Many wrestling fans are saying that promoter JIM CROCKETT has outdone himself with tonight's pro wrestling card. Every match on the program could headline any wrestling show anywhere in the United States.
But it is the fans in the CHARLOTTE area who shall reap the benefits.
In tonight's headliner at PARK CENTER, the devious duo of MR. MOTO and DUKE KEOMUKA will face another challenge for their SOUTHERN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP. The Japs, who have protected their titles at any cost against all comers in the month they have had the belts, will face a severe challenge when they meet fan favorites GEORGE BECKER and BILLY TWO RIVERS, the top-ranked contenders. The championship encounter is set for the best two-of-three falls, with a one hour time limit.
The semi-final squares off PAT O'HARA and THE GREAT BOLO. Perhaps tonight will be the lucky night for the Irishman in his quest to unmask the hooded ruffian. O'HARA has come close a few times, but THE GREAT BOLO has managed to hang on to his mask...so far. This one's also two-out-of-three falls, forty-five minute limit.
The main prelim sends popular DANO O'SHOCKER against the rugged LARRY 'CRUSHER' HAMILTON for one fall, thirty minutes.
And the 8:15 opener, set for one fall and twenty minutes, has REGGIE PARKS, the handsome Canadian scraper from Ontario, meeting CYCLONE ANAYA.
Fans are encouraged to arrive early to guarantee a seat.
GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER ruled the tag team world in JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS for most of the 1960s.
They faced every top 'heel' team that passed through the territory. The longest ongoing program was with RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON. The next longest would probably be with ALDO BOGNI and BRONCHO LUBICH, but right up there was the on-and-off again feud that BECKER and WEAVER had with THE ANDERSON BROTHERS.
It would start with the duo of LARS and GENE ANDERSON. Later, OLE was brought in, and while the younger 'brother' was being broken in, there were three ANDERSONs. LARS then left the MID-ATLANTIC area, and THE MINNESOTA WRECKING CREW was redefined as GENE and OLE ANDERSON.
GENE ANDERSON attempts to ram JOHNNY WEAVER'S head into the ring apron...or worse!
Judging from the blood on WEAVER's face, GENE was successful.
BECKER pummels a cornered LARS ANDERSON.
JOHNNY just can't seem to get away from GENE's fist.
Wrestling's 'BLONDE BOMBERS' RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON will be out to see if they can halt the winning streak of THE FLYING SCOTT BROTHERS, GEORGE and SANDY, in tonight's two-out-of-three falls main event at the LEXINGTON YMCA.
The SCOTTS, former WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS, have a victory string going, including a recent disputed win over HAWK and HANSON. RIP and SWEDE want another shot at GEORGE and SANDY and have predicted a win tonight.
The sizzling duo of NELSON ROYAL and THE AMAZING ZUMA face a tough test tonight when they face the crafty (some say sneaky) Oriental combo of HARU SASAKI and P.Y. CHUNG in the other best-of-three falls tag encounter.
In singles action, GENE DUNDEE will square off against JERRY LONDON, and in the 8:15 opener, two toughies, 'APACHE' BULL RAMOS and PEDRO GODOY will meet.
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-plus 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 falls two and 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.
There are new SOUTHERN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS in the pro wrestling world, and the title holders will defend their newly-coveted belts in tonight's main event at the LEXINGTON YMCA.
DON CURTIS and JOE SCARPA, who recently annexed the championship from the German duo of KURT and KARL VON BRAUNER, make their local debuts tonight when they defend their titles against the rugged bully team of SWEDE HANSON and P.Y. CHUNG in a best-of-three falls contest.
HANSON and CHUNG would like to make the new champs' title reign a short one by dethroning them tonight. The challengers are tough enough to do so.
Popular young star JOHNNY WEAVER, who has created quite the sensation since arriving on the local wrestling scene several months ago, will meet SID JONES in what looks to be a scientific semi-final two-out-of-three falls match.
The 8:15 opener sends 'Roughhouse' SONNY FARGO against the equally rugged, but larger, GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS.