Wednesday, May 22, 2019

MEMORIAL DAY WRESTLING IN CHARLOTTE

May 29, 1961
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

58 Years Ago



Tonight's PARK CENTER wrestling card has been completed with a main event match sending fan favorite GEORGE BECKER against rugged big SWEDE HANSON headlining the evening's action.

The BECKER-HANSON battle, which is set for one hour, two-out-of-three falls, will be preceded by a tag team tussle and three single matches.

The tag affair has CHIEF BIG HEART joining STEVE BOLUS to take on former gridironder MIKE PAIDOUSIS and rough CHRIS AVEROFF for the best-of-three falls, 45 minute time limit.

The list of three single scuffles is headed by a P. Y. CHUNG - BOB NANDOR match, plus SANDY SCOTT versus TERRY GARVIN and ABE JACOBS taking on TINKER TODD.

The first match is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. and advance tickets are on sale at the NATIONAL HAT SHOP in uptown Charlotte.

Monday, May 20, 2019

TEXAS ROYAL IN STATESVILLE TOWN

May 20, 1965
STATESVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

54 Years Ago...
and I was there...





Saturday, May 18, 2019

BOLO = FRANCHISE PLAYER

In the late 1950s, JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS was virtually built around one guy, a really 'bad guy'...THE GREAT BOLO.

He wore a yellow gold mask with matching attire. No wrestling fan knew his true identity, and according to a lengthy interview by the man under the hood himself (TOM RENESTO), the other wrestlers didn't, at the time, know either. This idea, he said, was designed by JIM CROCKETT himself. BIG JIM felt that keeping the wrestler's identity a real secret made for a more realistic approach to the storyline.

THE GREAT BOLO had his own private dressing room, and he wore the mask into the building upon arrival and out of the building when he left.
(I'm not sure if I really buy into that, but true or not, it makes a great story.)

THE GREAT BOLO was BIG! Fans laid out their money every night in some city hoping to find out who the guy really was. All of the top wrestlers ('babyfaces' and 'heels') in the territory worked the masked man.

I experienced my first LIVE wrestling event sixty-one years ago at the old semi-pro baseball park one summer night in Statesville, North Carolina. The main event was Indian star BILLY TWO RIVERS VERSUS THE GREAT BOLO. Next to GEORGE BECKER, BILLY was the top 'good guy' in JCP at the time.

Most of us tikes in the neighborhood went. We lived in a black and white world in the late Fifties, and when THE GREAT BOLO stepped out of one of the dugouts and made his way towards the ring, we were stunned by the bright gold colors. Up to that point, we could only guess what colors he wore. On black and white TV, it could have been most any shade.

My group, along with some other local kids, made a dash towards the masked man, whopping it up and trying to taunt him. A threatening move and a loud growl-like sound scattered us all back to our grandstand seats in record-setting speed.

Several years later, with tag team wrestling becoming extremely popular, THE GREAT BOLO brought in a partner BOLO (JODY HAMILTON). From this point on, the duo was billed as THE GREAT BOLO and BOLO, or simply THE BOLOS.

Either way, they were just as hot as RENESTO had been as a single.

In one of the hottest and biggest JCP feuds of all time, a bloodied BOLO (ripped mask and all) battles BIG BOY BROWN of THE KENTUCKIANS.

It's going to be a long way down anytime TINY ANDERSON of THE KENTUCKIANS gives you a body slam.

BOLO makes a bumpy landing in this non-JCP photo.
Had this been in the MID-ATLANTIC area, the bleachers would have been packed with fans.

The BOLO applies a chin lock to ABE JACOBS.

GEORGE BECKER and partner ENRIQUE TORRES put a hurtin' on THE BOLOS.

For the full story of the history of THE BOLOS (later THE ASSASSINS), every wrestling fan should read JODY HAMILTON's fantastic book, ASSASSIN: THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK, co-written by SCOTT TEAL.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

I MISS IT

I know that nothing can last forever.

While we have certain things, we tend to take them for granted. These things can range from cars, houses, school to family members, friends, etc.

After they are gone, we must rely on our memories, talking with others, and in some cases, recorded images of the things we hold close to our hearts.

Throughout the years, I have taken a good bit of criticism from some folks for being a fan of professional wrestling.

"Why do you like that stuff?"

I have been asked that question more than once.

My blow-off answer is usually something like, "I guess the same reason you love NASCAR or the NFL or college basketball. Most of us all have the same emotions. We choose to direct them at different things."

And since I was eight years old, wrestling has been a part of my life, and I have never regretted it.

I do regret what has happened to the wrestling business over the last twenty-five + years, that the business today is, for the most part, controlled by one individual. That the workers of today don't have the established territories of years ago to improve their talents (yes, there are indy promotions out there, but it isn't the same as going from JIM CROCKETT to EDDIE GRAHAM to DORY FUNK SR.)

And for everyone who is affected negatively by the business as it exists today, I am saddened.

But, nothing can last forever.

Below are photos of some of the folks who were fortunate enough to work in the 'heyday' of the business.


LES THATCHER battles BULL RAMOS at CHARLOTTE'S PARK CENTER.
This match was in 1968. (The referee is ANGELO MARTINELLI.)


ABE JACOBS has the upper hand on THE GREAT BOLO.
(At least, for the time being.)


TEX McKENZIE battles GENE KINISKI for the NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP.
(I witnessed one such encounter of these two at the original CHARLOTTE COLISEUM. KINISKI took two falls of three to remain champ.)


PENNY BANNER and THE FABULOUS MOOLAH battle it out.
(In my opinion, the top two women wrestlers of their era.)


'Young Lion' PAUL DEMARCO slams BRONCHO LUBICH
(Referee SAM 'Lucky' ROBERTS observes.)


NELSON ROYAL gets tangled up in his work, with RIP HAWK's help, at CHARLOTTE's PARK CENTER.


TONI ROSE is whipped into the corner by JUDY GRABLE.

Man, I wish I had a time machine.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

MAYBE YOU WERE THERE


CHARLESTON, W.V. - 1969

GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER topped THE MISSOURI MAULER and HIRO MATSUDA

HAYSTACK MULDOON beat NIKITA MULKOVICH

SAILOR ART THOMAS and THE AMAZING ZUMA bested EL GAUCHO and PEDRO GODOY

BOB RAMSTEAD lost to 'BULLDOG' LEE HENNING



CHARLOTTE, N.C. - 1971

THE INFERNOS with J.C. DYKES whipped RONNIE and TERRY GARVIN

JACK BRISCO and SANDY SCOTT topped NIKITA MULKOVICH and JOHNNY HEIDEMAN

ROCK HUNTER bested ALEX MEDINA

JERRY BRISCO beat JOE SOTO



CHARLOTTE, N.C. - 1969

HAYSTACK CALHOUN, SAM STEAMBOAT and THE AMAZING ZUMA beat BRONCHO LUBICHALDO BOGNI and GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS in six man action.

GREG PETERSON beat LEON BAXTER

LES WOLFF topped EL GAUCHO

SILENTO RODRIGUEZ bested BILLY SPEARS



NORFOLK, VA. - 1968

LARS and GENE ANDERSON won over GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER on a disqualification

TONI ROSE defeated DONNA CHRISTENELLO

PAMPERO FIRPO and THE MISSOURI MAULER stopped RUDY KAYE and LES THATCHER

BOB NANDOR topped GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS

THE AMAZING ZUMA over JERRY LONDON




LEXINGTON, N.C. - 1967

GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT topped HARU SASAKI and P.Y. CHUNG

LARS and GENE ANDERSON beat CHIEF LITTLE EAGLE and JERRY LONDON

PEDRO GODOY over SONNY FARGO

ROGER KIRBY and THE MUMMY wrestled to a draw.



CHARLESTON, S.C. - 1969

GENE and OLE ANDERSON defeated GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER

PENNY BANNER beat BELLE STARR

THE MASKED RED DEMONS lost to SAM STEAMBOAT and BOBBY NICHOLS via DQ

BOB RAMSTEAD wrestled 'BULLDOG' LEE HENNING to a draw

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Friday, May 10, 2019

WRESTLING UNDER THE STARS

August 24, 1959
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

60 Years ago

DUKE KEOMUKA

THE GREAT BOLO

MR. MOTO

LARRY 'CRUSHER' HAMILTON

IKE EAKINS

GEORGE BECKER

RITA CORTEZ
---
Professional wrestling moves outdoors tonight with a big five-bout card slated for CHARLOTTE MEMORIAL STADIUM.

Heading the starlite program presented by promoter JIM CROCKETT is a battle for the SOUTHERN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP, which gives the challengers LARRY 'CRUSHER' HAMILTON and his masked partner THE GREAT BOLO another shot at the titleholders, the Oriental combo of MR. MOTO and DUKE KEOMUKA.

The two teams have gone at it several times already with all of the matches ending in wild brawls. Neither team has any respect for the rule book, so this time, CROCKETT is adding the NO DISQUALIFICATION and NO TIME LIMIT clauses to the mix, ensuring a definite winner. The tag team championship will be decided by the best two-out-of-three falls.

A pair of top fan favorites are on hand tonight facing tough competition.

Popular GEORGE BECKER will meet an old foe in that of 'BIG' IKE EAKINS.

Mohawk Indian BILLY TWO RIVERS will try to tomahawk chop rugged JACK CURTIS down to defeat.

A special girls tag team match is set with PAT LYDA and JUDY GRABLE facing MARGIE RAMSEY and RITA CORTEZ. This one is schedule for the best-of-three falls.

The 8:15 opening bout sends good-looking BOB BOYER against Charlotte newcomer BILLY STRAWN.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

JUDO CHOPS vs TOMAHAWK CHOPS

November 18, 1967
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA


Oriental wrestlers HARU SASAKI and P. Y. CHUNG will have their judo wizardry challenged again when they are rematched against the spectacular Indian combo of CHIEF LITTLE EAGLE and BOBBY RED CLOUD at the LEXINGTON YMCA, starting at 8:15.

The Indians, winners of a disputed verdict in an earlier encounter, have their "tomahawk chops" which are very close to the "judo chops" used by the Orientals.

They'll battle for the best-of-three falls to determine a winner.

Two other top teams will meet in the week's two-out-of-three falls co-main event. The hero combination of HAYSTACK CALHOUN and THE AMAZING ZUMA will tangle with wrestling's "Blonde Bombers", RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON.

Preliminary bouts have a "south of the border" flavor.

Mexico's PANCHO VALDEZ will challenge young DENNIS HALL.

THE MATADOR, also from Mexico, faces ANGELO MARTINELLI in the opener.

Monday, May 6, 2019

CLASSIC RASSLIN' RESULTS

RALEIGH, N.C. - 1968
---
LARSGENE and OLE ANDERSON defeated RIP HAWKSWEDE HANSON and NELSON ROYAL.

GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT took ALEX MEDINA and JESSE JAMES.

ABE JACOBS won from FRANK HICKEY.

THE AMAZING ZUMA bested 'BULLDOG' LEE HENNING.


CHARLESTON, S.C. - 1969
---
RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON lost to NELSON ROYAL and PAUL JONES.

JESSE JAMES and RANDY CURTIS beat PEDRO and PANCHO VALDEZ.

MATTI SUZUKI topped SONNY FARGO.

EL LOBO pinned RON CHARLES.


CHARLESTON, W.V. - 1969
---
SAILOR ART THOMASNELSON ROYAL and PAUL JONES bested ALDO BOGNIBRONCHO LUBICH and GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS in six man action.

BOBBY RED CLOUD toppled BOB GRIFFIN.

PANCHO VALDEZ and GREG PETERSON wrestled to a draw.


RALEIGH, N.C. - 1969
---
NELSON ROYALPAUL JONES and SANDY SCOTT topped LARSGENE and OLE ANDERSON in six man action.

BOB GRIFFIN won from BOBBY PAUL.

GEORGE SCOTT bested PEDRO VALDEZ.

KOA TIKI pinned EL GAUCHO.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

LIKES & 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 count out.

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.