Monday, July 25, 2016

THE 1966 STATESVILLE SUMMER OF WRESTLING - PART THREE

September 2, 1966
STATESVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA




CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE


Time for one more outdoor wrestling card before Jack Frost starts to appear.

The third and final JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS wrestling show of the summer, again sponsored by the COMMUNITY BASEBALL CLUB, came to town Labor Day weekend.

And what a treat for the locals...a true legend in all sports...LOU THESZ, multiple-time WORLD'S HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION.

On this night, THESZ, then fifty years of age, showed those of us in attendance, that he could still go at full throttle.

And he and partner ABE "Kiwi Roll" JACOBS would have their hands full, as their opponents this night were two devious ruffians in THE MISSOURI MAULER and THE GREAT MALENKO, one of the top heel teams at the time.

Not surprisingly, the two combos split the first and second falls. Jacobs took the loss for his team--no way Thesz is going to lose a fall clean. At the climax of the third fall, just as Thesz took the "hot tag" and was cleaning up the ring with the "M & M" boys, Malenko pulled the referee in front of him, and Thesz dropkicked the referee, causing an immediate disqualification.

MAULER and MALENKO made a fast exit through their dugout to their dressing room, and I assume, spun out of the Statesville Senior High School parking lot heading back for Charlotte on that pre-Interstate 77 highway night.

Earlier in the evening, KLONDIKE BILL, getting a major push by JCP, took the toll of GEORGE "TWO TON" HARRIS in what was billed as a BATTLE OF THE MAT GIANTS by big-splashing "Bunk" before "Bunk" could big splash him. Oh well, "do unto others..."

Veteran IKE EAKINS crushed KEN HOLLIS and a young BOBBY SHANE (just getting started in the wrestling business) pinned a much-larger "BIG BOY" BLONDELL.

Another great crowd...another great night...another great summer of wrestling in my home town.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

LARS AND GENE WANT MORE

May 25, 1968
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA


LARS and GENE ANDERSON


NELSON ROYAL


BOBBY RED CLOUD


'BULLDOG' LEE HENNING


ABE JACOBS


LUTHER LINDSAY
---
Action should reach an exciting peak tonight at the LEXINGTON YMCA when the popular Texas duo of NELSON ROYAL and PAUL JONES and Minnesota brothers LARS and GENE ANDERSON clash in the wrestling main event.

It will be a best-of-three falls rematch of a thriller won in disputed fashion by the Texans last Saturday night. The ANDERSON brothers demanded another match.

War-dancing Indians CHIEF LITTLE EAGLE and BOBBY RED CLOUD meet another set of villains in 'BULLDOG' LEE HENNING and big JIM GRABMIRE in another team affair.

A scientific match is offered between BOB NANDOR and ABE JACOBS.

The card is completed with a contest between LUTHER LINDSAY and FRANK HICKEY.

Action gets underway at 8:15.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

THE 1966 STATESVILLE SUMMER OF WRESTLING - PART TWO

August 12, 1966
STATESVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA


CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE


Just three weeks after drawing a crowd of nearly 1400 fans, Statesville, North Carolina, hosted it's second of three JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS wrestling cards of the summer.


There was a minimum of two objects which would be at the baseball park behind Statesville Senior High School this night...a wrestling ring at home plate and...me.

Fortunately, I had lots of company. Another large crowd was in attendance this night to add to the coffers of both JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS and the COMMUNITY BASEBALL CLUB, which sponsored the event.

The SOUTHERN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP was up for grabs (we thought) this night. Of course, a key championship was not going to change hands in a hamlet the size of Statesville, but the participants had us all believing that it could happen.

Champions BOGNI and LUBICH and challengers McKENZIE and ROYAL were in the third and deciding fall. TEX and NELLIE were on the verge of capturing the titles when that low-down, unscrupulous manager HOMER O'DELL wacked ROYAL with his cane (in the referee's vision), causing his team to be disqualified, thus enabling BRONCHO and ALDO to leave the "City of Progress" with the belts which had accompanied them to our fair town.

Disappointment? Sure, but we had definitely witnessed a great match which made us all "believe" - something rare in today's "sports entertainment."

The MINNESOTA WRECKING CREW, i.e., the original incarnation of the name, wrestled separately this night. LARS took the toll of ABE JACOBS, and GENE toppled youngster PAUL DEMARCO.

KEN HOLLIS pinned CORSICA JEAN to open the show, but this was not a big deal as my grandmother probably could have pinned CORSICA JEAN.

Regardless, any time "many of the top TV wrestling stars" came to town was worth plopping down the two bucks to sit two hours in a hard-on-the-bottom steel chair in the infield dirt of the ball park.

And in just three more weeks, the stars of JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS would return again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

CHILLIN' WITH HAWK AND HANSON


Rip and Swede about to enjoy another day off from ring action...

A little time for serious conversation, but probably NOT politics...

Giving THE BEATLES and THE BEACH BOYS a little musical competition.

Back to the links. Always a round of golf on a day off.

On no! Apparently the hotel has overcharged the guys on their bar tab!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

THE 1966 STATESVILLE SUMMER OF WRESTLING - PART ONE

Statesville, North Carolina wrestling fans (and I was one) were treated to THREE nights of JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS wrestling shows during the summer of 1966.

A perfect location for wrestling during the summer months...the wooden grandstand ball park similar to that in the movie BULL DURHAM. Sponsored by the COMMUNITY BASEBALL CLUB, who also gave us DOUBLE A BASEBALL at the same site. The ring was set up at home plate, surrounded by metal ringside seat chairs all around. The grandstand served as the General Admission area. The wrestlers entered the ring from the two dugouts.

No rainouts during the summer of 1966. THREE shows in TWO months.

As a fifteen-year old 'rasslin' fan, I found myself at all three shows parked in my $2.00 ringside seat.

This was the first card of the 1966 summer...



CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE





The match results are shown above.
-
For whatever reasons (maybe analysis would reveal why), two memories come back to me about this night.

(1) My cousin, who attended with me, spilled a cup of Coca-Cola on himself during the matches.

(2) One of The Masked Red Demons (either Billy or Jimmy Hines) came out of the dugout for the main event smoking a cigarette (through the mask), discarding it as he approached the ring. I thought to myself - "Athletes aren't supposed to smoke." Give me a break, I was a naive fifteen year-old who was reading FAMOUS MONSTERS and wrestling magazines, instead of PLAYBOY, at the time. (Don't worry, the PLAYBOYs came later.)

Regardless of my mental stability, I remember the evening fondly.

Friday, July 15, 2016

WRESTLING and the FOURTH OF JULY

Thinking back through all of my MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING memories, I recall that JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS was synonymous with our nation's INDEPENDENCE DAY.

The point during the summer season in which JCP held BIG shows all over their territory.

In the final years, it was THE GREAT AMERICAN BASH, a virtual month-long tour throughout the United States.

In the earlier years, the JULY 4th shows were limited to the Carolinas, Virginia and West Virginia. But they were still BIG cards at the big venues.

My territory was limited to Greensboro, Charlotte and Winston-Salem, N.C., so let's go back and revisit some of the great FOURTH OF JULY shows JCP provided...

GOD BLESS AMERICA



GREENSBORO, N.C.
July 4, 1963

GEORGE BECKER and ARGENTINA ROCCA topped BRONCHO LUBICH and ALDO BOGNI with HOMER O'DELL.

GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT bested DOC and MIKE GALLAGHER.

JOHNNY WEAVER and RIP HAWK wrestled to a draw.

LITTLE BOY BLUE stopped CHICO SANTANA.

BRENDA SCOTT pinned OLGA MARTINEZ.



GREENSBORO, N.C.
July 5, 1962

HANS SCHMIDT defeated PAT O'CONNOR to become the NWA U.S. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION.

GEORGE BECKER and ARGENTINA ROCCA whipped P.Y. CHUNG and TARO MYAKI.

RIP HAWK defeated JOHNNY WEAVER via DQ.

PENNY BANNER pinned ANN LAVERNE.

DICK STEINBORN topped ANGELO SAVALDI.

ABE JACOBS and ROCK HUNTER wrestled to a draw.


GREENSBORO, N.C.
July 4, 1964

HAYSTACK CALHOUN and JOHNNY WEAVER won over THE GREAT BOLO and BOLO via countout.

PENNY BANNER and JUDY GLOVER toppled CORA COMBS and KATHY O'BRIEN.

TIM WOODS defeated FRANK VALOIS.

NICK KOZAK and JOHN HEATH wrestled to a draw.

BOB BOYER and LORD LITTLEBROOK got past PEE WEE LOPEZ and PEDRO GODOY.


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.
July 1, 1967

THE INFERNOS with J.C. DYKES defeated GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER via DQ.

RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON lost to THE KENTUCKIANS via DQ.

P.Y. CHUNG and HARU SASAKI topped DON CHUY and JERRY LONDON.

PENNY BANNER pinned DONNA CHRISTIAN.

LUTHER LINDSAY won over BULL RAMOS.



GREENSBORO, N.C.
July 3, 1975

JOHNNY VALENTINE defeated HARLEY RACE to become the NWA U.S. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION.

GENE and OLE ANDERSON topped ANDRE THE GIANT and PAUL JONES.

RUFUS R. JONES was the winner of the 21-MAN BATTLE ROYAL.

Winners of single matches were KEN PATERARUFUS R. JONESBORIS MALENKO, STEVE KEIRNKLONDIKE BILLRON STARR and SANDY SCOTT.


GREENSBORO, N.C.
July 4, 1976

TERRY FUNK retained the NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP over WAHOO McDANIEL.

BLACKJACK MULLIGAN lost to RUFUS R. JONES via DQ.

ANDRE THE GIANT and PAUL JONES topped GENE and OLE ANDERSON.

JOHNNY WEAVER won over 'CRUSHER' JERRY BLACKWELL.

STEVE BOLUS and ANGELO POFFO wrestled to a draw.

JOHNNY EAGLE topped DR. FUJIANI.

HANS SCHROEDER pinned KLONDIKE BILL.


GREENSBORO, N.C.
July 3, 1977

GREG VALENTINE retained the MID-ATLANTIC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP via DQ over WAHOO McDANIEL.

ANDRE THE GIANT and THE MIGHTY IGOR defeated THE MASKED SUPERSTAR with BORIS MALENKO and BLACKJACK MULLIGAN.

RICKY STEAMBOAT retained the MID-ATLANTIC TV CHAMPIONSHIP over RIC FLAIR.
(Flair won the match but not within the 15-minute TV time limit.)

BOBO BRAZIL and TIGER CONWAY JR. bested THE MISSOURI MAULER and KIM DUK.

BRUTE BERNARD lost to JOHNNY WEAVER.

DANNY MILLER (subbing for FRANKIE LAINE) topped 'CRUSHER' JERRY BLACKWELL.

STEVE KOVAKS wrestled the masked MR. X to a draw.


(Illustrations from CLASSIC CLIPS, compiled by MARK EASTRIDGE)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

LIKES AND DISLIKES by J.C. DYKES, Manager of the Infernos






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.

Monday, July 11, 2016

EVEN MORE OF STATESVILLE'S 1967 SUMMER OF WRESTLING


August 24, 1967
STATESVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA









The third and final JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS wrestling card for Statesville, N.C. in the summer of 1967.

This says it all.

I was not happy.

Back to City News Stand to retrieve my $2.00 reserved ringside admission.

I probably spent the $2.00 on new comic books before I got out of the place.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

1987 - BACK TO THE BASH


JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS, into its sixth decade of operation, would soon be no more.
---
The sale of the company to TURNER ENTERTAINMENT was on the horizon.
---
In one of its final big programs, THE GREAT AMERICAN BASH was a month-long event, starting July 1 in Lakeland, Florida and ending July 31 at the Orange Bowl in Miami. But in-between these two Sunshine State shows, The BASH journeyed as far west as Los Angeles and San Francisco, and north as Landover, Maryland. Cross-country shows were held in Chicago, Atlanta, Richmond, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma City, Baltimore, Charlotte, Greensboro, Norfolk, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia and Cleveland, among others.

ROAD WARRIOR HAWK and 'Total Package' LEX LUGER lock up.

THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS ('Sweet' STAN LANE and 'Beautiful' BOBBY EATON) double-team FREEBIRD MICHAEL HAYES.

TULLY BLANCHARD shows the toll on his body after battling DUSTY RHODES.

MIKE ROTUNDO catches one from former WORLD CHAMP DORY FUNK, JR.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

MORE OF THE 1967 STATESVILLE SUMMER OF WRESTLING

July 14, 1967
STATESVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

The Card (and a good one)...














The COMMUNITY BASEBALL CLUB of Statesville (who gave the area citizens AA Baseball) sponsored their second wrestling card of the summer, and it was a great one.

The card's two top matches were both main event matches, with four of JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS' top tag teams at the time. And considering GEORGE BECKER & JOHNNY WEAVER were there, it included THE top tag team of the decade.

Specific memories I have of this show:

(1) Prior to the evening matches, Statesville was victim of a horrific summer thunderstorm, which threatened to cancel the show. Fortunately, the storm passed, and the skies cleared. On the down side, the ring had already been set up before Mother Nature struck with a passion, thus soaking the ring mat. As a result, all of the wrestlers had to work a bit slower than usual, to prevent a loss of footing during their matches.

(2) One of the mat stars wasn't entirely successful in keeping his balance. During the ROGER KIRBY / MUMMY bout, Roger gave THE MUMMY a hip toss, and the masked man's momentum (on the slick mat) took him under the bottom rope out onto the normally dirt infield (the ring was set up in the home plate area). This night the dirt was nothing but mud, an aftermath of the storm. The off-white outfit was from that point on, a soaked, slimy brown.

(3) At the point of the "BULLIES" match when THE INFERNOS won the second fall by kicking SWEDE HANSON with the loaded boot, SWEDE JUICED. I freaked out because SWEDE would "bleed" for us in our little bitty town.

And to clarify the clipping where it says BECKER took a karate chop to the throat to drop the second fall of the main event - BECKER and SASAKI were the legal men in the ring. SASAKI applied a "stomach claw" hold on GEORGE. WEAVER entered the ring to help his partner, and CHUNG gave JOHNNY a karate thrust to the throat, preventing the save. BECKER submitted to the "stomach claw" hold.

A most memorable evening for me, certainly worth more than the $2.00 I paid for my ringside seat.

GEORGE, JOHNNY, RIP, SWEDE, and J.C. and THE INFERNOS in one night.

Sorry CENA, REIGNS, ZIGGLER...you don't come close.