Tuesday, November 29, 2022

A SALUTE TO CROCKETT STARS

            One would have to go back fifty or more years to remember all of these superstars who     appeared in JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS...

Semi-reluctantly, I admit I am one who qualifies...

RAMON and ENRIQUE TORRES

TONY GAREA

JOHNNY VALENTINE

SKULL MURPHY

THUNDERBOLT PATTERSON

TEX McKENZIE

Monday, November 28, 2022


 THE INFERNOS
(ROCKY SMITH, FRANKIE CAIN)
J.C. DYKES

Sunday, November 27, 2022

HOMER O'DELL IN TIGHTS

                                                                         July 11, 1964

LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA


CHIEF BIG HEART

ALDO BOGNI and BRONCHO LUBICH

GEORGE BECKER

RONNY ETCHISON

NICK KOZAK

MIKE CLANCY

FRANK VALOIS

HOMER O'DELL
---
Professional wrestling returns to the LEXINGTON YMCA with a bang tonight following a week's layoff because of the Fourth of July holiday.

A six man tag team match, with grudge ingredients thrown in, features the program.

Heroes GEORGE BECKER, RONNIE ETCHISON and CHIEF BIG HEART will battle top bullies ALDO BOGNI, BRONCHO LUBICH along with their arrogant manager, 'COLONEL' HOMER O'DELL, in a best-of-three falls encounter. This time out, O'DELL will don wrestling attire instead of the usual tuxedo and will participate as a legal wrestler.

'IRISH' MIKE CLANCY returns after a long absence and will meet tough Canadian FRANK VALOIS in the semi-final match of the evening.

Newcomer NICK KOZAK battles TOMMY O'TOOLE, and in the 8:15 opener, BOB BOYER faces PANCHO GOMEZ.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Friday, November 25, 2022

THE BILLY / BRONCHO BASH

                                                                       March 25, 1963

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA


A renewal of a big feud between Indian great BILLY TWO RIVERS and rugged Yugoslavian BRONCHO LUBICH will headline tonight's PARK CENTER wrestling card presented by promoter JIM CROCKETT.

TWO RIVERS holds a win over LUBICH in their last meeting, a bout that generated hard feelings on both sides, and the rematch should be a honey. It's set for two-of-three falls, one hour time limit.

The semifinal squares off two brother teams for tag team action. Fan favorites GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT go against DOC and MIKE GALLAGHER. This one is set for 45 minutes, two-of-three falls.

Three singles bouts complete the card.

These have GEORGE BECKER facing FRANK VALOIS.

CRUSHER ANGELO goes against DALE LEWIS.

DON WHITTLER battles JIM GRABMIRE.

All are one fall contests, with the first beginning at 8:15 p.m.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

THANKSGIVING AT CHARLOTTE'S BIG DOME

                                                                   November 21, 1966

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

56 Years Ago

The Charlotte Observer reported 5460 fans in attendance, and I was one of them, sometimes sitting in my ringside seat.

It was a BIG night of wrestling.

The card started like most of all of them. LUTHER LINDSAY facing PEDRO GODOY in a yawner, the kind of match you want to end so you can get closer to the main events. LUTHER won and most of us didn't care. We wouldn't have cared if PEDRO had won either.

Things started to pick up in the next match when favorite NELSON ROYAL squared off against GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS'. Most everyone loved NELLIE and most everyone hated 'TWO TON' but I loved the big guy because his matches were always entertaining. 'TWO TON' always got the most out of the fans because he was a master at 'working' a crowd. I can't remember what naughty he pulled, but the match went to NELLIE on a DQ. But 'TWO TON' would be back later as he was also manager of the MASKED RED DEMONS.

THE AMAZING ZUMA or ARGENTINA ZUMA, whichever you prefer, took the toll of HENRY VON STROHEIM, one-half of a pseudo-main event German heel team. I believe HENRY (can I call him Hank?) was probably getting ready to leave the area, because his partner KURT was no where to be found that night. Maybe he was back at the hotel packing.

The little people were up next in a tag match. I usually enjoyed the novelty of 'Midget Matches' (we can't say that anymore, ya know) for about five minutes, then it was time to move on. On this night, LITTLE BEAVER and SONNY BOY CASSIDY pinned SKY LOW LOW and BILLY THE KID (not the real one). I'd love to know how many times in their careers that BEAVER and LOW LOW worked one another. I'm sure it was in the thousands.

Now, it was time to get serious.

Two of the all-time heel combos in JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS history were to do battle. RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON versus ALDO BOGNI and BRONCHO LUBICH with, of course, their snake-like manager, HOMER O'DELL.

On this night, the crowd was behind the BLONDE BOMBERS all the way. I can't recall which team won which fall, but they were even at one apiece. The third fall found BOGNI & LUBICH beating RIP to a pulp. HAWK was thrown over the top rope to the cement floor (and on MY side of the ring). O'DELL, welding that dreaded cane, cracked 'The Profile' on the noggin' and before HAWK could get to his feet, it looked as if he had lost three gallons of the red stuff.

He managed to crawl back into the ring, but it looked like it was R.I.P. for R-I-P. After teasing all of us for a few more minutes with 'not quite a tag,' HAWK found HANSON's hand, made contact, and in came the big SWEDE. The crowd was hysterical!

SWEDE could have taken on the 300 Spartans at this point. He beat ALDO and BRONCHO at will, then grabbed O'DELL on the apron and 'welcomed' him into the ring via the top rope. Just as the SWEDE is about to ruin the creases in HOMER's tuxedo, he was double-attacked by O'DELL's cronies. HANSON got his hands on the cane and broke it over O'DELL's back about the same time as RIP entered the ring with a metal chair. Observing everything, referee ANGELO MARTINELLI must have figured it was time for a cold one, so he called off any further mutilation in this one, and it ended in a double DQ, or a no-contest (what was the difference).

I have witnessed several thousand wrestling matches in my years, and I can easily say, this was one of the best I EVER saw. Boy, did these five wrestlers know how to work a match and a crowd.

The show actually slumped a bit when the WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP match came next. First of all, I was never fully into TEX McKENZIE's fan club. He couldn't work any better than my lazy uncle who never worked at all, and I always resented the fact that TEX always made NELSON ROYAL take the beatings when they teamed together.

So, here is McKENZIE, a guy whose legs were longer and clumsier than Olive Oyl's, going up against GENE KINISKI for the WORLD belt. Add in the fact that there was no way (in the 1960s) the NWA was going to let their champion lose the title in Charlotte. KINISKI won the first fall. TEX came back and pinned the champ with a knee lift and judo chop off the ropes, those being the only two moves he knew. And then, KINISKI pinned McKENZIE again to win the final fall.

I suspect the concession stands were plenty busy during the world title match.

Now it was time for BECKER and WEAVER against the MASKED RED DEMONS...one more time.

This time, GEORGE and JOHNNY's SOUTHERN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP is on the line again, but on this night, under TEXAS DEATH MATCH rules. And in addition, it's the BELTS versus the MASKS. One team would walk out with BOTH.

Falls didn't figure in determining the winner (but was a great means of giving the participants a rest break). The Charlotte Observer reported the match went twelve falls (that I don't remember), but at the bell for unlucky fall number thirteen, the masked men were whipped to the point that they couldn't answer the bell, and even 'TWO TON' couldn't get them to their feet.

Ref MARTINELLI signaled it was over and raised BECKER and WEAVER's hands in victory. They held onto their titles and now would be able to discover exactly who these soon-to-be UNMASKED RED DEMONS were. With both men still prone on the ring from their beating, GEORGE took off one mask and JOHNNY the other and held them high in the air to the crowd's approval.

"Find out who they are Angelo," ring announcer GEORGE HARBEN requested over the microphone. Supposedly, MARTINELLI went over to them and said something ingenious like, "Hey, who are you?"

ANGELO went over to HARBEN, whispered in his ear, and HARBEN announced to all of us, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the RED DEMONS are JIMMY and BILLY HINES."

Everyone yelled, even though it really didn't mean anything. I'd never heard of JIMMY and BILLY HINES anyway. What it did mean, however, was pretty much the end of the main event run of this team who had been in JCP since late spring. I always liked the main event masked teams like THE BOLOS and THE INFERNOS, and now there wouldn't be one.

The HINES boys had a few more main event matches with 'TWO TON' but soon left the territory. When the hoods came off, so did the luster and mystique of the team.

But we still had GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER as our SOUTHERN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS.

But lurking in the bushes would be BOGNI & LUBICH, HAWK & HANSON or BRUTE BERNARD & SKULL MURPHY waiting for their night when they would win the belts.

And, of course, that night would come.

I related my recollections of this particular match to JOHNNY a few months before he passed away, and he said, "Yes, we did that same match all over the territory."

I was sorry he told me that.

But after I thought about what he said, it made me appreciate the fact that these men, even though they would work each other night after night, still could make each audience feel they were seeing something special.

That's how great they were.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022


 JOHNNY WEAVER battles THE MASKED RED DEMONS

Monday, November 21, 2022

BECKER'S BACK IN LEXINGTON


LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA
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.

Sunday, November 20, 2022