The New WAWLI Papers (Wrestling As We Liked It) No. 524


(Ring Magazine, March, 1936)

By Edward Merrill

Jimmy Amann, The Ring's reporter from Ohio, has been asked to contribute his Annual Ranking of Wrestlers for 1935, for this issue, in order to give our readers an opportunity to compare them with those of Toots Mondt. There are few followers of the mat sport who know their wrestling better than does Amann, and whether we agree with his Ring selections or not, at least we are confident that his choices will furnish interesting reading and offer food for plenty of arguments. Here are Amann's rankings.


(Group 1) -- 1. Danno O'Mahoney; Everette Marshall, LaJunta, Colo.

(Group 2) -- Carlos Henriquez, Mexico; Emil Dusek, Omaha; Vincent Lopez, Mexico; Jim Browning, Verona, Mo.; Hank Barber, New York; Man Mountain Dean, Waycross, Ga.; Jim Londos, St. Louis; Dean Detton, Salt Lake City; Gino Garibaldi, Italy; Ed Don George, North Java, N.Y.; Joe Savoldi, Three Oaks, Mich.; Gus Sonnenberg, Boston, Mass.; Ray Steele, Glendale, Calif.; Chief Little Wolf, Los Angeles, Calif.; Rube Wright, Ft. Worth, Tex.

(Group 3) -- Sandor Szabo, Hungary; Abe Coleman, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Hans Kampfer, Germany; Ernie Dusek, Omaha; Jack Donovan, Los Angeles; Andy Chicos, Chicago; Orville Brown, Topeka, Kansas; King Kong Cox, Los Angeles; Charlie Santen, Omaha; Fred Grubmeier, Lincoln, Neb.; Strangler Lewis, Lexington, Ky.; Hugo de Collemo, Italy; Jim McMillen, Chicago; Yvon Robert, Montreal.

(Group 4) -- Roland Kirchmeyer, Stillwater, Okla.; Cliff Olson, Minneapolis; John Pesek, Ravenna, Neb.; Alphonso Bisignano, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; George Zaharias, Pueblo, Colo.; Henri Steinborn, Germany; Tom Alley, Australia; Paul Jones, Ft. Worth, Tex.; Joe Malciewicz, Utica, N.Y.; Bull Martin, St. Louis; Dick Daviscourt, Memphis, Tenn.; Howard Cantonwine, Columbus, O.; Mike Mazurki, New York City; Henry Piers, Holland.

(Group 5) -- Daniel Boone Savage, Nashville, Tenn.; Nick Lutze, Los Angeles; Kimon Kudo, Japan; Leo Numa, Seattle; Dick Raines, Dallas; Chief Osley Saunooke, Cherokee, N.C.; George McLeod, Davenport, Ia.; Karl Schultz, Germany; Allen Eustace, Wakefield, Kans.; Baron Casimir, Russia; Sergei Kalmikoff, Bulgaria; Sammy Stein, New York City; Richard Shikat, Philadelphia; Len Macaluso, Utica, N.Y.; Douglas Clark, England; Dutch Hefner, Sherman, Tex.; Ernie Kelly, Atlanta.

(Group 6) -- Rudy Dusek, Omaha; Lofty Bloomfield, England; Abe Goldberg, New York City; Jack Sherry, Cleveland; Bert Asserati, England; Paul Boesch, Long Island, N.Y.; Marin Plestina, Chicago; Karl Pojello, Chicago; Tony Osborne, Chicago.


(Group 1) -- 1. Walter Roxey, Detroit.

(Group 2) -- Charlie Fischer, Buttnut, Wisc.; Sammy Nichols, New York City; George Becker, Salt Lake City; Maurice LaChappelle, France; Dave Levin, Bronx, N.Y.; Melsmeka, Russia; LeRoy McGuirk, Ponca City, Okla.; Leo Wallick, New York City; Wendell O'Dell, England; Ivan Rasputin, Russia; Stanley Buresch, Australia; Tony Siano, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Frank Malciewicz, Utica, N.Y.; Bull Curry, Hartford, Ct.

(Group 3) -- Cowboy Hughes, Ft. Worth, Tex.; Wilhelm Wagner, Germany; Salvatore Balbo, Italy; George Dusette, Canada; Whitey Wahlberg, Boston; Jackie Nichols, Miami; Hans (Fred Von) Schacht, Germany; Zimba Parker, Ethiopia; Joe Banaski, Chicago; Hugh Nichols, Mexia, Tex.; Hans Schnabel, Germany; Frankie Boehm, Cleveland; Jim Heffner, Sherman, Tex.; Young Gotch, Kansas City, Mo.; Eddie Malone, Ireland; Herman Donchin, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Clarence Eklund, Cheyenne, Wyo.; Bill Kief, Cincinnati; Dr. John Murphy, Boston; Alex Kasaboski, Canada; Steve Passas, Boston; Leo Shepsky, New York City.

(Group 4) -- Barney Cosneck, New York City; Joe Montana, Utica, N.Y.; Les Ryan, Ireland; Tony Morelli, Long Island, N.Y.; Joe Parelli, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Dude Chick, Laramie, Wyo.; Karl Von Zuppe, Germany; Fred Bruno, Philadelphia; Clete Kaufman, Columbus, O.; Roy Lumpkin, Dallas; Ben Sherman, Pittsburgh; George Sauer, Glendale, Calif.; Gil LaCrosse, Ft. Wayne, Ind.; Ray Carpenter, Lancaster, O.; Don Hill, Columbus, O.; Frankie Hart, Holland; Pinkey Gardner, Schenectady, N.Y.; Jack Bloomfield, Stamford, Ct.; Max Edelmeyer, Bronx, N.Y.; Marion Mynster, Charlotte, N.C.

(Group 5) -- Paul Orth, Oklahoma City; Peter Sherman, Columbus, O.; Bobby Chick, Laramie, Wyo.; Eddie Pope, Mount Airy, N.C.; Bill Rudy, Chicago; Fred Kohler, Chicago; Al Williams, Detroit; Jack Muldoon, Boston; Jean Callet, France; Vic Weber, Cleveland; Max Martin (Terry McGinnis), New York City; Alex Madsen, Sweden; Stanley Rogers, Texas; Suliman Bey, India; Steve Budynas, Utica, N.Y.; John Kilonis, Columbus, O.; Ralph Garibaldi, St. Louis; Paddy Mack, Boston; Doug Marcel, France.


(Group 1) -- 1. Gus Kallio, Finland.

(Group 2) -- Billy Thom, Bloomington, Ind.; Jack Kennedy, Corpus Christi, Tex.; Marshall Carter, Little Rock, Ark.; George Gable, Cincinnati.

(Group 3) -- Sailor Parker, Cincinnati; Ted Germaine, Boston; Black Panther, Louisville; Speedy LaRance, Canada; Walter Miller, Chicago; Gustave Johnson, Sweden; Jack Lipscomb, Birmingham, Ala.; Martino Angelo, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Olaf Hanson, Sweden; Honey Hackney, Atlanta; Buck O'Neill, Ireland; Otis Clingman, Dallas; Tuffy Aberg, Sweden; Prince Mihalik, Russia; Charlie Carr, Shreveport, La.; George Pettula, Portland, Ore.; Elmer Garrigan, Detroit; Bull Smith, Paducah, Ky; Bob Meyers, Chicago; Mike London, Pontiac, Mich.; Jack Rollins, St. Paul, Minn.

(Group 4) -- Charlie Pfiester, Milwaukee; Bobby Roscoe, Chicago; Bill Hassen, Detroit; Henry Koln, Benton Harbor, Mich.; Boris Romanoff, Birmingham, Ala.; Bobby Sampson, Los Angeles; Scotty McNaught, Little Rock, Ark.; Tom Galbos, Cleveland; Dale Haddock, Detroit; Tiger Tsakoff, San Francisco; Bill Brooks, Canada; Alvin Britt, Salina, Kans.; Buck Jones, Pueblo, Colo.; Ben Bolt, New Orleans, La.; Joe Wolfe, Nashville, Tenn.; George Lee, Berlin, N.H.; Mike Chacoma, Shawnee, Okla.; George Craig, Ada, Mich.


(Group 1) -- 1. Jack Reynolds, Cedar Rapids, Ia; 2. Johnny Stote, Schenectady, N.Y.

(Group 2) -- Ralph (Wild Red) Berry, Little Rock, Ark.

(Group 3) -- Walter Achiu, Dayton, O.; Speedy Schaeffer, Detroit; Robin Reed, Portland, Ore.; Lord Lansdowne Finnegan, England; Sammy Klein, Cincinnati; Wildcat McCann, Portland, Ore.; Bulldog Jackson, Alaska; Raoul Lopez, Mexico; Gordon Arquette, Tacoma, Wash.; Buddy O'Brien, Los Angeles; Bob Burns, Centralia, Wash.; Leo Donaghue, Flint, Mich.; Paddy Nolan, Boston; George Hortay, Hungary; Stacey Hall, Columbus, O.; Les Fishbaugh, Newark, O.; Frankie Hill, Jackson, Mich.

(Group 4) -- Everett Rattan, Dallas; Blacksmith Pedigo, Paducah, Ky.; Scotty Williams, Louisville; Spike Ashby, Columbus, O.; Steve Nenoff, Bulgaria; Don Sugai, Japan; Joe Domar, Aberdeen, Tex.; Joe Hulsey, Little Rock, Ark.; Doug Henderson, Chattanooga, Tenn.; Pete Weber, Salt Lake City; Tetsura Sato, Japan.

(Group 5) -- Dutch Holland, New York City; Bobby Pearce, Los Angeles; Cyclone Burns, Miami; Ali Kaba Shaba, Persia; Art Perkins, Detroit; Hy Sharman, Salt Lake City; Terry Mullen, Omaha; Toots Estes, Oakland, Calif.; Red Sims, Toledo, O.; Luis Kodrick, Australia; Des Anderson, Seattle; Ray Meyers, Louisville; Ace Freeman, New York City.


And here are the wrestling notes of Jim Amann, our Ohio ace:


Danno O'Mahoney and Everette Marshall, top ranking heavyweights, continue to forge ahead, each in their own individual territory. O'Mahoney, the real champion, insofar as successorship is concerned, should meet the LaJunta claimant and end all the squabbling which isn't doing the wrestling game any bit of good.

Marshall met Chief Osley Saunooke (Sunoco) in a match at Columbus, Ohiko, which saw the fans riot, landing the Indian in a hospital. Attempts by Al Haft, Columbus promoter, to rematch the pair went in vain.

Promoter Ross Leader at Cincinnati stepped in with a lucrative offer to Marshall for a New Year's Day match, but the Colorado heavyweight and his manager Billy Sandow held out for a better purse. Leader couldn't see it, but Saunooke, in a final attempt to get the champion into the ring again, offered to pay the remaining amount necessary to close the match. They are to meet New Year's Day for the title at the Music Hall sports arena and the advance sale looked like one of the best starters of the year for the mat game since Jack Reynolds was the big thing around here. Marshall's belt, token of his "title" claims, was placed in the hands of the Cincinnati Wrestling Commission.

Speaking of Stote, the Eastern boy is still going like a house afire, with champion Reynolds still avoiding the issue. A Reynolds-Stote title match in Los Angeles, Toledo, Cincinnati or Ft. Wayne, Ind., would be a sellout. Stote is now located in Toledo.

Joe Carroll was recently crowned wrestling champion of the Middle West by the Federal Wrestling Association. Carroll has turned back the best in the section. The F.W.A. has set down a ruling that all matches Carroll engages in will be titular matches and he must defend his title within 30 days of each match, unless incapacitated. Carroll formerly hailed from Oregon but is now making his home in Covington, Ky.

The leading challengers for Carroll's crown at present are Benny Suddarth, the Alabama school boy; Stretcher Lewis, Birmingham dreadnaught; Jackie Adams, Toledo collegian, and Bill Allen, Indianapolis' blonde thunderbolt.

Ace Freeman, New York welterweight, is the latest sensation in southern rings, including mostly the territory of Mississippi and Tennessee. Freeman is continually hounding the haunts of Johnny Stote, rated along side Jack Reynolds as world's champion. Stote is rated by the Federal and slo the American Wrestling Associations.

WRESTLING RATINGS continues on its merry way to recognition. Several southern states, including South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Mississippi, are the latest under teh banner. The ratings include over 1,000 wrestlers and can be obtained from the writer at 2810 Sidney, Cincinnati, O.


Good old Doc Almy, writing from Boston, says:


A new challenger for top wrestling honors to appear in Boston is Yvon Robert, a French-Canadian, hailing from Montreal, and piloted by Eddie Quinn of Waltham, Mass., a mat promoter in that city. Though but little more than 21 years old, Robert has had plenty of mat experience, he started when he was about 16 as a pupil of Henri DeGlane, former world's heavyweight mat champion. Yvon weighs 215 pounds and seemingly has plenty of "it." It is possible he may be the fair-haired boy as regards the world's crown.

Robert made a real hit here in December by tossing Hans Steinke in 7:23 in the Boston Garden, following which bout he was signed to meet Danno O'Mahoney on December 27, with the title at stake. Inasmuch as Danno had been talking for weeks about returning to Ireland, many "opined" that this bout was to be the grand climax. However, after much heating up, the contest fell flat when O'Mahoney refused to meet the Canadian.

Next, Ed Don George was signed on as a "sub" for Danno. There was some more ballyhoo -- then George, who at this writing is reported to be suffering from a serious eye affliction at his home in North Java, N.Y., stepped down and out. Left swinging on the gate, Yvon returned to Montreal.

Promoter Paul Bowser, badly handicapped by an attack of the flu that has kept him confined to his Lexington, Mass., farm since before Christmas, finally secured Jim Browning to give Robert a testing, and the result of this bout will not be known until after this issue goes to press.


Pacific Coast wrestling news by Charles "Spider" Mascall follows:


Before going into the usual grapple gossip of the last month, I should like to correct a statement made by our fair Texas correspondent, Miss Bernice Sandboe. In a recent "Ramblin's on Rasslers" she stated that both Man Mountain Dean and Chief Little Wolf appeared in the recent fillum, "We're In the Money." This is incorrect: The part of the Indian chief in the flicker was taken by wrestler Myron Cox and not Chief Little Wolf.

Joe Malcewicz, who for years was the "uncrowned ruler of the heavyweight division," was made promoter in San Francisco a few weeks ago. Malcy succeeded Jack Ganson, who has held the reins of San Franciso wrestling for the last few years. It is rumored in grapple circles that Jack Reynolds and his cut-rate prices drew bigger crowds than those attending Ganson's wrestling offerings.

Tetsura Higami arrived on the Coast recently with a junior middleweight championship belt he claims he won in a tournament held two years ago. Lord Lansdowne was matched with the tricky little Japanese and was awarded the title when Higami was disqualified. Ten days later, they were rematched and Higami regained his title by pinning the monocled Englishman two out of three falls.

Rumors are flying about as to the identity of "The Mysterious Mr. X." The current one is that the hooded matman is the scion of a wealthy Chicago family. The hooded laddie won more than thirty consecutive matches before he was downed by the "Persian Sheik" Ben Ali Mar Allah. In the rematch, "Mr. X" threw the Sheik and thus avenged his only defeat on the Coast. It would be mighty funny to have a masked matman as the welterweight mat monarch but this "Mysterious Mr. X" is a dandy grappler and one of the best we have seen on the Coast.

Sandor Szabo, Gino Garibaldi, George Calza, Mayes McLain, Wee Willie Davis, Pat Fraley and others donated their services on a card, the proceeds of which went to the Will Rogers Memorial Fund. It was a fitting tribute from the world of wrestling to the memory of the homely American sage.

Coastal gallery gods gasped when . . . Lanky Sam Leathers won from Bob Kruse and pinned Ivan (The Terrible) Managoff . . . Al (Gangster) Williams scored a double victory over the veteran Otis Clingman . . . Ted Christy handed Shinichi Shikuma a whipping in 12 minutes . . . Doctor Barney Coznek beat Dude Chick two out of three falls . . . Gino Garibaldi threw Sandor Szabo . . . Al Pereira was returned the victor over Joe Malcewicz . . . Vic Chambers (the wrestling hobo of nowhere) tossed Ben Sherman . . . Chief Thunderbird, the Canadian Indian warrior, threw Abe Coleman . . .

Gabbing with Grapplers . . . A giant Hindu matman, without a doubt the Ixman Bux Gama mentioned in a recent article by Jack Curley, arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia, during the last month. He will be seen in action just as soon as he becomes accustomed to the climate. He is certainly a big fellow scaling in the neighborhood of 250 pounds. The giant Hindu will appar in Vancouver under the banner of George Fitch, Western Canada's foremost wrestling promoter . . .

In Stockton, Calif., Doctor Irving Zeimer refused to allow "Gentleman" Jack Washburn to engage in a wrestling out with Al Pereira. The medico stated that Washburn was suffering from high blood pressure . . . Bobby Pearce, the Olympic champion, arrived on the Coast with what he calls a new hold. Bobby has given the hold the nickname "Oklahoma Kip" after his home state. Dude Chick, the Pole Creek, Wyoming cowboy, also has given his new airplane spin hold a nickname. Chick calls his specialty the "Lariat Spin."

LeRoy McGuirk, clever lightheavyweight monarch, was seen in action on the Coast during the last month . . . Chief Little Wolf, Joe Savoldi, Kimon Kudo, Milo Steinborn, George Calza, Al Baffert, Ted Christy, Frank Taylor and Ali Yumid are a few of the California headliners . . .

Aurel LeBel was born twenty-five years ago in Montreal, Canada. Mr. LeBel Sr. wanted to make Aurel Jr. a boxer, but the youngster had ideas of his own. At 12, he decided to take up wrestling. He did. Two years ago LeBel beat Paul Le Brun in a bitterly fought match, in which he annexed the Eastern Canada middleweight championship.

Following this, Aurel made a tour of the U.S.A. and in two years wrestled some five hundred times. During his sojourn in the U.S. his name Aurel LeBel was changed to Gene La Belle. Since then he has beaten such middleweights as Ernie Arthur (challenge for the Canadian crown held by Jack MacLaughlan), Ben Sherman, Marvin Barackman, Paddy Nolan, Cyclone Stockton, Carl Van Wurden, and others. To top this Gene La Belle has held Gus Kallio to two draws, which is something to rave about. This boy is destined to go a long way in the squirm game.

Miniatures of Matmen . . . "Gentleman" Jack Washburn, one of the veterans of the grapple game, was born at Paris, Ill., on Oct. 14, 1899. He served as a soldier in the World War where he studied wrestling under the great Earl Caddock. Washburn, known in some parts as the "Bully from Boston," hails from Los Angeles. He has beaten Charlie Strack, Mike Romano, Pat McGill, Ted Cox, Jack Ganson, Abe Kaplan, Ole Anderson, Matros Kirilenko, Pete Mehringer, Howard Cantonwine, Al Baffert, Jack Forsgren and Dick Daviscourt. "Gentleman" Jack has played in the films and has doubled for a number of stars. He is a gentleman outside the ring but a "mad demon" when he enters the squared circle . . .

It is customary when Lord Lansdowne enters the ring for the band to play "God Save the King." Count Von Bomberg, monocled matman from the land of Adolph Hitler, requests the playing of "Die Wacht Am Rhein" upon his entrance. I wonder what next the publicity boys of the Reynolds' circuit will conceive . . .

Curfew Chatter . . . As this goes to New York, Vincent Lopez has just added a big-time scalp to his collection by tossing the veteran Gino Garibaldi in forty-five minutes . . . The Dusek Four are due to arrive on the Coast and the wrestling fans up and down the Pacific seaboard are looking forward to seeing these rowdy grapplers in action . . . Ed Don George is heading this way, so it looks like Vincent Lopez will have his hands full . . .

Regards to Nat Fleischer on the 14th anniversary of the founding of The Ring. without this grand magazine, there would be no boxing or wrestling. Wrestlers, promoters, and mat fans up and down the Pacific Coast join me in saying, "Long Live The Ring."


Thanks, Mascall -- I received letters from all over the world congratulating me on the long life of The Ring, and I appreciate it. Incidentally, in the month of January, we received letters from so many parts of the world that I decided to paste the stamped envelopes on display in my Book Shop window in Madison Square Garden. Your letters are all appreciated. Continue to write to me. Your construction criticism is always welcome, dear readers -- Nat Fleischer.


The New WAWLI Papers (Wrestling As We Liked It) No. 525


(Ring Magazine, September, 1933)

By Tex Austin

The wrestling world was alive with activity of every imaginable type in recent weeks. Not content with surprises and upsets in the conventional matter of matches, it had more than its share of unexpected and, no doubt, sad, sidelights. Numbered among the big matches, upsets and surprises among the heavyweights was the tossing of the former champion, Dick Shikat, by Everett Marshall; the throwing of Strangler Lewis by young Sammy Stein; the loss of a bout by Hans Steinke to Ray Steele, and the badly messed plot to "get" Joe Savoldi.

In the light-heavy class, Hugh Nichols threw Frankie Wolff to regain all he had lost in their muddled Texas match, while the veteran, Jack Reynolds, took Wildcat McCann into camp to win back the welter crown, which has been his more more than a dozen years.

Sidelights included the automobile accident which took the life of George Kotsonaros, and inflicted serious injuries to Paul Jones, and the discovery that Judith Allen, the movie star, who has been seen with Gary Cooper, is the wife of Gus Sonnenberg. The latter fact was not a surprise to this writer as he clearly recalls the day Sonnenberg was married at the "Little Church Around the Corner" in New York City. They will be divorced.

The throwing of Shikat by Everett Marshall in Philadelphia was a distinct surprise and halted Dick's progress in receiving a return bout with Jim Londos -- a match that Shikat has been after for over three years. Only two weeks before, Shikat had won over Marshall, when the latter was disqualified.

Marshall accomplished the task of tossing Shikat by grasping the latter's wrist and yanking Dick toward his own shoulder, as a result of which Shikat went hurtling through the air for a hard fall.

Can it be that the injuries suffered by the German in an auto crash last year have handicapped him to the extent that he can never regain his old form -- the form that seemed to set him by himself among the heavyweight wrestlers in this country?

On the Coast, young Sammy Stein finally flattened Strangler Lewis, a feat which Stein's admirers insisted he could have accomplished in each of his previous matches with the veteran Strangler. Sammy lost ground, however, when he met Gus Sonnenberg. The two crashed in a head-on collison and rolled to the floor, unconscious. Sonnenberg was the first to recover, and so, received the verdict. Gus, too, lost the headway gained when Jim Browning flattened him in their Coast meeting.

In Washington, D.C., Ray Steele pinned the German, Hans Steinke, after a gruelling battle. Previously, they had grappled to a draw on the return Shikat-Marshall card in Philly. Since Steinke is under the same management as Londos, he couldn't have met Londos if he had won. It was not the first victory Steele has registered over Hans, though.

Ever since Joe Savoldi won from Jim Londos in that many-angled match in Chicago, it has been no secret that the Greek's camp has been seeking Savoldi's scalp. Therefore, when the chance came, the plot was hatched. In Staten Island, Savoldi was grappling Sol Slagel, when the latter was disqualified by the referee for using the strangle five times in succession, and the verdict awarded to Savoldi.

After Joe left the ring with the referee, Tom Alley, the Australian heavy, jumped in and held Slagel's hand aloft, while a photographer, brought along for the occasion by Savoldi's enemies, snapped the picture. An attempt to have the wire services fall for the story was made, and some papers did state that Savoldi had been beaten. When the true facts were printed, however, the whole affair reacted in Savoldi's favor, although he met no real opposition during the month and still can't convince that he knows a great deal about grappling or that he rates near the top.

Two former champions, Hugh Nichols and Jack Reynolds, regained the honors they, until recently, had held. Nichols defeated Frankie Wolff, two out of three falls, in a bout staged under the N.W.A. jurisdiction in Oklahoma City, to regain the light-heavyweight crown, while Reynolds tossed Wildcat McCann at Redland Field, Cincinnati, to take back the welterweight title, which has been his for a dozen years. It took the veteran Reynolds thirty-five minutes to down McCann with his favorite hold, the rear leg-split.

Thanks to Jimmy Amann and Doc Almy, correspondents, and Bernice Sandboe, formerly of California, but now back in her native Texas, for the news they forward each month. Bernice knows her wrestling as few of the fair sex do, and her interest in the sport is second to none. We would greatly appreciate any special notes of international interest which correspondents would send in. That includes you fans, too. Let's hear from you, whether you dissent or agree with us. Send along your comments and ideas. How about it?

Death claimed a veteran of the mat, and narrowly missed one of the younger favorites of today, when George Kotsonaros was killed and Paul Jones severely hurt when the automobile in which they were riding overturned near Eutaw, Alabama, on the unlucky thirteenth of July.

Jones and "Kotsy" had wrestled in Nashville the night before and were headed for New Orleans in Jones' big Studebaker with Kotsy at the wheel. In trying to slow down on a turn in the loose gravel road, the car swerved around, struck a concrete post and overturned, in the act of which Paul and George were tossed through the roof of the car. George was killed when the car landed on top of him, and Jones received a gash on the head that necessitated 23 stitches, and also injuries to his arm. From all appearances, he will be out for the rest of the year.

Abe Kashey and Joe Cox drove by shortly after the accident but, seeing no one, did not stop.

Kotsonaros, at 45 years of age, was a veteran matman and subsequently took the part of a gangster in quite a few movies. It is said that at one time he was considered a very wealthy man, but lost huge sums in the Depression.

Just a few days before his death, Kotsy almost put the skids under Jim Londos. George took the first fall, one of the few Londos has lost in several years, and had Londos backing away in bad shape, while working for the second fall, when he misjudged his distance in charging in, and went flying out of the ring for a seven-foot fall.

Don George is, without a doubt, Henri DeGlane's master! The mat feud of several years existing between the two heavyweights reached its finale on July 18, when fully 20,000 fans at Braves Field, Boston, saw the former whip Deglane for the fourth time in one of the fastest, cleanest mat frays ever staged in Boston, or New England. George defeated DeGlane in 1 hour, 21 minutes, 36 seconds, with only one fall being registered. The champion put over the win with a flying tackle, at which he is much faster and better than Gus Sonnenberg.

In their third contest, on June 23, at the Boston Garden, an affair which drew about 14,000, the result was rather flukey. After each had gained a fall, DeGlane got the champion with a hammerlock in the third round that looked one hundred per cent to the good. As he was about to pin George for the fall, a spectator seized a towel in the champion's corner and hurled it into the ring. Seeing the towel, DeGlane released his hold. As he walked away, George knocked him flat with a flying tackle, winning the fall and the match. The towel-thrower escaped in the general confusion.

A few months before that, in the Boston Garden, George on whatever claims DeGlane possessed to the crown, when DeGlane's shoulder was broken.

In their first match, in Los Angeles, a couple of years ago, George broke DeGlane's collarbone in pinning him . . .

Senator Pat Harrison of Mississippi likes to go out to the ballpark in Washington, D.C., and watch the grapplers do their stuff. Recently, he sat in the first row and bet on Ray Steele against Jim Londos. Steele lost, and so did Pat . . .

Thrown for a loss: Indianapolis has a new arena, built along the lines of a Century of Progress structure, which holds four thousand . . . Jim Londos is said to have a half-million in cash, some we know in the National City Bank of New York, and an equal amount in property and bonds . . . Londos has a yearning to raise chickens, of all things . . . Dick Shikat made only a quarter of a million as champion . . . Wrestling has been going great in Nebraska and Iowa, while boxing seems to be out of the race there . . . Karol Zbyszko tossed Adam Krieger so hard with a body slam that the latter was knocked unconscious . . . With their time limit up in the United States, Sandor Szabo and Mihaly Orgovanyi, two of Hungary's greatest matmen, crossed the Canadian border, and have been giving the fans up there some great shos, as has Jim Browning . . . Browning drew $700 at Winnipeg; $800 at Regina; and $400 at Moose Jaw . . . Browning's share was $40 at Moose Jaw; $100 at Regina; and a guarantee of $500 at Winnipeg . . . Bill Curry of Chicago is one of the current "Masked Marvels" . . . Tommy Marvin, the Indian, was refereeing the Whitey Hewitt-John Katan match in Houston, Texas, when a lighted cigar found a resting place on his head . . . Marvin is a former boxer, and the fellow who attacked Jack Curley during the free-for-all which followed the Strangler Lewis-Ray Steele match in Madison Square Garden last year . . . Tiny Ruff is a very poor excuse for a wrestler . . . If George Zaharias was as skillful as he is rough, he might reach the top . . .

Dixie Doings: Tommy (Big Chief) marvin has an English bulldog named "Prince," who has won eight championships . . . the Marvins also have a tiny Boston bull named "Sister" as a playmate for Prince . . . Jack League, San Antonio boxer, wrestler and referee alternately, once knocked Primo Carnera to the floor four times in one bout . . . John Katan is on a barnstorming tour of Canada . . . Pete Brown has a ranch near El Paso, Texas . . . Walter Stratton, light-heavy, broke a blood vessel in the back of his neck when George Sauer gave him a back body drop . . . It's a boy at the Marshall Blackstocks . . .

At Harlingen, Texas, Dutch hefner and his opponent, Hans Swartz, fell through the ropes. Several officers came over to the wrestlers and separated them. Hefner, getting the worst of the fall, groggily started toward the ring. He made no attempt to hit at Officer Chaudoin, who had his billy in his hand, and brought it down on Hefner's head, cutting him badly and knocking him out cold for several minutes. Dutch had to have seven stitches taken in his head. S'terrible!


(Dallas Morning News, June 11, 1999)

By Cody Monk

Terry Gordy used to be one of the most hated men in Dallas. And "Bam Bam" loved it.

As a member of the "Fabulous Freebirds" with Michael Hayes and Buddy Roberts, Gordy helped the group run roughshod over the Sportatorium on Friday nights in the mid-'80s.

He got booed. He was yelled at, cursed at. All because he was the villain. The one who kept the Von Erich boys down.

"Michael was having a match with Kerry," said Gordy, 38, who was at the Bronco Bowl on Thursday as part of the NWA Southwest "Parade of Champions" show. "I was at ringside and I slammed the (cage) gate on Kerry's head. Ever since, Michael and I teamed together against them."

The Freebirds against the Von Erichs was the classic good vs. evil matchup. The Von Erichs were the local, wholesome good boys while Gordy, Roberts and Hayes were the outlaw outsiders from "Bad Street USA."

The feud helped put Fritz Von Erich's World Class Championship Wrestling on the map and made stars of his sons and the Freebirds.

The Sportatorium stayed packed every Friday night, and the show drew a wide Saturday morning television audience.

Gordy, who now wrestles independently and lives in Chattanooga, Tenn., first got involved in the wrestling scene while in his early 20s. While wrestling in Pensacola, Fla., he got a call from Fritz. A few weeks later, he was standing ringside with Hayes.

The four-year run in WCCW ended in 1986 when Gordy joined "Cowboy" Bill Watts' Universal Wrestling Federation. Gordy became the Federation's first champion when he beat "Iceman" King Parsons for the title.

It was the UWF where Gordy wrestled and became friends with mainstream stars Sting, Rick Steiner, Terry Taylor, Chris Adams, Shane Douglas, Ted DiBiase, The Rock and Roll Express and Jake "The Snake" Roberts.

However, Gordy's calling card continued to be tag team wrestling. From the UWF, he joined "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, a former Oklahoma football player, and went to Japan.

In 1992, Gordy and Williams jumped to WCW, where they were one of the top teams in the promotion.

When Gordy did finally tire of tag team wrestling, he joined ECW, which eventually led to a run as The Executioner in the WWF that ended in 1996.

As an independent, Gordy travels, working as much or as little as he wants. He has slimmed down his 6-4 frame from the 312 pounds of his WCCW days to 255.

The lighter schedule has allowed him more time at his home north of Chattanooga, Tenn. And while he enjoys staying at home instead of constantly being on the road, Gordy said he would like to make trips to Texas more frequently.

"I was in Houston last weekend and Dallas this week," Gordy said. "I like it down there. I haven't seen the Sportatorium for two or three years now. But those were good days. I like Dallas and liked those times. I need to get down there more often."


He couldn't get along with Del Harris or Kurt Rambis, so we'll see how he fits in with the "Macho Man." Dallas native Dennis Rodman, cut from the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this season, signed with WCW this week to make a summer appearance at a pay-per-view.

Rodman is no stranger to WCW. He claims to be close to "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan and Rodman has appeared at several WCW events. He teamed with Hogan two years ago at a pay-per-view and did it again last year with Hogan against Diamond Dallas Page and the Utah Jazz's Karl Malone.


If fans wanted any signs of animosity between "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and what most consider his counterpart in WCW, Bill Goldberg, what happened at the Licensing Expo 99 in New York will disappoint. As Goldberg walked past the WWF exhibit, he stopped for a moment and Austin emerged from the booth and gave Goldberg a hug.

Austin is the newest spokesman for the "Got Milk?" campaign. He should be appearing in magazines next month.

Austin coming out on RAW Monday wearing a tie with a baseball jersey is about as close as the real-life Steve Williams comes to wearing one.

"I'm most comfortable when I've got on jeans and a T-shirt," Austin said. "That's just how I am."

Situations rarely affect Austin's attire either. As Austin sat down to eat breakfast at The Plaza hotel in New York after an event last year, the hostess approached the table and told Austin that shorts weren't allowed in the dining room.

Austin asked if he was bothering anybody with his shorts. The hostess apologized, but said it was policy. Austin stood up, looked at the three people who were with him, and walked out.


One of the biggest hits at the Licensing Expo 99 were "Sexual Chocolate" candy bars. The bars are in honor of "Sexual Chocolate" Mark Henry, who is from Silsbee, Texas....The breast implants made available on by former WWF valet Sunny sold last week for $11,999.99.....Mick Foley, a.k.a. Mankind, had successful surgery on his knees last week and is targeting an in-ring return for Summerslam in August....The WCW also signed rapper Master P. This is the same Master P. whose agency former Texas running back and current New Orleans Saints back Ricky Williams signed with. Master P., cut from a CBA team earlier this year, is scheduled to make an in-ring appearance with Konnan and Rey Jr. against Curt Henning, Bobby Duncum, Jr. and country music star Travis Tritt....A complete version of the Sable lawsuit against the WWF is available on She is suing the company for, among other reasons, mental anguish and direction of her character....

Q: Do you know what happened to Iceman King Parsons or Skandor Akbar? They appeared in World Class-USWA during the '80s and early '90s?

A: Parsons is still wrestling on the independent circuit, and Akbar lives in Mesquite.

The New WAWLI Papers (Wrestling As We Liked It) No. 526

(ED. NOTE -- A tip of the WAWLI Papers hat to John Grasso, of upstate New York, and one of the nation's leading sports historians, for providing a few copies from his extensive collection for reproduction here.)


(Ring Magazine, April, 1938)

By Nat Frank

Wrestling fans have been wondering for almost a year what has happened to Al Bisignano, the well-liked Italian star, hailing out of Des Moines, Ia. Now the news has leaked out. Bisignano had gone on a voluntary retired list, but the urge of the spotlight has forced him back into the game that had gained him international prominence until his sudden departure.

"Bissy," as the Latin is known, had been sharing the mat limelight with such fellow countrymen as the Garibaldi brothers, Gino and Ralph, and Jumping Joe Savoldi, when he suddenly took his unannounced vacation.

The Iowan had shown marvellous speed and endurance in the game, and he had built up a vast multitude of followers, through his orothodox and sensational style of grappling. He had come from practically nowhere, an unknown in the profession, to the dizzy heights of stardom in about two years of toil on the mat. Not only was he a big hit with the fans, but he also became the basis of squabbles between the rival promoters, all of whom were eager for his services. As a result, Bisignano was one of the busiest matmen in the profession.

It will be recalled that prior to becoming a bone bender, Al was a rattling good pugilist. He was one of the best light-heavyweights, and later a heavyweight, throughout the Middle West. He fought under the nom-de-plume of Babe Carnera, and followers of the glove slinging art will readily remember the Italian as a battler who faced them all and won more than ninety per cent of his engagements.

The lack of competition, after slinging the glove encased fists, forced him into retirement as a pugilist, for he found battles few and far between. Rather than be on the sidelines waiting for his next "shot," the Mid Westerner chose to hang up the gloves and embark on a wrestling career.

It was in the early part of 1934 that Babe Carnera was no longer and Al Bisignano was reborn -- a fighter transformed to a gripster. He found the sport to his liking and, as stated before, he was coming along the mat highway like a meteor. From that time until the tail-end of 1936, Bisignano took part in almost a thousand matches. It was really a "Busy Bissy" and he decided on a much needed rest to regain his vitality before he would go to pieces.

Today, the Italian, who scales 215 pounds and stands six feet in his stocking feet, feels as though he can stand the grind again, and he is set for an even busier campaign.


DIDJA KNOW THAT--Bobby Roberts, the Grand Rapids sensation, who was a four-letter sports winner at the University of Dayton, spurned an opportunity of becoming a state trooper to become a grappler? . . . Bronko Valdez, the Mexican grappler, is a nephew of the late Pancho Villa? In fact, Valdez' first name is Pancho in honor of his uncle . . . A match that the promoters throughout the ountry are trying to make is the one between Yvon Robert, the French-Canadian, and Cliff "Swede" Olson? Incidentally, both Robert and Olson met once before and it was Olson who broke the Canuck's leg . . . Mike Mazurki, the Polish star, is going better today than ever in his career? The former Manhattan College star has been grappling the top-flight bone-benders for the past three years . . . Mixed matches are now in order for the representatives of the tots of Rudy Dusek and the offspring of Bing Crosby? Rudy became the daddy of a fourth daughter recently and the movie star became the father of a fourth son . . . You should keep your eye on Jim Parker, the newest thriller from Memphis, Tenn.? Parker, though only a youngster, has taken the Middle Atlantic and New England states by storm. He has everything necessary to develop into a headliner . . .

Dynamite Joe Cox, the Kansas City Krasher, has the thickest set of fingers of any wrestler in the game? And his foes will swear that he has a grip of steel . . . Frank Judson, the former Harvard grappling coach, returned here recently after a world tour and is doing his grappling along the Atlantic seaboard? . . . Ralph Garibaldi, the younger brother of Gino, is making up for lost time since his rest for more than two months due to an injured knee? . . . Yvon Robert, the French-Canadian, has a kid brother, Maurice, in the wrestling field? From reports coming down this way, it looks as though the younger Robert is making good with a bang . . . Mayes McLain, the towering Redskin, is wrestling in the Southwest with great success? He is a big card in Texas . . . Rebel Bob Russell, the Texas Terror, is one individual who has built up a huge following around this part of the country through his fearlessness in the ring and willingness to face anyone in the world? . . . Bill "Bluebeard" Lewis, former contender for the mat title, is a successful promoter of mat shows at Richmond, Va., where he is playing to turn-away audiences? . . . Bobby Managoff Jr., son of the old-time title claimant, is making both fans and cities point to him as of future championship timber? Managoff is an Armenian and hails from Chicago. The elder Managoff acts as his son's adviser and trainer ...


That "Bad Man" is here again. Reference is made to Floyd Marshall, the rough and ready Phoenix, Arizona grappler.

Marshall recently returned to the States after a tour, lasting more than a year, that took him through every civilized section of the world. He traveled over both hemispheres and saw action against the elite in the foreign countries.

His was a style that the fans of the far-away parts had not seen previously. They had for the first time viewed a virtual "madman" in action. Marshall, a noted bad man of the game, was showing the natives of the distant countries the brand of wrestling that was a revelation to them. And what's more, Marshall got away with his off-color tactics.

Floyd, a 6 foot 3 inch, 225-pound Westerner, was a demon in the ring. He grappled according to his own lines. If his holds were legal, all well and good; if he strayed from the usual lines of orthodox bone-bending, he made the spectators believe that it was all according to Hoyle.

Marshall won practically all of his matches down there. With the exception of a few draw verdicts, Floyd managed to flatten his rivals, and by flattening them is meant that the Arizona grappler generally managed to leave his victims in unconscious hulks in the center of the ring.

Oddly enough, Marshall learned the rudiments of wrestling from one of the finest men who ever graced the wrestling ring in the person of the late Big Jim Browning, one time wrestling champion of the world. And Browning was a strict follower of the legal manner, for he never believed in taking unfair advantage of his rivals.

At that time, Marshall was a deputy sheriff in Phoenix. It was on one of Browning's numerous trips to that part of the ountry that Marshall and the late ex-champion formed a friendship. Big Jim prevailed upon Floyd to enter the bone-bending ranks for he felt sure that the Arizonian would make good in that profession, due to his build and experience in handling the law-breakers of his territory.

In 1933, Marshall heeded Browning's advice and turned in his badge. After training for almost six months, Floyd embarked on a mat career and made good from the start. He followed the orthodox style at first, but when he found that practically every foe was taking unfair advantage of him, Marshall decided it didn't pay to be a "good fellow" and turned bad man himself. So from that day on, Marshall has become known as one of the most feared men in the game.


A wrestler with a weather eye on the future is the popular red-headed Boston star, Irish Jack Donovan. It is his intention to become a barrister at the conclusion of his bone-gripping profession. Here is one matman who doesn't let the days and nights roll by without making some use of his spare moments.

When he isn't training for future tiffs, or in active competiton in various rings throughout the country, Irish Jack can be seen interestingly devouring books devoted to law. It has always been Donovan's intention to be a lawyer and he doesn't intend to idle his time away.

Donovan, a former student at Northwestern University, and later a puglist of marked ability in the light-heavyweight ranks, quit the fistic realm for that of a grappler five years ago. The loss to pugilism was matdom's gain, for Donovan had been rapidly rising up the fistic ladder until an injury forced him out of the fistic ranks.

From the first time he entered the squared circle in a wrestling contest, the Irishman proved to be a sensation. His style made a big hit with the fans and promoters. He was a magnet at the gate and a grappler who feared no one. What makes his rise all the more interesting is the news that Donovan, while a one-time fighter, seldom had to resort to fisticuffs to tame his rivals. Only when his opponents went completely haywire did the New Englander use fistic forces on the culprits, usually with telling effect.

Now that Donovan is up there in the big time, he is looking ahead. He realizes that at most he wants to restle about five more years and during that span of time he is giving his time to the study of law. In his travels from city to city, during his off days, in the dressing rooms at various clubs, prior to entering the ring, the tow-headed gripster is reading and studying the writings of the legal masters.

It serves as a dual purpose for Donovan. First of all, he is slowly but surely beginning to attain his goal. Secondly, it takes his mind off his matches so that when the call comes for him to enter the ring he is clear of mind and unworried. Usually groups of well-wishers storm the clubs to wish him luck and constantly harp on the toughness of his foe, so Jack has devised ways and means of hiding himself in a far-off corner, absorbed in his books, and is therefore undisturbed.

The Boston star openly admits that by becoming a wrestler he is by far more capable of eventually becoming an attorney-at-law than had he stuck to boxing -- a profession that calls for perpetual hangers-on, such as trainers, sparring partners, etc., and little or no privacy whatsoever.


Kansas City seems to have a habit of sending out real "toughies" into the mat profession. Three of them are making their opponents feel their steel all along the Atlantic Coast.

They are Dynamite Joe Cox, also known as the Kansas City Krasher; Jack Hader, the ex-Baker Boy; and Jimmy Coffield, the Mauling Missourian.

There is no need to elaborate on the abilities of this trio of trip hammer mat meanies. They not only are three of the toughest babies in the game but you are privileged to query any unbiased spectator or critic and each and every one of them will readily agree that Cox, Hader and Coffield are the real M'Coy in showmanship, ability and drawing the patrons in at the gate.

Promoters throughout the country consider it a rare treat to have any or all three of Missouri's Bad Men appear on their cards.

They are always assured of capacity audiences, for the very simple reason that the fans come out in droves at all times for the sole purpose of seeing these men DEFEATED, which happens very, very seldom.

Incidentlaly, to Joe Cox goes the rare distinction of being the only bone bender in the game to boast of a victory over Bronko Nagurski, present ruler of Matdom. The grappler, who boasts of the largest sized fingers of any other wrestler, makes good use of them at the expense of his opponents, whom he either tortures or batters into helplessness.


(from the Internet Movie Database)

Date of Birth: Nauplie, Greece ???

Date of Death: 13 July 1933, Eutaw, Ala.

Actor Filmography

Honeymoon Lane (1931) . . . Nolay

Dangerous Paradise (1930) .... Pedro

Body Punch, The (1929) .... Paul Steinert

Shakedown, The (1929) .... Battling Roff

We Faw Down (1928) ... aka We Slip Up (1928)

Beggars of Life (1928) .... Baldy

Street of Sin (1928) .... Iron Mike

Fifty-Fifty Girl, The (1928) .... Buck (the Gorilla Man)

Wizard, The (1927) .... The Gorilla

Private Life of Helen of Troy, The (1927) .... Hector

Catch-As-Catch-Can (1927) .... Butch

Tender Hour, The (1927) .... The Wrestler

King of the Jungle (1927)

While London Sleeps (1926) .... The Monk

Cupid's Knockout (1926)


(From the PR Newswire, June 2, 1999)

World Wrestling Federation Superstar, The Rock, Stars in Chef Boyardee's, Getting Chefy Wit' It,' National Promotional Campaign World Premiere on on June 7 at 7:00 PM

STAMFORD, Connecticut -- "Getting Chefy Wit' It," a national commercial for International Home Foods brand, Chef Boyardee, starring World Wrestling Federation Superstar, The Rock, will premiere on the World Wrestling Federation's website,, this Monday at 7:00 PM ET.

The World Wrestling Federation and International Home Foods have developed a partnership to co-brand Chef Boyardee with the World Wrestling Federation's hip, cool and attitudinal image. The partnership includes customized campaigns vertically integrated through the World Wrestling Federation's internet, cable, syndication, network television, publishing and pay-per-view platforms.

"The World Wrestling Federation and the Rock are perfect partners for Chef Boyardee. Only the best is good enough for the Rock, whose signature phrase is 'Do you smell what the Rock is cooking,' and Chef Boyardee is what the Rock is cooking. Millions of World Wrestling Federation fans love The Rock, and they love their Chef Boyardee," states David Roe, General Manager, Chef Boyardee at International Home Foods.

"Getting Chefy Wit' It," is more of a hip-hop music video than a commercial -- entertaining the consumer while promoting Chef Boyardee and World Wrestling Federation Superstar, The Rock. Jon Sayer, Director of Business Development for the World Wrestling Federation, states, "The production capability, high entertainment value, and larger-than-life, charismatic Superstars are what make the World Wrestling Federation the ideal vehicle for Chef Boyardee's brand message."

The national campaign, "Getting Chefy Wit' It," will premiere via streaming video on the World Wrestling Federation website, this Monday, June 7, at 7:00 PM. The website, ranked the number one sports site for young males 12 -- 17 (Media Metrix), receives 100 million page views a month. Also available on the World Wrestling Federation website is a chance for consumers to win a free trip to Summerslam. Held in Minneapolis, Minnesota on August 22, Summerslam is sponsored by Chef Boyardee.

"Getting Chefy Wit' It" will make its television debut Monday, June 14, on the World Wrestling Federation's leading cable show, RAW is WAR, on USA Network between 9:00-11:00 PM/ET.

Titan Sports, Inc., located in Stamford, CT, is a privately held company founded in 1982 that does business as the World Wrestling Federation. As the leader in sports entertainment, Titan's business is structured around television programming in 120 countries (cable, network and syndication), live events, pay-per-view, print and on-line publishing, home video, and merchandising and licensing on a worldwide basis. Titan's impact on popular culture is pronounced: The World Wrestling Federation's two-hour prime-time show "Raw is War" is the #1 rated cable show on the #1 rated cable network, USA Network. Over half of the top 60 pay-per-view events of all time have been produced by Titan. The World Wrestling Federation is currently the number one pay-per-view provider in the world. Specifically, these pay-per-view spectaculars were seen by over 100 million people and represent over $350,000,000 in gross revenues. The site is one of the most popular on the World Wide Web and is at the top of AOL's most frequently visited sites. Titan's live events hold several world records for paid attendance, and currently, World Wrestling Federation home video represents over 56% of all sports videos sold in the United States. WWF The Music, Vol. 3, recently platinum, hit #6 on the Billboard Charts.

International Home Foods, Inc. is the maker of high quality, nutritious prepared foods. Among its leading products are Chef Boyardee prepared pastas, Pam cooking sprays, Bumble Bee seafoods, Campfire marshmallows, Franklin Crunch 'n Munch glazed popcorn, Polaner fruit spreads and spices, Gulden's mustards, Libby's prepared meats, Dennison's chili, Ranch Style brand beans, ROTEL tomatoes and green chilies, and Luck's Country Style Foods.

The New WAWLI Papers (Wrestling As We Liked It) No. 527


(Atlanta Constitution, December 7, 1928)

The rather difficult problem of who is superior -- Paul Harper or Cyclone Jack Humberto -- which has stumped the wrestling fans since the match was first made will be solved tonight at 8:15 o'clock in the spacious auditorium where the two brilliant young heavyweights meet over the tedious two-hour distance at the head of a fine-looking supply of mat events arranged by John Contos.

Both principals have check in, Harper by airplane, and Humberto by rail, and both reported to the promoter that they are in shape and ready for come what may.

The liveliest main bout of the wrestling season is a safe prediction. None who have seen the spectacular Harper in his draw with Paul Jones and his conquest of the experienced Jack Washburn, can help but agree with that prediction. Nor can any who witnessed the speed and agility shown by Humberto in a match here last winter with Pete Sauer say other than that it should be flashy battle with thrills abounding.

Harper, since he left his collegiate studies behind for the more rigorous work of the mat, has never been defeated, according to all available information. Humberto has, but not often, and he claims the heavyweight championship of his native Mexico.

The winner has been promised the spoils which this time will be a match with the great Greek warrior, Jimmy Londos, who returns from Europe on December 15, and in the event of a victory there, Contos doubtless would feel disposed to choose the famous and title-wearing Strangler Lewis himself as a foeman.

Present at the ringside will be the football players of the rival institutions -- Tech and Georgia -- or at least those of them who can conveniently attend, for Harper, himself a college man and a football player of some consequence, has invited the athletes to watch this scrap as his guests. Harper is still keenly interested in football doings and declares he will certainly be among those present at the Tech-Georgia game Saturday afternoon.

The weighs in tonight's main bout show Harper will scale right at 205, while Humberto will notch about 193. The latter's handicap in poundage will be doubtless be offset by his greater speed.

A match that looms as one of the finest semi-windups Contos has had in some moons will see the veteran Bill Demetral, Chicago Greek, in action after 16 years' absence from Atlanta, against Whitey Hewitt, a stocky, sturdy mass of brawn, for one hour, and an extra attraction will find Pete Dallis, another Greek veteran, lined up against a worthy opponent.

The usual ladies' free sign will be hung out.

(ED. NOTE -- According to eminent mat historian and researcher Don Luce, in word relayed through equally eminent historian Scott Teal, the John Contos promotion in Atlanta ceased to exist when the promoter was seriously injured in an auto wreck "around Pittsburgh." Of course, in later years, Contos promoted in Baltimore and Phoenix, becoming a stout supporter of the National Wrestling Alliance in the latter locale. "Cyclone Jack" Humberto was better known as Juan Humberto and wrestled in the top professional circuits for more than 30 years. Pete Sauer achieved most of his mat fame using the name Ray Steele. Demetral, who met Frank Gotch in his younger days, was nearing the end of the trail at this time. He had broken "kayfabe" in a much-publicized law suit against Strangler Lewis in Chicago during the mid-1920s.)


(Atlanta Constitution, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 1929)

Henry Webber, of Memphis, Tenn., well known wrestling promoter, was granted a license to promote the mat sport here by the city boxing commission yesterday.

Webber is a former wrestler who worked here with Dick Daviscourt four years ago. He has been successful in Memphis in bringing topnotch wrestlers together. He plans to open his season on the night of November 26 at the auditorium.


(Charleston, W.Va., Gazette, June 13, 1999)

By Jeff Rider

Eric Bischoff and World Championship Wrestling reached a new low Monday night on Nitro.

During the opening moments of the show, Bischoff told the television audience that World Wrestling Federation owner Vince McMahon would be revealed as the "Greater Power" later that night on Raw.

While Bischoff didn't actually say McMahon's name, he told fans the "Greater Power" was facing a $110 million lawsuit. That really narrowed down the list of candidates.

I was stunned.

Not at McMahon's role, but at Bischoff's blatant disrespect toward the fans.

We had anticipated Monday's Raw for a week. We had fierce discussions regarding the identity of the "Greater Power." And then along came Bischoff to leave us speechless.

A motive for Bischoff's actions isn't hard to find.

WCW has been losing ground in the ratings for months, despite Bischoff's best efforts. His decision to steal McMahon's thunder was obviously the last gasp of a desperate man. And remember, this isn't the first time WCW has tried to spoil a big night for the WWF.

Remember when Mankind won the World title on a pre-recorded Raw. Tony Schiavone made sure to inform fans that the WWF strap would change hands that night.

That was not only a slap in the face to fans, but to Mick Foley, as well. After Bischoff's announcement Monday, I changed the channel. And I didn't flip back to Nitro the rest of the night.

I wasn't alone. Raw posted an impressive win in the head-to-head ratings, 6.65 to 2.8 for Nitro. Hopefully that will send a message to Bischoff and the rest of WCW.

The fans aren't going to be easily influenced by underhanded and unprofessional ploys like the one Bischoff pulled Monday.

Instead of delving into the competition's storylines, perhaps WCW should work on some of its own. Because that's the only way to keep fans from changing the channel, again.


It hasn't been the best of times for Vince McMahon. On the heels of the recently filed lawsuit by Rena Mero (Sable), the family of Owen Hart has scheduled a press conference Tuesday to announce the filing of a multi-million dollar lawsuit against McMahon and the WWF stemming from Hart's tragic fall during a pay-per-view last month in Kansas City, Mo. McMahon told the Toronto Sun newspaper he was unaware of any impending suit ...

In a related note, Kansas City police officials are continuing an investigation into Hart's death that may result in a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

"I have some concerns that the material was the right stuff to use to lower a [large] man,'' Maj. Gregory Mills told the Sun earlier this week. "We also need to find out who decided to use that equipment and why.''

Mills said the harness Hart was wearing had not been tampered with. He said investigators have yet to focus on one particular suspect. In order to press criminal charges in the state of Missouri, police must show evidence pointing to one suspect, Mills said ...

WCW's Great American Bash pay-per-view takes place tonight at 8 from Baltimore. Headlining the card is a World title match between champion Kevin Nash and the Macho Man Randy Savage.

Other bouts include: Chris Benoit and Perry Saturn challenging Diamond Dallas Page and Bam Bam Bigelow for the tag titles; a return match for control of WCW between Ric Flair and Rowdy Roddy Piper; Konnan and Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Curt Hennig and Bobby Duncum Jr.; Hak vs. Brian Knobbs in a hardcore clash; Ernest "The Cat" Miller vs. Scott Norton and Buff Bagwell vs. the Disco Inferno.


(National Enquirer, circa June, 1999)

A deadly secret lurks behind the recent stunt-gone-bad death of pro wrestler Owen Hart - - at least 20 other pro wrestlers have also died tragically in the past five years!

Pushing themselves with drugs, steroids and stunts to stay on top, wrestlers end up dead from drug abuse, heart attacks and suicide, an ENQUIRER investigation reveals.

Incredibly, it's 87 times more likely that a pro wrestler will die tragically than a police officer will be killed in the line of duty!

"Big-time wrestlers pay an extremely high price for their huge paychecks," New York psychiatrist Dr. Anthony Pietropinto told The ENQUIRER.

"These performers get a lot of physical injuries. And the pressure to be macho and live in the fast lane can be just as lethal as the physical pressures.

"Many wrestlers are very bulked up, which can add to the risks of heart disease. And the pressure to stay big and strong are so intense that some have to resort to steroids to stay pumped up, making their risks of heart disease skyrocket."

Said Owen Hart's brother, wrestler Bret "The Hit Man" Hart: "You look for ways to endure the physical pain of a broken body."

Owen fell 90 feet to his death from a rafter in a packed Kansas City arena on May 23. He was about to be lowered into the ring on a cable but police said a quick-release device attached to a harness Owen wore may have opened prematurely.

Other wrestlers' deaths weren't so public:

"Flyin' Brian" Pillman, 35, was found dead in a Bloomington, Minn., motel room a few hours before a World Wrestling Federation (WWF) pay- per-view event on Oct. 5, 1997.

The cause of death was listed as an enlarged heart. But his widow Melanie blames untested human growth hormones Brian was taking to compete with younger wrestlers. "That's what it was. I know it," she declared.

Neil "The Power Superior" Caricofe -- the National Wrestling League champion -- was found running naked on the seventh floor of a hotel in Ocean City, Md., in August 1996.

When police tried to handcuff Caricofe, 33, he broke free and climbed down seven flights of stairs to the parking lot. There he collapsed and died as eight officers tried to restrain him with batons.

His mother suspects his deadly behavior was the result of a seizure that could have come from a wrestling injury.

An autopsy later revealed that a combination of body-building and performance-enhancing drugs, alcohol and a bad heart caused his death.

Richard "Renegade" Wilson, brought into World Championship Wrestling (WCW) by superstar Hulk Hogan, enjoyed initial success and even a TV title reign. But when his popularity and his physical health began to wane, Wilson was bounced down to preliminary status.

A week before his death at age 33, he was released by WCW and found himself a wrestling has-been. On February 22, Wilson put a .38-caliber pistol to his head and killed himself in his suburban Marietta, Ga., home.

Eddie Gilbert -- whose ring moniker was "Hot Stuff" -- died in his sleep of a heart attack in February 1995. He was just 33 years old.

"Jeep the Mercenary" Swenson died of heart failure on Aug. 18, 1997. The bulked-up grappler had a feature role in "Batman & Robin," playing Bane, the masked sidekick of Uma Thurman's Poison Ivy character. He was just 40 when he died.

Louie Spicolli, whose real name was Louis Mucciolo Jr., was only 27 when he was found dead in his San Pedro home on Feb. 15, 1998. He had taken 26 Somas, a prescription muscle relaxer, washing them down with a large quantity of wine.

Art Barr used to wrestle in a costume that made him look like the Michael Keaton character in the movie "Beetlejuice." The 28-year-old wrestler died in his sleep after ingesting a combination of prescription drugs and alcohol on Nov. 23, 1994. His young son was napping next to him at the time.

Rick Rood, who wrestled under the name "Ravishing Rick Rude," was one of the first stars for Ted Turner's WCW. He died in his Georgia home this past April 20, empty prescription bottles at his side.

Other wrestlers who died prematurely in the last five years include Richard "Man Mountain Mike" Martello; Steve King; Dan Curtis; Jeremy "Big E Sleeze" Sumpter; Dick Murdoch; "Crusher" Jerry Blackwell; Russell "Tiny Anderson" Knorr; Jean "Black Venus" Kirkland; Dean "Brady Boone" Peters; John Ayres; Jerry "Jerry Oski" Arotski, and Ray "Kareem Muhammad" Candy.

Insiders say much of the blame for these tragedies goes to the wrestling organizations' governing bodies -- in their push for big bucks, they no longer allow state regulators to monitor the physical and mental health of pro wrestlers.

WWF spokesman Jim Byrne admitted to The ENQUIRER that the organization checks wrestlers for drug use only when there is "reasonable cause" for a test.

Even wrestling legend champ Bruno Sammartino -- who was champ when wrestling was still being regulated -- is disgusted by the state of the "sport" today.

He declared: "It's an X-rated, obscene sleaze show!"


(National Enquirer, circa June, 1999)

By Darryl Wrobel

Outraged over the tragic death of Owen Hart, a female grappler has stepped forward to blow the lid off the dangerous, sometimes fatal secrets of professional wrestling.

In this ENQUIRER exclusive, the former female wrestler disclosed the seamy, behind-the- scenes details:

Young wrestlers are forced to sacrifice their bodies in the ring -- and frequently to sell their bodies outside the ring for a shot at stardom, she charges.

"Pro wrestling got so vile and corrupt that I had to throw in the towel," 33-year-old Amy Nicholetti, who wrestled under the name "Ramblin' Rose," revealed to The ENQUIRER.

"I refused to be a prostitute for the crooked people who run it! It's a life-threatening, money- driven business. Every time a wrestler steps in the ring they're lucky if they walk away alive!"

After five years in the International Wrestling Federation (IWF), Amy returned to her Connecticut home where she lives with her spouse. The IWF is a minor league training ground for televised pro wrestling, where everything -- including the sleaze and danger -- is magnified, Amy claimed.

It all starts when managers trick young hopefuls into risking life and limb by promising to make them superstars.

"What they don't tell wanna-be wrestlers is that they'll get only minimal training before being put into the ring with opponents who will tear your head off!

"I broke my arm within 15 minutes on my very first day of training, because I had to do stunts far too advanced for an amateur," she revealed.

"My good friend Brittany had her neck broken because she was put into the ring without being trained properly."

"After-hours wrestling" is a version of the Hollywood casting couch, said Amy.

"That's when a promoter approaches struggling wrestlers and offers them anywhere from $400 to $700 to have sex and sometimes make porno movies."

Amy hopes Owen Hart's death will wake the public up. "Maybe now something will be done to clean up this sport."

The New WAWLI Papers (Wrestling As We Liked It) No. 528

(ED. NOTE -- In a departure from the normal format, The WAWLI Papers hereby presents a capsule look at the great Dan Gable-Larry Owings amateur rivalry of nearly 30 years ago. Interesting to note, and as partial justification for including an amateur wrestling article in these Papers, that Gable and Owings doubtless would have become professional wrestlers had they come onto the scene forty years earlier.)


(Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 18, 1999)

By Dan Raley

For eight minutes, they locked into the most meaningful wrestling match held in this country. Nearly 30 years of separation have followed.

In all that time, Dan Gable and Larry Owings have hardly spoken. They competed once more, but they've never gotten past the perfunctory takedowns and reversals. They prefer it this way.

Their lives, once so closely intertwined, need distance; not just to show proper respect, but to exist.

"If I ever did sit down and talk with him and become close with him, it would take the edge off my life that I want there," Gable said, in Seattle this week for the U.S. freestyle wrestling world team trials. "It's an edge that keeps me going every day."

* * * *

On a snowy night in 1970, Gable lost.

This was a news bulletin everywhere. Wrestling wasn't that big with the American sporting public, but Gable was. And he lost.

In the 142-pound finals of the NCAA Championships at Northwestern, Iowa State's Gable stepped onto the mat with a 181-0 record and came in second, falling 13-11 to Owings, an Oregon teenager competing for the University of Washington.

This happened after Gable had taped a spot for ABC-TV Wide World of Sports, 30 minutes before the match, imploring viewers to tune to the replay a week later.

"They had me say, 'Come watch me next week finish my career 182-0,'" he said. "Obviously they couldn't use it."

Today, the two wrestlers still see each other as larger than life, almost as spiritual influences.

Gable, 50, is one of three national team coaches piecing together the American wrestling team for the 2000 Olympics in Australia. Owings, 48, is facilities director for the Molalla School District, a half-hour southeast of Portland, near his original hometown.

They have less hair and more pounds. Their middle-aged aching joints, or, in Gable's case, new joints, are testament to the physical sacrifices that were required. They are healthy enough to take part in the occasional mat workout, but well past their prime.

That one night in Evanston, Ill., shaped their lives forever, but not necessarily as one might have expected.

The setback would only drive the maniacal Gable to greater heights, assuring him legendary status as both wrestler and coach.

Owings, however, had peaked. He would never wrestle internationally, never make it to the Olympics, never even win another NCAA title. He's still not sure the Gable victory was totally worth it. Along the way, he lost his identity.

"If I had known what was going to come, I don't know if I would have beat him or not," he said. "It was a culture shock going from underdog to a person everybody is shooting for. I went from nobody to celebrity. It was very difficult for me to adjust to.

"I dealt with criticism better."

* * * *

In Stillwater, Okla., one of the more popular items at the Wrestling Hall of Fame is a tape of the 1970 Owings-Gable match. People come to see the fall of Goliath.

As shy and introverted as Owings might claim he is, he shrewdly calculated his moves leading up to the 1970 NCAAs. He won the Pac-8 championship at 158 pounds, but dropped two weight classes specifically to face Gable. This was no secret.

"I was interviewed by Sports Illustrated before the meet and he asked me why I would be so stupid to cut weight and come down and meet Gable," Owings recalled. "I looked him right in the eye and said, 'I'm going to beat him.' I remember the guy; his jaw fell open, he was speechless."

So was Gable. He started obsessing about Owings, watching all of his matches, wondering who he was. Gable had beaten Owings, a high schooler at the time, at the Olympic trials two years earlier. But this wasn't the same guy.

"He basically said he was going to whip me," Gable said. "When somebody is direct and bold like that, it diverts your attention. Nobody had said that to me before."

Said Owings, "I always had this thing that if someone had beaten me, I wanted a second chance."

Before a crowd of 8,500 at Northwestern's McGaw Hall, Owings scored three takedowns and four escapes. He used a fireman's carry, getting a shoulder under Gable, and a double-arm bar, letting his shoulder go limp to free himself from Gable.

The great Gable felt tired and sluggish during the match, which was unusual. He remembers the crowd making gestures and getting on him. He twice lost contact lenses. He even was called for stalling, another first.

Gable still led 11-9 with 25 seconds left. He tried to put Owings away. He got greedy. Owings escaped twice -- and made history.

"I beat him mentally, not physically," Owings said. "I didn't take that approach, it just happened."

Ken Kraft, Northwestern senior athletic director and former wrestling coach, was on the sideline, working as a broadcaster for ABC. He saw a classic. He wanted more.

"I wish it would have kept going and going," Kraft said. "It was so exciting and had so much drama. I wanted it to last another 10 minutes. I knew what it meant. I think it had more impact on amateur wrestling than any other match in history."

Gable was in shock, tears streaming down his cheeks during the awards ceremony. Still, he got a four-minute ovation.

The enormity of what happened didn't sink in until Gable saw headlines in the Iowa papers the next day. Iowa State had won the team title, but he was bigger news.

Five hundred cheering students greeted the team on campus. They went dead silent when Gable emerged from a car.

His mother called repeatedly. He choked up every time. Finally, she drove to see him. It took him a few months to regroup.

"I wasn't really the same person for quite a while," Gable said. "I'm still not. He put a big mark on my life."

Gable would return with a fury, eventually winning a gold medal at the 1972 Olympics. He was so good, he went unscored upon. He thanks Owings for that.

Seven months after the NCAAs, Gable thought he had a rematch with Owings in the Midlands Tournament at Northwestern. He wanted it bad. Owings got upset in an early round. Gable was incredulous.

"I was wrestling someone else and watching him wrestle at the same time," Gable said. "I won 10-2, but I gave up a lot of points watching him."

Two years later, Gable finally got Owings on the mat again and won a lopsided decision. There was instant relief.

Both wrestlers would turn to college coaching. Owings spent several years at Clackamas Community College (Ore.), enjoying modest success. Gable became an icon at the University of Iowa, bringing the Hawkeyes 15 NCAA titles in 21 seasons before stepping down last year.

Gable stays fit, but with two hip replacements he can't really mix it up anymore.

Told that his old nemesis could be had again, Owings kiddingly listed his own various ailments. Then he turned serious. He's had his eight minutes of fame.

"I don't want to go on the mat again with him," Owings said. "I've got nothing to prove."


(Sport Magazine, July, 1999)

Every sport has its purists, those who cling to the past like mildew on a shower curtain. So when wrestling -- it's a sport because it has athletes -- began its recent renaissance with soaring TV ratings and mainstream celebrities, it got us thinking about the past. Even longing for it. The days when no one would admit it was fake, when the storylines were more mundane, but also more believable. The days of Adrian Adonis, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, Sgt. Slaughter, Piper's Pit, King Kong Bundy, Sky Lo Lo, Bruno Sammartino, The Wild Samoans, Stan "The Man" Staziak's heart punch and on and on.

Simpler times for sure. But progress has brought us to this point, never to return. "It's not for the Copenhagen-dippin', coupon-clippin', draft beer-drinkin' redneck anymore," says Diamond Dallas Page of World Championship Wrestling (WCW), at once alienating the old guard and uniting the new.

Advertisers have flocked to the squared circle in a battle royale for the desirable demographics wrestling delivers, In fact, WCW's "Nitro" and the World Wrestling Federation's (WWF) "RAW' are the two highest-rated cable programs, and though ABC won't say it publicly, wrestling's got the "Monday Night Football" folks freaking. "It's crazy," says Mankind, a hard-core WWF hero. "I never thought I'd see this rise again."

Those in the business point to a transformation from the days of cartoon characters like Hillbilly Jim to today's no-holds-barred maulers like Stone Cold Steve Austin (WWF) and Bill Goldberg (WCW). "When we created Bill Goldberg," says WCW president Eric Bischoff, "we didn't call him 'Bill the Conqueror' or 'The Leper,' or any typical goofy wrestling name. We just let him be Bill Goldberg, and that makes him more believable."

Part of that "believability" is enhanced because it's such an unbelievable world in which the grapplers live. "No longer is anyone trying to pull the wool over anybody's eyes," explains WWF's The Rock. "It's legitimately physical, obviously. But things are predetermined. It's a live-action soap opera, It's entertainment."

So please allow us to entertain you as "Sport" comes off the top rope with a flying elbow, throws you in a figure four leglock and then rams your head into the turnbuckle.


(Chicago Sun-Times, June 16, 1999)

By Carol Slezak

A remote control can be a dangerous device. I discovered this Monday evening while channel-surfing. There was pro wrestling on two stations simultaneously. You could say I was tag-teamed by really bad television: World Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation.


A bare-chested guy named Disco Inferno is doing a bad John Travolta (but come to think of it, not a bad Sweat Hog) impersonation. He's gyrating his hips while standing over a seemingly lifeless body on the mat. Is this supposed to be provocative? Beats me--it's WCW, baby.


A humongous bald guy is walking through an office building. He's wearing shorts and a tattered vest that says "100 percent Whoop A--" on the back. He's Steve Austin, and there apparently has been a stone-cold coup. Austin has commandeered WWF president Vince McMahon's Corporate Ministry headquarters. Is this supposed to be funny? Beats me--it's the WWF.


Oh, look, three women. At least, I think they're women. You never know. Gorgeous George, Madusa and Miss Madness, they're called.

They're big women. Big hair, big heels, big big.


So McMahon's pretty, young daughter plays a character who was abducted by a man. What's this, The Iliad for Dummies? Gee, I hope she's OK. Really.


Master P has joined forces with WCW.

"I grew up on rasslin'," he says.

What do you know, Dennis Rodman is making another comeback--in the wrestling ring. And Ric Flair--I think it's Flair--is yelling this to a little boy in the audience: "I will take your mother home and make a woman out of her, kid."



Debra, a.k.a. former Bears defensive tackle Steve McMichael's ex-wife, is taking on Ivory in the ring. Wham, bam, thank you, ma'ams. Debra loses. Boo hoo.


Two hulking guys enter the ring to the tune of a lame country song that goes like this: "I hate rap."

The camera flashes to one of hundreds of signs being held up by audience members. The sign says, "Rap is Crap."

Master P is nowhere to be found.


The Undertaker makes an appearance. The Rock makes an appearance. The Undertaker doesn't like the Rock. The Rock doesn't like the Undertaker. I could use a little back story here, fellows. And people say soap operas are silly.

Rrrrring. The telephone interrupts. I answer it.

"Whatcha doing?" a friend asks.

"Watching rasslin'," I say.

"Oh, geez," the friend says. "Not you, too. Want to know whether a person's an idiot? Just ask 'em if they watch wrestling."


Where is this Sid Vicious guy they keep talking about? Is he the Sid Vicious, the late, great Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols? Now that would be worth sticking around for.


Where is Sable, anyway? Oh, that's right, she's suing the WWF for $110 million. Sexual degradation, she's claiming. Hey, you have to draw the line somewhere.

Click, click, click, click, click.

In rapid succession, I see this: a guy mooning the audience, a guy being pulled by a leash attached to a dog collar around his neck, a guy busting out of a straitjacket and a guy being thrown in the air and landing on a metal folding chair. It's a human lowlight film.

I also see dozens of biceps that make Mark McGwire's look puny--and those are just the women. I see commercials for wrestling credit cards, wrestling T-shirts and wrestling Web sites. And I see one of the oddest people I ever have seen. Her name is Nicole Bass. Now I'm not saying she's on steroids, but she sure looks like she's on steroids.

This is what I hear: loud, menacing, scripted words from wrestlers who are bad actors (or actors who are bad wrestlers, I'm not sure); roars of approval from the crowd; an announcer saying, "Professional wrestling was part of their growing up as well as part of their manhood." (I have no idea what this means.)

This is what I think: Some 25 years ago, my grandma used to watch pro wrestling on Saturday afternoons. I remember her rolling her wheelchair up real close to the TV set. I remember her laughing. I remember thinking, "Grandma has gone off the deep end."

I also think this: Professional wrestling is the stupidest thing I ever have seen on TV. It's stupider than the three stupidest shows I ever have watched--"Studs," "Baywatch" and "Sunset Beach." Professional wrestling makes "Jerry Springer" look like PBS.

Excessive violence, lewdness, sexual stereotyping. Pick your poison, pro wrestling has them all. It could be good comedy or satire, if only it were funny or clever.

You know what I need for my television? No, not a V-Chip. I need an RSW-Chip. To block out Really Stupid Wrestling.

The New WAWLI Papers (Wrestling As We Liked It) No. 529


(National Enquirer, circa June, 1999)

EXPOSED! The sick world of women's wrestling

Gorgeous wrestling superstar Sable angrily charges she was hurled into a real-life nightmare of sexual abuse after refusing to go along with obscene performances in the ring.

Now the sexy blonde, who sparked the quickest sellout of any "Playboy" issue when she posed last April, is ripping the lid off the top secret, sleazy world of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and lady's wrestling.

Sable, whose real name is Rena Mero, has slammed the WWF with a whopping $110 million no-holds-barred lawsuit.

She feared other wrestlers would attack and disfigure her -- and was terrified of showering with them. And she's furious that her bosses wanted her to go topless during one match!

Both in front of the camera and behind the scenes, vulgarity and sexual abuse is flagrant, charges Sable. In shocking court papers, she disclosed:

"Men would routinely walk into the women's dressing room as if by accident; men would cut holes in the walls to watch the women dressing; extras were hired as WWF regulars to expose their breasts, big nipple contests were engaged in; men regularly bragged about their sexual encounters without regard to the women present."

A happily married mom, Sable says she was especially outraged when WWF execs requested her to participate in a lesbian story line.

But the ultimate outrage came just a few weeks ago, she says, when officials asked her to have her gown ripped off to expose her breasts by "mistake" during a TV match watched by millions of children.

She says WWF owner Vince McMahon called her a "prima donna" for refusing. She was stripped of her championship -- and then forced to endure the sexual taunts of WWF commentators before a nationwide TV audience.

In court papers, she revealed the shocking remarks:

"Do you think she is horizontally accessible?"

"She is accessible every which way from what I hear."

And when the camera focused on Sable holding a microphone, a WWF announcer said to the audience of millions: "She certainly seems comfortable with that microphone up at her mouth like that."

The 5-foot-6 fan favorite became a favorite target of several jealous lady wrestlers.

Outside the ring, the beauty has reportedly had confrontations with other gal grapplers including Sunny (Tammy Sytch), Luna (Luna Heath), Chyna (Joanie Lee) and Debra (Debra Marshall) -- who was awarded the championship after Sable's downfall.

"Sable feared that these girls or others would gang up and attack her," an insider told The ENQUIRER.

"She feared taking a shower after matches -- and sometimes would shower back at the hotel."

Not only did other wrestlers threaten her with bodily harm, they drove home the message with taunts -- and an obscene reminder of their feelings.

Sable was stunned to find her travel bag smeared with feces to underscore the threats.

Sable also says she was threatened with having her face bitten to disfigure her and ruin her career.

The beauty was especially fearful of her ring nemesis Sunny -- who was arrested last February 5 and spent two days in jail for violating a restraining order intended to keep her from harming her own mother.

Sunny was released by the WWF but has publicly stated that if she ever gets back into the ring, she'd like to kick Sable's butt -- for real!

"I would put her in her place like the company should have done a long time ago," Sunny said. "I can beat the crap out of a lot of men, and Sable would be exposed for what she really is -- absolutely nothing."

Sable isn't the first lady wrestler to charge sexual harassment. In 1994, fired wrestling announcer "Missy" Hyatt slammed the WWF's competition -- Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling (WCW) -- with a federal sexual harassment complaint.

But even Missy blasted Sable -- telling The ENQUIRER that the blonde bombshell's lawsuit is "sour grapes."

"Sable wanted to keep her belt but she didn't want to wrestle," huffed Missy. "She didn't want to get hurt."

In fact, Sable says she did raise concerns with McMahon about her safety. The beauty -- who had her bust surgically enhanced three years ago -- claims she told the wrestling czar that she had no training as a wrestler and had undergone breast implant surgery which could pose a health risk if she were to experience a frontal fall.

But she charges in her suit that WWF representatives "routinely failed to appear at events to script the matches, merely informing the participants who should be the winner and loser.

"The wrestlers were pressured to engage in ever more outrageous daredevil stunts."

Jerry McDevitt, a lawyer for the WWF, strenuously denies the allegations in Sable's lawsuit.

But just last week, The ENQUIRER exposed the tremendous perils of pro wrestling -- and revealed that 21 pro wrestlers have died tragically in the past five years.

However, wrestling remains the hottest ticket on cable TV. And unlike Sable, some lady wrestlers are willing to stage outrageous stunts.

Sunny recently arranged to have her breast implants auctioned off over the Internet -- and attracted a high bid of $9,000 for the pair.


(Associated Press, June 15, 1999)

By Cheryl Wittenauer

KANSAS CITY, Mo.-- The family of a wrestler killed doing a stunt last month filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the World Wrestling Federation and the city on Tuesday.

The lawsuit was filed in Jackson County Circuit Court on behalf of Owen Hart's widow, Martha, their two children and his parents, Helen and Stu Hart, a pioneer of professional wrestling in Western Canada. The amount of money sought was not disclosed.

Hart - also known as The Blue Blazer - was killed May 23 when he fell from a cable as he was being lowered into the ring at a WWF spectacle at Kemper Arena.

Hart fell more than 70 feet when the quick release on his harness opened early.

The suit lists 46 separate counts against 13 defendants. Among the defendants are the companies that manufactured the harness and cable system used in the stunt as well as the individuals who set up the rigging.

Besides the WWF and its parent company, Titan Sports, the lawsuit named WWF chairman Vincent McMahon and the city of Kansas City, the owner and operator of Kemper Arena where Hart died.

Mrs. Hart said she was suing because those responsible for her husband's death should be held accountable.

"Professional wrestling has become a showy display of graphic violence, sexual themes and dangerous stunts,'' Mrs. Hart said.

She also said the WWF is promoting profit at the expense of safety.

Mrs. Hart said she was "repulsed'' when she learned that the show continued after her husband's fall.

Alan Schmelzle, general manager of Kemper Arena, said the decision to continue was not out of disrespect for Hart.

"It's not like we had a meeting about it. The next show just went on,'' he said. "Honestly, we didn't know at that point if he was dead.''

His family has said Hart was leery about the flashy stunt he was supposed to perform to land inside the ring, but was persuaded to do it anyway.

He had done the stunt before and had practiced at the arena hours earlier.

WWF officials declined to comment Tuesday until they see the lawsuit.


(San Francisco Examiner, June 13, 1999)

President Ventura? It Could Happen Pollsters are taking ex-wrestler seriously

By Carla Marinucci

Republican George W. Bush revved up his fight for "compassionate conservatism'' this week, and Democrat Al Gore officially steps into the 2000 presidential ring today. But pollsters increasingly suggest that the two front- runners better look over their shoulders at one buff, bald and bad-ass politician who just might deliver them a body slam. Minnesota Governor Jesse "The Body'' Ventura is now being tracked by leading pollsters who are -- seriously -- calculating the possible effects should he decide to make a play in the 2000 presidential rumble.

Paul Maslin, the pollster for California Governor Gray Davis who is now working with Gore's California campaign, said Ventura has a mind-boggling 80 percent name recognition in the state. Compare that to the 53 percent of California voters who know the name of their own governor.

Ventura's star power alone is worth millions, Maslin said, but that's not all: California voters who do know the former Navy Seal and pro wrestler give him a 3-to-1 positive rating. That's "slightly higher'' than Davis, who won the governor's race by 20 points. Those are all good reasons why Maslin acknowledged last week that he's trying to gauge whether a Ventura for president movement would put a worse headlock on Bush or Gore.

"Is it likely? No. But you can't sit here with certainty in June 1999 and say this guy doesn't matter,'' said Maslin. "That would be a horrendous mistake.''

Pollsters and political operatives like Maslin have their work cut out for them this year, trying to determine the most effective sales pitch for more than a dozen Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls. Vice President Gore, for instance, is stressing education, family issues and continued economic prosperity; Texas Governor Bush is calling for more of America to share in the country's wealth. But Ventura has landed squarely in the center ring of public awareness just by being himself -- a gun-toting, take-no-prisoners, wear-no-underwear gov.

"Jesse Ventura is for real. . . . His name comes up spontaneously in focus groups,'' says Mark Baldassare, pollster for the Public Policy Institute of California, who says it's time to add the Minnesota governor to the roster of candidates to watch in 2000. "If his name is on the ballot, he will be a force to be reckoned with.''

Baldassare said Ventura's unorthodox approach appeals strongly to the most influential segments of the electorate: the moderate middle. Republicans and Democrats alike should also take heed of his strength among the 1 in 6 voters who don't align themselves with either major party, as well as with the one-third of the electorate who are so-called swing voters and alternate between GOP and Democratic candidates, Baldassare notes.


Ventura himself has dismissed the idea of a presidential run, saying this week on the Montel Williams show, "I don't have that in my future right now.'' But he mused that a reform-minded candidate could have a place in the race. And asked outright if he would accept a vice presidential nomination, Ventura announced to cheers, "I would do it . . . but only for General (Colin) Powell.''

Even Ventura's copping to smoking pot and visiting prostitutes ("Legal, in Nevada'') in his best-selling book, "I Ain't Got Time to Bleed,'' hasn't damaged his continued high standings in the polls, which remain as tight as a cobra clutch by fellow wrestler "Stone Cold'' Steve Austin.

So tight, in fact, that some political operatives are starting to sweat. They say Ventura, a man on his own mission, has locked onto the imagination of American voters fed up with a diet of platitudes and political spin.

Now they're studying whether Ventura in 2000 would do what Ross Perot did in 1992 when his third-party candidacy helped elect Bill Clinton. "I could argue it either way, and right now I don't want to,'' said Democrat Maslin with a sigh. At first glance, it looks like he'd grab the Perot vote, and "it hurts the Republicans more.''

But Democrats in Minnesota were thinking the same thing and "guess what? We were dead wrong,'' Maslin said. There, the voters who made the difference in electing the Reform Party candidate with 37 percent of the ballots were "disaffected Democrats and young people . . . and that happens to be where Clinton, Gore and Davis have made tremendous gains,'' said Maslin.

"They thought there was a genuine guy there that believed in certain things,'' Maslin said. "Here's a sense of genuineness that people appreciate. And I've seen no sign his popularity has slipped.'''


Republicans are equally nervous. "In a Bush-Gore race, Ventura could do pretty well,'' said one of the state's leading GOP strategists, who spoke on the condition that he not be named.

"You've got two candidates who represent the political establishment'' and if a Ventura candidacy raises its head, ``both of them are going to have to figure out a way to break through that.''

Alfred Balitzer, a former GOP pollster and current professor of politics at the Claremont-McKenna Colleges, said that if a Ventura candidacy hurts anyone, it would hurt Republicans. Baldassare of the Public Policy Institute said both parties should take a lesson from how Ventura has managed to wrestle free media time to get voters' attention.

"Ventura has been the darling of the TV infotainment business since his November election,'' said Baldassare. "He's gotten a lot of attention from TV, where a lot of people get their news about politics.'' As a third party candidate, Ventura could hurt Bush more than Gore, "because those are people who want change this time around,'' Baldassare said.

The dean of California pollsters, Mervyn Field, said the voters have only been through Round 1 with Ventura. Now they'll watch "whether this kind of presence is going to stand up under the kind of rigor required of any governor.''


"He has to deal with the real problems, the (Minnesota) Legislature . . . demonstrating some polished political skills,'' said Field. "He's got skills and charisma, and the big question now is how well he'll wear.''

But Ventura's "no BS'' political leadership appears to have given rise to what sports marketing expert Joel Drucker calls the "Joe Six-pack'' candidacy. "People do not like this thing called politics,'' Drucker said. "It's a matter of hell, why not? The Rhodes scholar doesn't work, the ambassador doesn't work, the movie star didn't do that much. Why not give the wrestler a chance?'' Better yet, Ventura's connection with pro wrestling makes him even more accessible to most Americans, because he comes from a world where they "know they're being duped,'' can spot inside tricks and pratfalls and recognize the villain vs. good-guy plot lines. Try saying that about politics, he said. "Wrestling is soap opera for guys. And what's Jesse Ventura, but the Erica Kane of sports?'' Drucker said, referring to the campy temptress in the long-running soap "All My Children.''

SF GATE POLL President Ventura? You've got to be kidding -- 26%; Yes! Finally, something different -- 62%; Godo for blue-collar MN, but not for the US -- 4%; He could body slam Yeltsin. Cool. -- 6


(Associated Press, Tuesday, June 15, 1999)

NEW YORK - A Kuwaiti broadcaster is suing the World Wrestling Federation over a promotional video that shows him being roughed up on the air by a wrestler.

Bassam Al Othman, the host of "Good Morning Kuwait,'' filed the suit Monday in federal court, accusing the federation of slurring all Arabic people by repeatedly showing the tape.

The video is a promotion for the wrestler

"Vader,'' who grabbed Othman's tie and threatened him during a 1997 interview after Othman asked another wrestler whether the sport was faked, according to Othman's lawyer, Douglas Clark Hollmann of Annapolis, Md.

Othman "managed to pry Vader's hands off him and walked off the set,'' the lawsuit said.

The federation has used the clip to promote its shows "with the apparent belief that a video of a large white American wrestler shaking an Arab person by his tie had commercial value in the market their product is sold,'' the lawsuit said.

Jim Byrne, a spokesman for the wrestling organization, would not comment.

The lawsuit said use of the video is "clearly outrageous and insulting'' to Othman and to Arabic people everywhere and in violation of the civil rights law.

The video clip, broadcast on television around the world, has been seen in Kuwait, causing Othman embarrassment, the lawsuit said. It said the video clip constitutes defamation.

The New WAWLI Papers (Wrestling As We Liked It) No. 530


(Ring Magazine, March, 1938)

By Nat Fleischer

World Champion -- Bronko Nagurski, International Falls, Minn.

Group No. 1

1. Jim Londos, Greece

2. Earl McCready, Canada

3. Steve "Crusher" Casey, Ireland

4. Dean Detton, Salt Lake City

5. Ernie Dusek, Omaha

6. Ram Singh, India

7. Lee Wyckoff, Kansas City, Mo.

8. Jack Sherry, Alaska

9. Johannes Van der Walt, South Africa

10. Everett Marshall, LaJunta, Colo.

11. Cliff Olson, Baudette, Minn.

12. Richard Shikat, Germany

13. John Pesek, Ravenna, Nebr.

14. Yvon Robert, Canada

15. Henri De Glane, France

16. Mambucks Gama, India

17. Sammy Stein, Newark, N.J.

18. Lofty Blomfield, Australia

19. Lou Thiesz (sic), St. Louis

20. Max Krauser, Poland

Group No. 2

1. Hans Schwartz, Germany

2. Sandor Szabo, Hungary

3. Ali Baba, Detroit

4. Vincent Lopez, Mexico

5. Ed Don George, North Java, N.Y.

6. Orville Brown, Kansas City, Mo.

7. Gino Garibaldi, Italy

8. George Pencheff, Australia

9. Joe Cox, Kansas City, Mo.

10. George "Dazzler" Clark, Scotland

11. Ray Steele, California

12. Rudy Dusek, Omaha

13. Angelo Romacotti, Italy

14. Yusif Husigan, Istanbul, Turkey

15. Hans Kampfer, Germany

16. Roughhouse Silverstein, Chicago

Group No. 3

1. Mersinly Ahmet, Istanbul, Turkey

2. Abe Coleman, St. Louis

3. Nick Lutze, California

4. Joe Savoldi, Three Oaks, Mich.

5. George Koverly, Hollywood, Cal.

6. Vic Christy, Los Angeles

7. Yrua Muria, Spain

8. Chief Little Wolf, Colorado

9. Stan Korolyi, Hungary

10. Stanley Pinto, Ravenna, Nebr.

11. Billy Bartush, Chicago

12. Joe Dusek, Omaha

13. Hans Steinke, Germany

14. Gus Sonnenberg, Massachusetts

15. Pat Meehan, Ireland

Group No. 4

Paul Blanchard, South Africa; Kola Kwariani, Russia; Jesse James, Greece; Fritz Kley, Germany; Paul Boesch, Long Beach, N.Y.; Maurice LaChappelle, France; Rebel Bob Russell, Texas; Wee Willie Davis, Texas; Walter Percy, England; Jim Austeri, Italy; Billy Rayburn, Oklahoma; Manfredo Gama, India; Prince Bhu Pinder, India;

Jim McMillen, Illinois; Irish Jack Kennedy, Texas; Jack Donovan, Boston; Bill Sledge, Florida; Ralph Garibaldi, St. Louis; Bonnie Muir, Australia; Jack Pye, England;

George Zaharias, Pueblo, Colo.; Charley Strack, Spring Valley, N.Y.; Dr. Len Hall, Nebraska; Mike Mazurki, New York City; Milo Steinborn, New Haven, Conn.; Chief Little Beaver, Texas; Daniel Boone Savage, Kentucky;

Bobby Managoff, Chicago; Nick Campofreda, Baltimore; Ed Meske, Columbus, O.; Gaston Ghevcart, France; Riti De Froot, Belgium; Hank Barber, Boston; George Kondylis, Greece; Hardy Kruskamp, Oakland, Calf.; Babe Caddock, Connecticut; Tor Johnson, Sweden; Dr. Harry Fields, Philadelphia; Len Macaluso, Utica; Sol Slagel, Nebraska; Oki Shikuma, Japan; Chief Thunderbird, Vancouver, B.C.;; Cy Williams, Florida;

Bert Rubi, Hungary; Paul Duveen, England; Mike Demetri, Greece; Wally Dusek, Omaha; Emil Dusek, Omaha; Paul Jones, Houston; Floyd Marshall, Arizona; Dick Raines, Texas; Al Pereira, Portugal; Bill Morrissey, Spokane, Wash.; Tommy Nilan, Australia; Bobby Bruns, Chicago; Al Sparks, England; Charles Rigoulet, France; Douglas Clark, England;

Ivan Managoff, Russia; Bibber McCoy, Boston; Karl Davis, Georgia; Young Gotch, Cincinnati; Eli Fischer, New Brunswick, N.J.; Sammy Menacker, New York; Tex (Ben) Morgan, Texas; Jack Hader, Kansas City, Mo.; Al Billings, Cleveland; Walter Podolak, Poland; Billy Hanson, Seattle; Dick Daviscourt, California; Roland Kirschmeyer, Oklahoma.

Group No. 5

John Grandovitch, Russia; Sol Westerich, Camden, N.J.; Gabriel Annunzio, Philadelphia; Vanka Zelesniak, Russia; Ghoofar Khan, Afghanistan; Bobby Roberts, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Al Bisignano, Des Moines, Ia.; Sergei Kalmikoff, Siberia; Chris Zaharias, Greece; Juan Humberto, Mexico; Lou Plummer, Illinois; Frank Speers, Georgia; Steve Savage, Nebraska; Angelo Cistoldi, Massachusetts;

Jack Holland, Hollywood, Cal.; Mayes McLain, Oklahoma; Henry Piers, Holland; Frank Judson, Boston; Felix Kersic, St. Louis; Ede Virag, Hungary; Dick Lever, South Carolina; Mike Strelich, Utah; John Swenski (Svenska), Boston; Harry Finkelstein, Boston; Bill Middlekauf, Florida; Laverne Baxter, Rahway, N.J.; Abe Yourist, Salt Lake City; Ignacio Martinez, Spain; Paddy Mack, Boston; Juan Olaquival, Spain;

Pat McClary, Ireland; Ted Keys, Texas; Tiny Roebuck, Kansas City, Mo.; Frank Sexton, St. Louis; Kimon Kudo, Japan; Johnny Marrs, Boston; Don McIntyre, Massachusetts; Dr. John (Dropkick) Murphy, Massachusetts; Dorv Roche, Arizona; Jim Coffield, Kansas City, Mo.; Jim Clinstock, Nebraska;

Jim Parker, Tennessee; Frenchy LaRue, Romania; Jake Patterson, Syracuse, N.Y.; Joe Maynard, Jamaica, N.Y.; Del Raines, Georgia; Bronco Valdez, Mexico; Frank Bruce, Jamaica, N.Y.; Casey Berger, Alabama; Firpo Wilcox, Oklahoma; Jim Wallis, Boston; Earl Wampler, Indiana; Abe Kashey, Syria; Scotty McDougall, Canada; Scotty Dawkins, Canada; Dave Armstrong, England; Bert Mansfield, England; Issy Van Dutz, Holland; Johnny Demchuk, Russia.

Group No. 6

Walter Underhill, Detroit; Pete Managoff, Russia; Jack Zarnas, Greece; Jack Singer, Columbus, O.; Lou Farino, New Jersey; Ed Cook, Cedar Rapids, Ia.; Tony Garibaldi, St. Louis; Ayub Khan, Afghanistan; Leo Hyatt, New Hampshire; Boris Demitroff, Bulgaria; Nick Elitch, Jugo-Slav; Eli Bashara, Virginia; Jim Henry, Oklahoma; Moe Brazin, Brooklyn; Rube Wright, Texas; Jim Wright, Texas; Jim Slovitkowsky, Russia; Charley Webb, New York; George Harben, Georgia; Charley Harben, Georgia;

Tiny Ruff, Newark; Chief Saunooke, Oklahoma; Bull Curry, Detroit; Dobie Osborne, Arizona; Olaf Olson, Sweden; Hermie Olson, Portland, Ore.; Heinie Olson, Portland, Ore.; Cowboy Luttrall, Texas; George Richards, Canada; Andy Meixner, Germany;

Sheriff Tom Hanley, Texas; Irving Halpern, Brooklyn; Ben Marfugi, Newark; George Manich, New Jersey; Pat Fraley, Seattle; Howard Cantonwine, Montana; Chief Chewacki, Mexico; Jack Forsgren, Seattle; Jack McArthur, Boston; Pat O'Shocker, St. Louis; John Spellman, Boston; Rusty Wescoatt, Honolulu; Frank Bronowicz, Poland; Tony Colesano, Italy; John L. Sullivan, Ireland; Al Mercier, Boston; Felix Miquet, Canada; Dr. Fred Meyers, Chicago; Pat Riley, Spokane;

Dick Stahl, Germany; Geza Tako, Hungary; Count Nowina, Poland; Franz Schuman, Germany; Ted Christy, Los Angeles; Frank Malcewicz, Utica, N.Y.; Abe Goldberg, California; Benny Ginsberg, New York; George Wilson, Seattle; Jumbo Kennedy, California; Leo Papiano, Detroit; Steve Strelich, Utah; Ernie Powers, Vancouver; Tommy Rae, Connecticut; Luigi Bacigalupi, Italy; Al Tafroff, New Jersey; Maurice Robert, Canada; Max Miller, Germany; Fritz Schmelling, Germany; Herb Freeman, New York; Bluebeard Lewis, Richmond, Va.; Marvin Westenberg, Boston.


(Boston Globe, Wed., June 9, 1999)

By Nathan Cobb

Sitting with 16 relatives and friends in her small East Boston apartment, her eyes locked on the television set, 34-year-old Sharon Tiso could contain herself no longer. After all, a 500-pound mountain of a professional wrestler known as The Big Show had just lifted World Wrestling Federation owner Vince McMahon off the ground like a lumpy sack of potatoes. And as Tiso and millions of other viewers knew well, McMahon is the bitter enemy of Stone Cold Steve Austin, wrestling's nihilist Texas glamour guy, because he doesn't much care for Austin's attitude.

So what's a mother to do, especially one who's a Stone Cold Steve Austin adulator?

''Drop him!'' Tiso shouted at The Big Show as he hoisted McMahon skyward. ''Drop him!''

Whereupon Tiso's 11-year-old daughter, Darcie Philbrook, looked across the room and frowned. ''Mom,'' the girl said softly, ''it's a TV.''

But it's more than a TV to more mothers than you might think. Of the 8 to 10 million viewers who tune in the WWF and its rival, World Championship Wrestling, on cable television each week, nearly one in four are women 18 and over. True, if you walk into Boston's FleetCenter or the Worcester Centrum Centre on any night when one of these resurgent wrestling circuses is in town, you'll see plenty of teenagers and preteens, especially boys. But you'll also notice that many of these kids are accompanied by women who are a generation older and who are similarly decked out in the likes of ''Expect No Mercy'' T-shirts.

In a word: Mom.

We're not talking soccer moms cruising the suburbs in leather-appointed Volvos here. And we're not talking hockey moms huddled in drafty rinks. We're talking wrestling moms shrieking wildly at shows that are laced with blaring music, flashy pyrotechnics, flying chairs, and sexual innuendo. These are women who adore or abhor wrestlers named like strippers (Sexual Chocolate, Nitro Girls), rock bands (New Age Outlaws, Warrior), and comic book characters (Konnan, Viscera). They are women who know a good body slam when they see one on television and who don't mind getting up at the crack of dawn for the privilege of watching the action in person.

That's what 38-year-old Mildred Garcia was doing at 6 a.m. one recent Saturday morning. Garcia and her 15-year-old son, Jose, hailed a taxi outside their Dorchester home and headed for the FleetCenter, the better to be at the box office almost four hours before it opened.

When tickets for an upcoming WWF extravaganza went on sale later that morning, mother and son wouldn't have dreamt of being anywhere else.

Mildred Garcia remembers growing up in a home where wrestlers such as Andre the Giant and Bruno Sammartino made mayhem on TV while her father watched. She didn't pay much attention. But when her son began bringing home wrestling magazines and action figures some 25 years later, she stopped to notice.

One of the things that makes today's ring vaudevillians different from those of the past is the complexity of the murky soap operas in which they star. Will The Undertaker, a.k.a. The Lord of Darkness, succeed in his wicked attempts to wreak havoc in the WWF through his evil Corporate Ministry? And over at WCW, will crazed Ric Flair be freed from a mental institution in order to fight flamboyant Diamond Dallas Page, a.k.a. DDP, for the title?

(One dark turn that wasn't scripted was last month's death of WWF wrestler Owen Hart, who died in an accidental fall in front of 16,200 spectators in Kansas City, Mo. The show, however, went on.)

''For me, the plots make it interesting,'' explains Garcia, who watches televised wrestling at least two nights a week and doesn't miss a WWF appearance in Boston. ''Like, if Stone Cold is going to wrestle The Undertaker, by the time they fight there's a whole story going on. It keeps me involved.'' (But it does not, alas, interest Garcia's husband, Max. ''He's a boxing fan,'' she shrugs.)

There's another way in which Mildred Garcia's pro wrestling differs from the grappling her father watched. The 1990s world of slickly produced SuperBrawls and Slamborees features a cast of raunchy characters, many of whom -- especially in WWF -- swill booze, holler obscenities, and operate at a level of theatrical sexuality that tiptoes the line between the suggestive and the explicit.

Whereas Walter ''Killer'' Kowalski used his feared ''claw hold'' to latch onto opponents from the 1950s through the 1970s, several of today's wrestlers seem more intent on grabbing themselves -- often by the crotch.

Sharon Tiso admits that some of this stuff bothers her, especially when she's watching it roll off the TV screen while in the company of Darcie and her other child, 6-year-old Jerry.

''My kids are not allowed to yell some of the things these wrestlers yell and they're not allowed to make some of the gestures these wrestlers make,'' says Tiso, who works as a cashier. ''Of course, they can do it behind my back. But it's like I tell them, `If you're doing it behind my back, you better hope I never find out.'''

Mary Kennedy, a loan processor who lives in South Boston, takes the MBTA to WWF matches with her 12-year-old son, Matthew. Yes, she concedes, much of what WWF offers isn't particularly fit for kids. But no, she says, she doesn't want to leave Matthew behind.

''He's bought all these wrestling toys,'' she says, referring to the plethora of action figures that make up only a small part of a vast wrestling merchandise mart that includes everything from temporary tattoos to leather jackets. ''Besides, they're all talking about wrestling in school. Society rules.''

Although it's often said that most folks would rather admit to stealing than to liking professional wrestling, wrestling moms tend to be unapologetic about their fandom. Stacey Frascone of South Easton, the 26-year-old mother of two young boys, eagerly describes WCW as ''a soap opera with wrestling in it.'' If friends tease Frascone -- a former California high school cheerleader and kick boxer who owns an assortment of wrestling T-shirts -- about her passion, she doesn't much care. ''I say, 'Hey, this is what I'm interested in,''' she says. ''And it's something I can do with my sons that's sports-oriented. They watch football with their father, but I'm not interested in football.''

These are decidedly good times for pro wrestling, which hasn't had a network television contract since the early 1990s, when it suffered a belly-flop following an '80s boom. This time around, however, it has grown into a superstar of cable TV, including pay-per-view. Old wrestlers, it seems, never die; they just get reborn. (Hulk Hogan, a WWF 1980s good guy, is now ''Hollywood'' Hulk Hogan, a WCW bad guy.) Either that or they become the governor of a state (Jesse ''The Body'' Ventura of Minnesota).

Meanwhile, the endless debate about whether the matches are ''real'' doesn't seem to matter much to wrestling moms.

''I know it's pretend,'' says Tiso. ''It's entertainment. But ... they can still make me mad. Even though I know it's all preplanned, all part of a show, they can make me mad.

''Like, I really dislike The Rock. Because I saw a match he had with Mankind, and Mankind was bleeding. Really bleeding. Well, I don't think you do that kind of thing. So I don't like The Rock at all.''

Of course, there is another reason to enjoy the sweating, overacting behemoths of pro wrestling.

''You want me to be honest with you?'' asks Danielle Thibeault of Whitman, a 28-year-old mom with five kids and, like her mother before her, a hard-core wrestling fan. ''I like them because of their looks.''

The New WAWLI Papers
(Wrestling As We Liked It) No. 531

(ED. NOTE -- More highlights from the John Grasso Ring magazine collection.)

RING Magazine, Oct., 1937 (News of the Mat World, by Emery Clarke):

Whipper Billy Watson is known to the Canadian and American sports fans as Bill Potts. Bill, who was born in Toronto, Canada, has always been a very fine sportsman. During his amateur wrestling days he was coached by Phil Lawson, the Dominion champion. He was good also in other sports, such as baseball, Rugby, basketball and swimming.

Potts turned to professional wrestling about two years aog, and was taken to England by his manager, Harry Joyce. In England he went under the professional name of Whipper Watson, as his whip has brought many of his opponents to the mat. Whipper has met some of the finest wrestlers in the English ring, including Jack Zarnas of America, Henry Stoeff, Count Carol Nowina, Carl Reginsky, Jack Pye, Tony Mancelli and Tony Baer, the light-heavyweight champion of Scotland. These are just a few. Whipper has won 95 per cent of his matches in England and is considered one of the finest box office attractions in the light-heavyweight class today.


Billy Hansen Feature . . . born 28 years ago in Salt Lake City, of Swedish and Danish descent . . . worked in a coal mine and brickyards as a youth . . . took up wrestling at age 19 . . . John Anderson was his amateur coach . . . his most effective maneuvers are flying dropkicks and tackles . . . breaks wristlocks on the maqt with a simple bridge-and-heel, leading to an escape at the ropes . . . from this comes his nickname, "Slidin' Billy" . . . also instructed by Farmer Burns and Ira Dern . . . Dern taught him the running headlock, a combination of the Strangler Lewis cruncher and Tom Jenkins' chin spin . . . in a San Francisco tourney, promoted by Joe Malcewicz, Hansen was declared winner when he beat Nick Lutze in the finals. This made him both Northern California champion and Pacific Coast titlist . . . risked his laurels one night in Oakland (Calif.) against Sandor Szabo. "While attempting to break loose from Szabo's famed Death Swing, Hansen was hurled out of the ring, where he hit hsi head on a vacant chair. Before the young Swede could regain his senses and climb back into the ring, the referee had counted 20 and declared Szabo the new titleholder" . . . at this writing, Szabo has not offered a rematch . . .

DIDJA KNOW . . . Frank Judson, ex-Harvard grapple mentor, is in New Zealand? . . . Frank Bronowicz has recently arrived Down Under? . . . The Four Duseks -- Rudy, Ernie, Joe and Cosutin Wally -- are wrestling before turn-away crowds on the Atlantic Coast? . . . Emil, the injured member of the Battering Bohemians, is ready for a comeback? . . . Gino Garibaldi, the Larrupin' Latin, is undefeated during a West Coast tour? . . . Yvon Robert is back in harness, having recovered from the broken leg incurred versus Cliff Olson? . . . Three famous figures had ringside seats at Meyer Saul's Garden Pier, Atlantic City show recently? They were the Honorable Judge Eugene C. Bonniwell, of Pennsylvania and head of the Veteran Athletes of America; J. Edgar Hoover, the head G-man, and the one and only Dave Rubinoff, without his violin. They posed with Danno O'Mahoney and Hank Barber prior to the start of that duo's main event . . . The recent death of Senator Joseph T. Robinson, Arkansas, took away from his world a rabid wrestling fan? . . . That Bronko Nagurski and Cliff Olson were football teammates at the University of Minnesota and both became mat champions? . . . Chief Little Wolf is headed home after an Australia and New Zealand tour? . . . Paul Boesch, ex New York lifeguard, is drawing goodly crowds in Seattle, Spokane, Portland and Vancouver, B.C.? . . . Jack (Jake) Patterson is an ex University of Syracuse footballer who stands 6-1 and weighs 235 pounds? . . . Matros Kirilenko is due back from New Zealand this month? . . . "Smiling" Sammy Menacker, Jewish Adonis, saved a pair of maidens from drowning in Atlantic City recently? . . . Man Mountain Dean recently had his leg broken by Sandor Szabo and is out of action for at least a year? . . . Veteran Tommy Draak was injured by a Frank Bruce flying tackle at Ralph Mondt's Columbia Park arena in North Bergen, N.J., and says he'll never wrestle again? . . . Wally Dusek was crowned with a chair by an irate customer in Allentown, Pa.? . . . Weekly Monday night cards, of the all-star, all-action variety, are being staged at New York City's Hippodrome? The Rudy Dusek-Toots Mondt outfit is promoting . . . Bobby Roberts, ex Dayton University grid star, has beefed up to 226 pounds? . . .

PACIFIC COAST & NORTHWEST REVIEW (by David Cavadas) -- Billy Hansen swung through the Pacific Northwest this month and beat Ivan Managoff, Harnam Singh, Abe (King Kong) Kashey, Paul Boesch and Olaf Olsen . . . Steve McPherson, Portland, Ore., promoter, staged a wrestling match in mud, similar to the method of grappling in India. Harnam Singh took a one-fall duke from German strong man Milo Steinborn. The referee, Vern Harrington, took a couple tumbles into the muck, too . . . Olaf Olsen took a decision from Steinborn on another card . . . Paul Boesch downed Herb Freeman, Olsen tossed Bill Middlekauf, Man Mountain Dean flattened Chief Baptiste Paul Thunderbird, Ignacio Martinez won from Jules Strongobw, Jimmy Sarandos pinned Vic Hill and drew with Hans Steinke, Strongbow threw Mike Mazurki, the Golden Terror whipped Nick Lutze, Casey Kazanjian drew with Vincent Lopez, Howard Cantonwine defeated Sandor Szabo, Tiny Roebuck lost to Lopez, who also beat Hardy Kruskamp, Pat Meehan bested Tommy Marvin but lost to Martinez, Daniel Boone Savage threw Benny Ginsberg, Steinborn subdued James Casey Morrisey, Chief Thunderbird beat Fred Mortensen, Wildman Zimm downed Bobby Coleman and Arjan Singh toppled Pat O'Shocker . . .

Pat Fraley Feature: Born in Boston as Patrick Timothy Fraley . . . decided to become a wrestler when he saw Jim Londos grapple with Ray Steele . . . drew tremendous houses in Boston at the young age of 21 . . . favorite holds are the stepover toe hold and the leg chancery . . . also uses the flying dropkick with effectiveness . . . has wrestled every topnotcher in recent years, including Lewis, Londos, Lopez, Detton and Levin . . . He put Lopez out of the game for two months in a Portland, Ore., bout . . .

Bobby Roberts Feature (by Nat Frank): All-around athlete at University of Dayton . . . centerfielder on the baseball team, guard in basketball, defensive stalwart on the football team and in a class by himself as a wrestler . . . born of Polish parents (true name Robert Kawka) at Grand Rapids, Mich., on May 17, 1911 . . . graduated from Dayton in 1935 . . . was both captain and coach of the wrestling squad . . . turned down offer to play football for the Chicago Bears to coach wrestling at Oaklwood High School in Dayton . . . Turned pro matman late in 1935 . . . George Pinio, American Olympic wrestling coach from 1920 thru 1928, gave him valuable pointers . . . Stood 5-10 1/2 and weighed 210 at the time . . . relies mainly on a hold of his own invention, which he calsl the Indian Choke, a combination of head scissors and arm pull . . .

Bill Sledge Feature (by Nat Frank): Born in Navasota, Tex., June 2, 1910 . . . by age 14 he weighed 186 pounds and had a 34-inch waistline . . . took to football and baseball and knocked off 33 pounds, plus four inches from his belt line . . . Regained the weight while working in an ice plant during the summer at age 15, but this time it was real muscle . . . entered Rice Institute from high school and gained letters in football, basketball and track . . . Left college in 1931 and enlisted in the Army Air Corps . . . stationed at Barksdale Feild, Shreveport, La., for two years and then went to Army Flying School at Randolph Field, Tex., in 1933 . . . a year later he was a full-fledged pilot . . . and then he took up wrestling full time . . .

Mike Strelich Feature (by Nat Frank): Jugo-Slav, 26 years old, stands over 6 feet and tips the beam at 220 . . . by far the most sensational grappler to come East from the West Coast since the invasion of Vic Christy . . . Strelich was born in Salem, Ore., and grew up working in a logging camp . . . turned pro in 1932 and by a year later was ready to take on anyone in the world . . . Saw action in the leading grappling centers of Europe, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania . . . known as the New Man of a Thousand Holds . . . also learned jiu-jitsu and Greco-Roman styles . . . came back to the U.S. in 1936 . . .

Sammy Menacker Feature (by Nat Frank): Was once an equestrian of sorts, until tossed by his horse and broke an arm . . . decided to take up wrestling . . . worked his way through Simon Pure ranks before turning pro in 1935 . . . six-feet, 210 pounds . . . employs flying head scissors, flying tackles and stepover toe holds and has proved a thorn in side of foes . . . Born in New York City, May 13, 1914 . . . star catcher for the George Washington High baseball team and also ran cross-country . . . later entered New York University but depression forced him out of school. That led him to a job at a riding academy until the aforementioned spill turned him to the mat . . .


(Ring Magazine, October, 1937)

DANNO O'MAHONEY -- Ex world champ, only 23 years old, six-foot-two, weighing 218 pounds . . .

YVON ROBERT -- French-Canadian ace, a six-footer who tips the scales at 218, just 22 and recognized champion of Canada . . .

STEVE (CRUSHER) CASEY -- From County Kerry, this 26-year-old Irishman stands six-foot-two and weighs 235 pounds. Once won 201 consecutive matches while still cavorting in European rings. Has six brothers who are wrestlers and boxers . . .

GEORGE (DAZZLER) CLARK -- Scottish champion and a member of another big ring family, this time four wrestling brothers and all over six feet tall . . . Scotland's greatest track star, finishing second in recent Strathpeffer games, put the shot 44 feet, 3 inches, and put the 22-pound ball 38 feet, 6 1/2 inches . . . won the 16-pound hammer throw with a toss of 116 feet, 2 inches . . .

BILL BARTUSH -- Lithuanian youngster, still just 25, stands six feet and weighs 218 . . . Big hit in England and European rings with his mat skills, all self-taught . . .

TOR JOHNSON -- Stockholm-born Swedish Goliath stands six-feet-four and weighs over 350 pounds . . . began wrestling at age 15 and turned pro three years later . . . won letters in school at track and field, soccer, swimming and ice hockey . . . studied electrical engineering at Stockholm University and won more accolades in soccer and Rugby football . . . taught the mat game by his father, Karl Johnson, himself a 310-pounder . . . Tor went to the same school and was raised in the same neighborhood as Greta Garbo, then Greta Gustafson . . .


(Ring Magazine, March, 1938)

By Bernice Sandboe

(Excerpted): Chief Little Beaver is a publicity writer's dream come true . . . "He has enough color to paint all four sides of Farmer Brown's barn and still have enough left to be one of the best showmen of them all" . . . Born January 17, 1904, in Cherokee City, North Carolina . . . Parents signed on to travel with the Indian troupe of the 101 Wild West Ranch Show in 1907 . . . "Because their little Beaver was not a hardy youngster, his parents, who knew a sympathetic old German couple in Canton, Ohio, offered him to them for adoption" . . . lived with them for ten years and picked up name of "Joe" . . . was nearly 200 pounds at age 13 . . . turned to boxing, fought 112 amateur fights, 24 more as a professional -- losing just one in all that time. "That one, however, was so decisive that Joe decided to embark on his wrestling career (Christmas night, 1927)" . . . Has suffered many injuries since -- both shoulders broken both collar bones broken, his jaw broken twice, at least ten ribs broken, three fractures, his left leg broken, a broken toe, every bone in his hands broken, and his nose broken over forty times . . . says he's been conked over the head by 37 pop bottles and stabbed by a pocket-knife-wielding "fan" . . . quite the dog fancier . . . has an English bull who answers to the name "Bruiser" and won second prize in a recent Houston dog show . . . was awarded Texas title when Leo Savage ran out on a bout with him in Houston . . . lost the belt, in turn, to Everett Marshall . . . eventually left Texas after dropping a loser-leaves-the-state bout to Goon Henry . . . now happily married, has a husky young son and a little daughter and owns two farms in the Birmingham, Ala., area . . .


(Ring Magazine, March, 1938)

. . . I feel that my ratings (published in The New WAWLI Papers No. 530) will meet with popular approval because I have made my selections after considerable study of the records of the leaders, regardless of their factional affiliations. I play no favorites. The records are my guides.

I know that for every "shooting match," such as Strangler Lewis and Lee Wyckoff engaged in, there are 1,000 "phonies" taking place, but I also know ability when I see it.

I know that many matches are pre-arranged because under the presenty system of syndicate sport, in which a dozen or so promoters control it over an area of thousands of miles, certain talent must be kept on top to aid the gate. Wrestling today is an entertainment. The matmen perform like acrobats -- not to show their skill but to make the spectators laugh and shout as the grapplers kick, punch, pull, slap, bite and go through all kinds of stunts -- anything but wrestle. Hence when a real wrestler is seen, it is a novelty and a pleasure to those who, like myself, prefer to view a classy performance to an acrobatic entertainment.

The promoter cannot and should not be blamed for that condition. He has his money invested and he gives the fans what they want to see. If he didn't and the wrestlers refused to obey their instructions, the promoter would be forced to quit.

There you have the bold facts. We might as well be truthful rather than extol a sport that no longer is a sport. But just as long as wrestling in its present form arouses the fans' interest, pleases them, holds their attention, makes them happy, why worry whether wrestling is on the level or just a lot of hokum.


(Ring Magazine, March, 1938)

By Nat Frank

(Excerpted): Sammy Stein, back from Australia and New Zealand along with Frank Judson, has nothing but the highest praise for the promoters, talent and spectators Down Under . . . He came right to The Ring office to tell us, "You can't imagine the power of The Ring unless you've traveled as I have. In far-off Australia and New Zealand, in South Africa and in England, they swear by The Ring . . . (it) is the bible of boxing and wrestling, and unless a fighter or wrestler is mentioned in the publication as an athlete of ability and unless he is highly recommended by a Ring editor, he hasn't a ghost of a chance to obtain any work in these lands" . . . Bill Corbett of the Southern Cross named Stein's new hold the "Southern Cross" . . . Stein was in Australia four months and New Zealand three. He engaged in 46 matches and lost one, to Lofty Blomfield, whom he previously had beaten. He had three draws and was a hit everywhere he went. He'll go back this June and hopes to take champion Bronko Nagurski with him . . . Each headline match Down Under consists of 10 eight-minute rounds . . .

Ed (Strangler) Lewis, the headlock specialist, and five times holder of the wrestling championship of the world, has finally admitted that he can't stand the gaff any longer and has decided to hang up his grappling trunks for all time . . . With all the new faces, new color, new kinds of holds, new everything, Lewis has begun to see the handwriting on the wall. He realized his time as a headliner would be short . . . So he planned a climactic, world tour, from which he has now returned . . . He'll enter the restaurant business in Hollywood, he says . . . "I don't like this new slam-bang type of wrestling," he says. "It's terrible. It's awful, and it's the fault of the public. If a promoter puts on a scientific match the fans walk out. They want to see somebody killed." . . . Lewis has added a cocktail lounge to his E & E Broiler in Glendale, Calif. . .

OTHER MAT NOTES: Firpo Wilcox, the Oklahoma Indian, is back in the U.S. after a year's tour of South America . . . George Kondylis, the mustachioed Greek, lays claim to the championship of his country, saying Jimmy Londos has been ducking him for years . . . Bernie Kaplan, ex Western Maryland University star, moving up fast in the pro mat ranks . . . And his running mate at Western Maryland, Nick Campofreda, has hit the grappling bigtime, too, after starting a year before Kaplan . . . Frank Bruce, of Jamaica, New York, is another onetime swimming life guard who has made it into the grunt-and-groan ranks . . . Eleven months ago, big Alf Johnson had his leg broken in a Houston charity match for flood victims, but now he's back . . . "It is a pleasant surprise to learn that Louis Thiesz (sic), the incredibly young Hungarian wrestler from St. Louis, has beaten Everett Marshall. Thesz has appeared in Houston many times and completely captured the admiration of wrestling fans. Morris Sigel, Houston promoter, has lost no time in booking this sensational young man and it is likely that he will meet Marshall here late in January. This bout will indeed be a promotional coup and shows that our energetic little promoter is always endeavoring to give the Dixie fans the cream of the crop" -- Bernice Sandboe, Texas correspondent . . . Howard Cantonwine is another wrestler with a swanky restaurant in the Los Angeles area . . . Hardy Kruskamp is a crossword puzzle fiend . . . Bob Wagner was married recently . . . ex-Rutgers football star Eli Fischer has won the hearts of fans in the South . . . Ellis Bashara taking a holiday in California . . . "Roughhouse" Nelson, the wrestler, has become promoter Tom Packs' righthand man in St. Louis . . . Pat O'Shocker off to Australia soon . . . Tommy O'Toole said to be very ill . . . Minneapolis lightheavy Gordon Shafer back in harness after a bevy of injuries, but lost his first bout, to Gus Kallio . . . Oki Shikina defeated Rusty Wescoatt to be crowned heavyweight champ of Hawaii . . .


(Ring Magazine, March, 1938)

By Charles "Spider" Mascall

(Excerpted): A very prosperous season is in prospect for promoters in Sweden, England, Ireland, France, Turkey, Hungary and Germany . . . Harold Lane, the "square shooting" London impresario, is promoting at the Olympia stadium. One of his cards featured a six-a-side team contest with, altogether, 24 of the finest gripmen in the British Isles . . . George Pencheff copped the main event when Stan Karolyi, burly Hungarian, came up injured following a head-on collison. In other bouts, Bob Gregory, London middle, retained European laurels by taking an odd fall from Sandor Nemeth; Jack Terry Van, long-legged globetrotter, went to a fast draw with Bengal Engblom, Finnish craftsman, while Harold Angus, British welter, finished even with Bobby McNab, the speed-boy from Montreal, Canada . . . Paul Duveen slowly coming to the front. This month the hairy Jewish heavyweight gave Dave Armstrong and Bert Mansfield several thrilling struggles . . . Joe Savoldi in Europe for the first time after concluding an Australian tour. In his debut at the Parisian Palais des Sports, he jumped all the way to victory over Mehemet Arif, Turkish torso-twister, in 11:14 . . . A word of praise for able Scot lightheavy Norman Stuart . . . Jack Reynolds has expressed his willingness to battle Harold Angus for world welterweight honors, provided that the ex-British Olympic star visit America for the contest. Angus defended his European crown in Paris recently, downing Henri Laurier, in a little over 18 minutes . . . Ed (Strangler) Lewis likes to sample new dishes in famous foreign kitchens . . . Wigan lightheavy Charlie Green is a former professional rugby star . . . Sandor Vary wears a crested bathrobe . . . Jan Gotch, the Polish grappler, is a movie extra . . . Mike Demitre, who won on a foul, took the European lightheavy crown from Stan Karolyi at the L' Elysee-Montmartre in Paris . . . among newcomers to British mats are Peter Lynch, Apeman Baer, Hec Trudeau and Rod Fenton . . . Jack Sherry is claiming the heavyweight championship of the universe and defended his "title" at the Belle Vue Stadium, Manchester, by throwing Bonnie Alan Muir, Aussie flying-tackler, in two falls . . . Al Pereira, during his stay in Europe, rang up wins over Henri Deglane (from whom he won the European title), Dan Koloff, Al Sparks, Charles Rigoulet (French Hercules) and Ed Don George . . . British heavy Douglas Clark defeated Issy Van Dutz, good-looking Hollander, at Preston. A supporting bout saw the "Brown Masked Marvel," a hooded lightheavy, take two straight from Jack Atheron of Lancashire . . . Johnny Demchuk, Russian "Man of a Million holds," is gaining weight so rapidly he's jumped from middle to lightheavy. He recently gave Aussie traveler Tommy Nilan two close contests . . .

Dave Armstrong and Karl Pojello met in the main event at Harold Lane's London Club last month . . . Jack McLaughlan is back in England from a two-year stay in South Africa . . . Louis Pergantes, Herb Parks and Ben Sherman said returning, too . . . Primo Carnera is hoping to enter the mat game . . . Stan England, the elongated middleweight, has been battling for his life in a London hospital . . . Rod Fenton, George Pencheff, Charlie Green, Terry Van and Johnny Demchuk booked for a South African tour . . . Mike Futa, Juan Lopez, Rene Labelle, Buck Moffatt, Red Duggan and Johnny Katsulos continue to gain the cheers and jeers of English wrestling patrons . . .