Sunday, June 23, 2019

HEELS

Today, I swing the spotlight from the 'babyfaces' to a group of the bad guys of MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING.

When I say 'bad', I don't mean poor wrestlers, but rather, the 'heels' of the business.

These are the guys who break the rules.

An integral part of the wrestling equation. For every hero, there had to be a villain. Someone to 'acquire the ire' of the wrestling fan. A catalyst to fuel the 'heat' of a match.

Here are five who fit into that 'heel' category:

HIRO MATSUDA
(Yasuhiro Kojima - 1937-1999)

Known world wide, but in JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS, best remembered as tag team partner of THE MISSOURI MAULER (Larry Hamilton) and managed by HOMER O'DELL. This was in the late 1960s. Feuded with JOHNNY WEAVER in a series of JUDO JACKET MATCHES. Returned to JCP in its final days (1987) and assisted LEX LUGAR in his feud with DUSTY RHODES, who ironically, was assisted by JOHNNY WEAVER.


THE GREAT BORIS MALENKO
(Lawrence Simon - 1933-1994)

Also an international wrestling star, in the MID-ATLANTIC territory, he was also a partner of THE MISSOURI MAULER in the mid-60s. Had a huge feud with KLONDIKE BILL. Later returned as manager of THE MONGOLS (one was Bill Eadie) and then immediately as manager of THE MASKED SUPERSTAR (also Bill Eadie). Fans probably recall MALENKO's dentures being destroyed by WAHOO McDANIEL. (BORIS used this gimmick in almost every territory he worked.)

KILLER KARL KOX
(Herb Gerwig - 1931-2011)

Had a brief stint in JCP in 1973. Had a main event feud with JOHNNY WEAVER, often using the 'brain buster' as a finisher. KOX also teamed with RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON for some six man matches.

SLAVE GIRL MOOLAH / THE FABULOUS MOOLAH
(Mary Lillian Ellison - 1923-2007)

Arguably, the most famous women's wrestler of all time. Wrestled throughout the world, debuted as SLAVE GIRL MOOLAH in 1949, serving as the valet for the ELEPHANT BOY, then for "Nature Boy" BUDDY ROGERS. She won the NWA Women's Championship for the first time in 1956. MOOLAH made several swings through CROCKETT country each year during the late 50s, the 60s and the 70s, always drawing the ire of the fans.

THE MUMMY
(Benjamin Ramirez - 1932-1995)

From around 1962 to the early 70s, Benji Ramirez put on the outfit of THE MUMMY and wrestled roughshod across North America. Unlike others, who did a mummy gimmick for a few months at the most, Ramirez played the role for almost a full decade. A main event performer in some areas (particularly out West), in JCP, THE MUMMY served mostly in jobbing capacities.

Friday, June 21, 2019

BABYFACES

Today, the spotlight shines 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.

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 five such wrestling personalities:


KOA TIKI

A very good performer, limited in JCP to lower and mid-card matches, both in singles and tag matches.

BILLY TWO RIVERS
(born 1935)

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, a top 'babyface' in JCP, often teaming with GEORGE BECKER, feuded with all the top 'heel' teams. Inspired many a young boy to beg Mom and Dad for a Mohawk haircut. A few were successful in getting one, but not me. Retired from action in 1976.

LES THATCHER
(Leslie Alan Malady - born 1940)

Debuted in 1960, and since has done just about everything in the business. Besides being a great worker, Les has done TV commentary, TV production, bodybuilding and training (which he does today). During his long run with JCP, Les worked the entire wrestling spectrum, from 'curtain jerking' to main events. To know Les is to love him.

JIMMY VALIANT
(James Harold Fanning - born 1942)

After breaking into the business in 1964, Jimmy became known world-wide as one of THE VALIANT BROTHERS while in the WWWF. Later was a big star in the Tennessee territory, feuding with JERRY LAWLER. Came to JCP and was dubbed 'The Boogie Woogie Man'. His popularity was stratospheric. Long-running feud with PAUL JONES and his many 'Army' members.

JOHNNY WEAVER
(1935-2008)

More than anyone except a Crockett family member, JOHNNY was JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS to thousands of MID-ATLANTIC fans. The top star of the company for over ten years, he wrestled, he booked, he commentated, he ran the Canadian territory, he hosted his own wrestling program and did them all superbly. Even non-wrestling fans knew the name JOHNNY WEAVER. We miss him so much.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

BACK TO THE SEVENTIES


BLACKJACK MULLIGAN's "claw" does in another opponent.

RIC FLAIR stomps on THUNDERBOLT PATTERSON.

JERRY "CRUSHER" BLACKWELL ties up an adversary.

JERRY and JACK BRISCO clown for the camera.

GENE ANDERSON receives a GREG VALENTINE leg drop.

GREG VALENTINE on the receiving end of a WAHOO MCDANIEL chop.

After a match, nothing like a big cigar and good wrestling magazine for the "NATURE BOY".

Monday, June 17, 2019

THE SUPER SIXTIES IN JCP

Half a century has passed since the end of the 1960s, but not the memories...

GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER
---
LEXINGTON, N.C. - 1966

GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER won over RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON.

TEX McKENZIE and NELSON ROYAL toppled KURT and HENRY VON STROHEIM.

IKE EAKINS beat ROGER KIRBY.

STEVE BOLUS polished off JACK DANIELS.

GORY GUERRERO bested 'ROWDY' RED ROBERTS.


THE MUMMY
---
NORFOLK, VA. - 1968

RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON defeated GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT.

THE MUMMY and 'BULLDOG' LEE HENNING lost to TEX McKENZIE and NELSON ROYAL.

LUTHER LINDSAY topped STEVE STANLEE.

ROCK HUNTER bested THE MATADOR.


BRONCHO LUBICH, HOMER O'DELL and ALDO BOGNI
---
GREENSBORO, N.C. - 1967

RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON lost to BRONCHO LUBICH and ALDO BOGNI with HOMER O'DELL.

TEX McKENZIE and NELSON ROYAL edged BRUTE BERNARD and SKULL MURPHY.

GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER whipped LARS and GENE ANDERSON.

RUDY KAY topped EL GAUCHO.

'ROWDY' RED ROBERTS was pinned by LUTHER LINDSAY.


TEX McKENZIE
---
CHARLESTON, S.C. - 1967

TEX McKENZIE and NELSON ROYAL turned back BRONCHO LUBICH and ALDO BOGNI with HOMER O'DELL.

PEGGY ALLEN topped MARGIE RAMSEY.

IKE EAKINS defeated TINKER TODD.

JACK 'THE NECK' VANSKY was pinned by JOHNNY HEIDEMAN.


KLONDIKE BILL
---
ROANOKE, VA. - 1967

THE AMAZING ZUMA and GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT defeated BRONCHO LUBICHALDO BOGNI and HOMER O'DELL in six man action.

PEDRO GODOY wrestled TONY ROMANO to a draw.

KLONDIKE BILL bested FRANK MARCONI.

JOHNNY HEIDEMAN topped IAN MacBIRD.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

RIP and SWEDE CHILL OUT


Anyone who ever saw RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON wrestle knows that when the rugged duo was in the ring, it was all business. Just ask their opponents.
But even JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS' "BLONDE BOMBERS" needed some 'down time' away from the squared circle.
Time to relax, refocus, and just have a good time.
Here's how RIP and SWEDE spent their time away from the arenas.


First, they work on their tans...


Then, it's off to the links...


"Swede, I wish you would hit Becker and Weaver as hard as you hit that last drive."


Time for a bit of refreshment...


Perhaps, 'politically incorrect' by today's standards, but it was all in fun.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

A TOUGH DAY AT THE OFFICE


ABE JACOBS catches a well-placed knee from THE GREAT BOLO.

Diamond Lil and Darling Dagmar go at it.

GENE ANDERSON takes a backdrop from GEORGE SCOTT.

KURT VON STEIGER has an opponent at his mercy.

ARGENTINA APOLLO gets a neck 'adjustment' from MATTI SUZUKI.

Big SWEDE HANSON dares an opponent (THE SUPER DESTROYER) to get back into the ring.

THE INFERNOS attempt to get their manager, J.C. DYKES, out of harm's way.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

BAD BOYS versus BAD BOYS

July 28, 1969
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

PARK CENTER is a great venue for professional wrestling as proven over the years, but the building may not be able to handle the action tonight when two of the very roughest and brutal tag teams (and constant rulebreakers) in the business collide head-on in the evening's headline attraction.

In what has to be billed as a BATTLE OF THE BULLIES, the skinheaded duo of BRUTE BERNARD and SKULL MURPHY clash with wrestling's 'BLONDE BOMBERS' RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON. Sympathies to whichever referee is assigned the job of officiating this two-out-of-three falls contest. One may describe the match as two locomotives colliding at breakneck speed.

BRUTE BERNARD and SKULL MURPHY

RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON

EL LOBO

ABE JACOBS

JOHNNY HEIDEMAN

ROCK HUNTER

LES WOLFE

More tag team action is in store for fans attending tonight when the popular duo of New Zealander ABE JACOBS and his youthful partner LES WOLFE face the rugged ROCK HUNTER and his masked partner EL LOBO. No one seems to know the identity of EL LOBO, and if HUNTER actually does, he isn't talking. This is also a best-of-three falls match.

Two singles matches will open the 8:15 card when JESSE JAMES takes on TOM BRADLEY and the youngster MATTI SUZUKI faces veteran tough guy JOHNNY HEIDEMAN.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

MID-ATLANTIC RING ACTION


JAKE (pre-'The Snake') ROBERTS clamps a headlock on THE GRAPPLER (LEN DENTON).

JOHNNY WEAVER holds the leg of THE MISSOURI MAULER (LARRY HAMILTON) as GEORGE BECKER lays one in. Referee ANGELO MARTINELLI observes.

High-flying DINO BRAVO coming in for a landing.
(This is gonna hurt.)

'The Russian Bear' IVAN KOLOFF snears at his victorious opponent.

The rugged ART NELSON puts the boots to the back of TOMMY SIEGLER.

Friday, June 7, 2019

BECKER, WEAVER and DEMONS of the RED KIND

June 18, 1966
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

53 Years Ago



They wrestled apart here last Saturday, but the fans' favorite duo, GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER, are back together as a unit tonight at the LEXINGTON YMCA in pro wrestling action.

Belltime is 8:15 p.m.

And it looks as if they will have their hands full when they enter the ring to meet a newer team to this wrestling area, THE MASKED RED DEMONS.

Just as their name implies, this tag team hides their identities under red masks and are very rough in the ring.

BECKER and WEAVER issued the following statement concerning their main event match for tonight, "We don't know who these men are or where they come from, but since coming to the area, they've beaten some good teams. And just like HAWK and HANSON and BOGNI and LUBICH, they win any way they can, with no regard for the rule book. So we'll have our hands full. But we're going to try to put a stop to them before they can get a foothold here."

THE MASKED RED DEMONS had no comment.

Another tag team loved by the fans, TEX McKENZIE and NELSON ROYAL, will be on tonight's card and will face the rugged veteran duo of IKE EAKINS and EL GAUCHO.

Both tag team matches will go the best two-out-of-three falls.

GEORGE "CATALINA" DRAKE will return here after an absence to face LUTHER LINDSAY, North Carolina's own top Negro star. These two have teamed together in the past, so the match should prove interesting.

In tonight's opening match, up-and-coming star, young PAUL DEMARCO squares off against veteran JOHN GUDISKI.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

UNDER THE CHARLOTTE DOME

September 7, 1959
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

60 Years Ago

JOHNNY HEIDEMAN

PAT O'HARA

DICK STEINBORN

CYCLONE ANAYA

THE GREAT BOLO

'DANDY' JACK DONOVAN

STEVE BOLUS
---
Eighteen wrestlers, the most to ever appear on a single wrestling card in the history of CHARLOTTE grappling, will make tonight's LABOR DAY mat program at the CHARLOTTE COLISEUM a most memorable one.

The huge holiday card features three tag team matches, one of which matches six wrestlers.

Headlining the card is the SIX MAN setto, with the Jap trio of MR. MOTO, DUKE KEOMUKA and SUIGI taking on ruffians LARRY 'CRUSHER' HAMILTON, PAT O'HARA and the masked man, THE GREAT BOLO.

None of these men respect the rules of the sport, so it is bound to be an explosive skirmish. It's scheduled for the best two-out-of-three falls with a one-hour time limit.

The semi-final brings in four colored girls for tag action. One team has BABS WINGO and MARVA SCOTT to face the opposition of CAT WINBLEY and ETHEL JOHNSON.

Then comes a pair of single tussles, one sending crowd favorite GEORGE BECKER against STEVE BOLUS, and the other featuring DICK STEINBORN against DANNY MERCE.

The third tag battle will open the 8:15 card when JOHNNY HEIDEMAN and partner 'DANDY' JACK DONOVAN square off against the duo of JOHN FOTI and CYCLONE ANAYA.

Advance tickets are available at the NATIONAL HAT SHOP in downtown Charlotte.