THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No. 131-2001
EUROPEANS WANT TO SEE 'STRANGLER'
(San Francisco Bulletin Leased Wire, April 30, 1923)
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A cablegram has been received here from Dublin, Ireland, asking if "Strangler" Lewis will consider crossing the Atlantic for a series of wrestling matches.
CHARLIE CUTLER DENIES HE'LL RETIRE
(San Francisco Bulletin Leased Wire, May 10, 1923)
CHICAGO -- Charley Cutler, veteran wrestler, denied today that there is any truth in a story printed in a local paper that he will retire from the ring. "I am good for several years yet," says Cutler.
JACK TAYLOR PINS PETE SAUER
(San Francisco Bulletin Leased Wire, May 10, 1923)
LETHBRIDGE, Alberta -- Jack Taylor of Winnipeg retained his Canadian heavyweight wrestling title last night, defeating Pete Sauer of Los Angeles two out of three falls.
DICK HUTTON: A TRUE LEGEND
By Bill Murdock (archived at www.mikemooneyham.com)
It is not surprising during the weekend of the hall of fame inductions at the International Wrestling Institute to see fans standing in line to meet and shake hands with wrestling greats such as Dan Gable, Danny Hodge, Lou Thesz and Verne Gagne. What is surprising, however, is to see these wrestling greats waiting their turn to speak and reminisce with one of their own.
That is exactly what happened last year at the Hall of Fame inductions. While waiting to speak to this man, Lou Thesz overheard a fan ask a friend, "Who is that man?" Lou turned to her and said, "Excuse me, I couldn’t help but to overhear your question. That man is THE man. That man is Dick Hutton."
Like a hero out of a Louis L’Amour novel, Dick Hutton rode out of Oklahoma and ruled the collegiate heavyweight division like no man before him or since. Hutton reigned supreme in his division losing only one match, winning three NCAA titles and belonging to two national championship teams. Dick’s four appearances in the NCAA finals with three championships left a record that was unmatched for 28 years and was not broken until 44 years later (when another young man from Oklahoma named Pat Smith won four consecutive NCAA titles). Coupled with a fifth-place finish in the 1948 Olympic Games in London and three AAU titles, he left a legacy in the annals of wrestling that is unparalleled.
Born in Amarillo, Texas, in 1923, the son of a bricklayer, Hutton began wrestling in junior high after not making the basketball team. Being cut, a dejected Dick Hutton happened to walk by wrestling coach Frank Brisco’s open office door. Coach Brisco called him in and Hutton began an undefeated career in junior high.
Dick remained undefeated at Daniel Webster High School in Red Fork, Okla. Undefeated, that is, until the finals of the state championship. Dick recalls, " We wrestled to a draw in the finals. We had three overtime periods but they finally gave it to him. He was the defending champion and they said he pushed me off more than I pushed him so I lost on criteria. I took second twice. My senior year I lost to a wrestler named Thurman Garrett. He weighed 325 to my 185. He became an All American tackle and played pro football."
Dick also excelled at football at Daniel Webster, playing
tackle on defense and running guard and fullback on offense.
"We played 60 minutes, ironman football. We had to, we only had 14 players on the team" Hutton remembers. He also tried his hand at throwing the shot put, but wrestling and football kept his focus.
From high school, Dick received scholarship offers from the University of Oklahoma and the University of Pittsburgh. But Hutton chose a school that didn’t offer him a free ride, Oklahoma A&M (Oklahoma State). "They didn’t offer me a scholarship, but I wanted to study architecture and A&M had a great program. Besides, Coach Brisco had wrestled there and said that was the place I should be. So that’s where I went," Hutton states. When he arrived at Oklahoma A&M there were 11 heavyweights out for the starting position. After about two months there were only three and Dick not only had his starting position but his scholarship as well.
There was another reason for Dick to attend Oklahoma A&M: the legendary coach Art Griffith. As great as he was on the mat, Hutton gives the lion’s share of the credit to Coach Griffith. "He had a tremendous amount of knowledge and developed what he called the spin system. If you learned it, you would be awfully hard to beat. Our team went more than 70 matches without being beaten." Hutton explains:
"One advantage I had was I knew more wrestling than most heavyweights. Most heavyweights at the time relied on power and not a lot on technique. I tried to learn all that Coach Griffith could teach me. I had fast hands and developed a short arm drag. I could shoot it with either hand. When an opponent would come in to me, I could hit it every time. I never liked to tie up. I would tie up and back off just to set up the drag. I wasn’t much of a pinner, either. I won most of my matches on points. When my opponents figured out how fast I was, they started keeping away from me and I would have to chase them around the mat."
Through out the 1940s and 1950s Griffith’s A&M wrestlers ran over most of their opponents to the point of the team being booed when they walked on the mat. Winning all the time made them the villains. It became difficult for them to schedule other schools to wrestle against. Hutton was learning early the price a champion has to pay.
Dick only had a half-year of college before volunteered to join a different kind of battle. He joined the army and served in Italy during the last two years of World War Two. After the war he returned to Oklahoma and the mat. Even though he was away from wrestling for three years, his experience as a drill instructor instilled in him more confidence than ever before. Enough confidence to carry him to undefeated seasons and national championships in 1947 and 1948.
In addition to his collegiate championships Hutton proudly represented his country and placed fifth in the 1948 Olympics. He had won his first three matches. In his forth match Hutton was wrestling the Australian team member when trying for a hip lock his foot got caught in the mat and instead of throwing his opponent, Dick fell back on his elbow and it started to swell. He was allowed injury time and when the match continued Hutton went for the hip lock again and once again his foot caught the mat and he fell on his elbow. This time his elbow went numb and Dick was forced to withdraw. His opponent went on to the finals and Dick returned to Oklahoma.
In 1949 with the national heavyweight championship at stake once again, Hutton wrestled in one of the most famous and controversial matches in NCAA history. A match that changed the how matches would be judged from then on.
At Colorado A&M in Fort Collins Colorado two of the most
renowned heavyweights in wrestling history met with the NCAA Heavyweight title
in the balance. Two athletes who would go on from the collegiate national
championship to the World’s Heavyweight Championship.
Hutton’s opponent was the 1948, 191-pound champion from Minnesota, Verne Gagne. They had met once before. In 1947 Hutton defeated Gagne on his way to the championship at the NCAA tournament at the University of Illinois. Verne dropped the next year to 191 pounds and took the title while Dick won his second heavyweight championship. So the stage was set for one of the most anticipated rematches in college history.
Hutton recollects the match vividly.
"Verne was an outstanding wrestler. Not only on the mat but how he sized up an opponent. He knew if he came into me, I would beat him decisively. He also knew in matches where my opponent stayed away from me, I would win maybe three to two or two to one. And that’s just what he did. In all honesty, I truly
believe I won that match. I don’t blame Verne. He came out to win and that’s just what he did. I believe they should have started him down for not being aggressive. I shot in and caught him in the last few seconds and that put me up three to two. Some kid comes out on the mat from the timekeeper’s table and tells the official that the time ran out before he gave me the two points. He took the two points away and walked over and raised Verne’s hand. The entire crowd became unglued. The coach of Nebraska was head of the tournament committee at the time. He told me that if coach Griffith would make a formal protest they would reverse the decision. I went to my coach but he wouldn’t protest. So I came in second."
Because of the controversial ending in the Gagne match, the rules were changed for championship matches. In addition to a referee, two judges were added.
In 1950 Dick was again in the finals wrestling for the heavyweight championship.
He continues his story, "Believe it or not, I ended up with the same referee that I had in the finals the year before. I was wrestling a guy named Stoeker from Iowa State Teachers College. All through the match his coaches were yelling at him to stay away from me. He kept running off the mat and the referee kept allowing it.
Again he wouldn’t put him down for not being aggressive. The match ended with the score tied one to one. I knew what was going to happen. The referee voted for Stoeker but the two judges voted for me. I had my third national title. I could never figure out that referee though. There must have been something about me he just didn’t like."
After graduating for Oklahoma A&M, Dick returned to the Army with a commission and was stationed in France for two years. The Army wanted Dick to once again to represent his country in the 1952 Olympics. But this time he turned them down. He was weighing about 285 pounds, 100 pounds heavier than his last Olympic appearance. Besides he would have only three weeks to get ready for the trials.
Although they never saw eye to eye on their match. Hutton and Gagne were and still are friends. They became such when they both represented the United States in London in the 1948 Olympics. In fact it was Verne who persuaded Dick into turning pro. "When I found out that Verne was making $150,000 a year in the ring, I thought I can do that, I beat him, I can do that" Hutton laughs.
Dick decided to try to turn his amateur success on the mat to fame and fortune in the ring. In 1953 he turned professional. This is not as unusual as it may seem;
many of his contemporaries did the same and did it well. Verne Gagne (Minnesota), Mike DiBiase (Nebraska), Ralph Silverstein (Illinois), Bob Giegel (Iowa) and Ray Gunkel of Purdue all made the transition from the nation’s top amateur wrestlers to some of the world’s top professionals.
Although the fame and fortune did not come right away. Dick earned $7 for his first match and learned the "ropes" by taking on all comers throughout the Midwest. They got a dollar a minute and a thousand dollars if they beat him. Night after night truck drivers; marines and farmers would try their skills against the former national champion. No one won the thousand dollars in fact only a few won anything at all. The average time of Dick’s wins was 15 seconds.
Even though Dick had an inauspicious beginning it wasn’t long until Hutton caught the attention of wrestling greats Ed "Strangler" Lewis and Lou Thesz. Through their coaching and encouragement, Hutton began appearing in main events in major cities in North America and in 1957 in Toronto, Canada, Dick became the heavyweight champion of the world by upsetting the legendary Lou Thesz.
"I set a goal to win the world title in five years. I accomplished it in four. It was a great honor to hold the NWA world’s title and competing against Lou. Lou Thesz set the standard for all of us -- in and out of the ring. To me he was and is the greatest champion of all time," Hutton states.
Thesz returns the praise for his longtime friend and opponent. When recently asked who his toughest opponent was in his more than 6,000 matches, Lou replied without any hesitation, "That’s easy, it was Dick Hutton."
Dick remained undefeated in the ring for more than two years defending his title nearly every night. In 1959 he lost the championship to Pat O’Connor and within five years left the ring for good.
Leaving the ring was far from the end of Dick’s story. He married and had three sons (two are ministers and one works for ESPN). He has spent many years raising and racing quarter horses.
He has returned to his roots and now lives on his old family homestead that belonged to his grandfather. He tends to the three oil wells and his 20 acres. He has family close, plays penny ante poker once a month with his old high school and college teammates, and takes in an occasional horse race.
He has had both knees replaced so he is getting around a little slower now, but as he states, "I think we are going to make it."
When talking to him at the International Wrestling Institute Hall of Fame inductions, Dick said in his usual humble way, "All this fuss for me. I can’t believe this. You made me feel like I was somebody."
Mr. Hutton, you not only are somebody, you are somebody that we all would wait in line to meet.
THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No. 132-2001
WRESTLERS DRAW IN KANSAS CITY
(San Francisco Bulletin Leased Wire, May 10, 1923)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City is undoubtedly the center of wrestling in the United States at present. Reports from the promoters show that the total receipts of matches for the past eight months in this city is $500,000. The Lewis-Pesek match alone drew 15,000 persons.
STAN ZBYSZKO WINS EASY BOUT IN L.A.
(Special to San Francisco Call & Post, July 31, 1924)
LOS ANGELES -- Stanislaus Zbyszko, former heavyweight wrestling champion of the world, defeated Demitre Martinoff, Russian matman, after ten minutes of grappling here last night. Martinoff was thrown from the ring, injuring a leg, and was unable to continue. "Toots" Mondt, Colorado cowboy, defeated Nick Velcoff, Bulgarian grappler, in two straight falls, gaining the first in 38 minutes and the second in 13 minutes.
LEWIS THROWS HIS ANCIENT RIVAL IN L.A.
(Special to San Francisco Call & Post, Sept. 5, 1924)
LOS ANGELES -- Ed (Strangler) Lewis, heavyweight wrestling champion, successfully defended his title here last night, defeating Stanislaus Zbyszko, the giant Pole, in two out of three falls.
Zbyszko won the first fall, pinning the champion to the mat in 24 minutes, 12 seconds with a flying mare, but Lewis came back and took the next two falls, using his famous headlock in both cases. The Strangler won the second fall in 29 minutes, 54 seconds and the third in four minutes, 17 seconds.
STECHER ASKS TOO MUCH DOUGH; ZIBBY BOUT OFF
(Associated Press, Thursday, September 3, 1925)
LOS ANGELES -- Cancellation of the Olympic Auditorium's wrestling card, featuring a match between Joe Stecher, claimant to the world's heavyweight championship, and Stanislaus Zbyszko, two-time holder of the title, which was scheduled to be held here tonight, was announced early today by promoter Lou Daro.
A demand by Stecher for an exorbitant guarantee caused the cancellation of the show, Daro said.
'STRANGLER' LEWIS PINS IOWA CHAMP
(Associated Press, Thursday, September 3, 1925)
TULSA, Okla. -- Ed (Strangler) Lewis, claimant of the world's heavyweight wrestling championship, successfully defended his claim here last night by winning from Howard Cantonwine, Iowa heavyweight, in straight falls.
AL SAUNDERS PINS WARNER IN RENO
(Special to the San Francisco Call & Post, Sept. 7, 1925)
RENO, Nev. -- Al Saunders, Reno wrestler, won from Ed Warner, Los Angeles wrestler-boxer, yesterday afternoon in two falls out of three. Warner won the first fall in 20 minutes, while Saunders took the next two in seven and eight minutes, respectively. He used a toe hold and body scissors in both instances.
LONDOS WINNER IN MAT CONTEST
(Associated Press, April 27, 1929)
PHILADELPHIA -- Jim Londos, powerful Greek wrestler, threw Toots Mondt, Colorado giant, at the Arena last night with a flying tackle and head scissors in 1 hour, 41 minutes and 39 seconds. After the match, Londos issued a challenge to Gus Sonnenberg, world's champion, for a title match.
GUS SONNENBERG WINS FROM HANSON
(Associated Press, April 27, 1929)
DES MOINES -- Gus Sonnenberg retained his world's heavyweight
wrestling championship last night by throwing Charles Hanson of Omaha in 27
minutes, 6 seconds, with his famous flying tackle.
PREACHER TURNS WRESTLER AND WINS BOUT
(Associated Press, February 7, 1931)
PHILADELPHIA -- The Rev. Charles Urban stepped from the pulpit last night to score a quick victory in his debut as a professional wrestler at the arena.
The preacher, who was a member of the University of Pennsylvania 1928 football squad and also of the Red and Blue mat team, threw Frank La Ditzi of New York in 5 minutes and 2 seconds with a crotch hold and body slam.
Scores of Penn athletes were at the ringside.
THE TWO-FACED ADNAN AL-KAISSY
(Minneapolis Star Tribune, October 28, 2001
By Doug Grow
He's always been a split personality. By day, Adnan Al-Kaissy has been a suburban father of four, a member of the Hopkins Lions Club. By night, he's been the Sheik, one of the most vile monsters ever to step into a pro wrestling ring.
But in these times of international crises, the good is overcoming the nasty. Even the Sheik is becoming a nice guy.
"I want to make one message clear," the Sheik said when we met for coffee the other day. "I want people to know that Islam means peace on earth. It does not mean killing your neighbor."
The white-haired Al-Kaissy, who gives his age as 61, was wearing an American flag lapel pin. His voice filled with emotion, he spoke of how he's offered his services to the government to act as an interpreter or take on any other tasks that might help bring terrorists to justice.
By either name, he always has been a thoughtful man. He's the son of an Iraqi mufti, or Muslim religious leader. He has degrees from Oklahoma State University and the University of Oregon and, because of his profession, has traveled all over the world.
For several years in the 1970s, he returned to his homeland. Those years marked the only time he was not wrestling as a villain. In the Mideast, he was always a hero, generally defeating blond, blue-eyed Americans who were cast in the villain's role.
"It was the greatest education you could have," Al-Kaissy said of his world travels.
Thoughtful as he is, there have been times when he has been known to turn international tensions into cash cows.
For example, in 1990, he was quick to capitalize on the bombast, and ensuing war, between the U.S. and Iraq.
In a stroke of promotional genius, Al-Kaissy, who was in semiretirement at the time, changed his persona from the Sheik to General Adnan, who bore a striking resemblance to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Too old to do full-fledged wrestling, the general managed to steal the soul of Sgt. Slaughter, a thoroughly American wrestler. As wrestling fans shook their fists and booed, Slaughter marched to the orders of General Adnan.
"It was the biggest thing ever to hit the WWF [World Wrestling Federation]," Al-Kaissy said. "We'd come into the ring and the crowd would be booing us and chanting, 'USA! USA!'"
The general and the sergeant were hot for about two years. They won the WWF championship belt. With fans screaming in horror, Slaughter opened a gift -- a pair of Iraqi army boots -- supposedly from Hussein. With fans in nearly over-the-edge rage, General Adnan waved the Iraqi flag.
"I did get a call from Washington telling me I'd better stop waving that flag when I got in the ring," Al-Kaissy said.
"They told me if I kept waving it, they were convinced somebody would shoot me in the head. They didn't have to tell me twice. I rolled it up and put it away."
After a long run, the script was changed so that Sgt. Slaughter slowly reclaimed his identity from General Adnan, who eventually returned to the quiet life of a semi-retired suburban family man.
Of late, Al-Kaissy has been pouring his energy into promoting the fourth annual Hopkins Lions Club charity pro wrestling show, which is to be held Saturday night at the Eisenhower Community Center. Al-Kaissy always has put the show together for the Lions, but this time it's special, he said, because proceeds are going to the families of the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorism attacks.
On Saturday, the Sheik will be in the corner of a new pro wrestling villain, Sheik Shawn Daivari, an 18-year-old Twin Cities kid with unlimited potential, according to the old Sheik.
"Something special," Al-Kaissy said of the new Sheik.
For a moment, the capitalistic instincts of the old Sheik overcame the perspective of Al-Kaissy.
"If this kid were to grow a little beard and put on a turban, he'd look like he was in the Taliban," mused the Sheik. "But not yet. It's too soon for that."
On Saturday night, the Sheiks -- old and young -- will be cast as villains. But the old Sheik wants people to know they're not such bad guys. He wants people to hear a message about true Muslims being peace-lovers. And he also wants people to know that the rookie Sheik, Shawn Daivari, did the graphics, at no charge, for the program that will be sold at the charity event.
"Maybe for one night we can be heroes," a kind and gentle Sheik said.
RATINGS SLIDE PUTS WWF IN A SLEEPER HOLD
(By Eric Gillin, TheStreet.com, November 1, 2000)
Last Monday the averaged television rating for Raw and Raw Zone, World Wrestling Federation Entertainment's flagship wrestling programs, dipped below 4.0 for the first time since March 1998. Even though the 3.9 that Raw and Raw Zone notched ranked the shows as the most-watched cable programs, the decline highlights the diminishing popularity of wrestling.
The ratings slide began over a year ago, when the entertainment group moved from its longtime home, USA Networks to Viacom. As a result, Raw and Raw Zone switched to The National Network (TNN), a mainstream reincarnation of The Nashville Network. Because TNN is not available on as many cable systems, ratings dipped to around 5, off more than a point from levels reached the year before on USA.
To make matters worse, in a recent filing with Securities and Exchange Commission, WWFE said it would lose $1 million to $1.3 million a month because DirectTV refuses to air its pay-per-views as a result of a contract dispute. In addition, business at WWF New York, its Manhattan entertainment complex, has decreased because of the events of Sept. 11. A year ago, live events such as the TV tapings for Raw and SmackDown! would sell out in a few hours. In its latest quarter, the company said live attendance was down 32% from the previous quarter, with nearly $3.7 million less coming in as a result.
Such drops in ratings and attendance are even more troubling because television and live-event performance drive the WWFE operation, from the New York site to merchandise sold over the Internet. As ratings fell, so did revenue from the company's television and live-event segments, which accounted for 80% of WWFE's first-quarter revenue.
"Their fundamentals are under a great deal of pressure," said Breck Wheeler, a research analyst with Legg Mason, one of three who cover the stock.
Wheeler says the TV product has grown stale in the six months since the WWF bought AOL Time Warner's World Championship Wrestling (WCW), its only rival and home to Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Goldberg -- three of the biggest names in wrestling. When WWF bought the WCW's intellectual property and trademarks, those stars didn't come as part of the deal. They had guaranteed contracts with AOL Time Warner and chose to collect a paycheck for sitting out rather than take a pay cut to work for the WWF.
Initially, the merger revitalized the product. Ratings for Raw and Raw Zone jumped a full point -- from 4.7 to 5.7 -- in the week after the company debuted the WCW invasion and fused the two programs' story lines. A pay-per-view show highlighting the feud between the WCW and WWF, aptly titled InVasion, did 681,000 buys -- 70% higher than the same event in the previous year.
But viewer excitement soon died. Without the WCW stars, the show became less entertaining in the long run. Television ratings slumped 28%, from the 5.7 logged at the beginning of the summer to last week's 3.9.
"The softness in the TV ratings is the most concerning because it's the least impacted by a softening economy," Wheeler said. "Unlike advertising, watching TV isn't a function of economic outlook."
Meanwhile, a court in the United Kingdom issued another blow to the company by recently ruling that the WWFE could not use the trademark WWF on its popular WWF.com Web site because of a 1994 agreement with the World Wildlife Fund, which uses WWF.org. Judd Everhart, WWFE's director of corporate communications, said that the company had appealed the ruling, and that a hearing would be held at the end of 2001 or the beginning of 2002.
Everhart refused to comment on how the ruling might affect the company -- a reticence that's in keeping with WWFE's lack of clear guidance. After purchasing WCW, WWFE said the rival league would run as a separate entity, with its own live events, television programming and merchandise. But the pending spin-off was shelved indefinitely as the ratings slid.
WWFE investors face an uncertain outlook, due to a weak advertising market and slumping ratings. Even if ratings do increase, advertisers are cutting their budgets, and the two factors could offset each other.
Some analysts don't recommend buying WWFE's stock until the company shows confidence in its own fundamentals by repurchasing shares. According to Pacific Growth Equities analyst Peter Swan, WWFE has nearly $250 million in cash, which it could use to buy back shares, which were trading at $11.27 on Wednesday, just 96 cents above their 52-week-low. The stock is trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of 20 times 2002 estimated earnings.
"We'll be more confident when we see them eating their own cooking," Swan said.
THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No. 133-2001
MAT OUTLAWS MEET TONIGHT
(International News Service, February 11, 1931)
NEW YORK -- The so-called "rasslin'" outlaws come to town tonight bent on proving that New York will support two wrestling combines. The new Armory Athletic Club will stage its first show this evening, with Joe Stecher meeting Marin Plestina in the main event.
Pat McGill, the Irish champion, and Al Baffert, the youngster who has made a name for himself in California, will appear in the semifinal.
SONNENBERG TO MAKE MOVIES
(Pacific Coast News Service, February 12, 1931)
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- "Dynamite Gus" Sonnenberg, who left Dartmouth and made money on the mat, today was signed by a motion picture company to make a series of "collegiate and professional" wrestling features.
LEWIS LOSES TO BROWNING
(San Francisco Examiner, Wednesday, June 19, 1935)
Because Strangler Lewis stepped outside of the ring and refused to continue during the third fall, referee Joe Gardenfield awarded Jim Browning the decision in their match last night at Dreamland.
Lewis won the first fall in 16 minutes, lost the second in four, and then pulled his "act" after Gardenfield repeatedly warned him for using an illegal throat hold.
Other results: Vincent Lopez defeated Bob Russell, 18 minutes; Hugo De Collelmo threw Milo Steinborn in seven; Willie Davis won from Rudy Skarda in 13, and Ivan Managoff beat Jerry Monahan in eight minutes.
LONDOS HAS IDEA FOR MAT SPORT
(Associated Press, Tuesday, June 18, 1935)
INDIANAPOLIS -- Jim Londos wants to speed up the sport of wrestling.
"Wrestling should be more like boxing," he said tonight. "Let's have eight, ten or fifteen three-minute rounds with one fall or a decision. I believe the fans will like it, and it will be better for the wrestlers. No stalling, just wrestle, with no playing around."
ALABAMA TACKLE SIGNS PRO CONTRACT
(Associated Press, August 27, 1935)
NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Dodgers of the National Professional Football League today announced they had received the signed contract of Bill Lee, former Alabama tackle.
Lee, one of the greatest linemen ever developed at Alabama, is 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 225 pounds.
SHIELDS SUSPENDS WRESTLER SZABO
(San Francisco Examiner, November 27, 1935)
Donn Shields, chief inspector of the State Athletic Commission, announced yesterday the suspension of Sandor Szabo for inciting a riot at the Oakland wrestling matches last Friday night. He also was fined $25. Referee Nick Prevolos also was suspended.
MANLAPIG COPS OLYMPIC BOUT
(Los Angeles Times, Thursday, Nov. 2, 1939)
Pantaleon Manlapig, the pride of the Philippines, retained his role as one of the favorites in the Olympic wrestling tournament last night by making quick work of Manuel Rodriguez in an exciting matfest.
Manlapig stomped from his corner at the bell and commenced roughing his Mexican foe to no little extent, finally pinning Rodriguez with a smashing body slam in 3m. 11s.
Vic Christy, making his initial appearance since his return from Australia, overcame the favored Tom Zaharias with an overhead body slam to win in 5m. 19s. Hank Metheny scored a 30m. decision over Sammy Stein to reverse last week’s outcome and even the series between the two.
Baron Ginsberg, Big Bill Shea and Tony Felice were eliminated from further participation in the tournament, suffering their second defeat in tourney competition.
Ginsberg was unable to fathom the experienced drop-kick attack of Dr. John (Dropkick) Murphy and was booted unmercifully before Dr. Murphy crossed him up with a body slam to win the match in 13m. 24s. Dr. Len Hall proved the downfall of Shea, utilizing a toe hold to whip the big boy in 2m. 6s. Felice was the victim of a stepover toe hold as administered by Kola Kwariani. Kwariani won in 2m. 10s.
Aladar Schiszler sent Don Luis Sebastian down to defeat with a hip lock in 10m. 10s. in the opener, followed by Crusher Al Billings’ 14m. 6s. defeat of Joe Pazandak by a body roll, and Hardboiled Haggerty’s easy win over Bill Hansen with a body press in 14m. 48s.
LONDOS AND SZABO TANGLE IN GRAECO-ROMAN TIFF
(Los Angeles Times, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 1939)
Jimmy Londos makes his first appearance in a wrestling ring here since he joined the ranks of the benedicts when he appears tonight at the Olympic in a Graeco-Roman match against Sandor Szabo, the Hungarian heavyweight star.
Jimmy is the world’s catch-as-catch-can champion, but Szabo has repeatedly dared him to meet him at the ancient European style and it took quite a bit of angling to get Londos to agree to the match.
Olympic rules will prevail. The match will be over three periods of 10 minutes each with a minute rest in between. A decision will be rendered by two judges and the referee on the best two-out-of-three throws. No holds are permitted below the waist under Graeco-Roman rules.
Don McDonald will referee the bout and Snowy Baker, noted Australian sportsman, and Frank Borzage, the ace film director, will act as judges.
Szabo was an Olympic Games champion at Graeco-Roman before coming to this country. Londos often has wrestled abroad under Graeco-Roman rules but never here.
The Graeco-Roman bout is an added feature, promoter Jack Daro announces, to the international tournament bouts. Nine matches are on the tourney card with the Hans Steinke-Lee Wykoff showdown being the top spot in interest.
Bill Hansen, Salt Lake star, is in a tight spot this evening. If he loses to Hardboiled Haggerty he will be dropped from the tourney.
Other tournament matches on the card: Lee Wykoff vs. Hans
Steinke; Vic Christy vs. Tom Zaharias; Sammy Stein vs. Hank Metheny; Crusher
Al Billings vs. Joe Pazandak; Cliff Thiede vs. LaVerne Baxter; Tiny Roebuck vs. Henry Graber, and Jack Kogut vs. Young Stecher.
LONDOS SCORES OVER SZABO AT OLYMPIC
(Los Angeles Times, Thursday, Nov. 9, 1939)
Lee Wykoff joined the also-rans in the international wrestling tourney at the Olympic last night, lumbering Hans Steinke being returned the winner, but it was Jeemy Londos and Sandor Szabo who stole the show with a Graeco-Roman match which had no bearing on the tournament proper.
In Graeco-Roman grappling, all holds below the waist are barred, but in losing a fall during the second of three 10-minute periods, Szabo claimed he was tripped by Londos as they came off the ropes and the world’s catch-as-catch-can champion obtained a body lock in 4m. 19s.
The referee refused to allow Szabo’s protest and when the match was all over the defeated warrior insisted upon displaying the illegality of the fall to announcer Dan Tobey, radio broadcasters and others.
With the tourney enterting its fifth week, four grapplers were eliminated for good – Wykoff, Hank Metheny, Crusher Al Beillings and Don Luis Sebastian.
Steinke’s victory, gained in 9m. 20s., was due largely to the fact that Wykoff was unable to continue because of an elbow he received in his groin.
Both Billy Hansen and Tom Zaharias reversed verdicts of a week ago to remain in the running. Hansen slaughtered Hardboiled Haggerty with a series of drop kicks and a body press in 1m. 28s., and Zaharias disposed of Vic Christy with headlocks in 11m. 44s.
Sammy Stein put Metheny out of the tournament with a flying butt in 17m. 55s. Joe Pazandak cracked up Billings with an arm lock in 9m. 15s., and Aladar Schizler applied the business to Sebastian with a series of headlocks in 9m. flat.
In the other matches, LaVerne Baxter won from Cliff Thiede in 9m. 57s. with a body press, Young Stecher dumped Jack Kogut in 9m. 58s., and Tiny Roebuck body-flopped Henry Graber into submission in 11m.
MARSHALL, DETTON FAILED TO REACH DECISION
(Los Angeles Times, Thursday, Nov. 7, 1940)
Everett Marshall and Dean Detton got exactly nowhere in their match which topped the first round of last night’s elimination wrestling card at the Olympic Auditorium.
After several minutes of grappling, mostly out of the ring, the behemoths belted each other out into the aisle and neither was able to return within the 20-second time limit.
Hardboiled Haggerty roughed Pete Peterson into submission in 7m. 39s. in another feature. Ignacio Martinez decisioned Tiny Roebuck while Tommy Nilan disposed of Rudy LaDitzi by the same method.
Complete first-round results:
Jules Strongbow defeated Lou Miller, decision; Hardy Kruskamp defeated Bill Hansen (flip of coin after match called draw); Cardiff Giant defeated Buddy O’Brien, body twist, 9m. 48s.; Bobby Managoff defeated Pat Riley, drop kicks, 26s.; Tommy Nilan defeated Rudy LaDitzi, decision; Ignacio Martinez defeated Tiny Roebuck, decision; Hardboiled Haggerty defeated Pete Peterson, 7m. 39s. (Peterson unable to continue); Everett Marshall and Dean Detton, no decision (both out of ring for more than 20 seconds).
MANAGOFF PINS MAT MEANIE
(Los Angeles Times, Thursday, Nov. 14, 1940)
Bobby Managoff, young Chicago marvel, righted a great wrong done to him (by his own admission) a week ago when he thoroughly drubbed Hardboiled Haggerty in straight falls last night at the Olympic.
A week ago, Managoff had won his way into the finals of the Gold Belt wrestling tournament but suffered disqualification when he charged into the ring ahead of schedule and landed on Haggerty, who was then engaged in winning his semifinal bout in positively brutal fashion.
But last night was a triumph for clean wrestling and Managoff performed like any good hero by dumping Haggerty with a series of drop kicks and body slams. The first fall took 8m. 47s. and softened the Hardboiled one to quite an extent. It took just 8m. 57s. for the wind-up and after another series of drop kicks, Managoff let fly with a finisher. Haggerty rolled over and was a gentle victim.
The scheduled three-fall semi-final match between Tommy Nilan and Jules Strongbow didn’t go as far as planned.
After about five minutes of tussling during which Strongbow was out of the ring several times, he was thrown out violently and injured his back, being unable to return to action.
Pedro Brazil defeated Mike Riley, 12m. 57s., body press; Iron Mike Mazurki defeated Terry McGinnis, 17m. 29s., leg scissors; Vic Christy defeated Pat Riley, 14m. 27s., Riley out of the ring more than 20s; Dick Raines defeated Ignacio Martinez, 20m 56s., back breaker and body press.
THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No. 134-2001
BELCASTRO RETAINS POSSESSION OF BELT AGAINST BILLY FOX
(Coos Bay OR Times, Saturday, Nov. 30, 1946)
After holding the edge throughout, Billy Fox knocked himself out by diving through the ropes and thereby lost to Pete Belcastro in their match at the Armory Friday night for the Pacific Coast junior heavyweight wrestling belt.
Fox had won the first fall with a series of shoulder butts and a body press. He had Belcastro groggy in the second fall with the same treatment. However, on an attempted shoulder butt, Belcastro ducked and Fox went sailing through the ropes and onto the Armory floor. He suffered a severe muscle injury in his shoulder and had to be helped from the floor to the dressing room.
When Fox was unable to appear for the final fall, Belcastro kept possession of the highly prized belt.
The champ pulled every dirty trick in the books but still Fox had the better of him in the two falls that were battled out. At one time, Belcastro had referee Thor Jensen and Fox wrapped up in a package and then booted them bout out of the ring.
The semi-windup had the large crowd on its feet throughout as Tony Ross outslugged the Grey Mask in two out of three falls.
Several of the persons tried to get in their licks at the Mask and one succeeded in landing a good punch in the nose. The Mask won the first fall with a half-Boston crab. This fall was very rough and wild with the Mask setting up the fall with a series of head butts.
"Terrible" Tony came back to gain the second fall with a series of kidney punches, followed by a backbreaker and a body press. He won the third the same way in a rough fall.
The 30-minute curtain-raiser saw Bill Weidner and Buck Davidson wrestle the entire distance with neither able to gain a fall. The match was clean throughout and was even with both wrestlers showing plenty of scientific grappling.
Promoter Thor Jensen announced at the matches that the next series of grappling bouts would be held next Friday night at the North Bend Community Hall.
He said he planned to have six wrestlers in a battle royal. Two champions will be in the ring at that time, Jensen said.
FRANK HART MAKES GOOD ON THREAT TO TAKE SAM KOHEN
(Coos Bay OR Times, Saturday, Dec. 21, 1946)
By Jane Irvine
Wrestler Frankie Hart's threats to give Sammy Kohen a good going over resulted in lots of thrilling action las tnight at the North Bend Community Hall. The 185-pound Windsor, Ont., boy took 178-pound Kohen, who hails from New Jersey, in a bout that gave spectators plenty to scream about.
Sammy strode confidently into the ring, ready to dish out the dirt, but promoter and referee Thor Jensen kept the eagle eye and the iron hand on him when illegal tactics were noticed. Hart took the lead early in the match and received joyous howls from the crowd several times when he faked grogginess, then followed it up with a swift kick at Kohen's stomach. Hart took the first fall in 29 minutes with a double stepover toe hold.
Throughout the feature match, Hart fans repeatedly asked Jensen to remove the tape from two fingers of Kohen's right hand. The tape seemed to be doing no harm until late in the scrap when Sammy started working on Frankie's eyes. Hart was tossed out of the ring and each time he attempted to climb back through the ropes he was greeted by another shove from Sammy. Hart was temporarily blinded by illegal irritation from Sammy's fingers or the tape on them, and after eight minutes was awarded the fall on a foul, giving him the match with two falls.
Popular Tony Ross had an easy go in his match with Billy Goelz, the little chap from Chicago, but lost the alurels by landing a punch on the "Atomic Blonde's" stomach after time was called. The referee awarded that fall to Goelz, making Tony mad about the whole thing. Ross took the first fall in 33 minutes with a standing backbreaker, which he attempted again later in the fight but missed when Billy put forth his amazing speed and used a little ju-jitsu.
The curtain-raiser brought Ernie Piluso and Pete Belcastro to the mat in a skillful meeting. Belcastro, present coast junior light heavyweight champ, came through with the sort of action the crowd loves, tying both Ernie and referee Jensen up in the ropes. Piluso evened the score with like tactics on Belcastro, only to be tossed out into the laps of spectators when Pete was again free. The match was a draw with neither man taking a fall in the 30-minute time limit.
Jensen announced that no matches will be held until after the first of the year, at which time the regular schedule will be resumed. The first card of 1947 should be a good one, including a scrap between challenger Ernie Piluso and the winner of last night's feature event, Frankie Hart.
VINCE McMAHON IS A BAD, BAD PERSON
(New York Post, April 2, 2000)
By Phil Mushnick
Early last week, as NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol was putting the final touches to NBC's partnership with his mirror-image, Vince McMahon, parents and guardians of students at Brooklyn's P.S. 29 received a letter.
Principal Eve MacCurry wrote to inform them that pro wrestling sold by McMahon on primetime TV has taken hold of many of their kids, that her grammar-schoolers are using the same "objectionable language and gestures" used by pro wrestlers. She added that students are emulating the brutality of pro wrestling, warning that if it doesn't cease someone will be hurt.
Attached to the letter was a response form acknowledging receipt of the letter and that the issue had been discussed with the child.
Ms. MacCurry did not specify the objectionable behavior, and I apologize preemptively if any of her students or any other kids read this, but it's important for responsible adults to know that the act she referenced is not limited to Ms. MacCurry's tastes. It's the act in which WWF wrestlers point to or grab their crotches while hollering, "Suck it!
The fact is, Ms. MacCurry, that's an old one. There are newer and equally vile acts that serve McMahon as wildly successful weapons in the marketing of children.
"It's horrendous," Ms. MacCurry said by phone. "Parents are calling to complain about how their child was physically or verbally abused by other kids, in school or on the way home. And it all comes directly from pro wrestling on TV."
Ms. MacCurry joins the swelling ranks of principals of public, private and parochial schools, kindergarten through high school; the ranks of teachers, clergy, child psychologists and psychiatrists, social scientists and right-headed adults who recognize the price we pay for Vince McMahon, NBC's proud new partner.
Perhaps McMahon will respond to these folks the way he did when his WWF stock plunged following his announcement that he was getting into the football business. Perhaps he'll deliver the same, press-conferenced message he delivered to investors: "Kiss my ass!"
Tomorrow at 10 p.m., Court TV will air a one-hour show on what the soaring popularity of pro wrestling has done for America, including four recent cases of children, none older than 12, killing even younger children by emulating pro wrestlers. What once was a sad peculiarity -- pro wrestling-inspired death or serious injury of children -- is now coming with a rush.
Perhaps McMahon will tell the families of the murdered children that they, too, can kiss his ass.
How proud NBC and its parent company, General Electric, must be to now be in financial and programming partnership with Vince McMahon.
In addition to buying into McMahon's XFL, a football league aimed at young viewers through what a McMahon spokesperson calls its more "visceral" content (he couldn't say "crude"), NBC purchased $30 million in stock in McMahon's World Wrestling Federation Entertainment company. Proud as a peacock.
At Wednesday's media conference to announce the deal, Ebersol made with the same con that McMahon's so practiced at. He portrayed the WWF as just a fun thing -- "Where's your sense of humor?" he asked. And good, clean fun, at that -- "In my viewing of Vince's programming," he said, "I wouldn't classify anything as vulgar."
If that's the case, Ebersol wouldn't have a problem repeating
or describing what's said and done on WWF programs, would he? He'd be eager to
make his presentation at, say, a GE stockholders' meeting, wouldn't he? He could
even bring some WWF videotape along for a little show and tell.
If it's not vulgar, why not treat an investors' conclave to some of McMahon's fun stuff? Show 'em what you and NBC and GE bought into, show 'em how NBC's new partner attracts kids and the Holy Grail of TV, "the younger, male demographic."
Ebersol can start by grabbing his crotch and shouting "Suck it!" Then he could point to some female stockholders and call them "bitches" and "ho's," perhaps even tear their clothes off, then slap 'em around, WWF-, primetime- style. Bar graphs showing the rise in WWF popularity among kids can serve as the backdrop.
Ebersol could even imitate WWF star, "The Rock," by calling for the women stockholders to give him some "sweet p------g pie." McMahon sells that one to kids on TV and T-shirts.
With his audience warmed up, Ebersol could then do an imitation of The Godfather, the stereotypical black street pimp, a recurring WWF character. Then a little homophobic stuff. He could strut around like a glitter queen, encouraging the stockholders to chant, "Faggot! Faggot!" -- the same way kids at televised WWF shows have done.
For his grand finale, Ebersol could roll the tape of McMahon's primetime presentation of a transvestite performing oral sex on a pro wrestler.
If any stockholders objects he can just say, "Hey, where's your sense of humor?" Or tell them to kiss his ass.
Ebersol, the president of NBC Sports and a former WWF TV partner of McMahon's, has never seen anything in McMahon's shows that he'd classify as vulgar. You believe him, don't you?
Last year, after UPN President Dean Valentine bought into the WWF -- and in the process sold out UPN's newscasts as WWF promotional tools -- he said much the same things as Ebersol did last week. Valentine called the WWF "an incredibly mild form of entertainment." He told people to "lighten up."
A few months later, UPN's incredibly mild form of entertainment moved several advertisers to pull out due to its pornographic content. Still, UPN's WWF ratings were huge. The WWF, at least temporarily, saved the desperate network from financial ruin.
Ebersol, in the kind of contradiction that McMahon specializes
in, said that while McMahon programming isn't vulgar, some of it isn't
appropriate for his 13-year old son.
If some of it's inappropriate for his 13-year-old, why is it appropriate for our 13-year-olds and younger? Ebersol knows that, like McMahon, McMahon's advertisers target children. He knows that aisles at Toys 'R Us are loaded with WWF merchandise. Why would he put NBC in bed with a guy who produces children's' programming that's inappropriate for children?
But what's done is done. The man who has had the cruelest, most twisted, most unconscionable impact on American children in the history of television is now in partnership with NBC.
And with McMahon's XFL (the X tells the story) now an NBC property, CBS/Viacom remains hungry for WWF primetime programming. CBS has made a bid believed to be roughly $100 million for an equity stake in the WWF. How proud CBS must be.
Late last week we received calls from several NBC staffers, all of them revulsed by NBC's embrace of McMahon. An NBC News employee said he was "literally sickened" by the news, "my stomach actually turned." After all, how can NBC News report on the ills of society when NBC has bought into a company that does such staggering dirt to us all?
NBC News should be investigating what McMahon does, how and to whom. But now McMahon's on the same team. While all network news divisions have been co-opted by their networks' programming, now it cuts to the bone.
As bad as it is, Principal MacCurry, be prepared: It's going to get worse. Garbage sells, the worst garbage sells best and the younger audiences are what TV fights hardest over. NBC has abandoned even its minimal sense of decency, CBS is on deck. We grow more diminished by the day.
But don't give up, Ms. MacCurry. You're on the side of the angels. Keep fighting for the kids.
THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No. 135-2001
GIANT WRESTLER FAILS ON BOAST
(Coos Bay OR Times, Saturday, Aug. 21, 1948)
Eric (Body Beautiful) Holmback gave away $200 of his hard-earned money at last night's wrestling program at the Coos Bay Armory, promoted by Thorn Jensen, when he failed to down two 185-pound wrestlers, as promised, in 30 minutes. Holmback, weighing 270 pounds, had challenged any two of the smaller men, one at a time, and promised to defeat them in 30 minutes.
Gordon Hessel, chosen by Jensen to meet Holmback first, had a rough time all the way. His most valiant efforts seemed to affect the heavyweight not the least, but Gordon couldn't find any hold that would hurt the bigger wrestler. After 19 minutes of trying and taking a terrific beating all the way, Hessel was pinned to end the first part of the match.
The Phantom was chosen to make a final try against Holmback, and not only tried, but did an excellent job of taking the big boy apart. Eric, softened up by Hessel, had a real battle with the masked man, and couldn't gain any ground up to the final bell ... the bell that tolled the passing of his $200. The money was divided between Hessel and The Phantom in the ring.
The companion feature between Hessel and The Phantgom was another rough and ready match, with The Phantom rolling like a steamroller, all het up after his victory over the heavyweight earlier. He took the first fall in 16 minutes with a stepover toe hold, and returned with a series of head butts and another stepover toe hold to take the winning fall in eight minutes, giving The Phantom a clean sweep for the evening.
The opener featured Danno McDonald versus Tiger Nenoff, the man with the handle-bar mustache. Nenoff took the first fall in 21 minutes with an armbreaker, and McDonald returned to sit on Nenoff with a Boston crab for the second fall in 15 minutes. The bout was called on the 45-minute time limit, leaving the men with a draw, and Danno with a sizeable chunk of Nenoff's mustache as a souvenir of the evening's festivities.
Jim Phillips refereed all matches, which played to a capacity house.
FANS OBJECT TO REFEREE'S CALL
(Coos Bay OR Times, Saturday, Feb. 19, 1949)
A near riot resulted over last night's decision in the final fall of the feature wrestling match at the Coos Bay Armory.
Bill Weidner, the favorite, met Bulldog Clements in the feature event, and was one fall behind when he suddenly decided not to take any more rough stuff from Clements and knocked him out of the ring. He also knocked the referee, Jack O'Reilly, out of the ring and refused to let either man back in the ring, kicking them back down on the floor each time they tried to climb through the ropes.
The referee awarded the match to Clements, as they stood beside the ring, but the fans complained loudly. O'Reilly was encircled by irate fans and, when he shoved one of them back into the ringside seats, disaster almost struck. However, the wrestlers came out of the dressing rooms and escorted O'Reilly out of the danger zone.
Weidner returned to the ring, and insisted that promoter Thor Jensen make Clements come back for another fall, but Jensen stated that the referee's decision stood.
The middle match also was a wild fracas, with Herb Parks trying everything in the books on Maurice LaChappelle. Parks had LaChappelle definitely groggy after 11 minutes of the bout, but lost the fall at the last minute when he ran amok and consistently fouled his opponent. Referee O'Reilly awarded the fall to LaChappelle.
LaChappelle took the second and deciding fall with a punishing series of spinning head locks that left Parks gasping for air.
Rene LaBelle won the opener in 15 minutes from O'Reilly, on a surprise fall, flying off the ropes with a full-speed elbow slam on O'Reilly that caught him unawares.
TWO BULLDOGS GO TOGETHER FOR WIN
(Coos Bay OR Times, Saturday, Feb. 26, 1949)
Two Bulldogs ganging up on one Pacific Coast junior heavyweight wrestling champ last night brought irate spectators to their feet screaming for justice. A surprise ending to the main event of Thor Jensen's wrestling program at the North Bend Community Hall found Bulldog Clements again the winner, with the help of his trainer and predecessor, the famous old mat character, Bulldog Jackson. Frank Stojack was the unhappy loser, backed up by the entire crowd.
An unusual battle was seen, with Clements clinging to his own corner for the first five minutes, and Stojack doggedly holding an arm bar for the next 15 minutes. There was no lack of action, however, for Clements struggled to his feet often to try to free himself from Stojack's vice-like hold. He finally succeeded and turned on the foul tactics, winning the first fall in 30 minutes with a standing backbreaker.
Clements and Stojack exchanged choke holds, unnoticed by referee Billy Hunter, until Stojack saw his opportunity to try an airplane spin, but Clements wasn't having any. He squirmed and threw himself over the ropes, but couldn't keep clear of Stojack's drop kicks which, followed by a body press, won the second fall in seven minutes.
Stojack moved in with more drop kicks to try for the final fall, but Bulldog Jackson hopped onto the ring, waving his arms to divert Stojack's attention, and was the recipient of one of those drop kicks. Stojack's downfall came when he dropped to the mat after kicking Jackson, and Clements fell on him at the crucial moment with a body press which won the fall and the match. Although the crowd and Stojack called the decision unfair since Jackson had no business on the ring platform, the referee's word was called final. Promoter Jensen told the crowd that surrounded him that he would attempt to arrange a rematch between the two in the near future.
Herb Parks won out over hillbilly Stocky Kneilson in the 45-minute match, taking two falls with his punishing leg stomps. The bewhiskered, tattooed Kneilson cinched the first fall by catching Parks with a knee in his stomach as he bounced off the ropes, followed by a body press.
Bob Cummings, even though hampered by a badly bleeding cut over his eye, chalked up the winning fall in the opening scrap opposite Billy Hunter, newcomer from Canada. Spectators seemed to enjoy the clean match for a change.
BRISCO’S CHAT COMMENTS STIR UP ANOTHER FEUD
(Charleston Post and Courier, November 4, 2001) By Mike Mooneyham
While family feuds are certainly not new to professional wrestling, the latest one to make headlines is quite unique.
This feud is a legitimate, behind-the-scenes war of words that actually involves three of wrestling's most famous families and was sparked by comments made by former NWA world champion Jack Brisco during a recent Internet chat.
Brisco, a one-time NCAA heavyweight champion at Oklahoma State and a two-time NWA world titleholder during the 1970s, defended Vince McMahon's decision to swerve Bret Hart out of the WWF title at the Survivor Series in November 1997.
"I thought Vince McMahon did the right thing by taking the belt off him," Brisco said during a chat on the Slam Wrestling Web site. "Bret Hart owed it to Vince McMahon, the other wrestlers and the WWF to do the time-honored tradition. What does it mean, 'I can't drop the belt in Montreal because I'm from Canada?' He's from Calgary. That would be like me saying I couldn't drop the belt in Florida
because I'm an American."
The rather innocuous comments, however, spurred an immediate response from Hart, who lashed out at both Brisco and his brother, WWF agent Jerry Brisco, in an update sent to members on his e-mail list.
"It wasn't a question of losing in Canada, it was a question of losing to somebody who had no professionalism and no respect for me, or for any of his peers in the dressing room," said Hart, referring to nemesis Shawn Michaels.
"Jack Brisco shouldn't pass judgment on things he knows nothing about without first-hand info ... other than that which he gets from his deceptive brother, Jerry, who, in fact, had a large part in orchestrating how to (mess with) me, under orders from McMahon; no more than I should make comments about how Ernie Ladd (beat up) the Brisco brothers in a parking lot, stuffed them into the trunk of his car and drove all over town with them, eventually dumping them out like trash at the promoter's house. Or then again, maybe I don't know enough about it so I shouldn't say. At least Owen and I had more grit than that, but then again, Owen and I were certainly a much better class than the drunken, pill poppin' Brisco brothers anyway."
Hart, whose bitterness over the Montreal finish nearly four years ago has unfortunately colored his career since then, added fuel to the fire when he insulted another wrestling legend during the course of his diatribe against Brisco.
"When he (Brisco) was NWA champion, if they'd have told him to do the job for Crazy Luke Graham and then add on top of that, Crazy Luke telling Jack Brisco that he would absolutely never, under any circumstances, be willing to put him over, ever, would he still do it? (I use Crazy Luke here as a worst-case example and mean to imply no comparison between him and Shawn Michaels)."
SLAM AND SLEAZE IS DIANA’S EXPERTISE
(Edmonton Sun, November 5, 2001)
By Michael Jenkinson
As a long-time fan of professional wrestling, I approached the
new book on Calgary's Hart family, "Under the Mat: Inside Wrestling's
Greatest Family," with some trepidation.
After all, it's written by Diana Hart, the ex-wife of British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith and the youngest living child of Stu and Helen Hart. The advance buzz on the book from people in the wrestling business was that it would only deepen the well-publicized rifts in the family.
To that end, Under the Mat doesn't disappoint. But because of that, the book is a huge disappointment if you're looking for any kind of redeeming social value in what is essentially a gossip and scandal book - and a legal minefield. I can't imagine that Under the Mat is going to do anything but drive the Hart family even further apart - and that is so terribly sad.
That said, the book grabs you from the opening paragraph and doesn't let you go. I read all but the final 25 pages in one four-hour sitting and was left stunned by its contents. After I finished it, I was left thinking that I hope Diana Hart has a good lawyer. She's going to need it.
Her late brother Owen's widow, Martha, who won a huge settlement from the WWF stemming from Owen's death, serves as one particularly huge target for Diana.
Only Owen, WWF head Vince McMahon, and to some degree, her father, Stu, are spared her barbs. Everyone else in the family gets their reputations shredded.
Even if you can somehow rationalize the need for Diana to expose the sundry sins of her own family, she occasionally name-drops other non-family wrestlers and starts talking about the terrible things they did on the road.
She very casually brings up one former WWF wrestler by name and states baldly that he was portrayed as a real family guy on WWF television but had girlfriends on the road.
And to what purpose? The guy gets mentioned just that one time in the book, and then never again, and the only lasting imprint he apparently left on Diana is that he had flings on the road. So she decides to share that little bit of gossip with the world.
But that's the question that can be asked about this entire book: to what purpose? Why was it written?
Owen's death ripped the family apart. Any illusions long-time Stampede Wrestling fans may have had about the Hart family and their legendary Sunday dinners at the Hart mansion were shattered in the aftermath of Owen's 27-metre plunge from the roof of a Kansas City arena to his death during a WWF pay-per-view event in 1999.
The bitter lawsuit Martha launched against the WWF further divided the family into essentially pro- and anti-Vince McMahon camps, with the parents, Stu and Helen caught in the middle.
Diana's disgust with big brother Bret and widow Martha is obvious in the book - but it wasn't exactly a big secret before either. Which again begs the question, why did she feel it necessary to share her family's closet full of skeletons with the world?
The tragedy of her sharing her family's turmoil with the world is only compounded by the fact that Hart takes little if any time in the book to actually step back and look at the big picture.
The closest she comes to any kind of realization of how disturbing are the stories she's telling is when she talks about her brother Dean, who died of kidney failure. She writes that Dean must have wondered why, with so many siblings, no one donated a kidney to him. Diana admits that everyone was so wrapped up in their lives, they didn't realize how grave was his condition.
But that's not even the saddest part of the book. That dubious honour is for the penultimate paragraph, where Diana talks about how her two children are already planning careers in the WWF.
If nothing else is made obvious by Under the Mat, it is that professional wrestling didn't make the Hart family. It destroyed them.
That another generation of Alberta's most dysfunctional family wants to take up the profession that has brought the Harts as much pain as it has success, suggests there are more troubled times ahead for the Harts.
THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No. 136-2001
KIM BATTLES THESZ FOR MAT TITLE TONIGHT
(Chicago Tribune, Friday, July 16, 1954)
Lou Thesz of St. Louis will defend his world heavyweight wrestling crown against Lu Kim of Manchuria in a two out of three fall, 60-minute bout in Rainbo Arena tonight.
Thesz, unbeaten since winning the title from Wild Bill Longson in 1948, will have Ed (Strangler) Lewis as an advisor in his corner. Kim has a reputation of ignoring the rules once inside the ropes.
Big Bill Miller, who hails from Ohio, and Andre Drapp of France will meet in a rematch on the same program.
KIM ‘HOLDS,’ SO THESZ HOLDS TITLE
(Chicago Tribune, Saturday, July 17, 1954)
Lou Thesz continued as one of the world’s heavyweight wrestling champions last night, but not until his Rainbo Arena match with dreadful Lu Kim had gone to the last page, and most exciting part, of the script.
The score in falls was tied at one each and almost 3,000 fans thought they were about to witness wrestling’s greatest upset, when Kim got a terrifying hold on Thesz.
But, alas! The hold was illegal. Kim was disqualified and Thesz was proclaimed winner and still champion. Thesz had taken the first fall in 13:21 with a body press. Kim came back to win the second with a full Nelson in 5:20.
A disqualification also settled the semi-windup between Andre Drapp and Big Bill Miller. Miller won the first fall with a back breaker in 12:50 and Andre squared things with a drop kick at 6:40.
After another 5:10 of wrestling, Miller threw Drapp from the ring. This pitch is as illegal as the spitball and Miller was disqualified. Other results:
The Great Karpozilos beat Bobby Nelson, one fall; Cyclone Anaya beat Mike Lane, one fall; Ivan Rasputin and Bob Orton beat Juan Hernandez and Maurice Roberre, two falls (tag match).
ROCCA DEFEATS HEWITT IN STRAIGHT FALLS
(Chicago Tribune, July 18, 1954)
Argentina Rocca beat Tarzan Hewitt in two straight falls in the main wrestling event before 1,383 last night in Marigold Arena. Juan Hernandez whipped Hans Hermann on a disqualification in 10:15 of the semi-windup. Other results:
Bob Orton beat Harry Lewis, Sheik of Araby and Gypsy Joe beat Jon Arjon and Tommy Martindale (tag match), Dave Jons beat Don Clauss and Milt Olsen drew Jerry Woods.
THESZ, KOWALSKI MEET THURSDAY
(Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sunday, July 25, 1954)
Two cards of mat exhibitions are on the slate this week and a special bill at the Civic Auditorium Thursday night with Lou Thesz, boss of the heavyweights, meeting Wladek (Killer) Kowalski in the windup. Other events Thursday:
Ben Sharpe, Hamilton, Ont., takes on Kay Bell, the pro gridder, in the semifinal. Roger Mackay and Luther Lindsey are down for the special. Other affairs are Frank Stojack vs. Eddie Williams, Bud Rattal vs. Danno McDonald, and Bronco Lubich vs. Mike (Wildcat) Jackson.
The Monday night program will headline Ben Sharpe in a one-hour contest with Mackay. Three other affairs round out the evening: Henry Lenz vs. Williams, Jackson vs. McDonald and Lubich vs. Frank Schneider.
THESZ TAKES MAT MATCH
(Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 30, 1954)
Lou Thesz of St. Louis defeated Wladek Kowalski of Michigan in two out of three falls in the feature wrestling match at the Civic Auditorium Thursday night. Thesz won the first and last fall.
In the semiwindup, Kay Bell won from Ben Sharpe, who was disqualified. Roger Mackay and Buddy Knox went to a draw. Frank Stojack beat Scotty Williams, one fall. Bud Rattal was disqualified against Danno McDonald and Henry Lenz took the one fall from Bronco Lubich.
GAGNE MEETS McCLARITY ON MAT TONIGHT
(Chicago Tribune, Friday, Aug. 6, 1954)
By Frank Mastro
Verne Gagne will put his United States television heavyweight championship on the block against Roy McClarity in the main event of tonight’s wrestling show in International Amphitheater.
The Illinois Athletic Commission, under whose supervision the bout will be held, has not given official recognition. However, this doesn’t mean anything to the 9,000 expected to pay $25,000 for the privilege of seeing the match. The card:
Verne Gagne vs. Roy McClarity, two of three falls; Art Neilsen and Reggie Lisowski vs. Pat O’Connor and Yukon Eric, two of three falls, one hour limit (Australian tag team match).
Little Beaver vs. Tom Thumb, midgets; Tommy Martindale vs. Bob Orton, and Al Warshawsky vs. Benito Gardini, each one fall, 30-minute limit.
GAGNE BEATS McCLARITY IN ‘SLEEPER’ BOUT
(Chicago Tribune, Saturday, Aug. 7, 1954)
By Frank Mastro
Verne Gagne beat Roy McClarity in their wrestling match in International Amphitheater last night, but not before the underdog, McClarity, had put Gagne away once with Verne’s patented sleeper hold. A capacity crowd of 9,891 paid a gross gate of $26,310.
Gagne took the first fall in 24:13 with a sleeper. Shortly after that, referee Jim McMillen, old-time wrestler and now mayor of Antioch, was knocked unconscious. When he came to, McClarity was applying the sleeper to Gagne. McMillen, still reeling, counted out Gagne in 9:52, but Verne made short work of the deciding fall, disposing of McClarity with another sleeper in 6:21.
In the tag team match, Yukon Eric and Pat O’Connor beat Reggie Lisowski and Art Nielsen in two out of three falls, the third on a disqualification in 11:19. The winners had taken the first fall in 16 minutes and lost the second in 7:29. Other results, all one-fall decisions:
Little Beaver beat Tom Thumb, 21:26; Tommy Martindale beat Mitsu Arakawa, 18:45, and Benito Gardini beat Al Warshawsky, 14:32.
GIBSON FACES THESZ TONIGHT FOR MAT TITLE
(Chicago Tribune, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 1954)
Lou Thesz will defend his world heavyweight wrestling championship for the 10th time this year when he faces Stu Gibson of Louisville on promoter Leon Schwartz’s card in Rainbo Arena, 4836 N. Clark St. Gibson has lost only four times in over 400 mat bouts.
The former Louisville Golden Gloves champion turned to pro wrestling at the suggestion of Jack Dempsey, who claimed his arms were much too short for boxing. The bout will be two out of three falls with a 60-minute time limit.
Big Bill Miller will wrestle in the semi-windup with Nick Roberts of California in a two out of three fall, 60-minute scramble.
WRESTLING PROMOTER STRICKEN
(Chicago Tribune, August 18, 1954)
Leonard Schwartz, Rainbo Arena wrestling promoter, is recovering from a heart attack in Michael Reese Hospital, doctors reported yesterday.
GIBSON LOSES TO THESZ ON RAINBO MAT
(Chicago Tribune, Thursday, Aug. 19, 1954)
Lou Thesz retained his world heavyweight wrestling crown last night before 1,500 in Rainbo Arena by defeating Stu Gibson of Louisville in two straight falls. Thesz took the first fall in 15:12 with a flying leg lock and the second with a drop kick and a body press in 3:14.
In the semi-windup, Big Bill Miller beat Nick Roberts with a backbreaker in 16:22. In one-fall matches, Gordon Hessel defeated Charles Carr, and Mitsu Arakawa beat Frank Hurley. Tommy Martindale and Dave Jons wrestled to a 15-minute draw. The tag team of Bobby Nelson and Dutch Hefner scored its 16th straight victory by winning two of three falls from Ivan Rasputin and Rudy Kay.
LADY WRESTLER WINS BOUT WITH STATE IN COURT
(Chicago Tribune, Thursday, Oct. 21, 1954)
Another step in the fight for equal rights for women was won yesterday in Circuit court by a diminutive redhead who likes to wrestle.
Judge Harry M. Fisher ruled the Illinois Athletic Commission had no right to refuse a wrestling license to Miss Rose Hesseltine, of 5638 Green St. At the age of 23, she has a four-year wrestling record in 32 states.
Bernard Genis, assistant Illinois attorney general, told the court the athletic commission’s rules said women should not be allowed to wrestle and that, furthermore, the fragility of women should be protected.
Informed by a reporter of the judge’s favorable ruling, Miss Hesseltine said: "It’s so wonderful. This means about 150 other women wrestlers in the United States can now wrestle in Illinois."
Illinois Atty. Gen. Latham Castle, however, is not one to give up a fight easily. He ordered Genis to file an appeal.
"Why, I’ve won better than half the matches I’ve wrestled in," she said. "This is a great day for women wrestlers."
Miss Hesseltine, who wrestles under the name of Rose Roman, stands 5 feet 5 inches and weighs 139 pounds.
Despite Judge Fisher’s ruling, she will have to wait the outcome of the Appellate court action before getting a license.
O’CONNOR AND ROCCA TAKE TEAM MATCH
(Chicago Tribune, October 23, 1954)
By Frank Mastro
It was a happy affair at the International Amphitheater last night when Patrick O’Connor and Argentina Rocca, a pair of wrestlers who grapple strictly according to the mat rules, triumphed over Reggie Lisowski and Art Nielsen, two villainous characters, in the team tag match that headlined a wrestling show for which 7,506 patrons paid $18,129 to witness.
O’Connor and Rocca sent their followers into mild hysterics by flopping the villains in 12 minutes 15 seconds to record the first fall. The match was scheduled with a one-hour time limit and when the clock ran out, Lisowski and Nielsen still were trying to square the match, with the result the popular heroes were returned the victors by virtue of their opening fall.
Missing from his customary seat at ringside was Dr. Mitchell Corbett, 68, veteran physician for the Illinois boxing commission, who underwent a major operation in Mayo Brothers hospital in Rochester, Minn., ysterday and was reported in serious condition last night.
Yukon Eric won the semi-windup, defeating Hans Hermann in 8:50 with a submission hold. Preliminary results:
Billy Goelz beat Benito Gardini (21:25), Don Leo Jonathan beat Tiger Jack Moore (6:10) and Great Karpozilos drew Great Yamato (30:00).
THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No. 137-2001
CAL HERMAN TO REVIVE SLEEPING WRESTLING GAME
(Oregon Journal, Portland OR, Feb. 6, 1944)
By Marlowe Branagan
He admits just because a guy totes an umbrella to work it doesn’t necessarily follow it will rain, but right now dapper Cal Herman operates with the idea that if he gets enough heavyweight wrestlers in tow, eventually he will tow some of ‘em into Portland.
Cal is one of those oldish-youngish characters who will never get any gray hair for the plain and simple reason he hasn’t got any hair, but he has a lot of gray matter between his cauliflower ears. He found out long ago that just because he was short on beef it didn’t mean he had been dealt a low-ball hand on brains. As a result, he turned from wrestler to wrestling promoter.
Cal was a pretty fair country athlete in his interscholastic days at West High School in Salt Lake City. He took a fling at absorbing a bit more education at the University of Utah. He has a brother who once got an appointment to West Point from the late William H. King, former Utah senator.
As things turned out in the Herman family, one brother went to West Point, but Cal just went West. He applied his geometric learning to the art of proving the shortest point between two points was a straight right to the whiskers. He picked up a fair share of standard currency by beating a guy’s brains out.
Eventually, dapper Cal reached the end of the fistic trail, upon which he up and became a wrestler. Suffice to say he became a better than fair country bone bender and he studied geography from the confines of a Pullman window on his way hither and yon across the country in following his trade.
Came the time when Cal got the idea it would be better to let the other guy do the bone bending. He blossomed forth with promotional ideas and conducted legalized mat warfare in Northern California. He headquartered in Marysville and made railroad officials happy by choo-chooing around and about the state in pursuing his promotional talents.
Recently, Cal Herman got together with Ted Thye and the latter up and signed Cal as his matchmaker for the Western Athletic Club. Cal got busy and hunted up a list of prospects for duty in the Auditorium. It should be noted at this point that Cal first took time out to look over the Auditorium. He didn’t want to find himself with a carload of pachyderms on his hand and no place to toss ‘em.
Currently, Cal has the Auditorium signed and available for mat purposes on the night of Tuesday, Feb. 15. The joint is doing such a thriving business these days one would think it was a ration board headquarters. Activities there range from heavyweight wrestling to heavy operatic selections, which proves the place puts on everything from the ridiculous to the sublime, or vice versa, depending on whether a guy gets more kick out of seeing two heavyweights grunt than he does hearing two prima donnas groan.
Cal, being a philanthropic cuss, doesn’t want to run the crooners right out of the joint to make room for the groaners. He does, however, hope to sooner or later muscle in for more than one night a month and put some solid beef on display.
At the moment, Cal admits heavyweight wrestling is dead around these parts, but he hastens to assure one and all there are still some heavyweight wrestlers who are still alive. He has high hopes of enticing some of ‘em to the great Northwest in the near future for the purpose of putting them into action against each other.
Right now, his most specific job is getting Steve Casey to appear here against a top-flight rival. The Irish matman is the only conqueror of The Angel in an American ring. He is swift, sure and possessor of a lot of savvy.
For all Steve doesn’t know it and Herman hasn’t said so in so many words, one gets the idea Cal knows a thing or two about reviving a sport which apparently is as dead as the guy who made a head to hatchet acquaintance with an Indian’s tomahawk in 1878. Steve will be used as a shot in the arm, so to speak, in heavyweight circles hereabouts. "Dr. Herman" will judge the patient’s condition after taking a look-see at what turns out to see Steve.
DETTON, CASEY TO TUSSLE HERE
(Oregon Journal, Portland OR, Sunday, Feb. 6, 1944)
In an effort to revive heavyweight wrestling warfare in the Northwest, Cal Herman, new matchmaker for the Western Athletic Club, Saturday announced he had signed Steve Casey and Dean Detton, former world’s champion, for top honors in his first offering, a card scheduled in the Auditorium Tuesday, Feb. 15.
In bringing Detton and Casey to town for a bit of grunting and groaning, Cal will be putting tow of the best matmen in the nation on display. Detton, following a banner mat and grid career at the University of Utah, embarked on a pro career which carried him to the top of the heap. He now operates a ranch and fruit orchard in Southern California. He was born and reared in Idaho.
Casey, best of the five (sic) brothers who left Dublin to carry on their mat skill, has never been defeated in the United States. He numbers among his victims the one and only French "Angel."
The boys will be paid in war bonds. Cal will line up his supporting bouts in the near future.
GRAPPLERS SPUR WAR BOND SALE
(Oregon Journal, Portland OR, Sunday, Feb. 13, 1944)
A lot of the boys and gals around our fair village probably wouldn’t invest a hundred bucks in a heavyweight wrestler, but a considerable number of them have invested in a $100 war bond that entitles them to a ringside seat Tuesday night to see Steve Casey and Dean Detton, a couple of heavyweight wrestlers, in action.
Thus Dean and Steve, a pair of fancy heavyweight wrestlers with class stamped all over their ample physiques, will be doing their bit to spur the fourth war bond drive in Oregon.
Casey, a broth of a lad via Boston and waypoints, after embarking on his career in good old Dublin, Ireland, is the only man in the United States who holds a triumph over Maurice Tillet, the French Angel. Detton, a football and wrestling star at the University of Utah, 15 years back, once held the N.B.A.’s world heavyweight title and has hopes of holding it again some day.
Both grapplers tee off in the neighborhood of 235 pounds. Both are burly lads who start out with good intentions and wind up with an abundant supply of roughhouse tactics.
Colliding in Tuesday’s semi-windup will be popular Chief Thunderbird and Jack Carter, the latter of New Zealand. Carter comes here pegged as a lad who has as many mat tricks as his namesake has pills.
First bout will go on at 8:30 o’clock. Arrangements for this tussle will be completed Sunday.
CASEY, DETTON WAIT ACTIVITY IN AUDITORIUM GO
(Oregon Journal, Portland OR, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 1944)
A pair of rugged, custom-built, heavyweight mat stars – Steve Casey and Dean Detton – and a batch of the mat faithful will be on hand Tuesday night to inaugurate the Western Athletic Club’s return to the wrestling wars in the Auditorium.
Casey, currently the No. 1 lad in the eyes of the N.B.A. mat fraternity, and Detton, former world’s champ, will collide in the main event, a 90-minute, two-fall affair in the headliner of a top-notch card.
The Irishman from San Francisco, via Dublin and Boston, takes on a worthy rival in the Idaho-born Detton who, at one time, was a star at the University of Utah in mat and grid warfare.
Colliding in the semi-windup, a one-hour affair, will be Chief Thunderbird, colorful Indian heavyweight, and lithe George Kitzmiller. The opener will pit Broccoli Bob Kruse of Oswego against Johnny Carter of New Zealand in a 30-minute match.
Cal Herman, new matchmaker for the Western Athletic Club, has announced Jack Dodd of the Multnomah Club will referee tonight’s program. Activities get under way at 8:30 p.m.
CASEY TOSSES UTAH GRAPPLER
(Oregon Journal, Portland OR, February 16, 1944)
Irish Steve Casey, Boston grappler, carried off honors in the main bout of the revival of heavyweight wrestling under the Western Athletic Club banner Tuesday night in the Auditorium by taking two out of three falls from Dean Detton of Salt Lake.
A crowd of 1,400 saw the show which, through an offer of a ringside seat for a $100 war bond, resulted in the selling of $13,900 worth of bonds.
An armlock gave Casey the first fall and after he had dropped the second fall, he used a crotch hold to gain the match. Detton pinned Casey in the second fall with a short arm scissors.
Chief Thunderbird took two out of three falls to win the semi-windup from George Kitzmiller. Bob Kruse beat Jack Carter of New Zealand in the one-fall opener.
The Western Athletic Club will resume its regular Wednesday night schedule of matches March 1.
A MILLION GROANS, A MILLION DOLLARS
(Associated Press, Thursday, May 2, 1963)
By Charles Chamberlain
CHICAGO -- No Matter how you look at professional wrestling
– if you look at all – there’s big money in human beings making pretzels
out of each other.
"A million groans, a million dollars," says Fred Kohler.
Kohler, 60-year-old Chicago promoter, is king of the ham market. He’s been in the business 30 years.
One of his promotional tricks is to tape a television wrestling show, give it free to a local station, then several days after it had been telecast, move in with the same cast of anatomy benders to perform in the flesh. A million dollars passes through his hands yearly, he says.
"Back in the Depression years of the 1930’s, people who didn’t commit suicide watched the whos," says Kohler. "And some wrestlers cleaned up. I remember Gus Sonnenberg coming in off a tour with his suitcase stuffed with $85,000. He didn’t believe in banks and was not afraid anybody would take it away from him."
Kohler says a wrestler must have three things: Ability, showmanship and personality. "There are about 75 wrestlers in top demand today, but none has all three of these assets like Buddy Rogers."
"Buddy is in four or five shows a week, gets 11 per cent of the gates and traveling expenses. He makes better than $200,000 a year."
Kohler scoffs at charges of matches being out-and-out fakes. "It depends on your definition of the word," he concedes. "They aren’t fixed. The better man usually wins. The thing is he doesn’t always win as quickly as he can. This is entertainment, and prolonging it is good for business."
"It can get awfully rough. Rogers was out of action 13 weeks in 1962 and with a broken leg."
Audiences are made up of 40 per cent women, 45 per cent men, and the rest teenagers, says Kohler.
For every audience situation, Kohler has a wrestling type to use. Bobo Brazil draws a large Negro following. The Latins flip for Argentina Rocca. Killer Kowalski has his Polish admirers. Germans go for the Bavarian Boys. Good looking Bob Konovsky, ex Chicago football Bear, gets squeals from the girls.
What is the most amazing thing to happen to Kohler?
"Watching 38,622 customers jam Comiskey Park June 30, 1961, to see Rogers meet Pat O’Connor," he says. "We had a gate of $141,345." It was the highest price ever paid to him.
THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No. 138-2001
AROUND OUR TOWN
(Humboldt Standard, Eureka CA, Nov. 2, 1954)
By Scoop Beal
With the announcement that world’s wrestling champion Lou Thesz would come to Eureka next Monday for a match at Municipal Auditorium, there came about much talk of wrestling champions through the ages … there are still a few oldtimers around that remember Frank Gotch as the greatest of them all – and there are the oldtimers who claim that "Strangler" Ed Lewis, champion during the "Golden Age" of sports, was the greatest matman that ever lived … the ruling body of wrestling in the U.S.A. is known as the National Wrestling Alliance … this organization recorded the champions of wrestling from 1905 to the present day, as follows:
1905 – Frank Gotch defeated George Hackenschmidt in first recognized international title match (sic)
1906 – Fred Beell defeated Gotch
1906 – Gotch defeated Fred Beell
1913 – Gotch retired as champion.
1913 – Joe Stecher won finals of tournament to decide new champion, defeating Kid Cutler (sic)
1917 – Earl Caddock defeated Joe Stecher
1920 – Joe Stecher defeated Earl Caddock
1921 – Ed "Strangler" Lewis defeated Joe Stecher
1929 – Gus Sonnenberg defeated Lewis
1931 – Don George defeated Sonnenberg
1931 – "Strangler" Lewis defeated Don George and then retired (sic)
1932 – Jim Londos claimed world’s title (sic)
1933 – "Strangler" Lewis made comeback and defeated Dick Shikat, who claimed title along with Londos (sic)
1934 – Jim Browning defeated Strangler Lewis (sic)
1935 – Title was so disputed that tournament was held and was won by Danno O’Mahoney (sic)
1936 – Dick Shikat defeated O’Mahoney
1937 – Ali Baba defeated Dick Shikat (sic)
1938 – Everett Marshall defeated Ali Baba (sic)
1939 – Lou Thesz defeated Everett Marshall
1939 – Bronko Nagurski defeated Lou Thesz
1941 – Sandor Szabo defeated Nagurski
1942 – Bill Longson defeated Szabo (the title fell idle during the war years) (sic)
1948 – Lou Thesz defeated Wild Bill Longson and has held the title since that time.
(ED. NOTE – The above list is the most inaccurate, mixed-up account of wrestling’s heavyweight title lineage ever printed. Scoop Beal, bless his ol’ heart, couldn’t write for free seeds, either.)
THREE MATCHES SCHEDULED FOR LIONS’ SHOW
(Humboldt Standard, Eureka CA, November 3, 1954)
Enrique Torres will wrestle in the semi-windup and Mike Sharpe gets a preliminary bout on the Lou Thesz-Ben Sharpe heavyweight mat championship go in Eureka’s Municipal Auditorium next Monday night.
Torres, claimant of the Pacific Coast heavyweight championship, meets Juan Humberto, a roughneck from Mexico City, in the 45-minute semi-windup. The match will be best two out of three falls.
Mike Sharpe will meet George Scott, newest mat sensation from Calgary, Canada. Scott is six foot two inches tall and weighs 235 pounds and is said to be a great young matman.
This will be Scott’s first appearance in Eureka.
The main event, world’s champion Lou Thesz vs. Big Ben Sharpe, will be one hour, best two out of three falls.
Thesz will be seconded by his manager, "Strangler Ed" Lewis, the fabulous old champion of days gone by.
Ben Sharpe will be seconded by his brother, Mike.
Reserved seats are on sale each afternoon from 3 to 5 o’clock at Eureka Municipal Auditorium box office. Reservations also can be made by phoning the box office during these hours, Hiside 2-8393.
All reserved seats must be picked up by Sunday evening. Reservations on the regular reserved list and those made by phone will be held until that time.
The show is scheduled next Monday night, starting at 8 o’clock. Prices have been scaled at $5 reserved, $3 general and $1 children under 12.
SIX REFS ELIGIBLE TO HANDLE MAT MATCH HERE
(Humboldt Standard, Eureka CA, November 4, 1954)
Six eligible referees were named today for the wrestling match between Lou Thesz, heavyweight champion of the world, and Big Ben Sharpe.
One of the six will be named tomorrow by the state athletic commission for the match.
The six include Jack Wagner, San Francisco; Joe Benacassi (sic), Stockton; Glenn Neece, San Jose; Jack Halloway, Vallejo; Johnny Mora, Eureka, and Frankie Miller, Samoa.
STRANGLER LEWIS LEGENDARY FIGURE OF WRESTLING SCENE
(Humboldt Standard, Eureka CA, November 4, 1954)
One look at the broad shoulders and expansive chest is all a sports fan needs to know that Ed (Strangler) Lewis was associated with wrestling – in the rough and tumble aspects of the mat sport – in his heyday.
The five-times holder of the world’s heavyweight championship will be in Eureka this coming Monday, principally as manager and second for the current world’s champion, Lou Thesz.
The Lewis of today hasn’t changed much from the giant of yesteryear who held the world’s title so many times and who once grappled his way through a five-hour marathon with champion Joe Stecher in Omaha, Neb., on July 4, 1916, only to have the match wind up in a draw.
Every once in a while, in fact, he still climbs into the ring to match his strength with Thesz.
But the "Strangler" of old has a greater opponent now. He spends a great dela of his time traveling across the continent, with Thesz, in the interest of youth and he’s out to whip delinquency.
Lewis began his professional mat career at the age of 14.
"I was man-sized at that age," he says, "and was working in my father’s grocery store at Nekoosa, Wis. Freddie Beell, who taught the great Gotch, lived just 15 miles away and he became my idol.
"All the country boys who came to the store wanted to rassle with me and I whipped ‘em all. Never had a lesson in my life."
He apparently didn’t need one for it wasn’t long until he stopped taking on all comers around Nekoosa – local talent and imported brawn – and graduated to the point where he went to the mat for his first fee -- $15.
Twelve years later, Lewis tangled with Stecher in the long and drawn-out match that brought him to the threshold of greatness.
"That’s the match I remember best."
The "Strangler" was born Robert Friedrich but he got his nickname in a Chicago match where he first stepped into the big time.
Sportswriters named him after a Lewis of an earlier day who had made himself famous with the strangle-hold before it was outlawed.
"I used a head-lock a lot," Lewis explains, "and actually there’s only about six inches difference between the points where you apply the two holds."
Lewis got a return bout with Stecher the year following the marathon battle and took the title away from him (sic).
From that time on, Lewis met the best – Ed Don George, Gus Sonnenberg, Earl Caddock, John Pesek, Joe Malcewicz, Jim Londos and a host of others – all of them champions or near-champions of the mat.
Lewis had his ups and downs, too. After taking the title from Stecher, he lost it in a catch-as-catch-can bout with Stanislaus Zbyszko, but then gained a measure of immortality on the American wrestling scene by becoming the first man to regain the crown (sic).
All in all, he wore the title and doffed it five times before finally giving it up for keeps to Jim Browning in 1933.
THESZ DEFENDS TITLE HERE TONIGHT
(Humboldt Standard, Eureka CA, Monday, Nov. 8, 1954)
Lou Thesz, heavyweight wrestling champion of the world, will defend his title tonight at Eureka’s Municipal Auditorium, meeting Ben Sharpe, one of the giant brothers of tag-team wrestling fame.
The match is the main event of an all-star Lions Club program starting at 8 o’clock.
Thesz, weighing 235 pounds, arrived here by plane this morning. His manager, "Strangler Ed" Lewis, former champion, arrived last night. Lewis will be in the Thesz corner tonight.
Ben Sharpe, accompanied by his brother Mike, was scheduled in on the afternoon plane from San Francisco. Sharpe will enter the ring tonight weighing 250 pounds.
Thesz, from St. Louis, has been heavyweight wrestling champion of the world since 1948 and is recognized as such by the National Wrestling Alliance.
Tonight’s match will be decided by best to out of three falls.
The State Athletic Commission today named two referees for tonight’s program. Johnny Mora of Eureka will referee the two supporting matches, and Frank Malcewicz, former wrestler and brother of the famed SF mat promoter Joe Malcewicz, will referee the Thesz-Sharpe match.
THESZ WINS OVER BEN SHARPE IN MATCH HERE
(Humboldt Standard, Eureka CA, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 1954)
Lou Thesz, heavyweight champion of the world, showed terrific speed and wrestling know-how last night in winning from Big Ben Sharpe before $4221 worth of fans at Eureka’s Municipal Auditorium.
The match ended suddenly after about 35 minutes of wrestling when Thesz executed a Graeco-Roman wrestling style backdrop that landed Big Ben on his neck and momentarily stunned the oldest of the Sharpe brothers long enough for Thesz to pounce on him for the final fall.
Thesz had won the first fall of the match in 14 minutes when referee Frank Malcewicz disqualified Sharpe for refusing to break a hold.
The match was chiefly straight wrestling and many fans afterwards said they didn’t care too much for it. They would rather watch tag-team matches such as the Sharpe and Torres brothers engage in.
In the 45-minute semi-main event, Enrique Torres bested Juan Humberto in straight falls, taking the first in 25 minutes with a knee buster or, as Torres calls it, his "bombs away."
The second fall came a minute and a half later when Humberto pulled a trick not in the rule book to enrage Torres who came off the ropes with a flying scissors.
In the opening match of the evening, George Scott, a replacement for mighty Mike Sharpe, who suffered a fractured rib in a match late last week, grappled to a 30-minute draw with Smilin’ Bud Curtis.
TORRES BROTHERS WIN WILD MATCH AT AUDITORIUM
(Humboldt Standard, Eureka CA, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 1954)
The Torres brothers, Enrique and Ramon, defeated Big Ben Sharpe and Smiling Bud Curtis in one of the wildest wrestling matches seen here this year last night at Municipal Auditorium.
With the fans standing up and screaming at the fast action, the wrestlers kept the auditorium in an almost continuous uproar as they grappled in and out of the ring and chased each other down the aisles.
The Torres brothers’ team won the first fall in 25 minutes of top-speed action which sometimes saw all four men going at it hammer and tongs in the ring with referee Frankie Miller unable to do anything about it.
Big Ben brought about his downfall by diving over the ropes from out of the ring with the idea of landing on Enrique Torres. Enrique scrambled away just in time and Big Ben splashed face first on the mat. Enrique pounced on him for the fall.
Big Ben and Bud came back to win the second fall, but then the Torres boys took the third and deciding fall over Curtis just two minutes after the rest period.
Fans left the auditorium saying it was one of the greatest matches ever presented here.
The opener also was good and saw the popular young Johnny Barend win two of three falls over a 265-pound fat boy named Lou Pitoscia from Toronto, Canada.
THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No.139-2001
STRANGLER LEWIS TO MEET VELCOFF HERE ON MAT
(Sacramento Union, Tuesday, December 8, 1931)
By Steve George
Edward (Strangler) Lewis, who needs no introduction other than his name to wrestling fans the world over, has finally consented to terms and inducements of local promoters and will display his championship form at Memorial Auditorium next Monday night. The "Strangler" has been matched with Nick Velcoff, the Bulgarian giant who has worked his way into a main-event spot here by a succession of easy triumphs.
Matchmaker Bill Mastin of the Disabled American Veterans, who are undertaking Lewis’ appearance here in their first major attraction since going into the mat promotional business, announces he will have an attractive supporting card for the Lewis-Velcoff match, which is a forerunner to a meeting between Lewis and Doc Visser if Mastin can ever arrange suitable terms with both parties.
Lewis demanded a $2,000 guarantee to tackle Visser here, which Mastin was unable to produce, and the match fell through several times. When Lewis started his campaign two weeks ago in Northern California, he was again sought for Visser, but the arrangements were completed yesterday to the satisfaction of all when Velcoff agreed to take on the champion, with a privilege of getting a crack at Visser later, win, lose or draw.
An opportunity to glimpse the wrestling tactics of a recognized world champion and compare them with the general run of showmanship displayed by men appearing on local cards, will be a first treat for Sacramento fans who have taken kindly to the rough-and-tumble sport. Lewis has met every wrestler of any consequence known to the sport and his defeats have been few and far between. From Jim Londos down, Lewis has triumphed with his famous headlock, a torturous hold in which the Strangler wraps his powerful arms around an opponent’s head and squeezes him into unconsciousness.
Doc Visser will appear on the same card in a semi-windup bout. The supporting card will be announced later.
STRANGLER LEWIS DISPLAYS FAMED HEADLOCK TONIGHT
(Sacramento Union, Monday, December 14, 1931)
By Steve George
A world’s champion, known the width and breadth of the universe for his prowess on the wrestling mat, will be the attraction on display tonight in Memorial Auditorium as Sacramento goes "big time" for the first time since the advent of the grunt and groan sports scene some four months ago. Ed (Strangler) Lewis, recognized in most states as the present heavyweight wrestling champion of the world and onetime undisputed holder of the title when wrestling was wrestling, brings his famous headlock into play in a finish match, two out of three falls, with Nick Velcoff, an able-bodied giant of Bulgarian extraction, who in a short span of time lifted himself into the limelight of Pacifc Coast wrestling. To predict Velcoff will beat the champion would be folly, but stranger things have happened and Velcoff, primed for the opportunity, is prepared to wage a bitter battle against the master of men on a wrestling mat.
Regardless of the outcome, a night of entertainment is in store for local fans who have been quite generous in their support of the shows staged by the Disabled American Veterans, Doc P.H. Visser, local challenger to the heavyweight title and an attraction in his own right, takes the semi-windup position tonight against Jack Reynolds of Seattle, a recent arrival from the Northwest.
Visser would have liked to have been scheduled with Lewis, but financial arrangements could not be met by matchmaker Bill Mastin. A guarantee asked by Lewis was too stiff for the local promoter, but he has hopes of matching the two at a later date. Visser and Reynolds are billed for a one-fall, one-hour limit.
For the special event, Don Andreas Costanos, Spanish grappler who appeared in main-event roles no less than 12 times in San Francisco in recent months, is scheduled for a one-fall, 20-minute bout against Jimmy Kilonis, a stablemate of Lewis. It’s a case of Greek meets Spaniard in a tugging, fighting battle.
Opening the show will be a 15-minute match between Jack Reed of Portland and Hank Oswald.
The all-star card is presented without a price increase, although it is necessary to discontinue the free list and women will be admitted at a nominal cost.
VELCOFF UNABLE TO RETURN; STRANGLER WINS
(Sacramento Union, Tuesday, December 15, 1931)
By Steve George
Master of the mat, but of the old school of wrestling, Ed (Strangler) Lewis won by the aid of modern grappling methods last night before a representative crowd at Memorial Auditorium when Nick Velcoff butted himself out of the ring and fell easy prey to the champion’s famous headlock. After 47 minutes of grappling, with the world’s champion clamping all sorts of holds on the Bulgarian demon, Velcoff roughed it and butted Lewis to the mat a series of times. His next attempt found him doing a headlong dive into the row of seats beneath the ropes, falling with a thud against the floor. Lifted into the ring, Velcoff was half dazed, and two headlocks pressed him to the mat, where Lewis applied the power, rendering the gladiator almost unconscious. He was carried from the ring in a semi-conscious state and failed to answer the bell for the second fall.
Lewis, despite his 50 odd years and his more than 3,000 battles, is still able to take care of himself against the modern methods of butting, kicking, rabbit punching and other tactics unknown to him in his heyday. Lewis uses no such tactics, but goes about his business of clamping arm locks, head holds and nelsons. In addition, he is capable of putting on the showmanship, but not to any great extent. Velcoff made a creditable showing while he lasted.
The thrilling match of the night was between Doc Visser and Jack Reynolds, which went to Visser via the airplane spin in 21 minutes. The pair waged a brutal battle and both were cut up before the finish.
Don Andreas Costanos pinned Jack Kilonis in nine minutes, while Jack Reed and Hank Oswald opened the show with a 15-minute draw.
LOU THESZ UPBRAIDED FOR KING KONG CZAJA REMARKS
(ED. NOTE – The following originally appeared on the Lou Thesz pages of www.wrestlingclassics.com, the excellent web site operated by Mark Nulty. The discussion centered around Thesz’ match with Emil (King Kong) Czaja in Singapore on September 28, 1957.)
(Posted by Darwin Boy) … Ok , I posted a query on this wrestler on the Message Board … Seems you may have a lot of info on this wrestler, Mr. Thesz (I call you Mr. Thesz out of respect.) What light can you shed on King Kong? My query was why this wrestler did not appear in the States? His size of 30-plus stone would have made him one of the biggest wrestlers in America. From what I know, lanks to Libnan Ayoub’s book, King Kong was a huge star in India and all over Asia, touring Australia and Japan, and meeting all kinds of dignitaries and politicians on the way. Seems he wrestled in front of 100,000-plus crowds, and owned a promotion based in Singapore, where he died as a result of a car accident .He was living in Sydney , Australia with his Australian wife. I believe there is a reason, a good one, for him not going to America. Can you shed any light on this man?
(Posted by Lou Thesz) … I wrestled him in Singapore, and he was a fatso who ran out of gas in two minutes. He may have been an athlete at one time and seemed nice enough, but should never have gotten in the ring. I got so angry in the ring I could have killed him. After one move he couldn't do anything else. I only got paid for being one half of the match –- I should have been paid his envelope, too. I had a choice of letting him cheat the fans or giving them a decent show –- his name was Emil and he was Hungarian -- - which made me even madder. He would have never made it in the States – at that time.
(Posted by Libnan Ayoub) … There is no doubt, Lou, that you were a great wrestler and one of the legends in this sport. There is no disputing that. I have read your book and have no doubt that most of it is true and I understand that all wrestlers have big egos when they write about themselves. What you wrote about King Kong was very disappointing. Firstly, King Kong was the booker in Singapore and the person promoting that bout and who put up the money was G.S Dharan ( he was the one you took a photo with on your arrival at the airport). There is no doubt that Dharan was a shifty promoter. You also said that you defended the NWA title, the crowd was 18,000 and King Kong had no stamina at all.
Facts are: it was a non –title bout, the Happy World stadium's capacity is 8,000 and the drawn match went for ten rounds with each of you taking a pinfall, yourself in the fifth round and Kong in the ninth. For a guy who is a fat so-and-so, he went ten rounds and got a pinfall from you as well. This is what gets me, at the end of the match you announce over the stadium's speaker's that "King Kong is great and Singapore should be proud of him." For a guy who you hate and you said you could kill, you said some nice things about him!!
Lou, my real point is that why do you have to put down other wrestlers when all that serves is to make them look bad? I have been told by a wrestler, who was on the same card when you were in Australia, some things about yourself that were not good. Why should I tell everybody about it? It has got nothing to do with anybody else! You were a great wrestler and that is how you should be remembered.
For example, I have read stories about a certain wrestler that
he was an achoholic, when a longtime fan of this same wrestler heard about it he
was disgusted with this wrestler and got turned off by it.
We should talk about the wrestlers and what achievements he has contributed to this great sport of wrestling, not about his drinking or what sort of a ******* he was. I do not think that this is what the families of the late wrestlers would like to hear. Most families are proud to have their fathers as wrestlers.
BILL HANSON PINS BILL LONGSON
(Sacramento Union, Tuesday, January 12, 1937)
Bill Hanson proved the winner when the Coast champion scored two successive falls with leglocks in his feud with Bill Longson after losing the first, to win the main event wrestling match last night in Memorial Auditorium. Longson scored the first fall in 20 minutes, 19 seconds after roughing Hanson all the way with plenty of "dirty" tactics.
Then it was Hanson’s turn and the champ clamped his leg around Longson’s and made him quit twice from pain. The first fall came in 12:45 and the deciding fall in just 35 seconds.
Ed (Strangler) Lewis was awarded his match with bearded Brother Jonathan when the latter roughed the referee, Hoot Herrin of Los Angeles. Herrin stopped the match and gave Lewis the verdict after 19 minutes, 52 seconds of hard tussling. Lewis is still the artist and the showman. He tipped the scales at 290 pounds, growing old and fat as he goes along.
Other matches ended as follows: Mexico Marvin pinned Pat Meehan in 17:36, the Red Shadow threw Wee Willie Davis in 3:07 and Kimon Kudo and Ernie Peterson wrestled a 20-minute fast and clean draw in the opener.
DEAN DETTON TOSSES STRANGLER LEWIS
(Sacramento Union, Tuesday, January 26, 1937)
It was an old-fashioned wrestling match, plenty scientific and lacking completely in the mordern-day tactics of punching, gouging and kicking – and Dean Detton won over Ed (Strangler) Lewis by a toe hold.
That sort of a match seems quite out of place under present-day grappling, but that’s exactly what Detton, the recognized world champion, and Lewis, the former champion, did for the mat fans last night in Memorial Auditorium. It was so surprising, it was good.
Detton did no butting, for which he is noted and settled down to a thorough battle of grips with the hefty Strangler. After 28 minutes, 23 seconds of numerous applications, Detton grasped the shoeless toe of the former titleholder and big Ed hollered quits.
When the gong sent the men back for the second fall, Lewis could not continue and Detton was awarded the match.
The prelims were the best offered in a long time, especially the semi-windup between Dr. Freddy Meyers and Red Vagnone. Vagnone won when Meyers was disqualified. This bout made up in roughness what the main event lacked. It lasted 26 minutes, 51 seconds.
Other bouts ended as follows: Mexico Marvin pinned Harry Carlson in 10:28, the Red Phantom beat Rudy Stromberg in 16:31 and Ernest Petersen and Jack Spellman started the show with a draw.
THE NEW WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers No. 140-2001
WYKOFF BOUNCES SZABO IN FIRST MATCH OF FINALE
(Los Angeles Times, Thursday, May 9, 1940)
Lee Wykoff bounced Sandor Szabo in the first of a three-match series in the finals of the international wrestling tournament last night at the Olympic Auditorium. Wykoff grabbed the duke in 23m. 5s. after a series of body slams and a body press.
The Handsome Hungarian was tossed from the ring no less than four times by Wykoff, returning each time with a little less gusto. Wykoff picked him off the mat on his fourth return from the front-row seats and applied his vicious body slams that could be heard out on Grand Ave.
The two will continue their series with a two-fall match next Wednesday night, with Wykoff needing but one fall to take the title.
Crusher Billings and Jules Strongbow teamed up in fine style to down Sammy Stein and Tarzan White in a rugged team match. Billings and Strongbow won in 21s (sic).
Rube Wright and Max Krauser fought 30 sizzling minutes to a draw, Bobby Coleman downed Mitsui Hamanaka with a body grip in 16m. 15s. and Milt Pollock tripped Wildman Zimm with a body press in 6m. 33s. in other matches.
Hans Steinke won a consolation tournament match over Pantaleon Manlapig with a facelock in 10m. 15s., while Ali Baba took a comedy fracas over Rudy LaDitzi, who substituted for Dean Detton, in 5m. 18s. with a body slam.
WYKOFF SQUELCHES KOVERLY TO WIN WRESTLING TOURNEY
(Los Angeles Times, Thursday, May 16, 1940)
By Al Wolf
Apparently all things must come to an end – even international heavyweight wrestling tournaments.
Jack Daro’s mat mammoth, which began in William Jennings Bryan’s heyday, according to oldtimers hereabouts, wound up last night at the Olympic with Lee Wykoff, a semi-bald party from little Nevada, Mo., the champion of champions, or something.
A mere stripling when the roughhouse serial started, Wykoff outlived some contestants and flung others to emerge on top of the heap and qualify for an early crack at Jeem Londos, the champion of champions’ champion, if you get what we mean.
Mr. Wykoff, a heroic type whose weakness is resplendent velvet dressing robes, took care of matdom’s Peck’s Bad Boy in the finals, much to the enjoyment of some 7,500 faithful.
P.B.B., of course, is George Koverly, a chappie who invariably is in Dutch with the boxing fathers or John Law or both because fans pick on him without cause – according to Koverly.
The streamlined Yugoslavian (as we go to press such a land still exists) took the first fall of the great finale in 17m. 20s. with a body press garnished with uppercuts and kneeings.
But our hero from the "Show Me" state wasn’t going to miss this opportunity to take curtain bows – he had worn his slinkiest green lounger for the occasion. He bounced villainous Koverly until the rafters resounded, threw him outside the ring for the fans to pummel briefly and then slammed him for keeps, all in 10m. flat.
Georgie was one of those every-picture-tells-a-story guys after being so rudely used and was easy pickings in Heat No. 3. Wykoff, who was afraid he’d forget the victory speech he had memorized, hurried across the ring and thumped Mr. Koverly to the mattress in a mere 28s. and the tourney was over – at long last.
As a chaser, there was one of those riotous team matches, with Rowdy Rudy LaDitzi and Jules (Fearless) Strongbow annihilating Sammy Stein and Vic Christy. Even Man Mountain Dean, back among us again, blew a fuse bellowing belly laughs.
Other events resulted as follows:
Vincent Lopez threw Wee Willie Davis in 13m. 18s., body press; Ali Baba threw King Kong Clayton in 5m. 10s., pile driver; Pantaleon Manlapig threw Harry Jacobs in 9m. 46s., body press; Tarzan White threw Crusher Billings in 14m. 21s., body slam; Max Krauser threw Tony Felice in 4m. 15s., airplane spin, and Jack Sullivan threw Bobby Coleman in 9m. 16s., body press.
LONDOS PITCHES FOE TO FLOOR
(Los Angeles Times, May 23, 1940)
By Al Wolf
There’s been many a dive at the Olympic in these many years of fisticuffing and grappling, but never one so perfect as that involuntarily executed last night by Pantaleon Manlapig.
The blubbery Filipino manbender missed his calling, or else we’ve wasted considerable time watching gorgeous gals take off from high and low boards in aquatic carnivals. With champ Jimmy Londos serving as a springboard, Manlapig soared over the ropes and into a sea of spectators in an absolutely perfect jackknife with a one-half twist.
The "water" was of the hard variety, though, and by the time they had given Manlapig first aid referee Don McDonald had counted himself hoarse and forthwith awarded the fall to Londos. The time was 35m. 45s.
The islander was a sorry sight and kind-hearted McDonald called off the proceedings after 26s. of the second inning, thereby keeping Londos in possession of his title.
At a late hour last night, officials of the Olympic still were digging for the citizens who had occupied the seats which Manlapig pulverized as he "cut the water."
The house numbered 7,500 souls. Results of the preliminaries:
Tarzan White drew with Ali Baba (both out of the ring at the time limit); Rube Wright drew with Vincent Lopez, 30 minutes; Jules Strongbow threw Jack Donovan in 8m. 39s., body press; Max Krauser threw Jose Sevilla in 5m. 11s., airplane spin; Bobby Coleman and Young Stecher drew, 20 minutes; Jimmy El Pulpo threw Louie Miller in 8m., 1s., octopus hold, and Milt Pollock threw Sonny LaMont in 12m. 45s, flying tackle.
WRESTLER DONOVAN DIES FROM INJURIES
(Associated Press, May 27, 1940)
ONTARIO, Calif. – John B. (Jack) Donovan, 30, Boston wrestler who had been living at 1927 W. Sixth St., Los Angeles, died today of injuries received Saturday (May 25) when his automobile collided with a truck during a fog.
WEIDNER PINS DANNY McSHAIN
(Los Angeles Times, Tuesday, May 28, 1940)
A newcomer to local wrestling circles made his debut a successful one last night when Billy Weidner replaced Bob Gregory, who was injured this week, and won the two out of three fall main event matfest over Danny McShain at the Hollywood Legion Stadium.
Weidner took the first fall with a hammerlock in 15m. 49s. but lost the second to McShain in 10m. 10s. when the latter resorted to rough tactics with a few uppercuts and an abdominal stretch. Weidner copped the finale with an airplane spin in 11m. 44s.
A team match tournament then took the spotlight, with Otis Clingman and Ben Sherman dumping Red Lyons and Hans Schultz in two straight falls in the final round. The Clingman-Sherman duo won the first fall in 10m. 9s. and the second in 6m. 14s.
Paul Bozzell and Duke Pettigrove fell to the victorious team in 8m. 51s. in a first-round match, while Lyons and Schultz reached the finals by downing Buck Weaver and George Wagner in 11m. 54s.
Dude Chick handed Mike Nazarian his first loss in the semi-windup, using a cradle press to win in 11m. 59s. Charlie Carr and Mickey Ryan wrestled 20m. to a draw in the curtain raiser.
BUCK DAVIDSON, MIGHTY GRAPPLER
(Klamath Falls OR Herald and News, Sunday, July 16, 1989)
By Joe Caraher
Put the name of Harold (Buck) Davidson down as one of our legendary sports characters.
List him with Sammy Gordon and Bulldog Jackson, frequent performers in the ring here in Klamath Falls.
Davidson lived in the era of prime-time wrestling at the National Guard Armory. He was a hero of the days when Pete Belcastro was another of the premier grapplers booked at the Armory about once a week.
As a matter of fact, says Buck’s niece by marriage, Pat Hull, Buck and Pete would meet on the same card. Not just Pat, who remembers Buck extremely well, but other fans who followed wrestling of those pleasant years in the ‘50s, recall Davidson being "strong as a horse."
"He was short in height," says Pat. "About five feet ten. But he weighed about 180. He finally left the ring to sell a couple lines of automobile jacks … Handy Man and Mountain Jack."
Pat, Klamath Falls resident of many years, has a vivid picture of Buck selling those jacks. "He was good at it. He liked people, and he was enthusiastic about the products he sold.
"Once, when he was trying to demonstrate how effective the jacks were, he couldn’t get one of them under the car properly. So he picked up the back end of the old Chevy and lifted the axle right on the jack. People standing by were amazed."
Pat goes on:
"Harold came from Indiana, south of Terre Haute. He liked it out here and while he was in the U.S. Marine Corps in Nicaragua, he learned to wrestle. That’s all he wanted to do. Traveled up and down the coast.
"One time here in Klamath Falls, I’d say in the early ‘50s, he got into the ring with the great Primo Carnera. This was an exhibition." Pat says they pummeled each other around to the glee and delight of a big house at the Armory.
Primo, heavyweight pride of Italy, won the world’s boxing crown in 1933 at Long Island City Bowl when he knocked out Jack Sharkey in the 6th. Primo got only 10 per cent of the take, $16,377, which was no bonanza even for those days. In 1934, he lost to Max Baer, but he got a more generous share, $122,782. Primo was knocked down 12 times during the 11-round bout. Max was a heavy hitter.
It would be hard to find out how much Buck and Primo split in their exhibition, but no doubt did pretty well. Primo probably got enough afterwards to pay for a big platter of pasta at Molatore’s, across the Winema Hotel.
Those were the times when Mack Lillard was Oregon’s Mr. Wrestling Promoter, probably working with Ted Thye up in Portland. They had the Pacific Northwest blanketed like dew covers Dixie. Mack arranged the Carnera-Davidson frolic (nobody was hurt) and Wally Moss, perennial arbiter, was the third man in the ring.
In that era of the pachyderms, as the sporting gentry described athletes of the mat, the railbirds would talk it over at Louie Polin’s place of business at the corner of Seventh and Main. The insiders would get the word on who was to win in the feature bouts. Louie made plenty money in his place, where he sold all kinds of sporting equipment, oldtimers tell us. His main advertising slogan was "Louie Has Worms." Sounded more like a bulletin from Merle West Hospital.
Irv Burke took over the corner later, had a variety of items and perhaps Main Street’s last soda fountain. Hobo Junction holds forth at the same location today. It’s a popular little eatery, not a haven for visitors arriving by freight as the name implies.
Pat says Buck did right well selling jacks. He and his wife, Chloe, traveled around the country but made Klamath Falls their home. She died in February, 1986. The niece said they lived at 325 S. Fifth St. "Harold wrestled until he was about 50. He was a great friend of Pete Belcastro, who lives in Weed, but is a frequent visitor to Klamath Falls. He’s an older brother of the late Elmer Belcastro."
In recent years, Buck fell victim of Alzheimer’s and died at age 81 in Mountain Home, Idaho, May 12.
Survivors include a brother, James, Mountain Home, and nephews Charles and James, Boise.
He was some guy, Harold was. Pat mused a couple days ago: "I’ll never forget that exhibition when Harold and Primo Carnera got in the ring together."
Nor will anyone else lucky enough to have had a ticket to the event some 36 years ago.
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