Wednesday, February 26, 2020

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME

On a summer afternoon in 1987, in Charlotte, North Carolina, CROCKETT PARK was the scene of one of the most fascinating sports competitions in the Tarheel state's history.
It wasn't Duke playing North Carolina, it wasn't the LA Dodgers against the SF Giants, not even the Boston Red Sox against the NY Yankees.
On this day, before the birth of the CHARLOTTE HORNETS, the CAROLINA PANTHERS or the CHARLOTTE BOBCATS, the professional wrestlers of JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS took on a team of employees of the Queen City's WSOC RADIO station for a softball charity fund raiser.

'The Russian Nightmare' NIKITA KOLOFF plays his left field postion. (It is rumored that Nikita tried to 'sickle' the home plate umpire on a disputed called third strike.)

Rock 'n' Roll Expresser RICKY MORTON makes a great play at shortstop.

'Hands of Stone' RONNIE GARVIN warms up to pitch for JCP.

BARRY WINDHAM takes his cuts at the plate.

A look into the MID-ATLANTIC dugout (how many can you name?)

Oh yes, if you're interested, the boys of JCP won the game 4 - 0.

Monday, February 24, 2020

DID YOU SEE...



MR. WRESTLING


CHARLESTON, S.C. - 1970

GENE and OLE ANDERSON versus THE INFERNOS with J.C. DYKES ended in a double DQ

BOB GRIFFIN and MR. WRESTLING downed JOHNNY HEIDEMAN and TOM BRADLEY

PEPE GOMEZ and GREG PETERSON wrestled to a draw

JESSE JAMES defeated BOBBY RED CLOUD


PAMPERO FIRPO


RALEIGH, N.C. - 1967

GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT no contested LARS and GENE ANDERSON

PAMPERO FIRPO beat DON CHUY

THE MISSOURI MAULER defeated NELSON ROYAL

THE FABULOUS MOOLAH and TONI ROSE topped DONNA CHRISTENELLO and DORA NICHOLS

THE AMAZING ZUMA over BULL RAMOS


'BULLDOG' LEE HENNING


RALEIGH, N.C. - 1968

THE INFERNOS and J.C. DYKES whipped ABE JACOBSNELSON ROYAL and LUTHER LINDSAY in six man action

TERRY and RONNIE GARVIN defeated PEPE GOMEZ and JACK RICO

'BULLDOG' LEE HENNING bested ALEX MEDINA

PAUL JONES toppled JIM GRABMIRE


NIKITA MULKOVICH


LYNCHBURG, VA. - 1969

THE INFERNOS with J.C. DYKES fell to GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER

NELSON ROYAL and PAUL JONES topped JIM GRABMIRE and 'BULLDOG' LEE HENNING

PEPE GOMEZ bested JOHNNY HEIDEMAN

NIKITA MULKOVICH lost to LUTHER LINDSAY


BRUTE BERNARD and SKULL MURPHY


GREENVILLE, N.C. - 1970

GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT defeated GENE and OLE ANDERSON

BRUTE BERNARD and SKULL MURPHY lost to JOHNNY WEAVER and JOHN L. SULLIVAN *

JOHNNY HEIDEMAN beat JOE FURR (who didn't beat Joe Furr?)

TINKER TODD topped JIM GRABMIRE



* JOHN L. SULLIVAN had me baffled. I have no recollection of this man working for JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS, especially working on top with JOHNNY WEAVER.

So I went to the man who would have the info, if anyone would. And he did.

CARROLL HALL provided the following:
"JOHN L. SULLIVAN was not here that long. He went on to become 'LUSCIOUS' JOHNNY VALIANT. It was sort of being in the right place at the right time. I remember seeing him only once or twice on TV.
According to the records kept by JOHNNY WEAVERGEORGE BECKER's mother-in law passed away on March 26,1970. That night in Greensboro, North Carolina, GEORGE and JOHNNY dropped the ATLANTIC COAST TAG TEAM belts to GENE and OLE ANDERSON, most likely because BECKER and WEAVER were booked solid at the time, and BECKER was going to take nearly three weeks off.
GEORGE's name was marked through in JOHNNY's records and replaced with 'SULLY' (SULLIVAN) for a portion of those matches. It looks like SULLIVAN was not working out as JOHNNY then marked through some of the booked tag team opponents' names and changed them to singles matches between himself and one of the other guys."

Thank you CARROLL.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

GREAT CARDS FROM WAY BACK


THE GREAT MALENKO
---
GREENSBORO, N.C. - 1967

GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER topped THE MASKED RED DEMONS

TEX McKENZIE and NELSON ROYAL defeated EL GAUCHO and GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS

GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT bested THE GREAT MALENKO and THE MISSOURI MAULER

GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS
---
LYNCHBURG, VA. - 1968

GEORGE BECKERJOHNNY WEAVER and HAYSTACK CALHOUN defeated THE MISSOURI MAULERPAMPERO FIRPO and GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS in six man action.

TAMMY JONES topped DONNA CHRISTENELLO

LUTHER LINDSAY beat BULL RAMOS

THE AMAZING ZUMA and THE MUMMY wrestled to a draw.

P.Y. CHUNG
---
LYNCHBURG, VA. - 1967

KLONDIKE BILL defeated HARU SASAKI and P.Y. CHUNG in a handicap match.

PEDRO GODOY beat GENE DUNDEE.

JERRY LONDON topped BULL RAMOS.

JESSE JAMES wrestled THE MUMMY to a draw.

PENNY BANNER versus TAMMY JONES
---
CHARLESTON, S.C. - 1967

GEORGE BECKER defeated HOMER O'DELL

ALDO BOGNI and BRONCHO LUBICH topped GEORGE SCOTT and DON CHUY

JOHNNY WEAVER won over THE MISSOURI MAULER

PENNY BANNER bested TAMMY JONES

HAYSTACK CALHOUN squashed JACK BENCE

LUTHER LINDSAY
---
NORFOLK, VA. - 1969

GEORGE BECKER and LUTHER LINDSAY versus THE INFERNOS with J.C. DYKES ended in a double DQ

BOB NANDOR and JIM OSBORNE won from THE MISSOURI MAULER and HIRO MATSUDA on a DQ

GEORGE GRANT won from JIM GRABMIRE

ALEX MEDINA lost to 'BULLDOG' LEE HENNING

JIM GRABMIRE
---
CHARLESTON, S.C. - 1968

GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT won from LARS and GENE ANDERSON

PEPE GOMEZ and JACK RICE lost to TERRY and RONNIE GARVIN

NIKITA MULKOVICH defeated BOB NANDOR

JIM GRABMIRE lost to JESSE JAMES

Thursday, February 20, 2020

BELTS UP FOR GRABS

July 16, 1963
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA


REGGIE PARKS

JOHNNY WEAVER

BRONCHO LUBICH, HOMER O'DELL, ALDO BOGNI
---
Wrestling fans who like tag team action will get a double dose in an all-star card at the LEXINGTON YMCA tonight.

The SOUTHERN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS RAY ANDREWS and ERIC POMEROY will defend their honor and titles against the rugged team of ALDO BOGNI and BRONCHO LUBICH, who will be directed by their cunning and strutting manager, HOMER O'DELL.

Popular stars JOHNNY WEAVER and REGGIE PARKS return after an absence joining forces to face the duo of big and round guys GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS and GEORGE 'CRYBABY' CANNON in another top event.

Both main events are set for the best two-out-of-three falls.

Two more big men, PAT O'HARA and FRANK VALOIS, will square off in the 8:15 opener.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

JCP MOST WANTED LIST - THE GREAT BOLO


I specifically remember THE GREAT BOLO and BOLO wearing this garb when they returned to the Charlotte Coliseum in the late 1960s to face JACK BRISCO and TIM (MR. WRESTLING) WOODS.

THE GREAT BOLO and BOLO work over one of THE KENTUCKIANS in one of the biggest money-making feuds in pro wrestling history.

THE GREAT BOLO (Renesto) reaches for his 'foreign object' while working on BIG BOY BROWN of THE KENTUCKIANS. (Note the tape under the mask to cover Renesto's mustache.)

Big TEX McKENZIE works over the masked man.

Even bigger HAYSTACK CALHOUN tries to physically rip THE GREAT BOLO's hood off, along with the head the mask covers.

A 1961 posed photo of BOLO and THE GREAT BOLO when the two were working for JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS.
---
From the time I first started pro wrestling on TV, I was fascinated by a mysterious man who wore a mask and went by the name THE GREAT BOLO. This rulebreaker was the top heel in JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS and drew money like nobody's business.

Every week, all across the Carolinas and Virginia, droves of people tuned in and turned out to see the likes of GEORGE BECKER, 'Irish' MIKE CLANCY, CHIEF BIG HEART and GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT rip off the hood of this hoodlum so we could all find out who he was (not taking into account that just because we might see his face, we would automatically know his name), but that was a mute point.

The mask of THE GREAT BOLO was his championship belt. To lose the mask was to destroy his wrestling career. Many years after the fact, we now know that THE GREAT BOLO was a superb grappler named TOM RENESTO. But according to an interview the late Mr. Renesto gave a few years before his passing, at the time, the other wrestlers did not actually know who was under the mask of THE GREAT BOLO. Promoter Jim Crockett demanded that Renesto travel alone and don the hood before entering the wrestling venue.

Very similar scenario as the old-time movie serials in which the villains were named The Scorpion, The Wrecker, The Crimson Ghost , The Lightning, etc. Only in the last chapter would the identity of the evil doer be exposed to the audience.

But, ironically, the identity of THE GREAT BOLO would be revealed by only one person in the wrestling business. That person was...THE GREAT BOLO.

A number of years after leaving JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS, THE GREAT BOLO (Renesto) and his partner BOLO were wrestling in Georgia as THE ASSASSINS when Renesto decided it was time to leave the business as an in-ring combatant.

He removed his own mask, and THE GREAT BOLO was no more.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

BACKYARD WRESTLING...sort of


August 24, 1967
STATESVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

When I use the term "back yard wrestling," I'm not talking about kids of today doing a big splash off their roof down onto a trash can.

I actually mean that on a hot night, fifty-three summers ago, JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS scheduled a big night of wrestling in my home town.

So, there it was, the big grappling stars of WBTV and WGHP right there in my own "back yard"...so to speak.

RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON

GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER
---
The final open air wrestling program of the year will be presented in Tiger Stadium tonight under the sponsorship of COMMUNITY BASEBALL, INC., and the four match program will send into action some of the top names of the mat sport.

GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER, the SOUTHERN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS, will meet the rugged team of RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON in the featured event, scheduled for the best two-out-of-three falls within a one hour time limit. It's a non-title match, but the battle will renew a long-time mat rivalry and definitely carries championship status, for should HAWK and HANSON win tonight, it will put them in a great position to force a championship showdown with the titleholders..

An added tag team match on the star-studded program will see the former tag champions, ALDO BOGNI and BRONCHO LUBICH, with their controversial manager, HOMER O'DELL, facing a team composed of two of the rising young heavyweights in the business - blond LES THATCHER of Hammond, Indiana, and RUDY KAY of Chicago, Illinois. This, too, is for the best-of-three falls, and carrying a 45-minute time limit.

Adding to the luster of the card is a special event in which THE MISSOURI MAULER, the SOUTHERN HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, will meet NELSON ROYAL, the aggressive and popular partner of TEX McKENZIE, and an outstanding star in his own right.

The opening event will see PAMPERO FIRPO, the unpredictable man from Argentina, meeting the young star ROGER KIRBY of Muncie, Indiana.

Ringside tickets are on sale at the STATESVILLE CITY NEWS STAND on a first-come, first-serve basis.

NELSON ROYAL

THE MISSOURI MAULER


BRONCHO LUBICH, HOMER O'DELL, ALDO BOGNI

LES THATCHER and RUDY KAY
---
GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER, the most popular wrestlers ever in the Carolinas, will devote time prior to tonight's program to appear and greet their many friends in the grandstand and at ringside. The two stars will sign autographs and chat with fans from 7:45 until the 8:15 starting time, so here is the opportunity for all folks who have wanted to meet these fine sports figures to do so.

Ticket prices are set at $2.00 for ringside seats, $1.50 for general admission and 75 cents for children under 12.

(Taken from the STATESVILLE RECORD & LANDMARK - August 24, 1967)


Regretfully, a massive summer storm ripped through Statesville during the day, and the program was canceled.

I was one unhappy sixteen-year-old that night.

Friday, February 14, 2020

WINNERS and LOSERS


TINKER TODD
---
CHARLESTON, S.C. - 1969

GENE and OLE ANDERSON topped MR. WRESTLING and ABE JACOBS.

JIMMY HINES whipped TINKER TODD.

BOB RAMSTEAD and JESSE JAMES wrestled EL GAUCHO and PEDRO GODOY to a draw.

BILLY HINES defeated BILLY SPEARS.


ARGENTINA APOLLO
---
RICHMOND, VA. - 1971

ARGENTINA APOLLO and LES THATCHER topped GENE ANDERSON and ART NELSON.

KOA TIKI and LUTHER LINDSAY defeated JIM GRABMIRE and JOHNNY HEIDEMAN.

NICK RUSSO won over JOE FURR.

BRUTE BERNARD stopped JIM DILLON.


GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT
---
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - 1966

GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT beat KURT and HENRY VON STROHEIM.

PENNY BANNER defeated LINDA CARROLL.

DON CHUY bested TONY NERO.

RUDY KAY downed JACK DANIELS (cheers!).

ABE JACOBS topped CORSICA JEAN.


THE KENTUCKIANS
TINY ANDERSON and BIG BOY BROWN
---
LYNCHBURG, VA. - 1967

THE KENTUCKIANS bested P.Y. CHUNG and HARU SASAKI.

JESSE JAMES and LES THATCHER wrestled to a no contest with JAN MADRID and GENE DUNDEE.

CHIEF LITTLE EAGLE defeated BULL RAMOS.

NELSON ROYAL toppled ANGELO MARTINELLI.


BRUTE BERNARD
---
RICHMOND, VA. - 1971

GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER defeated GENE ANDERSON and ART NELSON.

BRUTE BERNARD and THE MISSOURI MAULER topped KOA TIKI and LUTHER LINDSAY

BARBARA NICHOLS won from TAMMY JONES.

JESSE JAMES beat ANGELO MARTINELLI.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

JOHNNY & ART BATTLE KANGAROOS



After nearly a decade as the top tag team in JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS, GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER were no more. In the early 1970s, Becker left JCP and soon after started his own wrestling organization, going head-to-head with the company he had led for the past twenty years.

During the 1950s and 1960s, George Becker beat The Great Bolo, Pancho Villa, Bull Ramos, Rip Hawk, Homer O'Dell, Skull Murphy, Bronco Lubich and every other opponent he faced.

But George couldn't beat Jim Crockett, and the Becker wrestling empire never came to be.

Meanwhile, JOHNNY WEAVER remained as Crockett's top babyface, for a while anyway, much to my delight. But he needed a partner to replace Becker.

That partner came as Argentina Apollo. But it didn't last very long, as Apollo wanted to leave the wrestling business to paint (pictures, not kitchens). And he did. He eventually opened an art gallery in my hometown of Statesville, North Carolina.

The Weaver / Apollo team's biggest feud was probably with Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson, who, at the time, were managed by 'Playboy' Gary Hart.

I attended the match in Greensboro in which Hawk and Hansen "injured" Apollo's leg. It was this same night that Weaver's nemesis ART NELSON (Neilson) became Weaver's friend and new tag team partner.

A short time later the man from the Argentine wrestled Rip Hawk on WGHP-TV's CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING program. As Wally Dusek made the ring announcements, I thought to myself that this is going to be a great match. Apollo getting "payback" for Hawk's hurting his leg.

Wrong. A total squash match with Rip using the piledriver on Apollo in the middle of the ring, followed by a clean pin.

Then I realized that Apollo was done. The next time I saw him was at his art gallery, when he made it pretty clear he didn't want to talk wrestling. He was an artist, not a grappler.

So now, JOHNNY WEAVER and ART NELSON were tag partners. This didn't last that long either, but during their time together, J&A had some great feuds with the likes of HAWK & HANSON and the return from Georgia of THE ASSASSINS (Jody Hamilton and Tom Renesto) and a new team to CROCKETT territory, THE ROYAL KANGAROOS (Lord Jonathan Boyd and his cousin Norman Frederick Charles III).

These men from "down under" were as mean, rough and nasty as anyone I had ever seen. They went through opponents like, what was it General Patton said, "crap through a goose," and it seemed no one could beat them.

So it was time to send the Roos against Johnny and Art, who had defeated The Bolos (Assassins) for the Brass Knuckles Tag Team Championship.

So I trucked down to Charlotte's Park Center that Monday night to see Johnny and Art put a whoopin' on those big-talking Australians.

I sat in disbelief as The Royal Kangaroos, with the aid of skullduggery and a couple of wooden boomerangs, beat Weaver and Nelson in two STRAIGHT falls. Johnny and Art didn't really get in the groove. In short, they took a whoopin'.

I thought to myself that this was the end of JOHNNY WEAVER as the King of Crockett Promotions, but it wasn't. Looking back, I now see that this match I saw was just getting the Kangaroos over as a real threat to everyone.

Weaver and Nelson would go on to battle these ruffians for months all over the territory, with the Brass Knucks trophy as the prize.

Eventually, Lord Boyd, cousin Norman and even Art left JCP. But Johnny Weaver remained, so all was still right with the wrestling world.

Monday, February 10, 2020

AROUND THE TERRITORY


PHIL (BUCK) ROBLEY
---
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - 1969

GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT won from THE INFERNOS with J.C. DYKES via DQ.

BRUTE BERNARD and SKULL MURPHY topped ABE JACOBS and LES WOLFE.

JOHNNY WEAVER whipped MATTI SUZUKI.

BOBBY RED CLOUD topped PHIL ROBLEY.


LES THATCHER
---
GREENVILLE, S.C. - 1968

LARSGENE and OLE ANDERSON toppled ARGENTINA ZUMALES THATCHER and PAUL DEMARCO in six man action.

JESSE JAMES topped PEPPY GOMEZ.

PANCHO VALDEZ pinned JACK RICO.

BOB RAMSTEAD wrestled JOHNNY HEIDEMAN to a draw.


GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER
---
CHARLESTON, S.C. - 1965

GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER won over BRUTE BERNARD and SKULL MURPHY.

THE KENTUCKIANS bested THE ALASKAN and THE BEAST.

GEORGE 'CATALINA' DRAKE topped EDUARDO CASTILLO.

PEE WEE LOPEZ pinned JIM DANDY.


EL LOBO
---
GREENVILLE, S.C. - 1969

GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER defeated LARS and GENE ANDERSON.

BOB GRIFFIN and LES WOLFE lost to BRUTE BERNARD and SKULL MURPHY.

OLE ANDERSON whipped BOBBY RED CLOUD.

JOHNNY HEIDEMAN topped EL LOBO.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

The MEDICS and the PROFILE

December 18, 1961
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

59 Years Ago




There's an old adage that "nice guys finish last," and that's the promise of the mystery team of THE MASKED MEDICS and RIP "The Profile" HAWK, joining forces to take on three "nice guys" at tonight's PARK CENTER wrestling card.

Opposing "The Profile" and THE MEDICS will be ABE JACOBS, LENNY MONTANA and DON McCLARITY, three tough cookies who prefer to wrestle cleanly. Just whether each trio will stick to its tested methods, and what the opposition will do if this is the case, will make for an interesting two-out-of-three falls main event.

The semi-final will send Indian CHIEF BIG HEART against rugged GYPSY JOE, and the main prelim squares off BILL PARKS against tough LAVERNE BAXTER.

The 8:15 opener bills HENRY PHILLIPS against "Roughhouse" SONNY FARGO for a one fall, twenty minute match.