob Brown … Guy Brunetti vs Al Albertino … (Midgets) Mario Sanchez and Little Beaver vs Mighty Schultz and Tom Thumb (reported by Doris Jill Leonard)
Tulsa, Oklahoma: March 9, 1959
(att. 4,500) … (WTM) Pat O’Connor* beat Karol Krauser (at one time O’Connor tossed the big Pole out of the ring and he landed on 11-year-old Terry Sims, a vendor, who was stunned but later was pronounced okay; Sam Muchnick, president of the National Wrestling Alliance, attended the matches) … Angelo Savoldi beat Tito Carreon … (Midgets) Little Beaver and Billy the Kid beat Mighty Schultz and Tom Thumb (the fans were entertained by barber shop quartets during this big charity event) … Lou Newman beat Pepi Pasquale … Joe Costello beat Martino Angelo … Referee: Billy Raeborn … Promoters: LeRoy McGuirk and Sam Avey (Avey has retired from promoting but comes out each year for this special event, while devoting the rest of his time to the banking business.)
Chicago, Illinois: December 27, 1958
Ricki Starr beat Gypsy Joe … Roy McClarty and Don McClarty drew Boris Volkoff and Nicoli Volkoff … Kurt Steinke beat Ed Kelly … Billy Goelz beat Porfirio Longoria (Pampero Firpo) … (Ladies) Corrine Cordero beat Ramona TeSelle … Promoter: Fred Kohler
St. Joseph, Missouri: December 26, 1958
(att. 4,200) … Sonny Myers beat Mighty Atlas … Larry Hamilton and Joe Hamilton beat Ernie Dusek and Emil Dusek (dq) (all four men were fined $100 for fighting inside and outside of the ring) … Cowboy Bob Ellis beat Carlos Rodrigues … Thor Hagen beat Al Mills … Referee: Lou Spandle … Promoter: Gust B. Karras
Kansas City, Missouri: February 25, 1959
(KMBC TV Live) … Edouard Carpentier beat Louie Spindola … Dick the Bruiser beat Legs Langevin … Referee: Lou Spandle … Promoter: George D. Simpson … Announcer: Pat Petree (Sonny Myers and Bobby Bruns were interviewed during the matches)
FOR A LIMITED TIME only the subscription to this mimeographed result sheet is 12 issues for $1.00. However, after May 1st, it will be 6 issues for $1.00.
Tulsa, Oklahoma: November 24, 1958
(WJT) Angelo Savoldi* beat Al Kashey (cnc) … Dick Steinborn beat Haru Sasaki … Referee: Gene Bowman (During the title go, Savoldi ducked a body block and Kashey caught his leg in the ropes and hung outside the ring; Savoldi got in some licks before the referee released the injured Kashey)
Kansas City, Missouri: March 11, 1959
(KMBC TV Live) … Thor Hagen drew Dick the Bruiser (after the bell rang ending the match Dick the Bruiser grabbed a towel and wrapped it around Hagen’s neck and choked, dragged, and whiplashed Thor around and even outside the ring; the referee was mild in stopping this extra action) … Cowboy Bob Ellis beat Red McIntyre (dq) … Announcer: Pat Petree
Memphis, Tennesee: (Date Not Listed)
Larry Chene and Greg Peterson beat Red Donovan and Doug Donovan (dq) … Billy Wicks beat Rocky Smith (sub for Tex Riley) … Larry Chene beat Doug Donovan … Referee: Dave Hill … Promoter: Buddy Fuller
THE POLICE GAZETTE has been carrying feature articles on wrestlers. The interviews with the wrestlers and the pictures are very good. For information write to: The National Police Gazette, 1790 Broadway, New York 19, N.Y. (subscription one year, $2.50)
London, Ontario: September 25, 1958
(att. 2,200) … (Canadian Open TT*) Ivan Kalmikoff and Karol Kalmikoff beat Whipper Watson and Frenchy Vignal (dq) (while Whipper was throwing Karol around, the other Kalmikoff came into the ring and knocked out the referee; when he returned, he thought Watson did it and disqualified him) … Bobo Brazil beat Baron Gattoni … Maurice LaPointe beat Lee Henning (dq) (reported by Marlene Green)
Knoxville, Tennessee: February 20, 1959
Pat Fraley and Fred Fraley beat Don Fargo and Jackie Fargo … Red Roberts drew Gorgeous George Grant … Len Rossi beat Chuck Grant … Promoter: John Cazana
Tulsa, Oklahoma: December 8, 1958
Dick Steinborn beat Angelo Savoldi (nontitle bout) (afterward, Savoldi got into a scrap with referee Pepi Pasquale) … Red McIntyre beat Kurt Von Brauner (dq) … Haru Sasaki beat Al Kashey … Promoter: LeRoy McGuirk
THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No.55-2001
TRYING TO REBUILD WRESTLING ON A LOCAL BASIS
(Columbus, Ga., Ledger-Enquirer, Friday, July 13, 2001)
By Steve Beverly
Dennis Morrison has an unenviable job ahead of him - trying to rebuild a tradition that which died when pro wrestling hurdled a big-time national arena in the mid-1980s. Yet, he's giving a concerted effort when others have long since waved a white flag.
Tuesday night, Morrison promotes the fourth card of the new Columbus Championship Wrestling. Harkening back to the days of the early '70s when Ann Gunkel's All-South Wrestling gave a valiant effort against the better-funded National Wrestling Alliance, the venue is Bibb City's Comer Auditorium.
Running counter to what Vince McMahon has done to the industry the last five years, Morrison presents cards that which have no profanity, no sex and just pure wrestling the way Columbus fans of the golden years of Fred Ward remember.
The former tire company owner and Aflac promotions executive is putting up all the money himself with no benefit of a local television show. "With the help of (local gym owner and former North American champion) Jerry Oates, we have brought back the good family-oriented Fred Ward-style wrestling," Morrison said. "I've done three cards so far and have not had a negative comment."
Many independent promoters have failed by attempting to hot-shot shows with excessive violence or expensive talent, which tend to burn out fan interest. Morrison is instead going with Oates, the popular local veteran, and Georgia favorites, The Superstar (Bill Eadie, WWF Demolition Ax) and Scott Armstrong (Scott James).
"Everyone is so excited about the good clean wrestling and no half-naked women walking around the ring acting like fools," Morrison said. "Parents are bringing their children because they won't let them watch the WWF on television anymore. All say it is just too vulgar for a young child to watch." In fact, Ben Masters -- who for a decade promoted independent shows in Cordele and other portions of middle Georgia -- left the business because of increasing fan behavior resembling that of WWF shows.
"When I saw kids using language like I'd never allow in my house and the parents not correcting them," Masters said two years ago, "that's when I knew it was time to get out."
At the last CCW card June 3, Morrison drew around 650 and he has been pleased with the repeat customers. "People are coming back for every show and are bringing their friends," said Morrison. "It is really very interesting that about 50 per cent of those in attendance are among the upper class of this town."
In a sense, the gobbling up of World Championship Wrestling by McMahon's WWF may have opened up new opportunities for alternative promotions, such as Morrison's. Dusty Rhodes (Virgil Runnels Jr.) has developed Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling in north Georgia and the Dothan area. Jerry Lawler's Memphis Championship Wrestling is serving the mid-South region. Even 14-time world champion Ric Flair has made noises of reviving a regional promotion in the Carolinas, where he ballooned to stardom in the '70s.
Most of the independents, such as Morrison, are having to make a go without one old tradition -- a weekly television show. TV time has become expensive and quality time slots are at a premium. Plus, viewing habits have long changed from the custom of Ward's old late Saturday afternoon show, which once drew as high as an 80 per cent share of audience on WRBL. "I'm starting small," says Morrison. "I'm just letting the audience guide me one match and one week at a time. But I'd one day like to be able to grow to the point that we'd have to move to the Columbus Civic Center."
Tuesday night, he'll topline Oates against Chris (Blond Bomber) Stevens in a Canadian lumberjack match. Armstrong and Greg Brown go against The Superstar (Eadie) and The Wrestler.
In an NWF junior heavyweight title bout, Auburn senior Todd Fernandez (who usually brings an Auburn cheerleader or two with him) defends his title against Jerry (Lightning Kid) Resier. Darren (The Guard) Kelly faces Danny Roland in a return battle of two young performers. In the opener, two long-time familiar Georgia faces, Mike Jackson and Chic Donovan, square off. Jackson worked many TBS shows through the years and Donovan's roots go back to his parents, Jack and Verne Bottoms Donovan, touring pros in the '50s and '60s.
The card begins at 8 p.m.
MR. WRESTLING II: THE FINAL INTERVIEW
(WrestlingObserver.com, Sunday, July 22, 2001)
By Steve Beverly
Twenty-eight years ago, shortly after the Great Divide in
Georgia wrestling, in which Ann Gunkel split from her late husband Ray's NWA-sanctioned
promotion to form the rival All-South Wrestling, the veteran group was forced to
virtually start from scratch.
More than 20 wrestlers bolted the NWA, headed in Georgia by Atlanta promoter Paul Jones and southwest and middle Georgia's Fred Ward. For a period of nearly six months, the country's top wrestlers were being shuttled in and out of the Peach State (many from the adjacent Florida promotion) before a stable Georgia NWA unit could be reconstituted. The key for the NWA: to run Gunkel out of business, which---two years later---they did.
The veteran Lester Welch came up from Tampa to help Jones rebuild. Early in the game after the December 1972 Gunkel walkout, veterans came in to supply the talent roster. Don Curtis, who had been in retirement and promoting in Jacksonville, Eddie Graham, Hiro Matsuda, Boris Malenko, and Buddy Fuller jumped into Georgia rings during the interim periods of December and January. Long-departed Georgia favorites and villains of the 1960s, including Ramon Torres, Butcher and Stan Vachon, Sputnik Monroe, Joe Scarpa (as Chief Jay Strongbow) and Dale Lewis returned. WWWF champion Pedro Morales and a young Andre the Giant worked a few shows at The Omni, which had just been built.
However, four keys were seminal to the rebuilding job. One, the importation of a young Bill Watts as booker (and eventual lead heel) for the NWA circuit for its first year of head-to-head battle with Gunkel. Two, the hiring of Gordon Solie to commute from Tampa every weekend to become the on-air anchor as a replacement for another mike legend, Ed Capral.
Three, the return of arguably the most popular solo wrestler
for the Georgia promotion in the mid-1960s to at least temporarily reassume the
role as star fan favorite. Tim Woods had built the legend of Mr. Wrestling in
the at-the-time unique role of a babyface masked man. Woods would redon the mask
to maintain the identity and myth for Georgia viewers who had no access to
Solie's Florida shows (though south Georgia viewers who weekly saw Florida
matches in Jacksonville and Tallahassee were already onto secret of the
masquerade). However, Woods---who had removed the mask in Florida more than a
year earlier---still had obligations in the Sunshine State and was largely
available on loan from Eddie Graham's circuit.
The fourth key, ironically, turned into the most enduring and damaging to Gunkel's fledgling hopes. With Woods not always available for the key Friday night shows in Atlanta and often in demand to work Tampa and Miami at midweek, rather than the smaller Macon and Columbus in Georgia, the decision was made to create a second Mr. Wrestling who could carry the torch for fans when Woods was not available.
Enter Johnny Walker, who could best have been defined as a journeyman wrestler. He had toiled in small circuits, in tank towns and had reached the midcard level in Georgia in 1967-68 as Johnny "Rubberman" Walker, whose stock-in-trade was sliding out of pinfall attempts and scissors holds, rather than kicking out, because of his double-jointed frame. By the late '60s, Walker had become a topliner in the Alabama/Gulf Coast circuit as Southern junior heavyweight champion and as a frequent tag champion. He moved onto Florida in 1970-71 as The Grappler, a preview of what was to come in 1973 in Georgia. The Grappler gimmick lasted just short of a year, including a short run for Walker as Southern heavyweight champion. Walker would eventually team with Malenko (Larry Simon) for a four-night run as Florida tag team champions.
Walker was past 40 when he received the call to consider reacquiring a mask and becoming Mr. Wrestling II. Not at all certain of again losing his own identity, Walker was convinced to take the gamble when he was told he would largely be on top, particularly when Woods was away. The gamble was a wise one. Over the next decade, Mr. Wrestling II would go on to become arguably the most popular singles star in the history of the Georgia NWA circuit. When Ted Turner extended his WTCG onto a national satellite in 1977, Walker (as II) and Solie would become the first two legitimate national cable television stars, on the backs of perpetual number one Nielsens for "Georgia Championship Wrestling" (later "World Championship Wrestling").
Nielsen research shows Mr. Wrestling II still holds the record for the highest national rating ever in the history of the old Saturday show, for a 1983 elimination tag bout with the storyline of II putting up his mask against the $25,000 of Larry Zbyszko. II and Pez Whatley teamed against Zbyszko and Tully Blanchard. In classic booking, Woods came back to do color for the match with Solie and Whatley lost the first fall. II would eventually overcome the deficit and win with a backslide after Woods entered the ring to inform the referee a fatal Zbyszko pinfall resulted from the later classic Ric Flair strategy of feet dangling on the ropes. The match drew a 6.8 national cable rating and is believed to be the first cable match ever to draw more than a million viewers.
II had several near-misses for the NWA world heavyweight championship and continued to compete into his early 60s, when injuries and the aging process finally took their toll. Walker and his wife, who had run a family furniture business in north Georgia for man years, made the decision to retire to his native Hawaii.
In mid-July, a score of Walker's old wrestling colleagues were reassembled for a tribute dinner in Georgia, which ended with what many have described as the only time Walker has ever been seen teary-eyed. The evening of July 17, Walker made what he insists will be his final appearance as Mr. Wrestling II, as he returned to Columbus, Ga., for a ringside farewell at Comer Auditorium where a small independent group known as Columbus Championship Wrestling is trying to rekindle interest in the traditional-style Southern card.
For a Camelot moment, the clock turned back nearly 30 years and a long, sustained standing ovation erupted for a man who still epitomizes an era when heroes were still heroes in wrestling---and America. Johnny Walker still had on the mask but he could not mask his humility at the spontaneous outpouring. Before the main event ended, Walker delivered one final trademark kneelift which set up the victory for the local babyface.
The morning of the Columbus card, Walker reflected back on his life and career in a one-hour telephone interview:
Q: Is this really your final public apperance in Columbus? No more coming back a second or third time?
JW: I think it will have to be. I'm heading back to Hawaii and you don't just hop in a Pontiac and drive over. No, I wanted to do this in Columbus because it was a town which was wonderful to me through the years.
Q: What was it about Columbus which stood out for you?
JW: A big reason was (the late) Fred Ward, the promoter there for so many years. He may have been the finest and best promoter I ever worked for. Not only was he a good man, he was a fair man and that's not always something you found in our business. I think he was a fair man because he had been one of us. He had wrestled and he understood when you sometimes had car breakdowns or you had other things to happen on the road. He knew what wrestlers had to go through. He had one of the biggest hearts of anyone in the business and I only wish I could have come back when he passed away.
Q: How tough was wrestling on your personal and family life?
JW: It was especially so on both myself and my wife. My wife had to raise the kids on her own. We had three children and I didn't get the opportunity to be with my children in prime time as other fathers did. That was always difficult for me. On the weekends, I'd try to take one or more of my children with me---sometimes they'd be with me at TV in Columbus but with the mask, you had to worry about the identity leaking out. I lost a lot of valuable time in those years. I would drive a long way and come in late at night from a show and when I'd wake up, they'd be already at school. A lot of weeks went by that I didn't see them at all. The weekends were always the only time I really could spend with my kids. When you're grown up, as my wife and I were, you accept certain things when that's how you make your living. I had a good life. Wrestling made me a good living. It was my life. But I could never get back those years with my kids. We tried every way possible to make time to go to the park or do things with them on the weekends until they were grown.
Q: How different was breaking into pro wrestling when you did from what it is today for a young man? Who trained you?
JW: Like cold and hot water. I was trained by Pat O'Connor and one tough gentleman named Tony Morelli. You could say Morelli was really my tutor. We used to go down to the gym and he would twist me into every possible position. I looked like a pretzel by the time he got through with me. I had been an amateur wrestler for nine years but this was something different. Day after day, I'd go home with my head between my legs because he was better than me.
Back then, when you went to the gym to work out, you didn't spend two hours pumping iron, you wrestled. Morelli showed me what wrestling was all about. He was tough. He didn't back up an inch. It made a believer out of me in a case of what I could be in pro wrestling.
Q: How much of a struggle were those early years? You were nearly 40 by the time you began to achieve success. Was there ever a time when you said to yourself, "My goodness! What have I gotten myself into?"
JW: I scratched the bottom of the barrel for quite some time. For at least eight to ten years, I didn't really come close to reaching the top. Occasionally, in a small town, you'd get a main event, but you didn't make much money. It was a lot of hard work and, sure, you had some times where you asked yourself if it was worth it. I had a lot of aches and pains before I could get to a point to prove to promoters I could draw money.
But it's a real strain on you. That's because you may do good one night but you can't fluff off at all. You have eight to ten guys right behind you who are standing in line to knock your block off and take your place in a heartbeat.
Q: I remember selling pictures for you in Waycross, Ga., when you were Rubberman in the 1960s and even after a middle-card match, the people would flock around you.
II: I bet you didn't make much money off the sales that night (laughing). No, the kids really loved Rubberman and in a lot of those small towns, you could be face-to-face with people. They felt a sense that you were a part of their families and I think we've lost an awful lot of that today.
(The Steve Beverly-Johnny Walker interview concludes in The New WAWLI Papers 56-2001)
THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No.56-2001
(ED. NOTE – This absorbing interview by Steve Beverly
with Rubberman Johnny Walker/Mr. Wrestling II appeared on Dave Meltzer’s
WrestlingObserver.com pages Sunday, July 22, 2001. It continues from The New
WAWLI Papers 55-2001.)
Q: You went onto be a main eventer in the Alabama/Gulf Coast circuit and it appeared you were coming close to the top in Florida. How, ultimately, were you selected to be the one to become Mr. Wrestling II?
JW: I was wrestling in Florida as The Grappler. We'd done pretty well and then they decided they wanted me to take off the mask. I had teamed up with Tim Woods in a TV match where Tim pinned Dory Funk Jr. Timmy liked the way we worked together. So, I got a call asking if I would consider coming up to Georgia and being Mr. Wrestling II. I said, "I guess I could. I've just lost my mask down here and it might be okay for a little while," but I didn't want to do something which would be just to back up somebody else. I was getting to the age where if I was going to have a chance to really be on top, it was going to have to be now. So, I went up to Atlanta. We had a few discussions on my program and about the colors of the mask and the outfit. We finally decided I would be dressed in white and have the black outline, so it would be distinguished from Tim.
I was probably three or four inches shorter than my former partner. Nevertheless, we worked very well together. We were both bouncing back and forth between Georgia and Florida for a while but Tim much more than I was. They finally decided to team us up for a while. We complimented each other very well. Timmy was much more the consummate wrestler. I was kinda what you would call the hotheaded guy. It gave us an edge as far as a tag team was concerned.
We made good money for that time. But we also got along well. We were friends and that's not normal. In the wrestling business, tag team partners usually have a lot of problems with each other. We were being booked to do a lot of things with kids in schools and parks and I always enjoyed that.
Q: You had some great feuds with Bill Watts during that first year and then into the second year, the decision was made to split you and Tim up. Tim had taken off his mask in Georgia by that time. Jerry Jarrett was the booker at the time. Why was that done?
JW: Partly because I got a little annoyed behind the scenes. I had been promised a lot of things when I agreed to come (to Georgia). But my partner was being given all the shots at the world heavyweight championship. He had several shots at Harley Race and Jack Brisco. I was getting a little annoyed, so I went to the promotion and said, "Is there something wrong with me?" They said, "Oh, no, no!" I said, "Well, if there is, I'll give you something to think about."
Q: Did you really consider leaving?
JW: It did cross my mind. After all, I had carried the ball for more than a year and we had made a lot of money for the promotion. We were close to running the other group out of business. I felt like it was my time and I have never been one not to say what I think. I speak my mind. They still weren't really favorable about it, but I finally told them I wanted to prove a point. So we all sat down and they agreed Tim and I would have a match against each other. I beat him and they built it up over the next few months until I had the opportunity to wrestle the world heavyweight champion.
Q: But you switched sides to becoming a villain. How different was that for you, personally, particularly when it came to the people who bought the tickets?
JW: I didn't really think I ever went too much to the other side of the fence because everywhere I would go, I would still have a lot of fans on my side. I think the only thing that really irritated them was when I started calling myself "Mr. Wrestling" for a few months. They didn't like that very much.
Q: You had the buildup match against Brisco at The Omni and that was the first time we had seen the finish where you were both being counted down and Jack lifted his shoulder up just before three. That finish has been copied hundreds of times since. But you went on to have a lot of matches with Jack.
JW: Oh, yes. I had one where we had a two-out-of-three fall match and I won the only fall and I didn't get the belt. I had several with Harley Race where Harley got disqualified. I beat Terry Funk in several non-title matches. Same thing when Nick Bockwinkel made a swing through Georgia with the AWA title. They used to call me the "almost-but-not-quite" guy in the dressing rooms.
Q: When Ted Turner put his station on satellite in 1977, you and Gordon Solie probably became the first major stars in cable television. Your identity, as a whole, was bigger than any other wrestler in the country at the time. To what degree did you realize the impact the Superstation was having at the time?
JW: I'll tell you what really made us realize it. About a year after Ted went all over the country, we were having another one of those deals where I had come close to winning the world title but didn't win it. So, they ran a promotion on TV one Saturday and Gordon made an announcement to the fans to write in and give their view about whether Mr. Wrestling II should be the world champion. They ran that campaign for about three weeks. They received 250,000 pieces of mail all on that one request. We'd never seen anything like that before. That's when we knew how much power that satellite had.
Q: When it all started back in '73, did you have any clue the character would be as enduring and popular as it ultimately became?
JW: No. Not in a million years. I was absolutely stunned by the popularity I did get over the years. You think if you're lucky, you may have three, four, maybe five or six years at the top but I couldn't believe it went on as long as it did.
Q: How important was Gordon Solie to your career?
JW: Gordon meant everything. Gordon Solie was a prince of a man. I knew and loved him dearly. I had a good time with Gordon, his wife, his whole family. My wife and I shared a number of evenings with Gordon and Eileen. He was the best commentator of all time and he really respected the people in our business.
Q: Through the years, who were the toughest people you ever faced in the ring?
JW: Two stand out, actually three. Jack Brisco and Harley Race were as tough as anybody you could face. They had both been great amateur wrestlers and they knew exactly what they were doing. They were just plain tough. Then, there was Toru Tanaka. He was a different kind of tough guy. He was built like a concrete wall and he had a constitution that was unlike most people you wrestled. It's like Gordon used to say, "He was like a small Sherman tank."
Q: When you finally left Georgia, you went on to work for Watts in the Mid-South and in Florida and the Carolinas for a while. Then, you went up to New York to work for Vince McMahon. That didn't last too long.
JW: No it didn't (laughing). It was like what happened to a lot of guys who went up there when he first expanded. A lot of guys were made a lot of promises. He told me he was going to use me on top in Georgia and around the South. Never happened.
Q: I remember the only time you ever appeared on his version of "World Championship Wrestling" in the Atlanta studio, they had you in a 15-minute draw with Les Thornton. The only significant match you ever had on the Tuesday night USA show was against Terry Funk.
JW: Yeah, I kinda saw the handwriting on the wall. And, being the kind of guy I am, I let him know about it. I told him exactly how I felt. He said, "If you're not happy, you can leave." I said, "Good. I'm gone." I packed my stuff and left that night. I've always been one of these people who believes when you have something to say, say it. That's made me a few enemies over the years and it didn't make McMahon feel very kindly toward me. But I think you should say what's on your mind. I did.
Q: You worked a lot in Alabama and for the Georgia All-Star promotions in the late '80s and then you decided to hang it up. You were around 60 and Lou Thesz is one of the few people I ever remember hanging in as long as you did. What finally made you retire?
JW: My body (laughing). My body was telling me it was time to go. I had several injuries toward the end. My neck had been messed up years ago with Tanaka and that was hurting again. It was really taking its toll. Then, the knee was giving out. After 35 years of pro wrestling, it all takes its toll. Your body one day tells you enough's enough. I decided it was time to enjoy life while I was still able. So when I quit, I just quit period! No big retirement tour. None of that. I just decided to quit.
Q: Why Hawaii for your retirement?
JW: My wife and I had discussed this thoroughly for a long time. We had made quite a few trips to Hawaii during my years in wrestling. We went there for a lot of vacations. My dad was stationed here during World War II and he owned property here. We thought it was the right thing to do and it has been. I love it. It's about 85 degrees year-round and in the wintertime, goes down to maybe 60. At nighttime, it's very cool, very nice. The weather's just hard to beat. Of course, you're on an island, so you don't just pick up and go everywhere you want to go. But I think I've traveled enough.
Q: What do you think of the kind of product which is labeled wrestling today? Since McMahon bought out Ted Turner's company, he finally controls it all as far as a national industry. It's far different than the short time you worked there and even from what it was five years ago.
JW: I don't think it's anything close to what we called wrestling. When I was in it, I enjoyed it and it was a competition. Today, it's not a challenge of anything. It's hysteria. It's who can throw the biggest garbage can or the biggest object at each other or who can say the most naughty words. It's a cartoon and that's being kind. I'm really sad to sit here and tell you that because I still think there's room for wrestling the way people remember it. Today, it's all sex, violence and there is no challenge. It's bad for the kids and I understand why some people won't let their kids watch it any more. It doesn't matter who wins or who loses any more. There's no strength, no test of skill. It's completely out of control.
Q: How much more difficult is it for a young man today, now with only one national wrestling organization, and with so many independent promoters having tossed in the towel, to get a break?
JW: It'd be much tougher. I don't know what the situation is as far as training for what they do today. It's all so much showmanship and hollering and I see very little wrestling. There aren't many places for a young man to go to learn the ropes and make his mistakes. You couldn't survive today as I did waiting eight to ten years for a chance to go to the top.
Q: Are you optimistic at all that a door may open for some small promoters to bring back local wrestling as we once knew it? How difficult might that be without having access to television? Even local television time is very expensive today.
JW: I would hope so. There are still a lot of wrestling fans who, I believe, would enjoy wrestling where they can bring their kids, their whole families and not be ashamed of what they see. You are right, it would be difficult without television. But the guy (Dennis Morrison) in Columbus is using a lot of local radio to promote his matches and that's the way we used to do it years ago in the small towns. The toughest thing is for promoters to find the young gentlemen who want to wrestle as wrestlers. That's going to be the hardest thing to find.
It will take a lot of hard work. You have to overcome all of the exposure and overexposure this business has had the last 15 years. It all depends on whether one has the time, money, patience and quality of talent who can perform as professional wrestlers should perform.
Q: Would you say over the years Miss Lillian Carter, the former First Mama, was your biggest fan?
JW: Absolutely. She was there almost every time I was in Columbus until her health gave out. You probably remember in the summer of 1976, before Jimmy became President, she had a car to come pick me up in Columbus. I went to her home and she wanted to have a private meeting with me. We sat and talked, just about things in general, for more than two hours. We spoke about wrestling but we also talked about her family and how her life had changed since her son was running for the White House. She was one of the nicest ladies I ever met and talked with in my life.
Q: I can remember those years as a rookie reporter for WRBL in Columbus and her assistant Maxine Reese would tell me she would go home black and blue from where Miss Lillian would slap her knee every time something exciting would happen in one of your matches.
JW: (Laughing) That's exactly the way she was. You know, she never once asked me if I would take my mask off during our entire conversation. I thought that was nice. She never once even brought it up. She did say before we left, "I do have one question for you: are you good-looking?" I laughed and told her, "Well, my wife thinks I am."
After Jimmy won the election, she had arranged for me to have a personal invitation to be a part of the official party for the Inauguration. I was honored and I really wanted to go. I thought long and hard about it and it would have been a delight. But I was told by the Secret Service I would have had to take off the mask. For security reasons, you just couldn't have a grown man with a mask that close to the President of the United States. I certainly understood. I thought seriously about it, but I figured somebody might put two-and-two together and that mask, of course, was still my livelihood. So, I decided not to go. I explained it to Miss Lillian and she was very gracious about it. It was still a great honor.
Q: Finally, tell us about the testimonial banquet to honor you. That had to be an emotional evening.
JW: It was one of the biggest surprises of my life. I was told, "An awful lot of fellows have missed you and would love to see you. Would you let us arrange for all of us to get together with you?" I didn't think that many guys I worked with were still around and, besides, I was always a tough guy behind the scenes. I spoke my mind and a lot times, I didn't really make a lot of friends. I got there and I was in awe. I couldn't believe how many of them were there. We had a great time reminiscing about our days in the business. It was a wonderful evening.
And then, they did something I am still in shock over. I never did win the world heavyweight championship. I was always the guy who came close but never won it. They had even come up with a Champion of Champions Cup once after I came just short that was supposed to be the same thing.
Well, these guys had all gotten together and had a replica made of the world heavyweight championship belt. Here I was, Mr. Tough Guy, the guy who never cries. It just choked me up. I stood there and couldn't say anything for a few minutes, and then, I told them: "Guys, you did it to me!" It was the greatest honor I could have ever had.
Q: How would you like to be remembered?
JW: Oh, I don't think that's too important. But I would hope people remember me as a man who lived a good life, who spoke his mind, and who gave the best he could in the profession he really loved. If that's what people remember, then I couldn't be more pleased. I've had a lot of people tell me I meant a lot to their lives. Well, a lot of those same people meant a lot to me because they made my career as successful as it was. If I could say one thing to them, it would be to say God bless you and all of your families.
THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No.57-2001
THE SPORTS SPY GLASS BY HUTCH
(Arizona Republic, Phoenix, March 3, 1931)
Seems like I can’t get Pete Sauer out of my mind and with the mail carrying reams of copy about the great wrestlers of the day, I have the impression that Pete is being the run-around by most of the front-rank matmen.
The latest edition of "The Daily Mud" that is being heaved from the headquarters of Ed Don George’s managerial group contains the offer of Paul Bowser, Boston manager of Gus Sonnenberg, for a purse of $100,000 for the winner of a heavyweight tournament, providing each entry carries a guarantee of $5,000.
Special invitations are offered to Gus Sonnenberg, Ed Lewis, Joe Stecher, Nick Lutze, Everett Marshall, Jack Sherry, Stanley Stasiak, Lee Wykoff, Pat McGill, John Spellman, Count George Zarynoff, Otto Huhtanan, Bill Demetral, Frank Judson, Marin Plestina, George McLeod, Joe Malcewicz and Dan Koloff – all members of the Sandow-Bowser side of the grappling game. Other invitations are addressed to Jim Londos, Jim McMillen, Richard Shikat, Ray Steele (Pete Sauer) and Hans Steinke.
Out of that list of so-called top-notchers there are a few good wrestlers. There are fewer great grapplers, while for the most part they are none too good.
Listing them as they come:
Joe Stecher – all washed up and working purely on the doubtful magnetism of his former championship days.
Ed "Strangler" Lewis – still a great wrestler but doubts exist as to whether he can go more than an hour at top speed.
Everett Marshall – built up by a Los Angeles promoter in an attempt to develop a new champion but a complete fizzle.
Gus Sonnenberg – a sorry champion at best and a worse ex-champion.
Stanley Stasiak – strong and rugged but has permitted himself to be used by the champion-makers to his own detriment.
Lee Wykoff – another Marshall.
Pat McGill – could have been a great wrestler but lacked the color to please the champion-makers.
John Spellman – well known in Phoenix and has nothing to recommend him as a real top-notcher.
Count George Zarynoff – a newcomer but nothing hot.
Otto Huhtanen – goes for him, too.
Bill Demetral – a great Greek 15 years ago, but now washed up for the last 10 years.
Frank Judson – a fair wrestler.
Marin Plestina – used as a policeman by the Sandow-Bowser organization for years. Previous tot hat an outlaw under the management of Ole Marsh. Now used as the "build-up" for new talent.
George McLeod – just another heavyweight.
Joe Malcewicz – could have been great but also permitted the powers-that-be to take advantage of his good nature and is now definitely out of the picture.
Dan Koloff – the man who was accused by the New York commission of having wrestled Sonnenberg under many aliases in many cities. There was never a denial of the charge despite the fact that Koloff really can wrestle.
Jim Londos – champion of the world and disputed only by the Sandow-Bowser group with selfish motives.
Jim McMillen – considered a great prospect but defeated twice in recent weeks by Londos.
Dick Shikat – former champion by virtue of victory in a tournament open to the world and which was carefully avoided by the Sandow-Bowser group.
Ray Steele (Pete Sauer) – our personal selection as the best of the whole assemblage in actual wrestling ability and now being evaded with equal agility by both groups.
Hans Steinke – huge German whose rather colorful career appears to be reaching its peak and he may be the surprise package in the mat game yet.
JIM LONDOS WILL RETURN TO MAT GAME
(Associated Press, Wednesday, February 5, 1936)
CHICAGO – Jimmy Londos, Greek philosopher with a strong mind and a strong back, has decided to return to the wrestling wars after an eight-month layoff since losing the world heavyweight championship to the 23-year-old Irishman, Danno O’Mahoney.
Since his broad shoulders were pinned to the mat by O’Mahoney last June, Londos has not engaged in a match or an exhibition. He’s done nothing but rest. Now, he desires to determine his mental attitude toward a "comeback." If he finds the sport has the same old lure, he plans to continue in the hope of regaining the title. Otherwise he will quit for good.
To determine his mental attitude, he plans engaging in several exhibition matches, the first of which will be in Detroit Friday night.
The 37-year-old Greek, who does not look any older than 25, made known his decision today at a conference to which newspaper writers had been called.
Londos explained he had three reasons for returning to the sport.
"First," he said, "my absence from the game has pleased my enemies too well. It is my intention from now on to cause them trouble and worry.
"Secondly, I need to earn money.
"Third, I can wrestle better than I can do anything else."
THELMA TODD TRIAL ALTERS WRESTLING SHOW
(Salt Lake City Tribune, Saturday, January 4, 1936)
Eggs heaved into an electric fan could be no more scrambled than the wrestling program at the Arena Friday night. It was all due to the fact that Lord Lansdowne failed to appear for his headline bout with Benny Bolt. It was explained that Lansdowne had been subpoenaed as a witness before the grand jury investigating the tragic death of Thelma Todd at Los Angeles, and would not be permitted to leave California until the inquiry was completed. It seems that Lansdowne was one of the many who had seen Miss Todd shortly before her death.
A capacity house turned out to see Lansdowne and Bolt and the co-feature, the heavyweight match between Bill Longson and Al Newman. While the absence of the spectacular Lansdowne unquestionably was a keen disappointment to many, as a whole the spectators were well enough pleased with the card which was the product of an eleventh hour rearrangement.
Longson and Newman, appearing in the first heavyweight wrestling event of the season, gave a great display of power, well and skillfully applied. Longson turned up winner of two of the three falls.
Willyum won the first in 12 minutes when he swiftly seized the opportunity to put on a "skin the cat," after a mixup in which full nelsons and leg trips were used. Newman won the second with an excruciatingly painful toehold.
The third was a spectacular piece of work on Longson’s part. From outside the ring, Bill leaped in a straight line between the strands, landing squarely and with enormous force directly in the section where Al stows his doughnuts. It was a flying tackle of tremendous potency.
Substituting for Lansdowne, Rod Fenton at last met his master in little Benny Bolt. The Sioux warrior proved to be every whit as resourceful with his mitts as Fenton, and a bit more so. When the Lightning Rod finally was a twisted and bent piece of useless junk after the third fall, the crowd cheered long and loud. It isn’t that the wrestling citizenry dislike Rod so much, as that they have long awaited the arrival of his doom, which has been a long time coming.
Outweighed some 12 pounds, Bolt not only was the aggressor, but also demonstrated that he can pull as big a handful of hair as any of ‘em. Probably Benny had a trifle of advantage in the fact that Fenton also wears whiskers, which supplies another handle which to grasp.
Fenton won the first fall with a series of dropkicks, and Bolt the second with an arm whip, at which he is exceptionally good. The third fall followed an exchange of blows. At this phase of "wrestlling" Benny proved himself superior Friday night, for his punches were not only straighter, but also delivered with greater accuracy. Again Fenton’s whiskers may have aided in his undoing, for they certainly make a tempting target.
Balk Estes won an interesting and 100 per cent clean match from Al Boyd, a local athlete who has been coming along in fine style in the rasslin’ business. Estes gained his victory in a one-fall match with a toehold, which he neatly took after breaking Boyd’s Indian deathlock. Boyd gave a highly creditable performance, probably his best since he started as a pro.
Bull Keener, a kneeing rougher from Montana, fell victim to George Bennett’s rocking chair leg split in the opener.
All around, it was a good wrestling show, with plenty of exciting moments.
(ED. NOTE – In December, 1964, The Destroyer – Dick Beyer – lost the W.W.A. version of the heavyweight title to Toyonobori in Japan, although the result was not recognized in the U.S. The two versions were unified on July 23, 1965, when Graham beat Toyonobori. Steve Yohe provides these subsequent installments to the story. By October, 1965, Pedro Morales had taken the belt from Graham and would enjoy a lengthy run as champ into the summer of 1966 before being beaten by Buddy Austin.)
TOYONOBORI WINS WRESTLING TITLE
(Los Angeles Times, Thursday, September 9, 1965)
Toyonobori of Japan wrested the world’s heavyweight title from Crazy Luke Graham before a sellout crowd of 10,224 Wednesday night at the Olympic.
Graham was disqualified on the first fall and Toyonobori took the second fall to win the championship.
OTHER BOUTS – The Assassins drew with Pedro Morales and Alberto Torres, Gorilla Monsoon defeated Jack Allen, The Kentuckians defeated The Mummy and Vince Bagola, The Butcher drew with Mr. Moto, Nicky Bockwinkel drew with Red Lyons, and Yoshina Sato defeated Bambino Lopez.
OLYMPIC STAGES SPECIAL MAT SHOW TONIGHT
(Los Angeles Times, Monday, September 20, 1965)
The Olympic Auditorium presents a special non-televised wrestling card tonight, featuring a world title bout between Luke Graham of New York and Japan’s Toyonobori.
As an added attraction there will be a battle royal with 12 heavyweight grapplers in the ring at the same time.
OTHER MATCHES – Kentuckians vs. The Butcher and Chuck Carbo; Gorilla Monsoon vs. Tony Galarza; Pedro Morales vs. Assassin No. 1; Nicky Bockwinkel vs. Assassin No. 2, and Alberto Torres vs. Jack Allen.
GRAHAM WINS, KEEPS WORLD MAT CROWN
(Los Angeles Times, Tuesday, September 21, 1965)
Crazy Luke Graham retained his Olympic Auditorium version of the world’s heavyweight wrestling title Monday night by defeating Toyonobori in the main event. Attendance was 9,768.
OTHER BOUTS – Gorilla Monsoon defeated Tony Galarza, Pedro Morales drew with Assassin No. 1, Nicky Bockwinkel drew with Assassin No. 2, Alberto Torres defeated Jack Allen, and the Kentuckians defeated The Butcher and Chuck Carbo.
THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No.58-2001
GORDY’S WRESTLING LEGACY REMEMBERED
(Chattanooga Times-Free Press, Friday, July 20, 2001)
By Stump Martin
Professional wrestling fans across the world said good-bye to Rossville's Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy Thursday.
The gentle giant died Monday at 40 at his home in Soddy-Daisy from a blood-clot induced heart attack. He was buried Thursday at the Tennesssee/Georgia Memorial Park.
Family, friends and fans said they will never forget the 6-foot-4, 285-pound wrestler and how he made it from his humble beginnings on Carden Avenue in Rossville to stardom as one of the top professional wrestlers of all time.
"Terry Gordy was the original wrestling big man," wrestling fan Ron Hall said. "At one time Terry was the most recognized person from the Chattanooga area. You have to put him up there with Reggie White and Rick Honeycutt in the money he made as an athlete."
Wrestling experts said Gordy was a child phenom. He started his career at 13 years old as half of the masked Scavengers tag team with Rossville businessman Eddie Griffin. They wrestled together at the old WRIP television studios on Ellis Road in Rossville and traveled the outlaw wrestling circuit together.
Griffin had talked to Gordy recently about managing him in a comeback.
Griffin said he had contacted Dusty Rhodes about booking Gordy, and he was going to help him get back in shape.
"I'll miss Terry's friendship," Griffin said. "Losing Terry was like losing a friend, brother and a son. He went from being a poor boy in Rossville to being a rich man. There was times I envied him."
Gordy's one-armed Uncle J.D. Kile, known to most as Captain Hook, took Terry under his wing and taught him the ropes.
The talented athlete may have gone on to become a star in football or baseball, in both of which he excelled as a youngster, but Kile had a different vision.
Rossville High School football coach Lynn Murdock said Gordy "could have been a heck of a football player," but he dropped out of school after his freshman year.
The retired coach said a college coach came to recruit a couple of his players and noticed Gordy as a freshman slinging weights around the weight room.
"The coach said he would be back to see him," Murdock said. "He was big and strong and he could run."
But when Murdock went to see Kile about getting him back in school he was told he wouldn't be back.
"J.D. told me Terry wasn't going to play anymore football," the coach said. "He said in a year he would be making more money than me and by the next year he would make more than a $100,000 a year."
That soon came true for the teenager who would go on to hold World Titles in the NWA, WCW, Japan, Mid-South and too many wrestling federations to name.
Gordy wrestled professionally in front of packed arenas from Madison Square Garden to Tokyo. And it was he and partners Michael "P.S." Hayes and Buddy Roberts who are credited with changing professional wrestling as the dynamic tag team of the Free Birds.
Hayes said when he and Gordy first started traveling together they were 16 and 17 years old.
"I think we revolutionized the wrestling industry," said Hayes, now a commentator with the WWF. "We changed the way wrestling was shaped. When we first came out to music nobody had done that."
"When we asked promoter Nick Gulas if we could do it, I"ll never forget it, he said, 'Are you boys taking them marijuana pills again?"'
The Lynyrd Skynyrd song "Freebird" soon became the trademark of the World Championship tag-team.
"I told Terry this is the song we can all bond to," Hayes said. "Terry and I had a special bond. And we knew we had made it together when we set a record wrestling in front of more than 50,000 fans in Texas Stadium in 1984."
Gordy was recently selected as No. 81 of the top 100 wrestlers
of all-time in a ranking by "Wrestling Rewind" magazine. His name
appeared ahead of such greats as Arn Anderson, Paul Orndorff, Junkyard Dog,
Scott Steiner, Nikita Koloff, Wahoo McDanial, Ron Simmons, Wildfire Tommy Rich,
Jerry Jarrett and Ernie "Big Cat" Ladd.
'BAD STREET' WILL NEVER BE THE SAME
(Charleston Post and Courier, Sunday, July 22, 2001)
By Mike Mooneyham
"Bad Street" will never be quite the same.
Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy, who along with Michael "P.S." Hayes and Buddy Jack Roberts formed one of the hottest teams in the wrestling business during the '80s, died Monday at the age of 40 at his home in Rossville, Ga.
Gordy, who worked occasional independent cards over the past several years, had returned from a show in Indiana last weekend when his girlfriend found him dead inside his home. Gordy, who reportedly had been complaining of chest pains, died from a blood clot in his heart.
Gordy was a major star in the U.S. as well as in Canada and Japan, but achieved his greatest success as part of The Fabulous Freebirds, a wild-eyed, long-haired, Confederate flag-waving trio whose feud with the Von Erich family in the Dallas-based World Class Wrestling promotion during the early '80s set the territory on fire.
Gordy, who had been one of Cowboy Bill Watts' top stars in his Mid South Wrestling and Universal Wrestling Federation promotions during the mid-'80s, held the NWA and WCW tag-team titles with "Dr. Death" Steve Williams during the Watts era in Atlanta during the early '90s.
Gordy had held the heavyweight title for Watts' UWF, engaging in classic feuds with Williams, Ted DiBiase and Hacksaw Jim Duggan, programs that benefited even more from the impassioned announcing of a young Jim Ross.
Gordy, who was born on April 23, 1961, began his career as a teen-ager. He was a Chattanooga-area high school baseball standout when he joined the pro wrestling ranks at the age of 15.
Initially the strapping youngster wore a mask, billing himself as "Mr. Wrestling," to conceal his identity since he was still attending high school. Using the names Terry Mecca and Terry Meeker, he also worked for The Sheik's Detroit-based promotion.
Gordy was still a teen-ager when he first teamed with "Lord" Michael Hayes in Mississippi and their first stint as The Freebirds in Memphis in the summer of 1979.
In 1980 the two burst upon the Georgia Championship Wrestling scene to the strains of Lynyrd Skynyrd "Freebird" and their own Bad Street Band's "Bad Street, USA" blaring over the P.A. system, quickly rising to national prominence due to their exposure on the SuperStation.
One of Gordy's most memorable angles occurred on Dec. 25, 1982, at Reunion Arena in Dallas, when Ric Flair defended his NWA belt against Kerry Von Erich in a cage match with Hayes serving as special ref. Von Erich rebuffed Hayes' attempts to help him win the title, resulting in Gordy slamming the cage door on Von Erich's head. The confrontation ignited one of the hottest feuds ever staged in that area.
Gordy held a slew of titles during his illustrious career that included the NWA American heavyweight title (beat Kevin Von Erich), the UWF heavyweight title (beat Hacksaw Jim Duggan), the Louisiana heavyweight title (beat Junkyard Dog), two-time All Japan Triple Crown (beat Jumbo Tsuruta and Steve Williams), the Smoky Mountain heavyweight title (beat Brad Armstrong), WCW world tag-team title (with Williams), the NWA world tag-team title (with Williams), the Georgia tag-team title (with Hayes), six-time NWA world six-man tag-team title (five times with Hayes and Roberts, once with Roberts and Iceman King Parsons), four-time NWA National tag-team title (three times with Hayes and once with Jimmy Snuka), two-time Mid South tag-team title (once with Hayes and once with Roberts), two-time Mid America tag-team title (twice with Hayes), Southeastern heavyweight title (beat Jos LeDuc), the Global Wrestling Federation tag-team title (with Jimmy Garvin), seven-time All Japan International tag-team title (five times with Williams and twice with Stan Hansen), and the Texas Brass Knucks title (beat Great Kabuki).
The 6-4, 280-pound Gordy was noted for his tremendous in-ring skills and was one of the most talented big men in the business, providing a perfect match for the flashy, bleached blond Hayes, whose initials "P.S." stood for "Purely Sexy" and who was one of the top talkers of his day.
Gordy was revered in Japan where his bruising, stiff style of wrestling was tailor-made for Giant Baba's hard-hitting All Japan promotion.
Gordy's career came to a virtual standstill in 1993 when, at the age of 32 and already a 16-year veteran in the business, he suffered a drug-induced stroke during a flight to Japan that left him in a coma.
Gordy was never the same wrestler again, a series of strokes having rendered him a shell of the dynamic performer he had once been, and his last few years in the business were marked by occasional independent matches and special appearances in Smoky Mountain Wrestling, ECW and the WWF.
Gordy's last pay-per-view appearance was at a WWF show Dec. 15, 1996, in West Palm Beach, Fla., where, as The Masked Executioner, he lost to The Undertaker in an Armageddon match.
Gordy's longtime partner, Hayes, currently works as WWF announcer and road agent Dok Hendrix. Gordy had visited Hayes and the WWF crew during their recent stop in Birmingham and was said to have been in good spirits.
Jim Ross, who talked to Gordy at the show, said Thursday that Gordy was a prodigy who he felt was talented enough in his prime to have main-evented a Wrestlemania-caliber show.
Gordy, whose son Ray is training to be a wrestler in Japan, was laid to rest Thursday at the Tennessee-Georgia Memorial Park in Rossville, Ga., near Chattanooga. Among the more than 300 mourners were Hayes, Tommy Rich, Terry Taylor, Robert Gibson and Doug Gilbert. A large arrangement of roses and carnations, with the word "Freebird" and two Rebel flags on top, adorned the chapel.
The song "Freebird" played over the PA system as the attendees left the service.
TRIBUTE -- More than 800 fans turned out Tuesday night in Columbus, Ga., as the legendary Mr. Wrestling No. 2 (Johnny "Rubberman" Walker) made what was billed as his final appearance in that town. The show, promoted by Jerry Oates, began with a 10-bell salute to Terry Gordy.
Wrestling 2, who was presented with a plaque and spoke to the crowd later on the show, helped Road Dogg (Brian James) defeat Chris Stevens in the Canadian Lumberjack main event after delivering his famous knee lift to Stevens to set up the pin.
REST IN PEACE -- Zoltan "Ace" Freeman passed away July 9 in Enola, Pa., at the age of 87. Freeman performed from 1930-67 and later promoted in the Pittsburgh area.
THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No.59-2001
THESZ GRAPPLES SCHNABEL TONIGHT
(Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Tuesday, March 7, 1939)
Denver sees one of the several dozen wrestling champions tonight in City Auditorium.
The gent in question is Mr. Lou Thesz, victor over Colorado’s Everette Marshall recently. The 226-pound Hungarian from St. Louis meets Hans Schnabel, the allegedly meanest guy in the neighborhood, in a two-out-of-three-fall set-to, with a 90-minute time limit.
Lee Wykoff takes on Steve Kayak (no relation to Kayak II); Joe Corbett meets Roy Dunn, and George Rigosky grapples Ronnie Etchison in other bouts.
FLASH: THESZ THE WINNAH IN TWO FALLS!
(Rocky Mountain News, Wednesday, March 8, 1939)
LouisThesz, handsome Hungarian from St. Louis, still is one of the world’s wrestling champions.
He retained the claim last night by taming Wild Hans Schnabel, vicious Chicago showman, in straight falls before 2,000 of the faithful in City Auditorium.
Thesz won the first fall on a foul after Schnabel refused to quit using a strangle hold. Referee Jack Bloom warned the loser several times, and when he insisted on choking the champ – my, my! – it was all over.
Louie took the decider in 23:30 with a body hold.
It was a match filled with the customary tactics of the trade. They kicked, cussed, bit and fussed, tossing each other out of the ring, etc.
Thesz weighed 223, Schnabel 225.
Lee Wykoff, 225, playing a villainous role to the hilt, finally disposed of Steve Kayak, 215, in 18:30 of the semi-windup. Lee used a head hold to win the rough affair.
In the preliminaries, George Rigosky, 210, threw Fritz Schnabel, 210, with a body slam in 14:55, and Roy Dunn, 218, disposed of Joe Corbett, 215, in 22:55 with a head hold.
FUNK, OLSEN WIN; WEAVER BEATS CORDOVA
(Santa Fe New Mexican, Friday, November 15, 1946)
The fair-haired boys backed into a decision last night in their favor at the St. Michael’s gym, but it took a judges’ disqualification to win for Dory Funk and Milt Olsen over Al Williams and Joe Dorsetti. The antics of Old Al and Black Joe at times bordered on the disgusting, and twice had promoter Johnny Valdes in the ring to stop the proceedings.
The first was when Williams hung onto the ropes to maintain his advantage over Funk with a hammerlock. Referee Louis Weihe couldn’t see the slick ropework by Williams, and was about ready to award him the fall when Valdes jumped in. The fall was allowed to continue, however, and Funk gave up two minutes later.
The second fall went to the good boys when Funk slugged Dorsetti into Olsen’s corner, and Olsen slugged him back to Funk. This kept up until the contestants got tired, whereupon Dorsetti dove for the canvas and Funk flopped on top of him and won the tap. Earlier in the fall Funk had tossed Dorsetti through the ropes and had piled on top of him. Olsen and Williams joined in the festivities, and at one time Olsen was ready to beat Dorsetti’s head in with a chair before he was restrained.
The third fall was more or less of a repetition of the first, and wound up with Williams again using the ropes to hold Funk down. Weihe counted the fall, but the ringside officials wouldn’t allow it, and when Williams and Dorsetti protested,t he fight was given to the other pair. The proceedings wound up with all four fighting again, and order was finally restored by Valdes and Weihe.
By contrast, the first match was one of the best seen on the local mat this year. Buck Weaver lived up to his advance billing as a fast, clean grappler, and wont he second and third falls from Polo Cordova, using the seldom-seen diamond twist. The hold is also known as the King Kong twist and as the Hoosier neck twist. In any event Cordova almost had his head jerked off and willingly gave up the second fall in 40 seconds and the third in eight minutes. Previously the young Mexican had won with a calfhold after Weaver was set to take the fall with a body press.
The newcomer is about as fast a wrestler as has hit this circuit in the past few years, and put on quite a show. In winning the second fall, he probably set a speed record, making a backward dive for Cordova’s head as the two squared off at the bell, clamping on his hold and proceeding with the twist. His novel method of getting out of a hammerlock was to run around the ring fast enough so that Cordova was forced to let the hold go, and the centrifugal force carried Cordova out of the ring and onto the floor.
FUNK, WEAVER HURT; LOPEZ, DORSETTI DRAW
(Santa Fe New Mexican, Friday, January 10, 1947)
Wrestling returned to Santa Fe last night without having missed a stride, as one of the largest crowds of the season saw two gladiators get carried out of the ring.
Gordon Hessel, powerful newcomer, refused to continue his bout with Dory Funk after the latter had banged his head on the corner of the ring while skidding under the ropes. Funk took 18 seconds to get back in the ring, but was in no shape to continue, and referee Jack Corcoran awarded the fight to Hessel, who politely refused the decision and asked that the bout be called "no contest."
Funk was carried below, and may have suffered a slight concussion.
Burly Buck Weaver was a little less fortunate in his choice of an opponent, and the Scarlet Mask walked to a straight-falls decision, with the aid of some dirty work in the corners. The clincher came in the first fall when the tubby man began kneeing Weaver in the small of the back, and followed by snapping on a half-crab.
Weaver had to be helped from the ring, and when the five-minute rest period was up, asked for more time. The Mask wouldn’t grant any more rest, however, and Weaver limped back into the ring, where he was disposed of in about one minute, via the same method.
The preliminary match between Guillermo Lopez and Joe Dorsetti was a nice, fast scramble, and Lopez used some plain and fancy wrestling to counter Dorsetti’s devious methods – the pair winding up in a draw. Lopez looked fast at times, especially when he reversed a headlock and came up with a rolling head scissors, and when he bridged out of some would-be presses.
The Funk-Hessel match was a tight one all the way through. Both proved equally adept at head scissors, and Hessel gained a press with one for the second fall, after Funk had taken the first with a flying dropkick and a body press.
Promoter Johnny Valdes announced that next week’s card will feature a battle royal, with six wrestlers in the ring at once.
THE RING IS DORY FUNK JUNIOR’S OFFICE
(KayfabeMagazine.com, May 18, 2001)
By Richard Burton
Dory Funk Jr. has always been happy while at work. Wrestling has been a way of life for the Ocala resident throughout his life and the squared circle became his office where he practiced his trade in front of millions and millions of fans.
"It has been a fairy tale,'' he said. "The part I never have gotten tired of was in the ring. That is more of a high than anyone could ask for. Sometimes it was difficult getting to all of those places, but once your in the ring it makes it all worth it.''
Funk began doing amateur wrestling at age seven at the Texas Boys Ranch, which was headed up by his father, Dory Sr. There were over 100 kids out for this program, which Dory Sr. started to give back to the community of Amarillo, TX. Dory Jr., meanwhile, learned how to wrestle and also became a standout football player, which helped him earn a scholarship to West Texas State University. Funk started at offensive tackle/defensive tackle for the Buffaloes, who would have future wrestlers Tully Blanchard, Ted Dibiase, Barry Windham, Tito Santana (Merced Solis), Terry Funk, Stan Hansen, Bruiser Brody and Bobby Duncum Sr. all come through the program.
During Funk's senior season, WTSU made it to the Sun Bowl in El Paso, TX., and defeated Ohio University. The Buffaloes also earned wins that year against Arizona State, Texas Tech and Bowling Green. And while Chuck Bednarik of Philadelphia Eagles fame may have been the last 60-minute man in pro football, Funk was one of the last in the collegiate ranks. "I liked playing both ways because it was more of a game of conditioning,'' he said. "I felt that you should learn both sides of the ball anyway and I really enjoyed doing that.''
From there, Funk earned a degree in English from WTSU and turned pro right after his eligibility was up. One of Dory Sr's requirements for his son getting into pro wrestling was that he earned his college degree. Soon, Dory Jr., working the Amarillo territory against some of the biggest names in the business. Within three months, he faced Sonny Myers, Verne Gagne and Gene Kiniski and three months later he had added Pat O'Conner and Fritz Von Erich to the list. "Those guys were great,'' Funk said. "You really learned a lot by facing guys of that caliber.''
But perhaps a true lesson in how to win the fans over was taught to Dory by his father one night in Littlefield, TX. It was the night after John F. Kennedy was murdered and the crowd for a 2-out-of-3 falls tag team match between Dory and his father against Harley Race and Don Duffy was dead.
"Nothing could excite the fans,'' he said. "They just sat there and then my father saw a copy of New York Magazine and picked it up. "He found a picture of Race with his eyes wide open and this big flamboyant robe and under it said The Great Mortimer, which was the name Race used when he was breaking in on the East Coast.'' Dory Sr. then said: "Your not looking at Harley Race, you're looking at the Great Mortimer.''
The crowd then started chanting 'Mortimer' and Race ran around the ring telling the crowd to 'shut up.' "They really got into it,'' Funk said. "And we went out and tore the house down for the third fall.'' The things his father showed him were principles, which he uses today and that have been followed by many in the wrestling business.
"My father was so creative,'' Funk said. "He never wrestled the same match. His influence is still felt today. He always said 'if we are taking from the community, we have to give something back.' "Everything with him was built around the basis of wrestling.'' Dory Sr. gave 10 percent of the profits from each show he had to the Texas Boys Ranch. One of the young wrestlers in the territory at the time, who followed this was Eddie Graham. Graham followed the same principles and in fact donated proceeds to the Florida Sheriff's Youth Boys Ranch and built CWF on "a wrestling background.''
The trickle down theory continued as a young Bill Watts followed Graham around and wrote down everything he did. Watts then moved on to the Mid-South territory and met a young Jim Ross, who still talks of 'credibility,' and the 'athleticism of the wrestlers' on WWF broadcasts. "JR doesn't know where that came from,'' Funk said. "It came from my father's Amarillo territory. He gave the fans a base of wrestling and credibility.''
(The interview will continue in The New WAWLI Papers 60-2001.)
THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No.60-2001
(Richard Burton’s KayfabeMagazine.com interview with Dory Funk Jr. continues from The New WAWLI Papers 59-2001.)
In 1964, Funk left for Vancouver where he learned more about the business. He was in a battle royal and jumped off the top rope and landed awkwardly and wound up tearing his knee. Fearing a serious injury, he saw a doctor and got checked out and was told he would need surgery. Funk then called Kiniski and told him that he would have to cancel the rest of his dates in Vancouver. Kiniski snarled: "Screw those doctors. Go out and get yourself some tough skin, shave your leg, get some tape and get some long tights.'' That night, Funk was told by Kiniski to show up at the arena an hour before everyone else. He did and when he got there he saw Kiniski, who taped him up. "I was real grateful to have (Kiniski) around,'' Funk said.
This practice kept up for almost a year before Funk was healed. Five years would then pass before the biggest meeting of Funk's life with Kiniski would take place. The two men would cross paths with the NWA world title on the line on Feb. 11, 1969.
"It was a match we knew was going to take place,'' Funk said. "My father and brother (Terry) worked extremely hard with me in preparation for it.'' Kiniski was a very tough opponent recalled Funk. "He was so big and so strong that he almost hurt you when you locked up with him,'' he said. "He was 6-4, lean and mean and had came from the University of Arizona, where had starred in both football and wrestling.''
The match took place at the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory in Tampa FL; a building which was packed to the rafters and was sweltering inside. Dory Sr. was in his son's corner for the bout and at the 20-minute mark, Dory Jr. used the spinning toehold to defeat Kiniski to become the best in the world. "My father came in the ring and told me 'whatever happens the rest of the way in the wrestling business, you have accomplished a lot already,'' Funk said.
This win started a four-plus year journey for Funk as the best in the world. "It was a fabulous time,'' he said. "I got to go so many different places and wrestle so many different people.''
The list was great as Funk faced each territory's champion. Race (Kansas City), Lonnie Mayne (Portland), Johnny Weaver (Mid-Atlantic), Fritz Von Erich (Dallas), The Sheik (Detroit), Hans Schmidt (Toronto), Kiniski (Vancouver), Waldo Von Erich (St. Louis), Jose Lothario (San Jose), Mil Mascaras (Los Angeles), Antonio Inoki (Japan), Giant Baba (Japan), Johnny Valentine and Wahoo McDaniel all were challengers he faced during the first year of his title run.
"Every place I went they had a top guy capable of wrestling for the world championship,'' Funk said.
He was in the ring 320 times that year. As champion, Funk figured he would be working three weeks and get one week off, but this never happened. When he got home to Amarillo, Funk would work in Lubbock, Odessa and Abilene for his father, so his life was always very busy. "The wrestling part was always fun,'' he said. "It was somewhat difficult getting to all of those places, but from the time you leave the dressing room to the time you come back, you have no problems.
"They always say the bigger the crowd the softer the mat. When you are out there in front of a huge crowd, you can't feel anything, but the flip side of that is if you are out there in front of 100 people, you give them the same type of show. Being champion became a way of life.''
As 1970 started, Graham began pushing former NCAA champion Jack Brisco. Funk faced him in Tampa and the fans went crazy. "They really liked the style of Funk-Brisco,'' Funk said. "They really got into it. Before we faced each other the first time, Championship Wrestling from Florida had a video on Jack in preparation for the match.
"It caught on and everywhere we went, Jack and I had an automatic sellout.'' They also battled at Convention Hall in Miami, the Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg and the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville. The match at the Gator Bowl was a 90-minute draw.
"I consider each match to be a workout,'' Funk said. "I would go out and first break a sweat. Then, I would perform for the people. Eventually, Funk-Brisco became a national phenomena. During his third year as champion, he faced Brisco in venues across the country. The two even faced off in Japan. "I would say that I wrestled him about 300 times during the time I was champion,'' Funk said.
Another wrestler Funk faced many times over the years was Race, the man who defeated him for the belt in 1973, but faced him around 90 times during his run as champion. "He spent a lot of time in the Amarillo territory during the beginning of his career,'' Funk said. "Harley's got a tough guy attitude and was fun to wrestle and fun to do interviews with.''
While holding the title, Funk fell in love with Japan. He faced Inoki in Osaka in 1969 and the two went to an hour draw. The following year, the two also went to a draw in a 2-out-of-3 falls match. The third meeting between the two was set for Osaka in 1971. Bell time was at 6:30 p.m., but Inoki had not shown up at 6.
"It sort of left them up shit creek,'' Funk said of the situation surrounding Japan Pro Wrestling that night. "At the time there were two TV stations in Japan, one favored Inoki and one favored Baba. Inoki ran into trouble and left the company (Japan Pro Wrestling.'' Funk had to have an opponent, so he faced a 6-foot-4, 280-pound judo champion named Sakaguchi, who would eventually become the president of Inoki's New Japan Pro Wrestling. On that night, the two had a 45-minute war, which Funk won with a spinning toehold.
The face of wrestling in Japan, however, had changed as Inoki started New Japan and Dory Sr. helped Baba start All-Japan Pro Wrestling. This crushed Japan Pro Wrestling.
"I remember they paid me off on time and they started with hundred dollar bills and then went down to fives and ones and then the promoter reached in his pocket for change to finish it off,'' Funk said.
Meanwhile, Baba became quite a role model for what Funk does today with his Funking Conservatory fight camp in Ocala, FL.
"His knowledge of wrestling was so great and I try and teach some of the techniques he used when i teach young people today,'' Funk said. "He was such a big man (6-8, 300) and when they speak of him in Japan they call him "Giant" Baba.''
As Funk and his brother Terry worked more in Japan, they saw the crowds change and the way foreign wrestlers were viewed. "They used to stack the Americans on one side and the Japanese on the other and have World War II all over again,'' he said. "The fans began to respect the style of myself and Terry and sort of broke the mold of the US always being the bad guy.
"It was something new that the Japanese could back a foreigner and they thing about Japanese fans is that once they are your fan, they are your fan forever.''
It was the contrasting styles of the Funk brothers, which turned the Japanese fans on to them. "I enjoyed working with (Terry) in Japan,'' Funk said. "He was the crazy guy and I was the wrestling side of it and that contrast made us much more interesting to people had we done the same thing.''
The Funks won the Real World League tag team championship on three occasions. Promoters in America saw the allure of them as a tag team as well and booked them against the Brisco brothers.
"I enjoyed every part of wrestling, but if I had to pick, I would have to say I enjoy singles wrestling more because you control your own destiny,'' Funk said. "I came from a team sport and in football as a lineman, you have 22 guys and you are fighting to get some kind of recognition.
"It feels good to be in an individual sport and be responsible for what happens and whether the fans get their money's worth or not.''
The fans in Fukuoka surely got their money's worth and more when Dory and Terry met in the finals of a tournament in 1980. "It was like wrestling myself,'' Dory said. 'It was just like looking in the mirror. Terry is a very good wrestler and very capable.'' Dory came out on top, though, when he pinned his brother with a rolling cradle at the 50-minute mark of the match.
In 1980, Funk's also life changed in several ways. He moved to Florida and became the booker for Eddie Graham's Championship Wrestling from Florida. That same year, he met his future wife, Marti McKinley, who handled the merchandise for CWF. Funk was single at the time, but still had time for his kids, Dory III, Penny and Adam. Dory III, 40, is currently a doctor in Colorado, Penny, 39, has three kids and a husband in the concrete business and Adam, 35, the technology facilitator for Amarillo Independent Schools. Funk's kids, though, weren't really inclined into following their father into the wrestling business.
"(Dory III) was an athlete in high school and junior high, but wasn't very tall and was real slender,'' he said. "He weighed 145 pounds and played football in high school, but he was pretty gifted in his school work, so we encouraged him to follow that.'' His daughter Penny was what Dory said was "the toughest of the three, but we didn't want her to become a woman wrestler.'' And finally his youngest son Adam, went into the Catholic Monastery before eventually leaving and going to work for the Amarillo school system.
"(Adam) did a helluva job,'' Funk said. "His love of computers and his background helped him get that administrative position he has.''
Funk, meanwhile, had a lot on his mind as booker of CWF. Then one day, he and Marti had a talk. "She and I talked and she told me about what was popular with the fans and what was selling,'' he said. "She was very helpful to me as booker of the territory and we got to know each other and enjoy each other.''
At first, Marti wasn't all that interested in the wrestling business, but as she became more inclined to learn about it, became a huge asset to Dory. "We have done everything together as a team since 1983,'' he said. "And it has worked out well.
"She's a photographer, videographer and she is the producer of our TV show (!Bang!). She does as much to free me up to work with the students (at the Funking Conservatory) as she can. So many guys have wrestling schools and don't get to spend much time with the students as they would like, but I don't want to delegate that to anyone else.''
Soon after the two married in 1984, Dory was off to the WWF along with his brother Terry to be part of a feud with Hulk Hogan, Santana and the late Junkyard Dog. "I had a great time (in the WWF),'' he said. "At the time, Hogan was drawing huge houses across the country and he had that charisma and was fortunate to have a lot of good talent there to support him.''
A match at WrestleMania II between the Funks against JYD and Santana ended in a victory for the brothers from Amarillo. A subsequent bout against Hogan and JYD drew huge ratings on Saturday Night's Main Event.
Wrestling had changed, though, and Funk remembers when. "We were all sitting in the locker room and someone comes in and says 'fellas, we have now taken in more money in merchandise than we take in it at the gate,'' Funk recalled. "It really caught fire.''
Funk spent nine months in the WWF and left to return to All-Japan Wrestling. Terry, in fact, left before Dory, which brought about the fictious Funk brother, Jimmy Jack, who was played by Jesse Barr.
Funk's next dealing with the WWF came as coach of the Funking Dojo in 1997. It all started when he had a phone conversation with Bret "Hitman" Hart.
"Bret said 'I am going to leave Vince McMahon and they are going to ask me to come back,'' Funk recalled. "I thought 'how could a company as big as the WWF depend on just one person?" Soon after this, Funk got a call from Ross, who asked to put together a program for developing young talent. Wrestlers such as Edge, Christian, The Hardy Boyz, Test, Kurt Angle, Albert and many others all came through the WWF's Funking Dojo.
Teaching wrestlers was something Dory had never really thought about doing. When asked where the inspiration came from he said: "Marti.'' Marti adds: "I had been trying to get him to do it for years because he is such a good teacher and it really takes a special person to be a teacher. He has always done so well with training amateur athletes.''
Today, Dory and Marti run the Funking Conservatory fight camp, which is now producing a weekly TV show called !Bang! The camp operates in the Dory Funk Arena. "This is the best setup that I know of for TV,'' Marti said. "There are just so many unique things here.''
As far as the future of !Bang!, Marti said: "We want to go national and we want to replace WCW. I think there is an opportunity to do this. They say when you cuss it is because you don't know English, well they are falling into that trap at the WWF.''
Currently, Funk's camp meets monthly for a week. This month's camp features 22 wrestlers and the May 26 show is called "Baptism by Fire.'' As Funk begins his 38th year in the wrestling business, he can look back on many great things, but also will have the opportunity to see many more great ones in the future.
"It has been a great ride through the business,'' Funk said. "I have enjoyed every single minute I have been in the ring. I am as comfortable in the ring as I am in my living room.''
So when Dory Funk Jr. begins his next camp on May 21, as soon as he steps foot between the ropes, he will be home.