Sunday, December 4, 2016

TEXAS MEETS GERMANY

October 29, 1966
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

TEX McKENZIE

KURT and HENRY VON STROHEIM

NELSON ROYAL

MASKED RED DEMON

EL GAUCHO

JESSE JAMES

ANGELO MARTINELLI
---
The torrid Texas team of TEX McKENZIE and NELSON ROYAL will return to the LEXINGTON YMCA tonight after a lengthy absence and will run head-on into the tough German brother duo of KURT and HENRY VON STROHEIM in the evening's main event. The Germans are on a hot streak, and the cowboys will do all they can to put a halt to their opponents' winning ways.

McKENZIE's towering 6 foot 9 inch, 290 pound frame, coupled with ROYAL's 230 pounds, gives the heroes a weight advantage over the brothers, who combine at 504 pounds. But the VON STROHEIMs are rugged, intelligent and down right mean. The best two-out-of-three falls clash should be a great one.

Another dangerous combo, the MASKED RED DEMONS, tangle with two more Texans in the persons of JESSE JAMES and KEN HOLLIS in the best-of-three falls co-feature. JESSE and KEN are fan favorites but will have their hands full as the DEMONS are tearing up all competition, fresh from a victory here last week over RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON, and that's no easy feat. The identities of the MASKED RED DEMONS remain an unsolved mystery.

Supporting matches pit a bright newcomer JIM OSBORNE taking on veteran JAN MADRID, and the 8:15 first match will find rugged EL GAUCHO against ANGELO MARTINELLI.

Friday, December 2, 2016

TEXANS BATTLE FOR U.S. CHAMPIONSHIP

PAUL JONES battles TERRY FUNK for the UNITED STATES HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP






Wednesday, November 30, 2016

THE BIG NAMES WRESTLED FOR THE CROCKETTS


JERRY BRISCO locks the 'figure four' on TERRY FUNK

When he first came to JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS, he was the rulebreaking 'SIR' NELSON ROYAL.

PAUL JONES has to battle both of 'THE MINNESOTA WRECKING CREW' GENE and OLE ANDERSON.

KEN PATERA applies a rear chin lock on then-WORLD CHAMPION HARLEY RACE.

RUFUS R. JONES about to wind up that 'freight train'.

DUSTY RHODES batters THE GREAT MALENKO.

None were dirtier than 'DIRTY' DICK SLATER.

Remember THE HOLLYWOOD BLONDES?
A pre-Freebird BUDDY ROBERTS and JERRY BROWN with SIR OLIVER HUMPERDINK.

Monday, November 28, 2016

THE BIG BOLO BATTLE

January 7, 1963
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

53 Years Ago


It started out as what could be called an ordinary rough and tough wrestling feud, but last week, it escalated into hatred of gigantic proportions.

That's the background for the best two-out-of-three falls match that headlines tonight's PARK CENTER wrestling card. The contest tonight gives THE KENTUCKIANS team of BIG BOY BROWN and TINY ANDERSON another shot at the villanous and hated masked team of THE GREAT BOLO and BOLO.

THE KENTUCKIANS succeeded in ripping off one BOLO mask during a recent TV bout seen on WBTV, but the other BOLO quickly stripped off his shirt and hid his partner's identity. Tonight, BROWN and ANDERSON say they'll rip off BOTH masks, boots, shirts and even tights, if necessary.

In the evening's other tag battle, THE FLYING SCOTTS, GEORGE and SANDY, will face the rugged duo of THE SICILIANS, LOU ALBANO and TONY ALTIMORE. This one is also set for the best-of-three falls.

DON WHITTLER takes on FELIX LAMBAN, and "TIGER" JACK VANSKY meets DOUG KINSLOW in singles action.

Belltime is 8:15, and a huge crowd is expected.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

BECKER GETS HOMER O'DELL

October 24, 1964
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

Hero GEORGE BECKER and the arrogant HOMER O'DELL will face off in a wrestling special at the LEXINGTON YMCA tonight, and BECKER is so anxious for the match that he has agreed to beat O'DELL two falls within twenty minutes or he'll work for free.

The match is one of several on another all-star agenda, which also includes a two-out-of-three falls tag team battle between the polished duo of NICK KOZAK and 'IRISH' MIKE CLANCY taking on the 'BLONDE BOMBERS' of the sport, RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON.

Another best-of-three falls tag contest features O'DELL's team of ALDO BOGNI and BRONCHO LUBICH facing the popular twosome of JESSE JAMES and DOUG GILBERT.

The 8:15 opening match will feature colored girls BETTY ANN SPENCER meeting SWEET GEORGIA BROWN in a special encounter.

HOMER O'DELL

GEORGE BECKER

RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON

NICK KOZAK

ALDO BOGNI and BRONCHO LUBICH

'IRISH' MIKE CLANCY

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

AND MORE THANKSGIVING WRESTLING IN CHARLOTTE

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.

Monday, November 21, 2016

THANKSGIVING AT CHARLOTTE'S BIG DOME

November 27, 1961
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
---
55 years Ago

The outstanding wrestling card of Autumn takes place in the Queen City tonight at the "Big Dome" CHARLOTTE COLISEUM.

The first bell will ring promptly at 8:15, and fourteen of the nation's most sought-after grapplers will spring into action.

The arrogant German team of KURT and KARL VON BRAUNER will mix with LENNY MONTANA and the polished PAT O'CONNOR in the best-of-three falls main event.

"GENTLEMAN" SAUL WEINGROFF, the crowd-baiting, cane-bearing handler of the European tandem, has been "barred" from ringside unless he wears a straight jacket.

"I'll be there," promises Saul. "I feel I am being persecuted by this handicap, but my boys want me there, so I won't let them down."

The complete line-up of wrestling stars is impressive.

THE GREAT BOLO, the brutal masked villain, is back and collides with SWEET DADDY SIKI.

RIP "THE PROFILE" HAWK and New Zealand's ABE JACOBS will test one another.

Another tag match will take place when the popular duo of GEORGE BECKER and CHIEF BIG HEART face THE MASKED MEDICS in another two-out-of-three falls battle.

A ladies match featuring Miss RITA CORTEZ is scheduled.

An autograph session will take place starting at 7:00.

Tickets can be purchased at the NATIONAL HAT SHOP in downtown Charlotte or at the Coliseum box office.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

SEE YOU AT RINGSIDE

November 25, 1967
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

49 Years Ago


The wild man from the Pampas, PAMPERO FIRPO, and his rugged tag team partner, THE MISSOURI MAULER, will be out to halt the winning streak of the popular Indian duo of BOBBY RED CLOUD and CHIEF LITTLE EAGLE in tonight's wrestling main event at the LEXINGTON YMCA.

The Indians have been on the warpath lately with victories over highly-touted teams and have built up a loyal following. Their opponents tonight are extremely rough and powerful, and the best-of-three falls contest should be loaded with action.

"Back to the reservation to make mocassins," THE MISSOURI MAULER predicts. "When Mr. FIRPO and I are finished with them, their squaws will have to nurse them both back to health."

Another two-out-of-three falls tag encounter pits two new combinations against one another. Popular LES THATCHER joins RUDY KAYE to face "BULLDOG" LEE HENNING and the mysterious masked wrestler, THE MUMMY.

TINY MILLS, a big operator, meets popular Negro star, LUTHER LINDSAY, and young ALEX MEDINA takes on newcomer CHUCK STANLEY in the singles matches of the evening.

Belltime is 8:15.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

THE GREAT BOLO GOES TO COURT

January 27, 1959
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

TOM RENESTO as THE GREAT BOLO
---
A west coast professional wrestler calling himself 'THE GREAT BOLO' wants the courts to unmask Charlotte's version of the hooded villain.

AL LOVELOCK, who claims he was licensed to wrestle under the ring name of 'THE GREAT BOLO' in 1953, filed a suit against THOMAS F. RENESTO in Superior Court Monday, asking $20,000 in actual and $100,000 in punitive damages.

LOVELOCK, from Houston, Texas, also seeks a court order preventing RENESTO from using the name and mask of 'THE GREAT BOLO'.

JIM CROCKETT
---
The bulky wrestler claims that RENESTO served as his 'second' while he was winning matches in Arizona, California, Texas and other states.

RENESTO made his first 'BOLO' appearance in Charlotte in February, 1958. Since then, he has developed into a major attraction for promoter JIM CROCKETT's wrestling shows all over both Carolinas and Virginia, while managing to avoid being unmasked.

He won a Charlotte match just Monday night, defeating LARRY 'CRUSHER' HAMILTON, but his share of the purse was attached as a result of the court action.

TOM RENESTO
---
LOVELOCK's lawsuit also requests that JIM CROCKETT be prevented from presenting RENESTO as 'THE GREAT BOLO'.

Neither CROCKETT nor RENESTO could be reached for immediate comment.

Taken from an ASSOCIATED PRESS story which appeared in the January 27, 1959 issue of THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER.



Obviously, LOVELOCK was not successful in his lawsuit in blocking 'THE GREAT BOLO' in JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS, as TOM RENESTO continued as the masked character in JCP until 1964, along the way adding JODY HAMILTON as his lookalike partner for tag team purposes. The two then left for other wrestling territories and changed their ring name to THE ASSASSINS.

The irony of this story is that although 'THE GREAT BOLO' was never unmasked or his identity exposed in the wrestling ring, his real name was revealed in the court papers when the suit was filed and the story was reported in the press.

I wonder how many wrestling fans were paying attention.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

STEAMBOAT SAVES PARTNER'S LIFE




TIME LINE: 1969
One of the top 'babyface' teams in the JIM CROCKETT / MID-ATLANTIC territory was SAM STEAMBOAT and MR. WRESTLING (TIM WOODS).

Being near the top of the rankings put the duo in line for title matches for the ATLANTIC COAST TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP, then held by the blonde duo of RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON.

Naturally, RIP and SWEDE claimed STEAMBOAT and MR. WRESTLING were not deserving of a title run, and to prove it, signed to meet their new challengers in a NON-TITLE match in CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA.

The Hawaiian and the masked man prevailed, thrashing the champs the best two-out-of-three falls.

The champs no longer could duck giving the non-title victors a championship match. It would be held in NORFOLK, VIRGINIA.

It was ALL-OUT WAR!



Early in the title match, RIP softens up challenger STEAMBOAT, but the 'good guys' won the first fall anyway.



Second fall action saw a badly battered MR. WRESTLING try to injure SWEDE HANSON as well.



The second fall went to HAWK and HANSON after MR. WRESTLING had been badly bloodied.



Desperate to save their ATLANTIC COAST TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP, RIP attacked STEAMBOAT and MR. WRESTLING with the ring announcer's metal microphone.



RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON double team MR. WRESTLING with that same microphone.



This was the result.



However, both teams took a beating. Here RIP's 'profile' is rearranged.



HANSON and STEAMBOAT battle it out.



SAM STEAMBOAT and MR. WRESTLING after the match.
---
When it was all over, RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON had escaped with their ATLANTIC COAST TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP.

STEAMBOAT and MR. WRESTLING had escaped with their lives.