The WAWLI Papers # 216...


Main Event--Sol Slagel (278), Topeka, Kans., versus Hal Rumberg (235), Spokane, Wash., one fall, one hour time limit. Semi-Windup--Otto Kuss (220), Pine City, Minn., versus John Freberg (208), Chicago, one fall, 30-minute time limit. Preliminaries--Whitey Hewitt (220), Memphis, Tenn., versus George (Rube) Harben (215), Chamblee, Ga., one fall, 30-minute time limit; Ray Richards (212), Lincoln, Neb., versus LOUIS THESZ (210), St. Louis, Mo., one fall, 30-minute time limit. Referee--Bob Jessen, Austin, Minn. Promoters: Tony Stecher, Billy B. Hoke.


Main Event--Ed (Strangler) Lewis (245), former world's heavyweight champion, Glendale, Cal., versus Hal Rumberg (235), Spokane, Wash., one fall, one-hour time limit. Semi-Windup--Lou Plummer (240), Baltimore, Md., versus Alan Eustace (232), Kansas City, one fall, 30-minute time limit. Preliminaries--Whitey Hewitt (220), Memphis, Tenn., versus Andy Moen (225), Fergus Falls, Minn., one fall, 30-minute time limit; LOUIS THESZ (210), St. Louis, Mo., versus Jack Hader (207), Manhattan, Kans. Referees--Ed Cook, Cedar Rapids, and Bob Jessen, Austin.


(Minneapolis wrestling program, Tuesday, August 13)

The third straight Tuesday night Auditorium wrestling presentation of the month of August has been scheduled by Promoters Tony Stecher and Billy B. Hoke for next Tuesday, August 20, when a bill featuring some of the nation's best known heavyweight stars will be offered. Abe Coleman, formerly of Winnipeg but now of New York City, who is generally recognized as the leading Jewish wrestler in the game and as an oustanding contender for world's titular laurels, has been definitely signed and will appear in a featured position on the card against an opponent yet to be named. Watch the Minneapolis daily newspapers, or tune in on your favorite radio station for announcement of the card within the next two or three days.

In addition to Coleman, the promoters are expecting to show several other popular grapplers who have been campaigning for the past months in other sections of the country. They are in contact with Pat O'Shocker, the sensational Irishman; Cliff Olsen, popular young Swede from Baudette, Minn.; Frank Speer, All-American grid ace from Georgia; Joe Cox, the Kansas City whirlwind, and several others in regard to coming here for action either on the next card or in the very immediate future.

When the All-America college gridders line up against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on August 29, four professional heavyweight wrestlers will be in uniform. They are Bronko Nagurski, Jim McMillen, Ray Richards and Bill Lee. The first three named are with the Bears, while Lee reports to the Brooklyn Dodgers for his first pro grid season after the All-Star game. The latter starred for Alabama's Crimson Tide last fall.


Main Event--Ed (Strangler) Lewis (240), former world's heavyweight champion, versus Ray Steele (218), California title contender, one fall, one-hour time limit. Semi-Windup--Hal Rumberg (235), Spokane, Wash., versus Bobby Stewart (255), Huntsville, Ala., one fall, 30-minute time limit. Preliminaries--Pat Fraley (218), St. Cloud, Minn., versus Alan Eustace (230), Kansas City, one fall, 30-minute time limit; Jack Hader (207), Manhattan, Kans., versus Elmer Guthrie (210), Topeka, Kansas., one fall, 30-minute time limit. Referees--Billy B. Hoke, Minneapolis, and Mike Nazarian, Little Rock, Ark.


Ireland's new heavyweight wrestling champion of the world, Danno O'Mahoney, who recently erased all disputants to his crown from the championship picture by tossing Jimmy Londos, Jim Browning, Chief Little Wolf and Ed Don George, is coming to Minneapolis for a second appearance soon. Jack McGrath, manager of the titleholder, has agreed to send his charge into action in a titular fray against the winner of tonight's bout between Ray Steele, popular California contender, and the veteran Ed (Strangler) Lewis, four times holder of the world's heavyweight diadem. In his first showing here a couple of months ago the Irishman downed Lou Plummer, the leering villain from Baltimore, with apparent ease.

Ray Richards, the popular Nebraskan who has performed on a number of Auditorium grappling cards, turned in a fine game of football with the Chicago Bears against the All-Stars at Chicago last week. Richards, playing guard, was in the game for the entire first half and most of the second half, and the Stars were unable to gain through his section of the line.

The predecessor of Otto Kuss on Indiana University's national collegiate championship wrestling team, Andy Rascher, is slated to make his initial wrestling appearance in this section soon. Rascher was national amateur heavyweight champion at Indiana, and upon his graduation, Kuss stepped into his place as the heavyweight representative on the mat team, and was himself a runnerup for the national crown.

Darna Ostopavitch, the popular Polish matman from Kansas City who has not been beaten in Minneapolis competition during the past year, has been campaigning successfully through the south, and expects to return to Minnesota for bouts within the next month.

Gus Sonnenberg, the flying tackle ace and former world's champion, is expected to pass through this part of the country in a short time and Promoters Tony Stecher and Billy B. Hoke have every intention of grabbing him off for at least one Minneapolis showing against a formidable opponent.

Sol Slagel, the roly-poly contortionist-matman, is making the rounds of Texas rings. He plans to swing through the south and on out to the West Coast before returning to these parts for action.


Main Event--Ray Steele (218), Glendale, Cal., versus Otto Kuss (227), Pine City, Minn., one fall, one-hour time limit. Semi-Windup--Paul Jones (220), Houston, Tex., versus Lou Plummer (240), Baltimore, Md., one fall, 30-minute time limit. Preliminaries--LOUIS THESZ (210), St. Louis, versus Mike Nazarian (207), Little Rock, Ark., one fall, 30-minute time limit; Stanley Myslajek (202), Minneapolis, versus Steve Brodie (200), Dallas, Tex., one fall, 30-minute time limit. Referees--Billy B. Hoke and Ed Cook


Main Event--Danno O'Mahoney (219), Ireland, Champion, versus Paul Jones (220), Houston, Tex., challenger, one fall, one-hour time limit. Semi-Final--Frank Speer (240), Atlanta, Ga., versus Cliff Thiede (210), Long Beach, Cal., one fall, 30-minute time limit. Second Bout--LOUIS THESZ (210), St. Louis, versus Alford Johnsons (217), Minneapolis, one fall, 30-minute time limit. First Bout -- Ed Cook (205), Cedar Rapids, Iowa, versus Stanley Myslajek (202), Minneapolis, one fall, 30-minute time limit.


Main Event--Frank Speer (240), Atlanta, Ga., versus Cliff Thiede (210), Long Beach, Calf., one fall, one-hour time limit. Semi-Final--LOUIS THESZ (210), St. Louis, versus Pat O'Shocker (220), Salt Lake City, Utah, one fall, 30-minute time limit. Second Bout--Farmer (Rasputin) Tobin (250), Bismarck, N. Dak., versus Bob Jessen (230), Austin, Minn., one fall, 30-minute time limit. First Bout--Bob Hein (217), St. Paul, versus Steve Brodie (202), Texas, one fall, 30-minute time-limit.


By Wayne Vinson, Publicity

Negotiations are still being carried on by Promoters Tony Stecher and Billy B. Hoke to line up a return bout between Danno O'Mahoney, of Ireland, and Paul Jones, of Texas, for the world's heavyweight championship here at the earliest possible date . . . The promoters as well as Jones have tabooed an out-of-town referee for the joust, and if it is held a Twin City arbiter will officiate . . . December 10 is the earliest tentative date being sought for the bout . . . It may, however, be held up by the impending trip of O'Mahoney to his home in Ireland . . . His time of stay in the United States is about up . . . Also his furlough from the Irish Free State army . . . He must purchase his discharge from the army in order to carry on his professional wrestling career . . . There is a strong possibility that Stecher and Hoke may be able to show both Man Mountain Dean, the bewhiskered Georgia 317-pounder, and Gus Sonnenberg, the Dartmouth Dynamiter and former world's champion, here within the next few weeks . . . Dean recently won a decision over the veteran Ed (Strangler) Lewis in a "handicap" bout at St. Louis. . . Lewis agreed to throw Dean within 20 minutes or forfeit the bout, and Dean was still on his feet at the expiration of time . . . Several former local favorites are now campaigning around New York City . . . These include Cliff Olson, Abe Kashey, George Koverly, Jack Hader, Elmer Guthrie, Whitey Hewitt, Abe Coleman and Axel Anderson . . . Hal Rumberg is idling at Bristol, Va., while a leg injury heals . . . Lou Plummer is drawing his boos from audiences in Toronto, Ottawa, London, and other Canadian towns currently . . . Sol Slagel, George Harben, Joe Cox, Darna Ostopavitch, Ellis Bashara and Paul Jones are among those now campaigning in Texas and the south . . . Pat Fraley, now on the Pacific Coast, expects to return to Minnesota early in January . . . Andy Moen is reported doing well in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and neighboring state rings . . . Art Shires, one of baseball's best known bad boys, is back refereeing wrestling and boxing cards in Iowa after a season as manager of the Harrisburg club in the New York-Pennsylvania loop . . . Joe Stecher is rapidly rounding into top form for his contemplated comeback campaign . . . The former world's heavyweight champion is working out daily in the gymnasium with several local grapplers . . . His return to competition is tentatively slated for early January.


OFFICIAL STAFF -- (Promoters) Tony Stecher and Billy B. Hoke; (Treasurer) Harry Hirsch; (Announcer) George Higgins; (Official Physician) Dr. Walter Taft; (Timekeeper) Harry Feichtinger; (Publicity) Wayne Vinson; (Chief of Ushers) Arthur Olson; (Head Doorman) Bill Callahan; (Program Advertising) C.C. Milkes; Printed by Reavis Printing Co., 412 Sixth Ave. So.--GE. 2428--Address All Communications to Wrestling Headquarters, Suite 205-209, Hotel Radisson, Minneapolis, Minn.--Phone BRidgeport 4350.

Main Event--Ray Steele (215), Glendale, Cal., versus Paul Jones (219), Houston, Texas, one fall, one-hour time limit. Semi-Final Event--Karl (Big Boy) Davis (240), Columbus, Ohio, versus Cliff (Swede) Olson (210), Baudette, Minn., one fall-30-minute time limit. Second Event--Ray Richards (215), Lincoln, Nebr., versus Vic Soldat (228), Chicago, one fall, 30-minute time limit. First Event--Frank Topas (202), Minneapolis, versus Whitey Grovo (210), Jackson, Miss., one fall, 30-minute time limit. Referee--Art Shires.


By Wayne Vinson

Louis Thesz, the popular Hungarian youngster, is headed back to this part of the country for wrestling competition, and will likely be seen on an early card at the Minneapolis Auditorium . . . Thesz gained some valuable experience last week when he spent four days as a sparring partner of Ed (Strangler) Lewis while the latter was preparing for his scheduled championship joust with Danno O'Mahoney at St. Louis tomorrow night . . . Thesz turned in seven straight wins here during the summer and early fall . . . Ivan Vakturoff, Russian heavyweight veteran, and Mike Anton, clever young Greek, are among the new wrestlers slated to be seen here real soon . . . Bronko Nagurski is carrying around an odd pocket piece . . . It is the piece of bone growth which surgeons removed from his leg a couple of weeks ago . . . It had kept him out of athletic competition for several months . . . Heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures caused cancellation or postponement of wrestling cards in Des Moines, Omaha, St. Joseph, Osceola, and Austin last week . . . Ed Cook, the wrestler-referee, actually worked his way through school at Coe College, Iowa, as a cook in a restaurant . . . What's in a name? . . . Otto Kuss had a narrow escape from serious injury last Saturday night when the car he was driving turned over near his Pine City home . . . The car was damaged badly, but Otto was not hurt . . . Farmer (Rasputin) Tobin became the handball champion of the local wrestling fraternity without a struggle. Using his immense stature, the bewhiskered matman literally ran his opponents off their feet in a workout last week at the 'Y' courts . . . A check of the 1935 attendance figures for wrestling at the Auditorium reveals that 30 per cent of the occupants of ringside and reserved seats were women . . . No check is available as to the number of women coming in on passes or setting in the general admission sections . . . Art Shires officiated in Fargo, N.D., and before he got back to Minneapolis froze both his ears . . . Ben Baad and Darna Ostapavitch were among those corresponding with the local promoters during the past week relative to coming up here in the near future . . . Both wrote from Texas . . . Mike Nazarian has entirely recovered from his recent injury and started back this week wrestling again . . . Wrestling night will move up to Monday again next week . . . Don't forget it, next show on Monday, February 3 . . .

LOUIS THESZ -- This youngster, who ran up a string of seven consecutive triumphs on the Minneapolis Auditorium mat before losing to Pat O'Shocker, the Irish star, will return to the Northwest within the next couple of weeks competition. He has recently been in the east and south, and made a fine showing in the big elimination tournament in Philadelphia before losing to the veteran former champion, Dick Shikat. Thesz is not yet old enough to vote, yet he has proven his ability to cope with experienced veterans in the wrestling game, and is regarded as one of the most likely prospects among the younger stars in the country. He has recently been getting much valuable knowledge through workouts with Ed (Strangler) Lewis, the former world's champion.


Main Event--Abe (King Kong) Kashey (212), Paterson, N.J., versus Gus Sonnenberg (205), Boston, former world's heavyweight champion, one fall, one-hour time limit. Semi-Final--Lou (Whataman) Plummer (240), Baltimore, versus Ivan Vakturoff (220), Riga, Russia, one fall, 30-minute time limit. Second Event--Billy Hansen (215), Salt Lake City, Utah, versus Earl Wampler (212), Scranton, Iowa., one fall, 30-minute time limit. First Event--Pete Peterson (215), New York, versus Abe Rothberg (212), New York, one fall, 30-minute time limit. Referee--Mike Nazarian.


By Wayne Vinson

Bronko Nagurski is now down at Hot Springs, Ark., "boiling out" to get himself in tip-top condition for his comeback to professional wrestling, tentatively scheduled for the last of April or first part of May . . . Farmer Tobin is now in Boston helping his wife collect and start spending the $26,876 she won in the recent Irish Sweepstakes . . . Tobin writes he will return in about 10 days or two weeks, and wants most of all a return bout with Karl (Big Boy) Davis, who snapped his winning streak last week . . .Stanley Myslajek, popular local Polish youngster, is considering a trip to New York, where he has a chance for several bouts . . . Andy Moen, popular Norwegian heavyweight from Fergus Falls, is reported doing well in competition around Toronto, Buffalo and other eastern and Canadian mat centers . . . Sol Slagel, roly-poly mat contortionist, wintered in Texas and his avoirdupois bounded up past the 300-pound mark . . . Sol has moved now to California and is working hard to take off some of his excess weight . . . John Freberg, who wintered in the Pacific Northwest, is also in California now, but writes that he expects to be back in Minnesota before early summer . . . Wrestling will miss next week at the Auditorium on account of the annual Northwest Sportsmen's Show, but starting the following Monday, April 20, weekly programs are planned by Promoters Tony Stecher and Billy B. Hoke right up to the end of June . . . Sammy Carter, the policeman-wrestler who has been seriously ill with blood poisoning, was apparently on the road to recovery but suffered a relapse early this week and is back in a hospital at Evansville, Ind. . . Members of the Gymal Doled club enjoyed a wrestling bout between Abe Rothberg and Frank Topas at their annual "stag" for members last week . . . Alford Johnson, getting a bit "chesty" since extending his winning streak last week at the expense of the previously unbeaten Darna Ostopavitch, believes he can beat any Swede in the game, and has authorized the promoters to challenge for him any Swede who has designs on the Swedish championship in America . . . Frank Speer is finishing up a campaign in the south and sends word he wants to get bouts up this way starting next month . . . Ray Steele was granted his final citizenship papers last week . . . Ray, nee Pete Sauer, was born in Russia of German parents and came to the United States when but two years old . . . Otto Kuss and Cliff Olson are both reported going over big in the south . . . Kuss has been centering his activities around Indianapolis, Terre Haute, Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga and Knoxville . . . Louis Thesz is making a trip into the south next week, but expects to hop back up here by the first of May . . . No wonder wrestlers sometimes get travel-weary . . . Abe Kashey, a couple of weeks ago, wrestled in Hutchinson, Kans., on Monday; Rochester, Minn., on Tuesday; Virginia, Minn., on Wednesday; and Winnipeg, Canada, on Friday . . . He drove all the way . . . Don't forget, the next show is Monday night, April 20th . . .

COMING SOON -- Jules Strongbow, a 285-pound Indian giant from Oklahoma, who has been crashing the headlines all over the country in recent months with his sensational bouts, is headed this way and will appear soon at the Minneapolis Auditorium.


(San Francisco Chronicle, June 17, 1953)

By Will Connolly

Leo Nomellini, the 49er football player, held champion Lou Thesz to a draw last night at the Cow Palace, but Thesz retained his National Wrestling Alliance title, although he was a mighty sick man at the end.

The crowd was more than twice the number which set a previous local record for attendance at a wrestling match at Winterland last February between the same men. The Cow Palace was a virtual sellout, with 16,487 bulging the place, and the receipts were approximately $52,000.

Referee Jack Dempsey award the first fall in 23 minutes to Thesz because Nomellini refused to allow the champion back into the ring. Nomellini took the second fall of the one hour match in 18:23 with a flying tackle off the ropes followed by a body press.

There remained only about ten minutes after this second fall and the challenger had much the better of the late going. On two occasions near the end Nomellini resorted to flying tackles but both times, luckily for Thesz, part of his body was outside the ropes, hence Nomellini was not eligible to follow up with body presses.

In the waning minutes, Thesz staggered around the ring holding his ribs and stomach to indicate that Nomellini's shoulders had hurt him there. Other times the champion sat in a neutral corner and massaged his torso.

Earlier Nomellini was angered by Thesz' tactics of banging him in the ear with an elbow. So, in exasperation, Leo gave Lou a shoulder buck on the ropes, followed by knee drops. Leo then picked up the prostrate Thesz and body-slammed him over the top ropes. Lou hit the apron and rolled onto a platform which separated the rings from the seats. There was some delay when the champion attempted to return to the ring, as Nomellini kept pushing him out. Referee Dempsey thereupon disqualified Nomellini for failing to obey directions and with the disqualification went the first fall.

Throughout the match Thesz kept poking his head through the ropes and conferring with his manager, Ed (Strangler) Lewis, in the red corner. For this, he was jeered by the crowd. Most of the time Thesz was asking how many minutes were left.

After losing the first fall, Nomellini made a strong comeback. He slapped on a series of side headlocks which held Thesz captive for long spells. Thesz slipped out of the one headlock by executing a back body drop, but the champion caught most of Nomellini's weight on himself and was more severely injured than the challenger.

Shortly after this Referee Dempsey caused consternation by mistakingly awarding a fall to Nomellini. Dempsey misunderstood Thesz' gesture while he was suffering in a headlock. Dempsey thought the champ had given up and Jack so indicated to the timekeeper, who rang the bell.

However, Thesz signalled that he intended to go on.

Dean Maddox thanked the crowd from ringside in the name of Golden Gate Exchange Club, which shared in the profits for their "Fun for a Day" program.

In the semi-windup, Ray Eckert threw Legs Langevin in straight falls, the first in 13:55 with a body slam and the second in 20:08 with a leg hold. Ben and Mike Sharpe retained their tag match title by going to a draw with Enrique Torres and Bobby Bruns. Tom Rice tossed Kay Bell in 21:06 with a crab hold.

The WAWLI Papers # 217...


(Sports Facts, Minneapolis Program, Dec. 28, 1943)

Just who are the greatest wrestlers in the world and how do they rank?

That question, a poser for most mat fans, has been the subject of
innumerable arguments and a host of "ratings." And the invariable
result has been the production of twice as many arguments as raged

Today Tony Stecher, Minneapolis promoter, a great wrestler in his own
day, manager of the famous Joe Stecher and an expert who has seen all
the biggies come and go, stepped into the midst of the melee with his
own idea of who would come out of a dark room in one piece, if all the
topnotch matmen were tossed in.

"Whether you think Jim Londos and Bobby Managoff are the two best,"
Stecher said, "you have to rank them at the top because they are,
respectively, the world and NWA champions.

"I'm not considering wrestlers who are inactive, like Everette
Marshall, or in the army, like Butch Levy. And make no mistake, Butch
would be way up there if he were around today."

Two other Minneapolis stars, however, rank as No. 1 and No. 2 title
contenders on Stecher's list. Ray Steele gets the top spot, with Bill
Kuusisto, who meets Wladislaw Talun on tonight's Auditorium card, right
behind him.

Ranked No. 10 among the world topflighters is Paul Jones, the
"figure-four scissors" specialist from Houston, Tex., semiwindup
opponent of Andy Moen tonight.

Here are Stecher's ratings:

CHAMPIONS -- Jim Londos, Bobby Managoff.

CONTENDERS -- 1. Ray Steele; 2. Bill Kuusisto; 3. Sandor Szabo; 4. John
Pesek; 5. Bill Longson; 6. Yvon Robert; 7. Bill Bartush; 8. Rube
Wright; 9. Lou Thesz; 10. Paul Jones; 11. French Angel; 12. Orville
Brown; 13. Ede Virag; 14. Swedish Angel; 15. Hans Kaempfer; 16. Ernie
Dusek; 17. Vic Holbrook.

Several youngsters are just starting to come, Stecher added, and
probably will break into the ranks of the select in the near future.


(Sports Facts, Minneapolis Program, Dec. 28, 1943)

Who is the rightful holder of the world heavyweight wrestling

Minnesota's Bill Kuusisto has a strong claim on that honor, by virtue
of the fact that Jim Londos failed to appear for a scheduled title bout
here last June, and again failed to make good on a promise to meet the
former Gopher star last fall.

"Londos said he had an operation on his arm," Kuusisto stated, "but Jim
is notorious for finding it absolutely necessary to pick tulips, or
something, in California when he's supposed to be in New York.

"If Londos is sincere, why doesn't he come here for a match?"

No official ruling has been forthcoming in the world title dispute, nor
has the current NWA argument been finally settled.

Bobby Managoff and Bill Longson, both familiar to local fans, engaged
in a hotly disputed match in Dallas last season which ended with cries
of foul on all sides.

Longson claimed the victory and the NWA crown, but Managoff, refusing
to relinquish his hold on the title, has posted $10,000 as a guarantee
that he can whip Longson. Bob Managoff Sr., his son's manager, says
even the practically irresistible lure of ten grand has failed to lure
Longson out of his foxhole, or wherever he's hiding.

Minneapolitans who watched young Managoff wrestle here agree that the
Chicagoan is one of the finest pieces of mat machinery put together in
recent years.


(Sports Facts, Minneapolis Program, Dec. 28, 1943)

Will Bronko Nagurski stage a wrestling comeback?

That was a main topic in local mat circles today, with Nagurski in town
after winding up his football comeback season with the Chicago Bears

Promoter Tony Stecher said he believed the condition of Nagurski's
trick knee would be the determining factor.

If Nagurski, twice heavyweight champion, does decide on another
wrestling fling, he'll need ask no favors from anybody, according to
Bill Kuusisto, also a former Gopher and star guard of the Green Bay

"I played against Nagurski twice during the season," Kuusisto declared,
"and you can put me on record as saying that Bronko is still as good as
any tackle in the pro football league."

The Nag's decision is expected to be made shortly in a conference
scheduled with Stecher.


Bronko Nagurski's feat of returning to pro football to star with the
Chicago Bears (after being absent from the gridiron since 1937) gained
him third place in the Associated Press poll on the nation's best
comeback feats.

Amos Alonzo Stagg, coach at College of the Pacific, was named No. 1 and
Patty Berg, Minneapolis' golfing sweetheart, No. 2.


Minneapolis Auditorium, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 1943

MAIN EVENT -- Wladislaw (Iron) Talun, Buffalo, NY, 303 lbs., vs. Bill
Kuusisto, Minneapolis, 235 lbs.

SEMIWINDUP -- Paul Jones, Houston, Tex., 232, vs. Andy Moen, Fergus
Falls, 240.

PRELIMINARIES -- Gavis Young, Minneapolis, 220, vs. Jack Ross, Chicago,
240; Norm Kyrklund, Minneapolis, 215, vs. Stan Myslajek, Minneapolis,


(Sports Facts, Minneapolis Program, Jan. 4, 1944)

By Billy B. Hoke

Do you remember . . .

THE NIGHT many years ago that George Hackenschmidt, the Russian Lion,
and Henry Ordeman wrestled until after two o'clock in the morning at
the Auditorium, which by the way is now the Lyceum Theatre? Hack won
this bout after subjecting Ordeman to a first-class going over.

WHEN FRANK A. GOTCH, one of the best mat performers the world has ever
produced, met big John Gordon, Minneapolis' policeman-wrestler and two
other local heavyweights in a handicap affair in which Gotch agreed to
toss each man once in sixty minutes of actual grappling? . . . And, he
did. The bout was held in the Peerless garage on Fifth street and Fifth
avenue, a capacity crowd was on hand to greet Gotch who was making his
initial appearance in Minneapolis.

WHEN WALTER MILLER, St. Paul's crack welterweight, and Otto Suter, of
Cleveland, grappled until far, far into the night at the St. Paul
Auditorium, without either man gaining a fall? The bout was stopped by
the Humane Scoiety!

WHEN WRESTLING matches were staged at Normanna Hall on Third street and
Thirteenth avenue south? George Barton, now dean of Northwest sports
writers, then on the old Daily News, and Frank Force, sports editor of
the old Tribune, were the promoters and their monthly shows on the
third floor of the building used to draw houses packed to the rafters.

WHEN A GUY by the name of Billy B. Hoke used to referee practically all
of the mat contests staged in Minneapolis and vicinity?

WHEN THURSDAY NIGHT was "rasslin'" night at the Gayety Theatre which
was managed by Harry Hirsch, now at the Alvin? Many of the leading mat
men of this era strutted their stuff before those enthusiastic

TOM RUSSELL, policeman wrestler and his several vicious matches with
Joe Carr, who was perhaps one of the very best middleweights this
country ever produced? Russell and John Albrecht, now a sergeant on the
local police force, also used to tangle every now and then and these
battles were always dandies. Russell is proprietor of a tavern on
Marquette avenue, Albrecht can retire if he chooses from the force with
a pension, and Carr is seen now and then about the city. However, he
has not been in good health for some time.

WHEN WOMEN didn't get in for nix?

HARRY MILLS, a wrestler who weighed about 142 pounds, who could fasten
more holds on an opponent with his feet and legs than the average star
of today can apply with his arms and hands? Oldtimers who get together
still talk about the Mills-Matsuda match held at the Gayety, which went
until the referee (Billy B. Hoke) disqualified Mills for slugging.
Mills is still in Minneapolis and is an upholsterer.


From: Ruth Silverstone <>
Subject: Roy McClarity
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 1998 20:13:41 -0700 (PDT)

Roy McClarity passed away 5:00 p.m. Monday, April 27, 1998. His cause
of death was heart failure; however, he had been in a nursing home for
approximately one year.

This information comes from Don Leo Jonathan.


From: Phillip Huston <>
Subject: Eddie Gotch as "The Young Frank Gotch"
Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 10:04:01 -0500

I am trying to find information about a wrestler who wrestled in
Louisville,Ky at the Columbia Gym around 1951. He wrestled under the
name of "The Young Frank Gotch" I believe his real name might have
been EddieGotch or possible Edward Gotch. We know he wrestled circuits
in Kentucky and possible southern Indiana during the 1930's and 40's. A
partial press clipping of a evening of matches (UNKNOWN DATE) we feel
that took place at the Columbia Gym in Louisville, had the following
wrestlers named, The Welch Brothers, Black-Smith Pedigo, and a
"Scottie" Williams.

Any Information about Gotch or anyplace else to look would be
appreciated. Thanks for your time......Phil

(ED. NOTE--Lighter weight Southern grapplers not exactly my long suit,
but the Welch brothers and Scotty Williams were certainly familiar and
well known matmen, the latter traveling from coast to coast during his
career. The Welch brothers may have had a brief foray into the
Portland, Oregon, territory in 1938, too. If anyone can come to Mr.
Huston's aid, please do so -- and copy us with any info you might be
able to supply.)


To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Scott Teal <>
Subject: Photos
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 1998 15:08:28 -0500 (CDT)

There are eight pictures on this page. They're pretty big, so it may
take a while for them to download. Enjoy!

"Whatever Happened to ...?"
The publication that everyone's talking about!


I am looking for information on a wrestler from the turn of the
century. His name is Jack Carkeek, I know that he was wrestling in
Scotland in 1901-3 (I have copies of the playbill), but I know very
little about him, his birth and that he died in Cuba on 12 March 1924,
and that his obituary listed his wife, son and a married daughter in
Illinois. He was a headliner at the Empire Theatre in Glasgow,
Scotland. His obit conflicts with the stories that we were told, by his
son and then his grandson, which say that he was rolled, left naked and
dead in an alley in Havana, Cuba. Could you point me in the right
direction to find information on him?

Thank you,
Nancyanne Carkeek


From: Vicoria Doyle <>
Subject: Let me introduce myself
Date: Tue, 21 Apr 1998 19:59:28 -0700

Hi, I just found this site and am so excited!!! Another fan? Not
exactly. I am the daughter of promoter John Doyle. I believe partners
with Toots Mondt during those famous New York days. Also partners with
Jim Barnett (who we would love to find if he's still around) and Vince
McMahon Sr.

He promoted Los Angeles, had the original star wrestling show in Las
Vegas, promoted Washington D.C., Boston, Detroit, Australia,
Philippines, Hong Kong.

Promoted the big Lou Thesz- Baon Leone match, and much much more.

Because I was an only child (His son never lived with us) I grew up at
the matches. We were close with so many people, The Tolos Brothers, I
was a kid and introduced them as "Greasies" (thought that was the
plural for Greeks). Edouard Carpentier -- John was always jealous of
him cuz my Mom liked him. My first love was Emile Dupre, also my first
kiss and first date. So many memories! Tolos Bros., Brunetti Bros., Roy
Shires (John started him in SF). Mike Mazurki, Dick the Bruiser, Wilbur
Snyder, Verne Gagne, etc. etc.

Sorry to ramble, this is just so real and emotional to me.

Victoria Doyle


From: JDolin7727
Subject: Wrestling with the Past
Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 14:32:08 EDT

Dear J Michael Kenyon:

I am a writer/producer putting together a biography series for
television entitled Wrestling with the Past and am looking for a lead
on info. given to me by Johnny Valentine. He mentioned being the first
Caucasian to wrestle an African American in The Houston Coliseum in
1956 but he could not remember his opponent's name nor the name of
promoter. I wondered if you might know, know of a newspaper/magazine
that might have covered the match, and/or if you could point me in the
direction of someone who might have been involved. (Johnny's one of
about twenty legends that have committed to doing the show. )

I can be reached at

I hope to hear from you.

Kind regards,

John Dolin

(ED. NOTE: My first guess would be McKinley Pickens, an approximate
280-pounder who had a number of bouts for various promoters attached to
the Houston office in the late '50s and early '60s. I rather guess that
1956 is a bit early for Tiger Conway, the first very popular black
wrestler in East Texas history -- but there are plenty of people on the
WAWLI mailing list who might offer up even more concrete info. Morris
Sigel was the Houston promoter, of course -- he'd been at that stand
for 40 years by the mid-'50s. When he died, a decade or so later, the
mantel was turned over to Paul Boesch, who kept a great wrestling town
humming until the early 1980s. But, again, there may be some firsthand
knowledge somewhere around our merry little band of wrestling
enthusiasts. If so, please tell Mr. Dolin what he needs to know and,
yes, please send me a copy so I can get smartened up.)

The WAWLI Papers #218...


(Florida Times-Union, December 3, 1997)

By Bill Foley, Columnist

Steker was the name, pilgrim.

Airplane spin was her game.

Out of the West Stella Steker came the fall of 1937 to the Main and Beaver
arena, to settle questions long nettling the mind of man.

Could a good brunette whip a good blonde?

Could a grapplerette whomp a grunt and groaner?

Lived there a woman in this whole great land who could best Mildred Burke,
women's wrestling champeen of the entire meaningful world?

Stella Steker was a bit of a mystery. George Romanoff wanted it that way.
Romanoff was commencing a legend when he brought Stella Steker to town.

He announced wrestling henceforth would be held at the arena each Tuesday and
Friday, ''with good performers gracing both programs.''

Romanoff, himself, was somewhat a man of mystery. He, too, was an erstwhile
grappler but, more, was said to be of the Russian royal family.

Either that or the original Tarzan, depending on what saloon you heard it in.
Women had wrestled in Jacksonville before, but it had been more than a year
since the mat-gals clashed at the local sport emporium.

And Stella would not be dumped on the undercard, where female wrestlers
usually were billed, down there with the midgets and the battle royal.

This November it would be the Texas Dobie Osbornes and Red Devil Guthries in
the prelims. The mysterious Stella Steker would head the card.

''Miss Steker, mythical holder of the women's championship of Arizona, is a
shapely miss,'' said The Florida Times-Union.

''Her specialty, the spectacular airplane spin, went over big in Mexico, where
she proved too much for the Senoritas of that territory.''

Nor would the airplane-spinning Arizonan be going against chopped liver.

Popular Dora Dean was coming to town.

Dora Dean, the favorite blonde of the wrestling world, was said in polite
terms to be the protege of Man Mountain Dean, Georgia's contribution to
wrestling legend. Man Mountain taught Dora the flying scissors, which she
used to great advantage.

Between Stella Steker's airplane spin and Dora Dean's flying scissors a
tremendous aerial clash. The flower of local Sporting Life packed the arena.
Stella pinned the Dixie darling in 13 minutes.

She fought lean, mean, down and dirty and got booed and hissed.

''The dark-haired Arizonan, who protrayed the role of villain that would have
done credit to other 'rough' artists like Machine Gun Jack Evko, clamped on an
airplane spin to end the festivities,'' the Times-Union said.

''Miss Dean displayed by far a larger number of holds, including Irish whips,
back-body drops and an assortment of arm locks but could not cope with the
hair-pulling tactics of her opponent.''

Next stop for the dark-haired, hair-pulling, crowd-taunting,
blonde-whipping, Man Mountain-tweaking shapely grapplerette: A man.

Romanoff announced Stella Steker's next assault on Southern wrestledom would
be the next week against local wrestler George Cowart.

''Miss Steker promises to give her male opponent plenty of trouble,'' said the
Jacksonville Journal.

''Bob holds an edge in the weights but is not expecting to have an easy time
of it in the one-hour time limit,'' said the Times-Union.

Eleven minutes.

In two minutes less than it took her to launch Dora Dean Stella Steker whapped
an airplane spin on wrestler George and dusted him off amid the boos and
catcalls of the multitude, with nary a vicious hair-pull.

What next for the Arizona stranger?

Deep, deep water. Mildred Burke had had enough with the Western upstart.
Romanoff stilled the local sporting crowd into hushed apprehension: Mildred
Burke would fight Stella Steker, right here in the Main and Beaver street

Burke came into the ring with a gold championship belt the papers said was
worth $2,500, back when that was real money. She had recently won it from
Clara Mortenson in New York City.

Tension was thick as the smoke over the ring as Steker and Burke climbed
through the ropes. The jam-packed crowd already had seen Cowboy Dobie,
Machine-Gun Jack and Florida state champ Allen Eustace win their

Fourteen minutes.

''The champ did not have an easy time of it,'' the Times-Union said. ''Miss
Steker unleashed all her holds, but to no avail. Both of the tusslerettes
landed in the aisle on one occasion and delighted the audience further by
ripping off referee Gus Pappas's undershirt.''

Mildred ended it with a ''neatly executed body slam.''

Three weeks, three bouts, 38 minutes; three matches that each drew more people
to see wrestling in Jacksonville than any bout that did not involve Jack
Dempsey, and the undisputed winner by a unanimous decision, with a nice assist
from shaply brunette Arizona grapplerette Stella Steker, was promoter George
Romanoff, a member of the Russian royal family or the original Tarzan,
depending on which saloon you heard it in.


(Florida Times-Union, Tuesday, January 13, 1998)

By Mike Bianchi

This column is about professional wrestling.

I will completely understand if you turn the page.

In terms of lapses in professional judgment, I admit that my decision to write
this column ranks right up there with Gus Frerotte's head-butting of a wall
and Tom Cruise signing off on the Cocktail script. And, yes, I'm fully aware
that there aren't many athletic endeavors lower in the pecking order to the
serious-minded sports fan than pro wrestling. In fact, I can only think of

Aerobics and the Humanitarian Bowl.

With all that said, let me also point out there are a disturbing number of
otherwise intelligent sports fans who are fanatical about pro wrestling. My
sports editor at the T-U knows Sir Oliver Humperdink personally. My other boss
at the T-U has attended as many Wrestlemania events as I've been to
Springsteen concerts. The copy editor who proofread this column last night can
tell you the kinesic differences between the Scorpion Death Drop and the
Flying Choke Slam.

And in case you were wondering, last night's World Championship Wrestling
Monday Nitro Live show at the Coliseum drew a sellout crowd of 9,500 fans (it
is believed the entire city of Palatka was in attendance), which is just
a smidgen less than Jacksonville University will draw for its entire 13-game
home basketball schedule. Instead of recruiting shooting guards, maybe JU
coach Hugh Durham should sign a 330-pound bleached-blond juicer with 23-inch
biceps and hair on his back.

And we're not even including the estimated 10.4 million viewers who watched
Nitro on TNT, which makes it cable's leading weekly primetime series -- ahead
of such heady fare as A&E's Biography.

It's unbelievable how many people have become infatuated with this weekly soap
opera for the testosterone-obsessed. Back when I was a kid, we used
to go to the matches at the Coliseum on Thursday nights, but it was never
anything so elaborately corporate or choreographed as this.

In the old days, the entire technical setup consisted of a ring, a lighting
truss and four posts. Last night, Nitro arrived in three semi trucks and came
complete with indoor fireworks, stereophonic sound and laser light shows.

You call this wrestling? I call it a KISS concert. There were painted faces,
pierced body parts and huge men yelling abusive things at one another -- and
these were the fans. The WCW even employs scantily clad dancing girls and
has its own officially licensed mascot. Then again, so do the Jaguars.

The Great Malenko and Eddie Graham, may they rest in peace, would do Spinning
Toe Holds in their graves right now if they knew what had become of their

There are still elaborate robes and mysterious masked men and incompetent
referees and heroes and heels and enough bad acting to rival Sylvester
Stallone in Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot. But, like everything else these days,
wrestling is marketed toward the 15-year-old teenage boy with too much money
in his piggy bank. We are raising an entire generation of pyromaniacs with
baggy shorts and their hats turned around backward.

Even the lines between good and evil are blurred now. It used to be you knew
who the good guys and the bad guys were, but now the bad guys get cheered as
much as the good guys. The bad guys in the WCW are a revolutionary group of
cads who refer to themselves as the ''New World Order'' (NWO). As the plot
line goes, the good guys in the WCW are under siege by the bad guys in the
NWO. And judging by the multitude of NWO
T-shirts flying off the vending shelves last night, the bad guys are winning.

''Times have definitely changed,'' says Bobby Heenan, a former wrestler who
now does color commentary on the Nitro telecasts. ''The change doesn't bother
me at all. My paychecks are a lot bigger now. In the old days, we drove from
town to town in cars and ate bologna on the way. Now, I fly and eat bad

Not even the wrestlers are what they used to be. They arrive at events in
limos accompanied by their agents and personal fitness trainers. Their pre-
match meal yesterday was comprised of grilled mahi-mahi, pasta and fruit

You think Dusty Rhodes ever ate any gosh-darn fruit salad? You think Bruno
Sammartino ever ate any ambrosia, for cripe's sake?

Sting, one of the WCW's many millionaire stars, owns a 40-acre ranch in
Georgia, where he raises thoroughbred horses. A writer interviewed him last
year and reported that gourmet food and golf magazines lined his elegant
home office. This is a guy who wears war paint at night and practices his
putting and eats tofu by day.

''Pro wrestling has become a brawl,'' says Don Curtis, a former pro
wrestler/promoter who lives in Jacksonville.

''The people running things and participating today don't care about the sport
of wrestling, they only care about making a buck. Money is God to them.''

Sounds like pro wrestling is a ''real'' sport after all.


(Florida Times-Union, Thursday, February 19, 1998)

By Bill Foley, Columnist

The great ideas are the simple ones.

Assuming that one takes the cynical view the curious event of Feb. 20, 1920
was in fact an idea.

As opposed to all that was honest and true and spontaneous in professional
wrestling until that time.

The simple part is a given.

Professional wrestling had always been vigorous in Jacksonville.

It had hitherto been a manly art, practiced by proponents of physical culture
commonly called ''Professor.''

After World War I pro wrestling became quite heady.

The Roaring '20s had arrived.

Sport was a celebration of life. Watching sports became a celebration of life.

Drinking bootleg whiskey while watching sports became a pure-dee celebration
of life.

The year in Jacksonville wrestling began in a high-toner manner. Two months
later the sport was on the primrose path to Wrestlemania.

On Jan. 19, manly Joe Turner defended his Police Gazette Gold Belt as
middleweight champion of the world, as defined by the Police Gazette, against
Con Allbright, speedy Rochester, N.Y., grappler.

The match would take place at the Businessmen's Gymnasium at 122 W. Forsyth

''Indications point to a record-setting crowd,'' The Florida Times-Union

''A large number of ticket reservations have been made by lady fans, among
whom Turner and Allbright are great favorites on account of their clean and
scientific wrestling. The management has given assurance that every
provision will be made for the comfort of the ladies and that nothing
offensive will be permitted.''

History records Turner retained his Police Gazette Gold Belt, two falls to
one. Two outstanding amateur preliminaries preceded the main event and a good
time was had by all, including the ladies, even though cigar smoking was
allowed and there was no air-conditioning.

Obviously this was a good thing and, as with all good things, there was room
for more. The Duval Theater, a couple blocks away, got into the wrestling act.
Rival cards sprouted each week.

Thus the joust began. Competition became intense. Can-you-top-this? met grunt-

One arena would bring in a Japanese martial arts champion, the other would
bring in a heavy named Fritz. The bookings became intense.

Stanislaus Zbyszko, lionized in Petrograd, came to town. Cora Armstrong,
middleweight women's champion of the good old U.S. of A., whipped Canadian
champion Grace Brady, a sturdy lass from Fond du Lac, Wis.

Barrett and Bowser took on all comers. Mike Yokel and Bull Walker, household
names in rather curious households, hit town. The powerful cruiserweights,
Marvin and Herman, neither of them ever called professor, hit the local mats.

Obviously, the sport was nearing critical mass. A breakthrough occurred the
Friday night of Feb. 20 at the Duval Theater.

Jimmy Demetral of Chicago was to take on Joe Diafbo, the California Italian,
in the main event. Kid Kottas had just beaten Augustus Kalas in the prelim.
Jack Ross, veteran grappler, was in the ring. I don't know why.

Suddenly a stranger stepped from the audience. He began saying challenging
things to Ross, I suppose stuff like ''You're a lily-livered wimp,'' and ''My
grandma could break your arms!''

The stranger strode to the stage as the audience looked on in wonder.

''The challenger, who said his name was George Pardello, was a big, raw-boned
individual,'' The Florida Metropolis reported. Ross beckoned him to combat.
The audience oohed and aahed. Seconds from the scheduled bout the ring was
cleared and a street-fight commenced.

''[Pardello's] idea of wrestling was between the Savate, the French style of
boxing, and the Marquis of Queensbury rules,'' the newspaper said. ''He also
introduced some high-class holds with his teeth.

''Ross locked him with a body hold but let loose when his adversary bit his
toe. They stood up and slugged. The crowd was in a high state of glee.

''Ross jumped on his opponent's head with both feet. Pardello leaned over and
Ross grabbed his legs. Pardello retaliated with a right swing to the jaw.''

Thus it continued for 15 minutes. Kicking and punching, ''Ross finding it the
only manner of defense when his opponent refused to wrestle cleanly.''

''Once Ross had his foe's shoulders almost to the canvas when the stranger bit
him and Ross shot up like a rocket, grabbed a chair and swung it at his
opponent's head . . .

The stranger at one time got Ross at the end of the mat,
rolled it up over him, obscuring him from view, and then sat down on the mat,
trying to pin Ross's shoulders.''

The newspaper never said who won. Its account concluded:

''The bout was a scream. Ross would doubtless have won had real wrestling

A curious phrase, quite seldom heard nowadays.

The WAWLI Papers # 219...


(Associated Press, August 13, 1943)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Glamour has come into its own among the grunt-and-
groaners.   Taking a tip from their svelte sisters of the silver screen, the "lady wrestlers" are abandoning freak costumes and ghastly grimaces for manicures, marcels and maidenly charm.   Mildred Burke, Kansas City cutie who queens it over the distaff side of the grapple circuit and has a gem-studded belt to prove her championship claims, sets the fashions.   The rest of the gals are doing their best. But the inevitable signs of wear- and-tear brought on by one-night stands in sundry rings from coast to coast are major problems for the beauticians.   Elvira Snodgrass, Smokey Mountain, Tenn., husky who stalked the streets in weird calicos and sunbonnets when it was the fashion for the feminine toe- twisters to attract crowds by emphasizing the grotesque, is a convert to the new system. She appears on the streets now garbed only in sheer prints, high heels and the best the beauty shop affords.   Arena dressing rooms on "ladies night" now look more like backstage at the girly-girly show than an athletic establishment. Instead of mussing their locks, reddening their knuckles and practicing deep-throated noises, the gals spend the last minutes before entering the ring applying lipstick, mascara and rouge.   But their mat antics haven't changed much. In action, the fems still follow the slug-'em, mug-'em fashion set by the bad boys of the padded canvas. And customers lap it up.   Maybe it's the contrast that gets 'em.   Nobody seems prepared when that dainty little brunette with the come-hither eyes suddenly pole-axes the buxom blonde and then kicks the inoffensive referee through the ropes into the lap of the bald-headed fat man in the front row.   (The Associated Press sent out an accompanying picture, caption to which read: "Not chorines but wrestlers are these, busy adding last minute make-up before their appearance in the ring. Converts to the new glamour process they are, left to right, (standings) Mae Weston, Gladys "Killem" Gillem and Elvira Snodgrass; (seated) World's Champion Mildred Burke, Rose Evans and Mae Young. The photo and story ran in newspapers all over North America.)


(Hudson County Dispatch, Friday, September 10, 1943)

There'll be big doings at Columbia Park in North Bergen tonight and a goodly
portion of the crowd which will flood the old structure will hail from Bergen County.   The reason for Bergen's interest in tonight's doings is Murray Rothenberg, of course. Murray's the husky ex-Bergen Record Diamond Glover, ex-pro footballer, ex-everything, who has now turned to rassling. 'Tisn't exaggerating a bit to class Murray as Bergen's Dizzy Dean. But, like Dizzy, Murray always delivers.   He started as a footballer at Teaneck High. Hudson County fans will remember him for his performances against the Zuccaros in days gone by. Rothenberg was listed in Teaneck Red Devils' backfield but most of the time he was in Union City's backfield, they say. He also played with the Clifton Wessingtons. Later on, he coached football.   Coincident with his football playing, Murray dabbled in boxing. He figured in several spectacular Diamond Glove bouts in Hackensack. Sports Editor Al Del Greco tabbed him the King Levinsky of Bergen boxing. The customers came in droves to see Rothenberg licked; but, unlike Levinsky, Rothenberg was not "in a transom." Invariably, he won.   He fought professionally, too, appearing several times at Englewood where Jackie Farrell and Jimmy Brienza had promotional flings.   Of recent years, he has given more and more attention to rassling. He studied jiu jitsu from a Jap chef at Bergen College. He studied the Fairbairn system of commando training. All this came in handy in his daily routine as Plant Protection Supervisor for the Magor Car Corp. of Clifton, which is engaged in defense work. He went the limit in this line, too. He taught hand to hand grappling and judo to several army units stationed in northern New Jersey. And he finally said to himself, he said, "Why not go into this business professionally?"   He had a fling at it years ago in a mild sort of way. On a dare, more than anything else, he figured in a tour during which he had eight matches. Won 'em all, too.   Friday night last he appeared against Chief Bamba Tabu at the Park and he licked the chief. So Promoter Ralph Mondt, anxious to develop some real local talent, signed him again. Tonight he meets far tougher opposition in the person of John Vansky. He'll need all he's got to get past John.   Tonight's final rumpus will send Chief Thunderbird against Bad Babe Sharkey. The fans appear to be more interested, however, in the tag team match slated for tonight. This shindig will pit Maurice LaChappelle and Tony Martinelli against Michele Leone and Dick Lever.   Rounding out the card will be tussles between Tony Milano and the Blue Streak and Abe Yourist and Dick Lever.   (ED. NOTE--After all this buildup in the local papers, North Bergen, N.J., wrestling fans had to bear the disappointment of only seeing Murray Rothenberg during the pre-match introductions that night. He, reportedly, had come down with a case of poison oak and was unable to wrestle. Dr. John Bonica took his place and flopped Vansky. Sharkey won the main event from Thunderbird, Abe Yourist defeated the Red Czar, Leone and Lever tossed Martinelli and LaChappelle, while the Blue Streak downed Milano.) ___________________________________________   


(The Associated Press, Sept. 10, 1997)

By Chris Newton

DALLAS -- Jack Adkisson, patriarch of the famed Texas wrestling family the Von
Erichs, died at his Denton County home Wednesday about two months after he was diagnosed with cancer. He was 68.   Adkisson, who went by the name Fritz Von Erich during a 35-year wrestling career, was diagnosed in July with lung cancer that had spread to his brain and adrenal glands.   A statement from the family said he died of a brain tumor at his home in Lake Dallas, about 20 miles north of Dallas.   Adkisson and his five sons were long associated with wrestling triumph in Texas. Five sons -- Kevin, David, Kerry, Mike and Chris -- also wrestled under the Von Erich name.   Jack Adkisson for years produced a syndicated wrestling show, World Class Championship Wrestling, that was seen in 66 U.S. television markets, Japan, Argentina and the Middle East.   But in recent years, there has mostly been pain. Five of Jack Adkisson's sons preceded him in death. One died as a child in the 1950s, three committed suicide since 1987 and the fifth died of an apparent drug overdose in 1984.   The only surviving son is the oldest, Kevin, 40.   "We would like to express thanks to the fans and the community for their prayers, love and support," Kevin Adkisson said in the statement. "Dad loved them very much."   David, probably the best wrestler of the sons, died at the age of 25 in 1984 from an apparent overdose while on a wrestling tour of Japan. Suicide claimed the lives of Mike, 23, in 1987; Chris, 21, in 1991; and Kerry, 33, in 1993. Another son, Jack Jr., died at the age of 7 in 1959 from electrical shock.   "It hurt him desperately," said Tom Pulley, a longtime friend of the Von Erichs. "It's hard for any of us to imagine losing one son, much less five sons. It changed his life and it definitely took the wind out of his sails."   Until Fritz Von Erich retired in 1980, he was one of the stars of professional wrestling. The former Southern Methodist and Dallas Texans lineman stood 6-foot-4 and weighed 260 pounds. He turned to wrestling in the 1950s after being injured.   The Von Erichs once wrestled in front of 40,000 people at Texas Stadium and regularly filled the arenas where they competed.   In their heyday, the Von Erichs were the good guys of the wrestling world, vanquishing trash-talking, loudmouthed wrestlers in black garb. Ironically, the continuing family tragedies brought them -- and their sport -- even more fame.   Pulley said Fritz Von Erich had a vision for what wrestling could be on television.   "What he did back in the 80s really started wrestling on television," Pulley said. "There's no question that the brains behind what you see today was Fritz Von Erich ... It took wrestling from being a small regional sport to being international in scope, and I give him the credit for that."   Jack Adkisson is survived by his son Kevin, daughter-in-law Pam, their four children and two other grandchildren. He and his wife, Doris, divorced several years ago.   Family members said they would receive friends of Jack Adkisson at a memorial service on Saturday at First Baptist Church in Dallas. No funeral or graveside services were planned. ___________________________________________   


(Philadelphia Inquirer, Wednesday, April 29, 1998)

By Jay Searcy

Tony Martin, the fighting postal worker from Philadelphia who went 10 rounds
with legendary Mexican champion Julio Cesar Chavez last year, is launching a new career. He's following Mike Tyson into professional wrestling.   Martin, 37, who holds the U.S. Boxing Association and North American Boxing Federation welterweight titles, has agreed to fight a 26-year-old heavyweight wrestler from Baltimore named Flexx Wheeler, a 5-foot-6, 225-pound fireplug who is 60 pounds heavier and 11 years younger.   The rules are somewhat hazy, but it is generally understood that just about everything will be permitted -- punching, kicking and wrestling -- except ear- chewing.   So Martin, who insists this is not the end to his boxing career, finds himself surrounded by a new supporting cast that includes King Kong Bundy and The Mongolian. Also, as a special added attraction at the six-bout show, promoter Izzy Aviles promises a lot of celebrities will be present, including Marvis Frazier and Fred the Elephant Boy.   Martin's titles won't be on the line, but he will be fighting for a colorful plastic belt adorned with genuine colored glass ornaments. More important, Martin said he will be fighting to uphold the honor of his sport against, you know, that pro wrestling stuff. So naturally, Wheeler is fighting to defend the good name of pro wrestling.   The show was announced at a news conference Monday on the steps of the 30th Street Post Office, an event you might have missed since it was conducted in a chilling 25-mile-an-hour wind.   The idea for the match came about quite by coincidence. Martin just happened to be at a local wrestling match at the Blue Horizon last month, and Wheeler just happened to be there at the same time.   This is all very true, both parties agree. Or mostly true.   Martin, the boxing champ, was being introduced to the wrestling crowd when Wheeler, the Grande Wrestling Association American heavyweight champion, jumped into the ring, interrupted the announcer, and dissed the boxing champion. He called Martin a fake to his face and challenged him to an actual fight, and just about everybody at the Blue Horizon overheard him.   Including -- get this -- a promoter! (He just happened to be in the crowd. No kidding.)   Anyhow, Martin, who usually lets his manager handle such things, was so upset by the brash Wheeler that he accepted the challenge on the spot, and -- this is the truest part of the story -- the bout will take place Saturday night at the Salvation Army Gymnasium, 1340 Brown St., at 7:30, $12 general admission, $20 ringside.   Martin, a mail sorter and father of three, has a 34-6-1 record with 12 knockouts in a pro career that has run 13 years. Wheeler, a former high school running back, does not remember what his ring record is, but he thinks he is undefeated, so the promotional releases say that.   It turns out Wheeler is undefeated only since November, but the whole thing probably was just a misunderstanding with the printer. Anyhow, Wheeler hasn't lost in a very long time.   Wheeler derided Martin again at Monday's news conference, and Martin, who didn't have a lot to say the first time they met, gave it right back to him. Both were very loud, trying to shout down each other, which scared a lot of people who were mailing letters, but not Martin (secretly, he has been taking wrestling lessons and seems very confident).   To their credit, Martin and Wheeler kept the rhetoric fairly clean. Tyson says a lot worse.   Martin was cheered by a hometown post-office crowd of 14 when he was introduced. Wheeler was not cheered by anyone, mainly because Aviles forgot to introduce him.   Martin confirmed that this match represents a sharp turn in his career, but after all, George Foreman once fought five guys in one night, Muhammad Ali fought a Japanese wrestler who scooted around the ring like a crab, and what about Tyson? He did that Wrestlemania thing on pay-per-view, and for what? Four million dollars.   At least Martin is doing this for no good reason. 


(Tampa Tribune, Wednesday April 22, 1998)

ATLANTA - World Championship Wrestling Inc. wants to grapple with superstar
Ric "the Nature Boy" Flair in a new ring: court.   The Atlanta-based wrestling corporation has sued Flair for $2 million in Fulton County Superior Court. It says Flair broke the three-year, $1.95 million deal they inked in November by missing a series of performances this year.   Flair's no-shows played havoc with the script of the wildly popular productions, the suit says.   Flair, 49, born Richard Morgan Fliehr, did not return phone calls. Neither did attorney James Lamberth, who filed the suit for the wrestling group.   Flair's contract says he would be paid $725,000 for this year, $725,000 for 1999, and $500,000 for 2000. ________________________________________   


(Winston-Salem, N.C., Journal, April 25, 1998)

By Ronald C. Jordan

''It's a sport without rules, where nobody keeps score.

''There are no clear winners, yet no one seems to care.

''It's a soap opera with a referee. A melodrama of mayhem. A controlled riot,
that pauses for commercials.'' --Steve Allen   

The subject is professional wrestling. The venue is a two-hour documentary
about the sport that, for nearly 100 years, has captured and managed to hold the attention of millions of people. Narrated by veteran entertainer Steve Allen, The Unreal Story of Professional Wrestling (8 p.m. Sunday on the Arts & Entertainment network), purports to expose ''one of America's most personal, private passions'' and ''reveals the whole truth behind the amazing athlete- showmen who make it possible.''   

It also raises, and attempts to answer, many of the questions about wrestling
that have long gone unanswered.   

For example, if wrestling is sport, how come you won't find
tonight's winners on tomorrow's sports pages? What about the rules? Or, are there any? If there are, why doesn't the referee enforce them?   

How many champions are there in professional wrestling? How do you tell the
heroes from the villains when they keep changing places? What do all those hand signals mean?''   

And, oh yes, the question that everybody always asks, though most think they
already know the answer: Is professional wrestling fake?   

Allen leaves the answers to these questions to those who know best, the
wrestlers and promoters.   

''We do a magic show,'' says Vince McMahon, a wrestling
promoter and the owner of the World Wrestling Federation. ''But we're not going to tell you how we make our magic.''   

''It's entertainment,'' explains Diamond Dallas Page, a professional wrestler.
''But so is basketball. So is football.'' 

''For those who believe, you don't need an explanation,'' adds Jeff Jarrett,
who is also a professional wrestler. ''For those who don't believe, no explanation will do.''   

The Unreal Story of Professional Wrestling presents a thorough history of the
''sport,'' tracing the evolution of wrestling as the first competitive sport, before baseball, basketball or boxing, from noble amateur contest to the outrageous entertainment spectacle it has become.   

Included in the account is an incident from in the early 1900s that resulted
in professional wrestling's first blemish. The story alleges that famous wrestler Frank Gotch, who was afraid he was about to lose his wrestling title, paid a goon $5,000 to hurt Gotch's opponent. When the media exposed the incident, fans turned their backs on wrestling.   

There are also bits of trivia. For instance, former U.S. Presidents
Washington, Lincoln, Taylor, Taft and Coolidge were all wrestlers. Plato, whose name means ''broad-shouldered,'' was also a grappler.   

Wrestling had its beginnings among the Egyptians. The
Greco-Roman style of wrestling came from the Greeks and the Romans, and in Japan, Sumo wrestling is as old as the culture. In India, where matches commonly lasted for hours, wrestling was called the ''King of Games.''   

American Indians staged wrestling contests long before the first European
settlers arrived. A number of other wrestling figures appear in the documentary, including Lou Thesz, Verne Gagne, Killer Kowalski, Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, Sergeant Slaughter and Randy Savage.   

Surprisingly, there is no mention of Jim Crockett Sr., the promoter whose
National Wrestling Alliance dominated the Mid-south during the 1960s and '70s and ultimately became World Championship Wrestling. But McMahon, who was first to go national with his televised wrestling program, is credited with giving professional wrestling national exposure.   

Don't expect any admissions that matches are staged, scripted or pre-planned,
though most people who follow professional wrestling know that wrestling is Hollywood -- theatrics and drama mixed with high-risk acrobatics. The closest thing to true confessions admission comes from Hulk Hogan, who talks rather candidly about his pre-arranged win over Andre the Giant in 1993 at Wrestlemania.   This is two hours of good wrestling history about a sport where, for years, some of the world's best athletes have engaged in a bizarre ritualized fantasy of good vs. evil. 



From: Vic
toria Doyle <> 
Subject: Re: Great To Hear From You
Tue, 28 Apr 1998 19:04:49 -0700

I do remember Paul Bowser -- I was very impressed! Nice man, already elderly
(in my memory) at the time. Had this huge gorgeous house, loved dachsunds -- but what blew my child mind, he had a race track in his backyard! True! He was head of the Harness Racing Assoc. and had his own stables and training track. I thought that was amazing!!   I would walk down with him and watch the timed runs early in the morning. In retrospect -- I just discussed this with my Mom -- everyone was always extremely nice to me. And I was a bit pesty cuz I adored the guys so much. Not a single memory of rudeness or even abruptness. That says a lot.   There are people I would like remembered, too: Hardy Kruskamp, Les Ruffin, Sam Menacker, etc.   My very first memory is sitting in, like, a screening room and watching a film on Antonino Rocca that John brought to show people. He would end up signing to sponsor him in this country.   Victoria _________________________________________

The WAWLI Papers # 220...

(ED. NOTE--This, and the next, issue of The WAWLI Papers will depart from the regular focus on "Wrestling As We Liked It" to reveal some of the growing mainstream interest in today's product, as presented by the WWF and WCW. Dan Tobin's "Why I Love Wrestling" came out the week of Wrestlemania, while the "Pro Wrestling Pins the NBA!" piece -- due up in WAWLI No. 221 -- shows Monday night mat shows burying National Basketball Association playoffs in the cable television ratings. While one is left to wonder what sort of mainstream media attention "golden era"-style professional mat shows might be attracting, there is growing evidence that whatever Messers. McMahon and Bischoff are serving up is getting the job done -- at least where their wallets are concerned. We'll return to the past in WAWLI No. 222.)

WHY I LOVE WRESTLING (and why you should, too)

(The Boston Phoenix, Mar. 26-Apr. 2, 1998)

By Dan Tobin

As a pro wrestling fan, I have to defend myself a lot. Not defend in the sense of blocking a double-arm suplex -- more like justify my love for what a lot of people consider a pseudosport. Sure, wrestling might not command
the respect of "real" sports like baseball or hockey or monster-truck racing.

It might not get much mainstream press coverage, and maybe evolutionists would rather pretend it didn't exist. But professional wrestling is older than Bob Dole, bigger than Scientology, and now -- as the World Wrestling
Federation's Wrestlemania XIV stomps into the FleetCenter this Sunday -- it's in our back yard.

With Mike Tyson taking a turn as "rule enforcer" at Sunday's main event, the world's interest in professional wrestling has reached a peak not seen since Hulk Hogan teamed up with Mr. T at the original Wrestlemania in
1985. Laugh if you want, but Wrestlemania XIV is the most sought-after ticket in the FleetCenter's brief history: it sold out, according to publicists, in 90 seconds. You can bet our local news outlets will cover the event, and you
can guess how: they'll mock it. They'll say Tyson's involvement with pro wrestling is a fate worse than prison.

But they'll be wrong. Pro wrestling is not only fantastic entertainment, it's a cultural phenomenon. It produces epic battles worthy of Homer, and the most pointed morality tales since Hawthorne. Still not convinced wrestling will
save mankind? Here are 11 reasons to love what the WWF and its rival, World Championship Wrestling (WCW), serve up:

1. Satisfaction is guaranteed. Sports are among the few things in life where nobody knows the outcome beforehand. That's what makes them exciting. And, let's face it, that's also what makes them disappointing. For every buzzer-beating three-pointer or ninth-inning grand slam, there are 50 games that end with a called third strike, or some putz holding onto the ball while the clock ticks down. Zzzz.

Not so in pro wrestling. Every match promises a monumental, bigger-than-life victory, courtesy of competitors who themselves are monumental and certainly bigger than you. And the capacity crowd always goes bananas. Being a wrestling fan is the opposite of being a Red Sox fan.

Your heart is never ripped out as your boys fail grandly at the last moment. In wrestling, good guys always beat the bad guys in the end, even if they look like they're down for the three-count. If Bill Buckner had been a wrestler, he'd have been a bad guy, and everyone would have been ecstatic in Game Six when the ball went between his legs. Even Bostonians would have been cheering.

2. No annoying gray area. Albert Belle's a jerk, but he's also a phenomenal ball player who says he's misunderstood. So do we root for him or against him? Or Dennis Rodman, a great competitor who loves his
daughter, and also an egomaniac prone to kicking cameramen in the cojones -- is he bad or just plain bad? Is Drew Bledsoe a bad guy for falling apart in the clutch? Is Dennis Eckersley a bad guy for having a lousy

These questions don't exist in pro wrestling. Wrestlers are either 100 percent good or 100 percent bad, with none of that in-between crap. If they cheat and threaten the good guys, they're evil. If they don't, they're
saints -- at least until they turn bad and power-slam a good guy. They might switch back and forth every few years, but  you always know who you're rooting for.

3. Wrestlers do all their own stunts. To skeptics, wrestling is like Pamela Anderson's chest: everyone knows it's fake, but guys love watching it anyway. But fake is the wrong word (for wrestling, at least). A better term is . . .
assisted. There are microphones beneath the mat to make falls sound more painful, and most moves require cooperation from the victim -- it would be almost impossible to execute a brainbuster suplex on an unsuspecting

But those are real 250-pound guys out there, and when "the Total Package" Lex Luger military-presses an opponent over his head, he's not getting any help. Wrestlers really punch each other, really toss each
other around like rag dolls, and really leap from the top rope to drop the elbow pretty darned close to an opponent's neck. In the more psycho leagues, such as the burgeoning Extreme Championship Wrestling, they even slash their own foreheads with concealed razor blades to pretend they've been cut. (How this is better than "really" getting cut is clear only when you consider that some ECW matches also involve a lot of barbed wire.)

Wrestling may be a silicone sport, but it still requires serious skills. Jackie Chan is considered the world's greatest action star in part because he does all his own stunts. So why can't wrestling be the greatest action sport for the same reason? No big deal if these guys wouldn't last 15 seconds against Mike Tyson -- he probably couldn't execute a flying elbow-smash. As for a flying ear-chomp . . .

4. We live in the golden age. Back in the '80s, the WWF had a near-monopoly on national wrestling, and its broadcast matches were little more than hype for pay-per-view events. Superstars would fight nobodies on Saturday-morning TV. A typical match would see the Ultimate Warrior face Barry Horowitz. Based on names alone, you know one guy could be beaten with a rake for 15 minutes and still lift a Volkswagen over his head, and the other guy is someone to settle things for you fairly, properly, when you've been injured on the job or in
your home . . .

Then, in 1993, WWF owner Vince McMahon was indicted for intent to distribute anabolic steroids. (My analysis: well, duh.) In the wake of the scandal, WWF superstars began defecting en masse to the WCW, a rival league owned by Ted Turner. These days, the real battle isn't being fought in the ring. It's being fought during the 9 to 11 p.m. slot on Monday-night television. The USA Network now programs WWF's Raw head-to-head with TNT's WCW Monday Nitro -- and in the battle royale for ratings, big matches happen weekly. Hulk Hogan, who never wrestled on TV in the '80s, now fights almost every Monday. Barry Horowitz, apparently, is out of a job.

Then again, one of the most intimidating wrestlers in WCW is named Bill Goldberg. Seriously.

5. It's no worse than soap operas. Despite an abundance of babes, soap operas have never appealed to males. Professional wrestling fills the void and then some. It trades on the same need to follow tawdry relationships, complex plot lines, and a cast of characters who betray each other and feud endlessly. Of course, there's better acting in wrestling. And more punching and kicking. And steel chairs.

6. It rewards the study of history. Harvard philosopher George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Likewise, they're condemned to never truly appreciate the relationship between Hulk Hogan and "the Macho Man" Randy Savage, whose rivalry is reaching the length and complexity of a Tolstoy novel.

Back in the '80s, Hulk Hogan was the blond hero supreme of the WWF, and Randy Savage was still an up-and-coming wild man. After capturing the heavyweight belt at Wrestlemania IV, Savage teamed up with Hogan -- until the Macho Man suddenly attacked his teammate during a tag-team bout. He soon lost his
heavyweight belt to Hogan, then enjoyed a brilliant career as a bad guy, dumping long-time companion Miss Elizabeth and providing a popular foil for crowd-pleasers like the Hulkster.

Now, having defected to WCW, Hogan paints on a five-o'clock shadow and wrestles as the leader of the New World Order, a cabal of bad guys. Savage turned on Hulk and became a hero again, although his current status
is questionable because he's also part of the NWO. Two weeks ago, on a pay-per-view event called Uncensored, the two fought in a steel cage.

While this high drama and furious action are ridiculously entertaining even to the uneducated (okay, especially to the uneducated), only the well-schooled historian can appreciate the intricacies. Are Hogan and Savage destined to battle forever? Will their offspring blindly hate each other like modern-day Montagues and Capulets? Will Hulk go completely bald? Only time will tell.

(The really astute scholar will recall that this weekend's celebrity official, Mike Tyson, was scheduled to referee a WWF match on NBC back in 1990. Only thing is, he lost his boxing title 12 days before the meet and was replaced by the new champ, Buster Douglas. The match he refereed? Hulk Hogan versus Randy Savage. Those who do not remember the past . . .)

7. It's guilt-free violence. In ancient Rome, gladiators battled against lions, a spectacle that by all accounts was extremely diverting. Morally, though, it was a little suspect -- plus, it wasted a lot of gladiators. Today we've got boxing, which fulfills a similar voyeuristic need for violence.

Again, it's morally suspect, and Don King wastes a lot of styling products.

Professional wrestling, by contrast, is guilt-free. Nobody's really getting hurt -- they're just pretending to suffer from that flying drop kick. When an aging "Nature Boy" Ric Flair was carried out of the ring on a stretcher a few
months ago, he was back on TV the next week, talking trash, preparing for battle. It's just like when Wile E. Coyote gets smooshed by an anvil, falls off a cliff, then picks up the chase exactly where he left off. He bounces
back, ready to buy more Acme products, ready to put the Roadrunner in a figure-four leg lock.

Hulk Hogan built an entire career out of bouncing back. His schtick was to suffer a monstrous beating -- including his opponent's signature, lethal finishing maneuver -- then suddenly spring up and win the match. I grew to hate the Hulkster for this, but the average wrestling fan didn't seem to mind (or notice) that every match ended exactly the same way. And they loved that Hogan could take a lickin' and resume ass-kickin'.

8. It's, uh, homoerotic. Mention this to the wrong fan, and you could find yourself on the receiving end of an inverse atomic drop. Remember: WCW, at least, is rooted in a part of the country where gun racks are as common in cars as tree-shaped air fresheners. But let's call a spade a spade: wrestling's a bunch of beefy, pumped-up men rolling around together in bikini briefs, touching each other in naughty places. Executing a body slam requires scooping up your opponent by his crotch. Winning a match means sweating, straining against other men, and lots of flexing. The predominantly male audience cheers wildly.

Since the average wrestling fan isn't too comfortable with what this might mean, wrestling creates lightning-rod characters like "Ravishing" Rick Rude, who in the late '80s wore a Freddy Mercury mustache, made strutting
entrances to stripper's music, and swiveled his hips seductively. Things got way more mean-spirited with Goldust, currently one of the most hated bad guys in the WWF. He dresses in leather and spandex, lasciviously praises his opponents' physiques, then fondles them during matches. Fans hiss vigorously, call him a faggot, then go home to leaf through their Muscle & Fitness magazines and argue about whose pecs are bigger.

9. It's a window onto the Zeitgeist. As Goldust demonstrates, wrestling villainy is an excellent indicator of what makes average Americans nervous. During the Cold War, Russians were the worst bad guys, and a tag team
called the Bolsheviks would sing the National Hymn of the Soviet Union before matches. The Iron Sheik was similarly hated for his Iranian patriotism. Then the Berlin Wall came down and the Iron Sheik turned 50.

So the WWF sought new bad guys. Its search for a villain has produced the following:

Accountants: Out of the depths of the 1991 recession crawled Irwin R. Schyster (a/k/a IRS), who announced before his matches how many months were left until taxes were due. He lasted well into the Republican revolution.

Fat people/the Japanese: In the early '90s, Yokozuna weighed in at 589 pounds and defeated Hulk Hogan by distracting him with Eastern fireworks. He was managed by Mr. Fuji, who spoke broken English and threw salt in the eyes of opponents.

Gays: In the past few years, Goldust's look has evolved from two-bit drag to a more sophisticated S&M getup. But the message is still the same: Smear the queer.

The self-involved: "Buff" Bagwell turns to the camera and announces, "Do not adjust your television -- I am this good-looking!"

Dentists: Dr. Isaac Yankem embodied everyone's fear of drills, Novocain, and gingivitis. Or something like that.

Canadians: The Mountie, who looked like Dudley Do-Right, was a notorious cheater. And Calgary native Bret "the Hitman" Hart taunted Americans for being bad hockey players. Ouch, Bret. Hit us where it hurts.

10. Andy Kaufman loved it. Kaufman, never the most predictable of comedians, once announced he was going to sue NBC, then buy the network and turn it into a 24-hour wrestling station. The deadpan Kaufman was a devoted wrestling fan; he became famous for wrestling women, and his self-declared title as World Intergender Wrestling Champion led to a notorious battle against Jerry Lawler, who's now a commentator on Raw.

Courtesy of a pair of Lawler pile drivers, Kaufman seriously injured his cervical vertebrae and had to wear a neck brace for months. Was the match was a big joke, or was he serious about the feud? He never let on.

This is the great pro wrestling dilemma, and Kaufman's perpetually straight face made it all the more confusing.

11. There's no escape. Jesse "the Body" Ventura has had roles in several movies, including Predator and Batman and Robin. In 1991 he was elected mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Now he's running for governor on Perot's Reform Party platform, against Ted Mondale and Hubert Humphrey III. That's right -- two sons of vice presidents and a guy who used do commentary alongside Gorilla Monsoon.

Randy Savage received a Real Man of the Year Award from the Harvard Lampoon, thanks in large part to his brilliant, if incoherent, work in Slim Jim commercials. The Hulkster recorded an album, did some cameos on
Baywatch, and starred in classic films like Piledriver and No Holds Barred. Andre the Giant was unforgettable in The Princess Bride, and George "the Animal" Steele scored a major role in Tim Burton's Oscar-winning Ed Wood.

Wrestling is indeed everywhere. And if you think you're safe, just turn on WBZ -- nightly news anchor Sean Mooney cut his journalistic teeth as Events Center host for the WWF. Wrestling cannot be stopped. It cannot be contained. It's a fixture of American life, it's here to stay, and it's going to the top rope! It's dropping the elbow! It's going for the pin! What an amazing display of athleticism and bravery! This capacity crowd is going nuts!


(Weighing in at 180 pounds, hailing from parts unknown, Hacksaw Dan Tobin can be reached at

The WAWLI Papers # 222...


April 27, 1962 Kobe, Japan

Mr. Atomic drew Kokichi Endo, Duke Hoffman beat Arnold Skaaland, Dick Hutton
beat Oki Kintaro, Buddy Austin beat Kanji Inoki, Larry Hennig drew Michiaki Yoshimura, LOU THESZ-Fred Blassie-Mike Sharpe beat Rikidozan-Great Togo-Toyonobori

April 28, 1962 Okayama, Japan

Fred Blassie beat Kanji Inoki, Michiaki Yoshimura beat Arnold Skaaland, Mr.
Atomic beat Oki Kintaro, Duke Hoffman beat Tosanohana, Dick Hutton beat Mike Sharpe, LOU THESZ beat Kokichi Endo, Rikidozan-Toyonobori beat Buddy Austin-Larry Hennig

April 29, 1962 Hiroshima

LOU THESZ beat Arnold Skaaland, Fred Blassie beat Oki Kintaro, Toyonobori drew
Buddy Austin, Mr. Atomic beat Kanji Inoki, Dick Hutton beat Kokichi Endo, Rikidozan-Great Togo-Michiaki Yoshimura beat Larry Hennig-Duke Hoffman-MikeSharpe

April 30, 1962 Fukuoka, Japan

Kanji Inoki beat Mitsuaki Hirai, Fred Blassie beat Michiaki Yoshimura, Great
Togo drew Mike Sharpe, Mr. Atomic beat Arnold Skaaland, Dick Hutton beat Duke Hoffman, Rikidozan-Kokichi Endo-Toyonobori beat LOU THESZ-Buddy Austin-Larry Hennig

May 1, 1962 Ogori, Japan

Buddy Austin beat Arnold Skaaland, Larry Hennig beat Nagasawa, LOU THESZ beat
Oki Kintaro, Fred Blassie beat Kokichi Endo, Dick Hutton beat Kanji Inoki, Mr. Atomic-Duke Hoffman-Mike Sharpe beat Rikidozan-Toyonobori-Michiaki Yoshimura (DQ)

May 2, 1962 Nagasaki, Japan

Michiaki Yoshimura beat Mr. Atomic, Arnold Skaaland beat Hideyuki Nagasawa,
Larry Hennig beat Oki Kintaro, Mike Sharpe beat Kanji Inoki, LOU THESZ drew Dick Hutton, Rikidozan-Toyonobori-Kokichi Endo beat Buddy Austin-Fred Blassie-Duke Hoffman

May 3, 1962 Kagoshima, Japan

Kokichi Endo beat Oki Kintaro, Toyonobori beat Mr. Atomic, Fred Blassie beat
Arnold Skaaland, LOU THESZ beat Kanji Inoki, Dick Hutton beat Duke Hoffman, Rikidozan-Great Togo-Michiaki Yoshimura beat Buddy Austin-Larry Hennig-Mike Sharpe

May 6, 1962 Kokura, Japan

Oki Kintaro beat Tosanohana, Fred Blassie beat Kanji Inoki, Dick Hutton beat
Michiaki Yoshimura, Toyonobori beat Arnold Skaaland, LOU THESZ beat Kokichi Endo, Larry Hennig beat Duke Hoffman, Rikidozan-Great Togo beat Buddy Austin-Mike Sharpe

May 10, 1962 Osaka

Oki Kintaro drew Kanji Inoki, Michiaki Yoshimura beat Arnold Skaaland, Duke
Hoffman beat Mr. Atomic, Rikidozan-Great Togo-Toyonobori beat LOU THESZ-Buddy Austin-Larry Hennig

May 11, 1962 Osaka

Toyonobori vs. Duke Hoffman, Larry Hennig vs. Michiaki Yoshimura, LOU THESZ
beat Mr. Atomic (Clyde Steeves), Great Togo-Toyonobori drew Fred Blassie-Mike Sharpe, Rikidozan beat Dick Hutton

May 13, 1962 Wakayama, Japan

Isao Yoshihara beat Koichi Hayashi, Michiaki Yoshimura beat Kanji Inoki, Mike
Sharpe beat Arnold Skaaland, Fred Blassie beat Toyonobori, LOU THESZ beat Larry Hennig, Rikidozan-Kokichi Endo-Great Togo beat Buddy Austin-Duke Hoffman-Dick Hutton

May 14, 1962 Shingu, Japan

Kanji Inoki beat Mitsuaki Hirai, Kokichi Endo beat Arnold Skaaland, Dick
Hutton beat Oki Kintaro, LOU THESZ beat Toyonobori, Buddy Austin beat Fred Blassie (DQ), Rikidozan-Great Togo-Michiaki Yoshimura beat Larry Hennig-Duke Hoffman-Mike Sharpe

May 15, 1962 Kyoto

Dick Hutton beat Kokichi Endo, Oki Kintaro beat Arnold Skaaland, LOU THESZ
beat Mike Sharpe (DQ), Buddy Austin beat Michiaki Yoshimura, Rikidozan-Great Togo-Toyonobori beat Fred Blassie-Larry Hennig-Duke Hoffman

May 16, 1962 Gifu, Japan

Hideyuki Nagasawa beat Tosanohana, Mitsuaki Hirai drew Isao Yoshiwara,
Michiaki Yoshimura beat Duke Hoffman, Kokichi Endo beat Fred Blassie (dQ), LOU THESZ beat Dick Hutton, Rikidozan-Great Togo-Toyonobori beat Buddy Austin-Larry Hennig-Mike Sharpe

May 18, 1962 Fukui, Japan

Yoshimura beat Dick Hutton, Kokichi Endo beat Duke Hoffman, LOU THESZ beat
Fred Blassie, Rikidozan-Great Togo-Toyonobori beat Buddy Austin-Larry Hennig-Mike Sharpe

May 19, 1962 Toyama, Japan

Hideyuki Nagasawa beat Mitsuaki Hirai, Isao Yoshihara beat Tateo Hoshino,
Michiaki Yoshimura beat Duke Hoffman, Dick Hutton beat Kanji Inoki, Mike Sharpe beat Fred Blassie (dQ), LOU THESZ-Buddy Austin-Larry Hennig beat Rikidozan-Kokichi Endo-Toyonobori (DQ)

May 21, 1962 Mobara, Japan

Isao Yoshihara beat Hideyuki Nagasaw, Mr. Chin drew Mitsuaki Hirai, Michiaki
Yoshimura beat Kanji Inoki, Duke Hoffman beat Larry Hennig, LOU THESZ beat Kokichi Endo, Rikidozan-Great Togo-Toyonobori beat Buddy Austin-Fred Blassie-Mike Sharpe

May 23, 1962 Utsunomiya, Japan

Kiyotaka Otsubo beat Hiroshi Ueda, Mr. Chin beat Koichi Hayashi, Mike Sharpe
beat Kanji Inoki, Fred Blassie beat Kokichi Endo, Toyonobori beat Larry Hennig, LOU THESZ-Buddy Austin-Duke Hoffman beat Rikidozan-Michiaki Yoshimura-Great Togo

May 24, 1962 Yokohama

Great Togo beat Larry Hennig, Duke Hoffman beat Kanji Inoki, LOU THESZ beat
Michiaki Yoshimura, Rikidozan-Kokichi Endo-Toyonobori beat Buddy Austin-Fred Blassie-Mike Sharpe

May 25, 1962 Tokyo

Mike Sharpe beat Kokichi Endo, Duke Hoffman beat Kanji Inoki, Michiaki
Yoshimura beat Buddy Austin (DQ), Great Togo-Toyonobori beat Fred Blassie-Larry Hennig, Rikidozan beat LOU THESZ (lost final of fourth World League tournament)


(Associated Press, April 25, 1997)

NEWTON, Iowa -- A life-size mural of a famous
wrestler will greet visitors to a wrestling museum planned for this central Iowa community.

Dan Gable? Bruce Baumgartner? Hulk Hogan?

Nope. Try Abraham Lincoln. In his younger days, the
16th president was a pretty fair country wrestler. "Lincoln is arguably the most important person ever to live in the Western Hemisphere, and he was proud of his prowess as a backwoods wrestler," said Mike Chapman, who's coordinating the project for the International Wrestling Institute and Museum.

"Wrestling is mankind's oldest sport," he said.

"Wrestling is mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the
oldest known piece of literature in the world, and in the
Bible, where Jacob wrestles the angel of the Lord, and in
The Iliad and Homer."

The 8-foot mural showing Lincoln as a wrestler will
adorn the lobby of the museum, which Chapman hopes to
open early in 1998. The museum will trace the history of
wrestling from ancient Greece to the present.


The CAC has accepted Mike Chapman's offer to hold next year's (1998)
Cauliflower Alley Club (West Coast) banquet in conjunction with the Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions in Newton, Iowa, on April 24, 1999. For the first time, this will bring the pro and amateur ranks together, notes CAC Vice-President Karl K. Lauer of Rolla, Mo. "We plan also on a special tribute to Rocky Marciano, who died in a plane crash in Newton.

The Cauliflower Alley Club is 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. It is open,
in other words, not only to former participants but to fans as well. Use the
following form, if you wish, to order your membership application or renewal.

Please send your check or money order for $25 dues donation to CAULIFLOWER
ALLEY CLUB, HCR 33, Box 107, Rolla MO 65401). Upon receipt of dues, your new Membership Card and parchment Membership Certificate will be mailed. PLEASE PRINT NAME (as it will be used for Certificate) and ADDRESS LEGIBLY.

Dues are payable at the beginning of each calendar year. After two years'
delinquency, name is removed from the mailing list. Any further questions, contact Karl Lauer at (573) 729-2775 or FAX (573) 729-7998.

NAME ________________________________

(Professional Name)___________________________








Relative or Friend (for emergency)__________________





____Boxer _____Wrestler _____ Amateur ______Pro

____Active _____Retired



Date Submitted _______________________________

(Biography: Please list any titles, weight divisions, countries, dates, etc.
Submit any information, photos, clippings, etc. -- TO BE INCLUDED IN WALL OF


From: Phillip Huston <>
Subject: Eddie Gotch as "The Young Frank Gotch"
Date: Tue, 02 Jun 1998 14:18:05 -0500

I am trying to find information about a wrestler who wrestled in Louisville,Ky
at the Columbia Gym around 1951. He wrestled under the name of "The Young Frank Gotch" I believe his real name might have been Eddie
Gotch or possible Edward Gotch. We know he wrestled circuits in Kentucky and
possible southern Indiana during the 1930's and 40's. A partial press clipping of a evening of matches (UNKNOWN DATE) we feel that took place at the Columbia Gym in Louisville, had the following wrestlers named: The Welch
Brothers, Black-Smith Pedigo, and a "Scottie" Williams.

Any Information about Gotch or any place else to look would be appreciated.

Thanks for your time......Phil


(Los Angeles Times, Monday, June 3, 1996)

By Cecilia Rasmussen (L.A. Scene, Then and Now)

Sporting Los Angeles in the 1930s was home to racing dogs, floating crap games and a unique display of machismo called professional wrestling.

Each week, all over the city, brawny men with odd nicknames entered the ring to battle opponents with whom they had rehearsed a few days earlier. Fans -- encouraged by splashy stories and pictures displayed in the local press (whose journalists were often on the promoters' payrolls) -- bet wildly and illicitly on their favorites.

In the midst of this tarnished glamour stood Lou Daro, "Carnation Lou," a robust wrestling promoter who had once been a circus strongman but soon was keeping fit by lifting the sacks of cash that came his way. Even years after he left the circus, he often boasted that he had the greatest chest expansion of any man alive.

Until World War I, professional wrestling here was as legitimate as Wall Street, and almost as dull. Then Lou Daro arrived in L.A.

Daro had a show business flair and a booming, German-accented voice that rumbled across the Grand Olympic Auditorium, which opened in 1925. He was an imposing figure in his costly suits with his trademark red carnation in the lapel.

Born in Austria in 1887, he ran away from home at the age of 10, joining a flying trapese act with the Barnum & Bailey circus. Daro never went to school, but in his world travels he learned to speak eight languages.

While still a young man, he traded in his circus costume to be billed as the "strongest man in the world" at the New York Hippodrome and Madison Square Garden. There, at matinees and evening performances, an automobile loaded with passengers would slowly roll across his chest.

In the early 1920s, in what would be his last professional test of strength, he fought a tug of war with eight harnessed Clydesdales. One reared up in fright, and the injuries put Daro in a body cast.

He took what money he had and headed for Los Angeles with his brother, jack.

The wrestling impresarios' road to fame began in 1924, when they advertised instant cash to "anyone who can stay two minutes or three rounds with the Strangler" -- Ed "Strangler" Lewis, one of the colorful figures whom Daro managed (sic).

To guarantee a crowd, Daro gave away 50,000 free passes for a match in the downtown Philharmonic Auditorium, which seated 5,000. As thousands pounded on the doors, Daro -- to his delight -- was arrested for inciting a riot, giving him publicity that led to a fortune.

The bouts used the basic choreography of today's "performance" matches. Among the wrestlers Daro signed were heavyweights "Man Mountain" Dean and Jim Londos, known as the "Golden Greek," who smeared his body with olive oil.

After a decade of 433 wild, staged, overcrowded exhibitions and occasional riots at the Grand Olympic Auditorium, Daro's savvy showmanship had brought in more than $6 million in box office receipts.

Despite his millions, it was a $249 car repair bill -- unpaid for almost 10 years, since Daro's first impoverished days in Los Angeles -- that helped bring him down.

The auto mechanic, Leo Focher, showed up at the Olympic on July 10, 1935, to collect. Daro said he was too busy, and when Focher persisted, shouting at Daro, a Daro crony yelled, "It's a stickup!"

Focher ran to his car and when police arrived, Daro ordered, "Get that car!" A few blocks away, they stopped Focher's car and as Focher leaped out, one officer shot him in the leg; another shot him through the heart.

It was ruled justifiable homicide. But to clear Focher's name, his widow gave the bloodstained bill, which had been pierced by a bullet, to a reporter.

The reporter sent it to Daro and said he would clear Focher's name without mentioning the bill if Daro put $25,000 in a trust fund for Focher's family. Begrudgingly, Daro did.

The Daro brothers' career as fight promoters ended in 1939 after a special state investigating committee found that the "wrestling czars of California" had an illegal monopoly and had paid more than $200,000 over four years to sportswriters, radio announcers, politicians and public relations firms for their "good will, advice and entertainment."

Daro kept going for a time, but lawsuits and poor health eventually caught up with him, and in 1958, he died at the age of 71. He was buried with his signature carnation in his lapel.

(ED. NOTE -- The above article is courtesy of the Tom Burke collection, by way of Scott "Mr. Whatever Happened To . . .?" Teal.)

The WAWLI Papers # 223...


(Oregon Journal, Portland, Ore., April 7, 1954)

A confident challenger and a capable champion come to grips in the Auditorium tonight and it'll be Eric Pedersen as party of the first part and Lou Thesz as party of the second part when they wheel into action.

Thesz, who doesn't usually develop a peeve at any rival, is slightly miffed at Pedersen's claims to greatness and the usually polite and quiet St. Louis, Mo., resident insists he'll pull the "body beautiful" apart, muscle by muscle.

Pedersen, who has clamored for a second whack at Thesz ever since he first crossed the champion's path almost a year ago, is bent on proving to Ed (Strangler) Lewis, Thesz' manager, that he made a mistake when he told Eric to hunt up a new pilot.

So, with neither man liking each other and both in sound physical condition, their brawl just could develop into a wild one.

Thesz has age and weight and experience as his top assets, but in Pedersen he encounters a dangerous, determined rival. Eric has made rapid strides in the past year. He knows more than he knew the last time he met the champion and he has an idea that Thesz has slipped a bit.

Their bout is the top one on a six-match card which will get under way at 8:30 o'clock. General admission ticketrs will go on sale at the Auditorium at 7 p.m.

The rest of the card follows:

Luther Lindsey vs. Con Bruno; Pepper Gomez vs. Chet Wallick; Kurt Von Poppenheim vs. Juan Hernandez; John Paul Henning vs. Don Kindred; Gene Detton vs. Dale Kiser.

Pre-match interest indicates the crowd may exceeed the 4,800 who saw Thesz defeat Lindsey 10 nights ago.


March 29, 1954 Portland, Ore.

Glen Detton drew Juan Hernandez, Buck Weaver beat Roy Wolf, Ivan Kameroff beat Chet Wallick, Tommy Martindale drew John Paul Henning, Eric Pederson beat Bill Fletcher, LOU THESZ drew Luther Lindsey

March 30, 1954 Yakima, Wash.

LOU THESZ beat Earl McCready

March 31, 1954 Vancouver, B.C.
Harry Levin beat Benny Blake, Bud Rattal beat Tommy Nilan, Buddy Knox beat Lou Sjoberg, Danno McDonald beat Jack O'Reilly, LOU THESZ beat Earl McCready

April 1, 1954 Seattle

LOU THESZ beat Luther Lindsey

April 2, 1954 Tacoma

Luigi Macera vs. Buddy Knox, Danno McDonald vs. Jack O'Reilly, Earl McCready vs Luther Lindsey, Dave Jons vs. Bud Rattal, LOU THESZ beat Lou Sjoberg

April 5, 1954 Boise

LOU THESZ beat Gregorio Irabarren

April 7, 1954 Portland, Ore.

Dale Kiser drew Glen Detton, John Paul Henning beat Don Kindred (DQ), Kurt Von Poppenheim beat Juan Hernandez, Pepper Gomez beat Chet Wallick, Luther Lindsey beat Con Bruno, LOU THESZ beat Eric Pederson

April 8, 1954 Spokane, Wash.

LOU THESZ beat Kurt Von Poppenheim

April 9, 1954 Yakima, Wash.

Danno McDonald vs. Victor Ochoa, Dave Jons vs Luigi Macera, LOU THESZ beat Luther Lindsey


(Houston Chronicle, Sunday, August 21, 1955)

Pepper Gomez, one of the greatest Texas champions wrestling has had, gets a chance at the world's heavyweight title when he meets Louis Thesz in the most important main event of the year at the City Auditorium on Friday night.

Gomez, in top shape after his gruelling triumph over Duke Keomuka in a marathon match last week, promises to continue the same pace against Thesz in Friday's battle.

Both men will have first-class advice from the corner for Friday's test. Black Guzman will handle the challenger and his first-hand knowledge of Lou's style is expected to pay big dividends. In the opposite corner will be the veteran Ed (Strangler) Lewis to handle the champion.

Matchmaker Frank Burke has come up with a top-flight card of prelims, including a pair of the country's top midget wrestlers, who will appear in the nontelevised opener.

Duke Keomuka, anxious to get back in the win column after his terrific clash with Gomez last week, faces the biggest man in the mat game when he meets Tarzan Mike. Mike is also anxious to step into the main event slot and figures to go all out against the Duke.

Mr. Moto, also after a convincing win, meets the youngster who has captured the fancy of the fans here with a trio of wins, Wilbur Snyder.

Rito Romero is due to have a tough job on his hands when he faces George Bollas in the second scrap.

A pair of mighty atoms rip loose in the pace-setter when Sky Low Low, rated as one of the world's best athletes, pound for pound, meets England's mighty midget, Lord Clayton Littlebrook.


August 26, 1955 Houston

LOU THESZ beat Pepper Gomez

August 29, 1955 Fort Worth

Bozo Brown drew Polo Torres, Lou Newman beat Tarzan Mike (Lane), Larry Chene beat Mike Clancy, Rito Romero-Pepper Gomez beat Duke Keomuka-Stu Gibson, LOU THESZ beat Wilbur Snyder (DQ)

August 30, 1955 Dallas

LOU THESZ beat Ray Gunkel

August 31, 1955 San Antonio

LOU THESZ drew Pepper Gomez

September 1, 1955 Odessa, Tex.

LOU THESZ drew Dory Funk


(Houston Chronicle, Sunday, February 24, 1957)

World heavyweight wrestling champion Louis Thesz defends his title and belt against a man who already holds a victory over him when he meets Texas champion Pepper Gomez in the main event at the City Auditorium Friday night.

Gomez earned the right to face Thesz by his battle with El Medico last week and also earned it on the basis of his record. The last time he faced Thesz he won a conclusive victory over the big St. Louis star and ousted him out of the No. 2 spot in the nation's ratings
(ED. NOTE--Pepper Gomez beat Lou Thesz in Houston on Sept. 21, 1956, while Whipper Billy Watson held the National Wrestling Alliance world heavyweight title.)

Gomez will go into the ring full of confidence on Friday. Since his last battle with Thesz he has had the advantage of coaching by Lou's former manager, Strangler Lewis, and he expects the things he learned from Ed to pay big dividends in Friday's fracas.

Friday's six-match card is at the City Auditorium due to the fact that the rodeo occupies the Coliseum. But promoter Morris Sigel has made the bill of Coliseum proportions.

In the semifinal an international slugging bee will take place when Oriental Tokyo Joe matches his chops and chokes against the rough wrestling of Irish Danny McShane.

In the balance of the prelims Bobby Managoff battles Iron Mike in the promising special event with Managoff out after main event recognition.

The Bulldog faces 552-pound Country Boy Calhoun who is rapidly assuming the proportions of a legend here.

Joe (Killer) Christy tries his wallops against sturdy Dirty Don Evans in the second bout.

Larry Chene will leap into action in the opener against Mad Maurice Vachon.


February 4, 1957 Tampa

LOU THESZ beat Buddy Rogers

February 5, 1957 Lake Worth, Fla.

LOU THESZ beat Wilbur Snyder

February 6, 1957 St. Petersburg, Fla.

LOU THESZ beat Ray Villmer

February 13, 1957 St. Petersburg, Fla.

LOU THESZ beat Dick the Bruiser

February 14, 1957 Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

LOU THESZ beat Don Leo Jonathan

February 21, 1957 Amarillo

LOU THESZ beat Ray Gunkel

February 22, 1957 St. Louis

LOU THESZ beat Ed Carpentier

February 25, 1957 Fort Worth

LOU THESZ beat Don Evans

February 26, 1957 Dallas

LOU THESZ beat Bobby Managoff

February 28, 1957 San Antonio

LOU THESZ beat El Medico

March 1, 1957 Houston

LOU THESZ drew Pepper Gomez

March 12, 1957 Edmonton

LOU THESZ beat Johnny Valentine

March 13, 1957 Saskatoon

LOU THESZ beat Johnny Valentine

March 14, 1957 Regina

Stu Hart drew Dick Huffman, Vince Lopez vs. Roy Heffernan, Johnny Valentine vs. Lou Sjoberg (NC), LOU THESZ beat Chet Wallick

March 15, 1957 Calgary

Chet Wallick vs. Roy Heffernan, Lou Sjoberg vs. Jack Bence, Al-John Smith vs. Bearcat Wright-Don Kindred, Johnny Valentine vs. John Paul Henning, LOU THESZ beat Vince Lopez

March 22, 1957 St. Louis Kiel Auditorium

Ian Campbell vs. Red Lyons, Lou Plummer vs. Bob McCune, George Bollas-Mighty Ursus vs. Wilbur Snyder-Billy Darnell, June Byers vs. Penny Banner, LOU THESZ beat Fritz Von Erich (DQ)


(Big Time Wrestling, Indianapolis, December, 1961)

By W.C. Shaw

Guess how Penny Banner celebrated winning the women's heavyweight wrestling championship after defeating June Byers last August 26th.

She went out dancing, with wrestler Johnny Weaver, at a Fort Wayne spot for two hours after, what she termed, the "toughest fight of my life."

A real devotee of rock and roll, Miss Banner's two favorite pastimes are "dancin' up a storm and wrestlin' up a storm."

The 27-year-old blond bombshell, without a doubt the prettiest of all wrestling champs, received more than her share of bumps and bruises during the eight years she has wrestled professionally.

During her ring career, which began nine years ago, she has received chipped teeth, had her nose broken three times, dislocated both elbows, had her knee caps "thrown out" and at one time was laid up for six months with a dislocated back.

Penny Banner doesn't hesitate when she says she prefers wrestling "dirty" to fighting "clean" and she has always been tagged as "the bad guy" in her bouts.

Perhaps many wonder why a beautiful young girl like Penny would choose a ring career, and then after having been injured as much as she has, keep coming back for more punishment.

One reason is readily apparent -- the money. Miss Banner earned $13,000 to $15,000 a year before she won the title. If she hangs onto the crown she should hit the $25,000 class next year.

Penny says that being a woman wrestler is much better than a college education. "I get to see so many places in this world, places most people just read about."

Miss Banner says she plans to retire in about five years but until then she intends to keep fighting "dirty."

"After all," she says, "boos are better than no audience reaction at all."

This magazine thinks there will always be an audience reaction to Penny Banner .. . . from the "oohs and ahs" when she climbs into the ring to the "boos and bahs" when she leaves.


(Advertising Age, May 11, 1998)

By William Spain

When Ted Turner first put wrestling on cable TV in the early '70s, some competitors wore masks. Perhaps they didn't want anyone to know what they did for a living.

Today, professional wrestlers go to sales meetings in suits and ties, attracting legions of fans including families and clean-cut kids. Professional wrestling has successfully moved from trash sport to big-time entertainment.

"Since 1994, our revenues for wrestling have increased by ten times," says Joe Uva, president of Turner Entertainment sales and marketing; Turner is owner of the top-rated wrestling programs on cable TV.

In terms of audience and ad growth, "what (is) happening with wrestling is the same kind of thing that happened with NASCAR," Mr. Uva says.

Helen Katz, media research manager, DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago, calculates $55.3 million was spent last year by advertisers on cable TV wrestling.

The biggest fight of all may be outside the ring: Turner and USA Networks are involved in a Monday night death match pitting World Championship Wrestling against the World Wrestling Federation in a no-holds-barred battle for viewers and advertising dollars.

Wrestling's image began to shift in the 1980s, when stars like Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper attained a kind of camp-hero status among kids as the spread of cable exposed them to ever-wider audiences.

Then, in 1988, Turner purchased a major wrestling promotion company and gave it a complete overhaul, renaming it World Championship Wrestling.

Simultaneously, the original teen-age viewers grew into free-spending young adults, new audiences began tuning in and the process only continues to accelerate.

Turner, building on the success of its "TNT Monday Nitro" card, this year launched yet another prime-time series, this one on TBS, named "Thursday Thunder."

"It was the highest-rated original series premiere in basic-cable history," claims Mr. Uva, adding that it hit an impressive 4.2 rating within the Turner universe.

Another major change for the industry is that no one on the inside -- from performers to programmers to sponsors -- even tries to maintain the fiction that professional wrestling is in any way authentic athletic competition.

While the full body slam is still a staple, much of the fake blood of the early days is long gone and, in the words of one programming executive, "the only way anyone gets hurt is by accident."

Veteran broadcast buyer Doug Seay, senior VP at Hal Riney & Partners, New York, puts it this way: "When you buy wrestling, everyone has a reasonable expectation that it is phony. In many ways, it foreshadowed a whole trend of sports as entertainment and news as entertainment (but at least) it is more honest in its blatant self-promotion."

It can also be, he adds, a good buy.

"For some targets, it delivers huge numbers incredibly efficiently and that makes it a great vehicle."

He suggests it is a particularly good fit for some cars and trucks, the auto aftermarket, soft drinks, snack foods and movies.

Turner's wrestling sponsor list is all over the map, Mr. Uva says, from "telecommunications to candies, snack foods, fragrances, games, movies and electronics."

Among wrestling's larger advertisers are MCI Communications Corp., M&M/Mars, Aiwa America, Pfizer Inc., Warner-Lambert Co.'s Burst gum and Valvoline.

"We well it as a whole marketing platform," he says, including not just TV spots but in-arena-sponsorships, events and a wide range of promotional opportunities.

A recent example was last month's "WCW Spring Breakout" traveling road show co-sponsored by Burst. The tour hit several campuses before ending up in Panama City, Fla., just as hordes of college students descended for their annual spring break pilgrimage.

At USA Networks, which goes head-to-head with Turner in the wrestling market, their WWF properties are sold "as part of a bigger entertainment landscape. Some people may still think of it as sport but it is really entertainment with a storyline," said Bonnie Hammer, USA Networks' VP-original productions and programming.

Still, not everyone is on board yet. Executives at USA and Turner concede that some advertisers still have lingering concerns about both viewer demographics and violent content. That arises largely from a misperception of what wrestling is now, as opposed to the old days, Mr. Uva says.

"Our demographic profile is not what one might expect," he says. There is a high concentration of men, but many are in the $30,000-$40,000-plus income bracket.

"We overindex against the people who you would assume are too upscale for this," he says.

Mr. Seay agrees: "The perception of the audience doesn't match the reality. You think it is the woodsman from 'Deliverance' who watches wrestling but it is far more universal."

He also has few qualms about content. "I wouldn't put clients in 'Jerry Springer' but I do put them in wrestling. One man's stigma is another man's opportunity."

The WAWLI Papers # 224...


(Bremerton Sun, Friday, September 7, 1945)

Ed (Strangler) Lewis, one of the all-time greats of the wrestling game, will be the headliner of the newly organized Sportsmen's Club grappling program next Thursday night at the Civic Center here.

This card will mark the resumption of the mat game in Bremerton after a six-week layoff. The new Sportsmen's Club, with Vic Sinkunas as the promoter, has taken over the local wrestling enterprise from the Globe A.C.

The appearance of "The Strangler" on the opening fall show should give the game a great send-off. The big fellow is now in his middle 50s, but he's still in great shape and is able to hold his own in any ring. During the spring, incidentally, he made a tour of army and navy camps in the nation, demonstrating some of the fine points of wrestling and then challenging all comers. He was never downed.

In addition to making appearances himself, Lewis is also tutoring a big Minnesota fellow named Gustafson, and figures the youngster is championship material. It is likely that local fans will also get a look at Gustafson before long.

Louis Thesz, the handsome Hungarian from Fort Lewis, will be the man to test Lewis in his bout here. This should be a natural, for Thesz has never been defeated in the Bremerton ring. Formerly of St. Louis, he's a favorite of the fans and a fine representative of the game.

Signing of the other bouts for the card was being completed today.


(Bremerton Sun, Monday, September 10, 1945)

Advance sale of tickets for Thursday night's wrestling card -- marking the re-opening of the sport here after a six-week vacation -- began today.

And the fans, no doubt, were pleased as punch when they discovered that the Sportsmen's Club, which is promoting the matches henceforth, had deemed an admission price cut was in order. Henceforth, there will be just two prices for the weekly wrestling shows -- $2 for reserved seats, and $1 for the general admission areas.

The slash was made in keeping with the local trend. Workers are taking homeless pay since the navy yard and many civilian enterprises shifted from the 48-hour to the 40-hour work week. Each family will have a little less to spend for recreation, so the wrestling show costs were reduced to help the fans along in this regard.

Tickets are being sold in advance of the shows, as formerly, at the Smoke Shop, Palace and Sport Shop, all in the downtown area; at Hal's Tavern in Manette, and at the C. Jack Jones Marine Supply store in West Bremerton.

Signing of the Thursday card has been completed. As previously announced, Ed (Strangler) Lewis, one of the alltime greats of the game, meets Louis Thesz, Fort Lewis, in the main go. Two newcomers to Bremerton, both highly rated boys, tangle in the other two-falls-out-of-three match; they are Hal Rumberg of McChord Field, 240 pounds, and Rube Wright of Texas, a brother of Jim Wright, 245 pounds. In the special event, Antone Leone of Oyster Bay, N.Y., 222 pounds, meets the popular and colorful Johnny Walker of Chicago, 210 pounds.

The first match will start at 8:30 o'clock. Weekly cards, on Thursday night at Civic Center, are planned.


(Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Tuesday, September 11, 1945)

Cliff Gustafson, the burly young man from Gonvick, Minn., and Cpl. Louis Thesz, the thick-necked and also youthful grunter and groaner from Fort Lewis, did their swinging and sweating without a result last night at the Civic Auditorium. The two grappling pachyderms did their stuff cleanly and stuck mainly to classic holds, surprising the promoters by not "stinking the jernt out."

Both Gustafson and Thesz are students of old maestros like Ed (Strangler) Lewis and Dan (The Lion) Koloff. They went through a pretty fair repertoire from wristlocks to toe holds last night without appreciably paining each other or the audience.

Other events were:

Rube Wright, Houston, Tex., took one fall from Jim Clark, St. Joseph, Mo., in 17 minutes; Albert (Lawd) Mills, London, England, took the odd fall from Jim Wright, Houston, Tex.; Maurice (The Angel) Tillet, France, bear-hugged Chief Little Wolf to score, two falls to Little Wolf's one.


(Seattle Star, Tuesday, September 11, 1945)

Corporal Louie Thesz of Fort Lewis and Clifton Gustafson of Gonvick, Minn., tugged and mauled each other thru 60 minutes of exciting action to a no-fall draw in the main event of the State Athletic Club card at the Civic Auditorium last night.

It was easily the finest mat display since the revival of the game locally and one of the best goes ever unleashed here.

There were thrills galore as these two undefeated boys "shot the works." On one occasion, Thesz let go with his "flying tackle" but Gustafson finally squirmed away. On another sortie, the Swedish kid tied up the Hungarian with a headlock, but he managed to weather the storm session.

For some strange reason, "The Angel" appears to draw the bobby sox crowd a la Frank Sinatra. Anyway, the ugly Frenchman took a pair of falls from Chief Little Wolf in the semi-windup. He used the "bear hug." The Redskin got the middle fall with a top body press.

Albert Mills, the Englishman, came from behind to win from Jim Wright of Texas in the special event. Wright scored first with a "strangle-headlock." Mills tied the score with a toehold and got the decisive fall when Referee Nick Zvolis awarded him a foul on a strangle.

Rube Wright, Jim's brother, registered in the opener by fastening Jim Clark of St. Joseph, Mo., with a reverse toehold in 17 minutes.


(Tacoma News Tribune, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 1945)

The brothers Wright, Rube and Jim, defeated the soldier duo of Cpl. Louie Thesz and Pvt. Morris Shapiro, both of Fort Lewis, in the tag team bout heading the mat program Tuesday night at the Midway.

Jim, who hefts a trifling 240 pounds, pinned Shapiro with a hammerlock in 29 minutes for the first fall. Rube, who bounces the Fairbanks at 260 pounds, scored over Thesz in nine minutes with a body press.

Some of the fans didn't care for the tactics of the Wrights and James ran a gauntlet of irate gallerites to reach the dressing room. Rube, a patient soul, waited until the gendarmes arrived and they conducted him safely to the quiet and peace of the dressing quarters.

Chief Little Wolf, 235 pound Navajo, and Seelie Samara, 237-pound Negro, drew in the semifinal, each gaining a fall. The Injun won the first fall in 29:30 with a slam and press, while Seelie took the second in 9:14 with a grand slam.

Jim (Dazzler) Clark, 235 pounder from Kansas, won from Mickey Gavas, 230 pounder from Fort Lewis, with a back breaker and body press in 14:545. Gavas, a likely looking youngster, was making his pro debut.


(Bremerton Sun, Thursday, September 13, 1945)

Big, hard-as-nails Ed (Strangler) Lewis came to Bremerton this afternoon, all ready for the re-opening of the professional wrestling season at the Civic Recreation Center at 8:30 o'clock tonight.

Lewis, one of the all-time greats of the mat game, planned to spend several hours before the wrestling program in getting acquainted with Bremertonians, particularly navy men. During the war emergency, he made extensive tours of army and navy camps to participate in athletic shows, and he made hundreds of friendships among service people.

"It's a real pleasure for me to wrestle in a city like Bremerton, where there is an abundance of navy men. I know they enjoy good, clean, thrilling sport -- just as I do. And I know they believe in keeping their bodies in excellent
shape -- just as I do. We speak the same language," Lewis commented.

Lewis, still one of the mat game's best men despite his increasing years, meets Louis Thesz, the handsome Hungarian, on the main event of tonight's card, the first being staged by the new Bremerton Sportsmen's Club, with Vic Sinkunas as matchmaker.

Hal Rumberg of McChord Field meets Rube Wright of Texas in the other half of the double main event; both weigh in the neighborhood of 240 pounds, and both are new to the Bremerton ring. Rube Wright is a brother of Jim Wright, who is known to local fans.

John Walker, the colorful Chicago boy, and Antone Leone, from Oyster Bay, N.Y., collide in the opener.


(Bremerton Sun, Friday, September 14, 1945)

A good-sized crowd last night saw Ed (Strangler) Lewis, massive ex-heavyweight wrestling champion, drop two straight falls to Louis Thesz of St. Louis, big army private now stationed at Fort Lewis, as the mat game came back to Bremerton.

The Sportsmen's Club, with Vic Sinkunas as matchmaker, brought the Lewis-Thesz match here to headline its first card. By winning, Thesz maintained his record of never suffering defeat in the local ring.

Lewis was in top shape despite his years, but Thesz was easily the more powerful. Following the match, Lewis praised Thesz' ability but declared that Cliff Gustafson, his protege who may soon show here, is a better man than Thesz -- and will prove it!

In the lower half of the double main event, Rube Wright, big Texan, scored over Hal Rumberg, army corporal from McChord Field. It was a thriller.

Antone Leone, Oyster Bay, N.Y., and John Walker of Chicago battled 30 minutes without a fall in the opener.

Another pro card is scheduled next Thursday, with the lineup of bouts to be announced soon.


(Tacoma News Tribune, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 1945)

In an unexpected appearance, Strangler Ed Lewis, pinch hitting for his protege, Cliff Gustafson, lost two straight to Rube Wright in the semi windup at the weekly wrestling matches at the Midway Arena Tuesday night.

Gustafson was injured Monday night in Seattle and Lewis agreed to take his place. Wright took the first fall in 18 minutes as a result of a successful step-over toehold. The second fall came 12 minutes into the second period with a body slam.

After Dick Raines, 230, had been awarded the deciding third fall over Seelie Samara, 245, his reluctance to discontinue his slamming the big Negro about the mat drew the ire of Referee Nick Zvolis who disqualified Raines, reversed his decision, and gave the match to Samara.

The first fall went to Samara with a body press in 15 minutes. The second period ended in 2 minutes as Raines pinned Samara using a back breaker.

In the best match of the evening, Kay Bell, 235-pound ex-WSC footballer, and Mickey Gavas, 240, struggled to a 30-minute draw before the fair-sized crowd.


(Bremerton Sun, Friday, September 21, 1945)

Chief Little Wolf, full-blooded Indian, scored an unpopular victory over Johnny Walker of New York in last night's main event wrestling bout at Civic Center. The crowd was small, but it was rewarded for its attendance by being
treated to about the best mat show that has ever been staged here.

The main event result was unpopular because Little Wolf displayed dirty tactics throughout the match.

In the semi-windup, Antone Leone of New York scored a two-fall win over Kay Bell, big, handsome Seattle boy who was making his debut here.

"Dazzler Jim" Clark, a big fellow, won over Mickey Gavas, nice-looking Greek boy, in the special event which opened the card.

Another show will be offered to fans next Thursday night.


(Bremerton Sun, Friday, September 28, 1945)

A tag team match -- something decidedly new to Bremerton wrestling fans -- caused quite a furore at the Civic Center last night. The team match headlined the Sportsmen's Club weekly mat card, and it was a battle of brawn and words from start to finish.

Frank Stojack of Tacoma and Lou Newman of Toronto, who composed team No. 1, were the winners in two out of three falls over big Rube Wright of Texas and talkative, clowning Antone Leone of Oyster Bay, N.Y. The crowd was satisfied with the outcome, for Leone and Wright were villainous.

In the semi-windup, Hal Rumberg, with a new army discharge in his pocket, won two falls over Mickey Gavas, who still is a soldier at Fort Lewis. Lou Newman, who subbed in the opener, won over Mike Reilly of Tacoma, also a sub.

Another card is slated for next Thursday night, with matchmaker Vic Sinkunas promising to announce the lineup by Monday.


September 4, 1945 Tacoma

Al Mills drew Seelie Samara, Cliff Gustafson beat Ted Christy, LOU THESZ beat Leo Numa

September 10, 1945 Seattle

Al Mills beat Jim Wright, Rube Wright beat Jim Clark, Maurice Tillet (French Angel) beat Chief Little Wolf, LOU THESZ drew Cliff Gustafson 60:00

September 11, 1945 Tacoma

Jim Clark beat Mickey Gavas, Chief Little Wolf drew Seelie Samara, Rube-Jim Wright beat LOU THESZ-Morris Shapiro

September 13, 1945 Bremerton, Wash.

Antone Leone drew Johnny Walker (John Bonica), Rube Wright beat Hal Rumberg, LOU THESZ beat ED LEWIS (2-0)

September 17, 1945 Seattle

Al Mills beat Johnny Walker (John Bonica), Kay Bell beat Lou Newman, LOU THESZ beat Rube Wright (DQ), Cliff Gustafson beat Seelie Samara

September 21, 1945 St. Louis

Olaf Olson beat Ralph Garibaldi, Vic Christy beat Bill Middlekauf, Paul Boesch beat Finis Hall, Joe Dusek beat Cherry Vallina, LOU THESZ beat Ray Eckert

September 26, 1945 Evansville

Al Massey beat Bill Middlekauf, Vic Christy beat Dick Lever, Violet Valentine beat Celia Blevins, LOU THESZ beat Wally Grebb

September 28, 1945 Omaha

Hans Hermann drew Henry Piers, Ede Virag beat Babe Zaharias, Joe Dusek-LOU THESZ beat Abe Coleman-Abe Kashey

October 3, 1945 Evansville

Abe Yourist drew Jack Hader, Vic Christy beat Don McIntyre, LOU THESZ beat Ray Eckert

October 4, 1945 Denver

LOU THESZ beat Swedish Angel (Olaf Olson)

October 5, 1945 St. Louis

Joe Dusek drew Abe Yourist, Paul Boesch beat Dick Lever, Ray Villmer beat Jack Hader, LOU THESZ beat Cliff Olson, Vic Christy beat Warren Bockwinkel

October 15, 1945 Seattle

Seelie Samara beat Lou Newman, Hal Rumberg beat Dick Raines (DQ), Chief Little Wolf beat Chief Thunderbird, Johnny Walker (John Bonica) beat Happy Peterson, LOU THESZ drew Dean Detton 60:00

October 16, 1945 Tacoma

Chief Thunderbird beat Hal Rumberg, LOU THESZ beat Dick Raines (DQ), Dean Detton beat Seelie Samara

October 18, 1945 Bremerton, Wash.

Johnny Walker (John Bonica) drew Frank Stojack, Seelie Samara beat Lou Newman, LOU THESZ beat Chief Thunderbird

October 22, 1945 Seattle

Johnny Walker (John Bonica) beat Bob Anderson, Chief Thunderbird beat Dick Raines, Seelie Samara beat Jim Wright, LOU THESZ beat Dean Detton

October 23, 1945 Tacoma

Frank Stojack beat Mickey Gavas, Seelie Samara beat Chief Thunderbird, Dick Raines beat LOU THESZ (DQ)

October 29, 1945 Seattle

Lou Newman beat Frank Stojack, Dick Raines beat Jim Wright, Seelie Samara beat Chief Little Wolf, LOU THESZ beat Chief Thunderbird

October 30, 1945 Tacoma

Jim Wright vs. Lou Newman, Frank Stojack vs. Chief Thunderbird, LOU THESZ beat Dick Raines

November 1, 1945 Bremerton, Wash.

Dick Raines beat Johnny Walker (John Bonica), Chief Little Wolf beat Hal Rumberg, LOU THESZ beat Seelie Samara

November 5, 1945 Seattle

Earl Malone drew Johnny Walker (John Bonica), Dick Raines beat Chief Little Wolf, Tor Johnson beat Hal Rumberg, LOU THESZ drew Seelie Samara