The WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It ) Papers No. 126


(Sports Novels, March 1949, Sydney, Australia)

Primo Carnera, the ambling Alp, is packing them in wherever he wrestles these days. " I guess they just like me," he grins.

"I work four, five, six nights a week. If I was champeen I wouldn't get to work over two, three times a week. I can maybe make more money this way."

Primo has been pounding the mat for two years now. He has a lot to show for it -- a fine home in Los Angeles, money in the bank. "I'm making plenty money," he says, and estimates he's showing before 50,000 fans a week.

Wrestling isn't exactly new to the Italian mastodon. He did some of it before becoming a fighter. He started boxing at the age of 16 and continued at it for some 12 years, putting away the gloves in 1937, three years after losing the championship to Max Baer.

He went back to Italy. "I made a lot of money out of fighting," he says, discounting the popular conception that there were too many managers and hangers-on getting pieces of his boxing returns for him to end up with a profit.

"I had 75,000 dollars and a lot of property in Italy when I went back," he recalls. "The Nazis took my money and put me at slave labor. I had a tough time getting food for my family. But I had about 200 suits of clothes. I traded them for good when I could find it. I still have the property in Italy."

Primo says he did a lot of underground work for the Allies while the Nazis were making him work for 15 cents a day.

Today, at 38, Da Preem is six feet six inches tall and weighs 265 pounds -- about the same as when he was world's boxing champion.


(Sydney Morning Herald, February 15, 1957)

The wrestling match between former world heavyweight boxing champion Primo Carnera and King Kong was declared "no contest" in the fifth round at White City last night.

The match did not begin until 11 p.m. and finished at 11:55 p.m.

More than 17,500 people paid about 17,000 pounds to see the match -- about 80 per cent of them Italians.

The crowd gave Primo Carnera a terrific reception when he walked to the ring.

When Carnera gained a fall over King Kong in the second round the Italians rose to their feet and chanted: "Viva! Viva Primo!"

They threw hats, papers, cushions and anything loose within reach into the air.

In the fourth round they lustily booed King Kong when he scored an equalising fall with a stranglehold.

In the fifth round King Kong threw Carnera over the ropes on to the ring apron.

Spectators scattered as Carnera reached back into the ring, hauled King Kong on to the grass at the ringside and felled him with a series of short-arm jolts.

The referee, Hughie Whitman, declared the match "no contest" when the wrestlers refused to return to the ring.

Without a referee, the wrestlers returned to the ring and continued wrestling for several minutes.

King Kong then seized a microphone and began to address the crowd while Carnera stood in a corner and laughed.

The crowd booed King Kong down and pelted him with peanuts, papers, sweets and coins.

Many Italians waited for half an hour to cheer Carnera again as he left.

Weights were: King Kong, 29-4 (410 pounds); Carnera, 21-4 (298 pounds).

In the preliminary eight-rounders Emil Koroschenko beat Constantin Popesco, 2 falls to 1; George Pencheff drew with Baron von Heczey, 1 fall each; and Wadi Youssef Ayoub drew with Tarlok Singh, 1 fall each.

The shouting crowd knocked down wire fences and gates and dislodged a ticket officer near one of the entrances.

Thirty policemen and more than 20 attendants, assisted by several brawny wrestlers, finally forced the crowd back.

The crowd had gone to White City in the hope of buying tickets for the already well-booked wrestling match.

Most of the crowd lined up at the entrance to the 10/ seats, which were all sold by 7:30 p.m.

All the one-pound seats were sold by 8 p.m. and when the first supporting bout started at 8:45 p.m. a capacity crowd of 17,500 -- mostly New Australians -- was in the stadium.

The trouble started at the back of the tennis courts, where a wire and steel fence had been erected across a lawn to keep out people without tickets and to enable attendants to check ticketholders entering the stadium.

Realising that they could not get tickets, the crowd charged the fence and barricades.

Police and attendants struggled desperately, but the crowd sent the fence crashing to the ground.

The police and attendants re-erected the fence twice, but each time the crowd surged forward and knocked it over again.

The 16-police on duty at the arena called for volunteers and patrol cars rushed every available policeman from Darlinghurst station to the scene.

Emil Koroshenko, 22-stone wrestler, threw his weight behind the barriers to help police hold back the crowd.

He picked up a large garden seat to force back the crowd, but was pushed aside.

The crowd surged forward, knocking the seat from his hands and trampling it into the ground.

King Kong joined in the struggle, but was thrust aside by the crowd.

A ticket office with two sellers inside was pushed 12 feet out of alignment.

Police had to struggle desperately against the onrush of the crowd to prevent the office being overturned.

All the attendants were called out of the stands to try to control the crowd.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people surged into the area between the barriers and the arena and took up vantage points.

Several people were injured in the struggle.

A boy had his eye cut, a man had his leg gashed, and a woman collapsed and was sent home in a taxi.

Confidence men, taking advantage of the general disorder, posed as attendants at several entrances and collected tickets which they later sold at twice their value.

Police rushed to the entrances to detain the men, but they had disappeared before the police arrived.

After the "no contest" decision, there was a wild scramble as the crowd dashed for the exits, overturning chairs on the way.

Thousands of excited Italians surrounded the building used as a dressing room, calling loudly for Carnera, and hooting King Kong.

The crowd wrecked a 10ft-high wire barricade trying to force their way into the dressing room.

The Italians cheered wildly as Carnera left half an hour after the contest ended.

Public transport was unable to cope with the crowd which streamed from the Stadium.

Thousands had to walk from the White City into the city.

The roads were choked with cars. On the Harbour Bridge only two traffic lanes were open to the North Shore. A long queue of cars formed at the toll gates.



Tonight, 8 -- February 18, 1957

George Gardner Presents

PRIMO CARNERA (Heavyweight Champion of the World) vs. KING KONG (The Great Man Mountain)

To 10 Six-Minute Rounds, plus 3 International Contests of 8 Six-Minute Rounds





Prices, inc. Tax: Res. Ringside, 43/; Res. Stand, 23/; Upper Stand, 13/ Reservations:

Myer's, First Floor, Wednesday --------------------------------------------------------------------


(Sydney Morning Herald, February 19, 1957)

MELBOURNE, Monday. -- Police took more than an hour to turn away 2,000 wrestling fans -- mostly Italians -- from the entrances to tonight's wrestling between Primo Carnera and King Kong.

More than 10,000 fans had packed into the Olympic Cycling Velodrome when the gates were closed at 7:50 p.m.

But the mob outside shouted and jostled with police and attendants for a further hour.

Dozens of young men and women climbed trees outside the arena and others hung on the fences.

Sixteen police patrolled the grounds.

A policy courtesy squad moved in and told the crowd in Italian: "If you don't move out we will have to move you out."

Hundreds did not obey the order and the police moved among them.

When Carnera arrived, his car was mobbed by autograph-hunters, but he brushed them aside.

Dense crowds waited until 10 p.m. before they became resigned to the fact that they would not be admitted.

Scalpers sold tickets normally priced at 23/ for 5 pounds and 10 pounds.

Carnera won because King Kong was disqualified.

The four-hundred pound King Kong threatened to "kill" the referee in the dressing room after the disqualification. "Get him out of here; I'll kill him," King Kong bellowed.

The referee, Jack Higgins, gathered up his clothes and left hurriedly.

Ten policemen were called to hold King Kong at bay as he attempted to follow Higgins into the next room. Higgin's decision gave Carnera a 2-1 win.

King Kong said afterwards that he had been unfairly disqualified and would call a press conference tomorrow to put his case before the public.

Preliminary results: Wadi Youssef-Ayoub defeated Constantin Popesco, 2-1; George Pencheff drew Palock Singh, 1-1; Emil Koroshenko defeated Baron Von Heczey, 2-1.



8 p.m.



Fred Wright vs. Frank Hurley 

Harry Robertson vs. Spero Deligiannis

Reservations: Myer Emporium, Melbourne Sports Depot; Youngs Music Store, 244 Swanston St.; Pancontinental, 246 Russell St.; N. Borsari, 201 Lygon St., Carlton



(Sydney Morning Herald, January 16, 1959)

By Stan Baxter

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Primo Carnera was disqualified in his Sydney Stadium wrestle against Greek Jim Londos last night.

The 21-stone Italian had slapped referee Harold Norman to the floor two minutes after the start of the fifth round.

This treatment was mild compared with some the long-suffering Norman had taken from other imported wrestlers.

The former world heavyweight wrestling champion, Londos, refused to leave the ring after his win until the Greek national anthem had been played.

He stood for several minutes in his corner, a monument of determination and staying power, until the harassed officials discovered the recording and played it.

It was a match between two aged fathers -- Carnera at 53 years and Londos at 61, or more -- and the match fitted the ages.

There was not an atom of real action but the huge crowd, one of the Stadium's biggest since the war, lapped up every move.

About 14,000 of them cheered when either one moved a varicose-veined leg.

One felt that at any time the giant Carnera would have picked up Mr. Londos and thrown him seven or eight rows of seats back. But Carnera, as with most big men, proved himself a placid fellow.

Technically, the Italian seemed ready to take control over his 10 years older opponent at any time.

In the fifth round he secured a strangle-hold on Londos and refused to break the hold when ordered, finally hitting Norman to the ground to bring about his own downfall.

Progress of the wrestle was:

Round 1 -- No falls, but some undignified positions.

Round 2 -- No undignified positions, no falls.

Rounds 3 and 4 -- The crowd cheered.

Round 5 -- Referee Norman offended.

Weights were Jim Londos, 14-12 (208 pounds); Primo Carnera, 21-0 (294 pounds).

Preliminaries -- Six rounds: Baron von Heczey beat Frank Hurley, two falls to one; Stanley Kowalski beat Fred Wright, two falls to one; 20-minute wrestle: Harry Robertson beat Dennis Dean with a submission fall after 11m, 50s.

The WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It ) Papers No. 127


Norfolk, Virginia, November 5, 1941

Ray Villmer beat Tommy O'Toole (DQ), Abe Yourist drew Sam Menacher, Eddie Pope beat Tiger Joe Marsh (DQ)

Norfolk, Virginia, November 12, 1941

Ray Villmer beat Tommy O'Toole, Michele Leone beat Tiger Joe Marsh (DQ), Mae Weston beat Joan Blevins

Norfolk, Virginia, November 19, 1941

Tommy O'Toolse beat Tiger Joe Marsh, Sammy Sims drew Sam Menacher, Michele Leone beat Little Beaver (DQ)

Norfolk, Virginia, November 26, 1941

Bobby Bruns beat Tommy O'Toole, Sammy Sims beat Les (Red) Ryan (DQ), Tiger Joe Marsh drew Sam Menacher

Norfolk, Virginia, December 3, 1941

Tiger Joe Marsh beat Red Ryan (Referee, Ed Lewis), Swedish Angel drew Bobby Bruns, Elvira Snodgrass beat Gladys Gillem

Norfolk, Virginia, December 10, 1941

Bobby Bruns beat Sailor Barto Hill, Little Beaver beat Michele Leone, Ed (Strangler) Lewis beat Tiger Joe Marsh

Norfolk, Virginia, December 17, 1941

Bobby Bruns beat Swedish Angel (DQ), Mildred Burke beat Mae Young, Ed (Strangler) Lewis beat Little Beaver, Sammy Sims beat Tiger Joe Marsh

(wrestling discontinued rest of the month)

Norfolk, Virginia, January 7, 1942

Sam Menacher beat Sammy Sims, Sailor Barto Hill beat Eddie Pope,  Gladys Gillem beat Elvira Snodgrass

Norfolk, Virginia, January 14, 1942

Bobby Bruns beat Sam Menacher (DQ), Sammy Sims drew Little Beaver, Roy Graham beat Cowboy Luttrall

Norfolk, Virginia, January 21, 1942

Bobby Bruns drew Roy Graham,  Cowboy Clements beat Abe Yourist, Sailor Barto Hill beat

Fred Von Schacht (DQ)

Norfolk, Virginia, January 28, 1942

Bobby Bruns beat Roy Graham, Sam Menacher beat George Bruckman, Sammy Sims beat

Ed (Tarzan) White _________________________________________

Denton, Texas, March 21, 1950

Juan Humberto beat Dizzy Davis, Farmer Jones beat Jack McDonald, Doc Gallagher beat

Chale Martinez

Denton, Texas, March 28, 1950

Juan Humberto beat Dizzy Davis, Jack McDonald beat Chale Martinez, Farmer Jones beat

Doc Gallagher

Denton, Texas, April 4, 1950

Frank Jares beat Monte LaDue, Bob Gurley beat Jim Moore, Cowboy Roy Graham no show

for main event; Jares substituted

Denton, Texas, April 12, 1950

Tim Geohagen beat Frank Jares, Bob Huddleston beat Jim Moore, Bob Gurley drew Ray


Denton, Texas, April 19, 1950

Miguel Guzman beat Tim Geohagen (DQ) (Texas title defense), Jack Terry drew Bob

Gurley, Chico Rodriguez beat Red Rogers (middleweights)

Denton, Texas, April 26, 1950

Tim Geohagen beat Al Lovelock (DQ), Jack Allison beat Chico Rodriguez, Jack Bloomfield

beat Bob Gurley

Denton, Texas, May 3, 1950

George Pencheff beat Ellis Bashara (DQ), Jack Bloomfield beat Bob Huddleston, Ray Piret

beat Jack Pyland

Denton, Texas, May 10, 1950

Ellis Bashara beat George Pencheff, Bob Gurley beat Jim Moore, Whitey Whittler beat Jack


Denton, Texas, May 17, 1950

Whitey Whittler beat Ellis Bashara (DQ), Bob Gurley drew Ray Piret, George Pencheff beat

Marvin Jones

Denton, Texas, May 24, 1950

Ellis Bashara beat Whitey Whittler, Ray Piret beat Jack Bloomfield, Bob Gurley beat


Denton, Texas, May 31, 1950

Spider Al Galento beat Ellis Bashara, Jack Steele drew Ray Piret, Jim Moore beat



(St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Monday, December 15, 1952)

With no wrestling program scheduled for Kiel Auditorium this week, due to the holiday shopping season, local mat fans can look forward to the top program of the winter Friday night, December 26, at the Arena, when Lou Thesz defends his title, as recognized by the National Wrestling Alliance, against colorful Pat O'Connor in a finish match.

"I have been trying to line up this particular match for months," the promoter admitted on his return to St. Louis over the past weekend from Chicago, where he attended the Thesz-Verne Gagne match. "Several important promoters wanted this O'Connor-Thesz bout, so I had to outbid Minneapolis, Chicago and Los Angeles to get it. Naturally, I'm looking forward to the largest turnout of the season for this one."

O'Connor, in signing for the title go, promised Muchnick, who also is president of the National Wrestling Alliance, that he will defend the championship as honorably as Thesz has defended it, but not as often.

Thesz, while in St. Louis between bouts over the weekend, denied reports that he appeared to be "washed up" in his recent televised bout against Sonny Myers.

"Maybe I looked bad in that particular bout," Lou admitted, "but right now I'm at my physical peak. I never felt better -- and I hope to be as fast as O'Connor in our December 26 match."

A four-man tag team match, sending Wladek Kowalski and Hans Hermann against Wild Bill Longson and Big Bill Miller, will serve as the semifinal, and three other events will round out the card.

Muchnick's advance ticket sale, which has been pretty heavy, is under way at the Adam Hat Store box office, 710 Olive Street. 


(St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sunday, December 21, 1952)

It will be Lou Thesz vs. Pat O'Connor for the world's heavyweight wrestling championship at the Arena Friday night, December 26. In this match, a one fall to a finish affair, Thesz will defend his title, as recognized by the National Wrestling Alliance.

This will mark Lou's third title defense in St. Louis this season. Earlier in the fall, he won from the Mighty Atlas and Hans Hermann. O'Connor won three bouts rather handily to qualify for the championship shot, beating Mighty Atlas, Ernie Dusek and Jim (Goon) Henry.

O'Connor and Thesz clashed in a title bout in Chicago's Wrigley Field last summer in a match that attracted a $35,000 gate. With O'Connor having the edge most of the way, Pat became "over-anxious," as he put it, and Thesz leaped on him for the decision.

The advance ticket sale is under way at the Adam Hat Ticket Office, 710 Olive Street.

Promoter Muchnick announced that approximately 5,000 general admission seats, selling for $1.00 apiece, will go on sale at the Arena on the night of the show.


(St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Saturday, December 27, 1952)

Durable Lou Thesz retained his National Wrestling Alliance heavyweight championship by pinning Pat O'Connor with a body press in the main event of Promoter Sam Muchnick's wrestling card at the Arena last night. The time was 32 minutes, 58 seconds.

Up to the closing minutes, both Thesz and O'Connor displayed a number of fancy holds.

Then Pat hit the champ with three successive back body drops. But Lou bridged out of each of them.

O'Connor then resorted to his famed kangaroo kick, shaking up Thesz with a pair of solid kicks. When Pat started to hit Thesz with his third kick most of the 9,103 fans present thought the end had come.

It did. For as Pat went up into the air at Lou, Thesz simply sidestepped and O'Connor bounded back off the ropes to the mat. He was stunned. The champion fell on him for a body press.

In the semifinal Wild Bill Longson and Big Bill Miller teamed to win two of three falls from Hans Hermann and Wladek Kowalski.

SEMIFINAL (four-man tag team match) -- Wild Bill Longson, 240, St. Louis, and Big Bill Miller, 250, Fremont, Ohio, won from Wladek Kowalski, 275, Hamtramck, Mich., and Hans Hermann, 278, Hanover, Germany, in a best two-out-of-three falls match. Kowalski pinned Miller with a neck twist to win the first fall in 15;02. Miller pinned Hermann with a body slam to win the second fall in 3:45. Longson pinned Hermann with a body press to win the third and deciding fall in 6:20.

THIRD MATCH -- Ernie Dusek, 245, Omaha, Neb., pinned Al Lovelock, 225, Houston, Tex., with a giant swing. Time: 15:28.

SECOND MATCH -- Joe Dusek, 240, Omaha, Neb., and Fred Blassie, 225, St. Louis, went to a 20-minute time-limit draw.

CURTAIN-RAISER -- Bill McDaniel, 230, St. Louis, won from Cherry Vallina, 225, East St. Louis, when Vallina was disqualified for throwing McDaniel over the top rope. Time: 10:40.

MAIN EVENT -- Lou Thesz, 232, N.W.A. heavyweight champion, St. Louis, pinned Pat O'Connor, 235, Wellington, New Zealand, with a body press. Time: 32:58.


(The Virginian-Pilot, Sunday, May 17, 1953)

Tidewater wrestling fans will swee a new face Thursday night, one of the great stars of all time, the National Wrestling Alliance champion, Lou Thesz, who will be accompanied by his manager and coach, none other than the veteran Ed (Strangler) Lewis.

Promoter Bill Lewis said that he had matched Thesz with Juan Humberto, the slippery Mexican who has won a following locally with his spectacular style. Thesz will take on Humberto at two out of three falls, one hour limit, at the Norfolk Auditorium.

It is said that Strangler Lewis chose Thesz as his boy, saying "I am glad he was not wrestling in my time."

The card looms well in keeping with the debut of Thesz, thanks no little to the semifinal where Cowboy Jack Bence and Ace Freeman will resume hostilities started on the last card and no quelled before the police forced the Cowboy into a dressing room. Lewis said that he had made the return bout "to let them settle it in the ring" at one fall, 45 minutes.

Charro Azteca will return against Al Getz and Chuck (Buffalo Bill) Wiggins will take on Tom Zaharias, another of the famous Zaharias family, in the opener. Tom's eldest brother is the husband of the famous woman athlete, Babe Zaharias.

With big things on tap, Lewis said that Milo Steinborn would be brought into the referee the entire card. 


(The Virginian-Pilot, Friday, May 22, 1953)

Lou Thesz, the NWA heavyweight champion, was taken to three falls by Juan Humberto in his debut at the Norfolk Auditorium last night, but the crafty, hard-hitting St. Louis star won the battle, taking the first and third falls.

The return bout went to Cowboy Jack Bence on a fall over Ace Freeman, a hard scrap with the men under orders to do their wrestling inside the ropes this time.

In the other bouts, all hard-fought, it was Gene Dubuque over Al Stecher, Charro Azteca over Al Getz and Tommy Zaharias over Buffalo Bill Wiggins.


(The Virginian-Pilot, Sunday, March 15, 1964)

Lou Thesz of St. Louis, recognized everywhere as the world champion wrestler, will go against bearded John Smith in the main event of the card at the Arena Thursday night.

Thesz is the National Wrestling Alliance champion and he has more to recommend his title claim than that. The matmen, high or low, agree: "Thesz is the man."

The Champ takes on John the Beard at two out of three falls, one hour time limit. Their match will climax a variety program opening at 8:30 o'clock.

George Becker, an all-time favorite of Tidewater fans, will have Homer O'Dell as his opponent under unusual terms.

"Becker has agreed to forfeit his purse if he fails to beat Mr. O'Dell two falls in 30 minutes," promoter Joe Murnick announced.

O'Dell is the eccentric fellow who doubles as a manager for the tag team of Bronco Lubich and Aldo Bogni and which will have a place in the lineup against Emile Dupre and Bobby Red Cloud.

Murnick also said that Miss Penny Banner, the mat beauty, will have Miss May Goodner as her opponent with Sid Jones against Joe Tomasso coming to grips in the opener.


(The Virginian-Pilot, Friday, March 20, 1964)

Lou Thesz, the wrestling champion often referred to as "The Man," took the first and third falls to defeated bearded John Smith in the main event at the Arena Thursday night.

The crowd was estimated at 3,500. The doors were closed with people standing in line at the box office.

George Becker won and "lost." He won over Homer O'Dell when the eccentric fellow refused to come out for the second fall. Becker had said he would forfeit his purse if he failed to take two from O'Dell in 30 minutes.

Then, with the falls even between Bobby Red Cloud-Emile Dupre and Aldo Bogni-Bronco Lubich, Becker entered the ring, whacked Lubich with a shoe and punched the referee. The bout was forfeited to Bogni and Lubich.

Miss Penny Banner threw May Goodner and Joe Tomasso threw Sid Jones in the opener.



The Most Outstanding Wrestling Card Ever Presented to Tidewater Fans! Advance Tickets

Thursday at Box Office, 9th and Granby, Ringside $2, General Admission $1.35, Children


World's No. 1 Wrestling Attraction!


The Bout You've Been Waiting For! The Battle of the Bullies!



TIM WOODS vs. PANCHO GOMEZ --------------------------------------------------------------------


(The Virginian-Pilot, Sunday, June 21, 1964)

The call to arms for the card at the Arena Thursday night will bring one of the most outstanding collections of wrestlers ever assembled in Norfolk.

With Lou Thesz in the main event against Ronnie Etchison, the lineup announced by promoter Joe Murnick is blue ribbon all the way to the opener, which will pit Tim Woods against Pancho Gomez at 8:30 p.m.

The semifinal will be the Bolos against Skull Murphy and Brute Bernard in a tag match.

In another tag match, Haystack Calhoun and Johnny Weaver take on Pedro Godoy and Frank Valois.

Lou Thesz of St. Louis is held in the highest esteem by the matmen, who call him "The Man." Etchison, the clever one, gets his chance against Thesz after a delay of several weeks. Lou sustained several cracked ribs and had to pull out of a bout with Ronnie here.

Fan interest may be greatest when Skull and Brute tackle the masked Bolos in a showdown among the bullies.

Tim Woods, a former AAU champ out of Michigan State, won 400 matches as an amateur. This will be his Tidewater debut.


(The Virginian-Pilot, Friday, June 26, 1964)

Lou Thesz capped a rip-roaring wrestling card by taking two out of three from Ronnie Etchison before a packed house at the Arena Thursday night. Etchison squared the bout in the second fall.

The match between the rowdies, the Bolos against Skull Murphy and Brute Bernard, came to a double disqualification. With the falls one each, referee Jack Terry called it off when both teams continued to ignore his warnings.

Haystack Calhoun and Johnny Weaver, wrestling the second bout in an all-star card, took out Pedro Godoy and Frank Valois in straight falls.

Tim Woods, a former AAU champion, threw Pancho Gomez in the opener.


(The Virginian-Pilot, Sunday, February 7, 1965)

Lou Thesz, recognized by the wrestlers and the fans -- and most of the mat organizations -- as the world champion, will go against Abe Jacobs in the main event of the card Thursday night at the Arena.

The strong man from St. Louis is matched against the strong man from Australia (sic) at two out of three falls.

Promoter Joe Murnick declared: "I had to go with a good man against Lou. The supporting card is that strong. I think Jacobs can give Thesz a run."

Murnick's confidence in the supporting bouts appears to have a sound basis.

In the semifinal it will be Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson against Nick Kozak and Mike Clancy at two out of three.

A companion tag match will send the Kentucky giants, Tiny Anderson and Big Boy Brown, against Mike Valentino and Tony Nero.

Murnick announced that Sir Nelson Royal will be unveiled in the opener. This is Sir Nelson's debut locally and he will take on the Canadian, Emil Dupre, to launch the program at 8:30 o'clock. 


(The Virginian-Pilot, Friday, February 12, 1965)

Lou Thesz, the champ, took the third fall to gain the edge over Abe Jacobs in a hard bout witnessed by more than 2,500 at the Arena Thursday night.

Thesz took the opener in 10 minutes and Jacobs squared in six minutes. Thesz employed his strength to lift Jacobs who had a neck hold, a move that resulted in the third fall going to the St. Louis strong man.

Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson took out Nick Kozak and Mike Clancy, two of three, and the Kentuckians won two straight over Tony Nero and Mike Valentino.

Sir Nelson Royal and Emile Dupre went to a draw in the opener.

The WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It ) Papers No. 128


Mr. Gordon Swaine of 4, Whitecroft Crescent, Brinsworth, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, S60 5HW, England, is in quest of several old volumes. Perhaps someone in our vast reader network has something for sale to him. His wish list:

"FALL GUYS: THE BARNUMS OF BOUNCE" By Marcus Griffin, Reilly & Lee (1937)

"MODERN WRESTLING" By Jack Curley, Ring Bookshop, New York (?)

"THE LIFE AND WORKS OF FARMER BURNS" By E.W.J. Halm, Omaha, Neb. (1911)

"ON THE MAT AND OFF: MEMOIRS OF A WRESTLER" By Hjalmar Lundin, Albert Bonner Publishing House, N.Y. (1937)

"WRESTLING FROM ANTIQUITY TO DATE" By J.C. Meyers, St. Louis, Mo. (1931)

"PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING" By E.W. Smith, N.Y. American Sports Publishing (1932)

"HOW TO WRESTLE" By S.S. Robbins, Stein Publishing (1934)

"SCIENTIFIC WRESTLING" By George Bothner, Richard K. Fox Publishing (1912)

"SUCCESSFUL WRESTLING" By A.W. Umbach & W.R. Johnson, C.V. Mosby, St. Louis (1953)

"If you have any of these books let me know how much you want for each book," writes Mr. Swaine, "Also, if you have any other books on wrestling send me a list with the price of each book." 


Looking at the old newspaper clippings in the WAWLI Papers reminded me of the attached article concerning the film of the second Gotch-Hackenschmidt match here in Chicago. It appears that this was the first sports event to be filmed, and to have those same films shown to the public on the same day. I have always wanted to see the film of that match, and for the past year have been actively looking for the film.

Gotch took the film rights as part of his purse, so several copies must have been made. So far, I've contacted the Library of Congress, the National Archives and many film libraries, but no luck. Have you ever heard anything about the existence of the Gotch-Hackenschmidt film? Have you ever seen any film of Frank Gotch wrestling?

Any help you can offer in my search for this film will be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely, Jim Kerr, 3351 N. Oleander, Chicago IL 60634

(ED. NOTE: My answer to both of Mr. Kerr's questions is no. But, again, perhaps someone in the WAWLI pipeline can be of more help. The following is the Chicago newspaper article from that first week in September, 1911, describing the quick turnaround for the match film.)


For the first time in the history of the moving picture industry, pictures were taken of an event and displayed to the public on the same day when the films of the Gotch-Hackenschmidt match, held yesterday afternoon, were shown at the Majestic Theater last night at the close of the performance.

To accomplish this, the Selig Polyscope Company of this city used three automobiles to carry the three separate films from Comiskey Park to the plant of the company at Irving Park boulevard and Western avenue for development.

Three hours and fifty-five minutes after the last bout, all the films had been developed and spliced ready for reproduction. As displayed at the theater, the film was incomplete, a break coming before the first fall was shown. It was picked up at the start and ran smoothly to the finish, the second and final fall being clearly shown.

IS WRESTLING HONEST? by Joe Cassius (source, date unknown)

"Confidentially, just between you and me, is wrestling on the level?" Having wrestled all over the world, I have heard this question on the average of twice a week in every language from Portuguese to Hindustani. My answer is always "yes," but people often doubt the sincerity of it. They think I'm trying to shield my profession from criticism. Nothing could be further from the truth. I really do believe that wrestling is one of the most honest sports around today.

There are plenty of "know-it-alls" ready to criticize and satirize the mat sport, although they often know relatively little about it. There are also "has been" wrestlers, mostly of the "never-was" variety, who are quick to call names and "expose" the game. Unable to make the grade with their wrestling skill, they resort to these tactics to gain recognition.

In writing about wrestling, some distinctions must be made. Professional wrestling, the match you see on TV or in most of the big arenas, is an exhibition. That is, it is not a fight where one man must prove physical superiority over another, or a game where one team tries to hit more home runs than the other. It is an exhibition in the sense that there are many moves and counter moves, much brain strategy and showmanship. It is the bodily grace, masterful tactics and fluid motions of the wrestlers in action that constitute the beauty of the sport, not brute strength.

Perhaps the main difference between amateur and professional grappling lies in showmanship. Amateur competition is pure and unadorned. It gives the fan true, competitive mat technique. Torture holds, dislocative holds, chops and punches, which often highlight professional bouts are grounds for immediate disqualification in amateur matches. A body slam may be used only if one knee touches the mat. Any dangerous tactics are barred altogether. It is the duty of the amateur coach to safeguard his students. This is not hard for him to do, since he does not work under the pressure of trying to thrill the public.

Unfortunately, the ultra-safety practiced in amateur wrestling shows up at the box office. It has the fewest paid admissions of any intercollegiate sport. If the grapple-for-pay boys fought like that, they'd soon end up selling apples on street corners.

Partially due to the impetus given professional wrestling by television and partly due to the fact that wrestling fans have demanded more and more action over the years, officials of the sport have made the rules flexible enough to allow for more thrills, spills and excitement.

Today, the professional teacher stresses an offensive type of wrestling. Defensive tactics are not emphasized.

Very few pros still practice the "old style," intricate inter-leg devised by Farmer Burns and others like the immortal Gotch. If the action in the ring is not open and extremely aggressive -- even to the extent of throwing a few, well-placed punches -- the audience will lose interest, become dissatisfied and let loose with boos and other catcalls.

Sports fans in general have increased their demands for showmanship in all branches of sports over the past 20 years. Professional sports are big business and promoters have met the public's wishes by adding color to all games. Wrestling is no exception.

However, showmanship in wrestling has met with more criticism than any other sport. Dandy wardrobes with spangles and silks, satin buttons and monograms, polka-dot robes, long hair and exaggerated struts, are what John Q. Public wants, but some critics object strenuously.

To them I say, "Name one professional sport that doesn't have its glamorous counterparts!"

Take the pomp and pageantry of both professional and collegiate football. Colorfully dressed bands strut and play during halftime. Bare-legged cheerleaders make like Mexican jumping beans all through the game. Rooting sections display color-filled caricatures of their opponents. A few years back an electrically controlled jack-in-the-box was featured at the Rose Bowl during intermission.

In the game itself we have seen the development of more and more aerial plays which keep those yawn-provoking, line-bucking stalemates from developing. The forward pass met spectator demands in making football even more exciting.

Baseball also is out to impress the mass audience. Showboating umpires, whistle-happy referees and jubilant athletes kissing each other are all part of the build-up. Fans want the thrill of seeing a home run hit and they get homers, even if stadiums have to shorten left or right field to make them possible. Just another example of how thrills are built.

In professional basketball, a game is considered dull if there aren't at least 100 points scored. Fans used to be satisfied with 40 or 50. Rather than down-to-earth competition, today's fan wants the tricky antics of a team like the Globetrotters.

Here's what Jimmy Powers of the New York Daily News had to say about the basketball situation in his column recently: "Abe Saperstein is considered the top showman in sports today. He believes the center jump should be restored to basketball because you have an interval to let the fans absorb what they've seen. Today, before you have finished a cheer after the team has scored, the ball has been whipped down to the other end of the court and the rival team has scored and the ball is on its way back again."

Another criticism which is often leveled at professional wreslting has to do with the faces wrestlers make in action. "How can it be on the up-and-up?" folks ask me. "Just look at those phoney grimaces!"

In answer, I offer them a fair test. We stand in front of a mirror and I separate their fingers and them give a hard jerk. Any doubt is erased when the scoffer looks in the mirror and sees his own anguished face, contorted in a way he would not have thought possible. The only comparable expression is found on the countenance of a track star finishing a hundred-yard dash or a weightman throwing the shotput.

I confess, I have seen exaggeration in some pro wrestling bouts. However, this is usually found among wrestlers of less experience.

I am not proud of everything that has taken place during the last five years of professional wrestling. But I do believe the wrestlers and the professional mat game as a whole should keep up with other professional sports in maintaining and enlarging upon the glamour which has been part of the game since the time of the early Roman gladiators.

Wrestling authorities try to allow only those men with the highest qualifications to enter the game. However, as in all branches of professional sports, you will find occasional "rotten apples" in the barrel. It is to the credit of the wrestling profession that they are constantly alert and vigilant in ferreting out these bad apples.

Wrestling is honest because it speaks for itself. Everything that goes on during an exhibition is visible to millions of TV viewers. Many of these people appreciate the skill of move-countermove, the grace of turning a hold against the one who brought it.

Being a wrestler myself, I appreciate a skillful exhibit of wrestling. When there is a minimum of clowning and showmanship is not overdone, no other sport can match the interest of wrestling. When two top grapplers meet in a serious bout of this sort, I am proud to be a wrestler!


(Chicago Tribune, April 10, 1954)

By Frank Mastro

Argentina Rocca, the People's Choice, lost his match to Hans Schmidt in the International Amphitheater Friday night, but 9,016 fans who accounted for a gross gatge of $23,549.28 went home happy.

The match, billed for two out of three falls with a one-hour time limit, saw the villainous Schmidt, weighing 245, score a fall at 35:30 with a body press. The two came back for an encore, but with only five minutes left, Rocca scaling 227, still couldn't pin Schmidt.

Then he opened up and slugged Schmidt all over the ring, punishing him with dropkicks, head scissors and body slams until Hans showed all signs of grogginess. But Rocca couldn't pin him and when the time limit was called, Schmidt, naturally, had to be declared the winner.

But the fans went home happy, all because of what transpired a moment later. As soon as the final bell rang, Rocca picked up Schmidt, arched him over his head and whirled him around for 30 seconds with a beautifully executed airplane spin, then slammed him to the mat in a dazed condition. He could have scored a fall, but it was too late.

It was announced that Schmidt would meet Verne Gagne in the next show at the Amphitheater on May 7 with Joe Louis, former heavyweight boxing champion, serving as referee.

Reggie Lisowski and Art Neilsen, claimants to the team tag championship, retained their title, much to the disapproval of the crowd, by winning two out of three falls from Farmer Marlin and Farmer Jones, who grappled in their bare feet and in sawed-off blue jeans.

In other bouts, Ray Gunkel, 235, protege of Jack Dempsey, floored Hans Hermann, 291, in 8:03 with a body press; Jack Witzig beat Ivan Rasputin in 12:10 with a dropkick and body press and Bill Melby pinned Benito Gardini in 14:16.


(Rockford, Ill., Register Star, April 10, 1954)

Verne Gagne, popular heavyweight wrestling champion and former Minnesota football star, retained his title by defeating Pat O'Connor Friday night before a near-capacity crowd in Harlem high school gym.

O'Connor refused to give way without a terrific battle, however. The champion managed only one fall, but that was enough as time ran out while the two men grappled for the second.

Verne gained the first and deciding fall in 42 minutes on a body press. The two wrestled on even terms through the remainder of the hour.

The Australian tag team of Billy Goelz and Rocky Columbo was awarded a match with Great Yamoto and Mitsu Arakawa on a third-fall disqualification.

Goelz and Columbo took the first fall in 16 minutes, but the Japanese judo experts evened things up in 6 minutes. The disqualification was awarded after 5 minutes of the third fall.

Sheik of Araby defeated Jack Carter in 19 minutes on a backbreaker in the first preliminary. 


(Bakersfield Californian, April 30, 1954)

One of the year's largest crowds at Strelich Stadium last night watched with unabated glee as Sandor Szabo defeated the provocative Danny McShain and earned the right to meet Gorgeous George in next week's local wrestling headliner.

Dangerous Dan has been hated long and hard through his mat career, but last night the mustachioed one was especially unpopular. Using some of the shadier tactics of his vast repertoire, he was dealing Szabo a one-sided beating and had won the first fall of the no time limit match with his "atomic drop" specialty at the 18:45 mark.

Finally, the aroused Szabo evened the match at 36:55 with his "giant suplex," a painful hold which left McShain writhing in pain with a sore back. When the bell sounded for the resumption of action, McShain was unable to respond.

Undefeated Bobo Brazil, the giant newcomer, won his 16th straight match plus a lot of friends in his initial Bakersfield appearance. Showing plenty of speed and agility to go with his size (6-7, 275 pounds), Bobo trimmed Krippler Karl Davis in consecutive falls, using rapid-fire sequences of head butts to soften Davis up for a flying dropkick and body press.

Blond-thatched Thor Hagen, a good-looking youngster out of Minneapolis, made an unscheduled appearance, his first here, in substituting for Dave Levin against Bulldog Bud

Curtis. Thor, with ring savvy and good leverage holds, dominated the match most of the way but came out on the losing end as Curtis took the duke with a series of knee drops and a body press at 13:42.

Brother Frank Jares and Portuguese champion Mario DeSouza opened the card with a rough-and-tumble 20-minute draw. 


(Houston Chronicle, May 8, 1954)

The man who last year won the "meanest wrestler in the world" title Friday night collected the Texas heavyweight mat championship to go with it.

Tough Bull Curry went off with the championship belt while fans were shouting that his taped right hand was "loaded."

The hand was not taped when his match with Ray Gunkel started and the Bull took the first fall with a series of head stomps. But Gunkel evened it up in the second when Curry became a casualty and had his hand taped. A right-hand wallop cooled Gunkel in the third and the fans howled that the bandage was "loaded," while Bull picked up the belt and departed.

Don Evans was disqualified in a match with Prince Maiava and customers got an added attraction when Duke Keomuka clamped a claw hold on Coconut Willie, the Prince's manager.

The Duke was upset after losing a decision to Enrique Guzman when he jumped on Willie, who previously had challenged him to meet the Duke.

In other matches, Larry Chene and Rito Romero were even; Stu Gibson won when Sugi Sito missed a flying tackle and landed on the floor. Ethel Johnson teamed with Kathleen Wombley to win from Betty Wingo and Babs White.

The WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It ) Papers No. 129


(Life Magazine, September 4, 1939)

The ugliest man in England is a Russian wrestler called "The Angel." He is the kind of stuff of which nightmares are made. With his huge head and expanded chest, he looks like an over-stuffed gnome out of a subterranean cavern. In the ring, smart promoters bill him as "a ferocious monstrosity, not a human being, but 20 stone of brutality." His favorite trick is to grip an opponent in a bear hug, squeeze the breath out of him and finally bang him like a sack of meal down on the canvas. In this way he is supposed to have won 180 straight matches.

The Angel was actually born in the Ural Mountains some indeterminate time ago. His first job was as a strong man in a circus. When he got tired of work offering no future, he went to France. For many years, he was first mate on a French submarine. After his retirement from the Navy, he met a Lithuanian wrestling trainer who taught him to wrestle and this year brought him to England for a series of matches.

In the winter, The Angel expects to visit the U.S. He should be a big success here. It will make little difference whether he can wrestle because all American fans care about is that their wrestler look ugly enough and act ugly enough. If The Angel can learn to punch his opponent on the back, make his own skin wriggle like jellied soup and screw up his face and roar like a wounded elephant, Americans will love him.


(St. Paul Pioneer Press, Saturday, June 8, 1940)

They called it a bear hug. That's the name for the hold by which Maurice (The Angel) Tillet scored his expected victory over Abe Kashey in the main event of the St. Paul Auditorium's wrestling card Friday night.

But if the Angel, as exponent of the hug, is likened to a bear, then black bears, brown bears, Kodiaks, polars and grizzlies may all rise up in protest. If there's anyone who would prefer to meet the Angel in a dark alley, in preference to a bear, then he's never seen a bear.

St. Paul fans were warned that the Angel was ugly, but they weren't told the half of it. As his Friday opponent, Kashey, put it, "The pictures don't do the Angel justice."

Abe should know, for he was face to face with the Angel for a good part of the seventeen minutes and twenty seconds that went by before Maurice pinned Kashey's shoulders to the mat. Abe, no candidate for beauty honors himself, was a veritable Adonis in contrast as he provided the foe for the Angel's altogether startling appearance.

With a disproportioned torso, arms and legs like gorillas and a head size almost twice normal and made even prettier by a huge ear, the Angel was even odds to scare any opposition right out of the ring. On the spearpoint of the Weygand line, it seemed he would have sent Hitler's legions scampering toward Berlin.

But Kashey stayed with him, up to the time his back was almost bent in two by a bear huge and fell back to the canvas where he was pinned, Referee Ted Tonneman counting the required three seconds.

It wasn't a one-man show, not by any means. Kashey who, as wrestling master villain, has been booed to the echo, found himself in the unusual situation of being the red hot favorite of the crowd. He rose to the occasion, obliged by putting a head scissors around the massive cranium of his rival. Abe punched and slapped, gouged eyes to the point where Maurice appealed to the referee for intervention.

But the edge was with Maurice. He slapped Abe over the back of the head, sent him skidding under the lower ropes. He chased him out of the ring and, as Abe climbed back, gave him a bear hug that caused to shout to the rafters for mercy.

But the crowd, held to half its expected size by an all-afternoon rain, liked it. Even more than thre three riotous bouts that had gone before. It was a satisified crowd that filed out of the Auditorium into the continuing rain.

From here the Angel goes to Grand Forks, then to Waterloo and will be back in Minneapolis for an appearance there Tuesday night.

Three super-villains gave good shows in the preliminaries but two went to defeated in the face of heroic virtue and the other got only a draw.

Andy Moen, the handsome Fergus Falls grappler, made the tough Virginian, Roy Graham, give up in the semi-windup. Moen applied a toe-hold that Graham couldn't break and won in eighteen minutes.

Another handsome hero, Otto Kuss of Pine City, got only a draw at the end of 30 minutes with Marshall George of Buffalo, N.Y.

Stan Myslajek of Minneapolis used a flying tackle to pin Jerry Meeker of Sheboygan, Wis., in 25 minutes of the opening bout. 


(Southern Cross, Wellington, N.Z., June 10, 1940)

A wrestling match at the Wellington Town Hall last night which ended, appropriately enough, in the disqualification of Sergeant-Major "Lofty" Blomfield enabled Dan O'Connor to gain revenge for the reverse which, in a similar way, was experienced by him against Blomfield at Auckland. The end came in the seventh round, the men having previously secured a fall apiece.

The bout, which was watched by a fairly large crowd, was marked more by guerrilla "all-in" tactics than by orthodox trench warfare. It soon became obvious that the holts which were in evidence from the start were going to lead to trouble for somebody, and when Blomfield started to paste O'Connor's jaw with his fists it was the beginning of the end. Blomfield's weight was given as 16st. 8 lb, with O'Connor 2lb heavier.

Blomfield had apparently not only decided to take at its face value O'Connor's offer to wrestle him under any conditions he liked to name, but was also out to enjoy his respite from military discipline. From the outset he was cantankerous and had no hestitation whatever in throwing jolts, pulling hair or nose, or performing any other indignity that came to mind.

O'Connor was more partial to straight wrestling, and repeatedly slipped into useful holds in the midst of open skirmishing.

By the second round his patience showed signs of wearing thin, and he dropped "Lofty" with some perfect jolts to the jaw. He followed up with chancery throws, but suddenly found himself emptied out of the ring. When he had squared up on this effort the referee raised his voice above the din to explain that they could steer reach other through the ropes, but that there was to be "no more over the ropes." Just before the round ended O'Connor got home with a neat drop kick. Blomfield examined a scratched arm as he took his seat.

Friendliness was no more apparent in the third round, but there was still reciprocity.

Blomfield used an Indian death lock, to which O'Connor replied in kind, but "Lofty" dragged the referee into the fray and escaped in the resultant confusion. The fourth round was mainly jolts until Blomfield worked from a leg trip into an octopus clamp and was awarded a fall at 2min 47sec.

In the fifth round they went through just about all their tricks, but no results were achieved.

O'Connor was a bit unfortunate in the sixth round. Blomfield threw him under the ropes and jumped on him, as also did the referee. A couple of minutes later, some flying tackles and a drop kick enabled him to equalise the falls.

The seventh round opened with jolts, developed into the fisticuffs which led to Blomfield's disqualification, and closed with some "after-hours" trading, which was stopped by the referee, Mr. Alf Jenkins.

A five-round bout between Colin Croskery (Wellington), 11st. 3lb. and Clem Shannon, 11st. 4lb, who was stated to have come from Hamilton, resulted in a draw, one fall each. Mr. Ray Allen was the referee. 


(Southern Cross, Wellington, N.Z., September 2, 1940)

When Sergeant-Major "Lofty" Blomfield and John Katan met in their second Empire championship wrestling contest at the Wellington Town Hall last night there were two main differences from their last encounter. All the ring posts stood erect throughout the bout, and Blomfield this time was not the challenger. The first did away with most of the "unsatisfactory circumstances" of which Katan had complained, and the second meant that Blomfield could be quite satisfied with the two-fall draw which resulted. The bout drew the inevitable packed house and everyone had a most exciting time. "Kiss Me Good-night, Sergeant-Major" was played both as the overture and as the finale. Katan's weight was 16st 10lb and Blomfield's 16st 4lb.

Prior to the bout publicity had been given to an alleged feud between the two men and the first round had no sooner started than it became apparent that, at least so far as Katan was concerned, some past experiences still rankled. He proceeded to give Blomfield all he could but the defending champion was never one to regard rough treatment lightly and before the round ended the crowd had good cause to expect a lively evening. Blomfield set the second round going with a series of throws with forward head locks which had Katan hard on the defensive. A jolt was the parting shot in this offensive and it led to a protracted barrage at close quarters. Another brisk exchange started when Katan, angered by having Blomfield jump on him as he lay half under the ropes, came out fighting mad. Katan's left eye was blackened and swollen at the end of the round.

Jolts were flying faster than ever in the third round and Katan's eye came in for more punishment. "Lofty" also seemed to be having trouble with his vision. Half-way through the round Katan caught Blomfield with his barred toe hold but Blomfield managed to drag the referee into the melee an, in the mix-up, escaped from the hold. Katan was being lustily belaboured when the round ended. Jolts in the fourth round led to another toe hold by Katan and this time he converted it into a jackknife and took a fall at 4min 20sec.

Katan followed his usual practice of keeping as far away from trouble as he could once he was a fall up, and the referee soon acted on the advice of the crowd to "make him wrestle."

Katan obliged so well that he had to be restrained from attacking Blomfield after being ordered to break. He had just returned from seeking refuge outside the ropes from chancery throws when the gong sounded. Plenty more jolts came in the sixth round, but the excitement they caused was nothing when Blomfield managed to apply the octopus clamp. He forestalled Katan's efforts to get near the ropes, dragged him out into the middle of the ring, stood up, and took the most popular fall in years at 3min 22sec.

It was now Blomfield's turn to use the touchline, which he did with evident pleasure -- the crowd certainly enjoyed it. When he cut out the playing and came to grips, Katan had rather the better of matters. Katan was still chasing the vital fall in the last round, but without success. At one stage he was going after it so keenly that the referee had to jump into the fray to enforce a break when he wanted one. Mr. Alf Jenkins was the referee.


(Southern Cross, Wellington, N.Z., June 10, 1949)

In last Sunday's "World of Sport" broadcast from Radio 2ZB, Wellington, Wallie Ingram, Sports Editor of Southern Cross, gave interesting information about some of the wrestlers seen in New Zealand in the earlier days of streamlined wrestling. Today, Form Parade reprints this talk -- from the original radio script -- as an exclusive feature. If you've wondered what happened to "Whiskers" Blake, "Count" Joe Varga, or some of the others, you might find the answer in the following:

One of these days I hope to make a complete World of Sport talk on that subject, but this morning I'll have to content myself with a partial answer to the question.

Last week I had a yarn with my old friend Lofty Blomfield, looking bigger and better than ever. I took the opportunity of asking him if he had seen any of the old brigade when he was in America recently. From Lofty I secured a little information, and from some of the others I hope to add to the picture.

Joe Varga . . . "Count" Joe Varga they called him, though I don't know the authenticity of this title . . . is nowadays a military instructor in a college around about Los Angeles. Joe Varga was a colourful fellow, with his heel clicking and correct bow from the waist, and he could wrestle, too. Now, with the rank of captain, he's putting some of the young Americans through a military course. He claimed to have served with the Austrian forces in World War I, and no doubt will be able to impart some precise military movements into the young Americans.

Stanley Pinto . . . of immortal wrestling memory . . . is now refereeing in America. "In goes Pinto." Remember that cry! Stanley is just as colourful as a referee as he was as an active wrestler and is making a lot of what makes the wheels tick over.

Andy Moen, central figure with Lofty Blomfield in a series of tough matches in New Zealand, now operates a saloon in Minneapolis. Until recently Andy figured on many main event cards at Minneapolis, but the loss of an eye -- when he was showing son Jackie how to use a new rifle -- has put him out of the game he loved.

Tony Stecher, who wrestled in Wellington about 20 years ago, is now the big promoter in Minneapolis. Tony, brother of Joe, of leg-scissors fame, is recognised as a square-dealer in the States and is never short of good wrestlers. Bill Kuusisto and Joe Pazandak are two who figured on his promotions, while Ken Kenneth also did some wrestling for Tony. I hear from Tony quite frequently -- he sends me photos and programmes of his matches and also notes recalling matches in New Zealand.

Jack Donovan, who wrestled in New Zealand in 1939, was a stunt artist in the movies as well as being a top-line wrestler. After returning from his New Zealand season Jack was killed in an auto accident -- not associated with the movie industry but the real thing.

Al Karasick, who was blind for some time with that terrible complaint that used to afflict wrestlers -- trachoma -- is now the man looking after wrestling in Honolulu. Karasick -- I saw him wrestle Dean Detton in Wellington on one memorable occasion -- was almost blind at times, but he was a master showman and knew the likes and dislikes of the wrestling fans.

In Honolulu he has built up a big following for the mat sport and tgets the best from America to wrestle for him. Jack Claybourne, when last I heard from him, was doing well at Honolulu.

Paul Boesch, fully recovered after an auto accident that injured a leg, is making more than a good living as a radio commentator giving the talk for televised wrestling matches. Those of you who have heard Paul broadcasting a wrestling match will not need to be told that he would be tops at this just as he was tops at dropkicking and at pleasing the wrestling fans.

Joe Savoldi, perhaps the originator of the dropkick, used to have a glorious crop of curls -- a real Italian bambino. Well, Jumping Joe used to do a lot of landings with American beach-head boys in Italy and Sicily, and perhaps the heat of action and the continual wearing of a tin hat did something to his curls. Joe isn't curly any more. In fact, he has a terrifically wide parting across the top of his boko. Some people would say that he's bald, but, maybe, if I say that he's a bit thin on top it'll be better?

Rolly Kirchmeyer was promoting in Florida for some time, but in recent months he's gone farming. According to that popular grappler Peter Managoff, Rolly underwent an operation for a kidney removal not so long ago, and though he had continued to figure in the occasional match until that operation he's now definitely retired.

Paul Jones, the fellow who showed us the figure-four body scissors -- so ably demonstrated again in Wellington recently by Peter Managoff -- is promoting . . . in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I think.

Talking about Peter Managoff's figure-four body scissors which gave Len Levy an awful lot of trouble in Wellington -- after the match I went to Len's dressing-room and congratulated him on the wonderful match. "That guy is the second to get out of my hook scissors," he assured me. "There's only one way out . . . to stand up . . . and that takes a lot of doing." I asked Peter who was the other guy to escape from the hold. "Rolly Kirchmeyer," he said.

Leo Jensen, who opened the Wellington season against Joe Tonti back about 1938, is in Australia. He is working at Newcastle and does a little wrestling in between seasons. Leo isn't big enough to draw the crowds in these days of the popularity of the 17 and 18-stoners.

I was responsible for Leo's display not being too good in that opening match against Tonti. It happened this way -- Leo knew that I had been in the habits of going for long walks every Saturday, and asked could I take him out on the Saturday before his opening match on the Monday.

Well, to make a short story long, I took him for a walk. We started at the Hotel Windsor, walked to the Karori tram terminus, along the South Karori road to its end, across the Karori Stream, along the hilltops to the Terawhiti Station. Then we stopped for a bite of lunch. "How far are we from Wellington now?" asked Leo. "Well, we're just halfway," I replied.

That gave Leo a real slam over the heart. He was a pretty hefty sort of fellow, and he was beginning to feel the strain. So, off we went, down the hill to where the Karori Stream comes out near Kirkcaldie's woolshed, along the beach, past Sinclair Head to Ohiro Bay and down Happy Valley road back to the Windsor Hotel.

Next day Leo told me that he had expected to do about 10 miles in the "long" walk but I had taken him about 20! He was terribly slow against Tonti on the Monday night and never established himself as a drawing card in Wellington, though he took on in the other towns.

Maybe that walk wasn't a wise idea after all?

Joe Tonti was the fellow who, walking on his hands with a leather guard in his teeth -- a guard attached to a chain -- towed two full-laden motor-cars along Oriental Bay Parade one day before a crowd of about 3,000. No kidding!

Dick Raines tells me that during the war Joe Tonti towed an American tank just to show that the sketch in Ripley's "Believe It Or Not" was strictly on the level. It was a pity that Joe couldn't wrestle as successfully as he could tow motor-cars while walking on his hands.

Whiskers Blake -- what a man! He grew his whiskers while with a scientific expedition right up in the far north of Canada -- as protection against the cold winds. He came to New Zealand and set a record by wrestling in practically every town in the Dominion -- but only in one town did he make a reappearance!

Whiskers was a fine fellow, most interesting company -- as are most of the wrestlers -- but he wasn't a great wrestler. He went to Australia, drove a chariot around the Sydney Cricket Ground during the interval to a football match -- dressed up in Roman rig-out -- advertising a picture, Ben Hur, and also his match at the Sydney Stadium against the Russian Lion, Tom Lurich. Whiskers and Lurich drew one of the biggest houses in wrestling at the Sydney Stadium, but it wasn't long before Whiskers moved on to South Africa where, the last time I heard of him, he was running a gymnasium and concentrating on medical massage.

Well, that's all about the wrestlers for now. Maybe in a week or two I'll dig out some more information about them. 

Lester David Glover, 83, Once In a Lifetime Mat Fan

(ED. NOTE -- Once again, the hoped-for regularity of The WAWLI Papers has been interrupted, this time by the passing of my father, Mr. Lester Glover, 83, of Seattle, Wash. I mention this not only because of the natural bond between us, but because his death prompted me to remember the only time I ever persuaded him to go to a wrestling match. At the time, I was a high-school student in Seattle and, every Tuesday night, was attending the wrestling matches promoted by Harry Elliott, who, incidentally, was once again at Dean Silverstone's always-fun wrestlers' reunion on Lake Sammamish on Seattle's Eastside. Also, I was eager for my dad to meet Shag "King Toby" Thomas, for whom I had launched a fan club -- later taken over by Silverstone. My father couldn't quite figure out why I was so taken by the ringwork of this five-foot-six, 255-pound former Ohio State University football star, a onetime teammate of the late Big Bill Miller. And Pop was bound and determined not to be ever be seen dead -- excuse the expression -- at a wrestling match. But I begged and pleaded and cajoled and finally got him to come sit with me in ringside seats at the Civic Auditorium basement, where the matches were held in the early '60s. He didn't offer much of a reaction through the preliminary bouts, munching on a hot dog and repeatedly asking, "What's such a big deal about this, son?" That is, until the main eventers came out: Wild Bill Savage and Gentleman Ed Francis, then defending their Pacific Northwest tag team title against the dynamite duo of Tough Tony Borne and my honorary, Shag Thomas. The match was a particularly splendid one and served as the starting point for one of the Northwest's most fabled feuds, predicated on the break-up of the Borne-Thomas team. They ultimately wrestled each other on 12 consecutive nights, all over the territory, from Portland to Seattle to Albany, Ore., to Salem, Ore., to Eugene and back to Portland. They battled inside the ring, under the ring, into the crowd and, in Eugene, even out onto the street and into an adjacent parking lot where they wound up scuffling beneath the cars, with the fans all following them out the door and into the lot. But, I digress. On the night in question, with my dad at ringside, Borne and Thomas began as stalwart partners, only to suffer a series of calamitous setbacks which resulted in some awfully harsh words from both and vows to get even, etc. Until that breakup, though, they put in their usual fine ringwork, Borne cannonballing off the top ropes -- only to miss his target and land flat on his bottom; Shag firing his lethal head butts at everybody, including Borne, by accident. Early on in the set-to, my dad finally started to react. First, it was a giggle. Then a bigger giggle. Soon after, full-throated laughter, which not long after became almost hysterical laughter. His face turned red and tears ran down his cheeks and, I swear, he guffawed for a half-hour, non-stop, to the point where I worried that he would have a stroke. Even on the way home, after the matches, he kept bursting out in chortles at the memory of the wild and wacky match, but I never got him to go back. "I can't take any more of that," he said, grinning. "You just go along on your own and enjoy yourself." Which, of course, I did for many years after, eventually working for various promotions here and there, and even having a turn as a referee for Silverstone's Superstar Championship Wrestling in the mid-'70s. Pop and I never talked to much about my activities in the mat game, or my subsequent development as a wrestling historian, but I never forgot that night. I never saw him enjoy himself as much before, or since. And then, on May 22, what I had feared would happen that long-ago night ... finally did. He had a stroke, the resulting complications eventually taking the full toll 25 days later. He lived a fuller life than most and was a keen observer of the sporting scene. And, had he wanted to, he could have boasted of being present the night Tough Tony Borne and Shag Thomas busted up. And broke him up, in the process. Rest in peace, Pop. I'll miss you.)

The WAWLI (Wrestling As We Liked It ) Papers No. 130


(Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, Tuesday, February 1, 1916)

There is now, in polite sporting circles, the case of one Joseph Stecher of Dodge City, Neb., and one Frank Gotch, of Iowa, and the extended zone maintained by any first class circus.

Sooner or later -- or in the interim -- these two, Joseph and Frank, western born and bred,  are to meet in a wrestling match that will decide the championship of the world and will attract something over $100,000 at the gate. So, as a sporting spectacle, it is worth early consideration.

We first saw Frank Gotch wrestle back in 1905 -- 11 years ago. He was then 27 years old, the American champion, with only Hackenschmidt in his way to a world title.

Gotch at 27 and Stecher at 23 stand as entirely different types. Stecher's face is almost expressionless. Whatever emotion may dwell in his manly breast, the same doesn't show through his frontispiece. He gives one the impression of being a wonderfully perfected machine.

Gotch was, and is, a different type. Gotch is the Doc Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of wrasslers.

With a pleasing, open face, an attractive smile, a bundle of magnetism, he might be figured as the best natured man in the game. But his heart is the heart of the hungle. No limited of cruelty would ever stop him from beating his man the quickest possible way. Kid McCoy, smilingly cutting an opponent to ribbons, had nothing on the Iowa grappler.

Age has undoubtedly slowed Gotch up and has taken something away, but even if Stecher should win he would be quite willing to testify that it was the roughest evening of his young but spicy career. Gotch asks no mercy -- and gives none -- not even to the beaten. The old Spanish Inquisition could have gathered in some valuable stuff by watching Gotch at work.

Stecher at 23 may be some faster than Gotch is at 38. But Stecher at 23 isn't as fast as Gotch was at 27. He isn't as fast as Gotch was 6 years ago at 32 -- the last time we saw him work.

For while Stecher is abnormally fast, a marvel with his quick leg movement and his shifting body, Gotch some years ago was a human streak, so catlike that it was almost impossible to follow his movements with the eye. You saw him shift from one spot or from one grip to another, and yet the movement was more a blur than an actual operation. It was a shift of such rapidity that few could tell just what had happened.

Gotch carries these main ingredients: Unusual speed; great physical power, both in his arms and legs; a high order of courage and cunning; unlimited stamina; complete knowledge of his game through hard and intelligent study.

For Gotch has as much brain as he has muscle, so far as his game is concerned, anyway, and he has always been blessed with an athletic instinct that only belongs to the champion.

In meeting the Russian Lion for the first time he soon saw that here was an opponent too powerful to be thrown, for Hackenschmidt was the most powerful entry of the entire lot. So Gotch switched his tactics and literally tortured his man into submission, as the big Russian quit after two hours' punishment.

If Stecher had come along ten years ago, just as good as he is today, we would have

esteemed it much pleasure to have had our last shirt on Iowa against Nebraska in the

Wrestling Sweepstakes.

But 1906 and 1916 are a decade apart. In meeting Stecher, Gotch will face the best man he

ever met. He will tackle a game, brainy youngster who knows his business. He will tackle a

man who has beaten most of the best -- one who has both speed and power to a champion's


Judging from what those say who have wrestled Stecher, who have seen him work and what

he had to show against the Masked Marvel, the Nebraskan is well worthy of the throne. He

has all the stuff there is.

And then, again, there is the main factor of them all to be considered. Stecher is 23; Gotch is

38. Stecher is coming; Gotch is going away. Gotch has ruled unbeaten for over ten years.

And ten years is a long time at the top of the pile.

Doc Time is the greatest collector of them all. He insists on being paid to the full kopeck.

Gotch will have to give away 15 years -- and 15 years covers the pitching span of


Fifteen years can stand as no small gift. Gotch may look to be as fast, as strong, as mighty

as he ever was. He may for the first 30 minutes. But what about the end of a championship

hour, or two hours, of the hardest game of them all?

It was agreed that Johnson must whip Willard in the first 15 rounds to win. He was not able

to produce the punch inside of 20 rounds, and Time did the rest.

Gotch to beat Stecher must overpower his man inside of 20 or 30 minutes. For 30 minutes he

will be as fast and as strong as Stecher -- probably stronger. And he will have greater mat

craft and cunning, for in this respect the Iowa star has never had an equal. There is no trick

that he doesn't know, and many of them are his own inventions. For 30 minutes Stecher, at

23, will be in the whirl of a tornado. If he can weather that period the odds, back up by Youth,

will be all his way. Gotch isn't going to get any better the second thirty minutes or the second

hour. He is a marvel and a superman, but not that much of a god. He must carry the young

Nebraskan by storm, combining power and speed with all the craft and cruelty he has -- and

don't forget that of this he has more than one man's share.

Those who have seen both Gotch and Stecher at work can imagine no greather athletic sight

than a meeting between these two. You may not have any inherent love for wrestling. The

sport to you may be an abhorrent thing. But here will be a meeting that should be the last

word as a physical test. The mere sight of Stecher and Gotch standing face to face will be

sufficient unto the day for all the thrills you desire. For, whatever you think of their game,

they are MEN above the ordinary type -- two of a kind meeting in the hardest game of them

all, where only one can survive as champion.

Wrestling is almost a blacklisted sport. It has no wide appeal. But on the day that Frank

Gotch, of Iowa, meets Joe Stecher, of Nebraska, the rest of the card will obscured, crowed

into agate to the edge of the page.

(ED. NOTE--The above piece was syndicated nationally at a time, in early 1916, when Gotch

was again coming out of retirement and talk about a match with Stecher was the natural

order of things. But it never happened, probably because of the injury Gotch was to incur

that summer when traveling with the circus in Wisconsin and, afterward, when he fell prey to

the illness that end his life in December, 1917. Too bad.)



(Norfolk Landmark, Monday, February 14, 1916)

The wrestler, the "King of the Mat," is by way of being the popular hero in the East this

year. In New York City, where the celebrated "Masked Marvel" wrestles tirelessly with

the greatest and weightiest and offers an inspiring exhibition of physical prowess to

thousands of onlookers, the excitement over this sport is intense. Hardly less inspiring are

the four other men who form the "team" that fills the Manhattan Opera House nightly --

Roller, Aberg, Lewis and Zbyszko. All of them are extraordinary specimens of strength and

muscular grace. Why not make such men our national heroes? questions one writer. Why

not, for instance, let our young boys freely find food for admiration and emulation in these

clean-limbed, quick-motioned athletes?

The Greek ideal of physical beauty can not but be beneficial, so long as it betokens as well a

clever, clean, quick mind, and that, for the professional athlete, be quite as indispensable as

bulging muscles. So argues Alfred W. McCann, the New York Globe's pure-food expert, to

whose province the subject of a fine physique is by no means alien. For the last 6,000 years,

he asserts, "man has been abusing all his physical and mental faculties," and, in

consequence --

The survivors of today are floating on the froth of ages. Plagues, epidemics, scourges,

pestilence, famine, and war have helped gluttony, alcoholism, and bestiality to dissipate the

vigor of nations.

Look at the physical types one sees in every street car, at the theater, on the ballground, in

restaurants, office buildings, everywhere, tall, gaunt, short, flabby, hollow cheeked, red

nosed, white lipped, round shoulders, bald headed, weak eyed, crooked limbed. All these

departures from the normal are expressions of a fixed law.

Cause and effect are everywhere to be seen. Humanity has nestled in the lap of luxury and

has paid the price. Handsome young men are forced to pad the shoulders of their

overcoasts. Dignified middled aged gentlemen take pains to smooth a few straggling hairs

over six square inches of hairless dome.

The normal man is not often seen. No wonder, then, that the five miracle men who are

exhibited nightly at the second international wrestling tournament have captivated the

masses. There is an inspiration in these types of Theseus, Hector, Hercules, Mars and


Roller, Aberg, Lewis, Zbyszko, and the "Masked Marvel" are physically perfect types,

each of them an inspiration to other men. One sees in the majestic outlines of these

extraordinary creatures a symbol of the birthright which humanity has sold for a mess of


All men would be like these men in a world that devoted half as much attention to its own

health as it does to the health of the animals in which money is invested.

The writer lays emphasis on the fact that these men are more than mere athletes. They are

gentlemen of sport, and the admiring youth who watches them and comes to understand the

law of fair play and tolerance that they instinctively obey goes away with something beyond

price and which forty preachers of spiritual living might not have succeeded in teaching him.

Of the "Masked Marvel" he says:

"In the 'Masked Marvel' one sees a combination of Mars and Mercury. Here is a man who,

possessing ordinary physical gifts, has so developed them that he stands forth the most

interesting and most sensational of the crowd of gladiators with whom he performs.

Weighing at least thirty pounds less than any of the other four stars of the tournament, he

carries a handicap which is much greater than on the surface it appears.

"With Aberg, it is 263 against the "Marvel's" 210, a difference of 53 pounds. This means

that Aberg bring 53 pounds plus against the "Marvel's" 53 pounds minus, an actual

advantage of 106 pounds in weight. Two hundred and sixty-three against 21- is not 210

against 263. Sporting writers as a rule do not interpret difference of weight in this manner,

but the difference is actual.

In the "Marvel's" system of training he has cultivated his mind and spirit as well as the

body. His coolness under fire is uncanny. His relentless aggressiveness, even when on the

defense against bigger men, is uncanny. His sportsmanlike instincts are developed to a

degree that seems to make him actually willing to give a handicap to any rival.

I have seen him yield in every dispute, relying solely upon the uncanny confidence which he

possesses in his own powers. The word uncanny best describes this superb professional

athlete. His beauty from the mask down is the beauty of Apollo. His strength in proportion to

his size is the strength of Hercules. His valor is the valor of Hector. His deliberation under

trying situations is a spectacle fit for the gods.



The Russian, Ivan Linow, retained his honors in a match with Fritz Mohl last night at the

Pickwick in one of the most interesting matches yet staged in this city. It was a bigger job to

beat the grinning German than the Cossack expected and it took all his strength and ability

to finally turn the trick with a crotch and half nelson in 34 minutes.

Both men weighed well over 200 pounds, but in spite of that they worked very fast. The

tough Teuton packed a little extra avoirdupois around the abdomen, but he made good use

of it when he bounced on the roaring Russian and tried to knock out his breath.

Nearly every hold known to science was used in this match and often when it seemed as if

the bout was to terminate suddenly a sudden twist, a quick turn and the men would be on

equal terms again. The Russian proved his wonderful strength time and time again. Mohl

was also very strong but the brute strength of the tall subject of the czar saved him many


It was announced that next week Strangler Lewis, the world's catch as catch can champion,

would meet Antone Irsa, the Bohemian giant who won second prize in the recent tournament

in New York, being beaten only by (Alex) Aberg. This promises to be an unusual match as

both men are famed for their strength and science.

After the termination of the Linow-Mohl match, which lasted a little over an hour, Linow

made a speech in which he challenged Dr. (B.F.) Roller to a return match, providing the

doctor wore shoes, or if he did not care to do that to bar the toe hold. Norman Hofheimer of

the Pickwick club immediately sent off a wire to the Seattle physician as follows:

"Dr. B.F. Roller,

"508 W. 112th street, New York

"Will you wrestle *Ivan Linow here within next two weeks, with or without toe hold. Two

hundred and fifty dollars wrestlers' purse. Six hundred dollars club guarantee, 75 per cent

winner, 25 loser. Am posting one hundred dollars appearance money for you if terms

satisfactory. Russian determined upon return match. If O.K. send check two fifty. This wire

and your reply will be published."



(Referee, Melbourne, Australia, July 8, 1930)

Under contract to Stadiums Ltd., Ed (Strangler) Lewis arrived in Melbourne yesterday by

the Sydney-Melbourne service aeroplane, Southern Moon. He is the most notable wrestler

to appear in Australia since the days of Hackenschmidt, for he has been for seven years

undisputed world's champion, and claims the unique record of having been defeated only six

times in 2,500 contests.

With a normal chest measurement of 50 inches, Lewis does not look his height of 6ft., 1in.,

while he is much younger than might be expected of such a redoubtable and experienced

wrestler, having been born in Lexington, Kentucky (sic), in 1891. His real name is Robert H.

Friedrich, but he took the name of Lewis when he first entered the ring, because, as he

explains, "my parents did not know I was wrestling, and they might have thought I would be

hurt." Although Lewis is the chief exponent of headlocks, he does not deserve the sobriquet

of "Strangler." That was given to him because in appearance and style he was not unlike

one Evan Lewis, known as "Strangler" in the days when the strangle-hold was allowed in the

ring. So Ed Lewis has been known all through his career as "Strangler," though he protests

that he has never strangled anyone in his life.

Joe Stecher, from whom Lewis regained the world's championship four years ago (sic), is

due to arrived in Melbourne in a fortnight, and he will be Lewis's chief opponent. On

Saturday Lewis is matched against Charlie Strack, an American representative at the Paris

Olympic Games. ________________________________________________


(Wire services, August 17, 1930)

Police intervened in the return match at the Rushcutter Bay Stadium tonight between Ted

Thye and Billy Edwards. In the early rounds wrestling was sacrificed for brawling, and both

men were often cautioned. Within two minutes of the end of the fifth round a police inspector

rose in his seat and waved to the referee (Mr. T. Banner) to stop the contest. The referee,

however, was too busy watching the wrestlers, and the inspector had to slap on the canvas

before attracting the referee's attention. Then the referee in turn found difficulty in stopping

the wrestlers.

The crowd expressed its displeasure, but the inspector moved toward Thye and ordered him

from the ring. The inspector was hooted and counted out. Later the crowd waited for

Edwards and Thye and gave them an ovation as they left the Stadium.



(Wire services, August 19, 1930)

At the Rushcutter Bay Stadium tonight in Sydney, Strangler Lewis (17st., 8lb.) defeated

Howard Cantonwine (15st., 6lb.) by two falls to one. Cantonwine gained the first fall in the

third round as a penalty against Lewis, who would not return to the ring after having been

thrown out of it. Lewis gained a fall in the fourth with a headlock and another in the fifth with

two headlocks. _______________________________________________


(Argus, Melbourne, Australia, August 31, 1937)

Tony Felice (15.8), an Italian-American, made his first appearance at the Fitzroy stadium

last night against the Russian wrestler, Tom Lurich (15.7 1/2), and was disqualfied for

throttling Lurich in a "rope strangle."

As a wrestling contest the bout was a lamentable failure, for both men indulged in clouting,

kicking, and bursts of assumed savagery for the greater part of the six rounds. Lurich

supplied much comedy.

Minor bouts resulted: -- Mickey Smith (9.7) outpointed Curly Aton (9.6), Laurie Green

(9.11) outpointed Bert Cole (10.1), Tom Hunter (8.10) outpointed "Kid" Young (8.13).

Strangler Lewis and Ted Cox

It was announced yesterday that Ed (Strangler) Lewis, former heavyweight wrestling

champion of the world, and King Kong Ted Cox, who has the reputation of being the

roughest wrestler in the world, have arrived in Sydney from New Zealand. Lewis will

possibly be given one match in Melbourne before he continues his journey to India, where

he will meet the Indian champion, Gama. Cox will appear in Melbourne as soon as a match

is available. _________________________________________________

INTERVIEWS WITH THE LEGENDS Frankie "The Great Mephisto" Cain

Frankie Cain was better known to wrestling fans under other names. His career skyrocketed

in the mid-60s when he and Rocky Smith, together with a young referee from Tennessee

named J.C. "Jimmy" Dykes as their manager, joined forces to form a tag team known as

The Infernos.

he Infernos are a legend in wrestling circles and considered by many as the most famous

masked tag team in the history of professional wrestling. In the early '70s, Frankie removed

the mask and began wrestling as The Great Mephisto.

Frank reveals stories that have never been told in print before and relates every aspect of

his life and career --

-- as a street-wise kid hustling a buck in post-depression Columbus, Ohio.

"It was after the depression, but there still wasn't any jobs, so how you'd make a living is by

going into bars with a shoeshine box. My hair was real long, and I kept it that way. Even

after the war, when everyone had crew cuts, I had long hair. The guys in the bars would

think I was a little girl, so they'd let me shine their shoes. You know what I mean? I used

mine as a gimmick. Sure, there were times I cut my hair, and I looked like a little boy. But,

hell. There was a lot of little six and seven year old boys running around with a shine box ...

but there was no little, ragged girls."

-- as a member of the Toe-Hold Club. "Ben Hayes, the sportswriter, talked (Casey)

Fredericks (Ohio State wrestling coach) into letting us work out with the amateurs. We could

stay with 'em a little bit, but they could beat us. So Ben said, "Let the kids wrestle their

style of wrestling." Casey says, "Alright." At first, he was kind of puzzled why Ben would

bring us up there, but he found out when we started doing our own stuff. My God! We made

those guys scream standing up, before we ever went down on the mat. We could leg dive like

a bast**d. We would grab their ankle and go backwards with it. Casey Fredericks panicked.

He said, "Holy, Christ ... wait! You guys can't do that." He's hollering, "No, no, you guys

can't workout." Then, after the amateurs had left, limping and holding their arms and

everything, he said, "How'd you guys ever learn that stuff?" I didn't know until years later

... but what we were doing was kind of unique."

-- as a fighter in the carnival. "If you were the stick, you had to make the people think you

was a local, or from around the surrounding area. You'd mill around and start talking to the

people. You'd stand in the crowd and say you just moved back into town, or make up some

other story. The carnival patch man ... the one that went into the town ahead of time ... he

found out about the high schools or colleges. Let's say they have a Lincoln High School ...

you'd say you went to school there ten years ago and just moved back to town. Then, when

you're with a group of people, and other people (from the town) would see you talking, they'd

think all of you were together. You'd just try to find a crowd to get in with, and talk about any

bullsh**. Then, when you issue a challenge to the carny wrestler, they think you're a local

boy making the challenge. You challenged, then you went ahead and worked a match."

-- as a professional boxer. "The boys don't believe this, but it's the truth. The (boxing)

promoter would never sit down, like wrestlers would, and work out your match, or anything

like that. They sometimes would come in and say, "You've gotta go by the fourth round." It

wasn't sitting down and working it out. Just whenever it looked good, you'd go down. That

kind of thing had to be negotiated and was really a kayfabe thing. It had to be, or everything

would just go to hell ... especially with the commissions, who would suspend you or hold your

money for fixing a fight."

-- as a young professional wrestler. "The old-timers (wrestlers) didn't want to give you too

much. You would have to kind of look after yourself to get any respect from them.

Consequently, they was worrying about the promoters or some of the boys watching, and

they would get testy. They would get you down and hold you down, and you'd have a lousy

match. Of course, the old-timers would say, "Well, the guy was trying to move against me."

The promoters would respect their word and, consequently, didn't want you back. So, to try

to get a match out of the bast**ds, you had to take a lot from them."

-- as The Infernos, one of the hottest tag teams in the world. "The business we did in

Amarillo was just phenomenal. The houses were just unreal ... packed every night. Every

night, we'd be fightin' them Mexican fans, man. They'd come at ya with knives. Oh, sh**. It

was just horrible. It was a lot of money, but a lot of greed. We were there close to three

years, and very seldom did we have a day off. We was workin' seven nights a week. The

schedule, workin' under the mask in hot buildings ... and, man! When you're workin' with the

type of babyfaces we had, brother, you had to get up and move. We worked with a young

Dory Funk Jr. and a young Terry Funk every night ... and they're wantin' to make a name in

the business. Terry was wild and crazy, but a hell of a worker. That kid was a natural from

day one ... and of course, Dory Jr. was a class worker."

-- as The Great Mephisto. "I used to bring the supernatural into all my interviews. As a

matter of fact, Anton Lave sent a couple of his disciples to see me. That's the guy who had

the big devil-worshipping thing in San Francisco. They took me to see him and he lived in

this weird place .. a big black house. While I'm talking to him, he starts using some kind of ...

like double talk. I thought, "Oh, man," and asked him, "What are you. What do you do?"

He said, "You know. We believe in Satan, Beelzebub, and all that stuff." By the tone of the

conversation, and in the surroundings I was in, I got scared and I said, "Well, it's time for

me to go." I got out of there."

-- as a booker and wrestler. "I was always fighting and arguing with promoters all over the

country, because of the way they ran the business, the lousy payoffs, and the nonchalant

attitude they had towards promotion. When I knocked (Roy) Shire on his ass in front of the

boys, he tried to have me blackballed, but promoters ... no matter what anybody else says

about you, if their territory is down, and they can use you, they're gonna bring you in . . . It

was always my contentionn that there wasn't any dead territories. There was just dead

promoters. They were satisfied with making three times as much as the boys. Even the guys

that had lousy territories could make themselves a thousand bucks a week. And there was

always an alliance for the promoters, but there was none for the boys."

-- as a wrestling promoter. "We was all old. We looked like the wax museum. (laughs) We'd

use the pictures from when we was young. They would laugh when we'd come to the ring, but

after we started working a little bit, they'd settle down and get into it. At least I could repeat

in a town, which a lot of promotions couldn't do. I had Lash Larue, George Strickland,

Johnny "Swede" Carlin. We were all ancient." (laughs)

-- as the subject of this book. "I don't want it to be just a dull, humdrum story. I'll get into the

promotional aspect ... things the wrestlers don't even know about. I was lucky enough to be

there firsthand, in the offices, and knew things like how much income tax the promoter paid.

They wouldn't tell me, but you knew approximately how much money was brought in. Then,

at the end of the year, they could have bonused the boys, and used it as a tax write off.

Instead, they chose to pay the money out in taxes. There were alliances for the promotions,

but there was never any for the boys. There was the rebel like me, who raised hell with the

bast**ds ... and they branded me a rebel. Sure, I had a bad reputation for leaving territories.

I punched a few promoters, but I never hit one that was a nice guy. The guys that I punched

were the pricks in the business and everyone knew it."

"We'll get into old friends that turned on me ... how Bill Watts was panic stricken over us

promoting opposition to him ... throwing Nick Gulas in the shower ... about me punching Roy

Shire out in the dressing room and how he had me blackballed ... and a lot more. I want to

really do an in-depth thing. I don't want anyone who picks this book up, and reads it, to think

that I'm the bast**d that they've heard stories about. The boys don't knock me. The

promoters knock me."

"Dick Steinborn called me and says, "Is it true that Scott's going to write your story?" I

said, "Yeah." He said, "This will be the first time, won't it, Frank?" I said, "Yeah, with the

exception of the newspaper stories."


This is a must-read for everyone. In this lengthy interview, Frank relates every aspect of his

life and career. Frank's story is a true classic and a unique behind-the-scenes look at the

wrestling business.

This material has never been printed anywhere before. This first edition includes rare

photos of Frankie in his early days as a boxer, plus many of his ring personas, such as the

Inferno and the Great Mephisto. Several are from Frank's personal photo collection. Each

copy is professionally-bound with a protective cover.

$20 each postpaid in the U.S. and Canada ($25 overseas), or send $22 and Frank will

personally autograph your copy.

If you are interested in more stories like this one, or would like information about

subscribing or ordering back issues of the printed version "Whatever Happened to ...?",

check out our webpage or contact Scott Teal at:

P.O. Box 2781 Hendersonville TN 37077-2781

Whatever Happened to ...? "The publication that everyone is talking about!" Home page:



by J Michael Kenyon

Volume 2, Number 45 Tuesday, June 24, 1997

IN THIS ISSUE: Various, Including Northern California Circa '33 and Evansville Circa '35

(Early Lou Thesz)


(reprinted from San Francisco Chronicle, 2-19-33)

Yusif Hussane, the Terrible Turk, and Tom Draak, the Holland champion, are both on deck

for their two-hour match at Dreamland Rink tomorrow night.

Yusif looks as terrible as he did when he met Ad Santel here. He's a wild-looking individual,

but has been tamed on several occasions by Stecher, Lewis and others.

Draak has also appeared here before, meeting Santel and "Strangler" Lewis, losing to the

titleholder after a hard match.

The winner of the match will meet Joe Stecher, the "Scissors King," the following Tuesday.

That match will be followed by bouts in which George Calza and Ivan Linow will take part.

Ted Thye of Portland, who meets Al Karasick of Oakland, in a one-hour preliminary, is due

today. Ted is making a stab for the middleweight crown and Promoter Frank Schuler will

endeavor to bring all the contenders for the title in that division here to fight it out.

Charley Andrews, mat instructor at the U. of C., who hasn't had his bald head on exhibition

here for some time, will be the third man in the ring.

Promoter Schuler states that he will endeavor to bring together "Strangler" Ed Lewis and

Joe Stecher in a title match some time in March or April. Stecher is ready, but Lewis has not

as yet signified his willingness to meet the "Scissors King."



(reprinted from San Francisco Chronicle, 2-21-33)

Yusif Hussane won the main wrestling attraction from Tom Draak last night at the

Dreamland Rink, by taking two out of three falls. Hussane took the first fall in 28 minutes,

with a headlock. The second fall went to Draak in 21 minutes, with a combination double arm

scissors, while Hussane took the third fall with a reverse body lock in six minutes.

In the other event Ted Thye and Al Karasick wrestled one hour to a draw.

There was a large, enthusiastic crowd on hand.



(reprinted from San Francisco Chronicle, 2-27-23)

NEW YORK, Feb. 26.--Dan Koloff of Bulgaria and Ed (Strangler) Lewis, title holder, have

agreed to meet in a match for the world's heavyweight wrestling championship here March

7, John Contos, wrestling promoter, announced tonight.

(ED. NOTE--John Contos promoted, not only in New York City, but in Atlanta, Baltimore

and Phoenix over a period of four decades.)



(reprinted from San Francisco Chronicle, 12-17-33)

George Wilson, the former University of Washington all-American, and Hank Schaldach,

California's great triple-threat man, meet in a football duel this afternoon at the Oakland

Baseball Park.

The game is for charity and brings together the all-American professional wrestlers and the

Alameda Elks. The game begins at 2 o'clock and will be preceded by a preliminary game

between the Franklyn School Playground Midgets and the Nissei Junior Varsity of Alameda

at 1 o'clock.

This little Japanese team is probably the best "kid" team in the country. They have forward,

backward and lateral passes and every other play that was ever thought of by an inspired


The main event will bring together a burly team of muscle benders, all of whom have played

collegiate or professional football or both, and a picked squad of Elks, bolstered by former

college players.

Schaldach is the Elks' big threat. He was the outstanding back on the Pacific Coast last year

and with an extra season with the Antioch Legion team behind him should be better than


Main interest, however, is centered in the wrestlers. In addition to Wilson, they have such

gridiron greats as Sammy Stein of Penn, Cy Williams of Tulane (sic), Chuck Stringari of

Fordham, Dean Detton of Utah, Mike Mazurki of Manhattan, Louie Bacigalupi of

Nebraska, Ole Anderson of Iowa State and many others.

All of these men graduated into the wrestling game from the football field and now they are

going to take another fling at the grid. They have been practicing for nearly a month and

have, in addition to some great power plays, a new fangled shift.

Professional rules will be played. This means a recovered fumble may be advanced by

whoever recovers it, the ball carrier is not down until he is stopped and the goal posts will be

on the goal line.

The wrestlers will field the biggest team in football, ranging from Bacigalupi's 250 pounds

down to George Wilson's 200.

Pro Wrestlers--LE, Stein, No. 1; LT, Williams, No. 2; LG, Anderson, No. 3; C, Stringari, No.

12; RG, (Dave) Johnson, No. 16, RT, Bacigalupi, No. 4; RE, Mazurki, No. 5; QB, (Bobby)

Burns, No. 17; LH, Wilson, No. 33; RH, Detton, No. 18; FB, (Red) O'Dell, No. 14.

Substitutes--(Oki) Shikina, No. 6; (Indian Jack) Smith, No. 7; (Jack) Ganson, No. 8; (Doc

Pete) Visser, No. 9; (Jerry) Monahan, No. 10; (Ivan) Mannagoff, No. 11; (Dr. Fred)

Meyers, No. 15; (Mike) Bouskos, No. 20.

Alameda Elks--LE, Donald, No. 13; LT, Moreno, No. 21; LG, Thompson, No. 30; C,

Hansen, No. 28; RG, Nelson, No. 2; RT, Strehlow, No. 27; RE, Rountree, No. 32;

QB--Schroeder, No. 16; LH, Woods, No. 7; RH, Schaldach, No. 5; FB, Ross, No. 9.

Substitutes--Schultz, No. 3; McGuire, No. 6; Floyd, No. 8; La Croix, No. 12; Donald, No. 13;

Florence, No. 15; Richardson, No. 17; Larkey, No. 19; Finner, No. 23; McCormack, No. 24;

Mozinski, No. 26; Kranelli, No. 31; Kasper, No. 35; Andrews, No. 36.



(reprinted from San Francisco Chronicle, 12-18-33)

Confused by the best traditions of the tin-eared industry, a football team of professional

wrestlers tugged and hauled the Alameda Elks to a 6 to 6 draw in a benefit football game

played yesterday at Oakland.

Following the game the wrestlers complained that they had labored under the belief that it

was to be a no-time limit affair, best two out of three falls deciding.

Some of the more uncharitable of the 3,500 customers, however, declared that the beeg,

strong fellers played for a draw with the idea of smoking up interest in a return match.

Be that as it may, the "rasslers" did pretty well, considering that many of their number had

never seen a football before and that most of them had trouble fitting helmets over knotted

and gnarled ears.

George Wilson, an All-American for the University of Washington some years ago, and now

a rassling man, starred in a fourth-period drive that eventually landed Wilson behind the

goal line with the tying touchdown.

The wrestlers missed a chance for a 7 to 6 victory when the try for point, attempted by

Bobby Burns, press agent and quarterback for the grunt and groan artists, failed.

The Elks scored in the second quarter when Hank Schaldach, former Oakland ace, took the

ball around for three yeards after MacCormack had recovered a fumbled punt in rassler

territory. Schaldach's try for point was blocked when the ball came in contact with Sammy

Stein's nose.

The only casualty of the game was Chuck Stringari, 240-pound muscle bender. Chuck lost a

tooth, which was the object of a lantern search last night by himself and a posse composed of

Sammy Stein, Mike Mazurki, Red O'Dell, Dean Detton, Ole Anderson and Oki Shikina, the

jiu jitsu expert.

The tooth was one of Chuck's favorites and he wants it back so that he can put it under his

pillow and make a wish.

Moose Strehlow, 255-pound Elk tackle, and Neptune Beach official, was the biggest man on

the field. The Elks also had the services of Don Thompson, radio announcer, who was

formerly a professional gridman. _____________________________________________

WRESTLING, ST. LOUIS, DEC. 20, 1933 (AP)--Ray Steele defeated the veteran Ed

(Strangler) Lewis in 36 minutes and 38 seconds in the main bout of a wrestling show here

tonight. _____________________________________________

Dec. 22--(Oakland)--Dr. Fred Meyers drew Harry Mamos (curfew), Nick Lutze def Jerry

Monahan, Ev Kibbons def Scott Dawkins DQ, George Wilson def Tommy Thompson, Oki

Shikina def Chuck Stringari, Ad Santel drew Jack Ganson.



(reprinted from San Francisco Chronicle, 12-23-33)

Dr. Freddie Meyers and Harry Mamos went to a draw as the 11:15 curfew law stopped them

in the wrestling match last night in the Oakland Auditorium. Each took a fall, Meyers the

first with a body press in 32 minutes, and Mamos the second with a spin in 11 minutes.

Nick Lutze pinned Jerry Monahan with a back fall in 17 minutes, Everett Kibbons won a foul

from Scotty Dawkins, and George Wilson put a flying tackle on Tommy Thompson to win in

10 minutes.

Oki Shikina beat Chuck Stringari with a Japanese leg lock after 14 minutes of action, while

Ad Santel and Jack Ganson went 15 minutes to a draw. The show was a charity affair.



(reprinted from San Francisco Chronicle, 12-22-1933)

Two former greats of the gridiron, Sammy Stein of Penn and later a pro football star, and

George Wilson, one-time All-American with Washington, will clash in a special 30-minute,

one-fall tussle on next Tuesday night's (Dec. 26) mat bill at Dreamland.

Stein and Wilson have never been defeated here. Both are flying tackle exponents, game

and aggressive wrestlers, and their contest should be just as thrilling, if not more so, than

the main event between Nick Lutze and George Vassell.

Harry Mamos, recently returned from Australia, where he is hailed as the champion of the

Antipodes, will lock grips with Jack Ganson, one-time Pacific Coast champion, in the

30-minute, one-fall special go.

Two other bouts, over the 30-minute route, to one fall, bring together Dr. Fred Meyers and

Chuck Stringari; Dean Detton and Everett Kibbons.


WRESTLING, SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 29, 1933 (AP)--On a wrestling and boxing card

here tonight, Tiger Jack Fox knocked out Bill Longson in the third of a 10-round fight. Pat

O'Shocker defeated Jim Kilonis, 210, Boston. The Utahan won the only fall in six minutes

with a body press. Kilonis was outclassed and the referee awarded O'Shocker the match.

Lou Mueller and Dave Reynolds draw in a time limit wrestling match.

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 29, 1933 (AP)--Vic Christy, Los Angeles, and Jack Umberto (Juan

Humberto), Italy, drew, 30 minutes, in a wrestling show here tonight.



(reprinted from Evansville Press, Feb. 6, 1935)

A contrast in wrestling technique featured the mat program Tuesday night at the


Over 1,500 fans were on hand and were kept in a continued uproar thru the opening match

between Dick Raines and Orville Brown. It was a draw after one hour of bruising, slam-bang

work, with neither man getting a fall.

Raines and Brown are about the same size and can take it in large quantities as well as dish

it out. All thru the match they poured it on in generous quantities and as the time drew to a

close they were hurling their bulky bodies at each other in an attempt to butt heads.

They hit head-on one time and for a minute it looked like Sam Carter would have to count

both of them out but they shook it off and were banging away when the bell clanged. Raines

started an extra skirmish after the bell but Referee Carter stopped it.

They used body slams, toe holds, head locks and what not. They were in and out of the ring a

dozen times.

Jack Smith lost to Mehmet Yousof in the feature match and it was so clean by contrast to

the first affair that the fans sat in silence during the 35 or 40 minutes of wrestling.

The men devoted their efforts to wrestling holds and except for the first fall, which went to

Yousof after Smith had knocked the Turk out of the ring and followed him on out, the two

seldom resorted to any of the heavy artillery.

Smith had to send Yousof out and as the Turk tried to crawl back in Jack smacked into him

again and they both hit the floor. The Turk got back in before Referee Chris Huber counted

20 and won the fall. Smith suffered a back injury.

Jack took the second fall with rolling mares and a smother and the Turk took the third and

deciding fall with a back body drop after Smith had dusted off the mat with him in a series of

flying mares.

The fans kidded Referee Huber thruout the session. He had very little to do and did not

break a hold all evening.

"That's a relief to work a match like that," Huber said.



(reprinted from Evansville Press, March 28, 1935)

Timekeeper Marion Stevens clanged the starting bell and Gus Sonnenberg came flying out

of his corner to introduce himself to the Masked Marvel and the Evansville mat public.

Ten seconds later the red-clad Marvel was aflat on his back with the short but powerful

Sonnenberg holding him fast. Referee Chris Huber patted his shoulders in token of victory

and the crowd let out a collective "ah."

Leaving his feet near the center of the ring, Gus hit the Marvel amidships. Down he went

and as he struggled to his feet the 200 pounds of Dartmouth lineman that used to send ball

carriers spinning hit him again. It was curtains in one of the fastest falls on record.

As the men came out for the second fall, the Marvel was watching. Sonnenberg came

shooting across the ring and let fly with his tackle. The masked performer dropped to the

canvas, caught Gus with his feet and sent him spinning overhead. As he came to rest on his

head and shoulders, the Marvel flattened him and once again Referee Huber did his stuff.

This time it was Gus on the bottom and the time was 29 seconds. Again the crowd gasped.

The third fall went 21 minutes with Sonnenberg taking it for the match.

The Marvel was primed for the tackles and Gus did not take any chances. With his masked

manager sitting at the corner of the ring, the Marvel waded in with all the rough stuff at his

command and he seemed well supplied. But science triumphed over all and Gus hung on until

his opportunity came and then it was over.

Marvel had a headlock on Sonnenberg. Bracing himself, he hurled the Marvel into the

ropes, dropped to all fours as his opponent came flying off the ropes and tripped him with his

body, sending him sprawling. He had him pinned before the crowd knew what had happened.

Sonnenberg is short, with small legs and ankles. His chest is Samson size and he is smart

and tricky. He knows the game from ring post to ring post.

In the warmup, Jack Warner and Jim Coffield wrestled to a draw.



(reprinted from Evansville Press, June 19, 1935)

Mr. Louis Thesz (say "says" with a th), Tarzan-like Hungarian from St. Louis, tamed a good

guy gone wrong last night at the Tabernackle when he caught Dan O'Connor coming off the

ropes and flipped him high in the air for the third and deciding fall.

Irish Dan, usually a favorite son here, played rough after the first few minutes of the scrap.

He won the first fall in 12 minutes and his work was so convincing that most of the fans made

ready to go out into the rain.

But they had forgotten about the "Irish whip," and 13 minutes after the second fall started,

Mr. O'Connor was looking straight up at the skylight. It was the "Irish whip" that whipped

the Irishman. It's a very simple hold. All you have to do is grab your opponent by the right

arm, pull him toward you and then, with a mighty heave, turn him a flip, using the arm for

leverage. This recipe gets better each time it's used and with about the fourth treatment the

correct procedure is to jump astraddle your victim.

That is the way Thesz does it and it seems to work.

The boys didn't toil long in the third fall and Referee Sam Carter was the main performer.

O'Connor seems to have an ingrown dislike for referees. He took a poke at Sad Sam last

night and by the time Carter was squaring off O'Connor had hit him three times more. Sad

Sam threw his bulk into the argument and they wrestled into the ropes.

Thesz watched the fun for a few seconds and then rescued Sammy and flattened Danny.

In the opening bout Bob Wagner tried all his tricks on Jack Smith but they failed to produce

a fall and the two young men worked 60 minutes in a row for their money.

Wagner, in perfect shape and able to go at top speed, worried Smith and Referee Chris

Huber for an hour.

Robert brought the house down when he flew thru the air in an attempt to smash Jack but

landed where his mother used to spank him. He weighs over 200 pounds and all those

pounds were concentrated in one spot when he hit. You just had to feel sorry for the guy.

Smith tossed wagner out of the ring at one point and a woman, wearing a bandage on her

head, reached over and socked Wagner on the head. When he looked around she was sitting

quietly in her seat, her hands folded neatly and a self-satisfied smile on her face. She had

socked the "bad man" and who wouldn't be happy?

Another high spot in the match came when Wagner took one of Smith's shoes off. Little

Chris cornered Big Bob while Jack put it back on.



INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., June 18 -- Jim Londos won a wrestling match from Bill Edwards,

Dallas, Tex., here last night when the latter was unable to return to the ring after being

thrown for the first fall.

Jim Coffield, Kansas City, Mo., and Joe Cox, Cleveland, wrestled 30 minutes to a draw and

Otto Kuss, Bloomington, Ind., defeated George Koverly, St. Louis.



by J Michael Kenyon

Volume 2, Number 46 Sunday, June 29, 1997

IN THIS ISSUE: World War Two-era Evansville, Ind., Results, Plus World Champion Lou

Thesz Headlines '50s Evansville


(Shows were generally held Wednesday night in the Coliseum, with Leon Belkin the


October 13, 1943 Evansville, Ind.

Jack Kennedy beat Paul Jones, Jack Kennedy beat Al Mills (three-way bout), Ralph

Garibaldi beat Red Roberts, Bill Canney drew Ace Freeman

October 20, 1943 Evansville, Ind.

Bill Longson beat Jack Kennedy (NWA title), Dorve Roche vs. Paul Jones, Ralph Garibaldi

vs. Bill Canney

October 27, 1943 Evansville, Ind.

Swedish Angel drew Ernie Dusek, Emil Dusek beat Fred Blassie, Joe Dusek beat Bill


November 3, 1943 Evansville, Ind.

Swedish Angel beat Jack Kennedy, Emir Badui vs. Paul Jones, Ace Freeman vs. Herb


November 10, 1943 Evansville, Ind.

Bill Longson beat Emil Dusek (NWA title), Paul Jones beat Jack Kennedy, Whitey Whittler

beat Eddie Malone DQ

November 17, 1943 Evansville, Ind.

Al Mills drew Paul Jones, Warren Bockwinkel beat Jack Dillon, Eddie Malone beat Whitey


December 2, 1943 Evansville, Ind.

Jack Dillon-Al Mills beat Paul Jones-Ralph Garibaldi, Al Mills (sub for Red Vatalais) drew

Vic Holbrook, Warren Bockwinkel beat Eddie Malone

December 9, 1943 Evansville, Ind.

Vic Holbrook beat Al Mills DQ, Kola Kwariani beat Jack Dillon, Paul Jones beat Miguel


December 15, 1943 Evansville, Ind.

(Courier Xmas Show) Bill Longson beat Swedish Angel (NWA title), Vic Holbrook vs. Paul

Jones, Miguel Torres vs. Red Vatalis, Fred Blassie vs. Whitey Whittler, Tuffy Truesdale

drew Johnny Garibaldi

December 22, 1943 Evansville, Ind.

Ralph Garibaldi-George Koverly beat Red Vatalais-Yellow Scorpion, Johnny Garibaldi beat

Tuffy Truesdale

January 5, 1944 Evansville, Ind.

George Koverly beat Laverne Baxter, Miguel Torres vs. Ralph Garibaldi, Bearcat Williams

vs. Seelie Samara

January 12, 1944 Evansville, Ind.

Bill Longson beat Tom Zaharias (NWA title), George Koverly vs. Len Hall, Laverne Baxter

vs. Ralph Garibaldi

January 19, 19444 Evansville, Ind.

Sandor Szabo beat Laverne Maxter, George Koverly vs. Cowboy Bill Luttrell, Len Hall vs.

Tony Felice

January 26, 1944 Evansville, Ind.

Swedish Angel vs. Joe Dusek, Ralph Garibaldi vs. Laverne Baxter, Sandor Szabo vs.

George Koverly

February 9, 1944 Evansville, Ind.

Bill Longson beat Swedish Angel (NWA title) (Tommy Marvin, referee), Earl McCready

beat Cowboy Bill Luttrell, Ralph Garibaldi drew Fritz Schnabel

February 16, 1944 Evansville, Ind.

Swedish Angel beat Dave Levin, Gino Garibaldi drew Earl McCready, Ralph Garibaldi beat

Laverne Baxter DQ

October 11, 1944 Evansville, Ind.

Bill Longson beat Red Angel (Dick Lever) w/Masked Manager (NWA title), Toar Morgan

drew Earl McCready, Tuffy Truesdale beat Milo Occhi

October 18, 1944 Evansville, Ind.

Bill Longson beat Red Angel (NWA title), Toar Morgan beat Young Gotch, Earl McCready

beat Jack Dillon

October 25, 1944 Evansville, Ind.

Red Angel-Masked Manager beat Toar Morgan-Ray Eckert, Tiny Lee beat Jack Dillon,

Dave Feldman beat Eddie Campbell

November 1, 1944 Evansville, Ind.

Ray Eckert beat Toar Morgan, Chief Saunooke beat Bill Luttrell, Ralph Garibaldi beat Joe


November 8, 1944 Evansville, Ind.

Ray Eckert beat Chief Saunooke, Ralph Garibaldi beat Toar Morgan, Bill Luttrell beat

Pierre DeGlane

November 15, 1944 Evansville, Ind.

Ray Eckert beat Ralph Garibaldi, Bill Luttrell beat Leo Newman, Herb Freeman beat Toar


November 29, 1944 Evansville, Ind.

Ray Eckert beat Ralph Garibaldi, Jack Hader beat Bill Luttrell, Tuffy Truesdale drew

George O'Brien

December 6, 1944 Evansville, Ind.

Ray Eckert-Bill Luttrell beat Red Angel-Masked Manager, Ralph Garibaldi beat Cherry

Vallina, Jack Hader beat Jack Dillon

December 13, 1944 Evansville, Ind.

(Courier Xmas Show) Bill Longson beat Ray Eckert (NWA title), Red Angel beat Jack

Hader, Warren Bockwinkel beat Bill Luttrell, Ralph Garibaldi drew Masked Manager

December 20, 1944 Evansville, Ind.

Red Angel-Masked Manager beat Ray Eckert-Babe Zaharias, Ray Eckert beat Warren

Bockwinkel, Jack Hader beat Cherry Vallina

December 27, 1944 Evansville, Ind.

Ray Eckert drew George Koverly, Red Angel beat Bill Luttrell, Babe Zaharias drew Jack


January 3, 1945 Evansville, Ind.

Red Angel-Masked Manager beat Babe Zaharias-Ralph Garibaldi, Iron Talun beat Jack

Dillon, Bill Luttrell drew Al Massey

January 10, 1945 Evansville, Ind.

Ray Eckert beat Red Angel (unmasked as Dick Lever), Iron Talun beat Babe Zaharias, Bill

Luttrell beat Jack Hader

January 17, 1945 Evansville, Ind.

Ray Eckert beat Iron Talun DQ, Ralph Garibaldi beat Cherry Vallina, Johnny Garibaldi

beat George O'Brien

January 24, 1945 Evansville, Ind.

Bill Longson beat Ray Eckert (NWA title), Iron Talun beat Chief Saunooke, Warren

Bockwinkel beat Babe Zaharias DQ

January 31, 1945 Evansville, Ind.

Ray Eckert beat Iron Talun, Babe Zaharias-Bill Luttrell drew Warren Bockwinkel-Chief

Saunooke, Cherry Vallina beat Finice Hall

February 7, 1945 Evansville, Ind.

Warren Bockwinkel-Ralph Garibaldi beat Babe Zaharias-Bill Luttrell, Iron Talun beat Larry

Wilson (sub for Polo Cordova), Finice Hall drew Miguel Torres

February 14, 1945 Evansville, Ind.

Ray Eckert beat Iron Talun, Bob Wagner beat Babe Zaharias, Bill Luttrell beat Finice Hall

February 21, 1945 Evansville, Ind.

Warren Bockwinkel-Ralph Garibaldi beat Bill Luttrell-Babe Zaharias, Bob Wagner beat

Ray Eckert, Al Massey beat Joe Benicassa

February 28, 1945 Evansville, Ind.

Bill Longson beat Iron Talun w/Dr. Ralph Wilson (NWA title), Al Massey beat Bill Luttrell,

Bob Wagner beat Warren Bockwinkel

March 7, 1945 Evansville, Ind.

Bob Wagner beat George Koverly, Al Massey beat Ralph Garibaldi, Joe Szabo beat Eddie

Campbell ____________________________________________


(Evansville Courier, Sunday, October 23, 1955)

Sam Muchnick, president of the National Wrestling Alliance, will attend the world

heavyweight title match between perennial champion Lou Thesz and Canadian Greek Chris

Tolos at the Coliseum Wednesday night.

Muchnick tries to give each promoter in his organization the services of the alliance's

champion at least twice a year, according to promoter Leon Belkin.

Tolos earned his chance at Thesz by defeating Enrique Torres last week. The title bout will

be two falls out of three with no time limit. Thesz regained the title for the fourth time by

defeating Leo Nomellini in St. Louis last July. Tolos, 25, will be facing Thesz, 38, for the first

time, Balkin says.

Rey Urbano and John Tolos will open the four-bout card at 8:30 p.m. with a one-fall,

30-minute time limit bout.

Enrique Torres and Antone Leone will come next for one fall and then Evansville's veteran

Ike Eakins will grapple with Wilbur Snyder, the young West Coast star, in a one-fall,

semi-final affair.

Reserved seats and 1,500 general admission tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday at

Woods Drug Store, 19 S.E. 4th St. ____________________________________________


(Evansville Courier, Thursday, October 27, 1955)

Lou Thesz retained his world's heavyweight wrestling title last night although taking a count

of three on the deciding fall.

Chris Tolos had gained the second fall in 7:50 with a stepover toehold to which Thesz

submitted to even the match. Thesz had taken the first fall with a flying body scissors off the

ropes in 12:55.

In the final fall, referee Paul Mischler gave Thesz a three-count. However, he reversed his

decision after discovering that Tolos' manager, Count Rossi, had held Thesz' legs in the

ropes to make him fall. The reversal gave Thesz the verdict by disqualification of Tolos. The

time was 3:30.

Tolos' brother, John, battled to a draw with Rey Urbano. After 9:05 both butted heads and

were counted out.

Enrique Torres disposed of Antone Leone quickly in a one-fall match, stopping Leone with

knee lifts and a body pin in 1:08.

In the other bout on the four-match card, Evansville's Ike Eakins and Wilbur Snyder

wrestled to a draw in a 30-minute go. __________________________________________


(Evansville Courier, Wednesday, December 12, 1956)

Champion Lou Thesz was scheduled to arrive in Evansville at 2:30 a.m. today for his date

tonight with Billy Darnell at the Coliseum. They clash in a world's heavyweight title

wrestling match that will feature The Courier's 24th Christmas Fund Show.

It's a two of three fall match or one hour.

Thesz came by train from the southland. He had reservations at the Hotel McCurdy.

Darnell, the challenger from Philadelphia, will arrive here at noon today from St. Louis.

The speedy Philadelphia grappler, who has won seven straight matches here, will be out to

take the belt away from Thesz, who just gained it back November 9 by defeating Whipper

Billy Watson, the man who took it away from him last March.

Thesz will be making his eighth appearance on The Courier Christmas Show as champion.

Darnell weighs 224 and Thesz 232.

A strong supporting program has been arranged by promoter Leon Balkin.

Two rough and ready veterans, Bill Longson and Wee Willie Davis, collide in the semi-final


Longson will be making his 15th appearance on the Christmas card. He has wrestled every

year since Balkin has been promoting here. And Longson was on the card six times when he

was champion of the world.

Davis, the big West Virginian who is an authority on flowers, hasn't wrestled here for years.

He answered the $16,000 question on the $64,000 TV program. His subject was flowers.

Longson and Davis tangle in a one-fall or one-hour match.

Four girl grapplers appear second on the program in a tag team match.

Elaine Ellis of Detroit and Patti Neff of Rome, O., team up against Gladys Reynolds of

Belpre, O., and Mary Alice Hillis of Columbus, O. They will wrestle two out of three falls or

one hour.

Wayne Pate and Scotty Williams will be the referees.

Tickets will remain on sale until 5 p.m. at Wood's Drug Store on Fourth street. Those who

have made reservations are urged to pick them up and avoid the delay of waiting in line at

the Coliseum.

General admission tickets are $.90, ringside $2.40 and other reserved seats $1.80. You can

dial HA5-3886 for reservations. _______________________________________________


(Evansville Courier, December 13, 1956)

Champion Lou Thesz stopped challenger Billy Darnell in 2:10 of the deciding fall last night

at the Coliseum to retain his world heavyweight wrestling crown.

The 24th annual Courier Christmass show attracted a near capacity crowd and raised $850

for the Christmas Fund, according to promoter Leon Balkin.

Thesz opened defense of his title by gaining the first fall in 10:35 with a flying scissors over

the Philadelphia contender.

Darnell used a rolling short arm scissors to capture the second fall in 11:40. He came back

with the same hold in the decider but the experienced Thesz was ready and held Darnell for

a pin after the third roll.

Wild Bill Longson defeated Wee Willie Davis, the wrestler who won $16,000 on a TV quiz

show, on a disqualification in a one-fall special affair. Longson got the nod from referee

Scotty Williams when Davis threw Bill over the top rope in 12:45.

Mary Alice Hillis and Patty Neff decisioned Gladys Reynolds and Elaine Ellis in the

women's tag team bout, a feature received warmly by the crowd.

Miss Hillis stopped Miss Ellis in 13:05 with two flying tackles to the stomach and body press

while her partner, Miss Neff, was holding Miss Ellis in the corner.

Miss Ellis avenged the setback by pinning Miss Hillis in 8:40 with two smashes into the rope

buckles and a smother. Miss Neff used a back drop after a series of flying mares to stop

Miss Ellis in the decider in 6:55.

In the one-fall opener, the Zebra Kid disposed of Rocky Monroe in 7:15 with two head butts

and a body press.

Referee Wayne Pate shared officiating duties with Williams.



(Evansville Courier, Sunday, June 16, 1957)

Wrestling champion Lou Thesz and former champ Bobby Managoff will appear in the

feature bout of Wednesday's mat card at the Coliseum.

Managoff, who held the title briefly in 1943, has defeated the Zebra Kid, Fritz Von Erich and

Lou Plummer, and drew with Buddy Rogers, in his most recent Evansville appearances.

Thesz trimmed Bob McCune in the champion's last bout here in April. Managoff, a clever

and busy grappler, will keep Thesz busy in the title bout.

Millie Stafford, from Minnesota, and Verne Bottom, of Alabama, have been matched in a

women's semifinal feature. Miss Stafford and Judy Glover hooked up in a lively TV mat

show argument June 8 but promoter Leon Balkin couldn't obtain Judy, who is now wrestling

in Oklahoma.

Both top bouts Wednesday will be two falls out of three, or one hour.

Wild Bill Longson, fresh from a month's vacation in California, will grip with Stu Gibson in a

one-fall, 20-minute go while Lou Plummer opens the card at 8:30 p.m. against Ian Campbell,

the wild Scot, in another one-fall battle.

Popular prices, at $1.50 down, will prevail with tickets on sale at 10 a.m. Monday at Woods

Drug Store, 10 S.E. 4th St. ____________________________________________


(Evansville Courier, Thursday, June 20, 1957)

Heavyweight wrestling champion Lou Thesz retained his title last night at the Coliseum by

defeating Bobby Managoff on a disqualification.

Referee Ralph Hamilton awarded the bout to Thesz after Managoff threw the champ over

the top rope in the deciding fall. Time was 5:35.

Thesz took the opening fall in 8:25 with a flying scissors. Managoff evened matters by

stopping Thesz with a reverse Boston crab hold in 4:30.

Millie Stafford rallied to whip Verne Bottom in the sub-feature by taking the last two falls.

Miss Stafford used an airplane swing and body press to win one fall in 6:40 and came back

in 5:40 with a slam and smother in the decider. Miss Bottom won the opener with a reverse

crab in 13:00.

Bill Longson and Stu Gibson battled to a draw in a single fall affair. Lou Plummer downed

Ian Campbell in 8:55 in the one-fall opener with a reverse leg lock.



by J Michael Kenyon

Volume 2, Number 47 Monday, June 30, 1997

IN THIS ISSUE: The Saga Of Stranger Lewis, Plus Details Of His Bout With Henri



(Wrestling World, November 1962)

By Elmer Ferguson

And now, the man who made 15 million dollars in the wrestling ring and spent it as if money

was going out of fashion, passes into the darkness. Not the darkness of death. The darkness

of the blind.

Ed (Strangler) Lewis once called wrestlers "the kings of men." And he was one of the kings,

was this fabulous man who held the heavyweight wrestling championship five times over a

period of 25 years, back in the days when there was only one champion, when there was no

time limit and matches might last four or five hours. A great pwerhouse of a man in his

prime, Lewis had a 56-inch chest, wore a 22-inch collar, weighed in the vicinity of 250

pounds, which figured. When he was born back in 1889 Ed (Strangler) Lewis was a 15-pound


It is pitiful to think that such a man, such a mighty athlete, such a career, should end in the

darkness of the blind. But there it is. Trachoma, the scourge of the wrestlers, the dread

plague of the mat trade, before modern antiseptics lessened the danger, took its toll, despite

the best efforts of great specialists to nullify its effects. Lewis spent a fortune, and not a

small fortune, at least $100,000, seeking to save his sight. Perhaps this enabled him to

possess vision longer than might otherwise have been the case.

At first, he went totally blind. Then medical science came to his aid, and his sight was

partially restored. Then the disease gained strength again. And steadily, the past few years,

his sight grew more and more dim. The inexorable curtain rolled slowly down, predestined,

and the eyes that watched the stirring sports panorama of even back beyond the Roaring

Twenties, in which he was a figure as mighty as Dempsey, Tilden, Ruth, Bobby Jones and

the rest, sees nothing now but the wall of darkness.

Perhaps, today in the dark, Ed Lewis misses his bridge game more than anything else. He

loved the game. He fancied himself as an expert, and did, in fact, have a rating of sorts. As

his sight gradually faded, he played as best he could. He would hold his cards closer and

closer to the end of his nose, inches away. He played bridge so long as he could see the

spots, even though dimly. Hearts is the game of highest popularity among the wrestlers.

We've played a lot of bridge and hearts with Ed Lewis at the home of Eddie Quinn, the

Montreal promoter, and he loved the game, played it well. Today, he can play no more.

Ed (Strangler) Lewis, as he was known throughout his long era, inherited the name he made

famous on the mat. For he was neither a Lewis nor, in fact, a Strangler.

He was born Robert Herman Julius Friedrich, in a small Wisconsin village, but before him

there had been another wrestler, Evan Lewis, called The Strangler. And when he started

what became one of the greatest and most eventful careers in wrestling, young Robert

Friedrich took that name, in part to hide his identity from his folks.

There were, of course, those who believed him to be master of an illegal strangle-hold,

which, even to this day, is barred from wrestling grips. He was a striking figure, this

barrel-chested athlete, the personification of power.

"The 'Strangler' term stuck to me," Lewis once said, "because early in my wrestling career,

I originated a headlock, being convinced that the human brain would yield to pressure, and

that if such pressure was consistently applied, it would constitute a knockout just as sporific

as a solid punch to the jaw by a hard- hitting boxer.

"I devised a wooden facsimile of a human head. It was split down the center, the two halves

connected by powerful steel springs. To increase the power of my grip, I carried this gadget

with me, and worked on it for hours, until I had developed a grip that could crack a skull, and

would certainly stun the recipient. But it was not a stranglehold. Never in the course of my

long career was I disqualified for seeking to strangle an opponent, by putting pressure on

the throat. The pressure was on the head, through the jaw. It took a bit longer than a

hard-hitting boxer's blow to the jaw, to effect a knockout, but it had the same result.

Pressure cut off the blood supply to the brain.

"The most punishing grip before my time, and one widely publicized," Lewis said when we

were talking, one time, of older days, older figures, "was the Frank Gotch toe-hold, which

could break a man's leg. In fact, on one occasion, it did. For Gotch was a merciless

performer. It is quite possible this grip he invented started the vogue towards holds that

forced a wrestler, through intense pain and the threat ofr a broken arm, or leg, to give up

when there was no chance of winning. For they all knew that Gotch definitely would break a

man's leg, and glory in the fact, if his opponent did not yield. I have always felt that Gotch

was an over-rated wrestler. I don't believe he was as good as Tom Jenkins but, of course,

this is speculation, can't be proven. He was a great competitor, beyond doubt, a wrestler who

set out to win every match, as fast as he could, and as decisively.

"Joe Stecher followed Gotch's toe-hold with the body-scissors. This was a leg-hold, and Joe

had the legs for it. He invented the grip himself, and added strength to his long legs by

wrapping them around bags of grain on his Kansas farm, and squeezing until the bag burst.

This was a killer grip. Once Stecher secured it, there was little doubt about the outcome.

"I followed this with the head-lock, which was widely and scientifically discussed. Of course,

the strange-hold is illegal. I never used it to begin with. I had a pressure hold similar to the

Japanese sleeper hold of later years. The victim, if the hold took, and it generally did, would

temporarily lose his senses. That's when I made my arrangements to pin him. It was a good

hold and I made it better by constant application. Wrestlers use it today, but not as


Lewis had great admiration for Joe Stecher's mat prowess. And, indeed, well he might. For

he and Stecher once wrestled a total of eleven hours with only one fall. Stecher fought off all

the efforts of Lewis to clamp the head-lock on him. And the great muscles of the Lewis body

resisted the best pressure the steel-like Stecher legs could exert.

Lewis and Stecher met in Evansville, Indiana, late in 1915. They wrestled two hours and a

half, without a fall. On July 4, 1916, they were matched to cross grips at Omaha. This match

started at four o'clock in the afternoon, the referee called it a draw at 9:30 that evening.

They met again in New York, nearly a year later, and Lewis won the only fall in three hours,

eight minutes. Thus Lewis got the only fall in 11 hours, 8 minutes of hard wrestling.

"In this five-hour match," Lewis once told the writer, "Joe Stecher was the most formidable

man I ever knew. Our Omaha bout sweemed to take something out of Joe. He was two

weeks in the hospital and never was just the same later on."

And then there began the Lewis parade of titles. Stecher was still champion in 1920 when

Lewis defeated him. And here is the story of the way this great giant man won and lost the

crowns, in a day when there was only one champion.

--1920--Defeated Joe Stecher.

--1921--Lost to Stanislaus Zbyszko

--1922--Defeated Stanislaus Zbyszko

--1925--Lost to Wayne Munn, who later lost to Zbyszko, who lost to Stecher.

--1928--Defeated Joe Stecher.

--1929--Lost to Gus Sonnenberg, who lost to Ed Don George.

--1931--Defeated Ed Don George.

--1931--Lost to Henri DeGlane.

--1932--Defeated Dick Shikat.

--1933--Lost to Jim Browning.

(Title number five was tainted, in a way of speaking, because Jim Londos and Ed Don

George each had what each thought was a logical claim to the "title." Their claims were

brought back into the line of successsion in 1935 by Danno O'Mahoney when he defeated

George after having beaten Londos the same year. Londos previously had won from

Browning the year bwefore. The terms "defeat," "lost" and "win" are used loosely, as in

some instances there were other factors involved: for example, DeGlane's alleged biting of

himself to win the match on a foul from Lewis in Montreal in 1931.)

And one at least three occasions, Lewis' defeats were both spectacular and unusual. The

late Wayne Munn, giant football star, a novice at wrestling but tremendously strong, tossed

Lewis outside the ring at Kansas City, in the 'mid-1920s, and Lewis lost the title when he

could not continue. "I just underrated him," Lewis told me afterwards. As champ;ion, later

on, Gus Sonnenberg butted Eed out of a Boston ring with that billy-goat flying tackle, which

revolutionized wrestling. Ed landed on his noggin on the concrete floor -- losing again.

But the weirdest defeat of all came when he met Henri DeGlane of France, in Montreal, in a

match for his title. DeGlane had become a real idol with Montreal wrestling fans. He was a

handsome chap, with a fine physique, thick muscles developed by carrying barrels of wine in

a Parisian winery, accomplished in the Greco-Roman style of wrestling, and quick to learn

the catch-as-catch-can grips when he came to America.

The Mount Royal Arena, which seated around 7,000, was packed to the doors that night.

There was tension in the air. The late Paul Bowser, top promoter of his day, came to

Montreal for the match. Lewis brought along his manager, Billy Sandow, to guard his


The late Eugene Tremblay, a great lightweight wrestler in his day, was the referee. Things

were going along smoothly enough, it seemed, when suddenly DeGlane held up one arm, let

out a yell, and shouted: "He bit me!" pointing to a red mark on his forearm.

Lewis was immediately disqualified out of fall and match, and a great hubbub arose. Lewis

demanded a photographer should take immediate pictures of the DeGlane wounds, to p;rove

that the Lewis teeth couldn't have done it. The amazed referee wanted to know why in the

world they should take such a photo.

"Why," roared the furious Lewis, "to prove that they're his teeth marks, not mine. The

so-and-so bit himself, then blamed me."

But the ruling stood. And as the night grew later, the marks on DeGlane's arm grew larger,

and more angry. "No wonder," Lewis snarled. "He goes into his dressing-room every few

minutes and takes a few more bits. If he keeps this up, he'll gnaw his arm right off."

Lewis and his manager posted $5,000 with the athletic commission to guarantee a return

match. But he never met DeGlane until after the French wrestler had lost the briefly-held

title. In this match, Lewis wouldn't throw DeGlane at once. But he seized the French

grappler, hurled him all over the ring, bounced him off the posts, and off the floor. For once,

the reasonably amiable Lewis was in a cold, bitter fury. He was out not merely to beat, but to

punish the victor in The Battle of The Bite. Deglane was almost terroized by the ferocity of

the Lewis attack, and after he had been pinned, and staggered out of the ring, DeGlane

refused to go back. "He's a madman," said DeGlane in his room. And only threats of no

payment induced him to return, for another shellacking.

A great athlete goes into the darkness. There may never be another such as Lewis, and the

mat greats of his time, Stecher, Browning, the two giant Zbyszko brothers from Poland, Jim

Londos, the Golden Greek.

Lewis lived like one of the kings of men. He was a guest at times, as he travelled around the

world, of rajahs and notables. He wrestled and hunted tigers in India and in Siam he fondled

boa constrictors as big around as his huge neck. He had all kinds of exciting experiences in

his travels, but the thing that gave him one of his greatest thrills is that in pre-war days,

when Japan was still a closely-guarded country, he took a motion-picture of the entire Jap

navy, and movies of the forbidden palace in Tokyo.

When he "shot" the Japanese navy, en route to Kobe, the captain of the ship said, "Throw

that film away, Ed, or you'll get us into trouble." But Lewis held on to it, escaped having his

camera sealed in Kobe, rode in a taxi to the imperial palace in Tokyo and made movies of it

through iron palings. "They arrested my driver," he told us, "but they never touched my

camera and let me off scot free."

All of which is only a small part, a few scattered incidents, from The Saga of the Strangler,

the incredible story of one of the greatest athletes of our time, a man who earned more

money than Jack Dempsey, or Gene Tunney, who lived life to the full, and loved it.

And today, in the darkness, he doesn't complain. "Why should I?" he told a friend. "I've

had a wonderful life, I've seen all of the world, I've flown a million miles, been everywhere.

It's been a great life, and I wouldn't swap any part of it for anybody else's life."



(Associated Press, May 4, 1931)

MONTREAL -- Henri DeGlane, 220-pound wrestler, was declared champion of the world by

the Montreal athletic commission tonight after taking a fall from Strangler Lewis of Los

Angeles and then being fouled. Lewis was disqualified for biting DeGlane's wrist.

Billy Sandow, Lewis' manager, stated afterwards he had signed a contract before the athletic

commission for a return bout, his forfeit to be given to any charity the commission selected.

For 32 minutes the men battled on comparatively even terms. Throughout this period Lewis

forced the pace and at the 32- minute mark secured three crushing headlocks that left

DeGlane apparently groggy. The situation was reversed in a twinkling when DeGlane threw

Lewis with a flying mare and held the Strangler's shoulders to the mat.

Referee Tremblay signified the fall. Sandow protested the fall was a rolling one and that

DeGlane had failed to hold Lewis down for the necessary three seconds. Sandow refused to

leave the ring. Finally Dr. Gaston Demers, chairman of the athletic commission, entered the

ring, pointed out to Sandow he had no license and instructed a squad of policemen to take

him to the dressing room.

During the intermission the commission considered Sandow's protest and threw it out. After

a short interval the match was resumed.

They wrestled for nine minutes, then Lewis, to escape a hold of DeGlane's, grasped the

ropes. DeGlane tried to pull Lewis back and attempted a headlock. There was a confused

tangle and De'Glane was found underneath Lewis with his shoulders pinned to the mat.

Tremblay awarded Lewis the fall and he scrambled up, a broad grin covering his face, and

went to his corner.

DeGlane rose to his feet, holding his right arm. The referee examined the wrist and held a

conversation with two members of the commission. It was then announced Lewis had bitten

DeGlane when the Frenchman tried to get a headlock on the Strangler and that as a result

Lewis had been disqualified and DeGlane had been declared the winner. DeGlane's wrist

was examined by five doctors associated with the athletic commission, who were unanimous

in agreeing that DeGlane had been severely bitten.



(Los Angeles Times, May 29, 1935)

In a stunning upset, Vincent Lopez, colorful Mexican, last night defeated the highly touted

Indian, Chief Little Wolf, before a capacity house of wrestling bugs at the Olympic.

Little Wolf knocked himself out on the arm of a chair as he missed a flying tackle and sailed

out of the ring after the match had gone 6m 11s.

Ed (Strangler) Lewis pinned Pete Mehringer in the other feature bout, using a series of

reverse head locks and body slams to win in 27m 36s.

In a bout that turned out to be a better slugging match than anything held Tuesday night,

Rudy Dusek punched out a 16m, 45s victory over Mike Romano, the winning "hold" being

announced as a body slam.

Man Mountain Dean ran into all kinds of trouble before finally subduing Rusty Wescoatt in

4m, 46s, via the running broad-jump route.

Wescoatt paved the way for his own undoing when he resorted to the use of a flying tackle

and bounced off Dean's massive form like a golf ball hitting a tree. Before he could right

himself Dean aimed a flying broad jump and that rendered Wescoatt hors de combat for the


Sergei Kalmikoff came through his first big test in 12m, 52s. Nick Lutze suffered in the grip

of a hammerlock for almost seven minutes before calling it quits.

Dean Detton airplane-spinned Tony Felice right out of the tournament and Sandor Szabo

chalked up his fifth straight victory with an 8m. triumph over Sun Jennings.



(Los Angeles Times, December 12, 1937)

NEW YORK, Dec. 11 (U.P.) -- Ed (Strangler) Lewis cocked a cauliflower ear to the warnings

of time today and announced he would retire from the wrestling ring and live in Hollywood

with his wife.

"I've been wrestling for thirty years," he said on the liner Washington.

"I am now 46. I weigh 250 pounds and I was the undisputed world's champion five times."

He decried the present-day slam-bang unscientific wrestling.

"What the public wants now," he said, "is to have someone wheeled around the ring and

killed." ____________________________________________


(Los Angeles Times, May 24, 1942)

Ed (Strangler) Lewis, veteran of over 25 years in the mat wars, makes a comeback attempt

Wednesday night when he tackles Mayes McLain, rugged ex-Iowa star, in the Olympic

Auditorium heavyweight tourney.

The match highlights the week's program among the grunt fraternity, while Antone Leone,

who has proved a hit in his few showings, faces Sgt. Bob Keneston in the top bout of the

Hollywood Legion Stadium junior heavyweight tourney tomorrow evening.

Lewis held the world's championship for quite a few years and still considers himself capable

of tossing the majority of the younger crop of grapplers.

Other headliners gunning to stay in the tourney will be Vincent Lopez, who on an

international tourney at the Olympic some years ago, against Jules Strongbow and Cy

Williams, Toronto champ, against Frank Sexton.

Leone, a tough French-Canadian, is undefeated in matches here but will have to be at his

best to turn back Keneston, who has a habit of upsetting highly touted opponents. His

specialty is the neck swivel, while Leone relies on a combination back-breaker and

neck-cracker hold.

Another tag team bout has been carded at the Legion, in answer to repeated requests. Mike

London and Monte LaDue will combine talents against George Wagner and Bobby


Other bouts on the program include Danny McShain, former champ, against Sammy Kohen,

Paul Bozzell vs. Jimmy Lott, Joe Smolinski vs. Ted Tourtas, and Silent Rattan vs. Jerry




by J Michael Kenyon

Volume 2, Number 48 Monday, July 7, 1997

IN THIS ISSUE: Evansville, Indiana--Here 'n' There Throughout the 1950s; More About

Strangler Lewis


From: Scott Teal <> Date: Sat, 5 Jul 1997 09:33:23 -0500 (CDT)

Visit the "Whatever Happened to ...?" homepage for a report and pictures of the "Celebrity

Golf Tournament", which featured several of wrestlings' legends. Pictures include Paul

Jones, Rene Goulet, Ricky Steamboat, Ivan Koloff, Nikita Koloff, Louie Tillet, George

Scott, Nelson Royal and Abe Jacobs.

Click on the link to "High Spots" !!

"Whatever Happened to ...?" The Who's Who of Professional Wrestling The publication that everyone's talking

about! ___________________________________________


December 1, 1954 Evansville, Ind.

Johnny Valentine beat Great Azul (unmasked as Mike Paidousis), Bobby Managoff beat

Charro Azteca, Guy Brunetti beat Billy McDaniel

December 8, 1954 Evansville, Ind.

Johnny Valentine beat Stu Gibson, Bob Leipler beat Guy Brunetti, Ray Eckert drew Joe


December 15, 1954 Evansville, Ind.

Johnny Valentine beat Cyclone Anaya, Mike Paidousis beat Red McIntyre, Stu Gibson beat

Billy McDaniel

December 22, 1954 Evansville, Ind.

Lou Thesz w/Ed (Strangler) Lewis beat Johnny Valentine, Ray Eckert-Bobby Managoff beat

Mike Paidousis-Stu Gibson, Bob Leipler beat Chris Zaharias, Dutch Hefner beat Red


December 29, 1954 Evansville, Ind.

Ray Eckert beat Dutch Hefner (DQ), Bill Longson beat Bob Leipler, Ralph Garibaldi beat

Carlos Rodriguez ------------------ September 28, 1955 Evansville, Ind.

John Tolos beat Ike Eakins (DQ), Enrique Torres beat Chris Tolos (DQ)

October 5, 1955 Evansville, Ind.

Ike Eakins-Enrique Torres drew John-Chris Tolos, Ray Villmer beat Antone Leone (DQ),

Sammy Berg beat Vic Holbrook

October 12, 1955 Evansville, Ind.

Enrique Torres beat John Tolos, Ethel Johnson-Betty White beat Babs Wingo-Kathleen

Wimbley, Ike Eakins beat Sammy Berg

October 19, 1955 Evansville, Ind.

Chris Tolos beat Enrique Torres (COR), John Tolos beat Sammy Berg, Rey Urbano drew

Antone Leone

October 26, 1955 Evansville, Ind.

Lou Thesz beat Chris Tolos w/Count Rossi (DQ) (NWA title defense), Ike Eakins drew

Wilbur Snyder, Enrique Torres beat Antone Leone, John Tolos vs. Rey Urbano (DCOR)

----------------------------- November 30, 1955 Evansville, Ind.

Bobby Managoff beat Chris Tolos, Ike Eakins drew Dick Hutton, Ramon Torres beat Ed

Gardenia (DQ)

December 7, 1955 Evansville, Ind.

June Byers beat Penny Banner (Billy Thom, referee), Bill Longson-Ike Eakins beat Bobby

Managoff-Dick Hutton, Ramon Torres beat Joe Millich, Ed Gardenia beat Karl Kowalski

December 14, 1955 Evansville, Ind.

Bobby Managoff beat Ike Eakins, Dick Hutton beat Ed Gardenia (DQ), Ray Villmer beat

Ramon Torres

December 21, 1955 Evansville, Ind.

Bobby Managoff beat Ike Eakins, Dick Hutton beat Ramon Torres, Ray Villmer beat Ed

Gardenia (COR)

December 28, 1955 Evansville, Ind.

Bobby Managoff-Ray Villmer drew Ed Gardenia-Ike Eakins, Barbara Baker beat Ethel

Brown, Dick Hutton beat John Kostas --------------------------------------- December 5, 1956

Evansville, Ind.

Billy Darnell beat Billy McDaniel, Carlos Moreno beat Frank Townsend, Rocky Monroe

beat Bill Bentley

December 12, 1956 Evansville, Ind.

Lou Thesz beat Billy Darnell, Bill Longson beat Willie Davis (DQ), Zebra Kid beat Rocky

Monroe, Mary Alice Hills-Patty Neff beat Elaine Ellis-Gladys Reynolds

December 19, 1956 Evansville, Ind.

Billy Darnell beat Bill Longson, Zebra Kid beat Carlos Moreno, Bill McDaniel beat Sammy


December 26, 1956 Evansville, Ind.

Zebra Kid beat Bill McDaniel, Stu Gibson drew Billy Darnell, Joe Millich beat Carlos

Moreno (DQ) ------------------------------------------- April 3, 1957 Evansville, Ind.

Bob McCune beat Zebra Kid, Bill Longson-Red Lyons beat Fritzs Von Erich-Buddy Rogers,

Lou Plummer beat Stu Gibson

April 10, 1957 Evansville, Ind.

Lou Thesz beat Bob McCune (NWA title defense), Billy Lyons beat Stu Gibson (DQ), Lou

Plummer beat Ian Campbell

April 13, 1957 Evansville, Ind. TV

Fritz Von Erich drew Billy Lyons

April 17, 1957 Evansville, Ind.

Buddy Rogers beat Bill Longson, Lou Plummer beat Fritz Von Erich (DQ), Zebra Kid NC

Donn Lewin, Mark Lewin beat Ian Campbell

April 24, 1957 Evansville, Ind.

Billy Rogers vs. Billy Darnell (NC), Donn Lewin beat Zebra Kid, Mark Lewin drew Stu

Gibson, Billy Lyons beat Masked Terror (manager, Zebra Kid)

May 1, 1957 Evansville, Ind.

Buddy Rogers vs. Billy Darnell (Joe Walcott, referee), Donn-Mark Lewin vs. Fritz Von

Erich-Stu Gibson, Billy Lyons vs. Zebra Kid ------------------------------------------ June 5, 1957

Evansville, Ind.

Bobby Managoff-Billy (Red) Lyons beat Lou Plummer-Stu Gibson (DQ), Mighty Ursus beat

Billy Darnell, Frank Sgroy beat Ian Campbell

June 12, 1957 Evansville, Ind.

Bobby Managoff beat Lou Plummer, Billy Lyons beat Mark Starr, Billy Darnell beat Frank

Sgroy (DQ), Stu Gibson beat Ian Campbell

June 19, 1957 Evansville, Ind.

Lou Thesz beat Bobby Managoff (NWA title defense), Millie Stafford beat Verne Bottom,

Bill Longson drew Stu Gibson, Lou Plummer beat Ian Campbell

June 26, 1957 Evansville, Ind.

Bobby Managoff-Bill Longson beat Stu Gibson-Lou Plummer, Nell Stewart beat Elaine Ellis,

Barney (Chest) Bernard beat Ian Campbell

July 3, 1957 Evansville, Ind. (no card) __________________________________________


(Los Angeles Times, May 10, 1929)

RIVERSIDE, May 9 (Exclusive)--Ed (Strangler) Lewis, famous wrestler, and Miss Elaine

Tomaso, art student formerly of Chicago, were married here last night. More than thirty

friends of the couple were present in the St. Cecelia chapel of the Mission Inn when Rev.

Samuel Hughes performed the ceremony.

Miss Carla Tomaso, sister of the bride, served as bridesmaid, and B.C. Sandow, the

wrestler's manager, was best man. The bride wore a white satin dress, under a wedding veil.

In applying for the marriage license the bridegroom had stated his true name is Robert H.

Frederick and that he is 34 years of age. The bride gave her age as 25 years. Her father is

Salvatore Tomaso, composer.

The couple remained at the Mission Inn overnight and plan to go to Arrowhead today for a

two weeks' stay. ______________________________________________


(Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sunday, March 5, 1933)

By Mark Kelly, Universal Syndicate

LOS ANGELES, March 4 -- The most interesting sports story that could be written is that of

the rise and fall of Ed (Strangler) Lewis, five times heavyweight champion of those beeg,

strong fellas, Mr. Lewis will not oblige. He could, but the union rules say he musn't. His is a

game that the light of "pitiless publicity" cannot stand, yet there are times in the ups and

downs of every rassler when he wants to hire himself the town lot, a loudspeaker and the

radio rights while he tells the cock-eyed world what a frowsy, lousy game rasslin' really is.

Their peeve usually cools. At least, by the time you get out the pad and pencil, have your

fotog get the focus for these "confessions," the old training bobs up and the gag slips back

into place.

Ed Lewis has been wrestling for more than twenty years.

Age kept sneaking up on Lewis. One eye went bad. The joints started to creak and easy

living had such a holdon Lewis that he disliked training. He was a card and he had a pretty

cute guy handling the reins in Billy Sandow.

Came the split with Sandow, Lewis said it was over money and Sandow said it was over

Lewis' absolute failure to keep in condition. On his own, Lewis heard the siren song of the

Bowser- Curley factions back east.

"Come East," they sang. "Londos is tough to handle and we'll throw him overboard, put you

in his place and protect you."

Lewis went. They gave him a few push-overs and plenty of protection against the

commissions and rival cliques. Lewis didn't have to train much. But the smart East took two

or three ganders at those fleshy overlays around his midriff and gave him the bird.

Then they started staying away. Londos, younger and always conditioned, kept drawing

them in wherever he went. The New York clique fumed and fussed.

Lewis and Steele drew but $11,000, whereas Steele and Londos in four N.Y. shots averaged

close to $60,000 per. To the East, one Ed Lewis was the forgotten man and that New York's

commission awarded him their recognition as champion made no never mind. He was to the

Eastern rasslin' patron "an old man getting a lot of help."

Back he went over a trail that had nothing but doughnuts and coffee at its end -- and bitter,

deadening illusionment, to say nothing of the double X in profusion.

The other night in New York before a house that grossed less than $5,000, he met Jim

Browning, a big kid from the sticks, who meant nothing to anyone and, of course, Lewis

assumed that everything was fixed. It was -- against him.

Browning threw him twice, beat him in humiliating fashion, and that big, good-natured frame

squirmed and squawked under the pressure of young leg muscles tortuously locked over that

overstuffed paunch.

Ed Lewis is on his way back home to Glendale. He has a little property left, a trust fund, if it

isn't in soak, and some rather poignant memories of a career spent among the X's and

Double X's.

And Londos marches merrily on, grinning and winning. Wonder now what Lewis would say if

he were asked to write that "If I Had It To Do Again" yarn?



(Los Angeles Times, Thursday, July 4, 1935)

Using his feared forearm smash to the heart with telling effect, Vincent Lopez, pride of

Mexico, last night defeated Ernie (Dirty) Dusek in the semifinals of the international

wrestling tournament at the Olympic.

The Latin star, now a red-hot favorite to win the title, was declared victory after 18m. 32s. of


In the semi-wind-up, Sandor Szabo heaved Juan Humberto with a series of punches to the

head and body slams.

Szabo, who has made quite a hit with the feminine fans in this locality, body-slammed the

pachyderm of the Pampas into submission in 14m. 50s.

It was a sensational match, with the rough Humberto making it interesting for Sandor, a

scientific grappler of the first order. Szabo punched Juan into a groggy state and then

applied the finishing touches with a series of body slams.

Pete Mehringer flattened Rusty Wescoatt in 12m. 50s. with a head scissors and a wrist lock.

Sergei (Goona Goona) Kalmikoff made short work of Mike Romano, pinning the latter in

6m. 18s. with a body press. The Russian ape amused the fans with his strange antics.

Kiman Kudo, the Little Giant of the mat game, subdued Sun Jennings, Indian wrestler, in

8m. 28s., with a double Japanese spread arm. Ed (Strangler) Lewis won a twenty-minute

decision over Hans Kampfer. Jim Browning had to grapple twenty-five minutes with Nick

Lutze before he finally garnered the verdict. At the end of the regulation twenty minutes the

judges and the referee could not agree and decided to extend the bout an extra period.

Browning gained an edge and was awarded the decision.



(Los Angeles Times, October 9, 1935)

By An Unknown Sports Columnist

Man Mountain Dean denies he ever fought Sid Marks as Sid told me. "Sid was never

anything but a dub preliminary boy," said Dean. "He's right about one thing. Twenty-one

years ago I wrestled a main event in Winnipeg and Sid was fighting a preliminary bout on the

same card. They mixed boxing and wrestling up there then. I'm not ashamed of my age.

Strangler Lewis and I were born on the same day, June 30, 1891. We both served in the

army and twenty years ago last August we wrestled in Hartford, Ct. I remember the date

because we met again in Seattle last August." The Man Mountain is now on his way to

Mexico City where he will wrestle Vincent Lopez Saturday night before a mammoth crowd.

Lewis, who has wrestled all over the world, in Algiers, Morocco, Italy, New Zealand, Java,

Singapore, Siam and all the other way posts, threw Jimmy Londos on fourteen different

occasions before the ex-champion finally defeated him. Incidentally, while on the subject of

the bone benders, watch this Italian, Al Bisignano, at the Olympic tonight. It will look like

Italy's invasion of Ethiopia tonight with two other Italians, Louie Bacigalupi and Jose Parelli,

on the bill. ______________________________________________


(Los Angeles Times, January 21, 1937)

Veryifying what he said "everybody knew," yet no one seemed to know about, Ed

(Strangler) Lewis, former world's heavyweight wrestling champion disclosed yesterday that

he and Miss Bobbie Lee West were married in Yuma, Ariz., January 11.

Friends of the affable ex-champion said they had heard he was planning marriage, but none

could be found who actually knew it had taken place.

Miss West, Lewis said, formerly lived in Corpus Christi, Tex., and Muskogee, Okla.

"We've known each other twelve years," Lewis said.

The big mat man lives in Glendale, and in addition to keeping up his wrestling interests,

chiefly managerial, operates several restaurants in Southern California.

"This is my 'first' marriage," laughed the thrice-before wed Lewis. His last wife, the former

Elaine Tomaso, Riverside (Cal.) art student, died in 1933.



(Los Angeles Times, January 24, 1937)

Ed (Strangler) Lewis, former world's heavyweight wrestling champion, whose marriage at

Yuma to Miss Bobbie Lee West was recently announced, has purchased a hillside residence

in Laurel Canyon from the C.L. Wood Company for a consideration of approximately


The property is located at 8145 Willow Glen Road, not far from the former home of the late

Ralf M. Walker.

The property bought by Mr. Lewis comprises approximately an acre of land elaborately

landscaped, improved with a seven-room stucco residence, concrete garage and two


C.H. Burnett, Los Angeles realty dealer, conducted the transaction for the sellers. Mr.

Lewis was represented by Attorney Owen C. Emery of Glendale.



(Los Angeles Times, June 25, 1937)

"It's terrible. Wrestling has been bumped around long enough without being turned into a


So yesterday did Ed (Strangler) Lewis deliver himself regarding the lady wrestlers now

breaking into the game here.

The former champion sailed on the Matson-Oceanic liner Mariposa, bound around the world

on a wrestling tour accompanied by his bride of five months, nee Bobbie West of Muskogee,


He plans 100 matches in the Antipodes, along the Indian Ocean and in South Africa,

including a bout in the dirt, suma style, against Indian's undefeated Gama.


(ED. NOTE -- Ed Lewis remained married to the former Bobbie West for over 29 years, or

to the end of his life in August, 1966.)



(Los Angeles Times, July 12, 1940)

Ed (Strangler) Lewis -- all 290 pounds of him -- announced yesterday that he has challenged

Jack Dempsey to a mixed match here for the benefit of the Red Cross.

Jimmy Murray, who would promote the tussle, at the Coliseum if possible, wired the defi to

Dempsey last night.

Lewis offers to donate his end of the purse to the Red Cross and assumes that Dempsey

would do likewise, since the latter has asserted that he would like to meet Gene Tunney

under such a setup.

Lewis says he can train down to 240, his best weight when he ruled the mat world. Both

Dempsey and Lewis were at their peak about the same time -- 15 years ago.



(Los Angeles Times, November 23, 1948)

NEW YORK, Nov. 22 (AP) -- Ed (Strangler) Lewis of Los Angeles was named chairman of

the newly organized Wrestling Promoters' Association of America and allied countries. The

aim of the new group is to return wrestling to the big time.



by J Michael Kenyon

Volume 2, Number 49 Wednesday, July 16, 1997

IN THIS ISSUE: Norfolk in the Mid-1930s, 1935 thru 1937 Stan (The Man) Stasiak

Eulogized in Portland Newspaper


(Portland Oregonian, Friday, June 27, 1997)

ByTom Hallman Jr.

In those last moments, as the preacher preached and friends laughed about the old days, it

was easy to remember the deceased as "The Crusher." The truth was revealed at the end,

though, when attendants opened the casket and displayed an old man whose body had

betrayed him.

A couple of days ago, deep in the heart of St. Johns, they held a funeral for Stan Stasiak, a

professional wrestler and a link to a past more innocent and raw.

Before the Blazers and Clyde, before golf and Tiger, before Nike and Phil, before cable

television and compact discs and the assault of internet entertainment, there was Portland

Wrestling and The Crusher.

Bouts were held on Saturday nights in the Portland Armory. For a time they were broadcast

live, in prime time, on KPTV. As the times shifted, so did the program and the sport -- to

tape-delay and to the Portland Sports Arena in North Portland.

The product -- and that's what it was, without apology -- was managed by Don Owen, a

fast-talking, down-in-the-trenches promoter. He knew his trade: Crowds of 4,000 were not

unusual -- kids, little old ladies, young toughs, wannabes and lots of cigarette smoke.

Weekdays, Owen took his show on the road. Wrestlers barnstormed the state, hitting the

hinterlands with glitz and guts and grudge matches.

Patrons got their money's worth at Portland Wrestling. Stars didn't lip off to the coach or

refuse to play. No one showed disdain for the fans. For about two hours of an evening, good

and evil battled it out in the ring. Fans roared their approval, except when one of those

boring college wrestlers -- "scientific" grapplers, they were called -- trotted out.

At the center of this whirlwind stood Stasiak, variously know as Stan "The Man" Stasiak or

Stan "The Crusher" Stasiak.

He was one of the good guys.

Tough Tony Borne, Beauregard, the Von Steigers, Lonnie Mayne and Haru Sasaki -- they

were the villains. Their talents leaned to hair-pulling, eye jabs, sand in the face and karate


With memories of World War II still fresh and the Cold War in high heat, the bad guys were

often cast as German or Japanese.

"People hated the Japanese," Sasaki recalled. "I got booed all the time. I got death threats,

and in some small towns I had to leave hidden in a trunk. Even if I was a nice guy, I wasn't

going to get any respect, so I figured I might as well be a bad guy."

Tough Tony Borne relished the bad-guy role, although in later years he became something

of a revered elder statesman of the ring.

"I was not in there to make friends," said Borne, whose trademark was to grind his beard in

an opponent's face. "I was in there to make money.

"Some guys got a flat guarantee, but most wrestlers fought for a cut of the gate. You had to

have ring color. You had to be liked or disliked."

Shag Thomas was the lone African-American in the ring, a quiet man who seemed to sense

how far he could go, or what he could say, without turning people against him.

Each match was one fall, except for the main event, which was upped to two-out-of-three

falls or to a "TV time limit." A TV announcer interviewed the wrestlers during breaks.

Threats and insults would be hurled their way, prompting a melee -- all part of the show.

Lonnie Mayne ate light bulbs on camera.

And when one of the bad guys got out of hand, or ganged up with his dirty pals to pummel

some poor sap, it was Stasiak who rushed to the rescue.

He would charge out of the locker room, cheers propelling him onward. He used his fists, his

feet, sometimes even a metal folding chair, to restore order. His big weapon was the

dreaded "Heart Punch," a blow so severe that it was rumored to send behemoth men to the

hospital, where they pondered a safer career, such as selling shoes.

So it was especially ironic that, when Stasiak died last week, it was because his heart gave


Congestive heart failure.

Age 60.

His real name was George Stipich. He left behind a wife and two grown kids. Although his

family roots reach back to Croatia, he was born and raised in Quebec and was a good

enough hockey player to be signed by the New York Rangers.

Instead, at age 21, he drifted to professional wrestling. He was spotted by a promoter, who

said he looked like the original Stan Stasiak, a big-time wrestler from the '20s, and told him

to change his name. He was a big man -- 6-5, 270 pounds -- and began his career as a bad

guy. For a short time he even wore a mask, which made him a really bad guy. He was

working the circuit in Texas when Owen discovered him and brought him to Portland.

"He wrestled rough at first," Owen said. "Then he had people cheering for him all the time.

"Here was a guy who never missed a booking. He tended to business. If he had to be in

Klamath Falls, by God, he was in Klamath Falls. He did his stuff."

During the heyday of Portland Wrestling, in the 1950s and '60s, Stasiak won the Pacific

Northwest title 15 times. His prowess gained him national celebrity and meetings with

President Kennedy, Morey Amsterdam and Moe Howard of The Three Stooges.

He moved up to the World Wide Wrestling Federation, before Hulk Hogan made it famous,

and was the house bad guy in Madison Square Garden. In 1973 he won the world title during

a bout in Philadelphia, held it for three weeks, then lost it to good guy Bruno Sammartino

back in the Garden.

He returned to Portland. But by then, local wrestling was on the wane.

"It was that damn WWF bunch," Owen grumbled. "For a time in Portland you could get

cable wrestling from Mexico and all over the damn country. You could see all of that for

nothing until your belly was full. Who, by God, was going to pay $7 to see my stuff?"

So Stasiak did some color commentary for Portland Wrestling. Then Owen got him a job

selling cars.

"I told him because of the commentary he'd be the best-known damn salesman in town,"

Owen said. "He did that for six months, and then I didn't hear from him."

Stasiak's health began to fail about 10 years ago. First the heart, then a minor stroke. He

divided his time between hospital and home. He became a religious man -- read the Bible

daily and prayed for his friends.

Until the very end, he showed up and fought the good fight.

The crowd at his funeral numbered about 100, a smattering of colleagues, fans and relatives

who seemed to miss those old days.

"They don't come any better," Borne said. "Not as a man, not as a wrestler."

"He believed it was an honor being a Portland wrestler," nodded Johnny Eagle, who did

battle with Stasiak in the ring back in the '60s.

Clifford Swiggum, 67, came to pay his respects to the man who had entertained him and his

mother for decades of Saturday evenings.

"My father didn't care for it," Swiggum remembered. "But Stan was one of my mother's


His mother's devotion to the sport was deep. She was at a match the night she died,

Swiggum said. She had excused herself to use the bathroom before one of Stasiak's bouts.

Soon after she returned to her seat, she slumped over and never regained consciousness.

"It wasn't the excitement of the match that caused it," Swiggum assured. "She had heart


The preacher preached then, about being with God in the life beyond. Borne said it was an

honor to call the departed his friend. They played a country song.

And it was over.

No one wrestles here anymore.

Portland Wrestling folded. The armory was absorbed by a nearby brewery. The Sports

Arena was bought by a church that needed room to expand.

Beauregard is rumored to be living the high life somewhere on the East Coast. He hasn't

been heard from in 20 years, but it's a nice thought.

Tough Tony calls himself "Not So Tough Tony Borne." He will soon be 71 and has his aches

and pains. He putters in his garden and plays with his four grandchildren.

Haru Sasaki is a baker's helper at a Lake Oswego grocery. He counts day-old bread and

stacks boxes.

Lonnie Mayne went out like everyone expected -- a spectacular head-on wreck on a

California freeway.

Shag Thomas died quietly in his sleep.

And on Wednesday, they held a funeral for The Crusher.


(ED. NOTE--In the mid-1930s, the mat game began reviving in Norfolk, Va., where the

bouts were generally held at the City Auditorium. John Reinhardt, in association with

George Cazana, and later, Bill Lewis of Richmond, were the promoters. Richmond, Roanoke

and Lynchburg were other Virginia cities with regular bouts. "Senator" Jack Moore was

another principal, generally serving as publicist for the bouts in Norfolk. The better attended

shows drew around 2,000 fans. And then even those folks began staying away in droves, to

the point where the Virginian-Pilot, a local paper, pronounced a death knell for the game in

late May of 1937.)

October 30, 1935 Norfolk, Va.

Jim Henry beat Laverne Baxter, Jack McArthur beat Don McIntyre, Jack Zarnas beat

Scotty Dawkins

November 13, 1935 Norfolk, Va.

Ed Don George beat Young Joe Stecher, Jim Henry beat Dick Powell, Cowboy Luttrall drew

Eli Fischer, Matros Kirilenko beat Herb Freeman, Louis Ferino beat Hans Bauer

November 27, 1935 Norfolk, Va.

Cowboy Luttrall beat Joe Narocki, Jim Henry beat Rube Wright, Walter Underhill beat

Laverne Baxter,

December 11, 1935 Norfolk, Va.

Len Hall beat Jim Henry (DQ), Cowboy Luttrall beat Elmer Guthrie, Pat Newman drew

Walter Underhill

December 18, 1935 Norfolk, Va.

Ed Don George beat Cowboy Luttrall, Rube Wright beat Jim Hesslyn, Scotty Dawkins drew

Dobie Osborne

January 8, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Jim Henry vs. Cowboy Luttrall (NC), Eli Fischer beat Hal Rumberg, Henry Graber beat

Casey Berger

January 15, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Cowboy Luttrall beat Jim Henry, Eli Fischer beat Bill Middlekauf, Dobie Osborne beat Joe


January 22, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Eli Fischer vs. Cowboy Luttrall (NC), Rube Wright beat Len Hall,. Henry Graber beat Hal


January 29, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Rube Wright beat Cowboy Luttrall, Jim Wright beat Henry Graber, Casey Berger drew

Walter Underhill

February 5, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Rube Wright beat Hans Schultz Kampher, Jim Henry beat Dobie Osborne, Jim Wright beat

Walter Underhill

February 19, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Joe Savoldi drew Rube Wright 1-1 90:00, Eli Fischer beat Father Lumpkin (COR), Abe

Yourist beat Walter Underhill

February 26, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Cowboy Luttrall beat Jim Wright, Eli Fischer beat Father Lumpkin, George Harben beat

Abe Yourist

March 11, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Joe Savoldi beat Little Beaver, Rube Wright beat Eli Fischer, George Harben beat Casey


May 18, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Rube Wright beat Floyd Marshall, Little Beaver beat Jim Henry, Cowboy Luttrall beat

Hans Schultz Kampher

May 25, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Red Devil (George Harben) beat Hans Kampher, Little Beaver beat Cowboy Luttrall, Rube

Wright beat Father Lumpkin

April 2, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Red Devil beat Eli Fischer, Rube Wright vs. Little Beaver (DKO), Jim Wright beat Joe


April 9, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Herman Hickman beat Jim Wright, Doug Wykoff beat Little Beaver (DQ), Red Devil beat

Tom Jenkins

April 15, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Herman Hickman beat Jim Henry, Eli Fischer drew Bill Middlekauf, Floyd Marshall beat

Halil Pelivan

May 6, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Herman Hickman beat Cowboy Luttrall (DQ), Bill Middlekauf beat Dick Powell, Casey

Berger beat Jim Wright (sub for Scotty Dawkins)

May 13, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Herman Hickman beat Rube Wright, Bill Middlekauf beat Cowboy Luttrall (DQ), Dan

O'Connor beat Eli fischer

May 20, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Herman Hickman beat Cowboy Luttrall, Little Beaver beat Rube Wright, Dan O'Connor

beat Bill Middlekauf

May 27, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Little Beaver beat Harry Finklestein, Dan O'Connor beat Father Roy Lumpkin, Doug

Wykoff beat Halil Pelivan

June 3, 1936 Norfolk, Va. (Bain Field, outdoor card)

Herman Hickman beat Little Beaver, Dan O'Connor beat Lt. Howard Culver, Father

Lumpkin beat Bruce Noland

June 10, 1936 Norfolk, Va. (Bain Field)

Little Beaver beat Dan O'Conner, Doug Wykoff beat Harry Finklestein, Walter Logan beat

Halil Pelivan

June 17, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Little Beaver beat Red Ryan, Doug Wykoff beat Dan O'Connor (DQ), Jim Hesslyn beat

Father Lumpkin

June 24, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Little Beaver beat Dan O'Connor (referee Jack Dempsey), Doug Wykoff beat Jim Hesslyn,

Bruce Noland beat Eddie Horgan

July 1, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Red Ryan beat Doug Wykoff, Bruce Noland beat Obie Scott, Abe Yourist beat Jim Hesslyn

July 8, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Red Ryan beat Johnny Plummer, Bruce Noland beat Obie Scott, Henry Graber beat Scotty


July 22, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Ernie Dusek beat Jim (Goon) Henry, Bruce Noland beat Scotty Dawkins (DQ), George

Harben beat Abe Yourist

July 29, 1936 Virginia Beach, Va. (rained out)

Red Ryan vs. Jim Henry, Doug Wykoff vs. George Harben, Abe Yourist vs. Jack King

August 26, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Jim Henry beat Matros Kirilenko, Henry Graber beat George Harben, Ivan Vakturoff beat

Bill Middlekauf

September 2, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Jim Henry beat Matros Kirilenko, Laverne Baxter beat Tom Molloy, Leo Alexander beat

Dobie Osborne

September 9, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Red Ryan beat Jim Henry, Tony Felice beat Laverne Baxter, Henry Graber beat Scotty


September 16, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Cowboy Luttrall beat Ivan Vakturoff, Red Ryan beat Al Sparks, Jack King beat Tom


September 23, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Red Ryan beat Cowboy Luttrall, Dick Powell beat Jim Henry, Al Sparks beat Jack King

September 30, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Red Ryan beat Cowboy Luttrall (DQ), Dick Powell beat Ivan Vakturoff, Alan Eustace beat

Jack King

October 7, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Al Sparks beat Red Ryan, Alan Eustace beat Jim Henry, Mike Kibbons beat Jack O'Brien

October 14, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Cowboy Luttrall beat Al Sparks, Mike Kibbons beat Ivan Vakturoff, Al Maynard beat Leo


October 21, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Dick Powell beat Henry Graber, Chief Saunooke beat Al Maynard, Mike Kibbons beat

Scotty Dawkins

October 28, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Chief Saunooke beat Ivan Vakturoff-Scotty Dawkins (handicap), Red Ryan beat Dick

Powell (DQ), John Grandovich drew Preacher Hogue

November 4, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Chief Saunooke beat Dick Powell, Al Getz drew Red Ryan, Mike Kibbons beat Al Maynard


November 11, 1936 Norfolk, Va. (Virginia A.C.-The Garden)

Chief Saunooke beat Cowboy Luttrall (DQ), Red Ryan beat Mike Kibbons, ????? beat Bob

Wagner (DQ)

November 18, 1936 Norfolk, Va. (The Garden)

Bob Wagner beat Henry Graber, Alan Eustace beat Chief Saunooke, Red Ryan beat

Preacher Hogue

November 25, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Bob Wagner beat Red Ryan, Jim Parker beat Mike Kibbons, John Grandovich beat Al


December 2, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Bob Wagner beat Cowboy Luttrall, John Grandovich beat Al Sparks, Al Getz drew Alan


December 9, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Bob Wagner beat Red Ryan, Ole Anderson beat Al Getz, John Grandovich beat Jim

Hesslyn (DQ)

December 16, 1936 Norfolk, Va.

Cowboy Luttrall beat Bob Wagner, John Plummer beat Al Sparks, Red Ryan beat Jim

Hesslyn, Mike Kibbons beat Buck Olsen (DQ)

January 6, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

John Grandovich beat Cowboy Luttrall, Bob Wagner beat Ed (Tarzan) White, Red Ryan

drew Pat Newman

January 13, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

Young Joe Stecher beat Cowboy Luttrall, John Grandovich beat Ed White, Ole Anderson

beat Buck Olsen

January 20, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

Dick Shikat beat Bob Wagner, Mayes McLain beat Cowboy Luttrall, Young Joe Stecher

drew Alan Eustace

January 27, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

Bob Wagner beat Young Joe Stecher, Ed White beat Red Ryan, Mayes McLain drew John


February 3, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

Bob Wagner beat John Grandovich, Mayes McLain beat Ed White, John Plummer beat

Paul Murdoch

February 10, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

Bob Wagner beat Dick Powell (DQ), Mayes McLain beat Johnny Plummer, Alan Eustace

beat Andy Meixner

February 17, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

Dick Powell beat Young Joe Stecher, Marshall Blackstock beat Dan Hogan, Alan Eustace

beat Chuck Middaugh

February 24, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

Mayes McLain beat Dick Powell (DQ), Black Secret beat Young Joe Stecher, Pat Newman

beat Andy Meixner

March 10, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

Mayes McLain beat Dick Powell, Alan Eustace beat Bob Wagner (DQ), Ed White beat

Young Joe Stecher

March 17, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

Bob Wagner beat Mayes McLain, Clara Mortensen beat Patsy Hayes (first ever women's

match in Norfolk), Jack (Bull) Curley beat Tiger Joe Marsh, Alan Eustace beat Count

Micheloff (DQ)

March 24, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

Bob Wagner beat Slim Zimbleman, Black Secret beat Count Micheloff, Mayes McLain beat

Rebel Russell

March 31, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

Clara Mortensen beat Mildred Burke, Black Secret beat Bob Wagner (COR), Mayes

McLain beat Jack O'Brien (DQ), Reb Russell beat Frank Malcewicz



(Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch, April 1, 1937)

By Charles Day (pinch-hitting for Tom Reilly)

Well, folks, I have been educated in the art of beef hurling. I went around to the City

Auditorium last night and sat through four wrestling bouts, one of the said bouts featuring

Clara Mortensen, the champion, and Molly Burke, of the Georgia Burkes. About 1,500 or

more other persons, men and women, were also there.

Miss Mortensen is a native of California, but she went other places last night. In fact she

went over Miss Burke like a steamroller and must have made the Georgia Cracker think

Sherman was staging a retake of his famous march.

Now to get down to the grunt and groans, the flying mares, the half nelsons and a lot of other

holds, Miss Mortensen had them all in her vanity case and made Molly holler "Golly" more

than once during the time which elapsed before the fall was completed.

All in all we thoroughly enjoyed the show and the two trying gals trying to tear each other

apart and let it be said to the credit of the Burkes of Georgia Molly did her best, but, last

night, her best wasn't good enough.

The main bout of the evening was a two out of three falls match between the Black Secret,

230, and Bob Wagner, 225, of California. The Black Secret looked like the Black Plague

from where we sat and that was too close. At one stage of the game we came within an ace of

having the pair of them in our lap. Nothing like that happened when the frills were staging

their act.

The lady in red proved poison to Dillinger, but the Man in Black was disastrous to Wagner.

He took the first fall without much trouble, especially after he grabbed Wagner's leg and

began using it as a twister.

Coming into the ring for the last fall, Wagner was limping, but had malice in his heart for he

went to work on the man in the mask with a vengeance and was doing very well when

suddenly he was seized some place and tossed right out of the ring, into the laps of a few

gentlemen in the front row. In falling he evidently struck his shoulder on the edge of the ring

and laid there for some time.

The show opened with a one-fall match between Sailor Russell, 210 pounds of New York

beef, and Steve Macelivicz, 215, of Texas. The sailor won after 17 minutes of mauling and

tugging, the fall coming when the Texas steer weakened.

Came the second bout and a very ferocious looking guy named Jack O'Brien from Denver.

Jack wore sideburns and a black scowl and brought a trunk full of rough and tumble tricks

for Mayes McLain, of Iowa, to look over.

The bout was packed full of everything but clean wrestling. In fact it was so foreign that

Buck Miles, the referee, disqualified O'Brien and told him to go home after 10 minutes of

mauling. The duke went to McLain, who seemed to be in a playful mood, but wanted to play

clean and nice.

Then they trotted on the ladies of the ensemble, both easy to look at. Miss Mortensen,

billed as the champ, carried, so they said, 134 pounds, while Miss Burke weighed in at 130.

This could go on indefinitely, but we'd get nowhere and besides those who saw the matches

know what went on and those who didn't don't care. I thank you.

(ED. NOTE--In a picture accompanying the advance story for the above match, Molly

Burke is said to also be known as Mildred Burke. The latter was "said to be the only femme

who has ever defeated Miss Mortensen.") ________________________________________

April 7, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

Black Secret beat Mayes McLain, Reb Russell beat Bull Curley, Ivan Rasputin beat Slim


April 14, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

Reb Russell beat Benny Ginsberg (DQ), Mayes McLain beat Jack League, Frank

Malcewicz beat Bull Curley

May 5, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

Count Micheloff beat Lee Henning (DQ), Benny Ginsberg beat Mayes McLain, Jack

League beat Charles Harben

May 13, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

George Hagen beat Benny Ginsberg (referee Jack Dempsey), John Evko beat Jack

League, Count Micheloff beat Jack Reeder

May 19, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

George Hagen beat Bob Wagner, John Evko beat Jack League, Henry Graber beat Count


May 26, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

George Hagen beat John Evko, Mike Kibbons beat Count Micheloff (DQ), Henry Graber

beat Lee Henning ______________________________________________


(Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch, May 17, 1937)

The repeated use of second-rate talent is slowly but surely killing the professional wrestling

game in Norfolk.

There was a time when $1,200 and $1,300 houses were not uncommon.

Last night's show drew only a handful of spectators who paid less than $120 to witness the

three-bout card.

The small crowd reflected the contempt Norfolk mat followers entertain for the low-grade

bouts being presented here these days.

The feature event saw George Hagen, a former Marine wrestler and football player, win

over John Evkovich, banged-up-eared Bostonian, in two out of three falls. Hagen lost the

first fall but came back strong to win the second and third.

The boys used ending No. 19-A in the semifinal. The scenario for this calls for the winner --

played last night by Count Micheloff -- to rough up the loser -- Mike Kibbons -- after having

been awarded the decision. The boys played the scene faithfully and, of course, the referee

reversed his decision. That ending was old when Strangler Lewis was a Boy Scout.

Henry Graber of Germany -- he should have stood on the Rhine -- won over Lee Henning of

New York in the opening event. _______________________________________

June 2, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

George Hagen beat Abdul Pasha (sub for Black Secret), Bob Wagner vs. John Evko, Count

Micheloff beat Abdul Pasha

July 7, 1937 Virginia Beach, Va. (Playland Arena Club)

Jack League beat Dee O'Shocker, Henry Graber beat Popeye Swenson, Tiger Joe Marsh

beat Abdul Pasha

July 14, 1937 Virginia Beach, Va. (Playland Arena Club)

Farmer Jerry Burns beat Jack League, George Hagen beat Tiger Joe Marsh (DQ), Abdul

Pasha beat Buck Olsen

July 21, 1937 Norfolk, Va.

Jerry Burns beat George Hagen, Abdul Pasha beat Count Ivan Micheloff, Tiger Joe Marsh

beat Jack League