The WAWLI Papers No. 490...

(ED. NOTE -- Two future world champions see their names butchered by the San Bernardino, Calif., Sun back in the spring of 1936. Thesz, 20, was just beginning a West Coast trip that would see him soon tire of of the way he was treated by Toots Mondt and others associated with the Los Angeles office. With some assistance from Ray Steele, Thesz relocated to Joe Malcewicz's San Francisco-area territory and enjoyed a lengthy stay in that promotion before returning to main-event status in St. Louis.)


(San Bernardino Sun, Friday, May 8, 1936)

Bill Longsdon (sic) and Al Baffert, a couple of back alley boys whose ideas of each other, if laid end to end, hardly would be fit to print, meet tonight in the main event at the San Bernardino Orange Show wrestling arena.

It will be their second engagement at the Orange Show in two weeks, the first meeting having ended when Longsdon was disqualified for rought tactics.

The original battle, though, had an anti-climax, a beautiful brawl in the back alley that was going full tilt when the coppers stepped in. And it is on this that Promoter Elmer Willson is basing his hopes for another rough and tumble, or worse, scramble tonight.

Longsdon, who checks in from Salt Lake City, and Baffert, a Frenchman gone Hollywood, tangle on a winner-take-all basis. Incidentally, it is a two-out-of-three fall bout with no time limit.

Baffert apparently started the back alley end of last week's battle. After Longsdon had been disqualified, and the two wrestlers had left the show, Baffert jumped on Longsdon and punched him on the head. Both matmen were giving and taking when the coppers stopped the fuss.

The stage, however, apparently is all set for a bitter, slam-bang affair tonight.

Vic Christy, the Sunland socker, and Leo Papiano, a Greek matman, are booked in the semi-windup, a one-hour, two-of-three-fall affair.

Christy has just returned from an Eastern tour, and is reported in great shape. He used to be a favorite with San Bernardino fans.

Joe Savoldi's little brother, Clem, appears in a preliminary against Bob Coleman, while Louis Phesz (sic) and Firpo Wilcox meet in the curtain raiser. Both of the latter bouts are 30-minute scraps.



(ED. NOTE -- These bouts were held at the Orange Show Stadium.)

May 1 -- Joe Savoldi beat Bill Bartush, Al Baffert beat Bill Longson dq, Bronco Valdez beat Joe Varga, Bob Coleman beat Billy Grubbs

May 8 -- Bill Longson beat Al Baffert, Vic Christy beat Leo Papiano, Clem Savoldi drew Bob Coleman, Lou Thesz beat Firpo Wilcox

May 15 -- Vic Christy beat Bill Longson cor, Hans Steinke beat Lou Thesz (straight falls), Tiny Roebuck beat Leo Papiano, Bob Coleman beat Billy Grubbs dq

May 22 -- Joe Savoldi beat Vic Christy, George Zaharias beat Bill Longson, Mayes McLain beat George Kondolis, Clem Savoldi drew Pat McGill

May 29 -- Howard Cantonwine beat Vic Christy, Sandor Szabo vs. Bill Longson, Bob Coleman vs. Art Rumble, Mayes McLain vs. Lou Thesz

June 5 -- Ray Steele beat Howard Cantonwine dq, Bill Longson drew Leo Papiano, Mitsu Hamanaka beat Billy Grubbs, Benny Ginsberg beat Bill Sledge



(Associated Press, January 28, 1943)

NEWTON, Kan. -- Heavyweight wrestler Wladek Zbyszko met a culvert abutment in his automobile Monday.

He and wrestlers John Suzek, John Grandovich, Frank Nelson and Ivan Risovich were brought to a Newton hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

The crash interrupted a trip to Wichita for ring appearances.



(San Bernardino Sun, Sunday, March 9, 1958)

Lou Thesz successfully defended his world heavyweight wrestling title (sic) at jammed San Bernardino Arena last night. The St. Louis star used a flying press in 13:42 and a cradle in 2:34, after Lord James Blears took the middle fall in 2:36 with a double leg body press.

Thesz returns next Saturday to grapple Bob Orton, who combined with Wild Red Berry to draw with Sandor Szabo and Pepper Gomez in the semi. Orton's knee drops on Szabo won the first fall in 16:57, then Szabo evened it in 49 seconds by pressing Berry. The 45 minutes ran out before another fall.

Charro Azteca took the opener from Hardy Kruskamp with a Boston crab in 15:38 and the decider in 2:36 by disqualification.



(San Bernardino Sun, Sunday, March 16, 1958)

International heavyweight wrestling champion Lou Thesz made quick work of big Bob Orton in the main event at the San Bernardino Arena last night. The 240-pound St. Louis star won the first fall in 11:13 by disqualification and the second in 4:48 with a flying press.

Billy Darnell, former Temple ace, made a successful debut by pinning Henry Lenz in the semi-main. Lenz took the first in 13:51 with a press, but Darnell won it with flying head scissors in 7:46 and a reverse press in 3:37.

Wild Red Berry's reverse arm scissors hold subdued Johnny Demchuk in 20:56, after Sammy Berg and Hardy Kruskamp grappled 16:27 to no decision in the opener. Pepper Gomez and Billy Varga clash in next Saturday's main, promoter Roy Warner announced.


(ED. NOTE -- Our thanks to Scott Teal, industrious editor of Whatever Happened To . . . ?, for sending along the following clips.)


(Pensacola News Journal, Dec. 15, 1998)

By Nathan Dominitz

Flying head scissors. Three words that should never be used together in any sequence except by trained professionals.

Professional wrestlers, that is. The flying head scissors -- as dangerous as it sounds -- was the stock in trade aerial maneuver for Bullet Bob Armstrong of Gulf Breeze.

"Back when I started it was very unusual for a guy like me who weighed 250 pounds to do a flying head scissors," says the 6-foot-2 Armstrong, who would launch himself airborne, lock his legs around the opponent's neck and pull him to the mat. "Promoters had to take notice. If he took notice of you and thought he could make money with you, then he was going to use you."

Wrestling promoters continue to use Armstrong two to four times a week, though he's slimmed to a more agile 210 pounds and more likely to keep his scissors move at the bottom of his bag of tricks.

That's slowing down to the 59-year-old, probably the oldest of the rasslin' world's regularly active combatants. Armstrong (not his real name) has been locking his bulging arms (hence the name) around wrestlers like Rowdy Roddy Piper and "Nature Boy" Ric Flair for 35 years.

They couldn't stop him, and neither can anyone or anything else -- including family members, doctors, near-death travel experiences and a multitude of messy injuries.

Only Father Time (not a wrestler) has a shot at putting a sleeper hold on Armstrong, whose goal is to wrestle at 65. Then will he retire?

"I can't promise that," he said. "I don't have to (wrestle), but I want to. When I was 44 years old I was in the best condition of my life. I was wrestling all over the world and I thought, 'Well, if I keep training, taking care of my body as well as I can, I may be able to last a while.' Now it's gotten to be a challenge with me."

That's the competitor in Armstrong, who requested his real name not be used in this story. Everyone knows him as "Bullet Bob" anyway, he said. No longer "faster than a speeding bullet," he trains harder to keep younger generations of wrestlers from sending him into early retirement.

"I think it's him, his drive to do it," said his family physician, Dr. Robert Stock of Gulf Breeze. "I don't see many 20-year-olds who work out and exercise as he does. It'd be better if more people did it."

"It's truly unbelievable said his oldest son, Scott Armstrong, 37, a pro wrestler like his father and three brothers. "We did him all the time about burying him in his boots. He's been doing it since I was a little bitty boy. I didn't know him any other way."

The new generation of wrestling Armstrong affectionately calls him a "human oddity," which he proudly repeats. He's becoming less human and more machine, as surgeons have installed wires, pins, staples and screws to keep bones together.

Calling him screwy could mean many things, joked Armstrong, who said hardware stores would "be a good place to get my body parts."

"Every finger's been broken," he said. "(The right thumb) was crushed so bad it wouldn't take pins, so (the surgeon) had to put three screws so it would touch all the bones that were crushed. It looked like Corn Flakes. It's given me a bionic grip. I tell you it's the best thing that's ever happened to me. I understand how you can be bionic."

His whole body -- a concrete-thick package of muscle, bone and metal -- has taken a licking and keeps on ticking. Maybe he should add Timex to possible endorsements.

"The secret in this business is to have a good doctor," Armstrong said. "I have a good one, Dr. Stock. He always advises me and watches my injuries and tries his best to talk me out of every doing it again."

Stock has known him three years and said X-rays don't tell the whole story.

"He has things he breaks he doesn't come in for," Stock said. "He presses on. I'm sure he's had injuries to every joint and most bones in his body."

There's a story for every injury and every colorful character who passed Armstrong's way since his pro debut against Bad Boy Hines in 1964 in Marietta, Ga. The stories are sometimes truely violent and painful, yet immensely entertaining the way Armstrong tells them with his native Georgian accent and a smile on his face.

As when he recounts the tale of a wrestling match in Korea involving Crazy Luke Graham. Any story that begins "Me and Crazy Luke" has promise.

"People don't believe what I've lived through," he said. "Hell, they'd have to be there."

--They would have been on an airport tarmac in the Bahams, where Armstrong was challenged by five drunks who had tumbled out of their plane.

"Well, there's five of them and one of me," he recalled. "I said, 'OK, boys, if that's the way you want it, which one's first?'"

Just then, Armstrong's tag-team partner walked around the plane and the drunks scattered. Seemed no one wanted a piece of Andre the Giant.

--They would have been at a gym in Wheeling, W.Va., in 1982, when an apparent prank went terribly wrong. Armstrong was doing a pullover lift with about 180 pounds on the bar when rival wrestler Ted DiBiase walked up and kicked the bench. The bar fell on Armstrong's face, cracking the bones and relocating the nose.

Some cynics thought his career was over. He said he cried every day for three weeks.But he was determined. He started lifting weights at home while his son, Scott, held a trachea tube so he could breath. He regained weight. In three months he was back in the ring.

"That's in your head," said Armstrong, who never heard an apology from DiBiase. Armstrong has worn a mask in matches ever since, not to protect his identity but to protect his face.

--They would have been at Mobile's Expo Hall about 18 years ago, when a charged-up Armstrong was leaving the ring and a fan punched him in the jaw. Armstrong grabbed the man by the hair, flipped him over and began fighting for real.

"When I was doing that I felt something hit me in the groin but I didn't stop," he said. "I was mad. The match was over. I was nervous."

The fan had a switchblade knife, which fortunately hadn't opened.

"I think that's the luckiest I've ever been or I'd be a dead man," he said.

The danger isn't always in the ring. Armstrong has been stuck with pins and struck with ice, bottles and cans. Not a drinker, he has been hit more beer than he's ever consumed.

A whole case of beer crashed to the canvas from the balcony at Miss Kitty's Saloon in Marietta in 1981. The target was the opponent, Abdullah the Butcher.

"Glass and beer went everywhere. Everybody got cut. It was really a mess. You never know what's going to happen," he said.

Abdullah, as true fans know, years ago created the "Armstrong Curse" that torments the family today.

"We wrestled for 30 minutes," Armstrong said. "He's a big, bad guy. The last 10 minutes he was pretty well out of it but he's hard to pin. He's built like a bowling ball. He's about 350 and comes up to my nose. The referee gave me the decision. Abdullah said, 'I curse you. I curse your family for so many generations.'

"He's an idiot. He really meant he's going to curse me. The announcers picked it up. They passed it on. They got a big kick out of it."

It was an attractive story line in the lucrative business recently referred to as a "male soap opera."

Armstrong is an independent contractor, charging promoters for a night's work based on the size of the show, travel and expenses. A good night is $700 for a 12-minute match on a weekend, ranging to much less for small shows during the week. He works when he wants to, scheduling about two months in advance.

He said a good year when he was most active on the regional circuits would be $80,000 to $100,000. He said today's wrestlers contracted to the two major associations can make $400,000 to more than $1 million annually for the superstars.

The Armstrongs -- Bob Armstrong and his clean-cut sons, who espouse technically sound, basic wrestling -- are good guys in the soap opera with a dark cloud over their heads.

"We didn't win a match for a long time," Bob said. "Any time something bad would happen to us, it's the Armstrong Curse. You stub your toe, it's the Armstrong Curse. You get a bloody nose, it's the Armstrong Curse."

Armstrong believes in making his own luck. He feels fortunate to have a job where he "can knock the hell out of somebody, get the hell knocked out of me, just let it all hang out.

"I just always wanted something physical. It's hard for me to do anything else and really get into it," he said. "I found something I love. I love the competition. It really keeps me young."



(Pensacola News Journal, December 15, 1998)

By Nathan Dominitz

There were never any leftovers at the Armstrong family dinners. Not in a household including pro wrestler Bob Armstrong and four budding pros as children.

"I had to fry an awful lot of chicken," said Bob's wife, Gail, who took recipe-prescribed quantities and doubled them.

Their home in Marietta, Ga., had a rec room in the basement which never become a wrecked room. The four boys -- born over an eight-year period -- knew better. Their father also is an ex-Marine.

"His voice was scary enough. He'd raise his voice and they'd jump," Gail said. "He was gone a lot at different times. I could just threaten, 'When daddy gets home...' They believed it."

When dad is on television leaping from the top rope and applying figure-four leg locks for a living, what's a child to do? Be just like the old man, of course.

"I guess the Lord knew better than to give me daughters," said Bob Armstrong, who moved to Gulf Breeze in 1978. "They had better wrestling matches sometimes in the house than you see on TV."

"It was a battle royal right in our living room. Mom would have to separate us," said the oldest son, Scott, 37. "She should have had a referee's uniform and a whistle around her neck."

Bob calls Gail, his wife of 38 years, the backbone of the family. That's one bones that hasn't been broken. The elder Armstrongs often watch their sons on TV while babysitting their eight grandchildren.

Though not a wrestler, mom perfected the "wrist lock" which her children use today. But neither Gail nor Bob could prevent their sons making wrestling the family business. Brad, now 36, was the first, turning pro wat 18 after graduating from Gulf Breeze High. He took the wrestling name of Armstrong.

"I pitched a fit," Gail said. "He said, 'This is my idea. I want to do this.' I tried to discourage him. There was no way. They all just wanted it."

Scott and Steve, 34, followed, and all three are contracted members of World Championship Wrestling. Youngest son Brian, 29, is better known as Road Dog Jesse James, tag-team champion with Badd Ass Billy Gunn of the World Wrestling Federation.

"I didn't want any of them to go through the pain that I've gone through," said Bob, a former fireman who was a pioneer in pro wrestling's growth on TV and often wrestled six times a week on regional circuits.

"I wanted them to be family men, stay around the house. I didn't want them to travel the way I traveled. I just wanted them to be regular guys. But they all chose that on their own. When they chose it and I knew they'd made a commitment, then I was their staunchest supporter."

The WAWLI Papers No. 491...

(ED. NOTE -- The following letter, from longtime wrestling promoter Musty Musgraves, is found in the Jack Pfefer Collection at the University of Notre Dame's Joyce Sports Research Library. It is further evidence of the disastrous turn taken by the mat business in the Los Angeles area during the late '30s and early '40s, or immediately following an investigation by the California State Legislature which led to the exist of famed promoter "Carnation" Lou Daro from the scene.)

326 So. Normandie Ave.

Los Angeles, Calif.,

Dec. 17, 1942

Dear Toots and Jack:

I hear over the grapevine that things are about to happen. Have had time on my hands and have been looking around. While I don't know what your plans are, and whether John (Doyle) and I might fit into them, I'll give you the lowdown and you fellows can judge for yourself.

First, my own position. Uncle Sam turned me down for high bloodpressure and I am now 4F, so am looking around for a spot out here to light. I figure that if I can slide back into the business without too much trouble I can still handle my radio deals and at the same time have some fun and make some money, for surely the latter is here if the territory was run correctly.

You fellows bringing the Angel here for Hugh (Nichols, Hollywood Legion promoter) has started a lot of talk. Lutze has now definitely lost San Diego and Platner isn't going to put up any fight at all, so that is a cinch.

Londos failed to show up twice in Long Beach so Rubin is hot. Mike is flirting with Nichols. Fabby (Ray Fabiani) is ready to make any kind of a change that would benefit Fabby, not to be wondered at, for wouldn't we all?

Nichols has suddenly been bitten with the ambition bug and I think he sees himself the big manipulator of Southern California. He seems a nice fellow to talk to, and though I know little of him, naturally, since he never set the world on fire out here I can only presume that he wouldn't, even if he got the proper breaks and of course his heart will always be with the lighter men, for which noone can or would blame him.

Lutze is sick. I mean physically. He doesn't look well and didn't even show up last night at the Olympic. They grossed $2400 with Londos and Koverly. The show was the usual one. If you have seen one you have seen them all. Hardy (Kruskamp) is running the show from soup to nuts, and if ever a territory was mismanaged and in need of some real help and ready to go places, this one is.

John is handling the matches at Ocean Park and also working at the Olympic, but has a pretty impossible job with Hardy in his hair all the time. He can't get hot about doing anything to help the present setup. He doesn't want to go out and fight Lutze, feeling somewhat obligated. Something like the girl who said she couldn't because her mother told her not to, but she would hold still and let it be done, if you know what I mean.

The main event in the Olympic next week is Szabo and Krauser. They are trying to make Krauser their big attraction. Incidentally, he is a very nice looking boy, well trained and a swell worker. But, then, I guess you know that. They don't seem at all worried about Jack doing them any harm because they kept him here. Just say, "What can he do?"

So I ask the same question, only different, "What will you fellows do>\?" If Jack intends to stay here for a month or five weeks, if each of the better boys can be promised three shots around with the Angel, and if we can be left with a Mask (Zaharias, Fraley or Schnabel) on top in all spots when Jack leaves, the picture would have an entirely different color by Feb. 15th.

Nichols will split the booking fee in San Dieog to get the use of some heavies, he will give a fourth of the profit, or five percent for the use of a heavyweight in each of his clubs to work with the Angel, but, if he makes such a deal with Lutze, you haven't accomplished anything to help the cause, if that is your intent, as I hear it is.

Three turns to the right, one to the left, and about face and forward march is about all that needs to be done for a new boooking office to be in existence and running and making some real money out here. I see no reason why a setup can't be arranged where we all might add to the bankrool without too much trouble and things can be built so that when you fellows want to send an attraction this way some real houses will be waiting for you.

As I said, I don't know your plans. Far be it from me to try to step on your toes in any plans you have, but am ready to slip on the working clothes and see if this can't be made to bloom again as it should and could and will with proper guidance.

The whole coast is a hotbed of war workers and money. You and Jack could slip into the northwest along about May and come out of there with your pockets lined. I can positively get you a license in Seattle through the Teamsters Union any time you would want it. (Ted) Thye is barred in there as it stands.

Let me know the score . . . I am just an interested bystander at the moment, but have done just enough listening and suggesting to know that the melon is ripe and ready to be cut.

Best regards to you both,

Musty (Musgraves)



(ED. NOTE -- All bouts were held, usually Friday or Saturday nights, in the venerable San Bernardino Arena, located at 137 South G St., not far from the center of the city and close to the town's baseball park. At absolute maximum capacity, promoters could squeeze 2,000 into the hall. Early on in this period, the legendary Jules Strongbow -- the big Cherokee Indian who was barely removed from his active days in the ring -- became the promoter, replacing Bob Nolan. Musty Musgraves, a letter from whom appears above, also seems to have had a hand in the promotion. From the time when the Southern California heavyweight "territory" went together in the early '30s, all the way to its basic demise nearly 50 years later, San Bernardino was a regular stop for the world's greatest professional wrestlers. Here are the cards and results from two years during the early television era. The "world title" defended successfully by Enrique Torres during these two years was a local belt, recognized only in Southern California.)


January 10 -- Manuel Garza beat Jules Strongbow (latter sub for Gorgeous George, who was called away when his brother was killed in a car wreck), Enrique Torres beat Karl Davis (world title defense), Jim Mitchell beat Marvin Jones dq, Kolo Stasiak (Jim Wright) drew Terry McGinnis

January 17 -- Manuel Garza beat Gorgeous George, Jim Mitchell beat Kolo Stasiak, Willie Davis beat Terry McGinnis, Enrique Torres beat Marvin Jones (world title defense) (A - 1,300)

January 24 -- Enrique Torres beat Willie Davis (world title defense), Gorgeous George beat Manuel Garza (referee Cecil Payne), Gino Garibaldi beat Bud Curtis, Jim Mitchell beat Hardy Kruskamp

January 31 -- Enrique Torres-Manuel Garza beat Gorgeous George-Marvin Jones, Jules Strongbow drew Chief War Cloud, Gino Garibaldi beat Jim Mitchell

February 7 -- Enrique Torres beat Gino Garibaldi (world title defense), Manuel Garza-Ellis Bashara beat Marvin Jones-Jules Strongbow, Bud Curtis beat Joe Blackman

February 14 -- Gino Garibaldi-Marvin Jones beat Enrique Torres-Manuel Garza, Ellis Bashara beat Jules Strongbow, Bud Curtis drew Bulldog Clements

February 21 -- Enrique Torres-Ellis Bashara beat Gino Garibaldi-Marvin Jones dq, Bulldog Clements drew Henry Kulkavich, Jim Mitchell beat Bud Curtis



(San Bernardino Sun, Sunday, February 29, 1948)

Gorgeous George, the blond cutie of the wrestling game, was paired with Gino Garibaldi, a surly Italian, to win two of the three falls in the tag team match against Enrique Torres, claimant to the mat championship, and his partner, Manuel Garza.

The third and deciding fall resulted in an unexpected manner in which Gorgeous George, although not a contestant in the ring, aided Garibaldi in pinning Garza's shoulders to the mat in little more than two minutes of wrestling.

As Garibaldi was pushing Garza toward the corner occupied by George, the Gorgeous one climbed up to the top rung of the arena ropes, leaped upon Garza in the fashion of a drop kick. Garibaldi was quick to take advantage of the incident and fell on the prostrate Garza to secure a body press and the fall.

Garza had won the first fall with a reverse shoulder press over Garibaldi in 21 minutes, but in the next fall Gino beat Garza, pinning Garza's shoulders to the mat in 16 minutes with a rolling body press.

Ellis Bashara, former Oklahoma university athletic star, and Marvin Jones wrestled to a draw, each securing a fall.

In the opening tussle, a one-fall affair, Jules Strongbow and Jimmy Mitchell mauled each other for 15 minutes when they fell out of the ring where they continued their elbow slugging. Referee Joe Varga counted the accustomed 20 for time outside the ring, but neither quit slugging and the match ended in a draw decision.

A crowd of more than 1,500 witnessed the wrestling matches. Mayor James E. Cunningham was present and the American Legion color guard stood at attention during the national anthem. A final tribute was given to Boyd A. (Musty) Musgrave, nationally known promoter who died Friday. The club was darkened and a 20 count was rung on the ringside bell.


February 28 -- Gorgeous George-Gino Garibaldi beat Enrique Torres-Manuel Garza (referee Joe Varga), Ellis Bashara drew Marvin Jones, Jules Strongbow drew Jimmy Mitchell dcor (A - 1,500)

March 6 -- Enrique Torres beat Gorgeous George, Ellis Bashara beat Gino Garibaldi, Terry McGinnis beat Bulldog Clements, Chief War Cloud beat Hardy Kruskamp

March 13 -- Gorgeous George-Babe Zaharias beat Enrique Torres-Ellis Bashara, Tony Martinez drew Chris Zaharias, Jules Strongbow beat Manuel Garza

March 20 -- Manuel Garza-Enrique Torres beat Gorgeous George-Babe Zaharias, Tom Rice beat Marvin Jones, Chris Zaharias drew Ellis Bashara

March 27 -- Jules Strongbow beat Manuel Garza (referee Mickey Walker), Tony Martinez drew Chris Zaharias, Ellis Bashara drew Babe Zaharias, Jack Kennedy beat Hardy Kruskamp

April 3 -- Enrique Torres beat Jules Strongbow (world title defense), Ellis Bashara-Tony Martinez beat Chris Zaharias-Babe Zaharias, Jack Kennedy beat Bulldog Clements

April 10 -- Enrique Torres beat Jules Strongbow (ref Ed Lewis), Gino Garibaldi drew Tony Martinez, Chris Zaharias beat Ellis Bashara, Jack Kennedy drew Tom Rice

April 17 -- Enrique Torres-Tony Martinez beat Gorgeous George-Jules Strongbow, Gino Garibaldi beat Jim Mitchell, Yukon Eric (as Eric Holmback) beat Ellis Bashara

April 24 -- Enrique Torres beat Gino Garibaldi (referee Max Baer), Kimon Kudo beat Tom Rice, Dave Levin beat Jack Malone, Yukon Eric beat Art Brady

May 1 -- Enrique Torres-Tony Martinez beat Gino Garibaldi-Rebel Russell, Jim Mitchell drew Frank Jares, Kimon Kudo beat Yukon Eric (jiu jitsu)

May 8 -- Enrique Torres-Tony Martinez beat Gino Garibaldi-Rebel Russell (referee Max Baer), Jim Mitchell drew Jules Strongbow, Eric Pederson (pro debut) beat Frank Jares

May 15 -- Sandor Szabo beat Gino Garibaldi, Tony Martinez beat Reb Russell, Frank Jares beat Jim Mitchell, Jack Kennedy beat Bud Curtis

May 22 -- Maurice Tillet (French Angel) beat Frank Jares, Tony Martinez-Jack Kennedy drew Reb Russell-Karl Davis, Ali Baba beat Fred Wright

May 29 -- Rebel Russell-Karl Davis beat Maurice Tillet (French Angel)-Tony Martinez, Frank Jares beat Jack Kennedy, Tom Rice beat Fred Wright (ED. NOTE -- This was billed as the first tag team match ever engaged in by the French Angel; it may have been.)

June 5 -- Enrique Torres-Tony Martinez beat Karl Davis-Rebel Russell, George Becker drew Frank Jares, Dave Levin beat Jack Kennedy

June 12 -- Enrique Torres beat Karl Davis (world title defense), George Becker-Bobby Becker beat Frank Jares-Fred Atkins, Tony Martinez drew Dave Levin

June 19 -- Enrique Torres beat George Becker (world title defense), Tony Martinez drew Willie Davis, Fred Atkins beat Dave Levin, Kay Bell beat Jack Malone

June 26 -- Willie Davis-Frank Jares beat George Becker-Bobby Becker, Kay Bell vs. Rebel Russell, Tony Martinez beat Jack Holland

July 3 -- George Becker-Bobby Becker beat Willie Davis-Frank Jares, Don Lee drew Jack Holland, Tony Martinez beat Rebel Russell

July 10 -- Gorgeous George beat Tony Martinez, Willie Davis beat Vic Christy dq, Terry McGinnis beat Don Lee, Frank Jares drew Vic Holbrook

July 17 -- Ernie Dusek-Emil Dusek beat Willie Davis-Frank Jares, Tony Martinez beat Rebel Russell, Ali Baba beat Terry McGinnis

July 24 -- Ernie Dusek-Emil Dusek beat Willie Davis-Frank Jares, Chief War Cloud beat Don Lee, Tony Martinez drew Fred Atkins

July 31 -- Ernie Dusek-Emil Dusek beat Frank Jares-Willie Davis, Fred Atkins beat Chief War Cloud, Maurice LaChappelle drew Vic Christy

August 7 -- Primo Carnera beat Vic Holbrook, Vic Christy beat Al Billings, Maurice LaChappelle beat Alex Kasaboski, Ted Christy drew Hardy Kruskamp

August 14 -- Frank Jares-Willie Davis beat George Becker-Bobby Becker, Vic Christy beat Kolo Stasiak dq, Mike Mazurki beat Al Billings

August 21 -- Primo Carnera beat Willie Davis-Frank Jares dq (hdcp) (referee Bobby Coleman), Vic Christy beat Hans Schnabel, Hardy Kruskamp drew Terry McGinnis, Ted Christy beat Alex Kasaboski

August 28 -- Willie Davis-Frank Jares beat Primo Carnera-Terry McGinnis, Karl Davis beat Hardy Kruskamp, Jose Juarez beat Alex Kasaboski dq

September 4 -- (tournament) -- Golden Terror beat Jose Juarez, Dave Levin beat Al Billings, Frank Jares beat Terry McGinnis, Bobby Becker beat Alex Kasaboski, Bobby Becker beat Frank Jares, Dave Levin beat Karl Davis, Golden Terror beat Bobby Becker, Golden Terror beat Dave Levin (final) (referee Cecil Payne)

September 11 -- Willie Davis-Frank Jares beat George Becker-Bobby Becker, Golden Terror beat Dave Levin, Jose Juarez beat Alex Kasaboski dq, Tug Carlson beat Al Billings

September 18 -- Golden Terror beat Tug Carlson, Vic Holbrook beat Willie Davis, Lord Blears beat Art Brady, Frank Jares drew Jim Mitchell

September 25 -- Gorgeous George beat Vic Holbrook, Golden Terror beat George Temple, Jose Macias beat Frank Jares, Jacobo Macias beat Fritz Schnabel

October 2 -- Gorgeous George drew Golden Terror dcor, Jacobo Macias-Jose Macias beat Frank Jares-Willie Davis dq, Jim Mitchell drew Tug Carlson

October 9 -- Golden Terror beat Lord Blears, Jacobo-Jose Macias beat Chris Zaharias-Babe Zaharias, Morris Shapiro beat Fritz Schnabel

October 16 -- Jacobo Macias beat Golden Terror dq, Lord Blears beat Howard Cantonwine, George Temple beat Hardy Kruskamp, Jim Mitchell beat Morris Shapiro (later Mighty Atlas)

October 23 -- Jacobo Macias beat Golden Terror, Lord Blears beat Rocco Toma, Bobby Managoff beat Slim Zimbleman (San Bernardo Sun had it the other way around, but that had to be erroneous), Vic Holbrook drew Roy Gunkel

October 30 -- Lord Blears beat Golden Terror (unmasked as Danny Plechas), Jacobo Macias-Bobby Managoff beat Lee Grable-Yukon Eric (as Eric Holmback), Jim Mitchell beat Slim Zimbleman

(San Bernardino survey to conclude in next issue.)

The WAWLI Papers No. 492...

(ED. NOTE -- The following bouts, from late 1948, 1949 and early 1950, conclude our survey of San Bernardino Arena wrestling, begun in the previous issue of The WAWLI Papers. These results were gleaned from the microfilmed pages of the San Bernardino Sun by the WAWLI editorial board during a recent visit to that Southern California city.)

November 6 -- Dizzy Davis beat Lord Blears, Bobby Managoff beat Jim Mitchell, Henry LaSalle beat Yukon Eric, Jack Armstrong beat Frederic Von Bussing

November 13 -- Willie Davis beat Lord Blears, Vic Christy-Jim Mitchell beat Gino Garibaldi-Slim Zimbleman, Ted Christy beat Jack Armstrong

November 20 -- Enrique Torres beat Dizzy Davis (world title defense) (referee Tiny Roebuck), Jim Mitchell-Vic Christy beat Babe Zaharias-Willie Davis, Miguel Mesqueda beat Chris Zaharias, Jacobo Macias beat Slim Zimbleman (A - 1,600) (ED. NOTE -- Miguel Mesqueda was a 185-pound "local" who worked regularly for the Sante Fe railroad in San Bernardino. He was billed as a former "provincial champion" from Mexico and was put over a number of big names during this period, beginning with this bout)

November 27 -- Bill Longson beat Vic Christy, Jim Mitchell drew Lord Blears, Miguel Mesqueda beat Frederick Von Bussing, Charlie Chiranuhi (later Mr. Moto) beat Al Billings

December 4 -- Jim Mitchell beat Willie Davis cor, George Koverly beat Dave Levin, Jesse James beat Morris Shapiro, Lee Grable drew Miguel Mesqueda

December 11 -- (tournament) Morris Shapiro beat Hank Metheny, Jack Armstrong beat Terry McGinnis, Bud Curtis beat Fritz Schnabel, Yukon Eric beat Art Brady, Dave Levin beat Bud Curtis, Yukon Eric (as Eric Holmback) beat Jack Armstrong, Morris Shapiro beat Dave Levin, Yukon Eric beat Morris Shapiro (final)

December 18 -- Jim Mitchell-Butch Levy beat Yukon Eric-Ted Christy, Miguel Mesqueda beat Lee Grable dq, Morris Shapiro drew Jacobo Macias


January 8 -- Gorgeous George beat Lord Blears, Jim Mitchell-Morris Shapiro beat Angelo Cistoldi-Lee Grable, Dave Levin beat Rocco Toma (A - 2,000)

January 15 -- Bill Longson beat Dave Levin, Morris Shapiro-Jim Mitchell beat Angelo Cistoldi-Lee Grable, Jim Mitchell beat Ted Christy

January 22 -- Bill Longson beat Jim Mitchell, Frank Jares-Angelo Cistoldi drew Jesse James-Miguel Torres, Frank Garza (Leo Garibaldi) beat Rocco Toma

January 29 -- Jesse James-Miguel Torres beat Frank Jares-Angelo Cistoldi, Frank Garza beat Tony Morelli, Jim Mitchell beat Rocco Toma

February 5 -- (tournament) Jim Mitchell beat Jesse James, Frank Garza beat Rocco Toma, Tony Morelli beat Chick Garibaldi cor, Jesse James beat Tiger Joe Marsh, Jim Mitchell beat Al Billings, Frank Garza beat Angelo Cistoldi, Jim Mitchell beat Tony Morelli (final)

February 12 -- Jim Mitchell beat Tiger Joe Marsh, Frank Garza beat Angelo Cistoldi cor, Vic Christy drew Lofty Blomfield, Tony Morelli beat Bud Curtis

February 19 -- Angelo Cistoldi beat Jim Mitchell, Frank Garza-Jesse James beat Karl Davis-Tony Morelli, Rex Barker beat Chick Garibaldi, George Holmes drew Myron Cox

February 26 -- Enrique Torres beat Angelo Cistoldi (world title defense), Frank Garza-Jim Mitchell beat Karl Davis-Tiger Joe Marsh, Lord Blears beat Rex Barker, Miguel Mesqueda beat Rocco Toma cor (A - 1,900)



(NEA, March 2, 1949)

NEW YORK -- George Wagner, who went to Hollywood, let his hair grow, and had it marcelled to become the antiquated dodge's most magnetic attraction, finally brought professional wrestling back to Madison Square Garden after a lapse of 12 years.

All Wagner -- now Gorgeous George -- succeeded in doing was setting rassling back another 12 years, or longer.

Gorgeous George and Company also clearly demonstrated that what goes big in television can't always be taken straight. The Marcelled One you see has been a tremendous hit with the parlor and pub audience.

But watching the grunt and groaners over a Scotch and soda or a beaker of brew at the neighborhood saloon, and paying $7.50 for a ringside seat, are two entirely different things.

To the dyed-in-the-wool paying guests, it wasn't as good as the old act, even though it had a new twist in George's fancy hair-do, which looked more like the business end of a mop when Ernie Dusek roughed him up. The gurgles and glucks, fake passes and frowns are not nearly as well done as they were in the days of Strangler Lewis, Jeemy Londos and Ray Steele. The show lacked the cyclonic action of the butting Gus Sonnenberg era.

The big players, cherubic characters marked with cauliflower ears, lined up in the runway like actors in the wings. Then they suddenly feigned being mad at each other for 20 minutes or less of good-natured hair pulling, tugging and tumbling.

Gorgeous Greek Londos and that crowd at least gave the customers a show.

On this occasion, at least, George wasn't even a good workman. He hasn't even a body, as Golden Superman, the reformed strong man, pointed out, in a pique, no doubt.

Rudyard Kipling could have had George in mind when he wrote "A rag, a bone and a hank of hair."

Two promoters made a mistake showing George on Broadway. The mat freak looked strangely out of place in a ring where spectators are used to seeing competition.

George was doing well around the country. He was accepted as an amusing character. He filled smaller arenas, frequently turned 'em away, but the 4,197 who paid to see him in the Garden looked like a handful.

New York newspapers assigned drama, movie and music critics and Broadway columnists to cover George's bow on big time.

The man with the lace-covered white satin robes, roses and forget-me-nots attached was laughed out of town, and nothing kills like ridicule.

The best actor in the George troupe is Jackson Hunter, the balding, side-burned valet in the swallow-tail coat, pea green vest and pin-striped pants.

Hunter dampens, combs and sets George's golden tresses in pins. He packs and presses his 89 robes. He sprays the canvas with a silver-plated flit gun before the regal entrance of his master.

And keeps a straight face.

It's nice to see someone in professional wrestling making an honest dollar.

March 5 -- Primo Carnera beat Karl Davis (referee Ted Brice), Lord Blears beat Rex Barker, Jim Mitchell-Frank Garza beat Rocco Toma-Tony Morelli, Chief War Cloud beat Al Billings

March 12 -- Enrique Torres beat Lord Blears (world title defense), Jim Mitchell-Frank Garza beat Pat Fraley-Tiger Joe Marsh, Jesse James drew Mel Peters

March 19 -- Lord Blears beat Jim Mitchell, Pat Fraley-Tiger Joe Marsh drew Rex Barker-Jesse James, Miguel Mesqueda beat Rocco Toma

March 26 -- George Koverly beat Dave Levin, Frank Garza-Miguel Torres beat Tiger Joe Marsh-Terry McGinnis, Lord Blears beat Rex Barker, Miguel Mesqueda drew Chick Garibaldi

April 2 -- George Koverly beat Bobby Managoff, Jesse James beat Terry McGinnis, Dave Levin beat Tiger Joe Marsh, Frank Garza drew Rex Barker

April 9 -- Jesse James beat George Koverly (referee Joe Louis), Iron Talun beat George Holmes, Miguel Mesqueda beat Paul Matty, Mel Peters beat Paul Matty (sub for Raoul Lopez) (A - 1,851)

April 16 -- Gorgeous George beat Frank Jares, Iron Talun beat Mel Peters, Chick Garibaldi beat Chico Gracia, Miguel Mesqueda drew George Temple (A - 1,500)

April 23 -- George Koverly beat Iron Talun, Tiny Roebuck beat Wild Bill Albertson, Karl Davis-Terry McGinnis drew Raoul Lopez-Myron Cox, Miguel Mesqueda beat Butch Madray

April 30 -- Tiny Roebuck-Bobby Managoff beat Frank Hickey-Karl Davis, Frank Garza beat Frank Gary, Miguel Mesqueda beat Paul Matty

May 7 -- Karl Davis drew Bobby Managoff, Frank Garza-Jack Kennedy beat Mel Peters-Terry McGinnis, Woody Strode beat Butch Madray

May 14 -- Ernie Dusek-Emil Dusek beat Jim Mitchell-Jack Kennedy, Karl Davis drew Frank Garza, Rex Barker drew Miguel Mesqueda

May 21 -- Enrique Torres beat Lord Blears (world title defense), Karl Davis beat Jesse James, Jim Mitchell beat Morris Shapiro, Woody Strode beat Rex Barker

May 28 -- George Becker-Bobby Becker beat Lord Blears-Karl Davis, Jim Mitchell beat Frank Garza, Vic Christy beat Terry McGinnis

June 4 -- Emil Dusek-Ernie Dusek beat Terry McGinnis-Vic Christy, Vic Holbrook drew Morris Shapiro, Woody Strode beat Hardy Kruskamp

June 11 -- Ernie Dusek-Emil Dusek drew Enrique Torres-Bobby Managoff, George Becker drew Chico Gracia, Vic Christy drew Vic Holbrook

June 18 -- Gorgeous George beat George Becker, Emil Dusek-Ernie Dusek beat Bobby Becker-Chico Garcia, Vic Holbrook drew Woody Strode

June 25 -- Emil Dusek-Ernie Dusek beat George Becker-Bobby Becker, Bobby Managoff beat Vic Holbrook, Terry McGinnis drew Jules LaRance

July 2 -- Enrique Torres beat Ernie Dusek (world title defense), Jose Macias-Jacobo Macias beat Jules LaRance-John LaRance, Vic Holbrook beat Jim Mitchell

July 9 -- Ernie Dusek-Emil Dusek beat Enrique Torres-Lucky Simunovich, Vic Holbrook beat Jack Kennedy, Woody Strode drew Jules LaRance

July 16 -- Gorgeous George beat George Becker, Jules LaRance-John LaRance beat Jim Mitchell-Jose Macias, Vic Holbrook beat George Temple

July 23 -- Enrique Torres-Jim Mitchell beat Jules LaRance-John LaRance, Lucky Simunovich beat Lord Blears, The Shadow drew Pete Peterson

July 30 -- Enrique Torres beat Willie Davis, Ernie Dusek-The Shadow beat Lucky Simunovich-Jim Mitchell, Woody Strode beat Morris Shapiro

August 6 -- Enrique Torres beat Willie Davis (world title defense), The Shadow-Vic Holbrook beat Jim Mitchell-Pete Peterson, Terry McGinnis beat Chester Hayes

August 13 -- The Shadow drew George Becker, Willie Davis-Vic Holbrook beat Bobby Becker-Jim Mitchell, Pete Peterson beat Jose Macias cor

August 20 -- George Becker-Bobby Becker beat Vic Holbrook-Willie Davis, The Shadow beat Lucky Simunovich, Pete Peterson drew Chico Gracia

August 27 -- The Shadow-Vic Holbrook beat George Becker-Bobby Becker, Jim Mitchell drew Chico Gracia, George Temple beat Ray Stevens

September 3 -- Tony Galento beat Vic Holbrook (referee Mike Ruby), The Shadow drew Karl Davis, Hardy Kruskamp drew Al Billings, George Temple beat Jules LaRance

September 10 -- Enrique Torres beat Gorgeous George (world title defense), Frank Jares-Marvin Jones beat Chico Gracia-Dutch Hefner, Pete Peterson beat Al Billings, Jules LaRance beat Hardy Kruskamp

September 17 -- Frank Jares beat Marvin Jones, Chester Hayes-Jim Coffield beat George Temple-Chico Gracia, Miguel Mesqueda drew Rocco Toma (Primo Carnera appeared to announce that he would be unable to meet Marvin Jones, as scheduled, due to injuries sustained earlier in the week)

September 24 -- Enrique Torres beat Frank Jares (world title defense), Terry McGinnis-George Temple beat Chester Hayes-Jim Coffield, Basher McDonald beat Arnold Skaaland

October 1 -- Gorgeous George drew Terry McGinnis, Jules LaRance-Basher McDonald drew Flash Gordon-George Temple, Al Billings beat Jose Macias

October 8 -- Basher McDonald-Tony Morelli beat Terry McGinnis (hdcp) (referee Pappy Boyington), Flash Gordon beat George Temple, Miguel Mesqueda beat Ray Stevens, Arnold Skaaland beat Rocco Toma

October 15 -- Terry McGinnis-Flash Gordon beat Tony Morelli-Henry Kulkavich (referee Joe Varga), Don Kindred beat Al Billings, George Temple beat Miguel Mesqueda

October 22 -- (tournament) Marvin Jones-Lee Henning beat Don Kindred-Arnold Skaaland, Terry McGinnis-Flash Gordon beat Tony Morelli-Frank Hickey, Marvin Jones-Lee Henning beat Terry McGinnis-Flash Gordon (final)

October 29 -- Baron Leone beat Vic Christy, Terry McGinnis beat Henry Kulkavich, Don Kindred beat Wild Bill Hickock, Joe Zomar beat Al Billings dq

November 5 -- Vic Christy-Terry McGinnis beat Tony Morelli-Baron Leone (referees Tony Olivas, Tiny Roebuck), Don Kindred beat Henry Kulkavich, Arnold Skaaland beat Rocco Toma

November 16 (bouts shifted to Wednesday nights for a month) -- Baron Leone-tony Morelli beat Terry McGinnis-Vic Christy, Marvin Jones drew Vic Holbrook, Lee Henning beat Jose Macias, Miguel Mesqueda beat Ray Stevens

November 23 -- Pat Fraley-Goliath II beat Terry McGinnis-Vic Holbrook, Vic Christy drew Jack Claybourne, Arnold Skaaland drew Tony Morelli

November 30 -- Pat Fraley-Goliath II beat Terry McGinnis-Vic Christy, Tony Morelli drew Frank Murdoch, Lee Henning beat Vic Holbrook



(Associated Press, December 1, 1949)

LOS ANGELES -- A $30,000 damage suit was filed yesterday against wrestlers Gorgeous George, Jim (Black Panther) Mitchell and the Olympic Auditorium proprietors.

The suit, filed by attorneys for three spectators, said they were injured when Gorgeous (George Wagner) George threw the Panther out of the ring and a "riot" ensued.


December 7 -- Gino Garibaldi-Leo Garibaldi (using his dad's ring name now) beat Pat Fraley-Goliath II, Frank Jares beat Vic Christy, Chester Hayes drew Frank Murdoch

December 14 -- Frank Jares beat Leo Garibaldi, Chief Little Wolf-Henry Kulkavich beat Lee Henning-John Cretoria, Frank Murdoch beat Dick Trout


January 7 -- Antonino Rocca beat Frank Jares, Terry McGinnis beat Kola Kwariani, Miguel Mesqueda beat Chester Hayes dq, Myron Cox drew Cliff Olson

January 14 -- Gorgeous George beat Terry McGinnis, Tony Olivas beat Bob DeMarce, Miguel Mesqueda beat Butch Madray, Sheik Lawrence beat Bill Albertson, Chester Hayes beat Paul Matty

January 21 -- Kimon Kudo beat Frank Jares, Gordon Hessel beat Bob Corby, Sheik Lawrence beat Chester Hayes, Miguel Mesqueda drew Mel Peters

January 28 -- Kimon Kudo beat Bob Corby, Ernie Paluso drew Ray Duran, Miguel Mesqueda beat Bob DeMarce, Gordon Hessel beat Dave Levin

(ED. NOTE -- We conclude this survey with the San Bernardino cards from January, 1950, which indicate a switch in emphasis to all-junior heavy cards; the territory had featured a number of the lighter weights since the war, but this was the first time that it had been almost exclusively so.)

The WAWLI Papers No. 493...


(Associated Press, February 10, 1943)

LOS ANGELES -- George Zaharias, 34, former contender for the heavyweight wrestling title, yesterday received notice to report for induction into the U.S. Army on February 18. In 1938, he married Mildred (Babe) Didrikson, one of the greatest of all feminine athletes.


(San Bernardino Sun, Saturday, Feb. 5, 1944)

The manpower shortage struck the wrestling game last night and it resulted in Mike Mazurki being credited with two victories.

In the opening match on the three-bout card at the San Bernardino Athletic Club last night, Mike Mazurki won the one-fall match from Gene Bowman of Knoxville, Tenn., in 23 minutes.

Powerful Mike then substituted for the Green Hornet in the feature tussle. It was announced that the Green Hornet was inducted in the Army yesterday and was unable to appear for his match with El Diablo.

However, the second match on the card was between Alberto Corral of Mexico, who won over Ted Christy in 16 minutes. The fall came as a surprise because Christy had a step-over toe hold on Corral but Christy used the ropes to get leverage and although cautioned many times kept up the illegal tactics. The fall then went to Corral.

The deciding fall went to Corral on a body roll and press in 10 minutes.

In the main tussle El Diablo took the first flop with a hammerlock in 12 minutes. El Diablo had at least a dozen such holds before he weakened his opponent to win.

Mazurki took the next fall in less than 10 minutes with a body scissors and then used a rollover leg press to win the match in 15 minutes.

It appeared Mazurki was in a bad way until he rolled his opponent over and applied the leg press that won the match.


(San Bernardino Sun, Saturday, Feb. 12, 1944)

Ivan (Block Buster) Talon, the Polish giant, was too much of a wrestler for Mike Mazurki and won two falls in short order last night at the San Bernardino Athletic Club.

The first fall came afrter 11 minutes in which Mazurki was entirely on the defensive and did a lot of leg work around the ring in evading his huge opponent.

Talon had both the referee and Mazurki sprawled on the floor at various times and only Mike's speed and evasive tactics prevented the fall earlier than 11 minutes. It came as the result of a body press.

Talon took the second fall in seven minutes with a double nelson, a neck hold in which Talon shook up Mazurki considerably.

Alberto Corral won over Tug Carlson in one fall in 32 minutes. In the remaining period of the match neither wrestler was able to secure a fall and Corral was declared the winner.

In the opening match, a one-fall affair, Pantaleon Manlapig, the Filipino champion, won from Gene Bowman of Memphis, Tenn., in 16 minutes with a face lock. Manlapig was the aggressor during most of the match.


(Associated Press, Saturday, Feb. 12, 1944)

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Bronko Nagurski yesterday said he had been classified as 4-F upon completion of his pre-induction examination at Fort Snelling.

The former University of Minnesota football star, who returned to pro football with the Chicago Bears and resumed wrestling this fall after a period of "retirement" from both sports, said his rejection for military service apparently resulted from back and knee conditions.


(San Bernardino Sun, April 24, 1955)

Bedlam reigned at San Bernardino Arena Saturday night, in the wake of a draw in the main event between the Great Bolo and Tom Rice. Four uniformed officers and every wrestler who had appeared earlier joined in to subdue Rice and Bolo, after referee Mike Ruby had been knocked out.

Rice took the first in 7:58 with a roll-over press, then Bolo evened it in 5:15 with head butts. While Rice was pulling Bolo's mask off, both rolled over on Ruby, kayoing him and breaking out the melee.

In the co-main, Sandor Szabo used a suplex in 15:48 to pin Juan Humberto, then took the second in 3:13 by disqualification. Ed Gardenia's back breaker whipped Joe Blanchard in 19:55 in the special.

Dr. Lee Grble and Nick Bockwinkel drew in the opener, then the doctor came back to hypnotize several fans at the end. Promoter Roy Warner announced UCLA's Jack Ellena, Ray Stern and Enrique Romero would top next week's card.


(San Bernardino Sun, May 8, 1955)

Buddy (Nature Boy) Rogers, one of the meanest matmen in captivity, subdued Joe Blanchard in one main event at San Bernardino Arena Saturday, and Ray (Thunder) Stern flattened Tom Rice in the other.

Rogers, the blond sadist, used a painful leg lock to make Blanchard submit in 12:11 after his forearm smash took the first fall in 11:18. His slave girl, Tanya, perfumed him between falls a la Gorgeous George.

Stern, the flashy youngster, dropped the first fall to Rice in 12:22 on a roll-over press, then stormed back to win the second on a drop kick in 8:28 and in 6:11 with an airplane spin. Promoter Roy Warner said Stern would grappled Ed Gardenia and Rogers would take on Juan Humberto next Saturday.

San Bernardino's Ralph Granillo drew with Johnny Demchuk in the 20-minute opener, and Gardenia's back breaker on Warren Bockwinkel won the special in 19:11. Mike Ruby refereed.


(Hamilton ??, February 26, 1957)

Imagine, must imagine, a couple of wrestling roughies like Gene Kiniski and Fritz Von Erich being cheered to the echo in any kind of a wrestling battle!

That's what happened last night, at the Forum, when Kiniski and Von Erich lined up against the huge Miller brothers in the main event of the Hamilton Sporting Club's featured tag-team attraction.

Even the worst "villuns" imaginable were heroes to the crowd which wanted the Millers beaten.

At that, the big boys were not defeated. They gained a stand-off only because the biggest bout of the entire season wound up in a free-for-all that naturally brought in Dan Miller, youngest of the trio, and a row that left the two teams with one fall each, and the issue still in doubt.

With the bad guys cheered to start with, Ed Miller gained the first fall by taking Von Erich over his neck for a backbreaker in 16 minutes. There was plenty of punishment in between, with Kiniski and Von Erich handing out their full share, but when the larger of the two Miller brothers clamped on the German giant, there could be but one answer.

Kiniski, however, was cut to the quick because of their opponents' early win and it took him only 40 seconds to defeat Ed with a shoulder stand after the German and Kiniski had waged real rough battle and baffled referees Dunlop and Goddard.

As a matter of fact, the referees were clobbered half a dozen times in the furious going, but they managed to stay in one piece in one of the most furious engagements of the season.

Fred Atkins, the hard rock from Australia, managed a draw with Bobo Brazil, the giant colored wrestler, in the semi-final, which went the full 30 minutes, and Ken Kenneth, the smart New Zealand wrestler, evidently forgot to remember something as he lost the second bout to Dan Miller, the 255-pound younger brother of the two in the main event.

In the opener, it was Frankie Townsend (Farmer Boy) against Frankie Fozo, the Hamilton Hungarian, and the latter gained a draw with a superb effort against the invader.


(Los Angeles Times, March 27, 1958)

Paul Anderson, the 330-pound strongest man in the world, crushed 280-pound Sky Hi Lee in two straight falls in the wrestling feature before 4,287 fans last night at the Olympic Auditorium.

Anderson won the first fall in 7:21 with a Georgia bear hug and the second in 6:41 with a bodyflip and press.

Other results: Henry Lenz-Lord Blears def. Frank Fuller-Reggie Parks, Hans Schnabel def. Charro Azteca, Billy Darnell def. Wild Red Berry, Sandor Szabo drew with Eric Pederson, Hardy Kruskamp def. Dr. Lee Grable.


(San Francisco Chronicle, April 9, 1958)

Paul Anderson took two straight falls from Hombre Montana to win the main event on the Civic Auditorium wrestling card last night.

It took the Olympic weightlifting champ 6 minutes and 25 seconds for the first fall and then he won the second on a disqualification after 42 seconds.

Don Manoukian, former Stanford grid ace, made his local debut with a victory, pinning Bud Curtis in 9:15 with a body slam.

Other results: Janus Togga and John Swenski drew; Dick Warren and Ramon Torres defeated Clyde Steeves and Stan Kowalski in 5:05 with Warren pinning Kowalski via a body press.


January 3 -- Frank Jares-Matt Murphy beat Chief Big Heart-Sweet Daddy Siki (as Regi Siki) cor, Luis Martinez beat Aldo Bogni, Enrique Romero beat Great John L, Great Kato beat Broadway Venus

January 10 -- (tournament) Tommy Martindale beat Mr. Moto dq, Sweet Daddy Siki beat Great John L, Sweet Daddy Siki beat Frank Jares dq, Fritz Von Goering beat Tommy Martindale, Enrique Romero beat Hardy Kruskamp, Fritz Von Goering beat Luis Martinez, Fritz Von Goering beat Sweet Daddy Siki, El Lobo beat Chief Big Heart, Fritz Von Goering beat El Lobo (Bud Curtis) (final)

January 17 -- Fritz Von Goering beat El Lobo, Enrique Romero-Luis Martinez beat Hardy Kruskamp-Matt Murphy, Chief Big Heart beat Great Kato, Tommy Martindale beat Ted Christy

January 24 -- Enrique Romero-Luis Martinez beat Frank Jares-Matt Murphy (tag title defense), Art Nelson beat Sweet Daddy Siki, Chief Big Heart beat Aldo Bogni, Joe Scarpa beat Ted Christy

January 31 -- Sandor Szabo beat Fritz Von Goering, Chief Big Heart beat Art Nelson, Joe Scarpa drew Tommy Martindale, Bud Curtis beat Lou Whitson

February 7 -- Chief Big Heart beat Mr. Moto dq, Enrique Romero-Luis Martinez beat Matt Murphy-Frank Jares dq, Fritz Von Goering beat Tommy Martindale, Joe Scarpa beat Hardy Kruskamp

February 14 -- Chief Big Heart drew Mr. Moto, Enrique Romero beat Fritz Von Goering, Gene LeBell beat Ted Christy, Joe Scarpa beat Aldo Bogni

February 21 -- Luis Martinez beat Fritz Von Goering, Chief Big Heart beat Frank Jares, Gene LeBell drew Great John L, Joe Scarpa beat Lou Whitson

February 28 -- Chief Big Heart beat Mr. Moto dq (referee Sandor Szabo), Enrique Romero beat Joe

Scarpa, Sweet Narcissus beat Lou Whitson, Luis Martinez beat Bud Curtis

March 7 -- Sandor Szabo drew Mr. Moto nc, Enrique Romero-Luis Martinez beat Hans Hermann-Frank Jares, Joe Scarpa beat Ted Christy, Sweet Narcissus beat Tony Gonzales

March 14 -- Hans Hermann-Hardy Kruskamp beat Enrique Romero-Luis Martinez, Sandor Szabo drew Mr. Moto, Bob Stanlee (as Rip Miller) beat Lou Whitson, Joe Scarpa beat Bud Curtis dq

March 21 -- Hans Hermann-Hardy Kruskamp beat Enrique Romero-Luis Martinez, Mr. Moto beat Joe Scarpa, Henry Lenz beat Juan Hernandez, Bob Nandor beat Rip Miller

March 28 -- Enrique Romero-Luis Martinez beat Hans Hermann-Hardy Kruskamp, Mr. Moto beat Billy Darnell, Henry Lenz beat Bob Nandor, Joe Scarpa beat Frank Jares

April 4 -- Bud Curtis-Mr. Moto-Hardy Kruskamp beat Enrique Romero-Luis Martinez-Sandor Szabo, Henry Lenz beat Joe Scarpa, Sandor Szabo drew Bud Curtis, Enrique Romero drew Mr. Moto, Hardy Kruskamp drew Luis Martinez

April 11 -- Enrique Romero-Luis Martinez drew Mr.  Moto-Hardy Kruskamp nc, Henry Lenz beat bob Nandor cnc, Jesse James drew Bud Curtis

April 18 -- Enrique Romero-Luis Martinez beat Mr. Moto-Hardy Kruskamp (referees Mike Mazurki, Mike Ruby), Henry Lenz drew Mike Mazurki dko, Jesse James beat Ted Christy

April 25 -- Mr. Moto beat Luis Martinez cnc (cuts), Enrique Romero beat Hardy Kruskamp dq, Suicide Smith beat Bob Nandor, Bud Curtis drew Jesse James (A - 2,000)


(San Francisco Chronicle, January 21, 1959)

Before a capacity crowd of 1,434, Leo Nomellini defeated Gene Dubuque in the main event of professional wrestling's return to San Francisco in a California Hall program last night.

Nomellini won the first fall in 22 seconds with a flying tackle but lost the second in 10:41 via a body press. When Dubuque kicked the fallen 49er line star, he was disqualified.

Other results: The Red Mask-Jerry Gordet def. Don Manoukian-Red Lyons; George Drake and Johnny Berendes, 20-minute draw.


(Toronto Globe & Mail, January 23, 1959)

By Joe Perlove

People get crotchety as they age, they say. "They," whoever they are, are always going around saying things like that there. It did appear, though, in last night's main rassle attraction at the Gardens that "they" may have something there. For Lou Thesz, former, and aging, NWA chompeen, sure tossed in a flock of crusty stuff as he crunched to a curfew-ended tie with reigning, and much younger, Pat O'Connor.

Thesz may go back to his home in La Jolla (pronounced La Hoiya) and get himself a lawyer, but he hasn't got a leg to stand on. O'Connor just about bereft him of that with a few toeholds and a few reverse double back-crabs. Thesz hasn't even much of an arm to lean on for O'Connor about tore his left one loose with a series of grapevines.

What's a reverse double backcrab? there you go, asking leading questions. Couldn't you inquire about a grapevine, which is easier to explain? Well, a double back-crab is one of O'Connor's favorite physical expressions. Usually it leaves the victim victimized and considerably dilapidated. To say nothing of leaving him in a state of debility and disrepair. Nothing short of murder, what?

He flings his adversary against the ropes, see. Then he grabs him from behind, see. Then he falls backwards whilst entwining his legs about his adversary's legs, from inside out, see. Final posture has victim with shoulders plastered into the mat and legs stretched so that he won't walk too good even if he wins, see. You don't see? Well, it's a terrific hold.

Towards the end of the match, which went 50 minutes before the curfew bell halted it (and no time and a half for overtime), the flipping of the pages on the calendar were catching up to Thesz. And so was O'Connor.

Three times O'Connor grabbed Thesz in one of those back-crabs. Each time Thesz managed to extricate himself, either by getting to the ropes, or with the help of rotund, and by that time gasping, referee Bunny Dunlop.

It is a long time since Bunny has had to officiate that long. It was even money at ringside that of the three in the ring Bunny was the one who would be stopped. However he stuck to his post though the hands of the clock kept hitting him right in the midriff. He even gathered up enough strength to lift both the principals' hands at the bell. He's made of stern stuff, that feller.

Thesz acted crotchety throughout. Whilst perpetrating a figure-four arm scissors he managed to bounce a knee off'n Pat's eyebrows. Or crunch one across his adam's apple. Or bounce one off'n his off ear.

Pat looked after things, though. He "squooshed" Lou's ears with headlocks, emerged from toe holds to hammerlocks, and vice versa, and from figure-fours to toe holds. It was real fancy. On end Thesz was asking timer Jeremiah Hiff how much clock was left. He didn't get much satisfaction there, though, for Jeremiah was practising his opening speech for next week when Hans Schmidt takes on O'Connor.


(Minneapolis Star-Tribune, February 6, 1959)

The Kalmikoffs, the Freemans, Verne Gagne and Mitsu Arakawa will be served up in a wrestling smorgasbord at the Minneapolis Auditorium next Tuesday night.

It will be a fitting sequel to the smooth work world heavyweight champ Pat O'Connor displayed Thursday night when he pinned the Mighty Ursus in 19 minutes flat.

Co-promoter Wally Karbo has arranged a double main event for Tuesday's card. Gagne and Arakawa have one spot, a no time limit match to the finish.

On the other spot, Karol and Ivan Kalmikoff, the bearded Russians, will tackle Herb and Seymour Freeman in a "sudden death" tag match with a half-hour limit for the first and only fall.

O'Connor showed all of his old time skill and some new tricks as he disposed of Ursus in the Minneapolis armory last night. Arakawa was disqualified by referee Karl Karlsson in a semi-windup tag match.

So Seymour Freeman and Roy McClarty were awarded the match over Arakawa and Bronko Lubich, all four strange partners for a tag affair.

Bob Rasmussen, 228, Minneapolis, pinned Jules (Frenchy) LaRance, 230, Montreal, in 10:42 of the opener, while McClarty drew with Angelo Poffo, 228, Chicago, in a 30-minute special event.

The WAWLI Papers No. 494...


By J Michael Kenyon

In a recent edition of The WAWLI Papers we visited Scott Teal's Whatever Happened To . . . ? web site and learned of this industrious wrestling historian's efforts to create a master catalogue and archive of cards and results. Included were Scott's tips on how to go about finding and collecting these valuable increments of pro wrestling history. Allow me to add a few notes from more than 40 years' personal experience in the trove of old newspaper microfilm files.

As a 14-year-old, I was delighted to discover that the Seattle Public Library maintained bound volumes, month by month, of Seattle Times back issues. I quickly discovered that reading old newspapers was as rewarding and valuable an experience as I could imagine. Not only did it fuel my need to understand history, mostly unvarnished (daily newspapers are the basic source material for any history, because the revisionists have not yet had a change to rewrite it to fit their needs), but, as a wrestling fan, it opened up the scope of the game's long continuum. In the 1930s, you see, the wire services were still sending out, in a tidy little batch, the major results and cards of the previous night from around North America. Many afternoon papers, such as the Seattle Times, carried these, just as they did the previous night's boxing results. By copying these results, I was able to begin to understand the territories and routes traveled by the major grapplers as they plied their trade from coast to coast.

After digesting a decade's worth of these -- which are at the core of my personal favorites' bout listings (and some of which have been published in earlier WAWLIs) -- I then progressed to the microfilm files of the Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. From these, I was able to extract most of the cards and results from Seattle wrestling history, stretching from the first decade of the century (when Dr. B.F. Roller got his start, as a Seattle professor, in celebrated bouts with the visiting world champion, Frank Gotch) all the way up through the 1950s.

By then, I was hooked. And scanning newspaper microfilm for wrestling results (and a wide spectrum of other information which I have sought for various books and articles) became the passion of a lifetime. I began visiting outlying libraries -- in Tacoma, Everett, Bremerton, Olympia, Bellingham, and discovered huge treasuries of microfilm from many papers in libraries, for example, at the University of Washington and University of Oregon (in Eugene). As the years went by, and my travels began taking me around the country (as a sportswriter covering NBA basketball, NFL football and major league baseball), I repeated the same process in libraries all over North America. At last count, I had visited some 200 libraries. And I'm still adding to the list.

Recently, I returned to the Santa Monica (Calif.) Public Library, to add some depth to my collection of Ocean Park Arena results. This Mike Hirsch-operated facility, the newer version of which was constructed in the late 1930s and existed until the winter of 1958-59, when it was torn down to make room for a bowling alley (which still exists, across the street from the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, sometime home of the Academy Award presentations), was one of the better wrestling and boxing arenas in the land and drew devoted fans, week after week, year after year, for as long as it was in operation.

In the course of a lunchless, eight-hour day, with not too much dallying to read the rest of the newspaper (although I find this extraordinarily difficult; remember -- reading old newspapers is a passion), I was able to record all the wrestling shows from four different years. The bare listings of bout results are supplemented by making copies (at 25 cents apiece) of stories concerning particularly interesting cards. On this particular day, I came away away with about 75 copies, which I distribute to a select group of longtime colleagues in this arcane "art" and keep in what has become a rather large archive of wrestling newspaper clippings.

A little more about the Ocean Park Arena: it's capacity was less than 2,000 (which was the norm for perhaps a hundred similar buildings across the land, where in the 1930s, 1940s and into the 1950s, weekly wrestling -- and boxing -- cards were held. To be honest, Wrestling As We Liked It (WAWLI) was best conducted in these intimate settings. Today's giant, 15-to-20,000-seat arenas, while impressive in scope, do not provide spectators with the "feel" of the old-time wrestling shows. Forty and fifty years ago, there were few arenas in North America where 10,000-plus-seat capacities were achieved by wrestling (Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Madison Square Garden in New York, Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, and the Forum in Montreal being some of the notables). Most wrestling cards were held in the relatively tiny, smoke-and-atmosphere-filled settings of structures like the Ocean Park Arena. Upon visiting a city, whether for the first time or on return trips, I generally make a pilgrimage to the sites of the old buildings. To me, they are shrines to Wrestling As We Liked It.

That is why, on this visit to Santa Monica, you could find me parked across the street from the Bay Shore Bowl on Pico Boulevard, staring wistfully at the site once occupied by the old Ocean Park Arena. And I thought about what it must have been like to attend the matches (listings of which follow) that included some of the early bouts of Eric Holmback (who was to gain fame as Yukon Eric), the halcyon years of Gorgeous George Wagner, Enrique Torres, George and Bobby Becker, Hans and Fritz Schnabel, Ernie and Emil Dusek, and countless others. Read closely and you'll see Steve Gobrovitch, soon shortened to Gob, who kept that name for the first ten years of his career and then gained fame and some fortune as a member of the Volkoff Brothers tag team in the late '50s and early '60s. It is not too surprising to note that Ivan Kameroff, who was to become the other Volkoff "brother," was wrestling in the Los Angeles-Santa Monica area at about the same time that Steve Gobrovitch was breaking into the big time.

This is part of the reason for collecting these old results: to chart the early careers of later stars and to get a handle on the programs run by promoters, and to learn who was "on top" at various times in their careers. Generally, the same names appear at the top of cards, whether on the West Coast, or in the Midwest, or in the South, or along the East Coast. The great ones could get over, no matter where they were. And, barring debilitating injury, they stayed on top for two and three decades, careers that generally lasted from 15 to 30 years in the ring. Because of its warm climate and relatively short distances between bookings, the Southern California area drew many of the older stars, who retired in the greater L.A. area -- Dutch Hefner, Vic Christy, Terry McGinnis, Gino Garibaldi, Tony Morelli, Lord Blears, Mr. Moto, Dave Levin and many, many others appear on these cards -- to the extent you could find, by the early 1960s, SoCal cards which included as many as six, seven, eight or more wrestlers who were in the late '40s and early '50s. The skills and ring savvy of these men will never be seen again -- because the form of professional wrestling which they mastered and used to entertain millions of fans over the years has become extinct.

If you wonder why people like Lou Thesz and Billy Robinson are still invited over to Japan by fledgling promotions, and employed as instructors and trainers to a new generation of wrestlers, wonder no longer. They are a couple of the older vets who are "WAWLI-wise" -- but, imagine if you will, what the 83-year-old Thesz must think as he surveys his career record and checks off the names of countless opponents who are no longer among the living. It is safe to say that at least 90 percent of the men Thesz wrestled in the 1930s and '40s are dead, and the percentage may be higher.

Which, I guess, is what The WAWLI Papers come down to in the end -- a means by which we cannot only celebrate their great careers, but remember a time and a style that shall never return. I can only hope that more younger wrestling historians will become interested in the period and be around to continue this never-ending survey of professional wrestling past when old codgers like me finally go blind staring at newspaper microfilm readers.

With that preface, take a look at what happened in the Ocean Park Arena at Santa Monica in the early years of television, 1947 and 1948, when Gorgeous George and the Dusek Brothers' "Riot Squad" headlined card after card to the delight of the regular Friday night wrestling patrons.


January 3 -- (annual club tournament -- first half) Pat Fraley beat Butch Madray, Sam Menacker beat Mile High Ross, Henry Kulkavich beat Cardiff Giant, Hans Schnabel beat Terry McGinnis, Henry Kulkavich beat Chris Zaharias, Hans Schnabel beat Sam Menacker, Hans Schnabel beat Pat Fraley, Hans Schnabel beat Henry Kulkavich (first-half final)

January 10 -- (annual club tournament -- second half) Frank Jares beat Joel Morris, Butch Levy beat Fritz Schnabel, Willie Davis beat Sam Stein, Babe Zaharias beat Ralph Albertson, Tommy O'Toole beat Andre Adoree (Al Baffert), Butch Levy beat Frank Jares, Babe Zaharias beat Willie Davis, Butch Levy beat Tommy O'Toole, Butch Levy beat Babe Zaharias (final)

January 17 -- (annual club tournament -- final) Hans Schnabel beat Butch Levy cnc (referee Tiny Roebuck), Sam Menacker drew Tommy O'Toole, Maurice LaChappelle beat Frank Jares, Al Massey beat Mile High Ross

January 24 -- Hans Schnabel beat Butch Levy (with help from brothers Otto Schnabel and Fritz Schnabel), Paul Matty drew Mike Works, Maurice LaChappelle beat Henry Kulkavich, Al Massey-Sam Menacker beat Alex Kasaboski-Tommy O'Toole

January 31 -- Enrique Torres beat Hans Schnabel (world title defense) (referee Jack Allen), Butch Levy beat George Schnabel-Otto Schnabel (hdcp), George Temple beat Alex Kasaboski, Sam Menacker drew Dutch Hefner

February 7 -- Enrique Torres beat Hans Schnabel (world title defense), Babe Zaharias-Chris Zaharias beat Maurice LaChappelle-Sam Menacker, Dutch Hefner beat Henry Kulkavich, Tiger Jack Pinto drew Paul Matty

February 14 -- Dutch Hefner beat Butch Levy cor, Babe Zaharias-Chris Zaharias vs. Sam Menacker-Maurice LaChappelle, Terry McGinnis vs. Henry Kulkavich, Tommy O'Toole beat Jack Pinto

February 21 -- Sandor Szabo beat George Koverly (referee Ed Lewis), Butch Levy beat Dutch Hefner, Maurice LaChappelle beat Chris Zaharias, Babe Zaharias drew Jack Pinto (referee Bull Montana, prelims)

February 28 -- Sandor Szabo vs. Butch Levy, Chris Zaharias-Babe Zaharias vs. Ivan Kameroff-Maurice LaChappelle, Pat Fraley vs. Dutch Hefner, Mike Works vs. Jack Pinto

March 7 -- Enrique Torres beat Dutch Hefner (world title defense), Chief Thunderbird beat Mile High Ross, Karl Davis drew Ivan Kameroff, Maurice LaChappelle beat Bulldog Clements

March 14 -- Sandor Szabo beat Karl Davis (referee Bull Montana), Maurice LaChappelle beat Dutch Hefner (state title defense), Ivan Kameroff drew Bulldog Clements, Chief Thunderbird beat Tommy O'Toole

March 21 -- Enrique Torres beat Maurice LaChappelle (world title defense), George Koverly beat Chief Thunderbird, Karl Davis beat Bulldog Clements, Terry McGinnis beat Al Billings

March 28 -- Enrique Torres beat George Koverly (world title defense), Reb Russell beat Terry McGinnis, Antone Leone drew Maurice LaChappelle, Mike Works drew Jumping Joe Thorpe

April 4 -- Enrique Torres beat Reb Russell (world title defense), Maurice LaChappelle beat Antone Leone, Terry McGinnis beat Mile High Ross, Hardy K drew Al Billings

April 11 -- Enrique Torres beat George Koverly (world title defense) (referee Joe Louis), Maurice LaChappelle-Sam Menacker beat Reb Russell-Antone Leone, Terry McGinnis beat Bulldog Clements, Alex Kasaboski beat Paul Matty

April 18 -- Swedish Angel beat Maurice LaChappelle, Paul Matty beat Mike Works, Ivan Kameroff beat Great Unknown, Sam Menacker-Terry McGinnis beat Alex Kasaboski-Antone Leone

April 25 -- Swedish Angel-Henry Kulkavich beat Sam Menacker-Terry McGinnis, Reb Russell drew Maurice LaChappelle, Ivan Kameroff beat Sam Stein, Regis Siki beat Alex Kasaboski dq

May 2 -- (tournament to earn world title shot) Swedish Angel, Reb Russell, Henry Kulkavich, Ivan Kameroff, Maurice LaChappelle, Alex Kasaboski, Sam Menacker, Mile High Ross, Terry McGinnis (won by Swedish Angel)

May 9 -- Enrique Torres beat Swedish Angel (world title defense), Maurice LaChappelle-Sam Menacker beat Reb Russell-Alex Kasaboski, Terry McGinnis beat Otto Von Busing, Frank Cutler beat Andre Adoree

May 16 -- Danny McShain beat George Becker, Bob Becker beat Antone Leone, Sam Menacker drew Jack Kennedy, Carlos Mojica (Benito Gardini) beat Frank Cutler

May 23 -- Danny McShain beat George Becker dq, Jack Kennedy-Bob Becker beat Antone Leone-Alex Kasaboski, Sam Menacker beat Ivan Kameroff, Carlos Mojica beat Hans Schultz

May 30 (no show held due to Memorial Day)

June 6 -- Enrique Torres beat Danny McShain dq (world title defense), George Becker beat Sam Menacker, Bobby Bruns beat Frank Jares, Art Brady beat Antone Leone

June 13 -- Danny McShain beat George Becker dq (referee Ed Lewis), Bob Becker-Sam Menacker beat Jack Moore-Frank Jares, Bobby Bruns beat Otto Von Busing, Art Brady drew Polo Cordova

June 20 -- Enrique Torres drew Danny McShain (curfew) (world title defense), Bobby Bruns beat Sam Menacker, Chris Zaharias beat Terry McGinnis, Jack Moore beat Art Brady

June 27 -- Enrique Torres beat Danny McShain (world title defense), Bobby Bruns drew George Becker, Jules Strongbow beat Terry McGinnis, Chris Zaharias beat Steve Gobrokovich (later Steve Gob)

(Santa Monica 1947-48 will conclude in the next edition of The WAWLI Papers)

The WAWLI Papers No. 495...


July 4 -- Sandor Szabo beat Lee Henning, George Becker-Bob Becker beat Jules Strongbow-Chris Zaharias, Howard Cantonwine beat Carlos Mojica, Terry McGinnis beat Jack Moore

July 11 -- Ernie Dusek beat Bobby Bruns (referee Bull Montana), Emil Dusek beat Jack Kennedy, George Becker beat Chris Zaharias, Bob Becker drew Babe Zaharias

July 18 -- Ernie Dusek beat Bobby Bruns (referee Ed Lewis, Emil Dusek beat Vic Holbrook, George Becker-Bob Becker beat Jack Moore-Lee Henning, Sam Menacker beat Joel Morris

July 25 -- Ernie Dusek beat Sandor Szabo dq (referee Tiny Roebuck), George Becker drew Emil Dusek, Sam Menacker drew Bob Becker, Vic Holbrook beat Lee Henning

August 1 -- Enrique Torres beat George Becker cor (world title defense), Chris Zaharias drew Bob Becker, Jack Kennedy beat Jack Moore, Sam Menacker beat Carlos Mojica

August 8 -- Enrique Torres beat George Becker (world title defense), Ernie Dusek beat Bob Becker, Emil Dusek beat Sam Menacker, Jack Kennedy beat Chris Zaharias

August 15 -- Ernie Dusek beat Danny McShain, George Koverly beat Sam Menacker, Emil Dusek drew Vic Christy, Bob Becker beat Jules Strongbow

August 22 -- Vic Christy-Danny McShain drew Ernie Dusek-Emil Dusek, George Koverly beat Jules Strongbow, Frank Jares drew Bob Becker, Hardy K beat Hans Schultz

August 29 -- George Koverly-Danny McShain beat Enrique Torres-Vic Christy, Karl Davis beat Hardy K, George Becker beat Frank Jares, Jules Strongbow beat Mickey Page

September 5 -- Enrique Torres beat Danny McShain (world title defense), Vic Christy beat Jules Strongbow, George Becker drew Karl Davis, Bob Becker drew Willie Davis

September 12 -- Danny McShain beat Vic Christy, Willie Davis-Karl Davis beat George Becker-Bob Becker, Regis Siki beat Frank Cutler, Jack Pinto beat Hans Schultz

September 19 -- Danny McShain beat George Becker, Vic Christy-Larry Moquin beat Willie Davis-Karl Davis, Hans Schnabel beat Mickey Page, Art Brady beat Hans Schultz

September 26 -- Hans Schnabel-Danny McShain beat Vic Christy-Larry Moquin, Karl Davis beat Terry McGinnis, Jack Pinto beat Mickey Page, Howard Cantonwine drew Hardy K

October 3 -- Vic Christy beat Hans Schnabel, Danny McShain beat Larry Moquin, Karl Davis beat Andre Adoree, Hardy K beat Mickey Page

October 10 -- Danny McShain beat Larry Moquin, Karl Davis-Hans Schnabel beat Vic Christy-Sam Menacker, Willie Davis drew Earl McCready, Jim Mitchell beat Fritz Schnabel

October 17 -- Danny McShain-Hans Schnabel beat Vic Christy-Larry Moquin, Manuel Garza beat Karl Davis, Earl McCready beat Andre Adoree, Marvin Jones beat Mickey Page

October 24 -- Larry Moquin-Manuel Garza beat Danny McShain-Hans Schnabel, Marvin Jones beat Vic Christy, Earl McCready beat Jim Henry, Jim Mitchell beat Alex Kasaboski

October 31 -- Marvin Jones-Jim Henry beat Manuel Garza-Larry Moquin (referee Pappy Boyington), Earl McCready beat Sam Menacker, Vic Christy drew Jim Mitchell, Chief War Cloud beat Hans Schultz

November 7 -- Larry Moquin-Manuel Garza beat Marvin Jones-Jim Henry, Jim Mitchell drew Earl McCready, Sam Menacker beat Alex Kasaboski, Marvin Jones (sub for Frank Cutler) beat Chief War Cloud

November 14 -- Sandor Szabo beat Larry Moquin, Gorgeous George beat Manuel Garza, Jim Mitchell drew Marvin Jones, Willie Davis beat Sam Menacker

November 21 -- Sandor Szabo drew Frank Sexton, Gorgeous George beat Manuel Garza, Larry Moquin beat Marvin Jones, Willie Davis beat Mickey Page

November 28 -- Marvin Jones-Gorgeous George beat Manuel Garza-Larry Moquin, Vic Christy beat Willie Davis, Terry McGinnis drew Henry Kulkavich, Hardy K beat Alex Kasaboski

December 5 -- Enrique Torres-Vic Christy beat Marvin Jones-Gorgeous George, Terry McGinnis beat Henry Kulkavich, Willie Davis beat Hardy K, Ray Duran beat Alex Kasaboski

December 12 -- Sandor Szabo beat Gorgeous George, Dutch Hefner beat Vic Christy, Terry McGinnis beat Karl Davis, Regis Siki drew Kolo Stasiak (Jim Wright)

December 19 -- Gorgeous George-Dutch Hefner beat Vic Christy-Manuel Garza, Sandor Szabo drew George Temple, Karl Davis beat Terry McGinnis, Sam Menacker drew Kolo Stasiak

December 26 -- Enrique Torres beat Gorgeous George (world title defense), Dutch Hefner drew Manuel Garza, George Temple beat Karl Davis, Henry Kulkavich beat Cardiff Giant


January 2 -- Gorgeous George beat George Becker, Willie Davis-Karl Davis beat Manuel Garza-George Temple, Dutch Hefner beat Bud Curtis, Hardy K beat Steve Gob

January 9 -- Enrique Torres beat Dutch Hefner (world title defense), Sandor Szabo-Manuel Garza beat Willie Davis-Karl Davis, Henry Kulkavich beat Jules Strongbow, Bud Curtis drew Marvin Jones

January 16 -- Ernie Dusek-Emil Dusek beat Sandor Szabo-Manuel Garza, Gorgeous George beat Willie Davis cor, Angelo Cistoldi beat Henry Kulkavich, Sam Menacker drew Marvin Jones

January 23 -- Ernie Dusek-Emil Dusek beat Gorgeous George-Dutch Hefner, Sandor Szabo beat Marvin Jones, Gino G beat Sam Menacker, Angelo Cistoldi drew Terry McGinnis

January 30 -- Ernie Dusek beat Gorgeous George dq, Sandor Szabo drew Emil Dusek, Gino G-Angelo Cistoldi beat Terry McGinnis-Manuel Garza, Marvin Jones beat Don Blackman

February 6 -- (annual club tournament) Terry McGinnis beat Ellis Bashara, Dutch Hefner beat Chief War Cloud, Angelo Cistoldi beat Don Blackman, Dutch Hefner beat Terry McGinnis, Bud Curtis beat Bulldog Clements, Gino G beat Henry Kulkavich, Manuel Garza beat Angelo Cistoldi, Gino G beat Bud Curtis, Manuel Garza beat Dutch Hefner, Gino G beat Manuel Garza (final)

February 13 -- Enrique Torres beat Gino G dq (world title defense), Butch Levy-Manuel Garza beat Angelo Cistoldi-Dutch Hefner, Ellis Bashara beat Terry McGinnis, Bulldog Clements drew Brown?

February 20 -- Enrique Torres beat Gino G (world title defense), Manuel Garza-Butch Levy beat Ellis Bashara-Angelo Cistoldi, Lord Blears (as Jan Blears) beat Bulldog Clements, Marvin Jones beat Hardy K

February 27 -- Enrique Torres beat Gorgeous George (world title defense) (referee Bull Montana), Lord Blears beat Dutch Hefner, Manuel Garza drew Ellis Bashara, Angelo Cistoldi beat Bulldog Clements

March 5 -- Enrique Torres beat Gorgeous George dq (world title defense), Lord Blears beat Ellis Bashara, Tony Martinez beat Angelo Cistoldi, Bud Curtis beat Marvin Jones

March 12 -- Gorgeous George beat Lord Blears cnc, Enrique Torres drew Tony Martinez (world title defense), Gino G drew Babe Zaharias, Chris Zaharias beat Jesse James (as Jimmy James)

March 19 -- Gorgeous George beat Tony Martinez, Chris Zaharias-Babe Zaharias beat Manuel Garza-Terry McGinnis, Yukon Eric (paper listed him as Oscar "The Chest" Holmbeck) beat Marvin Jones, Tom Rice drew Jules Strongbow

March 26 -- Gorgeous George drew Gino G (world title defense), Chris Zaharias-Babe Zaharias beat Tony Martinez-Manuel Garza, Jack Kennedy beat Hardy K, Angelo Cistoldi beat Jesse James

April 2 -- Gino G beat Gorgeous George, Jack Kennedy-Tony Martinez beat Chris Zaharias-Babe Zaharias, Ben Morgan beat Angelo Cistoldi, Jock Malone drew Art Brady

April 9 -- Gorgeous George beat Gino G, Kimon Kudo beat Babe Zaharias (jiu jitsu), George Temple beat Ellis Bashara, Yukon Eric drew Jim Mitchell

April 16 -- Kimon Kudo beat Gorgeous George (jiu jitsu, jacket match), Tony Martinez beat Jack Kennedy, Chris Zaharias beat George Temple, Tom Rice beat Ellis Bashara

April 23 -- Gorgeous George beat Kimon Kudo (referee Max Baer), Tony Martinez beat Gino G, Tom Rice beat Chris Zaharias, Jack Kennedy drew Frank Jares

April 30 -- Gorgeous George beat Tony Martinez cnc (referee Pappy Boyington), Dave Levin beat Frank Jares, Jack Kennedy beat Gino G, Tom Rice beat Yukon Eric dq

May 7 -- Dave Levin beat Gorgeous George, Reb Russell-Frank Jares beat Kay Bell-Jack Kennedy, Kimon Kudo beat Yukon Eric, Eric Pederson drew Tom Rice

May 14 -- Enrique Torres beat Dave Levin (world title defense), Frank Jares-Reb Russell beat Tony Martinez-Vic Christy, Gino G beat Kimon Kudo, Kay Bell beat Hardy K

May 21 -- Enrique Torres beat Dave Levin (world title defense), Frank Jares-Reb Russell beat George Becker-Bob Becker, Ted Christy drew Tony Martinez, Vic Christy beat Jack Kennedy

May 28 -- Reb Russell-Frank Jares beat Enrique Torres-Tony Martinez, George Becker beat Tom Rice, Bob Becker beat Jack Kennedy, Kay Bell beat Yukon Eric dq

June 4 -- Gorgeous George beat Dave Levin, Reb Russell-Frank Jares beat Enrique Torres-Tony Martinez, George Temple beat Tom Rice, Bob Becker beat Jack Kennedy

June 11 -- Reb Russell-Frank Jares beat George Becker-Bob Becker, Enrique Torres beat Ted Christy (nontitle), Vic Christy drew Fred Atkins, George Temple beat Jock Malone

June 18 -- George Becker-Bob Becker beat Reb Russell-Frank Jares, Enrique Torres drew Willie Davis (world title defense), Karl Davis beat Vic Holbrook dq, Fred Atkins beat George Temple

June 25 -- George Becker-Bob Becker drew Karl Davis-Willie Davis, Fred Atkins beat Tony Martinez, Vic Christy beat Reb Russell, Kay Bell drew Ted Christy

July 2 -- (tournament) Bob Becker beat Karl Davis, Tony Martinez beat Jack Holland (as Dutch Holland), Fred Atkins beat Vic Holbrook, Reb Russell beat Vic Christy, Tony Martinez beat Frank Jares, Reb Russell beat Fred Atkins, Tony Martinez beat Reb Russell, Bob Becker beat John Lee, Bob Becker beat Tony Martinez (final)

July 9 -- Gorgeous George beat Bob Becker, George Becker beat Reb Russell, Dave Levin beat Don Lee, Fred Atkins drew Tony Martinez

July 16 -- Ernie Dusek-Emil Dusek beat George Becker-Bob Becker, Tony Martinez beat Karl Davis, Dave Levin beat Reb Russell, Willie Davis beat Terry McGinnis

July 23 -- Ernie Dusek-Emil Dusek beat Dave Levin-Tony Martinez, Willie Davis beat George Becker dq, Bob Becker drew Vic Christy, Ted Christy beat Sam Menacker

July 30 -- George Becker-Bob Becker drew Ernie Dusek-Emil Dusek, Hans Schnabel beat Maurice LaChappelle, Willie Davis beat Tony Martinez, Karl Davis drew George Temple

August 6 -- Primo Carnera beat Willie Davis, George Becker-Bob Becker vs. Hans Schnabel-Fritz Schnabel, Emil Dusek vs. Fred Atkins, Tony Martinez vs. Jack Holland

August 13 -- Gorgeous George beat George Becker cnc, Emil Dusek beat Sam Menacker, Hans Schnabel beat Bob Becker, Karl Davis beat Maurice LaChappelle

August 20 -- Hans Schnabel-Fritz Schnabel beat Primo Carnera (hdcp), George Becker beat Dave Levin (won state title), Karl Davis beat George Temple, Bob Becker beat Al Billings

August 27 -- Primo Carnera-Dave Levin beat Hans Schnabel-Fritz Schnabel, George Becker beat Karl Davis cor, Bob Becker beat Maurice LaChappelle, Terry McGinnis beat Kolo Stasiak

September 3 -- Ernie Dusek-Emil Dusek beat Lou Thesz-Bob Becker, Dave Levin beat George Becker (won state title), Hans Schnabel beat Al Billings, Karl Davis drew Maurice LaChappelle

September 10 -- Ernie Dusek beat Dave Levin (won state title), Emil Dusek beat Bob Becker, George Becker drew Tug Carlson, George Temple beat Alex Kasaboski

September 17 -- Gorgeous George beat Emil Dusek, Ernie Dusek beat Dave Levin, Golden Terror (Danny Plechas) beat George Temple, Tug Carlson drew Sammy M

September 24 -- Gorgeous George drew Lord Blears, Vic Holbrook-Dave Levin beat Willie Davis-Frank Jares, Golden Terror beat Terry McGinnis, George Temple beat Fritz Schnabel

October 1 -- Gorgeous George beat Lord Blears dq, Chris Zaharias-Babe Zaharias beat Dave Levin-Vic Holbrook, Golden Terror beat Tug Carlson, Terry McGinnis drew Sam Menacker

October 8 -- Golden Terror beat Hans Schnabel, Dave Levin-Vic Holbrook beat Chris Zaharias-Babe Zaharias, Lord Blears beat Rocco Toma, Morris Shapiro drew Al Billings

October 15 -- Golden Terror drew Lord Blears, Jim Mitchell drew Babe Zaharias, Chris Zaharias beat Morris Shapiro, Jacobo Macias beat Al Billings

October 22 -- Lou Thesz beat Lord Blears cnc, Bobby Managoff-Jim Mitchell beat Chris Zaharias-Babe Zaharias, Slim Zimbleman drew Tug Carlson, Yukon Eric beat Rocco Toma

October 29 -- Frank Sexton drew Bobby Managoff, Lord Blears-Jim Mitchell vs. Golden Terror-Lee Grable, Otto Von Busing vs. George Temple, Morris Shapiro vs. Rocco Toma

November 5 -- Enrique Torres vs. Dizzy Davis (world title defense), Willie Davis vs. Bobby Managoff, Lord Blears beat Morris Shapiro, George Temple vs. Lee Grable

November 12 -- Primo Carnera beat Gino G, Willie Davis-Dizzy Davis beat Vic Christy-Bobby Managoff, Lord Blears drew Morris Shapiro, Bud Curtis beat Lee Grable

November 19 -- Bobby Managoff-Enrique Torres beat Willie Davis-Dizzy Davis, Vic Christy beat Babe Zaharias, Chris Zaharias drew Morris Shapiro, Henry LaSalle beat Slim Zimbleman

November 26 -- Bill Longson vs. Bobby Managoff, Lord Blears-Vic Christy vs. Chris Zaharias-Babe Zaharias, Morris Shapiro vs. Jesse James, Jack Armstrong vs. Slim Zimbleman

December 3 -- Bobby Managoff beat George Koverly, Lord Blears beat Hans Schnabel, Dave Levin drew Jesse James, Lee Grable beat Jack Armstrong

December 10 -- Lord Blears-Bobby Managoff beat George Koverly-Hans Schnabel, Tony Morelli beat Dave Levin, Butch Levy drew Morris Shapiro, Charley Shiranuhi (later Mr. Moto) beat Fritz Schnabel

December 17 -- (tournament) Dave Levin beat Tony Morelli, Yukon Eric beat Jack Armstrong, Ted Christy beat bud Curtis, Bobby Managoff beat Jacobo Macias, Jim Mitchell beat Lee Grable, Morris Shapiro beat Terry McGinnis, Dave Levin beat Yukon Eric (final)

The WAWLI Papers No. 496...


(Glendale News-Press, January 2, 1931)

With their heads among the clouds, Glendale Junior Chamber of Commerce members are today planning to put this city on the golfing map during the year 1931. Lewis H. "Dutch" Reid announced this afternoon that the younger body will stage a $4,000 open golf tournament here next December. Lou Daro, prominent, civic-minded Glendale resident, and Ed "Strangler" Lewis, former heavyweight wrestling champion, have offered to sponsor the tournament.

With these two prominent sportsmen coming to the fore offering to underwrite the links classic, Glendale is assured of a prominent place among the leaders staging tournaments next winter.

Plans were made for a similar tournament which would have been held this winter but certain conditions asked by the pros were considered too stringent and the tourney was dropped.

These conditions have all been eliminated for next year and practically every professional of consequence in the United States plans to be present when the first "fore" is called next winter.

Tentative plans calls for the staging of the tournament on the Oakmont course, regarded as one of the finest links layouts in Southern California.

Unofficial endorsement of the tournament has been given by several of the present officials of the club and it is considered very probable that the junior chamber will obtain the cooperation of the Oakmont members in staging the tournament.

President Reid is already outlining the general committees to work on the tournament.

Daro and Lewis will be the honorary general chairmen. Members of the Oakmont golf committees will be invited to places on the groups in charge of the affair, thus linking the junior chamber and club in the staging of the tee classic.

Reid will officially take office on the night of January 15 and will announce some of his appointments at that time.

The two sponsors will be honor guests at this affair with many of the nationally famous pros who are now in Southern California also attending.

Daro will present the program for the meeting, offering several athletic exhibitions and several motion picture stars.

At that time the official offer of supporting the tourney will be made by Daro, in behalf of himself and Lewis, and Reid will accept for the junior chamber.

The officials and directors of the Oakmont Country Club also will be invited guests at the affair. Wives of members of the junior chamber also will be guests.

Representatives of the various cities planning tournaments next year will meet following the Los Angeles $10,000 open next week at Wilshire to designate dates, and formulate plans for next winter.

Following that meeting Reid expects to be able to definitely announce full plans for the Glendale tournament.


(Glendale News-Press, January 3, 1931)

Painful injuries which have forced him to cancel all engagements for several weeks were suffered yesterday by Ed "Strangler" Lewis, former world heavyweight wrestling champion, in a strange accident. Lewis, alighting from his car in front of his restaurant in the 700 block on South Brand, was sideswiped by a passing car. He was knocked to the street but immediately regained his feet and believed at the time that he had sustained only a slight bruise.

The driver of the car stopped and offered his apologies, Lewis stated today, but believing himself unhurt he did not bother to take the other's name.

A short time later the thigh developed strong pains and Lewis was driven to the office of Dr. Lloyd R. Mace, official physician for the California athletic commission.

Investigation revealed that the former wrestling champion had sustained a severe bruising of the pelvic bone and a deep gash in the hip.

Dr. Mace dressed the injury and ordered Lewis to forego any athletic activities for a period of two or three weeks until the injuries heal.

As a consequence of this order Lewis was forced to cancel many mat dates in the east. He was scheduled to leave Glendale tomorrow morning by plane for Kansas City for a match which was to be followed by several others throughout the east, including bouts in Boston and New York.

Lewis, who has lived in Glendale for the last three years, announced yesterday that he would join Lou Daro, local wrestling promoter, in sponsoring a $4,000 open golf tournament to be staged here next winter by the Junior Chamber of Commerce.

(ED. NOTE -- At this time, Ed Lewis resided at 627 E. Windsor Rd. in Glendale and co-owned E & E Broiler, formerly Earl's Broiler, with Earl Peyton "specializing in charcoal-broiled steaks, breakfast, lunch and dinners" at 707-709 South Brand in downtown Glendale.)


(Glendale News-Press, Monday, January 5, 1931)

By Don Ashbaugh, News-Press Sports Editor

Weary of having Jim Londos parade around the east claiming the "world heavyweight wrestling championship" because the commissions of New York and Pennsylvania chose to recognize him, Lou Daro has practically ironed out details for a match between Gus Sonnenberg and the Greek veteran. According to Daro, Londos has telegraphed his willingness to meet Sonnenberg here next week.

"Huh," snorted Daro, "I'll call his bluff. Londos claims the championship. That makes us laugh. Don George won the title by ability and through defeating the outstanding men. Londos cloaims the title because two commissions have declared him the titleholder.

"Strangler Lewis challenged Londos, the proceeds to go to charity, but Londos refuses to meet him. Lewis has beaten the Greek a dozen times or more.

"But Sonnenberg is willing to meet Londos and if the so-called 'champion' will face Gus I'm willing to promote the match on a non-profit basis just to clear up any cloud on Don George's title."

The eminent Glendale wrestling entrepreneur, carnation grower and golf tournament sponsor, is planning a series of bouts between the topnotchers for Southern California's human pretzel devotees during the coming months.

Wednesday night he offers Sonnenberg against Henri De Glane, the Adonis-like French Graeco-Roman champ who has been causing a furore among the leading bone benders of this section.

The bout looms as one of the finest Daro has staged in many months. It will serve to show Sonnenberg in the role of a challenger instead of as champion.

He has indicated that he will drop his former attitude of taking the defense and show the fans some of the tricks he learned while he held the crown.

Everett Marshall, the La Junta towhead, has also heaved back into town and is heaving challenges right and left.

He'd like to tackle the winner of Wednesday night's battle and follow this up with a shot at the new champion.

Things are far from quiet on the wrestling front -- let the bones fall where they may.


(Glendale News-Press, January 6, 1931)

With Gus Sonnenberg, erstwhile heavyweight champion among the big elbow and muscle men of the padded ring, meeting Henri De Glane, grinning Frenchman, at the Olympic tomorrow night, Lou Daro has broiled a new stew in mat circles to follow the bout. "Jeem" Londos, the bad boy the human pretzel industry, who claims the world championship in Pennsylvania and New York, has agreed to meet Gus, reports have it.

Gus is reputed to have ducked "Jeem" while both were "champions" of different precincts.

Now Daro has arranged the battle, to eliminate, if he can, the sardonic claims of Londos and make Don George the one and only heavyweight champion.

But into these well-laid plans steps the menacing figure of Ed "Strangler" Lewis, who insists and demands that Londos meet him instead of Sonnenberg.

The Glendale broiled steak king has posted a $5,000 forfeit with the state commission for the match. He has forfeits posted in other states for bouts with "Jeems."

But Londos refuses to have anything to do with Lewis -- he has lost to the "Strangler" no less than a dozen or more times and seemingly wants no more of him.

So, if Sonnenberg can get past the stout shouldered De Glane tomorrow night, it seems as if Gus is set for a bout with the champion of Pennsylvania and adjacent precincts.

Tomorrow's match will be the first in which Sonnenberg has appeared at the Olympic as a contender for the heavyweight wrestling title. In all of his previous local appearances he has entered the ring as champion.

Now that he no longer has a title to risk, Sonnenberg apparently is willing to chance using the famous tackle, against which the state athletic commission raised a rumpus.

Using a flying tackle, Gus defeated De Glane at Boston a year ago, putting the French titleholder in the hospital for a week.

Henri has improved as a wrestler since then, however.

Since he last matched holds with Sonnenberg, the Frenchman has wrestled draw bouts with Everett Marshall and Ed "Strangler" Lewis here.

Marshall has challenged the winner of tomorrow's match, and Lewis is also seeking to get a whack at the leading mat contenders.

Besides the Sonnenberg-De Glane match, which is to be a two-out-of-three-falls bout to a finish, tomorrow's card at the Olympic will bring together Dan Koloff, powerful Belgian, and "Wild Bill" Beth in a one fall, one-hour time limit match.

Myron Cox and "Red" Fredericks will open the card with a one-fall bout.


(Glendale News-Press, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 1931)

Primed for his "comeback," Gus Sonnenberg tonight attempts to remove the first stumbling block from the path of his ambitions to recover the world's heavyweight wrestling crown when he meets Henri De Glane, stocky Frenchman, at the Olympic.

The bout, for the best two out of three falls, will be Lou Daro's initial mat offering of the 1931 season.

A sizeable crowd is expected to watch Sonnenberg, now "just another contender," start back up the wrestling trail.

Sonnenberg, who a few weeks ago lost his diadem to youthful Ed "Don" George, met De Glane once before.

In Boston last year he precipitated the Graeco-Roman exponent into the fourth row of the ringside seats with one of his smashing flying tackles. It took De Glane a month to recover from the match.

De Glane is out for revenge, and expectations are that tonight's struggle will be a gruelling affair. Sonnenberg is being picked to wear down the Frenchman with his greater stamina, however.

The "comeback" trail is a hard one, and Sonnenberg is ready to meet his opponents with a fast, furious and aggressive style of wrestling, a complete metamorphisis from that which he used while champion.

Sonnenberg will weigh about 210 pounds. He believes the wrenched ligaments in his shoulder, which largely contributed to his defeat at the hands of George, have completely healed and he will be able to display all his wares.

De Glane will come in about ten pounds heavier. Since coming to the coast, hot on the heels of Sonnenberg for a return go, the Frenchman has held both Ed "Strangler" Lewis and Everett Marshall to draws.

A new young collegian, Barney Ostapowiecz, hailing from Michigan State College, will make his debut in the semi-windup, tackling Buck Olsen, a veteran from Minnesota.

Barney turned pro only recently after a brilliant amateur record.

Myron Cox, youthful Venice lifeguard, meets Dr. P.A. Mullikan in the opener. This, like the semifinal, will be a one fall, one hour affair.


(United Press, Wednesday, January 7, 1931)

CHICAGO -- The nationwide wrestling renaissance is at its height in Chicago and the "hilarious hippodromers" are planning a busy winter.

Recent wrestling bouts have attracted huge crowds and several groups of promoters are abandoning boxing for the mat sport.

Two of the current "world heavyweight champions" are billed for appearances here shortly.

Don George, who claims the title by virtue of a victory over Gus Sonnenberg, will meet Jack Wagner of Providence, R.I., Friday at the Coliseum.

Jim Londos, N.B.A. candidate for the crown, will wrestle Matros Kirilenko of Russia at Two Hundred Second Coast Artillery Armory Monday.


(Glendale News-Press, Thursday, Jan. 8, 1931)

By Don Ashbaugh, News-Press Sports Editor

When Henri De Glane neglected to flop upon Gus Sonnenberg several times when the former champion was reclining groggily upon the canvas last night at the Olympic it cost the Frenchman a chance at Don George, heavyweight wrestling champion, two weeks hence.

A well-packed house braved the rain to see the former titleholder absorb copious quantities of punishment and emerge the victor after nearly an hour and a half of diverse kinds of wrestling on Lou Daro's semi-monthly card.

Both had captured a fall, Sonnenberg with a well-planted butt to the pit of the stomach which rendered Henri into a docile mass for long enough to have his shoulders pinned, and De Glane with an airplane spin, when Gus straightarmed the Frenchman and landed atop him to score the winning spill.

Gus won the first in 28 minutes, 27 seconds. De Glane captured the second in 46 minutes and 56 seconds and Sonnenberg won the last in 8 minutes and 2 seconds.

De Glane was the aggressor throughout and apparently had Sonnenberg in a bad way numerous times through the use of his potent headlocks.

Just before the final fall Promoter Lou Daro announced that Don George had agreed to meet the winner on the night of January 21.

In the preliminary matches, Myron Cox dropped Dr. P.A. Mullikan with a powerful body slam after 9 minutes and 50 seconds and Buck Olsen was pinned by Barney Ostapowiecz, a broad-shouldered, ambitious-looking young fellow from Michigan State College.

(ED. NOTE -- This was one of the earliest pro bouts for Darna "Barney" Ostapowiecz, whose ring name shortly thereafter was transformed to Darna Ostapovich. After World War II, he wrestled as Barney "Chest" Bernard, primarily in Midwest rings.)


(Associated Press, Saturday, January 10, 1931)

DALLAS, Tex. -- Jack Dempsey is still a first-class fighting man. Nearly 10,000 sports fans last night saw a flash of the oldtime Manassa Mauler as Dempsey, angered by a blow from a bulky wrestler in a match he was refereeing, lashedout a right that drove the offender rolling to the canvas. The victim was Billy Edwards, Kansas City heavyweight.

Stripped of his shirt and his silk undershirt torn by Edwards' pawing, Jack for the moment was again the man who won the heavyweight boxing championship of the world.

The roar of the crowd was like that of one viewing a $1,000,000 fight spectacle. Its rush for the tattered shreds of Dempsey's shirt was that of hero-worshiping souvenir hunters.

Women joined in the battle for mementoes. Hostility marked the ring engagement, featuring Edwards and Jim O'Dowd, Chicago scissors artist, from the start. Dempsey was warned other referees had had difficulties here.

"I don't want to hurt anybody," he replied, "but I'm not going to stand up in front of a crowd like this and let some fellow punch me around. I'll tap him back."

The wrestlers panted and heaved through two falls. Edwards tore a new shirt off the ex-champion's back as Dempsey broke their holds in the second fall.

The Kansas Citian then tore Jack's silk underwear and all but pulled it off.

Dempsey's ire obviously mounted. Edwards clamped a headlock on O'Dowd for the third and deciding fall.

Dempsey patted Edwards' back in token of victory. Edwards continued his hold. Dempsey jerked him to his feet. Edwards swung, grazing Jack's right cheek.

Jack led with his left and then snapped a short right to Edwards' chin, lifting him and sending him head first to the mat.


(Glendale News-Press, Sunday, Jan. 11, 1931)

The world's championship in the ranks of the heavyweight wrestlers will be stake when Henri De Glane, able French grappler, meets Don George, present titleholder, at the Olympic Auditorium on January 21.

The clever Frenchman was signed for the bout, which will be a finish match, after Gus Sonnenberg, former champion who was originally scheduled to meet George, announced that former engagements would prevent him from trading holds with the titleholder.

The match, which was arranged by Jack Daro, matchmaker and brother of Promoter Lou Daro, will mark the present champion's first appearance in Los Angeles since he won the heavyweight crown at the Olympic.

De Glane, who has been wrestling since 1919, came to America three years ago with the avowed intention of winning the title. He has been appearing on the coast for the past three months, and has shown himself to be real championship material.

He is considered one of the most scientific wrestlers in the game and has plenty of speed and strength.

Since coming west, the Frenchman has won numerous bouts, and has held Ed "Strangler" Lewis and Everett Marshall, outstanding heavyweight grapplers, to draws.

His only defeat has been at the hands of Sonnenberg in a return match last week. In the 650 matches he has had since coming to America, he has downed such formidable opponents as Marin Plestina, Joe Malcewicz, Nick Lutze, Stan Stasiak, Dan Koloff and "Bibber" McCoy.

De Glane won the Graeco-Roman wrestling championship at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, and in 1926 captured the world title in that form of grappling.

Since then, he has acquired an ambition to be world's champion in the catch-as-catch-can field, and his match with George will give him a long-awaited opportunity.

His only former chance at the title was in his first bout with Sonnenberg, which he lost.

The WAWLI Papers No. 497...


(St. Petersburg Times, Tuesday, May 11, 1999)

By Dave Schieber

TAMPA -- It was just another quiet night in the wilds of World Championship Wrestling.

Bam Bam Bigelow had been slammed and jammed. The Disco Inferno was doused. Local radio host Bubba the Love Sponge got clobbered on the noggin with a metal folding chair in a guest match. And at each body-stomping, jack-hammering, flying-off-(and through)-the ropes move, some 6,500 fans bellowed with unabashed delight or disdain.

Then the chant began.

It started slowly, rapidly gained strength and surged into a sing-songy tidal wave that seemed to pack enough power to blow the doors right off the cavernous Ice Palace last month.

"GOOOOOLD-berg, GOOOOOLD-berg ..."

Throughout every corner of the arena, men, women, teens and little kids joined in the cacophonous call. Many wore black T-shirts adorned with the name and fearsome visage of the man they now clamored for. Hundreds more raced to lean over the railings above the entrance, cued by a thundering soundtrack -- a dramatic musical score that could have come from a Cecil B. De Mille biblical epic.

The moment spectators had been waiting for was at hand. Bill Goldberg -- or just plain Goldberg in the pro wrestling universe -- strode into view with his familiar look: shaven-head, Van Dyke beard, warriorlike

shoulder tattoo and black spandex shorts. Waving, thrusting his arms back, slapping his face to get pysched, he looked like a conquering hero with the fate of the world weighing on his massive and muscular 6-4, 290-pound frame.

"GOOOOOLD-berg, GOOOOOLD-berg ..."

The truth is, he has conquered far more than the hearts of professional wrestling fans in the two years he has been on the World Championship Wrestling payroll. The 32-year-old from Tulsa, Okla., is well on his way to winning over Madison Avenue, Hollywood and the mass media. In the process, he has even been warmly embraced by the American Jewish community as a valuable role model and the greatest Jewish athlete in decades.

Little more than two years ago, the most famous Goldbergs were most likely Whoopi and Rube. Bill Goldberg was unknown and out of work, his promising NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons cut short by a severe groin muscle tear. Today, he is on a roll that seems more unbelievable than any story-line pro wrestling pooh-bahs could contrive.

The son of a Harvard-educated doctor and a mother who played violin in the Oklahoma Symphony, Goldberg didn't exactly pick the profession his parents had in mind. But who can argue with success? Start with the gauge of celebrity popularity known in the entertainment industry as the "Q" rating. Among all pro athletes, Goldberg ranks No. 1. His score is higher than that of hoops legend Michael Jordan, whom he bumped from the top spot after a decade; it's higher than home-run king Mark McGwire's.

Next consider the newsstand factor. Last month, Goldberg graced the covers of two national publications, Entertainment Weekly and men's mag

P.O.V. Previously, he landed a cover shot on TV Guide and has been written up numerous times, from Rolling Stone to the New Yorker.

On the small screen, he's set to make his second appearance in a year on the Tonight Show, on Wednesday. He'll follow with a stint on Hollywood

Squares, and has an array of major commercial endorsements in the works. On the big screen, he recently completed filming a supporting role in Jean-Claude Van Damme's action-adventure sequel to Universal Soldier, due out in late summer. He is suddenly a hot Hollywood commodity, loaded down with scripts to peruse for future movie deals.

"Bill could sign for a movie tomorrow, but we're looking for the right movie for him," said his Hollywood agent, Barry Bloom. "You never know what's going to happen, but he has the potential to be a great action hero, along the lines of Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis. Hollywood is looking for a new generation of hero, and Bill could be that guy."

Another gauge of his popularity: On the movie set in January, he handed his pager to assistant Brian Bentley, having placed it on silent/vibrate mode. "I held the pager for 20 minutes, and it went off every five seconds, no lie," Bentley said. "If I ever have a back injury, I could just put his pager on it and get a nice massage."

"Everybody wants this guy," added Alan Sharp, spokesman for World Championship Wrestling. "No one in the history of wrestling has risen to the height of popularity as quickly as Bill Goldberg."

And no one is more surprised about that than Bill Goldberg, an unpretentious, all-around nice guy who wrestles with doubt as much as evil opponents.

"I could never have imagined this," he said in a deep, easy-going tone in a deserted back room 90 minutes before his match. "Not in a million years."

Certainly part of his success is tied to the sharp rise in the appeal of pro wrestling. Fueled by the more family-oriented WCW on Ted Turner's TNT network and Vince McMahon's nastier World Wrestling Federation on the USA Network, wrestling has shed pretentions of being considered a real sport. It has cleverly redefined itself as "sports entertainment," with campy, outrageous subplots woven into the cartoonish carnage.

America appears to be eating it up. An older and more sophisticated audience has been targeted and drawn in; TV ratings are higher than ever; and major advertisers are lining up for every telecast.

Into that scenario, almost out of the blue, stepped Bill Goldberg. WCW honchos had no master plan for him at first, but by his third match, they noticed he had a special magnetism that made crowds crazy. They

quickly built a whole new script around Goldberg, who won his first 173 matches. He took the crown from Hollywood (formerly good-guy Hulk) Hogan, but the plot thickened: Hogan won it back, setting up an inevitable rematch. Title or not, Goldberg is now bigger than the off-the-charts wrestling biz that produced him.

He is a pop culture phenomenon.

"Goldberg has it," WCW spokesman Sharp said. "If we could create it, we'd all be millionaires and genuises. He just has this intangible combination of things. He has charisma. He has awesome power. And he is real."

The latter factor may just be the secret ingredient. Other pro wrestlers, such as longtime star Hogan, have certainly shared the first two characteristics. But Hogan and all the other heroes and heels have a schtick. They have developed characters who rant and rage and spout maniacal monologues. Their garb is over the top; their invented monikers the norm -- the WCW's Nature Boy Rik Flair, Sting, K-Dogg and the Hitman; the WWF's Undertaker, Mankind, the Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Goldberg's gimmick? Simply to be himself. It was an idea he hatched with WCW president Eric Bischoff. No fancy outfits. No fancy name. Just Goldberg.

"I tell everybody that my real last name was Crusher but they changed it to Goldberg so that it would be more intimidating," he said. "I was actually a little nervous of going out there and being called by my real name because it's not the most menacing in the world. But that's part of me being different."

For Goldberg, being different seems to mean a guy not only worth his weight in gold, but with a heart to match. He is spearheading, for instance, a national advertising campaign for the Humane Society -- not surprising, considering that he and his girlfriend of six years, former model Lisa Shekter, own 16 pets (six dogs, seven cats, two horses and a pony).

He seems driven just as much by a desire to interact with the fans who mob him at every turn. When youngsters approach, he routinely gets down on one knee to speak at eye level. And in an age when star athletes are increasingly aloof, when some players scribble their names only for money, Goldberg makes it a policy to sign every autograph and never for a fee.

"We were in Vegas two weeks ago for (Monday) Nitro," said Goldberg assistant Bentley. "It literally let me know what it must have been like traveling with Elvis. We were in the MGM Grand on the way to play blackjack, and when we turned a corner by the elevators, all these

people see Bill and scream, "It's Goldberg!'

"Bill has always said to me, "Don't ever not let me sign an autograph,' unless he's eating or racing to catch a plane. So even though he was swamped and on his way to relax, he told the crowd to walk with him and signed every one."

When the final signature was scrawled, Bentley noticed a boy, 5 or 6 years old, struggling to catch up, his parents lagging far behind. "The boy is running and stopping, running and stopping and is about to give up," Bentley said. "I told Bill to look. And he turns, gets down on his knee and waits for the kid. Then he picks him up and says, "Hey, buddy! What's your name? Where are your parents?' The kid is so stunned he can't even get the words out. But Bill talks to him, shakes his hand and signs an autograph. The boy and his parents were thrilled. But that's just the kind of guy Bill is."

He savors these moments, in part, because they nearly ended forever when his NFL dream died. "When I'm wrestling, it feels good to spear somebody out there, because it's similar to taking down a running back; and it feels good to shake kids' hands again and see the smiles on their faces," he said.

Goldberg's older sister, Barbara Bernette, runs his fan club from her home in California. Every week, she goes to the post office and picks up bins of fan mail that Goldberg answers with photos he buys and signs. "The volume is unbelievable, and sometimes the requests are pretty cute," she said. "This one little boy asked Bill if would go school with him. He wrote, "I'm not very popular, but I would be if you'd come with me."

Recently Bernette received a letter from the mother of a little boy with leukemia in San Antonio, Texas. His one wish was to meet Goldberg. Bernette made a few calls and surprised the boy and his family with six tickets to the WCW event when it came to town, along with backstage passes to meet Goldberg. Later, the wrestler visited the boy's hospital and met other young cancer patients. "Suddenly, they all thought it was very cool to not have hair, just like Bill," she said. "He's very compassionate and will take the extra time, especially for kids."

"I just try to be very considerate of how other people feel, about a lot of things," Goldberg said. "I do see myself as a role model, but I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it. I don't go, "I've got to be on my best behavior right here.' I let my actions speak for themselves. Therefore, I don't have to act any way other than how I am."

One way Goldberg has always acted is critical -- of himself. Despite his astronomical success, he still finds it hard to be satisfied with a performance, still pressures himself to do better. He refuses to think of himself as "the man" now in wrestling. "Maybe that's part of the explanation for my success," he said. "I never take anything for granted.

Especially the delirious crowds that adore him.

"Being greeted by the fans at the arenas has been a great part of all this, but I tend to think so low of myself to the point where I wonder if they're ever going to be there (the next time)," he said. "It's just who I am. I'm very hard on myself."

His father, Jed Goldberg, a retired obstetrician, recalls: "I don't think I ever saw Bill after a football game or a wrestling match where he was satisfied with the job he had done. He has tremendous determination to find a way to do better."

Jed Goldberg and his ex-wife, Ethel Goldberg, saw their son hit rock bottom two years ago, when his lifelong dream to play in the National Football League ended abruptly in injury. Sports had always been a huge part of the family. Jed had played tailback at Harvard. Goldberg's two older brothers, Mike 50, and Steve, 47, were all-state high school football players who went on to play big-time college ball at the University of Minnesota.

Barbara, 44, was the baby of the family for 12 years until her parents announced to their three children that they had a little surprise. Bill was born Dec. 27, 1966, and started playing catchup right away. Despite the age spread, he was close to all his siblings, and followed his brothers' footsteps, as an All-State Oklahoma football star. "He was a mediocre student, but very intelligent," said his father.

Goldberg was highly recruited as a defensive lineman, on one night getting visits from Jimmy Johnson of Miami, Fred Akers of Texas and Vince Dooley of Georgia. "Bill dealt with every coach very maturely and professionally. If he wasn't interested, he would thank them and tell them to give the scholarship to somebody else," his mother said.

He ultimately opted for Georgia, where he starred and became known as the best post-game quote-provider -- and last month donated $100,000 to endow a football scholarship. The Rams drafted him, but cut him after he pulled a hamstring in his rookie preseason. Disappointed, he latched on to the World Football League, then landed back with the Falcons. He played three seasons and was vying for a starting position when the muscle tear occurred.

"The one thing I had aspired to had been taken away from me, so I had to reinvent the wheel, reinvent my passion," he said. He pondered opening his own gym, working as a trainer, perhaps as a bodyguard. Nothing sounded right. He had constant phone conversations with his parents, asking advice, seeking solace. "I never saw him so down," said Jed.

Then a fortuitous meeting with wrestlers Lex Lugar and Sting at an Atlanta-area gym led to an introduction to WCW president Bischoff. He invited Goldberg to give pro wrestling a whirl. Next thing he knew, he was training at the WCW's wrestling school -- and trying to explain it to his parents.

"My dad hung up on me and my mom thought I was joking," he said. "One of my brothers thought I was drunk."

But everybody soon came around. "I told him, it's good, honest work," Ethel said. For the past two seasons, his family has ranked as Goldberg's biggest fans. Each parent took 20 guests to his WCW match in Miami, where they live, in early April. "The only word I can use to describe it all is surreal," said Jed, who feels, along with the rest of the family, a special pride that the Goldberg name is at the heart of the hoopla and hype.

So do many Jewish organizations and newspapers across the country, which hail him as the greatest athlete of his faith since baseball Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax and Hank Greenberg.

"It's not like I think everyone should go out and become a professional wrestler, but for me, Bill has become a metaphor," said Rabbi Irwin Kula, president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership in New York and a Goldberg family friend. "He does many things. One is to break down the stereotype of Jews -- intellectual, bookworm, that kind of thing -- and let a Jewish person know they can go out and do anything.

"Part of the excitement is simply ethnic pride. Part of it is a vicariousness of a people who have experienced themselves as powerless for so many centuries, who then are connecting to a symbol of strength, even a more overtly powerful figure than Koufax and Greenberg."

Signs occasionally pop up at arenas, such as "Goldberg, a nice Jewish boy" or "Goldberg, here's a nice Jewish girl." Goldberg didn't set out to be a Jewish athletic role model, but he's pleased if he has had a positive effect.

"I don't dwell on it, but it is a source of pride for me," he said. "Because there aren't that many good role models out there, period, for anybody. The fact that the Jewish community can embrace me as one of their own, I am happy about that and have a very big responsibility to uphold." Along that line, he refused to wrestle on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.

The rest probably did him good. His schedule is full of public appearances, roughly 20 WCW matches a month and the constant travel they require. He had to turn down a guest spot on the NBC hit drama E.R. because he was too busy filming the Van Damme movie. He's rarely home in Dawsonville, Ga. -- home of another high-profile Bill, NASCAR star Bill Elliott -- more than a week each month.

"Look at my eyes," he quipped about their fatigued appearance. "But this is my job, and you take the ups with the downs. I'm not complaining."

Neither was the crowd at the Ice Palace. A roar swept through the hall as he leveled the brawny, sinister Meng with one blast of his left shoulder, twirled him over his head, and eventually thumped him to defeat with his trademark jackhammer slam -- his power and agility from pro football clearly evident. This is a man who broke a bench-press machine at a Gold's gym and is capable of doing a back flip from a standing position.

"He's the bomb!" exclaimed 9-year-old Matt Kennedy of Lutz, alongside his father Jim Kennedy, cousin Braxton Ford, 12, and uncle Mike Whitlock -- all decked out in Goldberg shirts. Added Dad: "What I like about him most is he's down to earth."

On the other side of the ring, Jennifer and Dorian Carreira, both 21, had driven from Central Florida to help their son Justice celebrate his fourth birthday. "We like Goldberg because he doesn't talk junk," Dorian said. "He just takes care of business. Stone Cold Steve Austin cusses, and we don't need to be hearing that, not with kids around. Plus, he's really athletic. He just does things other wrestlers don't do."

Like slowly working his way down the aisle back to the locker room. He seemed to shake every hand thrust at him. He hugged strangers. He held a toddler in the air like a trophy. He signed endless autographs. The fans had a ready response.

"GOOOOOLD-berg," they chanted, until their unconventional hero disappeared from sight.

The WAWLI Papers No. 498...


(U.S. News, May 17, 1999)

By Lynn Rosellini

The child bolted upright in his bed, awakened by screams, his mother's screams, crackling through the thin walls of the house trailer and shattering the blackness of the North Carolina night. Creeping out of

bed, the boy peered into the next room, where his 200-pound stepfather bent over his mother's crouched form, bloodying her face with his fist. "Hey, what are you guys doing?" cried the startled child, and the man spun and grabbed the 6-year-old's hair, bringing a closed fist hard across his face until the cheeks were bloody and the child whimpered and fled. Later, in his bed, the boy would weep.

His stepfather was an electrician, and he used whatever tools were on hand to beat his child: wire, screwdrivers, a pipe wrench. The lesson seemed simple–violence solves problems–and the boy learned it well as he grew, fighting, drinking, and disrupting school so often he was finally expelled. Later, as a young man, when he had tamed his rebelliousness and begun to work for the old-time wrestling promoter who was his real father, he discovered he could draw on his violent past. In time, he would create a world of fury and mayhem so big and so bad that it made his childhood home look like Disneyland. But this time, there would be a difference: This time, the bad guys would work for him.

"Did you see it, wasn't that cool?" Vince McMahon gasps, out of breath and dripping with beer and perspiration. He has just lurched off the set of a live audience taping of Smackdown! in New Haven, Conn., where he was "bashed" with a metal chair and ended the match spread-eagled on the canvas. Smackdown! is just one of the hugely successful shows produced by McMahon's World Wrestling Federation, which in the past 17 years has taken professional wrestling from a marginal, back-alley sport to nothing short of a new American art form: "sports entertainment," he calls it, a bizarre melange of rock music, pyrotechnics, soap opera, and athleticism staged before frenzied crowds. McMahon's Monday night two-hour Raw Is War, filled with lewdness, simulated sex, prostitutes, and profanities, is the No. 1-rated show on cable TV, outpacing even Monday Night Football among male teens and edging out its slightly less raunchy rival, World Championship Wrestling's Monday Nitro. The two competing tours produce 15 hours of weekly TV, attracting a whopping 35 million viewers.

Captain of industry. But McMahon has wrought far more than just a popular TV show. With a bevy of spinoffs–two magazines, videos, a Web site, T-shirts, action figures, and even cologne–WWF and its competitor, WCW, have managed to infiltrate the fantasies of an entire generation of young boys. In certain parts of the country, it's hard to find a male teen who can't identify Stone Cold Steve Austin (the beer-swilling, shiny-domed WWF superstar) or Goldberg (the grimacing, shiny-domed WCW superstar). Overseas, professional wrestlers are often the face of American culture: WWF programming is currently beamed to 120 countries and translated into 11 languages.

Yet the extent to which wrestling's violence and vulgarity affect society–and especially young people–is far from clear. Certainly, nobody claims that pile driving one's enemies or ranting obscenities is a testament to cultural progress. McMahon says he is just reflecting the world around him. But a host of social critics – educators, pediatricians, and parents – argue that McMahon is doing far worse, by pitching to a vulnerable young audience the vilest messages of our times: Racial stereotypes are OK. Ogling women and making crude remarks are the marks of a man. It's cool to tell people to "Kiss my a–" or "Suck it." And if you disagree with someone, "bash" them.

Current events only confuse the picture. In the aftermath of the tragic shootings in Littleton, Colo., many Americans are debating whether the United States has a special culture of violence in which the link between social ills and televised brutality like wrestling seems all too obvious. Yet there is surprisingly little scientific research to connect the two. In Littleton, both killer and victim apparently watched wrestling. Matthew Kechter, who was killed, was such a WWF fan that his family requested – and received – a special tribute to the victims, which aired on Raw two weeks ago.

The man responsible for the wrestling boom is every bit as much a paradox as his product. Onstage, he is the mean, scowling schemer, "Mr. McMahon," who will lie, cheat, and crack skulls to get the power and money he craves. Offstage, he seems almost guileless. "My job is to entertain the masses at whatever level they want," he says, sipping his 10th cup of coffee of the day in the slick glass-and-marble headquarters of Titan Sports Inc., WWF's parent company. In person, McMahon is an affectionate, affable man with a shiny brown pompadour and a disarming candor. One minute he volunteers intimate details about his marriage (he cheated repeatedly–"It's not something I'm proud of"). The next, he squeezes the arm of his publicist, saying, "I could be better at patting others on the back, right, pal?" This is Vince, the softie who wept the first time he held his son. Vince, who sends his wrestlers out to meet dying kids for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Pumped up. Then there is the ready-to-rumble Vince, the aggressive competitor whom a former WWF wrestler once called "an evil guy" who treats wrestlers like "circus animals." This Vince follows a simple code: You hit him, he hits back. In the mid-'90s, after Ted Turner lured away some of McMahon's stars for his competing WCW tour on the cable channels TBS and TNT, McMahon ratcheted up the level of violence and sexuality in Raw to new levels–even while admitting that 15 percent of the audience, or more than 1 million viewers, is 11 years old or younger. By February of this year, the show's mayhem had risen to such levels that an Indiana University-Inside Edition study of 50 episodes reported 1,658 instances of grabbing or pointing to one's crotch, 157 instances of an obscene finger gesture, 128 episodes of simulated sexual activity, and 21 references to urination.

"These shows are extremely inappropriate models for children," says Howard Spivak, chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics' task force on violence. Kids don't always differentiate fantasy from reality, say Spivak and other critics, who point to 30 years of scientific research linking TV violence with increased fear and aggression in children. Although few researchers have zeroed in on televised wrestling, a 1994 Israeli study of third- through sixth-graders showed that after the WWF started airing in Israel in the early 1990s, violent behavior – in the form of mock wrestling matches that often escalated to fighting and injuries–increased "to a degree never known before." When WWF airtime was cut back, the violence among schoolchildren diminished "sharply."

At the New Haven Coliseum the other night, 10-year-old Jim Sabo, a WWF fan since he was 2, sat with his mother watching Smackdown! He was holding a sign he had made himself that read, "Suck It." What he likes best about wrestling, Jim says, is "How they all get hurt." His mother, Laurie, says she's not too concerned about the violence. "He understands it's just an act," she says. "But I'm not happy with the nudity and swearing."

Even some of the WWF's own stars think the show goes too far. "I get a little turned off with some of the sexual overtones," says Stone Cold Steve Austin, who in real life is Steve Williams, the father of two young girls. "I don't dig any of that racism."

Code of honor. But McMahon accepts no blame. For someone who tries to adhere to a moral code in his private life, he seems strangely disconnected from the moral implications of his public persona. McMahon says he values honesty, respect for others,compassion, and equal treatment for all. He gave up his marital infidelities, he says, when he realized he was "hurting a lot of people." He is proud that he hires only "quality human beings."

But when it comes to wrestling, he refuses to play ethics cop. He is first and foremost an entertainer, he says, and it's the job of parents–not himself–to monitor what kids watch on TV. "Raw is TV-14," he says, referring to the content rating. "If parents are concerned about content, they should insist their kids watch the [toned-down version] Saturday and Sunday morning, which is more youth friendly." As for obscene finger gestures, they are "done all over the world." And the frequent WWF appearances of an African-American pimp and his "ho's" (whores)? "We're not concerned about being politically incorrect."

Past episodes of Raw have featured mock crucifixions, S&M scenes, wrestlers "mooning" the audience and each other, and a woman sucking suggestively on an Italian sausage. Is there a line beyond which McMahon won't go? "You don't see guns, murder, knives," he says. "We resolve our differences physically, in a wrestling ring. How bad is it compared to a Schwarzenegger or Stallone movie?"

He has a point. Wrestling, with its cartoonish characters and faked body slams and pile drivers, seems less real than Mel Gibson mowing down blood-spurting villains with a pump shotgun. Mick Foley, who plays the deranged WWF character Mankind, says that even children's fairy tales have more blood and gore than the WWF. For instance, in Snow White, the evil stepmother requests that Snow White's heart be brought to her in a box (the messenger brings a boar's heart, instead). "If we were to air a story line [like that]," Foley says, "we'd have a media uproar requesting that we be thrown off the air."

McMahon has not asked for anyone's heart in a box – yet – but in an odd way, his success rests on wrestling's ability to tap those troves of human archetypes. Mythologist Joseph Campbell once wrote that humans inevitably re-create ancient myths in each new generation. For all its crudeness, professional wrestling plays to just such familiar fables. In Raw, the "sport" occupies just 36 minutes of a two-hour show. The rest is an elaborate, soap-opera-style story line detailing a host of feuds, rivalries, grudges, and byzantine subplots.

Myth maker. Playing out the tales is an oddball cast drawn in part from McMahon's own imagination and embellished by his team of writers and stars. McMahon has never read Homer or Carl Jung, but if wrestling did not pay homage to primordial story lines, it seems unlikely that it would have caught on. The Undertaker, the ultimate archetype of darkness, dresses in black, appears in a cloud of smoke, and continually hauls off victims for Satanic rituals. The 7-foot Kane–a mute, scarred misfit in a scary red mask – is right out of the book of Genesis. Another favorite plot, that of a beautiful woman (currently, McMahon's 22-year-old daughter, Stephanie) abducted by a man, sounds a lot like the Iliad or even the Hindu epic Ramayana. Then there is the staged rebellion of McMahon's son, Shane, against his father. Oedipus Rex, anyone?

Jungian psychologist Polly Young-Eisendrath says these images are instantly recognizable "because everybody has had the same emotional experience." A fan, Patrick Armstrong, 23, puts it this way: "Every member of the population is represented in the WWF."

And at the center of it all is McMahon, who helped build a multimillion-dollar megabusiness from the small-time shows of the early 1980s. On show night, he darts around nonstop, now poring over the script backstage, now huddling with Steve Austin, now stopping to chat with a reporter about his need to "tweak" the show's storyline right up until curtain time. Around him roam the lunatic products of his imagination. A beefy, bare-chested wrestler named Triple H watches while a hairdresser arranges his blond tresses in a ponytail. The Big Show, a 500-pound refrigerator of a man, sprays his vast torso and shoulders with oil. Another star, Al Snow, wanders around carrying a mannequin's severed head. "In psychoanalytic terms," he says solemnly, "I'm projecting a nonverbal cry for help." They all seem to like Vince. He is nice to everybody, they say. "This is a mom-and-pop business," says Nicole Bass, a 6-foot, 2-inch bodybuilder who recently joined the show. "It's really a big family back here."

It's certainly a happier family than the one Vincent Kennedy McMahon left back in Havelock, N.C. His mother married five times, and her boy Vince suffered not only from dyslexia but from attention deficit disorder as well. He was so disruptive in school that the authorities gave him a choice: a state reform school or a military academy. Before long, he had earned the dubious honor of being the first cadet in the history of Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro, Va., to be court-martialed. In fact, the only way McMahon got through what is now called East Carolina University was by attending class for five years, taking summer school every year, and petitioning his professors to raise his grades. "Even today I can't spell," he says.

After stints selling paper cups and adding machines, he went to work in 1971 for his father, who promoted wrestling matches throughout the Northeast. With stars like Gorgeous George, wrestling had been a huge hit in the early days of television, featured on all the networks. But by the late 1960s, it had dropped in appeal. McMahon began buying out the regional promoters who controlled the sport and consolidating the smaller tours into a national company. In the early 1980s, he acknowledged that the outcomes of matches were predetermined, freeing wrestling from state regulations. Ten years later, when a federal investigation of steroid use in the WWF threatened to scuttle the company, Vince beat the charges – while admitting he took steroids himself, when they were still legal.

Stiff competition. It was during the steroid investigation – and a concurrent scandal involving sexual harassment against a WWF executive (not McMahon) – that Ted Turner made his move. Turner signed several WWF stars, including superstar Hulk Hogan, and positioned his Monday Nitro directly opposite Raw. The WCW shows topped WWF viewership for more than a year and a half. Irate, McMahon charged Turner with theft of ideas, and his lawsuit – and Turner's countersuit – are pending.

In the end, though, the competition apparently helped them both. Far from mercifully receding, professional wrestling is threatening to expand. Life is good now for McMahon. The guy who grew up in a trailer and put cardboard in his shoes to cover the holes now controls a company with revenues of $500 million a year. His wife, Linda, is president and CEO of the Stamford, Conn., corporation; their children, Stephanie and Shane, both work for the company; and the whole family appears in the shows. His kids are so devoted that Shane McMahon even asked his father to be his best man at his wedding a few years ago.

Linda likes to tell the story of when Shane was 4 years old and was terrified one night that Dracula was hiding in the closet. No amount of reassurance by his mother could change his mind. Finally, Vince strode into the room, heading right into the closet. After a great deal of crashing and banging, he emerged and closed the door. "You don't have to worry anymore," he assured his son. "Dracula is dead."

As a father, McMahon understood the importance of quieting a child's fears about violence and terror. But a wrestling promoter's job, he tells interviewers, is not that of a parent. So don't expect McMahon to slay one of parents' current nightmares, the sordid spectacle of professional wrestling. That's one monster that he prefers not to see.


(U.S. News, May 17, 1999)

By Carolyn Kleiner

Classes are over at American University in Washington, D.C., but you wouldn't know it from the raucous debate going on in the Anderson Hall commons room. The burning question: Who's got the makings of a future WWF champion? Students in preppy gear dissect the merits of Badd Ass Billy Gunn ("has the athletic ability and the character but not the microphone skills") versus Road Dogg ("the mike skills are there but not enough talent in the ring") until heavy-metal music blaring from a big-screen tv signals the beginning of the WWF's Raw Is War. This meeting of the American Wrestling Association is called to order.

Professional wrestling today is pure kitsch, and college kids – always on the lookout for the next thing in campy cool – are particularly enthusiastic devotees. The AWA boasts over 30 members, mostly men but otherwise diverse: These are students of all ages and ethnic groups – from fraternity boys to the vice president of the student body to a second-year law student – brought together solely by their love of wrestling. Most watched the sport as youngsters, in the good old days when Hulk Hogan ruled the WWF. It soon became uncool, along with other '80s fixtures like Mr. T or the band Culture Club. But recently there's been a rebirth of sorts on campus.

The group sits up, leans in, and watches intently as Vince McMahon pulls the patented "Stone Cold Stunner" move on his son Shane; the room erupts in cheers. "That's art," deadpans Nicholas Kowalski, decked out in a Stone Cold jersey with a toothpick hanging out of his mouth.

The students discuss the McMahon family history and argue about how it got to this point. Devotees keep track of who's good and who's bad, who is in cahoots with whom, and which wrestler is back from the dead. "What is Shamrock's sister's name?" someone calls out during a promo for an upcoming match. "Ryan," says club president Joe Drake, witheringly, as if everyone should know this. There's also a good deal of pseudo-intellectual debate going on; a lot of discussion about why they're all here. "Other professional sports are trite now. There's no more Kirby Puckett in baseball, no more Michael Jordan in basketball," offers Kowalski. "Yeah, wrestling is fixed, but at least there are still superheroes."


(U.S. News, May 17, 1999)

By Dan McGraw

The two young men in the wrestling ring grab their opponents in headlocks, stomp their feet emphatically, and grimace in mock pain. A hulking wrestling teacher named "Super T" critiques the performance and then sets them off again: Stomp-grab-grimace, stomp-grab-grimace, stomp-grab-grimace. Only when he thinks they have done it right do they go on to their next move, the throw-your- opponent-against-the- ropes-and-jump-over-him-when-he- bounces-back trick.

For every professional wrestling star like Stone Cold Steve Austin, there are thousands of guys who watch the Monday night matches on tv and decide that they too can be stars. Dozens of them gather every Saturday in the Texas Indoor Arena (formerly an indoor go-cart track) in suburban North Richland Hills to study with guys like Super T, a 10-year veteran of the Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas wrestling circuit. The training is not cheap: The several months of classes provided by the National Wrestling Alliance Southwest cost $2,000. Still, dozens of wrestling schools have popped up nationwide. Besides teaching basic moves like the "monkey flip," the "eye rake," and the "neck breaker," they give advice on interviewing techniques, costume selection, and the picking of a "wrestling personality."

While a boy sweeps up popcorn and soda cups from the sticky floor (leftovers from the previous night's matches), Kevin Duncan takes a break from class. With a blond Mohawk mane, Duncan looks every bit the pro wrestler. But he is also a professional electrician, a thoughtful single father with custody of his 3- and 5-year-old daughters.

For Duncan, 29, the goal is simple. "I've wanted to do this my whole life," he says. "And if I get to walk into that ring one time, in front of my family and friends, then I've lived out my dream."

The odds are against him. Being on the small side (under 6 feet tall and less than 200 pounds), he will have to carve out a name to keep going. If he proves he can draw fans, he might be able to travel the Southwest circuit or even go to Atlanta, where the WCW holds auditions. But chances are he won't make it past the Texas Indoor Arena.

Still, Duncan is undaunted. "When they announce my name and hit the music, everyone's eyes will be on me," he says. "I can't wait for it to happen."

The WAWLI Papers No. 499...


(Pasadena Post, Sunday, February 26, 1933)

Professional wrestling will have its long-awaited Pasadena introduction next Friday night, under the management of Morrie Cohan. An all-star card has been arranged for the opening night, as follows:

Oki Shikina vs. Pat Flanagan, best two out of three falls, no time limit.

Vic Christy vs. Henry Graber, one fall, 30 minute limit.

Terrible Swede Strelich vs. Wildcat Miller, one fall, 30 minutes limit.

Ray Jarecki vs. George Maloney, one fall, 15 minute limit.

In securing the Japanese, Shikina, to meet Flanagan in the opening feature, Cohan believes he shows his intention of bringing to Pasadena the outstanding figures in the mat game.

Shikina wrestled Jim Londos last week at the Olympic. Pat Flanagan, his opponent, is a former All-American football player from Cornell and a member of the crew there.

Vic Christy is a Sunland boy and a real comer. The Terrible Swede hails from Pasadena and Ray Jarecki is the pride of his native Alhambra.


(Pasadena Post, Saturday, March 4, 1933)

Wrestling made its debut in Pasadena last night at the Pasadena Arena before a large crowd of bankrupt patrons, and, judging from the applause and enthusiasm displayed, is here to stay.

Oki Shikina, the little Japanese "rubber-ball," after going through the usual ups-and-downs of the game, won out in righteous manner over Pat Flanagan, the Irish "villyun" from New York. Oki subdued Pat for the first fall in twenty-three minutes, five seconds with his famous hip-lock, but not until the Irishman had nearly torn his much cauliflowered ear into bits.

Shikina impressed the crowd with the easy and scientific manner in which he tripped his opponent. With all the confidence in the world, Oki simply walked up to Pat and flopped him time after time. For the second fall, Pat's Irish came to the fore and he threw Shikina in twenty-seven seconds with a left to the jaw, followed by a body slam.

Shikina soon recovered (why shouldn't he?) and sunk the Irish colors for the deciding fall in 8:45 with another flying hip-lock.

The semi-windup between Vic Christy and Don DeLaun was packed with plenty of action. The two boys went at it hammer-and-tongs, and though both appeared to be near exhaustion at times, they managed to survive thirty arduous minutes to a draw decision.

"Wildcat" Miller, good-looking young light-heavy, succumbed to "Terrible Swede" Strelich of Pasadena in 23:15 with a flying body scissors doing the tricks. Strelich, the villain, won despite two lusty-lunged females who unfortunately were camped just in back of the press row. They yelled their loudest for Miller.

The first bout was won by Ray Jarecki, Alhambra giant, on a foul from George Maloney, when the referee, Mickey McMasters, disqualified Maloney for strangling. The end came after eight minutes of tugging, slugging, and hugging.

The next wrestling show will be held on week from next Monday, March 13, and every two weeks thereafter.

(ED. NOTE -- The next card was held March 13, but Morrie Cohan then proceeded to present wrestling every Monday night for another two decades, only occasionally moving the shows to Tuesday night in honor of holidays such as Memorial Day and Labor Day. Cohan had promoted boxing in the Pasadena Arena throughout much of the 1920s and continued to do so in the 1930s and '40s, in addition to his popular Monday night wrestling programs which drew all the top stars in the business for many, many years. Upcoming issues of The WAWLI Papers will include cards from the first 14 or 15 years of Cohan's lively promotion.)


(Pasadena Post, Tuesday, January 2, 1934)

By C.P. Corliss

Over-anxiety to get the third and decisive fall in a hurry cost Myron Cox his match with Mike Mazurki in the feature event of the weekly wrestling matches at the Pasadena Arena last night. Each man had one fall and Myron tore in to finish the match.

Cox knocked Mazurki to the mat with a flying tackle and then tried to follow it up with another one. However, he did not count on Mike ducking, which is exactly what happened, and Cox hit the canvas rather than his opponent, who immediately rolled over on him and the match was over.

Mazurki won the first fall in 11 min. 59 sec. with a body scissors. A series of body slams brought Cox the second fall in 4:49.

After the regular matches the fans were treated to an amateur exhibition which left no doubt in anybody's mind as to whether a woman could defend herself in the ring. It took pretty Clara Mortensen just exactly two minutes to throw Sailor Adams with a body scissors.

Due to the state wrestling commission rules it was necessary to hold the match as an amateur exhibition after the regular card. Pat McGill officiated in this match.

Rudy Skarda and Steve Znosky wrestled 20 minutes to a draw in a neat exhibition of clean wrestling. Both men got a good hand at the finish.

Louie Miller won an unpopular fall over Abe Goldberg with a back flip off the ropes followed by a kick to the stomach.

Officer Frank Von Mohr and Louie Andros went to a draw in a rough and tumble match. Yale Willis won the opener by throwing Sooren Eharzian in 12:28.

Colonel Hopkins, official state referee, was the third man in the ring despite the fact that he had his right arm in a cast as the result of an automobile accident New Year's Eve.

Comedy was added to the evening by Vince Barnett, noted motion picture "ribber," who got the fans in an uproar at intervals. He was introduced as Sammy Stein's manager.


(International News Service, August 18, 1936)

NEW YORK -- Wladek Zbyszko, five times world heavyweight wrestling champion, was killed during street fighting in Barcelona, Spain, Aug. 6, according to unconfirmed reports reaching here today via South America.

Word of the wrestler's reported death was sent to Ismail C. Pace, director of the Luna Park Stadium in Buenos Aires, from his home office. Pace immediately communicated the word to Jack Curley, local promoter, under whose auspices Zbyszko rose to fame in the sporting world.

Planning a comeback attempt, the wrestler, native of Poland, had been in Barcelona for some time. He was said to have been in touch regularly with Polish consular officials here until a few days ago, when his communications ceased abruptly.

(ED. NOTE -- Something other than a visit by the Prince of Darkness accounted for Zbyszko's lack of communications. He was not killed and, in fact, went on to wrestle for nearly another decade in various countries around the world.)


(Pasadena Post, Tuesday, July 8, 1941)

By Dave McBride

Living up to advance expectations last night at the Pasadena Arena, The Angel in his Pasadena premier defeated the huge ex-All-American football star Mayes McLain in a spectacular mat event.

Getting off to a slow start, the gargoyle-like French champion had the battle to himself most of the time using his famous "bear hug" to good advantage. The Angel won the first fall with a series of body slams and pinned the gridder with a body press in 15 minutes, 55 seconds. The second fall also went to The Angel with a body scissors in four minutes, 10 seconds.

In the semi-final bout, substituting for Bob Managoff, Ed Don George gave the local fans a good show, winning two out of three falls from Wee Willie Davis. First fall went to George, as he used a Japanese torture hold, in 13 minutes, 30 seconds. Second fall went to Davis who succeeded in getting a step-over toe hold in nine minutes, 59 seconds. Final fall went to George, who in the fast time of four minutes, 40 seconds, also got a step-over toe hold.

The other bouts went as follows: Al Corral defeated Lou Newman with a series of reverse head locks and finally pinned his man with a body press in 20 minutes, 13 seconds. King Kong Kashey was very lucky in gaining a draw from Hardy Kruskamp. "Egg" Haggerty, with a series of elbow smashes and a body press, defeated Mike Mazurki in 14 minutes, five seconds, and challenged the winner of The Angel-Mayes McLain bout.

(ED. NOTE -- As we keep reminding you, Mr. Scott Teal of Tennessee is getting quite industrious in the business of not only collecting old wrestling match results himself -- and encouraging his friends to do so -- but these searches, such as one for Hattiesburg, Miss., in the mid-1950s, occasionally turn up other articles of note which we are glad to reprint here.)


(Hattiesburg, Miss., May 8, 1957)

Rev. R.A. (Buddy) Hanna, a former wrestler, is conducting a tent revival in Petal.

Services are held at 7:30 nightly except Sunday through May 21. The tent is located on the corner of George St. and Eighth Ave., five blocks behind Petal First Baptist Church.

Mr. Hanna was ordained in 1943 in Hattiesburg by Rev. E.M. Bilbo at River Avenue Baptist Church. A native of Beaumont, Tex., he served as pastor of Evadale, Tex. Baptist Church for four years and has been an evangelist for eight years.

After five years of professional wrestling, he retired to devote his full time to evangelism. He met all of the leading wrestlers of today, and once defeated Gorgeous George. He also wrestled in Europe.


(Associated Press, June 18, 1957)

JACKSON, Miss. -- There are at least two "Lady Angels" wrestling in Mississippi and which one is the real thing may depend on who shaved her head.

State Athletic Commission records show the "Lady Angel" wrestled last Wednesday night in both Columbus and Natchez, at opposite borders of the state, an obvious impossibility.

A closer look at the records showed that two promoters, George Curtis of Vicksburg and Rex Mobley of Jackson, had applied for permission to present the "Lady Angel" to wrestling fans.

Mobley's angel wrestled at Columbus. Curtis' angel wrestled at Natchez. Mobley's angel is also booked for Jackson tonight, but her opposite number is working the Carolinas now.

"Mine is the real one," Mobley said today. "She's baldheaded and from Europe. That other one, she's just a girl who shaved her head."

Curtis, asked for comment on this, replied: "Aw, phooey. It's just the other way around."

State Treasurer R.D. (Bob) Morrow, who is a member of the athletic commission, was asked if there is anything illegal about two women wrestlers representing themselves as the "Lady Angel."

"I don't think so," Morrow replied. "The only recourse one would have would be to go to court to prove a claim. We haven't heard of any protests."


(Reuters, Monday, May 3, 1999)

By Steve James

NEW YORK -- Fancy a little Eau de Hulk? How about a dab of "Rowdy'' Roddy Piper behind the ears?

In an unlikely marriage of macho wrestling and designer fragrances, the perfume chain Perfumania announced a deal Monday with World Championship Wrestling to market a scent for men.

More brute than Brut, and following in the scent of basketball star Michael Jordan's recent successful melding of sports and fragrance, Perfumania expects to launch "WCW Nitro for Men'' in December.

Already, WCW gladiators Bill Goldberg and Kevin Nash are rehearsing for advertisements to be filmed next weekend in Miami's trendy South Beach. And the company said other stars like "Hollywood' Hulk Hogan and "Rowdy'' Roddy Piper would present their pecs in TV and print ads for Nitro.

With an estimated TV audience of 35 million people who watch World Championship Wrestling -- owned by Time-Warner Inc.

The company believes Nitro will be an explosive success with the fighting men and the women and fans who love them.

"It will be upscale, like Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger,'' said Perfumania Chairman and Chief Executive Ilia Lekach.

"It will be a very unique and creative marketing campaign,'' he told Reuters. "It's the first time a fragrance has been launched directly on the Internet and in retail stores.''

The Nitro brand will feature a complete line of products from after-shave to body lotion, he said.

"Brand recognition of the WCW fragrance will be accomplished by the combined cross-marketing efforts of Perfumania and WCW. The fragrance will have tremendous visibility reaching millions of shoppers through Perfumania's Web store, its 287 retail shops and the 35 million WCW fans.''

So what does it smell like? The New Jersey company that makes it gave a verbal hint.

Initially, Nitro is "a very fresh aromatic fragrance with green and spicy aspects in the top note (when first applied),'' said Stan Heuyer, vice president of Creations Aromatiques Inc.

"Cool marine notes lead to a mossy, woody and ambery dry-down,'' he said of the fragrance as it fades, or as they say in the business, as "it progresses.''

When formulating the fragrance, he said, the company's experts considered the world of wrestling and its "masculine mass market.''

In addition to TV, there are more than 300 live arena-wrestling events a year in North America, Japan and Europe, and Miami-based Perfumania will test-market Nitro by handing out vials of it to fans.

"Our champions like Bill Goldberg and Kevin Nash are really pumped about promoting a WCW-branded fragrance,'' said WCW Director Casey Collins, whose TV "events'' usually feature ads for items that appeal

to a young male audience -- cars, dried meat jerky and video games.

Asked if the wrestlers' endorsement meant it was OK for men to wear perfume, Lekach said: "Nowadays it's a cross-gender thing.

"You can't really identify the audience (for wrestling), it's everyone from doctors and accountants to truck drivers.''

(ED. NOTE -- As we so quite often do, in the interest of saving time, various articles are snatched from Joe De Leon's outstanding articles section of his Real Wrestling Info Newboard, located on the Internet at: