Tuesday, February 28, 2017

THE BIG BOLO BATTLE

January 7, 1963
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

54 Years Ago


It started out as what could be called an ordinary rough and tough wrestling feud, but last week, it escalated into hatred of gigantic proportions.

That's the background for the best two-out-of-three falls match that headlines tonight's PARK CENTER wrestling card. The contest tonight gives THE KENTUCKIANS team of BIG BOY BROWN and TINY ANDERSON another shot at the villanous and hated masked team of THE GREAT BOLO and BOLO.

THE KENTUCKIANS succeeded in ripping off one BOLO mask during a recent TV bout seen on WBTV, but the other BOLO quickly stripped off his shirt and hid his partner's identity. Tonight, BROWN and ANDERSON say they'll rip off BOTH masks, boots, shirts and even tights, if necessary.

In the evening's other tag battle, THE FLYING SCOTTS, GEORGE and SANDY, will face the rugged duo of THE SICILIANS, LOU ALBANO and TONY ALTIMORE. This one is also set for the best-of-three falls.

DON WHITTLER takes on FELIX LAMBAN, and "TIGER" JACK VANSKY meets DOUG KINSLOW in singles action.

Belltime is 8:15, and a huge crowd is expected.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

THE WEAKER SEX?...NOT HARDLY



PENNY goes for a monkey flip...

TAMMY counters with a Boston crab...

Referee ANGELO MARTINELLI always had his hands full when he worked with the ladies...

PENNY gives TAMMY a free ride back into the ring...
---
I don't recall there ever being a contest in JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS in which a JCP Queen was crowned, but if there had been, the title would, without question, have gone to the wonderful PENNY BANNER.

I can't begin to estimate how many times I saw PENNY wrestle, either on TV or in the arenas, but the number wasn't a small one.

By far, PENNY's most frequent opponent, at least in the BANNER bouts I saw, was TAMMY JONES. I had to have seen these two go at it, at least, twenty-five times, so I can only imagine how many other times they worked each other (maybe as many times as Bambi has wrestled Peggy Lee Leathers).

I can recall PENNY and TAMMY colliding in Charlotte and Greensboro, and most likely Winston-Salem as well, and even the old semi-pro baseball park in Statesville, North Carolina, on a hot and muggy summer night in the late 1960s.

Unlike most of the current 'diva' matches on TV (in which every move is choreographed more than a Fred Astaire / Ginger Rogers dance number --- AND LOOKS IT!), the lady grapplers from what I consider the "golden" age of pro wrestling could REALLY work...the Ole Anderson way...wrestle the match in the rings as it flows, not making it up in the dressing room beforehand.

PENNY and TAMMY could really go.

Friday, February 24, 2017

REMEMBER BOB GRIFFIN?

Fans who followed JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS in the late 1960s (I'm one) will certainly remember a fellow named BOB GRIFFIN.

His role in JCP was that of 'talent enhancer' and he was great in this position.

BOB and various partners couldn't defeat the likes of THE INFERNOS, BERNARD and MURPHY or HAWK and HANSON, unless the heels were disqualified, but in arenas, he could take the number of PEDRO GODOY, EL GAUCHO and PANCHO VALDEZ.

But even in a loss, BOB gave a great match.

BOB GRIFFIN

BOB GRIFFIN hammerlocks PEDRO GODOY.

HIRO MATSUDA takes one from GRIFFIN.

EL GAUCHO has BOB in a temporary disadvantage.

BOB kept in shape pumping the iron.

GRIFFIN has OLE ANDERSON in a headlock in this TV match taped at WBTV CHARLOTTE.

Out of the ring, BOB was an avid fisherman.

GRIFFIN's pride and joy - daughters DEBBIE and CATHY.

BOB samples some of wife PAT's home cooking.
---
From Jacksonville, Florida, home of the GATOR BOWL, comes BOB GRIFFIN, a young wrestling sensation who is rapidly skyrocketing his way to fame and fortune on the mat.

Appearing in the Carolinas and Virginia under the promotional banner of JIM CROCKETT, this handsome, well-built 230-pounder, who stands six feet, one inch tall, has gained an army of fans since his professional debut.

"As far back as I can remember," BOB says, "I dreamed of being a professional wrestler. I really had the fever since the age of ten when I attended my first wrestling event in Jacksonville."

BOB credits DON CURTIS, a well-known grappler and the promoter there in Jacksonville, in helping him get started in the business.

After making his debut against none other than CURTIS, and losing in fifteen minutes, BOB was more eager than ever to make it in the wrestling business.

BOB has never regretted leaving his job as a mechanical engineer at IT&T. His wife PAT agrees that wrestling pays better and is glad BOB made the change, even if he is on the road a lot more.

A physical culturist, BOB works out with the weights and does a lot of running to stay in top shape.

For toughest foes to date, BOB picks KARL VON STROHEIM, RIP HAWK, SWEDE HANSON, TARZAN TYLER, BORIS MALENKO and SPUTNIK MONROE.

BOB's goal is to face NWA WORLD CHAMPION DORY FUNK JR. for the championship.

Since his arrival in Charlotte, BOB has wrestled mostly as a single, but has recently been teaming with fan favorite GREG PETERSON.

Here's hoping this popular youngster will remain in CROCKETT PROMOTIONS for a long time.
---
Excerpted from the November, 1969 issue of WRESTLING REVUE

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

HOW TO UNMASK A BOLO

April 22, 1963
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA
---
54 Years Ago

Special terms will be in effect tonight when CHIEF BIG HEART and THE GREAT BOLO are rematched again in a wrestling feature at the LEXINGTON YMCA.

THE GREAT BOLO, wrestling's hooded menace, has agreed, for this match only, to remove his mask in the ring if he loses the match, no matter how it might happen.

Last Saturday, he lost his second match within a month to the big Indian, but again through a disqualification.

BIG HEART was busted open during the melee, and BOLO's yellow mask was stained red, himself cut badly.

In the past, BOLO has agreed to unmask if he lost two falls by pinfall or submission, and that's it. Tonight, it will be different, and the best-of-three falls match has a NO DISQUALIFICATION clause added anyway.
However, if BOLO is counted out of the ring, that would constitute losing a fall, and the mask must come off.

"I know I am a better wrestler than this redskin. He's a tough competitor, I'll give him that, but no one is a better wrestler than I am," shouted THE GREAT BOLO. "I am that confident of a victory that I have baited the CHIEF back into the ring by putting my mask on the line if he can beat me two falls in any manner. He can't and I'll prove it. It's probably the last chance for the wrestling fans to see the Indian wrestler, because I'm going to hurt the man really bad."

ANGELO MARTINELLI and BOB BOYER, a new winning tag team, will meet TERRY GARVIN and MARK STONE in a two-out-of-three falls semifinal.

Other matches send JACK BERNARD against European star BOB NANDOR, and CHARLIE LAYE will face JACK MARSHALL.

Belltime is 8:15.

Monday, February 20, 2017

RIP, SWEDE AND THE LOS ANGELES RAMS

February 12, 1966
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA
---
51 Years Ago

What were the LOS ANGELES RAMS doing in LEXINGTON last Saturday night?

The truth of the matter is...they were wrestling...and they're going to do it again tonight.

Professional NFL teammates DON CHUY and JOE CAROLLO, who wowed fans at the LEXINGTON YMCA, will return for more ring action tonight in a featured two-out-of-three falls tag team main event.

CHUY and COROLLO, who play side-by-side in the LOS ANGELES RAMS line and who use body blocks and other gridiron tactics in their matches, will meet wrestling's "BLONDE BOMBERS" - RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON.

Hawk has stated that these "boys" need to stick to football and leave wrestling - a tough sport - to "men."

The other tag team match of the night pits GEORGE and SANDY, THE FLYING SCOTTS, against the bald-headed bullies SKULL MURPHY and BRUTE BERNARD. This will be a renewal of a grudge rivalry of long-standing. This one's set for the best-of-three falls as well.

Two singles matches are set as STEVE BOLUS, a fan favorite, takes on the rugged JIM GRABMIRE, and young ALEX MEDINA takes on tough guy JOHNNY HEIDEMAN.

Action begins at 8:15.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

NELSON ROYAL THE HEEL

January 23, 1965
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

52 Years Ago


Professional wrestling at the LEXINGTON YMCA was called off last Saturday due to a heavy snowfall but is slated to return tonight with a banner card.

THE FLYING SCOTTS, popular GEORGE and SANDY, will mix it up with a long-time nemesis team in the likes of BRONCHO LUBICH and ALDO BOGNI. The battle will be for the best two-out-of-three falls. And when you have BOGNI and LUBICH in the ring, you also have manager HOMER O'DELL outside the ring, and he can be as dangerous as his wrestlers. So the SCOTT boys will have their hands full.

A rowdy rulebreaking team debuts in LEXINGTON tonight as "SIR" NELSON ROYAL and THE VIKING are matched up against RUDY KAYE and newcomer LORENZO PARENTE in another best-of-three falls tag contest.

Two supporting single matches open the card with PEPPI GOMEZ meeting "TIGER" JACK VANSKY and TONY NERO battles ANGELO MARTINELLI in the 8:15 opener.

Friday, February 10, 2017

FAMILIAR FACES and MASKS

Whether they were the guys we loved or the guys we hated, we bought tickets to see them...and they delivered the goods...

GREG 'THE HAMMER' VALENTINE during some down time.

Little guys COWBOY LANG and THE HAITI KID.

'THE MAGNIFICENT' DON MURACO.

FANFEST's greatest teller of wrestling stories, OLE ANDERSON, has ASSASSIN JODY HAMILTON in a bit of trouble.

Truly...one-of-a-kind...RIP 'THE PROFILE' HAWK.

'MR. NUMBER ONE' PAUL JONES points to his favorite wrestler.

THE SUPER DESTROYER / THE SPOILER DON JARDINE.

Two ORTONS at once...'THE BIG O' BOB ORTON SR. (center), BOB ORTON JR. (right)...young man on left unknown.

Monday, February 6, 2017

FOUR TOP TEAMS ON DISPLAY

July 8, 1967
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

Nearly 50 Years Ago

Professional wrestling returns to the LEXINGTON YMCA tonight following a one-week layoff, and two gigantic tag team matches headline the program, starting at 8:15 p.m.

The big guys of the sport, TINY ANDERSON and BIG BOY BROWN, known as THE KENTUCKIANS, square off against the crafty and sneaky Oriental duo of HARU SASAKI and P.Y. CHUNG in tonight's top match.

THE KENTUCKIANS have a massive size advantage, but their opponents from the Far East are experts in ju-jitsu and karate, in addition to having many tricks up their sleeves, so anything could happen.

The other tag team affair will pit the crowd-pleasing combo of NELSON ROYAL and THE AMAZING ZUMA against the masked terror team of THE INFERNOS, who will have their manager J.C. DYKES in their corner.

All four wrestlers are gifted with great speed and ring smarts, but DYKES, who some fans believe bears a resemblance to Woody Woodpecker, could get involved and make a difference.

Both tag bouts are set for the best-of-three-falls.

LUTHER LINDSAY returns after an absence and will test tough TONY ROMANO in one of the night's singles matches.

The card opener sends popular GREG PETERSON against veteran PEDRO GODOY.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

MID-ATLANTIC WRESTLING'S 'FIRST LADY'

Today I salute the 'FIRST LADY' --- as far as I'm concerned, she is, hands down, the 'FIRST LADY' of JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS and MID-ATLANTIC WRESTLING.

PEGGY LATHAN

Peggy is my friend, in fact, a very good friend. But, I'll be honest, Peggy is EVERYBODY's friend. If you have attended any of Greg Price's NWA FANFESTS, you've seen her. Folks even buzz after the various FANFESTs, "Who's the woman all of the wrestlers hang around?" That's Peggy.

But, 'FIRST LADY' of MID-ATLANTIC WRESTLING? How did this happen?

Young Peggy began watching JCP wrestling on television around 1965 (I could say she was two years old at the time, but never mind about that part of the story. Let's just say that I am older than Peggy, and we'll let it go at that.)

She ventured out to her first arena JCP show in late 1968 and soon was attending three-to-four shows PER WEEK. (How I envy her for that! She saw some great wrestling.) A weekly itinerary for Peggy, her mother and her grandmother 'Nannie' Smith * included shows in Greenville, S.C.Spartanburg, S.C.Anderson, S.C. and Asheville, N.C. EVERY WEEKPeggy went even when she was sick. Very few weeks went by that found these ladies not in their front row ringside seats. This road schedule lasted from 1968 until 1983. Throughout the 1970s, they would often be joined by Lynn and Debbie Tate (Lynn would later marry wrestler Bill White). In the 1980s, other friends Jean HollandRita Cantrell and Clay Sweet became part of the entourage.

When I asked Peggy how she got to know the wrestlers, she answered that she would go up and talk to the guys, and they would see her on the front row every week, so they knew her face. Bobby Kay was the first wrestler Peggy remembers meeting. Then came the legendary Johnny Weaver, then Ronnie Garvin and Ole AndersonPeggy met Gene Anderson soon after meeting Ole, since The Minnesota Wrecking Crew was always together. It wasn't long before she would babysit Gene's son, Brad, when his dad would bring him to Spartanburg. "Brad was about five, I guess. He'd sit with me and watch the matches," Peggy told me.

The wrestler Peggy gives credit to for introducing her to most of the guys she now knows was a fellow named Flair.

PEGGY and RIC...Then

PEGGY and RIC...more recently

PEGGY and OLE ANDERSON
---
Many fans will remember the night in Greenville, S.C., when Ole was knife-attacked by an idiot fan and cut all the way diagonally down his chest. Lynn and Debbie Tate and Peggy were outside the dressing room. Peggy recalls, "We were in the hallway leading to the outside. The dressing rooms were downstairs. There were a couple of wrestlers there. The only one I remember is Bill Eadie (later The Masked Superstar, but at this time, he was one of The Mongols). Lynn was a nursing student at Clemson University, so she and Debbie held icy towels on Ole's chest, and I was elevating his left arm and putting pressure on his left hand as he had a bad cut across and below his thumb. Then after the paramedics arrived and took Ole, I rode to Greenville General Hospital with Gene, because he didn't know where it was, and I stayed with Gene in the ER until Ole was released about two in the morning."


PEGGY and 'The Dean' JOHNNY WEAVER
---
Peggy's love for JCP wrestling continued until the company was sold to TURNER ENTERTAINMENT in 1988, and there are very few of the wrestlers she didn't know. And they all loved her...and still do.

If you don't believe me, check out this year's NWA FANFEST in Charlotte.

Peggy's Grandmother 'NANNIE' SMITH


Photos courtesy of Peggy and / or THE MID-ATLANTIC GATEWAY