The WAWLI Papers (Wrestling As We Liked It) No. 473
GODFREY TOSSES FOE ON THE MAT
(Chicago Defender, April 3, 1931)
PERTH AMBOY, N.J.-George Godfrey, who divides his boxing time with wrestling, threw George Orpad, a Hungarian, after 4 minutes and 28 seconds of the feature bout here. Orpad tossed Godfrey through the ropes, however, before he was pinned to the mat. Godfrey weighed 260 pounds, while Orpad scaled 207.
GORGEOUS GREEK LURES BIG CROWDS
(Sport World, New York, Oct. 24, 1934)
By Alex Sullivan
Wrestling is again riding on the crest of a tremendous wave of popularity and the new indoor season that started so auspiciously at the 71st Regiment Armory should be one of the greatest in the history of the grand old catch-as-catch-can sport.
Now let's get right down to fact. That's the surest way to prove any man's argument. So first we'll take the Jim Londos-Strangler Lewis championship match in Chicago to prove to you that wrestling has a greater hold on the fans now than it did three years ago.
The Londos-Lewis match was held at Wrigley Field. Did the Chicago fans go for the match? We'll say they did. And in a big way. They came from the North Side, the South, the Loop and all around the town to see the struggle between the Gorgeous Greek and the Strangler. They jammed the ball park. Close to forty thousand fans saw the match.
The receipts? $103,000. Just a world's record for money.
Now let's move from Chicago to Los Angeles. Londos this time defended his wrestling crown against our old pal, Man Mountain Dean. Another great crowd, 38,000 fans, including many of Hollywood's famous movie stars, sat close to ringside. Mae West, a great mat enthusiast, let out a roar when the Man Mountain got a headlock on the Greek.
Not only did these two matches stand out, but mat promoters all over the country reported that their receipts were three or four times as much as they were last year.
Our own indoor season started in a big way. The crowd that attended the Everett Marshall-Dick Shikat match at the 71st Armory was far greater than expected. Jack Curley smiled as he saw the fans push their way into the armory. He knew that wrestling was in for another great season.
And, by the way, Jack has a lot of championship and near championship matches in the making that are going to pack the Garden. Yes, sir, folks, the old mat game is in for a big season.
MARSHALL, SHIKAT OPEN MSG SEASON
(Sport World, New York, Oct. 24, 1934)
By Mike Cohn
Once again Madison Square Garden swings open its massive doors to wrestling next Monday night when Everett Marshall and Dick Shikat come to grips in their much discussed return match to a finish. The fact that the world's largest sports arena will be the scene of this important contest is enough to warrant Marshall's name to be written in the archives of mat history.
Marshall looms up on the grappling horizon as a potential champion by virtue of his recent victory over the powerful Shikat. Opportunity knocked at the westerner's door and he made the most of it. He got a "break" by being rushed into the breach when Jim Browning turned up with an abscessed eye and was unable to meet Shikat at the 71st Regiment Armory last week.
Although he gained the decision over the powerful Teuton, Marshall was not satisfied with the verdict of referee George Bothner who gave him the palm when the judges disagreed. He wanted to win decisively by pinning Shikat's massive shoulders to the mat.
He will get that chance in the return match as Jack Curley has petitioned the State Athletic Commission to waive the curfew bell and permit the two behemoths to grapple until one or the other scores a fall.
Marshall flitted into the spotlight by accident and now is determined to make the most of his opportunity. He came here unheralded a year ago and did not receive any distinction until late in the season when he went berserk in his memorable three-hour match against Jim Londos in Philadelphia.
Just as he sought a return bout with Shikat, Marshall is hankering in the same way for another shot at Londos and the latter's crown. A decisive victory over Shikat next Monday night will bring this about, but of course, Shikat is not a pebble in the road. He's a giant-sized stumbling block. The German already has announced that he'll send the Westerner back to Colorado and oblivion.
SUCH A GRAND GALAXY OF FAVORITES
BROADWAY ARENA Halsey near Broadway, Brooklyn
Thursday evening, October 25, 8:15 p.m. and Every Thursday Thereafter-All Star Shows
SANDOR SZABO, Hungarian Ace vs. HANS KAMPFER, Champion of Europe
Semi-Final: New Italian Sensation Al Bisignano vs. Floyd Marshall
Preliminaries: (Each fit to be a main event)
Fischer vs. Romano, Hickman vs. Getzewich, Newman vs. Bruce
Prices: 55 cents to $1.15 (no higher).
ALL BIG LEAGUERS -- ATTENTION PLEASE!
(Sport World, New York, Oct. 24, 1934)
By Jack Curley
No sport game has withstood the abuse and slurs heaped upon it as courageously as wrestling.
I am often reminded of the early experience of my good friend Gene Fowler. Incidentally, there is no more rabid wrestling fan in the universe than Gene.
At any rate, when he was a cub reporter on the Denver Post, Fowler was greatly disturbed over the morals of the youth in Denver. Walking to his home for dinner he would see high school girls and boys necking in the park surrounding Colorado's capitol. The sight aroused young Gene's ire and he forthwith sat himself down to his typewriter and wrote an exposure which almost burnt the paper.
What will become of our girls and boys, if this thing is not checked in a hurry? was the theme of the story. And even in his cub days Gene Fowler knew how to write. The typical hard boiled city editor called Gene into his office and delivered himself something like this: "Your story is a waste of time. You are shocked by the sight of so much spooning and something necking in our park. Young man, devote your time and efforts to something more useful. As for the necking, you can expose it to your heart's content. You can roast them and threaten them, but it will always remain popular."
Which applies to wrestling.
It just seems that the more abuse heaped on the game the more popular it becomes. Now, do not for one minute think that I feel the game is lily white. Not by a long shot. Some of the criticism is mild compared to what it deserves. Good, well meant constructive criticism is of great benefit in the game. It is an uplift and works as an up-build.
But, a lot of the so-called fun poked at wrestling means nothing at all. I have been connected with the mat sport for 41 consecutive years and I am still proud to be part of it. I have yet to be part of an ugly deal-in short I could not today point a finger of scorn at any match I was ever connected with, and have yet to touch one cent dishonestly earned. I am not writing this in defense of the game, nor am I writing it to paint myself as the Innocent Lamb. But, I feel this is as good a spot as any to make mention of the fact that wrestling shapes up more than on an even basis alongside of boxing, horse, bike and auto racing, basketball or any other sport. I have been close up to the powers that be since 1893, and during all those years, I have dabbled in fights, racing and other sports. As I said before, wrestling has endured and today is in better shape, all over the world, than boxing.
And please do not think I have any wrong thoughts of boxing. I know there must be something wrong with the game, judging by the response of the box-office public towards 85 percent of the shows offered. Whatever the reason, I do not know. I am sure that the matchmakers, managers, promoters, owners of the large arenas, etc., all are anxious to get paying results. Each one is working overtime to help rebuild waning interest, but somehow the public does not respond. Maybe it is lack of attractions, perhaps unpopular champions, maybe disappointments over decisions, but no matter how much the argument, the fact remains that most of the palatial arenas remain dark, week after week, month after month, and there is no wholesome demand for boxing.
Many think that wrestling is in keen competition with boxing. Such is not the case. Wrestling is thriving at this time. But boxing would be benefited if a few Dempsey-Carpentier or Dempsey-Tunney shows would come along.
I am particularly elated over the box offices of two recent shows. In the last month in Chicago, at Wrigley Field, Jim Londos and Ed Lewis drew over $100,000 gross, and two weeks later in Los Angeles, in the ball park owned and operated by the same Mr. Wrigley, Jim Londos and "Man Mountain" Dean drew $50,000. I was in Chicago to witness the Londos-Lewis match and I am tickled to death I made the trip. I did not witness the Los Angeles bout. Dean is a freak attraction and his style of wrestling never has appealed to me. But, he is a long ways from being a stiff. Many wrestlers, promoters and managers breathed easier when it was over, because each feared something in the way of permanent injury could happen to Londos. Dean's awkward, yet most effective drop kick is very dangerous. To me that's not wrestling, and I've always said so. But 38,000 Los Angeles fans cannot all be wrong, and if that's what they expected of Dean, then I have no kick a'coming.
As a fighter, Dean was a great puncher and rough hombre; as a police officer in Miami, he was picked by Al Capone to watch and protect his Island, and as a soldier Over There, he became a first sergeant and came home with hero's medals on his breast. Governor Talmadge of Georgia calls him the world's strongest man. It was the governor who named him Stone Mountain, later changed by northern managers to Man Mountain.
Call him bum, a freak, a bearded sissy, or anything you like, but I'd just as soon steer clear of the infuriated "Man Mountain" Dean.
THANK ADAM HATS FOR THE THRILLS
(Sport World, New York, Oct. 24, 1934)
Surprising indeed are the thousands of wrestling enthusiasts who find it impossible to attend the shows, but who stick close to the microphone to get the hold-by-hold description of the championship and near-championship mat bouts staged by Jack Curley and so ably presented by Sam Taub. Taub is fast recognized as the ace sports broadcaster.
Thanks to the courtesy of Adam Hats, who have always sponsored important fight and mat bouts, including all of the championship bouts staged in the Madison Square Garden and the important contests held at the 71st Regiment Armory, the horde of mat enthusiasts have been able to get a bird's-eye version of the show right through the ether.
The technique of these broadcasts, like blow-by-blow in boxing matches and play-by-play in baseball and football, also enables the listeners-in to become throughly acquainted with every important hold.
They call wrestling the game of a thousand and one holds. That is true, yet for the most part the grips the fans are acquainted with are the headlock, flying mare, flying tackle, the body scissors and the leg scissors, the Japanese arm lock, the half and full nelson, the bar lock, the wrist and body pull, the cradle hold, the leg split, the spread eagle and others which space does not permit to enumerate.
That is why radio and wrestling go so well together. The ether familiarizes the fans who must remain at home with the technique of the game, the manner of delivery and gives them such a knowledge of the sport that when they do turn out to witness a match they can appreciate every move made by the contestants.
Broadcasting boxing bouts, which Adam Hats have done for so many years, has always helped the game, but we doubt if Sam Taub ever gets more of a thrill ouf of announcing sports events as in chronicling the hold-by-hold work of the wrestlers. And Adam Hats has always been the sponsor for the Jack Curley wrestling carnivals.
RETURNING TO THE RING
(Houston Business Journal, October 12, 1998)
By Chris Carroll
With the Houston Astros making an early exit from the playoffs and the NBA season being delayed by a labor standoff, Vivian and David Rahman hope they can fill the local sports void with a little good, clean, family-friendly violence.
In a bid to bring regular wrestling matches back to the Bayou City, the Rahmans have founded the Great South Wrestling Association and scheduled 10 Saturday nights of professional wrestling beginning Oct. 10 at Hofheinz Pavilion on the University of Houston campus. Stars of the show include such local wrestlers as Tugboat Taylor, Chaz the Love Machine and Sgt. Major Buff Kimble, the Buffalo Soldier.
The husband-and-wife team, both former law enforcement officers, hope to expand the GSWA to become a regional wrestling circuit and eventually
stage a challenge to the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling, the organizations that dominate the $15-billion wrestling industry.
A staple of weekend entertainment in Houston from the 1950s to the 1970s, pro wrestling is the most watched and most attended sporting event in the United States, drawing $11 billion in ticket sales and $4 billion in merchandising annually. WWF and WCW broadcasts are among the top-rated programs on cable television. In Houston, wrestling pay-per-view sales average about 60,000 a week.
The GSWA would like to get a slice of that big wrestling pie, but plans to set itself apart from the WWF and WCW by emphasizing wrestling and outlawing sex and profanity.
"The marquee says 'wrestling,'" says Chaz Taylor, who wrestles as Chaz the Love Machine and is the GSWA's talent coordinator. "We didn't come here to see you grab your crotch and cuss. We came to see you wrestle."
Taylor says the upstart association's message for the WWF and WCW is "Shut up and wrestle."
Chaz is the son of GSWA booker Tugboat Taylor, whose downtown wrestling school has been acquired by the GSWA and is the training ground for many of the area's pro wrestlers.
While GSWA matches won't have the sexiness or the vocabulary of the WWF and WCW, they will employ the pyrotechnics, light shows and loud music that are a big part of pro wrestling these days. David Rahman says each weekly card of eight to 12 matches could cost between $80,000 to $100,000 to produce. Ticket prices will range from $8 for upstairs general admission seats to $17 for a ringside view of the action.
The GSWA figures that live wrestling will infuse $6.5 million into the Houston economy annually, create 120 new jobs around Hofheinz and increase income for ticket agencies.
A condensed version of each Saturday night's activities will be televised on KTBU Channel 55 on Friday nights. And they hope to syndicate the program throughout the region, as well as taking the GSWA on the road to other cities in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.
"Right now, we just want to conquer Houston," says David Rahman. "If we never leave Houston, it's not a problem."
Rahman cites late Houston wrestling promoter Paul Boesch as inspiration for the GSWA. Boesch ran wrestling matches for 40 years in the City Auditorium and Sam Houston Coliseum, drawing between 7,000 and 10,000 spectators every Friday night. The bouts were broadcasted to a syndicated network of up to 40 stations and aired locally on Channel 39.
Boesch's Houston Wrestling was sold to WWF in 1989, the year Boesch died.
Others, like the Western Wrestling Alliance, have tried unsuccessfully to bring big-time pro wrestling back to Houston. David Rahman says most of the pro wrestling that goes on in Houston now takes place in "bars and bingo halls." The Houston market is ripe, he says, for the kind of high-quality wrestling Boesch use to provide.
"We're both just wrestling fans, and we wanted to bring that back to Houston," Rahman says.
SUPLEXES AND SOCIOLOGY
(PitchWeekly, Kansas City, Apr. 8, 1999)
By Jeffrey Ramsey
My dad has never thrown a baseball to me. He never taught me the proper way to slide tackle or the intricacies of the halfback option. But the one thing we did enjoy together occurred every Sunday morning at 11 a.m. Armed with a monster-sized glass of milk and a half-dozen glazed doughnuts, I would park next to him to watch Hulk Hogan step into the squared circle of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) to defend democracy against the evil Iron Sheik. After all, it was the early '80s and the Ayatollah Khommeni was the antichrist of the moment.
While wrestling is a sport by virtue of the sheer athleticism needed to engage in its theatrics, it is much more to the diehard fans that tune in every week. By watching Hogan battle the Sheik and the Communist Nicolai Volkoff, I learned America good, Iran and Russia bad. When Jim "Hacksaw" Duggan, an overall-clad bearded man toting a 2-by-4 and an American flag, battled "The Million Dollar Man," I learned workin' Joes good, sharp-dressed businessmen bad. When Luke Bushwhacker leaped over the ropes to save Butch Bushwhacker after he had been busted with an aluminum chair by the Road Warrior, I learned that helping buddies out in trouble good, winning at all costs bad. And during nearly every single match, an easily distracted referee would reinforce the notion that authority is subjective and exists to be undermined.
On March 31, nearly 15 years since I'd watched my last wrestling match, approximately 800 spectators from 6 to 60 filled the Beaumont Club to see the spectacle up close. The milk and doughnuts may have been replaced with Budweiser and Marlboros, but, unexpectedly, the visceral enjoyment of pro wrestling flowed as it had once before.
The universality of the wrestling message was told by a quick scan of the hairstyles present. The short bangs and long curls of the mullet heads were there, a straight-up punk-rock mohawk, a few appearances of the rat tail, the Godfather slick back and the close-cropped frat-boy look were all present and, for the most part, peaceful. Any anger and frustrations could be easily directed to the ring and projected into the choreographed violence.
Extreme Championship Wrestling, a sort of minor league system for the two big-league wrestling associations, the WWF and World Championship Wrestling (WCW), came to town touting a bill that included a main event between hometown entrepreneur and former pro Steve Ray and One Man Gang, as well as midgets, women, radio personalities and up-and-comers working on their routines.
Without the luxury of the mass media to broadcast their beefs, each wrestler felt the need to grab a microphone before the match to rile up the "rasslin" fans with statements like, "I know of the heifers you fellas walked in here with." A statement which immediately tips the crowd off to the presence of the bad guy. But there was also the Atomic Dog's heartfelt speech about fulfilling a promise to his late uncle (The Junkyard Dog, an ultra-famous wrestler from the '80s) to return to Kansas City to party, signaling the same as a white cowboy hat. Immediately the crowd was able to identify the good guy/bad guy dichotomy essential to enjoying an evening of wrestling.
The main event began before intermission with One Man Gang showing his disdain for the Kansas City fans and Kansas City businessman and former wrestler "Wild Thing" Steve Ray coming to the rescue. The stage was set for the finale.
Who won? Who lost? Are all wrestlers pumping steroids and other drugs as insinuated recently on an ESPN Outside the Lines documentary? As the wrestling fan will answer, who cares?
Wrestling is all about the process. It is about
pushing a rock up a hill to watch it roll down the other side and doing it again
just because of the physical release. By evening's end, good had triumphed over
evil more often than not, rematches were promised and One Man Gang finished off
the night by dumping a 55-gallon can of garbage into the ring.
The WAWLI Papers(Wrestling As We Liked It) No. 474
JESS McMAHON BIG GUN ON ISLAND
(Sport World, New York, Oct. 24, 1933)
Jess McMahon is the Jack Curley of Long Island.
Jess holds forth at Hempstead and every Wednesday night he stages big league wrestling shows at his popular Hempstead arena not only for the fans of his own community but for Freeport, Valley Stream, Lynbrook and other nearby towns and villages as well.
McMahon is one of the shrewdest promoters in the country. He has been associated with boxing and wrestling for more than a score of years and acted as Tex Rickard's first lieutenant for many years at the new Garden. He knows what it takes to bring the cash customers rushing to the box office.
That is the reason that you'll always find a good show whenever you go to the Hempstead Arena. All of the leading mat stars have appeared at the Hempstead Arena in the past three years and McMahon is now negotiating with Jim Londos, the mat king, to defend his crown as his arena against a suitable opponent, when the Greek champion comes east.
ON AND OFF THE MAT
(Sport World, New York, Oct. 24, 1933)
By Nat Schlamm
Joe "Toots" Mondt, the demon manager, is east bound from Los Angeles. Toots has spent the last four months on the coast and proved invaluable to Lou Daro. He rebuilt interest in the game and brought back prosperity to the Olympic Auditorium gates. Good times are here again is the theme song since Joe Mondt arrived out there.
Jim Londos is on the coast enjoying a much deserved rest. Jim left Chicago after the Lewis match. To a horde of promoters who swarmed Chicago for his services he told one and all that not for any amount of money would he change his plans to take the rest cure.
And so-o-o (with apologies to Ed Wynn) Jimmy journeyed to the coast. Out there Lou Daro of Los Angeles whispered sweet nothings to Jim. Joe Toots Mondt beamed and smiled. Jack Ganson of Frisco purred softly. Ted Thye, Capt. Peshmalyan, Musty Musgrave of Portland, Seattle, and points northwest, swore a bit, and Emil Klank operating at Vancouver told Jim how Frank Gotch would answer the call of the promoters at all times, day or night.
So, gentle reader, I want to give you a sample of schedule of how Jim Londos rested. He agreed to just a few matches to accommodate a few promoters. Sept. 28, San Diego; 29, Phoenix; October 1, El Paso; Oct. 2, Los Angeles; Oct. 3, San Luis Obispo; Oct. 4, Paso Robles; Oct. 5, Stockton; Oct. 6, Sacramento; Oct. 8, San Francisco; Oct. 9, Eureka; Oct. 10, Los Angeles; Oct. 11, en route; Oct. 12, Seattle; Oct. 13, Portland; Oct. 14, Vancouver, etc., etc., forever and always. When not in transit, he rested on Sundays.
Leon Balkin (Indianapolis) is fast earning the reputation as one of the greatest matchmakers in wrestling of all time. And how that boy can manipulate railroad time tables and air routes.
Rudy Dusek, next to Jim Londos, changes his address more often than the Postmaster General Farley. The other night he wrestled in Trenton, N.J., the next night at Toronto, and the following soiree found him right back on the mat in Washington, D.C. Dusek was pressed into service by most promoters to replace Jim Browning, who was forced to cancel his dates on account of an abscessed eye.
As proof that Promoter Jack Curley is not suffering from a weak heart, let us point to the incident of Jim Browning. Big Jim walked into the promoter's office after 1 o'clock last Monday. His eye was heavily bandaged. "This came on last night," said Browning as he unrolled the gauze and adhesive tape. One glance convinced Curley that Jim could not wrestle that night. That he did not collapse is a miracle. Curley at once got in communication with the Commission, other wrestlers and Shikat. By 4 o'clock the card had been re-arranged, sanctioned by the Commission and the show went on.
Aurelia Fabiani, the Philadelphian, looks forward to a big season. Besides Philly, he is running full blast in Reading, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.
Paul Bowser is back in his office fully recovered from a nasty attack of the grippe. Paul, a tireless worker, enjoyed his favorite pastime all summer, going over the Grand Circuit with his trotting horses. In Tarra, Paul owns one of the finest pieces of horse flesh alive today. Only that the horse was not eligible prevented Paul from winning the Hambletonian prize at Goshen, N.Y.
Ed White, manager of Jim Londos, is resting on his millionaire estate at Libertyville, Ill. Tom Packs, the St. Louis promoter, paid him a visit last week. Ed and Tom are old pals.
True to tradition, all the faithful were on hand at the twenty-fourth annual opening of the 71st Regiment Armory last week. Frank Case of the Algonquin and his charming wife; Harry, Al and Irving Gordon; Henry Fruhauf, Henry Haines, Ed Wynn, Earl Benham with his lovely wife Chris, Agnes Fowler, John Riehle, Dr. James Whaley, Dr. Stanley Eiss, Cornelius Vanderbilt, George Creel, Dr. Alexander Gettler, Mrs. Clara Bell Walsh, John Charles Thomas, Bill Gaxton, Sidney Unger-there they were, as enthusiastic as ever.
GET THE HABIT!
(Sport World, New York, Oct. 24, 1933)
If unable to attend championship mat competition in 71st Regiment Armory or Madison Square Garden on Monday nights, become acquainted with neighborhood shows at the following places:
TUESDAY-Laurel Gardens, Springfield Ave., Newark, N.J.
WEDNESDAY-Hempsted Arena, Hempstead, L.I.
THURSDAY-Broadway Arena, Halsey St. and Broadway, Brooklyn, N.Y.
FRIDAY-Stauch's Arena, Stillwell Avenue, Coney Island, N.Y.; Columbia Park, North Bergen, N.J.
Popular prices: 55 cents to $1.15, including all taxes.
PROVIDENCE, R.I., SHOWS -- EARLY 1940
(Bouts held on Tuesday evenings at the Infantry Armory unless otherwise designated; promoter Steve McPherson)
January 2 -- Marv Westenberg beat Leo Lefebvre, Reb Russell beat Dropkick Murphy, Frank Marconi vs. Eident, Bull Martin vs. Jack Smith
January 9 -- Dropkick Murphy beat Reb Russell, Marv Westenberg beat Gene Bowman cnc, Dutch Hefner drew Charley Strack, Frank Marconi beat Jack Smith
January 16 -- Bob Managoff beat Dropkick Murphy, Marv Westenberg drew Gene Bowman, Yvon Robert beat Al Newman, Charley Strack beat Al Mills (A - 600)
January 23 -- Bob Managoff beat Marv Westenberg, Frank Marconi beat Les Ryan, Gene Bowman beat Al Newman dq, Bull Martin beat Jack Marshall (A - 1,412)
January 24 (Boston Arena) -- Maurice (French Angel) Tillet beat Luigi Bacigalupi, straight falls (American debut); Ernie Dusek beat Leo Lefebvre, Bob Managoff beat Eddie Newman (A - 6,000)
January 30 -- Bob Managoff beat Marv Westenberg, Frank Marconi beat Luigi Bacigalupi, Charley Strack beat Al Mercier, Gene Bowman beat Al Newman
ANGEL TO FACE MARTIN TONIGHT
(Providence Journal, February 6, 1940)
By F.C. Matzek
Maurice Tillet, The Angel, goes on exhibition tonight at the R.I. Auditorium.
The vehicle will be a wrestling match with one Bull Martin of Trenton, N.J. Whether there will be much out and out wrestling connected with the meeting of these two, The Angel and The Bull, doubtless isn't a matter of consequence. The meeting is on the docket merely as a means of showing The Angel to a Rhode Island ring sport crowd.
The Angel, because of his appearance, has been the subject of debate and interest among wrestling fans for the past couple of weeks.
Aside from his ability or lack of ability as a wrestler, The Angel has been assured an extremely busy evening by Promoter Steve McPherson, who clinched a mat "natural" when he signed Bull Martin as the opponent for the 276-pound Frenchman. The Bull is one of the top performers in the slap-stick, showmanship side of the grappling game.
It hardly is in the cards for Martin to win, but it is in the cards, because Martin himself will see to it, that he will give the grotesque appearing newcomer a thorough going-over. If The Angel has ability it lies in his great strength. The Frenchman has enormously strong arms, according to the best advice available from various members of the mat troupe.
On the supporting card are several heavyweight performers. In the semi-final, Frank Marconi, youthful Italian who has an unbroken string of professional triumphs, will move into his sternest test when he squares off with Marvin Westenberg of Tacoma, Wash.
Karl Pojello of Chicago, manager of The Angel as well as his "discoverer," will tangle with Charlie Strack, current New England heavyweight champ, in one of two preliminaries. The other will pit Al Mercier of Springfield, former sectional champ, against Al Newman of New York.
3,061 FANS WATCH ANGEL 'WRESTLE'
(Providence Journal, February 7, 1940)
By F.C. Matzek
Trading on his grotesque appearance rather than on his wrestling ability, The Angel, wrestling's newest importation from France, nevertheless made his Providence mat bow a winning one before a gallery of 3,061 at the R.I. Auditorium last night. He pinned Bull Martin of Trenton, N.J., twice in less than 11 minutes to win the feature bout of a four-match card in straight falls.
Barrel-bodied and enormously large of head-the whole set on comparatively short and spindly legs-The Angel gave virtually no indication of grappling ability as he concentrated his attack on his pet bear hug and body slam. He employed almost identical tactics to win both falls, the first in 6:44 and the second in 4:08.
Throughout the match, however, he stalked Martin with his arms outstretched and his teeth bared, showmanship tricks that added to his awesome appearance and possibily repaid the galleryites and ringsiders who tossed a gross of $1,970 into the grappling game coffers ostensibly just to see this newest sparkplug of the mat industry.
The claims of his sponsors that he is extraordinarily strong were partially borne out by the 276-pound Frenchman. He lifted the 260-pound Jerseyite over his head without too much apparent effort and 260 pounds isn't a feather. But beyond that he demonstrated no conclusive mat capabilities.
He walked into all of Martin's punching barrages with out-thrust chin and took all of the Bull's shots, except a couple of digs to the ribs, without flinching. Always his aim seemingly was to clamp his arms around the rotund midriff of the Trenton mat veteran. On the only two occasions he succeeded in that end he gained falls by following the bear hugs with body slams.
There was little to the match other than that. What wrestling, of the more or less orthodox variety, there was on the evening's program was contained in the supporting bouts wherein Marvin Westenberg of Tacoma, Wash., and Frank Marconi of Portland, Ore., as well as Karl Pojello of Chicago and Charlie Strack of Maynard, Mass., battled to draws and Al Mercier of Springfield won via disqualification from Al Newman of New York.
Marconi and Westenberg, meeting in the semi-final that was limited to 35 minutes, divided a pair of falls. Westenberg took the opener in 22:12 with a lift and slam and Marconi evening matters 10 minutes and 33 seconds later. The remainder of the 35 minutes, two minutes and 15 seconds, failed to break the deadlock. Originally the match was scheduled for 45 minutes but was shortened in order to get the main bout under way at an earlier hour.
Pojello, manager and "discoverer" of The Angel, and Strack grappled a full half hour without result insofar as a fall was concerned. Repeated rough tactics brought about the disqualification of Newman after 23 minutes, 14 seconds of the curtain raiser.
Next of the local wrestling enertainments will be at the Auditorium next Tuesday night when a double main event will be the offering. The Angel will play a return engagement against a foe yet to be selected and the champion of the heavyweight brigade, Steve "Crusher" Casey, will defend his crown against another yet-to-be named opponent.
2,110 FANS WATCH ANGEL WIN AGAIN
(Providence Journal, February 14, 1940)
The Angel scored his second local triumph last night at the Auditorium before 2,110 persons when he won from Charlie Strack of Maynard, Mass., in straight falls. The Frenchman, using unorthodox wrestling technique, registered both falls on shoulder presses after preliminary hug and grunt tactics.
Steve "Crusher" Casey made the most of his superior weight and strength to put Karl Pojello out of commission after one fall in the co-feature bout. After being tossed on a leg lock and body press, Pojello failed to return to the ring for the second go because of a leg injury.
Gene Bowman outgrappled Les Ryan to win in 23 minutes in the opening match and Frank Marconi tossed Al Newman in 12 minutes and 13 seconds in the other preliminary.
The Angel relied mostly on brute strength. Reeling after his opponent on his stubby legs, the 267-pound mat-freak used a variation of the "bear hug" with success. Strack appeared to be distressed when the Angel applied the pressure in this form and offered little resistance.
Although no serious blows were struck by either contestant, the Angel distorted his unusual countenance when hit with open palm or elbow and brought ready response from the spectators. Strack's body scissors worked in reverse to give the winner his victory, the first fall in 12 minutes flat and the second in 8 minutes and 16 seconds.
February 6 (Rhode Island Auditorium) -- French Angel beat Bull Martin, Frank Marconi drew Marv Westenberg, Karl Pojello drew Karl Pojello, Al Mercier beat Al Newman dq (A - 3,061)
February 13 (Rhode Island Auditorium) -- French Angel beat Charlie Strack, Gene Bowman beat Les Ryan, Steve Casey beat Karl Pojello cnc, Frank Marconi beat Al Newman (A - 2,110)
February 20 -- Frank Judson vs. Dutch Hefner, Marv Westenberg vs. Frank Judson, Frank Marconi vs. Doyle, Charlie Strack vs. Al Newman
February 27 -- Bob Managoff vs. Dutch Hefner, Pedro Brazil beat Al Newman, Charlie Strack vs. Frank Judson
March 5 -- Dutch Hefner beat Marv Westenberg, Frank Judson beat Al Newman, Pedro Brazil beat Tony Jordan, Les Ryan drew George Linehan (A - 1,300)
JUDSON BEATEN BY THE ANGEL
(Providence Journal, March 13, 1940)
Maurice Tillet, more familiarly known as "The Angel," defeated Frank Judson in straight falls last night at Infantry Hall. The featured event, staged before an over-capacity crowd of 1,806, was the dullest on the five-bout card.
A chorus of "Ohs" and "Ahs" as "The Angel" entered the ring marked the beginning and end of excitement during the main go. Tillet pinned Judson with a back something-or-other after 10 minutes and 10 seconds of the first tussle. The unenergetic Judson was tossed by a body-slam and press in the second fall in three minutes, 40 seconds.
Dutch Hefner and Bull Martin, who tangled in the curtain-raiser, put on the most rousing exhibition of the night. Martin starred in his role as "bad man" and tossed his opponent out of the ring three times during their 16-minute match. Hefner subdued the unruly Bull after a series of well directed dropkicks and won with a body press.
The second event found Pedro Brazil taming George Linehan in 17 minutes and two seconds, with Yvon Robert outgrappling Tom Casey in the third prelim. Danno O'Mahoney beat Charlie Strack in the semi-windup.
Linehan resorted to usual anti-referee tactics in his bout with Brazil, and spent nearly as much time threatening referee Jack Conley as he did pummelling his rival. Linehan went down after Brazil whirled him across the ring four times with an overhead arm spin.
CASEY, HEFNER EACH GAIN A FALL
(Providence Journal, March 27, 1940)
Steve "Crusher" Casey, aggressive grappler with a wild Irish temper, and pudgy Franz "Dutch" Hefner battled to a draw in the main event on the mat card last night at Infantry Hall. The pair put on a spectacular show for the crowd of 1,456, with Casey pinning Hefner in the first fall and the latter evening it up in the second. The time limit expired before the final go was decided.
In the supporting bouts, Danno O'Mahoney won when Marvin (Shadow) Westenberg was disqualified after 27 minutes in the ring. Pedro Brazil tossed Al Mercier in 15 minutes and five seconds, and Frank Marconi bested George Linehan in a rough curtain raiser.
Casey displayed his usual aggressiveness and mauled his slower opponent the full length of the opening go. Hefner was pitched through the ropes three times before the Irishman combined a series of arm lock body slams and gained the decision with a press. The time was 24:34.
Dutch, outclassed at first, surpassed his rival by handing out the same tough treatment he received earlier in the bout after his return to the ring. This time it was Casey who was sent through the hemp. Two body slams, a drop kick and a leg press gave Hefner the nod after five minutes and 28 seconds.
Marvin Westenberg resorted to kicking, scratching and unorthodox tactics after he had undergone punishment for 20 minutes in his bout with O'Mahoney, and was banished from the ring by referee Conley. It was announced after the bout by Edward Foster, deputy athletics administrator, that Westenberg had been suspended indefinitely for unnecessary roughness.
The winner of the Casey-Hefner bout was booked to meet Bobby Managoff in the main attraction of next week's wrestling show, but the same pair will probabily finish off their inhositilities before moving on to such a bout.
March 12 -- French Angel beat Frank Judson, Dutch Hefner beat Bull Martin, Pedro Brazil beat George Linehan, Yvon Robert beat tom Casey, Danno O'Mahoney beat Charlie Strack (A - 1,806)
March 19 -- Steve Casey drew Dutch Hefner, Danno O'Mahoney beat Marv Westenberg, Pedro Brazil beat Al Mercier, Frank Marconi beat George Linehan (A - 1,456)
SONNENBERG SUES FOR DIVORCE
(Associated Press, Tuesday, March 5, 1940)
BELVIDERE, Ill. -- Gus Sonnenberg, former claimant to the world's heavyweight wrestling championship, filed suit for divorce today, charging his wife, Mildred, with desertion.
The petition, filed in circuit court, said the couple was married in Middletown, Conn., in May, 1934, and separated in April, 1937.
Sonnenberg's first marriage, to Judith Allen of
the movies, also ended in divorce.
The WAWLI Papers (Wrestling As We Liked It) No. 475
BILL LONGSON ANGRY AFTER LOSING BELT
(St. Louis wrestling program, March, 1947)
By Bill Longson
Let's see. How does a guy go about writing about himself, especially when he has just lost a world's title, apparently to the great delight of thousands of wrestling fans?
When I came into St. Louis a little over five years ago, I had my eye set on the world's heavyweight wrestling championship-I wanted that title more than anything else. I got it, too, but held it for only a short time back in 1942 ... I thought the whole world fell on me when Yvon Robert lifted the crown from me in Montreal that year. Bobby Managoff beat Robert and, on February 19, 1943, I beat Bobby right here in St. Louis and regained the title.
Even as my hand was being raised as the winner that night, I promised myself that I would be the busiest champion the sport had ever had, meeting any and all comers and defending my title just as often as I was requested to. They soon found it out, too, and the parade started forming on the left, with every wrestler in the business demanding a crack at me. When I went into the ring against Whipper Billy Watson on February 21st, it was announced that I was defending my title for the 88th time in St. Louis alone. Figuring that I appeared in the ring on the average of at least two and a half times a week for four years as champion, I figured that I defended my title a total of 520 times.
That's laying it on the line a-plenty and don't forget, that title is worth a lot of dough-re-mi in this business however, I must refuse the claims of those soothsayers, who have publicly guessed that my personal fortune is staggering. If only that were the case. Just between you and me I have to keep right on working for a living and that is the very point of what otherwise is a dull yarn.
Watson took the title, aided by referee Charlie Schwartz, who goes down in my book as the blindest arbiter of the year. Sure, he warned me that I had an illegal hold and we were piled up in the ropes, but what
Schwartz missed and I didn't, was the haymaker Watson planted on my chin at the count of three. When he slugged away at me with his forearm blows, I figured everything was even-steven and kept right on going. When Schwartz counted five and raised Watson's hand, I guess I lost my temper, but remember I was losing a lot more than my head.
This is straight from the shoulder...WATSON DID NOT BEAT ME IN ANY SENSE OF THE WORD. As far as I am concerned, he is wearing my title on an out and out fluke and I'll prove it, too, whenever I can manage a rematch with him. I'm supposed to get one, you known, within sixty days. My problem (and it's a very serious one since I figure there are several other guys who can whip the handsome Canadian), is to get that rematch before somebody like Lou Thesz, Bobby Managoff, or Everett Marshall wins the title.
Tom Packs has my request for that rematch right now. He has had it from the very moment I entered my dressing room after my disqualification. It remains for Whipper Billy Watson to accept that challenge and defend his title as I did-against any and all comers-in the order of their rank. In my book, I should be first.
THESZ KEEPS TITLE, ON HIS BACK
(Houston wrestling program, Oct. 1, 1948)
World's champion Louis Thesz retained the heavyweight title last week as he lay on a rubbing table in the dressing room unable to come back for the third and deciding fall against Argentina Rocca who was down in the ring ready for action. The bout marked the first time that such a decision has ever been necessary here and fans protested against it vociferously. Rocca, an emotional and high-strung athlete, broke into tears when the verdict was given against him. He had set his heart on winning the title and thought he had won it when Thesz was not back in the ring for the start of the third fall, but referee Doc Sarpolis handed out what the announcer termed "a very difficult decision" and granted the victory to Thesz.
Rocca gained the first fall when he applied a quick Greco-Roman back drop, came up in a bridge and pinned Thesz' shoulders flat for the count of three. Rocca's quick application of the hold showed that his knowledge of wrestling gained in Europe forms a big part of his background in the sport.
In the second fall, Rocca was the aggressor as in the first. The South American caught Thesz with five good flying tackles but was unable to convert any of them into a pin fall but on the sixth the wily Thesz ducked and Rocca caught Sarpolis low, right around his bad knee and knocked him out of the ring. Rocca continued to rush Thesz, caught him with several flying dropkicks and was maneuvered into missing another from which he landed heavily. Thesz caught the Argentinian with one of his famous airplane spins and spun him dizzily around the ring, finally pounding him into the mat.
About the time Sarpoolis was regaining his feet, he saw Thesz pinning Rocca right in front of him and counted three although he was outside the ring at the time. Thesz rose to his feet only to be caught by Rocca in a vicious shoulder back breaker which the South American held until Sarpolis limped into the ring and persuaded him to quit. Rocca thought at the time that he was being awarded the fall but instead Doc raised Thesz's hand and explained that he had called the fall while Rocca was down. Louis had to be carried to the dressing room.
When the third and final bell was sounded Rocca was in the ring ready to go but Thesz was unable to come back for the fall. Sarpolis' decision gave the match to Thesz and he based the ruling on the fact that the hold Rocca appplied was put on after Thesz had gained a fall and therefore was not legal. Since Thesz was injured by an illegal hold and not able to return Rocca was disqualified for the third fall in spite of the fact that it was never wrestled.
Many fans objected to the fact that Sarpolis called the fall while he was outside the ring and claimed that he could not do it. But the fact of the matter is that the referee can call a fall from any position that he deems the best to see the action that is taking place or from any spot that the action in the ring takes him or places him. Rocca's defense is that he did not know that Sarpolis had called a fall and was only continuing with the action of the match since noone had told him to stop or sounded the bell. At a hearing the next day Sarpolis' ruling was upheld and the verdict stood. In addition Rocca's shoulder back breaker was barred from use here as being too dangerous.
In the semifinal Angelo Savoldi tried to stop one of Black Guzman's drop kicks with a boot of his own, caught the Mexican low and was immediately disqualified by referee Paul Boesch after a fast and furious bout.
Mad Man Morelli, the wild Italian, left town with a victory in his belt when he and his partner, Antone Leone, stopped the rushing tactics of Al Lovelock and Ellis Bashara in the top prelim after some wild tag team match action that had fans in a furore.
Kola Kwariani went round and round with Sonny Myers but neither man could gain a fall while Angelo Cistoldi scored over ex-Rice gridder Bill Sledge in the opener
$1.39 'T' SHIRT COSTS ANGRY WRESTLER
(St. Louis Star-Times, March 26, 1949)
By Ray Nelson
There were numerous things thrown into the ring at Kiel Auditorium last night when the Mississippi Valley Sports Club presented a program billed as wrestling. There was one lemon, one golf ball (used), and one egg (fresh) -- besides the usual complement of asthmatic athletes-tossed inside the squared circle.
When the bill of fare had been completed the only item to suffer anything approaching serious damage was a "T" shirt worn by referee Walter McMillan. This item was torn into shreds by Mike Sharpe following a dull 14 minutes of action against actor Mike Mazurki.
Mr. Sharpe will be allowed one sneer at those remarks about prices going down, for his brash treatment of McMillan's shirt cost him $50, a rather fancy price for an item retailing at $1.39 in most of our downtown stores. The $50 was a fine leveled by Charles Pian, deputy of the Missouri Athletic Commission.
This loss of raiment confused McMillan so much he raised both Sharpe's and Mazurki's hands and declared the bout a draw. Since the two had not wrestled the entire 30 minutes it seemed impossible to end the bout in this manner, but who said anything was impossible on a wrestling program?
Of course, there was a main event on the card. No entertainment program is complete without one. In this, Primo Carnera, the former heavyweight boxing champion, was declared the winner over Bill (Wild) Longson.
Longson, trying one of his over-the-rope flying routines, fell to the mat alongside the ring (in front of the press table) and remained there while referee Otto Brexler solemnly and slowly counted up to 20 -- a remarkable display of Otto's arithmetic.
Bill was helped back to the dressing room while the giant Carnera stood glowering at the 10,466 booing fans. It might be said Longson may not have wanted to get back in the ring with the 6-foot-7-inch mammoth. Primo, even when not glowering, is something most mortals would stay away from-and far away at that.
This keeps Primo's local record perfect. He has now defeated George (Kayo) Koverly, Bob (Bulldog) Wagner and Longson. This, we suppose, will lead up to a return appearance against Lou Thesz.
FIRST BOUT-Vic Holbrook, 234, Hollywood, Calif., defeated Joe Dusek, 238, Omaha, Neb., with abdominal stretch in 12:35.
SECOND BOUT-Warren Bockwinkel, 243, St. Louis, defeated Ellis Bashara, 232, Oklahoma City, with two body slams in 13:44.
THIRD BOUT-Frederick Von Schacht, 242, Milwaukee, defeated Bobby Nelson, 228, Canton, Ohio, with sleeping hold in 13:51.
FOURTH BOUT-Mike Sharpe, 246, Hamilton, Ont., and Mike Mazurki, 238, Hollywood, Calif, went to a draw, 14;50.
SEMI-FINAL BOUT-Enrique Torres, 234, Sonora, Mexico, defeated Dutch Hefner, 236, Sherman, Tex., with flying body scissors in 15:15.
FINAL BOUT-Primo Carnera, 275, Sequela, Italy, won from Bill Longson, 230, St. Louis, when Longson was injured leaping from ring, time 12:59.
WRESTLING MOURNS RAY STEELE
(St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sept. 13, 1949)
By J. G. Wray
Wrestler Ray Steele's death due to a heart attack last Sunday will come as a surprise to the wrestling world . . . On the mat, all good athletes die old . . . But Steele was only 50 . . . Just a youth compared to septuagenarians like Stan Zbyszko, George Hackenschmidt and other antiques who on occasion still can put on a good show.
Steele, although a development of the showmanship type of "rassling," got his early training the hard way . . . Always in top condition, he knew all the angles and could have held his own with top men in days when an ambitious mat athlete, trapped by a scissors, hammerlock or double nelson, could suffer a broken arm, leg or even a neck . . . That happened as a matter of fact on more than one occasion.
Steele, like old John Pesek, was a streak of lightning at his best . . . Lloyd Carter brought him to St. Louis in the early twenties and finally worked him into preliminaries in the promotions of Jimmy Londos and Tom Packs . . . Before long Ray was engaging in main event roles . . . And when the Jack Curley and Jimmy Londos factions began fussing over title rights, Steele was sent east to "take" Lewis and get him out of "Champion" Londos' way.
It all failed, as far as Steele was concerned . . . Referee Ed Forbes disqualified Ray for striking Lewis with closed fists, elbowing and committing other fouls under the New York rules . . . The Strangler was unable to catch up with Steele to apply his favorite chancery (headlock) holds until later . . . After about 20 minutes Steele developed blisters on his feet-both men were shoeless by agreement-and Big Ed caught him.
It was then that Steele began using his fists and after 28 minutes and three official warnings, Referee Forbes declared Lewis winner . . . The commission also declared Steele suspended for 60 days, the following day.
The Strangler even at that time was no chicken . . . He was still a great wrestling star. One of the boasts Ed used to make was that he had a standing cash offer to any wrestler who could "get behind" him in a match-without any obligation to throw him.
To get behind an opponent usually meant that the contestant brought his man to the floor on his hands and knees and took a position kneeling behind him ready to apply a hold . . . It was considered a great advantage in catch-as-catch-can events. We did not see the Lewis-Steele match in New York, but Sam Muchnick vouches for the fact that Ray had Ed on the defensive in the manner described.
Steele was one of a famous family of Nebraska athletes . . . His real name was Pete Sauer . . . When he became a wrestler he took on a professional moniker which occasionally got him into trouble . . . Beaten opponents frequently charged him with being a "ringer" and pointed to his assumed name . . . But he called himself Steele to divert attention from his family and ease his parents' minds.
His brother George was a famous athlete, playing with the National pro football league . . . He later became a college coach . . . George also could wrestle a bit . . . There is a nephew, George, who was all-America at Nebraska and who now coaches the Navy team at Annapolis.
"Steele wrestled here frequently for Packs and later performed on some of my wrestling cards," Promoter Muchnick told this writer . . . "He was such a splendidly built man that his death came as a big surprise . . . He had written me saying he had about completed training at Warm Lake, Idaho, and would be ready to wrestle when my season opened . . . Now, he's unexpectedly dead.
"He was one of the most proficient of wrestlers at both modern and catch-as-catch-can styles . . . He won the National Wrestling Association (Packs group) championship in December, 1940 . . . But a year later he lost it back to its original holder, Bronko Nagurski . . . He's the only athlete I know that was able to get back of Lewis when the Strangler was trying to prevent him . . . He had to be good."
KOWALSKI SUES TV ANNOUNCER
(Boston Daily Record, Thursday, July 17, 1958)
By United Press International
Heavyweight wrestling champion Walter (Killer) Kowalski is suing a television announcer for $50,000 because of alleged attacks the announcer made on Kowalski's use of a flesh-grinding "claw-hold," it was disclosed yesterday.
Kowalski brought the libel suit against announcer Sam Menacker (of WBZ-TV), himself a former wrestler. Menacker handles a "live pro wrestling" show here Saturday afternoons.
Kowalski, who dethroned champion Edouard Carpentier here in a May 24 match, claimed Menacker libeled him in an article in a program distributed at the local matches. In it Menacker assailed Kowalski's use of the claw-hold.
A writ was served on Menacker last Saturday and a hearing was scheduled for Superior Court on Sept. 2
Menacker, who quit wrestling in 1955, and now lives in suburban Winthrop, said he was a long-standing foe of the claw hold and the suit has spurred him to step up his opposition to it.
"I have received a hundred or so letters from wrestling fans asking me if something could not be done to outlaw this hold," Menacker said. He said Kowalski was "extremely powerful and he grasps the abdomen of his opponent like a sponge and kneads the flesh with his fingers."
Kowalski said he brought the suit because when sports announcers "begin to make remarks or write articles that can permanently damage a man's reputation and drawing power with wrestling fans, the only thing to do is to try and stop them through the courts."
Menacker said once on television Kowalski asked him why he continued to criticize (Kowalski).
""When I tried to show him a stack of letters from fans complaining about his rough tactics," Menacker said, "he stuffed a fistful of letters in my face. Another time he manhandled me in his dressing room.
"He has injured a lot of fellows in the ring with his claw-hold," Menacker said, "and I felt I had a duty to speak against it."
KILLER MAKES GOOD PLEDGE AS CHAMP
(Boston Daily Record, Thursday, July 17, 1958)
Wladek "Killer" Kowalski of Hamtramck, Mich., is making good his pledge to defend his world's wrestling championship against all comers. Kowalski, however, isn't sure he's taking the right step by giving Edouard Carpentier another crack at the title.
Kowalski dethroned the agile Carpentier here some weeks ago. Since that time he has defended the title against foes like Pat O'Connor of New Zealand and Dick "The Bruiser" Afflis.
Carpentier, meanwhile, has been angling for a crack at the championship. Kowalski has ignored him until now. Carpentier has kept in shape, awaiting his chance, and finally promoter Paul Bowser induced Kowalski to give Carpentier a re-match. It will be held Saturday, July 26, at Boston Garden.
Kowalski is a giant of a man, six-foot, five inches and 250 pounds. He pits his brute strength against the speed and amazing agility of Carpentier, a former member of the French Olympic team as a gymnast.
The Kowalski-Carpentier re-match promises to
split Boston's avid wrestling populace. Kowalski has plenty of backers because
of his rough style. Carpentier has supporters, too, who recognize his scientific
approach to the sport. They'll be rooting for Carpentier to give Kowalski a