WAWLI REDUX # 21
GREEK LATEST VICTIM OF MASKED MARVEL
(Arizona Republic, April 14, 1931)
A couple of heavyweight tornadoes descended upon the ring of Phoenix Madison Square Garden last night, crowded more wrestling into about 25 minutes of work than is actually seen in a dozen bouts and sent the biggest crowd of 1931 into a frenzy of excitement unparalleled in the history of wrestling here.
The outcome: The Masked Marvel left the ring, his identity still shrouded behind the tight-fitting gauze that obscures his features from an anxious, yes, even clamorous crowd.
The Marvel is still masked because he succeeded in taking a two-in-three-falls verdict from George Kotsonaros in a bout that teemed with thrills, excitement and wrestling of a superlative nature.
What these two behemoths didnt give the fans last night simply isnt in the book or brain of man. Skill they had aplenty; speed of lightning was theirs; they had cunning and strength. In brief, their meeting was the work of a couple of finished products.
In three minutes and five seconds of actual mat work two falls had been determined. So rapid was the action that even ringsiders could not recall with any degree of accuracy just what happened in these two hilarious sessions.
Sixty seconds of milling in the first fall brought these things: an arm roll, one headlock, four reverse headlocks, five arm holds, quickly broken, one jackknife and a concluding "back-to-back" hold, the mystery hold conceived by the Masked Marvel himself and the first new hold perfected in wrestling in more than a year.
The suddenness with which the Marvel obtained this hold and pinned the Greeks shoulders was perhaps of far greater surprise to Kotsonaros than any one else in the arena.
With the sounding of the gong, the two men jumped to the middle of the ring and began whirlwind attacks. Both sought the offensive and the speed with which they worked foretold an early ending, for it would have been humanly impossible for two mortals to long continue the pace they set.
After 30 seconds, George applied the first of a series of four reverse headlocks that had the young giant pitching headlong to the canvas. As he endeavored to obtain a fifth, the Marvel slapped on his back-to-back hold and had the Greeks shoulders pinned in a flash.
The second fall saw action equally as swift, though the time lasted two minutes and five seconds. Every bit as aggressive as in the first fall, the two men were at each other even before the ring of the gong had died. At one minute, 35 seconds, Kotsonaros applied the first of a series of three reverse headlocks that had the Marvel dizzy. Then came the first of two crushing flying mares, the second of which sprawled the big fellow full length and gave Kotsonaros the victory.
When they came out for the third fall, the men were more cautious. Several times during the course of the 32 minutes of grappling, they flashed some of the speed of the first two falls but for no protracted durations. Instead, they settled down to "sane and sensible" grappling tactics. Both evidently were well-worn from the terrific paces of the first two falls, even though they lasted only a fraction more than three minutes.
For the first 31 minutes, there was little to choose between the men. First one and then the other would squeeze out of a tight hole. At the 31-minute station, though, Kotsy put on the first of a series of reverse headlocks. Four of these were applied in rapid succession. Then Kotsy sought to switch to the flying mare. As he turned, the Marvel grabbed him and crushed him to the floor, Kotsy underneath. The blow stunned the Greek and the Marvel gained the fall with a full body hold. The timers caught them in 32 minutes.
The preliminary also had its thrills with Spike OBrien of Phoenix evening the score with Guy Steele of Willcox for the defeat suffered a week ago by taking two falls in three in a no-time-limit match. Spike won the first and third falls in 20 and 6 minutes, respectively. The second went to Steele in six minutes.
OBrien is developing rapidly as was evidenced by the big improvement noted in his work last night. Steele is about as tough a youngster as has been seen hereabouts in a long time. And he has a good working knowledge of the game.
The local boy gave him grip for grip last night and came through the grueling encounter little the worse for wear.
His victory in the first fall came after a series of headlocks that left Steele helpless on the floor. Six of them were applied in succession, one of which OBrien held for more than three minutes.
Steeles victory in the second fall was recorded with a full-body slam while
OBrien took the third and deciding fall with another series of headlocks.
MARVEL MEETS GREEK HEAVY IN RE-MATCH
(Arizona Republic, May 11, 1931)
The mystery of the Masked Marvel which has been one of the greatest sensations the wrestling game in phoenix has ever experienced, ceases to be a mystery tonight at Phoenix Madison Square Garden where the Masked Marvel meets George Kotsonaros in the much discussed return bout.
Just as the two wrestlers are introduced, Harry McCarthy, manager of the Masked Marvel, will step into the ring and remove the black mask from his young wrestler and the bout will get started. McCarthy says that his boy is a far better wrestler without the mask and that the inconvenience occasioned by the heat and the fact that several of his opponents have twisted the mask and blinded the Marvel momentarily, caused him to decide to unmask the mystery.
It had been agreed not to unmask the Marvel until he was defeated but he has beaten every opponent he has met, has established beyond a doubt that he is really a great wrestler, and has a following such as few other grapplers ever had in Phoenix.
Kotsonaros made the statement in the dressing room after the announcement had been made that the Marvel would unmask, that the big youngster was beating the gun only a few minutes as he would have had to unmask at the finish of the bout had he not decided to take off the mask before. Kotsonaros has trained a month for this bout. He has seen the Marvel in action three times. He feels that he must win tonight or be eliminated from future consideration in Phoenix when the Eastern contingent of wrestlers return. The Greek is in wonderful shape and is going into the match with that fighting spirit that has made him a feared contender for the past 10 years.
The Marvel also appeared to be in wonderful shape at yesterdays workout when another packed arena gathered to see him in his final tryout. He worked nicely with his trainer, Jimmy Reynolds, for 10 minutes and then went at it with Sailor Jack Lewis for another 10 minutes. Lewis put everything he had into the workout and kept the Marvel watching his step every minute but the big fellow, with his usual flash, was always a step ahead of him.
Kotsonaros is banking on either his keylock or his flying mare hold to subdue the Masked Marvel while the Marvel will pin his hopes on his back-to-back slam. Although the Marvel entered the ring yesterday with his thumb tightly bandaged from an infection that resulted from a bite he received in a match against Count Micheloff. The injured member failed to interfere with his work.
Kotsonaros will tip the scales at 198 tonight and the Marvel will weigh around 208. The Marvel has taken off seven pounds of weight in the six weeks since he arrived here while Kotsonaros is exactly the same weight as he was the night the Marvel beat him.
Another packed house is the prospect tonight according to legion officials who report an extraordinarily heavy advance seat sale. Following the announcement that the Masked Marvel would unmask there was a rush for tickets at both downtown ticket offices and matchmaker McPherson believes that another season record will be established. The biggest crowd that the Masked Marvel has drawn and the biggest crowd of the season to date was two weeks ago for his second match with Count Micheloff.
Because of an extra heavy program tonight, the first bout will start promptly at 8:30 oclock. In the first bout Guy Steel, the clever young grappler from Willcox, will meet Eddie Brought, coast middleweight, who made a hit last week against Jimmy Reynolds.
In the semi-final, Jimmy Reynolds, former middleweight champion, will go up against
Hassen Azane, Turkish middleweight, who has been a sensation recently in the Northwest.
Azane arrived in Phoenix yesterday after narrowly escaping death in an automobile
GREEK BEATS MARVEL; VICTIM IDENTIFIED
(Arizona Republic, May 12, 1931)
The reign of the Masked Marvel is over! At least for the present.
Identified as Jimmie Corrigan, former University of Minnesota athlete, who wrestled here several years ago in old Arcadia hall as "Cyclone Thompson," the erstwhile man of mystery dropped the first fall to George Kotsonaros in one hour and three minutes of their match last night at Madison Square Garden, and was injured so badly he was forced to forfeit the second fall and match to the Greek heavyweight.
The first fall came as the result of a series of backward body slams that left the victim of the Greeks wrestling wrath stretched senseless on the ring floor where he stayed until carried out on the shoulders of his handlers. Kotsonaros was also almost in a state of collapse as a result of the terrific pace set all the way, but after several minutes rest on the mat, he was able to walk to his dressing room.
At the expiration of the usual rest period, Kotsonaros returned to the ring and granted a request from Corrigan for an extra five minutes. The period over, Corrigan was assisted to the ring but collapsed on the floor as he attempted to mount the steps and was carried back to the dressing room in an unconscious condition. Physicians and handlers attended him in the dressing room but an hour after the match he was still groggy from the effects of his impact with the floor during the last sensational minute of the match.
Kotsonaros, too, was affected by the pace and while dissatisfied that he was deprived of taking two pin falls from his opponent, expressed the opinion it was the toughest match he was wrestled in many years.
Although defeated, Corrigan is still held in high esteem by mat critics and fans in Phoenix and undoubtedly will continue to be a big attraction in Phoenix for his splendid exhibitions both with and without a mask.
The black hood that has shrouded his features since his arrival in Phoenix about six weeks ago was removed by matchmaker C.L. McPherson as he climbed through the ropes last night to meet the Greek Hercules in a return match.
It was probably the most gruelling match ever staged in Phoenix, with both men in the pink of condition and carrying on with lightning-like speed.
No less than a score of times during the early part of the match, first one and then another of the grapplers seemed well on the road to victory, only to have his opponent rally and turn the tide.
At 45 minutes, Kotsonaros obtained a leg key hold which he applied with punishing affect for a period of minutes. When the Marvel succeeded in breaking the lock, his leg was so weakened that he could not stand on it. He assumed a sitting posture on the canvas and warded off the threat until strength returned to the member.
Before and after this, the Marvel had had George in numerous dangerous holds, but Kotsy always succeeded in wriggling loose.
It was an evening of much wrestling, the program continuing longer than any match in recent years.
In the semi-final, Frenchy Leavitte and Jimmy Reynolds went one hour to a draw with each man getting a fall while in the opening event, Guy Steel, Willcox, won a one-fall match from Spike OBrien of Phoenix.
Both Leavitte and OBrien were substitute grapplers, the first taking the place of Hassan Azani, Turkish light-heavyweight from California, who appeared at the ringside on crutches, having been injured in an automobile accident en route to Phoenix Sunday.
OBrien went on in place of Eddie Brought, also injured in an automobile accident.
The boys got pretty rough at times and created almost as much enthusiasm as the main eventers. A body slam and a full body hold gave Steel the victory in 26 minutes.
The Reynolds-Leavitte affair was of main event caliber on almost any wrestling card.
Reynolds, outweighed 15 pounds, fought along on even terms with Leavitte until the final
few minutes of the match, when the Frenchmans weight advantage began to have a
SHADOWS OF THE PAST
(Savannah Morning News, February 13, 1933)
By I.C. Brenner
Ernest Roeber is seventy-three years old, yet physically fit to romp around the mat for an hour or more refereeing championship wrestling matches. He often is booed because he has slowed up a bit and cannot get out of the way of flying tackles quickly enough to suit those who think that he interferes with the wrestlers too much, but the fans admit that there isnt an official in the game today who knows more about wrestling and is more capable than the veteran Roeber.
Ernest is the dean of the New York State staff of wrestling officials and obtains the best assignments. There are three good reasons for this favoritism. First, Ernest is a personal friend of William Muldoon, the Grand Old Man of Sport, who is a member of the commission. Second, Ernest has been longer in the game than any man in the sport today. And third, because he is fearless and refuses to stand for any nonsense.
Roeber, former champion who preceded Gotch and Hackensschmidt, was a master of wrestling technique. Not only was he adept in his specialty but he knew considerable about boxing and often was hired as trainer to the leading figures in pugilism. Roeber trained Bob Fitzsimmons for several of his fights, including that in which he beat Jim Corbett for the title with a solar plexus punch. He accompanied William Muldoon on many of that famous wrestlers tours.
Now his hair is gray. His forehead is wrinkled. His eyes are not quite as sharp as they
were when he was in his prime and his legs are not as nimble as they used to be, but he
still leads em all when it coms to handling the big men in the ring.
WAWLI REDUX # 22
ON THE SIDELINES
(Associated Press, Tuesday, February 14, 1933)
By Edward J. Neil
The problem of dealing intelligently with heavyweight wrestling is becoming more perplexing all the time for the serious minded commissions that try to retain dignity, and at the same time rule over the antics of the na´ve fumblers.
For instance, the heavyweight champion in New York state is Strangler Ed Lewis, duly recognized as such, but in the same breath the state athletic commission inists that because of the nature of the present type of wrestling performance they can be billed only as "exhibitions."
The question naturally pops up: how can a wrestler win or lose a championship if the performances are not officially considered contests?
Now, in New Jersey, several parts of the middle west and other assorted territory, the heavyweight champion is Jim Londos. He also was king in New York state until he moved out of town recently, refusing to meet Lewis in a little "exhibition," and returned not only dethroned but apparently perfectly satisfied with his status.
But in Canada Henry DeGlane is champion and Gus Sonnenberg, the Dartmouth guard, is the mammoth who moves in and out of New England as champion, and through an affiliation with the Canadian territory, occasionally struggles for supremacy with DeGlane.
But as far as New Yorks polyglot wrestling fandom is concerned, the handsome Greek, "Jeem" Londos is king. He came back to wrestle Abie Coleman at the St. Nicholas Arena the other night and 7,000 jammed their way into a hall that holds 6,000.
The overflow, and those outside still clamoring to get in when police closed the doors, tore away four fire exits. Every Greek restaurateur and his helper, every bootblack and Greek merchant, seemed to be in the house bellowing for the king.
But here is one story that comes of a personal observation to indicate just what serious minded persons who look upon wrestling as a sport are up against.
It happened in an armory in downtown New York when wrestlers seemed ready to kill themselves or each other in their zeal to impress the public.
One of the wildest of the pachyderm herd was Stanley Stasiak, a butt-chested Pole who trumpted around a ring like Tarzan of the Apes calling the gorillas out of the trees. He delighted in trying to twist off legs and arms, tear off ears and noses. He was the villain of the troupe. Stasiak since has died.
He had a rival in this specialty, a blond man mountain still wrestling, and very carefully were these two kept out of the same ring. It was evident there could be nothing less than murder if they ever collided.
So, naturally, when the public demand for the slaughter reached its height, the promoter agreed to sacrifice one or the other and matched them. The house was packed.
I wandered into the wrestlers dressing room just before the main bout was to go on. And there sat Stasiak and his man-eating friend, side by side on a rubbing table, eating apples Stanley had bought from a peddler outside.
In between gulps they were arguing over which had recently made the better buy in new automobiles!
A few seconds later someone yelled for the main bout. The two jumped off the table, threw away their cores, and without a harsh word or preliminary warning started clawing each other.
They struggled through the door into the arena, into full view of the spectators, fighting bitterly. Police pulled them apart. They fought all the way to the ring.
Once in there, Stasiak had to be held while announcements were made. He kept screaming across the ring:
"I keel you! I keel you!"
And after the next hour was over, the wildest I have ever seen, they went out together
to see which actually had bought the better car.
RABID WRESTLING FANS SEND MATMAN TO HOSPITAL
(Associated Press, December 23, 1935)
DETROIT Infuriated customers at a wrestling show dragged Nanjo Singh, East Indian "villain" of the feature match, from the ring tonight and inflicted injuries which required hospital treatment.
Physicians who examined Singh said he suffered possible internal injuries from the beating.
The disturbance began 15 minutes after the match started, when Singh kicked Ivan Rasputin, his opponent, from the ring. Returning to the ring, Rasputin struck at Singh, and the crowd surged over the canvas, some with chairs in their hands.
Police extricated Singh after several minutes of fighting. Officers said although
Singhs injuries were inflicted by the crowd, Rasputin was held as a material
MAX BAER SOUGHT AS MAT GLADIATOR
(Associated Press, January 13, 1936)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. Lou Daro, Los Angeles promoter, said today he offered Max Baer, former heavyweight boxing champion , a year contract of $25,000 or 20 per cent of the gross receipts to enter the wrestling game.
Baer countered with a demand for $35,000, and the two finally went to see Ancil Hoffman, Baers manager, to discuss terms.
"Hed be a natural," said Daro, "I think he would prove one of the greatest drawing cards in the game."
Daro said if Baer signed the contract he would send Nick Lutze, Venice, Cal., wrestler, here immediately to get Baer in shape and teach him the game.
Baer, who weighs 231 pounds, about 20 pounds above his wrestling weight, said he thought he could get in shape within a month.
The former champion has been living at the Hoffman ranch near here since he was defeated last September by Joe Louis, playing golf and refereeing occasional boxing and wrestling matches.
Hoffman said tonight he would have to give "serious consideration" before approving the plan of Daro.
Hoffman said the figure was "chicken feed" for one year, and would have to do a lot of talking with Daro in Los Angeles next week before hed approve Baers entry into the grappling fold.
Hoffman says Baer will probably "do a picture very shortly."
(ED. NOTE Baer, who had appeared with the uncredited Strangler Ed Lewis in the
1933, film, "The Prizefighter and the Lady," would appear in at least 15 more
films before his premature death, via heart attack, at age 50 in 1959.)
A BRITISHER ON AMERICAN WRESTLING
(Condensed from Men Only in Sports Digest, September, 1936)
By Thomas Stott
In America, the wrestling racket is a mixture of wrestling, vaudeville, hog-calling, and hooliganism. Anything goes, short of deliberate murder.
Your American friends may advise you that most of the rough stuff is faked. I know there is a lot of the performance faked, but there are also some thrilling, exciting fights. Vicious biting and kicking are allowed to pass by the referee. The referee and promoter know most of the crowd come specially to see the slugging and rough stuff, and the wrestlers are willing to take a lot of punishment so long as the spectators keep coming to provide the bread and butter for the grunt and groaners.
I will describe some of the acts which make the game a part vaudeville show. "Man Mountain" Dean, a three-hundred-and-seventeen-pound wrestler, usually wins his bouts with a running broad jump. He squeezes his opponents head until the man is dazed. The "Mountain" then slams the man down to the mat. While the man is blinking up at the ring lights, "Man Mountain" takes a short run, jumps a yard high and drops on to his opponent "ker plunk." The Mountain comes to Mahommed and no fooling. There is no fake about the agony of some "Man Mountain" victims. Many have to spend time in the hospital with broken ribs.
If you dont think the stunt hurts, you can test the action yourself. Lie beneath a crane and have someone haul up three one-hundred-pound sacks of potatoes and allow them to drop on you all together. A few of the opponents managed to regain their sense before the "Man Mountain" drops, and they wriggle out of the way and the "Mountain" "ker plunks" on his rear end and the building shakes. It is great fun, and the "Mountain" has been responsible for enormous crowds at the wrestling shows in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The "Mountain" explained it himself when he stated; "The crowd comes to see me because Im different and my opponents know Im different when I drop on em."
Various wrestlers have specialised tricks for entertaining the customers. One enters the ring always with adhesive tape around his wrist, and rubs this across his opponents eyes. Another specialises in the "Tobacco Road" trick. He continually takes a handful of tobacco from his mouth and rubs it in the other fellows eyes. One of the spectators said he would bet his brothers shirt that the "tobacco" was tea leaves, and part of the act. That does not alter the fact that most of the rough stuff is genuine.
The referee is in a fix. So much clowning was introduced that the referee doesnt know whether to interfere or not, afraid of spoiling some spectacular stunt, and while he hesitates, one of the wrestlers may be having his eyes gouged out.
One wrestler, enraged at "Lord" Lansdownes cleverness, came out of his corner swinging his rest chair. Lansdowne met him at his own game. He picked up his rest chair and the two started to swipe each other with the chairs. One wrestler put his foot into the face of the time-keeper at the ring side, then picked up the time-keepers gong and threw it at his opponent.
Diving out of the ring and throwing an opponent out of the ring is a stale stunt and
dying out. The newspaper writes generally occupied the front seats, and they got tired of
the two- and three-hundred-pound babies falling into their laps and crying to be nursed.
IT HAPPENED IN WRESTLING
(From the Newark, N.J., Call, condensed in Sports Digest, September, 1936)
By G.A. Falzer
They say that the heavyweight wrestling championship changed hands in Newark Friday night June 12, 1936.
Ali Baba, a short order cook, whose knowledge of the Turkish lingo is limited to "Take it away, rust biff," fouled Dave Levin in a bout at Meadowbrook Field. That made Levin champion.
Levin, who is a butcher boy of Jamaica, must have been fouled. He was frothing at the
mouth. So were 2,000 spectators, over the turn of the bout.
EVERYBODYS WORLD CHAMPION IN WRESTLING
(From the London Sporting Arena, in Sports Digest, December, 1936)
By Duke Burley
Nowadays events happen in the grappling game almost too soon for the scribes to cope with. No sooner had I mailed my last notes to the Sporting Arena, giving the low-down on Ali Baba, the new king-pin of the mat, when along from Colorado came Everett Marshall to reduce the claimants to the world title by one.
The bewhiskered Kurd, who had been ruling the mat game for only two months following successive wins over Dick Shikat, who trounced Danno OMahoney, almost equalled his predecessor in putting up a record short reign as champion. Either those behind him were dumb when they sanctioned the Marshall match or sold their man out, for they could not have picked more formidable opposition.
For many months the Colorado giant has been using notepaper telling the world he was champion in his own right, and there was no doubt amongst those who know their wrestling that Marshall was no set-up. He has been hailed a titleholder in his own state since the time he won over Young Gotch in the final of a heavyweight tournament staged by the local commission and now his fame has spread throughout the whole country.
Ali Baba risked his crown at Columbus, Ohio, and the stars fell on him in the form of full nelsons. Everett Marshall, the big blond from La Junta, Colorado, gave the so-called "Terrible Turk" the works in no uncertain manner and today wears two world championship wrestling belts, both diamond-studded!
The champion took a father and mother of a hiding and eventually surrendered his claims to the heavyweight title in twenty-nine minutes, twenty seconds. He was wearing his famous handlebar mustache, but that did not save him or even ease the agony. A crowd of 8,763 paid more than $20,000 to see the title claim change hands, and they witnessed a match that was Marshalls all the way. Ali Baba fell victim to three full nelsons in a row, just before the finish. The match was for one fall with a ninety-minute time limit.
As a result of the victory Marshall retained the world championship belt presented him by the Colorado Commission and won the belt offered by the Midwest Wrestling Association.
If the New York and affiliated commissions recognize Marshalls claims he will hold the undisputed championship.
College graduate, husband of his childhood sweetheart, father of two, a fine fisherman, a terrible golfer, total abstainer from liquor and tobacco that is Everett Marshall, new ruler of the heavyweight wrestling ranks in certain sections of the United States. When the La Junta grappling machine dumped Ali Baba, the pseudo-Turk, on his back, to ascend the throne, his manager, Billy Sandow, said:
"At last the wrestling game has a champion worthy of the name. Everett is a fine family man, a real American of the highest sort, and probably the most clean-cut fellow who ever held the wrestling title. And he won it on merit and real wrestling, with no hippodroming."
Marshall required five years to plough through the wrestling ranks from the bottom to the top, and throughout those years Mrs. Marshall was his greatest booster. During the lean years, when he barnstormed all over the country, living "out of a suitcase," she was at the ringside for each of his bouts.
Everett and his wife, both children of Colorado ranchers, met whilst attending high school at La Junta. After graduating, Marshall went to the University of Iowa, while she attended Southern Methodist University at Dallas, Texas. For two years following her graduation from college, Mrs. Marshall taught school in Colorado, but when Everett entered the mat game they were married.
Everett is a blond giant, weighing 218 pounds. He has many hobbies, but the two greatest are his family and trout fishing. During his youth he wanted to be an opera singer, but he gave up that idea and now confines his vocal efforts to the bathroom.
He says his hardest match was with a bear, which he raised from a cub on his fathers ranch, while he finds "Frankenstein," a spring-filled robot designed by his manager as a training partner, his easiest opponent. This gadget, which is an advance on the device used by Ed (Strangler) Lewis for working up his famous headlock, enables Marshall to practise applying full nelsons to his hearts content.
"Wrestling several times a week, as I have been doing," Everett says, "has convinced me that physical condition and mental poise are the most valuable parts of my wrestling equipment. Thats why I dont drink or smoke. Maybe they wouldnt hurt me, but I wont try to find out."
The champion generally enters the ring close to the 220-pound mark and if the match lasts a half-hour or so, he loses about fifteen pounds. The next day, however, he is back at "fighting" weight, most of the loss having been moisture.
Of course, there are still several grapplers running around laying claim to the world title. Danno OMahoney, in spite of his defeat by Dick Shikat, has been touring Canada and persisting in calling himself champion, although as I shall recount later, even this half-hearted claim is now reduced to an almost negligible quantity. Dave Levin, who got a verdict off Ali Baba on a unquestionable foul, is another who thinks he should be recognized as the best of them all, whilst Rudy Dusek, the roughest and toughest of the famous grappling family, also reckons himself to be king-pin.
Rudy was beating up OMahoney the other day when the Irishmans seconds enter3ed the ring and thereby disqualified their man. Thus Dusek lays claim to the title, but down in California there is a man with as good a claim as any, even if his line of reasoning is not such a direct route as that possessed by Everett Marshall.
Youll all remember the shemozzle occasioned by Yvon Robert, when the French-Canadian wrestler jumped into the ring fully clothed and socked out Dan OMahoney when the latter was champion. Youll probably recall that Robert got a title chance as a result of this piece of work only to get pinned by the Irishman. Well, today, he is just one more of the team of grapplers who are walking around styling themselves world champions.
The twenty-one-year-old matman of the Dominion now wears a $10,000 diamond-studded championship belt around his waist in addition to the figurative crown on his head, and the once "invincible" Danno is bereft of both these emblems following his losing a two to one fall decision to Robert. The latter is the first Canadian ever to attain championship heights and a crowd of 10,500, the greatest assembly to witness a wrestling match in Montreal since 1910, bellowed a deafening approval.
Pandemonium broke out when Robert, without aid of the referee, raised his arm in championship style. Floyd Marshall, Chicago, a former title-holder, rushed into the ring and took a crack at the official, Roberts second at once took up where he left off and a show greater than the Robert-OMahoney match was on. Police, spectators and officials crowded into the ring. Robert, flushed with one victory, joined the battle and laid low more opponents than he has in several weeks. All the while Danno lay prone upon the carpet. Police cleared the ring in ten minutes.
It was OMahoneys second defeat since his sensational invasion of America eighteen months ago and he will return to Ireland minus the crown he has worn for more than a year. Robert claims recognition to the world wrestling title in Canada and fourteen States, this reckoning being based on the fact that the Irishman would never admit that Shikat beat him fairly. He contended all along that the referee had counted him out in error.
The aforementioned occurrences have caused the New York Commission to take steps to
clean up the business and establish a one-man champion once again. To this end it proposes
to sponsor a series of eliminators which will be contested strictly on the up and up. If
something is not done pretty soon there is a strong likelihood that wrestling will be
completely wiped out in the state.
WAWLI REDUX # 23
MUSE OF MATS PENS POETRY WHEN NOT BUSTING BEAKS
(Associated Press, Friday, January 31, 1940)
MEMPHIS, Tenn. Music may have charms to soothe the savage breast, but its poetry his own that turns the trick for Charles (Curley) Forde, better known in professional wrestling circles as "The Wild Irishman."
In ferocious combat, Forde, a 210-pound wrestler with a bulging, hairy chest, has battered many an opponent into a bloody daze then gone home, shucked his lethal mood, and penned such tender little lyrics as this:
I shall known peace
In some far, distant day
When you have gone away;
When time has dull this
And I am content to be . . .
Promoters, indifferent to his literary efforts, bill the bulky Memphian as "The Wild Irishman." Forde is of the opinion that "The Wild Irish Poet" billing might reap richer dividends at the gate.
Now 29, he started writing poetry nine years ago about the time he became a professional wrestler.
His record to date: 1,285 matches and "about fifteen or twenty" published poems, most of them appearing in Memphis newspapers. In his spare time, Forde sells beauty shop supplies.
"I dont know how I started writing," the curly-haired matman-muse reflected. "I had thoughts and wanted to express them. I just put down what I feel."
Forde says he fights about three times a week. Most of his matches are in the South because he doesnt like to get too far away from his sales job.
Curley finished the second year of high school, but wasnt interested then in any kind of writing at all. He doesnt profess to know anything about the mechanics of poetry.
"Metre, as far as Im concerned, is just something the gas man reads," sighed the belting bard.
Love is a sort of chosen subject with Forde. In the following poem, one of his favorites which he dashed off in "about five minutes," he tells of it:
My love . . .
Is the low sweet moan
Of morning wind across the moors.
When dawn is creeping,
Grey fingers streaking
A purpling sky.
Salt spray against my face
From wild waves breaking
Fierce upon rocky crags
Wild things are these,
My love and I.
Curley said wrestling fans are always after him for copies of his poems. Women fans are particularly fond of them.
"They like my poetry," he grinned, "but hate me for living. You see,
Im something of a villain in the ring. I go kinda nuts when my Irish gets up and
sometimes I take a sock at the referee or some fan who gets in my hair."
STRANGLER LEWIS ON POST BENEFIT CARD
(Washington Post, Sunday, December 14, 1941)
Once again the once familiar figure of Ed (Strangler) Lewis, the man who made the headlock famous, and who has been called one of wrestledoms immortals, returns to action next Thursday night at Turners Arena on the card which The Washington Post Neediest Family Fund will benefit to the extent of 10 per cent of the proceeds.
The noted Stranglers opponent will be big Jim Henry, erstwhile Tulsa University gridiron star, and who is better known hereabouts as the Green Hornet sans mask.
Articles for the Lewis-Henry match were signed yesterday, and Promoter Joe Turner announced that a one-hour time limit will be set despite Big Jims request for a finish battle.
In taking up the challenge flung at him at Turners Arena last Thursday where he was cast in the strange role of referee of the Sandor Szabo-Hornet bout, former champion Lewis declared that his retirement from the ring hasnt taken away his fine wrestling edge.
"A wrestler is as good as he feels," the Strangler remarked. "Im in good shape, heavier, of course, than Ive ever been. But guys like Henry, Szabo, the Duseks, Londos, Steele even today dont faze me.
"Just remember Zbyszko was champion at 51, and John Pesek, the National Wrestling Association champ was in his 50s when he was on top."
Lewis beat Lonndos in less than 15 minutes, and in the early 20s, when he was the kingpin, claimed he could whip four in one night without feeling tired.
The Strangler finds himself meeting Henry in the headliner as a result of a scuffle
with the 285-pound Oklahoman last Thursday. Lewis awarded Szabo the bout in 17 minutes,
but Big Jim, in a wild rage, tore after the Strangler. Pronto Big Jim was headlocked and
put in his place. Lewis accepted Henrys challenge and Joe Turner was very happy to
ULINE ARENA UNVEILS MAT CARD TONIGHT
(Washington Post, Monday, December 15, 1941)
Goldie Ahearn comes back as a wrestling promoter at Ulines Arena tonight when he teams up with Jack Pfefer in the promotion of a five-event novelty show at 8:30 oclock.
For their first show Ahearn and Pfefer have rounded out an attractive wrestling program. Double features headlining the show and restricted to a one-hour time limit are to bring together Bobby Bruns, American claimant of the worlds heavyweight title, vs. the Swedish Angel, and Tony Martinelli vs. Karol Krauser.
The firey Martinelli and smooth-working Krauser wrestled to a spectacular two-hour draw here two years ago. The scientific and popular Bruns will be favored to wear down and defeat the rougher working Swedish Angel, whose claims to the title of the worlds ugliest human remain unchallenged.
A probably show-stealer revolves around a riotous wrestling royal in which 260-pound Abe Simon, hero of a 13-round stand against worlds heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, will be installed as referee and empowered with the right to use his fists.
This free-for-all, hampered by few restrictions, will involve Chief Bamba Tabu, Seminole Indian; Pierre DeGlane, champion of France; King Kong Marshall, Oklahoma cowboy, and Adolf Von Schacht, monacled Austrian.
A special event finds Betty Labushey, French Canadian woman claimant of the
worlds lightweight championship, paired with Soszka Burska, while an opening number
involving mustachioed mammals introduces Mustafa Hamid, powerful Turk, vs. Benny Feldman,
310-pound Man Mountain.
THE GREATEST DRAWING CARD IN THE GAME
(Associated Press, March 11, 1953)
By Harold V. Ratliff
DALLAS, Tex. Along the wrestling trail these days they say the only thing that worries Gorgeous George, the greatest drawing card in the game, is his blond, wavy hair.
Without his corwning glory, the gorgeous one would be just another wrestler. How it has stayed with him this long, through all the dyes, permanent waves, curling and hefty yanks by opponents, is something of a mystery. But its luxuriant and appears good for many more miles. Still, George the Texan who attained fame and fortune with his colorful robes, perfume, classic profile, valets, and roughhouse wrestling, worries about his hair.
His name is officially Gorgeous George. He went to court to do it. His name was George Wagner and he started wrestling as an amateur in his native Houston.
George is 35 years old now and has been wrestling 21 years, 18 as a professional. He has scars, broken bones and there are some wrinkles on his classic countenance, but hes still quite handsome and thinks so himself.
The pretty boy fo the mat has been copied but none has been able to take his place. "It is really a compliment for others to imitate me," he said as he talked in the dressing room while an expert hair-dresser piled his blond locks on top of his head in a stunning coiffure. "I dont care how many do. Im still the fellow who packs them in."
He estimated that he earned $185,000 last year. He claims 28 box office records. His biggest crowds were 23,000 on two occasions. He points with pride to an average of 9,200 in 23 appearances in Buffalo, N.Y.
George owns a turkey ranch at Beaumont, Calif., where the color scheme is orchid. He boasts that 23,000 visited his place in two days. He also sells plastic orchids.
George made his first impact on wrestling with his colorful robes of which he now has 127. He got his first permanent wave in 1941. He has had seven valets to date. This man appears at the ring in a tuxedo, sprays the mat to get rid of germs, brings him smelling salts after a fall, serves him water in a dainty silver cup which George holds with his forefinger and thumb like the ladies drink tea.
George distributes gold bobby pins which he calls "Georgie pins." He is most arrogant with his opponent and will not allow officials or foe to examine for concealed weapons or oil on his body. That must be done only by his valet, he insists so there will be no danger of germs. He finally gives in and allows a quick examination by the referee, but in very bad grace.
George enters the ring with a fanfare of music. He spends about 15 minutes parading around the ring showing his robe and his profile.
"The father of our country, George Washington, and 18 former presidents had long hair," he says. "Kings and knights used perfume. Thats why I have long hair and use perfume."
Nobody ever calls him a sissy because hes really a tough customer. When he sheds his robe and gets all the fiddle-faddle out of the way, hes one of the roughest wrestlers anywhere.
There may be a lot of imitators of Gorgeous George but nobody is about to take his
place as an attraction.
GEORGE DECLARED WINNER AS FOE RAMS RING CORNER
(Savannah Morning News, Sunday, March 15, 1953)
By Arthur Whitfield
Everything was going along just fine last night at the Municipal Auditorium until a "Dr. Edwards" stepped out of the audience and called off a match between pro wrestlers Gorgeous George and a young Greek lad named Mike Paidousis.
It wasnt enough that Mike should absorb Georges insults, P.O. (perfume odor) and the "dirty" tactics of his opponent.
Oh, no, that wasnt enough. Poor Mike had to go ram himself, accidentally, into a corner post of the ring and injure his shoulder so bad, our friend "Dr. Edwards" said, as to cause discontinuance of the feature match and award a victory to the goldielocked pretty one.
Highlighting a card stacked with three matches, George and Paidousis had grappled and groaned and bounced and moaned for a full half hour or more without a fall being credited to either when tragedy befell Mike, who was introduced as a former University of Tennessee football player.
Mike had done well for himself and proved to be a real crowd pleaser. Only one person in the audience, a woman, sided with the Gorgeous boy. So things rolled along in the usual manner.
Until . . .
Gorgeous George, who really aint gorgeous looking when you view him from the first seat in the second row in the right orchestra section, broke loose from one of Mikes All-America grips, bounced up and skipped about the ring, his golden tresses now a mass of damp and stringy hair.
He had made Mike mad, real mad. So Mike, with full approval of the crowd, waded in (somewhat literally, you might say, in view of all the perfume sprayed about the area) and frowned at his opponent.
With arms in a ready position, Mike faked a right, then a left, then another one of each.
Then Gorgeous George faked heart trouble.
Mike, our hero (mainly because he was wearing light trunks; it seems the villain always wears dark clothes), began a series of bounces off the ropes and into the confused and stunned George. But on the third bounce, George weaved out of the way, and Mike met the corner post with his shoulder.
Sure that their hero would return and finish off the villainous George, after conceding a fall to check his shoulder injury, the crowd watched Goldielocks as his second (dressed resplendently in the kind of clothes you wear to morning nuptials) go through rest-period antics, which included:
Smelling salts (or maybe a sniff of sashay) for Georges sore nostrils, a cooling off of Georges face with a baby blue towel, and assorted dainty measures to insure proper prophylaxis to the area.
But, at that point, the master of ceremonies summoned a doctor from the audience. Any doctor, he said; Mike was hurt pretty bad, it seemed.
After a decent interval of time, the emcee returned to announce the tragedy. "Dr. Edwards" said there would be no more for the night for poor Mike, who might bring on a permanent injury if he pursued victory any longer.
But there was consolation for the fans. Their heroes in the earlier matches had fared
well for themselves. Atlantas Don McIntyre bested black-trunked Howard Cantonwine in
the opener and handsome Tex Reilly came out of his match with a draw against Henry
Harrell, also of the dark trunks.
WAWLI REDUX # 24
LOOKS DECEIVE, PARTICULARLY WHERE WRESTLER IS CONCERNED
(Savannah Morning News, Wednesday, Mar. 3, 1955)
By Marcus Holland
Wrestlers arent what they look like.
Maybe you think the brutes who do the grunting and groaning in the ring are all villains. One at least isnt this way outside the ring.
The Swedish Angel, despite wearing the title of the ugliest wrestler in the world, is a colorful, 6-2, 250 pounds of strength and interesting personality.
The Angel, who wrestled here at the Little Arena Tuesday night, was born in Lulea, Sweden, a small town in the northern part of the country near the North Pole. He lived at his birthplace until he came to the United States 21 years ago.
The Angel said Sweden has two basic sports, skiing and soccer football. "I have always been a lover of sports," he said. "Ive done a lot of skiing in the wintertime and played soccer football in the summer."
In January, 1934, he arrived in Seattle, Washington, and began working to become a wrestler. It was not until 1935 that he had his first pro match. Prior to this, he had wrestled in amateur bouts. In over 20 years in the game he has been in over 3,000 matches.
The Angel said he has wrestled from coast to coast and border to border. Last year he wrestled in Newfoundland, Canada.
When asked how old he was, The Angel said, "Im as old as Jack Benny, 39.
"Wrestling is all I have ever done since I came to this country. I love it, and will wrestle until I drop dead," he said, speaking of future plans.
He has met all the worlds top wrestlers but believes the best he ever met was Ed (Strangler) Lewis, now manager of the worlds champ, Lou Thesz. "Ive met all the champs in title matches and in my book beat some of them but never held a title," he said.
The Angel has anywhere from two to three matches a week, depending on traveling. Some of his busiest weeks would find him wrestling in Detroit on Monday, New York on Tuesday and San Francisco on Wednesday.
The Angel has suffered injuries at the hands of many wrestlers, but unlike other matmen has not been hurt by fans. In the ring he has received a broken arm, broken shoulder, broken leg and all his teeth knocked out. In a match in San Francisco, Bobby Bruns knocked his teeth out and he swallowed half of them, he contends.
He has no favorite hold. "If you get him in the ring position with any hold he is going to give up," he says.
Among his many opponents was the famous French Angel. "I beat the French Angel in seven minutes in Buffalo, New York," he reported. The French Angel died several months ago.
In giving helpful hints to young wrestlers The Angel said if you are already in the game work hard and give it everything you have because it is a long, tough road. He said wrestling every night is the best way to keep in shape and to climb to the top.
His last bit of advice for young wrestlers was, "Always remember if you cant
beat the man he is going to make all the money while you take the consolation prizes, so
in that case you must beat him."
ROGERS, ORTON TAG PARTNERS ON MAT SHOW
(Chicago Tribune, Friday, Oct. 20, 1961)
Buddy Rogers, claimant to the heavyweight wrestling championship, and Bob Orton will meet Johnny Valentine and Bruno Sammartino tonight in one of three Australian tag team matches on a wrestling card in the Amphitheater in the stockyards.
Featured in the preliminary bouts will be Haystacks Calhoun, a 601-pounder, who will wrestle Crusher lisowski, and Shohei Baba, a modest 350, who will wrestle Jack Allen. Other bouts:
Mark Lewin and Don Curtis vs. Jim Hady and Luis Martinez; Billy Goelz and Johnny
Gilbert vs. Mister Sato and Great Togo; Sweet Daddy Siki vs. Jack Terry.
ROGERS-ORTON TEAM BEATEN IN TAG MATCH
(Chicago Tribune, Saturday, Oct. 21, 1961)
The tag team of Johnny Valentine and Bruno Sammartino beat Buddy Rogers and Bob Orton last night in the feature event of a wrestling show in the Amphitheater at the stockyards.
The show drew 5,706 who paid $15,293.49. They saw Sammartino end the match with a bear hug on Rogers, the worlds champion, in the third and deciding fall. Other results:
Mark Lewin and Don Curtis and Jim Hady and Luis Martinez were disqualified in a tag
team match; The Crusher beat Carl Engstrom; Mr. Sato and Great Togo beat Billy Goelz and
Johnny Gilbert; Shohei Baba beat Jack Allen, and Sweet Daddy Siki beat Johnny Kace.
DEATH TAKES MAT CHAMP
(Associated Press, Thursday, Oct. 26, 1961)
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah Earl Carrier, who claimed the world professional welterweight wrestling championship for many years under the name of Wildcat McCann, died Wednesday of complications following surgery. He was 60 years old.
McCann began his wrestling career in Portland, Ore., at the Multnomah Athletic Club and was well known, particularly in the Northwest. He was born in Ellensburg, Wash., March 10, 1901 and had made his home in Salt Lake City since 1942.
His daughter, Mrs. Erlene Mitchell, said her father died following an operation to
correct a leg injury.
WRESTLER STABBED BY FRENZIED FAN
(Associated Press, Saturday, March 17, 1962)
FLORENCE, Ala. A spectator plunged into a tag match melee and stabbed one of the four wrestlers here Friday night.
Pedro Zapata, 25, was listed in critical condition at a hospital with at least nine stab wounds in the back, shoulder and left forearm. His right thumb was severely slashed.
The knife attack came while 750 spectators howled in frenzy at the battling of Zapata and Mario Galento with Guy Mitchell and Happy Humphrey. The latter is billed as the "biggest wrestler in the world" at 780 pounds.
The referee said he entered the ring to "restore order" but was struck by a flying fist and knocked down. Then, he said, he saw a man with a knife in his hand in the ring.
Zapata whirled on his assailant and shoved him against the ropes before he collapsed.
CHAMPION TO FACE STYLISH WELCOME
(Savannah Morning News, September 2, 1962)
The gates of the city will be swung open in style with accompanying hoopla and festivities to world wrestling champion Fred Blassie when he arrives for his Thursday night title defense.
Blassie, the 238-pound St. Louis strong boy with the diamond-studded gold belt, is headed to Savannah to face Chief Crazy Horse in the main event of the opening program of wrestling at Savannah Sports Center.
The champion will arrive by plane from Mobile at 2:47 p.m. Thursday. He will be met at Travis Field by city officials, beauty queens and a band, according to Dr. Joseph Cassius, chairman of the sponsoring Savannah Wrestling Advisory Committee.
Mayor Malcolm Maclean is scheduled to be on hand to welcome the champ. Miss Chatham County of 1962, Larkin Bobo, and her predecessor, Jeannine Morgan, also have been invitated to be present.
After greeting his fans at the airport, Blassie will head a police-escorted motorcade through downtown and to the Clair Henderson Memorial Rehabilitation Center. There, Frank Cheatham, director of the polio foundation, will direct him through the center.
The festivities will continue right up to match time. Then Mayor Maclean will climb into the ring and cut a ribbon symbolizing the return of professional wrestling to the city.
The title bout will go two falls of three with one hour limit.
The semifinal pits the veteran Miquel Torres versus Chief Little Eagle another two falls of three match with a 45-minute limit.
Opening the three-scrap card will be Pedro Godoy and young Guy Taylor. This one will go
one fall with a 30-minute limit.
FRED BLASSIE, CHAMP
(Savannah Morning News, Thursday, Sept. 6, 1962)
By Neal Ellis, sports editor
If someone were to tabulate the truly great wrestlers of the world and pinpoint one particular area which produced the majority of them, it would be St. Louis, Mo. home town of the present worlds heavyweight champion, Fred Blassie.
Almost from childhood, Freddies career has been a colorful one. No bully in the neighborhood dared to take him on.
While attending St. Louis University, he held the boxing and wrestling championships and was undefeated.
Later, while serving his time with the Navy during World War II, he was district boxing and wrestling champ.
After turning professional, he came up through the ranks the hard way always willing and ready to tackle any man, regardless of size or reputation.
When Blassie defeated Edouard Carpentier in the Los Angeles Sports Arena June 12, 1961, for the title and the diamond-studded gold belt, wrestling found itself with a fighting new champion ready to battle any opponent worthy to challenge his laurels.
That is one side of the 238-p;ound champ, who risks his kingdom against Chief Crazy Horse tonight on the first program of pro wrestling in the Savannah Sports Center.
He is eager, ambitious, hard working, talented and fearless. But theres another side of him, too. Hes a showman first class. Hes cocky and like Jack Dempsey hes a killer in the ring.
If modesty is a virtue, then classy Blassie isnt virtuous.
"The American man today is a pencil-neck geek," Freddie says. "He is pitiful, scrawny, poorly dressed, bad mannered and hen-pecked.
"Its no wonder Blassie just wows the women."
By his own admission, the champ is Gods gift to women.
"When Freddie Blassie walks down the street, women just cant resist admiring me," he comments. "And if they are with one of those skinny, pencil-neck geeks all men are, compared to me they fall in love with a real he-man . . . me.
"To bad there are so many ugly women chasing after me because I outclass all the guys they know."
Blassie may be considered obnoxious outside the ring but, in it, hes a real villain. He subscribes to Leo Durochers theory that "nice guys dont win (pennant) matches."
"Sure," he says, "Im tough, rough and ready. Being a nice guy dont put you on top in the wrestling business.
"Just being a nice guy cant buy Continentals, $350 suits and $50 shoes. Ive got such a wardrobe that I have a tough time finding places big enough to hold it.
"I like the finer things in life and the only way to be on top and win is to hit your opponent first with the most."
Besides being rugged and heartless in the ring, Blassie can use every scientific hold in the book. His favorite goes by the colorful name of "the reverse spinning neck-breaker." And Blassie doesnt care whose neck it is.
Like the majority of good wrestlers, Freddie has a fine education. In addition, he has the intelligence and personality to mingle with presidents or hobos.
There may be some who dispute his opinion of how to win friends and influence people, but very few doubt the effectiveness of his style in the ring. It has earned him the topmost honor the worlds heavyweight championship.
Fred Blassie is as good as he says he is.
WAWLI REDUX # 25
WRESTLING RETURNS HERE TONIGHT
(Savannah Morning News, September 6, 1962)
By Neal Ellis
With world heavyweight champion Fred Blassie featured in a defense of his title, big-time professional wrestling makes a return to the city at 8 oclock tonight in the Savannah Sports Center.
Blassies challenger for the diamond-sprinkled gold belt that is symbolic of the championship is Chief Crazy Hose, a 250-pound man-mountain from the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Their long awaited main event match is a two falls of three affair with a one hour time limit. The mat feature for the worlds crown will be preceded by a semifinal battle between Chief Little Eagle and Miguel Torres.
The opener of the three-match program pits Pedro Godoy against Guy Taylor.
From top to bottom, the card lists big name wrestlers. The sponsors, the Savannah Wrestling Advisory Committee, have spared no efforts in lining up a top-notch program with which to open the Thursday night series.
"We were very fortunate to obtain so many outstanding wrestlers for the first card," Dr. Joseph Cassius, chairman of the committee, said last night. "Most of these athletes have considerable experience as main-eventers in other cities, and at least four of them have starred in many television matches.
"The National Wrestling Alliance promised to help us acquire the best men in the business for our shows. They have lived up to their promise," Dr. Cassius confirmed.
"We have high hopes of making this city the wrestling capital of the Southeast. The fans of Savannah certainly will be well entertained."
Dr. Cassius said he expects a near-capacity turnout in the neighborhood of 4,000 fans.
Blassie, the 238-pound blond, beautiful strong boy from St. Louis, is slated for red-carpet treatment upon his arrival at Travis Field at 2:47 p.m. today. Hell get an official city welcome from local officials, a key to the city from Miss Chatham County, Jeannine Morgan, and will head a motorcade through the downtown streets.
Then, in the ring, he will get a serious challenge from Chief Crazy Horse, who won 400
matches in a row before tasting defeat.
CHIEF GETS DRAW, BLASSIE CHALLENGED AGAIN
(Savannah Morning News, Friday, Sept. 7, 1962)
By Neal Ellis, sports editor
Chief Crazy Horse battled world heavyweight champion Fred Blassie to a draw before an estimated 1,200 wrestling fans last night in the Savannah Sports Center, then demanded a rematch.
Dr. Joseph Cassius, promoter, quickly conferred with the champion and announced the Indian could have his wish next Thursday.
The ill-tempered Blassie, still nursing wounds administered by the brawling chief, insisted the rematch go two falls out of three to a finish with no time limit. Dr. Cassius agreed no limit would be imposed on the match.
The draw decision left the crowd as well as both battlers yelling for more when referee Charlie Harben counted out both wrestles at the same time.
When the 10-count was finished, Crazy Horse was lying on the ring apron just outside the ropes and Blassie was sprawled through the ropes, on top of his adversary.
The champion loudly protested the decision, claiming he was within the ring and should have been declared the winner. Harben disagreed, and had his shirt ripped from his body by the angered champ.
Blassie, the 238-pound strong boy from St. Louis, wont he first fall by pinning the lumbering, 250-pound Indian.
The second fall went to Crazy Horse, despite four low blows and as many illegal punches from the fist of the blond champion. An "Indian death lock," the chiefs favorite hold, finally did the damage and evened the match.
That set the stage for the wild finish.
The semifinal had a rousing windup, too, with Chief Little Eagle taking a best two of three-fall decision from Miguel Torres.
The Indian from Oklahoma, a former Southern Methodist University football player, earned the triumph via a disqualification of the ex-Mexican champ. Torres, thrown through the ropes, was unable to return within a 10-count.
Little Eagle had won the first fall, then Torres pinned his rival for the second.
Hard-working Pedro Godoy, 235-pound Cuban, scored a victory over young Guy Taylor of Nashville in the one-fall opener. Godoy applied a half-crab to end it in 12 minutes, 10 seconds.
Dr. Cassius announced to the crowd, which evidently would have been much larger except for evening-long rains and a muddy parking lot, that Mr. Moto and the Masked Assassins would appear on a program in the near future.
Mr. Moto is a nationally famed grappler. The Assassins are world tag team champions.
SAVANNAH CIVIC CENTER RESULTS, 1976-1978
(local promoter Aaron Newman, bouts on Sunday afternoon unless otherwise denoted)
(Crockett Promotions TV show on WTOC TV in Savannah, the same program which airs on 28 other stations between West Virginia and Orlando)
WRESTLING RETURNS TO CIVIC CENTER
(Savannah Morning News, November 19, 1976)
Wrestling returns to the Savannah Civic Center Thursday when the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Alliance brings back Tim Woods, better known as Mr. Wrestling I, to team with Wahoo McDaniel in a featured tag team match against Blackjack Mulligan and Angelo Mosca.
Local promoter Aaron Newman said Wednesday that the Mid-Atlantic group will "bring some of the best talent in the world to Savannah in the coming year."
Also on the Thursday night (action begins at 8:15 p.m.) program are Sgt. Jacques Goulet versus Tony Atlas, Mike "The Judge" Dubois against Johnny Eagle, Bill White against Danny Miller and Dr. Fugiani (sic) versus Bill Somers (sic).
Admission will be $5 for the floor-level seats, with other adult tickets going for $4. Childrens admission price will be $2.
The Civic Center box office will open at 10 a.m. Thursday, and will remain open until the matches begin.
Nov. 11 (Thursday) -- Mr. Wrestling I-Wahoo McDaniel beat Blackjack Mulligan-Angelo Mosca, Tony Atlas beat Sgt. Jacques Goulet dq, Mike Dubois beat Johnny Eagle, Bill White beat Steve Bolus (sub for Danny Miller), Dr. Fujinami beat Doug Sommers
WRESTLING SLATED FOR FORT STEWART
(Savannah Morning News, November 10, 1976)
Ft. Stewart, which hasnt had a wrestling program since July, gets one Nov. 21.
Aaron Newman is handling the production, scheduled for 8 p.m. at Corkan Gym on the post at Hinesville. There is no charge. The program is sponsored by the Sport Branch, Recreation Service Division at Ft. Stewart.
The main event pits Mr. X and Bill Howard against Porkchop Cash and Raymond Rougeau in a tag team battle.
Other matches on the card are Scott Irwin taking on Ricky Steamboat, Rick McGraw facing big Jim Lancaster, and Mr. X against Rougeau in a single match.
The last wrestling program at Ft. Stewart was held July 2.
Most of the wrestlers had wrestled in Savannah, under the auspices of Georgia Championship Wrestling. And several, including Steamboat and Porkchop Cash, are popular with the Savannah wrestling fans.
Nov. 21 (Fort Stewart GA) Corkan Gym (Sunday) -- Mr. X-Bill Howard vs. Porkchop Cash-Raymond Rougeau, Scott Irwin vs. Ricky Steamboat, Rick McGraw vs. Jim Lancaster, Mr. X vs. Raymond Rougeau (Aaron Newman matchmaker)
Dec. 9 (Thursday) -- Wahoo McDaniel beat Ric Flair, Haystack Calhoun-Tiger Conway Jr. beat Sgt. Jacques Goulet-Doug Sommers, Johnny Eagle beat Hans Schroeder, Brute Bernard beat Francisco Flores, Dr. Fujinami beat Angelo Poffo
Jan. 6 (Thursday) -- Rufus R. Jones beat Blackjack Mulligan (U.S. title defense), Mr. Wrestling I-Dino Bravo beat Lanny Poffo-Randy Poffo (later Randy Savage) (Mid Atlantic tag title defense), Bill Dromo beat Bill White, Red Bastien beat Blue Scorpion, Johnny Eagle drew Tony Russo (A - 1,100)
WORLD TITLE MATCH SCHEDULED AT CENTER
(Savannah Morning News, January 30, 1977)
The main event for the Feb. 3 Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Alliance program at the Savannah Civic Center will be a world tag team bout, Aaron Newman, Savannah representative for MAWA, announced Saturday.
Current world champions, Ric Flair and Greg Valentine, who recently won the title from the Anderson brothers in a North Carolina bout, will put their newly acquired belts on the line against Paul Jones and Rufus R. Jones.
The remainder of the card has not been established as yet, Newman said.
The match is the third title match for Savannah in a months time. Earlier in this month, Rufus Jones fought Blackjack Mulligan for the U.S. heavyweight title, and Mr. Wrestling and Dino Bravo successfully defended their MAWA tag team title against Randy and Lanny Poffo.
Jones pinned Mulligan just seconds after the referee had disqualified Mulligan of Eagle Pass, Tex., for striking the referee. A title cannot change hands on a disqualification.
Mid-Atlantic promoter David Crockett, operating from the organizations headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., had said in 1976 that Jim Crockett Promotions would bring title matches to the Civic Center. And with the matches, attendance has been growing at a good clip. After the first match here, sponsored by MAWA, the second match drew about 100 more, and that figure, with the U.S. title match for a feature, drew nearly double what the previous program had.
Newman became the MAWA representative when George Championship Wrestling sold out to Mid-Atlantic. Both organizations were and are sanctioned by the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA).
Feb. 3 (Thursday) -- Greg Valentine-Mr. X (sub for Ric Flair) beat Rufus R. Jones-Paul Jones (world tag title defense), Buddy Roberts-Jerry Brown beat Red Bastien-Rick McGraw (Mid Atlantic tag title defense), Kim Duk beat Danny Miller, Johnny Eagles beat Rick Ferrara, Dr. Fujinami beat Lanny Poffo
TAG CHAMPS RETAIN BELTS WITH VICTORY
(Savannah Morning News, Friday, Feb. 4, 1977)
Mister X, a reportedly well-paid replacement for Ric Flair, pinned Rufus R. Jones in 21 minutes of the bout, and Greg Valentine and Flair retained their world heavyweight tag team wrestling title at the Savannah Center Thursday night.
Mister X, a 230-pounder from Europe, was filling in for Flair, who, along with Valentine, holds the world title, while Flair was recuperating from an appendectomy. Jones was joined by Paul Jones in challenging for the title. The bout was the main event on the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Alliance card.
The Hollywood Blondes, Buddy Roberts and Jerry Brown, also maintained their status as champions of the Mid-Atlantic tag team mats by defeating challengers Red Bastien and Rick McGraw. Again, it took the champs 21 minutes to win when McGraw was pinned.
In other preliminary bouts, Kim Duk used a Korean sleeper hold to dispose of Danny Miller in 16 minutes, Johnny Eagle whipped his foe Rick Ferrara with a reverse roll-up in 14 minutes and Dr. Fujinami used a roll-up to beat Lanny Poffo in 15 minute.
Following the matches, David Crockett, representative for Jim Crockett Promotions, Inc., which brings the wrestling to Savannah, announced the mat wars would return to Savannah next week (Feb. 10) with Blackjack Mulligan, the U.S. heavyweight champion, putting his title up against Paul Jones in the main event. Rufus R. Jones will challenge Greg Valentine for the TV title in the semifinal match.
Ticket prices will remain the same -- $5 for ringside, $4 general admission and $2 for childrens general admission for next weeks program, and can be purchased in advance at Millers Market in Beaufort, S.C., and at Foxs Family Restaurant in Savannah.
Feb. 10 (Thursday) -- Rufus R. Jones beat Greg Valentine, Blackjack Mulligan beat Paul Jones dq (U.S. title defense), Buddy Roberts-Jerry Brown beat Bill Dromo-Frankie Lane, Ron Starr beat Bill White, Larry Sharpe beat Francisco Flores, Butch Malone drew Dr. Fujinami
Mar. 10 (Thursday) -- Blackjack Mulligan drew Thunderbolt Patterson dcor (U.S. title defense), Wahoo McDaniel beat Kim Duk dq, Dino Bravo-Tiger Conway Jr. beat Mr. X-Brute Bernard, Jerry Blackwell drew Bill Dromo, Johnny Eagle beat Two-Ton Harris
PATTERSON, MULLIGAN FIGHT TO NO DECISION
(Savannah Morning News, Friday, Mar. 11, 1977)
By Floyd Hendricks Sr.
Thunderbolt Patterson, shouting "I want him," had to settle for a "no decision verdict" in his U.S. heavyweight championship match at the Savannah Civic Center arena Thursday night against the current titleholder, Blackjack Mulligan.
Both Patterson and Mulligan were outside the ring fighting when the referee counted to 10, in effect, disqualifying both. The match started out the same way, with Mulligan apparently telling Patterson he wanted the challenger to shine his boots. Patterson took it the wrong way and commenced beating on the champ.
And thats the way the eight-minute match ended.
In the semifinal bout, Chief Wahoo McDaniel was awarded the victory after Korean Kim Duk threw salt in his eyes. Duk uses salt to "drive away evil spirits" before a match by sprinkling it on the canvas. It is a custom originated by Japanese sumo wrestlers.
Dino Bravo put an airplane spin on Mr. X and he and his partner, Tiger Conway, whipped Mr. X and Brute Bernard in the tag team bout on the card in 20 minutes.
In other matches, Crusher Blackwell and Big Bill Dromo wrestled to a 20-minute, time-limit draw, and Johnny Eagle pinned Two Ton Harris in the opening match.
The next matches will be March 20, with Andre the Giant taking on Mulligan in the main event. Rufus R. Jones and the Mighty Igor will face the Hollywood Blondes in a tag match, and Red Bastien will face Sgt. Jacques Goulet, Johnny Eagle and Mr. X tangle and Cowboy Frankie Lane and Larry Sharpe battle it out.
Because it is a Sunday evening program, the matches will begin at 7:30 p.m. instead of the regular time. Advance tickets can be purchased at Foxs Family Restaurant in Savannah and at Millers Market in Beaufort, S.C.
Mar. 20 (Sunday) -- Andre the Giant beat Blackjack Mulligan cor, Frankie Lane vs. Larry Sharpe, Johnny Eagle vs. Mr. X, Red Bastien vs. Sgt. Jacques Goulet, Mighty Igor-Rufus R. Jones vs. Jerry Brown-Buddy Roberts
Apr. 7 (Thursday) -- Ric Flair-Greg Valentine beat Rufus R. Jones-Johnny Weaver (world
tag title defense), Ricky Steamboat beat Scott Irwin, Johnny Eagle beat Butch Malone,
Francisco Flores drew Tony Rousso, Two Tony Harris beat Joey Rossi
(Savannah result summary continued in WAWLI REDUX #26)
WAWLI REDUX # 26
(continued from WAWLI REDUX #25)
MULLIGAN DEFENDS HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE
(Savannah Morning News, Sunday, Apr. 17, 1977)
The U.S. heavyweight wrestling title will be on the line Sunday night in the featured event of the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Alliance program at the Civic Center.
Blackjack Mulligan will defend his title against Dino Bravo as the first matches begin at 7:30 p.m.
In another big match, Ric Flair will face Rufus R. Jones. Jones was pinned earlier by Flairs tag team partner, Greg Valentine, but a lot of the fans didnt agree with the referees call. The match should prove to be a good one because Jones was angry that the referee had been knocked out of the ring and appeared groggy when the call was made.
Other wrestlers on the card will be the Hollywood Blondes, Buddy Roberts and Jerry
Brown, taking on Ron Starr and Ken Novack. Big Bill Dromo will take on a tough Korean
newcomer, Kim Duk. Johnnie Eagle and Larry Sharpe will open things up with the first fight
on the card.
Apr. 17 -- Ric Flair vs. Rufus R. Jones, Blackjack Mulligan vs. Dino Bravo (U.S. title defense), Buddy Roberts-Jerry Brown vs. Ken Novack-Ron Starr, Bill Dromo vs. Kim Duk, Johnnie Eagle vs. Larry Sharpe
May 8 -- Mighty Igor beat Masked Superstar dq, Tiger Conway Jr.-Johnny Weaver beat Buddy Roberts-Jerry Brown, Rene Goulet drew Steve Kovacs, Bill Dromo beat Tony Russo
May 15 -- Mighty Igor beat Boris Malenko (Russian chain match), Bobo Brazil beat Kim Duk, Tiger Conway Jr. beat Randy Savage, Jerry Blackwell-Mr. X I beat Frankie Lane-Bill Dromo, Tully Blanchard beat Blue Scorpion
June 19 -- Gene Anderson-Ole Anderson drew Ric Flair-Greg Valentine (world tag title defense), Blackjack Mulligan beat Wahoo McDaniel dq (U.S. title defense), Danny Miller-Johnny Weaver beat Missouri Mauler-Brute Bernard, Jerry Blackwell beat Frankie Lane, Two Ton Harris beat Mr. Sato
July 10 -- Ricky Steamboat beat Ric Flair (TV title defense), Greg Valentine beat Wahoo McDaniel (Mid Atlantic title defense), Tiger Conway Jr.-Ted Oates beat Jerry Blackwell-Brute Bernard, Johnny Weaver beat Sgt. Jacques Goulet, Two Ton Harris beat Phil Mercedo
July 24 -- Wahoo McDaniel drew Greg Valentine nc, Mr. Wrestling II-Tiger Conway Jr. beat Jerry Blackwell-Missouri Mauler, Johnny Weaver beat Mr. X I, Danny Miller beat Scott Irwin, Ted Oates beat Blue Scorpion
Aug. 6 (St. Louis) -- Ric Flair beat Bobo Brazil (won U.S. title)????
Aug. 7 -- Wahoo McDaniel beat Greg Valentine, Bobo Brazil beat Blackjack Mulligan, Mighty Igor-Tiger Conway Jr. beat Jerry Blackwell-Russian Stomper, Danny Miller beat Charlie Fulton, Mr. Sato beat Rick Ferrara
STEAMBOAT CHALLENGES FLAIR FOR U.S. CROWN
(Savannah Morning News, August 28, 1977)
Ric Flair, U.S. heavyweight champion, and Rick Steamboat, Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Alliance TV titleholder, put their belts on the line Sunday night at the Savannah Civic Center arena, as Mid-Atlantic features the match on a five-bout card.
The TV title will be at stake for only the first 15 minutes of the match, while Flairs title will be on the line for the duration. Flair recently won his belt by beating Bobo Brazil in St. Louis, Mo.
In the semifinal match of the night, Mr. Wrestling takes on the Masked Superstar, whoever he may be.
Rick McGraw and Charlie Fulton kick the evenings action off at 7:30 p.m. and Tiger Conway battles Crusher Jerry Blackwell in another singles confrontation.
The only tag team match on the program is between Tully Blanchard and Ted Oates and Mr. X and a Korean giant named Kim Duk, who likes to spread salt around, reportedly to ward off evil spirits.
Flair is not as popular in this area as the rugged Steamboat, and the fans often show their displeasure with the "Nature Boy."
Aug. 28 -- Ric Flair beat Ricky Steamboat (U.S. title defense), Masked Superstar beat Mr. Wrestling I, Tiger Conway Jr. beat Jerry Blackwell, Ted Oates-Tully Blanchard beat Mr. X-Kim Duk, Rick McGraw beat Charlie Fulton
Sept. 18 -- Mighty Igor beat Masked Superstar (w/Boris Malenko) (Russian chain match), Mr. Wrestling I beat Boris Malenko, Missouri Mauler-Russian Stomper beat Mr. Sato-Ted Oates, Tony Atlas beat Kim Duk, Abe Jacobs beat Jim Grabmire, Roberto Soto beat Charlie Fulton
Oct. 2 -- Paul Jones-Ricky Steamboat beat Ric Flair-Greg Valentine (world tag title defense), Fabulous Moolah vs. Leona Little Heart, Missouri Mauler vs. Tony Atlas, Mr. X I-Mr. X II vs. Tiger Conway Jr.-Tully Blanchard, Hartford Love vs. Joe Furr
Oct. 16 -- Dusty Rhodes beat Ric Flair dq (U.S. title defense), Paul Jones drew Greg Valentine, Ted Oates-Tiger Conway Jr. beat Randy Savage-Frank Monte, Rick McGraw beat Tony Rousso, Danny Miller beat Blue Scorpion
Nov. 6 -- Ric Flair beat Ricky Steamboat (U.S. title defense), Baron Von Raschke vs. Mr. Wrestling I (TV title defense), Mighty Igor vs. Greg Valentine, Russian Stomper-Missouri Mauler vs. Ted Oates-Tiger Conway Jr., Roberto Soto vs. Scott Irwin, Danny Miller vs. Charlie Fulton
ANDRE, STEAMBOAT SET FOR PRO MAT PROGRAM
(Savannah Morning News, Sunday, Nov. 230, 1977)
Andre the Giant, a 7-4, 400-pound gargantuan, and Ricky Steamboat, a Hawaiian-born, surf-boarding Kung Fu artist, hope to be sitting on top of the world when Monday morning rolls around.
The two professional wrestlers will challenge Ric Flair and Greg Valentine, the current titleholders, for the world tag team championship at the Savannah Civic Center arena Sunday night, in a main event on a card featuring some popular personalities in the art of wrestling.
Bobo Brazil, one of the most popular ever to wrestle in Savannah, faces a gent known as the Russian Stomper and Paul Jones, another of the "good guys," faces a baddie in the Masked Superstar in a pair of impressive preliminaries.
The five-bout card also has Dick Murdock taking on Johnny Weaver and Mr. Sato squaring off against Charlie Fulton.
The action begins at 8 p.m. The Civic Center box office will open at 5 oclock Sunday.
Two weeks ago when Steamboat was trying to wrest the U.S. heavyweight title from Flair, he was foiled.
Nov. 20 -- Ric Flair-Greg Valentine vs. Andre the Giant-Ricky Steamboat (world tag title defense), Bobo Brazil vs. Russian Stomper, Paul Jones vs. Masked Superstar, Dick Murdock vs. Johnny Weaver, Mr. Saito vs. Charlie Fulton
Nov. 29 (Raleigh) -- Ric Flair beat Paul Jones (latter hospitalized with leg injury, so Conway subs for him in Savannah)
Dec. 4 -- Ric Flair-Greg Valentine beat Tiger Conway Jr.-Wahoo McDaniel (world tag title defense), Tony Atlas beat Sgt. Jacques Goulet, Ted Oates beat Hartford Love, Abe Jacobs drew Scott Irwin, Jimmy Garvin beat Ric Ferraro
Jan. 8 -- Blackjack Mulligan beat Mighty Igor (U.S. title defense), Masked Superstar beat Mr. Wrestling I dq, Jimmy Garvin beat Tony Russo, Mr. Sato beat Boris Malenko, Crusher Blackwell-Hartford Love beat Dino Bravo-Ted Oates
Jan. 29 -- Blackjack Mulligan drew Ricky Steamboat (U.S. title defense), Tony Atlas beat Ric Flair dq, Ted Oates-Abe Jacobs beat Mr. X I-Mr. X II, Russian Stomper beat Mr. Sato, Bill White drew Jim Garvin
Feb. 12 -- Blackjack Mulligan beat Ricky Steamboat (U.S. title defense), Paul Jones beat Masked Superstar, Bobo Brazil-Mighty Igor beat Sgt. Jacques Goulet-Russian Stomper, Ted Oates beat Hartford Love, Jerry Stubbs beat Charlie Fulton
Feb. 26 -- Blackjack Mulligan drew Mr. Wrestling I nc (U.S. title defense), Bobo Brazil beat Masked Superstar, Mighty Igor-Roberto Soto beat Mr. X I-Mr. X II, Missouri Mauler beat Abe Jacobs, Jerry Stubbs beat Frank Monte
Mar. 12 -- Blackjack Mulligan beat Mr. Wrestling I (U.S. title defense), Johnny Weaver beat Baron Von Raschke (TV title defense), Mighty Igor-Ted Oates beat Russian Stomper-Scott Irwin, Jerry Blackwell beat Tiger Conway, Jan Nelson beat Jerry Stubbs
Mar. 26 -- Blackjack Mulligan vs. Wahoo McDaniel (U.S. title defense), Vicki Williams vs. Pepper Lobianco, Mr. Wrestling I vs Ciclon Negro (w/Missouri Mauler), Russian Stomper-Scott Irwin vs. Ted Oates-Richard Blood, Jimmy Garvin vs. Charlie Fulton
Apr. 9 -- Ricky Steamboat-Paul Jones beat Baron Von Raschke-Greg Valentine, Johnny Weaver beat Masked Superstar dq, Don Kernodle bat Hartford Love, Jan Nelson beat Jimmy Garvin, Joe Furr beat Scott Irwin
Apr. 23 -- Ricky Steamboat-Paul Jones beat Blackjack Mulligan-Ken Patera (Mid Atlantic tag title defense), Tony Atlas beat Jerry Blackwell, Ted Oates beat Scott Irwin, Richard Blood beat Hartford Love, Mr. Sato beat Frank Monte
May 7 -- Blackjack Mulligan beat Ken Patera dq, Greg Valentine beat Gene Anderson, Tony Atlas beat Baron Von Raschke, Mr. Wrestling I-Mr. Wrestling II beat Mr. X I-Mr. X II, Jerry Blackwell drew Roberto Soto, Jay Youngblood beat Bill Howard
May 20 (Saturday) -- Ricky Steamboat-Paul Jones beat Ric Flair-Greg Valentine (world tag title defense), Baron Von Raschke drew Tony Atlas nc (TV title defense), Johnny Weaver beat Jerry Blackwell dq, Swede Hanson beat Charlie Fulton, Mr. Sato beat Steve Musulin, Joe Furr beat Bill Howard
June 4 -- Ken Patera vs. Paul Jones (Mid Atlantic title defense), Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat (U.S. title defense), Masked Superstar-Ciclon Negro vs. Mr. Wrestling I-Jay Youngblood, Bill White vs. Joe Furr, Johnny Weaver vs. Gene Anderson
June 18 -- Ken Patera beat Ricky Steamboat dq (Mid Atlantic title defense), Paul Jones
beat Baron Von Raschke, Ted Oates-Swede Hanson beat Gene Anderson-Jerry Blackwell, Don
Kernodle beat Frank Monte, Mr. Sato drew Bill
WAWLI REDUX # 27
MODERN WRESTLING BOUTS COMPARED WITH CIRCUS ACT
(Washington Post, syndicated column, Dec. 6, 1931)
By Robert Edgren
Wrestling promoters all over the country are in a panic. Wrestling is showing signs of becoming a "flop." Nothing could be more natural. Old-time wrestling used to keep up interest. A modern "wrestling match" is purely a circus performance, a carefully planned series of stunts, laughable or startling, with the "winner" of each fall scheduled in advance.
It isn't a contest, except as a bit of entertainment. So, when the entertainment begins to lose novelty there's nothing left to draw the crowds. And the novelty has to wane. Wrestlers can't get up new torture holds, new flying falls, new dives out of the ring, airplane spins, new funny complications like getting sore at the referee and rolling him in the resin, for each weekly show.
Big crowds have been going to wrestling shows for a couple of years or more. They paid at the gate, yelled, laughed and enjoyed themselves as long as there was some novelty to provide excitement. As a novelty it was hot stuff. But nobody pays to see the same show over and over again, with merely a change in the actors.
If there was some element of a contest even this freak wrestling might last a while longer. But by this time everybody knows it's all a show -- no real contest at all. There isn't, at this time, a real wrestling champion. How could there be, without real contests?
There are thousands of wrestlers, all working along the same line, all trying to be original. The number of stunts that can be pulled in a wrestling match is rather limited. Of late some of the boys have tried to introduce such humorous novelties as kicking an opponent in the stomach, swinging punches at any opponent, missing and accidentally socking the referee; pretending to bite opponent, etc. It just shows how hard up they are for ideas. And they have to put on new stuff or people won't pay to see them. It's a tough spot, lads.
Frank Gotch was first to use a "torture hold" that had nothing to do with wrestling, the object of which always had been to put an opponent on his back. Gotch invented the "toe hold." With it he wrenched an opponent's ankle until he quit. Gotch always seemed to think there was a fine bit of humor concealed somewhere in this performance. I once saw him wrestling a tall young German in Chicago. The German was no match for Frank as a wrestler, so to put a little pep into the match Frank sat on him, got his toe hold, and very slowly bent his ankle back until it was nearly broken.
The German wrestler, unable even to roll over on his back, screamed. This was before the days of grunt and groan wrestling, and it was a real scream. The crowd piled into the ring and pulled Gotch away. Frank got up and walked around, grinning. The German was carried out. I heard afterward his ankle actually was broken, and six months later he was still partly crippled.
After Gotch, Strangler Lewis developed his "head lock," a mauling grip supposed to be very painful and to render an opponent so groggy that when Lewis was ready to let go he could easily flop the victim over on his shoulder blades. Papers were full of pictures of Lewis practicing his head-lock on a wooden block, developing a grip that could dent a human skull like a watermelon.
Joe Stecher had his "body scissors," locking his strong legs around an opponent's middle and putting on the squeeze until he gave up. Another torture hold.
It was big Wayne Munn who revolutionized wrestling. Knowing nothing of wrestling, he picked up Strangler Lewis and threw him over the ropes, giving him such a bump that he was through for the evening. They've all been chucking each other out of the ring ever since. It's a regular stunt. For a long time people went to wrestling shows hoping to see some beefy behemoth dumped into somebody's lap at the ringside -- which was a great laugh getter.
Then Sonnenberg came along with his flying tackle. He butted htem out of the ring, or just for variety he missed and went head first through the ropes into somebody's lap himself. That was so entertaining that he was made champion. Then came airplane spins -- just a modernizing of the way Hackenschmidt threw Jenkins over twenty years ago -- and new "torture holds," and tickling, and jiu jitsu nerve pressure, and one "doctor" wrestler is supposed to use hypnotism.
The grapplers grunt and groan, squeal in "agony," take turns with "torture holds," not too roughly applied, make faces, scowl, snarl, butt, kick, grind their teeth and try to make their act look like unrestricted murder. College football heroes rushed into the mat game, and they tackle and cavort around and are nursed along with knowing much of what it's all about, as long as their football reputations can be capitalized.
But with the element of real contesting left out the circus stunt stuff has its limit. Begins to look as if the limit has nearly been reached. If it has a lot of large beefy boys will have to go back to work. Well, from the looks of them that oughtn't to be any hardship. Most of 'em could move a piano up six flights of stairs single handed.
JONES FACES VETERAN IN ROMANO
(Washington Post, December 9, 1931)
Five mat bouts of the less publicized, but invariably more sincere type, make up tomorrow night's weekly rasslefest at the Washington Auditorium. With the possible exception of George Kotsonaros, none of the boys showing tomorrow night are headed any particular place in the bone-bending profession, but are good journeymen matsters, willing to take and give all sorts of excruciating holts and not a few clips on the ebeneezer.
The five exhibitions are officially headed by a bout between a large gentleman from Texas, by name, Paul Jones. His rival is rare old Mike Romano, a hoary veteran of the mat, and still claimant of the "Eye-talian" championship, serenely unaware of the existence of George Calza, Gino Garibadli and Renato Gardini.
Both boys work very hard. romano is a good, all-around rassler, with no particular ability in any one department of the game, excepting his knack of looking deeply hurt and sorely embarrassed when an opponent resorts to anything but conscientious wrestling. Jones started on the way to some wrestling renown by beating Joe Stecher about three years ago wth Joe's favorite hold, a body scissors. To Jones' credit, it can be said that he gave Jim Londos the only real battle he has ever had here.
George Kotsonaros used to be a fairly well-known wrestler. Then the movie producers began to glorify the great American gangster, and George's mug was just too precious to leave in the ring. He was hauled to Hollywood and did some mighty nice dirty work for the cameras before the tide of moviedom switched to more legitimate fields.
Now he is back and has not lost a match in months and months. They're tossing him in with better boys right along. He tossed Sandor Szabo in Philadelphia last week. He meets a tough guy in Joe Cox tomorrow night. It probably will be the feature.
Jim McNamara, Washington's only professional rassler, makes his second appearance here, meeting a venerable proponent of the sport in Sgt. Reynolds. Other bouts bring back Matros Kirilenko, who meets Leon Smith, and Herbie Freeman, who tackles Jean Ledoux.
(ED. NOTE -- Between 1926 and 1931, George Kotsonaros appeared in 15 motion pictures, playing a variety of muscle-man roles. He was to die prematurely, as the result of an automobile wreck, in Eutaw, Alabama, on July 13, 1933.)
JONES OVERPOWERS ROMANO IN FEATURE BOUT
(Washington Post, December 11, 1931)
By Bob Considine
The old maestro, Prof. Joe Turner, added five more mat bouts to the long and overstuffed schedule at the Auditorium last night, the feature tangle of which was won by Paul Jones, with a tortuous-looking rocking scissors, in which was ensnarled, trapped and impaled the proud old chassis of Gentleman Mike Romano.
Mr. Romano came to his sad and uneasy ending just 27 minutes after the two grunting Goliaths were unchained and allowed to practice squaring the cube root of each other. During the tangle Jones was constantly the aggressor, although twice he was grounded and all but pinned by a strange-looking full nelson with Romano's legs the levers, a holt which a hurried skimming through the Holt and Homicide Almanac failed to identify.
But there was little fear in the hearts of the 2,000 ever faithful that Jones was going to be laid with his nose pointing straight up. Romano had not half the physical strength, and little in the way of trickiness. Jones, while he could have won with straight rassling, roughed the sensitive Italian's gnarled mugg throughout, planting one open-handed slap which would have corrugated the face of a cast-iron sashweight.
Jones' jabs with his elbows were sincere enough to keep the Italian nose a bit off true, and before it was half over the lone supporter of the Italian in the audience had long since given up hope and slumped back into voicelessness. The end came in the tried and trusted Jonesian fashion. He hurled Romano up against the ropes, tummy first, and when the harried Fascist bounded back, like a fat spitball off a big rubber band, Jones leaped high in the air and "caught" the oncoming brontasaurus with the treacherous and final scissors.
Although confidently expected, the preliminaries did not make off with the show. The semiwindup was something of a frost from beginning to end. Matros Kirilenko ruined his perfectly good reputation for fair play in the righteous minds of the citizenry by being nasty to Leon Smith, and long and loud were the exhortations for Nordic supremacy, but Kirilenko, immeasurably stronger than the collegian, dumped him after 33 minutes with a series of flying headlocks.
Two toughies, Joe Cox, a new pan in the game, and George Kotsonaros, who used to be a movie actor himself, tugged and biffed to a 30-minute draw in the outstanding preliminary. Kotsonaros was doped to win, on the strength of several good bouts recently, but could make no headway against the bar'l chested, oak-legged Cox, who seems to be headed somewhere in wrestling.
Herby Freeman, after rough sailing, ground the fine old Canadian shoulder blades of Gene Ledoux into Mr. Turner's cushions in 23 1/2 minutes, after some right smart tussling.
While the customers were crushing unrelated insteps and knocking hats askew in the tortures of being seated, Our Own Jim McNamara, a familiar face at Georgetown, Devitt and the Jewish Community Center, made his local batting average an even .500 with a 4 1/2-minute, ring-shattering victory over one Sergeant Reynolds, with an ear-grinding headlock.
MEET JIM LONDOS, STUDENT, CHARACTER READER, WRESTLER
(Washington Post, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 1934)
By Bill McCormick
You know Jim Londos, the mighty man of muscle who wrestles Vic Christy at the Auditorium here tonight? Well, meet Mr. Christopher Theophilus (Jim Londos for short on the mat), the mighty man of mind -- Greek philosopyher, pyschologist, physicist, etc., etc.
The scene is a popular all-night rendezvous. The time is a few hours after Jim Londos, the Golden Greek idol, has finished disposing of a youngster apparently determined to strip him of his "world's heavyweight wrestling championship." From behind a cordon of beer mugs can be discerned two newspaper mugs, quaffing away the sorrows of the day.
Enter a stock, inconspicuously garbed individual wearing smoked glasses and a slouch hat pulled down over an apparently very high brow. The individual is followed by several persons with "hangers on" plainly written in their every movement.
"Thass Jim Londos, the wrestling champion," nudged the first sports writer to the other. "Less go over and give him a buzz -- maybe he'll spill some inside dope on the rasslin' racket after a few drinks."
The two newspapermen present themselves at the Londos table. De beeg chompeen rises to acknowledge their introductions. The newspaermen get set to repress a snicker at the George Givot accent they feel certain will be forthcoming when Londos opens his mouth.
"How do you do, gentlemen? Won't you sit down?" says Londos in very precise English like a college professor addressing a first-year class in physiology.
The newspapermen plop into seats at the Londos table from the sheer shock of hearing book English emitted from the front of the mouth. Londos begins to make conversation.
"You," says Mr. Theophilus suddenly, pointing a finger at one of the sports scribes, "you will make more mistakes than your friend here."
The writer addressed britstles belligerently.
"Your friend here thinks thing over very carefully before acting -- you act on the impulse of the moment. How do I know? By the contour of your head; your manner as you approached our table and the introspective attitude with which your friend has been examining me."
Then followed a long and learned dissertation from Prof. Theophilus on the science of understanding people. The professor's theory on the subject is a neat combination of psychology as taught in colleges and phrenology as practiced by the quacks who claim to read character from the bumps on one's head.
From chracter reading, the discussion switched to theology.
"I am not religious," admits Mr. Theophilus reluctantly. "That is, not in the generally accepted sense of the term. I do know there is something bigger and better than we mortals here, but what it is I can not say.
"There is nothing to explain the sudden transformation in my character," Christopher explains. "Always as a child I was the unruly one, the unstudious one. My brothers, they were all scholars, but not I. I ran away from my home near Athens when I was 12 because my father was stern, a very noble gentleman, and insisted that I study, which I could not do.
"When I was 23, one of my brothers -- a professor in a
college near Athens -- died. Almost from that day I became studious. I have never stopped
studying and trying to improve myself since. Did the studious nature of my brother pass to
me when he died? We shall never know, but it is interesting to think about."
After running away from his home, young Chris headed for the United States. Being a Greek, he had a friend in the lucnhroom business -- in San Francisco. The friend gave him a job washing dishes. When not washing dishes, he wrestled at the Y.M.C.A.
He soon became so proficient that he turned professional -- at a time when he weighed about 120 pounds. As he continued to wrestle, he continued to grow, until he finally achieved the status of a light-heavyweight. As a light-heavyweight, he was the "fall guy" for every mediocre hulk heavier in the West. His inability to win a match became a subject for laughter wherever wrestlers gathered.
Without warning, he developed into a heavyweight and as such immediately became successful. By 1929 he was pinning the shoulders of Dick Shikat to the mat in Philadelphia to establish an iron-clad claim to the heavyweight championship of the world.
He has made his peace with his 97-year-old father, who now admires his son for his learning and studious nature. They have only one controversial subject between them -- religion. His father, deeply devout, cannot understand his son's reluctance to embrace an established form of worship. "Wait," says Christopher, "it may come."
Londos goes home whenever he can to visit his father. His trips inevitably take on the nature of triumphant returns. Last year a public holiday was declared throughout all Greece so all the Grikk pipple could see the No. 1 Public Idol throw one Kola Kwariani, a Russian. Practically all the Grikk pipple did attend -- 125,000 saw the bout.
He was wined and dined by Greek Cabinet members and President Venizclos, but he still found time to drink at the fountain of wisdom that is his father.
Londos is very anxious to enter John Hopkins University to brush up on his physics. The last time he showed in Baltimore, he inspected the institution thoroughly and announced publicly that he some day would study physics there. Which he may do -- as Mr. Christopher Theophilus, student. But not while there are millions to be made by Jim Londos, the mighty man of muscle, on the mat.
Jim Londos, heavyweight champion, will meet Vic Christy of California in a three-fall match in the feature wrestling bout of a card at the Auditorium tonight.
In a 45-minute semifinal, Stan Sokolis will meet Sandor Szabo. Two 30-minute time limit bouts will offer Tor Johnson vs. Buck Olsen and Abe Kashey against Charley Allen.
LONDOS DEFENDS TITLE IN TWO FALLS
(Washington Post, Thursday, Dec. 13, 1934)
By Bill McCormick
Jim Londos, the gorgeous Greek heavyweight wrestling champion, pulled the leg of Vic Christy last night to win on straight falls from the California Cutie in an unusual exhibition at the Auditorium.
Londos, whose muscled-padded shoulders never have been held to a Washington mat for a three-count, kept his local record clean by pulling Christy's legs so strenously in a series of double toe holds and leg split that Vic was forced to holler "quits" after 51 minutes in the first fall to keep from being divided by two.
De Beeg Chompeen won the second fall in the brief span of 40 seconds, setting a new record for a quick fall in Washington.
The entire affair, which was witnessed by some 3,000 of the faithful, was lamost totally devoid of the usual histrionics, hair pulling and agonized cries that characterize most modern-day mauling matches. The participants displayed practically every known variety of hold at one time or another, and Beeg Jeem unveiled a new method of torture to be known in the trade as an "anterior leg stretch." It was as awesome as it sounds.
The hopes of most of the spectators who were pulling for dear old Christy almost to a man and woman rose high as Valiant Vic more than held his own with the Greek god for some 45 minutes of the first fall. Their hopes fell as flat as a radio comedian's humor as Christy sealed his own doom by allowing Jeemy to apply three double toe holds in rapid succession, so weakening his underpinning that he was unable to withstand the rigors of the finishing leg splits.
From each of the double toe holds, in which Londos sat astride of his opponent's back and pulled like a business man working off a waistline double chin on a rowing machine, Christy rose more and more rubbery leggedy. By the time Londos had finished the third sesson of leg pulling, Christy's props were as unsteady and undependable as a sports writer's income, and he fell easy prey to the leg stretch.
As Jim pulled and pullech, each pull bringing Christy's body nearer to the splitting point, referee Benny Bortnik leaned low and whispered the usual "give up?" into Christy's ear. Christy whispered back the unusual "I do" and Londos took the first fall.
Vic lay huddled in the middle of the ring for abouve five minutes of the 10-minute rest period between falls, a truly pathetic figure. A huddle was held over him and he finally was removed to a chair in his corner, there to await the timekeeper's whistle which would send him back in for more punishment from the big boss of wrestling.
Londos wasted neither time nor sympathy on the Californian in the second fall. He flopped him twice with body slams, took him for the inevitable sirplane spin ride and fell on him for the three-count all within 40 seconds.
Sandor Szsabo utilized 25 1/2 of the 45 minutes allotted him in the semifinal in pinning Stan Sokolis, a newcomer. The highlight of the match was a predicament into which the boys worked themselves midwday of the exhibition. The predicament consisted of getting their legs and arms so entangled that only by pulling hairs and watching who jumped could they tell who's leg was who's. The referee untangled them.
In one of a pair of mirthful preliminaries, scheduled for 30 minutes, Tor Johnson, the immovable object of wrestledom, plopped his 310 pounds on Buck Olsen after six minutes.
In the other exhibition, scheduled for 30 minutes, Abe Kashey pinned Charley Allen in 26 minutes.
WAWLI REDUX # 27
REFEREE GIVES SONNENBERG DECISION
(Washington Post, Saturday, December 9, 1933)
It was somewhat of an off night at Mons. Joe Turner's rassling circus at the Auditorium last night, the card not being particularly good and the cash customers seeming to sense the fact and so staying away in larger numbers. Only about 2,500 showed up.
It also was a bad night for ex-champions. Gus Sonnenberg won from Stanley Pinto, but was down in a heap from a kick in the groin when referee Bennick Bortnick gave him the verdict in the feature by disqualifying his foe. Wladek Zbyszko, another former champ, was manhandled while losing to Jim Clinstock in a preliminary, while Rudy Dusek earned the verdict over Scotty McDougal, who rassled as champion of Scotland last night, but if memory serves correctly, someone called him the Australian titleholder the last time he showed here.
There seems to be a union rule that performers in the feature win on their pet hold, but Sonnenberg's flying tackle simply got him into trouble against Pinto. Gus attempted eight all told, connected with his man on four, missed two, was thrown back on his haunches on another attempt, and was down and out as a result of the final one. Pinto evidently thought the game had been shifted to football, stepped aside, and kicked the ex-champ in the groin as he was skidding by. The bout had been a rough and tough one throughout and this final kick was simply more than Bortnick could stand. The end came in 25 minutes.
Dusek found that McDougal was quite a man who could give as much as he took and this pair roughed things out for 30 minutes, when Rudy suddenly remembered he was supposed to be rassling and downed his foe on two back drops.
Clinstock, a giant Indian weighing 251 pounds, was entirely too much for the aged Zbyszko to handle. The latter was trying to mix it with Clinstock when the Indian picked him up, slammed him down and landed on top of him, mashing him as flat as a flounder. All this happened in 9 1/2 minutes.
In the other bouts, Eli Fischer downed Kurt Gabriel in 16 1/2 minutes with a body press, while youthful Vic Christy held the rough and tough Charley Strack to a 30-minute draw.
MAT FEATURES CRAM CARD
(The Oregonian, Portland, Sunday, Oct. 27, 1940)
The greatest array of grappling talent ever assembled at the Labor Temple arena will appear on Herb Owen's weeekly card Friday night. For the first time since Owen began his mat promotion in Portland eight years ago he finds himself confronted with so many headline wrestlers he is forced to schedule three main events in order to do justice to the top-ranking talent.
Heading the impressive list is the one and only Bulldog Jackson, the "Alaskan terror." Jackson will tackle Otis Clingman, Oklahoma cow puncher, in the final match of the card.
Billy Raburn of Georgia, holder of the Pacific Coast light heavyweight title, will make his bow in the semi-windup. Raburn will meet George Kitzmiller, Portland.
Jesse James, Greek whirlwind who made a sensational bow last week, will take on Babe Small, Kenton, in the other tussle.
OWEN OFFERS TRIPLE EVENT
(The Oregonian, Portland, Friday, Nov. 1, 1940)
For the first time in eight years of wrestling promotion in Portland Herb Owen will offer three main events Friday night at the Labor Temple arena, each for two falls out of three with a 45-minute limit.
Topping the list will be Bulldog Jackson, the "Yukon Terror." A last-minute switch in the card pits Jackson against Tara Ito, Japanese jiu-hitsu expert, in the final event.
Local fans will get their first glimpse of Billy Raburn, Georgia, who recently won the Pacific Coast light heavyweight title, in the second one. Raburn will meet George Kitzmiller, Portland.
JACKSON, JAMES, RABURN TRIUMPH
(The Oregonian, Portland, Saturday, Nov. 2, 1940)
Bulldog Jackson, Jesse James and Billy Taburn won the three parts of Herb Owen's triple main event wrestling show at the Labor Temple Friday night.
Jackson took two of three falls from Tara Ito. James copped two of three from Babe Small(inski) and Raburn took two straight from George Kitzmiller.
KRAUSER PINS GARIBALDI IN MATCH AT WHITE CITY
(Chicago Tribune, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 1940)
Karol Krauser tossed Ralph Garibaldi with a series of flying tackles in 27 minutes and 9 seconds in the White City arena last night. Tarzan White, Cardinal football player, threw Dizzy Davis. Other results:
Rufus Jones downed Lefty Pacer, 19:06; Rudy Kay threw Frankie Clemons, 22:00; Jack Moore tossed Pete Baltram, 17:04.
TERROR TRIMS TAYLOR; WHIPPER WATSON DRAWS
(Globe & Mail, Toronto, Friday, Nov. 8, 1940)
By Ed Fitkin
The reign of Golden Terrorism that has engulfed Toronto's wrestling realm since Bob Weatherly hove in sight caught Frankie Taylor, the Hollywood mat-inee idol, in its tentacles last night at Maple Leaf Gardens. The handsome people's choice fell victim to a hammerlock and slam after giving his 303-pound combination of Charles Laughton and Billy Bunter a merry old melee for forty minutes.
The Terror, even more repulsive than in his debut last week, came back from the shadow of defeat to beat Taylor with a rare assortment of illegal tactics that found favor with only one person -- the Terror. The crowd of 3,000, stirred into fancy fervor by Taylor's determined stand, suffered, but not silently, as the hulking, leering "villain" took advantage of his victim's injured left arm to pulverize him.
The Terror used Taylor's curly black locks to get away to a hair-raising start, but after a series of hectic exchanges, during which time both men were heaved out of the ring three times and referee Cliff Worthy had been floored twice by the villain, the handsome young Hollywooder suddenly gained the upper hand.
Employing his southpaw elbow smashes, which are just as effective as portside elbow smashes, Taylor floored the Terror and apparently had him down. The crowd, cheering very zestfully, vacated their seats expectantly.
But, no. The Terror came back. Even meaner than before. He dug pepper from some inner recess, blinded Taylor. Then he rammed him into the corner pots of the ring a couple of times and pummeled Taylor's left wrist against the solid iron supports. By this time Taylor's arm was useless and his efforts to fend off the villainous thrusts of his foe met with no success. A hammerlock and slam finished him off at 40:17.
Just before the main bout, King Kong Cox was introduced from the ring. Back from a three-month expedition to Australia, and boasting a thin black mustacheio, Cox said: "I heard Frank Tunney had some tough wrestlers up here. I'm sure none of them could me me raise a sweat." He'll probably find out.
Whipper Billy Watson didn't come up with his sixth straight victory in his promotion to semi-final billing, but he earned a host of new friends by holding Juan Humberto, the Mexican jumping bean, to a 30-minute draw. Both grapplers kept up a steady pace, packed plenty of action and good wrestling into their efforts. Watson's Irish whip had Humberto in difficulty several times, but he got out of each tough spot by fair means or otherwise.
California Don Evans made a strong debut, beating Bobby Roberts in eleven minutes with a headlock and hip throw. K.O. Koverly rendered Elmer (The Great) Eastup hors de combat with elbow smashes after eighteen minutes, and Sandy O'Donnell rocked Jake Patterson to sleep with his amazing cradle roll in a little more than ten minutes.
IRON-HEAD KRAUSER BEATS GARIBALDI IN MAT FEATURE
(Washington Post, Thursday, Dec. 10, 1942)
By Oscar Elder
Big Max Krauser, the Polish refugee, defeated Gino Garibaldi after 29 minutes of the scheduled one-hour feature wrestling match before 1,200 fans at Turner's Arena last night.
By virtue of his victory, Krauser dispelled the myth that hard-headed people are doomed to figure, for had his noggin been one whit less durable he might have lost the verdict. Just before the finale he and Garibaldi rammed skulls in mid-ring with a terrific din when Gino missed the bull's-eye with the second of two flying tackles. Both grapplers groveled around with the blind staggers after the collision, but Max rallied his addled pate and climbed on the dizzier Garibaldi to score with a body press.
The battle allt he way to the finish was a toughie, although as clean as a Y.W.C.A. tea party. Both men used head scissors repeatedly early in the match, but neither was able to establish any distinct advantage.
After 22 minutes Garibaldi forgot for an instant that he was billed as a gentleman for the evening and booted Krauser in the tummy as they were ordered to break on the ropes. However, he picked up a quick cue and hastily apologized to the intense satisfaction of all.
Later, Gino snarled to referee Casey Berger that he was being strangled. But the arbiter sagely observed, "If you were choking you couldn't talk!" and that ended that complaint.
Johnny Long and the eerie Yellow Mask fought all over the premises to a gruesome draw in the semifinal. Mr. Mask, who is rapidly gaining favor as the most hateful wrestler to appear here, further enhanced his reputation by doing everything but draw a knife on Long.
Occasionally tiring of Long, the Mask would goad referee Berger into taking a swat at him. Once Long drove the hooded fellow out of the ring with a fistic barrage and the audience rose to a man and drove the villain back to the scene of battle. One dear old gray-haired lady in an absurd hat led the charge, lustily swinging a handbag.
Toward the end, the boys even traded bites, Long taking a chunk out of the Mask's neck in retaliation for some chewed-up fingers. Finally the clock ran out on them and the affair had to be called a draw. Irked, the Mask continued fighting to the delight of everyone, including Johnny Long, until officials could clear the ring.
Ace Freeman and Jack Kelly teamed to defeat Abe Coleman and John Melas in two of three falls in a two-man team battle.
Melas was the victim of the initial fall when he was pinned by Kelly in 13 minutes. The second fall went to the losing team when Coleman flattened Freeman after 8 minutes.
Melas was the victim of the rubber fall when he was pinned by Kelly, Freeman and even Coleman after 6 minutes.
The losing duo were woefully lacking in esprit de corps and even argued vehemently as to who was carrying the heaviest load. Coleman was convinced that he was the afflicted one and he consistently refused to rush to the aid of brother Melas.
Franz Schuman defeated Dick Craddock, a Washington lad, after 11 minutes of a rough opener.
LA REOUVERTURE AU PALAIS DES SPORTS
(Le Monde, Wednesday, Oct. 8, 1947)
Le gala de reouverture de la saison de catch au Palais des sports aura lieu lundi prochain. Le combat-vedette comptera pour une demi-finale du championnat d'Europe toutes categories: le Danois Martinson et la champion de l'empire britannique Bert Assirati seront en presence, le vainqueur devant etre oppose, par la suite, a Henri Deglane, tenant du titre.
DEAN DETTON, EX-MAT KING, HANGS SELF
(San Francisco Chronicle, Monday, Feb. 24, 1958)
The body of Dean Henry Detton, 49, former Utah football star who won the world professional wrestling title in the late '30s, was found hanged yesterday in the backroom of the Turf Club, a tavern he operated at 517 Castro Street, Hayward.
The body, hanged by a rope, was found by his wife, Maline, and his son, Dean Jr., at about 8:20 a.m. There were no notes.
Police said Detton apparently fitted the noose around his neck and kicked a stool away. He lived with his family at 102 Prospect street, Hayward.
It was Detton's second attempt at suicide. Two months ago he threw himself at a moving train but was only slightly injured. Mrs. Detton said he talked frequently of "ending it all" because business was poor.
Detton won the wrestling title from Bronko Nagurski, International Falls, Minn., former All-America footballer at Minnesota. Detton held the title for several years.
NOMELLINI AND ANDERSON TEAM FOR MAT SHOW
(San Francisco Chronicle, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 1958)
Leo Nomellini, 49er football star, teams up with Paul Anderson to headline tonight's wrestling program against Hans hermann and Art Neilson, at the Civic Auditorium. First match at 8:30.
Anderson, at 355 pounds, will be making his third local appearance, and tonight marks the second time he and Nomellini have teamed up. The match is two-out-of-three falls, one hour time limit.
Other matches include two cowboy wrestlers, Tex McKenzie vs. Sky Hi Lee, in the semi-windup; Juan Humberto vs. Ilio de Paolo, and Bud Curtis vs. John Swenski.
LEO NOMELLINI, ANDERSON IN WRESTLING DRAW
(San Francisco Chronicle, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 1958)
Leo Nomellini and Paul Anderson wrestled to a one-hour draw with Hans Hermann and Art Neilson, claimants to the world's tag team, in last night's wrestling program at the Civic Auditorium.
Hermann won the first fall from Leo with an underarm headlock in 30:10, but Nomellini came back with a flying tackle to pin Hermann in 8:35.
Other results: Sky Hi Lee defeated Tex McKenzie, 12:51, backbreaker; Ilio de Paolo pinned Juan Humberto, 11:03, dropkick, and John Swenski drew with Bud Curtis, 20 minutes.
WAWLI REDUX # 28
CHAMPION WRESTLING MATCH: ROSS AND DALY
(Globe & Mail, Toronto, Monday, Oct. 20, 1879)
On Saturday evening Adelaide-street Rink was well filled with an immense crowd, brought together to witness the wrestling match between Ross and Daly. It is understood that the match was for $500 a side and a beautiful gold medal, emblematical of the championship of the United States and the British provinces. The contest was to consist of five falls, the first being catch-as-catch-can, the second Cumberland style or back hold, the third collar and elbow, the fourth Scotch style and the fifth Graeco-Roman.
DUNCAN C. ROSS was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in March, 1855. He served six years in the Scots Greys as rough-riding corporal; began his career as an athlete in 1869 at the Balaklava games in the royal barracks at Dublin. He never participated in any engagement, but was out on the Gold Coast with Sir Garnet Wolseley. He wears a great many medals, among the finest of which is the championship gold medal of the United States and the British Provinces, awarded to the best heavyweight athlete. In conjunction with E.W. Johnson, he won the general athletic championshp of the world at Baltimore on the 10th and 13th of May, 1879. He stands six feet and a quarter of an inch high, measures 44 1/2 inches around the chest, and in good condition, as he now is, weighs 203 pounds. He was never sick a day in his life, never smoked, and never drank anything stronger than ale, and that was very moderately. He was married about four months ago to a young lady in Baltimore, but as the public are already in possession of the somewhat romantic story of the gallant athlete and his beautiful and accomplished bride, it is scarcely necessary to repeat it. Besides being a splendid looking man physically, with all the summetry of form and evidence of pluck and determination shown in a well-cut and squarely-set lower jaw, Ross has a much more cultivated and intelligent look than is usually found among the giants of the arena. Though the very reverse of garrulous, he talks like a man who in his youth had, to say the least of it, received a good English education, and in his later years had not allowed his intelligent faculties to be thrown in the shade by, or neglected on account of, his extraordinary physical development.
J.C. DALY was born in the county of Cork, Ireland, in 1853. He is in all respects a fine-looking man; stands 6 feet 1 1/2 inches in his stockings, measures 45 inches around the chest, and weighs something over 200 pounds. He is a stone-cutter by trade, but commenced his career as an athlete when only 15 or 16 years of age. He holds trophies of the heavy and light weight athlete championship of Ireland. Since crossing the Atlantic he has lived chiefly in New York. From his own statement he both smokes and drinks, but from his manner and appearance it is quite evident that he does neither to excess.
A large platform had been erected on the floor of the Rink some four or five feet high. This is covered with two inches or more of sawdust, and this again with carpeting, the stage being surrounded with a single rope attached to posts at the corners. To the north side of the stage were platform and tables for the press; and it may be added that the managers of the Adelaide street Rink seem to know better what reporters require in the way of accomodation, and to take more pains in providing it, than any man or set of men who have ever had charge of indoor or outdoor sports in this city. In the first place, reporters were where they could see; in the second place, they were where they could write; and in the third place, their quarters were not permitted to be crowded by people who had no business there. At a little after 8 o'clock Mrs. Ross took her place beside the stage, and was greeted with enthusiastic cheers from all parts of the Rink. Soon after this the referee and judges took their places upon the stage. Mr. Powell Martin acting as referee, Mr. Barry as judge for Daly, and Captain Humphries as judge for Ross. At 8:10 the contestants themselves, attired in tights, trunks, and thin guernseys, stepped upon the stage, each removing his boots as he did so.
CATCH-AS-CATCH-CAN -- The referee made a few remarks to the crowd, reminding them that Toronto had always been considered a city of fair play, where no boat-cutting or buying or selling of contestants of any kind could be tolerated; that the present contest was intended to have been decided at Hamilton, but this Ambitious City had failed to keep order, and the contestants were obliged to come to this city to decide the question of superiority. He was sure the immense audience present would feel flattered at the compliment thus paid them and maintain the best of order while the contest was in progress. He then explained that the first fall would be catch-as-catch-can, or what school boys were in the habit of denominating "rough-and-tumble." He then read the following rules to govern the contest: Both contestants to be attired in full athletic costume. Fingernails to be cut close, and no attempts to grasp the flesh of the body allowed. Contestants could use their feet for the purpose of tripping, but any attempt at kicking would be recorded as a foul; both shoulders and one hip to touch at one time to constitute a fall.
At 8:20 time was called, and the men went together. Daly got the best of the clinch, and Ross, twisting out of his arms, threw himself flat upon the stage, face downwards. Daly tried hard to roll him on his back, but, failing in this, he endeavoured, by forcing his head upon the stage and raising his body, to turn him endwise. In the meantime he had to keep a sharp lookout for Ross, who was constantly on the lookout for the dangerous neck hold. After the struggle had been in progress about two minutes Ross regained his feet and broke from his antagonist with the cheers of the crowd. For a few seconds the men paused for breath, and then, coming together again, Daly was once more succesful in catching Ross by the waist, while the Scotchman fastened a vice-like grip upon his antagonist's neck. Daly worked hard to swing his antagonist clear of the ground and plant him on his back, while Ross, who was husbanding his strength, kept the Irishman's head in chancery, and managed to light on his feet as often as he swung him from the ground. Daly now changed his tactics, and reaching down, caught the Scotchman by the leg, when the referee, evidently for the instant confounding this with the Graeco-Roman contest, cautioned him against such action, and the men mutually relaxed their holds. Mr. Barry, judge for Daly, walked across the stage, and in a low tone explained to the referee that his man had committed no foul, while Ross smilingly assented, and the contest was resumed. As before, Daly caught Ross by the waist, but as he attempted to force him backward the wily Scotchman went down upon all fours and escaped him. The contest had now been in progress a little over six minutes.
For some time they struggled about the floor, but a minute and a half later Ross again regained his feet and broke away. As they came together again each seized the other by the head, each clasping his fingers tightly over the nape of his opponent's neck. The struggle now became intensely exciting; the ponderous muscles of the contestants suddenly swelled into knots and ridges over their backs, sides, and shoulders, and it became a question of sheer strength; lower and lower they stooped, each endeavouring to twist away from his opponent, till Ross' knees touched the carpet, then with one mighty effort he suddenly twisted his neck out of his opponent's grasp, and turning his face from him bent his head downward till his scalp touched the stage, while Daly's heels flying into the air described a complete semi-circle, and the Irish giant lay fairly upon his back. Time, 9 1/2 minutes.
BACK-HOLD, OR CUMBERLAND STYLE -- At 8:35 time was called, and the men came together, the referee having previously explained that in this contest should any part of the body other than the feet touch the carpet it shall be deemed a fall, and that should either of the contestants break his hold it shall be recorded as a fall against him. In this contest it was evident from the outset that the Irishman's tremendous reach must be greatly to his advantage. Each passed his right arm over his antagonist's left shoulder and locked his hands together over waist. For a few seconds they waltzed about the stage, and then Daly swung the Scotchman back over his knee and planted him upon the carpet with considerable force. Time, 2 minutes. As soon as the result was made known by the referee Daly was enthusiastically cheered by his many friends in the audience. Both men now left the stage for a few moments.
COLLAR AND ELBOW -- At 8:42 Ross again stepped upon the stage, Daly following three minutes later. The referee explained that in this contest the man winning the fall must throw his opponent upon his back. At 8:46 time was called, and thecontestants advancing secured their holds and went right to business. Neither one appeared particularly adroit at this style of wrestling, and it soon became apparent that Daly's immense reach was again in his favour. Ross seemed inclined to hurry the pace, and tried several times to catch Daly's left leg, but as often narrowly escaped being forced over backward. After three minutes' play of this kind, they broke away and took breath for a few seconds. They closed again quickly, however, and Ross was thrown upon his hands and knees after less than half a minute's play. A minute and a half later the Scotchman was thrown upon his side, and two minutes later upon his hands and knees, and forced down till he lay flat upon his stomach, but Daly could not roll him over. After they had been at it eight minutes they loosened their holds and paused for rest, while Ross putting his fingers through a hole in the carpet took out some sawdust to dry his hands. Daly complained of this, but Ross assured him he had no objection to his doing the same thing. Daly declined, however, and the referee decided that Ross had committed no breach of propriety. Half a minute after they had come together again Ross was thrown squarely upon his back, and though several in the audience shouted no fall Ross himself admitted that he had been fairly down. Time, 12 1/2 minutes. Both men again left the stage for a short rest.
SCOTCH STYLE -- Ross reappeared on the stage at 9:16, immediately followed by Daly. In this contest it was explained that the wrestlers were to seize each other just as in the Cumberland back hold, but to gain a fall the winning man must make either both shoulders and one hip or both hips and one shoulder touch the carpet and hold him there till the referee and judges should decide it was a fall. At 9:20 time was called, and as the men came together Daly secured the better hold. Two minutes later Ross managed to throw Daly upon the carpet by twisting him over his shoulders, but in trying to force him flatly upon the stage Daly suddenly caught his head and, rolling over, brought Ross with him and came near securing the fall himself. He failed to do so, however, and they were soon upon their feet again. From this to the finish both men struggled hard. Daly grasped the heavy leather belt which Ross wore around his waist, and Captain Humphries claimed that he had no right to do so, but the referee decided against his claim. At length Ross managed to get Daly's head in "chancery," and going down with him had him all but down; but Daly had by no means given it up yet. He formed a bridge, the extremities of which were his feet and his shoulders, and though Ross rolled him over repeatedly he always managed to save himself in this way whenever his shoulders were on the carpet. At length, however, Ross had rolled his manc lose to the north end of the stage, and then one final turn planted him on his shoulders right at the edge of the stage. For an instant Daly formed his bridge, but just as he did so Ross pushed his left foot clear of the stage, and instantly his left hip and both shoulders rested fairly upon the carpet, and the referee declared the fall in favour of Ross, Daly appealing. Time, 12 minutes. This was the best contest int he match, and evidently the one in which each contestant calculated on winning the odd fall. Both men left the stage for a few moments as before.
GRAECO-ROMAN -- The falls now stood two and two, but it was evident to any careful observer who watched the match up to this point that Ross must win bar accidents. The rules of Graeco-Roman wrestling are already so well understood that very little explanation is necessary. The contestants are not allowed to take any hold below the waist, and no tripping is allowed, both shoulders to touch the stage or no fall. This contst did not excite much interest, as it was evident that Daly had no chance against Ross in this particular style of wrestling. Almost his first grip would have lost him the fall, with strict ruling, as he locked his hands below Ross' waist. Capt Humphries complained to the referee, who told the contestants to "go in" again. A foul was claimed and not allowed, and another, and another; but the referee said he wanted to see the match decided on its merits, and not on a foul. At length, after the men had been struggling sharply for a few seconds, Ross rested his hand upon Daly's thigh, upon which he was promptly cautioned. Soon after this Daly locked his hands about Ross' thigh, and as loud cries of "foul" resounded on every side, he loosed his hold. Again the referee was appealed to, but he decided that as each had, in the excitement of the moment, committed an unintentional foul, he would order them to go on with the contest. After one more foul by Daly, to which but little attention was paid, Ross flung him over his shoulder, and planted him squarely on both shoulders, winning the final fall in 24 minutes, including the time lost in discussing the fouls. The whole match occupied just two hours.
The referee then handed the medal to Ross, the band played "God Save the Queen," and in a few minutes the large audience had dispersed in a very quiet and orderly manner.
BUDDY ROGERS SEEKS THESZ TITLE TONIGHT
(Chicago Tribune, Friday, Jan. 26, 1951)
Lou Thesz will defend his National Wrestling Alliance heavyweight wrestling championship against Buddy Rogers of Camden, N.J., in the main event of promoter Fred Kohler's mat show tonight in International Amphitheater, 42nd and Halsted Sts. Jack Dempsey will referee the event, which is set for two of three falls with a one hour time limit. Ed (Strangler) Lewis will second Thesz.
The show, which is expected to attract more than 5,000, will be augmented by a midget Australian tag team match, sending Sky Low Low and Tom Thumb against Mighty Fritz and Pee Wee James.
Morris (Mighty Atlas) Shapiro, Brooklyn heavyweight, will be paired with Cyclone Anaya; Hombre Montana with Arthur Van Saxon, and Ramon Cernades with Walter Palmer. Montana and Cernades are recent arrivals from Argentina.
THESZ, ROGERS DRAW ON MAT, ALSO AT GATE
(Chicago Tribune, Saturday, Jan. 27, 1951)
By Charles Bartlett
Louis Thesz, a St. Louis scientist, and Buddy Rogers, a quarrelsome character from Camden, N.J., last night wrestled 60 minutes to a draw in Promoter Fred Kohler's mat extravaganza in the International Amphitheater. Each of the artists won a fall, Thesz after 29:45 and Rogers after 41:35, but the end of the prescribed hour found both exhausted athletes unable to pin his opponent a second time, and referee Jack Dempsey was unable to render a decision.
It was the third such meeting bwetween the two, but Thesz, a sound, workmanlike wrestler, still retains possession of that priceless bauble known as the championship of the National Wrestling Alliance. In previous meetings, the truculent Rogers almost garrotted himself in the Wrigley Field ropes, and Thesz took the second debate between them.
Lured by Dempsey's presence and despite the cool weather, a goodly crowd of 7,536 appeared, paying a gross gate of $17,145.
Thesz, who is well versed in all the formulae of orthodox rassling, had to tear up the book and adopt the back room technique of Rogers. Dempsey warned Buddy several times for unfair slugging, and twice shoved him clear across the ring.
Cyclone Anaya, one of South America's noblemen, who is good to his madre and padre, brushes his teeth regularly, and eats all of his spinach, almost scored a victory for clean living in the semi-windup. The best Cyclone could extract from 30 minutes of fighting for justice and sportsmanship, however, was a draw with the Mighty Atlas, a thespian from Brooklyn. Atlas won the evening's prize for mugging and should be a stong candidate for a TV oscar, provided same is ham.
The more feverish patients, many of whom were in their pews an hour before the raising of the curtain, were diverted by a Lilliputian foursome who gave a miniature replica of the work of their seniors in poundage. After more than 30 minutes, Tom Thumb and Sky Low Low scored a victory for their side and the downtrodden when they overcame the dastardly tactics of the evening's villains, the Mighty Fritz and Pee Wee James, in an Australian tag match.
These muscular mites averaged about 95 pounds in weight and 42 inches in height.
Although outweighed 25 pounds, the agile Walter Palmer of Des Plaines saved local pride by earning a draw against a bully from the Pampas named Ramon Cernades. The South American didn't exactly follow Emily Post, either, but at the end of their 30-minute standoff, he was glad to escape the premises, Palmer twice forcing him to scramble out of the ring.
A gross party advertised as Hombre Montana, whose name caused Spanish students to translate as "Man Mountain," lumbered into the ring for the third bout wearing 355 pounds of suet and a peck of whiskers. His tonnage was too much for the meager 218 boasted by his opponent, Art Saxon of Milwaukee, and Hombre finally fell on Arthur after a body slam, and would like to have smothered him except for the referee's intervention. The time for this dull interlude was 9:41.
GEORGE IS CONFIDENT HE'LL LIFT TITLE
(Globe & Mail, Toronto, Monday, June 1, 1953)
An outstanding wrestling match will take place at Maple Leaf Gardens on Thursdaynight, when Lou Thesz, the world champion, will meet Gorgeous George, the Human Orchid, in the feature bout. Thesz' title will be at stake.
"I'll be the next champion," predicted Gorgeous George, "and certainly the most gorgeous ever to wear the championship belt."
Thesz will have plenty to say on that score, the Thesz manner of answering such boats being by means of drop kicks, elbow smashes and his figure-four armlock specialty. The former mat great, Ed (Strangler) Lewis, who manages the champion, made this reply to the boasts of "The Toast of the Coast":
"No silk-and-satin dandy is good enough to take Lou's title away from him. Gorgeous George will not be the champion after this match. In fact, when Lou is through with him, George won't even be very gorgeous. He'll be just another of the brash challengers to whom Lou has had to prove who's boss," boomed the famed Strangler, who held the world title five times himself.
Gorgeous maintains he never wears the same robe in the same city twice. Substantiating this, he announced he will wear a special Coronation robe here Thursday night in honor of the Queen's Coronation. It is of red velvet, trimmed with gold and was made especially for this event.
JERSEY BANS WOMEN, HAIR PULLING AND TICKLING
(New York Times, June 5, 1954)
TRENTON, N.J. -- Joseph F. Walker, New Jersey Athletic Commissioner, today drastically revised state regulations governing wrestling. He warned that drastic fines, suspensions and even permanetn banishment in the state would be the penalty for a violation.
Its promulgation, he said, had been made necessary because the sport had "deteriorated to the point of absurdity." The commissioner demanded an immediate end to the "outright burlesque" long associated with wrestling exhibitions. He stressed that no "monkey business" would be tolerated in any ring in the state.
The regulations ban women contestants and eliminate so-called "dirty" wrestlers. They also prohibit "extra-curricular nonsense" when an exhibition ends. These antics were called offensive to sportsmanship.
All action, according to the revised code, must be confined within the ring. Hidden weapons, such as pretended grogginess, hair pulling, rubbing eyes on ropes, tickling, gouging and arguments at breaks also are to be eliminated. Breaks must be clean and immediate.
The commissioner, a brother of Mickey Walker, former middleweight boxing champion, said his action had the unqualified endorsement of Gov. Robert B. Meyner.
Advertising and publicity must conform to the new code, the commissioner added. Promoters, booking agents and referees have been informed of the change.
There will be no occasional warnings or meaningless gestures, the commissioner emphasized. The first time a contestant violates the new rules, punitive action will be taken.
WAWLI REDUX # 29
THESZ UNVEILS THE RED MASK AND
(Globe & Mail, Toronto, Friday, June 12, 1953)
By Steve York
If that don't beat the Dutch!
Champion Lou Thesz defeated the Red Mask last night at Maple Leaf Gardens and he turned out to be Dutch Hefner.
A crowd of 6,000 devotees of mat art saw Thesz floor the Mask with a backdrop at 21:50 of their no time limit main match. The National Wrestling Alliance championship, held by Thesz, was on the line.
When the news of Hefner's unmasking spread through this sports department a veteran observer said there was a Dutch Hefner here years and years ago. However, this Dutch Hefner said he had never been in the Queen City prior to his tour of duty as a masked menace.
The Mask (this is before his identity was revealed to the palpitating public) gave Thesz quite a workout before being jarred so hard the preserves for miles could feel it. Just before the end, Mr. Mask nearly had two men to contend with, Thesz and Strangler Lewis, the manager of Thesz. The Mask had Thesz on the mat under the ropes and wouldn't release his headlock despite referee Bunny Dunlop's insistence.
This prompted the Strangler, seated at the ring edge, to rise and reach at the Mask's foot. That broke the hold all right and brought on a menacing gesture at Lewis by the Mask. Lewis responded by taking off his coat. That is as far as it went. The Mask retreated to the ring and shortly after was lifted high in the air while having a head lock on Thesz and brought down crashing to the canvas.
Thesz crashed, too, but he landed face down while the Mask lighted on his back. Big Lou had enough left to put an arm across the Mask and hold him down while Dunlop counted three.
Hefner didn't want to take off his head covering. Maybe that was because he literally had his teeth in it and the way Dunlop and Thesz went after him he may have thought his snappers would come away with the mask.
Patience, friends, patience. Halfway through the match Thesz tore the mask from the left eye hole to the nose opening. The champion concentrated on the disguise until he had ripped the other side and he was able to pull the top half back over Hefner's head. This gave the ringsiders a glimpse of his face but Hefner pulled the ripped section back down and over his eyes andclamped his teeth on the broken ends. Now operating with no eyeholes, Hefner saw Thesz the rest of the match through a red haze, so to speak.
Dick Raines and Lou Plummer, a couple of jaspers from Texas, retained their Canadian open tag team championship when they romped to victory over Bill Stack and Bobo Brazil. Raines pinned Stack at 27:10 of a scheduled one-hour semi-final after a series of backnbreakers, legal and illegal. Blustering Hans Hermann drew with Don Leo Jonathan (the most intriguing name alignment since John Charles Thomas). Hermann caused Jonathan to show his best since appearing here.
In the scheduled, 30-minute opener, Pat Flanagan rolled over Jan Gotch with a body
scissors at 21:48.
MAT FANS GET LEONE-McSHAIN FOR FREE
(Los Angeles Times, Saturday, Mar. 6, 1954)
Baron Michele Leone and Danny McShain will give local mat patrons a free view of their grappling talents today at 1 p.m. at the Hollywood Legion Stadium.
Leone and McShain will be featured on a coast-to-coast television struggle carried over the Columbia Broadcasting System hookup.
Free tickets for the match may be obtained at Columbia Square, just around the corner from the Legion Stadium on Sunset Blvd.
READY TO RUMBLE
(New York Post, July 1, 1999)
By Don Kaplan
Now it's going to get really ugly.
CBS has thrown itself into the pro-wrestling ring and will begin airing "Extreme Championship Wrestling" - the most hard-core wrestling federation of all - on its cable channel, The Nashville Network.
Until now, ECW - whose wrestlers have been known to hit each other with baseball bats wrapped in barbed-wire - has aired sporadically for about six years late at night on regional sports networks and local stations.
Beginning late next month, the as-yet-untitled hour of wrestling will air as part of a TNN Friday-night lineup that already includes an updated version of roller derby, "RollerJam," "Championship Rodeo" and "Motor Madness," a smash-'em-up car show that features demolition derbies.
Because of its violent content, ECW has been slapped with a PG-TV-14 rating.
"The reason that we've got that 'hard-core' handle is because we are innovators," said Steve Karel, the ECW's managing director.
According to Karel, the "hard-core" stuff featured in WWF and WCW matches such as using folding tables and steel chairs as weapons was not known on TV five years ago. "It was more of the old-fashioned kind of wrestling, much more limited in scope, demeanor and creativity," Karel said.
"We have paved the way for what I like to call the 'Howard Stern' version of wrestling - wilder antics and stunts pushing the envelope in some areas."
Unlike its larger rivals, the WWF and Turner's WCW, ECW does not rely on elaborate outside-the-ring storylines. Instead the league prides itself on providing more matches per hour.
"We also implement more topical news into our matches," Karl said.
"When Hugh Grant got busted with a prostitute in L.A., as a joke we hired Divine Brown - the [woman] he was with -to be our ring announcer," Karel said.
For the TNN show, the focus is going to be less sensationalism and more athleticism, Karel said.
"We're putting our own person in there to produce the show," said TNN president, David Hall, noting that he hopes to draw teen male viewers who have already been tuning in for "RollerJam."
"We're going to contain this to a tamer form of wrestling. We're going to have a
show that'sgood entertainment, but I don't think we'll go off the deep end. ''
MTV READY TO RUMBLE
(New York Post, June 29, 2000)
By Don Kaplan
Wrestling -- which has proved to be one the biggest ratings-getters in modern TV - is coming to MTV.
"Sunday Night Heat," a weekly World Wrestling Federation show which features a recap of the WWF's soap opera-like storylines, wrestler interviews and matches featuring the league's top talent, will leap from the USA network to MTV in October. The move is a big departure for the channel known for its music videos and the reality series "Real World."
The show will likely be revamped with more music to fit the MTV audience.
The WWF said earlier that it was already planning to start its own record label - which presumably will be pushed along more quickly now that the top-rated wrestling league will be affiliated with the music channel.
The switch to MTV comes as the result of a court ruling earlier this week that allows World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, headed by Vince McMahon, to move its popular wrestling shows from Barry Diller's USA Networks to TNN (formerly The Nashville Network) and MTV, both of which are owned by Viacom.
"We [now] will have the opportunity [to move] our program 'Sunday Night Heat' to MTV," WWFE CEO Linda McMahon said yesterday during an appearance on CNBC's "Squawkbox."
"Raw is War" - WWF's big cable showcase - will start airing TNN also in October.
McMahon also said the WWF would also likely produce other pro-wrestling programming for Viacom's two broadcast networks, CBS and UPN.
UPN already airs "WWF Smackdown," which has become the network's highest rated show.
Meanwhile, "Sunday Night Heat" and Monday night's "Raw is War" are USA's two highest rated programs. With "Heat" heading to MTV, and "Raw' going to TNN, the loss is almost certain to affect USA's high ratings.
"It would be the equivalent of CBS losing "60 Minutes" or ABC losing
"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," said Bill Carroll, director of programming for
Katz Television Group told the Associated Press.
WWF DROPS GOP INTO GUTTER
(New York Post, August 13, 2000)
By Phil Mushnick
The worst forces of popular culture now are more powerful than mainstream, two-party American presidential politics.
To sleep, perchance to dream - even a bad one - has become a welcomed alternative to the nightmarish reality of witnessing the free fall of common decency and common sense at the highest levels of media, commerce and politics. Anything for a buck, anything for a vote.
Two weeks ago in Philadelphia, in nominating George W. Bush as its presidential candidate, the Republican Party reached a new low in expeditious, Machiavellian pandering.
While the Republican Party ostensibly stands for good, old-fashioned family values, its special guests during its presidential convention were none other than the leading action figures of the World Wrestling Federation, an organization practiced at wearing its sweet, civic-minded mask when needed, but that's long been in the business of popularizing degenerate acts.
That the Republican Party was able to escape widespread and lasting ridicule for embracing the WWF during a presidential convention is evidence of a news media that is either sorrowfully blind to the WWF's content or, in the case of television news, co-opted by their networks' investments in pro wrestling.
Two Mondays ago, as the Republican National Convention began in Philly, Vince McMahon's WWF staged a nationally televised show in Atlanta. It featured its usual pornographic, hateful and violent performances that have made it so attractive to children, young adults and now, three months before a presidential election, to the Republican Party.
At one point, a group of barely clothed, large-breasted WWF women paraded outside the Georgia Dome in a mock demonstration. They encouraged onlookers to chant, "Save the Ho's!"
"Ho's" is street for whores. Little boys now reflexively refer to little girls as bitches and ho's in large part thanks to McMahon and his national TV enablers, which now, incredibly, include NBC and CBS.
As a WWF camera panned the crowd, children, some no older than 8, chanted, "Save the Ho's!"
During the in-house, scripted prime-time TV show, McMahon's latest top star, The Rock, slammed a shapely female wrestler to the mat. She was left stretched out, "unconscious," on her back.
The Rock then grabbed a folding chair and hit a male nemesis over the head with it. He staggered, then fell, also "unconscious." He landed with his face in her crotch and her face in his crotch. And there they stayed as The Rock sauntered around the ring, grinning broadly and knowingly. The live audience, comprised of thousands of children, was delighted.
Two nights later, this same guy, "The Rock," sat on the podium, among the Bush family, including the ex-President of the United States and his wife, Barbara. The Rock was an honored guest of the Republican Party and a featured speaker at the Republican National Presidential Convention in Philadelphia. This is the state of our nation.
In fact, Vince McMahon and his WWF were bestowed fully credentialed, VIP treatment at the convention. Within the same WWF show that included 8-year-olds chanting "Save the ho's" and The Rock's latest vile performance, came remote video reports from a WWF announcer working the floor from the Republican National Convention.
If only The Rock had brought along the tape from that show, two nights earlier, to demonstrate to the delegates and to national TV audiences what makes him so popular among younger folks that he was worthy of featured speaker status at the Republican Presidential Convention. And just how badly the Republicans were being had.
If only he had brought along tapes of some of his celebrated TV acts, like the one where he demands sex by hollering a profane expression for the female genitalia. That one was popular enough to inspire McMahon to sell merchandise carrying The Rock's visage along with the unprintable expression.
Why didn't The Rock and McMahon demonstrate to the assembled exactly why they're so popular that they were worthy of invites as honored guests and speakers? Why so circumspect before this audience?
Linda McMahon, Vince's wife, addressed a Republican Convention symposium entitled "The American Dream." Why didn't she distribute some of those oversized, foam rubber hands - the ones with the raised middle finger - that the WWF sells to kids at shows and features on TV?
Why didn't she explain to her Republican Convention audience how one of the WWF's most popular acts features wrestlers pointing to their crotches and hollering "Suck it"? Why didn't she provide full disclosure to her audience, especially to the uninitiated, as to how she and her husband have fulfilled their American Dream?
"Ladies and gentlemen" she might have begun, "I stand before you today to tell you that we've grown fabulously wealthy by selling violence, homophobia, misogyny, twisted sex, negative ethnic stereotyping and senseless hate to American children!
"We have grown rich, famous and powerful by doing dirt to society, but especially to your children. That's the realization of our American Dream. Oh, and God knows how many of our wrestlers are juiced to the max on steroids. Good day."
The Republican Party is one that largely embraces the sanctity of the Bible. Why didn't Mrs. McMahon or The Rock or Vince, while working the convention, tell their audiences how Stone Cold Steve Austin, another WWF American Dream money-maker, draws approval among young audiences by making lewd gestures and mocking the New Testament?
Why didn't Vince, or Linda, or The Rock speak of the modern, ongoing history of the WWF - and all of pro wrestling, for that matter - that includes rampant and systematic drug abuse? Why not a roll call of the wrestlers who have died closeted deaths from drug overdoses in order to "get big" for the likes of the McMahons?
Why not talk about the ring announcer/ring boss in the McMahons' employ who was widely known to use his position to sexually prey on under-aged boys? He operated with Vince's knowledge and to his amusement. McMahon cracked jokes about his deviance.
Why not show the tape of the transvestite oral sex scene that the WWF staged and aired in primetime? McMahon claimed to have loved that one, so why not share it with those delegates who might have missed it?
Why not a moment of silence for Owen Hart, who died last year performing a pay-per-view stunt for McMahon? Why not note for the assembled that after Hart was killed the show not only continued, but the next night, McMahon, rather than allow his wrestlers to mourn, gathered them for a national TV show to exploit Hart's death for bigger-than-usual ratings?
Or why not tell the Republican National Convention how the WWF's physician did a stretch in federal prison for distributing drugs to McMahon and his wrestlers?
Why not tell the Republican Party about how major TV advertisers, including the U.S. Armed Forces, pulled out of WWF shows because their content has become so vile?
Of all the "works" McMahon has pulled, this one's tops. The Republican National Committee provided the WWF with a starring role during its presidential convention. Staggering.
The WWF is extremely hot among the young, so the Republicans wanted a piece of the feel. They may not know why it's hot. They may not even care. Look what pro wrestling did for Jesse Ventura.
McMahon lately has talked big about how 14 million eligible voters watch the WWF every week. Bigshots within the Republican Party must've bought that.
While the WWF is enormously popular, on a good night it attracts roughly 7 million viewers, nearly 40 percent of whom are minors. How does that translate into 14 million voters?
But that's McMahon. One day he says the WWF is adult entertainment, the next day he brags about the increased number of kids who watch. One day he says it's up to parents to monitor what their kids watch, the next day he grows solemn and speaks of how his father was never around when he was growing up.
One day he says that there's no drug problem within the WWF, the next day he admits that there's a big drug problem within the WWF. One day he holds a news conference to declare that he has instituted rigid drug testing, the next day he says there's no drug testing because no one cares if his wrestlers are on drugs.
And just a few days ago, he and his charges took time out from producing another
disgusting, kid-desensitizing national TV show to be the honored guests and speakers at
the Republican National Presidential Convention. And the WWF, we're told, will be embraced
by the Democrats this week in Los Angeles. God help us.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
(New York Post, August 21, 2000)
As a fan of wrestling and a registered Republican, I take offense to the article written by Phil Mushnick ("GOP hits Rock' bottom," Aug. 13).
As far as his personal opinions of wrestling, he is entitled to them, but he should get his facts straight. Yes, "The Rock" and Linda McMahon were both invited to the Republican National Convention. They are encouraging young people to register to vote. It is a nonpartisan campaign.
I would like to see more articles praising wrestling for the positive campaigns the industry promotes. As well as the voter-awareness campaign, the WWF is involved in campaigns encouraging kids not to smoke or drive drunk.
Patrick T. Solinski
Oklahoma City, Okla.
Don't blame Vince McMahon for sliding values in entertainment - he isn't the only one producing crass TV shows.
Eaton Rapids, Mich.
I don't agree with everything Phil Mushnick writes, but I find him an extremely perceptive analyst and a very good writer.
Mushnick is the only sportswriter I have read who has taken on the WWF, the cartoonish freak show and softcore porn entertainment that has become so popular that it was, as Mushnick points out, featured at the Republican National Convention.
When the mainstream defenders of family values and morality embrace the WWF, you can resign yourself to the fact that the stream is polluted beyond hope and cynicism is the only refuge.
Richard C. Crepeau
Winter Springs, Fla.
Phil Mushnick's jealousy of Vince McMahon and his success is getting out of control.
Get a life, Phil.
I am one of millions of wrestling fans. I can't see why Phil Mushnick continues to bash the WWF for its behavior. It is like criticizing a bad movie - it's a question of personal taste.
Phil has been doing it way too long. Give it a rest.
What Phil Mushnick wrote can only be seen as humorous. This man obviously has no concept of the modern world. He states in his column that the WWF has taught young children to call girls "ho's" and "bitches."
Has he bothered to listen to a local rap radio station? Each and every day, these stations let words like that go to air. In letting these words slide, small children learn them.
Virginia Beach, Va.
I used to respect your paper and just ignore Phil Mushnick, but I can't deal with him anymore.
Does Phil Mushnick think that Vince McMahon invented the word "ho"? Is he serious? Phil, try the real outlets of filth, sleaze and violence - not the theater of the absurd that parodies it.
SURVIVOR FOES MAY WRESTLE IN REMATCH
(New York Post, August 31, 2000)
By Joe Rubi and Bill Hoffmann
The lady "Survivor" losers who hate each other's guts could be coming back to TV - in a no-holds-barred wrestling match.
Three wrestling groups are said to be wooing Kelly Wiglesworth and Susan Hawk for a grudge match.
The depth of the bitterness between Susan, 38, and Kelly, 23, emerged in the final moments of the top-rated CBS show last week.
Susan accused her rival of betrayal and raged: "If I were ever to pass you along in life again, and you were laying there dying of thirst, I would not give you a drink of water. I would let the vultures take you!"
She then called Kelly "a rat" and labeled the show's winner, openly gay corporate trainer Richard Hatch - who won the cool $1 million prize - "a snake."
It was one of the most intense moments of the summer "reality" series, in which 16 castaways were jetted to a secluded island and then proceeded to vote one contestant off each week.
Over the past few days, the World Wrestling Federation, World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling each have reportedly approached the oil-and-vinegar pair to wrestle.
ECW promoter Paul Heyman told The Post his group is actively pursuing the match.
"I would love to have it. Obviously, we want to have these two women go at it," said Heyman, who wants to air the match Oct. 1 on its "Anarchy Rulz!" pay-per-view show.
But ECW faces stiff competition from the bigger, Stamford-based WWF and Atlanta-based WCW.
A WCW spokesman confirmed the match was being considered. And it was reported on the E! channel that the WWF has made the women a hefty offer.
Hawk, a tough-talking truck driver from Wisconsin, and Kelly, a river guide from Nevada, also fueled the possibility of a mat match when they appeared yesterday on CBS's "The Early Show."
"Me and Kelly are talking about - we might still take it out in a ring. We want to get a tapioca wrestling match," Hawk told host Bryant Gumbel, referring to the much-hated food the islanders were forced to eat so often.
"Tapioca wrestling, yeah," Wiglesworth added.
"And the first one to make the other swallow tapioca wins," Hawk concluded.
LADY WRESTLER BITES COP
(New York Post, September 18, 2000)
By Larry Celona, William J. Gorta and Bill Hoffmann
Strapping lady wrestler Nicole Bass was down for the count and behind bars last night after pulling a Mike Tyson and biting a cop during a wild melee in Little Italy, police said.
The world-champion bodybuilder, who is 6-foot-2 and weighs 230 pounds, was charged with assault for allegedly sinking her teeth into the thumb of Police Officer James Secreto.
"The officer was trying to break up a fight between Nicole and another party, and she went berserk and chomped down on his hand," one law enforcement source said.
"Maybe Tyson can get away with it in the ring, like he did with [Evander] Holyfield's ear, but you don't do that to a New York City cop."
Two years ago, the amazon athlete made headlines when she agreed to take a DNA test after shock jock Howard Stern questioned whether she was a woman. The test proved she was.
The bizarre bust-up in Lower Manhattan unfolded at 10:30 p.m. Saturday at the annual San Gennaro Festival.
Police said Bass, 36, her husband, Robert Fuchs, 52, two friends and one of their kids were walking at Mulberry and Kenmare streets when a man accidentally bumped into the child.
A heated argument broke out and erupted into a shoving match.
Secreto noticed the fight at the packed intersection and rushed to break it up.
That's when, cops say, Nicole made like a shark and bit down on Secreto's thumb.
If convicted of second- and third-degree assault, the outspoken ironwoman, who lives in Middle Village, Queens, could go to prison for up to three years.
Also arrested and charged with third-degree assault were her husband and a relative, Jennifer Fuchs, 31, of Middle Village; John Rut, 30, of Massapequa, L.I.; and Alexander Ronaye, 21, of Queens.
Wrestling fans were split on Bass' arrest.
"It's typical. It would be just like her," Natasha Rodriguez, 14, of Manhattan said at the WWF Cafe in Times Square.
But John Martino, 21, of Locust Valley, L.I., insisted: "She's a good wrestler and a very nice person."
"I think its a lie. It didn't happen," Angelo Iandoli, 14, from Cranford, N.J., fumed.
Bass - the largest woman bodybuilder in the world - won several international championships in the '90s and then switched to pro wrestling.
The blue-eyed strongwoman - who has 17-inch biceps, 28-inch thighs, 18-inch calves and a 50-inch chest, grappled in the ring for the World Wrestling Federation and Extreme Championship Wrestling and then became a free agent.
Her no-holds-barred wrestling style has included such vicious mat moves as the "one-handed choke slam" and the "power bomb."
But Bass showed her feminine side when she was reduced to tears on Stern's radio show two years ago as the shock jock questioned her sexuality and had sidekick Robin Quivers examine her private parts.
She was later vindicated when a DNA test showed her to be 100 percent female.
"I mean, I don't mind beating up the guys ... I want to be a wrestler. I don't
want to be Nicole Bass who just stands there. Because, to me, that is kind of
crappy," she said.
WWF SWITCHES STOCK-MARKET TAG TEAM PARTNER
(New York Post, September 23, 2000)
By Adam Miller
The rock 'em, sock 'em World Wrestling Federation yesterday announced it has body-slammed the Nasdaq and is entering the ring of the New York Stock Exchange.
The WWF - a $1.5 billion sports and entertainment empire that boasts some of the most popular programs on TV - is pinning its hopes on being listed on the Big Board under the symbol "WWF" beginning Oct. 25.
"The opportunity to list our common stock on the New York Stock Exchange is yet another strategic step in increasing the visibility of the company with investors, analysts and fans alike," said Linda McMahon, president of the WWF and wife of wrestling honcho Vince McMahon.
"We are excited about the prospects that will ensue from the increased awareness of the WWF brand and the unique form of entertainment and merchandising that we deliver to our targeted audience."
She added that the WWF is grateful to Nasdaq for "making our first year as a public company a success."
WWF's no-holds-barred announcement came just a day after Vince McMahon made the Forbes' list of the 400 richest people in America.
The flamboyant, 55-year-old wrestling mogul and TV announcer is tied for 260th on the list.
NYSE spokesman Rich Adamonis said the exchange is "certainly pleased with the WWF's decision and look forward to the company joining [its] family."
The Stamford, Conn.-based company first traded on Nasdaq Oct. 19 at $17 a pop. The stock closed yesterday up 1516 to 191/2.
WWF programs attract a whopping 7 million viewers on a good night, with a stable of wrestling megastars including The Rock, Chyna and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Last month, the company reported that first-quarter profits rose 22 percent on higher pay-per-view and advertising sales related to its "Smackdown!" and "Raw is War" TV extravaganzas.
The WWF, which runs a theme eatery in Times Square, has also launched a pro gridiron
league, the XFL - for "extreme football league" - which debuts in February. ____________________________________________________
WAWLI REDUX # 30
WWF BIDS TO ESCAPE AGENCYS HOLD
(New York Post, October 3, 2000)
By Devlin Barrett
The World Wrestling Federation cried foul in court yesterday, charging a Hollywood talent agency with trying to slap an illegal hold on the WWF's new XFL football league money.
The lewd and crude pro-wrestling operation headed by Vince McMahon issued a legal smackdown challenge with a suit in Manhattan federal court, accusing the staid William Morris agency of playing dirty.
The WWF claims Morris pinned them to an unfair deal with three contracts in 1997, when the wrestling company was locked in a bitter struggle with rival WCW and in fear of losing its television deal.
The wrestling organization says it was suckered into agreeing to pay commissions on any and all future business deals, whether or not William Morris worked on them.
The dispute became a no-holds-barred showdown last month when the agency began demanding a commission on the WWF's new XFL league, set to begin play early next year.
The XFL is designed to bring the controversial style and swagger of pro wrestling to football, with lax rules that allow for rougher play.
The games, to be broadcast on NBC, are expected to pull in huge ratings and make even more money for the booming pro-wrestling company.
William Morris is demanding a cut of that pie, even though it was not involved in creating or selling the XFL, according to the lawsuit.
"They want to get their money for nothing, like in the old Dire Straits song," said WWF lawyer Jerry McDevitt. "William Morris wants their clients to work for them, instead of them working for their clients."
The suit charges that the agency, the largest in Hollywood, "has market power ... sufficient to establish, or attempt to establish, illegal practices which violate core duties of agents."
The WWF argues that it is "a family business" and was "a neophyte in dealing with Hollywood entertainment agents" when its officials signed the nearly illegible contracts.
"Try to read them without a magnifying glass and a ruler. You can't," McDevitt said.
William Morris declined to comment on the suit, saying is lawyers had not had a chance to review the papers.
A source at the agency said the two companies "had an agreement and [the WWF] decided they didn't want to pay it. ... Take everything they're saying with a grain of salt. They've done very, very well with us."
The WWF wants a federal judge to throw out William Morris' commission claims and force
it to pay back all the money the WWF has paid the agency, along with unspecified damages.
TED TURNER THROWING WCW OUT OF THE RING?
(New York Post, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2000)
By Don Kaplan
Ted Turner is looking to dump his money-losing World Championship Wrestling, according to published reports.
The WCW -featuring pro-wrestling stars such as Goldberg and Sting - has been losing the ratings battle against the World Wrestling Federation for years.
Its corporate parents, Turner Broadcasting and Time Warner, are now in "serious talks" with Mandalay Sports Entertainment to sell the organization, according to the trade publication Electronic Media.
Insiders say that the WCW has been losing between $50 million and $80 million annually.
Time Warner has reportedly been trying to ditch unprofitable properties before it merges with AOL, a deal expected to be completed in November, assuming regulatory approval.
The WCW became part of Time Warner when Turner Broadcasting merged with Time Warner in 1996.
The Mandalay/WCW deal is allegedly being brokered by Eric Bischoff, who once ran the WCW but is currently overseeing a Mandalay-produced reality show, called "Road Rage," a series set to debut on UPN at midseason.
Mandalay "has enjoyed an extremely successful working relationship with the WCW, Turner and Eric Bischoff over the past several years, and we anticipate that relationship continuing, " company officials said in a statement.
"While no deal is imminent, we are always interested in adding properties to our portfolio that will expand our presence and position in the field of sports entertainment."
A WCW spokesman added, "There's a lot of speculation out there but no hard facts."
Insiders said Mandalay could produce WCW shows such as "Nitro" and "Thunder," while Turner's TNT and TBS networks would continue to air them.
The deal, sources said, would be similar to the arrangement between WWF and Viacom,
which airs WWF programming on its UPN, MTV and TNN networks.
TIME WARNER SELLS AILING WCW
(New York Post, January 12, 2000)
By Allyson Lieberman
AOL Time Warner's clean-up of Turner Broadcasting continued yesterday with the sale of its ailing World Championship Wrestling operation.
Once recognized as the most popular TV wrestling brand, the WCW has been pinned by the leading World Wrestling Federation, with stars such as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Often dubbed "Wheelchair Wrestling" by its fans because of its aging wrestling stars, the operation is said to have lost more than $80 million last year.
Insiders say parent company Time Warner, which is being acquired by America Online, could not justify the huge losses and ordered the sale of the wrestling giant.
The WCW was sold for an estimated $80 million to $100 million to Fusient Media, whose chiefs founded the Classic Sports Network, now known as ESPN Classic.
Turner Broadcasting will retain a minority interest in the WCW business and long-term programming rights.
Bradley Siegel, president of general entertainment networks at TBS, said Turner cable stations will continue airing WCW matches but will leave programming and marketing to the New York-based Fusient Media Ventures.
Eric Bischoff, who was recently brought back to revive the faltering WCW, will remain president.
"WCW was the thorn in the side of Turner Cable networks," said Ed Hatch, an
analyst at SG Cowen Securities. "Management is in the process of clearing the decks
of deadwood," Hatch said of the sale.
THE GRILL IS GONE
(New York Post, October 31, 2000)
By Don Kaplan
BURGER King has dropped a whopper on the World Wrestling Federation - yanking all of its advertising from the popular UPN show, "WWF Smackdown!"
The move puts Burger King in league with a host of other high-profile advertisers that have dropped Vince McMahon's popular rock-em-sock-em circus, including McDonalds, Wendy's, Coca-Cola/Seven Up and MCI.
The burger chain however declined to say if the WWF's roughhousing and sex were the reason.
"Burger King Corp. routinely alternates its media mix to effectively communicate with our consumers and to maximize our target reach," Burger King officials said in a prepared statement.
"It is not our policy to divulge specific media tactics due to the highly competitive nature of our business."
WWF officials did not return phone calls seeking comment.
The high-rated show (about 7.6 million viewers tune in each week) has been losing big advertisers in droves since it began airing in August 1999. Many have cited the show's violence and graphic themes as the reason why they pull their ads.
For years, some wrestlers have been famous for chugging beer in the ring and raising their middle fingers at TV cameras. One wrestler, The Godfather, almost always appears with an entourage of scantily clad women he calls his "ho's."
But the lewd antics and nearly nude babes are a big part of what has catapulted the WWF and its weekly programs to the top of the ratings charts and made "Smackdown!" the highest-rated show on UPN.
Burger King's decision comes almost a year after the WWF promised to tone down the racy content of its network show - by cutting out some of the wrestlers' lewd antics and scaling down the show's array of scantily clad women.
As a result, the show's rating went from TV-14 to TV-PG.
Despite the changes, the U.S. Coast Guard pulled its ads from all WWF programming last November, following Coca-Cola's decision a month earlier.
Other big companies that have yanked their advertising from "Smackdown!" include AT&T, Mars Inc. and chewing-gum maker Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.
News of Burger King's defection comes just as the massive, money-making WWF seems poised to grow even bigger.
Published reports say the billion-dollar entertainment behemoth is in talks to buy its arch-rival, Time Warner/Ted Turner-operated, World Championship Wrestling.
The WCW - which is reportedly on track to lose between $50 and $80 million this year- has reportedly been put on the block.
"I understand both sides are talking," said Bill Apter, a longtime
pro-wrestling insider and the editor of World of Wrestling magazine. "But I do not
think it would be good to have one company in charge of the two biggest wrestling
companies - of course right now it's only speculation."
CHANGE OF HART
(New York Post, November 29, 2000)
By Brad Hunter
After 23 years of being battered in wrestling rings around the world, Bret "The Hitman" Hart is ready to reveal some of the squared-circle's darkest secrets.
The profession, he says, has become a twisted circus of money, injury, drug abuse and death. When he retired last month, Hart said he knew he had to get out.
The catalyst for Hart's candor is the tragic death of his younger brother, Owen, in a World Wrestling Federation stunt-gone-awry 18 months ago in Kansas City.
Its fallout forced the legendary wrestler to take a long, hard look at his beloved profession. What he saw sickened him.
"For me, it has no relation to what I did for 23 years," Hart told The Post. "People are now trying to hurt you for real, the level of violence and sex . . . it's no longer for kids."
The wrestling carnival has become so debauched the wrestler no longer allows his own children to watch, he says. Outrageously violent scenarios, sexual and racial stereotypes, along with widespread drug abuse are now the norm.
"Wrestling killed my brother," Hart said sadly. "To me, rock music is dead - and so is wrestling."
Hart, 43, fingers WWF czar Vince McMahon and his $1 billion enterprise as the reason for most of wrestling's ills.
The grappler had soured on the wrestling pooh-bah before his brother's death, but in the aftermath, his feelings have intensified.
WRESTLING wasn't always this way, Hart says.
His father, Stu, started Stampede Wrestling in the '40s in a territory that stretched across western Canada and included Montana.
Several of his eight sons followed him into the biz and two of his daughters married wrestlers.
Wrestling in those days was strictly lower-class and performed in small, sweaty arenas and clubs. TV matches were kept to Saturday morning, and while the stars were big men, they were a long way from the muscle-bound behemoths of today.
The sport was in dire need of a visionary who could take it out of the trailer parks and put it in prime time.
Wrestling's revolutionary came in the form of McMahon, who bought the WWF in the early 1980s from his father Vince McMahon Sr., a longtime East Coast promoter.
The younger McMahon took his matches to a national audience, popularized its superstars and bought the best talent available. One of the talented young wrestlers he brought aboard in the early 1980s was Bret Hart.
Hart thrived in the WWF, quickly earning a reputation as a technically excellent wrestler who reveled in his role as a heel.
"Vince really cleaned it up. It had always been pretty low rent and low paying - and gory," Hart said.
Hart added the wrestlers followed a code of honor and the No. 1 rule was: Never hurt your opponent. But as wrestling became more mainstream, an epidemic of drug abuse lurked in the shadows. Hart says the biggest names in the business, including himself, were using steroids. Prescription painkillers were also rife.
Stars like Hulk Hogan and Superstar Billy Graham have publicly confessed to using steroids, while the British Bulldog is in a rehab center battling an addiction to painkillers.
As the WWF grew in popularity, so did the money involved. Merchandising deals, TV and advertising contracts were no longer chump change.
Pressure on the wrestlers to bulk up using steroids also increased, Hart explained. On the road for weeks at a time and hobbled by a litany of aches and pains, the grapplers would frequently turn to painkillers.
"When I was with the WWF, the schedule was merciless. I was doing 300 shows a year and there are drug problems that come out of that," the wrestler said. "Particularly the painkillers. Guys found they couldn't do their job without a support system.' Drugs will do that for you.
"I banged up my knee and then used steroids to rebuild the muscles but most of the people were using them for bulk. A blind eye was turned to it."
But some things were tough to ignore.
Fatal heart attacks, a side effect of steroid use, were becoming frighteningly common among wrestlers in their 20s and 30s.
Men like Rick Rude, Eddie Gilbert and Yokozuna along with scores of lesser wrestlers all died of heart failure at young ages.
"There's been a lot of guys who died because of using steroids," Hart charged. "Most of them aren't big names but they're still dead."
Yet despite public exposure of steroid use among WWF stars, the organization remains relatively unblemished. Even after the WWF's former physician George Zahorian was jailed for supplying wrestlers with steroids and painkillers, there was little public outcry or interest in a crackdown.
REGARDLESS, the WWF remained outrageously popular. The public seemed to think of wrestlers as distant cousins of Wile E. Coyote, cartoon characters having play fights and then dusting themselves off.
But after a huge burst of popularity in the 1980s, wrestling went into another swan, jacking up the stakes once again.
In the drive for TV audiences, the stunts became more dangerous, the content hyper-sexualized and the characters and story lines more outlandish.
"If you want the idea of the dimensions, I spent the past year dodging cars, swinging baseball bats and chairs. I even drove over four other wrestlers in a monster truck with them stuck inside a car," Hart said of his time with the WWF's chief rival, the World Championship Wrestling.
There were others reasons for Hart to quit.
A series of concussions finally sidelined the WCW champion earlier this year and because of his long recovery, Time Warner, the WCW's owner, fired him, he said.
A spokeswoman for the WCW confirmed that Hart's contract was terminated prematurely for medical reasons.
Finally, in October he retired from the world of pile drivers and pins. But he can't escape the sport that runs in his blood.
Everyday, the unjust death of his brother haunts him - and he says the fallout has also destroyed his once close family.
Owen Hart, The Blue Blazer, fell 78 feet to his death while trying to enter the ring on a cable during a pay-per-view event in Kansas City on May 23, 1999. But the cable suddenly snapped and Owen fell, smashing his head on a turnbuckle.
As stunned wrestlers learned of the death, McMahon ordered the bouts to continue.
Bret Hart was shocked.
Hart said his brother's body was barely buried when McMahon began making overtures to the Hart family. He believes McMahon suspected there would be a suit, so he moved quickly on damage control.
In his opinion, McMahon had a plan: to split the family and minimize the wrongful-death lawsuit being filed by Owen's wife, Martha.
Hart says the wrestling chieftain convinced two of the dead wrestler's sisters and their husbands he had their best interests at heart.
"Vince went to my parents in Calgary and talked to my sisters, Ellie and Diana who are married to former wrestlers Jim Niedhart and Davey Boy Smith, aka British Bulldog. McMahon came bearing gifts, Hart said.
Niedhart became director of a WWF wrestling school and Smith was allegedly promised a big comeback.
"My sister Diana thought she would become the next Sable [a former female wrestling superstar] and it just wasn't going to happen," Hart said. He says once his sisters and their husbands had served their purpose they were jettisoned from the WWF.
They vehemently deny his claims.
Now, neither Bret nor Martha speak to his sisters.
However, Ellie Niedhart said it was Bret who ripped the family apart.
"Bret's had a vendetta against Vince. Vince McMahon didn't intentionally kill Owen."
She denied receiving anything in return for listening to McMahon. The problem, she said, was Bret's ego.
The WWF settled Martha's wrongful-death suit two weeks ago for $18 million and is suing the maker of the harness involved in Owen's accident.
Yet the whole affair still sticks in Hart's craw.
In the hours following Owen's death, Hart said McMahon frantically tried to get in contact with him. The message was seemingly heartfelt.
"His rep was begging me to meet with Vince and I already knew I couldn't talk about the impending lawsuit. It was best to say nothing," Hart recalled. "Finally, I said OK, meet me in a park near my house.' "
The two men eventually met and Hart said McMahon offered to give him access to extensive photos and video of the wrestler made during his 10-year WWF career - in order to keep him on his side.
WWF lawyer Jerry McDevitt said that McMahon was unavailable to talk to The Post.
"What he's saying couldn't be further from the truth. The loss of Owen to the WWF and his family was genuine," said McDevitt.
McDevitt also said the wrestler's sisters and parents "never asked for a penny."
"I think Bret is angry the lawsuit is now behind them, but the rest of the family is relieved," McDevitt said, adding that Owen had suggested the comeback for his brother-in-law, Smith.
Jim Niedhart, he said was fired from the wrestling school long before any settlement was reached, but would not give reasons why.
"Bret Hart is poisoned, he doesn't like modern wrestling but he willingly accepted a paycheck," McDevitt said, pointing out that Hart carried on making a living from the sport until only a month ago.
Hart remains steadfast:
"At first when Owen died, I saw it as one of those bizarre things that happen in
wrestling and I tried not to let it sour me. But now, from what I've seen, I think that
something like this will probably happen again."
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