REFEREE MASON LOSES TO IRISH ENEMY
(Seattle Times, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 1933)
As a heavyweight wrestler, Charlie Mason is an excellent referee. That was decisively proved last night in the main event of the wrestling smoker before the largest Monday night audience of the season. "Rough House" Pat Reilly, the Boston Irishman, carried too many guns for Mason, who showed flashes of his oldtime form but who couldnt match Reilly for gameness and stamina. Reilly took two straight falls.
At that, it was quite a bout. Mason carried the battle right to his heavier opponent and his opening onslaught nearly won him a fall against Reilly.
However, the big Irishman showed that he also can wrestle when he puts his dukes to the business and after 19 minutes of lightning action he hoisted Mason and dumped him for a body slam.
In securing his second fall, Reilly took a fusillade of blows from Masons fist and then dumped Mason outside the ropes. The ex-referee crawled back into the ring on an 18 count, but Reilly lifted him and banged him for the deciding fall. August Sepp essayed the role of referee.
Jack Forsgren, newly crowned Canadian heavyweight champion, and Al Pereira, giant Portuguese, put on a ding-dong battle in the semi-windup for the best heavyweight battle seen here in years. Forsgren used four successive body slams to get the lone fall after 30 minutes of rough going. Pereira was unable to answer the bell for the next round and the match went to Forsgren.
Dan McDonald, Spokane light-heavyweight, fell a victim of Dr. Nap DeVoras rope-spin tactics in the special event. McDonald started strong but DeVora wore him down and finally pulled out his ace to take the rubber.
The "Masked Marvel" won his fourth straight from Clarence Shaw of Tacoma in the preliminary, using a body slam for the clincher.PEREIRA FALLS BEFORE REILLY
(Seattle Times, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 1933)
Al (Power House) Pereira, Portuguese pachyderm, could "deal it" but he couldnt "take it." Not the stuff that "Rough House" Pat Reilly was dealing in the main event of last nights wrestling program at the Civic Auditorium. Consequently, Reilly won two of the three falls.
Pereira came up with a soar through the air to land on Reilly with a flying scissors after fifteen minutes of rough grappling. That was fall No. 1. The Boston Irishman swung his righthand flail to Pereiras chin ten minutes later and down went the Portuguese with Reilly on top of him. That was fall No. 2. Pereira shouldnt have answered the bell after the belting he took from Reilly. However, he did, and Reilly swung a couple more on Pereiras chin for fall No. 3.
Dr. Nap DeVora, Providence Frenchman, can lay claim to the state lightheavyweight championship this morning. He flipped Tommy Ray of Longview for two of three falls in the semi-windup to again "steal the show."
DeVora got the first on his famous rope-spin, ethrowing Ray off the top rope after seventeen minutes. Ray came back, showing plenty of wrestling skill, to pin DeVora with a leg split. With a peculiar backward body slam, DeVora fell on Ray for the third and decisive fall.
Dan McDonald, sturdy Spokane Scotchman, substituted for Al Karasick, who was too ill with influenza, and McDonald was a victim of August Sepp, veteran Seattle Finn, in the special event. Sepp used a double-drop toe hold for the lone fall.
George McDowell, Washington pharmacy student, also used the toe hold with telling effect on Al (Steamboat) Schnell of Wenatchee in the preliminary. Schnell blew his whistle and it was all over in about nineteen minutes.ED (STRANGLER) LEWIS HERE, BUT NOT WRESTLING
(Seattle Times, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 1933)
Ed (Strangler) Lewis, heavyweight wrestling champion half a dozen times, and storm center of a wrestling war being waged in New York City, arrived here by United Air Lines plane from Los Angeles last night, intent on wrestling but not in Seattle.
Tonight he meets Bob Kruse of Oswego in Tacoma; tomorrow night he wrestles in Portland; Thursday night he wrestles in Vancouver, B.C., then hops back to California. On January 23 he tops the Madison Square Garden program in New York.
The huge heavyweight has not wrestled here since he met Dr. Karl Sarpolis in the famous "Ill throw Lewis or retire" series. Shortly afterward he began his invasion into the Land o Londos which resulted in Londos being ousted as heavyweight champion by the New York Athletic Commission and the placing on top of the New York pedestal of the "Strangler."STRANGLER LEWIS IN TITLE CAMPAIGN
(Seattle Times, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 1933)
Ed (Strangler) Lewis, many-time heavyweight champion wrestler of the world, is campaigning for undisputed possession of that title once again, in "wrestling matches" rather than the present-day "exhibitions." The veteran heavyweight made that declaration here yesterday.
He arrived in Seattle by United Air Lines plane, wrestled Bob Kruse in Tacoma last night, Abe Kaplan in Portland tonight and Tiger Daula in Vancouver, B.C., tomorrow night, before flying back to California. Hes the same old fly-about. He headlocked his way to victory over Kruse last night.
A month ago he met Ray Steele, so-called "policeman" for Jim Londos, in New York. The result of that bout was his recognition as worlds champion by the New York Athletic Commission.
And now he wants to meet Steele and Jim Londos in the same ring on the same night.
"Londos first, Steele second," said Lewis. "My end of the gate to any recognized charity."
He branded as entirely inaccurate reports he had been signed to wrestle Londos in Los Angeles in February, then launched into reminiscence about his campaign into New York state, a campaign which saw Londos unseated as the New York Athletic Commissions heavyweight champion and the establishment of himself as the recognized ruler of all the phat ones.
"Have you heard that story of the man who started a rumor that there was an oil field, watched the crowd start running for it, then joined the procession himself because there might be something to it?" he asked.
"I read so many papers telling me I was aged and infirm and blind I began to believe it. Then I stopped short. I decided to find out if I was old, and weak, and aged, as I had been painted.
"I took on seven heavyweight wrestlers whom I believe to be the best next to me, in the world. I wrestled them in succession twenty minutes to a man. When that two hours and twenty minutes were over they were exhausted and I was fresh. I was better than they were. You know some of them: Marin Plestina, John Evko, Dan Koloff, Charley Hanson, Bull Komar, Jim Browning, Joe Malcewicz.
"So then I knew I was better than Steele. Any of them can throw Steele.
"I wrestled Steele. Upon my word of honor, it was an honest match. At the end of thirty minutes Steele whispered in my ear, Ed, Ive had enough. Im going to foul out.
"I said, Dont do that. Cant you take it like a man?
"The answer I got was a slug on the chin from his elbow. He popped me three times. Evko, who had been my trainer until two days before the match, jumped into the ring. He had no business in the ring. It wasnt his party. But even his jumping into the ring didnt prevent Steele from being disqualified. I wish Steele hadnt taken that way out.
"But the only thing I can do now is challenge both Londos and his policeman. I dont like challenges any more than you do. But that seems the only way to get them both into the same ring on the same night."
Lewis reported that Floyd Musgrave, former Coast Athletic Club matchmaker here, was doing a swell job of promoting in Philadelphia.
"The last time I wrestled there we filled the auditorium," said Lewis. "It holds 15,000 people. Musty is the only promoter who has been able to crash the opposition there."
Lewis has lost twenty-five pounds. His eyes, afflicted for years with that malady
peculiar to wrestlers, trachoma, have improved immeasurably, he said.
WAWLI REDUX No. 52...
(Seattle Times, Saturday, Jan. 14, 1933)
(ED. NOTE While heavyweight matchmaker Roy Fehner conducted regular Monday night shows during this period, using talent from Ted Thyes Portland, Ore., office supplemented by locals, Abe Kubey promoted the smaller weights on Fridays at the same Civic Auditorium.)
George (Wildcat) Pete, rugged Eugene, Ore., grappler, today is the unofficial king of Northwest 150-pound wrestlers as the result of defeating Cyclone Mackey in the main event of last nights Pioneer Athletic Club wrestling program at the Civic Auditorium.
Pete evened the score with Mackey by winning a one-fall verdict last night, the New Mexican having emerged victorious over him some time ago.
The boys put up a hard fought, evenly contested bout that proved interesting from the starting gong. Neither grappler gained much headway until the fifth when Pete finally scored with his famous reverse chin locks after weakening his foe with a series of whip wristlocks.
The next round was mild, but the seventh and eighth frames warmed up a bit. Referee Frank Vance was about ready to award Mackey a fall when the final bell rang. Mackey had slammed the Oregonian to the mat after rushing him around the ring throughout most of the round.
The semiwindup really stole the show. Leung Tin-Kit, immaculate Chinese wrestling ace, took a two-out-of-three-fall victory from Pancho Vitela, who proved no easy mark. Vitela won the first fall in the second round with a Boston crab. Tin-Kit came back in the third to even it up with a drop toe hold and won when he swung his flying tackles into the attack a round later.
Des Anderson chalked up his fifth straight victory in the special event, winning one fall from Senor Don Castillo, colorful Argentine middleweight grappler. Anderson scored the only fall of the bout with a half-nelson and crotch hold in the fourth.
Speed Lawrence and Randall Hicks grappled to a no-fall draw in the opener.
Ed (Strangler) Lewis witnessed a portion of last nights show before heading for the south.JACK JOHNSON TRIES CHANGE; INJURED ON MAT
(United Press, Monday, January 16, 1933)
BRUSSELS, Belgium Jack Johnson, former world heavyweight boxing champion, today was recovering from severe bruises and physical collapse suffered Saturday night when he was thrown from the ring in a wrestling bout with Salor Constant of Belgium.
The Belgian picked up the aging Negro and tossed him from the ring to the floor below. Johnson tried to struggle to his feet, but fainted. Sailor Constant was awarded the victory.
Johnson went to Berlin, Germany, recently to organize a boxing school, but accepted invitations to do some wrestling on the side.CHENEY FORCES HEAVY TO LIMIT, BUT LOSES
(Seattle Times, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 1933)
George Cheney, a big, rugged youth from Los Angeles, came mighty close to carrying away Jack Forsgrens Canadian heavyweight mat title in the main event of last nights wrestling card at the Civic Auditorium. Cheney won the first fall from the champion but the effort was a bit costly to Cheneys staminia. Forsgren staged a sensational comeback to take the next two falls.
A hammer-lock and arm scissors turned the first fall in favor of Cheney. The hammer-lock was on Forsgren for nearly ten minutes before the Vancouver fireman gave up. Forsgren took a short rest and then turned the faucet on Cheney.
A brilliant body slam gave Forsgren the second and tying fall. He used the Boston crab for the third fall. Cheney is an aggressive youngster who lives up to advance notices. Forsgrens margin was plenty close, although both falls came in decisive fashion.
Charlie Mason, the grappling referee, made good in a big way in the semi-windup. Attempting to redeem himself for his showing against "Rough House" Reilly, Mason turned in the biggest reversal of dope this season by flipping Dr. Nap DeVora two straight falls. DeVora had won five straight here before last nights affair.
Mason used a leg split after 24 minutes of lightning action for his first number. The second fall was dramatic. DeVora lifted Mason for a body slam. In coming down, however, Mason held on to his headlock and turned DeVora over for the fall.
George McDowell, University of Washington, and Rocky Brooks, Victoria heavyweight, grappled to a no-fall draw in the special event.
Wayne Mosio, Seattle Finn, won his first match here in the preliminary by measuring "Wildcat" Blackie, Everett logger, with a body slam in 17 minutes.JAPANS STRONG MAN TO EXHIBIT TRICKS HERE
(Seattle Times, Sunday, Jan. 22, 1933)
Kitabata San, touted as Japans strongest man, will perform feats of strength tomorrow night at the Cathedral Auditorium, corner of Columbia Street and Ninth Avenue.
Though no larger than an ordinary man, he claims to have the strength of ten men, ties steel bars into bow knots, pulls a heavily loaded truck with his teeth, breaks rocks and drives nails with his bare fists.
Fr. Hugh Lavery of the Maryknoll Mission became interested in the strong man, hence profits of his exhibition go to the Mission.
San will leave Tuesday for Los Angeles, where he will learn wrestling under the
direction of Lou Daro, California impressario. He hopes to win the middleweight
(Seattle Times, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 1933)
Charlie Mason, the cobbling referee who essayed as a wrestler, "was dere," and hell tell you today that George McDowell, the young University of Washington heavyweight, is about the fastest coming bone-crusher in this section. For McDowell won his first main event last night at the Civic Auditorium when he came from behind to defeat Mason after the latter had secured the first fall.
Both were cautious. An overdose of caution cost McDowell the first fall and the veteran Mason was quick to take advantage of the situation. He clamped a peculiar headlock on the Husky mat star and pinned both his shoulders to the canvas. Then McDowell opened his bag and brought out a fancy step-over leg scissors which tied up the cobbler.
That leg-log was the cause of Masons downfall in the final session. Using his stamina to good advantage, McDowell finally lifted Mason over his head and banged the unfortunate cobbler on the mat to finish it.
Dan McDonald, the Spokane Scotchman, essayed a neat substituting role for Billy Severe against Rocky Brooks in the semi-windup and nearly stole the show with his grit. The Scot went out and won the first fall, turning the trick with a clever leg split after twenty-one minutes of action. Brooks, the Victoria thunderbolt, tied the count with the headlock that Pat Reilly uses. Brooks also went into the book for his third fall, coming up with a "surfboard" hold to clinch the argument.
Jack Kruger, Port Orchard, came out of his temporary retirement to stage a comeback and flip Eddie Burke, Tacoma Irishman, with a body slam in the special event.
George Anderson, Tacoma Swedish light-heavyweight, didnt have his motor tuned up and Ted Lange, former Washington mat captain, won the preliminary with a body slam in twelve minutes.LAWRENCE AND BOB MYERS TO TANGLE FRIDAY
(Seattle Times, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 1933)
"Speed" Lawrence, French-Canadian grappler who has made a decided hit with Seattle wrestling fans with his fast, clever style of wrestling, will make his third appearance here on Friday nights all-star mat bill of the Pioneer Athletic Club at Civic Auditorium.
Lawrence tangles with Bobby Myers, one of the worlds outstanding middleweight grapplers, in the special event of five 6-minute rounds on the Friday night mat program.
Des Anderson and George "Wildcat" Pete renew their mat feud in the wind-up event of eight 10-minute rounds.
Senor Don Castillo, who emerged over Pancho Vitela last week, meets Jack Gorman, crack Texas welterweight, in the semi-windup, while Gust Johnson, clever Rockford, Ill., middleweight, meets Fred Maracci, Italian newcomer, in the three-round preliminary match.SLIPPERY FINN BEATS MARVEL
(Seattle Times, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 1933)
August (Slippery) Sepp put the skids under the hooded "Masked Marvel" last night in the main event of the mat smoker at the Civic Auditorium and he did a neat piece of business in flopping the mystery lad for two straight falls. The Marvel has won five straight matches here and was a cocky individual before his test against the rugged Sepp. At that the Marvel was game.
He spent most of his time trying to get rough and tough with Sepp, while the Finn went merrily about his business. And when the Masked marvel finally took a swing at the referee and struck him on the face, Sepp hoisted the mystery man for a body slam. That took a lot of mystery out of the Marvel and it took Sepp just ten minutes more to hook another body slam to win the bout.
Charlie Mason pulled the unexpected again. He engaged in a stiff battle with Jack Kruger, Port Orchard, and won the bout on a freak fall. Mason secured the first fall on a headlock and Kruger retaliated with a swift backward body slam. That made matters all even. Shortly after Kruger lifted Mason for an airplane spin.
Mason snagged the rope with his hand and held on. Referee Nick Zvolis broke Masons hold on the rope but the weight overbalanced Kruger and Mason fell on him for the deciding fall.
Bud Anderson, young Seattle Swedish kid, provided a spectacular finish to his bout with "Wildcat" Johnson of Denver. Anderson got a headlock and when Johnson dumped him for the slam Anderson bridged nicely, came up and rolled on Johnson for the fall.
Steve Okie, Ketchikan Eskimo, made a decided hit with the fans while losing to Marvin Barackman of Kansas City in the preliminary. Barackman used a surprise backward body slam to get his fall and was a bit lucky in winning in nine minutes.
"Buster Bruin," a 300-pound bear, worked out against a couple of grapplers as
a prologue and he polished them both off.
(Bremerton Sun, July 28, 1936)
This writer today proudly considers that he knows a deal more about the whys and wherefores of wrestling than he did a week ago.
And why not? Harry Listman, veteran referee of the grunt and grona sport, was in the office the other afternoon and we had a heart-to-heart talk about these lads who make their daily bread and butter by being bounced around on their necks.
The white-haired Listman will be well remembered by Bremerton folks who have followed the wrestling game here. He retired from the profession of pulling apart grappling behemoths about six months ago. His last bit of work was done right here in Bremerton at the Northwest Athletic Club arena.
And what a record Listman has behind him! In Iowa he wrestled, amateur and professional, for 20 years. And when the old joins became a bit too squeaky to allow him to continue the game, he decided to turn referee. For 21 years he performed in that capacity, being classes as the best referee in the Northwest.
Your corresp;ondent asked Harry what he thought of modern wrestling as compared to that of 20 years ago.
"Well," said Harry, "we'll all admit that the game these days isn't as much on the up-and-up as it was years ago. But, what the heck -- it's what the fans want. If a couple of grapplers got in a ring now and did pure wrestling without the usual colorful rough stuff, the crowds would boo them out of the arena."
Listman, who now is international vice president of the Pressmen's Union, told of some interesting takes concerning the "good old days" of the wrestling game.
He estimates that in his career as a referee he has refereed more than 1,000 matches, several of them being world's championship events.
Yes, if anyone knows wrestling it should be Harry Listman.(ED. NOTE -- One of the reasons professional wrestling enjoyed such a wide-spread comeback in popularity during the early and mid-1930s was the enormous reception given the game, both in large and small towns. The navy town of Bremerton, Wash., was no exception. While we have no evidence that the local sports editor was "financially induced" to give extraordinary coverage to the wrestling events, it was a common occurrence throughout North America for cash-carrying promoters to leave weekly "welfare packages" for the Depression-era sportswriters who obviously could use a few extra bucks in return for the out-of-proportion coverage. For instance, herewith are all the articles leading up to the resumption of wrestling which appeared in the afternoon Bremerton Sun, a paper which sold for two cents and which, most days, contained just eight or ten pages, only one of which was devoted to sports. Not surprisingly, the poor ink-stained wretch who ground out almost-daily boilerplate to hype the inaugural show, could do little but virtually repeat himself, over and over. Another interesting feature in play here was the true identity of the Red Shadow. This was a masked man -- or men -- who occupied top-rung in Northwest mat circles for the better part of two years, before finally being unmasked. Who was he? Well, on most nights, he was none other than Leo Numa, who worked under hoods in other precincts, even dredging up the Red Shadow gimmick in Toronto during the spring and summer of 1943. But on some nights, another, almost identically sized grappler wore the costume, thus somehow keeping all but the most discerning of fans in the dark as to his true identity. After all, how could Numa "be" the Red Shadow if he was wrestling him? When Numa was finally unmasked at the end of his long box-office rein in the Northwest, yet another wrestler was imported to play the Red Shadow role -- so fans never had the satisfaction of seeing Numa himself unmasked.) TUG AND GRUNT BOYS TO SHOW HERE SOON (Bremerton, Wash., Sun, October 10, 1936)
The tug and grunt business will bloom again in Bremerton soon, it was learned today, with the announcement by the local wrestling impressario, Howard Niles, that the first card of the winter season will go on the mat Tuesday, Oct. 20, at the Fourth and Pacific arena.
August Sepp of Seattle will back the shows this year, with Niles in as local promoter. The first card will be an all-star bill, according to Niles.TUG AND GRUNT BOYS TO SHOW SOON
(Bremerton Sun, Wednesday, October 14, 1936)
By Jack Rogers (Time Out! column)
For those that take their pleasure in watching the tug and grunt boys go through their paces, the announcement of the start of wrestling here Oct. 20 will be greeted with much pleasure.
August Sepp, one-time grappler and promoter of cards in Seattle and neighboring cities, dropped into the office yesterday and told us that he will open here Tuesday with a three-bout card, headed by Leo Numa and the Red Shadow, a couple of bad actors on the mat.
We fell to talking of wrestling and "rassling," as the present-day mat mayhem is sometimes termed. Sepp summed up the difference between the two pastimes in short order by telling us of the time he grappled three and one-half hours with an opponent in Texas.
"Who vould come to see dot, now?" Sepp asked in his Dutch accent. There you have it. Mr. and Mrs. Wrestling Fan today want action every minute and that's what the present day wrestler gives them.MAT CARD SIGNED TUESDAY
(Bremerton Sun, October 14, 1936)
August Sepp, Seattle wrestling promoter, will present his first show of the season here Tuesday, Oct. 20, it was announced today.
The first card will feature the appearance of some big boys, Sepp said. Red Shadow, masked heavyweight, will grapple with Leo Numa, blond flash from Ballard, in the main event, which will go eight 10-minute rounds or less, two out of three falls.
In the semi-windup Sepp will present Sandor Szabo against Fred Carone, 210-pound tug-and-grunt artist from Italy. The third bout of the card has not yet been announced, but will be forthcoming in the next couple of days, Sepp indicated.
The veteran wrestler and promoter is taking over the wrestling concession here from Abe Kubey, who handled the cards last year. Sepp is identified with the Sepp Athletic Club in Seattle and he also stages shows in Tacoma and several other towns about the state.
Plenty of rough-house is in store for the fans when the Numa-Red Shadow bout goes on the mat at the Fourth and Pacific arena here. The pair has met many times before and always there is something close to murder as the outcome.
Earlier this week in Tacoma the Red Shadow, a mystic creature who never unmasks himself, took two straight falls over Numa, but the Shadow needed police protection for an escort to his dressing room.MAT ARTISTS TO SHOW HERE
(Bremerton Sun, Friday, October 16, 1936)
Wrestling returns to Bremerton Tuesday under the guidance of a veteran Northwest promoter, August Sep;p. The first card will be presented on Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. at the Fourth and Pacific arena. A card worthy of top rating in a major city is the first offering of the newly organized Sepp Athletic Club, recently granted a license by the state wrestling commissioners.
The Red Shadow, a mysterious gent who weighs around 225 pounds and who is bowling rivals over throughout the Northwest and claims an unbroken string of nearly 60 victories, goes into the top spot for eight 10-minute rounds, two falls, against Leo Numa Anderson, powerful Seattle Swedish giant.
The Red Shadow usually is accompanied by a mysterious manager, who wears the same garb as his wrestler. The Shadow has a standing offer posted throughout the Northwest to unmask only when he is defeated.
In the semi-windup of Tuesday's grapple dish, Sepp has signed Sandor Szabo, popular Hungarian 225-pounder, with Freddie Carone, a free-swing Italian from Mussolini's capital. Szabo is one of the most perfect physical specimens in the world; a master of the intricate suplex or double winglock style.
The curtain-raiser finds a newcomer to Northwest mat circles, Don McIntyre, ex-football
star at Missouri university, under Coach Frank Carideo, making his debut against George
Maloney, a burly, rough-and-tumble giant from Boston, Mass. They'll tangle for five
six-minute heats, one fall.
LEWIS AND ACTON: THE STRANGLER FINALLY GETS THE BETTER OF HIS FAMOUS ADVERSARY
(Chicago Tribune, Tuesday, April 12, 1887)
The catch-as-catch-can wrestling match between Joe Acton of Philadelphia and Evan Lewis of Madison, Wis., was decided at Battery D Armory last night. It was announced as for $500 a side, best three in five falls, three points down to constitute a fall.
For years, Acton has been regarded as invincible and also an honest wrestler. Ugly rumors, however, were current yesterday afternoon, and these no doubt caused many to doubt the honesty of last nights match and remain away from the Armory. It appears that an effort was made to start betting on the contest yesterday afternoon at Dowlings, and the result was such a rush to get money on Lewis at any odds that the crowd began to shout "Rats" whenever an offer was made.
Nobody offered a dollar on Acton. Finally, one man offered $100 to $30 on Lewis, another "raised" him by offering $180 to $200 that he could call every fall. At this Dowling ordered the names off the blackboard, saying: "This match is already won; we dont want any betting here on a race of that kind."
At the call of time the men closed immediately, Acton grabbing Lewis around the neck. In a few seconds Lewis was forced to the carpet, but got up quickly, with Acton having a back body-hold. They struggled for a few moments without result. Then Acton started Lewis for the carpet. Lewis turned and landed on top of Acton. The latter slipped out from under him like an eel and recovered his back body-hold. Then he got Lewis two points down, the Strangler saving himself by a bridge, which Acton tried to break. In a scuffle Lewis was forced half-way through the ropes. Lewis wriggled out of the hold and back on the platform.
Instantly Acton was on top of him and in a running scramble sent him again to the edge of the platform, where a hold on the ropes and a bridge came into service. Lewis escaped again. Acton, always on top, got hugged and jolted him until his bridge gave way, and, in ten minutes and forty-two seconds, a fall was awarded to Acton, who was loudly cheered. During the intermission Mr. Rueschaw gave an exhibition of club swinging.
When the men came out for the second bout Acton appeared blown, while Lewis was perfectly fresh. Lewis assumed the aggressive. There was a great deal of twisting and wriggling, some very clever work on both sides, and Lewis tried a hip-lock once more, raised Acton into the air, and landed him flat on his back. Time, 3 minutes and 4 seconds.
The third bout was comparatively tame. They closed quickly and, after a little maneuvering, went to the floor with Acton uppermost. The bout terminated by Lewis getting another hip-lock on Acton and again planting him on his back. Time, 5 minutes, 40 seconds.
The fourth bout settled the contest. Almost at the outset Lewis got a strangle hold, by which he held Acton for about a minute. Acton then slipped out of it, got on top of Lewis, and tipped him over his head. Lewis spun around on the top of his cranium and extricated himself. By a movement that brought down the house Acton with a back body hold slipped down behind Lewis and pitched Lewis backward over him.
The "Strangler" nearly landed on his back but managed to turn to his side. After this they stood up and indulged in efforts at tripping until Lewis once more hip-locked Acton and floored him, winning the match. Time, 6 minutes and 33 seconds. In this bout Lewis showed more skill than he has heretofore been given credit for. The contest as a whole was an interesting and at times exciting exhibition, and the spectators were pretty well satisfied.
However, the transparent fact that Acton was in no condition for a hard struggle, coupled with the peculiar betting, caused a great deal of unfavorable comment.LOCAL MAT FANS WILL VIEW FIRST SEPP SHOW TUESDAY
(Bremerton Sun, Monday, October 19, 1936)
Bremerton sports fans will be introduced to a new sports figure Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. at the Fourth and Pacfic arena when August Sepp, Northwest wrestling rpomoter, puts on his first wrestling card here. His opening card is one which introduces three nationally-ranked gladiators to the navy yard village fans.
Of importance is the main event clash between the mysterious Red Shadow, an unknown heavyweight who, at 220 pounds, has cut a swide swath through the ranks of the leading muscle-benders of the Pacific Coast, and Leo Numa Anderson, Seattle's clever Swedish giant, a 225-pounder.
The Red Shadow, accompanied wherever he goes by his manager, who also effects a mysterious hooded garb, agreed to terms only when Sepp bounced real dough on the line to get his services.
"Whether you like the Red Shadow personally or not," Sepp declared yesterday, "I know you'll agree with me that he's one of the toughest heavyweights in the United States. His record stands up with the best of 'em. The same goes for Numa, who is a protege of my old pal, the late Charlie Hanson of Seattle. I'm sure it will be a sweet mat argument."
The Red Shadow and Numa clash Tuesday night for eight 10-minute rounds, two falls.
In the semi-windup, Sandor Szabo, clever Hungarian giant who features a peculiar suplex hold, tangles with Fred Carone, a leg-scissors expert from Rome, Italy. They'll battle for five 10-minute rounds, one fall. Carone gives away about 20 pounds against the Hungarian Adonis but he wants a chance to show the Northwest he's ready for bigger things -- and he's getting it.
The curtain-raiser at 8:30 is for five 6-minute rounds, one fall, and finds a newcomer to Northwest wrestling, Don McIntyre, baby-faced giant from Kansas City, Mo., clashing with George Maloney, a rough, free-wheeling muscle-bender from Boston, Mass. McIntyre is a former grid star.MATMEN TO TANGLE IN INITIAL CARD
(Bremerton Sun, Tuesday, October 20, 1936)
Goliaths of the mats return to Bremerton's sports circles tonight at 8:30 p.m. in the K.A.A.C. arena when Matchmaker August Sepp, veteran Finn promoter, presents his initial wrestling card of heavyweights. Three bouts, bringing some outstanding contenders to Bremerton, are slated for action.
The mat card Sepp presents tonight brings a cross-section of the leading heavyweights now on the Pacific Coast. Sandor Szabo comes to Bremerton direct from Los Angeles, where his battle with Senor Vincent Lopez, West Coast claimant to title honors, still has the fans buzzing.
The main event tonight, however, finds the Red Shadow, a mysterious hooded figure in red, meeting Leo Numa Anderson, Seattle's nationally-rated Swedish 225-pounder and protege of the late master, Charley Hanson.
Undefeated in nearly 60 consecutive bouts, the Red Shadow, who does business through his equally mysterious red-hood manager, has posted a standing challenge in the Northwest against any gladiator and he'll unmask only when his shoulders are pinned on the canvas.
Szabo swings back into the Northwest to clash with Fred Carone, wily, roly-poly Italian leg-scissors artist, in the semi-windup of tonight's mat card for five 10-minute rounds, one fall. Szabo is famous throughout the world for his dexterity with the suplex hold, a European concoction which works similar to the American wing-lock.
The curtain-raiser serves to introduce here Don McIntyre, former University of Missouri football player, who tangles with George Maloney, rough Boston, Mass., giant, for five 6-minute heats, one fall. McIntyre swings into the Northwest from a triumphant tour of the South.SHADOW DROPS NUMA IN TOP EVENT
(Bremerton Sun, Wednesday, October 21, 1936)
The Red Shadow, 215-pound masked bone-tangler, took a two-fall decision over Leo Numa, 216-pound Ballard Swede, in the headline event of August Sepp's opening wrestling card at Kitsap Amateur Athletic Club arena last night, and bowled over the referee to boot.
The Red Shadow, with his equally crimson manager, working their well-known "signal" combination, mauled his way through four rounds of their scheduled eight-round event, with the Ballard Swede making it a nip and tuck affair up to the last minute.
The Shadow, however, didn't cut loose until the final tangle when he picked up the Ballard giant and beat his back across his knee to drop him on the mat.
The curtain raiser saw Gordon McKenzie of Spokanek, 206-pound bruiser, mix with George Maloney, 200-pound Boston wrestler for five, 6-minute rounds. Maloney tried every trick of the trade to make it hard for the Spokane matman including hair-pulling, eye-gouging and biting, but the Spokane bull slug-armed out of it to a draw for the match.
The second bout of the evening saw Sandor Szabo, 212-pound Hungariant giant, toss the barrel-bodied Fred Carone, Italian gorilla, to a one-fall decision. Szabo is a perfect specimen and an extremely powerful wrestler, once holding the Olympic championship.
Groaning their way through three rounds of their match, neither turned on the heat until Szabo got tired of playing in the fourth and threw the bull-necked Carone from one side of the ring to the other, finally pinning him for the fall. In those short flashes of action, the crowd got a glimpse of the tremendous power the flashy Szabo is capable of.
The only genuine slug-arm blow of the evening was one the Red Shadow connected with George Jensen, Bremerton, who acted as referee. Jensen was attempting to pull the Shadow off for a particularly mean bit of finger twisting when the Shadow uncorked one, catching the tubby Jensen in the face and sending him down to the canvas. After much handshaking, the bout was resumed amid the boos of the crowd.
Tuesday, October 20, 1936 Bremerton WA
Red Shadow beat Leo Numa, Sandor Szabo beat Fred Carone, Gordon McKenzie drew George Maloney
Tuesday, October 27, 1936 Bremerton WA
Sandor Szabo drew Pat Fraley (double kayo), Red Shadow beat Les Grimes, Jud Brenner beat Phil (Popeye) Olson (later to gain fame as the Swedish Angel)
(no show held November 3 due to conflict with election day)
Tuesday, November 10, 1936 Bremerton WA
Red Shadow beat Pat Fraley, Tor Johnson beat Phil Olson, Don McIntyre beat Bull Martin dq
Tuesday, November 17, 1936 Bremerton WA
Tor Johnson beat Bull Martin, Red Shadow beat Don McIntyre, Les Grimes beat Jack O'Brien
Tuesday, November 24, 1936 Bremerton WA
Red Shadow beat Tor Johnson, Bob (Rebel) Russell drew Don McIntyre, Bob Hanson beat Jim Maloney
Tuesday, December 1, 1936 Bremerton WA
Bob Russell beat Chief Chewacki, Leo Numa (sub for Jim Maloney) beat Les Grimes, Paul Boesch drew Don McIntyre
Tuesday, December 8, 1936 Bremerton WA
Red Shadow beat Bob Russell, Vic Christy beat Harry Kent, Les Grimes beat Bob Hanson
Tuesday, December 15, 1936 Bremerton WA
Vic Christy beat Bob Russell, Paul Boesch beat Leo Numa, Les Grimes beat Harry Kent (pairings determined by opening battle royal)
MAT MEN WHO KNOW BEST, GO PRESSED
(Chicago Tribune, Saturday, April 7, 1956)
By Cooper Rollow
With men who know wrestling best, its the body press, 4 to 3.
There are many ways of winning on the professional mat, most of them suspect in one way or another. But the true and tried body press mayhem in a lethal, but legal, dose won the popularity test last night in the International Amphitheater.
The body press was the successful finishing hold used in four of the seven falls recorded in the Fred Kohler promotion, which lured 9,522 and a gross gate of $25,908.28.
It was the above mentioned body press which enabled Wilbur Snyder to subdue Reggie Lisowski in the third and deciding fall of the main bout. The hold, applied fiercely and with plenty of malice aforethought, gave Snyder and his colleague, Verne Gagne, victory in their first appearance as a tag team. The defeat also was the first suffered as a tag duo by Lisowski and his brother, Stan.
The Lisowskis had won the first fall in 18:55 with a series of body slams, and Gagne and Snyder evened the count with victory in 12:00 of the second fall. Snyder and Gagnes triumph in the deciding fall came in 11:50.
In the semi-windup, it was a matter of figuring who was cast as hero and who as villain. The ever unpopular Hans Schmidt met the also ever unpopular Angelo Poffo in this one-fall supporting feature. Schmidt met the also ever judged to be possessed of a more heroic demeanor than his hairy Italian foe, and finally emerged triumphant in 7:39.
O, yes, Schmidt won with a body press, too. Other results:
Dick the Bruiser beat Bill Melby; Tiny Roe beat Ivan the Terrible; Sheik of Araby beat
WAWLI REDUX No. 55...
(Tacoma News-Tribune, Sunday, Oct. 4, 1953)
Bronko Nagurski, one of the nations all-time football greats and likewise a standout heavyweight wrestler through the years, will be making two Tacoma appearances during the coming week.
The Bronk has been signed to meet Luther Lindsey, worlds Negro heavyweight champion, in the main event of promoter Paavo Ketonens Friday night mat card at the Armory.
And then, next Sunday afternoon, Oct. 11, Nagurski will turn in what perhaps will be his farewell football performance as a member of the Wrestlers team which meets the Seattle Ramblers in the big Boys Club benefit at Lincoln Bowl.
The one-time University of Minnesota footballer "generally rated the all-time No. 1 Gopher," to quote Christy Walshs book, "College Football" is no stranger to Tacoma wrestling audiences, having gone to the mat here on several occasions in recent years.
When he steps onto the turf at Lincoln Bowl next Sunday, however, it will bbe his Northwest football bow, since Minnesota never played in this sector during his college years, and his long professional career with the Chicago Bears ended before the recently inaugurated pre-season exhibitions by National Football League teams up this way.
Nagurski, who made just about everyones all-American in 1929, his final year at Minneosta, played as a collegian under Dr. Clarence W. Spears, one of the games more prominent coaches.
During the Bronks three seasons at Minnesota (1927-28-29), the Gophers won 18 games, lost only four and tied two, both deadlocks coming in his sophomore campaign a 14-14 argument with Indiana and a 7-7 standoff with Notre Dame. That year Dr. Spears legions shared the Big Ten championship with the likewise unbeaten Illinois.
In both 1928 and 29, Nagurski and his Minnesota mates won six games and lost two, bowing to Iowa and Northwestern in 1928 and to Iowa and Michigan in 1929.
Incidentally, those four setbacks saw the opposition outscore the Gophers by a total of only five points the socres were 7-6 and 9-7 in favor of Iowa, 10-9 for Northwestern and 7-6 for Michigan.
After finishing his college career, Nagurski jumped immediately into the National Football League with the Chicago Bears, an affiliation which has been mentioned, and played almost continuously through the 1945 season.
After playing fullback in his sophomore season at Minnesota, the Bronk was transferred to a tackle job as a junior and senior, and it was at the line berth that he won his All-American honors.
Nagurski played fullback, tackle and end for the Bears and at the conclusion of his pro career was chosen as a tackle on the National Football Leagues all-time all-star eleven.
The Bronks presence adds luster to both the Friday wrestling card and the football game.
The Wrestlers football squad will be engaging in another workout this Sunday at Cheney Field (its a private drill, however, fans) at which Frank Stojack, who is serving as playing coach of the matmen in the "Muscle Bowl" contest, will assemble his starting lineup for the first time.
Stojack announced Saturday that his starters against the Ramblers would be Al Fridell and Abe Yourist, ends; The Masked Marvel and Luther Lindsey, tackles; Don Kindred and The Ram, guards; Ivan Kameroff, center; Pepper Gomez, quarterback; George Matelich and Stojack, halfbacks; and Frank Schneider, fullback.
Tickets for both Fridays wrestling card and the football game are being sold in advance downtown at the Turf Smoke Shop and in South Tacoma at Steves Restaurant, while the grid ducats are also on sale in the Lincoln High district at Lincoln Hardware and in the 26th and proctor area at Barnes Radio & Television Co.N.W. SPORTS BY JACK HEWINS
(Associated Press, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 1953)
This, friends, could be slaughter. Or sheer slapstick.
The rasslers have organized a football team and will bang heads with the Seattle Ramblers at Tacoma Oct. 11 in the "Muscle Bowl." And heaven help the Ramblers if they dont know the holts.
All cash that accrues from this outpouring of sweat and strain will go to the Boys Clubs of Tacoma minus the price of a steak dinner for those who still have their teeth at the close of hostilities.
Guiding genius for the biceptic extravaganza is Frank Stojack, Tacoma city councilman who doubles as world lightheavyweight grapple champion. Fortyish Frank is not dismayed at the thought of meeting the Ramblers, a collection of former college stars who play regularly with gusto and ability.
After all, the flying wedge may have been outlawed but the rules dont say anything about the flying mare.
The Cauliflower Club is stocked with talent as well as muscles. Coach-Player-Councilman Stojack was a star guard at Washington State and later in pro football back in well, why embarrass him?
Right up in the front rank in the position of groaning guard will be the Northwests favorite villain, the Masked Marvel. This horrifying individual (he wouldnt take off his mask to play postoffice with Cleopatra) says his specialty is the hammerlock tackle.
Pepper Gomez, once a star at Los Angeles City College, will operate from the quarterback position in Stojacks version of the single wing. "We could beat those guys with one tied behind us." Ivan Kameroff, who played high school football in the Bronx, will be in the line. So will Luther Lindsey, a giant from Hampton (Va.) Institute and pro football.
And so will Don Kindred, whose specialty in the ring is the head butt. He grasps an opponent firmly by the ears and cracks heads with him. His cranial talent should have qualified him for quarterback, but hell play at a guard spot.
Even Bronko Nagurski will get into the act. The famous old fullback will be wrestling in these parts and will not only suit up, but will even play a little or a lot if he cant resist temptation.
About the only thing worrying the Ramblers is that someone may forget to bring the ball.KINDRED ASKS TO PLAY WITHOUT A HELMET
(Tacoma News-Tribune, Friday, Oct. 9, 1953)
Even before the first whistle is blown the one which gets the game under way officials in this Sundays "Muscle Bowl" football game are going to be called upon for an important decision.
The arbiters are John Kennedy, referee; Tom Cross, umpire; Frank Gillihan, field judge; and George Wise, head linesman, all of whom have donated their services for the big Boys Club benefit contest bringing together the Wrestlers and the Seattle Ramblers, outstanding Seattle independent team.
The problem to be decided ahead of the 2 p.m. contest is whether Don Kindred is to be allowed to play without a helmet.
Kindred, who is Luther Lindseys principal rival for the worlds Negro heavyweight championship, has asked to be permitted to play without headgear.
"Its extremely bothersome to me to have anything at all on my head," he explains quite innocently. "Why, I never wear a hat, even in the coldest weather."
Frank Stojack, the Wrestlers playing coach, doesnt go along with the suggestion, however, and will recommend to the officials that the rules be observed to the letter in connection with Kindreds request.
"I dont want to seem disloyal in connection with the desires of one of my men," Stojack said Thursday, "but Kindred has something up his sleeve when he asks to be allowed to play without a helmet.
"All the other wrestlers know how effectively Don can use that noggin of his hes got the toughest head I ever saw," Stojack continued. "Id estimate he wins half his matches simply by butting heads with his opponents, and I never have seen him even wince, no matter how forceful the collision.
"In my opinion, Don should be compelled to wear a helmet, not for his own protection which is the intent of the rule in that connection but for the protection of the Ramblers, who I understand are a bunch of fine, sportsmanlike football players."
The Wrestlers went through their final full-length pre-game workout Thursday morning at Cheney Field, but Stojack planned to call his flock of bonecrushers together again Friday and Saturday for brief signal drills.
Stojack was laying plans to work Bronko Nagurski, the Minnesota All-American and all-time pro all-star, into the lineup for at least a couple of appearances. Hardy Kruskamp, the onetime Ohio State great, is another newcomer to the squad who will play probably on defense without the benefit of practicing with the rest of the squad.PAAVO APPLIES FINAL TOUCHES TO MAT CARD
(Tacoma News-Tribune, Friday, Oct. 9, 1953)
Completion of this Friday nights Bronko Nagurski-Luther Lindsey wrestling card, which also features a meeting between Frank Stojack and the Masked Marvel, was announced Thursday by promoter Paavo Ketonen.
Leo (Numa) Anderson and the Ram have been booked as opponents in the one-fall, 30-minute special event, Ketonen revealed, while Bronko Lubich and Frank Schneider will collide in the one-fall, 20-minute opener.
The promoter also said he was laying plans to match the winner of the Nagurski-Lindsey match with Lou Thesz when the worlds heavyweight champion makes another visit to the Northwest in the near future.
Lindsey, who lays claim to the worlds Negro heavyweight crown, went to a draw with Thesz here two months ago in Lous first defense of his crown against a colored challenger.
Nagurski, the longtime football star (All-American at the University of Minnesota and an all-time National Football League all-star with the Chicago Bears), has likewise met Thesz before, but a draw with the champion was his best performance (sic).
The match between Stojack and the Marvel has created just as much interest among Tacoma mat fans as the headline attraction. Stojacks Pacific Coast junior heavyweight championship wont be on the block, but the Mask can be counted upon to press his demands for recognition as the kingpin of the 205-pounders if he wins.
Stojack, recently crowned worlds lightheavyweight titlist, has dinciated he will abdicate as Coast junior heavy champion, but insists than an elimination tournament be conducted to determine his successor.
Nagurski and Lindsey will wrestle in a one-hour time limit match, best two falls out of
three, while Stojack and the Mask will got at it over the 45-minute route, also best two
falls out of three.
LINDSEY WINS OVER BRONKO IN MAT DUEL
(Tacoma News-Tribune, Saturday, Oct. 10, 1953)
Luther Lindsey won over Bronko Nagurski in Fridays wrestling main event at the Armory when, with honors even at one fall each, the former Minnesota and Chicago Bears football star was disqualified for refusal to break a shoulder butt hold.
Nagurski won the first fall at 12:33 with a series of flying tackles and a full body press, while Lindsey squared accounts at 3:28 with a neck-breaker to which Bronko conceded.
The end came at 5:57 when referee Freddie Steele, after issuing a warning, finally completed the five-count and awarded the match to Lindsey.
The semi-final, which went on after the main event because Frank Stojacks city councilmanic duties delayed his arrival, saw the Tacoman gain a draw with the Masked Marvel only minutes before the expiration of the time limit.
The Mask took the first fall at 23:01 with a flying body scissors and shoulder press, and Stojack pulled even at 15:55 with a flying dropkick.
Leo (Numa) Anderson won from The Ram in the special event when the hooded grappler was disqualified at 12:49 for refusal to break a choke hold, while Bronko Lubich and Frank Schneider went to a draw in the opener, neither obtaining a fall in the 20-minute session.RAMBLERS DEFEAT WRESTLER GRIDDERS
(Tacoma News-Tribune, Monday, Oct. 12, 1953)
By Ed Honeywell
By reason of their advantage in youth, speed, better organization and more recent acquaintanceship with the game of football, 1953 version, the Seattle Ramblers prevailed over the Wrestlers in Sundays "Muscle Bowl" game at Lincoln Bowl.
The Ramblers 20-6 triumph represented anything but a rout, however, and the contest was a rousing success in that 7,256 paying customers made a net contribution to the coffers of the Associated Boys Clubs of the Tacoma area which may run as high as $5,000.
The ranks of the Wrestlers were padded slightly by the addition of a half-dozen former collegians, including a couple of players "loaned" by the Ramblers, but there were no complaints on that score from the customers in view of numerous magnificent performances on the part of several of the bonafide bonecrushers.
Outstanding man on the field and easily the most durable was the Wrestlers Luther Lindsey, claimant to the worlds Negro heavyweight championship.
Lindsey, operating as a linebacker, ranged far and wide and authored countless crunching tackles he was the No. 1 "stop" man on the premises, defying all efforts on the part of the Ramblers to ease him out of the path of the ballcarriers.
Also outstanding for the Wrestlers were Jose (Pepper) Gomez, the former Los Angeles City College star, and Tacomas Frank Stojack, the longtime gridiron stalwart (Lincoln High, Washington State College, pro Brooklyn Dodgers) who combines city council duties with a wrestling career which has gained him the worlds lightheavyweight and Pacific Coast junior heavyweight titles.
Even Bronko Nagurski, the Minnesota All-American of two decades ago and longtime star with the Chicago Bears of the National Football League, made a more lengthy appearance than he had bargained for. The Bronko had promised to make only a token visit to the gridiron action but, catching the spirit of the occasion and in response to considerable clamor from the stands, he went into the game twice for approximately a dozen plays.
There were a numer of others among the professional matmen who, despite advancing years, acquitted themselves quite acceptably fellows like Ivan Kameroff, the Masked Marvel, Dr. John Gallagher, The Ram, Abe Yourist and Glen Detton, to mention a few of the more prominent bonecrusher.
As their sole reward, the Wrestlers certainly not crassly commercial when an opportunity to "help the kids" presented itself received a dinner at Steves Restaurant.
The sympathies of the crowd plainlylay with the Wrestlers, but the adherents of the matmen had precious little to cheer about until the closing seconds, when Mel Light, the former College of Puget Sound speedster, who was among the "borrowed" players, scampered 10 yards around left to cap a 68-yard touchdown drive.
The Ramblers, held at bay through the first quarter, drove 46 yards to their initial touchdown late in the second stanza, with Larry Lowry skirting right end for 14 yards to reach pay dirt. Gary Amberg placekicked the conversion to make the count 7-0.
Also blanked during the third peirod, although having gained a scoring opportunity in the closing minute of the stanza on Jerry Thorntons 31-yard punt return to the Wrestlers 17-yard-line, the Ramblers pushed across two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Jack Guyot, the former Pacific Lutheran College star, went four yards around left end for the TD which gave the Ramblers a 14-0 edge, Amberg again converting, and Lowry breezed around right end for 14 yards and the Seattle teams final score.
The Ramblers piled up a 10-5 advantage in first downs and had a heavy margin in net rushing yardage, 163 to 11. Most of the Seattle teams gains in that department were recorded on sweeps, with the Wrestlers simply lacking the speed to stop the wide plays.
The Wrestlers, who emerged with a 43-32 lead in passing yardage, suffered rushing losses of 52 yards, largely as the result of the trapping of their passers, to account for the unimpressive total in gains on the ground.
Other than the routine bumps and bruises which were inevitable in a contest which saw hard blocking and tackling over the entire distance, the only injuries were suffered by Lindsey, who received a broken little finger on his right hand, and by Kameroff, who may have received a split muscle in his right arm.NAGURSKI TO HEADLINE FRIDAY PROGRAM
(The Oregonian, Portland, Friday, Oct. 16, 1953)
One of the greatest football players in collegiate grid history, Bronko Nagurski, will take the spotlight in the top attraction of the Portland Wrestling Clubs mat show at the armory Friday night.
Nagurski, who won his football fame at Minnesota and once was recognized as the heavyweight champion grappler, will appear in a seven-man battle royal. Now weighing about 260, Bronko probably will be the principal target of the six rivals.
Those who will go against him are Don Kindred, Jack Kiser, Red Vagnone, Luther Lindsey, Jack OReilly and Carl Engstrom.
First man tossed will be through for the night, but the others will return for three separate matches. The order of the bouts will be determined by falls, with the last two survivors going for a special purse.
The action starts at 8:30 p.m.BATTLE WON BY CARL ENGSTROM
(The Oregonian, Portland, Oct. 17, 1953)
Carl Engstrom was declared the winner of the wrestling "Battle Royal" Friday night at the armory after pinning Jack Kiser with a whip wristlock, outlasting a field of seven grapplers.
First man pinned in the grunt and groan extravaganza was Don Kindred. He was followed by Bronko Nagurski, but it took six wrestlers to put the ex-Minnesota football star on the canvas.
Dale Kiser was third man down, "Red" Vagnone fourth, Luther Lindsey fifth, and Jack OReilly sixth in the preliminary portion of the card which saw seven men in the ring at one time.
In special matches, Vagnone won a decision over Kiser while Lindsey and OReilly wrestled to a draw.DA PREEM NO SHOW; 40 IRKED
(Spokane Spokesman-Review, Friday, Apr. 13, 1956)
There were 3,284 wrestling fans at the Coliseum last night and evidently 40 of them came to see Primo Carnera.
Carnera, former world heavyweight boxing champion, failed to show for his scheduled match with Quebecs Adrien Baillargeon, but when fans were offered their money back because of Primos nonappearance, only "about 40" took advantage of the opportunity.
Matchmaker Tex Hager announced that state athletic commissioner Louis August had told him that, as of last night, Carnera is suspended from wrestling the state of Washington indefinitely, and that the state would ask other athletic commissions to honor the ban.
Ken Kenneth, 235-pound Californian (sic), substituted for Carnera against the Quebec strong boy and gave him quite a tussle for 22 minutes and 6 seconds. Baillargeon, a 240-pounder, preceded his match with Kenneth by lifting 11 men and a 300-pound board a total of 2,435 pounds, in a mid-ring exhibition.
The one fall of the no time limit match went to Baillargeon on a drop kick which saw him extended in midair almost six feet it seemed above the mat. The body press which got the actual fall seemed almost unnecessary.
The co-feature, which apparently was what most fans were waiting for, saw the Donovan brothers, Doug and Red, team for a two-fall to one decision over Logger Larsen and Kurt Von Poppenheim. The first fall, a highly legitimate looking toehold by Doug, caused Logger to quit after 18:48. The second, by Von Poppenheim over Red, came at 4:05 and followed a series of body slams administered by both Logger and Kurt.
The final fall, booed long and lustily by the crowd, went to Red with a body press over Logger at 10:19. Larsen had Donovan balanced on his shoulder, with intentions of slamming him to the mat, when brother Doug reached through the ropes and kicked Larsen head-over-Red. The fall stunned Logger long enough for the three taps. Protests availed nothing.
In the opener, Elmer (Bad News) Davis and Jerry Gordetski went 20 minutes to a draw in the fastest match of the night. Leon Kirilenko took 16:39 to down Treach Phillips in the special event. Phillips had Kirilenko groggy with drop kicks but missed one and rebounded off the ring post into the fall.
Tony Borne, beard and all, won over Billy Kohnke at 17:49 of the semifinal. Borne used an abdominal stretch to win and had lots of abdomen to work on. Kohnke, stocky blond, is one of the roundest wrestlers to appear here. Matchmaker Hager announced the next Coliseum card will be May 10, featuring heavyweight champ Lou Thesz.
(ED. NOTE Thesz had lost the title four weeks earlier in Toronto, to Whipper
Billy Watson. He did, however, fulfill the May 10 engagement, at which time he defeated
No. 57 . . .
THE CONTINUING SEARCH FOR FRANCOIS FOUCHE
----- Original Message -----
From: "GEOFF LENNOX" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2001 7:53 PM
Subject: Francois Fouche
I am interested in whether you have any info re: the above man who wrestled in Hobart, etc., usually under the name of Count Fouche. He came to Sydney per Wanganella from New Zealand in November 1937 to wrestle for the promoter Ed Lewis. I would be surprised if he did not wrestle in Auckland about this time. Hoping you can help as I am compiling details of his colourful life.
On 11/4/01 3:59 AM, J Michael Kenyon at email@example.com
Dear Mr. Lennox,
You have asked me for info on "Count" Francois Fouche, but will, perhaps, wind up giving me more info than I can you on the subject. You see, I have never been able to determine who "Fouche" was, as he only appears in my records over the 1937 season, either in Hawaii or down in your part of the world. You say that you are putting together info on his career . . . puleeze, tell me ALL you know about him. I can't believe that he didn't perform under another, more recognizable name, in other years, and in other places.
Let me tell you what I know from my researches. On Tuesday, July 6, 1937, in the Honolulu Civic Auditorium, Ed (Strangler) Lewis beat him with a "terrific forearm blow delivered as Fouche crawled back into the ring after spinning outside in a flying dive rendered the Count hors de combat. Adoctor was summoned into the ring when the Count failed to respond to
treatment and it was learned that he was suffering from an internal hemorrhage caused by the forearm blow that crashed under his heart, tearing loose the already torn tissues caused by his fall from the ring." -- Bob Carson, Honolulu Advertiser, July 7, 1937
Fouche was "bleeding from the nose" as he climbed back into the ring. Lewis' "blow landed solidly and sent Fouche to the mat with a force that spun him along the canvas several feet. Lewis quickly applied a head lock to win the fall. Fouche was carried to his corner as blood streamed from his eyes, mouth and nose." -- Ibid.
Two weeks later, July 20, Fouche returned to action in Honolulu, winning from Scotty Dawkins via disqualification in the semi-windup. A week later, veteran Herb Freeman beat him in the main event (July 27). And, Freeman beat him again in the August 3 main event. On August 10, Fouche, in a mid-card event, drew with Sailor Jack Arnold. August 17 saw Bob Jessen draw with Fouche, and their rematch was the August 24 main event, with Fouche topping Jessen as the final bout of a battle royal-selected card. Scotty Dawkins beat Fouche in the Aug. 31 main and Jessen beat him in the semi-windup Sept. 7. And that was the end of his Hawaiian stint, for promoter Al Karasick.
For a time, I surmised that "Fouche" may have been Al Baffert (Andre Adoree), but the latter appeared under the Adoree sobriquet in Honolulu the following summer. And, aside from the listing I have for 1937 visitors to Australia (just below), I know nothing else of "Count Francois Fouche."
1937 Down Under tourists...
Ted Thye booking..Norman (Rusty) Westcoatt, Danny Dusek, Joe Kopach, Don Noland, Glenn Wade, Joe Savoldi, Vic Christy, Jack Forsgren, Hal Rumberg, Sandor Vary, Sammy Stein, Chief Little Wolf, Ted Cox, Matros Kirilenko, Ed Lewis, Earl McCready, John Spellman, Don McIntyre, Frank Judson, Francois Fouche, Tony Felice, Dr. Gordon McKenzie..
Hoping, therefore, that you can provide some enlightenment to me.
J Michael Kenyon, Esq.
E-mail dated April 11, 2001:
Your puleeze tell me ALL is a bit premature, as I have only just started on Francois Fouche, although already up to 300 pages of notes. Normally I deal with convict and other early Tasmanian history c.1820s-50s but have chosen Frank Fouche as an excursion into the 20th century. If you care to give me a snail mail address, I shall send you a photocopy of an article on Francois Fouche from the Australian Dictionary of Biography. As most of the information came from Fouche himself, without independent verification, some of it may be suspect and I have uncovered considerable information not previously located by Bert. For example, Fouche gave at least three different years of birth in various documents, claimed to have graduated from the University of Michigan, served in France in the US Army during WW1, etc. etc.I have been dealing with the author Bert Wicks ( a 77-year-old executor of Fouche's will) and am attempting to get behind the myths surrounding Fouche. Bert is about to deposit a few rolls of film in the Archives < these include two belonging to Fouche and one taken in Honolulu. Your information is just perfect !!! as one photo is of a group standing behind a banner which proclaimed a bout between Fouche and Scotty Dawkins with the date August 31 prominently displayed : SNAP ! Bert took photographs himself c. 1966 of Fouche with Chief Little Wolf looking over a luxury resort hotel Fouche intended to build near Hobart.The latter was a disaster and his ruin. My interest is not in wrestling per se, but only as it pertains to Fouche's early life. To satisfy your curiosity a little in return for your most useful information; in terms of him being a colourful character, he settled in Hobart c.1938 and broadcasted on a local station, with a spot concerning health etc. In September 1940, Fouche opened a war-time night club (commonly known as the Stage Door Canteen) and in one incident he was tried for manslaughter, with a shot fired at him from an assembled crowd outside his club, he borrowed money to build a resort hotel from a State Public Servants trust fund, which placed the Board in trouble and started a political row due to the breach of trust involved in such a speculative venture. The Board resigned en masse. Locally, he was reported in the press as being a one-time bodyguard to Shirley Temple, a member of the Flying Fouches, circus act, he was born in a tent, was an Olympian etc., etc. As regards wrestling locally, I have not taken this up as yet, apart from noting in the local Mercury that there is a photograph looking remarkably like Fouche (but designated as Ali Baba) who was to meet the NZ wrestler Bob King on 14 September 1938. Other wrestling info includes the following: he arrived in Hobart on 5 September 1938 and as "The Furious Frenchman" was to meet Tony Felice "the Bad Man of the Ring" (Mercury 6 September, 9 September1938). A match with Tiger Higgins, "The roughest toughest man in Australia" was mentioned in the Mercury, 15 September 1938. The local press does not appear to report on wrestling matches with the colour that you have provided. In a 1942 questionnaire given to aliens, Fouche gave his birthplace as Goshen, USA (Indiana) on 13 June 1895 and it also mentioned wrestling on the Los Angeles circuit in 1937 (perhaps you might be good enough to tell me whether Honolulu was included in such a circuit) and that he came to Australia on 1 November 1937 under engagement to Ed Lewis, wrestling promoter. I assume that there should be some record of him wrestling in Sydney, Melbourne, etc., between that time and his arrival in Hobart. Do you have any information regarding his Australian bouts? This would be most helpful if you are kindly able to provide any information. Fouche was killed in a car accident on 19 July 1968.
If I get as far as publication, which seems likely from the material uncovered, I would be grateful if you would permit me to quote (of course, acknowledging yourself as source) from the material you have so far kindly sent me.
Letter mailed April 12, 2001 from Hobart, Tasmania:
To: J Michael Kenyon
The enclosed material contains often misleading information. The Bert Wicks biography is based on what Fouche told him and something like Appleton dying from "an exchange of blows" hardly does justice to Fouche's own evidence which admitted that he struck Appleton on the side of the head with an Indian club.
Fouche also was in court a number of times and convicted of theft. Bert was a friend of Fouche and his biography is of that nature.
Incidentally, there is a street at Old Beach (a suburb of Hobart) named after him.
There is a photo in the Mercury of an Ali Baba (complete with fez) that strongly resembles Fouche, who had an olive complexion.
Perhaps Ali Baba might be worth following up as an alias under which Fouche wrestled.
Good luck and best wishes.
E-mail dated April 27
At last, I have received your missive of April 12, and the accompanying Xerox copies, both articles of which (plus this continuing correspondence, in the interest of perhaps sparking interest elsewhere) I have posted to my collection of WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It) Papers and WAWLI REDUX at the WAWLI archive, the URL for which is: http://www.wrestlingclassics.com/wawli/REDUXNos.51-60.html
Doing a little further poking around, I noticed a real estate notice on the Internet at http://www.hilder.com.au/churinga.html . . . it goes on to note that, for a price of $325,000 (Australian) one could have the property, described as "A spectacular location . . . formerly the site of Francois Fouche's Old Beach Country Club Hotel . . . Accommodation includes spacious entertaining areas plus 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms . . . A chance to enjoy absolute privacy combined with stunning views across the River Derwent to Mount Wellington . . . Landscaped gardens further complement this appealing property. As there was a "SOLD" sign attached, I deduced that the property is now off the market, but the accompanying photos at the web site help us get a picture of the property at which Fouche planned on building his fancy resort.
You mentioned Ali Baba as a possible alias. Not
likely, since the most famous and about the only notable "Ali Baba" in
wrestling history was a five-foot-six-inch Armenian named Harry Ekizian, who
continued wrestling in the States after the war. He was, for a time in 1936,
generally recognized as "world champion" of the mat world.
I thought along other lines for an alias, particularly another "Count" -- George Zarynoff -- who seemed to disappear from the wrestling scene about the time Fouche came into view (ours, at least). But further inspection of files on the Internet produces evidence that said Mr. Zarynoff continued to reside in New England long after Fouche had taken up permanent residence in Tasmania. For your curiousity, there is a picture of Zarynoff in his halcyon days as a wrestler at the following URL: http://freepages.history.rootsweb.com/~history/grafton/CountZarynoff1.jpg
Also mitigating these men being the same person
is Zarynoff's size. Fouche, from the accounts you sent me, was six-foot-two and
252 pounds (18 stone), a veritable giant for that time (the 1930s). Zarynoff
probably wasn't much more than 5-10 and 210 pounds. And, as I noted, Ali Baba
One other notable Francois Fouche shows up, repeatedly, in an Internet search of the name -- the South African Olympian long-jumper, who is credited with the 140th longest jump of all time (in 1990) and appeared in the 1996 Olympics at Atlanta, Georgia. One wonders if he would know of his colorful namesake.
Since I last corresponded with you, I've been doing some additional research on Fouche's U.S. appearances, in addition to the previously discussed Hawaiian bouts. I have located a couple, and will be looking for more information in the San Francisco papers, which I will relay to you. But, for the time being, he was billed in these two matches as "Fouchet" and Fouschet" -- an example of the sort of slaphazard spelling so often applied to visiting wrestlers' names. One bout took place February 13, 1937 in San Jose and "Frank Fouchet" drew with Pat Meehan. The next, February 26, 1937, in Oakland, saw Tommy Marvin beat "Charlie Fouschet.
The best tactic, I think, will be to study the
wrestlers of the '30s who were of the approximate same size as "Big
Frank." As I say, there weren't all that many of them and, by process of
elimination, I may stumble upon a likely pseudonym for this interesting fellow.
So glad you've involved me in the search. Please stay in touch and keep me posted on any significant discoveries you might make about his life.
OLD 'ED' RASSLES TONIGHT
(San Francisco Chronicle, February 2, 1937)
Nearing 50, Ed (Strangler) Lewis remains one of the oremost performers among the grapplers, five times world's heavyweight champion.
When most athletes would be long through, Lewis says he is headed for the top the sixth time and will start again by defeating Sandor Szabo, Pacific Coast heavyweight titlist, in their two-hour rematch tonight at the Dreamland Auditorium, best two in three falls.
The Strangler's match with Szabo will be his last here for a year or more, for the headlock specialist leaves for a world tour in a few days which will find him wrestling the best in foreign countries, among them the Great Gama of India (if he can find him).
Lewis beat Szabo here last year but many of the mat experts are rather dubious whether he can repeat the victory over the vastly improved Hungarian Adonis tonight.
Promoter Joe Malcewicz has a strong supporting program arranged. The bouts follow:
Bill Hansen vs. "Mexico" Tommy Marvin, Gino "Red" Vagnone vs. John "Gorilla" Spellman; The "Red Phantom" vs. Pete Managoff; Ivan Managoff vs. Larry Carlson; Casey Kazanjian vs. Frank Foschle (sic).
SZABO PUTS KIBOSH ON STRANGLER
(San Francisco Chronicle, February 3, 1937)
Sandor Szabo, the Hungarian menace, evened matters with the aged Ed (Strangler) Lewis last night when he took Lewis, two falls out of three, in the main event at Dreamland.
Szabo took the first fall in 10:55 with his suplex hold, all rights reserved. Lewis captured the second with his old standby, the headlock, in 9:25, and Szabo wound it up by taking the deciding fall in 5:45 with a leg spring.
Bill Hansen, former state champion, won from Mexico Tommy Marvin in 17:32 when Marvin was disqualified for fouling. Other results:
The Red Phantom (boo) defeated Pete Managoff; Gino Vagnone defeated John Spellman; Ivan Managoff defeated Larry Carlson; Casey Kazanjian defeated Frank Foschle (sic).
AUSTRALIAN DICTIONARY OF BIOGRAPHY
(researched by Geoff Lennox, Rosetta, Tasmania)
FOUCHE, FRANCOIS (1890? - 1968), wrestler and entrepeneur, was born reputedly on 13 June 1890 at Goshen, Indiana, United States of America, one of seven children of parents employed in a circus. Information about his early life, based solely on Fouche's testimony, carries an aura of legend. He claimed that his father was a French calvalry officer who formed an aerial circus troupe, and that he himself had graduated from Michigan State University, served as an officer in the United States Army Medical Corps and competed in an Olympic Games. Fouche became a professional wrestler after World War I. With a commanding physical presence, he was about 6 ft 2 ins (188 cm) tall, big boned and athletic, weighing about 18 stone (114 kg) in peak condition. He worked the international circuit and competed against the best, but was consistently modest about his wrestling skill, often observing that he was never in the class of the few at the top.
On 5 September 1938 he arrived in Hobart with several other wrestlers. Three thousand people attended the first match of what was billed as 'one of the most experienced and best performed wrestlers' to visit Tasmania. Intelligent, educated and articulate, with a soft voice and a great sense of fun, Fouche was a showman among showmen. In personal encounters he invariably charmed people, but Hobert already had its wrestling favourites and it was his lot to play the villain. He paraded the city streets and promoted his role with such enthusiasm that he was remembered as having 'arched across the Hobart scene like a rainbow in a leaden . . . sky.' He was not to know then that he would spend the rest of his life in Tasmania and that his superficial theatrical reputation would become fixed in the minds of many citizens, helping to make him at all times a controversial figure.
'Big Frank' set up a gymnasium in Hobert, and conducted radio sessions on diet and health before abandoning wrestling to become the proprietor of a coffee-lounge. He bought a large house in fashionable Sandy Lay where he was later joined by Marjorie ('Mitzie') Myra Arnold (1911-1982), a former 'Tivoli girl' with whom he lived in a devoted domestic relationship. During World War II he opened the Stage Door Canteen, an unlicensed dine-and-dance cabaret in Elizabeth Street which was popular with American troops. There, on 23 August 1942, Leslie Appleton died following an exchange of blows with Fouche. Two days later Fouche was charged with manslaughter. Brought to trial, he was acquitted on 26 September on the ground that he had acted in self-defence. The evidence showed that Appleton had been the attacker and that Fouche hit him only once, but his reputation never recovered from the publicity.
Fouche closed his nightclub in December 1946 and bought farming land at Old Beach, a place then isolated from the city by low-grade rural roads. On that site he planned to build an American-style luxury hotel, with a golf course and casino, to be 'the most outstanding recreational resort in Australia.' Having secured a provisional hotel licence in December 1947, he began work, using day-labour. When the hotel was no more than a crude steel-and-concrete frame, a crisis developed. Fouche had raised his 41,500-pound mortgage finance through the Tasmanian Public Service Superannuation Fund Board, but in a report to parliament in June 1949 the auditor-general condemned the transaction and the board resigned. The new board refused Fouche any further advances and he brought an action against it in the Supreme Court. The judgement, delivered in September 1950, barred him from receiving any additional payments and ordered him to repay with interest the 21,900 pounds already received. On 26 December 1951 a fire at his partly finished hotel at Old Beach (which was insured by the mortagagees for 25,000 pounds) caused losses estimated at 60,000 to 80,000 pounds. Fouche then appealed to the High Court, which in March 1952 upheld the previouse judgment of the Supreme Court.
In 1953 Fouche opened a licensed beer-bar at Old Beach, but never appeared to recover financially. His house was slowly taken over, from the entrance hall inwards, by building materials and he lived a reduced existence, farming and still planning for the future. He died on 19 July 1968 in a motorcar accident at Glenorchy and was cremated.
MR. FRANCOIS FOUCHE (78) DEAD AFTER
(The Mercury, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, July 20, 1968)
One of Hobart's most colourful characters was dead yesterday after a two-car, head-on collision near Granton.
He was 78-year-old Francois Fouche, of Sandy Bay Rd. -- a former world champion professional wrestler and one-time bodyguard of Shirley Temple when she was a child star.
Mr. Fouche was driving towards Hobart when his car and the Collinsvale mail van driven by Mrs. Nita Burr were in a head-on collision.
Mrs. Burr, of Main Rd., Berriedale, and her passenger, Miss Mary Rubenach, of Avoca, last night were in serious condition in the Royal Hobart Hospital.
Mrs. Burr has a fractured skull and knee, and Miss Rubenach severe facial injuries.
From his arrival in Hobart in the 1930s, Mr. Fouche -- a French-Canadian (sic) -- was a controversial figure.
He was one of Hobart's biggest men, and his physique at the time of his death belied his years.
In 1942, he was acquitted of the manslaughter of a man at
an Elizabeth St. cafe, the Stagedoor Canteen. Mr. Fouche ran this night-time
eat-and-dance cafe opposite the Hobart G.P.O. It was patronised by servicemen on
leave in Hobart.
The man, Leslie Appleton, died on his way to Hobart police headquarters.
In 1948 Mr. Fouche was advanced $43,800 of an $83,000 loan -- on the mortgage of his hotel at Old Beach -- by the Public Service Superannuation Fund Board.
When the board resigned in 1949, the new board refused to make further advances.
Mr. Fouche proceeded against the new board for the balance of the loan.
After a 19-day Supreme Court hearing in September, 1950, the then-Chief Justice (Sir John Morris) gave judgment against him.
On Christmas Day, 1951, a fire caused $160,000 damage to the Old Beach Hotel.
An open finding was recorded on the fire at an inquiry held four months later.
In 1952, Mr. Fouche appealed to the Full High Court against Sir John Morris' ruling.
The Full High Court upheld the ruling and Mr. Fouche was ordered to repay the $43,800 he had borrowed.
The Court also said the previous members of the board had been guilty of gross negligence in advancing the money.
Mr. Fouche's interest in physical fitness enabled him to give help to many people who sought his advice on bone and muscle ailments.
Mr. Fouche always retained his dream of building a luxury country club style hotel at Old Beach.
Two years ago, he brought Australia's top golf architect, Sam Berriman, to design a "world championship course" on 350 acres at Old Beach.
WAWLI REDUX NO. 58 . . .
WORLD'S TITLE AT STAKE IN MAT DUEL
(Los Angeles Herald Express, December 23, 1936)
The world's heavyweight wrestling champion, Deam Detton, says he isn't any Christmas present for Sandor Szabo, the handsome Hungarian. Detton defends his title tonight in a rematch at the Olympic at three falls to a finish.
This match tops a seven-bout program arranged by promoter Jack Daro. Also featured on the card will be the one and only Man Mountain Dean. The M.M. is meeting his arch enemy of the mat, Chief Little Wolf, the Indian death grip artist.
Detton bounded back in here to straighten out Szabo, the experts contend. Two weeks ago this pair met in a hectic engagement at the Olympic. Detton had his hand raised at the end of the one hour and ten minutes of wrestling.
Szabo later charged that the champion deliberately fouled him in order to save his crown. This report made the wire services and Detton went wild with rage when he read it back east. He immediately wired Szabo that he could have a rematch.
Tonight's battle for the title will be a rough and tumble affair from all accounts. Both Detton and Szabo can wrestle like all get-out, but the rough stuff is bound to creep in when they start taking out their pet grievances.
Detton is hailed in the east as the greatest heavyweight champion since Frank Gotch's time. Szabo says that he is overrated and will prove it tonight.
Dick Rutherford will referee the main event.
When Man Mountain Dean and Little Wolf come to the center of the ring a $500 side bet will be up for the winner. This pair actually hate each other both on and off the mat. The winner will get first shot here for the championship, Daro promises. The New York Hippodrome also is anxious to snag the winner of this event.
At ringside tonight will be Vincent Lopez, former world's champion, who will challenge the Detton-Szabo winner.
An added attraction to the program which may steal the spotlight from the rest of the bouts is the jiu jitsu battle between Jules Strongbow, 285-pound Indian, and Kiman Kudo, the 170-pound Japanese black-belted star. Kudo has never lost a match in this country at jiu jitsu. Tonight he must give away not only a foot in height but, in addition, 115 pounds in weight. They will come out with jackets on.
King Chewaki, the Gypsy Bad Man, has promised the state athletic commission that he will obey the rules tonight when he faces Brother Jonathan, the bearded Mormon preacher.
CHIEF CHIWAKI COPS SAN DIEGO MAT TOURNEY
(United Press, December 23, 1936)
SAN DIEGO -- Chief Chiwaki, a grizzled Oklahoma Indian who once knocked out Max Schmeling in a round, won a $1,500 elimination contest last night by throwing four heavyweight wrestlers in succession.
Chiwaki, at 255, threw Wild Bill Beth, 235, New York; Mike Strelich, 217, New York; Herb Freeman, 240, New York; and Rudy Skarda, 240, San Diego, in a row to capture the tournament.
DETTON STILL RULES ROOST AS HEAVY MAT CHAMPION
(Los Angeles Herald-Express, December 24, 1936)
By E.W. Krauch
The old noggin -- brainwork to youse -- counts a lot in this hectic business of two guys trying to tie each other into torturing knots.
Dean Detton, the world's heavyweight wrestling champion, gave a very excellent exhibition of this noggin business last night at the Olympic auditorium as he successfully defending his title by defeating Sandor Szabo, the best looking gent in the industry, in straight falls.
And at the same time, Szabo learned a little lesson that he shouldn't soon forget. It's just a simple rule, too, consisting of one sentence -- "Never argue with the referee!"
Here's what took place:
The boys had been banging each other around, hither and yon, swapping arm and leg holds, visiting customers out in the front row seats and going through other playful tactics for some 25 minutes, when Szabo suddenly clamps on what he calls his newly invented grip.
It consists of placing the right forearm firmly against the opposition's Adam's apple and then flipping said opposition to the canvas for a bouncing body slam. The main idea, however, is that the grip on the Adam's apple is aimed to do more damage than the slam.
Well, Szabo performs this cute little trick several times and he apparently has Detton in condition to call it quits and yell for a stretcher when referee Dick Rutherford steps in and decides that Szabo's hold is illegal.
"Stand back, my good man!" shouts referee Rutherford. "Those foul tactics shall not pass!"
That, of course, causes Szabo much anguish.
"So I can't, can I, we shall see, we shall --."
And just as the argument reaches its hottest point, Detton's noggin swings into action.
He makes a dive at the referee, knocks him out of the way and before poor Szabo has had time to collect his wits, the champion has grabbed a leg and secured a clamp over leg scissors. Needless to say, the clamp over leg scissors hurts poor Szabo to such an extent that he gives up and loses the first fall in 26:33.
Now, if he hadn't argued with the referee -- what? Maybe they'd still be down there wrestling yet.
The second fall lasted less than five minutes. Szabo hobbled from his corner, apparently still in great pain from that leg hold in the first fall, and proceeds to drop the second and deciding heat to the same clamp.
The referee played Santa Claus to some of the other contestants, too.
Chief Little Wolf won from Man Mountain Dean and his whiskers when the latter was disqualified for kicking below the belt. But Dean, even in defeat, was happy. He managed to click with one running broad jump on the Indian as he reposed on the canvas in a painful attitude and then for a good measure he delivered a second one -- this time on the back of referee Don McDonald as the latter leaped over Chief Little Wolf seeking to render first aid. The time was 4:48.
Another disqualification was recorded for the busy bookkeepers as Jules Strongbow, 285-pound giant, fouled himself to defeat in a jiu jitsu match with little 175-pound Kiman Kudo of the Orient.
The jackets were too much for Strongbow. After Kudo had repeatedly flipped him, the Indian elected to play puss in the corner. He insisted on Kudo coming in to meet him and each time Kudo advanced a kick in the face was the greeting. Strongbow's number 14 hoof finally landed on the Japanese boy's eye, and referee McDonald decided the entertainment was at an end. The time was 12:45.
Jack McArthur used a body press to humble Rudy Skarda in 9:55; King Chewaki planted three giant haymakers in Brother Jonathan's whiskers and then fell on him for the fall in 5:15; Howard Cantonwine won from Mike Strelich, and Al Bisignano tossed 340-pound Tor Johnson with an Italian whip.
AS I SEE IT by BOB MAGEE
(April 28, 2000)
A welcome to Internet Pro Wrestling Zone.Net and TRG Wrestling.com, which have joined the 69 websites/e-newsletters carrying AS I SEE IT.
Sounds like someone finally listened...
Witness the following article from By L. Anne Newell of the Associated Press:
Pro Wrestler Drug Tests Proposed
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A New York lawmaker is recommending mandatory drug testing for professional wrestlers competing in his state, saying it's not a jab at the simulated violence but a way to protect children trying to emulate their heroes.
'Almost all other major professional sports have adopted similar requirements for legal participation,' said Republican Sen. Thomas Libous. Drug testing as part of the state's licensing requirements would show fans the wrestlers are drug-free, plus it would improve the level of competition and protect the wrestlers' health, he said.
World Wrestling Federation officials say it's a plan that hits below the belt.
'We are performers, we are showmen, he'd be drug testing everyone on Broadway. He'd be drug testing the circus,' said WWF Entertainment chairman Vince McMahon. 'If in fact he's trying to single us out, that is unconstitutional,' McMahon said.
Wrestlers seeking licenses to compete in New York already must give references, divulge any criminal history and submit to a pre-match physical.
Libous' proposal would take that a step further by adding the drug tests and punishment for wrestlers who fail them.
Wrestlers who tested positive for drugs one time would be prohibited from wrestling in the state for 24-hours under the proposal. A second positive test would strip them of the license for a year and fine their sponsors $25,000. A third would mean a permanent ban from New York competition and $100,000 fine for the sponsors.
Alan Sharp, a spokesman for the Atlanta-based World Championship Wrestling said he could not comment on the proposal without having seen it.
But Sharp and McMahon said WCW and WWF wrestlers undergo pre-employment drug tests, and the WCW randomly tests its employees. The WWF said it reserves the right to test anyone who exhibits signs of drug use.
New York would not be the first state to mandate drug tests for pro wrestlers. Last July, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber led an effort to preserve that state's mandatory drug testing. The WWF is currently boycotting the state because of its intense wrestling licensing requirements, McMahon said.
McMahon also disagreed with Libous statements that professional wrestlers are role models.
'We have roles that we play,' he said, 'but under no circumstances do we hold ourselves out as role models.' "
OK, so Vince McMahon wants government restrictions on wrestling, just not THAT kind of government restrictions...on HIS company.
Apparently Vincent K. McMahon's recent views on State governments regulating professional wrestling only apply to smaller companies with content he borrows, then condemns. But when such proposed regulations affect HIS company, in a manner that may help save the lives of wrestlers, and that will require personal and financial accountability from World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc., its corporate officers, and its stockholder, that is another thing altogether.
In one set of instances, we're talking about content in wrestling. We're talking about whether or not a promoter chooses to have his workers perform a particular style, whether or not they choose to perform that kind of style, whether or not state governments needs to tell that promoter if the company can perform in that style; or how old those who watch performances of that style should be. Despite what the Whitmans and Dorias of the world say, there is no matter of outstanding public concern or safety involved in that.
But in the other instance, we're talking about regulations that could help rein in the rampant use of somas, painkillers, GHB, and related drugs; as well as steroids, HGH, and other growth-enhancing substances. We're talking about a matter affecting people's safety, life, and death. We're talking about a profession that has constantly and consistently refused to govern itself and its workers regarding drug use.
Yet each time I write a column on this subject, I'm asked one more time: Why do we need such regulation?
Jay Youngblood. Rick McGraw. David (Von Erich) Adkisson. Mike Adkisson. Chris Adkisson. Kerry Adkisson. Buzz Sawyer. Eddie Gilbert. Art Barr. Brian Pillman. Louie Spicolli. Rick Rude. Bobby Duncum Jr.
How about this passage from the February 21, 1999 AS I SEE IT?
"...So it's the worst irony of all to read in last week's Pro Wrestling Torch that drug use in ECW is at an all-time high. Further, there are people designated to clean up needles and other drug paraphernalia from the locker room after ECW house shows, IN ORDER NOT TO LOSE THE VENUE.
Think about that. The concern of Paul Heyman and ECW officials is not to lose the venue.
Forget the fact that a number of Paul Heyman's workers frequently use prescription drugs, pot, and growth-enhancing drugs. Forget the fact that they don't even bother to hide that fact, something I reported on in a previous AS I SEE IT regarding an ECW worker who was handing out percosets at the door of the Philadelphia Stadium Holiday Inn hotel bar. If that's not enough for you, what about the fact that an article featuring Rob Van Dam in High Times magazine is treated like some sort of professional triumph by ECW.
I remember reading about Kerry Adkisson's suicide in February 1993, and reading that people weren't really surprised.
I remember hearing over the phone from ECW referee Jim Molineaux about Eddie Gilbert's death in February 1995; as I prepared to go down to Baltimore for SuperBrawl. Then I remember saying to someone that I was 'shocked but not surprised'.
I remember being online early in the morning a year ago, and finding out that Louie Spicolli had died... and remembering the times he'd come back into the TraveLodge after an ECW Arena show... barely able to walk. Given what I'd seen, I guess I wasn't surprised about Louie's death, either.
Sadly, I'm sure I won't be the least bit surprised when someone dies again.
Because promoters like Paul Heyman continue to operate with a 'business as usual' mindset. They find it very easy to do damage control. They find it easier and easier to wash the blood from their hands.
Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff aren't much better in this regard, though. Hell, Eric Bischoff STILL hasn't ever admitted that somas can be tested for; an issue that PWBTS brought up after Louie Spicolli's death. It's funny how PWBTS was able to get that information through a little online research; while a major corporation wasn't willing to do so.
So this February, another series of sad anniversaries passes. Unless the major wrestling promoters in this country enact REAL drug testing and drug rehabilitation programs for their workers, it may well not be long before another is added to the list...."
What has been the response to this sort of opinions expressed by myself and many others by the above companies?
At best, nothing whatever from the WWF, other than the vague comments about having some sort of unspecified drug testing program whose nature they never seem to share with the public.
Then there's WCW, which has never repudiated the statements from its once and current head Eric Bischoff. Bischoff once claimed in a PRODIGY chat two years ago, after the death of Louie Spicolli, somas can't be tested for.
After Bischoff made these claims two years ago, Fritz Capp of PWBTS and I quite easily found, through online research and a few e-mails, companies that DO testing for somas, how much the tests cost, and the means by which the presence of somas are detected. One has to wonder why two people on a wrestling website can discover information readily available to anyone, but a major conglomerate such as Time-Warner-Turner cannot. Or more likely, WILL not.
At worst however, was an angry comment from ECW referee Jeff Jones to PWBTS webmaster Fritz Capp regarding the comment about the "sanitizing" of locker rooms: "How do you know what goes on in our locker room... all you [PWBTS] do is trash ECW".
Leaving out the obvious fact that the item in question was quoted from the PRO WRESTLING TORCH and not originated by myself or anyone at PWBTS... such a comment shows that the wrestling industry is still in denial about the rampant drug use within it. It's easier to attack the messenger than to acknowledge the problem.
It's also apparently easier for a representative of ECW to ignore the question as whether or not such drug use was going at the time within his own locker room than to confront what was going on around him... a situation that resulted in three high-profile ECW names being fired directly or indirectly because of drug use.
All of THAT is why we need this kind of regulation.
Now there are already those online writers, including Al Isaacs of SCOOPS. concerned about New York State "becoming another Oregon" (read: WCW and WWF boycotting the state as they do Oregon).
To me, that's a bogus issue.
There's no way in hell Vince McMahon is going to throw away lucrative sellouts at Madison Square Garden.
First, there's too much money to be made. Witness the gate at the April 15th Madison Square Garden house show: 16,925 paid/19,588 total for a house gate of $509,499 (Wrestling Observer 4/22/00). This doesn't even count the tens of thousands of dollars of merchandise revenue. As you can see, it's a very different matter not to run shows at the Rose Garden in Oregon versus not running shows at MSG.
Second, let Vince McMahon try to explain why he's not running shows in New York State to those within the largest media market in the United States.
Any responsible reporter (let alone Phil Mushnick) would have a field day with this one. Not to mention the fact that since the WWFE is publicly held, he'd potentially have to explain it to stockholders.
It's time for WCW, the WWF, and ECW to make the choice to enact REAL drug testing. It's up to the wrestling business, once and for all, to decide if it will get serious about drug abuse. It's time for them to decide if they give a damn about their employees. It's time for them to decide if they give a damn about their companies and their long-term futures.
Either that, or states like New York will make that choice for them. New York State can be a key in establishing drug testing within the wrestling industry, because the state knows promoters like Vince McMahon will have no choice but to comply, or to forestall government oversight by adopting their own testing mechanisms.
My long-term hope is for a policy of universal random testing within major wrestling companies for the use of somas and other muscle relaxers, for painkillers, for cocaine, for Nu-Bain and other narcotics; as well as for steroids and other growth-enhancing substances... testing for the drugs being used by wrestlers today on an all too frequent basis.
I also hope for serious financial sanctions against companies if they attempt to use a worker that test dirty, much along the line of what is proposed with the New York drug testing regulations. Let's make sure that the money from those fines pays for REAL drug education and rehabilitation programs within wrestling industry, and doesn't just wind up in State coffers.
In my opinion, it will take this sort of testing to prevent the endless parade of deaths and disabilities that have resulted from the drug epidemic within wrestling. I'm tired of the farce of company- operated "drug testing" that results in stars being conveniently leaked times when testing will take place... the farce that allows dirty tests to be ignored if it will interfere with a major storyline and PPV main event.
To be blunt about it, the bodies are starting to pile up and they're starting to stink. So is the fact that Vince McMahon, Paul Heyman, and Eric Bischoff don't seem to care about the blood on their hands from those bodies. Not unless someone wants to make them do something about them.
Wrestling fans that actually CARE about the wrestlers they watch live, on pay-per-view, or on television should support such legislation, actively and aggressively. NOW.
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can
be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)
WAWLI REDUX No. 59 . . .
CLARA STILL GIRL CHAMP
(San Francisco Chronicle, June 30, 1937)
By Will Connolly
It was a genuine pleasure for the gentlemen at Dreamland last night to sit back comfortably and watch two young ladies pull hair without the gallant urge to separate the dears.
For the first time in our generation the ladies graced the arena with their lovely presence as Miss Clara Mortensen, champion lady rassler, forced Miss Rita Martinez to give up after 11 minutes and 10 seconds.
Miss Mortensen got a cruel hammerlock on Miss Martinez and twisted the little senorita's arm so vigorously that she surrendered to the agony.
In answer to referee Joe Gardenfield's inquiry: "Have you had enough, Rita? Do you say 'Uncle'?" Miss Martinez said:
"I don't say 'Uncle,' but I say 'Aunty.' Don't forget I'm a lady."
As I say, it was rare satisfaction for the gentlemen present to watch the ladies square off, knowing full well that nobody expected a gentleman to leave his seat and pull them apart with the admonition: "Here, here ladies! This is a genteel joint. You can't fight here."
Many a gentleman peacemaker who separated belligerent ladies at the price of a scratched face like that of an apprentice barber's first patient sat back contentedly and let the ladies go to it.
A packed house worth approximately $4,000 in cash turned out as a compliment to the ladies.
Miss Martinez entered the ring with the rose of old Mexico in her black hair, but the State Athletic Commission employes, having no romance in their hearts, ordered her to remove it.
Miss Mortensen entered the ring with a black eye suffered in a match Monday night at Sacramento, but the commission did not order her to remove that.
The ladies engaged in hair pulling at the outset to the delight of the gentlemen customers, including married gentlemen who nudged their wives with "How do you like that, honey?" but honey didn't think it was uproariously funny.
Miss Mortensen, chewing a stenographer's wad of gum, visited such punishment on Miss Martinez that at one juncture the senorita climbed out of the ring and stuck out her tongue at her tormentor.
Referee Gardenfield warned Miss Martinez that thsi wasn't a bit nice and ordered her to return to the ring and behave like a good girl.
For stay-at-home ladies who did not see the match, Miss Mortensen was attired in a smart outfit of brown tights and yellow sleeveless shirt. Miss Martinez affected a dazzling ensemble of blue tights and red shirt.
Vicente Lopez defeated Sandor Szabo in what was advertised as the main event. After each had taken one fall, both fell out of the ring and scuffled on the floor. Lopez returned to the arena first and kicked Szabo on his handsome jaw as the Hungarian was climbing back. Szabo was unable to recover in 20 seconds.
Milo Mortensen, brother of Miss Clara, lost a supporting match to Walter Underhill in 19:37 with a body scissors.
In other matches Abe Yourist dropkicked Bill Lewis, Jumbo Kennedy body slammed Cowboy Mallott, Tiny Roebuck threw both Ernie Peterson and Broncho Valdez, and Kimon Kudo drew with Bill Beth.
MAT RANKS IN NEW MIXUP; DEAN WINS
(Los Angeles Herald-Express, July 8, 1937)
By E.W. Krauch
Olympic Auditorium wrestling is in another giant mixup this fair summer day.
In fact, the "Grunt and Groan" boys, the fans and even the officials of the California Athletic Commission, are more scrambled over ideas after what happened during last night's main event between Man Mountain Dean and Sandor Szabo than a couple of eggs in an omelette.
Dean on the decision.
He had his hand hoisted by referee Dick Rutherford, who was so dizzy at the time that a merry-go-round at full speed would have looked like music that goes 'round and 'round.
Well, here are the dizzy, dizzy details:
Szabo is mad. He is awful mad because Dean has
been botting him down in the bread basket like a guy playing soccer football.
And while in that state of mind, the Hungarian backs the M.M. into a corner and proceeds to give him some hooting himself -- with his fists.
Referee Rutherford tries to halt these uncouth tactics and naturally Szabo's dander is up higher than a balloon.
He immediately shows why there's always a prospect of war over in Europe by turning on the neutrality committee of one. Szabo drops his attack on Dean picks up Mr. Referee and throws him out into the front row seats, where rutherford lands with much anguish on his trousers.
And while this is all going on the Man Mountain comes back to life, gives Szabo another well directed boot with his knee, sends him spinning to the canvas and before the Hungarian can say "uncle," or whatever wrestlers say, he pounces on him with a Jesse Owens' running broad jump.
Meantime, the dizzy referee climbs back into the ring and, finding Man Mountain on top of his foe with Szabo's shoulders pinned on the canvas, awards the fall to the giant, bewhiskered hillbilly.
Well, a near riot follows.
Szabo is so mad that he wants to tear the whole building down. He not only fights with anybody who is in sight, but he also takes a series of Sundays at referee Rutherford which would put Joseph Louis to shame.
And Rutherford, picking himself up like a hot potato, says Man Mountain wins hands down.
After a while the M.M. leaves for the dressing rooms and Szabo chases him down the runway with a chair, yelling louder and making more wild signs than a mountain hillbilly on the warpath.
According to Rutherford's manner of figuring things, the Man Mountain was the winner, not only for having Szsabo pinned to the canvas, but also because Rutherford's whiskers got a couple of shocks when Szabo's fists connected thereon.
However, getting down to brass tacks, the following arguments must be listed:
1. Dean started the rough stuff.
2. Szabo got sore because the referee stopped him from retaliating.
3. Dean made a running broad jump, which is strictly under ban by the California Athletic Commission.
4. Szabo slugged the referee. That's against the rules, too.
5. So, what?
Maybe they can arrange a rematch and let Sid Marks referee. He was the guy who finally managed to get Szabo calmed down enough so he would leave the ring.
The uproar from the fans -- it was a Szabo crowd -- was still ringing through the rafters as Gus Sonnenberg and Vincent Lopez climbed through the ropes for the windup.
It looked like a near-riot for a while, but as Gus the Goat and the Mad Mexican slammed, butted and knocked each other over the canvas in a wild melee the fans finally calmed down with Lopez nabbing the verdict.
Sonnenberg won the first fall with a flying tackle in 16:51. Lopez took the second when Gus missed a tackle and fell to the canvas in 5:52, while Lopez nabbed the third and deciding heat in three minutes.
In other bouts: Gino Garibaldi defeated Pat Meehan in 14:55 with a face lock, Jimmy Sarandos won from Dick Lever in 7:19 with a body slam, Ignacio Martinez trimmed Bobby Stewart with a leg breaker in 8:52. Nick Lutze and Jules Strongbow went to a rough draw, while Ted Key pulled the big surprise of the evening by tossing Baptiste Paul in 6:56 with a flying tackle.
TEN-YEAR-OLD SON PAPA GARIBALDI'S CHEER LEADER
(Los Angeles Herald-Express, July 9, 1937)
"I didn't raise my boy to be a soldier -- ."
There's a song that runs along something on that order.
Mrs. Gino Garibaldi, wife of the well known heavyweight wrestling star, sings the same tune but with different words.
She hums --
"I'm not raising my boy to be a wrestler --
And if she can prevent it her little 10-year-old son, Leo, will not be permitted to follow in the footsteps of his elbows and toe-twisting father.
"I am not against wrestling . . . but I enjoy watching the sport myself . . . but one wrestler in the family is sufficient," declares Mrs. Garibaldi.
Papa Garibaldi, however, whistles an entirely different tune.
(ED. NOTE -- Mrs. Garibaldi did not have her way, as pictorially evidenced, above, from a Seattle match nearly 25 years later as "little Leo" applied a chin lock to Shag "King Toby" Thomas, despite admonition from referee Abe Yourist. Garibaldi, in fact, turned pro in 1947 -- Bob Peterson Photographer)
"I certainly have no objections to my boy taking up the game. If he wants to be a wrestler when he grows up and really can wrestle, well -- let him wrestle."
Young Leo, of course, is a one-boy cheering section for Papa Garibaldi.
At the Olympic Auditorium the other night the youngster maintained a steady flow of cheers and advice as papa grunted and groaned his way to victory over a giant opponent.
"Give it to him -- good . . . take him apart," urged Leo as Papa was yanking on his foe's leg.
And when Papa got himself in a tough spot and appeared to be all but flat on his back, young Leo begged:
"Get outta that . . . you can do it!"
As Garibaldi finally pinned his opponent, had his hand hoisted and departed from the ring, he spotted son Leo and, walking over, planted a big kiss.
Young Leo was proud of that.
but when someone asked Leo if he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps, be an airplane pilot or maybe an engineer on a railroad, he scratched his head and replied:
"Gosh! I don't know -- yet."
WRESTLERS WHO DIED BEFORE REACHING AGE 40
(ED. NOTE: The following comes from the
website erected by the people who brought you "The Ultimate Professional
Wrestling Book of Lists," $15, including shipping & handling, from
DragonKing Press, P.O. Box 781, Haleyville AL 35565. Also available: The
DragonKing Update Report Newsletter, regularly updating lists in the book. Go to
for further details.)
By Karl E. Stern
It's alarming and sobering. Professnal wrestling almost certainly has the highest pre-forty death rate of any professional sport. The problems and situations that have lead to such a high mortality rate are many. Frequent travel over long distances increase the risk for automobile wrecks and plane crashes. No off season leads to cumulative injuries. Cumulative injuries sometimes lead to dependence on medication and prescription pain relievers, and so on. Neither professional football, nor professional basketball can touch to pre-forty mortality rate of wrestling. While deaths inside the boxing ring far out number deaths inside the wrestling ring, the death rate for wrestlers in general seems to be much higher (there is no hard data on the subject.) Here is a list of all the pre-forty year of age deaths of professional wrestlers we could verify, I'm sure there are more, especially considering the proliferation of tiny independent groups that have little news coverage. Also listed is their cause of death, as best as could be determined. They are listed in alphabetical order.
Key: Ring Name: (Real Name if known: Age).
Adonis, Adrian: (Keith Franke: Age of 34): Veteran of the NWA, AWA, and WWF was killed on July 4, 1988 in a car accident in Canada (see "Curse of the Forth of July list.). Adonis had left the WWF several months earlier and had been competing in the AWA.
Baker, Eddie: (Eddie Baker: Age of 36): Southern journeyman wrestler dies on May 14, 1937 in Corinth, MS, following a match with Ray Welch (of the Welch-Fuller wrestling family). Baker is believed to have suffered a heart attack.
Barr, Art: (Art Barr: Age of 28): Dies while wrestling in Mexico as The American Love Machine. Was gaining a lot of attention before his unexpected death. The exact cause of death was never officially determined, though some drugs were found in his system, though they were not initially thought to be the cause. He died in his sleep on November 23, 1994.
Beale, Jimmy: (Age 25?): South African wrestler who died in the dressing room following a match in South Africa of unknown causes on August 1, 1993.
Brown, Leroy: (Ronald Daniels: Age of 38): Former tag team partner of Ray Candy, known as the Zambuie Express Elijah Akeem. Brown wrestled through out the south. Died of a heart attack on September 6, 1988 in a Georgia hospital. Ironically his tag team partner Ray Candy, known as Zambuie Express Kareem Mohammed, died in a Georgia hospital of a heart attack at the
age of 43 on May 23, 1994.
Clarey, Dennis: (Vincent Lizdennis: Age of 31): Unknown cause of death on January 30, 1955.
Columbo, Rocky: (John Columbo: Age of 35): Unknown cause of death on March 6, 1964.
Demetroff, Dimitri: (Dimitri Demetroff: Age of 37): Dies on May 9, 1932 of blood poisoning.
Doyal, "Lucha" Larry: (Age of 37): Unknown cause of death on June 21, 1998. Note: This is the wrestler who I couldn't identify in the book as Le Femme Nikita Koloff, which was just one of his identities since he was a long time southern California wrestler.
Drake, "Catalina" George: (Age of 39): Unknown cause of death on December 28, 1967.
Erik the Red: (Eric Hansen: Age of 34): Is killed on November 18, 1978 while changing a car tire near Miami, FL when he was struck and killed by another car.
Gantner, Ed "The Bull": (Edward Gantner: Age of 31): Former football star turned wrestler with the NWA Florida Championship Wrestling promotion. Held the NWA Florida title in early 1987. Commits suicide on December 31, 1990 following a lengthy battle with kidney disease.
Gilbert, Eddie: (Thomas Edward Gilbert, III.: Age of 33) A major star in virtually every territory and major independent in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Had brief, but memorable, stints in the WWF and pre-WCW NWA as well. The present version of the NWA still honors him every year with a memorial show. Was either a booker or wrestler, or both for Continental Wrestling
Federation, USWA, ECW, Global Wrestling Federation, Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Bill Watt's UWF and World Wrestling Council. Major star in Memphis area. Held numerous region titles, as well as the NWA United States tag team title. Died of an apparent heart attack while working for WWC in Puerto Rico. Was married at one time to Missy Hyatt and later to Debra "Madusa" Miceli. Died February 18, 1995.
Gotch, Frank: (Frank Gotch: Age of 39) Early 20th century world heavyweight champion. Arch rival of George Hackenschmidt. Some consider him the greatest pure wrestler of all time, despite a reputation as a rule breaker. Died of either uremic poisoning or syphilis, depending on what source you believe, on December 16, 1917. It should be noted that some news paper accounts list him as 41 at the time of his death. Hady, Jim: (Age of 38): Unknown cause of death on January 12, 1968.
Hart, Owen: (Age of 34): Former WWF Intercontinental and World tag team title holder and member of the legendary Stu Hart family, was killed in a horrific fall during the WWF Over the Edge PPV on May 23, 1999. While attempting to enter the ring as "The Blue Blazer" while being lowered into the ring from the arena ceiling, the cable holding him became detaching which sent him into a seventy-foot plus fall, after which he struck the turnbuckle and was killed instantly.
Hasegawa, Satoshi: (Age of 22): Wrestler for the Pancrase organization of Japan. Died on March 1, 1999 after falling three stories off an apartment building in a freak accident.
Hernandez, Gino: (Charles Wolfe: Age of 29): Stand out star in the Texas based World Class Championship Wrestling organization. Many pegged him as a future big star. Team frequently with Chris Adams, then later feuded with him. Died of a cocaine overdose on February 4, 1986.
Hester, Frank: (Frank Hester: Age of 37): Is killed on July 26, 1976, along with Sam Bass and Pepe Lopez, in a car accident near Dickson, TN.
Idol, Lance: (Steve Schumann: Age of 32): A journeyman independent wrestler who competed under such names as Lance Idol, Ray Evans, Steve Winters, Star Rider, and Steve Austin (not "Stone Cold"). Idol often reportedly bragged of his drug use, though he appeared to have a serious heart condition, which is eventually what got him on October 21, 1991.
Irwin, Scott: (Age of 35): The brother of "Wild" Bill Irwin, with whom he formed the AWA tag team combo of "The Long Riders". Scott had also wrestled for a number of years, most notably in the NWA as The Super Destroyer. Irwin died of a brain tumor on September 5, 1987.
Kado, Emiko: (Age of 23): A wrestler for the Japanese women's group Arsion. Kado was teaming with Michiko Omukai against the team of Mariko Yoshida & Mikiko Futagami on a small show at Fukuoka Acros Hall in Fukuoka, Japan when she struck her head hard on the mat. After she was pinned, her fellow wrestlers were unable to revive her. She was rushed to the hospital following the March 31, 1999 show and died on April 9, 1999. She remained in a coma the entire time.
Kasavubu: (Jimmy Banks: Age of 26): Unknown cause of death on July 27, 1982.
Koma, Maseo: (Hideo Koma: Age of 36): Cause of death unknown on March 21, 1975.
Lopez, Pepe: (Rubin Rodriguez: Age of 39): A southern journeyman wrestler who was killed in a car accident near Dickson, TN on July 26, 1976, which also killed Sam Bass and Frank Hester.
Lovett, Yuel: (Alex Lovett: Age of 25): Florida independent wrestler who died of apparent cardiac arrest while eating at a steak house while on a tour of Peru with Steve Keirn. Lovett died on July 31, 1999.
Lynam, Joe: (Joe Lynam: Age of 31): Killed in a plane crash in Oregon on September 25, 1948.
Mansfield, Randy: (Randy Toslinski: Age of 23): Cause of death unknown in April 1998.
Mariko, Plum: (Mariko Umeda: Age of 29) Died of what is believed to be a culmination of ring injuries which resulted in a brain abscess. The young Mariko had suffered several concussions previously, but had continued to wrestle. Following a match on August 15, 1997 where she teamed with Commando Boirshoi against Mayumi Ozaki & Rieko Amano, Mariko passed out and died a few hours later on August 16, 1997.
Martello, Rick: (Age of 38): Cause of death unknown on January 3, 1997.
Martin, Bull (Murray Grondin: Age of 34): Following a match in St. John's, Newfoundland, Martin suffered a heart attack and died on July 31, 1979.
Mayne, "Moondog" Lonnie (Ronald Mayne: Age of 33): Died in a car wreck near San Bernardino, Calif., on August 13, 1978.
McGraw, Rick: (Rick McGraw: Age of 31): Former southern journeyman wrestler during the early 1980's who ended up with the WWF around 1984 working underneath as a jobber. Had one famous match in the WWF with Roddy Piper shortly before his death of a heart attack on November 1, 1985. Former friend Steve Travis (Steve Musulin) blamed the heart attack on drugs.
McGuire, Billy: (Billy McCreary: Age of 32): Cause of death unknown on July 14, 1979.
Medina, Alex: (Age of 32): Cause of death unknown on April 20, 1973.
Munn, Wayne "Big": (Wayne Munn: Age of 35): World heavyweight champion in 1925 dies on January 9, 1931.
Murphy, Skull: (John Murphy: Age of 39): Cause of death unknown on March 23, 1970.)
Nuhammed, Hassen "The Terrible Turk": (Hassen Nuhammed: Age of 38): Early 20th century wrestler who was killed on January 28, 1929 in a car accident near Phoenix, AZ.
O'Mahoney, Danno: (Daniel A. Mahoney: Age of 37): Died as the consequence of a car wreck on November 4, 1950.
Oklahoma Kid: (Elmer Gearlds: Age of 29): Cause of death unknown in 1968.
Oski, Jerry: (Jerry Arotski: Age of 32): Cause of death unknown in December 1995.
Oro: (Age of 21): His death is believed to have been from a brain aneurysm on October 26, 1993. Oro was a dynamic high flier, ahead of his time in Mexico where high fling was already an art. Oro collapsed following a chop to the chest during a six man tag team match in Mexico City where he was teaming with La Fiera & Brazo de Plata against Dr. Wagner, Jr. & Kaho I & Jaque Mate.
Papineau, Louis: (Age of 36): Dies following a match with Gino Brito in Garden City, MI on March 7, 1964.
Peterson, D.J.: (Dave Peterson: Age of 33): Former co-holder of the AWA World tag team championship was killed in a truck accident on May 25, 1993.
Pillman, Brian: (Brian Pillman: Age of 35) Headliner for both WCW and WWF who died of a heart attack in Bloomington, MN on October 5, 1997. Pillman, who had begun his career in Calgary and later moved up the ladder in WCW from being a mid-card lightweight champion and tag team wrestler to being a member of the Four Horsemen was wrestling for the WWF at the time as an associate member of the Hart Foundation. Pillman had suffered a serious car accident about a year earlier and initial belief that pain killers mixed with alcohol, or a cocaine overdose caused the death proved false as none of the above appeared in any significant amount in his system and no illegal drugs or alcohol were in his system. Pillman was born on May 22, 1962.
Renegade: (Richard C. Williams: Age of 33): Committed suicide in front of his girlfriend in February 1999 in Marietta, GA. Allegedly despondent over not being used by World Championship Wrestling (WCW) where he had been a past television champion under an Ultimate Warrior rip off gimmick. Renegade was allegedly facing financial and personal problems and confronted his girlfriend and shot himself with a .38 caliber handgun. Renegade was born October 16, 1965.
Rikidozan: (Mitsuharu Momota: Age of 39): Killed in a gangland style stabbing in Japan on December 15, 1963.
Romano, Mike: (age of 36). Cause of death unknown in June 1936.
Rutten, Jackie: (Age of 23). Cause of death unknown on June 19, 1982.
Sangre India: (Age of 23): Died after missing a tope in Mexico City and breaking his back on December 25, 1979.
Sawyer, Buzz: (Bruce Woyan: Age of 32): Stand out star in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Georgia. Had a famous feud in the NWA with Tommy Rich, and was later part of Gary Hart's stable with the The Great Muta that feuded with the Four Horsemen. Top star in World Class Championship Wrestling and a former UWF TV champion. Brother of Brett Wayne Sawyer dies a drug related death on February 7, 1992.
Seleem, Iben: (Charles Halvey: Age of 27): Dies on February 17, 1939 in a car accident near Hot Springs, NM.
Shamrock, Shane: (Brian Hauser: Age of 23) Maryland independent wrestler was shot by police during a domestic altercation on August 17, 1998.
Shane, Bobby: (Bob Schoenberger: Age of 29): Is killed when the plane that he, Buddy Colt, Mike McCord (Austin Idol), and Gary Hart are flying in crashes. All others survive. Shane is killed on February 20, 1975.
Sleaze, Big E. (Jeremy Sumpter: Age of 22) Maryland independent wrestler died from a self inflicted gun shot wound to the head.
Speer, Frank: (Frank Speer: Age of 32): Dies on June 10, 1938 from pneumonia in Atlanta, GA.
Spicolli, Louie: (Louis Mucciolo: Age of 27) Wrestled for the WWF, AAA, ECW, and WCW. Was wrestling for WCW at the time of his death on February 15, 1998 from an apparent overdose of prescription pain killers mixed with alcohol. He was laid to rest in San Pedro, CA at Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church.
Sugai, Don: (Don Sugai: Age of 39): Killed in a car accident on October 14, 1952 in Ontario, Canada.
Superior, Neil "The Power": (Neil Caricofe: Age of 33): Died following a confrontation with police in Ocean City, Maryland on August 23, 1996. Superior was nude and causing a disturbance when police arrived and became involved in a confrontation with Superior, who died a few hours later. At the time this book was published, his family was still involved in litigation with the Ocean City Police department.
Sweetan, Freddie: (Fred Sweetan: Age of 36): Dies in an accident at his home on July 26, 1974.
Taylor, Chris: (Christopher Taylor: Age of 29): Olympic super heavyweight wrestling bronze medalist who wrestled for the AWA dies following a lengthy illness on June 30, 1979.
Torres, Alberto: (Age of 37). Cause of death unknown on June 17, 1971,
Von Erich, Chris: (Chris Barton Adkisson: Age of 21): The youngest of the Von Erich brothers commits suicide with a self inflicted gunshot wound on September 12, 1991.
Von Erich, David: (David Adkisson: Age of 25): Dies on February 10, 1984, allegedly of acute enteritis, although rumors and stories have persisted for years that his death was drug related. Von Erich died in his hotel room in Tokyo, Japan while on tour.
Von Erich, Kerry: (Kerry Adkisson: Age of 33): The longest living of the Von Erich brothers, with the exception of the still living Kevin. The most nationally successful of the family, having won the NWA World heavyweight title in 1984 from Ric Flair, and later held the WWF Intercontinental title. Had a severe motorcycle accident in 1986 which lead to the amputation of his foot, though he wrestled for years afterward with a prosthesis, keeping the amputation a secret. Developed a serious drug problem after the accident which lead to several arrest and eventually being put on probation. Kerry was then arrested for prescription forgery while on probation and was looking, quite possibly, at serious jail time. Instead he shot himself in the chest with a .44 magnum on February 18, 1993.
Von Erich, Mike: (Michael Adkisson: Age of 23): Member of the infamous Von Erich family of Texas wrestling. Suffered a near fatal bout of toxic shock syndrome in 1986, but pushed himself, or was pushed by his father, to return to the ring. Never fully recovered from the illness and on April 12, 1987, committed suicide with an overdose of Placidyl.
Wright, Tex: (Age of 28): Dies following a match on March 11, 1934 with Harry "Ali Baba" Ekizian in Greeley, CO.
Youngblood, Jay: (Steve Romero: Age of 30): Former multi-time NWA World tag team title holder with Rick Steamboat, dies in New Zealand after rupturing his spleen and suffering a heart attack on September 1, 1985.
WAWLI REDUX No. 60 . . .
GARIBALDI AND LOPEZ BACK FEATURE
(Los Angeles Herald-Express, July 14, 1937)
By E.W. Krauch
Everything but mayhem is expected to go tonight at the Olympic when Sandor Szabo, the handsome Hungarian, reaches out for Man Mountain Dean, the Hell's Kitchen Hillbilly, in their three-fall finish match.
Szabo had to go into hock to get the second chance at the M.M. and the Hungarian swears he will take it all out of Dean's hide.
This rematch tops promoter Jack Daro's seven-bout card. Vincent Lopez, Mexican idol, and Gino Garibaldi, the Italian ace, are also on the bill, sharing part of the spotlight with Dean and Szabo.
Dean Detton, former world's champion, is ready to meet the winner of either of the above matches, as is also Ernie Dusek, the leader of the famed Dusek "riot squad" of wrestling.
Detton is being backed by the Daro group these days in a war with eastern promoters who have tied up Bronco Nagurski, new world's heavyweight champion.
To get back to tonight's feature, Szabo went berserk last week when referee Dick Rutherford rules against him in favor of the M.M. Szabo went completely out of his head and smashed Rutherford to the floor. He then chased Dean with a chair. He demanded a rematch but he did not get it until he had guaranteed Garibaldi and Lopez main event percentages as they already had the top spot. Szabo also had to give Dean a fat cut of his purse.
Szabo is a good wrestler, the experts all agree, and he would make a fine championm, but somehow he has never gotten the breaks. If he can trounce Dean this time and then go on to Detton the big chance would be just around the corner for him.
Dean is ready to unlimber his running broad jump again tonight. The M.M. was forced to put it in storage for a while as it was barred in this state after a number of his opponents were injured by it. Szabo has waived any claims for damages against the state, the club or Dean. The tip is out he intends to use the broad jump on the Man Mountain himself.
DEAN INJURED AS HE FALLS BEFORE SZABO
(Los Angeles Herald-Express, July 15, 1937)
By E.W. Krauch
Man Mountain Dean, giant Georgia hillbilly wrestler, wasn't kiddin' in the least last night at the Olympic Auditorium as he lay on the canvas moaning:
"My leg, my leg! It's broken!"
Today Dean, with his left leg in a cast, was in Georgia Street Receiving Hospital.
X-rays revealed that he sustained several broken bones and pulled muscles as a result of being tossed over the top ropes by Sandor Szabo during last night's main event at the Grand Avenue arena.
"Some of the fans seemed to think I was kiddin'," groaned Dean from his hospital cot today. "Even that Szabo didn't believe me. Why, he even kicked me in the face as I tried to tell 'em I had a broken leg. I guess this is proof enough, ain't it?"
And then the Man Mountain rubbed his hand through his whiskers and said:
"Aw, I've had enough of this business. I'm 46 now, and if I break a leg on a little fall like that I guess it's time to quit. Yep, I'm going to quit wrestling for good this time."
Dean's injury last night came as the climax to a wild evening of mat competition.
It was by far the wildest bill of wrestling ever dished up at the Grand Avenue arena, and that includes the gripping battles offered by Ernie Dusek and the old-time free-for-alls which made "Dirty Dick" Daviscourt one of the most hated guys of all-time Olympic wrestlers.
Practically the entire card was so wild that most of the customers were doing everything but sitting down in their seats during the proceedings.
And down in the first three rows, especially,
most of the folks would have been better off if they could have spent the
evening standing up in the ring, because most of the time they were giving up
their $3 seats to a couple of huskies who had no idea of sitting down.
Gather an ear-load of these details:
Man Mountain Dean gets himself defeated by Sandor Szabo, and makes the hospital with a badly injured leg after a wild session, which would make a riot look like a picnic.
Vincent Lopez and Gino Garibaldi spend most of the evening outside the ring taking pot shots at each other and the cash customers and the referee finally counts them both out and calls it a draw.
Ted Key, who learned how to tackle under the expert Bill Spaulding of U.C.L.A., puts on one of the greatest free-for-alls of any time and wins from "Dirty Dick" Lever.
And, to give announcer Dan Tobey credit, he all but sustains a broken back and minor injuries to his valuable vocal chords when one of the angry contestants attempts to toss Daniel for a row of lions' dens while the meek and mild mannered Tobey is attempting to announce that somebody has won something in some time or other.
Of course, all wrestling fans know that Man Mountain Dean's match with Szabo was a rematch from last week, when Dean used a running broad jump to win while the referee was out in the front row seats.
Szabo demanded the return go, insisted that he'd get revenge, and he made good his threat.
Although he dropped the first fall when the bewhiskered Dean clamped on a hammer lock and yelled, "I'll break it off!" Szabo made short work of the M.M. when he finally got down to business in the second fall.
Dean had dashed from his corner at the start of the session, clamped on another hammer lock and the cash customers were practically heading for the exits when the Hungarian strong man managed to stagger to his feet and flip the M.M. over the top rope of the ring.
Dean landed on one of his legs and yelled like a stuck pig.
"It's broke. It's broke!" he groaned.
Referee Don McDonald didn't take the trouble to count him out.
He immediately called Dr. Lloyd Mace into the ring and after a hurried examination Dr. Mace decided that Dean was unable to continue.
As they carried the M.M. out on a stretcher, Szabo yelled to the customers at ringside:
"Next time, I'll break his neck!"
That battle was a classic.
But the Lopez-Garibaldi contest was a super production.
More dirt was dished than you'll find in a Japanese celery garden. It was just one grip after another on telephones, seats, cash customers' necks and arms for some 36 minutes, when both finally became so entwined out in the fourth row that referee Dick Rutherford counted 'em out.
When they finally returned to the canvas and Rutherford hoisted both arms in signal of a draw, another fight started that sent ringside customers scurrying for shelter. Only the timely arrival of Chief Officer of the PeaceSid Marks caused the boys to realize that it was time to go down and get a shower.
However, of all the matches, Ted Key probably made the biggest hit of the evening.
Last week he slapped Chief Thunder Bird into submission. Last night, using the good old football tactics that Bill Spaulding planted in his noodle when he was playing for U.C.L.A., Key made himself a host of friends by battering Dick Lever down and out with a series of tackles that would have even made Gus Sonnenberg look like a sissy. Key's win required but 7 minutes and 31 seconds, and that's speedy time with a guy like Lever.
In other bouts: Jimmy Sarandos and Hans Steinke went 30 minutes to a draw; Laverne Baxter used a flying tackle to flatten George Wilson in 6:57; Ignacio Martinez clamped on a reverse Indian death grip in 13:20 to beat Tom Marvin, while Jules Strongbow kicked Leo Papiano in the face in 6:20 to win the verdict.
COUNT ZARYNOFF RATED WITH BEST
(Tom Carey, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, circa 1955)
definitely cannot be classified an ardent grappling fan, but I always was an
rooter for the colorful Count Zarynoff, one of the truly all-time greats of the
grunt and ouch trade.
Grafton is proud of its Count, as he is erroneously called throughout the town. And, although the man who was involved in more than 2,500 matches in his career, still maintains he doesn't know his neighbors, he wants it to be known that he is a Ukrainian and not a Russian. Far more important, he proudly boasts he is an American citizen first, last and always.
Interviewing the fabulous Count inspired me to write a full-length column on the gentleman who has twice traveled the world.
One of the first questions I asked one of Worcester's most famous sports headliners was, "What do you think of present-day wrestling?"
(Count Zarynoff in his prime)
"I'm ashamed to watch wrestling on TV. It's
worse than burlesque."
The way he went on about the Lone Eagle and his crowd had me chuckling out loud.
He continued, "Some of them are pretty good and I suppose they take all that physical punishment. But don't compare those hams to the good old mat days."
"Were you a Cossack, Mr. Zarynoff?"
"I sure was. All true Cossacks come from the Ukraine. The feats of the Cossacks are too well known to need repetition. Everywhere in the world I was billed as the Russian Count."
"Are you of noble birth?" I inquired.
"Yes, but I am no longer a count. I am a plain American citizen. What I mind the most is to be called 'Russian.' I am a Ukrainian."
When you stop to reason that Count Zarynoff participated in thousands of wicked mat scraps and boasted an 89 percent winning rate, he just has to be one of the best that ever lived. George won the world's light-heavyweight crown in Melbourne, Australia, and quit the crown. Ran out of rivals, so he competed in the heavyweight division, and the rest is really national history.
The Count has faced them all. Strangler Lewis, Jim Browning, the late Gus Sonnenberg, Henri Deglane, Ed Don George, Joe Malcewicz, Nick Lutze, Stan Stasiak, Danno O'Mahoney, Steve Casey, Dan Koloff, Yvon Robert, Ray Steele, Dick Shikat, Jim Londos, Joe Stecher, Charlie Hanson, The Black Panther, Jumping Joe Savoldi, the Dusek Brothers and many others.
Outside of Sonnenberg, no other wrestler packed more box office dynamite than Grafton's idol. He is perhaps the only living mat hero who can boast that he has never been whipped in two straight falls. If you want to rile Mr. Zarynoff, just remind him that he was a great acrobatic wrestler. "Me no acrobatic," is his stock answer.
The experts called him a general practitioner. Speed and the ability to start and finish at the same burning pace helped him reach the top. As sensational a wrestler as Zarynoff was, he always respected his rival. When he was good, he always thought someone was a little better.
Millions of fans would look forward to watching the Count execute his famous flying head scissors to overcome a rival.
"I originated the flying head scissors myself, and what do you know, Tom, along comes that Ed Don George and copies it."
Naturally, the Cossack revealed astounding feats
like the afternoon he lifted Paul Bowser's 1,100-pound horse off the ground and
onto his shoulders.
"Why, that was nothing," he explained to this slightly bewildered listener.
"Right here in Worcester, over at Mechanics Hall, I held a 300-pound stone on my chest. They broke the stone with a sledgehammer and I showed little ill effects. A few minutes later I went on and easily defeated my worthy mat foe."
The greatest wrestler of all time? Strangler Lewis was the best he ever faced. The Count mentioned that noone in the sport ever had more stamina and brute strength. Once Lewis applied the headlock correctly you were a dead pigeon.
"Lewis always had trouble with me, because
of my short neck and very high muscles. Oh, once in a while he'd catch me right
and, like all the rest of his targets, I suppose I saw stars. Sure, I have
beaten the great Strangler Lewis. Several times. My finest triumph over him
happened in Boston. We were wrestling a 45-minute semifinal go and around the
43-minute mark he trapped me with a crushing headlock. It never happened to him
before, but I picked him up and slammed him roughly to the floor. The old
Strangler never got over it.
"When I had him in the air, he said, 'You are stronger than Henri Deglane.'"
"The late Gus Sonnenberg was a pretty rough hombre and especially when he hit you solidly with his flying tackle. But I won my share of bouts over him. We drew an all-time record gate at the Boston Garden, a record which still stands.
"Who won the battle?"
"He did, but not in two straight falls." I couldn't keep Zarynoff on a straight wrestling interview. It took this columnist but a few minutes that he lives for his family. Margaret is a wonderful wife. His six-foot, 205-pound son Paul is attending Wilbraham Academy and a member of the baseball team. He's a pretty good twirler with plenty of speed. The other boy, Sergei, is a very good writer. We hope he sticks to it.
Zarynoff is one of the world's greatest outdoor enthusiasts and is recognized as one of the top fishermen in New England. He showed me prize-killing fish after fish and jokingly reported he was lost in the Maine woods for five days a couple of years ago.
Was he worried? No. He slept in the daytime and stayed by his gun at night. As a matter of fact, his wife just recently learned that he was among the missing for five days.
Yes, Count Zarynoff is still as colorful as ever.
OWEN HART UNCOMFORTABLE WITH DANGEROUS STUNT
(Wire service reports, May 25, 1999)
Professional wrestler Owen Hart was leery about the flashy stunt that led to his death, but his family says he was convinced to do it anyway.
"They put you into compromising positions where they let you know you have no choice," father Stu Hart said Tuesday of the pro wrestling circuits.
Owen Hart, known as the Blue Blazer, died Sunday after plunging 70 feet, hitting his head on the padded metal coupling that holds the ring's ropes together. He was supposed to land inside the ring.
Investigators said Tuesday the fall may have been caused when his elaborate, feathered costume caught on a quick-release cord as he was being lowered from the Kemper Arena rafters.
"It is believed at this point in time that the quick release was activated. Either it was snagged on his clothes or he pulled it too soon," police spokesman Floyd Mitchell said.
Hart, 34, who wrestled for the World Wrestling Federation, had planned to descend 90 feet into the ring in a stunt he had practiced at the arena hours earlier.
Police said Hart may have lost his balance while preparing for his drop and somehow activated the release. Police plan to perform strength testing on the equipment, Capt. Jerry Gallagher said.
Hart had done the stunt before, and his widow, Martha Hart, told NBC's "Today" show audience on Tuesday that she was never comfortable with it.
"This particular one we did discuss," she said. "I had told him that I didn't think he should do it."
Other members of Hart's family members attacked the sport's increasing reliance on can-you-top-this stunts.
What once was a small-time regional show circuit has become dominated by two national organizations -- the WWF and World Championship Wrestling -- which rely on dangerous gimmicks for increased TV ratings and revenues, they said.
"There is a campaign to outdo each other," said his brother, Smith Hart, 50. "There is no respect for the sport anymore. There used to be (wrestling) heroes for children. I don't see any heroes."
All seven Hart boys followed their father, a former Olympic wrestler, into the sport as amateurs and professionals. Owen Hart was the youngest member of the prominent wrestling family.
WCW President Eric Bischoff said Tuesday that criticism of wrestling after the accident is a "knee-jerk, uneducated reaction to a very tragic incident."
Several members of the Hart family have publicly questioned why Owen was being lowered from the ceiling into the ring at Kemper Arena in Kansas City for his entrance at Sunday's "Over the Edge" pay-per-view show.
Bret Hart told ABC's "Good Morning America" viewers on Tuesday that his brother was apprehensive about the stunt.
"We take our falls on the mat inside the ring," said Bret, who was a WWF champion before leaving to rival World Championship Wrestling in October, 1997. "I was never a stuntman and Owen was never a stuntman. He never should have been put in a situation where he was on the top of a ceiling of an arena to go into the ring."
Bruce Hart, an ex-wrestler and one of Owen Hart's 12 siblings, said Tuesday that his brother hated the ceiling stunts.
"He developed the attitude where he was just taking the money," Bruce Hart told the Denver Rocky Mountain News. "He really felt like he was prostituting himself with a such a desecration and deviant departure from what he knew wrestling to be."
Bruce Hart was especially upset by the WWF's two-hour tribute to Owen Hart on this week's edition of "Monday Night Raw," which airs on cable's USA network. The show -- which drew the second-highest television rating in "Raw" history with 5.4 million households -- featured interviews with performers and front-office personnel about what Hart meant to them.
The Raw telecast never mentioned how Hart had died.
"I suspect (WWF management) was high-fiving each other after the show and saying they got the job done," said Bruce Hart. "They came out smelling like a rose. That's the way we all saw it.
"It was damage control. . . . Nobody alluded to how needless and senseless the whole (ceiling stunt) was."
REVISITING THE WRESTLING CLASSIC, 'I LIKE TO HURT PEOPLE!'
(Wrestling Then & Now)
By Dwayne Walker
His webpage, zendance.com,
is a treasure trove for fans and an inspiration to anyone with desires to put
their vision on screen. 'I LIKE TO HURT PEOPLE' is difficult to find, but not
impossible. I got my copy on e-bay. Visit e-bay and see if you can't snag a
piece of wrestling history!
(RETURN TO WAWLI PAPERS INDEX PAGE)