Monday, November 21, 2016

THANKSGIVING AT CHARLOTTE'S BIG DOME

November 27, 1961
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
---
55 years Ago

The outstanding wrestling card of Autumn takes place in the Queen City tonight at the "Big Dome" CHARLOTTE COLISEUM.

The first bell will ring promptly at 8:15, and fourteen of the nation's most sought-after grapplers will spring into action.

The arrogant German team of KURT and KARL VON BRAUNER will mix with LENNY MONTANA and the polished PAT O'CONNOR in the best-of-three falls main event.

"GENTLEMAN" SAUL WEINGROFF, the crowd-baiting, cane-bearing handler of the European tandem, has been "barred" from ringside unless he wears a straight jacket.

"I'll be there," promises Saul. "I feel I am being persecuted by this handicap, but my boys want me there, so I won't let them down."

The complete line-up of wrestling stars is impressive.

THE GREAT BOLO, the brutal masked villain, is back and collides with SWEET DADDY SIKI.

RIP "THE PROFILE" HAWK and New Zealand's ABE JACOBS will test one another.

Another tag match will take place when the popular duo of GEORGE BECKER and CHIEF BIG HEART face THE MASKED MEDICS in another two-out-of-three falls battle.

A ladies match featuring Miss RITA CORTEZ is scheduled.

An autograph session will take place starting at 7:00.

Tickets can be purchased at the NATIONAL HAT SHOP in downtown Charlotte or at the Coliseum box office.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

THE SAILOR MAN...AND NOT POPEYE

July 13, 1968
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

SAILOR ART THOMAS

GENERAL HOMER O'DELL

THE MISSOURI MAULER

HIRO MATSUDA

THE AMAZING ZUMA

ABE JACOBS

LES THATCHER

JOHNNY HEIDEMAN

TINKER TODD

LES WOLFE

JESSE JAMES
---
Wrestling fans attending the LEXINGTON YMCA tonight will see a newcomer to the area, SAILOR ART THOMAS, when he joins forces with THE AMAZING ZUMA to meet ruffian THE MISSOURI MAULER and his Japanese partner, HIRO MATSUDA, in a best-of-three falls tag team main event.

SAILOR ART has been a sensation since he entered the area recently, and fans have been asking to see him in action here in Lexington. THOMAS and ZUMA should make a dazzling combination. The rugged MAULER / MATSUDA duo is returning after an absence and will have their wiley manager, 'GENERAL' HOMER O'DELL in their corner.

In another two-out-of-three falls contest, young LES THATCHER and friend JESSE JAMES will tangle with JOHNNY HEIDEMAN and TINKER TODD.

LES WOLFE will attempt to extend his winning streak when he meets RICK MILLER in a singles bout.

ABE JACOBS and ALEX MEDINA square off at 8:15 in what should be a great scientific one fall match.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

REMEMBER GEORGE HARBEN?


GEORGE HARBEN

I certainly do.

I remember George Harben as the ring announcer on WBTV's CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING TV program, which was video taped every Wednesday night in Charlotte and broadcast that following Saturday afternoon.

And for a number of those years, the same program was broadcast over WBTV's 'sister station' in FlorenceSouth Carolina.

However, MrHarben's career in the wrestling business went back quite a bit further than announcing on television and at house shows at PARK CENTER and the CHARLOTTE COLISEUM.

Harben was born in Stone MountainGeorgia, a famous historical spot that is still visited by tourists the year round. He broke into the business as a wrestler in 1933 and had an active career until retiring in 1956.

In 1935, George helped train one of the all-time greats of modern wrestling, none other than LOU THESZ, who went on to become WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION six times. THESZ was a young boy of eighteen when he worked with Harben.

In 1940, during the years of World War 2, George Harben made a trip to Australia by boat to wrestle and was on board when the vessel was struck by a mine off the coast of New Zealand.

He also wrestled in Cuba before Fidel Castro took control of that country.

George Harben wrestled with his brother Charlie over most of the United States as a tag team. The two were in the main event that drew the largest crowd to ever witness a wrestling card at the old CHARLOTTE ARMORY. It was in early 1953, and the Harbens' opponents were GEORGE and BOBBY BECKER.

Besides his ring announcing duties for JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONSHarben also assisted in advertising the company's wrestling shows in several other towns besides Charlotte and for a while promoted house shows in HickoryNorth Carolina.

George Harben passed away some years ago, but I can still his voice---
"Good evening Ladies and Gentleman and welcome to another exciting evening of Championship Wrestling on Channel 3."

GEORGE HARBEN during his career as a wrestler.







Jim Harben said...
I remember George Harben. He continued in promotions and advertisement for Jim Crockett promotions until his death. Professional wrestling was is life. He died at my kitchen table of heart failure following a hospital stay and procedure for prostate cancer. He is survived by three sons and one daughter, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

BOO THE BAD GUYS

Today, I shine the spotlight on 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 broke the rules. They pulled hair, they pulled tights, they double-teamed their opponents, they deliberately got themselves disqualified to save their championships, some even threw fire.

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.

In short, someone the public would spend money to buy a wrestling ticket to see get beat and to get beaten.

Here are six such wrestling personalities:

BRONCHO LUBICH

(Best known in JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS for teaming with ALDO BOGNI and managed by HOMER O'DELL, but was later managed by GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS, and later teamed with BRUTE BERNARD or CHRIS MARKOFF.)

FRANK MORRELL

(A bigger star in Tennessee, known as 'The King of Kingsport'. In JCP, FRANK was mostly an undercard scoundrel. His experience was a factor in making MORRELL one of the better jobbers for a number of years.)

PAMPERO FIRPO

(Known as 'The Wild Bull of the Pampas', is best remembered in JCP teaming with THE MISSOURI MAULER a.k.a. LARRY HAMILTON as a main event team. After retiring from the ring, he went to work for the U.S. POSTAL SERVICE--make up your own joke there.)

MIKE YORK

(Mike York formed a tag team with "brother" JAY YORK as THE ALASKANS and later with FRANK MONTE. In JCP, the duo was mostly mid-card status, but did have some main event matches.)

DOC and MIKE GALLAGHER

(A top team throughout the wrestling world in the late 1950s and early-to-mid 1960s. JCP main eventers for a number of years. Around 1973, after retiring from the ring, MIKE formed a short-lived independent wrestling company with GEORGE BECKER, based in Charlotte, N.C.)

'PLAYBOY' GARY HART, RIP HAWK, SWEDE HANSON

(What can I say about these guys that hasn't been said? One of the greatest teams in wrestling histories. RIP and SWEDE were together for about sixteen years, HART joined them as their manager in 1969. They headlined wrestling cards in every territory they worked.)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

CHEER THE GOOD GUYS

Today, I shine the spotlight 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. They live by the creed of wrestling by the rule book (although when provoked, will 'fight fire with fire' to settle a score). No hair pulling, no eye gouging, no low blows.

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 six such wrestling personalities:

THE MIGHTY IGOR
(Richard Joseph Garza - 1931-2002)

A former AWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, he used the 'gentle giant' gimmick, loved children and puppy dogs. Came to JCP from the IWA. His biggest feud in the MID-ATLANTIC territory came when BORIS MALENKO and THE MASKED SUPERSTAR (Bill Eadie) burned him in the eye with a lit cigar.

RED BASTIEN
(Rolland Bastein -1931-2012)

Top 'babyface' throughout the wrestling world, did several stints in JCP, one during his prime in the early 1960s, then later in the mid-1970s as a mid-card worker.)

SONNY KING
(Larry Johnson)

A boxer-turned wrestler, he enjoyed success as a WWWF Tag Team Champion before coming to JCP in 1974 as a 'relative' of BEARCAT WRIGHT to feud with JOHNNY VALENTINE. In 1982, he was seriously stabbed at the CHARLOTTE COLISEUM.

TINY ANDERSON a.k.a. GRIZZLY SMITH
(Aurelian Smith - 1930-2010)

Father of wrestlers JAKE ROBERTS, SAM HOUSTON and ROCKIN' ROBIN, this man did everything there is to do in the wrestling business. In CROCKETT country, he's best remembered as one of THE KENTUCKIANS (with BIG BOY BROWN), who had monumental battles with THE GREAT BOLO and BOLO, as well as every other top heel team in MID-ATLANTIC WRESTLING. In the late 1960s, he teamed in JCP with MR. WRESTLING (TIM WOODS), and repeated the cycle.

ARGENTINA APOLLO
(Vincente Denigris - 1938-1984)

A professional painter as well as wrestler, APOLLO was a top star in every wrestling territory he worked, holding a vast array of championships. He made his mark in JCP in 1972-1973, becoming the partner of top good guy JOHNNY WEAVER, after decade-long partner GEORGE BECKER left the CROCKETT company.

TONY ATLAS
(Anthony White - born 1944)

Three-time 'MR. U.S.A.' in the field of bodybuilding, he started wrestling in JCP in 1975, had big feuds with both THE IRON SHEIK and KEN PATERA, and became MID-ATLANTIC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION. Later worked for WORLD CLASS WRESTLING, the AWA and WWF (now WWE).

Monday, October 3, 2016

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER

During his unparalleled career, RIC FLAIR probably wrestled the largest array of wrestling stars than any other performer in the business.

Here are but a few...

ROCKY JOHNSON

WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION PAT O'CONNOR

THE AVENGER
(REGGIE PARKS)

WAHOO MCDANIEL
(Their feud is what put FLAIR on the radar.)

TIGER CONWAY, JR.

WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION HARLEY RACE

MR. WRESTLING TIM WOODS

BLACKJACK MULLIGAN
What JCP fan can ever forget the hat / robe program...

RUFUS R. JONES

'Cousin' OLE ANDERSON

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A SCALPING FOR HAWK AND HANSON?

May 4, 1968
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON are fond of their golden hair. They wouldn't be pro wrestling's 'Blonde Bombers' without it. Could a good scalping be in the future when HAWK and HANSON meet Indian stars BOBBY RED CLOUD and CHIEF LITTLE EAGLE tonight at the LEXINGTON YMCA?

Two out-of-three falls and a one hour time limit will determine the outcome.

Two tough guys, JIM GRABMIRE and 'BULLDOG' LEE HENNING will join forces for the first time here to take on the fast-moving hero unit of ABE JACOBS and LUTHER LINDSAY, returning for another week.

Young ALEX MEDINA will tackle the Russian rule-breaker NIKITA MULKOVICH and JACK RICO will battle THE MATADOR in the evening's singles contests.

Belltime is 8:15.

RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON


BOBBY RED CLOUD

'BULLDOG' LEE HENNING

JIM GRABMIRE

LUTHER LINDSAY

NIKITA MULKOVICH

Sunday, September 25, 2016

WAS THE THIRD TIME A CHARM?


August 8, 1968
STATESVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

48 Years Ago

The event date of July 18 is incorrect. That was the date of the previous card in Statesville.

The correct date of this event was August 8th.







For the third straight month, ALDO BOGNI, BRONCHO LUBICH and their manager GEORGE "TWO TON" HARRIS appeared at the Statesville ball park, and for the third straight month, the bad guys took it on the chin (or in Two Ton's case - the double chin).

This time out, GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT "flew" past them, winning the first fall clean, then winning the second fall on a disqualification.

LES THATCHER and PAUL DEMARCO took the toll of THE GAUCHOS.

SAM STEAMBOAT bested TINKER TODD.

BOB RAMSTAD (listed in the publicity as LES RAMSTAD) topped BILLY SPEARS (but then, who couldn't top BILLY SPEARS).

Three wrestling shows in three months for Statesville, North Carolina.

Plus my weekly Monday night journeys to Charlotte for JCP wrestling.

Nice

Friday, September 23, 2016

LABOR DAY WRESTLING IN LEXINGTON


September 3, 1966
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

50 YEARS AGO 


Tough guys RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON, known as wrestling's 'Blond Bombers,' will test the prowess of the Texas hero team TEX McKENZIE and NELSON ROYAL in tonight's Lexington YMCA wrestling main event feature.

TEX and NELLIE are fresh from a victory over the MASKED RED DEMONS last week and want to keep their winning streak going. HAWK and HANSON are returning to Lexington after an absence and have plans to stop the cowboys in their boots. Two-out-of-three falls will determine the winner.

Popular KEN HOLLIS will join forces with youngster BOBBY SHANE to meet the rugged sibbling duo of LARS and GENE ANDERSON in the other tag team event, also for the best two-out-of-three falls.

JESSE JAMES faces EL GAUCHO and DON KENT makes his local debut against TINKER TODD in the 8:15 opening contest.

Monday, September 19, 2016

THE ORIGINAL 'NATURE BOY'

September 15, 1956
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA
---
60 Years Ago

'NATURE BOY' BUDDY ROGERS

DICK STEINBORN

GEORGE BECKER and JACK WITZIG

SKULL MURPHY

KARL VON HESS

LEN ROSSI
---
Wrestling attendance may have been lagging at the LEXINGTON YMCA in recent weeks, but it gets a major shot in the arm tonight with a double main event attraction that would grab notice at any arena in the country.

Local sponsors of the grappling pastime are making plans to pull a big attendance for this week's slate that includes tag team and singles action.

One of ringdom's most colorful individuals, 'NATURE BOY' BUDDY ROGERS, a great (but hated) champion from the Northeast, makes his local debut in the main event. The strutting blonde-headed genius will have his hands full because he'll be opposing one of the fastest-rising young stars in the wrestling business. The man is DICK STEINBORN, and this is the match the young man has been asking for since learning ROGERS was headed this way.

ROGERS is but the first of a series of stellar standouts who will be invading the Carolinas on tour.

Tonight's tag team match could well be one of the best ever presented in the 4500 seat YMCA arena. It's one that the fans themselves have demanded.

It sends the glamour gentlemen of the sport, GEORGE BECKER and JACK WITZIG, against the roughest of the rulebreakers, SKULL MURPHY and KARL VON HESS. Fans have waited a long time to see BECKER and WITZIG have a chance to lambast these villains, and tonight it comes to fruition.

Both of these matches will be contested under a best two-out-of-three falls stipulation, within a one-hour time limit.

The opening match of the evening should also be a corker, because it matches the always explosive youngster, LEN ROSSI, against the stubborn Texas roughie, 'LARRUPIN' LOU PLUMMER.

Belltime is 8:15. It is recommended fans get to the arena early.