Thursday, March 26, 2015

ANOTHER HOME TOWN WRESTLING CARD

June 20, 1968
STATESVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

47 Years Ago




And I was there...in my $2.00 ringside seat.
The main event ended in the third and deciding fall. MR. WRESTLING and THE AMAZING ZUMA won the match via disqualification when manager GEORGE "TWO TON" HARRIS illegally entered the ring and gave THE AMAZING ZUMA a "big splash."

The crowd went home happy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

ALWAYS PLENTY OF ACTION


Women yes...Ladies maybe...
BETTY BOUCHER slams LINDA CARROLL to the concrete floor.

HARLEY RACE and DUSTY RHODES go at it.

NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION RIC FLAIR versus PAUL JONES.

Two true legends of the business...
GENE ANDERSON and JOHNNY WEAVER

JOE LE DUC slams STEVE STRONG.

STEVE KEIRN whips BOB ORTON JR. into the ring corner.

WAHOO MCDANIEL about to taste the ringpost at the hands of KIM DUK.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

WHERE WERE YOU IN '62?

Moviegoers of 1973 and beyond may remember the advertising slogan from the hit film AMERICAN GRAFFITI.

It was a catchy phrase that stayed in the minds of folks for quite a while.

So, since I'm spotlighting some great 1962 JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS shows from GREENSBORO, N.C., I'll ask again...

WHERE WERE YOU IN '62?

FEBRUARY 15, 1962

ARGENTINA ROCCA defeated RIP HAWK.

U.S. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION PAT O'CONNOR won over HANS SCHMIDT via DQ.

DON McCLARITY topped SWEET DADDY SIKI.

STEVE BOLUS and ANGELO MARTINELLI whipped SONNY FARGO and JACK VANSKY.

RITA CORTEZ pinned JUDY GRABLE.

GUY LA ROSE bested ANGELO SAVALDI.

APRIL 5, 1962

WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION BUDDY ROGERS retained the title over BILLY 'TARZAN' DARNELL.

REGGIE PARKS and STEVE BOLUS beat KURT and KARL VON BRAUNER via DQ.

GEORGE BECKER topped RIP HAWK.

BABY CHERYL pinned DARLING DAGMAR.

CHIEF BIG HEART and PANCHO VILLA wrestled to a draw.

LUTHER LINDSAY whipped MIKE PAIDOUSIS.

MAY 3, 1962

ARGENTINA ROCCA and HAYSTACK CALHOUN topped KURT and KARL VON BRAUNER via DQ.

IVAN KAMEROFF and JOHN SMITH stopped JIM LA-ROCK and JERRY LONDON.

JOHNNY WEAVER pinned ANGELO SAVALDI

STEVE BOLUS and PAT O'BRIEN wrestled to a draw.

TINY SMITH won from JACK VANSKY (subbing for JACK TERRY).

MAY 24, 1962

JOHNNY VALENTINE stopped JOHNNY WEAVER.

RIP HAWK won over GEORGE BECKER.

HAYSTACK CALHOUN and ABE JACOBS toppled SWEDE HANSON and GYPSY JOE.

JOHN SMITH and IVAN KAMEROFF defeated TONY BAILLERGEON and MAURICE LA POINTE.

RAY VILLMER bested PANCHO VILLA.


JULY 5, 1962

HANS SCHMIDT defeated PAT O'CONNOR.

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

RIP HAWK won over JOHNNY WEAVER via DQ.

PENNY BANNER topped ANN LAVERNE.

ABE JACOBS and ROCK HUNTER wrestled to a draw.

DICK STEINBORN pinned ANGELO SAVALDI.

OCTOBER 18, 1962

RIP HAWK and ROCK HUNTER defeated GEORGE BECKER and BILLY TWO RIVERS.

THE GREAT BOLO topped JOHNNY WEAVER.

REGGIE PARKS and RAY VILLMER bested JOHN SMITH and IVAN KAMEROFF.

PAT SHERRY pinned BRENDA SCOTT.

EDUARDO CASTILLO lost to P.Y. CHUNG.

Friday, March 20, 2015

WORLD CHAMPION IN TOWN

JANUARY 2, 1961
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

54 Years Ago


The complete card for tonight's professional wrestling at PARK CENTER has been finalized and announced by promoter JIM CROCKETT.

The New Year will kick off with the WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, PAT O'CONNOR, risking his title against top contender DANNY McSHANE.

Newcomers MAURICE and PAUL VACHON, brothers from Canada, take on FRANKIE CAIN * and BOBBY WINDER in a semifinal tag battle.

Both the championship match and the tag team match are set for the best two-out-of-three falls.

The main prelim has THE BRUTE going against another Charlotte newcomer, HAPPY HUMPHREY, a mammoth 700 pounder from Macon, Georgia.

The card's 8:15 opening bout features WALDO VON ERICH battling BOB NANDOR in a one fall, twenty minute match.

* FRANKIE CAIN later became one of the original INFERNOS.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

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.

Monday, March 16, 2015

FIFTH TIME'S A CHARM

November 11, 1967
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA


THE INFERNOS
with Manager J. C. DYKES


CHIEF LITTLE EAGLE


BOBBY RED CLOUD
---
"Failure to continue" will determine the winner when top professional tag teams are matched for the fifth time in recent weeks in tonight's main event mat feature at the LEXINGTON YMCA.

It will be a TEXAS DEATH MATCH tonight when the popular Indian combo of CHIEF LITTLE EAGLE and BOBBY RED CLOUD clash with the dreaded masked duo of THE INFERNOS. In this match, falls will not count. There is NO DISQUALIFICATION and NO TIME LIMIT. The match will proceed until one of the teams is incapable of participating. This is pro wrestling's version of a "fight to the finish".

THE INFERNOS will have their red-headed manager, J. C. DYKES, in their corner. He will, no doubt, have with him his metal canteen and loud whistle. The canteen, DYKES claims, is for "refreshment" purposes for his masked men, but fans have seen J. C. use it as a weapon in the past. The whistle is to give instructions to THE INFERNOS during their match. But lately, fans have been bringing their own whistles to the matches, causing confusion between the managers and his wrestlers.


TEX McKENZIE


NELSON ROYAL


P. Y. CHUNG


HARU SASAKI

The co-feature on tonight's card is for two-out-of-three falls and will send the torrid Texan team of fan favorites TEX McKENZIE and NELSON ROYAL against the sly and crafty Oriental combo of P. Y. CHUNG and HARU SASAKI. A definite clash of cultures is present here.


BOB NANDOR

Popular RUDY KAYE meets TINY MILLS, and spectacular BOB NANDOR takes on newcomer STEVE STANLEY in the evening's single matches.

MILLS, much larger than his nickname implies, returns after a long absence.

The first bell is at 8:15.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

IT'S TIME TO PLAY FAMILY FEUD

Every family has it's problems, some large and some small. One wrestling 'family' had a problem of ten on the Richter Scale.

GENE and OLE ANDERSON, 'affectionately' known as THE MINNESOTA WRECKING CREW, had been a major player in JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS tag team wars for nearly a decade and were, in 1977, current holders of the NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP.

As it was, GENE and OLE's 'cousin', RIC FLAIR was teaming with the rugged GREG VALENTINE, and I suppose it had to happen, that the RIC / GREG duo felt they were due a title match with the champs.

Cocky...yes, smug...yes, arrogant...yes again.

Worthy...you bet!

So, 'cousin' FLAIR was willing to set aside his 'family' ties and do battle for the belts.

A series of matches took place all over the MID-ATLANTIC territory, and when the dust and the blood had settled, GENE ANDERSON was in the hospital, OLE ANDERSON was without a partner, JCP fans had witnessed some of the most physical and brutal matches of their lives and RIC FLAIR and GREG VALENTINE were NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS.

I suppose this says it all.

The new NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS.

FLAIR pounds on 'cousin' OLE.

'Here's your early Christmas present, cousin.'

Even Richard Dawson couldn't settle this family feud.

Question: If RIC FLAIR was GENE and OLE ANDERSON's 'cousin', and FLAIR was RIP HAWK's 'nephew', what relation would HAWK be to the ANDERSONs?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

WRESTLING UNDER THE STARS

August 24, 1959
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

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.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

FROM CHARLOTTE AND BROOKLYN




Southern wrestling audiences heard many times, during his ring introductions, that GEORGE BECKER was born in Brooklyn, New York. And that was true. He became interested in amateur wrestling, going to the Cooper Athletic Club in the same city. Training long and hard, he excelled in the sport during the Great Depression. During one tournament, BECKER wrestled eight matches in one day, winning the first seven and dropping the eighth to a more experienced competitor.

BECKER's place of employment, an aquarium in New York City, went out of business during the difficult economic times, so the young GEORGE decided to turn professional, making his debut at the Ridgewood Grove Arena in 1934.

In the later years of his long career, George often told the story that he had to laugh when some of the new wrestlers complained that they were not getting paid what they thought they should. "One night in 1938, while I was in Alabama, I wrestled four times in one night and was paid a total of $3.40. And while I was taking a shower after the matches, somebody stole the $3.40 out of my pants."

In 1936, BECKER had one of the most important matches of his young career at the Ridgewood Grove in hometown Brooklyn. His opponent was a highly-touted lad by the name of Lou Thesz, who soon became the World Heavyweight Champion. "I learned a lot about wrestling that night," George told folks.

BECKER was in Philadelphia when World War 2 broke out, so he joined the Coast Guard, but continued to wrestle when he could get any leave time. When the war ended, GEORGE headed to California to wrestle full-time, becoming a big hit in the Golden State. It was out on the west coast where he teamed up with 'brother' BOBBY BECKER, and the two became the tag team champions.

The wrestling matches from California were being filmed and soon were being shown all over the country, including the Carolinas and Virginia, on that new device called television. The demand for the BECKER brothers was so intense that Bill Lewis, then wrestling promoter of Richmond, Virginia, convinced the two to leave California and come to the east coast in 1951, where they began wrestling under the banner of JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS.

They immediately became the top drawing wrestlers in the then twenty-year history of JCP, which was established back around 1932. But tragedy struck in 1954 when BOBBY BECKER (real name John Emmerling) died of leukemia.


GEORGE with 'brother' BOBBY BECKER.



GEORGE with frequent mid-1950's tag partner JACK WITZIG. In 1956, they were the SOUTHERN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS.



GEORGE with DICK STEINBORN. The two often teamed in the late 1950s and early 1960s.



GEORGE in a posed publicity shot - 1951.




They were at their peak, the toast of the wrestling world. BOBBY had been sick for some time, but other than GEORGE and his immediate family, nobody in the business knew anything of his illness. During the middle of November, 1954, GEORGE and BOBBY wrestled a match with HANS SCHNABEL and MRMOTO in Greenville, S.C. The next day, BOBBY went to his Charlotte doctor, who transferred him to a New York hospital. Two days later, he passed away.

BOBBY's final Charlotte match was during the previous month, at Griffith Park, with boxing legend JACK DEMPSEY as special referee.



In the early 1970s, BECKER poses with his son, CRAIG, then two years of age.
During his career as a student at CLEMSON UNIVERSITYCRAIG would be a three-time All-American swimmer. Becker had three other children with his first wife, who died of cancer.



The team of GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER was idolized by the wrestling fans.



Mr. and Mrs. GEORGE BECKER with wrestler VICKI WILLIAMS.
JOYCE BECKER teamed with WILLIAMS when she was JOYCE GRABLE before her marriage to GEORGE.



'Big' JIM CROCKETT (the man who built a wrestling empire) and his top wrestler for twenty years.


GEORGE stopped wrestling for a while after BOBBY died. "It just didn't feel right without him."

After some time, GEORGE returned to the ring. He had found a young college student from Wisconsin named JACK WITZIG, who had turned professional and was doing well as a single. The two teamed up, and during their run as a combo, GEORGE and JACK won the SOUTHERN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP and were recognized as WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS as well. Out of nowhere, WITZIG decided to quit the business and go back to school. He became a dentist.

It was, at this point, that GEORGE began teaming with young DICK STEINBORN, the son of wrestler / promoter MILO STEINBORN. For about two years, the BECKER / STEINBORN team was the top combo in the territory.

BECKER then worked with a number of partners off and on, including SANDY SCOTT (the two were SOUTHERN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS), ENRIQUE TORRES,
BOBBY RED CLOUDARGENTINA ROCCA and BILLY TWO RIVERS. Quite an impressive list.

Another milestone in BECKER's career occurred in 1962. A youngster named JOHNNY WEAVER came to JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS (we can thank RIP HAWK for it happening). GEORGE and JOHNNY soon began to work together, and this relationship blossomed into a decade-long run in the MID-ATLANTIC territory. GEORGE and JOHNNY were the top team in the company, hands down. The fans loved them (and that is putting it mildly). Any 'heel' team of the 1960s and early 1970s, to succeed in JCP, had to go through BECKER and WEAVER. The two were the yardsticks for which everyone else was measured.

GEORGE BECKER left CROCKETT PROMOTIONS in 1971, ending an incredible twenty-year run that was never equaled by any other wrestler. He briefly started his own wrestling promotion and then retired.

He passed away at the age of 85 on October 25, 1998, in Florida, where he had lived for the last twenty-five years of his life. Death was due to Alzheimer's Disease, which he had suffered from its effects for seven years.

Mike Mooneyham had this to say at the time of BECKER's passing, "No wrestler in the pre-Flair era was more popular in the Carolinas than GEORGE BECKER. He was a wrestling icon before the word became commonplace and overused."

Sunday, March 8, 2015

LABORING ON LABOR DAY

September 4, 1961
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

Eighteen wrestlers, including four girl grapplers, will make up the summer's biggest wrestling card, which is tonight at the CHARLOTTE COLISEUM.

Headlining the big LABOR DAY spectacular will be a tag team match which pits two teams noted for rough tactics and no regard for the rule book.

One of the year's rowdiest bouts will occur when the German brother team of KURT and KARL VON BRAUNER meet THE MASKED MEDICS.

'GENTLEMAN' SAUL WEINEGROFF will be in the corner of the Germans, as usual, displaying his managerial skills.

THE MEDICS, who claim they were both kicked out of medical school for not following "protocol", say they will handle WEINEGROFF if he gets out of line.

Both teams have cut wide paths in tag team avenues since coming here, so something's gotta give in this two-out-of-three falls clash.

KURT and KARL VON BRAUNER
with 'GENTLEMAN' SAUL WEINEGROFF

THE MEDICS

JOHNNY VALENTINE

CHIEF BIG HEART

P.Y. CHUNG

GEORGE BECKER

EDDIE GRAHAM
---
The co-main event also packs a wallop when popular Osage Indian star CHIEF BIG HEART faces rugged JOHNNY VALENTINE.

Then come the girls as BABS WINGO joins forces with LULA MAE PROVO to meet RAMONA ISABEL and PEARL BATES.

Yet another tag encounter has fan favorite GEORGE BECKER teaming with New Zealander ABE JACOBS to meet LAVERNE BAXTER and TOMMY O'TOOLE.

'DOCTOR' EDDIE GRAHAM will test Oriental P.Y. CHUNG, and the 8:15 opener sends RAY VILLMER opposite GYPSY JOE.

Advance tickets on sale at THE NATIONAL HAT SHOP in downtown CHARLOTTE and at the COLISEUM box office.