Saturday, June 29, 2019

RIP & ROCK meet the BOLOS

December 3, 1962
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

57 Years Ago



A pair of tag team matches will headline tonight's big PARK CENTER professional wrestling program starting at 8:15.

The main event is a long-awaited skirmish of THE GREAT BOLO and BOLO meeting RIP HAWK and ROCK HUNTER. The two masked men have yet to taste defeat in Charlotte as a team, and HAWK and HUNTER claim they're the two men who are tough and rugged enough to put down the hooded duo. They'll have one hour and two-of-three falls to do the job.

The other team contest sends THE KENTUCKIANS, TINY ANDERSON and BIG BOY BROWN, against JOHN SCOTT and IVAN KAMEROFF. This one is also for two-out-of-three falls with a one-hour time limit.

THE FLYING SCOTTS, GEORGE and SANDY, are also scheduled, but in individual competition.

SANDY faces big IKE EAKINS, and GEORGE will take on GEORGE "TWO TON" HARRIS.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

SOME WENT BOTH WAYS

In this case, I am speaking of wrestling 'philosophies' and nothing else...

Lately, I've been spotlighting 'good guys' and 'bad guys', but there was also a group of wrestlers who could work either way.

'Swerving' to the other side was automatic in terms of starting and building big programs in wrestling, and JCP was no exception in this regard.


GREG VALENTINE

This was a surprise to me, as Greg was such an engraved 'heel' in the minds of fans, that I wasn't sure he could really pull it off. And frankly, from my view, he was only moderately successful convincing me he was a 'good guy' in the ring. The fact that he feuded with DICK SLATER helped, but only so far.


JACK BRISCO

In my mind, JACK was the epitome of a wrestling 'babyface', right up there with JOHNNY WEAVER and RICKY STEAMBOAT. I never suspected he would 'turn' (along with his brother) and pull it off convincingly. But when the BRISCO brothers had their big program with STEAMBOAT and JAY YOUNGBLOOD, leading up to STARRCADE '83, I was convinced. Good job, JACK.

PAUL JONES

"Mr. # 1", to me, was a better 'heel' than 'babyface'. While I liked PAUL as a 'good guy' (and we were supposed to), I believe it was due, to a large degree, because of whomever his partner would be - - NELSON ROYAL, WAHOO McDANIEL, etc. But the night at the CHARLOTTE COLISEUM, when PAUL turned on poor innocent STEAMBOAT (excuse me, Paul), when that ungrateful STEAMBOAT turned on poor PAUL, the roof nearly came off the building. PAUL had worked 'heel' before, but never in CROCKETT country. It was a stunner.

DORY FUNK JR.

It was natural for the WORLD CHAMPION to be booed when he made his rounds throughout the NWA territories. Part of his job was to enhance the reputation of the local main eventers (even in defeat). FUNK did it with class, but we still wanted him to lose his belt to our local hero. That never occurred in JCP, however, his program with JOHNNY WEAVER had me believing it was going to happen. Later in the 1980s, DORY worked 'babyface' for the CROCKETTs for a while, teaming with JIMMY VALIANT and RUFUS R. JONES in their quest to destroy PAUL JONES and THE ASSASSINS.

ANGELO MOSCA

The man who "walked and talked the way he wanted" was born to be a wrestling 'bad guy'. He just looked the part (no offense Mr. Mosca). And he was a great one. I wasn't sold when he 'saw the light' and came over to the good side. Bringing in his son didn't help much either. He should have stayed in his element.

WAHOO McDANIEL

This is the turn that knocked my socks off. It was a gradual one, and if you were following the TV shows every week, it was apparent the turn would happen. It was well done, and WAHOO made the transition perfectly. He would be the hero who worked as hard as anyone in the business, didn't get any of the breaks and was growing tired of being the 'red-headed stepchild'. And when the turn was completed, we hated WAHOO as much as we used to love him. Great job, Chief.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

THE SUPER D IN JCP


One of the epic battles between the masked villain and Swede Hanson

Swede not faring too well at this point.

Super D clamps 'the claw' on Swede's noggin'.

Sonny King feels the wrath of the Super Destroyer


The year was 1973. JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS brought back one of their most popular wrestlers, GEORGE SCOTT, not as a ring competitor, but rather as head booker. One of Scott's priorities was to shift emphasis from tag team competition to singles matches.

To accomplish this, Scott brought in a couple of top heels he felt could achieve the transition. One was Johnny Valentine. The other, a rugged, vicious man in a mask, known in many territories as THE SPOILER.

However, in MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING rings, he would be known as THE SUPER DESTROYER.

Regardless of his in-ring monocle, the man who wore the mask and pulverized his opponents was the 6' 4", 270 pound Canadian named DON JARDINE (1940-2006). Already in the pro wrestling business for nearly twenty years, Jardine was known as an incredibly agile worker for such a big man, known for 'walking the ropes' before lowering the boom on his competition. His ring style was rough and tough and, being the consumate 'heel', rulebreaking was a big part of his m.o.

THE SUPER DESTROYER rose to main event level in JCP almost immediately, going against such greats as Johnny Weaver, Bearcat Wright, Wahoo McDaniel, Paul Jones, Rufus R. Jones and Sonny King.

A major program involving THE SUPER DESTROYER would be with a hooded 'babyface' who called himself THE AVENGERThe battle between these two escalated to a MASK VERSUS MASK battle in which the loser would reveal his identity. I witnessed the Greensboro, N.C. encounter between these two (seems like it was on Thanksgiving night) in which THE AVENGER was eventually pinned and revealed to be none other than Reggie Parks. This same type match was probably held in other cities as well.

However, the program with THE SUPER DESTROYER I enjoyed the most was his incredible matches with SWEDE HANSONThe long-time JCP heel, big SWEDE was now a single, as partner RIP HAWK had bolted to the newly-formed IWA. Swede joined forces with SUPER D as a new tag team, but things went sideways between the two, with the masked man humiliating Hanson after a defeat. From this point on, Swede turned 'babyface' and went after his ex-partner.

The two went from town-to-town in the MID-ATLANTIC territory fighting each other in mostly bloody battles. It would be Swede's swan song as a JCP main eventer. After this program, Hanson would finish his career as a mid-card wrestler, splitting his time between JCP and the then-WWF.

THE SUPER DESTROYER would continue on in JCP for a while, later leaving abruptly over 'corporate issues', with JCP announcing on its weekly wrestling programs he had been unmasked and showing Jardine's photograph without the mask.

Some thought this was not the most professional way to end things between the company and the employee, but we see things like this in the corporate world everyday, don't we?

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.