Thursday, November 27, 2014

THANKSGIVING WRESTLING AT CHARLOTTE'S BIG DOME

November 21, 1966
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
-
48 Years Ago

The Charlotte Observer reported 5460 fans in attendance, and I was one of them, sometimes sitting in my ringside seat.

It was a BIG night of wrestling.

The card started like most of all of them. LUTHER LINDSAY facing PEDRO GODOY in a yawner, the kind of match you want to end so you can get closer to the main events. LUTHER won and most of us didn't care. We wouldn't have cared if PEDRO had won either.

Things started to pick up in the next match when favorite NELSON ROYAL squared off against GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS'. Most everyone loved NELLIE and most everyone hated 'TWO TON' but I loved the big guy because his matches were always entertaining. 'TWO TON' always got the most out of the fans because he was a master at 'working' a crowd. I can't remember what naughty he pulled, but the match went to NELLIE on a DQ. But 'TWO TON' would be back later as he was also manager of the MASKED RED DEMONS.

THE AMAZING ZUMA or ARGENTINA ZUMA, whichever you prefer, took the toll of HENRY VON STROHEIM, one-half of a pseudo-main event German heel team. I believe HENRY (can I call him Hank?) was probably getting ready to leave the area, because his partner KURT was no where to be found that night. Maybe he was back at the hotel packing.

The little people were up next in a tag match. I usually enjoyed the novelty of 'Midget Matches' (we can't say that anymore, ya know) for about five minutes, then it was time to move on. On this night, LITTLE BEAVER and SONNY BOY CASSIDY pinned SKY LOW LOW and BILLY THE KID (not the real one). I'd love to know how many times in their careers that BEAVER and LOW LOW worked one another. I'm sure it was in the thousands.

Now, it was time to get serious.

Two of the all-time heel combos in JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS history were to do battle. RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON versus ALDO BOGNI and BRONCHO LUBICH with, of course, their snake-like manager, HOMER O'DELL.

On this night, the crowd was behind the BLONDE BOMBERS all the way. I can't recall which team won which fall, but they were even at one apiece. The third fall found BOGNI & LUBICH beating RIP to a pulp. HAWK was thrown over the top rope to the cement floor (and on MY side of the ring). O'DELL, welding that dreaded cane, cracked 'The Profile' on the noggin' and before HAWK could get to his feet, it looked as if he had lost three gallons of the red stuff.

He managed to crawl back into the ring, but it looked like it was R.I.P. for R-I-P. After teasing all of us for a few more minutes with 'not quite a tag,' HAWK found HANSON's hand, made contact, and in came the big SWEDE. The crowd was hysterical!

SWEDE could have taken on the 300 Spartans at this point. He beat ALDO and BRONCHO at will, then grabbed O'DELL on the apron and 'welcomed' him into the ring via the top rope. Just as the SWEDE is about to ruin the creases in HOMER's tuxedo, he was double-attacked by O'DELL's cronies. HANSON got his hands on the cane and broke it over O'DELL's back about the same time as RIP entered the ring with a metal chair. Observing everything, referee ANGELO MARTINELLI must have figured it was time for a cold one, so he called off any further mutiliation in this one, and it ended in a double DQ, or a no-contest (what was the difference, by the way?).

I have witnessed several thousand wrestling matches in my years, and I can easily say, this was one of the best I EVER saw. Boy, did these five wrestlers know how to work a match and a crowd.

The show actually slumped a bit when the WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP match came next. First of all, I was never fully into TEX McKENZIE's camp. He couldn't work any better than my lazy uncle who never worked at all, and I always resented the fact that TEX always made NELSON ROYAL take the beatings when they teamed together.

So, here is McKENZIE, a guy whose legs were longer and clumsier than Olive Oyl's, going up against GENE KINISKI for the WORLD belt. Add in the fact that there was no way (in the 1960s) the NWA was going to let their champion lose the title in Charlotte. KINISKI won the first fall. TEX came back and pinned the champ with a knee lift and judo chop off the ropes, those being the only two moves he knew. And then, KINISKI pinned McKENZIE again to win the final fall.

I suspect the concession stands were plenty busy during the world title match.

Now it was time for BECKER and WEAVER against the MASKED RED DEMONS...one more time.

This time, GEORGE and JOHNNY's SOUTHERN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP is on the line again, but on this night, under TEXAS DEATH MATCH rules. And in addition, it's the BELTS versus the MASKS. One team would walk out with BOTH.

Falls didn't figure in determining the winner (but was a great means of giving the participants a rest break). The Charlotte Observer reported the match went twelve falls (that I don't remember), but at the bell for unlucky fall number thirteen, the masked men were whipped to the point that they couldn't answer the bell, and even 'TWO TON' couldn't get them to their feet.

Ref MARTINELLI signaled it was over and raised BECKER and WEAVER's hands in victory. They held onto their titles and now would be able to discover exactly who these soon-to-be UNMASKED RED DEMONS were. With both men still prone on the ring from their beating, GEORGE took off one mask and JOHNNY the other and held them high in the air to the crowd's approval.

"Find out who they are Angelo," ring announcer GEORGE HARBEN requested over the microphone. Supposedly, MARTINELLI went over to them and said something ingenius like, "Hey, who are you?"

ANGELO went over to HARBEN, whispered in his ear, and HARBEN announced to all of us, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the RED DEMONS are JIMMY and BILLY HINES."

Everyone yelled, even though it really didn't mean anything. I'd never heard of JIMMY and BILLY HINES anyway. What it did mean, however, was pretty much the end of the main event run of this team who had been in JCP since late spring. I always liked the main event masked teams like THE BOLOS and THE INFERNOS, and now there wouldn't be one.

The HINES boys had a few more main event matches with 'TWO TON' but soon left the territory. When the hoods came off, so did the luster and mystique of the team.

But we still had GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER as our SOUTHERN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS.

But lurking in the bushes would be BOGNI & LUBICH, HAWK & HANSON or BRUTE BERNARD & SKULL MURPHY waiting for their night when they would win the belts.

And, of course, that night would come.

I related my recollections of this particular match to JOHNNY a few months before he passed away, and he said, "Yes, we did that same match all over the territory."

I was sorry he told me that.

But after I thought about what he said, it made me appreciate the fact that these men, even though they would work each other night after night, still could make each audience feel they were seeing something special.

That's how great they were.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

DOWN AND DIRTY

December 10, 1962
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
---
52 Years Ago


A rematch of the tag team bout between two rowdy combos, THE GREAT BOLO and BOLO and RIP HAWK and ROCK HUNTER, headlines tonight's wrestling card at PARK CENTER.

The two teams collided last Monday night, with HAWK and HUNTER receiving a disqualification loss for going beyond the rule limitations allowed. RIP and ROCK apparently entered the ring with that intention, and maybe were willing to take the DQ in order to wreck havoc on THE BOLOs, which they did. When the BOLOs exited the ring, one was a bloody mess, and the other's mask was ripped half-way off his head.

HAWK and HUNTER have vowed they will finish the job tonight, and the reign of terror of THE BOLOs will be over. This week's two-out-of-three falls match, however, will be fought under a NO DISQUALIFICATION stipulation, meaning either team can do virtually anything they choose without risk of penalty.

In the evening's other tag battle, GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT, both winners in individual competition last Monday, are reunited as "THE FLYING SCOTTS" when they collide with IKE EAKINS and PANCHO VILLA in a best-of-three falls encounter.

Single actions finds popular JOHNNY WEAVER facing BILL PARKS and RAY VILLMER battling FELIX LAMBAN.

Action begins at 8:15.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

47 YEARS AGO

PAMPERO FIRPO

SANDY and GEORGE SCOTT

DENNIS HALL

GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS

ROGER KIRBY

THE MISSOURI MAULER

THE MUMMY

HARU SASAKI
---
September 9, 1967
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

Rulebreakers PAMPERO FIRPO and THE MISSOURI MAULER, angry in being disqualified in their match here last week, will return to the LEXINGTON YMCA tonight for wrestling action and plan to take out their anger on fresh opponents GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT.

It may not be so easy for the bully team. THE FLYING SCOTTS, daring and spectacular and former WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS, have vowed to tame the big and rowdy FIRPO / MAULER duo.

The tag team from the Orient, HARU SASAKI and P.Y. CHUNG, face the newcomer combo of handsome DENNIS HALL and ROGER KIRBY. Female fans have quickly taken to these two youngsters.

Both team matches will be wrestled under the stipulation of the best-of-three falls.

Returning after an absence of some time, GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS will meet fellow rulebreaker TONY ROMANO.

JERRY LONDON will clash with the mysterious masked man, THE MUMMY, in the evening's 8:15 opener.

Friday, November 21, 2014

LIKES AND DISLIKES by J.C. DYKES

A bloodied WEAVER after being kicked with the loaded boot of THE INFERNO.

Happy 'Birthday Suit' to you, J.C. DYKES

WEAVER takes a tumble to the floor.

A battered INFERNO receives medical care.
---
During the JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS terror tenure of J.C DYKES and THE INFERNOS, the weekly wrestling souvenir program at JCP arenas often contained articles written by the red-headed manager in which he expressed his personal opinions of the competition as it pertained to his blue-masked duo.

Without any doubt, the two wrestlers he despised the most were GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER, then the top 'babyface' team in MID-ATLANTIC WRESTLING.

THE INFERNOS battled BECKER and WEAVER all over the JCP territory in one of the 'hottest' feuds in 1960's pro wrestling history.

One evening, after a jam-packed house at Charlotte's PARK CENTER, Gene Gordon was able to corner DYKES and ask him a few questions.

J.C. had been shooting off his mouth about what his boys would do to that 'old bum' and his 'half-witted partner'. The match that night was thrown out by the referee for uncontrollable wildness. 'We beat them to a pulp tonight, and only the prejudiced referee saved their skins. They're as yellow as can be and will probably never sign to wrestle us again."

'BECKER is a low life, he eats berries and bugs,' shouted DYKES. 'As far as Weaver, he's on the silly side."

GEORGE and JOHNNY, however, rushed to the promoter, demanding their schedules be changed so that they could get THE INFERNOS back in the ring right away. 'That mouth without a brain and those two cowards who are afraid to let the public see their ugly faces, are in for a real surprise,' countered BECKER.

The following Monday night, the rematch took place, again at PARK CENTER. And again, the house was packed to see THE INFERNOS and DYKES 'get their's'.

WEAVER recorded the first fall, putting one of the masked men in slumberland from his trademark 'sleeper' hold. DYKES yelled and screamed to the official that JOHNNY had choked his man unto he passed out. The referee was not impressed by J.C.'s protest.

The second fall started with a very groggy INFERNO trying to stay on his feet, still reeling from the 'sleeper'. But then DYKES distracted the referee while the other INFERNO kicked WEAVER square in the head with the 'loaded boot' for the pin.

Fans rushed handkerchiefs and tissue to BECKER to help stop the bleeding of his partner. One fan offered his shirt.

The match was even.

The bell rang for the deciding fall. WEAVER barely answered the bell, his face a Gordon Solie 'crimson mask'. But he managed to continue, finally making a tag to BECKER, who came in like a madman. He floored both INFERNOS, knocking one out to the floor. GEORGE followed his rival outside the ring, ran the 'loaded boot' masked man into the ring post. Soon, this INFERNO was as bloody as WEAVER.

JOHNNY had cornered the other INFERNO and had the blue mask about half off when DYKES jumped into the fray. Approaching WEAVER (from behind, of course) with his metal canteen, his path was cut off by BECKER who battered DYKES until he could barely stand.

BECKER and WEAVER weren't able to remove a mask that night, but maybe they did one better. They removed J.C.'s clothes almost down to his 'birthday suit'. At this point, he blew his whistle, and a half-nude manager and his masked men (one a bloody pulp) set sail for the dressing room, forfeiting the match on a countout.

On a tirade in the dressing room, while his bloodied INFERNO received medical attention, DYKES began his ranting again, 'We will get BECKER and WEAVER if it takes a lifetime. That bug-eating BECKER and mule ears WEAVER have disgraced, humiliated and shamed my INFERNOS and me. Can you image two grownup men like these two dolts tearing my clothes off out there in front of thousands of people? If they want to act like children, they should both be placed in reform school with the other dirty-minded brats! When we first came to JCP, BECKER took off and went into hiding in the mountains somewhere until WEAVER sent out a posse to bring him back. WEAVER told BECKER a lie when he came back. He said that one of my INFERNOS burned his face with a fireball or something ridiculous like that. That is not what made the scar on old mule ear's face. Sailor Art Thomas dropped WEAVER on his head carrying him out of the ring after we beat the two of them one night. They're both no-good liars, and we'll send them into retirement before we leave the Carolinas. That's a promise.'

Although the two teams battled many more times, that promise went unfulfilled.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

MYSTERY WRESTLER...or not?

Do you know who this wrestler is?

Bill Watts?...No...

Here he is...

BLACKJACK MULLIGAN
One of the greatest ever in the business.

Monday, November 17, 2014

ANOTHER HAND OF CARDS

THE YEAR WAS 1969
...it was a very good year...

GREENSBORO, N.C.

GENE KINISKI beat SAM STEAMBOAT to remain World Heavyweight Champion

GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT topped GENE and OLE ANDERSON

THE MISSOURI MAULER & HIRO MATSUDA with MGR. HOMER O'DELL defeated ABE JACOBS & LES WOLFF

TONI ROSE bested BARBARA OWEN

MR. WRESTLING defeated "BULLDOG" LEE HENNING

EL LOBO over JESSE JAMES


GREENSBORO, N.C.

THE MISSOURI MAULER beat JOHNNY WEAVER to become Southern Heavyweight Champion

SIX MAN MATCH between GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT and GEORGE BECKER versus RIP HAWK, SWEDE HANSON and ROCK HUNTER ended in a Double DQ

SAM STEAMBOAT and HIRO MATSUDA  wrestled to a draw

MR. WRESTLING over EL GAUCHO

KOA TIKI beat JIMMY HINES

BILLY HINES topped GREG PETERSON


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.

GEORGE BECKER, JOHNNY WEAVER and SAILOR ART THOMAS over HOMER O'DELL, THE MISSOURI MAULER and HIRO MATSUDA

SANDY and GEORGE SCOTT versus THE INFERNOS with MGR. J.C. DYKES ended in a Double DQ

MR. WRESTLING and GENE ANDERSON wrestled to a draw

OLE ANDERSON topped GREG PETERSON

SAM STEAMBOAT over RONNIE GARVIN

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.

GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT beat THE INFERNOS with MGR. J.C. DYKES

SAILOR ART THOMAS & ABE JACOBS  won over ALDO BOGNI & BRONCHO LUBUCH with MGR. GEORGE "TWO TON" HARRIS via DQ

NELSON ROYAL topped EL GAUCHO

PAUL JONES bested BOB GRIFFIN

LES WOLFF defeated PANCHO VALDEZ

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.

DORY FUNK JR. retained the World's Heavyweight Championship by defeating RIP HAWK

BRUTE BERNARD & SKULL MURPHY beat SANDY and GEORGE SCOTT

NELSON ROYAL & PAUL JONES topped THE INFERNOS with MGR. J.C. DYKES via DQ

BOBO JOHNSON & COWBOY LANG over MIGHTY ATOM & LITTLE CRUSHER

SWEDE HANSON & ABE JACOBS wrestled to a draw

GREENSBORO, N.C.

GEORGE BECKER & JOHNNY WEAVER toppled BRUTE BERNARD & SKULL MURPHY

SAILOR ART THOMAS & MR. WRESTLING over OLE and GENE ANDERSON via DQ

PAUL JONES & NELSON ROYAL beat PEDRO GODOY & PHIL ROBLEY

TONI ROSE bested DONNA CHRISTIAN

MATTI SUZUKI won over PANCHOVALDEZ


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.

GEORGE BECKER, JOHNNY WEAVER and MR. WRESTLING topped J.C. DYKES and THE INFERNOS

SAILOR ART THOMAS & LUTHER LINDSAY over "BULLDOG" LEE HENNING & PHIL ROBLEY

LORD LITTLEBROOK beat MIGHTY ATOM

TONI ROSE pinned BETTY BOUCHER

NELSON ROYAL defeated JOHNNY HEIDEMAN

BOBBY RED CLOUD bested TINKER TODD

Sunday, November 16, 2014

BLOOD THICKER THAN WATER

July 29, 1967
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA
---
A battle between two brother teams highlights professional wrestling tonight at the LEXINGTON YMCA.

It will be THE FLYING SCOTTS, GEORGE and SANDY, against LARS and GENE ANDERSON, and bad blood exists between the two units. There were brief flurries here last Saturday night when the SCOTT brothers took up for CHIEF LITTLE EAGLE and JERRY LONDON after the ANDERSONs had defeated them. LARS and GENE decided winning the match wasn't enough, so the skullduggery continued until GEORGE and SANDY stepped in to control the violence. Tonight, the ANDERSON / SCOTT collision should get hot and heavy.

The widely-known South American wildman, PAMPERO FIRPO, makes his LEXINGTON debut tonight when he joins forces with THE MISSOURI MAULER to meet big KLONDIKE BILL and partner GREG PETERSON in another tag encounter.

Two-out-of-three falls govern both tag team matches.

Singles matches tonight will see popular Texan NELSON ROYAL meet the mysterious masked man, THE MUMMY, while TONY ROMANO and PEDRO GODOY, both rugged veterans, meet in a bullies opening match at 8:15.

PAMPERO FIRPO

GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT

GENE and LARS ANDERSON

NELSON ROYAL and KLONDIKE BILL

THE MISSOURI MAULER

THE MUMMY

GREG PETERSON

PEDRO GODOY

Friday, November 14, 2014

THE SUPER D IN JCP


One of the epic battles between the masked villain and Swede Hanson

Swede not faring too well at this point.

Super D clamps 'the claw' on Swede's noggin'.

Sonny King feels the wrath of the Super Destroyer


The year was 1973. JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS brought back one of their most popular wrestlers, GEORGE SCOTT, not as a ring competitor, but rather as head booker. One of Scott's priorities was to shift emphasis from tag team competition to singles matches.

To accomplish this, Scott brought in a couple of top heels he felt could achieve the transition. One was Johnny Valentine. The other, a rugged, vicious man in a mask, known in many territories as THE SPOILER.

However, in MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING rings, he would be known as THE SUPER DESTROYER.

Regardless of his in-ring monocle, the man who wore the mask and pulverized his opponents was the 6' 4", 270 pound Canadian named DON JARDINE (1940-2006). Already in the pro wrestling business for nearly twenty years, Jardine was known as an incredibly agile worker for such a big man, known for 'walking the ropes' before lowering the boom on his competition. His ring style was rough and tough and, being the consumate 'heel', rulebreaking was a big part of his m.o.

THE SUPER DESTROYER rose to main event level in JCP almost immediately, going against such greats as Johnny Weaver, Bearcat Wright, Wahoo McDaniel, Paul Jones, Rufus R. Jones and Sonny King.
A major program involving THE SUPER DESTROYER would be with a hooded 'babyface' who called himself THE AVENGERThe battle between these two escalated to a MASK VERSUS MASK battle in which the loser would reveal his identity. I witnessed the Greensboro, N.C. encounter between these two (seems like it was on Thanksgiving night) in which THE AVENGER was eventually pinned and revealed to be none other than Reggie Parks. This same type match was probably held in other cities as well.

However, the program with THE SUPER DESTROYER I enjoyed the most was his incredible matches with SWEDE HANSONThe long-time JCP heel, big SWEDE was now a single, as partner RIP HAWK had bolted to the newly-formed IWA. Swede joined forces with SUPER D as a new tag team, but things went sideways between the two, with the masked man humiliating Hanson after a defeat. From this point on, Swede turned 'babyface' and went after his ex-partner.

The two went from town-to-town in the MID-ATLANTIC territory fighting each other in mostly bloody battles. It would be Swede's swan song as a JCP main eventer. After this program, Hanson would finish his career as a mid-card wrestler, splitting his time between JCP and the WWF.

THE SUPER DESTROYER would continue on in JCP for a while, later leaving abruptly over 'corporate issues', with JCP announcing on its weekly wrestling programs he had been unmasked and showing Jardine's photograph without the mask.

Some thought this was not the most professional way to end things between the company and the employee, but we see things like this in the corporate world everyday, don't we?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

CLASSIC JCP CONFRONTATIONS


One of the many brutal clashes of RIC FLAIR and WAHOO MCDANIEL.

Armbar time for STEVE KEIRN and MIKE 'THE JUDGE' DUBOIS.

THE GREAT BOLO has STEVE BOLUS at his mercy.

Two NWA HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONS go at it...
DUSTY RHODES and HARLEY RACE

The 'NATURE BOY' has THE AVENGER (REGGIE PARKS) at bay.

JACK BRISCO about to pass out at the hands of THE MISSOURI MAULER.

KLONDIKE BILL sends COWBOY PARKER for a ride.

Wrestling was never rougher than when WAHOO MCDANIEL fought JOHNNY VALENTINE.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NUMBER ONE

PAUL JONES in MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING

He could make us love him when we were supposed to love him...

And he could make us loathe him when we were supposed to loathe him...

These ladies appear to love him.

PAUL, as he looked, when first coming to JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS in the late 1960s.

Ready for a night on the town.

Always business in the ring, whether as a babyface or heel.

PAUL battles JERRY BRISCO.

In his managing days with THE ASSASSINS.


In his career with JCP, PAUL JONES did it all. He teamed regularly with the likes of NELSON ROYAL, WAHOO McDANIEL, RICKY STEAMBOAT, BARON VON RASCHKE, THE MASKED SUPERSTAR and GREG VALENTINE, and had heated feuds with all of the same (except ROYAL).

He held virtually every championship belt that MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING had to offer.

He took several NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT Champions to the limit.

His run as a heel manager was just as productive as far as ticket sales were concerned. PAUL's program involving JIMMY VALIANT lasted for several years.

Most JCP fans probably remember PAUL's turning on RICKY STEAMBOAT (although to this day, PAUL insists it was the other way around), the incredible tag battles when he teamed with WAHOO against GENE and OLE ANDERSON, and battling a much larger BLACKJACK MULLIGAN (and making it totally believeable).

And what about pinning medals of bravery (and a toupee) on BARON VON RASCHKE.

So many MID-ATLANTIC memories of PAUL JONES.

Thanks, MR. NUMBER ONE.