Monday, December 30, 2019

A fellow named JACK BRISCO

September 21, 1941 – February 1, 2010

Born Freddie Joe Brisco, he grew up in Blackwell, Oklahoma with five siblings. He was followed by his younger brother, Gerald Brisco, into the sport of wrestling and turned down a football scholarship at University of Oklahoma to go to Oklahoma State. In 1965, he became the first Native American to win an NCAA National Championship.

Jack's first documented professional championship reign began on October 16, 1965, when he defeated DON KENT to win the NWA MISSOURI JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT title.

He also won his first tag team title in this promotion, teaming with HAYSTACK CALHOUN as co-holder of the NWA U.S. TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP.

BRISCO headed east to Florida in 1968. Here his career skyrocketed. Over the course of the next few years, JACK held virtually title in the Sunshine State.

BRISCO's first NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP began in Houston, Texas when he defeated HARLEY RACE on July 10, 1973. He wore the belt until losing to GIANT BABA on December 4, 1974, then regained the title four days later. JACK remained the champion until December 10, 1975 when he was defeated by TERRY FUNK.

I was thrilled when Ted Turner's independent CHARLOTTE TV station began carrying CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM FLORIDA in the late 1960s. The first wrestler who jumped out of the screen at me was JACK BRISCO.

This young man was something special. He didn't have the look of many of the 'stereotypical' wrestlers of the day. Here was a nice-looking, clean-cut, college grad young man (there weren't many back then), and he could really go in the ring.

JACK soon began appearing in the MID-ATLANTIC territory on a limited basis. My first occasion to see JACK wrestle in person was August 4, 1969, when he teamed with MR. WRESTLING (TIM WOODS) to face THE GREAT BOLO and BOLO at the original CHARLOTTE COLISEUM.

Later, I was able to attend a CHARLOTTE PARK CENTER card when BRISCO battled THE MISSOURI MAULER (LARRY HAMILTON). There was also a night in the tiny hamlet of NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. that I witnessed JACK and JERRY BRISCO meet SGT. SLAUGHTER and DON KERNODLE. (This night, I believe, was also the final night of PAUL JONES' career as a full-time wrestler. PAUL was pinned on this card by TOMMY GILBERT--EDDIE's father. The next night in CHARLOTTE, PAUL was a manager.) 

During his tenure with JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS, JACK held the NWA EASTERN HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP twice, the MID-ATLANTIC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP four times and with his brother JERRY (or GERRY) the NWA WORLD TAG TEAM titles on three occassions. Fans today still remember the great title match with RICKY STEAMBOAT and JAY YOUNGBLOOD at STARRCADE '83.

A January, 1975 World title defense in GREENSBORO, N.C.

Few athletes have attained the honors and awards that JACK BRISCO has earned. From NCAA champion to NWA champion, BRISCO has worked throughout the world, entertaining fans of wrestling.

He certainly did that for me.

JACK BRISCO will always be at the top of my list, and I thank him for all of the many memories.

Saturday, December 28, 2019


The 'loaded boot' does its damage !

INFERNO Frankie Cain after a bad day at the office...

They say it's good to stretch before exercising, but NOT this way...

J.C. Dykes and his men beat up on Homer O'Dell in a 'Battle of the Bullies'...

Mr. Wrestling (Tim Woods) works over his blue-clad opponent.

Thursday, December 26, 2019


For nearly half a year now, the world-famous Madison Square Garden wrestling shows have been topped off with a very special cherry - - - some of the greatest wrestlers now in the business who, for various reasons, had never before been seen in the WWWF, were being booked as special guest attractions. The effect was twofold: the New York fans got to see a different style of wrestling, as well as a look at some of the heavy-duty talent that's fascinating fans in other territories of the grappling world.

From the announcement at ring center during the February, 1976 card, as to the name of the wrestler guest-starring the following month, excitement began to build among fans and press alike. It would be none other than RIC FLAIR, the much-heralded, peroxide blond "Nature Boy", with a line of self-developed hype slicker than a greased pencil.

The following month, as he strode down the ramp towards the MSG ring, the majority of New York fans weren't even sure who Flair was. He wore a long, gold-encrusted robe, white trunks, and the most magnificent patent-leather boots ever to grace the royal blue Garden mat. Across the back of his robe was emblazoned the legend: "Nature Boy", and he stalked back and forth within his corner, looking sullen and anxious as he awaited his opponent.

The man Ric was to wrestle would be no pushover. "Pistol" Pete Sanchez was a well-experienced grappler who can go by the book or duke it out, whichever way it lays. Pete drew the appluase of the crowd, and Flair disdainfully disrobed. At the sight of his excellent physique, Flair immediately won over a goodly portion of the female audience.

Ric looked like an excited young kid, howling with delight at his own prowess and at being able to demonstrate it in the biggest arena in the country. But while he looked like a handsome young kid, he wrestled pure pro, taking Sanchez with much greater ease than the ringsiders expected.

Finally, looking like a surfer about to hit the waves, Flair ignited and was all over Sanchez in a matter of seconds. After delivering a series of rights to the jaw, Ric bent Pete's head forward, hooked his arms and lifted him straight up into the air for a perfectly-executed symmetrical suplex. Grinning from ear to ear, the "Nature Boy" pinned his man and leaped up into the glare of the behemoth Klieg lights, basking in the golden glow of victory.

Ric Flair had come a long way, and he's come all that way in a few short years. There aren't many wrestlers who have done that. And as Flair had his hand raised in victory, center-canvas at Madison Square Carden, you were seized with the feeling that you were looking at one of those very special wrestlers.


Monday, December 23, 2019


March 4, 1963

56 Years Ago

Pro wrestling's most dreaded tag team, THE GREAT BOLO and BOLO, return to action after a week's absence, headlining tonight's PARK CENTER mat card when they face Canada's popular duo of GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT.

Just about everybody in the bone-cracking business has a feud of long standing with the two masked wrestlers, and the "FLYING SCOTTS" are no exception. These four have met before with nothing really being settled. Both teams intend to make a statement tonight in the best two-of-three falls battle.

There's more tag team action in the semi-final tonight, and this one brings in the rugged twosome of FRANK VALOIS and CRUSHER ANGELO, and they will have a potentially tough evening as they will face THE KENTUCKIANS, TINY ANDERSON and BIG BOY BROWN. This one is also for two-out-of-three falls.

In singles matches, Yugoslavian BRONCHO LUBICH, who will be accompanied to the ring by his manager, HOMER O'DELL, squares off against DALE LEWIS, a newcomer from Oklahoma.

Tonight's opener features JERRY BALLARD and PAUL HARRISON, a pair of Negro grapplers, against one another.

Belltime is 8:15.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019


August 15, 1961

GEORGE BECKER and ABE JACOBS, a couple of top heroes with local wrestling fans, will return to the LEXINGTON YMCA for mat action tonight.

The two gladiators, who recently have operated as a tag team, will divide their forces this week to meet rugged opponents in a pair of singles main events.

BECKER will battle the mighty Greek star, CHRIS AVEROFF, while JACOBS will scrap with big SWEDE HANSON.

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

Midget stars take over in a tag team match pitting popular little guys FRENCHY SEMARD and TINY BELL against the not-so-popular duo of FARMER McGRUDER and PEE WEE LOPEZ.

A preliminary match between SID JONES and PRINCE OMAR will open the card at 8:15.


A bloodied WEAVER after being kicked with the loaded boot of THE INFERNO.

Happy 'Birthday Suit' to you, J.C. DYKES

WEAVER takes a tumble to the floor.

A battered INFERNO receives medical care.
During the JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS terror tenure of J.C DYKES and THE INFERNOS, the weekly wrestling souvenir program at JCP arenas often contained articles written by the red-headed manager in which he expressed his personal opinions of the competition as it pertained to his blue-masked duo.

Without any doubt, the two wrestlers he despised the most were GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER, then the top 'babyface' team in MID-ATLANTIC WRESTLING.

THE INFERNOS battled BECKER and WEAVER all over the JCP territory in one of the 'hottest' feuds in 1960's pro wrestling history.

One evening, after a jam-packed house at Charlotte's PARK CENTER, Gene Gordon was able to corner DYKES and ask him a few questions.

J.C. had been shooting off his mouth about what his boys would do to that 'old bum' and his 'half-witted partner'. The match that night was thrown out by the referee for uncontrollable wildness. 'We beat them to a pulp tonight, and only the prejudiced referee saved their skins. They're as yellow as can be and will probably never sign to wrestle us again."

'BECKER is a low life, he eats berries and bugs,' shouted DYKES. 'As far as Weaver, he's on the silly side."

GEORGE and JOHNNY, however, rushed to the promoter, demanding their schedules be changed so that they could get THE INFERNOS back in the ring right away. 'That mouth without a brain and those two cowards who are afraid to let the public see their ugly faces, are in for a real surprise,' countered BECKER.

The following Monday night, the rematch took place, again at PARK CENTER. And again, the house was packed to see THE INFERNOS and DYKES 'get their's'.

WEAVER recorded the first fall, putting one of the masked men in slumberland from his trademark 'sleeper' hold. DYKES yelled and screamed to the official that JOHNNY had choked his man unto he passed out. The referee was not impressed by J.C.'s protest.

The second fall started with a very groggy INFERNO trying to stay on his feet, still reeling from the 'sleeper'. But then DYKES distracted the referee while the other INFERNO kicked WEAVER square in the head with the 'loaded boot' for the pin.

Fans rushed handkerchiefs and tissue to BECKER to help stop the bleeding of his partner. One fan offered his shirt.

The match was even.

The bell rang for the deciding fall. WEAVER barely answered the bell, his face a Gordon Solie 'crimson mask'. But he managed to continue, finally making a tag to BECKER, who came in like a madman. He floored both INFERNOS, knocking one out to the floor. GEORGE followed his rival outside the ring, ran the 'loaded boot' masked man into the ring post. Soon, this INFERNO was as bloody as WEAVER.

JOHNNY had cornered the other INFERNO and had the blue mask about half off when DYKES jumped into the fray. Approaching WEAVER (from behind, of course) with his metal canteen, his path was cut off by BECKER who battered DYKES until he could barely stand.

BECKER and WEAVER weren't able to remove a mask that night, but maybe they did one better. They removed J.C.'s clothes almost down to his 'birthday suit'. At this point, he blew his whistle, and a half-nude manager and his masked men (one a bloody pulp) set sail for the dressing room, forfeiting the match on a countout.

On a tirade in the dressing room, while his bloodied INFERNO received medical attention, DYKES began his ranting again, 'We will get BECKER and WEAVER if it takes a lifetime. That bug-eating BECKER and mule ears WEAVER have disgraced, humiliated and shamed my INFERNOS and me. Can you image two grownup men like these two dolts tearing my clothes off out there in front of thousands of people? If they want to act like children, they should both be placed in reform school with the other dirty-minded brats! When we first came to JCP, BECKER took off and went into hiding in the mountains somewhere until WEAVER sent out a posse to bring him back. WEAVER told BECKER a lie when he came back. He said that one of my INFERNOS burned his face with a fireball or something ridiculous like that. That is not what made the scar on old mule ear's face. Sailor Art Thomas dropped WEAVER on his head carrying him out of the ring after we beat the two of them one night. They're both no-good liars, and we'll send them into retirement before we leave the Carolinas. That's a promise.'

Although the two teams battled many more times, that promise went unfulfilled.

Monday, December 16, 2019


December 25, 1969
50 Years Ago

Promoter JIM CROCKETT has slated another CHRISTMAS DAY spectacular for the CHARLOTTE COLISEUM, starting at 8:15 p.m.

It is a charity card with a FENCE MATCH set as the headliner.

This type of match takes place inside a seven-foot high steel barrier, which eliminates any escape routes by the combatants.

The two teams confined will be fan favorites GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER and the angry twosome of SKULL MURPHY and BRUTE BERNARD.

In their last meeting, MURPHY enlisted the aid of a steel chair, smashing WEAVER's head into a bloody mess, then bolting to the dressing room. The fence will prevent MURPHY (or anyone else) from doing it this time.

This main event is set for two-out-of-three falls, within a one-hour time limit.

"Two other tag team matches are booked on tonight's card," said CROCKETT.

ABE JACOBS and LES WOLFE will face KURT VON STROHEIM and ART NELSON in one of them.


"It's a wrestling card with something for everybody," said CROCKETT, pointing to the Christmas spirit of the event. "We'll also have midgets and girls as well."

Saturday, December 14, 2019


December 25, 1968

A total of eighteen professional wrestlers will participate in a charity program at the CHARLOTTE COLISEUM tonight, presented by JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS.

A FENCE MATCH is the top attraction this Christmas. SAILOR ART THOMAS, GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER face THE MISSOURI MAULER, HIRO MATSUDA and HOMER O'DELL in this specialty. A seven-foot chain link steel fence is to be rigged around the squared circle. Contestants will do-or-die to the finish in this match, as neither team will be able to escape before the match is over.

The MINNESOTA WRECKING CREW, GENE and OLE ANDERSON, will tangle with JIMMY and BILLY HINES in the semi-final best-of-three falls match. Fans may recall that the HINES brothers wrestled a few years back as THE MASKED RED DEMONS.

There will be a special ladies wrestling contest.

Midgets are also on this holiday variety card. LORD LITTLEBROOK will defend his mighty honor against THE MIGHTY ATOM.

"BULLDOG" LEE HENNING will be out to take down NELSON ROYAL in a one-fall contest.

The opener sends TINKER TODD against PAUL JONES.

Tickets are available at the NATIONAL HAT SHOP and the COLISEUM box office. Doors open at 7:00 and the matches begin at 8:15.

Thursday, December 12, 2019


May 11, 1968

51 Years Ago

"THE FLYING SCOTT BROTHERS" GEORGE and SANDY, have decided that it's time someone puts an end to the destruction caused by the masked duo of THE INFERNOS.

And they will get their chance tonight when the SCOTT BROTHERS meet THE INFERNOS in the middle of the ring in the headline wrestling contest at the LEXINGTON YMCA.

THE INFERNOS, the bullies managed by J.C. DYKES, have been causing lots of problems for lots of wrestlers since coming to this wrestling area. DYKES is one problem, constantly interfering in his men's matches. The other is the controversial wrestling boot worn by one of the masked men. Many wrestlers are claiming that there is something, other than a foot, in that boot.

GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT are cautiously optimistic about tonight's two-out-of-three falls match. "These guys wear masks, keeping their identities secret. We don't know why. But we have to admit that these men are great wrestlers. Add in their constant rule breaking, and DYKES' involvement in their's going to be tough. But we face tough teams all the time. We'll be ready. And who knows, maybe we'll get an opportunity to get our hands on that boot and maybe even find out who these INFERNOS are by removing their masks. We're sure going to give it our best."

Another best-of-three falls tag match sends the popular duo of THE AMAZING ZUMA and LES THATCHER against tough BULL JOHNSON and Russia's NIKITA MULKOVICH.

A favorite of the wrestling fans, BOB NANDOR meets rugged veteran JOHNNY HEIDEMAN.

JACK RICO challenges local star SONNY FARGO in the 8:15 opening contest.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019


...Fans of the MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING territory were always in for a great evening when the stars of JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS came to their towns...



FRANK MORRELL puts the boot to the back of MATTI SUZUKI.

KOA TIKI has the advantage over GENE ANDERSON at this moment.

ABE JACOBS is at the mercy of PHIL ROBLEY.

UNMASKED MARVEL BILLY GARRETT clamps a nerve stinger on DANNY MILLER while the other MARVEL JIM STARR looks on.

Sunday, December 8, 2019


It's difficult and somewhat sad to realize that this JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS
wrestling card at CHARLOTTE'S PARK CENTER occurred fifty-nine years ago...






May 3, 1960

Two of the hottest wrestling personalities to hit the Charlotte grappling scene in many years will collide tonight at the PARK CENTER to settle who is better.

It's THE AMAZING ZUMA, the acrobatic South American, going against the hooded menace, THE GREAT BOLO. They'll get one hour, two of three falls, to decide the winner.

The semiwindup has JACKIE FARGO and DON STEVENS tackling rugged RAY VILLMER and 'IRISH' MIKE CLANCY in tag team warfare.

The main prelim has 600-pounder HAYSTACK CALHOUN going against the nasty German KARL VON HESS and the 8:15 opener sends BOB BOYER against LARRY 'CRUSHER' HAMILTON *


Friday, December 6, 2019


Maybe you had to have been there.

And I wish you had, as this was a most memorable evening.

Backtracking a bit, I should point out that Jimmy Lewis and I had become good friends, having been in the same fourth grade class at N.B. Mills Elementary School. But the opening of Northview the following school year took care of that, at least for a while. I remained at N.B. Mills, but Jimmy was in the newly-developed Northview district, and off he went. Two years later, because of the Center Street dividing line, we continued apart - - he went to Oakwood and I went to D. Matt.

But the summer before SHS found us reunited in the classroom basement of the high school gymnasium trying to grasp the elusive concepts of Algebra I, something neither of us had accomplished in our final year of junior high. Cutting to the chase, we quickly became good friends once again and remained nearly inseparable our three years at SHS. In fact, Jimmy lived with my mother and me our senior year.

One memorable occurence I clearly recall is the night of June 13, 1966.

I had watched CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING most Saturday afternoons on WBTV-Channel 3 for several years, and aside from attending a few live wrestling shows on the rare instances they were held in Statesville, had never been to see them in the metropolis of Charlotte.

Jimmy and I had watched the wrestling show on June 11th and decided we wanted to go to see the live matches in Charlotte which were advertised on that week's TV show. But there was a problem - - how to get there. Both of us were still fifteen, thus no driver's licenses.

So we put our two skulls together and decided to ask my mother to take us. It wouldn't be an easy task of getting her to agree to our request. But Jimmy could be quite persuasive and so could I, and together as a tag team, we liked our chances. So we placed our one-sided proposal on the table, and my mother said yes. It had been much easier than we had expected.

In fact, my mom (Velma) asked a co-worker to go with us, and it became a foursome.

We left Statesville that Monday as soon as she got off work at 5:00 and headed for the "big city." Of course, no interstate to Charlotte then, so we went south on Highway 21 through Troutman (hey, there's the fair grounds), the then tiny hamlet of Mooresville and we eventually came into Charlotte. Our destination for wrestling was the Park Center (now Grady Cole Center). Being close to the then-popular Charlottetown Mall, we went to the S&W Cafeteria for a nice meal. Then off to the matches.

We arrived at Park Center, parked our really hot 1963 Plymouth Valiant (which would go from zero-to-sixty in ten minutes), and bought our RINGSIDE tickets.

I was soon sitting in the famous (to me) building, which held around three thousand. By the time the starting time of 8:15 rolled around, I doubt there was a seat to be sold.

I recall really nothing about the preliminary matches, except for the Missouri Mauler being in one of them. Everyone remembers the Missouri Mauler, right?

After an intermission, it was time for the main event match, and it was just not any main event, this match was for the Southern Tag Team Championship, which at the time, I thought, really stood for something, but I later discovered it was just a gimmick.

Up to this time, Jimmy and I had cheered and booed the wrestlers a little, but Velma and her friend sat silently. I assumed they were not having a great time. Mom would probably have been satisfied to be home watching THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW and BEN CASEY. After all, she had to go to work the next morning, and with school just out, Jimmy and I could sleep until noon.

The crowd roared with approval when George and Sandy Scott made their way to the ring. They were the "good guys" and were known as The Flying Scotts because they used an arsenal of high-flying maneuvers such as drop-kicks and flying head scissors.

As soon as the crowd's screaming died down, out came the "bad guys," who were also the current champs. Aldo Bogni and Broncho Lubich were their names, and they were not well-respected among wrestling fans. And they also had an ace-in-the-hole. They used the services of a manager. His name was Homer O'Dell. Mr. O'Dell always was donned in a formal tuxedo and was dressed to the nines. He also carried a cane, which he was known to use for everything except walking. By everything, I mean he used the cane to choke, to poke and to outright hit anyone who opposed his charges. O'Dell was easily the most-hated man in Charlotte-area wrestling for the entire decade. Big Bill Ward often said of him on TV that Homer was "so low he'd have to walk on stilts to look a snake in the eye."

The match began.

These four wrestlers were at the top of the business at that time, and they REALLY knew how to get the crowd involved. Ring psychology in wrestling was always a key to being successful in the business, and these guys had masters' degrees in their craft. The crowd was up and down more than a Lutheran church service, screaming their lungs out, cheering and booing. O'Dell used the cane on the Scott brothers, nearly inciting a riot. Fortunately, no one went overboard to the point the Queen City's finest had to get involved.

I looked over at Velma and her friend, and they were going wild just like everyone else.

The full sixty-minute time limit on the match expired, the referee separated the participants, and the villains scurried out of the ring with their championship belts and went to their dressing room. The "good guy" Scott brothers remained in the ring for a while, accepting the crowd's cheers and applause for a job well done, even if they had come up short becoming the new champions.

They finally exited the ring and headed up the aisle back to their dressing room. It happened to be the aisle where we were sitting. Velma was on the end of the row. Keep in mind, these guys had been going at it for a full hour and under the hot ring lights, they looked as if they had been dropped into a well. As the two grapplers passed her, she reached out and patted one of them on the back. The perspiration went everywhere, including all over Velma.

It got her good. But she shrugged it off and we all headed for the parking lot. The show was over.

As we headed out of Charlotte, we stopped for a snack at Krispy Kreme, capping off the evening.

Then the long drive back to the City of Progress.

An evening well spent.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019



Monday, December 2, 2019


THE INFERNOS and J.C. DYKES ready to work...
(Under the hoods are ROCKY SMITH and his brother CURTIS. ROCKY was an original INFERNO. CURTIS replaced original INFERNO FRANKIE CAIN.)

DENNIS HALL in command of his INFERNO encounter...for the time being. That's referee Sam 'Lucky' Roberts in the background.

Popular NELSON ROYAL attempts to remove the INFERNO's mask...

J.C. shouts instructions to his men, who seem to be in a bad situation.

One of the 'managerial' skills of J.C. DYKES.


NELSON ROYAL in a pinch.

DON CURTIS about to catch fire.

Right in the kisser.


Looks like a rough day at the office.

Incredible GENE GORDON photo of J.C. DYKES, GEORGE HARBEN and THE INFERNOS at Charlotte's Park Center.

(from the CARROLL HALL collection)