Tuesday, August 30, 2016

BACK YARD 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, forty-nine 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
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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.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

HOW MANY DO YOU REMEMBER?

Four decades are represented in today's featured MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING stars of the past.

All of them gave the fans lots of excitement and entertainment.

And, for that, I offer my thanks...

Here are buddies LES THATCHER and PAUL JONES.

SKULL MURPHY

Remembered in JCP as BRUTE BERNARD's partner. Tough team.

I was planning a trip to CHARLOTTE's PARK CENTER the Monday night an announcer broke into a WBTV afternoon program to announce that wrestling at PARK CENTER for that night had been canceled due to the death of SKULL MURPHY.

BRUTE and SKULL were booked in the night's main event against THE KENTUCKIAN (Tiny Anderson, a.k.a. Grizzly Smith) and MR. WRESTLING (Tim Woods).

DANNY McSHANE

One of the earliest 'heels' I remember in my early days of watching wrestling on WBTV. It was the late 1950s.

While being interviewed by 'Big' BILL WARD, McSHANE handed WARD a broom and told him to sweep the floor. "That's all you're good for," McSHANE told 'Big' BILL.


KURT and KARL VON STEIGER

They caused a lot of trouble for opponents in the early 1970s.

BIG BOY BROWN laces them up.

BROWN was one-half of the incredibly popular duo of THE KENTUCKIANS. TINY ANDERSON (Grizzly Smith) made up the other half.

THE AMAZING ZUMA and SILENTO RODRIGUEZ

ZUMA had several runs with JCP going back to around 1960. RODRIGUEZ was used mostly as 'enhancement' talent.

KIM DUK

Had a good main event run as partner of THE MASKED SUPERSTAR (Bill Eadie). After they stopped teaming, DUK slid down the card in bookings.

TAMMY JONES

I wish I had a dollar back for every time I saw her wrestle PENNY BANNER.

RED BASTIEN

Had several runs with JCP. Earlier in his career here, RED worked main events. Later, in the 1970s, he hovered around mid-card.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

JUNE 1964 STATESVILLE, N.C. WRESTLING

June 19, 1964
STATESVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA





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