The WAWLI Papers No. 201...

DORY FUNK SR., BOBO BRAZIL AMONG FETED

3RD ANNUAL EDDIE GILBERT MEMORIAL WEEKEND-On February 27 and 28th, 1998, the National Wrestling Alliance presents the 3rd Annual Eddie Gilbert Memorial Weekend at the Philadelphia Airport Radisson Hotel in Philadelphia, PA. The weekend begins on the 27th at 8 PM with the 3rd Annual Memorial Banquet. The event is $40.00 per ticket, and it will pay tribute to Eddie Gilbert, Dory Funk Sr., and Bobo Brazil. Also Nick Bockwinkel will be presented with an award.

E-Mail: FIERRONWA@AOL.COM to purchase tickets. Or call (973) 684-3137 for additional information. ______________________________________

(ED. NOTE-Aside from the fact that Gorgeous George was never 200 pounds, even soaking wet, and that it is ludicrous to think that “the mob” fixed wrestling matches in order to fleece gamblers (?), the following article otherwise is a fairly honest depiction of George Wagner’s rise to fame as professional wrestling’s first coast-to-coast television star.)

A GORGEOUS ERA IN WRESTLING

(Los Angeles Times, December 14, 1997)

By Cecilia Rasmussen, L.A. Then And Now

To his friends, this 250-pound package of golden-haired, pre-steroid muscle was always G.G.

Promoters billed him variously as the “Toast of the Coast,” the “Sensation of the Nation” and the “Human Orchid.”

But to the legion of fans who made him one of live television’s first superstars in the late 1940s, he was Gorgeous George, the man who not only kept them glued to their newly purchased TV consoles, but also filled the seats each week in such historic Los Angeles venues as Hollywood Legion Stadium, the Olympic Auditorium and the Ocean Park and Long Beach arenas.

While others debated whether professional wrestling was a sport or a spectacle, Gorgeous George never had any doubts. With his manicured, brightly polished nails and trademark mane of bleached and styled hair, he single- handedly paved the way for coming generations of gender-bending entertainers, as he shocked the sensibilities of a macho era by entering the ring in outrageous, orchid-colored costumes.

Often, he tossed members of the audience “Georgie pins,” gold-colored bobby pins just like the ones he used to hold his own curls in place. When he gave friends and special admirers 14-karat versions of his signature trinket “Georgie pins,” he made them take an oath: “I solemnly swear and promise to never confuse this gold Georgie pin with a common, ordinary bobby pin, so help me Gorgeous George.”

He also was fond of dispensing savvy pearls of wrestling wisdom, such as: “Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat.”

It was a sentiment tailor-made for an athletic entertainment that always had been a happy hunting ground for rogues, con men and fast-buck artists who liked to play both sides of the line between license and grand larceny. A decade before Gorgeous George’s arrival on the scene, credulous fans encouraged by splashy stories and pictures displayed in local papers-whose journalists were often on the promoters’ payrolls-bet wildly and illicitly on matches that, more often than not, were fixed by the mob.

Scandal followed and professional wrestling nearly faded from the national scene. Then along came celebrity-hungry television-and Gorgeous George.

Nebraska-born George Raymond Wagner, the son of a house painter, began wrestling at age 13 and was twice amateur champion of Texas before turning pro. Early in his career, he learned to attract attention by wearing spats, a Homburg hat and carrying a cane. When dapper didn’t quite do it, the ambitious young rising star decided to try bold and flashy.

He hired Hollywood’s famed hairstylists, Frank and Joseph, who curled and bleached his hair. Soon, he also began wearing lacy, frilly gowns and sequined, lavender robes that highlighted his blond locks coiffured in beautiful waves.

The crowd’s response frequently was unruly-fights sometimes broke out in the grandstands-but attendance grew, and Gorgeous George was what they paid to see. As a red carpet rolled out and his theme song, “Pomp and Circumstances,” played, his personal valet used a sterling silver spray gun to fill the ring with “Chanel No. 10,” lest the scent of exertion from the previous match offend his boss’ olfactory senses.

There was, of course, no such thing as a perfume called Chanel No. 10. But that didn’t really bother fans who didn’t care that the match that followed was fixed.

For his part, George became immune to whistles and wisecracks, but couldn’t stand someone pulling or touching his curls. Although he had millions of fans -- 35% of whom reportedly were women, according to sponsors-he infuriated men. During one bout, a male spectator extinguished his cigar on the back of George’s calf and his expensive robes sometimes were stolen and torn to shreds by the crowd.

To distinguish himself from such contemporaries as Wild Red Berry, Baron Leone and Lou Thesz, George drove an orchid-colored Cadillac and had his name and “act” copyrighted.

“I really don’t think I’m gorgeous,” he always said. “But what’s my opinion against millions?”

Professional wrestling became a national phenomenon when it first aired on television in 1948, appearing as part of the Tuesday night lineup that included “The Milton Berle Show” and “Kukla, Fran & Ollie.” Its biggest stars, Gorgeous George and the Mighty Atlas, soon were household names. The next year, George topped the card at the Olympic Auditorium, selling out the house 27 times. On each occasion he wore a different one of his 100 purple robes, each of which cost as much as $2,000.

“I got the biggest ovation of my life there,” he once recalled. “They couldn’t announce the match. The announcer burst out laughing, but I didn’t mind. I was a sensation.”

In 1951, students at Woodbury College interviewed 5,000 owners of television sets about their viewing preferences. The study found that Angelenos most enjoyed watching 200- to 400-pound berserkers sit on the heads of their rivals and tie each other’s limbs into square knots. Wrestling, with its bearhugs, power slams, eye-goung and crotch-kicking, was by far the most popular TV event, with cigarette-puffing little old ladies responding 5 to 1 in its favor.

George wrestled five to six nights a week, and during the day ruffled a few feathers at his 195-acre ranch in Beaumont, where he raised 35,000 “Gorgeous George” turkeys. Gobbling up profits, George handled his own marketing and had the birds delivered in limos with orchids emblazed on the doors.

George loved to taunt as much as he was taunted. Sometimes he had live turkeys delivered to an opponent’s house.

But in George’s case, trouble seemed to follow fame. His beloved ranch was tied up in litigation for years after a messy divorce. Eventually, part of it was sold to actor Danny Thomas.

Over the years, wrestling’s appeal faded just as George did. Shortly before he retired in 1962, George opened a bar on Sepulveda Boulevard called Gorgeous George’s Ringside Bar. A year later, he suffered a heart attack and died on Christmas Day 1963. He was 48 years old and broke.

Nevertheless, the Los Angeles City Council adjourned with a resolution in his memory. At his funeral, both of his ex-wives-seated on opposite sides of the church-cried uncontrollably. His last girlfriend, a stripper, sobbed and collapsed next to the orchid-colored casket covered with fresh orchids.

Today, professional wrestling fans nostalgic for a glimpse of the heroic era can find a large collection of Gorgeous George memorabilia at Slammers Wrestling Gym in the San Fernando Valley when its museum reopens.
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THE ‘OFFICIAL’ N.W.A. HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE STORY

The question of who was the very first recognized World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion is every bit as clouded and controversial as to the reasons how and why the National Wrestling Alliance was first formed, and when and why, if ever, did it cease to operate between 1991 and 1994. The ever evasive “who?” won “what?” where, is at times crystal clear while excruciatingly dirty at others. Although the National Wrestling Alliance name itself came into existence when the organization was officially formed in July 1948, new information shows us that it’s roots can actually be traced back to the late 19th Century and such immortal wrestling iron men as William Muldoon, George Hackenschmidt and Frank Gotch among others.

In our never ending attempt to bring the visitors of this website the most comprehensive and thorough compilation of historical events, here now is the “Official” lineage of the World Heavyweight Championship, and thus the History of the National Wrestling Alliance, as recognized by the NWA Board of Directors.

And a special thanks to Hisaharu Tanabe for allowing us to use many of the photographs used here. Be sure to visit his web site at http://www.albany.net/~hit/puroresu for extensive title histories, biographies and photographs of wrestlers and wrestling organizations from around the world.

This history is found at: http://www.ringwarriors.com/links.htm

1877 On February 6th, at the age of 31, William Muldoon takes two straight falls from the French Champion, Christol, in 10 minutes and 17 minutes respectively, to win the World Greco-Roman Championship, thus earning the right to being recognized as the first professional World Wrestling Champion.

1880 On January 19th, before more than 3,000 fans at New York’s Gilmore’s Gardens (later site of Madison Square Garden), returning World Greco-Roman Champion William Muldoon tops Thebaud Bauer in a best two out of three falls match to continue his claim as “World Champion.”

1887 In the very first clash in what is now known as the classic Wrestler versus Boxer match, World Greco-Roman Wrestling Champion William Muldoon squares off against World Boxing Champion John L. Sullivan, in Gloucester, Massachusetts USA. The match is stopped when some in the crowd of 2,000 rush the ring after Muldoon bodyslams Sullivan.

On March 14th, Evan “Strangler” Lewis (the Original Strangler Lewis) defeats Joe Acton in Chicago, Illinois USA, to win the American Catch-as-Catch-Can Championship.

Note: Details are sketchy at best as to whether or not William Muldoon had previously retired as Champion, or if he was defeated somewhere along the line to enable Joe Acton to claim the “World” title.

1893 On March 3rd, Evan “Strangler” Lewis defeats American Greco-Roman Champion Ernest Roeber in a best three out of five falls contest in New Orleans, Louisiana USA to unify the two titles. Each fall of the match is alternated between Greco-Roman and Catch-as-Catch-Can rules.

1895 On April 20th, in Chicago, Illinois USA, Martin “Farmer” Burns defeats Evan “Strangler” Lewis, in a best three out of five falls contest to capture the unified “American” Heavyweight Wrestling Championship.

1897 On October 26th, Dan McLeod beats Martin “Farmer” Burns in Indianapolis, Indiana USA, to take the “American” Heavyweight Wrestling Championship.

1901 On November 7th, Tom Jenkins defeats Dan McLeod.

1902 On December 26th, in Worcester, Massachusetts USA, Dan McLeod regains the “American” Heavyweight Wrestling Championship by topping Tom Jenkins in a best two out of three falls victory, but the win is tainted. Jenkins takes the first fall in 59 minutes, while McLeod takes the second fall in 24 minutes. Twenty minutes into the third and final fall, Jenkins forfeits the match due to a leg injury, which is later revealed to be food poisoning.

1903 On April 3rd, in Buffalo, New York USA, Tom Jenkins regains the “American” Heavyweight Wrestling Championship by defeating Dan McLeod in two straight falls of 1 hour 17 minutes and 14 minutes 30 seconds respectively.

1904 On January 27th, in Bellingham, Washington USA, Frank Gotch captures the “American” Heavyweight Wrestling Championship, as he defeats Tom Jenkins in two straight falls. While Gotch wins the first fall with a pin, the second fall results in a controversial victory for Gotch as Jenkins is disqualified for fouling him.

1905 On March 15th, at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Tom Jenkins overcomes bad press from an unsuccessful title challenge in Cleveland the month before, to regain the “American” Heavyweight Wrestling Championship, taking the third and final fall from Frank Gotch in 10 minutes and 31 seconds.

On May 5th, World Greco-Roman Wrestling Champion George Hackenschmidt takes two straight falls from “American” Heavyweight Wrestling Champion Tom Jenkins at New York’s Madison Square Garden, in a match billed as the World Catch-as- Catch-Can Heavyweight Championship. Despite the overwhelming loss, Jenkins continues to call himself the “American” Heavyweight Wrestling Champion, while Hackenschmidt now claims the “World” title, thus splitting the world title’s lineage for the first of what will become many times.

1906 On May 23rd, Frank Gotch recaptures the “American” Heavyweight Wrestling Championship from Tom Jenkins, despite losing the first of the best two out of three falls contest in 6 minutes. Gotch recomposes himself to defeat Jenkins in 14 minutes and 17 minutes in the second and third falls.

On December 1st, in New Orleans, Louisiana USA, Fred Beell stuns the wrestling world with an upset win over Frank Gotch. Sixteen days later, on December 17th, in Kansas City, Missouri USA, Gotch takes the title back in a lopsided two straight fall victory.

1908 On April 3rd, at Dexter Park Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois USA, Frank Gotch beats George Hackenschmidt to win the undisputed World Heavyweight title that some say was three years in the making. The victory, however, has its share of controversy as Hackenschmidt accuses Gotch of oiling his body in an effort to avoid being grabbed, and after two hours and three minutes, quits the match, forcing the referee to award the title to Gotch.

1911 On September 4th, three and a half years after their controversial first meeting, Frank Gotch and George Hackenschmidt square off again at Chicago’s Comiskey Park, with Gotch dominating the match and taking two straight falls, as Hackenschmidt injured his knee in training for the match. The live gate of $87,053 is the biggest ever at the time.

1913 On April 1st, Frank Gotch announces his retirement in Kansas City, Missouri USA, as World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion, following a successful title defense against George Lurich.

1914 Charley Cutler defeats Henry Orderman and Jesse Westegard in a tournament to fill the vacant title.

1915 On July 4th, Joe Stecher defeats Charley Cutler in Omaha, Nebraska.

1917 On April 9th, Earl Caddock takes the World Championship from Joe Stecher in Omaha, Nebraska USA on a forfeit. Stecher, who wins the first fall in one hour twenty two minutes and five seconds, argues so much that he didn’t lose the second fall to Caddock in one hour forty minutes and ten seconds, that he refuses to wrestle the third fall and thus loses the title.

1920 On January 30th, Joe Stecher regains the World Championship from Earl Caddock in two hours five minutes and thirty seconds at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

On December 13th, Ed “Strangler” Lewis defeats Joe Stecher in one hour forty one minutes and 56 seconds in New York City at the 71st Regiment Armory.

1921 On May 6th, Stanislaus Zbyszko defeats Ed “Strangler” Lewis in 23 minutes seventeen seconds in New York City at the 22nd Regiment Armory.

1922 Ed “Strangler” Lewis regains the title from Stanislaus Zbyszko.

1925 On January 8th, Wayne Munn upsets Ed “Strangler” Lewis in Kansas City, Missouri USA to take the World title. Later that year, Stanislaus Zbyszko takes the World Championship for the second time as he defeats Wayne Munn. And still in another title change, Joe Stecher regains the belt as he defeats Stanislaus Zbyszko in a match at the old Federal League Field in St. Louis.

1928 On February 28th, Ed “Strangler” Lewis defeats Joe Stecher at the Coliseum in St. Louis, taking two out of three falls in just under two and a half hours.

1929 Gus Sonneberg defeats Ed “Strangler” Lewis in Boston. In the meantime, Dick Shikat defeats Jim Londos in Philadelphia on August 23rd and claims the World title, gaining recognition from the New York and Pennsylvania State Athletic Commissions, who had withdrawn their recognition of Sonneberg.

1930 On June 6th, Jim Londos defeats Dick Shikat in Philadelphia to win the New York and Pennsylvania version of the World title.

1931 Ed Don George defeats Gus Sonnenberg in Boston. On April 13th, Ed “Strangler” Lewis defeats Ed Don George in Los Angeles.

On May 4th, the “World” title picture became even more confusing as Henri DeGlane defeats Ed “Strangler” Lewis in Montreal on a disqualification where the referee awarded the title to DeGlane. As a result, DeGlane was recognized as the World champ in parts of New England and Canada, while Lewis still claimed the title in other territories. Later that year, Ed Don George defeats Henri DeGlane in Boston.

1932 On October 10th, Ed “Strangler” Lewis pins Dick Shikat in New York, in a match billed as the “World Championship.”

1933 Jim Browning defeats Ed “Strangler” Lewis in New York.

1934 Jim Londos defeats Jim Browning in New York.

1935 On June 27th, Danno O’Mahoney upsets Jim Londos at Boston’s Fenway Park to win the New York version of the World title.

On July 30th, Danno O’Mahoney defeats Ed Don George in Boston. Ed Don George had been claiming the title since his 1931 win over Henri DeGlane. By his two victories, O’Mahoney becomes the undisputed World Heavyweight Champion.

1936 Dick Shikat defeats Danno O’Mahoney in New York.

Ali Baba defeats Dick Shikat in Detroit.

On June 26th, Everett Marshall defeats Ali Baba in Columbus, Ohio.

1937 On December 29th, Lou Thesz defeats Everett Marshall in St. Louis.

1938 On February 11th, Steve “Crusher” Casey defeats Lou Thesz in Boston.

On September 14th, the National Wrestling Association, at its annual convention in Montreal, decides to recognize Everett Marshall as the new World Champion for two reasons: Steve “Crusher” Casey, the previous champion, is out of the U.S. and nowhere to be found, and Everett Marshall had been disqualified in his bout with Casey because Casey had been thrown out of the ring. The Board of Directors reverse the decision because Marshall’s manager, Billy Sandow, points out, “the action was not deliberate.”

1939 On February 23rd, Lou Thesz defeats Everett Marshall in St. Louis.

On June 23rd, Former Pro Football Great Bronko Nagurski defeats Lou Thesz in Houston.

1940 On March 7th, Ray Steele defeats Bronko Nagurski in St. Louis.

1941 On March 11th, Bronko Nagurski defeats Ray Steele in Minneapolis.

On June 5th, Sandor Szabo defeats Bronko Nagurski in St. Louis.

1942 On February 19th, “Wild” Bill Longson defeats Sandor Szabo in St. Louis.

On October 7th, Yvon Robert defeats “Wild” Bill Longson in Montreal.

On November 27th, Bobby Managoff defeats Yvon Robert in Houston.

1943 On February 19th, “Wild” Bill Longson defeats Bobby Managoff in St. Louis.

1947 On February 21st, “Whipper” Billy Watson defeats “Wild” Bill Longson in St. Louis.

On April 25th, Lou Thesz defeats “Whipper” Billy Watson in Indianapolis.

On November 21st, “Wild” Bill Longson defeats Lou Thesz in St. Louis.

1948 On July 20, Lou Thesz defeats “Wild” Bill Longson. In November of 1949, Thesz will receive National Wrestling Alliance recognition as heavyweight champion, following the disabling car accident of original Alliance champion Orville Brown. Thesz will successfully defend the title until March of 1956. ___________________________________________

MADE FOR EACH OTHER

(New York Post, Friday, February 6, 1998)

By Wallace Matthews

The Enforcer needed to be reminded that it was time for him to Enforce.

Then, he needed to be reminded to turn and face the cameras.

But then, all Mike Tyson has known so far are fights that weren’t pre- scripted, at least as far as he knew.

This one, between two hair-extensioned, chemically-enhanced knuckleheads known as Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels, was fugazy all the way.

That’s why Tyson took no offense when Michaels told him, “You can enforce all you want to, but if you do anything to Shawn Michaels, I’m gonna kick all your teeth out, and from the looks of things, you can’t afford it.”

In fact, he laughed, while a thin layer of sweat broke out on his forehead. Suddenly, leaving Don King might not have seemed like such a good idea anymore.

After all, not even on the night 11 years ago when Tyson unified the heavyweight title and King draped him in a royal purple robe, stuck an Imperial margarine crown on his head and forced him to parade around waving a scepter like Miss America in drag had he ever been subjected to humiliation like this.

Tyson may be broke (he insists he’s not) and banned from boxing, but never has he been as bereft of dignity as he was yesterday, jammed between two juice monkeys for the benefit of convincing the gullible, the pathetic and the morally vacant to spend $35 to watch them go at it “for real” on March 29 at the FleetCenter.

“Are you suggesting, sir, that an association with the WWF is beneath Mike Tyson?” demanded Vince McMahon, the Don King of wrestling, with an attitude that bordered on indignation.

Not at all.

In fact, at this point in his career, with wife-beating, a rape and a earlobe- ectomy on his resume, Tyson finally seems to have found his niche. The WWF stands for things Tyson seems to hold dear-crotch-grabbing, bird-flipping, religion-bashing, racism, gang-glorification, misogyny-and yesterday, they were a mutual admiration society.

“The WWF is my life as of now,” Tyson said, without embarrassment. “I didn’t do this for the money. I would have done it for relatively nothing. I never thought they would be interested in me, because of whatever pervasive image I was given by certain people.”

Au contraire, mon frere. The WWF-which sells its acrobats, er, athletes, as representatives of “D-Generation X”-is one of the few organizations in which Tyson can still come off as the good guy. Yesterday, he was challenged, taunted and insulted by Austin and Michaels, neither of whom have ever had a real fight in their lives, and yet, the only threatening words Tyson uttered were in the direction of a comic interviewer named Stuttering John Melendez, who asked Tyson if he would come on the Howard Stern Show.

“Sure,” said Tyson. “And I hope you’re there so I can kick your butt.”

But then, Melendez was one of the few “journalists” in the place who seemed to treat the event with the proper reverence. He began with, “Mike, don’t you think wrestling is a gay sport?,” moved on to an unprintable question involving President Clinton and a White House iIntern and saved his best for last: “What does ear taste like?”

Even Tyson had to laugh at that one.

But he could not have seen the humor in playing the foil for an event that crosses the line separating sport from farce. In its “Letter From The President,” McMahon’s organization portrays itself as a “family-owned entity” with “a proud tradition” that provides “quality entertainment.” It reminds us that the WWF’s “superstars are fresh, charismatic, athletically-gifted performers.”

That is all true. Where else can you see a scantily-clad man fondle his genitals in public, perform mock-sexual gyrations over a prone scantily-clad woman, and then throw another man through the windshield of a truck?

Now that’s showmanship.

And as Linda E. McMahon, the President & CEO of Titan Sports, Inc., points out, WWF fans are “very sophisticated.” She is right. From the top row of an arena, it isn’t easy to see that Austin’s kicks to the gut of some fat slob came nowhere close to hitting his ample gut, as is obvious on the WWF’s promotional video. And don’t forget, Tyson missed Bruce Seldon by even more than Austin missed the fat guy, and Seldon went cold as a mackerel in a fish market window.

But that was in Tyson’s former career, the one that he gave every indication of having left behind yesterday. Not once did he mention the names Don King or John Horne, but, quite tellingly, did make sure to say that he still considered Rory Holloway “like a brother.” He promised to address all other boxing issues at a later date. He did, however, issue a classic non-denial denial on the matter of his finances, which are nowhere near as healthy as those of a man who was supposedly paid at least $25 million a fight for five fights should be.

“I haven’t been in need of money in many, many years,” Tyson said. “I have a lot more money than you will ever see in your lifetime.”

That, of course, wasn’t saying much since Tyson was addressing a roomful of guys who will go anywhere for a free lunch.

But he said everything when he mumbled, “How long do you think it would take me to make $200 million again? Maybe a year.”

A year of Wrestlemania events, maybe. Without King in his corner, Tyson might find potholes in his road to re-licensing as a boxer.

“I don’t even think about that now,” Tyson said.

What he claims to be thinking about is his role as The Enforcer, which came about, somehow, when Austin-who Tyson referred to as “Cold Stone”-flipped the double bird in Tyson’s face last month, which caused Tyson to perform a theatrical two-hand shove, precipitating a typical WWF mock-melee.

As of now, Tyson’s role on March 29 will be simply to keep “order” in the ring when Austin and Michaels settle their choreographed grudge match.

“I’m just here to do what has to be done with the two wrestlers,” Tyson said. “But who knows? One of them might insult my wife, call me a nigger, anything could happen.”

In the sophisticated, family-oriented environment of the WWF? Highly unlikely. Accordingly, Tyson adopted the high road when advising Austin on why he is so reviled by the sporting public.

“Because you are an uncouth imbecile,” Tyson said. “You can’t get along with people. You’re always trying trying to hurt somebody. You ought to try loving somebody.”

Always worked for him, didn’t it?
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The WAWLI Papers No. 202...

DETAILS ON CAULIFLOWER ALLEY CLUB REUNION

What is the Cauliflower Alley Club? An association of past, present and future champions, contestants and allied personages joining in recognition and celebration of fellowship within the boxing and wrestling world.

UPCOMING EVENTS Cauliflower Alley Club 1998 West Coast Reunion Saturday, March 14, 1998 at the Sportsmen’s Lodge Studio City, California Social Hour: 6:00 p.m. - Dinner: 7:30 p.m.

The program will feature a special Toast and Roast, honoring CAC’s President and legendary World champion, Lou Thesz. Your help in spreading the word now will insure all members and friends are notified-well in advance of deadlines-for a capacity crowd.To attend and enjoy a memorable nostalgic program, devoted exclusively to CAC’s legendary members and friends, please make your travel, hotel and ticket reservations early!

Ticket Deadline: March 1, 1998 $50 per person. Table of 10: $500 Seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Priority seating is given only for full tables of ten (10).All tickets must be paid in advance.Only pre-paid tickets are held for pick-up at the banquet. Note: No phone orders!

For an order form, write: Cauliflower Alley Club, 1828 N. Ivar, Suite 10, Hollywood CA 90028-5024
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CAULIFLOWER ALLEY CLUB HISTORY

30 Years of Memories by Art Abrams

Elks’ Club Building, Los Angeles MacArthur Park

It all began here at Mike Mazurki’s Baron’s Castle Buffet Restaurant, with weekly get-togethers of Mike and Al Baffert’s wrestling and movie friends, and George Parnassus’ boxing friends.The first CAC Smoker was held honoring Jim Londos, with many champs attending. Mike Mazurki was chosen president and Lou Nova was chosen vice-president. Membership was then approximately 100.

Masquer’s Club, Hollywood Hollywood Legion Stadium Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel Old Spaghetti Factory Restaurant Dunes Restaurant

Weekly Wednesday Noon Luncheon meetings held - rain or shine - with banquets honoring champs on several occasions. Weekly meetings eventually were cancelled due to limited attendance.

R.M.S. Queen Mary, Long Beach

CAC banquet held on board, honoring Gene Fullmer, Sugar Ray Robinson and other champs. City of Long Beach, California later offered the Royal Salon for use of CAC meetings and banquets, and space for installation of a CAC Museum on board.Everett Sanders, first honoree at installation banquet held. Later ship ownership change cancelled all plans.

1980-1981

CAC forced to reorganize due to legal problems with directorship. A new board of directors and revised operating procedures were installed. Membership at the time was considered questionable by many, until assurances of corrections were made.

Valley Hilton Hotel Banquet Room, Sherman Oaks

1983 and 1984 Banquets held for first reunions under newly reorganized CAC Board of Directors. Limited room size made future location change necessary due to increasing membership and guests.

Sportmen’s Lodge Banquet Room, Studio City

1985-1997 Reunions all held here. Membership has now grown to number 2,100 international members.

Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel, Massachusetts

1st East Coast Reunion Banquet planned and successfully held September ‘94 to allow East Coast members to attend CAC Reunion.

Holiday Inn Jetport Hotel, Newark, New Jersey

September 30, 1995, October 5, 1996 (and again in 1997) successful Reunions held.

Sheraton Grand Hotel, Tampa, Florida

October 26, 1996 successful Reunion held, confirming popular theory of additional CAC Reunion sites.

LAUGHS AND TEARS by Art Abrams

At the Elks Building Smoker ... Al Baffert wrestling a midget in a comic routine ... Ceferino Garcia, Suey Welch, Jimmy McLarnin, Jim Londos seated at ringside ... Hot dogs and coffee for the menu ... L.A.’s Councilman John Ferraro enjoying it all ... George Parnassus and his boxers ... Lou Nova acting out his comedy routine with his “tomes” ... Ed Don George on crutches ... Don Sebastian in his tight-fitting red jumpsuit showing off his physique ... Chief Suni War Cloud ... and so many more faces remembered, but no longer with us ... At the CAC meetings at the Masquer’s ... hearing old film star Jack Mulhall telling his jokes ... seeing the famous Masquer members enjoying our meetings ... The CAC Luncheon in the Masquer’s Theater honoring Joe Louis and all our own famous members all gathering around him, while LA Times’ Jim Murray tried to interview Joe ... then going downstairs to the bar to talk with producer Joe Pasternak and other famous Masquers ... Meetings at the Legion Stadium cafe to honor our champs ... Henry Armstrong, Ceferino Garcia, Joe Bonomo, Lou Nova reciting again ... Harvey Parry telling some stuntmen jokes about his latest roles ... All the photos, paintings on the walls for background color ... Hollywood Legion Stadium putting up a welcome marquee for our gang in one of our first big group photos ...

Our first format banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in the Blossom Room, where the first Academy Awards were held ... many movies stars in attendance ... Buddy Rogers ... Richard Arlen ... The weekly and special luncheons at the Old Spaghetti Factory Restaurant honoring our legends ... Lord James Blears, Captain Leslie Holmes, Tony Inoki, Lou Thesz, Tiger Joe Marsh, Harold Sakata ... and others happening to be in town that day filled the room with talk and memories ... Secretary Maria Bernardi yelling “Quiet”, hoping to be heard above all the noise ... She was! ...

The 1983 formal banquet was held at the Valley Hilton to honor Mike Mazurki’s 50 years in films with many stars in attendance ... Forrest Tucker, Richard Egan, Cesar Romero, Sybil Brand ... so many more it’s hard to remember them all ... Pat Buttram stealing the scene as usual with his classic monologue roast of Mike and CAC ... The first ... and subsequent annual Sportsmen’s Lodge banquets with the stars and legends of the ring ... against with Cesar Romero, Pat Buttram and highlights never to be repeated ... In 1991, Terry Funk with his response to an imaginary phone call made to absent Archie Moore by a guest, using her shoe, was both comic and sweet.In copying the call to Archie, Terry removed his cowboy boot and held it to his ear as a phone. He was calling Mike Mazurki who had recently passed away.”Hello, Mike ...” he said. “Where are you now?”He repeated Mike’s unheard conversation, saying he was just passing the moon and halfway on his way to the stars.Terry added, “Say hello to my dad and all the boys when you see them.We miss you here.” The sincerity and sadness was a shock to the audience.They apparently didn’t expect this touching, ad lib tribute from such a rough and tough character as Terry. It surely was the high point of the evening. At all the CAC reunions, the members enjoyed the camaraderie and nostalgia of meeting old friends and making new ones. The list of over 350 honorees covers a multitude of famous names that have attended and been honored. It’s impossible to repeat all the great names, but there are some outstanding speeches and sincerity that will be long remembered ... Buddy “Nature Boy” Rogers, Maurice Vachon, Vic Christy, Dick “Destroyer” Beyer, Baron Michele Leone, Freddie Blassie, Vince McMahon Jr. ...

Remembering ... the many M.C.s at the luncheons and banquets: Dick Mastro, Noble Kid Chissell, Bud Furillo, Jimmy Lennon, Bill Harris ... Trying to understand what language Abie Bain and Vince Barbie were speaking or actually saying ... Listening to jovial dentist “Doc” B. Levin tell about the mouthpieces he made for the early champs ... Abe “Korkey” Goldstein in his original and tattered Keystone Kop uniform as the club mascot, with a small gift and smile for everyone ... Meanie actor Aldo Ray telling how he hates violence, and could never hurt anyone! ... Madame Kathy Etienne with her beautiful dresses and hair-do’s, a regular at the banquets ... Professor Toru Tanaka’s movie villain roles were quickly forgotten with his greeting smile and a massive hand extended ... Count Billy Varga monopolizing the conversations ... Jimmy Lennon originating a beautiful special intro for Mike Mazurki ... Mike saying, “That’s enough already!” for any intro or speech he thought too long ... Tim O’Sullivan and his ever ready beautiful voice, for The Star Spangled Banner or Danny Boy at lunches or banquets ... Cesar Romero and Mike Mazurki listening to Richard Egan comment on Cesar’s age and amazing good looks ... Mike Mazurki making his personal introductions for ALL his gathered friends ... “Gorilla” Jones, Danny McShain, Mushy Callahan, Phil Bloom, Joe Bonamo... Little Billy Curtis proudly claiming his title of Champion Wrestler as well as his acting career ... Berg Goodrich handing out the latest stories on his career ... Georgie Levine with a smile for everyone ... so many names and faces from the past that made CAC meetings and banquets unique ... The passing of an era is a sad story, whether it’s about people or events. Cauliflower Alley Club is intent on adding new names and events to its activities to carry on the fellowship of its “Ring of Friendship”.The boxers, the wrestlers, the actors and entertainment stars. We remember the “good, old days” and won’t forget our departed friends, but we move on to create a new era and honor our new members, friends, and their accomplishments.

Many of these classic scenes and faces are on file on video tape that we hope eventually to edit and reproduce as a documentary review of the club and its illustrious history and membership. _________________________________________

The above information is all contained on the Cauliflower Alley Club portion of Scott Teal’s “Whatever Happened To . . . ?” web site, the URL for which is: http://www.1wrestlinglegends.com

Visit-you’ll be glad you did!

WHAT THE WHATEVER HAPPENED? PAGE IS ABOUT

(taken from Scott Teal’s home page introduction)

Welcome to the home page for Whatever Happened to ...?, the newsletter dedicated to the best in professional wrestling nostalgia. Featuring some of the most prolific writers of the sport, the publication features in-depth interviews, biographies, reunion reports, photos, and information never before revealed to the public. Discover the drama of the fascinating world of professional wrestling, including the inside stories, anecdotes, personal accounts, ribs, and tales of the road ... as told by those who experienced them. You will be transported back in time with riveting and fascinating stories written by those who were inside the wrestling business. Whatever Happened to ...? features the whereabouts of active and inactive wrestlers. Intimate interviews and profiles let you know what the ‘legends’ are doing today.

This webpage features excerpts from interviews and stories found in the printed version of the Whatever Happened To..? wrestling newsletter. We hope these give you a taste of what to expect from the full issue. Dubbed the “Who’s Who of Professional Wrestling”, Whatever Happened to ...? has become the publication that everyone is talking about! We welcome all comments regarding the newsletter and this site, and look forward to hearing from everyone who visits us.
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THE WRESTLING CHANNEL RADIO NETWORK!

URL--http://www.twc-online.com/radio

We’re delighted to present The Wrestling Channel Radio Network’s first original production: Jeremy Hartley’s Up Close and Personal. Each week, Jeremy will be interviewing a variety of wrestling personalities.

Show #1: Interview with Earl Oliver, 40 year wrestling fan, nephew of Rip “The Crippler” Oliver and webmaster of Solie’s Vintage Wrestling.

Show #2: Interview conducted in early January 1998 with Bob Ryder, source of much of the wrestling news on the Net and owner of the popular 1wrestling.com wrestling website. (Note: The sound level is a bit low with Ryder’s voice. There was a problem with the phone lines and we apoligize.)

Show #3: Interview with Scott Teal, wrestling history buff and webmaster of the Whatever Happened to...? site.

Show #4: The first hour of a four hour conversation with Les Thatcher with Les talking about his Smoky Mountain Wrestling memories.

Show #5: A conversation with Lou Thesz, recorded 12/97, in which Lou puts to rest the controversy on whether he beat Bruno Sammartino, discusses the Cauliflower Alley Club, his book Hooker and gives his thoughts on the state of the wrestling industry.

Show #6: Part two of the conversation with Les Thatcher.

Show #7: Part three of the conversation with Les Thatcher.

Show #8: Part four of the conversation with Les Thatcher.

Show #9: Part five of the conversation with Les Thatcher.

Show #10: A rare conversation with Al Issacs, ring master of the very popular SCOOPS wrestling website.

Show #11: An interview with Bob Blackburn, former wrestler and agent for Arn Anderson and Ted DiBiase. Bob is also the mastermind behind the special offer for an inscribed copy of Anderson’s book.

COMING: An interview recorded Feb. 13, 1998, with WAWLI Papers editor J Michael Kenyon. The WAWLI Papers are archived on the TWC web site. (Editor’s Note: It is now posted)
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The WAWLI Papers No. 203...

PUTTING AROUND-DORY FUNK SR.

(Amarillo Globe News, June, 1973)

(from-http://www.dory-funk.com/dorysr.html)

Professional wrestler and former superintendent and football coach at Boys Ranch, Dory Funk Sr. died early Sunday at, St. Anthony’s Hospital after suffering an apparent heart attack at his home near Umbarger. He was 54. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the First Methodist, Church in Canyon. The Rev. J. Frank Peery, pastor, will officiate. Burial will be in Dreamland Cemetery under the direction of LaGrone Funeral Chapel.

Funk was a native of Indiana and came to Amarillo as a professional wrestler in 1949. From 1950 until 1953 he was superintendent at Boys Ranch and coached the Boys Ranch football team. After leaving Boys Ranch he continued his wrestling career. Two of his sons, Dory Jr. and Terry, have followed in his footsteps as wrestlers, and Dory Jr. is the only Texan to hold the world championship belt.

Survivors are his wife, Betty; four sons, Dory Jr. of Amarillo and Terry of Canyon and Bobby and Dony, both of the Umbarger home; a daughter, Doree, of the home; a brother, Herman Funk of Amarillo; a sister, Dr. Dorothy Warbloe of Hammond, Ind.; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Adam Funk of Ruskin, Fla.; and five grandchildren.

He grew up in Hammond, Ind., and was an all-around athlete. He turned to professional wrestling following World War II. Funk received his greatest satisfaction while serving at Boys Ranch. The late Cal Farley founded Boys Ranch in 1939. Farley also had come to Amarillo as a wrestler. His life was told in a book entitled, “A Shirttail To Hang To.” Farley gave Dory credit for saving Boys Ranch in 1950. A bunch of the older boys were in a state of revolt and had threatened to throw the superintendent into the Canadian River. Farley begged Dory to take over for a few months. Funk was on trial the first day. He invited some of the tough boys to work out with him on the mat.

The boys found out in a hurry that Dory could handle the situation. Dory also coached the football team and all other sports. He planned to stay three months, but stayed three years. Another great tribute to Dory Funk Sr. is his two sons, Dory Jr. and Terry. I’m sure Dory Sr. was a stern father, but no one ever raised two finer young men.

It was the dream of Dory Sr. for one of his sons to win the world wrestling championship. Dory Jr. not only won the world championship, but finished Gene Kiniski with a spinning toe hold, which was introduced by Dory Sr. Terry also has been a successful wrestler. Both boys were standout football players at West Texas State. Some of my most pleasant memories are of the times Dory Funk Sr. would drop by this newspaper office for visits late at night. He was sharp on many subjects. I’ll never forget the TV shows Dory Sr. used to have on Sundays. He ribbed himself about receiving an award from Interstate Theaters. Dory Sr. said he received the award because his TV show put more people back in the theaters. Dory Sr. used to belittle my football guesses on his TV show. Dory Sr. used to make his picks after the games had been played and say that is the way he selected. I didn’t have a chance. Dory Sr. helped many people and many organizations that few people ever knew anything about.

There’s no telling how much he contributed to Boys Ranch. He bought toys and things like that for children in hospitals and homes. Dory Funk Sr. was a family figure walking down the streets in his colorful clothes. He had a swagger in his walk. Most everyone was saying, “There’s Dory Funk Sr.” Many people are saying today, “Dory Funk Sr. was a good guy. “ And when it’s all said and done, what better tribute can you receive from your fellow man?
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THE HISTORY OF WRESTLING MANAGERS-PART 1

(Ring Wrestling, May, 1979)

By Tom Burke

The histories of black wrestlers, masked matmen and tag teams have been presented in past issues of Ring Wrestling magazine by this writer. The chapter of the sport that we look at this time is that of the wrestling manager.

The notion that the wrestling manager is an investion of the post-World War II days is quite false. The fact is that the story of wrestling managers is traced back to the days of ancient Greece, long before the world was captured by the master mind of the Grand Wizard.

It all started with a man named Pythagoras. A former wrestler himself, the Greek nobleman retired from the sport in order to devote his time and energy to manage his friend, the great Milo.

Students of wrestling are no strangers to Milo. He was the “living legend” of his era, proclaimed to be the greatest wrestler of the civilized world. The reputation of Milo was known all over the Greek empire. It is true that Milo had a great ability for wrestling, however, Pythagoras was the man who took Milo at the height of his admiration in ancient Greece and, by promoting both facts and myths together, made the wrestler a national hero. The wit and wisdom of Milo’s manager, Pythagoras, has continued on for centuries and is still evident today in the fast paced action packed world of professional wrestling.

This saga is one that spans centuries before the birth of Christ. It would take a library in order to give a complete history of this important facet of wrestling. So we will leap a couple of milleniums and continue this tale at the turn of the century in order to see man land on the moon.

At the turn of the century, America was raving about William (Solid Man) Muldoon. Muldoon is the father of professional wrestling in North America. He is what John L. Sullivan is to boxing fans. A man with a great reputation and ability. Like any champion, he had a manager in the figure of Jere Dunn. Dunn, an ex-wrestler, knew the sport well and realized that America was turning into a “modern” age. He promoted his mentor to such a point that a splendid book entitled “Muldoon, The Solid Man” by Ed Van Avery became a best seller. There was even a popular song of the day written by famed songwriter Ned Harrigan on Muldoon. Possibly the most interesting of the matches handled by his manager, Jere Dunn, was a “mixed match.” The match was between Muldoon, who was considered to be the world’s wrestling champion, and boxing’s famed Boston Strongboy, John L. Sullivan. The match took place in Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1887. The result of the match is most interesting.

The crowd rushed in and stopped the match for fear of both men’s safety. Quite a bit different from the recent Ali-Inoki mixed match! Muldoon retired from wrestling in the early 1900s to become the New York State Boxing and Wrestling Commissioner.

In Humboldt, Iowa, a wrestler by the name of Frank Gotch was becoming a household word. Farmer Burns, one of the all-time greats of the sport, heard about Gotch and became interested in the Iowa farmboy. Seeing him wrestle, he knew that Gotch had the makings of a champion. Burns took command of the situation and signed Gotch to a contract. The relationship between the two brought the world championship to Gotch and America.

The wrestlers in the years before World War I all had managers. It was as common as hammerlocks in the sport. Yousouf the Terrible Turk had a manager in the form of Antonio Pier. Pieri was something of a character in those days. He was cross-eyed and had a head shaped like an egg. It was reported by several sources that his strings to his wrestlers’ purses were often quite higher than the average manager was getting. Former wrestling great Ernest Roeber took command of wrestler Charles (Kid) Cutler. These are just two of the managers of that era.

With radio becoming a popular mode of communication, the grapplers and their managers began to appear on the Marconi machines to broadcast their views.

Sam Taub, the host of the radio show, “Hour of Champions,” recalled one incident for this writer that took place back in 1933. A world title match was scheduled for Madison Square Garden between Ed (Strangler) Lewis and Jim Browning. The publicity was out and the pre-match ticket sales were just going so-so. The night before the match, Billy Sandow, the manager of Lewis, and Paul Bowser, manager of Browning, sat down across a table. The contest of words nearly ended in blows as the two managers became involved in a very heated debate. The attention that was brought by the managers caused the MSG card to be sold out. Not only that but the world championship changed hands that night. Jim Browning won the belt. In looking for a program from that card I noted the prices for the championship match. The prices were $2.30 for ringside, first loge $1.65, second loge $1.15 and gallery 55 cents. Of course, this was during the depression and those prices were considered to be very high. However, with the exposure the match was given by the two managers, a sellout was made.

Mr. Taub recalls the time when Jimmy Londos and his manager, Ed White, appeared on his show. Another guest was on hand and made a remark after the show about Mr. Taub. Sam got hot but Jimmy Londos got hotter and was ready to do battle with the other sports personality. Ed White had to hold back his charge otherwise Londos would have ripped the other party into bits.

The functions of a manager of a world champion in those days were different from those of today. One of the major functions was for the manager to go ahead of his champion to set up interviews with the press and radio. He would also have the champion’s belt, which he would put on display in the best hotel in the city or a bank. This gave the sport a lot of credibility during an era when it was suffering at the hands of an unfriendly media.

(ED. NOTE-Alas, Sam Taub’s memory began failing in his later years. By the time of the 1933 match between Lewis and Browning, Billy Sandow was long gone as the Strangler’s manager. At that time, Sandow was managing Everett Marshall, another future champ.)

(to be continued in WAWLI Papers No. 204)
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RESULTS ARE IN FOR WWF’S UPCOMING VISIT

(San Jose Mercury News, Friday, January 16, 1998)

By Mark Purdy

Every guy in my business knows the story. It happened 30 years ago in Chicago. Or Portland. Or Akron or Dayton. Or somewhere. The pro wrestling promoter was upset at the local newspaper. He stormed into the paper’s office.

“You aren’t running the results from my shows,” the wrestling promoter griped to the sports editor.

“That’s because your matches end too late,” the editor explained. “You aren’t calling in before our deadline.”

Satisfied with the explanation, the promoter returned the next week.

“Here are tonight’s results,” he said, tossing a sheet of paper on the editor’s desk.

“Wait a minute,” said the editor. “Your show doesn’t start for another two hours!”

Replied the angry promoter: “Do you want results or don’t you?”

Back in those days, the story was funny because some folks actually believed pro wrestling was real. No one does anymore. Why, in a court deposition not long ago, Hulk Hogan more or less admitted the matches were “scripted.” But it hardly matters. The wrestling racket, which has gone through more ups and downs than a suplex helicopter hold, once more is booming.

You want proof? Search no further than downtown San Jose on Sunday afternoon. The World Wrestling Federation (WWF) is staging its annual “Royal Rumble” at San Jose Arena, and all 16,500 tickets are gone. More might become available Saturday after the television people do their final set-up for the pay-per-view telecast.

But basically, the event is a sellout.

“I’m not surprised,” said Dave Meltzer, the South Bay resident who publishes the world’s most authoritative newsletter on pro wrestling.

“I expected it would happen. That’s how things are going.”

Meltzer’s news sheet is called the “Wrestling Observer,” and it’s where a guy can go to get some honest (well, as honest as possible) scoops on the wrestling racket.

Such as? Well, such as the fact that Mike Tyson will be here Sunday. The former heavyweight champ and ear-gnawing outcast is supposed to sit in the crowd, to start creating a story line for the next big pay-per-view show in March.

“Tyson is going to be a character in the WWF for the next eight or 10 weeks,” Meltzer said. “And he’s going to be a good guy. Maybe a referee. Or maybe be in the corner of a WWF good guy. That’s all I know. It’s part of his people trying to rehabilitate his image before he has a hearing this summer about his suspension from boxing.”

Wait a minute. Tyson is going to rehabilitate his image by participating in pro wrestling?

“Think about it,” Meltzer said. “You’re going to see Tyson being cheered wildly on television for the eight or 10 weeks leading up to the match and then in the match itself. The media may continue to be negative about him. But if Tyson is put in a sympathetic role in WWF, even if people know it’s a show, the more recent impression of him won’t be of him biting off someone’s ear, but of him as a good guy in wrestling. Some people will accept that. Plus, it should get great ratings.”

No doubt. Being an intrepid reporter, I contacted Jay Andronaco at the WWF office in Connecticut, asking him to confirm Tyson’s appearance here. Andronaco acknowledged that “negotiations” were under way with Tyson but wouldn’t promise he’ll show up at the arena.

“He has been invited,” Andronaco said in a businesslike tone. “I don’t know if he’ll be in San Jose. I have heard strong speculation that he will be.”

Translation: Bank on it. Tyson is coming. The WWF needs him to be here. Right now, it’s in a wrestling “war” with its rival circuit, the WCW (World Championship Wrestling). They’ve been going head-to-head on Monday night television, trying to out-outrage viewers.

That’s also the goal of Sunday’s “Royal Rumble,” which does not involve Queen Elizabeth but does involve the Undertaker. He is scheduled to battle WWF champion Shawn Michaels in a “Casket Match.”

As I am sure you must realize, the winner of a “Casket Match” must force his opponent into a coffin and close the lid. I believe this is also a requirement for the Super Bowl winner under the new television contract, to make sure the viewing audience sticks around until the end for a change.

Just kidding. But that’s why I love wrestling, as frequent readers of this column know. Unlike other sports where you might spend $30 for a ticket only to see the home team stink up the joint (see Sharks, San Jose), there is no chance of a bad ending to a “Casket Match.”

That said, let’s go over Sunday’s three biggest matches here and analyze them with Meltzer. In exchange for printing his newsletter’s address (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009), he agreed to help me “predict” the winners. And I like my chances at this better than in Niners vs. Packers.

SHAWN MICHAELS VS. THE UNDERTAKER: Michaels is the WWF’s resident pretty boy and champ. The Undertaker is the big ugly challenger who lately has been betrayed by his younger brother, Kane. I’m figuring Michaels has to win this one. So does Meltzer.

“He will retain the title when the Undertaker’s brother turns on him,” Meltzer. said. “The only way I can figure Michaels losing is if they’ve decided the Undertaker will be fighting his brother in Wrestlemania.”

VADER VS. THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS GOLDUST: Vader is (and I am quoting a WWF press release, which I am sure is accurate) the “458-pound bull from Boulder, Colo.” The Artist has been known to dress in women’s clothes and currently is assisted by a woman named Luna who leads him around by a dog collar. I have no statistical information to prove it, but I don’t think any transvestite wrestler in a dog collar has won a “Royal Rumble” match. “Vader will probably win,” agreed Meltzer. “But you’ve got to remember that now, who wins and loses isn’t of prime importance. I don’t think people remember who wins or loses matches like this. It’s all entertainment now.” Tyson must hope so.

THE 30-MAN ROYAL RUMBLE: This is a free-for-all where one wrestler enters the ring every minute and the last one left standing is the winner. The defending champ is Steve “Stone Cold” Austin, who is favored to keep the title.

“They’ll probably do some kind of swerve with a weird ending,” said Meltzer. “Steve Austin is now the WWF’s big star, so he’ll definitely be there at the end in some way.”

As will I. Meltzer says Sunday’s crowd will not be the largest in Northern California pro wrestling. That particular honor goes to a 1962 match at the Cow Palace between Ray Stevens and Pepper Gomez, when fire marshals looked the other way as an alleged 17,300 folks crammed their way into the building. My hunch is, no one asked for a refund. Do you want results or don’t you?

(ED. NOTE-Of course you do. And, as it happened, Mr. Meltzer was right on the mark with his advance forecast. Kane, indeed, interfered with Undertaker, giving the win to Shawn Michaels. Vader powerbombed Goldust and Steve Austin won the Royal Rumble. See how easy this stuff is?)
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The WAWLI Papers No. 204...

THE HISTORY OF WRESTLING MANAGERS-Part 2

(Ring Wrestling, May, 1979)

By Tom Burke

One of the most interesting and heart breaking stories deals with that of a wrestler and his manager. The union began in Singapore in 1939 and ended in 1954. The partnership lasted for fifteen years and is still talked about in wrestling circles today. The wrestler was a man named Maurice Tillet and the manager was Karl Pojello. Born in Russia to French parents, Tillet lived a normal life until he reached the age of seventeen. His head and hands started to swell. Acromegaly had begun. This is a disease causing swelling of the bones, caused by a malfunction of the pituitary gland. The gentle lad suddenly turned into a monster with an enlarged head and gross features. Even though his family had wealth, there was nothing that could be done for Maurice. He joined the French navy and gained a talent for various languages. After his discharge he was active in the cinema world making horror films. He also became a well known rugby star. Seeking a way to get away from all the looks and stares, he left France to see the world.

It was while he was in Singapore that he met Karl Pojello. A friendship sprung up between the two. Karl convinced Maurice that he should become a wrestler. He thought about it and agreed. After a very successful tour of Europe, Karl Pojello decided to bring Maurice (The Angel) Tillet to America. The timing was right. The American public took to the Angel, not with love, but hat. He was considered to be a villain. His looks preceded his kind heart and personality. This caused him to be a very lonely man. He won a world championship while in America. He defeated Steve (Crusher) Casey but still this did not make him a happy or contented man. He was a very devout Catholic and, through his prayers and faith, he was able to live day by day. However, his last day on earth was August 4, 1954, when he died of grief. Thirteen hours before his death, he had learned that his friend-manager, Karl Pojello, had died of cancer. The physicians attending to Tillet, who was 51 at the time, said that he died due to his grieving for his friend, Karl Pojello.

The graduation from radio to television was a marvel, not only for wrestling, but for the whole world.

Professional wrestling took on a new look for the dawn of the age of television. We have all heard of the stories about the late Gorgeous George and how he turned wrestling around via the avenue of the new media. However, the Gorgeous One was not the only one to become an important factor in the promotion of pro wrestling in the post-World War II era.

The sport has a number of managers that were essential in making the mat game part of the American sports machine. One of the most famous of the managers of that era was the former world champion, Ed (Strangler) Lewis. He was the manager of one of the all-time greats of professional wrestling, Lou Thesz. Lewis would often go ahead of Thesz in order to arrange publicity and other matters for the arrival of the champion. The press was always interested in Lewis, since he had been one of the greatest wrestlers in the Golden Era of the sport. Thus, the various forms of media were on hand to interview Lewis. The Strangler was a very good speaker and adapted well to the various forms of communications made available.

One of the earliest controversial managers was Lord Leslie Holmes, of England. He managed the affairs of Lord Blears and Lord Athol Layton. Holmes had a walking stick which he always had with him and, at times, the can was used as a weapon on his proteges’ foes.

Don Eagle, the very popular Mohawk, had a manager and advisor in the form of his father, Chief War Eagle. It was with the managerial talents of his father that Don Eagle was able to secure a match with Frank Sexton and defeat the Ohio matmen and earn a title claim. Eagle had only been wrestling for a handful of years.

The late Ray Gunkel had a special manager in the form of none other than former heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey. The ex world boxing king had his hands in wrestling during the early ‘50s and took on the manager’s position for Gunkel. Gunkel was one of the best wrestlers ever to step into the ring and Dempsey was at his side during the many contests he took part in.

Some of the other managers in those years were: Mrs. Gypsy Joe, who would handle all of the details in Gypsy’s contract and more . . . she would often coach her husband from her ringside seat; Billy Wolfe, the handler for Mildred Burke, then his wife; Bob (Legs) Langevin, the manager for Edouard Carpentier when he first arrived in North America; and J. Wellington Radcliff, manager of the Shires, Ray (Stevens) and Professor Roy.

In the late ‘50s, the introduction of a new form of promoting over the air waves came about. The promoters in their own areas started to present their own programs instead of having films from other areas. Paul Bowser, the promoter in New England, adapted to this quite well. He presented an hour-long program called “Bedlam From Boston,” which was seen all over New England via tape.

One of the most interesting personalities on this show was a masked manager known as Boris K. Fabian. He managed a wrestler known simply as “The Masked Marvel.” Boris K. Fabian would often have a verse to recite while being interviewed by Sam Menacher. One of the poems was as follows:

Who is the greatest wrestler this country ever knew? Who is the man that the fans take their hats off to? Oh, it isn’t Killer Kowalski, Frank Scarpa or Carpentier, But I am mighty proud, I am mighty proud, the chance to introduce The Masked Marvel, the greatest of them all. The Masked Marvel always wins the fall He’s rough and tough and knows his stuff. His opponents scream, “I’ve had enough” The Masked Marvel is the greatst of them all.

The poetic manager caused quite a few riots. I recall seeing him in various venues in New England during those years.

(ED. NOTE-Boris K. Fabian-the name at the time was the ultimate mat insiders’ jest, based as it was on the universal code of “kay fabe”-was longtime veteran matman Rebel Bob Russell.)

(to be continued in WAWLI Papers No. 205)
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WRESTLER WATCHES RODMAN IN THE RING

(Amarillo Globe-News, Thursday, July 17, 1997)

By Terry Moore

Before Chicago Bulls power forward Dennis “The Worm” Rodman stepped into the ring with teammate “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan on Sunday in Daytona Beach, Fla., he had a little chat with Dory Funk Jr.

“He (Rodman) was not as big as I imagined,” said Funk, 55, who graduated from West Texas State University and Canyon High School before going on to enjoy a prominent career as a professional wrestler. “He was a bit nervous about going into the ring. Not so much because of the size of the show or the size of the crowd, he was just nervous about doing a good job.

“I told him to just forget where he was at and imagine he was playing in an NBA game.”

Rodman and Hogan lost the match, billed by World Championship Wrestling as the “Bash at the Beach,” to Lex Luger and The Giant. Hogan submitted to a Luger hold called the back breaker to end the 25-minute match. The event was seen on pay-per-view and by about 10,000 wrestling fans at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach.

“Dennis is a great athlete,” said Funk, who talked to Rodman both before and after the match. “For his first match he did a good job. He was a little bit disappointed, and he thought he should have done a better job.

“I just told him if you took Hulk, The Giant and gather up three other guys and have them take on the Chicago Bulls, how do you think they would do?”

Funk was quoted after the match as saying, “Hot Rodman, you did a great job tonight.” Rodman answered, “Yeah, I felt good and like it, but I wish we could have won the match.”

Funk, who lives in Ocala, Fla., said Rodman is not as unusual as he appears.

“I really don’t think he is as far out as he seems,” Funk said.

Funk said Rodman traveled to the show with his own entourage and the toughest part about talking to him was just getting close.

As for Rodman’s future in wrestling Funk said he has potential.

“He has an arm drag like Jack Brisco, the charisma of Dusty Rhodes and the mouth of Ric Flair, the brains of Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan for a partner,” Funk said. “What more could you ask for?”

Dory Funk Jr. has his own Web site (www.dory-funk.com) containing more information about professional wrestling.

________________________________________

SPEAKING OF WEB SITES, RIC FLAIR TO HAVE ONE

(posted to the World Wide Web February 6, 1998)

Mark Madden reports on his latest WCW Hotline update that Ric Flair, in conjunction with WCWwrestling.com, will soon unveil the RicFlair.com website. Madden also reports that he will join the legendary World Champion on his new website in some capacity, although he gave no specifics.

Flair is once again rumored to be leaving his “home” federation for the WWF, although that is likely more wishful thinking than actual fact. Madden did not give a specific opening date for the WCW-produced Flair website, but did say that it would be “soon”.
_________________________________________

MODERN DAY MUSINGS: BLASTING THE PRESS

Jim Cornette lashed out at New York Post and TV Guide writer, Phil Mushnik a few weeks ago on Raw, here is a full transcript from that night:

“I’m Jim Cornette and the views I’m about to express are my own, but as you’ll see they may be yours, too. There’s a man named Phil Mushnick that writes columns for the New York Post and for TV Guide. You probably never heard of Mr. Mushnick, but you should because he has some pretty nasty things to say about you. You see, Phil Mushnick hates pro wrestling and he’s not content to just change the channel. He doesn’t want you to be able to watch it either; not the WWF, WCW, ECW, nothing. For the past several years, Mushnick has lead a one-man campaign to have the wrestling industry abolished. Recently when Ted Turner donated one billion dollars to charity, Mr. Mushnick said the world would be better served if he closed up WCW. Phil Mushnick is the man who called for and spearheaded the media and publicity barrage over the federal indictment of Vince McMahon and the WWF on steroid charges.

“Even though McMahon and the WWF were proven totally innocent in a federal courtroom, Mushnick ignores that fact to this day, and writes his columns as if it were a fact that they were guilty just so he can continue his one-man crusade. He even wrote a column one time about the Madison Square Garden Network firing Marv Albert, saying the Garden should cancel wrestling matches, too. But Phil Mushnick not only hates wrestling, he hates wrestling fans. Here’s a few things he’s had said about you and I quote:

“’If not for America’s lunatic fringe and the disaffected, WCW would be out of business.’”

“’If you can tell me that you would bring an important child in your life to a pro-wrestling event, I have no gripe with you because you clearly don’t know right from wrong.’”

“’The overwhelming majority of the wrestling fans who contact me simply prove my point by flooding my mailbox with profanities, obscenities, and other acts that show them to be a distant franchised sub-culture.’”

“Well Mr. Mushnick, I’m a wrestling fan and a lot of the people that read the New York Post and TV Guide are wrestling fans too, and we don’t enjoy being insulted by publications we pay money to read. We don’t appreciate being told we don’t know how to parent our children. We don’t want a pompous, self- righteous man with a grudge, sitting on top of Mount Olympus looking down his nose at us and campaigning to take away the constitutional right that every American is guaranteed, the freedom of speech, the freedom of choice, and the freedom to enjoy whatever entertainment we choose. Those are facts, Mr. Mushnick. Not rumors, not suppositions, but facts. You ought to try to deal in them sometime. And I think it’s time that the millions of people that you belittle as subhuman every chance you get, tell the New York Post and TV Guide what they think of you.

“But if this has been going on so long, why am I mad right now? Because recently Phil Mushnick used Brian Pillman’s death to call for another “outcry” against wrestling and I quote once again:

“’The problem is the mainstream media don’t look hard enough at pro-wrestling. Imagine if middle-aged pro-baseball players dropped dead on a regular basis, this would be page one stuff and a federal inquiry would be launched.’”

Brian Pillman was a friend of mine. From the time he was born with throat cancer, he had the courage to undergo 36 different throat operations. He had the courage to withstand the punishment of pro football and 10 years as a pro- wrestler. He had the courage to come back from a car wreck that shattered his ankle, and from a lot of other personal tragedies. And then one night he went to sleep in a hotel room and he died. And for you, Phil Mushnick, to use his death as an excuse for another call to action in your one man vendetta against pro-wrestling is more vulgar and more obscene than anything that you’ve ever falsely accused the wrestling industry of being guilty of. So, on behalf of the wrestling fans, the wrestling industry, the friends and family of Brian Pillman, and anyone in this country today that denies any one man the right to force his morals and his beliefs on all of us, and take away our constitutional rights, on behalf of those people, I say GO TO HELL, Mr. Mushnick and try to reform things down there, because we’re doing just fine up here without you. I’m Jim Cornette and that’s my opinion.”

(ED. NOTE-The above remarks were archived at: http://homepages.which.net/~james.phillips/corny.htm)
_______________________________________

MAINSTREAM NEWSPAPER ARTICLE ON FLAIR

(Knoxville News-Sentinel, August 22, 1997)

By Shannon Stanfield (excerpted)

. . . Flair-born Richard Morgan Fliehr on Feb. 25, 1949 -- wrestled on his high school team in Minneapolis and avidly watched pro wrestling on TV. “It was something I liked and watched a lot as a kid growing up...I like Verne Gagne and Dick the Bruiser and The Crusher,” Flair says.

Dick the Bruiser was known in the midwest in the ‘60s and ‘70s as a mean- looking good guy who warmed up before matches by biting the ropes. Gagne was a promoter and wrestling school owner who Flair himself later studied under.

After high-school graduation, Flair entered the University of Minnesota, playing offensive and defensive guard on the Golden Gophers’ junior varsity. He traded the gridiron for the ring when he saw a chance to jump into pro wrestling.

“I was living with a guy named Ken Patera, who had competed in the ‘72 Olympic (weightlifting competition) and had pretty much decided to be a pro wrestler. I seized the opportunity to follow him...and was lucky enough to be with the right people at the right time, and it worked out real well.”

Flair had his first pro match in January 1973 and began winning titles in both tag team and solo competition in the Mid-Atlantic territory.

In 1975, a plane crash in North Carolina left him with a broken back in three places, but within six months he was back in the ring. And with a new nickname: “Nature Boy.”

“The promoter I was working for at that time kinda’ came up with that handle for me...He thought I resembled Buddy Rogers, who was the original ‘Nature Boy.’”

. . . Who was the meanest opponent Flair has taken on?

“That is hard to say ‘cause there are so many that were great, but I’d say Sting, Ricky Steamboat, Harley Race...I’d put (Lex) Luger in there, but the meanest I’d say was Harley Race. Remember that name? He was real tough.” Race was known for using his head as a battering ram and for the “brain buster suplex,” a finishing maneuver that involved dropping his opponent on his head.

. . . Flair said he is hoping for another world heavyweight title shot and has no plans to retire anytime soon. Besides, doesn’t he have a heart- breaking, woman-taking, jet-setting playboy image to maintain?

“I’ve got a wife and four kids, so I’ll let you figure that out,” he says. _______________________________________

Third Generation Second Generation First Generation

Gino Brito, Jr. Gino Brito, Sr. Jack Britton Doug Gilbert Tommy Gilbert Arlie Gilbert Eddie Gilbert Tommy Gilbert Arlie Gilbert Chavito Guerrero Chavo Guerrero “Gory” Guerrero Vince McMahon Vincent J. McMahon Jess McMahon Robert Fuller Buddy Fuller Roy Welch Ron Fuller Buddy Fuller Roy Welch Jimmy Golden Billy Golden Roy Welch
__________________________________________________

The WAWLI Papers No. 205...

NICK DEWISCOURT ‘THROWS’ HIS MAN

(Ellensburg, Wash., Capital, October 8, 1914)

About 500 men gathered in the fair tent Saturday night to
see the wrestling contest between Nick Dewiscourt and
William Dillman. Naturally, the local man was the favorite,
but the crowd soon realized that his opponent was a good
man and he was accorded fair treatment by the audience.

Jack Kelleher was referee and his work was very
satisfactory. Dewiscourt clearly outclassed the stranger, but
the latter did some very clever work and took care of himself
with credit. Dewiscourt was heavier than his opponent and
quicker than his friends had credited him with being and
close observers never considered the final issue in doubt.

Dewiscourt’s victory was most gratifying to his friends here,
who now believe he is on the wrestling “map” permanently,
and they have every confidence in his ability to render a
good report.

(ED. NOTE-Nick Dewiscourt was an athletic legend of sorts
in the tiny farming town of Ellensburg, Wash., nestled up
close to the eastern side of the Cascade mountain range,
earning considerable renown as a local football hero. It was
in the wrestling ring, however, that he would achieve a long
career as “Dick Daviscourt,” for years a regular foil of Ed
“Strangler” Lewis and other top stars in the game. After
probable service in World War I, Dewiscourt/Daviscourt
wrestled regularly up until the late 1930s, or until he was
nearly 50 years old. The above clip was ferreted out of the
murky past by Rob Lowery of Central Washington University
in Ellensburg.)
___________________________________________

ANOTHER FACET TO EARLY CAREER OF ROGERS

From: Scott Teal 
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 20:09:50 -0600 (CST)

Someone sent me this letter.

*************

In the “Taking On All Comers” article by Mark Hewitt, there
was a listing of AT Show Alumni with a request for
information on additional wrestlers not included.
Accordingly, I thought you might be interested in this
excerpt from a college term paper by Max Jacobs which
describes the career of “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers known
originally as Herman “Dutch” Rhode.

Here it is: In 1940 while in western Pennsylvania “working”
a match, Rhode attended a small carnival of the Dade
Brothers Circus where he challenged the strong man at the
“AT” Show. After defeating the strong man, he was invited
by the owners of the show to work with the man he had just
beaten. He was informed the two of them would work in
“shots” and could be paid as much as $10 per “shot”. A
“shot” in carnival language consists of role-playing in which
one party functions as the strong man and the other as the
“shill”, the “local unknown” who “almost” defeats the strong
man, thereby encouraging other members of the audience to
try their luck. On occasion, the party outside the ring beats
this strong man and then, having received his prize money,
challenges other members of the audience.

During the summers of 1940 and 1941, he worked for Dade
Brothers, taking on all comers. Each challenger was offered
$25 if he could stay five minutes in the ring with Rhode. The
carnival travelled across western Pennsylvania, Ohio,
Indiana, and Illinois. It was a small circus. The tent held only
200 people and all performers dressed in one trailer.
Rhode learned a great deal. For the first time he had an
alias. He wrestled as “The Punk”, a name he came to love:
it added to his “pretty boy” status a kind of cocky arrogance
he was able to exploit in later years. He learned the
effectiveness of direct accusation in cultivating a “mark”.

“What’s your name?”, Rhode would hurl at an unsuspecting
hayseed in the audience, pointing his fingers menacingly.
The question was accusatory, it aroused the ire of the object
and the audience. He loved combatants who rushed him but
had difficulty dealing with those who “lay-back’. He had a
talent for dealing with “rushers” that made them look good
and made the audience feel it had gotten its’ money’s worth
from the match. While in no way diminishing his ability to
emerge victorious, he could “lead” another wrestler. Most
important, he learned to lay in the center of ring after a
match as though exhausted.

Having forced the local hero into a match by subjecting him
to ridicule and having led that “mark” through the match to
make him look good, he wanted to leave the audience with
the feeling that he had barely won and that if they could get
a “mark” just a little more skilled, “The Punk” would meet
the defeat he so richly merited. Rhode learned if the crowd
left with that feeling, it would soon be back, and he would
have another turn at the cash register.
___________________________________________

(ED. NOTE-A good number of our subscribers write to
request that we make an occasional nod toward wrestling in
the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s . . . which we do, from time to time,
like in this instance, where the editor’s old newspaper clip
file is once again opened on to the world of Vince McMahon
Jr. a decade or so ago.)

HULK(AMANIA!) STILL REIGNS AT TACOMA DOME

(Tacoma, Wash., News Tribune, Tuesday, July 7, 1987)

By J Michael Kenyon

They didn’t sell out the Tacoma Dome Monday night. Didn’t
even come close. But the 15,739 who were there go plenty
to take home in their memory kits.

It was the wildest and most physical World Wrestling
Federation card since this series began in early 1986. It was
worth every penny of the $166,927 in gate receipts it
attracted.

The biggest draw, of course, was Hulk Hogan himself. The
attendance may have been down from the 20,000-plus level
for his third Dome appearance in 12 ½ months, but there
was nothing wrong with his energy level.

His muscles popped and rippled in world-class fury as he
disposed of title challenger Randy (Macho Man) Savage --
quite a formidable foe in these matters of the hippodromic
art.

The finale spun on a surprise move by Savage’s petite
manager, Miss Elizabeth. As her man went to bash a
stunned Hogan with a chair, she wrested the impromptu
weapon away.

While Savage delivered a stern lecture on the protocol of
this surprise turnabout, Hogan recovered. After seven
minutes, he had the challenger down for the count.

One can only imagine the severity of words that were
exchanged by Macho and Miss Elizabeth after this kettle of
fish.

There were two other extraordinary bouts, both before
intermission. Ken Patera, the mid-40ish former Olympic
weightlifter who is kith and kin to onetime Seattle Seahawk
Coach Jack Patera, gave a power-packed performance to
down Paul (Mr. Wonderful) Orndorff.

This seemed to be particularly appreciated by current
Seahawk stalwarts Randy Edwards and Bryan Millard, both
ringside regulars at these rasslin’ rituals.

And Oregon product Billy Jack Haynes outmaneuvered
Hercules Hernandez in a blood-spattered chain match. Both
men began it while tied to the ends of a 20-foot logging
chain. It ended with Hernandez down for a three-count and -
- you guessed it-unchained.

“My goodness,” said Seattle sports agent Doug Baldwin,
who steers the career of Kirk Gibson among other notables,
“perhaps I should sign up a few of these fellows.”

Supplementary action saw S.D. (Special Deliver) Jones
score over Tiger Chung Lee; Magnificent Don Muraco and
Bob Orton take a no-holds-barred tag-team encounter from
Steve Gator Wolf and Jerry Allen; Butch (The Natural) Reed
stuff Scott Casey; Koko B. Ware get the mod away from
Danny Daviss, and Japan’s Jumping Bomb Angels live up to
their names before coming up short on wile and stealth in a
tyitle mix against WWF female tag champs Lei Lani Kai and
Judy Martin.

As hordes of young children howled with glee, or shuddered
with very real fear at the furious display of mock violence 
--one not-so-young kid went around sucking on a Hulk Hogan
doll -- Tacoma also kept pace with other Western mat
centers at the box office.

Essentially this same pro wrestling show drew 13,000 in Los
Angeles two nights previous; another 15,000 in Oakland the
night before.

“The Hulk’s amazing,” said one of the WWF producers (Red
Bastein). “You can’t believe how many kids he sees who are
dying. I was with him in Salt Lake City Friday and we saw
one whose last wish was to see the Hulk before he died.
Hogan gave him 15 or 20 minutes. The kid may be dead by
now. But he saw the Hulk.”

Other, not-so-fond stories were related by an airline
attendant who reported on a Spokane-to-Portland flight
made by these mastodons of the mat a couple months back.

“Half of them were bombed at 9:30 in the morning. And the
Hulk, when I asked to stow away one of his carry-on bags,
told me to do something anatomically impossible to myself. I
think he’s a jerk.”

In a sense, then, the reviews are mixed. But, in the flesh
and doing what he does better than perhaps any person in
the history of this bouncing Barnum carnival, Hogan drew no
complaints Monday night as Hulkamania! once again
reigned supreme.
__________________________________________

JMK INTERVIEW (PART ONE) POSTED ON THE WEB

To: mcfoofoo@ix.netcom.com
From: ringlord@bbs.dcoisp.net

Subject: Realaudio interview up.
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 13:12:10 -0500

Hey there, J Michael!

Well, I have just placed the first part of that audio interview
that we conducted last Friday, the 13th of this month.

The URL for the main page is:

http://www.twc-online.com/radio

and the direct url for your interview is:

http://www.twc-online.com/realaudio/kenyon01.ram

On the main radio page, I have included a link to the
download site of the realaudio player, if you do not have it on
your computer.

Jeremy
_____________________________________

(ED. NOTE-As noted in previous issues, the WAWLI
Papers will continue to keep a random check on the
wrestling activities of former world heavyweight boxing
champion Mike Tyson, latest of that breed to become
enmeshed in the hippodromic art.)

THE IGNOBLE ENFORCER

(Bergen, N.J., Record, Sunday, Feb. 8, 1998)

By Mike Celizic, Sports Columnist

I went to see Mike Tyson join the World Wrestling
Federation at the All Star Cafe the other day, and, as I
watched Tyson exchange spittle-flecked insults with a
couple of guys with about 36 times more muscle than
they absolutely need to get the cap off even the most
stubborn mayonnaise jar, it struck me that I have
never, in 14 years of writing a sports column, had
cause to use the words “Mike Tyson” and “class” in the
same sentence.

This probably accounts for my complete absence of an
emotional response to Tyson’s decisions to begin the
process of dumping Don King and, at the same time, to
become a sort of guest referee for the WWF’s
Wrestlemania XXIV. What, after all, do you say about
a guy who’s leaving the circus to join the sideshow?
Somehow, “congratulations” doesn’t cut it.

I’m thinking more along the lines of the phrase I use
whenever the kids tell me something I’d rather not hear,
but they’re going to tell me anyway-such as when
one of them runs in the house bragging, “Dad! I just ate
three crickets and a sow bug,” and I say, “That’s nice.”

That’s what I would tell Tyson when he says he’s
getting rid of King; dumping his toadie managers, John
Horne and Rory Holloway; and joining the WWF:
“That’s nice.”

Tyson is getting $4 million for his stint as what Vince
McMahon, the owner of the WWF, calls an
“enforcer.” Exactly what that means was left purposely
as murky as the Hackensack River, but McMahon,
who has made more money selling less substance than
anyone since P.T. Barnum, did say it’s a sort of
referee.

The thought of Tyson acting as a referee is, in a word,
precious. You have to wonder how he’ll go about
enforcing order. Does he say to main event combatants
Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin, “If you
don’t play nice, I’ll bite your ears off?”

Whatever he does, it will be as carefully scripted as a
Broadway play. Whatever else the World Wrestling
Federation sells-racism, sexism, xenophobia, bodies
that have apparently been chemically enhanced-one
thing it does not offer to its loyal, if empty-headed,
viewers is honest competition. The outcome is as fixed
as a Cuban election.

This is fine by Tyson, who was asked whether he was
worried that his dalliance with professional wrestling
will besmirch his reputation. Tyson said it wouldn’t,
and, when you consider his history-serial groper,
street brawler, convicted rapist-you had to agree
with him. A reputation like his could only be enhanced
by the WWF.

Tyson’s take on that issue was, “Quoting the great Pete
Rose: ~‘If they don’t put me in the Hall of Fame, they
shouldn’t have a Hall of Fame.’ “

At one time, I would have agreed with Tyson, if not
Rose. But that was back when he was the primal
fighting machine who won the heavyweight title at the
age of 20 and who frightened Michael Spinks half to
death before the fight-what there was of it-even
began.

Now, I’m not so sure that Tyson belongs in boxing’s
Hall of Fame. Forget the rape conviction and the
suspension he is now serving for biting Evander
Holyfield’s ears. Forget, too, this harmless nonsense
with the WWF. I don’t need any of that to argue that
Tyson is not a great fighter.

All I need is the hard truth. And the truth is that in
order to be a great champion, you have to win great
battles. This is something Tyson has never done. Every
time he’s come up against a supreme challenge, he’s
failed.

With Tyson, it’s always been all or nothing. His
victories have been either quick knockouts or
lackluster hugging matches with opponents afraid to get
hit. But on the rare occasions that Tyson has come up
against a real fight, he’s lost. Buster Douglas knocked
him out. Holyfield knocked him out. And, when
Holyfield was handling Tyson again, Tyson resorted to
biting-the confused and desperate act of a coward
and a bully whose bluff had been called.

So Tyson needn’t worry about besmirching his good
name by signing on for Wrestlemania XIV, if for no
other reason than that you can’t dishonor what you
don’t have.
_____________________________________________________
The WAWLI Papers No. 206...

1946 MAT SCAN OR, ABOUT THE TIME PRIMO CARNERA EMERGED

(ED. NOTE -- The following summary of wrestling action from late summer 1946
through the end of that first, full post-World War II year, vividly
illustrates the immense amount of name talent that was cavorting on North
American mats at the time. Add to the mix the U.S. debut of Primo Carnera --
his first bout at the L.A. Olympic Auditorium launches this sample record of
the times -- and you can imagine how excited were mat fans of the era. Think
of it . . . on any given night, the likes of Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers (Dutch
Rohde), Leo Numa, Hardy Kruskamp, Dangerous Danny McShain, Wild Red Berry,
Tiger Joe Marsh, Whipper Billy Watson, Everett Marshall, Ray Steele, Gorgeous
George Wagner, French Angel, Dory Funk Sr., Dirty Dick Raines, Blimp Levy,
King Kong Ted Cox, Frank Sexton, Frank Stojack, Sandor Kovacs, Bobby Managoff,
Paul Boesch, Bobby Bruns, Orville Brown, LeRoy McGuirk, Earl McCready, Classy
Freddy Blassie, Baron Michele Leone, Abe Kashey, Mildred Burke, Wild Bill
Longson, Marv Westenberg . . . the list goes on and on. Oh, this was Wrestling
As We Loved It!!)

1946

Aug. 22

Los Angeles--PRIMO CARNERA def Tommy O'Toole 11:41; Vancouver BC--LEO NUMA
drew Vincent Lopez 1-1, HARDY KRUSKAMP drew Chief Thunderbird;

Aug. 23

Huntington Park--DANNY McSHAIN-Tony Morelli def Vic Christy-Billy Varga;
Atlanta--JOE MARSH drew Dick Lever;

Aug. 26

Seattle--George Temple def HARDY KRUSKAMP 2-0;

Aug. 27

Hamilton--Jimmy Sims-WHIPPER WATSON def Karl Davis-Jim Henry;

Aug. 28

South Gate CA--DANNY McSHAIN drew Ted Christy;

Aug. 29

Vancouver BC--Babe Sharkey def LEO NUMA 2-1, HARDY KRUSKAMP drew Bud Curtis;

Aug. 30

Houston--TED COX def BUDDY ROGERS; Atlanta--JOE MARSH def Tom Mahoney dq;

Sept. 2

Seattle--LEO NUMA def Jim Wright, HARDY KRUSKAMP def Chief Thunderbird;

Sept. 4

Bakersfield--DANNY McSHAIN-Tony Morelli def Vic Christy-Hackney;

Sept. 5

Vancouver BC--Mile High Ross def HARDY KRUSKAMP 1-0, LEO NUMA def Mile High
Ross 1-0; Toronto--WHIPPER WATSON drew FRANK SEXTON 1:12:12 (curfew);

Sept. 6

Huntington Park--Martino Angelo-Tony Morelli def DANNY McSHAIN-Ted Christy; 

Sept. 9

Seattle--Babe Sharkey def LEO NUMA 2-1, Chief Thunderbird def FRANK STOJACK
1-0;

Sept. 10

Baltimore--SANDOR KOVACS def Stu Hart; Helena MT--RAY STEELE def Kola
Kwariani; Hamilton--WHIPPER WATSON-Jimmy Sims def Lee Henning-Jim Henry;

Sept. 11

Washington--JOE SAVOLDI vs. Jack Hader, SANDOR KOVACS vs. Stu Hart;
Montreal--LOU THESZ def BOBBY MANAGOFF dq (won world title), YVON ROBERT def
Iron Talun, Fred Von Schacht def Henry Kulkovich, Chuck (Bull) Montana drew
Manuel Cortez; Rochester--WHIPPER WATSON def Frank Taylor;

Sept. 13

Houston--Gino Garibaldi def BUDDY ROGERS; Huntington Park CA--Billy Varga def
DANNY McSHAIN; Atlanta--FRENCH ANGEL def Jim Coffield dq, Tom Mahoney def JOE
MARSH;

Sept. 16

Seattle--PRIMO CARNERA def Babe Sharkey 2-0, LEO NUMA drew Frank Jares, Mile
High Ross def HARDY KRUSKAMP;

Sept. 17

Baltimore--JOE SAVOLDI def PAUL BOESCH, SANDOR KOVACS def Mike Haller;
Cleveland--Tony Ross def DORY FUNK;

Sept. 18

Washington--Lord Blears def SANDOR KOVACS cq; Montreal--YVON ROBERT NC BOB
MANAGOFF; Rochester--BILLY WATSON drew Karl Davis; 

Sept. 19

Toronto--WHIPPER WATSON def Karl Davis 25:48; Corpus Christi--DICK RAINES def
TED COX; Long Beach--SANDOR SZABO def BOBBY BRUNS; Ogden--BUDDY ROGERS def
Golden Angel, BLIMP LEVY def Tor Johnson; Joplin--Jimmy Lott-Angelo Savoldi
def LEROY MCGUIRK-John Swenski; Kansas City Kan.--ORV BROWN def Walter Sirois;
Brooklyn--PAUL BOESCH def Benny Rosen; Toledo--Prince Mihalikis def DORY FUNK;
Wellington NZ--EARL McCREADY def Herb Meller; Wilmington Del--SANDOR KOVACS
def Bob Dunege; 

Sept. 20

Huntington Park--Billy Varga def DANNY McSHAIN; Atlanta--JOE MARSH vs Jim
Coffield; Cincinnati--GORGEOUS GEORGE def Angelo Martinelli; St. Louis--LOU
THESZ def BUDDY ROGERS, Geo. O'Brien def Tuffy Truesdale, Felix Miquet def
Fred Von Schacht, Geo. Koverly def Red Vagnone, Warren Bockwinkel-Rudy
Strongberg def FRED BLASSIE-Joe Dusek; 

Sept. 21

Fresno--FRANK SEXTON def Vic Christy; Brooklyn--MICHELE LEONE drew Abe
Coleman; Leichhardt NSW--ABE KASHEY def Lou Newman; 

Sept. 23

Seattle--PRIMO CARNERA def Tor Johnson; Camden--JOE MARSH def Abe Yourist; Des
Moines--FRED BLASSIE drew Earl Wampler; Milwaukee--Tex Hager def DORY FUNK;
North Bergen--FRENCH ANGEL def Abe Coleman, Larry Moquin def MICHELE LEONE; 

Sept. 24

Baltimore--PAUL BOESCH def JOE SAVOLDI 23;00; Hamilton--WHIPPER WATSON-Jimmy
Sims def Lee Henning-Iron Talun; Little Rock--LEROY McGUIRK-Dick Trout def
Jimmy Lott-Angelo Savoldi; Providence--MARV WESTENBERG def Red O'Dell; 

Sept. 25

Washington--Lord Blears def JOE SAVOLDI dq, PAUL BOESCH vs Jack Hader (John
Boesch vs. Abe Stein); Colorado Springs--BUDDY ROGERS def Frank Schwartz;
South Gate CA--PRIMO CARNERA def Pat Fraley; Rochester--BILL LONGSON def Karl
Davis; Columbus--Ali Pasha def GORGEOUS GEORGE (dec); Hastings NZ--EARL
McCREADY def Hans Kaempfer; Limoges, France--HENRI DEGLANE def Chas. Pierlot;
Melbourne, Aust.--ABE KASHEY def John Katan dq; New York--FRENCH ANGEL def
Geo. Lenihan, JOE MARSH def Mickey Gavas, MICHELE LEONE drew Maurice
LaChappelle; San Antonio--TED COX def Charro Azteca, LOU THESZ def Wally Dusek
dq, Ed Meske def Jack Sanderson, Ray Clements def Harry Finkelstein; 

Sept. 26

Vancouver BC--HARDY KRUSKAMP def Cliff Parker 1-0; Toronto--BILL LONGSON def
Iron Talun 11:11; Amarillo--DANNY McSHAIN def Eddie Gideon; Bordeaux,
France--HENRI DEGLANE def Chas. Pierlot; Corpus Christi--Ray Clements def TED
COX, LOU THESZ drew Ed Meske, Charro Azteca def Harry Finkelstein, Wally Dusek
drew Geo. Sanderson; Joplin--Jimmy Lott-Angelo Savoldi def LEROY McGURK-Billy
Raburn; Long Beach--PRIMO CARNERA def BOBBY BRUNS; Brooklyn--JOE SAVOLDI def
PAUL BOESCH; Wellington NZ--EARL McCREADY def Babe Small; Wilmington
Del.--SANDOR KOVACS def Johnny Hebda dq; 

Sept. 27

Oklahoma City--LEROY McGUIRK vs Karol Krauser; Omaha---FRED BLASSIE def Chris
Zaharias;

Sept. 28

Brooklyn--JOE MARSH def Curtis Nack, FRENCH ANGEL def MICHELE LEONE;
Leichhardt NSW--Cliff Thiede def ABE KASHEY dq;

Sept. 30

Phoenix--PRIMO CARNERA def Pat Fraley; Auckland NZ--EARL McCREADY def Fred
Atkins; Camden--Max Krauser def MICHELE LEONE; Denver--BLIMP LEVY drew BUDDY
ROGERS; Bronx--JOE SAVOLDI vs Babe Sharkey; 

Oct. 1

Baltimore--Babe Sharkey def PAUL BOESCH 25:00; Indianapolis--LOU THESZ def
Vincent Lopez, Warren Bockwinkel def Toar Morgan, Joe Millich def Dick Bishop
(att: 2,400); Little Rock--DANNY McSHAIN-Angelo Savoldi def Karol Krauser-Dick
Trout; New York--JOE MARSH vs Max Krauser, MICHELE LEONE vs Abe Yourist; New
York--JOE SAVOLDI def Lord Blears; Tucson--PRIMO CARNERA def Willie Davis; 

Oct. 2

Colorado Springs--BUDDY ROGERS def Super Swedish Angel cor; Montreal--YVON
ROBERT def BOB MANAGOFF (Jack Dempsey ref); Rochester--BILL LONGSON def Natie
Brown; Great Falls MT--Al Mills def RAY STEELE; Columbus--Ali Pasha def
GORGEOUS GEORGE (boxing); Philadelphia--JOE SAVOLDI def PAUL BOESCH; San
Antonio--Juan Humberto def TED COX; Wichita Falls Tex--MILDRED BURKE def
Elvira Snodgrass; 

Oct. 3

Vancouver BC--Mile High Ross-HARDY KRUSKAMP def Chief Thunderbird-Jay Turner;
Toronto--BILL LONGSON def WHIPPER WATSON 41:32 dq; Boston--FRENCH ANGEL def
Ivar Martinson; Long Beach--FRANK SEXTON def Henry Kulkovich, Tony Martinez-
Bob Wagner def BOB BRUNS-Tug Carlson; Brooklyn--Babe Sharkey def PAUL BOESCH;
Salt Lake City--BLIMP LEVY def Oki Shikina; Wilmington Del.--SANDOR KOVACS
drew Henry Piers; 

Oct. 4

Atlanta--PRIMO CARNERA def Chief Saunooke; Corpus Christi--MILDRED BURKE def
Elvira Snodgrass, TED COX NC Ray Clements; Oklahoma City--DANNY McSHAIN def
Karol Krauser; Omaha--FRED BLASSIE drew Emil Dusek, Golden Angel drew BUDDY
ROGERS; Topeka--Vincent Lopez def ORV BROWN;

Oct. 5

Brooklyn--Ray Schwartz def JOE MARSH; Fresno--FRANK SEXTON def Pat Fraley;
Joplin--LEROY McGUIRK def Jimmy Lott, DANNY MCSHAIN def Wayne Martin; Kansas
City Kan.--ORV BROWN def Ernie Dusek;

Oct. 7

Des Moines--FRED BLASSIE def Joe Dusek; Detroit--ORVILLE BROWN def ALI BABA;
Edinburgh Scot.--BERT ASSIRATI NC Albert van der Auwera; Bronx--FRENCH ANGEL
def Frank Hewitt;

Oct. 8

Baltimore--FRENCH ANGEL def Benny Rosen 15:00, Ivan Kameroff def SANDOR KOVACS
21:00; Hamilton--WHIPPER WATSON def Karl Davis dq; Cleveland--GORGEOUS GEORGE
def Lefty Pacer; Little Rock--DANNY McSHAIN-Angelo Savoldi def Dick Trout-Les
Wolfe;

Oct. 9

Washington--FRENCH ANGEL def Babe Sharkey dq; Colorado Springs--BUDDY ROGERS
def Super Swedish Angel dq; Montreal--LOU THESZ def Fred Von Schacht, Larry
Moquin def George Linehan, Felix Miquet def Dan O'Connor, Chuck Montana def Al
Mills; Rochester--PAUL BOESCH def Ole Olson; Great Falls MT--RAY STEELE def
Earl Malone; New York--JOE MARSH def Mickey Gavas, MICHELE LEONE drew Maurice
LaChappelle; Philadelphia--JOE SAVOLDI drew Ivan Kameroff, Geo. Macricostas
def SANDOR KOVACS; San Antonio--MILDRED BURKE def Ann LaVerne, TED COX drew
Ray Clements; 

Oct. 10

Vancouver BC--HARDY KRUSKAMP drew Chief Thunderbird 1-1; Corpus
Christi--MILDRED BURKE def Ann LaVerne, TED COX def Ray Clements;
Joplin--Karol Krauser def DANNY McSHAIN; Kansas City--ORV BROWN def Vincent
Lopez; Long Beach--BOBBY BRUNS def Henry Kulkovich; Brooklyn--FRENCH ANGEL def
Herb Freeman, JOE SAVOLDI def Tony Cosenza; New York--SANDOR KOVACS vs
Valentino, DUTCH ROHDE vs Dave Levin; Wellington NZ--EARL McCREADY def Fred
Atkins; Wilmington Del.--SANDOR KOVACS def Abe Stein;

Oct. 11

Atlanta--PRIMO CARNERA def Jules Strongbow; Buffalo--WHIPPER WATSON def Olaf
Olson, PAUL BOESCH def Jim Dolan; Cincinnati--GORGEOUS GEORGE def Ivan
Rasputin dq; Jamaica NY--FRENCH ANGEL def Curtis Nack, Jan Blears def SANDOR
KOVACS; Oklahoma City--Frank Murdock-DANNY McSHAIN def Billy Raeborn-Dick
Trout; Salt Lake City--BLIMP LEVY def Tor Johnson, BUDDY ROGERS drew Golden
Angel; 

Oct. 12

Brooklyn--MICHELE LEONE def JOE MARSH; Fresno--BRONKO NAGURSKI def Pat Fraley;

Oct. 14

Los Angeles--JIM LONDOS def Nanjo Singh 2-1; Camden--MICHELE LEONE drew Abe
Coleman; Denver--BLIMP LEVY def Swedish Angel, BUDDY ROGERS def Elmer dq; Des
Moines--FRENCH ANGEL def Emil Dusek, FRED BLASSIE drew Ernie Dusek;
Memphis--BILL LONGSON def Ralph Garibaldi, MILDRED BURKE def Juanita Coffman;
Napier NZ--EARL McCREADY def Babe Small; Bronx--BOBBY BRUNS def Ivan Kameroff;

Oct. 15

Baltimore--BOB BRUNS def Lord Blears; Cleveland--DORY FUNK in battle royal;
Little Rock--DANNY McSHAIN-Angelo Savoldi def LEROY McGUIRK-Dick Trout;
Providence--MARV WESTENBERG drew Lee Henning; 

Oct. 16

Colorado Springs--BLIMP LEVY def BUDDY ROGERS; Montreal--LOU THESZ def YVON
ROBERT dq (Jack Sharkey ref), Larry Moquin def Fred Von Schacht dq, Frank
Valois drew Bob Russell, Al Mills def Dan O'Connor; Rochester--FRANK SEXTON
def Karl Davis, PAUL BOESCH def Ivan Rasputin (dec); Philadelphia--BOBBY BRUNS
def Ivan Kameroff; 

Oct. 17

Vancouver BC--George Becker def HARDY KRUSKAMP 2-1; Toronto--FRANK SEXTON def
Ivan Rasputin 16:26, PAUL BOESCH drew Sandy O'Donnell 30:00; Auckland NZ--EARL
McCREADY def Fred Atkins; Cleveland--JOE SAVOLDI def Abe Coleman, Fred Bozic
def MICHELE LEONE dq; Corpus Christi--TED COX def Jim Casey dq;
Brooklyn--BOBBY BRUNS def Jan Blears; Wilmington Del.--SANDOR KOVACS def Ivan
Kameroff dq; 

Oct. 18

Atlanta--MILDRED BURKE def Juanita Coffman; Buffalo--FRANK SEXTON def Kola
Kwariani, PAUL BOESCH def Jim Henry; Cincinnati--John Demchuck def GORGEOUS
GEORGE; Oklahoma City--DANNY McSHAIN-Frank Murdock vs LEROY McGUIRK-Billy
Raeborn; Salt Lake City--BLIMP LEVY def Golden Angel, BUDDY ROGERS def Elmer
the Great; 

Oct. 19

Brooklyn--JOE MARSH def Abe Yourist; Omaha--FRENCH ANGEL def Joe Dusek, FRED
BLASSIE def Jack Conley; 

Oct. 21

Phoenix--JIM LONDOS def Morris Shapiro; Denver--BUDDY ROGERS drew Golden
Angel; Des Moines--FRED BLASSIE def Ken Fenelon; Edinburgh Scot.--BERT
ASSIRATI def Tony Baer; Philadelphia--MICHELE LEONE drew Mickey Gavas;
Bronx--BOB BRUNS def Benny Rosen; 

Oct. 22

El Paso--DORY FUNK def Tarzan Zimba; Hastings NZ--EARL McCREADY def Geo.
Pencheff; Little Rock--LEROY MCGUIRK-Dick Trout def DANNY McSHAIN-Angelo
Savoldi; New York--PRIMO CARNERA def BOBBY BRUNS; Syracuse--PAUL BOESCH def
Ivan Rasputin; Worcester MA--FRANK SEXTON def Great Mephisto; 

Oct. 23

Washington--PRIMO CARNERA def Jules Strongbow 15:00 (41st bout, att. 2,500,
gross $3,800); Colorado Springs--BUDDY ROGERS NC Tom Zaharias;
Rochester--WHIPPER WATSON drew PAUL BOESCH; Great Falls MT--Bobby Roberts-RAY
STEELE def Jack LaRue-Al Mills; Columbus--Frank Talaber def GORGEOUS GEORGE;
Philadelphia--Babe Sharkey def BOB BRUNS, SANDOR KOVACS drew Stu Hart; San
Antonio--BILL LONGSON vs Charro Azteca, TED COX vs Ray Clements; 

Oct. 24

Cleveland--JOE SAVOLDI def Stan Myslajck 17:30, FRENCH ANGEL def TIGER JOE
MARSH 23:00; Vancouver BC--HARDY KRUSKAMP def Al Billings 2-1;
Toronto--WHIPPER WATSON def Karl Davis 21:59, PAUL BOESCH def Henry Piers
18:15; Boston--FRANK SEXTON def Lee Henning; Joplin--LEROY McGUIRK def DANNY
McSHAIN; Brooklyn--PRIMO CARNERA def Babe Sharkey; Toledo--GORGEOUS GEORGE def
Monte LaDue; Wellington NZ--EARL McCREADY def Ken Kenneth; Wilmington
Del.--SANDOR KOVACS def Ivan Kameroff; Corpus Christi--BILL LONGSON def Ray
Clements, TED COX drew Angelo Cistoldi; 

Oct. 25

Albuquerque--DORY FUNK def Billy Weidner; Buffalo--PAUL BOESCH def Sandy
O'Donnell; Jamaica NY--PRIMO CARNERA def Jules Strongbow, BOBBY BRUNS def
SANDOR KOVACS; Oklahoma City--LEROY McGUIRK vs Frank Murdock, DANNY McSHAIN vs
Billy Raeborn; Omaha--Ernie Dusek def FRED BLASSIE; Palmerston NZ--EARL
McCREADY def Babe Small; Philadelphia--YVON ROBERT def Don Evans dq, Larry
Moquin def JOE MARSH, MICHELE LEONE def Rudy Dusek; Salt Lake City--Dave Levin
def BUDDY ROGERS; 

Oct. 26

Brooklyn--MICHELE LEONE def Fred Carone, Larry Moquin def JOE MARSH, YVON
ROBERT def Don Evans; 

Oct. 28

Camden--MICHELE LEONE def Abe Yourist, Vic Holbrook def YVON ROBERT;
Denver--Dave Levin def BLIMP LEVY, BUDDY ROGERS def Golden Angel; Des
Moines--Ernie Dusek def FRED BLASSIE (injured); Bronx--PRIMO CARNERA def Abe
Stein; 

(1946 Mat Scan Continued in WAWLI #207)
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