The WAWLI Papers No. 729 . . .


(Sunday Oklahoman, April 1, 1973)

By Phil Frey

Sure, Jack, we've all heard those putdowns from the straight dudes about what a fake show pro wrestling really is -- how it's just a bunch of fat freaks with hairy backs and gross gimmicks who practice making faces in their personal pocket mirrors.

How some villain named Dr. Z, who wears a mask and spits at little children, misses a drop kick toward Mr. Clean by eight inches and the turkeys at ringside go into Instant Lap-Up. They think this carnival is for real.

Give 'em an Oscar! More catsup blood for the screaming old ladies. Circusville. Boo! Hiss! Socko numbers like that.

Sure it's fake, but so what's wrong with a little show biz? For $60,000 a year -- net income -- might as well give the suckers what they paid $1.50 apiece to see.

Without sports-page coverage and only the tiniest same-day advertisement, pro wrestling attracts from 3,000 to 4,000 fans who get their jollies regular as clockwork at State Fair Park each Friday night.

The spectacle they see fits a can't-fail theatrical formula. Characters in the script include a bad guy with illegal weapons in his stretch trunks, a dummy referee who misses all the bad stuff that goes on whenever his back is turned and an All-American good guy who resorts to revenge only at the urging of screaming fans, and who finally triumphs like justice only about every other week.

The in-between matches when Mr. Clean gets stomped to death illegally by the villain or disqualified for some minor infraction by that stupid referee merely help set the stage for next week's grudge rematcdh, to which the infuriated faithful will most assuredly return.

But for all the biting, eye-gouging and hair-pulling, there's still some honest talent to this show biz carnival.

Why not ask two-time Olympian Danny Hodge of Perry or a half-dozen other former Oklahoma NCAA wrestling champs and Sooner football alums just how much fake there is in getting your eyebrow split open on the ring post or in being thrown over the ropes 10 feet down to the concrete? That's higher than jumping off a one-story house.

Ask them about the broken bones, the real blood, the bumps and bruises; about former wrestlers who will spend the rest of their lives hobbling around or with their necks in braces from pile drivers that crushed genuine vertebrae.

Ask them how they fake body-slamming 270 pounds of sweat-slick muscle; how they flip, kick, punch and get punched all over that ring four and five nights every week.

"I know some of these guys may look fat and sloppy, but they've got to be well-conditioned athletes to live this kind of life," said Hodge.

Hodge is an Oklahoma legend who is an admitted freak on wrestling and feats of strengths.

While at OU, where he was unbeaten and a national champ in 1955-56-57, Hodge entertained classmates by crushing apples and breaking pliers with one hand. He wrestled in his first Olympics at 19, was undefeated in the Navy, and won a medal in the '56 Olympics. In 1958 he won the U.S. Heavyweight Golden Gloves title, the only man ever to hold both national boxing and wrestling amateur titles.

He is the World Junior Heavyweight (under 225 pounds) Wrestling Champion, which he's won and lost five times during 13 years as a pro.

As a top attraction, Hodge earns from 8 to 10 per cent of the gate, or about $75,000 per year. And he's not the only Oklahoman to approach that stardom bracket.

Jack Brisco from Blackwell, a former NCAA champion at OSU, is a bigtimer on the Florida circuit and wrestled several months down under in Australia. His younger brother Gerald is doing almost as well.

Former OU footballers Wahoo McDaniel and "Cowboy" Bill Watts both perform regularly in Chicago and Madison Square Garden. Dale Lewis, an OU Olympian and NCAA champion, has his picture in all the wrestling magazines.

Most of them have been bad guys or employed other promotional gimmicks. Watts, who is the North American Heavyweight Champion, wears custom cowboy boots in the ring.

But Hodge is always Every Mother's Mr. Nice Guy. He signs autographs for fawning kids and star-struck 92-year-old great-grandfathers. Old ladies with their hair in rollers and shapely teenage lovelies bring along their cameras to take snapshots of each other kissing him on the cheek.

Yet, the heor worship is not unlike college football. It's just less sophisticated and on a lower income plane.

"Bruiser" Bob Sweetan is Hodge's philosophical opposite. The National Brass Knucks Champ says he'll break a guy's arm or leg when he can.

"In my first pro match I gave a guy a pile driver into the cement floor. It gave him a concussion and finished his career."

Sweetan is a 285-pound former Canadian lumberjack who played professional football for the Toronto Argonauts.

"My philosophy is to win at all costs. It's a tough business; only the strongest survive. It's not like football where you have a week to recuperate. I wrestle about four nights a week. You've got to get the other guy before he gets you.

"The more pain I inflict, the more I hurt the other guy, the better my psychological advantage next time. Same as in football -- you nail a guy hard enough and often enough, he's gonna give just a little next time you come his way."

A black head mask is Docter X's gimmick. He's a former bad guy now beloved by the fans. He won't give out his real name or his residence, because he has a quarter horse ranch and is afraid enemies might shoot his high-priced stock.

Besides anonymity, he says the mask protects his face and prevents cauliflower ears. But it didn't help him on a recent night in Oklahoma City. Sweetan, with illegal help from Jerry Miller, stomped him real enough to split an eyebrow about an inch.

Medical insurance for pro grapplers is at a premium. Broken bones and injuries are part of the game.

"One time I was hospitalized in traction and out of action for four and a half months when a guy gave me a Boston crab and jumped on my back," Hodge said. "I should have given up, but I was young. That hurt me real, real bad."

"When I first started I was black and blue all the time. Now I've found that hot showers and Vitamin C help keep the bruises down," said 24-year-old Mike George from St. Joe, Mo., who earned $15,000 for eight months' work during his 1972 rookie year.

"You take a lot of punishment in this business. I learn something new every time I get into the ring. So far I only wrestle about three nights a week. That's all I can take right now."

Although tempers frequently follow the pros back into the dressing room, any fighting there would bring a stiff fine plus possible suspension from the ring.

"When you don't wrestle, you don't get paid," Hodge said. "If a guy hurts you enough to put you out of action, that hurts your income for your family and you're gonna get even with him somewhere down the way.

"Plus tempers seem to get shorter as guys get older. They're afraid of losing their youth, and they try to hurt you. That's when the crippling stage comes in.

"Some of them hide illegal objects in their trunks and use them on you when the ref can't see. Sometimes they only pretend they do to infuriate the fans. It's frowned upon, but it helps them win matches, and you've got to win to wrestle main events where the money is."

Sweetan earned $4,800 for one night's work at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. "I don't wrestle for less than $250 a match. The last few years I've been average around $65,000 -- that's net!"

"I know one guy in New York who made $150,000 last year," Dr. X added. "We're in it to make our money and get out as quick as we can."

The preliminary boys offer other excuses for their $50 to $80 per night.

"It's a diversion from my regular routine and helps me keep in shape," said Bill "Red" McKim of Tulsa, who supplements his jobs as Tulsa deputy fire marshal and arson investigation teacher at Tulsa Junior College.

Like any sport loaded with hero worship, there are plenty of adoring women willing to help fight the loneliness of the road.

"The available girls are really a smorgasboard, but I'm a married man. I take my family along in a trailer," Sweetan said.

Main-events fly between matches in big cities. Hodge has been around the world nine times thanks to wrestle and to Japan six times as a pro.

Although doctors and businessmen can be found among the audience, the sport seems to attract mostly the blue collar and beer-stained T-shirt classes. Some of the most interesting sights (and occasionally, fights) are in the audience, which some wrestlers have learned to fear more than their opponents across the ring.

"In Tulsa, a guy pulled a policeman's gun and pointed it at my head," Dr. X said.

Sweetan took 38 stitches in his scalp last Christmas when a fan struck him with a steel folding chair. There's a big scar on his hip from a knife.

One of the worst incidents was at Oklahoma City's old Stockyards Coliseum when a man ran up and slashed Hodge and "Dandy" Jack Donovan across the thighs with a straight razor.

"I had 140 stitches. It was so deep they had to sew me up in three layers," Hodge said.

Over the years, several wrestlers have taken hard slams and never arisen from the canvas. In Oklahoma City, over-excited fans have keeled over dead from heart attacks.

"But I discourage wrestlers throwing each other out of the ring. That stops the action, plus a fan might get hurt. We carry insurance to protect fans but that's a good way to get sued," Promoter LeRoy McGuirk of Tulsa said.

McGuirk said "Irish" Mike Clancy, a Tulsa police officer and part-time wrestler, once had genuine blood in his eyes while running a gauntlet of irate fans back to his dressing room when a woman ran up and peered into his face.

"He thought she was his opponent trying to get him so he hit her right between the eyes and blacked them both. The judge ruled that she should have been in her seat, but I sure thought we were gonna lose our shirts in that suit."

Totally blind, McGuirk has never seen any of the wrestlers who have earned him a 2,000-acre ranch near Claremore and made him a millionaire from a sport over which he once reigned as national champ.

Minus the sight of one eye since childhood, he was a state high school champ at Tulsa and NCAA titlist at OSU. McGuirk turned pro while earning $21 a week as a sports writer for a Tulsa newspaper during the Depression. He wrestled over 3,000 professional matches and reigned 10 years as Junior Heavyweight Champ.

"It was more pure wrestling in those days. Some matches went on for two hours and you might get in one hold and stay there for 30 minutes."

Modern fans want more action and color, which McGuirk has been giving them since a 1951 car wreck cost him his other eye and turned him to promoting.

"You've got to give people a run for their money. That's what they come out to see. We tell guys to give action on their feet, not go down on the mat like in college and tie themselves in a knot.

"The contest part between most of these fellows has been settled a long time ago. They've wrestled either other before. They pretty well know who's best."

It was McGuirk who first put Gorgeous George on the road to starmdom, probably the most famous pro grappler of all time.

His name was George Wagner and he wrestled right here in Oklahoma. His sequined robes and long hair were a novelty back then. He hired a valet and went out to California when TV was first getting started and probably made $150,000 a year at his peak.

McGuirk now books about 40 different wrestlers for nearly 20 towns in five states, the majority in Louisiana and Mississippi. For some he puts on the whole program; for others he only books the card. His company also videotapes a bout in a Shreveport, La., TV studio and sells it in 16 other cities, including here. WKY-TV hosted the live match for over 10 years.

Novelties always draw customers. McGuirk has booked girls, midgets, bears, alligators and boxer vs. wrestler matches.

At over 500 pounds, Haystack Calhoun is one of the biggest wrestlers. If he turns professional, 450-pound Iowa State Olympian Chris Taylor is expected to earn $100,000 a year, "but I don't know who or what I could put him in against after the first two or three times," McGuirk said.

"I've matched men against bears. Hodge is so strong he's about the only one who can put a 500-pound bear on his its back. But those things are treacherous. During winter they want to hibernate and you can't do much with them.

"We've had fellows get the tips of their fingers bitten off."

That's almost as dangerous as being a referee. He catches it from both wrestlers and fans.

"Oh, sure, they (fans) beat on you and cuss you, but you just got to duck your head and try to avoid them," Leo Voss, McGuirk's assistant, said.

Voss wrestled professionally five years, then spent 30 more refereeing four to six nights per week until a car accident ended that, too.

"Referees don't have to use any tricks. You just call 'em as you see 'em. There's always somebody who don't like what you say."

Referees have their share of war wounds, too.

"One time in San Antonio a guy threw a bottle of beer and hit me in the head. It took 14 stitches and within 30 days cataracts were forming on my eyes from the shock," Voss said. "We've had fans get to excited they jump right in the ring, even women."

"Sometimes I get up there myself," said Lee Kalivoda of Wheatland, who in 235 years has rarely missed a Friday night match. The 260-pound truckdriver, who looks like he could raise a few lumps himself, yells nasties to the villain in Czechoslavakian and always buys the same two $3 first row seats on the aisle.

"I hardly ever bring anyone else with me. I just don't like to sit by some drunk," Kalivoda said. "Why do I like it? It's a good show, good entertainment. I ain't got nowhere else to go on Friday night."


(Minneapolis Tribune, Friday, March 26, 1993)

By Pat Pheifer

Wally Karbo's name was synonymous with professional wrestling for more than 50 years.

His face, voice and mannerisms were familiar to generations of fans who watched All-Star Wrestling on Saturday morning television.

"Wally WAS wrestling to Minnesota," said Jesse (The Body) Ventura. "Wally's a legend."

Karbo, 77, of Bloomington, was having lunch with a friend Thursday when he suffered a heart attack. He was pronounced dead at Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina.

In recent years he had been a commissioner of the Ladies Professional Wrestling Association, but he got his start in the business nearly 60 years ago as a kid straight out of parochial school.

Walter Joseph Karbo was born and raised in northeast Minneapolis, the son of Polish immigrants. He graduated from De La Salle High School in 1934 and was quite an athlete in his own right. He played basketball and was offered a scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, said his brother Mike.

Finances were tight, and he chose not to go to college. Instead, he started hanging around gyms with his next-door neighbor, Stan Mayslack, who wanted to be a wrestler. In time he met Tony Stecher, the top boxing and wrestling promoter in Minneapolis during the 1930s.

He worked for Stecher as an office boy/go-fer and eventually was offered a job as referee for out-of-town wrestling matches. By the time he was 23 or 24, he had refereed close to 8,000 matches, his brother said. During his lifetime it was closer to 25,000.

Soon he began organizing matches in Toronto, Winnipeg and the Dakotas and as far west as Denver. By the 1940s he had moved into the Twin Cities and elsewhere in Minnesota, and was one of the best-known promoters in the country.

"He was really well respected," Mike Karbo said yesterday. "He really was in love with it."

He and Verne Gagne were partners in the American Wrestling Association for more than three decades. The association's All-Star Wrestling debuted on TV in the early 1950s, and the matches continued across the country.

"He would talk in circles and he would garble his words and he would do all kinds of stuff that just endeared him to people," said David Lee, his attorney and longtime friend. "Wally would always treat people fairly . . . and they were loyal to him and vice versa."

Karbo never thought he was better than anybody else, said Ed Sharkey, a former wrestler turned trainer turned promoter.

"He wasn't a guy who wore a three-piece suit and sat in an office," he said. "He was one of the guys. He wanted to ride in the car with the boys. He wanted to go have a beer with the boys."

Karbo was to have received a lifetime achievement award at a Pro Wrestling America match on April 17, Sharkey said.

"I don't know what we're going to do," he said. "The whole wrestling community is just shattered."

Ventura said that he started wrestling for the association in 1978-79, but that he had watched Karbo on TV since he was a little boy.

"Wally was sly like a fox," he said. "A lot of people perceived Wally as not being real brainy, but Wally Karbo knew the wrestling business better than anybody who's been in it. Wally could recognize talent and who could draw money. He enjoyed life to the fullest."

Karbo sold his interest in the association in about 1984. He continued to promote women's wrestling until the day he died.

He also was known for his civic contributions. He had been honored for his work with the March of Dimes Variety Club Heart Hospital at the University of Minnesota and other organizations.

He visited his 100-year-old mother at a nursing home every day. When he had time, he found great joy in going on fishing and hunting trips with his buddies.

His wife, Viola, died five years ago. Besides his brother Mike, who lives in Bloomington, he is survived by a son, Steve, of Eden Prairie; a daughter, Mary Ann Duffee, of Bloomington; his mother, Anna, of St. Anthony; another brother, Ed, of Minneapolis; a sister, Wanda Hanigan, of Las Vegas, and four grandchildren.

Services will be held Monday at an hour yet to be decided, at St. Hedwig's Catholic Church, 129 29th Av. NE., Minneapolis. Arrangements are by the Kapala-Glodek Funeral Chapel in northeast Minneapolis.


(Buffalo News, Friday, May 12, 1995)

By Gene Warner

The time for long-term grieving will come later, in the weeks and months ahead. On Thursday, Ilio Di Paolo's extended family gathered to reminisce and retell the anecodtes about the "gentle giant" who died Wednesday night.

There was the time, back in the 1950s, when he and his wife Ethel drove to a wrestling match in Toronto with only 11 cents in their pockets.

The time he ended an interview by picking up his interviewer and giving him an airplane spin.

The time he tried to teach a Japanese Rotarian how to sing, "I've Been Working On the Railroad."

The time he and Jim Kelly made up the rules for their bocce tournament.

All the stories had a common theme: Ilio Di Paolo was a character.

"He was such an outgoing person. He's the only one I knew who carried on a lengthy conversation with the greeter at Wal-Mart," said longtime close friend Pat Bonitatibus of Lackawanna.

"We've lost a truly giant citizen," said long-time sportscaster Ralph Hubbell, who once served as the propeller for a Di Paolo airplane spin. "He was all Buffalo. It seemed that everything he did was to benefit a community that had adopted him."

Di Paolo, 68, died Wednesday night, about half an hour after he was struck by a car while crossing Main Street in the Village of Hamburg.

The driver, an 18-year-old Orchard Park woman, told police that she never noticed Di Paolo until she heard a bang and then slammed on her brakes. Late Thursday, police said she probably wouldn't be charged.

Rain may have been a factor in Di Paolo's being struck just a few feet before he reached the curb on his way into a restaurant, police said.

"He was almost across the street," Detectgive Sgt. David Mammoser said. "Probably two or three more steps and he would have been home free."

The acciedent was the second traffic tragedy to strike the close-knit family. Six years ago, Di Paolo's daughter, Lisa, and her 5-year-old daughter, Tara Friedman, were killed.

"My father raised us as 'people' people," his son, Dennis, said Thursday. "He wouldn't want us to hide in our house and ask 'why?' He'd want us to be out (with friends and family)."

Through his two careers, as a pro wrestler and then as a highly successful restaurateur, Di Paolo got his strength from the same source.

As a wrestler, he thrived on the cheers of the crowd. As a restaurant owner, he'd invariably go from table to table, to field compliments about the food and the personal service.

"That was my father's strength: the people," Dennis Di Paolo said.

The elder Di Paolo loved to tell his stories, especially the one from the early 1950s, when he and his wife slept under a tree on their way to Toronto to a wrestling match with Fred Atkins.

"Eleven cents in our pocket," he'd tell his children. "That's what makes you hungry, when you have nothing."

Di Paolo's Old World accent, which he retained, was the source of plenty of jokes.

One day, the man who always rolled his Rs tried to teach a Japanese Rotarian how to sing an old American ditty, "I've Been Working On The Railroad."

"Here's this hulk of a man putting his arm around a Japanese man who's about 4 foot 9, trying to teach him how to roll his Rs," Bonitatibus said. "It was just hysterical."

The Buffalo Bills were one of Di Paolo's passions.

His restaurant became a second -- and sometimes first -- home for players and coaches. Ilio Di Paolo's caters dinner for the coaching staff and some front-office people four nights a week, and Di Paolo usually took the food over to Rich Stadium on Thursday nights.

So his weekly visit became a good-luck charm for the team, according to Scott Berchtold, director of media relations.

"Ilio Di Paolo . . . was such a dear friend to everyone in our organization, and he will be tremendously missed by all of us," General Manager John Butler stated Thursday. "It is always difficult to say good-bye to true friends, and Ilio was certainly that to the Buffalo Bills."

Di Paolo also became sort of a local adopted father for Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, who hails from the same kind of close-knit ethnic family, where hugs and kisses replace handshakes.

That's apparently why Kelly chose Di Paolos' restaurant to pop the question to his fiancee, Jill Waggoner, last November.

Kelly and Di Paolo held an annual all-day bocce tournament in Kelly's home. Dennis Di Paolo can remember Kelly's kidding suggestion for resolving any rules disputes:

"If anybody has any problems, to go Ilio or me. Ilio because he's Ilio, and me because it's my house."

Kelly and former Bills tight end Pete Metzelaars are among the players heading back to Buffalo for Di Paolo's funeral Saturday. And current and former staffers such as Ted Cottrell, Walt Corey, Chuck Lester and Bud Carpenter rushed to the family's side Wednesday night.

Di Paolo hosted a celebrity golf tournament each year and helped raise funds for the Leukemia Society, Cystic Fibrosis, the March of Dimes, and other charities.

He also was an active member of the South Shore Rotary Club, the Romulus Club and the Lake Erie Italian Club.

For all his civic activities, Di Paolo was named an outstanding citizen by 10 different organizations, including Hilbert College and the Rotarians.

"He always told us, 'Never say no. Do anything you can to help people out,'" Dennis said.

Surviving in addition to his wife, the former Ethel Martinez, and son Dennis, are another son, Michael; a daughter, Barbara; a sister, Joanna Phelan; and six grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 8:30 a.m. Saturday in Our Lady of Sacred Heart Church on Abbott Road, Orchard Park, following a 7:45 prayer service at Colonial Memorial Chapels on South Park Avenue in Lackawanna. Entombment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery.

As his loved ones go through this weekend's rites of grieving, they won't forget Di Paolo's own thoughts on the subject.

"My father always stood for a strong family tradition," Dennis said. "You have your ups and downs, but you have to keep going."

The WAWLI Papers No. 730 . . .


(Associated Press, May 8, 1919)

CHICAGO -- A belt to cost $2250 to be emblematic of the world's wrestling championship is to be presented to the winner of the Wladek Zbyszko-"Strangler" Lewis match here May 19, it was announced today by the Coliseum Athletic Club. Most of the wrestling promoters of the country have contributed to the cost of the trophy, which, to become the private property of a holder, must be defended five times.


(Associated Press, May 8, 1919)

MERCER, Pa. -- Robert F. (Strangler) Lewis, the wrestler, was married here this afternoon to Dr. Ada Scott. The wedding was the culmination of a romance begun two years ago in San Jose, Cal., when Lewis suffered a broken leg in a wrestling bout and Dr. Scott, then a railroad surgeon, attended him.


(Houston Post, Monday, June 22, 1953)

By Harold Young

Morris Sigel has been the kingpin of wrestling in Houston so long a facetious customer once remarked that the Republic of Texas built the City Auditorium for his Friday night wrestling cards.

He has been around in the business for a long time -- probably longer than any other sports promoter in America. But so far as chronology is concerned, he has just started his 39th year. And, relatively speaking, that is infinitesimally less than the flick of an eye lash.

Forty-nine centuries before Morris Sigel was born in one of New York City's lower East Side tenements, not far from Fulton Street were his father kept a fish market and first met Al Smith, Egyptian sculpturers were decorating the walls of the tample-tombs of Beni Hasan, near the Nile, with scenes from wrestling matches and, incidentally, depicting most of the holds known to modern man. (Antiquarians may well cringe at this kind of stuff, but Homer probably was the world's first sports writer -- at least, he reported the wrestling bout between Ajax and Odysseus in the 23rd book of the Iliad.)

Back in the realm of modern perspective, it goes without saying that the Allen brothers, the founders of Houston, and the City Auditorium both antedate Morris Sigel and the Sigel wrestling cards to which several thousand fans now trudge faithfully 50 weeks out of the year, winter and summer.

Some promoters in the country may close down or go outdoors in the summer, but Houston fans are impervious to heat, as well as a lot of other things. In the summer, Mr. Sigel extravagantly advertises 30,000 pounds of ice in the City Auditorium's cooling system. But all that ice really amounts to is water down the drain. Even he admits, "It's psychological, I guess. Put 4,000 people in that place and it gets hot."

Mr. Sigel figures that he has had six million paying customers in 38 years and has staged at least 7,500 wrestling cards. Only two Sigel shows have been canceled. Once when the bayou flooded clear up to Travis Street -- Sigel customers bear with him in many things, but he has never tried to cajole them to take a rowboat to the City Auditorium.

And the week Texas City blew up, he canceled. It was too appalling even to think of going on.

Despite 38 years in the business, Mr. Sigel is by no means an old man. He is only 54 and won't be 55 until Oct. 31. He started with his brother, Julius Sigel, who died in 1942.

For years promotion was strictly a sideline for Morris Sigel and he spent almost 16 years with the Kirby Lumber Co. as an invoice clerk. It didn't appear so then, nor even so for several years, but while he was an invoice clerk, a very lucky thing happened to him -- he was fired. If that hadn't happened he might this day be looking forward only to 65 and social security. When he was fired he turned to fulltime promotion with his brother Julius.

Since that day he has made a fortune. For a man who operates in a business that can match Hollywood and the circus for superlatives, he can be surprisingly sotto voce about Morris Sigel -- "I've accumulated a little nest egg."

"I am just a beat-down, old wrestling promoter," he said another time during conversations about his career.

He had a heart attack in 1952 and it was touch and go for a month or more -- that might explain why he calls himself old at 54.

Unfriendly business competitors -- he operates in a world where outraged anguish is frequently the common tone of voice -- would be the first to deny that he is beat-down; that is if they could be assured they were not talking for publication.

Undoubtedly if they were to be quoted, they'd say they had Morris Sigel on the run. Currently in Texas there is what the newspapers call a wrestling war. It has many angles -- wrestling talent, among other things.

Mr. Sigel operates the Texas Wrestling Agency, which books wrestling cards for other promoters. Most of the big promoters of the country operate these wrestling agencies, and Morris Sigel is one of the big promoters of the country. It pains him to hear it, but Mr. Sigel is frequently called the czar of Texas wrestling -- it is an epithet, not a compliment.

In fact, a would-be Houston competitor once filed an antitrust suit against him -- "But the judge threw it out of court," he explains.

The current war is a little too lengthy for this dissertation. There is talk of this wrestler and that wrestler going over to the rival booking agencdy that has been organized in North Texas, but there appears to be little chance that any competitor is going to sink the doughty little warrior of Houston.

A hillbilly wrestler who carried a sack of possums around with him started Morris Sigel on the road to fortune -- and Mr. Sigel has never forgotten him, nor that wrestler, Leo Daniel Boone "Whiskers" Savage, forgotten Morris Sigel. When Sigel was sick in the hospital with his heart attack, Whiskers drove from Florida to give "Morris a hand in his scuffle." There is an extravagant warmth about friendships in the wrestling business.

Some 20 years ago Whiskers Savage drew the customers into the City Auditorium as no man ever had. In those times when money was scarace, Whiskers was the difference.

Sometimes, to hear Mr. Sigel talk about Savage, you'd be tempted to think Whiskers invented wrestling -- if not money. Of course, he did neither.

Less extravagantly, Mr. Sigel will never forget that, in a sense, Whiskers enabled him to sit in his home to gaze on the bucolic peace of a picture by Wattead, an 18th century French genre painter whose canvases also hangin the Louvre.

Mr. Sigel might admit he is a gourmet -- or was until his doctor put him on a diet that reduced the former 200-pound bulk on his small frame some 30 pounds -- but he would shy at art connosseur. The pictures in his home at 11006 Memorial Drive, he insists, are Mrs. Sigel's -- also the Louis XVI antiques as well as the Dresden China.

Down at his office in the Milam Building -- clustered with pictures of wrestlers, for the most part -- Mr. Sigel has a card index on the Houston records of every man who has ever wrestled for him in the past 20 years or more. He'll grab any card you want out of that file in a jiffy, but he is surprisingly shy and reticent about the pictures and antiques in his home. Well, he did admit that one piece of Dresden was 400 years old. Mr. Sigel confines his bragging to his wrestling cards, a strictly accepted business practice in the trade.

Mr. Sigel actually fits no conventional picture of a sports promoter. He could still pass for the invoice clerk. The quality of his clothes is several cuts now above what an invoice clerk could afford, but color and style are conservative.

Many wrestling promoters of the country are former wrestlers, but Mr. Sigel has never lifted a hand in athletic endeavor. He once did put a headlock on a dummy rubber head Strangler Lewis used to carry with him for workouts when he was still active in wrestling.

"The thing had springs inside that an ordinary man couldn't mash down," he says. "Strangler used to squeeze it flat for exercise. I tried it once but hardly made a dent."

Julius, his brother, was an amateur boxer, but Morris never had a boxing glove on, even in fun. When the family lived on Dallas Avenue and Gillette Street where Papa Sigel had a corner grocery for years, Julius had a prize ring behind the house but it held no lure for Morris.

The family moved to Houston in 1909 when Morris was 9 years old. Brothers of his father, who was Isaac Sigel, were in Texas in business and their reports on the country and its business prospects decided Mr. Sigel on a move to Texas.

Morris Sigel quit school in 1911 when he was 13 and went to work as office boy for The Houston Post at $3 a week. That really was only one of three jobs. When he finished work at The Post, he would hurry home and help in the grocery store.

His other job was helping his brother Julius, who had become a shoe-string fight promoter. When the wrestling impresario of the day died, the Sigel brothers moved into that field.

Nothing has survived so steadily and so sturdily barbed humor, satire -- and even scorn from detractors -- as wrestling. Twenty million paid admissions to wrestling matches in this country last year. Mr. Sigel's matches draw approximately 200,000 a year, which is as many, if not more, than the St. Louis Browns draw some years to their major league ball games.

If Bill Veeck, who is something of a promoter himself, were to ask Morris Sigel for advice, the Houston impresario would undoubtedly suggest a wrestling card with every home ball game. Mr. Sigel already knows what wrestling can do for a poor box office. In the early years of the Houston Fat Stock Show, when crowds were slim, he put on shows at the stock show, without cost to the show, to stimulate attendance.

Mr. Sigel is always ready to bring wrestling to the aid of a civic or public enterprise. Two wrestling shows during World War II sold $30 million in bonds. Mr. Sigel's showmanship is already a legend in the wrestling business, but he outdid himself at the first of the bond shows, wedding as it were for a night at least the dissimilar arts of symphonic music and wrestling.

The symphony set and the wrestling crowd mingled that night in the City Auditorium as the Houston Symphony Orchestra, then under the direction of Ernst Hoffman, played a diverting accompaniment to the ring antics of the wrestlers.

Currently wrestlers shepherded by Paul Boesch, who has all but given up wrestling to serve as Mr. Sigel's publicty chief and man-of-all-work, are the backbone of the Houston Police Department's safety program among the children of the city. If you wonder where the next decade's adult wrestling fans are coming from, attend a fun club meeting of a neighborhood theatre some Saturday morning and watch the wrestlers at work with this business of safety.

The children love wrestling and the whole realm of wrestling loves the children. Mr. Sigel himself nurses an ambition to found a boys' ranch -- something similar to Boys Ranch at Tascosa, near Amarillo. That institution, incidentally, was founded by Cal Farley, former wrestler.


(Hamilton, Ont., Spectator, October 24, 1981)

BRANTFORD (CP) -- Services were held yesterday for William (Billy) Bowman, a four-foot-tall midget wrestler known around the world as Major Tom Thumb.

Mr. Bowman died Wednesday at Brantford General Hospital at age 65. He was billed as one of the four original midget wrestlers in the world.

He began his wrestling career in the early 1940s with partners Little Beaver, Fuzzy Cupid and Sky Low Low.

His 20-year career took him to wrestling rings in Canada, the U.S., Europe, Japan, South America and Australia.

Born in England, he moved to Brantford with his family when he was 12 and returned to the city in 1962 afrter he retired from the ring.


(Boston Sunday Globe, May 26, 1985)

By William P. Coughlin

In 1940, The Boston Globe sports pages carried a challenge: "The Famous Casey Brothers of Boston would race any crew in the United States."

That was quite a gauntlet to toss before the proud society of Boston and Cambridge rowing circles by sons of Irish immigrants.

Steve (Crusher) Casey of Cohasset, former world professional wrestling champion (1938-48) recalls:

"A Philadelphia crew took us on, but backed out . . . Then Russell Codman, former Boston fire commissioner under Mayor Jim Curley, himself a national champion, came forward and said, 'I will row the three Casey brothers and beat them in single sculls . . . '"

Tom Casey won that race. Jim Casey came in second. Steve Casey finished third. Codman was fourth.

Tom Casey, then virtually unknown to Codman, would move a rowing shell in the fastest time ever seen then on the Charles River -- under a minute for the quarter-mile dash. Singly and with his brothers, Tom Casey would win every race he entered thereafter, at the then unheard of pace of more than 40 strokes a minute -- a pace that would not become commonplace in rowing for three more decades.

"Nobody," Steve Casey said, "ever beat Tom when he was rowing."

Thomas Casey of Boston, one of those seven famous Irish-born brothers from a family of rowing champions and nationally famous wrestlers, died Friday in Youville Hospital in Cambridge. He had suffered a stroke three years ago. He was 70.

Steve Casey unveiled the Casey secret of success as an oarsman and in wrestling rings in a telephone interview yesterday.

"You cannot beat youth," he said. "I was oldest. I was 17. We were racing these guys that were 30 or 35 years old. They underestimated our youth . . . they underestimated our teamwork. You can't beat a brother team's teamwork . . . The reason we were called 'The Famous Caseys' is because we never lost a boat race."

His brother Tom started wrestling around 1934 in Southern Ireland and England, and with his brothers had also qualified in rowing single sculls in the 1936 Olympics at Berlin -- the year Jesse Owens beat back the pride of Hitler's youth in track and field events.

Steve Casey remembers somewhat bitterly:

"The five Caseys were disqualified by the England and Ireland Olympic Association because they said that two, Paddy and Jim, took money for a wrestling match in South London. They barred us all from racing in the Olympics. Paddy and Jim swore they didn't take any money . . . "

Casey recalled how they got started.

"We'd come from Kerry County. My father, Michael, and my uncles -- my mother's two brothers, John and Pat Sullivan -- were rowers, too." His mother, Steve Casey said, was the former Bridget Sullivan, a distant kin of the famed bare-fisted heavyweight Boston prizefighter, John L. Sullivan.

"Uncle Pat was the skipper of Cornelius Vanderbilt's yacht in Newport, Rhode Island," Casey said. "One day he told Vanderbilt he could get a crew to win the world rowing championship. Vanderbilt said, 'If you can get them, I'll pay their way to Newport to train' . . . That's how it started."

A Casey niece, Amy Marr, was carrying on the family tradition yesterday in Worcester, rowing in a crew of eight for Phillips Academy.

As wrestlers, the Casey brothers took on the best, all over the country. They had turned pro in 1935 after the Olympics episode and were wrestling for the late Paul Bowser. Many a donnybrook involving the Caseys was seen at the old Mechanics Building, the Boston Arena, Boston Garden and New York's Madison Square Garden.

Steve recalled one such ring "war" when three Caseys, Steve, Tom and Jim, wrestled the three Dusek brothers, Wally, Ernie and Emil, in Boston Garden.

"Now that was a Donnybrook, between the Caseys and the Duseks. It was a draw."

Tom retired from wrestling when he was 50, his wife of 42 years, Bernadette (Theriault) said yesterday.

Besides his wife and his brother Steve, Mr. Casey leaves five brothers, James of Houston, and Patrick, Michael, Daniel and Jack of Ireland and England; a sister, Margaret Hawley of Manchester, England; and several nieces and nephews.

A funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. Anne's Church, St. Stephen street, Boston.


(Ft. Lauderdale News, June 26, 1992)

By Gary Stein

I imagine anybody who ever met him has a favorite story about Buddy "Nature Boy" Rogers.

This is a man who left an impact when he passed through your life.

Which is where my very favorite Buddy Rogers story comes in.

It happened three years ago, in a sub shop in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, near Rogers' home.

It seems Buddy had gone in there and encountered a 29-year-old, 200-pound jerk who was harassing a waitress and using foul language.

Rogers told the guy to stop, and the fellow responded by calling Buddy an "old man" and tossing a chair.

Buddy responded by bashing the guy until he yelled "uncle" and the cops came.

"I pushed him against a weall, and he picked up a chair and threw it at me," Rogers said a day later. "Then I unloaded. I gave him a shot and he must have flown five feet into a refrigerator. Then I nailed him in the stomach and he flew into the kitchen.

"That guy couldn't hurt me. I could be dead six months, and they could stand me up, and I'd still be able to beat him."

Yeah, I guess the guy who tossed the chair didn't realize the incredible sculpted, 220-pound Rogers was 68 at the time.

I guess he didn't realize Buddy Rogers was one of the most famous wrestlers ever.

And I guess the guy never called anybody an "old man" again.

I have talked to Rogers several times since that incident, which received national attention, and he's always a delight.

"I don't care where we go, everybody knows him," his wife, Debbie, told me. "It's unbelievable. He's just so well-loved."

Buddy and I would talk about the days when he would wrestle in front of crowds of 40,000 or more in stadiums around the country.

We would talk about how he developed the Figure Four Grapevine hold and how he had little use for today's professional actors who pass themselves off as wrestlers.

Not that Buddy lived in the past. The last time we talked, in fact, he mentioned how he wanted to apply for a spot on a state wrestling commission and how he was concerned about wrestlers taking steroids. He told me how he was swimming daily to keep in shape.

But we did talk about the past a lot, at my insistgence. I remembered seeing him wrestle on TV when I was a kid, and I loved his bigger-than-life stories.

"Worst I ever got hurt was against Killer Kowalski," he once told me.

"He attacked me from behind, knocked me down, stomped all over me. Broke my right tibia."

And that, friends, was before the match started.

"Nobody could ever believe his age," Debbie told me on Thursday. "They thought he was maybe 55. He was always so strong."

Which makes it even harder to accept that, right now, Buddy "Nature Boy" Rogers is fighting for his life in Holy Cross Hospital.

Seems Rogers, who had a quadruple bypass and hip surgery years ago, suffered a stroke on Monday, then had a massive stroke after being admitted to the hospital.

For the past couple of days, there has not been much movement. And not a great deal of optimism, although he has been moved out of intensive care.

"He is such a fighter," said Debbie, who was in show business before she met Buddy.

"I talk to him. I was at his bed, and I said, 'Buddy, if you understand me, squeeze my fingers twice.' He was able to do that.

"He's just one of a kind."

And right now, everybody who's got any kind of Buddy Rogers story is pulling strongly for him.


(Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Sunday, July 19, 1992)

By Seth Borenstein

George "Gorgeous George" Arena, a 1940s-era wrestler who pranced around in full-length silk robes and had his wavy platinum-blond mane set between falls, died on Thursday in Boca Raton after a lengthy illness.

He was 84.

One of the celebrities of early televised wrestling, Mr. Arena played the primping bad guy who crowds loved to root against.

The Gorgeous George image, the brainchild of promoter Harold Bogello, made Mr. Arena famous and rich.

He wore robes of satin and ermine, and three-inch platform heels, and had combs and brushes everywhere. Before men ever considered going to anyone but a barber, Mr. Arena would got to a town's beauty parlor to have his hair dyed and set.

His valet would spray him in the ring with cologne.

"It was a whole cosmetic routine we did," said his son, Gilbert, who was his father's valet.

"I always had to look like I stepped out of the pages of Esquire," Mr. Arena told Sunshine magazine in 1984. "When I'd come into a town for a match, I'd take my valet with me to a restaurant in the center of town. We'd have our own silverware that the valet would carefully wipe off. Then he'd read the menu to me; I couldn't dirty my hands with it, see. Well, I already knew what I was going to order before I went in. It was all a show, get me?"

And the show was designed to agitate the working-class audiences to root against Gorgeous George, his son said.

Mr. Arena was born in Chicago in Sept. 13, 1907. He grew up in Racine, Wisc.

Mr. Arena was stricken with polio when he was 12 and was on his back for 22 months. A physical fitness fanatic late into his 70s, Mr. Arena used exercise to build up his strength. During his wrestling days he had a 56-inch chest and 19-inch arms.

Mr. Arena moved from Racine to Milwaukee to wrestle in bigger shows and then hit the big time in Chicago, his son said.

Mr. Arena said he first wrestled as Gorgeous George in 1932. At least half a dozen other men wrestled under the same name, before television, but Mr. Arena was the original Gorgeous George, his son said.

Mr. Arena would wrestle every day, traveling from town to town and selling cars and doing odd jobs to make extra money -- until he hit it big in television.

Mr. Arena told Sunshine that he made $480,000 in 1951, wrestling 327 nights that year. But much of that money went to his accessories and more than 100 robes. Later in his career he became Baron Arena, his son said.

His last wrestling match was in Puerto Rico in 1970.

Mr. Arena moved to Delray Beach in 1971 and sold patio furniture part-time, his son said.

He was a member of the Masonic Lodge in Milwaukee.

Mr. Arena is survived by his wife, Celia, of Delray Beach; a daughter, Patricia Kozik of California; and two sons, Gilbert Arena and Col. Darrell Arena, both of California; 10 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be private.

(ED. NOTE -- A good deal of the above article is pure crap, fabricated by Arena and his son. The reason he became known as Baron Arena was simple: Gorgeous George (Wagner) sued him in Chicago, won the case and was legally awarded the use of the name, "Gorgeous George.")

The WAWLI Papers No. 731 . . .


(San Francisco Bulletin, April 20, 1917)

Frank Schuler has additional evidence to introduce when the matter of whether he overpaid Santel and Joe Stecher comes up in court next week. Said evidence consists of a letter from Joe Hetmanek, manager of Stecher, wherein due acknowledgment is made that Stecher was paid $150 too much.

Hetmanek expresses his willingness to make a settlement, but asks that Schuler recompense him for the expense incurred of bringing his party up from Los Angeles and then taking it back when the Stecher-Irsa match fell through. Schuler has always been willing to pay Hetmanek for the trip from Los Angeles. The trip, Hetmanek figures, cost $147. Which means that Schuler will have $3 coming to him.

The letter is regarded by Schuler as conclusive proof that he made a mistake in figuring the percentages when settling with the wrestlers, and if the court takes the same view Santel must pungle up $175, the amount Schuler maintains he overpaid him.

Hetmanek also has something to say in his letter as to the recent defeat of Stecher by Caddock.

He states that Stecher's poor showing was due to lack of condition. "It was a good lesson for Joe," Hetmanek writes. "He has learned that one hour a day is not enough work. Caddock is a good wrestler, we are not trying to belittle him, but when he and Stecher meet again there will be an entirely different story to tell."

The fight of Frank Schuler on the one hand, and Charley Newman and Harry Foley on the other, is on in earnest.

Schuler has made a deposit of $50 for the use of the Civic Auditorium the night of May 29. He expects, says Schuler, to stage Earl Caddock with some other good wrestler.

Newman and Foley have applied for use of the auditorium for May 28, the night before Schuler's, their card being Zbyszko and "Strangler" Lewis.

Therefore we may see two big matches in quick succession.

Farmer Stanton, the 240-pounder who wrestles Santel for Newman and Foley the night of April 24, is due to arrive in San Francisco this evening. Meanwhile Newman and Foley are working for a Santel-Walter Miller match. Miller seems inclined to accept the offer of Santel to meet him a straightaway two and a half-hour match at 175 pounds, ringside, and if the match is arranged it will be staged May 1.


(San Francisco Bulletin, April 25, 1917)

By Marion T. Salazar

Farmer Stanton, recommended by Ed Smith, "the great wrestling authority" of the Hearst paper in Chicago, as a wrestler whom it would take a world's champion to beat, lasted a little over an hour with Ad Santel at Dreamland Rink last night, and Santel, as Joe Stecher showed, is not a world's champion.

Santel took the first fall in 36 minutes 48 seconds with the help of his old "horse trick" -- the same trick with which he almost seriously injured Konstantine Roumonoff.

Stanton had straddled Santel's back and was attempting to ride him around the ring. Santel let himself fall backward, and Stanton, thinking quicker than did Roumonoff, succeeded in breaking the fall a little and saved his head from bouncing off the floor, but he wasn't quite quick enough to prevent Santel from getting a full nelson on him, and before he could twist away both his shoulders were flat and Referee Charley Andrews was patting Santel as the winner of the first fall.

The second fall Santel took with a semi-head scissors after 29 minutes 11 seconds of slow wrestling.

Santel, feeling that he was master, took no chances in effecting the second fall. When he returned to the ring after the first fall he went to work on Stanton, allowed the Easterner to tire himself out, and pinned him at the first opportunity.

Stanton's shoulders were seen to be bridged just off the floor as the referee gave Santel the third and final tap, thus leaving the impression in the minds of some of the fans that the second fall had not been properly scored, but Referee Andrews ruled that Stanton was down the required three seconds, and as Stanton made no complaint it was taken for granted that he was.

Stanton, to give him his due, is not a bad sort of wrestler. He proved himself a strong fellow, and, for a man weighing over 200 pounds, remarkably quick on his feet. But his skill was not that of the 185-pound man who opposed him.

Two incidents aside from the wrestling were features of the show. The first was the "comeback" of Santel as a local favorite.

Hooted out of the ring by a boxing crowd last Friday night, there was some question as to the sort of reception he would receive when next he stepped into the ring to wrestle.

The crowd, if it was the same that hooted Santel, simply reversed itself. It began cheering the instant Santel left his dressing room and started to make his way down the aisle, and it wasn't just cheering; it was loud, boisterous cheering, accompanied by waving of hands and of hats, and it was two or three minutes from the time the noise started until announcer Kammerling obtained sufficient quiet to make the introduction. Then there was more cheering, and Santel, who has been wearing a frown ever since his supposed fall from grace, smiled his old smile and bowed his thanks again and again.

The other feature of the show as furnished by George Costello, the "Belgian Tiger," who has been caged up or retired or something for the past year or so and suddenly got the idea that he would like to challenge the winner.

So the "Tiger," acting on his idea, sneaked into the ring just after the introduction of the main eventers.

A policeman saw the "Tiger" and jumped in and grabbed him. Then Harry Foley, who, with "Enchilada" Charley Newman, was promoting the show, came tearing into the ring and gave the policeman a helping hand in shoving the "Tiger" out through the ropes.

The ring had just been clared for action when the "Tiger" sneaked in again.

But this time he didn't linger quite so long. Four husky policemen, some of the biggest and finest looking on the force, grabbed the "Tiger" by the coat collar and the seat of the pants and gave him the grand rush. The last seen of the said "Tiger" he was being run out the front door spitting and scratching and yelling that he could throw all the Santels and Farmer Stantons that could be piled into the ring with him.

He'd show some of these wise guys, declared the "Tiger" as he landed out on the sidewalk, whether he is a "set-up."

Santel, who is being sued in court by Frank Schuler for $175, which the last named alleges he overpaid him in the Stecher match, encountered some more financial troubles just before he entered the ring. He was waited upon by an internal revenue man and asked whether he had paid the State his income tax. Santel replied that he had not been asked to do so. The revenue man then fixed a date for today at which time he and Santel will discuss the matter.

Three preliminaries preceded the main event. Al La Vance undertook to throw Carl Shultz in fifteen minutes and failed. Not only did Vance fail, but he had much trouble holding his own. Two or three times Schultz almost had the pig knuckle hold on him, and if Schultz could have gotten that pig knuckle hold on him once, just once, it would, of course, have been all off with Mr. Vance.

Billy Roumonoff, middleweight, took two straight falls from Jim Morgan of Oakland, the first in 6 minutes, 31 seconds, the next in 3 minutes, 39 seconds. Both falls were scored with the head scissors.

The third prelimnianry was won by Earl Strubley, a middleweight, over Charley Kelly.

The crowd was fair-sized -- plenty large enough to demonstrate that wrestling is a long way from dead in San Francisco and that high-class matches are certain to draw big.


(San Francisco Bulletin, June 1, 1917)

By Marion T. Salazar

"Wrestling," remarks Jack Curley, "is different than boxing; most people don't understand that, and that's why there is so much talk about set-ups and hippodroming.

"Take the case of Zbyszko. He is a world-famous wrestler. Supposing, we'll say, that the people of San Jose or of Fresno want to see him perform.

"Towns of that size cannot afford a world's championship match; still their people want to see Zbyszko. They can do but one thing -- get the best man they can afford to wrestle him.

"Zbyszko knows, and the crowd knows, and the other wrestler himself knows, that Zbyszko will win. But still an exhibition of that kind gives the people of Fresno or of San Jose the chance to see Zbyszko.

"Maybe Zbyszko can pin his man in ten minutes or less, but most of the times he won't do it, for the people want to see him demonstrate his holds; they want to be given a little run for their money. When people get to understand wrestling, they won't be so harsh in their criticisms.

"Boxing contests must all be bonafide, for the man who loses gets beaten up; but wrestling is different. I should judge that 60 per cent of all wrestling matches are exhibitions. The championship matches are for the larger towns."


Wladek Zbyszko turned into Powell Street from Geary with Jack Curley puffing at his heels.

"Say," panted Curley, "how far is it from the Cliff House to the St. Francis Hotel through Golden Gate Park?"

"About two miles," replied Harry Foley; "a little more if you follow the winding roads of the park."

"Aren't you mistaken?" asked Curley. "Isn't it much farther than that?"

"No," said Foley; "it's not more than three miles, anyhow."

"Well," said Curley, "there's something wrong; perhaps the change of air affected me. I thought I'd walked about eight or nine miles! Tomorrow I'll have Zbyszko walk to and from the Cliff House. He ought to walk at least five miles."

Curley will learn when he reads this that from the Cliff House to the St. Francis is over six miles, but perhaps by that time Zbyszko, poor little guy, will have been made to walk his twelve miles and over.


(San Francisco Bulletin, June 11, 1917)

By Marion T. Salazar

Billy Sandow and "Strangler" Lewis, in their chagrin over not getting all the money that was promised them for the match with Zbyszko, are telling a few things on their fellow wrestling folks.

They told, for instance, of the confidential talk they had with Santel and Nick Daviscourt, wherein they were informed of Santel's failure to train for either Stecher or Plestina.

Then they had something to say of Plestina. This Plestina, they said, went to a Chicago paper not so long ago and gave it a confession, one like Philadelphia Jack O'Brien once gave, wherein he said that most his wrestling matches had been crooked.

But, declared Plestina, from then on he was going to "wrestle straight."

On the strength of that confession Plestina was given a match with Bill Huckoff, and said Huckoff pinned Plestina in two shakes of a lamb's tail, whereupon Plestina, who had been advertised for that particular match as a reformed wrestler, one of the very few straight ones in the business, explained his defeat with the statement that he had faked -- that he let Huckoff pin him.


"People may think it's the bunk when I say I don't like Wladek Zbyszko," says Strangler Lewis, "but when they do they're wrong, for Zbyszko is the one man in all the world that I thoroughly dislike.

"I have wrestled Zbyszko three times, counting the last time in San Francisco, and I took a dislike to him the first time I wrestled him, in Detroit, when he tried to gouge out my eyes and was disqualified.

"His attempts to blind me were so dleiberate, so dirty, that when the match was over, and we had gone to the dressing room, a sergeant of police very obligingly turned his back while I went over and took a punch at Zbyszko.

"I don't hold grudges against people; life is too short for that. But I can never stomach Zbyszko. Every time I see him I want to fight."

(ED. NOTE -- Steve Baldwin of Memphis dug up a series of old Strength & Health magazine articles that have relevance for WAWLI readers. Thanks to Steve, and thanks to Scott Teal, for passing them along. The first segment appears below, with future WAWLI Papers to contain the remainder of the articles. These were published in 1944.)


(Strength & Health, month unknown, 1944)

By Jules Bacon

Weight lifters rank among the greatest grapplers of all time. Among the champion wrestlers or the leading championship contenders, we find the names of the following wrestlers who built their physical power and kept themselves in condition through weight lifting and weight training: George Hackenschmidt, George Lurich, Jim Londos, Stanislaus and Wladek Zbyszko, Otto Arco, Dick Shikat, Ray Steele, Everett Marshall, Alexander Aberg, Gustav Fristensky, Mat Simmer, Mare Christol, Ivan Padoubny (the Russian Giant, 6 feet 6 inches in height and 255 in body weight), Henry (Milo) Steinborn, Paul Pons, Karl Pojello, Hans Steinke, Jesse James, Tony Massimo, Hans Kampfer and Sandor Szabo.

In recent years wrestling has drawn most of its stars from weight lifting and from football. The football players were agile, powerfully developed fellows who succeeded mainly through their speed and football tactics. The weightlifters who went into wrestling were powerful, brawny, muscled men with beautiful, symmetrically developed bodies and bulging Hercules-like biceps.

The football players who attained stardom in the ring were usually big football stars, frequently All-American men who had exceptional physical ability. Playing football and the training which led to stardom in that sport built them into powerful, rugged fellows. Pushing a heavily loaded sled of rocks around the field as football linemen do is one of the best developers known, as it puts all the muscles of the body into action, particularly the powerful and large leg, hip and back muscles.

These football stars were splendid physical specimens when they first became ring performers, but they did not last long when once they became professional grapplers, unless they then learned that weight training provided the quickest and best way to not only keep in condition but to continue to build the strength and agility required of champion wrestlers. Joe Savoldi, Wayne Munn, Sammy Stein, Everett Marshall, Jim McMillen and Gus Sonnenberg were famous football players who made good in the ring. Wayne Munn and Everett Marshall trained considerably with weights.

Nat Fleischer, editor of the Ring magazine, as well as a score of books which deal with the subject, a man who is to wrestling and boxing what Bob Hoffman is to weight lifting, was once asked if weight lifting exercises were necessary if one was to become a successful wrestler. His answer was, "No, but the best wrestlers come from the ranks of the weight lifters" and he "never knew of a leading wrestler who did not train with weights." In my opinion it would seem that weight training, then, is necessary if a wrestler is to reach and remain at the top.

The weight lifting wrestlers are stars for many more years than the football wrestling stars. Zbyszko won the world's title for the last time at 57, Henry Steinborn is still the strongest man in wrestling, and he has been one of the world's leaders for over a score of years and is now 52. Other wrestling weightlifters kept in action until they had as much of the coin of the realm as they needed and then retired to other endeavors.

Many experts, including the famous promoter, Jack Curley, have said that George Hackenschmidt was the greatest wrestler of all time. It's true that he lost twice to Frank Gotcvh, but twisting, punishing toe holds, and rough tactics upon a formerly injured leg of Hackenschmidt caused him to capitulate in both of these bouts. Although this is permissible in modern grappling bouts it can hardly be called wrestling. So Hackenschmidt is considered to be the greatest of all time of the men who really wrestled. The records and life story of Hackenschmidt are well known to readers of this magazine, his contribution to the world's physical training and right living literature, the "Way to Live in Health and Physical Fitness," often advertised in the pages of this magazine, has been read by hundreds of thousands of readers.

George Hackenschmidt was an exceptional man. One would believe that he must have been born with a dumbell in his hand, for at the age of 14 he was not only the winner of championships in gymnastics, which proved him to be the best gymnast of his age in Europe, but he could lift a dumbell weighing 36 pounds overhead 21 times with the left hand and 16 with the right. At the age of 18 he was champion of Russia in cycling, and that fall he trained much harder than ever with weights and began setting records. At that age he lifted 145 pounds overhead with one hand 12 times, 155 pounds ten times, 198 pounds three times and 210 pounds once. Lifting the weight slowly from the ground in a style then known as curling, he lifted 125 pounds with the left hand. At the age of 18 Hackenschmidt met Lurich, and wrties as follows about the meeting:

"In September, 1896, I made the acquaintance of a professional athlete, weight lifter and wrestler, named Lurich. He was only a few years older than myself, had been a professional wrestler for a year and was touring the Eastern Provinces with a small company. Lurich challenged all comers to wrestle with him and various members of our club came forward, but were all without exception defeated by him. I hyad shown very little taste for wrestling up to that time and had wrestled very seldom, being more partial to work with heavy weights. Still I wrestled several times with Lurich who even then was a very good wrestler, though as I quickly recognized, scarcely my equal in strength. (As frequently related, Lurich established and still holds the world's record in the one arm continental jerk, two hands to the shoulder, one arm jerk overhead, at 266 pounds, so it's interesting to note that George Hackenschmidt found himself to be much stronger than Lurich.)

Hackenschmidt wrote: "Although from the date of my first great success in the wrestling ring onwards, I had less and less time to train for weight lifting records, I nevertheless used the weights in my training regularly so that in January, 1899, I pressed a bar weighing 279 3/4 pounds with two hands."

After this time Hackenschmidt set what were then world's records of 386 press on back without bridge. He put up 269 1/4 pounds with one hand to win a wager of a pair of trousers which was to be given to him after he beat Sandow's world's record of 255 1/2 pounds, snatched 256 pounds with both hands, clean and jerked 235 pounds with one hand, pulled in clean to the shoulders a weight weighing 361 pounds. This compared with Louis Cyr's world record in the clean and jerk of 347 pounds at that time, snatched a bar weighing 197 1/2 pounds with one hand which at the time was a world's record. Hackenschmidt's records were usually made in impromptu fashion but were carefully checked and weighed as he was a stickler for accuracy in weight lifting.

George Hackenschmidt was a great all-around athlete, powerful as shown by his weightlifting records, agile as proven by his record of over 20 feet in the running broad jump -- at one time he jumped one hundred times over a table with his feet tied together, magnificently built as proven by the wonderful photos he left for us, his physique at the age of 18 we believe to have been unequalled before or since, a great wrestler as proven by the experts who consider him to have been the best of all time, an intelligent man as he became a writer on philosophy, and a teacher of psychology at a French university.

In 1938 when he visited this country just before the war, he was 60 years of age and still a splendid physical specimen. Weight lifting brought George Hackenschmidt a very rich reward. It permitted him to become a great wrestler and well acquainted with the crowned heads of Europe and of England, he was invited to the White House by President Theodore Roosevelt, and numbered among his friends many of the world's most famous and highest placed men.

The WAWLI Papers No. 732 . . .


(Strelich Stadium, promoter Steve Strelich)

Wednesday, Feb. 4, 1942

Gorilla Ramos beat Billy Varga, Kenny Ackles beat Paul Bozzel dq, George Dusette drew Jimmy Lott, Charley Laye beat Mike London dq (referee Tiger McGee)

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 1942

Kenny Ackles beat Danny McShain, Gorilla Ramos beat Mike London, Yukon Jake beat Milt Olson, Charley Laye drew Wes Crothers (referee Pat O'Brien)

Feb. 18, 1942

Gorilla Ramos beat Mike London dq, Ken Ackles beat George Dusette, Jimmy Lott beat Billy Varga, Wes Crothers beat Yukon Jake dq (referee Bull Montana)

Feb. 25, 1942

Gorilla Ramos drew Danny McShain, Kenny Ackles beat Mike London, Bob Kenniston beat Gus Johnson, Sammy Kohen drew Milt Olsen (referee Jack Allen)

March 4, 1942

Gorilla Ramos beat Danny McShain, Billy Weidner beat George Saleem, Sammy Kohen drew Charley Laye, Bob Kenniston drew George Dusette

March 11, 1942

George Wagner beat Sammy Kohen dq (referee Wild Red Berry), Jimmy Lott beat George Dusette, Wild Red Berry beat Mike London,

Bob Kenniston beat Billy Weidner

March 18, 1942

Wild Red Berry beat Sammy Kohen (referee Benny Ginsberg), Gorilla Ramos drew George Wagner, Jimmie Lott beat Bob Kenniston dq, Charlie Laye beat Prince Omar


(Bakersfield Californian, Thursday, March 26, 1942)

By Max Mayhem

For downright action, underhanded buffoonery and athletic promenading, there is nothing like a tag-team match among wrestlers and Bakersfield fans found out last night that this form of sport between such mat artists as Monte LaDue, Danny McShain, Jimmie Lott and Gorilla Ramos is highly entertaining. The theory of the thing is that two wrestlers meet in the ring and wrestle and when one is tired, he can exchange with his partner outside the ring, if he can touch his partner's hand. However, referee Jack Allen often had four wrestlers in the ring at once and two fights going on at the same time due to the inability of Monte LaDue and Danny McShain, as individuals and as a team, to recognize the theory of anything less elemental than survival of the fittest.

Gorilla and Jimmie won the first fall after bulling through a series of swats, buttws and kicks administered by the LaDue-McShain team either outside or inside the ring. There was no wrestling to it but a great deal of shennigans in the corners and a complete disregard for decorum or referee Allen's authority.

By the simple process of getting two fights started at the same time and keeping referee Allen on his back most of the time while they could indulge in their sportsmanlike strategy, McShain and LaDue won the second fall.

McShain and LaDue won the third fall by the same tactics coupled with the employment of brute force either outside or inside the ring without regard for regulation. However, the Lott-Ramos team objected to this high-handed piracy and, as Lott kicked referee Allen out of the ring, he and his partner went at it again and completely subdued the villains, much to the hysterical relief of the crowd.

It is indeed regrettable that while Lott was kicking referee Allen out of the ring, he did not kick him also out of the arena so that his brigandage would ahve been prevented from extending, as it did, into the main event homicidally unpopular.

Sergeant Bob Kenniston won both falls of the main event over Wild Red Berry in less than 15 minutes, due to the careful deliberation and almost as deliberate myopia of Mr. Allen. Berry never had a chance. The crowd stood on the benches and howled for nearly 30 minutes about it but Steve Strelich, the genial and heartwarming promoter, promised to protest to the state commission and thus mollified them somewhat.

George Wagner defeated Charley Laye in two straight falls, using a half crab on the second and an arm lock on the first.

March 25, 1942

Bob Kenniston beat Wild Red Berry, Danny McShain-Monte LaDue beat Gorilla Ramos-Jimmy Lott, George Wagner (later Gorgeous George) beat Charley Laye

Wednesday, Jan. 2, 1946

Danny McShain drew Vic Christy, The Hatchetman drew George Dusette, Pete Mehringer beat Ali Pasha (looks quite a bit like the early-day Soldat Gorky, aka Wolfman), Lee Grable beat Johnny Stiles

Jan. 9, 1946

Ted Christy beat Danny McShain (stopped via cuts) (referee Mickey McMasters), Jesse James beat The Hatchetman, Ernie Piluso beat Paavo Ketonen, Mike Nazarian drew Pete Mehringer (A - 1,500, capacity)

Jan. 16, 1946

Ted Christy beat Danny McShain, Jesse James drew George Dusette, Morris Shapiro (later The Mighty Atlas) beat Pete Mehringer

Ali Pasha vs. Leo Wallick

Jan. 23, 1946

Ted Christy beat Wild Red Berry (referee Bobby Coleman), Jesse James beat Morris Shapiro dq, Leo Wallick beat Buck Davidson,

Mike Nazarian vs. Bob Corby (A - 1,500)

Jan. 30, 1946

Ernie Piluso-Jesse James beat Danny McShain-The Hatchetman (referee Cecil Payne), George Dusette drew John Swenski, Dick Trout vs. Mike Nazarian

Feb. 6, 1946

Ted Christy beat Ernie Piluso, John Swenski beat Morris Shapiro dq, Bob Corby beat Pete Mehringer, Herb Parks drew Jack Kiser


(Bakersfield Californian, Thursday, February 14, 1946)

By Bob Lauritzen

Wild Red Berry completely lost his Irish temper last night during the main event of Steve Strelich's weekly wrestling card, slugged Ted Christy into near-unconsciousness, nigh kayoed referee Ted Grice, fought with the police, indirectly caused two members of the weaker sex to faint, chased ring officials and a radio announcer into the recesses of the V Street arena, finally had himself escorted from the gladiators' square into his dressing room, and, incidentally, lost the match.

What was billed as a revenge affair for Berry against Christy turned into a gory mess. The wild Irishman, irked beyond reason by choking and hair-pulling tactics applied by Christy, initiated a slugging spree that started blood flowing from Christy within 10 minutes.

In that time, Berry had thrown Christy from the ring, followed him into the throng of spectators, crawled back, kicked Christy out as Ted attempted to get back, finally retreated to a neutral corner while referee Grice got Christy back into things, and then tied his opponent between the ropes and slugged him into ground chuck, losing the first fall on disqualification after 15 minutes of anything but wrestling. Anticlimaxing this unorthodox demonstration, two female spectators fell into dead faints, and were attended to by club physician Dr. Robert P. Haring.

Christy by that time was gushing a stream of crimson from most parts of his physiognomy and before the bell opening the second fall was rung by timekeeper Ed Helm, he found himself again at the questionable mercy of Berry's fists.

Helm, ringside seat occupants and Hal Brown, radio commentator, desserted their too-close proximity for the safer realms of the aisles as Berry chased Christy again into the open, and Wild Red gained the ring only at the forceful suggestion of City Police Officer Floyd Stanton and his uniformed six feet of brawn. While arguing with Grice over tactics, Berry was assaulted from behind by Christy who had sneaked back into the ring, and was flopped under a body press for the second fall in less than two minutes after the first fall had ended. Then as the crowed milled around the two prostrate women, the ring, the referee and Christy, Berry beat his russet-haired chest in defiance to everyone in general and was finally dragged to his dressing room by Stanton.

Jesse James was declared the winner in a semi-final bout when his opponent, Bob Corby, was disqualified by Grice for slugging. Each had won a fall prior to the sudden end, Corby with a reverse toe hold in 11:21 and James with a dropkick and body press in 4:05.

Jack Kiser flopped Buck Lipscomb in a preliminary, using a modified crab hold, and Mike Nazarian was soundly trounced by Leo Wallick in 9:30 of the opener, Wallick applying a neckbreaker to the grimacing Mike.

Feb. 13, 1946

Ted Christy beat Wild Red Berry dq (referee Ted Grice), Jesse James beat Bob Corby dq, Jack Kiser beat Buck Lipscomb, Leo Wallick beat Mike Nazarian

Feb. 20, 1946

Danny McShain beat Ted Christy, Jesse James bet The Hatchetman, Leo Wallick beat Hank Metheny, Herb Parks beat Duke Keomuka (A - 1,500)

Feb. 27, 1946

Jesse James-Vic Christy beat Morris Shapiro-Danny McShain, Leo Wallick beat George Dusette, Herb Parks beat Johnny Stiles

March 6, 1946

Danny McShain beat Vic Christy, Jesse James drew Leo Wallick,

Morris Shapiro beat Jack KIiser, Duke Keomuka beat George Dusette

March 13, 1946

Ted Christy beat Danny McShain dq, Vic Christy drew Leo Wallick,

Dick Trout beat Herb Parks dq, Bob Corby drew Mike Nazarian

March 20, 1946

Danny McShain-Leo Wallick beat Ted Christy-Vic Christy, Jesse James drew John Swenski, Pierre LaBelle beat Mike Nazarian

March 27, 1946

Dick Trout beat Danny McShain, Jesse James beat Leo Wallick dq, Pierre LaBelle beat Bob Gregory, Jack Vansky beat Pete Mehringer

Wednesday, Jan. 8, 1947

Joe Lyman-Billy Varga beat Martino Angelo-Tony Morelli (referee Cecil Payne), George Dusette beat Leo Wallick dq, Gus Johnson drew Paavo Ketonen

Jan. 15, 1947

Martino Angelo beat Joe Lyman (world lightheavy title defense), Leo Wallick beat Joe Wolfe (sub for Billy Varga), George Dusette beat Tony Morelli dq, Andy Tremaine beat Mike Nazarian

Jan. 22, 1947

Leo Wallick-Ted Christy beat Martino Angelo-Tony Morelli (referee Bull Montana), Morris Shapiro drew George Dusette, Andy Tremaine beat Herb Parks

Feb. 5, 1947

Karol Krauser-Gorilla Ramos beat Tony Morelli-Leo Wallick (referee Jack Allen), Juan Hernandez beat Monte LaDue, Gus Johnson beat Karl Gray

Feb. 12, 1947

Gorilla Ramos beat Martino Angelo (nontitle), Karol Krauser beat Morris Shapiro, Gus Johnson beat Pierre LaBelle,

Mike Nazarian beat Joe Wolfe

Feb. 19, 1947

Marinto Angelo beat Billy Varga (world lightheavy title defense), Gorilla Ramos drew John Swenski, Juan Hernandez beat Bob Corby, Jimmy Lee drew Mike Nazarian

Wednesday, January 7, 1948

Enrique Torres beat Mike Mazurki (California heavy title defense) (referee Cecil Payne), Angelo Savoldi beat Paavo Ketonen (sub for Billy Varga), Gene Stanlee vs. Pete Mehringer, Tommy Nilan vs. Billy Venable

Jan. 14, 1948

Enrique Torres beat Antone Leone, Angelo Savoldi beat Billy Varga (sub for Gene Stanlee), Jackie Nichols beat Bob Corby, Cy Mackey drew Tommy Nilan

Jan. 21, 1948

Lord Blears-Leo Wallick beat Angelo Savoldi-Martino Angelo, Tony Morelli beat Jackie Nichols, Mike Nazarian drew Buck Davidson (rare appearance wrestling with shoes)

Jan. 28, 1948

Sandor Szabo beat Willie Davis, Tony Morelli drew Leo Wallick, Whitey Whittler beat Morris Shapiro, Paavo Ketonen drew Tommy Nilan (referee Joe Woods)


(Bakersfield Californian, Thursday, Jan. 20, 1949)

They had a gala time at Strelich Stadium Wednesday night -- "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers and his valet, Mr. X, and Golden Boy and his second, Frank Gonzales.

The bout ended with all four at each other's throats!

The winner, however, was "Nature Boy" who body slammed Golden Boy in 7:05 of the first heat and did a repeat body slam and body press in 4:30 of the second heat.

It was during the final fall that "Nature Boy's" faithful servant, Mr. X, intruded long enough to release Golden Boy's hold on his master. This, of course, irritated Gonzales no end. When it was all over, each of the quartet had taken his turn at bouncing off the canvas.

"Gorgeous Billy" Darnell pinned Ivan the Terrible in 21:52 of the first heat with a running drop-kick and did a repeat performance in 11:02 of the second heat.

The Demon successfully defended his world's heavyweight title against Izzy Becker, who proved too light for his rougher and more aggressive opponent. The Demon applied a step-over toe hold in 10:48 for the first fall and halted the hobbling Becker in 15 seconds of the second heat.

Red Koko, using his humorous drop-kick tactics, held the Super Swedish Angel to a draw in one of the preliminaries.

The Zebra Kid and Gonzales wrestled to a draw in the first preliminary.

During intermission, a March of Dimes collection was asked for by promoter Steve Strelich and it fairly rained coins for 10 minutes. A total of $362.00 was collected, which was enough to encourage Strelich to wrestle himself for a few quick -- but not so gentle -- falls.


(Bakersfield Californian, Thursday, Jan. 6, 1949)

It took the Blimp, 640 pounds of bulging blubber, approximately five minutes and 36 seconds to dispose of Pierre LaSartes, a mere will o' the wisp at 240 pounds, Wednesday night before 1,200 howling fans in Strelich Stadium.

Tussling before an overflowing throng, which overflowed into the aisles, the Blimp subdued LaSartes in 3:48 of the first fall after the French Clutch unsuccessfully attempted a flying scissors. All the Blimp had to do was to fall on the prostrate LaSartes as the fans roared with delight. Officially it was a steamroller body press.

The second fall came a lot sooner as LaSartes, who failed to learn his lesson by trial the first time, sailed through the air in another attempted flying scissors only to find himself buried under the ponderous mess of flesh -- the Blimp, by name. When the Blimp rolled off LaSartes it was all the Frenchman wanted to see of the walking mountain that -- or any other -- night.

In the semi-windup spot, a rough-and-tumble affair took place between The Demon, 265 pounds of ugliness, and Gorgeous Billy Darnell, 203 pounds of male beauty, with the Demon retaining his world's heavyweight championship belt.

After a merry-go-round of elbow smashes, the Demon pinned Darnell in a stepover toehold in 12:20 of the first fall as Darnell slumped to the canvas with a wrenched knee.

The second heat was all Darnell as the ailing grappler returned to tug on the Demon's beard after the latter had all but taken a bite out of Darnell's leg. Darnell picked the Demon up, spun him around several times in an airplane spin, then applied a body press in 7:55.

The match and the title belt went to the Demon in 9:04 of the closing fall as Darnell's airplane spin turned out to be his Waterlook when the Demon fell on him.

In the preliminary bouts, the Zebra Kid body-slammed Golden Boy to the canvas in 20:05 after several showy, but ineffective hand presses.

Ivan the Terrible and Frank Gonzales grunted their way through 20 minutes of throwing each other out of the ring, finally settling for a draw.

Just before the main event came on, Jimmy (The Greek) Londos, one of the mat world's great immortals, climbed into the ring and said a few words. The Greek, needless to say, looked good, considering the number of years he's been touring various arenas.

Wednesday, January 5, 1949

Blimp beat Pierre LaSartes, The Demon (Jack O'Brien) beat BillyDarnell (world heavyweight title defense), Zebra Kid (George Bollas) beat Golden Boy, Ivan the Terrible drew Frank Gonzales (Jim Londos appeared in the ring) (A - 1,200)

Wednesday, January 19, 1949

Buddy Rogers w/Mister X beat Golden Boy, Billy Darnell beat Ivan the Terrible, Death Valley Demon beat Izzy Becker (world heavyweight title defense), Red Koko drew Super Swedish Angel (Tor Johnson), Zebra Kid (George Bollas) drew Frank Gonzales

Wednesday, January 26, 1949

Buddy Rogers w/Mister X beat Frank Gonzales, Zebra Kid beat Super Swedish Angel, Billy Darnell beat Red Koko, Pierre LaSartes drew Sheik Lawrence

Wednesday, February 2, 1949

Buddy Rogers w/Mister X beat Billy Darnell, The Demon beat Golden Boy (world heavyweight title defense), Zebra Kid drew Sheik Lawrencde, Red Koko beat Pierre LaSartes

February 9, 1949

Billy Darnell beat Sheik Lawrence (world junior heavy title defense), Blimp beat Red Koko, The Demon beat Carlos Mojica (world heavyweight title defense), Ivan the Terrible beat Zebra Kid, Golden Boy drew Johnny McShain

January 12, 1949

Billy Darnell beat Sheik Lawrence, Blimp beat Zebra Kid (unmasked as George Bollas), The Demon beat Frank Gonzales, Ivan the Terrible drew Golden Boy, Red Koko drew Pierre LaSartes


(Associated Press, July 9, 1936)

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Dave Levin, 23-year-old claimant of the world wrestling championship, is ready to take on all challenging aspirants to the title that went along with his victory over Ali Baba.

Here yesterday with his manager, Joe Mondt, to discuss a possible match with local promoters, Levin exspressed willingness to meet Everett Marshall, another claimant to the crown. Tom Packs, matchmaker, said a match between the pair in St. Louis late this summer depends upon the final word of Billy Sandow, Marshall's manager, who is vacationing in New York state.


(Fresno Bee, August 5, 1936)


Prices: 40c, 85c and $1.15

The Thrilling Rematch Hundreds Asked For


Valdez vs. Helwig--D'Collelmo vs. Jonathan

Thesz vs. Metheny--Borders vs. Silva


For Reservations Tel. 2-1323


(United Press, August 20, 1936)

CLEVELAND -- Edward (Dutch) Heffner, Sherman, Texas, was taken unconscious and with two broken ribs to a hospital last night after he was thrown from a ring in a match with Everett Marshall, La Junta, Colo, heavyweight wrestler.

Heffner, recovering from a headlock, was gripped in a flying mare and thrown out of the ring.


(Associated Press, September 29, 1936)

DETROIT -- Everett Marshall, Denver, Colo, claimant of the heavyweight wrestling championship, tossed Ali Baba, colorful former holder of the title in the feature match of a card here last night.

Marshall took the only fall of the ninety-minute limit affair, although Ali Baba tossed him from the ring several times, once into the lap of Billy Sandow, his manager.

Marshall weighed 218, Baba 205.

PHILADELPHIA -- In a match that laste dlong past midnight, Dean Detton of Salt Lake City defeated Dave Levin of Jamaica, L.I., early today to gain Pennsylvania recognition as the world's heavyweight wrestling champion.

Detton, weighing 202, ended two hours and five minutes of strenuous wrestling by application of a tenacious toe hold that forced Levin to quit. His face contorted with agony. Levin signaled the referee he had had enough. The easterner weighed 195.

Jim McMillen, 220, Antioch, Ill, drew with George Zaharias, 237, Pueblo, Colo, in a 45-minute semifinal bout.


(United Press, October 1, 1936)

LOS ANGELES -- Vincent Lopez of Idaho and Mexico today claimed a share of the world's wrestling championship as a result of his two-fall victory over Dave Levin of Brooklyn here last night.

The Mexican made his claim despite the fact that Levin lost a one-fall match to Dean Detton of Salt Lake City at Philadelphia a few nights ago, pointing out that one-fall championships were not recognized in California.

Meanwhile Levin was preparing to protest the Lopez win last night on grounds that he had lost one fall when ringsiders prvented him from entering the ring after both he and Lopez had fallen into the audience.


(Fresnos Bee, January 22, 1942)

By Ed Orman

Ed (Strangler) Lewis has started wrestling again . . . The Glendale tavern keeper is campaigning in the East, where the game is flourishing more than in some other sectors . . . The Strangler must be in his 60s, but probably can beat most of the present day crop at that . . . Incidentally, the top drawing card Fresno can boast of in some time is Vincent Lopez, the burly Mexican . . . He will return to the local arena tonight to tackle another old favorite, Hardy Kruskamp, and if Al Dermer does not lure the fans with this one, the DAV promoter will not know what will turn the trick.

(ED. NOTE -- As Ed Lewis grew older, the sportswriters of the time seldom came close to guessing his true age, perhaps due to his expanded bulk of the late '30s and '40s, but more likely due to the fact that he seemingly had been around forever. Here, Ed Orman thinks he must have been in his 60s but Lewis, in fact, was 51.)

The WAWLI Papers No. 733 . . .


(Stockton Daily Evening Record, Wednesday, Apr. 8, 1936)

To the surprise of many, Lord Percival Lansdowne, the cocky cockney of the wrestling ranks, was handed the short end of the decision in his main event match with Count Tsutao Higami, welterweight champion of Japan, before a goodly crowd of cheering fans at the Civic Memorial Auditorium Arena last night.

His lordship,one of the best drawing cards the local club has had in several months, seemed headed for victory in the deciding fall when the Count suddenly slapped on a Nagasaki double-cross to slip Lansdowne's shoulders to the mat for the required three-second interval.

The first fall also went to the Japanese when he reversed an airplane spin to topple the Englishman in 20:40. A Duke of York special won for Sir Percival in 10:30 and then Higami finished the evening's entertainment in 10:05. The competition was fancy, but clean, and the crowd seemed to like it.

The big uproar of the night was supplied by Ted Christy and "Dude" Chick, the roaming cowboy from Cheyenne, who waged war in the semifinal with "Dude" winning on a foul after the pair had split the first two falls.

Taking a leaf out of the dirty book of Joe Malcewicz, Christy entered the ring with tape wrapped around his wrist, for the purpose of brushing it against Chick's eyes, which he did. The ringside fans were so aggravated by this procedure that referee Nick Povolos had to disqualify Christy to prevent a riot.

After the match, Ted and the referee nearly came to blows in the dressing room, the wrestler claiming that the match was supposed to be on an "everything goes" basis. He demanded another shot at Chick with another referee operating.

"Red" Lyons of Gilmore, Tex., won a rough-house match from "Tuffy" Cleet of Chicago in 20:15 with a leg lock. "Red Pants" Kohen, Jewish funny man, won his bout from Dave Reynolds in 14:15 and "Husky" Bird made good against "Gorilla" Poggi in 9:55, maintaining his local undefeated record against 150-pound opponents.

Tuesday, April 7, 1936

Tsutao Higami beat Lord Lansdowne, Dude Chick beat Ted Christy dq, Red Lyons beat Tuffy Cleet, Sammy Kohen beat Dave Reynolds, Husky Bird beat Gorilla Poggi

Tuesday, April 14, 1936

Dude Chick beat Red Lyons, Sammy Kohen drew Stacey Hall, Tetsuro Sato beat Billy Hassan, Wildcat McCann drew Johnny Stote

Friday, April 24, 1936

Dude Chick beat Ted Christy, Count Tsutao Higami drew Stacey Hall, Cecil McGill beat Tiger Tsakoff, Johnny Stote beat Sammy Kohen dq


(Stockton Daily Evening Record, April 27, 1936)

Bill Hunefeld, Stockton wrestling promoter, announced today that he was going back to the heavyweight grapplers this week with an all-star program, scheduled for Thursday.

Hardy Kruskamp and Jake Patterson, two of the most popular big fellows to perform in Stockton in past seasons, will hold the top spot.

The chances comes after the light-heavies have been given a month's trial.

"I intend to alternate the two kinds of wrestlers," explained Hunefeld today. "I think the people like it better that way, as they will have a change of faces. I will put on the wrestlers who will give me the best card."

Patterson, just back from a world tour, has been wrestling sensationally in other California cities during the past few weeks. Kruskamp recently came back from Australia.

On the same card will be Charley Santen, the wrestling aviator, against "Wee Willie" Davis; George Pencheff of Australia against Jack Wagner, the Omaha "killer," and Al Pereira of San Jose against an opponent to be named.


(Stockton Daily Evening Record, Friday, May 1, 1936)

The Civic Auditorium knew that the heavyweight wrestlers were back on the job last night. There was more broken furniture, bloody noses, torn shirts and body punishment handed out during the course of the evening's program than there has been in many a week hereabouts.

The evening's biggest uproar occurred when Jake Patterson, the battling Marine from Syracuse, N.Y., was disqualified for knocking Hardy Kruskamp, the Ohio State star, into the third-row seats with a swift kick in the "kisscus."

The pair had split the first two falls and the match was fast developing into the best brawl seen hereabouts in a long time, when Walter Dyreborg suddenly ruled that Patterson had exceeded the bounds of propriety and lifted Kruskamp's hand in token of victory.

That decision cost Dyreborg his shirt. When he came back into the ring to make the verdict official, Patterson pounded on him, shredded his clothes and sent him sprawling in the middle of the ring. Dyreborg responded with a drop kick and it was Pat's turn to sprawl.

Dyreborg left the ring at this juncture and didn't come back to face the bloodied Marine, who stood on the platform charging highway robbery and downright cheating.

The defeat may have cost Patterson his chance to meet Joe Savoldi in the main event of next Thursday night's show as it had been announced before the bout that the winner would meet "Jumping Joe" in Stockton next week.

Patterson, bigger and stronger than when he was here before, seemed to be holding his own with Kruskamp until the referee stepped in to stop the fun.

The finish, however, was popular with the fans, most of whom seemed to be pulling for a Kruskamp finish. One of the boldest ringsiders challenged the fire-eyed Patterson with his fists, but a pair of husky policemen escorted him out of danger.

Patterson won the first fall with a Syracuse squeeze in 19:10. Kruskamp evened the match with a drop kick in 4:55 and then the finish came in 3:50.

In a gruelling semi-windup, Wee Willie Davis and Charley Santen struggled to a 45-minute draw without a fall. Both men tossed each other around freely.

Ivan (sic) Pencheff, the Bulgarian from Australia, took Jack Wagner to the cleaners in 18:55 and Tommy "Stubby" Nilan, another Anzac, turned out to be one of the hits of the show with his 25-minute draw with big Al Pereira.

Nilan is a shorty, but he displayed the strength of a Hercules by tossing Pereira into the air like a rubber ball and catching him as he came down, as it were.

May 7, 1936 Stockton

Joe Savoldi beat Jake Patterson, Charley Santen beat Al Pereira, Tommy Nilan beat Stanley Sitkowski, Leo Narbares beat Danny Winters

May 14, 1936 Stockton

Hardy Kruskamp beat Willie Davis dq (referee Artie Beal), Charley Santen drew Jake Patterson dcor, George Wilson beat Brother Jonathan, Tommy Nilan beat Nelson Davis

May 21, 1936 Stockton

Jake Patterson beat Willie Davis, Hardy Kruskamp drew Charley Santen, Tommy Nilan beat Ed Helwig, George Wilson beat Mike Strelich (A - 2,000)

Friday, May 29, 1936 Stockton

Willie Davis beat Jake Patterson, Tommy Nilan drew Charley Santen, Mayes McLain (sub for Brother Jonathan) drew Mike Strelich, Ed Helwig beat Fred Brayson

Thursday, June 4, 1936 Stockton

Willie Davis beat Tommy Nilan, Jake Patterson drew George Pencheff, Ed Helwig drew Charley Santen, Hardy Kruskamp beat Nelson Davis (referee Joe Gardenfield)

Friday, June 12, 1936 Stockton

Willie Davis beat Hardy Kruskamp dq (referee Harry Atwood), Ed Helwig drew Charley Santen, George Pencheff beat Tommy Nilan, Charley Santen beat Mike Strelich

June 19, 1936

Hardy Kruskamp beat Harry Jacobs (sub for Charley Santen), Bronco Valdez beat Ed Helwig, Bob Jessen beat Fred Brayson, Ted Sarris drew Mike Strelich

Thursday, June 25, 1936

Jake Patterson beat Hardy Kruskamp cnc (referee Artie Beal), Benny Ginsberg drew Rusty Westcoatt, Bill Sledge beat Ed Helwig, Bronco Valdez beat Mike Strelich

July 2, 1936

Jake Patterson beat Hardy Kruskamp (referee Fred Minden), Bronco Valdez beat Benny Ginsberg dq, Bill Sledge beat Bob Jessen, Frank Malcewicz drew Leo Narbares

July 9, 1936

Jake Patterson beatBenny Ginsberg, Hardy Kruskamp beat Rusty Westcoatt, Frank Malcewicz beat Mike Strelich, Bill Sledge beat Harry Jacobs

July 16, 1936

Ted Cox beat Jake Patterson, Hardy Kruskamp drew Bill Sledge, Ray Steele beat Bronco Valdez, Frank Malcewicz beat Bob Jessen


(Stockton Daily Evening Record, Friday, July 24, 1936)

The ammonia eye spray! Add that one to your list of favorite wrestling "holds."

Ted "King Kong" Cox used it quite effectively to squelch Jake Patterson in the third and deciding fall of last night's main bout at the Civic Auditorium.

Taking a big swig out of his ammonia and water bottle just before the bell rang for the third fall, Cox squirted his mouthful directly into Patterson's eyes when the pair met in the center of the ring.

Temporarily blinded, the fighting Marine fell easy victim to Cox's socking follow-up, and the fall was over in 15 seconds. Cox took the first fall in 11:40, after a slugfest, and Patterson retaliated with a reverse slam to even the match in 5:35.

Advertised as a "horror bout," the match was the roughest on the card with Cox doing plenty of damage by brushing his taped knuckles across Patterson's yes.

In the semi-windup, Ray Steele, recognized among mat men as one of the world's greatest, took care of Harry Jacobs in straight falls with a step-over toe hold. Steele won in 12:35 and in 20 seconds.

Matchmaker Hunefeld may match Steele with Cox on the next program.

Brother Jonathan won the whiskers championship by flooring Baron Benny Ginsberg for the count in 13:55

In the opener Louis Thesz, 22-year-old Hungarian heavyweight from St. Louis, held "Butch" Helwig of Lodi to a draw.

July 23, 1936

Ted Cox beat Jake Patterson, Ray Steele beat Harry Jacobs, Brother Jonathan beat Benny Ginsberg, Lou Thesz drew Ed Helwig

July 30, 1936

Ray Steele drew Ted Cox nc (referee Joe Gardenfield), Black Mauler (sub for Hardy Kruskamp) beat Mike Mazurki, Brother Jonathan beat Harry Jacobs, Lou Thesz beat Bronco Valdez

August 6, 1936

Ted Cox beat Ray Steele, Brother Jonathan beat Ed Helwig, Black Mauler beat Benny Ginsberg, Fred Meyers beat Harry Jacobs


(Stockton Daily Evening Record, August 11, 1936)

Promoter Bill Hunefeld has commenced dusting off a lot of ringside chairs that he hasn't had to use in a long time as interest dcontinues to grow in Thursday night's match between Ted "King Kong" Cox and Brother Jonathan, who will be escorted into the ring with his pet rattlesnake, Old Ben, from Texas.

Hunefeld says he has had enough inquiries for tickets to indicate it will be the biggest wrestling turnout of the year.

"It's funny," says the promoter. "Some people are asking me to change their regular seats so that they will be as far away from the rattlesnake as possible, while others want to change so that they can get nearer to the snake to see how he acts during the match."

Cox professes to have utter contempt for the rattler and threatens to throw it out of the ring if Brother Jonathan insists on tying the reptile to his ringpost.

Ted also expects to make good use of the adhesive tape on his knuckles which he handled with good effect against Ray Steele in his last two previous bouts here.

Four other bouts will be on the card, with interest centered on the affair between the Black Mauler and Hardy Kruskamp in the semifinal and "Gentleman" Jack Washburn and Hugo De Collelmo in the special.


(Stockton Daily Evening Record, August 14, 1936)

Bill Hunefeld's combined snake race, waterfront brawl and wild animal show went over like the man in a barrel went over Niagara Falls last night, with Ted "Bulldog" Cox and the Masked Mauler both emerging with dubious decisions in their favor in the two feature events on the card.

Adding to the gaiety of the evening, in an extra bout, "Cannonball" Catto of Stockton made good his boast that he could stay five minutes with Jake Patterson. Catto grabbed Jake around the legs as the bout started and clung tightly for the full time limit.

Cox was awarded the victory over Brother Jonathan Heaton, the Salt Lake rattlesnake, in an uproarious affair, which saw Ted chased from the ring to lose the second fall, when Jonathan turned the seven-foot "rattlesnake" against the Lodian.

Cox refused to return until the snake was removed, which was done by promoter Bill Huenfeld after prolonged palavering. Ted then proceeded to hang Brother Heaton up on the ropes for the deciding fall.

The Masked Mauler used his famous "back breaker" hold to put Hardy Kruskamp out of commission and to win the final match on the night's card. After the show Cox challenged the Marvel.

In the preliminaries, Patterson wrestled to a draw with Bill Sledge and Count Hugo De Collelmo dumped Bronco Valdez, a subsitutute for "Gentleman" Jack Washburn.

A larger crowd than usual saw the show.

August 13, 1936

Ted Cox beat Brother Jonathan, Masked Mauler beat Hardy Kruskamp, Jake Patterson drew Bill Sledge, Hugo De Collelmo beat Bronco Valdez


(Stockton Daily Evening Record, August 21, 1936)

By Georg Meyers

At least three brand new stunts were introduced by Ted "King Kong" Cox at the local mat last night when he shattered his "hood jinx" by mauling the Masked Mauler into a submission that required stretcher-bearers and 10 minutes of doctoring to relieve.

Trick No. 1 was that of bouncing the black socker's head against the iron ringpost, an act which was climaxed by Ted's duke being raised while his opponent reposed limply in the corner. Previously Cox had taken the first fall by crashing the Mauler out of the ring. Using a handful of the Mauler's masked for a handle, the vicious Lodian flung him through the ropes several times like swinging a baby elephant by his trunk.

Unmasked in the dressing room after the fracas, the mystery man was revealed as Hank "Bald Eagle" Metheny, claimant to the championship of Canada.

Count Hugo De Collelmo and Bill Sledge turned in a bitter but clean battle which ended in a draw, each wrestler one fall to the good.

Baron Ben Ginsberg, meanest of the Hebrew meanies, was adjudged unnecessarily rough, dropping his bout to Mike Mazurki on a foul after 19 minutes of eye-gouging. Wild Bill Beth nailed Ted Sarris with an overhead body slam in less than five minutes of a scheduled 20-minute preliminary.

Joe Benincasa, making a start in the game against "Butch" Hellwig, was pinned in five minutes of fast action.


(Stockton Daily Evening Record, August 21, 1936)

"Hank" Metheny, the hairless wrestler from Hamilton, Ontario, who under the name of "Masked Mauler" was defeated by Ted Cox at the Civic Auditorium last night, today challenged the Lodi "King Kong" to a return match, without masks.

Although only 25 years old, Metheny has no more hair on his head than a billiard ball. He claims he was that way from childood.

For a preliminary, Joe Benincasa, local novice wrestler, has challenged "Cannonball" Catto, accused of "powdering" on Benincasa on last night's card.

August 20, 1936 Stockton

Ted Cox beat Masked Mauler (unmasked as Hank Metheny), Mike Mazurki beat Benny Ginsberg dq, Bill Beth beat Ted Sarris, Hugo De Collelmo drew Bill Sledge, Ed Helwig beat Joe Benincasa



(Stockton Daily Evening Record, August 28, 1936)

By Georg Meyers

Local mat fans were today still dubious as to the grappling superiority of Theodore Cox of Lodi, affectionately known as "King Kong," over Harold "Cue Ball" Metheny, Canadian hairless heftsman, following last night's very strange victory for the Tokay terror at the Civic Memorial Auditorium.

Quite within his rights, referee Harry Atwood disqualified Metheny when the latter flung him helter-skelter. The catch was that Cox, dubbed winner of the fall by foul, was groveling helplessly on the canvas, victim of legal, if unbeautiful, tactics.

Apparently disheartened, the Canadian could only protect himself in the clinches when a revived "Kong" turned on the pressure to make it two straight falls with a flurry of knees and elbows. The match lasted less than 20 minutes.

Flying Bill Sledge continued his string of impressive performances by outguessing Mike Mazurki, who appeared to have the bout on ice.

A series of rafter-shaking body slams and a body press netted a win for Leroy Clayton, the Joe Louis of the mat, in five minutes over Ted Sarris in the speediest tangle of the evening. Hans "Slapsy" Steinke, German top-notcher, disposed of Wild Bill Beth with all the businesslike manner of an executive writing a check.

Portuguese Al Pereira and Pat Meehan, Canadian Royal Mounted Police on furlough, wound up evenly in the 25-minute curtain raiser. It was a clean match and went over well with the fans.

August 27, 1936

Ted Cox beat Hank Metheny dq, Bill Sledge beat Mike Mazurki, Leroy Clayton beat Ted Sarris, Hans Steinke beat Bill Beth, Al Pereira drew Pat Meehan

September 3, 1936

Gus Sonnenberg beat Bill Sledge, Ted Cox drew Pat Meehan, Leroy Clayton beat Bronco Valdez dq, Al Pereira drew Hank Metheny, Cannonball Catto beat Joe Benincasa


(Stockton Daily Evening Record, September 11, 1936)

By Georg Meyers

"King Kong" and "Dynamite Gus," who were mere names as Theodore Cox of Lodi and Augustus Sonnenberg, late of Dartmouth University, hugged and hauled through 60 minutes to a time limit draw at the Civic Memorial Auditorium last night.

Both grapplers rang up a fall apiece with their specialties, but to all intents the touted "grudge" must have been settled in the showers before they entered the ring.

Cox opened up once to club Sonnenberg into insensibility in 35 minutes. Sonnenberg came back shortly afterward to bounce the Lodian with a series of headlong power dives. Not once did Gus wind up on the ropes for his crushing flying tackle, although he played his usual 'possum throughout.

What the top spot lacked in fireworks was balanced by the semi-windup, which saw Pat "Mountie" Meehan put the bee on dusky Leroy Clayton in two straight falls. Meehan's repertoire of fancy arm locks and scissors holds was the most spectacular seen here in recent months.

He took the first fall with a punishing scissors slam, and planted both heels in the Negro's face to win the second with a flying drop kick.

Bill "Barrel-legs" Sledge resorted to grid tactics to dispose of Hank "No Hair" Metheny, who entered the bout with his cue-ball pate as well greased as a hash house griddle. Ed Hellwig, Lodi thumb weigher, managed to elude frisky Frank Malcewicz to earn a draw in the curtain raiser.

September 10, 1936

Ted Cox drew Gus Sonnenberg, Pat Meehan beat Leroy Clayton, Bill Sledge beat Hank Metheny, Ed Helwig drew Frank Malcewicz


(Stockton Daily Evening Record, September 18, 1936)

Superior weight and a pair of long, powerful legs brought victory to Pat Meehan, the Canadian policeman, over Texan Bill Sledge in a hotly waged wrestling main event at the Civic Auditorium last night.

With each wrestler having secured a fall, Meehan braced himself against one of the corner posts and kicked at his opponent with both legs, knocking him over backwards for the deciding fall. Sledge was out for several minutes as his head hit the floor with considerable force.

Meehan took the first fall with a reverse body scissors in 17:25 and Sledge evened the match with a full nelson in 11:07. The third fall came in 1:25.

The excitement of the evening was provided by Ted Cox and Al Pereira, who battled themselves into a no-contest in one of the bloodiest slugfests held here this year. There was very little wrestling but plenty of free-swinging with the bare knuckles by both men.

After Cox had taken what appeared to be the tghird and deciding fall, the two heavyweights resumed their battle outside of the ropes and referee Nick Privolos ruled them both out of order. Pereira then followed Cox into the dressing rooms, where there was further fighting before other wrestlers could interfere.

The bout lasted approximately five minutes, not including the intermissions.

In the first preliminary Joe Marusich defeated Bronco Valdez with a flying tackle in 15 minutes, and in the other Ray Steele went to a 20-minute draw with Hank Metheny. Hal Rumberg was unable to appear due to a leg injury.

September 17, 1936

Pat Meehan beat Bill Sledge, Ted Cox drew Al Pereira nc, Joe Marusich (Tiger Joe Marsh) beat Bronco Valdez, Ray Steele drew Hank Metheny (referee Nick Privolos)

Saturday, September 26, 1936

Vincent Lopez beat Ted Cox dq, Pat Meehan beat Hank Metheny, Joe Benincasa drew Hank Zimmerman (later Slim Zimbleman), Hugo De Collelmo drew Frank Malcewicz

Thursday, October 1, 1936

Dave Levin beat Hugo De Collemo, Ted Cox drew Joe Malcewicz, Leo Narberes beat Hank Zimmerman, Ed Helwig beat Bill Bouskos, Bronco Valdez drew Joe Benincasa

October 8, 1936

Gus Sonneberg drew Pat Meehan, Ted Cox beat Hugo De Collelmo, Joe Benincasa beat Hank Zimbleman, Leo Narberes beat Ed Helwig, Frank Malcewicz drew Tony Catalino

October 15, 1936

Ted Cox beat Gus Sonnenberg dq (referee Nick Preovoleus), Pat Meehan drew Leo Narbares, Hal Rumberg beat Jake Patterson, Joe Benincasa beat Bronco Valdez

October 22, 1936

Ted Cox beat Gus Sonnenberg (referee Jake Patterson), Hal Rumberg beat Leo Narbares, Hal Rumberg beat Joe Malcewicz (sub for Kimon Kudo vs. Casey Kazanjian)

October 29, 1936

Ted Cox beat Hal Rumberg (referee John Kallas), Leo Narbares beat John Spellman dq, Joe Benincasa beat Ted Sarris, Rudy Strongberg beat Herb Freeman

November 5, 1936

John Spellman beat Hal Rumberg, Leo Narbares beat Jake Patterson, Ed Helwig beat Joe Benincasa, Pat Meehan drew Bill Longson

November 12, 1936

Pat Meehan beat John Spellman, Leo Narbares beat Bill Longson, Jack McArthur drew Al Pereira, Ed Helwig drew Joe Benincasa

November 19, 1936

Billy Hanson beat Hal Rumberg dq (NoCal title defense) (referee Frank Manfredo), Ted Cox beat Leo Narbares cnc, John Spellman beat Mike Boukos, Al Pereira drew Rudy Strongberg

November 26, 1936

Billy Hanson beat Hal Rumberg, Ted Cox drew John Spellman nc (referee Harry Atwood), Leo Narbes beat Hank Zimbleman, Bill Longson beat Vic Christy, Joe Benincasa drew Al Steinhauer

December 3, 1936

Billy Hanson beat John Spellman, Bill Longson beat Leo Narbares, Al Pereira drew Rudy Strongberg, Gino Vagnone beat Joe Marusich (Tiger Joe Marsh)

The WAWLI Papers No. 734 . . .


(Ryan's Auditorium, promoter Al Dermer, sponsored by Disabled American Veterans)


Thursday, January 8

Frank Sexton beat Joaquin Murietta (Coast title defense), Jim Casey drew Willie Davis, Ali Adali beat Hans Schultz, Tug Carlson beat Fred Meyers

January 15 Fresno

Frank Sexton beat Willie Davis (Pacific Coast title defense), Tug Carlson beat Harry Kent dq, Hardy Kruskamp beat Ali Adali, Pantaleon Manlapig beat Myron Cox (Al Stecher referee)

January 22 Fresno

Vincent Lopez beat Hardy Kruskamp cor, Willie Davis beat Tug Carlson, Fred Meyers beat Joe Mancuso, Eric Holmback (sub for Alex Aberg) beat Vic Hill

January 29 Fresno

Vincent Lopez beat Willie Davis, Frank Sexton drew Jim Casey, Jim Casey (sub for Joe Benicassa) beat Ali Adali, Joe Zomar beat Vic Hill

February 5 Fresno

Vincent Lopez beat Jim Casey, Pantaleon Manlapig beat Fred Meyers, Joe Zomar drew Joe Mancuso, Billy Macus (sub for Dan O'Connor) beat Joe Benecasa dq (referee Frank Manfredo)

February 12 Fresno

Vincent Lopez beat Jim Casey, Joe Mancuso beat Jack Sheeley, Joe Benecasa beat Hans Schultz, Tug Carlson beat Eric Holmbach cor (referee Casey Kazanjian)

February 19 Fresno

Vincent Lopez beat Willie Davis cor, Mike Mazurki beat Jim Casey, George Dazzler Clark beat Joe Benecassa, Eric (Superman) Holmbach, 264 beat Tug Carlson 22:00

February 26 Fresno

Vincent Lopez beat Dazzler Clark, Joe Savoldi drew Mike Mazurki, Willie Davis drew Jim Casey, Joe Benecassa beat Fred Meyers


Saturday, January 2 Fresno

Ted Cox beat Pierre DeGlane, Jack McDonald beat Abe Kashey, Jim Casey beat John Swenski

January 9 Fresno

Swedish Angel beat Jim Casey, Ted Cox drew Joe Savoldi, Abe Kashey beat Red Brannigan

January 16 Fresno

Swedish Angel beat Abe Kashey (referee Aram Joseph), Joe Savoldi beat Ted Cox dq, Pierre DeGlane beat Joe Campbell

January 23 Fresno

Ted Cox drew Joe Savoldi, Clara Mortensen beat Anna Olson, Abe Kashey drew Sandor Szabo (Aram Joseph sidelined by high blood pressure)

January 30 Fresno

Abe Kashey beat Ted Cox dq, Sandor Szabo vs. Crusher Olson, Joe Campbell vs. John Swenski

February 6 Fresno

Swedish Angel beat Jack McDonald, Abe Kashey beat Kay Bell, Chief Thunderbird beat Pierre DeGlane, 230

February 13 Fresno

Sandor Szabo beat Abe Kashey, Clara Mortensen beat Ann Olsen (sub for Gypsy Rose Dare), Chief Thunderbird beat Jack McDonald dq

February 20 Fresno

Sandor Szabo beat Mike Mazurki (sub for Willie Davis), Joe Savoldi beat Jack McDonald dq, Abe Kashey beat Joe Campbell

February 27 Fresno

Sandor Szabo vs. Willie Davis, Joe Savoldi vs. Mike Mazurki, Jack McDonald vs. Jim Irish


January 8 Fresno

Vic Christy drew Masked Cougar (w/Count Rossi), Ivan Rasputin drew Jim Casey, Danny O'Crusher beat Silent Pedro Gomez (sub for Alberto Corral)

January 15 Fresno

Jim Casey beat Rasputin dq, Dean Detton drew Vic Christy (Coast title defense), Vic Holbrook beat Rube Wright


(Fresno Bee, Friday, January 21, 1944)

By Ed Orman

King Kong Ted Cox, the Lodi mad man, is campaigning in Texas . . . Ted did all right in the Lone Star State before he returned to California a year and a half ago and became the No. 1 Fresno drawing card until the Masked Cougar came along . . . A peek into a St. Louis newspaper reveals George (Kayo) Koverly, the socking Slav, who "ran out" on Cox a few weeks ago in Fresno, and then drew a 60-day sitdown, and skipped back to St. Louis . . . Koverly was beaten by Billy Longson in a wrestling match and Longson then put the gloves on for a match with Koverly and outsocked the Slav . . . Sandor Szabo, the handsome Hungarian, also is campaigning in and around the Mound City . . . The best storyteller among the wrestlers in this neck of the woods is Dean Detton, who also is regarded as the best grappler . . . He operates a small ranch near Hayward now . . . They say Steve (Crusher) Casey, the County Kerry Irishman and east coast mat champ, due for a setto with Ivan Rasputin here tomorrow night, totes, in addition to his unusually bulging biceps, the most peculiar cauliflower ear in the ear mangling industry . . . Which reminds us that Steve's brother, Jim, who wrestles here, has a cauliflower that looks just ripe for plucking . . . The champion eater among the local matsters is Rube Wright, the 250-pound Los Angeles lad . . . Ask Al Dermer, matchmaker for the Disabled American Veterans, if you doubt it . . . They say Count Rossi, manager of the Cougar, is going to come up with a new mat sensation . . . Rossi may reveal the name of his new attraction here tomorrow night. . . Vic Holbrook, the lanky, cleancut wrestler out of Los Angeles, is a former USC footballer . . . He is a cousin of Ernie Holbrook, SC basketball coach until his entry into the army this week . . . Vic was recently discharged from the army because of trouble with his eyes . . . The grapplers and matchmakers refer to Joe Malcewicz, the man who books the wrestlers out of San Francisco, as the silver fox . . . He is graying around the temples . . . Joe was a corking grappler himself in the East years ago . . . He is a jolly good fellow . . .


(Fresno Bee, Saturday, January 22, 1944)

A brand new wrestler against one of the regular performers whom the fans want to see punished severely will be the offering in the feature match on the Disabled Veterans' weekly card in Ryan's Auditorium tonight.

Steve (Crusher) Casey from County Kerry, Ireland, recognized as the champion on the east coast, will make his debut in a two out of three fall, one-hour joust with Ivan (The Terrible) Rasputin, the wild and woolly Russian.

Casey, champion in the East since 1938, has moved to San Francisco from Boston and will campaign in California for some time. He is the oldest of a family of seven sons from Ireland. Jim Casey, who has worked here a number of times lately, is Steve's younger brother. Jim took a shellacking from Rasputin last week, so Steve has been imported to make amends in behalf of his brother.

Steve Casey is a champion oarsman and all-around athlete. It is said in wrestling circles that Casey, an extremely strong man, can wrestle with the best of them. He will be favored to tame Rasputin, the pudgy Russian who indulges in much rough stuff, in addition to putting his opponents down with backbreakers and bear hugs as well as slinging them out of the ring.

The Disabled Veterans, anticipating a wild main event, have accepted the services, voluntarily offered, of Count Rossi to assist the referee who will be assigned by the state athletic commission to handle the match.

Wee Willie Davis, 265-pound West Virginian, will meet Lou Newman, fast and clever New York lad, in the second feature, also a two out of three falls, one-hour go. Newman has scored popular decisions over Stanley Pinto, Abe Kashey and Ted Christy locally.

A jiu-jitsu match will be offered in the special. Freddy Meyers and Alex Kasaboski will wear jiu-jitsu jackets into the ring and give an exhibition of this type of grappling.

The first match is billed at 8:30 o'clock.


(Fresno Bee, Sunday, January 23, 1944)

Steve (Crusher) Casey, 215, recognized as world's wrestling champion on the east coast, made an impressive debut in Fresno last night, "cooling off" Ivan (The Terrible) Rasputin, burly Russian, in straight falls in the main event of the weekly mat card in Ryan's Auditorium. Rasputin weighed 235.

Casey, a well-built, muscular grappler from Ireland, shook off Rasputin and his rough tactics and took the first fall after considerable hard grappling in 19 minutes, 54 seconds. Casey kicked Rasputin out of the ring and did not stop at that but jumped out of the ring on his opponent. When they were brought back into the enclosure, Casey quickly flopped him with a surfboard hold in which leverage from a double leghold proved too effective for the Russian to break.

There also was considerable hard wrestling in the second fall with Casey taking quite a bit of punishment but surviving at the crucial time and finally throwing Rasputin with a series of Irish whips in 22 minutes and 56 seconds.

Frank Manfredo of Fresno was the chief referee with Count Rossi serving as a voluntary aide, much to the dissatisfaction of many customers and also Casey.

Wee Willie Davis, 262, won the second feature from Lou Newman, 230, winning two of three falls. Davis took the first in 30 minutes, 27 seconds with an overarm body slam. Newman evened the count with a quick fall with a similar hold in 57 seconds. The final fall went to Davis in 11 minutes, 9 seconds, with a body slam. It was a rough match.

In an exhibition of jiu jitsu, Freddy Meyers, 212, scored a two-fall victory over Alex Kasaboski, 210. They wrestled with jackets, and Meyers employed chokeholds to win both falls, the first in 10:54, the second in 9:32.

January 22 Fresno

Steve Casey beat Ivan Rasputin (referees Frank Manfredo, Count Rossi), Willie Davis beat Lou Newman, Fred Meyers beat Alex Kasaboski

January 29 Fresno

Masked Cougar beat Vic Christy, Dean Detton beat Yellow Tiger (Tug Carlson), Willie Davis drew Hans Schnabel

February 5 Fresno

Masked Cougar drew Willie Davis, Dean Detton beat Mike Mazurki, Jim Casey beat Alex Kasaboski

February 12 Fresno

Gladys Gillem beat Mae Young, Willie Davis beat Abe Kashey, Iron Talun beat Mike Mazurki

February 19 Fresno

Steve Casey beat Willie Davis, Abe Kashey beat Vic Christy, Alberto Corral beat Tug Carlson

February 26 Fresno

Mildred Burke beat Gladys Gillem (referee Al Steinhauer), Jim Casey beat Abe Kashey, Iron Talun beat Alberto Corral


(Fresno Bee, Sunday, January 7, 1945)

Vincent Lopez, Mexican former world's heavyweight wrestling champion, unmasked the Masked Cougar last night in Ryan's Auditorium and revealed his identity to be Pat Fraley, 240-pound Bostonian and victor in some 60 Fresno appearances.

Lopez, however, failed to gain the verdict over Fraley and stripped the green hood from his opponent's face over the protests of referee Al Steinhauer and against the earlier stipulations of the match.

Fraley gained the first fall in 23 minutes with back breakers but was forced to yield the second in 19:30 when Lopez presented his opponent with a series of elbow smashes where they were calculated to accomplish the most desired results.

With the Masked Cougar flat, Lopez proceeded to tear off the mask. This was properly resented by the irate Fraley who got up to finish out the one-fall draw in a most robust fashion. His fury was unparalleled because of the Mexican's uncouth conduct.

Lopez earlier had promised to give his purse to charity and never to ask for a Fresno match again if he failed to beat and unmask the Cougar. Half of the contract was completed -- the Cougar was unmasked, but also unbeaten. At a late hour it was undecided whether Lopez was to be the charity to whom the purse would be donated or some other worthy cause would be selected.

The Masked Marvel, 245 pounds of wrestling fury from parts unknown, scored his second straight Fresno victory in the semi-windup by treating Hans Schultz, 225-pound gladiator from Chicago's loop to two straight falls.

The masked gentleman accomplished the first fall with a rolling neck lock and a body press in 18:38 and used the same pattern 4:36 later. Count Rossi's protege was inclined to be slightly on the rough side.

Angelo Cistoldi, 240, Boston, and Hardy Kruskamp, 225, Los Angeles, wrestled to a one-fall draw in the opener. Cistoldi applied an Australian crab in 21:19 for the first fall and Kruskamp, nothing daunted, retaliated with flying tackles and a body press for his share of the glory in 1:02. They went the remainder of the 46 minutes without a fall.


January 6 Fresno

Vincent Lopez drew Masked Cougar (unmasked as Pat Fraley), Masked Marvel beat Hans Schultz, Angelo Cistoldi drew Hardy Kruskamp


(Fresno Bee, Sunday, January 14, 1945)

A wild melee in Ryan's Auditorium last night between an irate Ted Cox, whose 240 pounds hails from Lodi, and Vincent Lopez, whose nearly equally ponderous averdupois comes from south of the border, was declared "no contest" by the wrestling arbiter, Pantless Joe Gardenfeld of San Francisco.

Cox, equally well known as King Kong, assumed a vigorous and beligerent attitude early in the match. In fact, he neck twisted Lopez to a fall in 5:23. This so offended the Mexican, after it had been duly recorded and considered, that he poked his elbows with much impetus into the ample Cox puss in 2:51 for an equalizing fall.

From there on the action was very sudden. So sudden, in fact, that Gardenfeld lost the leg of one trouser when he attempted to remonstrate the Earthquake McGoon-like performers. He peered at his bare limb in anguish. He should not have looked, for meanwhile he lost a portion of the other trouser leg. This, of course, engaged both eyes -- one for each bare leg -- so he promptly lost his shirt.

Now pantless, Joe is definitely not the appealing type in a strip tease attire. Lopez and Cox must have agreed on this for they lefdt the ring in an under the rope rolling style and left the referee to himself. Their nefarious conduct was continued in the aisle.

With obviously nothing to do, sans trouser legs, sans shirt, sans rasslers, Gardenfeld was brilliantly inspired. He motioned the timekeeper the match was over and retreated hastily but with a certain amount of dignity to his dressing room.

His action was followed in short order by Lopez and Cox who decided the scene should be deserted as long as there was no referee to heckle them. Despite the fall each, the match goes into the records as "no contest."

Pat Fraley, 240-pound former Masked Cougar, defeated Steve Bodynis, 230, New York, in the semi-windup after suffering the indignity of being felled the first.

Bodynis pinned Fraley in 15:09 after a series of flying tackles were culminated with a body press. Fraley came back in 7:05 with back breakers and a body press for the second fall. Fifty-five seconds later referee Gardenfeld stopped the battle when it seemed evident Bodynis was suffering greatly from another series of back breakers and was unable to defend himself before Fraley's advances.

Frank Taylor, 223 pounds of handsome Ohian, made his debut by kindly splitting falls with Dutch Heffner, the roly poly 245-pound Texan. Heffner won the first fall in 23:18 with a stepover toehold and Taylor took the second in 6:11 with a flying tackle. They then went the 45-minute route without another fall.

January 13 Fresno

Ted Cox drew Vincent Lopez nc (referee Joe Gardenfield), Pat Fraley beat Steve Budnynis, Frank Taylor drew Dutch Heffner

January 20 Fresno

Vincent Lopez beat Pat Fraley dq, Ted Cox beat Sandor Szabo, Masked Marvel beat Vic Holbrook

January 27 Fresno

Ted Cox beat Pat Fraley, Vincent Lopez beat Jim Henry, Dean Detton beat Jim Casey (sub for Cy Williams)

February 3 Fresno

Pat Fraley beat Ted Cox dq (referee Frank Manfredo), Frank Taylor drew Masked Marvel, Mike London drew Joe Campbell

February 10 Fresno

Ted Cox-Pat Fraley beat Dean Detton (hdcp), Pat Kelly drew Dutch Heffner, Frank Taylor beat Bill Bartush

February 17 Fresno

Dean Detton beat Pat Fraley (Coast title defense), Vincent Lopez beat Frank Taylor, Dave Zobel beat Jack Manuel

February 24 Fresno

Vincent Lopez beat Dean Detton (referee Art Williams) (disputed title defense), Pat Fraley beat Frank Taylor, Chief Little Wolf beat Hans Schultz


January 5 Fresno Ryan's Auditorium

Al Steinhauer beat Pat Fraley (referee Sammy Stein), Jules Strongbow beat Kay Bell, Vincent Lopez beat Al Galento

January 12 Fresno

Al Steinhauer-SammyStein beat Pat Fraley (hdcp), Jules Strongbow beat Sammy Stein cnc, Angelo Cistoldi beat Vincent Lopez dq

January 19 Fresno

Bronko Nagurski beat Jules Strongbow, Vincent Lopez beat Angelo Cistoldi, Sammy Stein beat Hank Metheny

January 26 Fresno

Vincent Lopez drew Angelo Cistoldi, Sammy Stein beat Tor Johnson (sub for Karl Davis, injured in Oakland previous night), Frankie Cutler beat Dr. Len Hall

February 2 Fresno

Angelo Cistoldi beat Pat Fraley dq, Vincent Lopez beat Jules Strongbow dq, Dr. Len Hall beat Alberto Corral

February 9 Fresno

Pat Fraley beat Dr. Len Hall, Al Steinhauer drew Jules Strongbow, Pete Peterson (Army major) beat Karl Davis

February 16 Fresno

Vincent Lopez beat Pat Fraley (referee Joe Gardenfield), Pete Peterson beat Willie Davis, Dr. Len Hall beat Myron Cox

February 23 Fresno

Pete Peterson beat Pat Fraley, Sandor Szabo drew Dutch Heffner, Vincent Lopez beat Dr. Len Hall (referee Al Stecher)


(Philadelphia Daily News, May 23, 2000

By Michael Tearson

It was a scary scene during last week's WCW "Thunder" taping when Ric Flair collapsed as the show's Main Event was reaching its climax. Medical tests the next day disclosed that nothing serious had gone wrong.

Flair has said that he suspects that this is a flare-up of an inner ear problem from about 10 years back.

It did affect the show's finish. Flair had won the WCW Championship for a record 15th time on "Nitro" that Monday, and Vince Russo was supposed to be away at serious meetings.

He was scheduled to do a run-in and steal Flair's belt. Due to Flair's condition that didn't happen.

The way it ran on TV, Tony Schiavone retaped commentary before the show aired. Effectively, a frightening situation became an angle. On Monday's "Nitro" Russo staged a "funeral" for Flair's career complete with casket. He stripped Flair and presented the WCW belt to the "rightful champ" Jeff Jarrett.

The truth is as reported here last week, Ric has serious shoulder surgery scheduled for just after that show.

There is a very real chance that at 51, it could be a career-ender for Flair. However, Flair has strong expectations of returning to action. This title run, however brief, was intended as a valedictory reward for gallant services rendered for so very long.

The Bash at the Beach PPV match between the Flairs -- father, Ric, and son, David -- is still scheduled. Special stipulation is that if Ric loses he retires. Expect the son to win through chicanery.

The Mad Dog has long been on record as a huge Flair fan, and he does confess that the sight of Flair winning the belt one last time was one of this Dog's greatest thrills in ages. Ric's promos both earlier that night and on "Thunder," taped the next day, were among his best ever.

Arn Anderson had been scheduled to work the "Thunder" match with his close friend the Nature Boy, but was unable to due to a broken bone in his foot. This is why they had the New Blood forces take him out before he could compete. Had he competed it would have been without medical clearance.

Some have expressed doubt that either Arn's or Ric's injuries are real, but the Dog stands by his sources and does believe them to be bona fide.

'JUMBO' TSURUTA GONE: One of the greats, Tonomi "Jumbo" Tsuruta, 49, has passed away. On May 14, he lost his final battle -- an eight-year struggle against hepatitis, following kidney transplant surgery. He had retired from All Japan Pro Wrestling last year and had taken a teaching position at the University of Portland in Oregon. He had been one of the most beloved figures in Japanese wrestling.

STORM JUMPS SHIP: ECW stalwart Lance Storm has jumped to WCW. He completed his contractual run at the Hardcore Heaven PPV with a fine match against Justin Credible, his former Tag Team partner. Thus, in his departure Storm did business "the right way" in giving a win to new ECW Champ Credible. This is in stark contrast to the way former ECW Champ Mike Awesome made his sudden jump to the WCW in April.

Storm has impressed the Dog with his in-ring ability. In the last year his mic techniques have gotten much, much better, too. He will be a valuable addition to the WCW.

BAGWELL BATTERY: Marcus "Buff" Bagwell's problems stemming from striking a WCW worker following the May 9 "Nitro" have gotten worse. The Sangamon (Ill.) County state's attorney's office will file battery charges against him. Darrell Miller, the stagehand Bagwell hit, has expressed wishes to proceed with filling the charges.

A court date of July 11 has been set. The penalty could be up to one year in jail. Bagwell, who is serving a 30-day suspension from the WCW, is free on $100 bail.

And that's not Bagwell's only problem. The May 30 Globe has a two-page photo spread of a spring break wet T-shirt party that shows Bagwell assisting girls in doffing bikini bottoms. With Time Warner's concern for "family values," and remembering how Chastity was let go after her work in a porno flick was, er, uncovered, things could get sticky for the Buff one.

Thanks to for input to this story.

WWF QUICKIES: Crash Holly has just signed a contract. . .Mick Foley's best-selling autobio "Have a Nice Day" will be reissued in paperback this summer. Mick has written new chapters to update the book to include his final matches and his retirement. . .Great to see the Undertaker Sunday night. In his run-in at the end of the Rock/HHH Iron Man match that HHH won, he looked more mobile than he has in years. His new biker identity looks cool, too. . .Big Show wasn't really hurt at Judgment Day Sunday night. But he does need time off for a knee injury, and it looks like he will get it.

LIVE AND LOCAL: WWWA is at Forrest Lodge VFW, 2118 Old Bethlehem Pike, in Sellersville Saturday night at 7:30. African champ Mr. USA Tony Atlas defends against Getto Blaster. WWWA World Champion Jack Hammer faces Who's Next with Rev. Diamond Mike, Esq., MD. The group's Intercontinental champ Demetrius Arion will meet the Giant Leprechaun Paddy O'Brian, and the WWWA TV champ Bob Steele fights Armageddon. Special guest ring announcer is the Mad Dog, Michael Tearson.

Before the show, from 4 to 6 p.m., Atlas is at Main Men Sports in Quakertown Farmers Market for an autograph signing. For info about show or signing, call 215-412-9960.

PCW returns to Leesport Family Grand Prix and Fun Center May 31 at 7:15. Look for King Kong Bundy and the fast rising Haas Brothers. For info, call 610-929-0258.

The WAWLI Papers No. 735 . . .


(United Press, January 12, 1944)

By Jack Cuddy

NEW YORK -- Let wrasslin' be refined -- less rowdyism -- less brutal, says the New York State Athletic Commission through its triple-talkin' chairman, John J. (for Jabber-Wacky) Phelan, the Emily Post of the pachyderms.

Phelan mailed out a letter today to all deputies in the state, notifying them that henceforth $50 fines and indefinite suspeions will be meted out to any wrestler who:

"Thows his opponent out of the ring; uses the drop kick; ups with the knee; strikes with the elbow or closed fist; or uses tactics aimed at knocking an opponent's head against the steel turnbuckle connecting ropes and ring-post."

Thjis edict, which spades away the groundwork of modern grappling like taking the bump out of burlesque, strikes us as a completely screwball pronunciamento. It tries to eliminate the possibilities of violence from the grunt-and-groan industry -- a sport which in the Empire State is supposed officially to be so devoid of genuine competition that all so-called matches must be advertised as "exhibitions."

If the mat mazurkas in Phelan's commonwealth actually are theatrical phonies, as indicated in the commission's code, it seems that some of the poorly mannered grapplers in the Buffalo, N.Y., area were not indoctrinated with the principles of their roles. Those followers of the Flying Mare have not been meting out such mayhem to one another that they threaten (1) not only pulpy destruction to themselves, but (2) injury to ringside spectators in the trajectory of hurtling bodies.

Today's edict resulted from alleged, recent blood-and-thunder wrasslin' bouts at the Great Lakes Athletic Club, Buffalo, N.Y., in which two overly zealous matmen participated -- Roy Graham and Karl Davis. It seems that Promoter John Herman had scheduled Graham against one Bobby Managoff, and Davis against one Babe Sharkey for Friday night. Phelan notified Herman that the "exhibitions" could not be held, because of previous rowdyisms by Graham and Davis.


(Medford Armory, promoter Elton Owen, Thursday nights)

Thursday, October 10, 1963 Medford Armory

Nick Bockwinkel beat Don Duffy, Tony Borne beat Dick Dunn, Gil Hilo Ane drew Art Mahalik (Nick Bockwinkel won six-man battle royal

Thursday, October 17, 1963 Medford Armory

Tony Borne beat Nick Bockwinkel cor (referee Freddie Barron), Dick Dunn beat Art Mahalik dq, Gil Ane (sub for Luther Lindsey) beat Don Duffy dq (Lindsey failed to get medical clearance following critical injuries suffered in recent auto wreck)

Thursday, October 31, 1963 Medford Armory

Nick Bockwinkel beat Tony Borne (won Northwest title) (cage match) (referee Shag Thomas), Nick Kozak beat Maurice Vachon, Bill Savage vs. Dick Dunn

Thursday, November 12, 1963 Medford Armory

Luther Lindsey-Nick Kozak beat Soldat Gorky-Don Duffy, Nick Bockwinkel beat Art Mahalik dq, The Destroyer beat Bing Kai Lee

Thursday, November 26, 1963

Tiny Tim-Irish Jackie beat Sky Low Low-Billy the Kid, Abe Jacobs-Haystack Calhoun beat Soldat Gorky-Don Duffy (referee Luther Lindsey), Nick Kozak drew Paddy Barrett, Luther Lindsey beat Don Duffy dq (A - 1,500)

Thursday, November 12, 1963 Medford Armory

Haystack Calhoun-Abe Jacobs vs. Soldat Gorky-Maurice Vachon, Nick Bockwinkel vs. Bill Savage, Nick Kozak vs.Gil Hilo Ane


(Medford Mail Tribune, Friday, December 27, 1963)

In one of the weirdest endings seen here in a long time, The Destroyer defeated Luther Lindsey two out of three falls in the headline match before about 900 fans at last night's professional wrestling card at Medford Armory.

During hot and heavy action as both men were working for the third fall, Lindsey threw The Destroyer onto the ring apron outside the ring, followed him out, and the two men fought furiously on the apron.

Referee Bing Kai Lee, under wrestling rules, started a count, which allows a wrestler on the apron a count of 10 to re-enter the ring. As the count reached about 9, Lindsey again hit The Destroyer and knocked him through the ropes into the ring. Lindsey had not climbed through the ropes as Lee's count reached 10 and the referee declared The Destroyer the winner.

Lindsey started out like he was going to make quick work of the mystery man, winning the first fall with two drop kicks and a body press in less time than it takes to tell about it. It took The Destroyer considerably longer to win the second fall, using three vicious knee smashes to Lindsey's head, capp;ing it with a body press.

The Destroyer, who has a standing offer of $1,000 to anyone who can break his figure four leg lock, made numerous attempts to apply the hold but Lindsey managed to wriggle free each time.

Nick Bockwinkel, who had just finished polishing off Dirty Don Duffy in the semi-windup, challenged The Destroyer to accept the hold-breaking offer but was unable to win the money.

Duffy, substituting for Mad Dog Vachon who was forced to withdraw because of a hand injury, kept Bockwinkel in trouble most of the time but coolness and smart wrestling paid off for the winner, who lost his coast heavyweight championship about a week ago.

Tough Tony Borne used his favorite "thunderbolt" maneuver to flatten Irish Paddy Barrett in the special event and newcomer Louie Tillet and Bing Kai Lee went to a draw in the opener.

Lou Thesz, recognized as undisputed wolrd champion by the World Wrestling Association and the National Wrestling Alliance, has been signed to appear in Medford on Feb. 20 and matchmaker Elton Owe4n is looking for a suitable opponent with the thought of possibly persuading Theswz to put his championship on the line.

The Destroyer, who is rated No. 2 behind Thesz by both associations, is demanding the match but final negotiations have not been completed.

Thursday, December 26, 1963

The Destroyer beat Luther Lindsey (referee Bing Kai Lee), Nick Bockwinkel beat Don Duffy, Tony Borne beat Paddy Barrett, Louie Tillet drew Bing Kai Lee

Thursday, January 9, 1964 Medford Armory

Shag Thomas-Luther Lindsey beat The Destroyer-Art Mahalik, Nick Bockwinkel beat Tony Borne, Nick Kozak drew Paddy Barrett


(Medford Mail Tribune, Sunday, Jan. 12, 1964)

Lou Thesz, recognized as undisputed world heavyweight champion by the World Wrestling Association and the National Wrestling Alliance, will defend his title in the Medford Army ring on Thursday night, Feb. 20, it has been announced by matchmaker Elton Owen.

A process of elimination matches, to be presented during the next three weeks, will determine who gets the chance to lift the crown from the world-famous champion.

In confirming his title defense in Medford, Thesz said that he considers it a match for his championship every time he steps into a ring to wrestle.

"If my opponent beats me, he deserves to be the champion," Thesz said.

Nick Bockwinkel, who eliminated Tough Tony Born last week, gets a chance to move a step nearer to the title shot when he tests a newcomer, The Mongol, who has been a great sensation in the Phoenix, Ariz., area for the past several months. They will clash in the opener of next Thursday's card.

The feature match will see The Destroyer and Art Mahalik risk their Northwest tag team championship against Luther Lindsey and Shag Thomas. Lindsey and Thomas won a hotly disputed decision in a non-title skirmish last week, thus forcing the title match. One other match, yet to be signed, will complete the card.

Ringside reserved seat tickets are available at Lamport's Sporting Goods store, 236 E. Main St., Medford.

Thursday, January 16, 1964 Medford Armory

The Destroyer-Art Mahalik beat Shag Thomas-Luther Lindsey (referee Nick Bockwinkel), Nick Kozak drew Tony Borne, Nick Bockwinkel beat Mad Mongol dq (A - 700)


(Medford Mail Tribune, Friday, January 24, 1964)

Nick Bockwinkel will meet The Destroyer at Medford Armory on Feb. 6 with the winner going against Lou Thesz for the world heavyweight championship on Feb. 20. That was the result of last night's six-man tag team match, which was one of the wildest affairs ever presented in the local arena.

The crowd of about 500, whipped to a near-frenzy by the ring action, saw Bockwinkel win the final fall from The Destroyer with an abdominal stretch. To add to the excitement, some overenthusiastic fan rushed from his seat, pulled the plug which controls the ring lights from its socket and disappeared into the crowd before police could catch him. When the lights came back on Bockwinkel still had The Destroyer in the stretch and Bockwinkel's partners, Luther Lindsey and Shag Thomas, were battling the masked man's co-workers, Louie Tillet and Art Mahalik, to keep them from breaking up Bockwinkel's winning hold.

The action was rough from the start with both teams bent on taking the purse in the winners-take-all match. Mahalik took the first fall from Thomas with knee lifts and a body press but the former Ohio State football star returned the honors by pinning Tillet with head butts and a press.

Two referees were used to keep some semblance of order but it didn't work out that way since two men watching six just weren't enough for complete enforcement of the rules.

In other matches, Nick Kozak came out of what looked like certain defeate to turn the tables on Dirty Don Duffy to win two falls to one for the blonde bad boy.

Irish Paddy Barrett won from the Mad Mongol, who was disqualified for using karate chops, a side-of-the-hand smash to the throat, declared illegal in the United States.

Thursday, January 23, 1964 Medford Armory

Nick Bockwinkel-Shag Thomas-Luther Lindsey beat The Destroyer-Art Mahalik-Louie Tillet, Nick Kozak beat Don Duffy, Paddy Barrett beat Mad Mongol dq


(Medford Mail Tribune, Friday, February 7, 1964)

Nick Bockwinkel, bent from the start on earning a title match with world champion Lou Thesz, made quick work of The Destroyer in their elimination finale headlining last night's wrestling card at Medford Armory.

As a result of Bockwinkel's two-straight-falls victory, he will meet Thesz in a championship match here on Thursday, Feb. 20.

The good-looking Los Angeles youngster took a beating from the hooded mystery man throughout but his recuperative powers and ability to out-think his opponent brought victory. Bockwinkel won the first fall on a disqualification after The Destroyer threw him out of the ring and wouldn't allow him to re-enter.

The second fall came with Bockwinkel's deadly abdominal stretch, which quickly forced The Destroyer to yield the fall.

Injuries to Lou (Frenchy) Tillet and Shag Thomas forced a complete reshuffling of preliminary matches.

In the semi-windup it took Irish Paddy Barrett a while to get started but after spotting Dirty Don Duffy a fall, the Irishman came on to take the next two in spectacular fashion.

Haru Sasaki used a Japanese sleeper hold to render Nick Kozak into submission. After being awarded the fall, Sasaki reapplied the sleeper but Barrett, watching from the sidelines, jumped into the ring and clubbed Sasaki off with his shillelagh.

Pedro Lopez was no match for big Art Mahalik and lost the one-fall opener. Rocky Columbo refereed the program in place of Thomas, who was scheduled to be third man.

Ringside reserved seat tickets for the Thesz-Bockwinkel match will go on sale at Lamport's Sporting Goods store Saturday.

Thursday, February 6, 1964 Medford Armory

Nick Bockwinkel beat The Destroyer (Dick Beyer), Paddy Barrett beat Don Duffy, Haru Sasaki beat Nick Kozak, Art Mahalik beat Pedro Lopez (referee Rocky Columbo)


(Medford Mail Tribune, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 1964)

Nick Bockwinkel, who makes his home with his wife and two daughters in the San Fernando Valley of California, gets his second chance to win the world heavyweight wrestling championship from Lou Thesz when he steps into the ring at Medford Armory Thursday night.

Bockwinkel, 28, was a great high school football and wrestling star in his native St. Louis, Mo., and was sought by many colleges with offers of football and wrestling scholarships. He chose the University of Oklahoma because he wanted to play under Bud Wilkinson, who was enjoying national prominence as a coach.

Tough luck set in in the form of a broken leg during his freshman year and ten two serious knee injuries, also in his first college year, and Bockwinkel went home to his parents, who had moved to the San Fernando Valley.

Bockwinkel had been exposed to professional wrestling all his life inasmuch as his father, Warren, had been a great star and many outstanding men of the mat frequently visited at the Bockwinkel home.

Determined to finish his college career, Nick enrolled at the University of California at Los Angeles but decided to pass up football in favor of a professional mat career, which he hoped would finance his college education.

Having never been encouraged or discouraged on a pro mat career by his father, young Bockwinkel took his first professional match shortly after turning 19 years of age and took a thorough beating before losing two straight falls.

He recalls his father's remarks when he came home: "If you want to be a professional wrestler, just say so and when you heal from these injuries I will give you all of the help you need."

In a few days Bockwinkel, father and son, were making daily visits to the gymnasium where the student developed fast and after a few months he was ready to return to the professional circuit. He built up a string of 17 straight victories, including two wins from the man who had given him his first professional trouncing.

It was announced that the great Lou Thesz was coming to Los Angeles and would meet the winner of an elimination tournament. Thesz had been among those frequent visitors to the Bockwinkel home since the champion and the elder Bockwinkel had long been friends.

Nick won the elimination tournament and had great ideas about winning the championship.

"I entered the ring full of confidence that night," he recalls. "But it didn't take long for me to find out that I didn't know very much about wrestling. Thesz turned me every way but loose in winning two straight falls."

Eight years have elapsed since the night the 20-year-old youngster lost to the old master. Thursday night he is getting his second chance to win the championship from Thesz.

"I won't be so confident this time but I have learned a lot in those eight years and Thesz, still a great champion, is eight years older and I think I have a good chance to dump him," Bockwinkel says.

Three other matches complete the card, which starts at 8:30 p.m. Ringside reserved seat tickets are available at Lamport's Sporting Goods store in Medford.


(Medford Mail Tribune, Friday, February 21, 1964)

World heavyweight wrestling champion Lou Thesz came to town yesterday billed as the greatest wrestler of modern times. He left today with his championship belt packed in his traveling bag but almost 1,000 spectators at Medford Armory last night were convinced that Nick Bockwinkel wrestled "rings around" the renowned king of the mat.

Despite Bockwinkel's tremendous showing in wrestling what he himself called one of his greatest matches, he had to settle for a draw. Bockwinkel asked for a rematch on a winner-take-all basis but Thesz said that "previous commitments" would prevent him from giving Bockwinkel a return match.

Thesz had to go to the ropes many times to get out of the challenger's punishing headlocks, body scissors and leg holds and frequently roughed up the Los Angeles youngster to get out of trouble.

After winning the first fall in 45 minutes with a flying leap off the ropes, Thesz obviously was stalling for time since, under championship rules, Bockwinkel had to win two falls to get the title.

Before the bell sounded to start the second fall, Thesz went after Bockwinkel and was punching him repeatedly in the face when the challenger applied an abdominal stretch after three minutes to bring the falls to one apiece.

It was then that Thesz went into his still and sweated out punishing leg holds and headlocks to settle for the draw.

Haru Sasaki and the Mad Mongol whipped Nick Kozak and Irish Paddy barrett in the tag team semi-windup despite some questionable tactics on the part of the Mongol which most fans thought should have brought his disqualification.

Bobby Duranton won on a disqualification over Dirty Don Duffy and Tough Tony Borne had an easy time in disposing of Pedro Lopez in preliminary matches.

Duffy was so angered at his disqualification that he attacked referee Rocky Columbo and came out on the short end of a lively exchange of fisticuffs. Duffy challenged Columbo to a boxing match but since no gloves were available, matchmaker Owen signed both men to go ten rounds (or less) with six-ounce gloves on March 5.

Thursday, February 20, 1964 Medford Armory

Lou Thesz drew Nick Bockwinkel 1-1 (referee Rocky Columbo) (NWA world title defense), Haru Sasaki-Mad Mongol beat Nick Kozak-Paddy Barrett, Bobby Duranton beat Don Duffy, Tony Borne beat Pedro Lopez (A - 1,000)

Thursday, March 5, 1964 Medford Armory

Nick Kozak-Paddy Barrett beat Haru Sasaki-Mad Mongol, Tony Borne beat Abe Jacobs (sub for Bobby Duranton), Nick Bockwinkel beat Louie Tillet (The Medford Athletic Commission announced that Don Duffy, who was to meet Rocky Columbo in a boxing match but ducked out after signing a contract, has been indefinitely suspended)

Thursday, March 12, 1964 Medford Armory

Tony Borne beat The Destroyer (referee Ricky Hunter), Paddy Barrett drew Luther LIndsey, Art Mahalik beat Shag Thomas

Thursday, March 19, 1964 Medford Armory

The Destroyer beat Tony Borne (Northwest title defense) (referees Nick Kozak, Paddy Barrett), Nick Bockwinkel beat Art Mahalik dq, Paddy Barrett drew Ricky Hunter

Thursday, March 26, 1964 Medford Armory

Tony Borne beat The Destroyer dq (Northwest title defense), Bobby Duranton beat Abe Jacobs, Luther Lindsey beat Art Mahalik dq, Paddy Barrett beat Harold (Buck) Davidson

Thursday, April 16, 1964 Medford Armory

Nick Bockwinkel drew Don Manoukian, Nick Kozak beat Pampero Firpo dq, Paddy Barrett (sub for Jimmy Black Hawk) beat Pedro Lopez (Nick Bockwinkel won six-man battle royal) (Bob Roebuck, India rubber man featured in Ripley's Believe It Or Not, presented a contortion exhibition) (A - "sparse")

Thursday, April 30, 1964 Medford Armory

Don Manoukian beat Nick Bockwinkel, Nick Kozak beat Paddy Barrett, Shag Thomas beat Haru Sasaki (A - "sparse")


(Medford Mail Tribune, Friday, May 15, 1964)

Tough Tony Borne and Don "The Bruiser" Manoukian did not settle the question of which one is the toughest when they met in the Medford Armory wrestling ring last night. They did prove that both are tough as they swatted each other around inside and outside the ring in a match which ended in no decision.

With falls standing at one apiece, Manoukian threw Borne out of the ring and then went after him. Borne picked up a steel folding chair to protect himself. Manoukian, not wanting to be caught unarmed, also grabbed a chair and the battle was on as the small crowd hastily scattered to make room for the chair-swingers.

Police officers, with their billy clubs waving in the air, moved in to break it up while the referee counted both battlers out. Borne required first aid attention for a cut on the face but Manoukian appeared to be undented.

The Medford Athletic Commission, which governs local boxing and wrestling, warned Borne and Manoukian that such conduct will not be tolerated here and a repeat performance will result in heavy fines being levied.,

Bobby Schoen, a 19-year-old youngster making his initial Medford appearance, won the admiration of the fans if not the decision as he lost two out of three falls to Nick Kozak in the semi-windup.

Ken Hollis, another newcomer, will be welcome back following his no-fall draw with Paddy Barrett in the curtain raiser.

Thursday, May 14, 1964 Medford Armory

Don Manoukian drew Tony Borne nc, Nick Kozak beat Bobby Schoen (later Bobby Shane), Ken Hollis drew Paddy Barrett

Thursday, May 28, 1964 Medford Armory

The Destroyer beat Nick Bockwinkel dq (Northwest title defense) (referee Glen Neece), Shag Thomas beat Haru Sasaki dq, Tiny Tim-Irish Jackie beat Sky Low Low-Fuzzy Cupid

Thursday, June 11, 1964 Medford Armory

Nick Bockwinkel beat Pat Patterson (Northwest title defense), Pepper Martin-Buddy Marino (Omar Atlas) drew Haru Sasaki-Toko Ito, Don Manoukian beat Ken Hollis (sub for injured Bobby Schoen)

Thursday, June 25, 1964 Medford Armory (season finale)

Leo Nomellini beat Don Manoukian dq, Pepper Martin beat Pampero Firpo, Billy White Wolf beat Nick Bockwinkel

Wednesday, January 14, 1976 Medford Armory


Medford Armory, Wednesday, Jan. 14th, 8 p.m.

Jimmy Snuka, 250, champion vs. Bull Ramos, 330, challenger (this shapes up as a brawl between these two arch rivals)

Also: Prof. Dale Lewis vs. Johnny Eagle, Jesse Ventura vs. Ricky Hunter and Geoff Portz vs. Cruz...referee, Suzuki. Ringside tickets on sale at Mr. Sport, Medford