Friday, April 29, 2016

SOME OF THE "YOUNG LIONS"

Watching the MID-ATLANTIC / WIDE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING TV shows each week, viewers became accustomed to hearing specific 'catch-phrases' on a regular basis...
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There was BOB CAUDLE's curtain line..."So long for now."
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There was JOHNNY WEAVER's singing..."Turn Out the Lights."
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And there was DAVID CROCKETT's weekly reference to the "Young Lions" of professional wrestling.
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This was a reference to a number of young wrestlers who primarily jobbed for the main eventers for TV matches, or in plain terms, lost week after week. But that was their purpose.
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Most of these youngsters, however, worked very well and gave good matches, even though viewers generally knew they wouldn't win.
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Some of these guys went on to become big stars in the business, either for JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS, or other wrestling organizations.
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Today, these men absorb the spotlight...


ED WISKOSKI
(born 1945)
Became a big star as Colonel DeBeers in the AWA

JAY YOUNGBLOOD
(STEVEN ROMERO 1955-1985)
Teamed with RICKY STEAMBOAT to become one of JCP's all-time popular tag teams.

TERRY SAWYER
(Norfolk, Va. native - was a Virginia high school State Wrestling Champion)

DEWEY ROBERTSON
(BYRON JAMES JOHN ROBERTSON 1939-2007)
Very successful as THE MISSING LINK in MID-SOUTH WRESTLING and WORLD CLASS WRESTLING.
MID-ATLANTIC TAG TEAM CHAMPION twice, once with JOHNNY WEAVER and once with GEORGE WELLS.

DOUG SOMERS
(first wrestled in 1971)
Always a great worker, either in JCP or later as a top AWA star.

BILL HOWARD
(I know little about his career away from JCP, but always enjoyed his work in the MID-ATLANTIC territory.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER

August 28, 1965
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

HAYSTACKS CALHOUN

BRONCHO LUBICH, HOMER O'DELL, ALDO BOGNI

ABE JACOBS

RON REED

BOB ORTON

MIKE GALLAGHER

GORY GUERRERO

OMAR ATLAS

'ROWDY' RED ROBERTS
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Something unusual is on tap for wrestling fans tonight at the LEXINGTON YMCA as two heavyweight championships are up for grabs when action gets underway at 8:15.

The current SOUTHERN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS, ALDO BOGNI and BRONCHO LUBICH, will defend their title against the popular contenders in that of big HAYSTACKS CALHOUN and speedy ABE JACOBS.

HAYSTACKS is the biggest man in the wrestling business, and JACOBS is a top competitor who should mesh well with CALHOUN.

BOGNI and LUBICH will have their devious manager, HOMER O'DELL, in their corner.

SOUTHERN HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION 'BIG O' BOB ORTON will put his title up against top contender RON REED (he later wrestled as BUDDY COLT). REED is certainly capable of taking the belt away from the current champ.

Both title bouts are scheduled for two-out-of-three falls with one hour time limits.

Prelim action will find GORY GUERRERO squaring off against tough MIKE GALLAGHER.

The opening match pits good-looking fan favorite OMAR ATLAS facing the rugged 'ROWDY' RED ROBERTS.

Monday, April 25, 2016

FAMILIAR MID-ATLANTIC FACES

As the Statler Brothers song goes, "Do you remember these?" guys who wrestled for JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS?


RUFUS R. JONES
('The Freight Train')
Super popular with the fans.

LORD JONATHAN BOYD
(One half of THE ROYAL KANGAROOS)

JIM DILLON
(before he managed 'The Four Horsemen')

'Bulldog' DON KENT
(Mostly a jobber in JCP but achieved huge success in other territories.)

Remember MR. KLEEN
(I do, especially in a WGHP-HIGH POINT, N.C. TV match in which he was 'destroyed' by LORD JONATHAN BOYD)

BOB GRIFFIN

BOB (Buck) RAMSTEAD

Manager HOMER O'DELL and BRONCHO LUBICH

RICKY FERRARA

THE ALASKANS
MIKE YORK and FRANK MONTE

Saturday, April 23, 2016

FIFTY YEARS AGO

July 2, 1966
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

Two new tag team combinations will be seen in action against a pair of established duets on tonight's LEXINGTON YMCA pro wrestling card.

Action kicks off at 8:15 p.m.

Popular GEORGE 'CATALINA' DRAKE and LUTHER LINDSAY will combine their talents for the first time to meet the rugged twosome of THE MISSOURI MAULER and THE GREAT MALENKO. DRAKE and LINDSAY are quick and agile and wrestle by the rulebook. Across the ring, MALENKO and the MAULER are both rough wrestlers and have never heard of a wrestling rulebook.

Polished operators PAUL DEMARCO and KEN HOLLIS, both young guys loved by the fans, will join ranks to face off against the MASKED RED DEMONS in the other tag contest of the evening. The RED DEMONS continue to create problems for their opponents. In the short time they have been wrestling in LEXINGTON, they have taken both GEORGE BECKER & JOHNNY WEAVER, as well as GEORGE & SANDY SCOTT to the limit, one match by a double disqualification, the other a sixty-minute draw. Their identities remain a mystery.

Both tag matches are set for the best two-out-of-three falls.

Two singles matches, both promising lots of action, will send KARL GOTCH against big JOHN GUDISKI and popular STEVE BOLUS facing the veteran CORSICA JEAN.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

WEAVER CHALLENGES THESZ FOR WORLD TITLE

JUNE 27, 1964
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

It's the opportunity of a wrestler's lifetime!

JOHNNY WEAVER, one of the most popular wrestlers in the Carolinas, will get a chance to capture the NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP at the LEXINGTON YMCA tonight when he faces the champion LOU THESZ in the featured main event.

WEAVER is considered a top contender for the coveted championship due to his excellent record since arriving in the Carolinas about two years ago. THESZ is known as a champion who dodges no one.

"WEAVER is a very worthy opponent who can hold his own with anyone," said the World Champion. "I'll need to be at 100% to leave Lexington with the title, but I intend to do just that."

The title match is for the best-of-three falls with a one hour time limit.

Co-featuring the program will be a top tag team match between the bullish duo of BRUTE BERNARD and SKULL MURPHY facing the great Osage Indian star CHIEF BIG HEART and his new partner RONNIE ETCHINSON. Also for two-out-of-three falls, this match has a 45 minute time limit.

AAU champion TIM WOODS will be challenged by rugged PAT O'BRIEN in one preliminary match.

The 8:15 opener sends young ALEX MEDINA against the crafty TINKER TODD.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

TWO LOCOMOTIVES HIT HEAD ON


The other day, I realized I have (for no particular reason) slighted one of the top tag teams to ever wrestle for JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS. Today, I shall correct my mistake.

The team I refer to is the duo of BRONCO LUBICH and ALDO BOGNI. These guys wrestled on top in MID-ATLANTIC WRESTLING for much of the 1960s.

Now, I should point out that this duo was not adored by JCP fans, by any means. In fact, they were at the top of the territory's 'hate list'. LUBICH and BOGNI were ruffians who had no regard for the rulebook, and to make matters worse, the two were always accompanied to the ring by their manager, MRHOMER O'DELL, without question, the decade's most fan-hated man on the CROCKETT payroll.

WBTV's wrestling commentator, 'Big' BILL WARD, often stated on the air that HOMER O'DELL was 'so low he would have to walk on stilts to look a snake in the eye.'

O'DELL, when managing, always wore a tuxedo and carried his legendary cane, and believe me when I say, this cane was responsible for putting lumps on many an opponent's noggin' in JCP wrestling rings.

Through the years, I witnessed many BOGNI and LUBICH and O'DELL matches, both on television and in Charlotte's Coliseum and Park Center.

But one match I recall was unique in that the fans actually cheered and pulled for these three rulebreakers the night at the Charlotte Coliseum when, in a Six Man Tag Team MatchBOGNILUBICH and O'DELL faced J.C. DYKES and THE INFERNOS. Both managers donned wrestling attire and joined their men as wrestlers.

This match was equivalent to a pair of locomotives hitting head-on. Referee Angelo Martinelli certainly earned his payday on this night.

The first fall went to O'DELL's team when BOGNI put one of the masked men out cold with his patented 'corkscrew' hold. The fans went wild. I was stunned. Cheers for HOMER O'DELL! I thought, 'what's next...a man on the moon?"

DYKES was able to revive his men and rally his troops in the second fall, which ended with LUBICH on the receiving end of a 'loaded boot' kick to the head, putting him into dreamland.

With the match even at this point, the third fall quickly became an all-out brawl. It must have been a NO DISQUALIFICATION match (I can't recall), but had it not been, referee Martinelli would have had to toss it out due to the rulebraking and brutality. Both O'DELL and DYKES were lacerated, and one INFERNO was also dripping blood from a much-torn mask.

Then, out of seemingly nowhere, was a huge flash! BOGNI was screaming and down, rolling around the ring in agony.
LUBICH and O'DELL grabbed their scorched partner, and bolted for the dressing room.

ANGELO MARTINELLI made the twenty-count, and raised the hands of DYKES and THE INFERNOS.

On Charlotte TV the next week, ironically, HOMER O'DELL claimed that 'DYKES and THE INFERNOS were the most brutal forms of humanity and a disgrace to the wrestling business and should be barred from the profession.' Odd that statement coming from him.

DYKES denied that he had thrown fire at anyone. 'Whether it's O'DELLBOGNILUBICH, or any wrestling fans who say so must have been hopped up on LSD or something. The marks on BOGNI's ugly face are mat burns, where me and my men ground his mug into the wrestling mat. If he can't take it, he should find another way to make a living.'

These guys could really make me believe...

BOGNI's 'corkscrew' takes its toll...

A bloodied DYKES cracks O'DELL's coconut with a metal canteen.

An INFERNO gives ALDO BOGNI a free ride to the arena floor...

HOMER comes to the aid of BRONCO LUBICH.

DYKES and THE INFERNOS have their arms raised in victory, at least on this night.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

OVER A HALF CENTURY AGO

January 30, 1965
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

Action galore is on tap for professional wrestling fans fortunate enough to attend
the big card tonight at the LEXINGTON YMCA starting at 8:15.

GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT, known world-wide as THE FLYING SCOTTS, and victorious here last Saturday, will face long-time rivals RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON, wrestling's BLONDE BOMBERS, in the featured two-out-of-three-falls main event.

A top semifinal match is scheduled with popular young JOHNNY WEAVER taking on rugged ex-footballer MIKE PAIDOUSUS.

Two other singles matches will round out the program when Indian star CHIEF BIG HEART faces MIKE VALENTINO *, and TONY NERO will face a newcomer to Lexington when he squares off against THE ALASKAN (JAY YORK).

GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT

MIKE PAIDOUSUS

MIKE VALENTINO

JOHNNY WEAVER
RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON
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* MIKE VALENTINO wrestled in the WWWF as BARON MIKEL SCICLUNA.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

THERE'S ACTION...ADVENTURE...and MYSTERY

Actually, that is the phrase that was used for TV's ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN.

But, think about it. It could also apply to the great story lines and matches of JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS throughout the years.

The greatest wrestling talent in the world worked in the MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING territory.

Here are but a few...

JOHNNY RINGO has the upper hand, at least for the moment, in this battle with MIKE 'THE ALASKAN' YORK.

One of THE INFERNOS comes to the aid of his masked partner in this match featuring a very young TERRY FUNK.

BOB BRUGGERS and DANNY MILLER turn the tables on CHUCK O'CONNOR (later known as JOHN STUDD).

You can't see his face, but that's NELSON ROYAL taking a beating from the German duo of KURT and HENRY VON STROHEIM.

Not one, but two referees attempt to get SWEDE HANSON away from THE SUPER DESTROYER (Don Jardine).

PRINCESS LITTLE CLOUD and BETTE BOUCHER prove the ladies can be just as rough as the guys.

'Camel Clutch' time for GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS. RONNIE GARVIN is in charge.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

R.I.P. BLACKJACK MULLIGAN


BJ has the upper hand over Wahoo in an Indian Strap match as referee Sonny Fargo looks on.

Look out Thunderbolt Patterson...Mulligan is coming in for a landing...

Former World Heavyweight Champion TERRY FUNK gets an idea of what size boots BJ wears...

The American Dream feels like anything but in this battle with BJ...

T-Bolt is about to become another BJ 'claw' victim...
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Wherever he wrestled, as a heel or babyface, he was 'over' big-time.
BLACKJACK MULLIGAN drew fans to the TV screen or the arenas like a flame attracts a moth.

His MID-ATLANTIC feuds with Paul Jones, Wahoo McDaniel, John Studd, Bobby Duncam, Ric Flair and The Masked Superstar sold as many tickets as JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS could print.

His interviews are as legendary as Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed. Who will ever forget the stories of Odessa, Sweetwater, 'Spider Grip' and 'Reba Joe'?

There has been a large number of 'cowboy' wrestlers throughout the years, but none were ever as colorful and entertaining as BLACKJACK MULLIGAN (Bob Windham).

Go in peace, sir, and thank you for all the entertainment you gave JCP fans.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

CONSIDER THE BRUTALITY

GENE ANDERSON and ART NELSON versus RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON

TEXAS DEATH MATCH
No Disqualification...No Time Limit. Falls don't count. The winner is determined only when one team is unable to continue.

Just consider climbing into the wrestling ring to face any of these individuals...not me!

But imagine, after pairing them up, these four would go at it until the opposing team was beaten down so badly they couldn't go any more.

That's exactly what happened one wrestling night in 1972 in GREENVILLE, S.C.

At this point, GENE ANDERSON has RIP HAWK in a compromising situation.

Big SWEDE HANSON evens things up.

The match now taking its toll on everyone.

Especially RIP (that 'Profile' may be changed permanently).

But as HARLEY RACE stated at NWA FANFEST 2007, "Pound for pound, RIP HAWK was as tough as anyone who was ever in the wrestling business."

ART NELSON took a beating as well.
Referee SAM 'LUCKY' ROBERTS looks on.

GENE GORDON witnessed the match and gave the following account..."I believe this TEXAS DEATH MATCH was the roughest, most vicious and bloody match I had seen in many years, and I go all the way back to the likes of COWBOY LUTTRELLDANNY McSHANE and STRANGLER BOB WAGNER. There was not a lot of wrestling. It was more like something out of the days of the Roman gladiators who battled to the death. No one paid any attention to any of the normal rules. The referee was knocked down several times and thrown to the floor once. He wanted to stop the match but couldn't under the stipulations. All four wrestlers looked like they had been run through a sausage grinder. They were so exhausted they could hardly leave the ring at the end. I saw one woman faint and a few others left in disgust, unable to stand the brutality and gore. I know I'll never forget it."