Today, I shine the spotlight on a group of the good guys of MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING.
Called 'babyfaces' in the business, these are the wrestlers 'we the people' love to watch carry out the ideals of good, clean living. They live by the creed of wrestling by the rule book (although when provoked, will 'fight fire with fire' to settle a score). No hair pulling, no eye gouging, no low blows.
Although the line between good guys and bad guys is a bit thinner in the business now than in days gone by, we buy wrestling tickets and pull to see these heroes dish out 'truth, justice and the American Way' to the perpetrators of evil.
Here are six such wrestling personalities:
(Richard Joseph Garza - 1931-2002)
A former AWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, he used the 'gentle giant' gimmick, loved children and puppy dogs. Came to JCP from the IWA. His biggest feud in the MID-ATLANTIC territory came when BORIS MALENKO and THE MASKED SUPERSTAR (Bill Eadie) burned him in the eye with a lit cigar.
(Rolland Bastein -1931-2012)
Top 'babyface' throughout the wrestling world, did several stints in JCP, one during his prime in the early 1960s, then later in the mid-1970s as a mid-card worker.)
A boxer-turned wrestler, he enjoyed success as a WWWF Tag Team Champion before coming to JCP in 1974 as a 'relative' of BEARCAT WRIGHT to feud with JOHNNY VALENTINE. In 1982, he was seriously stabbed at the CHARLOTTE COLISEUM.
(Aurelian Smith - 1930-2010)
Father of wrestlers JAKE ROBERTS, SAM HOUSTON and ROCKIN' ROBIN, this man did everything there is to do in the wrestling business. In CROCKETT country, he's best remembered as one of THE KENTUCKIANS (with BIG BOY BROWN), who had monumental battles with THE GREAT BOLO and BOLO, as well as every other top heel team in MID-ATLANTIC WRESTLING. In the late 1960s, he teamed in JCP with MR. WRESTLING (TIM WOODS), and repeated the cycle.
(Vincente Denigris - 1938-1984)
A professional painter as well as wrestler, APOLLO was a top star in every wrestling territory he worked, holding a vast array of championships. He made his mark in JCP in 1972-1973, becoming the partner of top good guy JOHNNY WEAVER, after decade-long partner GEORGE BECKER left the CROCKETT company.
(Anthony White - born 1944)
Three-time 'MR. U.S.A.' in the field of bodybuilding, he started wrestling in JCP in 1975, had big feuds with both THE IRON SHEIK and KEN PATERA, and became MID-ATLANTIC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION. Later worked for WORLD CLASS WRESTLING, the AWA and WWF (now WWE).