The WAWLI Papers
NORFOLK RESULTS, LATTER HALF, 1958
July 3, 1958 Norfolk Arena
George Becker-Mike Clancy beat Ike Eakins-Hans Schnabel, Frank Jares beat Chick Garibaldi,
Paul Anderson beat Gypsy Joe
(Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, Friday, July 11, 1958)
By Russell Borjeu
The curly haired young man hadn't eaten since noon -- and it was close to nine at night.
But he didn't appear to be weakened from the lack of food.
"I don't have much of an appetite," said Paul Anderson, the strongest man in the
world Thursday night before he made his Norfolk wrestling debut.
"I need a lot of liquids," he explained. "Used to drink six quarts of milk
a day. I used my own protein supplement. Proteins keep my muscles toned up and I'm hardly
ever what you call hungry."
The 24-year-old Georgian won the Olympic weightlifting championship in 1956. Even the
Russians were impressed with his strength and it was they who started calling him the
world's strongest man.
"I started lifting weights about six years ago," he said. "I was playing
football at Furman then and I used the weights to help me become a better football player.
"I stopped football after one year, though, and started lifting weights all the time.
I found that I enjoyed individual sports better."
The 350-pound athlete, snubbed when he challenged heavyweight boxing champ Floyd Patterson
to a bout, is now after the wrestling title held by Dick Hutton.
"I can't help but think I could've beaten Patterson," he said. "But I
couldn't get any response from him.
"How could I have beaten him? Well, he weighs about 180, doesn't he? I think a good
big man can beat a good little man anytime."
Anderson feels the day is past when people scoff at weight lifters and call them
"People nowadays who think of weight lifting that way," he commented, "have
closed minds or else they're ignorant.
"Of course, there are these body-builders who go out and show off on the beach. They
have the big shoulders and the small waist. Everybody knows they're not athletes. Some of
them are even sick."
Anderson plays golf, hunts and fishes and he enjoys automobile racing -- when he has the
time to do it. Swimming he can't master -- and he doesn't want to.
"I don't know why it is but I just don't have any buoyancy whatsoever," he
revealed. "I go right to the bottom like a rock."
July 10, 1958 Norfolk Arena
Paul Anderson-Red Bastien-Mike Clancy beat Ike Eakins-Frank Jares-Hans Schnabel, Gory
Guerrero beat Bob Corby
July 17, 1958 Norfolk Arena
Paul Anderson beat Hans Schnabel, Frank Jares beat Gory Guerrero, Ike Eakins beat George
Curtis, Peggy Allen beat Ann Regan
July 24, 1958 Norfolk Arena
Paul Anderson beat Ike Eakins, Frank Jares beat Red Bastien, Hans Schnabel beat Nick
Roberts, Gory Guerrero beat Jim Austeri DQ
July 31, 1958 Norfolk Arena
Frank Jares beat Red Bastien DQ, Paul Anderson-Gory Guerrero beat Hans Schnabel-Jack
Vansky, Great Bolo beat George Curtis
Aug. 7, 1958 Norfolk Arena
George Becker-Red Bastien beat Frank Jares-Hans Schnabel DQ, Ernie Dusek beat Gory
Guerrero, Jim Austeri beat Tinker Todd (sub for Chick Garibaldi)
Aug. 14, 1958 Norfolk Arena
George Becker-Red Bastien beat Frank Jares-Hans Schnabel, Ernie Dusek beat Chick
Garibaldi, Jack Vansky drew Gory Guerrero
Aug. 21, 1958 Norfolk Arena
George Becker beat Ernie Dusek DQ, Fritz Von Erich beat Nick Roberts, Waldo Von Erich beat
Rocky Perez, Peggy Allen beat Rita Cortez
Aug. 28, 1958 Norfolk Arena
Red Bastien beat Johnny Valentine DQ, Ernie Dusek beat Gory Guerrero, Fritz Von Erich beat
Nick Roberts, Waldo Von Erich beat Chick Garibaldi
Sept. 4, 1958 Norfolk Arena
Little Beaver-Little Red Feather beat Beau Brummell-Fuzzy Cupid, George Becker beat Jack
Vansky, Ernie Dusek beat Rocky Perez
Sept. 11, 1958 (no mat card, Home Show)
Sept. 18, 1958 Norfolk Arena
Red Bastien beat Ernie Dusek, George Becker beat Frank Altman, Mike Paidousis beat Nick
Roberts, Judy Grable beat Rita Cortez
Sept. 25, 1958 Norfolk Arena
George Becker beat Jim Austeri (final of Battle Royal), Marco Polo beat Prince Omar, Billy
Two Rivers beat Lou Plummer DQ, Mike Paidousis beat Dick Lever
BREAKS OF THE GAME by W.N. COX
(Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, Sunday, September 28, 1958)
They come and they go and when one comes to stay he's often taken for granted and leave us
not allow that to happen to Big Bill Lewis, the wrestling man.
This is his 20th year in Norfolk, averaging about 45 cards a season, involving, overall,
some 360 bone-twisters who would appear in a total of some 7,200 bouts. Among them were
Strangler Lewis, Jim Londos, Joe Savoldi, the late Gus Sonnenberg, the French Angel, the
Swedish Angel, and Blimp Levy, world's biggest and worst wrestler.
Argentina Rocca, the new champ Dick Hutton and the Becker brothers, George and the late,
beloved Bobby. Also the girls, Mildred Burke, the best of them, and Nell Stewart, the
prettiest, more so than Bill Lewis. Gorgeous George, who came to town in an orchid
Cadillac. And Mr. Moto.
If placed end to end the wrestling brawn Big Bill handled in Norfolk in 20 years would
make a chain from here to, well from here to yonder and one was named Ginger, a black
bear. That bear never lost a bout.
Came the war and Lewis was first in line with free tickets for men in uniform. He donated
200,000 all told to the Armed Forces for distribution as they saw fit. Believe it or not,
there are only four other wrestling promoters in the country who have been at the same
place for 20 years or longer -- Toots Mondt at New York, Jim Crockett at Charlotte, N.C.,
Paul Bowser at Boston and Morris Sigel at Houston.
Oct. 2, 1958 Norfolk Arena
Mike Paidousis beat George Becker, Great Bolo beat Gory Guerrero, Mike Clancy beat Lou
Plummer, Marco Polo beat Antone (Ripper) Leone
Oct. 9, 1958 Norfolk Arena
George Becker beat Mike Paidousis, Red Bastien beat Marco Polo, Great Bolo beat Rocky
Perez, Mike Clancy beat Prince Omar
Oct. 16, 1958 Norfolk Arena
George Becker-Mike Clancy beat Fritz Von Erich-Waldo Von Erich, Mike Paidousis beat Rocky
Perez, Karol Fozoff beat Marco Polo
Oct. 23, 1958 Norfolk Arena
George Becker-Mike Clancy beat Fritz Von Erich-Waldo Von Erich, Rita Cortez beat Betty
Evans, Mike Paidousis beat Jack Vansky
Oct. 30, 1958 Norfolk Arena
Slave Girl Moolah-Rita Cortez beat Betty Clarke-Ann Regan, Mike Paidousis beat Marco Polo,
Karol Fozoff beat Rocky Perez
Nov. 6, 1958 Norfolk Arena
George Becker-Mike Clancy beat Mike Paidousis-Karol Fozoff, Thor Hagen beat John Heideman,
Lou Plummer beat Thor Hagen (sub for Pete Managoff)
WRESTLING SHOW ENDS IN BIG BRAWL
(Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, November 14, 1958)
The main event in the wrestling card at the Arena Thursday night ended in a brawl with the
tag teams even in falls, promoter Bill Lewis knocked down, the wrestlers scuffling and the
Mike Clancy tossed Mike Paidousis in 13 minutes and Paidousis threw George Becker in five
minutes to set the stage for the wild finish. A rowdy match erupted when Paidousis threw
referee Walter Buckner over the ropes and out into the audience.
Wrestler Tom Bradley, who threw Thor Hagen in the opener, came from ringside to assist the
referee and when Buckner was unable to climb into the ring, Bradley took over. He ruled
that Clancy was down for the deciding fall.
"I went into the ring to try to stop 'em," Lewis said. "Bradley had no
right to serve as referee. I was crazy for going in there, but somebody had to do
Lewis' shirt was torn off his back. In turn, he broke his walking stick over Paidousis'
Yes, there was a semi-final. Golden Boy Stevens threw Lou Plummer in 17 minutes.
Nov. 13, 1958 Norfolk Arena
Mike Paidousis-Karol Fozoff beat George Becker-Mike Clancy, Tom Bradley beat Thor Hagen,
Ray Stevens beat Lou Plummer
Nov. 20, 1958 Norfolk Arena
George Becker-Mike Clancy-Ray Stevens beat Karol Fozoff-Mike Paidousis-Tom Bradley, Red
Bastien beat Lou Plummer (took first fall in five seconds)
Nov. 27, 1958 Norfolk Arena 2,100
Mike Clancy-George Becker-Ray Stevens beat Karol Fozoff-Tom Bradley-Mike Paidousis, Rita
Cortez beat Kitty Adams, Rocky Moton beat Budd Richardson
Dec. 4, 1958 Norfolk Arena
Ray Stevens beat Karol Fozoff, Tito Infante-Farmer McGregor beat Pee Wee James-Tom Thumb,
Red Bastien beat Lou Klein
Dec. 11, 1958 Norfolk Arena (snowed out)
Ray Stevens vs. Mike Paidousis, Red Bastien vs. Alex Mulko, Sylvia Torres-Rita Cortez vs.
Kitty Adams-Peggy Allen
Dec. 18, 1958 Norfolk Arena
Mike Paidousis beat Ray Stevens, Judy Grable beat Rita Cortez, Red Bastien beat Alex
Mulko, Tom Bradley beat Rito Romero
The WAWLI Papers
CANADIAN PRO WRESTLING PAGE OF FAME
The URL is as follows for this splendid page, created and maintained by superb
wrestling historian Gary Will:
Real name: Fred Atkinson
From Australia, where he was a champion wrestler. Was brought to the attention of San
Francisco promoter Joe Malcewicz by former world champion Ed "Strangler" Lewis.
Moved to Ontario in 1948 and worked for Frank Tunney as a wrestler and referee for
decades. Atkins trained several wrestlers, most notably Tiger Jeet Singh and Giant Baba.
Was also a trainer for the NHL's Buffalo Sabres for a while in the 1970s.
Atkins and Ray Eckert traded the NWA world tag team title with the Canadian team of Mike
& Ben Sharpe in 1952.
He continued to wrestle in Toronto until he was 60 years old. His final match was in the
summer of 1971. Atkins worked as a referee for years after that. He died in 1988 at age
"Fred Atkins is a great ringman and combines a sound, experienced wrestling knowledge
with a solid, hardy physique. He has a perfect build for a wrestler, standing 6'1"
tall and weighing 250. He now makes his home in Crystal Beach, Ontario and is becoming a
Canadian citizen." (From WRESTLING AS YOU LIKE IT,
Feb. 7, 1953)
"Fred Atkins, the "strong-man" from Sydney, Australia, is one of the real
veterans of the mat sport. Here is a grappler in his middle 40s who can count his losses
on his fingers and he is one of the strongest competitors in the business. Last September
in Toledo he wrestled champion Pat O'Connor to a draw but almost stripped O'Connor of his
title." (From THE RING, April 1960)
Australian champion, 1940-49
2-time (at least) British Empire champion (Toronto), 1949, 1959
NWA World tag champion (San Francisco), with Ray Eckert, 1952
Canadian tag champion (Toronto), with Lord Athol Layton, 1952
THE BAILLARGEON BROTHERS
Six wrestling brothers from St. Magliore de Bellechasse, Quebec -- Paul, Adrien, Tony
(Antonio), Jean, Lionel, and Charles. Billed as "the strongest brothers in the
world" they were all weighlifters with impressive physiques.
The two biggest were Adrien at 6'5" and Paul at 6'3". Paul could reportedly
climb a telephone pole with a horse strapped to his back while Adrien could allegedly lift
a platform with 17 men on it. One report has Adrien lifting 255 pounds above his head with
Tony's career was the longest -- beginning in the late '40s and continuing into the '70s.
Charles's career was cut short when he suffered a broken back in a car accident. He went
on to manage the hotel owned by his brother Paul.
"Their feats of strength have been recorded by the newsreel cameras and no doubt you
have seen them in your local theaters." (From THE RING, April 1950)
On Adrien: "He throws 250-pound giants around the ring as if they weighed 25 pounds.
Some of the grunters are afraid they might be seriously hurt by this Canadian who doesn't
know his own strength. He can render a man unconscious with his bear hug and in the
process is very likely to snap a few ribs." (From THE RING, July 1951)
"Paul Baillargeon is probably the strongest man alive, but what is more important he
can grapple and is picking up knowledge in every match. Standing six feet three inches,
Paul weighs 240 pounds, and is a real test for anybody. Adrien Baillargeon, Paul's
brother, is now living in America where he is in constant demand by all promoters.
Thirty-two years old, he stands six feet five inches and weighs a solid 240 pounds."
(From WRESTLING AS YOU LIKED IT, Jan. 30, 1954)
NWA World tag champions (San Francisco), 1957 [Paul and Adrien]
Real name: Winnett Watson
Wrestled from the 1930s into the '60s, and then became a referee for Frank Tunney in
Toronto until retiring in the 70s. Mule kick specialist.
According to some stories, Whipper Billy Watson took his name from Flanagan's real name.
"Pat (Buddy) Flanagan, handsome Irish-Canadian, homeward bound with the charming
missus, may contest Bob Gregory upon American soil. Patsy already boasts of a victory over
the Englishman, and hopes to make it a double." (From THE RING, July 1938)
From Winnipeg. Wrestled from the '40s through the '70s and was, according to Lou Thesz,
one of the top legitimate wrestlers in the world. He was also a legitimate communist which
pretty much killed his career in the U.S. in that era.
Trained with Joe Pazandak early in his career and was managed by Tony Stecher. Was a
champion weightlifter as a teenager, according to some reports.
Often wrestled as a tag team partner of Stu Hart's in the '50s. Very successful in Britain
-- rated the best heavyweight wrestler in Britain in 1963.
Gordienko is now a successful artist living in Black Creek on Vancouver Island. His online
gallery displays many of his paintings -- most with price tags over $10,000.
"An 18-year-old "wonder" who answers to the name George Gordienko. This
youngster, who tips the beams at 215 pounds, has one of the most beautifully developed
bodies we have ever seen. His favorite hold is the head-lock." (From THE RING, June
"Gordienko, a giant figure of a man, must surely be one of the strongest wrestlers in
the world. Very few of our English wrestlers have been able to defeat this heavyweight
from Canada." (From WRESTLING REVIEW, August 1970)
"Gordy's an artist, you know. He does very well. He does oils and has a business
manager in Italy. If you can sell art in Italy, you know what you're doing. He said about
a year ago, "I don't know if I'm going to stay here, or
if I'm going to go back to Italy to die, I don't know which." He's talking about
dying?! Hell, he's only a kid!" (LOU THESZ, interviewed by J Michael Kenyon, 1997)
"My work is based on traditional art. I am interested in humour and satire. I think
there's too much misery in life today, and I believe we need to free ourselves. I don't
follow trends, and just enjoy doing my own thing. Artwork speaks for itself." (GEORGE
GORDIENKO, from the George Gordienko Collection website, the URL for which follows:
Commonwealth champion (New Zealand), 1968
Stampede International tag title, 1972
NWA Pacific Coast champion (Vancouver), as Flash Gordon, 1974
Wrestler, patriarch of the wrestling clan, and for decades the promoter of Stampede
Wrestling in Calgary. Wrestled from the 1940s into the '60s, with occasional appearances
as a wrestler in Calgary in the '70s. I can remember him executing a vault over the top
rope into a sunset flip when he was in his mid-50s.
Stu actually made one appearance in 1986 at age 70, wrestling with son Keith against Wayne
Farris (Honkytonk Man) and John Foley.
Began promoting in Edmonton, and moved to Calgary in the late 50s. Respected around the
world as a trainer
of young wrestling talent. Many wrestlers on this list spent significant parts of their
careers training with and wrestling for Stu Hart.
Stu 80th birthday was celebrated in December 1995 with a special "Night to
Remember" event at the Stampede Corral. Among the people in attendance were Ed
Whalen, Dan Kroffat, Angelo Mosca, Leo Burke, the Hart Brothers and Dory Funk Jr. and
"He loves to develop youngsters eager to wrestle. If they show any signs of promise,
Stu teaches them the art of wrestling and gives them their start."(From NWA OFFICIAL
WRESTLING, March 1952)
"Best match of the night from a real wrestling point of view was staged by Tarzan
White, Alabama football star, and Stu Hart, pride and joy of Edmonton, Alberta. They
wrestled to a 45-minute draw in a clean-breaking, orthodox battle in which brute strength
in breaking holds was the main factor." (From THE RING, April 1952)
DON JARDINE/THE SPOILER
Master of the iron claw. Began wrestling in the late '50s. Became one of the top masked
wrestlers in the Southern U.S., particularly in Texas where The Spoiler was created by
Fritz Von Erich (Jack Adkisson) in 1967. Walked the top rope like The Undertaker in the
Was unmasked in Texas in 1972 by Billy "Red" Lyons and Red Bastein and
identified as Don Jardine. He continued to wrestle under the mask as The Spoiler.
Held the Georgia-based NWA National title and was briefly billed as National champion in
the WWF after they bought out Georgia Championship Wrestling in July 1984. Promoted some
shows in Tampa in 1993-94. Lives in Alberta.
"Don Jardine from Moncton, New Brunswick, is another likeable newcomer who is coming
along in leaps and bounds under the tutelage of Whipper Billy Watson." (From THE
RING, April 1960)
"Gary Hart showed up here with Spoiler 1, a 275-pound, 6'7" giant. Hart said
that Spoiler 1 had a surprise that he was waiting to spring. In San Antonio on TV, Hart
and Spoiler 1 were matched against Billy Lyons and Paul DeMarco. Spoiler 1 unveiled his
surprise. It was the Iron Claw hold. Spoiler won after leaving the losers a bloody mess.
Hart said that Spoiler's hold was called the "Hart Krusher." Spoiler used a
glove with the fingers cut out which caused some wrestlers to cry foul." (From THE
RING WRESTLING, February 1973) ["Heart Krusher" was also the name of Stan
Stasiak's heart punch in Texas.]
Canadian tag champion (Vancouver), with Dutch Savage, 1966
2-time World tag champion (Vancouver), with Dutch Savage, 1966-67
3-time NWA American tag champion (Texas), 1967-68
5-time NWA American champion (Texas), 1968-71, 79
2-time Texas champion, 1968
Brass Knucks champion (Texas), 1968
2-time IWA World tag champion (Australia), with Waldo Von Erich, 1969
Mid-South North American champion, 1969
Mid-South U.S. tag champion, 1971
2-time NWA Georgia champion, 1975-76
3-time NWA Florida champion, 1978, 81
NWA Southern champion (Florida), 1978
TV champion (World Class), 1979
2-time NWA National champion (Georgia), 1984
One of the top Canadian wrestlers of the '30s and '40s. Was wrestling in Toronto for
promoter Jack Corcoran in the '30s. Had several excellent matches in Canada and New
Zealand against Canadian Earl McCready.
Became the promoter for Hamilton, Ontario in the early '50s and was involved in the
development of many wrestling stars from that area.
"John Katan, ex-Canadian coal miner, is back again and making his presence felt by
all his rivals hereabouts. Katan likes the rough type of mat warfare." (From THE
RING, December 1938)
"Ex-British Empire Champion John Katan is now promoting at a new site in the thriving
city of Hamilton. Matches are now being held at the modern New Hamilton Forum and it is
said to be a big improvement over the old Municipal Pool, as well as much larger. John
informs me that he is drawing turn-away crowds each week." (From WRESTLING AS YOU
LIKE IT, Feb. 13, 1954)
World/International champion (Montreal), 1943
British Empire champion (New Zealand), 1940
2-time British Empire champion (Toronto), 1942-43
Outstanding amateur wrestler in the late '20s and early '30s. Three time U.S. national
intercollegiate champion while attending Oklahoma A&M. Won nearly all his matches by
pinfall, and is known to this day as the greatest pinner in the history of heavyweight
collegiate wrestling in the U.S. An Empire Games (now Commonwealth Games) gold medallist
who became a very successful pro around the world. Used a rolling cradle leg submission
hold as a finisher.
Widely acclaimed as one of the most skilled pro wrestlers of the '30s and '40s. In The
Ring magazine's annual ranking of the top wrestlers, McCready placed 5th in 1935 and 2nd
in 1937, behind Jim Londos.
Recognized as British Empire champion in both Canada and New Zealand. McCready was born in
Ontario, but grew up in the towns of Milestone and Ogema in Saskatchewan.
He is an inductee in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. He ended up living in the U.S.
in the state of Washington. McCready is said to have been in the first televised wrestling
match in Britain, defeating Rube Wright at the Crystal Palace in 1938. He continued to
wrestle into the mid-1950s (sic, should read early '60s). McCready died in December 1983
at age 75.
"I give the number two spot to McCready, who has lost only a couple matches in more
than two years and has
clashed with the world's best in foreign lands. Of the veterans, Londos, McCready, and
Pesek seem to be as
good today as they were when the youngsters were just making their bow." (From THE
RING, March 1938)
"McCready, who held the [British Empire] title so long that he was placed in a class
by himself down here, had suffered only three defeats prior to the Katan loss in four
years of activity. In each case, McCready avenged the loss." (From THE RING, October
2-time British Empire champion (New Zealand), 1935-53
3-time British Empire champion (Toronto), 1940, 42, 43
Pacific Coast champion (San Francisco), 1945
The WAWLI Papers
RAY STEELE CAREER LIKELY OVER, IT SAYS HERE
(Sports Facts, Minneapolis, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 1947)
It looks like Ray Steele has wrestled his last match.
Doctors have told Ray that he and the mat are through.
Ulcers have kicked up again on the popular former champion, and the medics say they'll
never mix with wrestling again.
Ray is now in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
GOSSIP COLUMN -- Future possibilities for Minneapolis showings include Carlos
Rodriquez, mighty Mexican, and Sailor Fred Blassie, now in
Chattanooga, Tennessee . . . Dr. Len Hall is wrestling in Toronto . . . Sandor
Szabo is due back from Australia late in November . . . Steve Kozak,
Winnipeg's Little Giant, is still undefeated. One of his best wins was over Ray
Steele in Winnipeg . . . Abe Kashey is wrestling -- and rioting
-- on the West Coast . . .. Ken Fenelon, former world junior heavyweight
king from Dubuque, once studied for the priesthood . . . Johnny Marrs has
been idle since he was hurt in Winnipeg last season against Tug Carlson.
Tug kicked Johnny in the neck. Marrs is living in Kingsport, Tenn. Carlson is wrestling in
Tulsa . . . Tom Bradley is busy on the Denver mat . . . Jack
Dempsey lost his title -- gin rummy variety -- to Wally Karbo
while here . . . Steve Casey, whose wrestling career was halted by injury
last season, is back refereeing in Boston . .. . Stan Myslajek is
promoting mat matches in Raleigh and Durham, N.C. . . .. Tiny Lee is
going great on the Buffalo. So is Bobby Managoff . . . Everette
Marshall, former world champion, has retired to his ranch in La Junta, Colo.
Marshall, who was in some 1,600 pro bouts, is a wealthy raiser of onions and cantaloupes .
STORM WARNING -- ABE KASHEY!!!
(Sports Facts, Minneapolis, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 1947)
If you haven't got the storm windows on yet, now's as good a time as any.
It also might be a good idea to seal up the front and back doors.
Even that may not be adequate defense, because two of the wildest and maddest men in
matdom are coming to town.
No. 1 is Dirty Dick Raines.
No. 1 is Abe Kashey.
Raines, the big bruiser from Dallas, Texas, got tired of waiting for Cliff Gustafson to
take him up on his challenge, he says, and decided to come to town and have it out in
Dirty Dick failed to say exactly when he would arrive, but he warned it would be mighty
In a sweeping gesture, Raines added he would also be happy to dispose of any other alleged
wrestlers in the vicinity, probably in the nearest ash can.
Kashey is also dropping in without invitation. He, too, failed to mention the date.
Abe is well known as a man who would not only bite the hand that feeds him, but would bite
it completely off.
He'd rather hit a referee than a jackpot.
The return of these two sinister gentlemen may pose something of a problem for Promoter
Tony Stecher, assuming he decides to use them on his wrestling shows at the Auditorium.
This is a year when mat rules are to be strictly enforced.
There isn't a rule in the book that Raines and Kashey can't quote, or haven't broken.
Maybe the solution is to have Dick and Abe wrestle each other. With six referees.
Anyway, it's Stecher's problem. The rumor is he isn't sleeping well these nights.
IS GEORGE GORDIENKO 'CHAMP' MATERIAL?
(Sports Facts, Minneapolis, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 1947)
Minneapolis wrestling fans will be able to gauge George Gordienko's title chance at the
Auditorium Tuesday night.
When the Wonder Boy of Winnipeg left town last spring, he was a young sensation -- quick,
powerful and still a bit unseasoned.
After an extensive and brilliant campaign on the Pacific Coast, George returns to meet the
clever Gino Vagnone.
Fans will look for a noticeable improvement in the Canadian lad who is tagged as a coming
Even if he should be defeated by Vagnone, George will still carry that title tag provided
he shows he has benefited by added experience.
Championship contenders have lost to Vagnone before.
Gordienko still boasts an undefeated record, however, and wrestling customers will
probably have to see him beaten before they're convinced it can be done.
FLASHY GINO VAGNONE EXPERT MATMAN
(Sports Facts, Minneapolis, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 1947)
Gino (Red) Vagnone of Columbus, Ohio, ought to be a good wrestler. He's had enough
practice. At the not-so-ripe age of 35, Vagnone is a veteran of 21 years on the wrestling
Gino started learning his half-Nelsons when he was a mere 14-year-old high schooler in
A quick sensation, Red looked so good as a teen-age mat titan that Everette Marshall,
former world champion, took him in tow and taught him the tricks that made Marshall one of
the greatest matmen of his day.
An all around athlete, Vagnone was a professional football player at 17. Though he weighed
only 185, Red starred at fullback.
He broke scoring records, a jaw, a collarbone and several ribs.
Still 185, Vagnone started tangling with heavyweight wrestlers on the pro mat.
For a "little feller," he didn't do so bad. He had wins or draws against such
stars as LeRoy McGuirk, Steve Casey, Jim Londos, Joe Savoldi, Joe Cox, Danno O'Mahoney,
Gus Sonnenberg and Ernie Dusek.
In 1943, he won the Pacific Coast championship by trimming Ivan Rasputin and Gene Bowman.
In 1942 his luck wasn't so good. Abe Kashey broke his kneecap, but an operation fixed Gino
up within a year.
Red was one of the first wrestlers to whip the French Angel.
One of Gino's best wrestling assets is speed.
Although he's a full grown heavyweight now, at about 230 pounds, Vagnone still retains the
blazing speed that enabled him to baffle some of the best in the mat profession at the
time he lacked the weight to play haul and tug with some of the bigger boys.
Pro wrestlers say Vagnone's dropkicks are faster than Joe Savoldi's. He executes a flying
leg hold as brilliantly as anyone in the game.
Gino's methods are unorthodox, but his "different" style makes him all the more
deadly. The fiery Ohio Italian is able to clamp on holds from odd and unexpected
positions, and he also departs from the normal in his ingenious methods of breaking arm
Because of his flashy, aggressive style, Vagnone is a tremendous favorite with mat crowds
all over the country.
MINNEAPOLIS MAT CARDS, 1947-48 SEASON
Oct. 7, 1947 Minneapolis Auditorium
Cliff Gustafson beat Cardiff Giant (Jack Dempsey referee), Bill Kuusisto beat Dan Plechas,
Gino VAgnone drew Ken Fenelon, Andy Moen drew Don Koch
Oct. 14, 1947 Minneapolis Auditorium
Bronko Nagurski beat Chief Saunooke, Joe Pazandak drew Gino VAgnone, Andy Moen drew Tom
Angelo, Don Koch drew Karl Gray
Oct. 21, 1947 Minneapolis Auditorium
Cliff Gustafson beat Bill Kuusisto, Joe Pazandak beat Chief Saunooke, Gino Vagnone beat
Don Koch, Karl Gray beat Tom Angelo
Oct. 28, 1947 Minneapolis Auditorium
George Gordienko beat Gino Vagnone, Joe Pazandak beat Eric Holmback (decision), Ken
Fenelon beat Earl Wampler dq, Danny Fenelon beat Don Koch
Nov. 4, 1947 Minneapolis Auditorium
George Gordienko beat Dick Raines dq, Buddy Rogers beat Kola Kwariani, Ede Virag beat Ted
Tourtas, Danny Fenelon drew Karl Gray
Nov. 11, 1947 Minneapolis Auditorium
Bronko Nagurski beat Eric Holmback, Mildred Burke beat Mae Young, Steve Kozak beat Karl
Gray, Danny Fenelon drew Ted Tourtas
Nov. 18, 1947 Minneapolis Auditorium
Dick Raines beat Bill Kuusisto, Dave Levin beat Ted Tourtas, Abe Kashey beat Danny
Fenelon, Gino Vagnone beat Karl Gray
Nov. 25, 1947 Minneapolis Auditorium
Sandor Szabo beat Dick Raines (world title defense), Buddy Rogers beat Dave Levin, Ken
Fenelon drew Gino Vagnone, Andy Moen beat Karl Gray
Dec. 2, 1947 Minneapolis Auditorium
Sandor Szabo drew Buddy Rogers (world title defense), Joe Pazandak beat Gino Vagnone, Abe
Kashey beat Ken Fenelon, Danny Fenelon beat Karl Gray
Dec. 9, 1947 Minneapolis Auditorium
Abe Kashey beat George Temple, Dick Raines beat Frank Taylor, Otto Kuss beat Jack
(Hillbilly) O'Brien, Steve Kozak beat Ted Tourtas
Dec. 16, 1947 Minneapolis Auditorium
Dick Raines beat Abe Kashey, Otto Kuss beat Andy Moen, Dave Levin beat Ted Tourtas, Polo
Cordova drew Gino Vagnone
Dec. 23, 1947 Minneapolis Auditorium
Cliff Gustafson beat Dick Raines, Otto Kuss beat Abe Kashey, Ede Virag beat Frank Taylor,
Polo Cordova beat Danny Fenelon
Dec. 30, 1947 Minneapolis Auditorium
Bronko Nagurski beat Ede Virag, Otto Kuss beat Wally Dusek, Bill Kuusisto beat Frank
Hickey, Polo Cordova beat Stan Myslajek
GEORGE GORDIENKO RECORD IN MINNEAPOLIS
(Sports Facts, Minneapolis, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 1948)
Dec. 17, 1946 -- Defeated Charley Harben
Jan. 14, 1947 -- Defeated Frank Hewitt
Jan. 20, 1947 -- Defeated Faro Renaldi
Feb. 4, 1947 -- Drew with Johnny Marrs
Feb. 18, 1947 -- Defeated Abe Kashey dq
Mar. 18, 1947 -- Defeated Tom Bradley
Apr. 1, 1947 -- Defeated Cal Reese
Apr. 29, 1947 -- Defeated Leo Jansen
May 6, 1947 -- Defeated Johnny Marrs
May 13, 1947 -- Defeated Andy Moen
Oct. 28, 1947 -- Defeated Gino Vagnone
Nov. 4, 1947 -- Defeated Dick Raines dq
In other towns, Gordienko has beaten Gene Bowman, Mickey Casey, Angelo Cistoldi, Bobby
Roberts, Antone Leone, Flash Gordon, Alex Kasaboski, Ray Eckert (foul), Jack hader,
Reginald Siki, Don Koch, Ivan Mikaloff, Mike Burnell, Jack Page, Earl Wampler and others.
He has drawn with Ray Steele, Fred Atkins and Juan Humberto.
Jan. 6, 1948 Minneapolis Auditorium
George Gordienko beat Dave Levin, Buddy Rogers beat Ben Morgan, Mike Browning beat Polo
Cordova, Johnny Moochy beat Carlos Rodriquez
Jan. 13, 1948 Minneapolis Auditorium
Steve Casey beat Bill Kuusisto, Mike Browning drew Fred Blassie, Nell Stewart beat Mae
Weston, Johnny Moochy beat Don Koch
Jan. 20, 1948 Minneapolis Auditorium
Bronko Nagurski beat Steve Casey, Mike Browning beat Polo Cordova, Otto Kuss drew Joe
Jan. 27, 1948 Minneapolis Auditorium
Buddy Rogers drew Mike Browning, Otto Kuss beat Danny Plechas, Fred Blassie drew Johnny
Moochy, Johnny Marrs beat Carlos Rodriquez
Feb. 3, 1948 Minneapolis Auditorium
George Gordienko beat Mike Browning, Otto Kuss drew Joe Pazandak, Fred Blassie drew Bill
Kuusisto, Johnny Marrs beat Carlos Rodriquez dq
The WAWLI Papers
MEET LOU THESZ, THE 'WORLD CHAMPION'
(Dunedin, New Zealand, Star Sports, Sept. 7, 1957)
SYDNEY, Aust. -- To all intents and purposes, thickset, balding Lou Thesz is the current
heavyweight professional wrestling champion of the world. He's billed that way in Stadiums
Ltd. advertisements and he is invariably the first person to tell anybody who asks.
Of course, to serious students of world sport, the "heavyweight" tag is a little
hard to bear -- aznd that's why Lou found himself bombarded by the press when he flew into
Sydney last week to begin a three months' tour for promoters Stadiums Ltd. in three
Thesz is one of the acknowledged greats of the wrestling business. His name is frequently
flaunted with those of Strangler Lewis, Jim Londos, George Hackenschmidt and Ray Steele --
which seems to indicate he is one of the up- and-up grapplers who used to perform before
money entered the game and the entire sport became a series of "exhibitions"
instead of matches.
Of course, Lou has become very adamant that he is, in fact, world champion -- without the
"I've licked Billy Watson for the title," he said on arrival, "and I'm
recognized as champion."
When asked whether it was true that Billy Watson had beaten him since for the
"title," and whether various matmen such as Primo Carnera, Verne Gagne, Pat
O'Connor and Fred Atkins, to mention just a few, were also claiming to be
"champion" and whether Gorgeous George, who toured Australia last and earlier
this year claiming to be world champion, was really that, Lou had to think hard.
"I'm the champion," he said. "There are always plenty of wrestlers claiming
to be such."
Is he champion or isn't he?
In a way, I suppose, it all boils down to a case of who cares?
Ted Thye, the visiting American wrestling promoter, agrees with those who claim that Lou
Thesz is still world champion. A dispute about Thesz' rights to the title arose recently
when he was beaten by a Frenchman, Edouard Carpentier, in a championship bout. The
Frenchman, however, won because Thesz was disqualified and the National Wrestling Alliance
ruled some years ago that the title cannot change hands in these circumstances. Thesz has
since beaten Carpentier, whom Mr. Thye describes as a highly promising wrestler.
Though Lou Thesz, who wrestles another highly rated American, Ricky Waldo, in Wellington
next week, was recently beaten for his world title by Edouard Carpentier, a 30-year-old
Frenchman, it seems he is still regarded by many as the champion. The Dominion Wrestling
Union, hoping that Thesz's bouts in this country would be for his title, sought
information from America as to who was recognized as champion. The reply contained a
clipping from an American paper dated August 26, giving the official champions of the
Alliance. Thesz appeared as heavyweight titleholder.
NO OPPONENTS FOR THESZ IN WELLINGTON
(Star Sports, September 12, 1957)
Lou Thesz will not be defending his world wrestling title in Wellington tonight. Stadiums
Limited, who have Thesz and other wrestlers under contract in Australia, have advised the
Dominion Wrestling Union that they cannot afford to release any men for a short New
Though the union are still not aware of where arrangements have gone astray, there has
evidently been a major misunderstanding. Other wrestlers affected by Stadiums Limited's
decisiion are Ricky Waldo and Ski Hi Lee, who were to have wrestled Thesz in New Zealand.
A bid by the union yesterday to stave off a late cancellation failed.
The contests were first mooted last month when Mr. Ted Thye, the American booking agent
for Stadiums Limited, offered the union Thesz's services for a series of title matches.
Matches in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch were agreed on and associations in these
centres went ahead with arrangements.
Stadiums Limited now claim that they had not been advised of the New Zealand contests by
Mr. Thye and that they cannot release the wrestlers.
Bookings for Thesz's proposed appearances in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch were
heavy and all money taken for tickets will be refunded.
WORLD TITLE WRESTLING CONTEST CANCELLED
(The Auckland Star, Wednesday, September 11, 1957)
The world wrestling championship bout between Lou Thesz (holder) and fellow American Ski
Hi Lee (challenger), shceduled to behld in the Auckland Town Hall on Saturday night, has
Cancellation today followed the 11th-hour refusal of the Australian sports promotion firm,
Stadiums Ltd. -- to whom the two are under contract -- to release them for the visit here.
The general manager of Stadiums Ltd., Mr. Dick Lean (Melbourne), today refused to
reconsider his cancellation decision, made on Monday, when he was phoned by the secretary
of the Dominion Wrestling Union, Mr. Bert Steele (Wellington).
Auckland Wrestling Association president Mr. Jack McCready said patrons who had bought
tickets for the match would have their money refunded.
Mr. Steele told the Auckland Star in a telephone interview that he had received a
cablegram from Mr. Lean on Monday saying that the visit of Thesz, Lee and a third
American, Ricky Waldo, was cancelled.
Reason given was that Stadiums Ltd., to whom the wrestlers are under contract, could not
afford to lose them at the moment, said Mr. Steele.
Early yesterday the union sent a cable to Mr. Lean asking him to reconsider, but he cabled
back "no visit."
Three contests involving a week's tour were arranged for the three men. Tomorrow night
Thesz and Waldo were to have met in Wellington, on Saturday the Auckland fight was
scheduled and on Monday Thesz was to have met Waldo again in Christchurch.
Monday's cable was the first time the union had been contacted by Mr. Lean. Arrangements
for the visit were made early last month with an American wrestling promoter in Australia,
Mr. Ted Thye.
Wlado was to have arrived yesterday, Thesz today and Lee tomorrow.
'NET REVIEWED: Wrestling to Rasslin': Ancient
Sport to American Spectacle
By Gerald W. Morton & George M. O'Brien
169 pp., illustrations, index, photographs, 1985, $19.95 cb.
Wrestling may well be the oldest competitive sport; certainly exhibition wrestling is one
of the oldest professional sporting entertainments in America. In its early days in
America, wrestling grew in the sporting bars of gaslight era New York City and attracted a
following that included such notables as P.T. Barnum and Thomas
Wrestling began its evolution toward today's dramatic presentation in Barnum's sideshow
tents. Turn-of-the-century wrestling boasted such splendid athletes as William Muldoon,
George Hackenschmidt and Tom Jenkins. During the Great Depression, the fledgling sport
continued to draw crowds.
After World War II and with the advent of television, wrestling--in the capable hands of
Gorgeous George (Wagner)--took its final turn toward the dramatic and away from the
athletic, although the fifties and sixties saw such wrestling stars as Lou Thesz, Buddy
Rogers, and Haystacks Calhoun.
As wrestling became a dramatic entertainment, it developed in its script the conflict of
good and evil. The heroes were the representations of clean-living American youth, while
the villains embodied political and social moralities that Americans reject. The ultimate
morality of wrestling has been that the essential virtue is endurance, for from endurance
Wrestling in the eighties became increasingly visible as the media finally took notice of
the popularity of this "trash sport." However, for over one hundred years,
wrestling has had a large following--it is currently the third
most popular live entertainment in America, bested only by horse racing and automobile
racing--largely drawn from those who find comfort in the ritualistic presentation of the
importance of endurance and the appropriateness of hope in life.
Gerald W. Morton is currently a member of the English Department at Auburn University at
Montgomery. He has published critical and pedagogical articles in Notes & Queries, The
Technical Writing Teacher, and The Markham Review and contributed to Salem Press's
Critical Survey of Drama and Critical Survey of Poetry.
George M. O'Brien is associate professor of German and Latin in the Department of Foreign
Languages at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. In Europe, he attended and researched
popular theater forms and became interested in the origins of modern wrestling and in the
development of an athletic contest common in both ancient and modern games and arenas.
The WAWLI Papers
WHAT ABOUT IT? THE PASSING OF LONDOS
(Boston Globe, July 3, 1935)
By John Lardner, North American Newspaper Alliance
The map of the world which hangs on the wall in Monsieur Jacques Curley's office will have
to be revised again if Jimmy Londos goes through with his promise to quit the wrassling
game. Jimmy lost the world championship of 38 states and Cuba last week, but he is still
world champion of Greece, Sicily, and the Sahara Desert.
His holdings are marked in blue on all regulation maps. Dan O'Mahoney's territory is
green, and Little Wolf, the world champion of Madagascar and the floor of the Pacific
Ocean, has a very pretty tint of coral to represent his
stake in the atlas. If Londos quits, the blue will have to be rubbed out and replaced by
the gray of Rudy Dusek, world champion of all salvaged or abdicated territory above the
I don't know how the natives of the Sahara Desert will take this. They idolize Jimmy. He
succeeded Henri Deglane, who was awarded the championship of the desert on the condition
that he go and live there. When Henri failed to show up, the natives flew into a fearful
huff and wrote a petition.
"If the desert is good enough for us it is good enough for the tramp Deglane,"
they said. "Give us a champion who will make the world Sahara-conscious."
So they got Londos, who compromised with public sentiment by building a sandpile in his
back yard and buying a half-interest in a camel. That won the hearts of the natives. They
sent Jimmy the key to the desert and elected him world champion for life. If he resigns
now in favor of Dusek, there is likely to be a lot of bad feeling in the better cases.
But Jimmy has good reason to quit. Nobody could figure why he lost to O'Mahoney in Boston
the other day until Little Wolf, the intrepid Navajo, who was matched to wrassle him for
the world championship of Greater Boston and Guam, supplied the answer.
"Londos was afraid to meet me," explained the pride and joy of the Southwestern
scalp industry. "I have been intimidating Londos for some time now, in a quiet way.
My ancestors, you know, invented the Indian death trap,
and handed it down to me as soon as I was old enough to bite a leg and gouge an eye.
"'Little Wolf,' they said, calling me by my first name, 'we want you to take this
trap up North among the palefaces and apply it to a Greek named Londos. As soon as you
have acquired the championship and enough cash ot pay off your tabs around the
reservation, come home and give the trap back. It ain't safe.'
"I have never forgotten this message," continued the vanishing American,
"except once or twice when I had a headache. I figured if I could scare Londos to
death and win the championship that way, it would be just as good as applying the death
trap -- even better, because I sometimes get my own foot caught in the death trap and the
pain is like the bite of many rattlesnakes.
"So I scared Londos by falling on several minor wrasslers. My scouts told me that the
Greek turned three shades paler on hearing of this, though he claimed it was something he
ate. When we were matched for the championship, he took the quickest way out. He went to
Boston and lost to O'Mahoney. It is very hard
to lose to O'Mahoney, as I will demonstrate next week when I tear the Irishman to pieces.
But Londos did it. He is scared of me. I have spoken."
This last remark of the Chief's was so true that no one could argue with the rest of his
speech. The Chief had spoken, and in a way he had explained why Jim Londos is ready to
retire. But that doesn't solve the problem of the Sahara natives. They need a world
champion, and they don't want Dusek. They want Little Wolf even less. When last heard
from, they were planning to send one of their own boys over here to clinch the title by
biting a piece out of the leg of M. Jacques Curley's candidate.
If Londos quits, it will be a blow to the whole wrassling world. Many people disliked
Jimmy, but no one can deny that he had a lot to do with making the sport what it is today.
He was the first of the new school of touring Hamlets to succeed in a big way financially.
He set the example. Because Jimmy cleared close to half a million dollars on his travels,
a thousand farm hands and waiters and doormen started out to grab what was left. So James
was responsible for the plague, and if you still don't like him you're probably right.
But he may not quit. He has promised to do so before, and broken his promise. Someone
should get it in writing this time.
(ED. NOTE-- The champion won when O'Mahoney
defended his newly won laurels against Chief Little Wolf the next week in New York City.
The above clipping was furnished to The WAWLI Papers by Mr. Steve Yohe, one of the new
generation of wrestling historians.)
SHARKEY GIRDS FOR TEST FROM LEO NUMA
(Hudson Dispatch, Union City, N.J., March 10, 1944)
Bad Babe Sharkey will have to do his stuff tonight or "eat them words."
The tall Texan from Amarillo and other parts west has been popping off a good bit all week
about what he is going to do to Leo Numa, handsome Californian. He has cut his work out
for this evening's burp program at Columbia Park. He has promised, predicted,
prognosticated and even forewarned that he will put Numa's back to the canvas twice in 30
minutes -- or else forfeit not only the match but his purse in the bargain. Coming from a
grappler, them is hard words indeed, Wilberforce.
After all, as the esteemed Polonius didn't say, he who steals from a grappler his good
game steals something, of course, but he who purloins from him his purse steals that which
enriches him and makes the other fellow poor, indeed. And the thing Sharkey doesn't care
to be is indigent. Hence you may expect plenty of fireworks before the night ends.
Before the Numa-Sharkey novelty (the first of its kind to
be perpetrated, if that is the right word, at the Park), there's to be a return encounter
between Frank Brunowicz, Paterson's contribution to the merriment of nations, and the
Yellow Mask. Mr. Neck from Paterson and Mr. Mask grappled to a draw last week and all hands were dissatisfied. To such
an extent, they have been rematched to a finish this time and anything can happen. Anything, we said.WALLICK SUBS FOR INJURED NUMA AND WINS
As an extra added attraction, Maestro Mondt has lined up a pair of tandem matches for tonight. The customers have
gone in a big way for the tandem tussles and Mondt is going out of his way to give 'em what they want.
The first encounter will send the duo of Mike (Cupcoffeeplease) Dimetre and Henry Piers against the highly vicious
combination of John Vansky and George Macricostas.
(Hudson Dispatch, Union City, N.J., March 11, 1944)
Everything went wrong at the Columbia Park last night with the exception of the clock . . . and that was doubtful,
First off, the show started 15 minutes late, then word came that Leo Numa had been hurt in a bout at Hartford and
couldn't appear. Promoter Ralph Mondt finally solved the dilemma by putting on three team matches instead of the scheduled two.
With Numa absent, Babe Sharkey was unable to live up to his boast that he'd throw Numa twice within the space of 30
minutes. They sent Leo Wallick, a 208-pounder, against Babe and though Babe did throw Leo with a body press at 15m. 54s., he couldn't do it again. And
when the 30 minutes expired, Referee Tommy Quinn hoisted up Wallick's hand in token of victory.
The co-feature which brought together Frank Brunowicz of Paterson and the Yellow Mask, 215-pound mystery man, saw
Mr. Mask make Brunowicz holler "enough" after 27:37 of some heavy groaning.
Henry Piers, 240, and Dapper Diz, 210, won the right to rule the roost in the team match department by virtue of their
two of three falls victory over the duo of Johnny Vansky, 205, and George Macricostas, 215, in a three-bout
Vansky and Macricostas were winners of the first round over Henry Piers and Mike Demitre, 210. Vansky pinned Demitre
for the first fall via a body press in 17:55 after which Piers threw Vansky with a similar hold in just 52
seconds and then Macricostas
took the deciding fall by flattening Demitre with a body
slam after 2:35.
Dapper Diz had been slated to team up with Murray Rothenberg, but the doctor refused to let Murray go on because of
boils and Piers agreed to fill in. George Corby, 208, and Zimba Parker, 190, faced this combine first. Messers. Parker and Corby didn't last very long as
Piers threw Parker with a body slam in 5:40 and Diz disposed of Parker with a pile driver in 5:08.
The final was a humdinger. Piers flattened Macricostas with a body press in 12:02. Subsequently, Macricostas topped
Diz in 12:05 with a body slam and to climax it Diz scored the final flip via a right cross to Vansky's jaw and a body press.
BIG BABE OPENS MOUTH AGAIN BEFORE MATCH
(Hudson Dispatch, Union City, N.J., March 17, 1944)
Believe it or not, when Babe Sharkey of Texas steps into the ring at Columbia Park tonight, he will properly be
introduced as world's heavyweight mat champion.
For Tuesday afternoon at Baltimore, the Maryland State Boxing Commission, sitting in solemn conclave, formally
recognized Sharkey as the world's titleholder and a formal successor to Jim Londos. All of which is quite a blessing for a rassler, even though the
other 47 states may not see eye to eye or bicep to bicep with Maryland.
As a result of what happened Tuesday, Sharkey will have that certain aura about him when he clambers through the
ropes tonight. It naturally behooves Leo Wallick of Detroit, who gave the now-champion a severe headache last week by capturing a novel decision over him,
to be on his guard.
Sharkey, who is something of a novelty in grappledom because, he is his own echo (and in spades), hasn't gotten over
the tumult that he created last week when he failed to throw Wallick twice in 30 minutes. "What's a guy gotta
do aroun' here to get some
recognition?" he thundered the other night. "In Maryland, I'm world's champion. Here, I'm nothing. All right, I did
agree to throw (Leo) Numa
twice in that time and what was I going to do when Numa didn't show up? I had to agree to pitch Wallick twice. So I
underrated him and didn't
work very hard early in the match. So what? Does that mean he'll get away with murder again? Brother, I'll
pound him right into the canvas when we meet again, mark my words."
Of course, there is the ever existing suspicion that Mr. Sharkey, who never needed a rostrum to make a speech, is
going out on the limb again. He may live to rue the words -- just as he did last week. And the Wallick person says
that is just what's going to
The main bout will have plenty of competition from the semi-final for spotlight. For the penultimate shindig
will send Michele Leone against Henry (The Hulk) Piers. Another feature on the card sends Don Evans, Hungarian
entry, against the Yellow Mask -- unbeaten at the Park this year.
The usual team match rounds out the card. This week's pairing puts the duo of Dapper Diz, Trenton entry, and Maurice
LaChappelle, popular Frenchman, against the combine of Johnny Vansky, Kearny Pole, and Tommy Mahoney, Ireland's promising performer.
BABE SHARKEY DEFEATS WALLICK AT PARK
(Hudson Dispatch, Union City, N.J., March 18, 1944)
Babe Sharkey, king of wrestling as he is recognized in Maryland, added Columbia Park to his championship realm
last night by tossing Leo Wallick after 27m. 29s. of an action packed thriller.
Remembering well last week's headache, Sharkey wasted no time in going to work on Wallick. Babe started off with eye
rubbing and kneeing which, for a few moments, had Leo reeling around the ring. Then, Wallick, after taking all
that the burly Texan could
hand out, gave Babe a royal going over for the next five minutes. But it had as much affect on Sharkey as water on a duck's
Sharkey, using his long reach to full advantage now, put Leo through a series of headlocks during which maneuvers he
poked Wallick's eyes unmercifully. Slowly, Wallick awakened. For fully 15 minutes, Sharkey dished it out and Wallick seemed all ready for the
cleaners. Before he went out, however, he made on last stand, holding Sharkey's huge, 250-pound body aloft and then slamming it to the deck with a terrific
thud. The Detroiter, who weighed 210, incidentally, pounced on Sharkey in an effort to keep him down -- but it was no dice.
Once again Wallick got Sharkey aloft but this time his grasp slipped and Sharkey came down noggin' first on Leo's
headpiece. Babe, apparently better constructed aloft than his Detroit foe, staggered across the mat and threw himself across the inert Wallick for the
Maurice LaChappelle, 195, and Dapper Diz, 210, captured the honors in the team match, taking a two out of three fall
decision over Johnny Vansky, 205, and Tom Mahoney, 230. Vansky pinned LaChappelle for the first fall in 12:01 with
a body slam. Diz evened the
count by downing Mahoney with a body press after 2:58 and then LaChappelle scored the clinch, pinning Vansky with a
body press in 4:24.
Henry Piers, 240, and Michele Leone, 215, battled to a draw in the opener.
In the semi-final Don Evans, 225, and the Yellow Mask, 215, grappled to a 30-minute draw.
VARIED CARD IN STORE AT COLUMBIA PARK
(Hudson Dispatch, Union City, N.J., March 31, 1944)
One of the most hectic mat programs of the rapidly fading indoor season of 1943-44 is expected to be unravelled at
Columbia Park tonight when Promoter Ralph Mondt stages a show for Mayor Paul Cullum's Charities' Fund.
Not only will such headliners as Bad Babe Sharkey and Strangler Ed Lewis, the one a current champion (in the eyes of
Maryland at least) and the other world's champion who in his heyday was one of the greatest in the business,
be on the card but some added
zest will be lent the program by two of the Park's ushers, who, after training for almost a year, are scheduled to take
the mat themselves in an
effort to show the big timers how it REALLY should be done.
The Sharkey-Yellow Mask encounter, however, is the shindig that is expected to draw some 2,000 fans through the
turnstiles for Mayor Cullum's show tonight. The bout will give Babe, the bad man from Texas, a chance to accrue
some respectability as it
were -- now that Maryland thinks he is world's champion. But he is apt to have a terrifice time of it with the Yellow Mask.
Mr. Mask has met some pretty
tough hombres since he came to these parts and while he hasn't won every bout he has engaged in -- he can boast that he has never
been pancaked. Sharkey,
however, may spoil his record.
Incidentally, Sharkey is donating his entire purse for tonight to Mayor Cullum's fund. So, for that matter, will
Strangler Lewis, who tangles Milo Steinborn in the other feature. The Strangler and Milo may be members of
rassling's old school but they ought to be able to show the boys a thing or two tonight before their bout ends.
The Battle of the Ushers will send Vic Ballarino and Harry Sansom against one another. Members of the Willie Catuzzi
Bleacher Bending Assn., Vic and Harry have been throwing cross-pieces and cross-bars at one another all year. By special permission of Commissioner John
Hall, they tangle tonight for the championship of the Catuzzi Assn. Promoter Mondt is putting up a nice mug for the winner.
There's a team match on the card, too. It will send a couple of Johnnies, Vansky and Melas, against the couple of
Mike Demitre and Dapper Diz. Diz will seem a bit strange out there without Maurice LaChappelle, but figures to make a go of it just the same.
BAD BABE SHARKEY VICTOR AT COLUMBIA PARK
(Hudson Dispatch, Union City, N.J., April 1, 1944)
Big Bad Babe Sharkey is still champion of Maryland and Columbia Park.
He had a session on his hands last night but after 23m. 5s. of scuffling, he emerged triumphant over the Yellow Mask,
who up until the spectacular finish hadn't been beaten at the Park.
Biggest winner of the night, however, was the American Red Cross. When it was all over Promoter Ralph Mondt turned over
a check for $404.85 to the township of North Bergen's Red Cross fund as the result of the carnival -- and $404.85 ain't hay.
The Mask made a terrifice fight of it before going down. For perhaps 20 solid minutes he fired his repertoire at
Sharkey but the burly one took everything -- the dropkicks, the gouges, the forearm smashes -- anything and everything that the Mask could hurl his way. But
always he kept coming for more and then, when the Mask began to wilt, Sharkey picked the exact moment to drop a right on Mr. Mask's chin.
The Mask was out colder than Max McCarthy Frome when broached for a donation. Referee Tommy Quinn counted 3 and it was
over. The Babe weighed 250, the Mask, 215.
The semi-final match was a slow-moving, deliberate battle in which Ed "Strangler" Lewis, former
world's champ, disposed of Milo Steinborn, Tennessee strongboy, in 15m. 34s. with a back drop. Lewis tipped the beams at
265 while Steinborn scaled
Dapper Diz, 208, again proved half of a winning combination, joining with Mike Dimetre, 205, to take a two out of
three decision from Murray Rothenberg, 200, and Johnny Melas, 200, in a team match. Rothenberg pinned Dimetre for
the first fall in 7:58 with a
body press but Diz evened the count by flattening Melas with a backdrop in 5m. 18s. Dimetre then saved Diz's record by
throwing Melas for the
deciding fall with a body slam after 3m. 14s.
The Willie Catuzzi championship match wound up in a draw. Two of Willie's ushers, Vic Ballarino and Harry Sansom,
both 160, battled 15 minutes to a draw in the opener. Mr. Catuzzi will present the combatants with half a cup apiece just as soon as he can chisel the dirt
off the cup which he found in the Park's cellar last week.
In the other bout, Leo Wallick, 210, and Frank Brunowicz, 230, went 20 minutes to a draw.
The WAWLI Papers
BOWSER USES BIBLE, HISTORY IN MAT TALK
(Boston Daily Globe, March 2, 1939)
By Tom Fitzgerald
By way of adding to his already celebrated accomplishments as a maestro of the muscle
operas and a keen judge of horseflesh, Papa Paul Bowser the other day revealed a hitherto
little-known bent for historical research.
The occasion arose during a round table conference at Chauncy St. headquarters while the
grappling savants were discussing the championship classic between Steve Casey and The
Shadow which will occupy the rostrum at the Garden this evening.
Somebody, in the bypaths of conversation, happened to bring up the matter of tradition in
sports, whereupon a glint appeared in Mr. Bowser's eye. "If you're looking for
tradition, gentlemen," said he with an oratorical flourish,
"you'll have to award the first place, with palms, to wrestling."
Lest this sound like prejudiced enthusiasm, the learned Mr. Bowser proceeded to elaborate.
"You'll find records of gigantic wrestling matches among the Greeks as early as 2000
B.C.," he pointed out with a convincing note of authority. "In those days there
were some very strenous matches, although it's easy to understand the fervor of the
combatants when you consider that the battle wasn't decided until one of them fell
There was a soft murmur from one horrified party that he hoped Prof. Bowser wasn't
planning anything of the kind on his own hook, while another listener cynically noted
that, in the eyes of a real antiquarian, 2000 B.C. was just the day before yesterday.
"Well, if you really want to press matters," said Herr Doktor Bowser in
countering the last challenge, "you can find record of wrestling matches well before
that period. I think I hardly need to point to Jacob's adventure o f
wrestling with the angel and a little further along the sport flourished in the Egypt of
the Pharaohs, as evidenced by the carvings on Tomb No. 26, which is decorated with 250
figurines depicting wrestling holds much like the ones in use today."
That casual reference to Tomb No. 26 left the assembly gasping a little, so Mr. Bowser
proceeded with his discourse with scant interruption.
"Getting back to the Greeks," said he, "their greatest champion was Milo of
Crete, who never was beaten. Fate finally caught up with him, however, when he was running
through the woods. He came to a tree that had been cloven by a woodsman's ax and as a rest
of strength he decided to pull the tree apart. Unfortunately, he became trapped in the
tree and was held prisoner until the wolves devoured him."
Several current practitioners of the art who were drinking in the master's words gave a
visible shudder. It was bad enough keeping the wolf from the door, as it was.
"I could also bring up the famous match between Ajax and Ulysses," the master
went on. "Neither man was able to gain any advantage until Achilles stepped into stop
proceedings with the renowned phrase, "It is good enough. Both are worthy of
When somebody remarked that this was probably the first known case of the
"unsatisfactory ending," Papa Paul dismissed the allegation with a scornful titl
of his left eyebrow.
"All of that is ancient history, of course," he explained, "but in America,
too, wrestling has long been a diversion of our great men. Washington, for instance, was
champion of Virginia at 18. Lincoln was another great wrestler
and Jackson was well known in the sport. It probably isn't very widely known either that
President Taft was champion of his class at Yale and Teddy Roosevelt used to wrestle as a
part of his program of exercise."
Col. Bowser finished his little discourse by suggesting that all and sundry who were
impressed by the classical and patriotic background of the grappling arts might do worse
than drop in on the aforementioned wowser between Casey and The Shadow this evening.
STEVE CASEY TACKLES THE SHADOW AGAIN
(Boston Daily Globe, March 2, 1939)
By Tom Fitzgerald
Steve Casey, champion of all he surveys in local wrestling circles, will make his second
attempt to resolve the hext of the big, bad Shadow in Papa Paul Bowser's fiesta at the
Garden this evening.
Stephen is of the firm belief that his efforts on his occasion will be attended with more
success than was his last seance which wound its way through some four hours before the
lads mutually yielded to exhaustion with the count at one fall apiece.
Incidentally, those suburban patrons of the muscle opera who are already starting to worry
about catching the last train for home probably can allay those fears. The little man with
the cyrstal ball dropped by a little while ago and, according to his sizeup, the
gladiators will heave to with a right good will, supplying some hat-blasting but not too
lengthy action, but further says that the winner will come through with a two-out-of-three
verdict, the windup being a scene of rousing action and hearty confusion.
The little fellow wasn't venturing his prediction on a winner, but here's an enthusiastic
vote for Mr. Casey.
As to the unmasking ceremony, the faithful are certain to have their curiousity sated
whichever way the tide of battle should swing. It has already been guaranteed by the
Bowersian forces that should Mr. X wind up the champion he will immediately draw aside the
veil, of his own volition.
Another choice tidbit on the program is the special which finds Gus Sonnenberg trying to
advance his own claims for a title bout in a meeting with Reb Russell, the erudite villain
from Newport. In the semifinal Harry Jacobs, the West Coast behemoth, will tangle with Pat
Kelley, while the rest of the card comprises the following pairings: The Sheik vs. Everett
Kibbons, Tom Casey vs. Joe Maynard and Al Mills vs. Pat Reilly.
9,000 SEE SHADOW TAKE ONE FALL AND WIN
(Boston Daily Globe, March 3, 1929)
By Tom Fitzgerald
The man that nobody knows became champion of all the Bowser wrestling domains at the
Garden last night as The Shadow threw Steve Casey, the Kerry strong boy, in a marthon
one-fall bout before the largest gathering of the current grappling season.
After a rousing brawl that generally followed the pattern of their "unsatisfactory
ending" classic of a month ago, the big bad bogeyman put on the clincher after 1 hour
and 8 minutes when he tossed the Celt with an upright reverse body slam.
The mystery man thus snapped the long victory string that Stephen had pooled up since his
advent to these shores two and a half years ago, and came into possession of the famed
diamond studded buckler, which the Kerry man took from Yvon Robert by default two years
Following his triumph, the hooded champion was greeted by a mingled chorus of cheers and
boos from the 9,000 pew holders, many of whom were patently disappointed that the shroud
wasn't lifted, regardless of the outcome.
Casey seemed to be not a little shaken by the jolt he took in losing, and he started to
tear after his victorious opponent after festivities were ended until he was calmed by his
brother Tom and various other parties.
Before the new champion had regained his wind, Col. Bowser was circulating about the
ringside announcing that in order to protect the title from unscrupulous parties, he was
arranging to have the Shady One's fingerprints
taken and that he would file these, together with an unmasked photos, with the august
American Wrestling Association. It might be noted in passing that Papa Paul is privy to
the identity of his new champion, in case you thought he wasn't.
When they came into the ring Steve was wearing a monumental plaster covering his right
shoulder and almost all of his back. The size of the bandage gave rise to a cynical
comment here and there that if the Irishman were as badly injured as the covering would
indicate he'd hardly be able to climb into the ring.
There really was no hat-hoisting action during the first half hour, although the Shadow
did clamp on a punishing leg spread or two while Steve scored a couple of times with a Jap
leglock and his Kilarney Flip.
They hove to heartily as they passed the hour mark, with Steve taking a tentative tug at
the mask that riled the Shadow no end. Just before they finished, both flew past these
trembling ears, and it was following one of these undignified flights that Steve jumped
back to his doom.
Following the main bout, Gus Sonnenberg polished off Rebel Bob Russell in a rowdy shindig
and thus insured himself of a crack at the Shadow in the latter's first title defense, two
weeks from last night.
Sonny took a lot of punishment from the Russell person, but he finally landed with a
flying tackle that put Robert out of commission while the referee tolled 10.
Harry Jacobs, the over-stuffed villain from California, inflicted so many harrowing
indignities on Pat Kelly, the comely young man from Carolina, in the semifinal that
Referee Charley Donnell, the noted gendarme from Norwood, awarded the bout to Patrick
after 4 minutes 56 seconds.
In the other supporting bouts, Al Mills threw Pat Reilly, 17:12, airplane whirl and slam;
Tom Casey and Joe Maynard drew, 15:00, and Mayes McLain threw The Sheik, 9:45, flying
WRESTLING LAST NIGHT, BOSTON GLOBE, 3-3-39
Hartford, Conn. -- Ed Don George, 228, North Java, N.Y., defeated Jim Casey, 214, Ireland,
two of three falls.
Camden, N.J. -- Dynamite Joe Cox, 226, Kansas City, defeated Chief Little Wolf, 218,
Denver, two of three falls.
Lebanon, Penn. -- Rudy Dusek, 218, Omaha, threw Gino Garibaldi, 204, Illinois, 24:17.
THE SHADOW TAKES 2 FALLS IN 3 FROM KOVERLY
(Associated Press, March 9, 1939)
HARTFORD, Conn. -- "The Shadow," 231, hooded mystery man of wrestling, won two
out of three falls tonight from George (KO) Koverly, 217.
THESZ TOSSES CASEY, WHO CANNOT CONTINUE
(Associated Press, March 10, 1939)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- Lou Thesz of St. Louis, 224-pound wrestler, retained his claim to the
National Wrestling Association "world championship" tonight by stopping Steve
("Crusher') Casey, 225, Boston, with a "kangaroo kick" after 19 minutes and
37 seconds of their bout here tonight. Casey was unable to continue the exhibition.
SUPER HERO SANTO WRESTLES TO THE RESCUE
(The Ottawa Citizen, Friday, April 11, 1997)
The Mexican movie star Santo -- an unlikely combination of Batman, James Bond, a hero from
schlock horror films and a champion wrestler -- is unmasked at Reel Mondays, the monthly
film salute to offbeat genres.
Santo, born Radolfo Guzman Huerta in 1915, was a champion Mexican wrestler who wore a
silver mask and never lost. He became a film star in the 1950s, and continued to wear the
mask. He drove a trademark Aston-Martin and helped police solve crimes from his
Batman-like laboratory, at the same time pinning villains to the mat with his wrestling
Reel Mondays says director Robert Rodriguez is rumoured to be planning a new film, El
Santo vs. The Aztec Mummy, starring Antonio Banderas.
Two classics of the series, Santo vs. the Vampire Women and Santo vs. the Zombies, will be
screened Monday, to be followed with a compilation reel of highlights of Santo's
movies. Reel Mondays begins at 8 p.m. at Zaphod Beeblebrox, 27 York St. Admission is $3.
WEB SITES FOR TERRY FUNK, KILLER KARL KOX
(ED. NOTE--There are now web pages devoted
to a couple of our WAWLI favorites, Messers. Terry Funk -- http://www.doublecrossranch.com
-- and Killer Karl Kox -- http://web2.airmail.net/slots2 -- or so we discovered in a bit
of surfing earlier today. Mr. Funk wasn't able to have too much information posted, he
explained, because he had been busy both with the ranch and a recent tour of WWF
precincts. The most informative glimpse provided by Kox's website is "The
History of 'Killer,'" as told to John Gardner, excerpts which are hereby reprinted.)
"The best gimmick man in the business" -- Eddie Graham
BORN 1931; Baltimore Maryland . . . "Pimlico racetrack was in my backyard. My brother
and I would park cars for 10 cents in our yard, and on big race days we would charge
Military: US. MARINE CORPS . . . Karl was in some of the worst battles of the Korean war.
"I was in the military 3 years, 9 months, 4 days, 37 mins."
WRESTLING CAREER . . . "I started wrestling in 1956, I was 25 years old. My first
match was with a guy named "Ruffy Silverstein. I can still feel that SOB!
"You see, I was an athlete, a football player, and all the old-timers would try
me...I hated that! I would be so sore the next day I couldn't move. Early in my career, I
must have quit the business 3 or 4 times, I was tired of doing
jobs on TV. Then in 1961, The Sheik in Detroit sent me to Omaha, Nebraska, and after that
my career took off!
"The thing I liked to do most in the ring was walk and talk. I could kill 15 or 20
minutes. And never touch my opponent.
"I would like to thank ALEX for his great advice over the years."
Who were some of your favorite opponents?
Dick Murdock , Mark Lewin, Red Bastien, Terry Funk, Dick Steinborn, Ricky Romero, Billy
Robinson, and Baba . . . the list goes on and on.
Favorite tag team partners: Sputnik Monroe, Dick Murdock.
The WAWLI Papers
Words from Koxie To all the Boys: "WOW! I really miss you and wish you the best ! We really had a HELL of a good
time, didn't we !" -- Karl
QUESTION: HOW LONG SHADOW WILL BE CHAMP
(Boston Daily Globe, March 3, 1939)
By Tom Fitzgerald
Being a gent who believes in preparedness, Papa Paul Bowser has already laid in a large
store of headache powders to tide him over during the reign of "The Shadow" as
champion of all the Bowser wrestling empire.
For when the big bad bogey man glued the shoulders of Steve Casey to the floor of the
Garden ring before an assembly of 9000 ringworms last night, Herr Bowser became heir to a
mess of worry -- and no foolin'.
The Shadow, in case you didn't know, remained quite as dark a mystery as he ever was, even
though he did annex the championship, thereby stewing up a pretty little kettle of fish.
It's not that anybody doubts the validity of Mr. X's triumph over the Kerry strong boy.
The manner of his winning was emphatic and to the point with no possible claims by the
rival camp for an unsatisfactory ending.
>From that point on, the plot thickens, my friends, and it isn't hard to deduce the
difficulties that might arise from the present setup. A masked marvel who is merely a
challenger for the title is one thing. A masked marvel (or a
shadow) who is parading around in possession of the title is something else again.
What, for instance, is going to prevent conscienceless parties in other parts of the
country from rigging out a Shadow of their own and having him promptly bumped off by the
pride and joy of the sectional guild? And what would prevent the said pride and joy from
laying claim to the title that Casey formerly held? And don't say it can't happen here.
Remember the affair of Shikat and O'Mahoney?
Col. Bowser, of course, has taken precautions of a kind that do credit to his fine
dramatic flair. He announced after last night's shindig that the Shadow had been
fingerprinted and that the prints, along with a masked photograph, had been lodged with
All this is very well, mein Paul, but you are probably fully aware that your average
wrestling fan isn't likely to ask for a copy of his sectional champion's fingerprints with
his ringside ticket. Now, is he?
It is to be hoped, at any rate, that the more sinister figures of the wrestling world
won't cook up any such chicanery. (Ed. note: "Sinister figures," in wrestling
parlance, are always the guys who are promoting in
other sections of the country.)
The extent of the masked man's reign is a matter of conjecture, but there is a feeling
that he may be deposed no later than the evening of Thursday, March 16, when he is slated
to meet Gus Sonnenberg, the eminent alumnus of Dartmouth.
In the meantime, the Shadow knows, but nobody else does. It's very distressing, indeed.
ONLY THE SHADOW HOPES TO SEE GUS LICKED
(Boston Daily Globe, March 16, 1939)
By Tom Fitzgerald
With the exception of one obvious dissenter, it looks as if everybody who professes even
the slightest interest in the art of pachydermy is pulling for ol' Gus Sonnenberg to win
himself back the championship of the Bowser guild at the Garden tonight.
The contrary varmint who is flouting public opinion in the matter is The Shadow, the nasty
villain, who as party of the second part very naturally has a strong desire to hold on to
that diamond-crusted buckler which he wrested from Steve Casey only two short weeks ago.
Not that you can blame the guy. Even a bogeyman is entitled to look after his own
Having thus disposed of the heretic, let us proceed to those high-minded citizens who are
fondly hoping that Gustave will remove the veil from the mystery man by way of crowning
his comeback campaign.
There's no doubt about the sentiments of the boys and girls who pay the freight. They've
already indicated their pro-Sonnenberg tendencies by the increasingly gratifying manner in
which they've responded at the box office since the Dartmouth Dynamiter hied himself back
to the wars early this winter.
To ladle out credit where it is due, some part of the increased financial upswing in the
industry must be attributed to The Shadow, for while every pew holder is convinced he
knows who the masked man is, most of them must think it's fun to be fooled, seeing as how
they've been coming back to have some more of the same.
But you can't get away from the fact that Herr Sonnenberg comes pretty close to Mr.
Wrestling himself, possessed of an indefinable something that boosts him over his
contemporaries in much the same fashion as Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey and Eddie Shore in
their respective lines.
There have been any number of ambitious young men in the era since Sonnenberg brought
prosperity to the pastime who have done most of the things that Gus does and have done
them well. But in the minds of the ring worms, a flying tackle by any other grappler is a
faint carbon copy of the master's original and nothing more.
The customers were more than intrigued back in the Sonnenberg heyday when they heard tell
of some of their hero's whacky escapades, like his clamping a headlock on a hotel radiator
or his quaint method of training in night clubs on high-voltage spirits.
The zanies were amused by all of that and said it added up to "color," and now
they're saying isn't it nice that Gus is behaving himself like a sensible young man? It's
all very confusing.
At any rate, the lads and lassies can be assured that the reformed Sonnenberg is no myth.
The old boy is taking purposeful strides along the straight and narrow, and he even says
he's beginning to enjoy it.
The other night he threw a little party for some of the rassling critics and old cronies,
and while there were beakers of varied brews for those as wanted them, the host himself
sat contentedly in a corner sipping a glass of ginger ale. And I do mean ginger ale!
Times to change, my friends.
GUS DETHRONES, THEN UNMASKS THE SHADOW
(Boston Daily Globe, March 17, 1939)
By Tom Fitzgerald
Wrestling history did a back flip at the Garden last night as Gus Sonnenberg regained the
title he held back in the golden era of the industry by upending The Shadow in the odd
fall of their championship.
According to the approved Sonnenberg tradition the little guy with the durable dome was
forced to stage an uphill battle before he and tackle recovered their old place in the
After some of his usual highhanded, rough tactics, the former man of mystery took the
opener in 26:38 with a headlock, but Sonny came back to grab the equalizer at 22:07, when
The Shadow surrendered as a result of a leg bar that Gus clamped on following a tackle.
According to Manager Eddie Quinn, the short-lived champion who won the bauble only two
weeks ago from Steve Casey, wrenched a trick knee, and it only took Gus 3 minutes 52
seconds to score the clincher with -- you guessed it -- a tackle.
Finally defeated, after his long career of anonymity and his brief tenure as champ, the
Bogey Man was revealed as Marvin Westenberg, who in other days was known as the
bare-footed bad man.
It was doubtless a tribute to the rare aplomb of Boston's sporting puiblic that not one
soul in the fairish gathering of 7,500 swooned in the aisles as a result of the shock of
this revelation. One patron was heard to remark that he had been fooled, not so much by
that ominous black mask as by the fact that Marvin was wearing shoes.
It looked for a while as if Sonny never was going to land one of those tackles. One reason
was the too cute defense that The Shadow (well, Westenberg, if you like) had ribbed up
against it. The hooded gent spent a
large part of his time slithering about the mat on hands and knees like a roguish
two-year-old, so that Gus the Goat couldn't get his lethal weapon launched.
When the tackles finally started to click, though, the party was over for the erstwhile
haunt of the Bowswer roost.
The opening fall was for all the world like a brawl between a couple of waterfront
warriors, and Gus more than held his own with the vaillain in the rough-housing.
Eventually, however, Shadow got going with some very fancy eye-gouging and followed with a
headlock to win the session.
The gesture that paved the way for the Sonnenberg triumph came late in the second fall,
when he landed a surprise tackle that sent both Shadow and Referee Sam Smith to the floor
in a writhing heap. He promptly got to clamp on that leg bar, and as The Shadow limped
away, Eddie Quinn sailed a towel into the ring.
The last fall was brief and to the point, and all that remained were the post-bout
festivities, during which Gus was presented with that famed diamond-crusted belt.
Mayes McLain of Canada followed the Sonnenberg pattern to good effect when he butted out a
victory over Harry Jacobs, the flabby baddie from California, in 9:06 of the semifinal.
Jacobs inflicted plenty of punishment on Mayes during the opening stages, but eventually
Mac started to click with the tackle. Several times he buried his noggin in the jiggling
vastness of the Jacobs equator, and thereafter the end was but a matter of moments.
The Sheik threw Everett Kibbons, 9:20, reverse leg lock; Al Mills threw Joe Maynard,
16:26, flying scissors; Jim Casey threw Jack Smith, 7:58, head over hip lock; Angelo
Cistoldi threw Jack Marshall, 16:09, body lift and slam.
So, now, Gus once again owns the diamond-crusted buckler that was his back in the golden
days of the industry, and those good folk who concern themselves with such things are
wondering whether his reign will last any longer than that of the gent from whom he took
Here's one timid vote that Gus will retain his patents on the championship. There's very
little reason to doubt that he has been the moving force behind the upswing at the box
office, which the business has enjoyed in recent
months, and as champion he will stand more than a fair chance of maintaining that happy
state of affairs.
Casey, of course, will give Gustave a very tough session of it, and while none of us likes
to look for such things, it's not at all improbable that the pair will wind up enmeshed in
one of those "unsatisfactory endings" which crop up from time to time in the
In this case the stage would be very naturally set for a return meeting between Gus and
Steve, with the possibility that the Celt might once again assume the championship mantle.
Should Steve fail in his bid, Westenberg is still hovering around ready to stake his
claims for another crask at the title, which he held for such a pitifully short spell.
RASSLE PECANS WON'T MISS GUS AND STEVE FUSS
(Boston Daily Globe, March 28, 1939)
By Tom Fitzgerald
Things have been happening so fast among the wrestling fraternity of late that no
right-thinking grappling zany can take a chance of missing tomorrow night's wowser at the
Garden between Gus Sonnenberg, the re-established leader of the Bowser forces, and Steve
Casey, the champion emeritus from County Kerry.
There was a time, of course, when a champion could look forward to a long and comfortable
tenure in the rassling realm and the fans in turn could bank on his continued successes,
but apparently all that is a thing of the past.
Just think for a moment of what has transpired right under our unbelieving eyes in the
course of the past month or so. Casey, the strong boy of the mat, was coasting along just
then on the crest of an undefeated record that
extended back almost two years, and you'd have been branded as a wild-eyed radical if you
so much as suggested that any upstart would come along to alter his comfortable station in
That, of course, was before Stephen's ill-starred rendezvous with The Shadow, the bogey
man who had terrorized all the rest of the Bowser lodge since the start of the winter
campaign. The varmint had preserved his incognito against all the rest of the boys to be
sure, but when he met the overlord of the local roost -- well, that would be a different
So Stephen proudly stalked the haunt, only the whole business boomeranged in our faces. In
their first classic encounter the boys failed to reach a verdict after grappling all
through the night and well into the next morning and on their next try the hooded menace
walked out of the ring with the battle.
That, of course, was a strange situation, what with a mystery man ruling the roost, but
before you could say "Stanislaus Zbyszko," the new champion was whisked into a
bout with Herr Sonnenberg just two weeks after he had dethroned Mr. Casey.
And that was the end of Shadow, both as a figure of mystery and a champion. For Gustave
very forcibly made use of his flying tackle to dump over the black-shrouded titlist,
revealing him as Marvin Westenberg, a lad whose fame hitherto had rested chiefly on the
fact that he was the nastiest bare-footed bad man in wrestling captivity.
The WAWLI Papers
WHAT ABOUT IT? MODERN SCIENCE, WRESTLING
(Boston Daily Globe, July 26, 1935)
By Victor O. Jones
I don't have to tell you that the world, in the last quarter of a century or so, has made
tremendous strides in the way of science. It's necessary, in this connection, to mention
only such things as the radio, the automobile, the
telephone, air conditioning, streamlining, the X-ray, and the American girl who shocked
Most writers, when they seek to impress their readers with the marvels of modern science,
compare the three months it used to take to reach the Coast with the four days it takes
now. Or they contrast the weary weeks which Christopher Columbus consumed in crossing the
Atlantic with the mere hours which Charley Lindbergh required.
There's an even more striking way, however, of illustrating the progress of humankind in
the last few years. I refer to sports, a field of human endeavor in which everything now
is bigger, better, louder, funnier, more colorful and faster than it used to be.
Take wrestling, for instance. (You take it, please, I don't want it.)
The greatest wrestler of an older day and age, the experts agree, was Frank Gotch. I have
been through the musty files and I find that he flourished between the years 1899 and
1913. That's quite a stretch. Here, in summary, is his record.
W L(ED. NOTE--The above column, and a
number of the other Boston Daily Globe features appearing in recent issues of The WAWLI Papers are courtesy
of the extensive collection of Los Angeles-based Steve Yohe.)
1899.........1 2 1904.......9 0 1909......24 0
1900.........6 0 1905......19 2 1910..... 3 0
1901.........5 0 1906......27 1 1911......27 0
1902.........4 0 1907......5 0 1912.......6 0
1903.........8 1 1908.......9 0 1913.......1 0
Summary---160 matches, won 154, lost 6.
That's an average of about 10 matches a year. Contrast that with what the modern wrestler does. Danno O'Mahoney,
for instance, who has been in this country for only about six months, but already has engaged in some 60 bouts. Or contrast it against the record of Gus
Sonnenberg, who over a period of years has averaged three bouts a week. Or take Ed Don George, the pleasant
New Yorker, who now holds the
title once held by Gotch, and has wrestled so much that I doubt very much whether he or anyone else could tell you how
many bouts he's engaged in
since he was a member of the United States Olympic team in '28.
I do not suggest that wrestling in those days was strictly a contest. I have heard the competitive quality of the mat
sport, so-called, questioned in all eras and epochs. But in those days they didn't have the fast trains they have now, nor did they have the airplanes and
the highly developed technique of showmanship and publicity that they have now.
Just as faster methods of transportation cut distances, so, too, did new and entertaining grips like the flying
tackle, the Irish Whip, the turnover body scissors, and the airplane whirl add variety to the melodramatic plots of the wrestling promoters.
As a result, wrestling as largely taken the place of Uncle Tom's Cabin in providing the yokels, both those who live
in hick towns and those who strut in great metropolitan centers, with good, clean entertainment. No longer does
the spirit of Little Eva
flutter into the upper reaches of the stage on a wire, and no longer does Simon Legree pursue the old darkie across the ice
with his bloodhounds.
Instead, our modern wrestling troupers respond to their modern cues, and while the air is filled with dramatic groans and grunts,
the action proceeds swiftly,
inevitably to its inevitably climax.
The natives who reside around Greater Boston already are eagerly looking forward to the next visit here of Papa
Paul Bowser's touring troupe of pachyderms. This is something of an extra special event, a first-time-on-any-stage,
by-special-request performance, involving a couple of champions -- Dan O'Mahoney, the Irish champ and champion
of 38 states, vs. Ed Don George, the champion of the rest of the world.
There are a number of added attractions already booked, chief of which is the appearance in a referee's role of James
J. Braddock, the champion of the heavyweight boxers. Also there is a thrilling set of preliminaries, including among the cast the celebrated Gus
Sonnenberg, only wrestler in captivity who has been thrown by a moth.
You will have heard of this strange case, of how Gus, while grappling in a nearby town, was assaulted by a moth,
which applied the strangle hold and so forced the former Dartmouth athlete to resign the match. There have been many strange endings to wrestling bouts, but
this is probably an original.
The possibilities opened up by this addition of insects to the wrestling cast are almost unlimited, particularly when
the assigning of roles is in the hands of a great fellow like Paul Bowser, the greatest showman since Barnum. It might, for instance, be possible to stage
a match between a champion wrestler and The Masked Moth, Best-Two-Out-of-Three-Falls-to-a-Positive-Finish. At first the opponents of The Masked Moth
would have to be carefully selected, but once The Masked Moth had been established as a big box office favorite,
he could be matched against
headliners and possibly unmasked at a big outdoor show.
Battle royals have proved popular with the public and by joining a trained flea circus to the pachyderms, many a
lively evening could be worked out. After all, these fleas are remarkably intelligent and it ought not to be hard
to teach them how to apply the various holds of modern wrestling. Kangaroos also lend themselves to this form of
entertainment and monkeys and gorillas also make excellent wrestling material when properly fed and publicized.
Anyway, there's no doubt that modern science and modern wrestling are great things.
WHAT ABOUT IT? BOWSER ENLIVENS SPORTS
(Boston Daily Globe, July 27, 1935)
By Victor O. Jones
Things are comparatively dull in the sports world these days and if it weren't for the
lively news and feature concoctions which are emerging from the publicity mill of Paul
Bowser, there'd be nothing on the sports pages except a lot of agate box scores and race
Ordinarily the wowsers from Bowser's Chauncey St. citadel deal exclusively with his
grunters and groaners. Currently, however, the maestro is engaged in a dual role. He has a
torso twisting seance between Danno O'Mahoney and Ed Don George scheduled for Braves Field
July 30 and he has a Grand Circuit trotting meet on the fire for Rockingham Park, Salem,
N.H., Aug. 3 to 10.
As a result, there's just twice as much typewriter fodder being furnished a starved pack
of writers these days, and don't think we lads don't appreciate it.
For instance, there's the squib about the attitude of Gov. James M. Curley towards the
impending George-O'Mahoney rassle, an item not covered in the Governor's inaugural
address. According to Mr. Bowser, the Governor, besides displaying a keen interest in the
affair, "is a booster for both men." "He will," according to the same
authority, "be non partisan in his cheering and only hopes that the better man may
win the championship."
This, I think, is an interesting attitude. Politicans are, of course, somewhat prone to
play both ends against the middle and not to commit themselves unnecessarily. But in this
case nobody can accused Gov. Curley of playing politics, because George votes out of North
Java, N.Y., and Danno votes out of Ballydehob, County Cork, Ireland. The chances are that
the Governor never will bid for public office in either of these spots.
As to the better man winning, it appears as though the Governor's wish here will be
gratified. In wrestling, above all other sports, the best man can be depended upon to win.
In other forms of athletics, the "breaks," or luck, or
the weather, or other things sometimes bring about the defeat of the better man. But in
wrestling, barring accidental injuries and unforeseen things like that, the better man --
the better man at the box office -- wins 99 times out of 100. That's one of the things
that makes the impending clash so interesting -- it will reveal which is the better man
between these two fine specimens of Nordic manhood.
And there's also the Bowserian item, touching on both the rassle and the trotting meeting,
which announces that Danno will drive a special heat at Rockingham Park against Walter
Cox, the dean of American reinsmen. This is an item calculated to appeal to the followers
of both sports. Danno, it develops, is an ardent horseman, interest in nothing so much as
the improvement of the breed. And Cox, by the same token, is mightily interested in the
grappling business. The race should be a honey.
In fairness, however, shouldn't Mr. Cox consent to meet Danno, best two out of three
falls, American Association rules to govern, on some mat? Cox, for all Danno's love of
horses, has quite a bulge on the Irishman in the matter of driving trotters. To make the
thing fair and square, he ought to meet Danno at his own game.
STEVE CASEY OUT FOR THAT CHAMPIONSHIP
(Boston Daily Globe, March 29, 1939)
By Tom Fitzgerald
Steve Casey, the Kerry strong boy, will attempt to regain his status as leading man of the
local wrestling fraternity when he engages Gus Sonnenberg, present possessor of the famed
diamond studded belt, in the main attraction of Papa Paul Bowser's grapple fest at the
Garden this evening.
No further back than a month ago, of course, Steve was ensconced as champion of the guild
himself, riding high, wide and handsome on the wings of an undefeated string that extended
back some two years.
Then the proud Celt ran afoul of the mysterious personage known as The Shadow, and when
the festivities were over the bogey man stalked out of the ring with the title firmly in
The tenure of the mystery man as ruler of the roost was sadly shortlived, since just two
weeks ago he was upended by Gus Sonnenberg, the bulky little gent with the flying tackle
who masterfully snatched the deeds to the
championship which he had held back in the golden days of the dizzy '20s.
The championship has thus changed hands with such bewildering rapidity that no one dares
guess as to the outcome of tonight's brawl between the former oarsman from Sneem and the
Darmouth alumnus whose football tactics transformed the industry froma sports foundling
into a big business.
This, of course, is the first meeting of the two lads, and much of the conjectures
advanced from Bowser headquarters have concerned themselves with Stephen's reactions to
the flying tackle. Seemingly, Master Casey has never been forced to cope with this
particular weapon heretofore in his wrestling
career, and his fate will rest or fall on the kind of defense he can rig up against Gus
the goat's mode of assault.
You needn't go overboard on the assumption that sonny will run off with the evening's
honors. Stephen, as noted before, is a big, strong boy, and he should give Gussie a very
lively evening. Then, too, there is always the
possibility of a draw or the traditional "unsatisfactory ending," paving the way
for a rematch of the two.
The semifinal will pit the up-and-coming young Mayes McLain against Angelo Cistoldi, the
super-bad man, while the rest of the card comprises the following pairings: Frank Brown
vs. Al Mills; Al Sparks vs. Jim Courtland; Tom Casey vs. The Sheik, and Harry Jacobs vs.
SONNENBERG PARALYZED IN MAT BOUT
(Boston Daily Globe, Thursday, March 30, 1939)
By Tom Fitzgerald
The ill fortune which has dogged Gus Sonnenberg's steps so persistently struck once again
last night at the Garden when he forfeited his recently regained heavyweight wrestling
title to Steve Casey and wound up on a hospital cot. He was taken to the Boston City
Hospital, suffering from a clot on the brain.
Early this morning doctors at the City Hospital said Sonnenberg's left side was paralyzed.
X-rays will be taken this morning to determine the extent of his head injuries. His
condition was described as "critical."
Strangely enough, the gritty little giant, whose flying tackle made wrestling a big
business, seemed well on the way to add another victory to his comeback string when he was
Through all the earlier stages of the going, "Dynamite Gus" had his larger
opponent on the run, with Steve constantly ducking to avoid any possibility of a flying
tackle. Then suddenly just after the half hour mark had been passed, the huge Irishman
lifted Sonnenberg above his head and hurled him to the mat.
Sonny's head hit the floor with a jarring thump, and Casey promptly flopped on to gain the
fall with a top body press, while the erstwhile champion remained inert on the floor.
The time of the fall was 33:30. Casey, who seemed as bewildered as anybody in the
gathering of 5,000, stood by and helped lift his fallen adversary, while four of the ring
handlers then carried the unconscious Sonnenberg from the ring.
After a protracted wait between the falls, Promoter Paul Bowser finally called Dr. Francis
Henderson into Sonny's dressing room. Dr. Henderson, after a brief examination, said that
he believed the wrestler had a clot of blood on the brain and ordered him removed
immediately to the Boston City Hospital. Sonnenberg was taken to the hospital in the
ambulance of the North St. police station.
There seemed to be little doubt that Sonny was badly injured as he lay on the mat and many
of the ringsiders recalled another night when he was taken to the hospital after he had
crashed his head on the concrete floor of the Arena when he missed a flying tackle against
Ed (Strangler) Lewis.
Dr. Henderson was reported to have said that he feared that there may have been a
recurrence of the former injury.
Casey, of course, was awarded the title, which he had lost a month ago to Marvin (The
Shadow) Westenberg. Sonny, in turn, had lifted the championship just two weeks ago from
Westenberg, and most observers seemed to feel that he would hold the bauble for some time.
The tenor of the action preceding the dismal ending seemed to substantiate the belief that
Sonny was going to repulse the bid of the Irish lad. Repeatedly, Sonny forced the going,
to the delight of his supporters, and on a number of occasions he flipped nimbly out of
Casey's holds to work quickly into telling gestures himself.
Ironically enough, the bullet-headed little guy was unable to get across even one tackle,
as Casey constantly crept along the ropes or sprawled on all fours when Sonny as much as
lowered his head.
Mayes McLain of Canada entrenched himself more firmly than ever as a public pet when he
routed Angelo Cistoldi, the deep-dyed villain, in 23:41 in the semifinal. Angie put on an
assorted display of the bad man's arts as he slugged, gouged and otherwise attempted a
slight case of mayhem. Once when he sailed over the ropes he came back armed with one of
the wooden props that support the press table and sailed off in wild pursuit of McLain,
brandishing his weapon. Referee Sam L. Smith wrested it from Angie's eager grasp.
Shortly thereafter Mayes applied a series of tackles that flattened Master Cistoldi. The
Harry Jacobs threw Everett Kibbons, 7:46, inside crotch, body lift and slam; Tom Casey and
The Sheik drew, 20 minutes; Al Sparks threw Jim Courtland, 5:44, back breaker, and Frank
Brown and Al Mills drew, 30 minutes.
GUS OUT OF DANGER, MAT RETURN LIKELY
(Boston Daily Globe, Friday, March 31, 1939)
According to the latest reports, the 38-year-old "dynamiter," Gus Sonnenberg,
seems to be on his way to the same rapid recovery he staged several years ago following an
accident similar to Wednesday night's when he sustained a head injury at the Boston Garden
as he lost his recently regained heavyweight wrestling championship to Steve (Crusher)
Dr. Francis Henderson, who is personally supervising the case at the City Hospital, told
promoter Paul Bowser that he was confident that Gus was out of danger, but would have to
remain in the hospital for at least two weeks.
Sonnenberg, although in a shaky condition, protested vehemently against the doctor's
verdict and predicted that he would be back in first-class condition in a few days.
According to Dr. Henderson, the paralysis of the left side
which Sonnenberg suffered has almost completely cleared up and the blood clot on the
brain, which had been indicated, apparently was dissolved. He also said that gus would
likely be able to return to the mat, but that he wasn't certain how long he would be
forced to remain inactive.
STEVE CASEY EASILY PINS SPARKS AT HARTFORD
(Associated Press, March 30, 1939)
HARTFORD -- Steve (Crusher) Casey, 226, Ireland, title claimant to the heavyweight
championship, won two successive falls over Al Sparks, 229, Utah State Teachers College
athlete, in the feature bout of the wrestling show here tonight. Casey won the first fall
with a Kerry flip and body slam in 14 minutes flat and went on to win the second fall with
a body lift and a body slam in 14 minutes and 15 seconds.
The WAWLI Papers # 233...
'ALWAYS WORLD'S CHAMP TO ME'--MRS. BRADDOCK
(Boston Daily Globe, July 30, 1935)
By Hy Hurwitz
"He was always the champion of the world to me," declared Mrs. James J.
Braddock, wife of the heavyweight boxing title holder, "but it's much greater to
realize he's now the champion of the world to everybody."
Mrs. Braddock came over from New York last night with her husband, who makes his big-time
debut as a wrestling referee at Braves Field in the Ed Don George-Danno O'Mahoney match
A very gracious lady is Mrs. Braddock. Her dress is simple and she is modest to as great a
degree as her husband. There isn't anything artificial about her. The fact that her hubby
happens to be the heavyweight champion hasn't changed her in the slightest.
"When I first knew it," declared Mrs. Braddock, "I was dazed. Reporters
kept asking me how it felt to be the wife of the heavyweight champion, and I don't even
remember what I answered. Not until lately when the first excitement departed have I
actually known what it was all about.
"The rush of photographers and interviewers for a full week left me in a highly
nervous condition. At night in bed I used to see the glare of flashlights. If I only had
myself to consider it wouldn't have been bad, but the camermen wanted my three youngsters
in so many poses they almost drove me nuts."
Mrs. Braddock collapsed from this ordeal. She had to spend three weeks in the mountains to
recuperate. Jimmy had a chance to go on a vaudeville tour immediately after annexing the
title, but when Mrs. Braddock became sick he canceled the engagement in favor of staying
with the frau.
The Braddocks have been through thick and thin together. "When I first knew
Jimmy," declared Mrs. Braddock last night, "he always talked about the time he
would become heavyweight champion. He prayed to put on weight and to have his hands in
Shortly after the Braddocks were married, Jimmy made some fairly big money. He had about
$75,000 put away in a taxi business and in the market. But came the big crash and the
Braddock bankroll, like so many others, vanished.
>From a fairly large home they had to move to a cramped apartment. "Even when
things looked darkest," declared Mrs. Braddock, "I felt that some day Jimmy's
wishes would come true. He's very modest, and although he never said anything about
becoming champ on the outside, he always talked of it with me."
Mrs. Braddock was confident that her husband would some day win the title. When things
were darkest she used to console him. And things were pretty dark with the Braddocks.
"It wasn't us alone that we had to worry about," narrated the wife of the
heavyweight champion, "but our three youngsters. It's a lot easier to feed and clothe
two than it is five. If we didn't have the kids to think about I'd have gone out and got a
job myself, but it was impossible to leave them behind."
Mrs. Braddock saw Jim fight only once and all she sat through was a single round. "It
was before we were married and it was with Maxie Rosenbloom," stated Mrs. Braddock.
"I couldn't stand to see him getting punched and I ran out of the Garden after the
first round. I haven't seen him fight since and don't plan to."
Braddock is keeping in shape. He has fought three exhibition bouts since winning the title
and has about six scheduled during the next month. As to wanting an upcoming defense
against Joe Louis, he noted:
"People think I would be making a mistake taking on Louis, but they don't stop to
think that I'll have to train just as hard for Joe as I would for anyone else. I saw Louis
knock out Carnera, but I don't think he's had enough
experience to tip me over. Nobody figures to come up as fast as Louis has and be perfect.
"This King Levinsky is apt to fool a lot of experts when he meets Louis in Chicago.
Levinsky is nobody's sucker and he can hit every bit as hard as Louis. He has far more
experience than Louis. Don't think I'm picking Levinsky to win, but I think he has a much
better chance than a lot of the smart guys give him."
Braddock and his manager, the cheery and radiant Joe Gould, don't believe Max Schmeling
will fight again here. They believe his exorbitant demands are proof enough of his
intentions of not coming over.
"I feel sure the New York Garden will find an opponent for Braddock," declared
Gould. "They have the inside and if Louis ever wants to win the championship, he's
got to tie himself up with the New York Garden."
The Garden has exclusive services on Braddock's first title defense. They have to name an
opponent by next juen or else drop their claims. Braddock and Gould belive they will get a
man, and for financial reasons, they hope he's Louis.
(ED. NOTE--Braddock had won the title June
13, 1935, with a 15-round decision from Max Baer. Then came a long period of inactivity.
Meanwhile, Schmeling did return to the States and knocked out Louis on June 19, 1936.
Promoters rushed Louis into a series of bouts, seven of them, all victories, in order to
boost interest in a bout with Braddock, which finally happened on June 22, 1937. Louis won
by eighth-round kayo, then defended by taking a 15-round decision from Englishman Tommy
Farr on August 30 of the same year. Braddock followed up by winning a ten-round decision
from Farr in New York, Jan. 21, 1938 -- but then never engaged in another contest. Like
Baer and Louis, and earlier heavyweight champs Jess Willard, Jack Dempsey and Jack
Sharkey, Braddock then became a semi-regular "celebrity" presence as a wrestling
referee in rings across the land.)
WRESTLING MUSEUM PLANS FALL OPENING
(Cauliflower Alley Club Bulletin)
NEWTON, Iowa -- The International Wrestling Institute and Museum (IWIM) plans to open its
door for the first time this fall. Celebrities from the world of wrestling -- including
legendary professional champions Lou Thesz and Verne Gagne, and amateur Olympic champions
Dan Gable and Tom Brands -- are expected to be on hand for the opening, though an exact
date has not yet been set.
The Institute is an 8,000-square-foot building which sits 100 yards off Interstate 80, one
of the world's busiest highways, in the heart of wrestling country. An estimated 25,000
cars a day go past the IWIM exit, a total of over
nine million cars a year.
In addition, Iowa has the richest wrestling heritage of any spot in the world. It is the
home of legendary professional champions Frank Gotch (1908 to 1915) and Earl Caddock (1917
to 1920) and was the birthplace of the N.W.A. in 1948.
Four Iowa colleges have won NCAA wrestling team titles, more than any other state, and
Iowa holds the all-time record for attendance at the NCAA level. A total of 91,000 fans
attended the sold-out NCAA tournament in Cedar Falls in 1997, and the University of Iowa
in Iowa City set the record for a dual meet, with 15,500 fans.
"This is a lifetime dream coming true for me," said Mike Chapman, executive
director of the not-for-profit group. "We have a beautiful facility and we plan to
showcase wrestling history, amateur wrestling, Olympic wrestling and the early-day
The lobby features a life-size mural of a young Abe Lincoln wrestling Jack Armstrong in
New Salem, Illinois, in 1832, a match which actually took place. Also, a sketch of Jacob
wrestling the Angel of the Lord is planned.
The building will feature a large display area for the amateurs, including a special area
on Dan Gable, considered by many to be the greatest amateur wrestler in American history.
Gable once won 181 consecutive matches over a seven-year period, and then won a gold medal
in the 1972 Olympics without giving up a single point in six matches. As a coach he led
the University of Iowa to 15 NCAA team titles in 21 years.
The museum also will feature a special wing for the early-day professionals, dating back
to the days of George Hackenschmidt and Gotch. The shoes Gotch wore into the ring in 1911
in Chicago against Hackenschmidt will be on display, as well as Gotch's derby hat, Mason's
sword and a punching bag he trained on.
Chapman, publisher of a national amateur magazine entitled W.I.N. (Wrestling Institute
Newsmagazine), has retired from a 27-year newspaper career to run the facility. He is the
author of ten books, including six on wrestling, and was producer of the video, "Lou
Thesz: An American Icon."
The facility will boast a large gift shop, complete with wrestling equipment for the
amateurs, as well as books, videos, wrestling cards and posters. The museum will create
its own line of apparel, and will have an extensive mail order catalog. The gmuseum also
features a video room, a conference room for group meetings, and a snack area for guests
National publications such as USA Today have already printed stories on the museum, and
Chapman said he has had inquiries from as far away as Japan and Turkey.
The professional wing will feature a life-size cutout of Frank Gotch and a huge painting
of Lou Thesz wrestling Leo Nomellini in San Francisco. The painting hung in the Los
Angeles Coliseum for over forty years. There also
will be a half-size professional ring for photo taking opportunities and a wide variety of
wrestling historical items.
"We want this to be the depository for wrestling history," said Chapman.
"But we also want it to be a fun place, where families can come and visit. We have
already had several high school coaches call and ask about field trips next year."
Chapman said he plans to have the first induction to the Professional Hall of Fame next
spring, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Cauliflower Alley Club. The date is
April 24, 1999, at the Marriott Convention Center for the Cauliflower Alley Club banquet
and museum opening.
Wrestling history will be made that day and all members of the C.A.C. will have an
opportunity to participate in the weekend event. Complete convention details will be
forthcoming in the next CAC bulletin.
FIFTH POLE OF THE MAT by Dean Silverstone
The East Coast banquet will take place in October, 1998. Exact date and place will be
announced soon by George Napolitano in his three wrestling magazines, or you may phone
(212) 689-2830, Ext. 242 for additional details.
The 1999 Cauliflower Alley Club banquet will take place April 24, 1999, at the Marriott
Convention Center in Newton, Iowa.
Video tapes of the Lou Thesz Roast & Toast are now available at a cost of $20 plus $3
shipping. You may view the entire March 14, 1998 banquet program that featured speeches by
many CAC members and guests and share all the excitement surrounding the Lou Thesz Roast
& Toast. To receive your video, send payment and order to:
Cauliflower Alley Club, 201 NE 45th Street, Seattle WA 98105 (USA)
Your 1998-99 CAC membership is now due. Please help support the club and mail your
application to the CAC. You will receive your current membership card and certificate as
well as future mailings of the CAC bulletin. Some great plans are in the works, but we
need the help of ALL OUR MEMBERS.
Our thanks to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) for their generous contribution toward
the production of this flyer.
You may FAX (425) 747-4566 or e-mail (email@example.com) notes to me, especially if you
are a CAC member and wish to submit articles, letters, photos, comments, stories, or
whatever to future bulletins. Please include a stamped self-addressed return envelope if
you loan us photographs or other material you wish returned after publication. Mail to the
above address, CAC, 201 NE 45th Street, Seattle WA 98105 (Attn: Dean Silverstone).
At this time we'd like to say thanks to Cauliflower Alley Club member Royal Duncan and his
staff at Royal Publishing Company in Peoria, Ill., who printed and helped design the first
issue of this bulletin that was mailed prior to the West Coast Roast & Toast Lou Thesz
banquet held in Studio City March 14, 1998. Not only did they absorb much of the printing
cost, they threw in several bonuses at no charge, helping the club get started with this
This "new project" is the continuation of a job the late Art Abrams did by
himself for 30 years and although we will never be able to match Art's great periodicals,
we will at least continue the legacy he singlehandedly began and built to a point where
close to 2,000 members enjoyed his mailings on a regular basis.
On behalf of the seven individuals who were assigned the task of taking over what Art did
by himself (Dean Silverstone, Scott Teal, Jim Melby, Tom Burke, J Michael Kenyon, Sheldon
Goldberg and Royal Duncan), we look forward to keeping all the CAC members plugged in with
LETTER FROM VICE PRESIDENT KARL LAUER
To our members and friends of Cauliflower Alley:
As we start our 33rd year we find that thanks to a great and working Board of Directors,
the Club will continue to grow and maintain the respect and status that for the last 32
years has kept it the club that has no favorites or plays no politics.
All members are champions, all have the same status quo and all have left egos, gripes and
hard feelings at home when they attend. The motto "Ring of Friendship" is just
that. It's both exciting and rewarding to remember the good times of the past and to share
the hard ones. Many lost friendships have been reborn at the Alley meetings and hard
That is really the reason for the Cauliflower Alley, to help a friend in need, sometimes
with a simple phone call, and in some cases with financial help. Our scholarship fund has
helped five get closer to their dream in its four years.
One of our main goals in the coming years is to get the younger talent involved, to create
a future legends award, a current champion award, both in all categories, wrestler, boxer,
movie & TV stuntmen, in the men's and women's divisions, as well as living legends and
the Iron Mike and Art Abrams Awards.
We still plan to have the East Coast Banquet, with George Napolitano in charge, and one
traveling award banquet in conjunction with a major event. A lot of work, you bet, but
with a 35-person working Board of Directors, I think we will do just fine.
Your input is always welcome. Write me anytime or call after 7 p.m. but before 10 p.m. any
time. After ten is a recording on the first ring.
Looking forward to seeing you at our next get-together.
Sincerely, Karl K. Lauer, Executive Vice President, CAC
CAC SCHOLARSHIP FUND GETS A SURPRISE BOOST
Several years ago, the CAC began what has become an annual West Coast banquet tradition.
Each year, a custom-made championship belt, provided below cost from Joe Marshall of J-MAR
Championship Belts (beltmaker for WWF, WCW, NWA and numerous promotions worldwide), is
raffled off with the proceeds going to benefit the club's scholarship fund.
This year's raffle ended with an unexpected twist. CAC board member Sheldon Goldberg was
this year's raffle winner. When presented the belt by Dick (The Destroyer) Beyer, Goldberg
announced that in memory of the late Art Abrams, he was going to donate the belt back to
the club. Goldberg and The Destroyer then held an impromptu auction and sold the belt to
the highest bidder generating an additional $1,000 on top of the $1,400 worth of tickets
"If Art Abrams won this belt, I believe he would have done exactly what I did,"
Goldberg said. "As a board member, and a friend of Art's, I thought giving back the
belt in the better interests of the club was an appropriate
TEN COUNT -- Since the last CAC bulletin, the following members of the Cauliflower Alley
Club and individuals associated with the world of professional boxing and wrestling have
passed away. The CAC extends deepest
sympathies to the relatives of those recently deceased: Bobo Brazil, Dan Coates, Johnnie
James, Buddy Lee, Pedro Martinez, Papa Shango, Frank Shields, Louie Spiccoli, Roy
McClarity, Ernie Wolf.
Papers # 234...
DANNO O'MAHONEY MEETS ED DON GEORGE
(Boston Daily Globe, Tuesday, July 29, 1935)
By Victor O. Jones
Unless the Dan O'Mahoney-Ed Don George wrestling show ends in a "tie" tomorrow
night, you can prepare right now to designate Braves Field as a new historical point of
interest in Boston.
Because unless the plot calls for a tie, Braves Field will mark the spot where the great
wrestling schism ended. The wrestling schism is, perhaps, not as important as several
other schisms, but nevertheless it wasn't bad while it lasted and it's lasted now for a
matter of a half a dozen years.
The wrestling schism started back in the reign of Gus Sonnenberg. Gus had beaten Ed Lewis,
who in turn had beaten another pot bellied guy, and so on right back to Frank Gotch who
was the universally recognized champion after he slew Hackenschmidt, the Russian Lion,
yars and yars ago.
At the time that Gus was champion, the wrestling world was not as pleasant as it is now.
There was Paul Bowser, who pulled the strings in these parts. There was Jack Curley, who
pulled strings in New York, and there was Ray Fabiani who pulled strings in Philadelphia
and at one time invaded the Bowser district to wage a holy war against Oom Paul.
It was in these Dark Ages that the schism started. It started because Bowswer wouldn't let
Gus meet Dick Shikat, who was quite a big shot in the Fabiani troupe. So Fabiani kidded
the New York and Philadelphia Athletic Commissions into proclaiming the title vacant.
Shikat took over the vacant title and then lost it to Londos, who was champion in those
sectors until Dan O'Mahoney beat him here in Boston recently. Meanwhile, of course, Bowser
called Sonnenberg champ and so there were two champs. Two champs make one schism.
Sonnenberg lost to George, who lost to Lewis, who lost to DeGlane, who lost to George, and
so now we have the schism about to end again, always, provided, there isn't a tie.
There were two other attempts to end the schism, both last summer when George and Londos
twice wrestled far, far into the night without gaining fall. It may happen again, but the
guessers are saying that it won't and that Danno, the ex-Irish Free State soldier, is all
set to be sole champ. I wouldn't know whether this is right or not, because Papa Paul
hasn't made the announcement yet.
Anyway it promises to be a great show. The supporting cast simply reeks with talent. Also
James J. Braddock, the boxing champ, will referee the main bout.
So many people want to see history made and be on the premises when the schism ends that
Mr. Bowser is having visions of a new record paid attendance for a wrestling show. He
thinks it's possible that a new world's record in this respect will be set, which is
entirely as it should be because there are two world championships -- not counting James
J. Braddock's -- involved.
According to Mr. Bowser, the record gate for a wrestling performance is $101,000 -- the
amount paid out by the citizens of Chicago to see Lewis lose to Londos in the year of
Chicago's Century of Progress. That figure may not be beaten tomorrow at Braves Field, but
it wouldn't be surprising if a new New England record was set. The New England out-of-door
record is $60,000 paid by the crowd which saw DeGlane beat Sonnenberg at Braves Field two
years ago. Indoors, Boston has paid as much as $72,000 for a wrestling extravaganza, that
being the amount shelled out at the Garden on the night when Gus took the title away from
Lewis. The seats were more expensive than they are now.
Both principals complete their training this afternoon, Danno at Wayland, George at Hull.
They are, strangely enough, reported to be in the pink, both confident.
Danno, who is a great horse lover, will ride against Walter Cox at Rockingham a week from
tonight. He will have the reins behind Ben White's Aileen Mack, 2:09 3/4. Cox hasn't named
his horse yet. I understand it's in the bag for Danno, though. The race will be over a
mile, one heat, instead of the usual
Elsewhere on these pages you'll find the physical comparisons of tomorrow night's leading
figures. They won't influence the outcome to any extent, but will help you in buying
Christmas present socks, garters, belts and collars for the boys.
One thing that makes it hard for the experts to pick the winner is the fact that George,
after tomorrow's bout, is planning to take a vacation, while Danno, after his race against
Cox, is supposed to sail for Ireland, either on a vacation or to rejoin the army from
which he is enjoying a furlough.
The Masked Moth, which came into prominence last week by helping Jim Browning to defeat
Gus Sonnenberg, is not on tomorrow's card, but the other two principal figures of that
great bout are on the preliminary card, Browning paired with Chief Little Moose,
Sonnenberg with Boris Demetroff.
This will be No. 63 for Danno if he wins it. He hasn't been thrown yet, let alone beaten.
The supporting cast also includes Billy Bartush, Danno's favorite victim; Bibber McCoy,
the Old Purple from Cambridge; Count Zarynoff, the Barber's Curse; Karl P:ojello, Henry
Piers, Dick Daviscourt, Gino Garibaldi, George Saunders, Leo Numa, Frank Sexton, George
McLeod, Jim Wallis, Jack Ross, John Spellman, Danny Winters and Andy Brown. Everyone, in
short, except Frank Cole of Australia.
HOW THE TITLE BOUT MATMEN COMPARE
Age: George 29 years, O'Mahoney 22 years
Weight: George 220 lbs., O'Mahoney 224 lbs.
Height: George 6-feet-1, O'Mahoney 6-feet-2
Reach: George 74 inches, O'Mahoney 78 1/2 inches
Chest (normal): George 44 inches, O'Mahoney 44
Chest (expanded): George 49 inches, O'Mahoney 47 1/2
Waist: George 35 inches, O'Mahoney 35 1/4 inches
Thigh: George 25 inches, O'Mahoney 25 1/2 inches
Calf: George 16 1/2 inches, O'Mahoney 17 1/2 inches
Biceps: George 16 inches, O'Mahoney 16 inches
Wrist: George 8 1/2 inches, O'Mahoney 8 1/2 inches
Neck: George 18 1/2 inches, O'Mahoney 18 inches
Ankle: George 11 inches, O'Mahoney 11 1/2 inches
Forearm: George 13 inches, O'Mahoney 15 1/2 inches
ED DON GEORGE COUNTED OUT BY BRADDOCK
(Boston Evening Globe, Wednesday, July 31, 1935)
By Hy Hurwitz
Wrestling achieved a new high in attendance and dramatics as Danno O'Mahoney of Ireland
became the disputed possessor of the undisputed world's wrestling championship of the 38
N.B.A. states, New England, Canada, California and adjoining precincts.
Danno, the broth of a boy from Ballydehob, was declared the victor in his meeting with Ed
Don George before close to 40,000 skeptical spectators up at Braves Field last night, by
James J. Braddock, the world's heavyweight boxing champion, who was refereeing his first
professional pachyderm performance.
The bout was a real wowser by Papa Paul Bowser. It contained everything that one expects
to see at a wrestling show. The climax of the chief collision left everyone in a baffled
frame of mind, which is just the way it should, for now the insatiable wrestling pecan can
still be undecided as to the logical owner of what passes for the world's wrestling
It cannot be said that Danno won on a fluke. Actually, he won because Braddock did not
know the wrestling rules, and it was essential for Ed Don George to tutor Jimmy in the
finer points of the wrestling code before George was declared the loser.
This may sound a bit involved, but it is precisely what happened. George had heaved Danno
from the ring on two successive occasions. On the second time Referee Braddock tolled 20
and O'Mahoney was still out of the ring. This, according to the rules, would give George
the decision. Mr. Braddock, however, was not informed of such a rule.
The American Olympic heavyweight representative in 1928, being above all, a gentleman,
explained the situation to Braddock. As he finished his explanation and started to leave
the ring, he was seized from behind by O'Mahoney. Danno didn't know that, technically, he
was the loser. The referee hadn't raised Don's arm as a token of victory.
So O'Mahoney, hearing opportunity knock, raised George over his shoulders and gave Don
tit-for-tat or, if you prefer, he hurled Don from the ring. George still figured the bout
was over. He thought that Danno was a bit worked up over his defeat and threw him (George)
"overboard" in a moment of unconsciousness and therefore did not make any effort
to climb back to the ring.
When he witnessed Braddock proclaim O'Mahoney was the victor he soared in and protested.
So, too, did Frank Dellamano, Don's chief second. George, still the gentleman, launched
his plea delicately, but Dellamano tried to rush and maul the heavyweight boxing champion.
Jimmy naturally wouldn't stand for this and he promptly pumped his fists in Dellamano's
elbows and Frank went down and out.
This was repeated two or three times while a minor riot of not too peaceful proportions
loomed. It took almost a score of policemen to restore order and when this was
accomplished, Whitey Kaunfer, the announcer, informed those who were interested that
O'Mahoney was the victor in 1 hour, 30 minutes flat.
The finish to last night's bout was well staged. The crowd got quite a kick out of it,
although many did raise a kick because George was not the winner.
Your correspondent was directly in front of Braddock as he counted on O'Mahoney. Jimmy,
just as sure as he beat Max Baer, tolled 20 over Danno. Whether he knew what that meant is
another story. Apparently he did not, for instead of naming George as the victor right
then and there, he allowed O'Mahoney to climb back into the ring and throw George outside
the ropes in retaliation.
According to George, this constituted a breach of constitutional authority. Braddock had
no business allowing O'Mahoney to carry on as Danno did, and instead of belting Dellamano,
Jimmy should, according to George, have dished out his terrific right handers on the
beardless chin of the boy from Ballydenob.
The climax caught most of the experts by surprise. Nothing like this had been sprung on
them before. Like George, they hardly knew what to figure, except, perhaps, that George
would get a chance to regain possession of his title.
Although George did not hand over his diamond-studded $10,000 belt to O'Mahoney, it will
go down in wrestling history that on the night of July 30, 1935, the Irish immigrant of
nine months ago was handed the undisputed title
of professional wrestling in a manner that will be discussed for a good time to come.
Officially, the apple-cheeked O'Mahoney, less than a year out of the Irish Free State
Army, has achieved heights reached by few, if any, wrestlers.
Some credit must go to Jack McGrath, the astute Worcesterite, who discovered Danno, and
additional credit must be placed on the stout shoulders of Papa Paul Bowser, who brought
Danno along carefully and cunningly until today O'Mahoney stands as "tops" in
The O'Mahoney victory not only proved who was the wrestling champion (George's claims will
be heard from at a later date), but also that Papa Bowser is the world's leading promoter.
As Vic Jones has so often informed you, Paul is the greatest showman since Barnum. He has
done what no other promoter has ever been able to, and if there are any loose $10,000
diamond studded belts around, it would be fitting and proper to hand one over to Papa
Bowser. He really deserves one for settling the muddled mat situation, albeit in a muddled
As the situation stands today there is a lone champion. George can rightfully claim,
however, that he was fenagled out of the title, by a referee who had no knowledge of
wrestling rules as laid down by the American Wrestling Association, Inc. Ed Don plans to
wage a comeback. He will take a vacation for a couple of weeks, but then will settle down
to a steady campaign, which will eventually lead up to a return meeting with O'Mahoney. He
is determined that such a meeting will take place and, whenever George is determined, you
can rest assured that he'll achieve what he sets out to achieve.
When the excitement died down last night, Paul Bowser, who promoted the extravaganza and
like the grand man he is, handed over 12 1/2 percent of a $50,000 house to charity, would
not say much.
"If referee Jimmy Braddock awarded O'Mahoney the decision," stated Papa Paul,
"that is good enough for me. I think that Braddock is competent to render a just
verdict." Papa Paul declared he didn't hear Braddock count 20 over either George or
The reign of two wrestling champions has ended by official edict of the copyright owners.
Let's hope that it is a permanent ending, for it is much easier for the worshipping
wrestling pecans to idolize one champion. It may be
a little hard on the box office, but then the promoters were more interested in settling
the championship claims than they were in what was taken in at the cash tillers.
Jim Browning and Chief Little Moose, Oklahoma, ap;pared in the semifinal and put on a
spirited bout which was won by Browning in 12 minutes, 27 seconds with a turn-over
Dick Daviscourt, Los Angeles, and Henry Piers, Holland, also went to a draw, and then
indulged in the usual exchange of fisticuffs. Gus Sonnenberg, by a use of his famous
flying tackle, got the decision over Boris Demetroff in one minute flat. The other
John Spellman beat Jack Ross, 2m 26s, flying tackle; Farmer McLeod beat Jim Wallis, 6m
53s, flying head scissors; Danny Winters beat Andy Brown, 5m 47s, top body press; Leo Numa
and Frank Sexton, draw, 10m; Karl Pojello and Count Zarynoff, draw, 10 m; Gino Garibaldi
beat George Saunders, 28s, flying tackle; Billy Bartush and Bibber McCoy, draw, 10m.
(ED. NOTE--The Daily and Evening Globe
clippings, from Boston, circa 1935, are courtesy of Mr. Steve Yohe.)
OLD WRESTLER FINDS A BRAND NEW CALLING
(Sacramento Bee, Saturday, July 4, 1998)
By Don Bosley
They unmasked The Annihilator the other day, and right in front of his mother. The big
fella had come searching for the former U.S. champ, see, and suddenly found himself
surrounded by the champ's henchmen. Next thing he knew, The Annihilator was being thrown
into the turnbuckle, dragged to the canvas, smacked off the ropes, his unpolished identity
exposed for all to see.
They spared him the vertical suplex, of course, because the kid was only 15, and it was
his first time at wrestling school.
"This one was different than most," says Paul DeMarchi, the former champ and
resident face on Pro I Am Wrestling. "A lot of the guys that come in here, they think
they're ready to go flying off the top rope and doing all that glamorous stuff.
"I tell them to go ahead. Then they get up there and start shaking in their
DeMarchi runs a meaty palm across his bald, sweaty scalp, and laughs. Yessir, he can tell
you a thing or two about the top rope -- how tenuous the footing is, how hard the fall can
be. His body has been there and done that. So has his life.
Thirty years ago, he was Paul DeMarco, a high-flying villain who tangled with the likes of
Ray Stevens and Abdullah the Butcher, and who once snookered a whole crowd into believing
he had a broken leg. He had money, fame, title belts and an elbow smash that could drop
400-pound Grizzly Smith in his tracks.
"I loved it, because I was a cocky, arrogant kind of a guy," DeMarchi says.
"I would stand in front of TV cameras with my alligator shoes and my silk suits and
my diamonds. I was walking in pride, man."
Now he walks in anonymity, and maybe just a little pain. At age 61, he will tell you that
all of his accumulated assets are gone, that the last 25 years have been an endless stream
of odd jobs and short gigs. You hesitate at his words, maybe unsure whether the
showmanship and storylines are continuing even now.
One thing is certain: DeMarchi is back on the bottom rung of an industry he once mastered,
and grateful to be there.
Thirty years ago, he could have been a headliner on that Memorial Auditorium card tonight,
joining Jake the Snake, Honky Tonk Man, 2 Cold Scorpio and the boys. He could have shown
'em figure-fours and piledrivers. He could have pulled some serious hang time off the top
rope, and watched the women go wild.
Instead, DeMarchi putters around a musty warehouse bay, sweating a lot and laughing more.
He is Uncle Fester with a drop kick -- half-man and half-cartoon, the product of an
entertainment genre that requires both.
Three times a week, his handful of pupils come to the warehouse for a one-ring circus that
nobody sees. They are men and boys who want the chance to be cartoons on a grand stage,
but the animation process is slow and fickle.
"At first, I just wanted to learn from him and go off to the WWF and be famous,"
says 25-year-old Ollie Steinwandt, the primary owner of Pro I Am. "I was naive.
Through Paul, I've learned patience."
The country is dotted with hopeful little nests like Pro I Am. These are the bush leagues
of pro wrestling, where the dreams are real but everything else is up for conjecture.
Where the only belt you can lift is down at the corner
pub, and that's bad for training. Where musty warehouse bays are your kingdom, your locker
room and your audience.
Where you would never really break a chair over a guy's head, because it might be the only
decent piece of furniture in the place.
"You do wonder if it's worth it sometimes. I think everybody does," Steinwandt
says. "You wonder, 'Is it ever going to happen?' Like when you're too sore to get out
of bed the next day, because you've been getting slammed."
If DeMarchi is the source of all knowledge at Pro I Am, then Steinwandt is the translator
and administrator thereof. The former wrestler seeps energy from his sculpted pores. He
stalks opponents and topics with a confident grin, and his blue eyes have a way of locking
on a subject and pinning it there.
Seven years ago, an 18-year-old Steinwandt locked onto DeMarchi. The younger man was
working out at a local health club. DeMarchi ambled past, spotted the youngster's T-shirt
-- the one depicting several pro wrestling heroes -- and mentioned that he knew those
Faster than Sting launching into a scorpion death drop, the kid leapt into DeMarchi's
life. "I'd take him in a racquetball court and I'd wrestle him on a hardwood
floor," DeMarchi said. "There was no big bangs on the floor or anything -- just
basically stand-up moves. But he was totally into it."
Until that moment, DeMarchi hadn't been in the protege business. He hadn't really been in
any business for very long -- not since 1973, when he walked out of an arena in Melbourne,
Australia, and decided he'd had enough of the pro wrestling game.
DeMarchi says it was the corrupt nature of pro wrestling that drove him away. Promoters
had no ethics, and the lifestyle was irresponsibly decadent. Wrestling had been good to
him, to be sure; he owned several houses in his homeland of Canada at the time, and had a
nice nest egg in the bank. When he decided to step out of the limelight, he stepped way
out -- working in friends' restaurants, assisting at churches, taking odd jobs where he
"Apparently, he used to be quite a colorful character. A little wild," said
pastor Bill Krause of Family Community Church in North Highlands, Calif. where DeMarchi
worked in a variety of roles in the late 1980s.
"But he was a different man when he was with us. He was very kind and compassionate.
God had definitely done a work in him."
Forgotten was the "deadly DeMarco Elbow Smash," as "The Ringsider"
magazine described it in 1970. Forgotten was the great Georgia scandal of 1969, when
DeMarco actually pinned reigning world champion Dory Funk Jr., only to have the decision
reversed on a technicality.
Long gone were the U.S. title belt he won from Stevens and the words penned by DeMarco in
a 1970 match program: "As you very well know, I strive for recognition and
By the time he happened across Steinwandt in 1991, the adulation and recognition had dried
up completely, along with the houses and the money.
"The only thing I'd ever known how to do was wrestle," DeMarchi says. "I
was illiterate, I had dyslexia.... I had nothing. I was ready to live under a bridge,
until I met Ollie."
Now, with DeMarchi's body no longer able to take the punishment, it is Steinwandt who does
the hands-on -- and sometimes the head-on -- teaching. Often, his students are exact
replicas of the teenager who discovered
DeMarchi. Eager and starry-eyed, they arrive with schticks and nicknames already picked
The would-be Annihilator is actually Aristeo Duenas, a wrestling and judo student. More
seasoned in grappling than others who arrive at Pro I Am, Duenas was hardly dissuaded by
an hour in the ring with high-flying veterans like Steinwandt, Carlton Webber and Steve
"I'm really thinking of pro wrestling as a career option for me," Duenas said.
"I'm hoping I can make it to a big federation, tour America."
DeMarchi's little school can boast no big success stories.
He and Steinwandt have hopes that their group can begin doing small benefit shows, as both
an aid to charities and an opportunity for increased exposure.
The WAWLI Papers
In the meantime, The Annihilator wannabes keep coming. Many arrive with a snarl and a
strut, presenting themselves as the ultimate Bad Dudes. Among the regulars, this is cause
for much amusement.
"They don't last," Steinwandt says. "When we get a guy like that, usually
we'll just change the workout to a submission workout. Nothing but submission holds. Show
them jujitsu moves, choke them up, just humble them.
"Usually they're not what they say they are."
The man and the cartoon have to balance, it turns out. Paul DeMarchi learned that lesson
some 25 years ago.
ROEBER IS DEFEATED IN NEW ORLEANS BY LEWIS
(New York Times, March 3, 1893)
NEW ORLEANS, La., March 2 -- (Special) -- The Olympic club carnival opened tonight with a
bad fight between Billy McMillan of Washington, D.C., and Billy Hinds of Providence, R.I.,
for a purse of $800. McMillan won in five rounds, lasting sixteen and one-half minutes.
The second event, a wrestling match for a purse of $2,000, between Evan Lewis, "The
Strangler," of Madison, Wis., and Ernest Roeber, the German, resulted in a victory
for the former in the fifth bout.
Two thousand people witnessed the contests. The only notables about the ring were D.
Kearney, Phil Dwyer, Dave Sidon, and Pat Sheedy of New York. There were plenty of turfmen,
bookmakers, and general sports, but their class was poor. The boxes were comfortably
filled, but the mob seats were not, and the Olympic hardly got back the $3,000 it paid for
the night's sport.
McMillan won by outfighting the Englishman from Rhode Island from first to last. He had
Hinds staggering in the first round, blackened both eyes, and brought streams of blood
from his nose in the third, and, jabbing him with his left all over the ring in the
fourth, punished him into exhaustion after twenty seconds of the fifth round had been
fought. It was a rough, ugly fight. Neither one showed science, and Hinds was all at sea
after the first round. All around, the fight was dear at its cheap price.
Evan Lewis, "the Strangler," and Ernest Roeber, the German, came out to wrestle
their mixed match at 9 o'clock. The conditions were two bouts, catch-as-catch-can style,
the winner of the fastest bout to choose the style for the deciding one if it was
necessary. The rests were ten minutes.
The purse was $2,000, of which $500 went to the loser. Though the men were stars the purse
was the royal one in these days of wrestling disrepute. The bloody sand was covered with
sawdust and a a white canvas. Lewis weighed 185 pounds and was attended by Joe Choynski
and Duncan McMillan. Roeber was 176 pounds heavy, and was cared for by Martin Julian and
Frank Bosworth, Fitzsimmons' manager and trainer. John Duffy was referee.
Lewis' infamous strangle hold allowed in the articles was barred by Capt. Barrett.
After the men had shaken hands Lewis won the toss for choice of style and a
catch-as-catch-can bout opened the match. Roeber, white-skinned and blonde and in black,
was outlooked by "the Strangler," brawny and brown. The men were down, Roeber
beneath, in two seconds. The German went over with the favorite
armlock but turned prettily. Two neck-locks were tried and broken and the crowd howled.
After a scant eight minutes' severe work, in which Roeber showed surprising agility and
broke three arm-locks and showed strong bridging, Lewis pinned him down in his own corner
and turned him with a half Nelson and leg- lock, bore down his bridge, and won the first
bout in 7 minutes, 56 seconds, official time.
It took Roeber three minutes to get Lewis to the canvas in the splendid second bout under
Graeco-Roman rules. Once down, Lewis nearly went over by a body lock. "The
Strangler" broke it and the men were up again. Lewis was aggressive. Roeber seemed
unable to handle him, and shook his head in caution as Lewis made the preliminary moves
for two strangle holds. Down again, Roeber beneath and looking for a neck lock, the men
spent three minutes on the floor, and were up again. "The Strangler" was in
danger eight minutes out from a neck lock, but his brawn stood him in good stead and it
The slip of perspiration made locks uncertain and favored the stronger man (Lewis), who
broke all Roeber's favorite holds. Twenty-two minutes out there was a display of wrestling
pyrotechnics in Roeber's corner. "The Strangler" was in danger, but by a turn
and head spin got out and, when penned again, he turned, bridged for a rest, and broke the
hold when he chose. After twenty-eight minutes wrestling Roeber seemed to touch in a
flying fall, but Referee John Duffy missed it and fifty-two seconds later Roeber got his
man with his favorite arm lock and, breaking Lewis' bridge, got both his shoulders to the
floor. Time, 28:52.
The third bout at catch-as-catch-can saw another flying fall missed by the referee, as
Lewis turned his man when both went down from Roeber's leg hold. The fall was claimed and
not allowed. A pretty trip which Lewis failed to
follow up, some more head spinning, and two broken leg and arm locks by Roeber on the edge
of a fall were the pretty bits of the bout. A neck lock, and broken bridge, settled the
German in the center of the ring at 12:09, Roeber finishing much distressed.
Roeber won the fourth bout, Graeco-Roman style, in 24:43. The wrestling was full of
movement and Roeber was in danger twice from a full and half Nelson in the first eight
minutes, during which Lewis, with one eye on the time
provision for the deciding bout, kept the German busy. Ten minutes out, the men were on
their feet. Then Lewis showed his superior strength again by breaking a back hold,
throwing his man, and getting at him savagely. The house rang with cheers, as with a spin
and a twist Roeber broke a hammerlock and squirmed away, Lewis himself had less than clear
sailing, breaking an ugly looking Nelson and hammerlocks. After twenty-two minutes Lewis
was turned with an arm lock and his shoulders seemed to momentarily touch as Roeber turned
and threw his weight over his man. Roeber claimed the fall and showed temper when it was
refused, but he went savagely at "the Strangler," turning him with a full
Nelson, got his shoulders down, and won the fall.
Each man had now won two bouts and Lewis having won the first fall in 7:52 had the choice
of the deciding bout and chose catch-as-catch-can.
In one of the mixups in the fourth bout Lewis had caught Roeber by the leg and asked
pardon for the unintentional foul.
The fifth bout and match was decided in sixty-two seconds. The men locked arms and Lewis,
by a grapevine and neck hold, took his man down and drove all four points to the canvas.
Referee Duffy made the award. Roeber challenged the world at Graeco-Roman. Lewis was
decided to be the mixed-style champion and
the crowd filed out.
FRANK GOTCH AND FRED BEELL MEET TONIGHT
(Chicago Tribune, February 7, 1908)
Champion wrestler Frank Gotch and Fred Beell, undoubtedly the best wrestler of his weight
and inches in America, will take holds at catch-as-catch-can style in the windup of the
mat entertainment at Brooke's Casino tonight. The match is important to Frank, as upon its
result hinges his international bout with George Hackenschmidt for a world's championship.
To bring the men more evenly together, Gotch's favorite toe hold will be barred. That
should make the contest more interesting, still Frank's other advantages, height,
strength, and weight, should return him a winner. Beell
defeated Frank about a year ago, but the latter has too much at stake to lose this time. A
number of bouts will precede the main event.
CHAMPION WRESTLER WINS MATCH IN 2 FALLS
(Chicago Tribune, February 8, 1908)
Frank Gotch, the American wrestling champion, defeated Fred Beell of Wisconsin in two
straight falls last night at Brooke's Casino. Beell's defensive game was strong in the
first bout, but he was a disappointment otherwise, as he secured only one hold on the
champion, a stomach and leg hold, with which he could do nothing.
Gotch continually tried for a bar lock and several times succeeded in getting this hold on
his opponent, only to have it broken. Both men were careful at all stages, and Gotch had
much difficulty in getting Beell off his feet. A few minutes before the hour was up Beell
fell from a clinch into the bar lock and he was downed in 54:03.
The second bout was a repetition of the first, with Gotch doing most of the work. His
reach and height enabled him to work at Beell's head and feet at the same time and he went
after his man less carefully than in the first period. Beell's only offensive work in this
part of the contest came after he broke from a full nelson, when he placed his opponent on
the defensive for a few moments. But Gotch picke dhim up off the floor and reversed
positions almost immediately, Beell being thrown to the mat and into a full nelson, from
which he worked loose only to give Gotch a crotch, ankle and half nelson which ended the
match in 16:55.
In the preliminaries, Paul Gidel caught a tartar from St. Louis, named Bert Hudson, and
was defeated in two straight falls, in 11:40 and 9:15, respectively. Charles Olson took
two falls from F. Bridle of Indianapolis and Dick Sorenson won two out of three from Gus
'HACK' VICTOR IN STRAIGHT FALLS OVER CUTLER
(Chicago Tribune, February 14, 1911)
Through the medium of the toe hold, the most deadly grip known in the art of wrestling,
George Hackenschmidt, the "Russian Lion," defeated Charles Cutler of Chicago in
two straight falls at the Coliseum last night. In the first fall it was a struggle in
every sense of the word, and not until the giants had been on the mat 1:03:04 did Hack
cinch the grip that brought him the first fall and agony to Cutler.
Cutler's foot was wrenched badly and in the second fall he did not show as well, the bout
being decided in 10:20, the toe hold again being brought into action. Although his toe was
twisted above his hip Cutler refused to give up until the Russian had pinned his shoulders
to the canvas.
The windup, which brought Hack and Cutler into action, was only one event of a card which
furnished the best sport that has been seen in Chicago this winter. Every one of the five
bouts was a good one. The crowd also was the largest that has attended a show this winter,
it being estimated that more than 6,000 fans crowded their way into the big Wabash Avenue
building. There was room for a few more, but comfortable capacity was the rule.
When Hack and Cutler started hostilities the Chicagoan made a noise like a young
whirlwind. He dashed at the Russian, assuming the aggressive right from the jump. He
grabbed Hack by the waist, lifted him high in the air and heaved him to the mat. Once down
Hack broke out of the Chicago man's grasp and got to his feet. But Cutler got him again
and down went Hack. Six times in a row in the first few minutes Cutler repeated this
performance before the Russian got his bearings. Then the real struggle began. From this
time on it was a battle of strength mainly, although clever defensive work proved helpful
After a two-minute rest, the men came back for the second fall. Again Cutler started off
as aggressor, but it wasn't for long. Hack meant to end the thing as quickly as he could
and he mixed it fast with his opponent. Cutler went to the mat in two minutes. Hack got
another toe hold but Charley escaped. But shortly after the "Lion" hooked it
again for what meant the painful defeat of Cutler. It took just 10:20 this time.
Gus Schoenlein (Americus) of Baltimore and Fred Beell of Marshfield, Wis., threatened to
make the show an all-night affair in the semi-windup clash. For one hour these men tussled
all over the mat in clever style without a
semblance of a fall. All sorts of holds were tried, but proved ineffectual, and they were
no nearer a decision apparently at the end of the hour than they were at the start.
When it looked as if Hack and Cutler would never get a chance to perform the referee took
a hand in the matter and stopped the conterst, declaring it a draw.
The real money match of the night, which incidentally was a grudge affair, brought
together Charles Postl and John Stafford, the latter of whom nom de plumes as the
"Mysterious Horseshoer." It was a one fall affair and one of the wildest,
roughest, and bitterest things ever pulled off in any ring. The finish came when Referee
Emil Thiry disqualfied the "Horseshoer" for taking a tooth hold on Postl's leg
after they had been at it 12:45.
When Leo Pardello and "Mysterious Waffles" opened hostilities in their one fall
clash, the expected happened. It resembled a pugilistic conflict, and the only things this
pair failed to do was to bite. All the comedy possible in
wrestling was brought into play, and it was so good in that way that the spectators were
sorry when Pardello finally brought it to a close with a crotch and half nelson in 23:16.
Otto Sudor, termed a "champion," put it over John Lang in a match full of
interesting work. It was a case of Sudor's cleverness being too much for his opponent. The
first fall was won in 6:09 with a head lock and body grip and the second with a toe hold
STANISLAUS ZBYSZKO VICTOR BY A FLUKE
(Chicago Tribune, December 26, 1911)
NEW YORK, Dec. 25 -- The wrestling bout between Zbyszko, the Polish wrestler, and
Raicevich, the Italian champion, broke up in a muddle at Madison Square Garden tonight.
Most of the 4,000 spectators left the Garden thinking that the Italian had won, but the
referee, Tom Jenkins, awarded the decision to Zbyszko.
Zbyszko had agreed to throw Raicevich three times in ninety minutes. It took him 37:50 to
secure the first fall, by a forward double arm hold.
In the second bout, after three minutes' wrestling, Raiecevich got just such a hold as
that by which he had been flopped. One shoulder, however, was off the mat and Jenkins
tapped the top man with the idea of giving him warning to get his man to the mat. He said
he also shouted the warning, but the uproar from the crowd drowned his voice.
Raicevich, who by the terms needed only one fall for victory, thought he had been tapped
as the winner, jumped up, and ran to his dressing room. The crowd thereupon moved out of
the Garden without the announcement of the referee that Raicevich had not pinned his man
to the mat. Jenkins then awarded the decision to Zbyszko.
AMERICUS LOSES HANDICAP BOUT IN BOSTON
(Chicago Tribune, December 26, 1911)
BOSTON, Mass., Dec. 25 -- Gus Schoenlein (Americus) of Baltimore lost at Mechanics' Hall
tonight, when he failed to throw "Cyclone" Burns of Boston twice in an hour. He
was nearly thrown himself toward the end of the bout.
OLD RIVALS CLASH IN OLYMPIC AUDITORIUM GO
(Los Angeles Times, May 1, 1929)
By Ralph Huston
The bulging arms of "Strangler" Ed Lewis, and the long vise-like legs of Joe
Stecher, both long famous in American wrestling annals, hold the mat spotlight of the
country tonight in the feature attraction of Lou Daro's Olympic program.
Whenever either Lewis or Stecher climbs into a ring it's an occasion for much enthusiasm
on the part of the mat fans, but whenever they face each other -- and tonight makes the
sixth time -- a young riot ensues.
Five times in championship matches these old masters have grappled, and honors are even.
Twice, when Stecher was champion, Lewis removed the crown with victories. Twice Stecher
won when there was no title at stake. And once they wrestled to a draw.
Now they are both on the up trail. Stecher lost his crown to Lewis and Lewis dropped it to
Sonnenberg. The two ex-champions are gunning for a chance at the titleholder. Both are
acknowledged top-notchers, and the outstanding challengers. Their bout tonight is likely
to decide who will get the title chance for Promoter Lou Daro has been broadcasting
vociferously anent a championship clash to be held in the local ballpark between tonight's
victor and Sonnenberg.
Consequently tonight's affair is likely to be a vicious struggle from the start. Both
grapplers are confident they can "take" Sonnenberg with more or less ease and
figure tonight's affair is really the big match on the program.
It will be Stecher's scissors against Lewis's headlocks, and the first man to hang on his
favorite hold is likely to be the winner.
Stecher is rather a drab sort of a performer, but there is no smarter wrestler in the
game. The Nebraska giant is in the ring on strictly business principles, and he wastes no
On the other hand, the ever-popular Lewis is one of the real showmen of the game. Win,
lose or draw, the "Strangler" gives fans a real evening's entertainment.
Although he specializes on the headlock, Lewis is a capble performer with any hold, and is
just as likely to try Stecher's favorite scissors as well.
In addition to the chance at the champion, various other details which Daro has arranged
promise to make the match a particularly thrilling one. Stecher has agreed to put up his
diamond-studded belt, which he refused to give Lewis when the latter beat him for his
title a few years ago. The $10,000 purse which Daro hung up goes entirely to the winner,
with the unfortunate victim scheduled to raise his ham-and-egg money as best he can.
Both gladiators went through light workouts yesterday in preparation for their finish
struggle. Both will come into the ring above the 220-pound mark, Stecher weighing around
222 and Lewis 225.
The ever-popular Nick Lutze appears in the semi-windup in a one-fall finish match with
Jack O'Malley. The latter has been using Sonnenberg's patented flying tackle hold of late
with rare success, and is confident he can upset
the well-liked Chicagoan. Bulky Bill Beth, the humorous cowboy, tangles with Tommy
Thompson in the opener.
LAST NIGHT'S WRESTLING FROM THE OLYMPIC
(Los Angeles Times, May 2, 1929)
Ed "Strangler" Lewis won the third and deciding fall from Joe Stecher with a
headlock in 4 minutes and 18 seconds at the Olympic Auditorium last night.
Stecher scored first with a fall, which he secured with a body scissors, but Lewis came
back to win the final two falls and match. Lewis won the second fall with a body slam in
23 minutes and 2 seconds. Stecher was still groggy from the fall when the match resumed
and was an easy prey for the third fall.
Stecher won the first fall in the fast time of 20m and 51s. He won the fall with his noted
Although neither had an advantage during the first few minutes of the bout, Stecher was
the aggressor, which gave him an edge in the milling. Lewis uncorked a few headlocks of
assorted kinds and sizes, but none seemed to fit and Stecher was able to squirm loose on
The fall came unexpectedly and without warming. They were battling in the center of the
ring seeking an opening when Stecher suddenly clamped his legs about the
"Strangler's" midriff and Lewis soon gave in.
Nick Lutze scored a quick victory over Jack O'Malley in 15m and 38s. Billy Beth tossed
Jack Hunnell, a substitute for Tommy Thompson, in 29m and 47s of the opener.
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