Sunday, October 20, 2019

Top Drawing Matches 1978-1984

In continuation of Gary Will's Top-drawing-matches-year-by-year-1929-1977

We get a lot of inquiries about attendance. In Toronto there were eras when attendance looked to be honestly reported by the office or MLG* In others it appears the reporter doing the write-up either estimated or went by what he was told by the office, and other times when there were no figures reported at all.
*Maple Leaf Gardens as a whole was covered in different eras breaking down attendance for different sports and events.

Those times when it was reported we could assume they were mostly correct or close, especially if we were there. Still there were a lot of 10,000 and 12,000 and 15,000 even type numbers not reflective of an actual attendance figure.

From what was reported- and what I have available -the following were the best drawing cards of each year 1978-1984. Some were reported in the paper, others in the bulletins. If you can add or correct please do. MLG unless noted.

02/05 1978 Att: 11,000
AWA TITLE: Nick Bockwinkel W Chief Jay Strongbow
Angelo Mosca WDQ Chief Peter Maivia
Ken Patera DCOR Dusty Rhodes
The Crusaders W Chris Tolos/Dan Johnston
Mil Mascaras WP Terry Yorkston
Stan Stasiak D Waldo Von Erich
Sweet Daddy Siki D The Wildman
Butcher Vachon D Duncan MacTavish
Lord Alfred Hayes WP Steve Bolus















12/30 1979 Att: 14,000+
WWWF TITLE: Bob Backlund WP Pat Patterson
Jimmy Snuka/Ray Stevens W Ric Flair/Dewey Robertson
Andre the Giant W Destroyer/Brute Bernard
Johnny Weaver WSleep Frank Monte
Billy Red Lyons WP John Bonello
Sweet Daddy Siki WP John Forsythe
















02/10 1980 Att: 16,973
CANADIAN TITLE: Dewey Robertson W Destroyer
US TITLE: Jimmy Snuka LDQ Ric Flair
TEXAS STREET FIGHT: Blackjack Mulligan W Big John Studd
Pedro Morales W Brute Bernard
Blue Demons W Klondike Bill/Nick DeCarlo
Chris Tolos W Ricky Johnson
















11/15/1981 Att: 16,000 [50th Anniversary Show]
NWA TITLE: Ric Flair W Harley Race
Andre the Giant DDQ Killer Kahn
CANADIAN TITLE: John Studd LCOR Angelo Mosca
TV TITLE: Outlaw Ron Bass W Mike Miller
Johnny Weaver W Charlie Fulton
Tony Parisi/Mike Davis W Doug Vines/Izzy Slapowitz


















08/22 1982 Att: 15,119 
WWF TITLE, STEEL CAGE: Bobby Backlund W Jimmy Snuka
Andre the Giant WP Big John Studd
MID-ATLANTIC TAG TEAM TITLE, 2/3 FALLS: Ricky Steamboat/Jay Youngblood W Pvt. Kernodle/Pvt. Nelson to win title
Paul Jones W Mysterious Ninja
Johnny Weaver W Alec Girard
Tony Parisi WP Ken Timbs


















07/10 1983 Att: 20,000 + [Night of Champions @ Exhibition Stadium}
NWA TITLE: Harley Race WDQ Ric Flair
CANADIAN TITLE: Angelo Mosca W One Man Gang
US TITLE: Greg Valentine DCOR Wahoo McDaniel
TV TITLE: Great Kabuki W Jimmy Valiant
NWA TAG TEAM TITLE: Ricky Steamboat/Jay Youngblood W Dory Funk Jr/Jake Roberts
WOMEN'S TITLE: Fabulous Moolah W Princess Victoria
Johnny Weaver/Mike Rotundo W Alec Girard/Tim Gerrard
Sgt. Jacques Goulet/Kelly Kiniski W Bob Marcus/Joe Marcus
Nick DeCarlo/Billy Ryan W The Executioner/Mike Armstrong
* few different attendances reported 14,000-20,000




















02/12 1984 Att: 17,700 
NWA TITLE:STEEL CAGE; Ric Flair W Harley Race
Jimmy Valiant/Dusty Rhodes WCOR Assassins
Terry Kay/Rudy Kay W Johnny Weaver/Billy Red Lyons
NORTH AMERICAN TITLE: Leo Burke W Vinny Valentino
Buddy Hart W J.J. Dillon
Swede Hanson W John Bonello
Kurt Von Hess D Joe Marcus




















July 1984 marks the end of the NWA days in Toronto. The Feb 12 1984 card still held the top spot through the year.

In July 1985 they hit 18,000 at MLG for the first time in 22 years with a Hulk Hogan vs John Studd main, pretty much full to the rafters. We may look at the WWF years in a future post. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

MLG Footage - January 17, 1957

-Repost
Thanks to Jon Boucher  Twitter @jon_boucher who scored a kinescope print reel on e-bay and converted it for all fans to share !

Billy Red Lyons vs Baron Gattoni
Bill & Ed Miller vs Pat Flanagan & Ken Kenneth
Edouard Carpentier vs Steve Stanlee
The tag bout in the middle and the main are not included.




Note from Roger Baker
      Thanks for the wonderful wrestling memorabilia that took place at M.L.G. so long ago, I remember all of the participants. Phil Lisner, refs Bert Maxwell, Cliff Worthy, Bunny Dunlop,and old friend Joe Gollub. How I remember sitting at times with announcer Jerry Hiff at the ring side table, however always keeping my eyes on what was going on.

As for the wrestlers on this card, Carpentier, Billy Red Lyons, Baron Gattoni who I saw previously on TV from Buffalo, Ed and Bill Miller, Steve Stanlee, our own mule kicking Pat Flanagan.

I may very well have been in attendance for this show ,not sure. Was probably a ticket holding fan, possibly a year away from becoming a roaming wrestling reporter.

-Roger 



Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Wrestling Boom of the 1950's - Beyond Tunney

-repost from Sept 2018

While there were few threats to Frank Tunney's promotion throughout the 50+ years he controlled Toronto and the outlying towns. it did happen a few times. As it was Frank enjoyed the jewel of the territory, Maple Leaf Gardens, of which he had the exclusive wrestling rights. He was seeing 200-300,000 fans a year through the turnstiles at MLG alone for much of the 1950's for the then weekly cards.

Amidst the wrestling boom of the 1950's Tunney and his affiliate promoters were also busy promoting the towns around southern Ontario. They were running Niagara Falls, Hamilton, Kitchener, London, Barrie, and Oshawa who all had regular seasons, and others that didn't. He had his trusted partners in place to run these cities. Pat Milosh, Sammy Sobol, John Katan, and Tommy Nelson but a few.

Some others like the Maich brothers (Joe and Don) in Brantford on a smaller scale and Larry Kasaboski in Sudbury on a larger one ran their own show but kept an amiable relationship with Tunney going back to their wrestling days. Kasaboski's TV Wrestling frequently featured Tunney stars 'Straight from MLG!' Dave McKigney (The Wildman) would start promoting in the mid 1960's but at this time he was a young middleweight working on Red Garner shows.

Garner and Kasaboski were both promoting shows in Tunney's backyard and we will look at them here.

If you are not familiar with Ontario have a look on Google maps at Barrie Ontario and use the zoom 'two time's' to zoom out. That's the small area where many of the towns listed below are located.
Google Map - Barrie, Ontario


Red Garner and the Middleweight Circuit

Garner (pictured) show 1951 
Edwin 'Red' Garner, a former amateur standout was based in the small town of Richmond Hill just North of Toronto. He ran a small circuit using mostly trainees from his gym set up near his home. He started in the 1940's and was going strong by the 1950's.

Using fast and exciting mostly middleweight wrestlers he ran 'real' type pro wrestling and had a strong fan base in Richmond, Hill, Thornhill, and Aurora.

His wrestlers all had an amateur background but it was a pro style. The lighter grapplers didn't pose much of a threat to Tunney. He ran frequent shows in and around Toronto proper also and branched out to Guelph, Stoufville, and other small towns in Southern Ontario.

1952 was an especially good year for Red and company. They were doing brisk business with youngsters including Waldo Von Sieber (later Waldo Von Erich), Jacques Dubois (McKigney), and Toronto born Gori 'Ed' 'Killer' Mangotich who would later find great success in Europe.

New Action In Stoufville

Despite Garner's success, in early 1953 Stoufville Arena announced a change for it's second Wrestling season (the arena opened in 1952) with a move to 'Southern States wrestlers.' Said to be the same stars from the Grapefruit states which were shown on Toronto's film TV shows. The wrestlers eventually featured were not household names. Irish Michael O'Toole,Steve Zaboski, Wes Glazier, a 'Red Demon.' Don Ireland of Oshawa, Ted Swift from Niagara Falls and others from the area.

That outfit ran a few shows and one report claimed it to be the 'best wrestling show that has been offered here since it was introduced here over a year ago.' The only local 'name' that appeared was 'Killer' Jim Conroy (as Bert 'Killer' Conroy).

By 1954 though Garner was back in to Stoufville kicking off the season at the beginning of April with Von Sieber against Mangotich. Garner's matchmaker Roy McMahon (yup) offered a money back guarantee if you weren't happy with the show

Back in 1952 while Garner was filling out the arenas on his circuit Tunney was running Barrie -using famed sportsman Max Hurley as promoter - and Collingwood  (60km away). With his regular stars and guests like Boxing great Jack Dempsey in as special referee, they were regularly drawing 1000 fans to the small arenas. Tunney's shows ran from 75c to $2.50 for ringside while Garner had lower prices of 65c to $1 for ringside.

Wrestling Returns to Barrie 1954 - with Northland Wrestling

Come 1953 wrestling would be absent from the two towns. In 1954 Barrie announced a new summer wrestling season would kick off on May 25, this time with shows promoted by Northland Wrestling Enterprises headed by Kasaboski. Northland was enjoying a huge upswing at the time due to it's popular live TV wrestling, one of the first Studio shows in North America.

Kasaboski would run Barrie on Tunney's former Tuesday night while Tunney countered in Collingwood on the usual Wednesday night.  At the end of the month Kasaboski ran a card featuring the very popular midget stars as the main event and filled the arena. Tunney would send his biggest stars of the day alongside Whipper. The Mills Brothers, Fred Atkins, Yukon Eric. etc.

Kasaboski 1954 Tuesday Night Aug 10 

Tunney 1954 Wednesday Night Aug 11

A July main in Barrie had upcoming Olympic star Maurice Vachon vs Bobby Ford while Tunney followed with Whipper vs Sky Hi lee in Collingwood. Dory Funk and Don Evans would also appear that summer, many U.S. stars would come up over the years and enjoy the Ontario North. Kasaboski was regularly drawing 700-1200 to the shows. Tunney's attendance was not reported .

At that time Kasaboski's circuit was vast. He was running shows in over 30 towns from La Sarre in Northern Quebec across to Wawa, Ontario, working his way down as far as Brockville on the Canada/U.S. border. He would also run Orillia a few minutes to the East of Barrie.

1954 sharing the page

Tunney Fights Back 

At the 1954 NWA convention Tunney, who had been elected as vice-president, complained about Kasaboski going into his towns and under-bidding him to promoters. Kasaboski was not a member of the NWA so Tunney may have been looking to stop some of the Southern U.S. stars from heading.up.

Tunney takes Stoufville 1957 
In 1956 Tunney would move into Stoufville bumping Garner out with regular cards featuring Dick Hutton, Fritz Von Erich, Whipper, and the rest. They would also run other towns that Garner ran including Newmarket and Bradford. Garner would continue to run Thornhill (Summer Market) and Richmond Hill on alternate days to the Tunney cards. Tunney would promote with 'Big Name Stars' prominent on the ads.

In Sutton (across the Lake from Barrie) in July 1957 Tommy Nelson (Tunney) drew 1,500 fans for a main of Whip vs Kiniski. It was said to be the largest draw at the Sutton Arena for any sport over the past several years.

It's unclear if Tunney had any grievance with Garner who wasn't the same threat as Kasaboski was.

Somewhere along the way Kasaboski and Tunney settled up as some of the names crossed over. One Kasaboski card in September 1958 was set to have a main of  Fred Atkins (billed 'from Frank Tunney's Toronto circuit') vs Bobo Brazil, who were both current stars for Tunney. Bobo no showed forcing Atkins to face Thompson. It said the 'incident will not go unaccounted. Northland promoter Larry K who brings in the Toronto men through his friendly connection with Frank Tunney, is sure to find out the reason why.'  The recap for that bout claimed Thompson made Atkins 'work, probably harder than he has in many bouts.'

Somewhat related was that the Barrie Fair that same month had originally scheduled wrestling (Kasaboski). It was said the OAC said it was illegal to put on wrestling at the fair so the card was cancelled. Have to wonder as many fairs in Ontario at the time had 'exhibition' wrestling.


Northland Winning The Fight

A column in the Barrie Examiner in Sept 1958 looked at the past season and determined the best wrestling was ....Northland.

'While the Northland wrestlers were although a mite smaller, proved far more schooled in the science of the game. They were faster, and did more than hold their right arms up, claiming victory.'

Added was 'Best Villain - Maurice Vachon' and best supporting cast of Bill Curry, Sandy Scott, Louis Papineau, and Frank 'Scotty' Thompson.
Tunney heads North 1958

Tunney would in turn head North into Kasaboski's area promoting some shows at the Bracebridge Community Centre.

Bracebridge -100km North of Barrie, 200km north of Toronto - is the gateway to the North and further than Tunney had gone previously. For two successive shows they ran Yukon Eric vs Kiniski mains.

In 1959 Ricky Starr missed a Tunney show in Barrie. In a column titled 'Bad Feelings' Barrie Sports Editor Steve Jonescu kicked off with 'Francois Tunney, wrestling promoter at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto doesn't have too many friends among the wrestling crowd in the Barrie area.' He reminded readers of the Bobo no-show the previous year but said that Starr hadn't drawn very many anyways - as they weren't advised of the substitution until they entered the arena. Again it was said 'Northland Wrestling Enterprise was quite upset...'

Garner Still Going Strong

All this time Garner wouldn't miss a beat, filling them in at the Thornhill Farmers Market summer shows and in his home base of Richmond Hill. One of Garner's stars Stoney Brooks was from Campbellford in the eastern part of Ontario and they would run shows in the region including Cobourg and other towns. Kasaboski would also occasionally drop south of his usual circuit and run Perth and other towns in the Eastern area.

No Hard Feelings

Both Garner (as Great Kudo) and Kasaboski would return to wrestle at MLG in the early 1960's. Garner was slowing down and would retire soon after but not before a WWWF title shot vs Bruno Sammartino. Larry K would wrestle for Tunney in 1958 and again in 1960. He would come in for a last time in 1964 to face newcomer The Sheik who spent the better part of the 15 minute bout 'chewing on his victims left ear.' Maybe Tunney got his revenge after all.

Epilogue

Garner would team up with Gus Marmon and The Olympic Wrestling Club in the early 1960's for a time and they would have a short run TV show shown in Eastern Ontario. He would retire for good in 1964 and went on to drive the 'Bookmobile' (library on wheels) in North York and later was the head of Woodview Library.

Kasaboski would continue to promote the North through 1975 but wasn't down in the southern part of the province very often after his initial run in the 1950's.

Tunney celebrated the 50th Anniversary of MLW in 1981 and passed on in 1983 after 42 years at the helm. The rights passed to nephew Jack and son Eddy and as far as I know no one else ever had rights to promote at MLG before it closed in 1999.


For more on Red Garner and the CCWA see
MLW.com : Red Garner
MLW.com: CCWA


Memories of Toronto with Roger Baker; Tex McKenzie

We are very fortunate to have Roger Baker contributing his vast knowledge and memories of Toronto wrestling to this site.  
This time, memories of Tex McKenzie ! 

Tex McKenzie at MLG 


'That Tex he's always got a lot of stories to bend an ear to, me thinks it's mostly his imagination' mused Scottish wrestling star Andy Robin.

Robin was correct on that call. This wrestling photographer spent some time with the happy-go- lucky McKenzie back in the mid 1960's, at this time he was making regular appearances in Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens.

Big Tex Mckenzie sending out some postcards in Toronto  


Tex was a fan favorite, and  he would enter the ring waving his huge ''Stetson'' cowboy hat to the cheering fans in attendance.

I made a point to introduce myself to the big guy, and as a result Tex and I got along very well, Several times we went to different arenas were he was appearing, and it was the same enthusiastic response that Tex would receive whenever the ring side announcers would introduce the tall smiling wrestler to the crowd.

Chris Tolos braces for a big knee lift. Johnny Barend in background


Now to go back to Andy Robin's comment about Tex always having another story to tell. Yes it was true. McKenzie was an avid sailor, and he could go on for lengthy periods, expounding on his past sailing experience's, as well as other destinations that would follow after he hung up his wrestling boots.

Another of big Tex's pleasures and one that he often would bring up in conversation was his love of fresh seafood, I was driving with Tex from Toronto, to Hamilton On. were he was to appear that night in a six man tag match, he would partner with Andy Robin and Johnny Barend against Bulldog Brower and the Tolos Brothers John and Chris.

Mackenzie rams Chris Tolos in Hamilton Forum match


On the way back to Toronto Tex and myself made plans to go one of Toronto's best seafood restaurants ''The Town and Country Buffet'' this seafood lovers dream was situated on the West side of Jarvis st. just north of Dundas street east.

All you can eat cracked crab was the seafood special, and this feature along with great service were the hallmarks of this great Toronto restaurant.

Regards , Roger

Tex digs into his meal!


Tex and a very sharp dressed Roger Baker dine at the 'Town & Country Buffet' Toronto 



Toronto's Longest Runs -- The 25-Year Club: Gary Will's TWH

These are the wrestlers with the longest gap between their first Toronto appearance for a major promotion and their last:

NAMEYEARS
Lou Thesz36.6
Lee Henning35.3
Ivan Kalmikoff33.2
Sky Low Low32.4
Whipper Billy Watson31.1
Little Beaver30.7
Joe "Killer" Christie30.0
Ric Flair28.6
Dick Beyer / The Destroyer28.0
Billy Red Lyons27.4
Pat Flanagan27.2
Wee Willie Davis27.0
Killer Kowalski26.7
Gene Kiniski26.5
Al Costello26.3
Nanjo Singh26.2
Lord Athol Layton26.0
Don Jardine / The Spoiler25.8
Mike Mazurki25.8
Bobo Brazil25.3
Bruno Sammartino25.2
Paul "Butcher" Vachon25.2

This is different from a list of wrestlers with the most matches in Toronto, since several of these guys had lengthy gaps where they made no appearances here. For example, Dick Beyer didn't wrestle in Toronto after 1961, until returning 18 years later as The Destroyer. Don Jardine didn't wrestle in Toronto for over 20 years after starting in the area in the late 1950s, but he came back for a few matches as The Spoiler in the mid-1980s. Nanjo Singh served a prison sentence for killing his wife before his final run in Toronto. 


-by Gary Will





Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Mid-Atlantic Gateway: New Book on the Canadian Heavyweight Title Parallels the "Mid-Atlantic Era" in Toronto

Mid-Atlantic Gateway: New Book on the Canadian Heavyweight Title Parallels the "Mid-Atlantic Era" in Toronto:

by Dick Bourne-  Mid-Atlantic Gateway

In late 1978 or early 1979, I started noticing in some of the newsstand wrestling magazines that the top stars in the Mid-Atlantic wrestling area were regularly headlining in Toronto. At the same time, the Canadian Heavyweight champion, with his Canadian Heavyweight title belt, started showing up on our weekly Mid-Atlantic television programs and on our local cards..........continued at the Gateway

- note from AC - Toronto fans will love all the books in Dick Bourne's own series . The U.S. and Mid-Atlantic Title books in particular are great companions to the Toronto scene at the time and are SO WELL DONE as are the Big Gold and Ten Pounds of Gold books! 

Thanks to Dick Bourne for the fabulous preview collage !




Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Canadian Heavyweight Title: The Complete History 1978-1984

Available Now at The Mid-Atlantic Gateway Bookstore  and Amazon 



The Canadian Heavyweight Title
 The Complete History 1978-1984
Design & Layout by Dick Bourne of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

In 1978 as the Toronto territory was taking off with the young stars of Mid-Atlantic wrestling, promoter Frank Tunney introduced a local championship. That title, the first true local title in many years, was the Canadian Heavyweight Title to be defended by the top star in Maple Leaf Wrestling. 

The title drew from the earlier days of wrestling when the top Canadian wrestler would defend his laurels across the country and occasionally -the world.  From 1978 to 1984 the Canadian title would be defended in Toronto and the circuit towns– and around North America on occasion. 

During those years locally known as ‘the Mid-Atlantic era’, the area was one of the most exciting and important territories in the wrestling world.  Frank was a long-time member of the NWA and was close to many of the major promoters including Vince K McMahon (WWWF/WWF), Verne Gagne (AWA), and Jim Crockett Jr. (NWA)

Those relationships would ensure a steady diet of World champions and champions of different territories defending their titles in Toronto. Our Canadian championship would share the stage with those titles, our champions displaying their skills against the best in the world. 

In this book we will take a look back at the emergence of the Canadian Title in Toronto. We will feature the champions and challengers. Dino Bravo, Greg Valentine, Dewey Robertson, Hossein the Arab, Angelo Mosca Sr. & Jr. Big John Studd, and more. 

Join us as we go down memory lane and revisit the big cards, the tournaments, the beautiful title belt, and many other memorable slices of Maple Leaf Wrestling from 1978-1984.

Proud to be in the lineup! 
http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/book-store.html


Great logo by Dick Bourne ! 

Monday, September 30, 2019

New Book 'The Canadian Heavyweight Title: The Complete History 1978-1984'




Maple Leaf Wrestling.com presents with design and layout by Dick Bourne of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Available now at the Mid Atlantic Gateway - Bookstore 

The Canadian Heavyweight Title - The Complete History 1978-1984
In 1978 as the Toronto territory was taking off with the young stars of Mid-Atlantic wrestling, promoter Frank Tunney introduced a local championship. That title, the first true local title in many years, was called the Canadian Heavyweight Title to be defended by the top star in Maple Leaf Wrestling.

The title drew from the earlier days of wrestling when the top Canadian wrestler would defend his laurels across the country and occasionally -the world.  From 1978 to 1984 the Canadian title would be defended in Toronto and the circuit towns– and around North America on occasion.

During those years locally known as ‘the Mid-Atlantic era’, the area was one of the most exciting and important territories in the wrestling world.  Frank was a long-time member of the NWA and was close to many of the major promoters including Vince McMahon Sr. (WWWF/WWF), Verne Gagne (AWA) and Jim Crockett Jr. (JCP)

Those relationships would ensure a steady diet of World champions and champions of different territories defending their titles in Toronto. Our Canadian championship would share the stage with those titles, our champions displaying their skills against the best in the world.

In this book we will take a look back at the emergence of the Canadian Title in Toronto. We will feature the champions and challengers. Dino Bravo, Greg Valentine, Dewey Robertson, Hossein the Arab, Angelo Mosca Sr. & Jr. Big John Studd, and more.

Join us as we go down memory lane and revisit the big cards, the tournaments, the beautiful title belt, and many other memorable slices of Maple Leaf Wrestling from 1978-1984.

Proud to be in the lineup! Check out all of Dick Bourne's fabulous books at
http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/book-store.html

Friday, September 20, 2019

Memories of Toronto with Roger Baker: Sam Steamboat


Roger Baker sends along a great photo he took of Sam Steamboat being helped out at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1962. We were lucky to see his namesake Ricky Steamboat here during the Mid-Atlantic era and as Roger relates Sam was quite a wrestler too.

'Back in the late 50's early '60's a very popular Hawaiian wrestler made regular appearances at MLG. The fans recognized the exciting wrestling skills that were possessed by this newcomer to the Toronto scene.

Samual K. Mokuahi better known as Sam Steamboat was an American Professional wrestler whose career extended from the 1950's through to the 1970's

Steamboat wrestled mid card in Toronto in the early sixties and the fans who enjoyed his wrestling style had good reason, Steamboat was discovered and trained by the great Lou Thesz 

Steamboat patterned his wrestling style closely to that of Thesz, and to see him launch the Lou Thesz press was a visual treat.'

          -Roger 

Steamboat is being helped by tag partner Jim Hady and long time Ref Cliff Worthy. Bert Maxwell looks on.

Thanks Roger!


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Verne Gagne & Reggie Lisowski photo 1952



This great photo was posted on twitter recently by twitter.com/herman_orchid. Verne Gagne and Reggie Lisowski with ref Pete Minnow. Taken in Binghamton, NY at the Masonic Lodge-Kalurah Temple in 1952.

Both Gagne and Lisowski made impacts on the local scene in Ontario which at times mirrored the action in Buffalo and other spots in upstate NY. Both Buffalo promoters Ed Don George and later Pedro Martinez had wrestled for Frank Tunney early in their careers so many of the Toronto wrestlers were stars on both sides.
Reggie and Stan face off with Jersey Joe Walcott MLG 1958

Reggie Lisowski made his name here as half of the Lisowski brothers tag team in the mid 1950s. Reggie was teamed with Ontario native Stan Holek who came in first as Stan Nielson then became Stanley Lisowski.

They would later win our Canadian Open Tag Titles (Trophy) and as was more prevalent back then they would battle both the good guys and the heel teams of the day.

In addition to facing Whipper and his various partners at MLG and around the circuit they would engage in tough bouts with some of the 'brother' teams from the 'other side.' The Miller brothers Bill and Ed, the Great Togo and 'brother' Tosh, Ivan and Karol Kalmikoff, and Doc and Mike Gallagher.

Reggie on his own would face NWA World champ Dick Hutton in Niagara Falls, ON in August 1958.

Toronto 1958
Stanley would stick around but Reggie would depart the area in 1959 and go on to great success as the cigar smoking beer crushing 'The Crusher.'

He would return to Toronto in 1978 during the AWA era while Tunney was using AWA stars after Tunney and The Sheik had departed ways.

Of course the AWA was run by Verne Gagne who would also appear here 1977-1978 alongside his son Greg, Jim Brunzell, Nick Bockwinkel, and other stars of the AWA -including The Crusher.

As big as a star Verne was in the 1950's he didn't appear here too often in the earlier era. While he appeared in Fort William, ON (now Thunder Bay) in 1956-1957 he  only made it to Toronto twice in 1958. As in the photo above he did appear regularly in Buffalo and across upstate NY at that time.

In 1958 in Toronto Gagne came highly touted in the press. He would face Karl Kulaski in Oct 1958 and a couple of weeks later would take on Al Alberto.

When he returned to Toronto in 1978 he faced El Santos (Canadian based gimmick), Bobby Duncum, Zimba Kahn, Super Destroyer (Jardine?), and Lord Alfred Hayes. He would also team with Greg against Duncum and Blackjack Lanza.

Verne later promoted several cards in Ottawa, ON (1980) in tandem with Ray Boucher in a similar setup that he and Tunney had.The cards in mid 1980 featured Canadian champion Dino Bravo who had departed Tunney not long before. Bravo was actually barred from wrestling in Ontario and missed the first card. We will have more on that story in the upcoming Canadian Title book.

Thanks to twitter.com/herman_orchid.for the photo and all of the great NY stuff he has posted.