Saturday, May 19, 2018

Sammy Berg, Don Leo, Dick Beyer, Mark Lewin....Oldest Living with Earliest MLG Debut


Earliest MLG debut for a living wrestler

  1. Sammy Berg 89 debut 1951
  2. Don Leo Jonathon 87 debut 1953
  3. Dick Beyer 86  debut 1956
  4. Mark Lewin 81 debut 1956
  5. Johnny Walker 83 debut 1957
  6. Tony Marino  87 debut 1960  
  7. Domenic Denucci 86 debut 1960
  8. Dino Bravo ?  debut 1960
  9. Sweet Daddy Siki 77 (reportedly) debut 1962
  10. Emile Dupree 81 debut in 1965
As of May 19 2018 - MLG Debut listed

Dick Beyer aka The Original Sensational Intelligent Destroyer as he was known here has the distinction of being one of the oldest living MLG regulars - who debuted the earliest.

He will be 87 years young on July 30 and debuted here on July 5 1956 as 'Dick Beyer' earning a draw with 'Mr Canada' Sammy (Samson) Berg.

Sammy Berg who is listed as 89 debuted here in September 1951 and appeared through 1957. He would top the list as it is currently. The earliest MLG debut for a living wrestler. He is also the oldest on the top 10 list.

Don Leo Jonathon just celebrated his 87th birthday. He debuted at MLG in 1953 appearing in the area through 1956 making him #2 ahead of Beyer. Beyer had a longer tenure, from 1956-1961 and then as The Destroyer from 1979-1984.

Mark Lewin is 81 and debuted here way back in 1956. Incredibly, as we saw him on the Wildman's circuit as late as 1986 and he was still in top shape. He appeared on the MLG cards through 1976.

Johnny 'Rubberman' Walker aka Mr Wrestling II is 83 and appeared here in 1957. But only once. Technically not a MLW regular.

Tony Marino is 87 and debuted here in 1960. He appeared at MLG through 1976 and for George Cannon about a year or two later than that.

Domenic Denucci is 86 and wrestled here as Domenic Bravo in 1960. He put in a full schedule in that year and later came back as DEnucci. He wrestled at MLG through 1982 and beyond that on the Wildman's circuit.

The original Dino Bravo- real name- who wrestled here from 1960-1961 and teamed with Beyer a time or two in addition to teaming with Domenic Denucci/Bravo as the Bravo Brothers was profiled a few years back , if still living likely in around the same age as Domenic.

Sweet Daddy Siki doesn't reveal his actual age. Wikipedia has him at 77 but he doesn't tell, likely close to that. He debuted here in 1962 and was a regular in the area on and off through 1986. He was teaming with Mark Lewin on the Wildman shows in 1986, another guy who didn't seem to age

Emile Dupree 81 debuted in 1965
Tiger Jeet Singh 74 debuted in 1965
Rocky Johnson 73 debuted in 1965
Jacques Rougeau Sr. 87 debuted 1967
Gino Brito 77 debuted in 1967
Paul Diamond 82 debuted in 1969
Angelo Mosca is 81 but he didn't debut at MLG until 1969
There may be others from the 1960's but couldn't find anyone prior to 1962 in front of Siki

There are many others who are over 70 but debuted here after 1970
Carlos Rocha would be the oldest at 91 but he debuted here in 1971
Pampero Firpo is 88, debuted in 1971
Danny Hodge is 86 he wrestled here only once, in 1972

If you can correct or add to this list please do

Friday, May 18, 2018

Ilio Dipaolo vs Don Leo Jonathon 1959: Classic Photo



Ilio DiPaolo shows his strength as he lifts Don Leo Jonathon up in a bout at MLG in 1959. Referee Billy Stack is watching on. Don Leo was in between feuding with Whipper Watson and teaming with Gene Kiniski as the Canadian Open Tag champs.

The bout ended in a curfew draw and Dipaolo would later team with Whip to try to pry the tag trophy from the big team of Jonathon and Kiniski. They would be successful a couple of months after this photo was taken.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Waldo Von Erich: Holland Marsh's gift to the wrestling fraternity

1965 Maple Leaf Gardens in front of 'the wall'

Over the course of his career Wally Sieber aka Waldo Von Erich used about 10 different names before making it big as 'Waldo Von Erich' wrestling brother of Fritz. His early career is mostly unknown or forgotten but he was a 'big star' on Red Garner's Toronto area circuit from 1950 through 1957 alongside other Garner regulars who went on to bigger things including early training partner Jacques Dubois (Dave McKigney), Mike Scicluna (later Baron Scicluna), Ron Doner, and Ron 'Bull' Johnson.

1951
He appeared on a Garner Weston Arena card in November 1950 described as a crowd pleaser from Stuttgart, Germany. He shows up on more Weston arena cards through 1951 including the ad at right vs Gori 'Ed' Mangotich. Gori was a Toronto native and big star overseas who worked on Garner cards for many years.

 In July 1951 they played up his 'debut as a pro wrestler' in his hometown. At 200lbs in the Arena in the town of Bradford (within the Holland Marsh) billed as Baron Von Sieber- hometown boy he would spend the next 6-7 years wrestling for the Richmond Hill, ON based Central Canadian Wrestling Association (CCWA).

Right from the start they would play to his family heritage with the Baron part but in write-ups often just 'Wally Sieber -Holland Marsh's gift to the wrestling fraternity.'

He would hold the CCWA's Canadian heavyweight  title for a time and hone his craft on the competitive and fast paced circuit before the big league came calling.

1954
In 1954 he was named as one of Canada's most promising wrestlers by Barry Lloyd Penhale in 'Wrestling As You Like It' magazine. He was named alongside Frank 'Scotty' Thompson, Ferenz (Jimmy) Sziksay, Bill Curry (Kasaboski star), Stan Holek (aka Stan Lisowski/Nielson), Tony Baillargeon, Sandy Scott, and Maurice 'Mad Dog' Vachon

In September 1957 he would appear on a Tunney associated card in Bradford (likely promoted by Tommy Nelson) in what was called his 'debut for the MLW troupe.' Now the 'German Oak' he would face tough Tiger Tasker and a month later he would walk the ramp at Maple Leaf Gardens to take on Dick Hutton. This was during Hutton's $1000 challenge and Seiber would fall, as many others had, to Hutton's abdominal stretch.

An added note to that 1957 Bradford card was that Fritz Von Erich was teamed with Dick Hutton vs The Fabulous Kangeroos. Fritz was a top heel here then and he and Wally would appear on many of the same cards over the next year.

Even at MLG his name continued to change, sometimes Baron Von Sieber, other times Waldo Von Sieber then sometimes just Wally or even Walter. The 'Von Erich' brotherhood would happen away from Toronto and when Wally returned in November 1964 as Waldo Von Erich, Fritz was long gone from here. The Von Erich 'brothers' would never team in this area though Waldo would remain Fritz's 'brother' in the stories in the mags up to the late 1970's and beyond.

Close up at MLG 

Roger Baker, whose photos are featured here remembers meeting Waldo during his time both as a fan in the early days and later as a wrestling photog and writer.

'This wrestling reporter can go all the way back to around 1955 when I first met Wally Sieber, it was the summer time, and the place was ''Sunny Side Beach'' we were both in our late teens, I recognized Wally as soon as saw him, he was tall, very muscular, and he may have had blond hair. 

Wally was with a buddy, and they were both having a great time by the huge swimming pool that was the hallmark of the beach area, we chatted for a while, and he told me that he appreciated when he was recognized out side of a wrestling ring, he was looking forward to his future as a wrestler  

Over the ensuing years we met on several more occasions, we met at a summer dance hall in Jacksons point, at a wrestling event in Detroit's Cobo Hall, as well an event at Buffalo's War Memorial Auditorium. As well Wally and The Fabulous Kangaroos Al Costello and Roy Saint Clair, and myself had a great dinning experience in a Lebanese restaurant in Detroit.

And there was the time when Wally literally got his hands on me, this happened in a dressing room at M.L.G. it was if memory serves me correct around 1964. I had popped in to see who was there, in the hopes of getting some dressing room candids. This can be tricky, as with anyone if you don't ask first it can result in a nasty incident, however Wally was in the room at the time and we got to talking about injuries from wrestling, as well as other sports.

There was a large adjustment table in the room, some of the other wrestlers who were there used the bench for abdominal crunches to warm up ahead of their up coming match. I mentioned to Wally that I had been in discomfort from a very stiff neck at the time. He offered to adjust my neck on the bench, so with some trepidation I got on the bench on my back and without the benefit of any pre-adjustment  loosening up, he applied what was best described as a full nelson on me, followed by a quite forceful backwards pull. I motioned to him that 'I give up' and he released me and told me I should feel better after a while.

While all this had been going on, little did I know that the boss himself, Frank Tunney, had come into the room while I was on the bench. Being some what embarrassed at the time I said hello to Tunney, who gave me a quizzical look. I got to be man handled by a 245lb. brute of a wrestler, and live to talk about it. '

MLG 1965 vs Bruno 

Waldo would earn his first major title bout locally in 1964 against WWWF champ Bruno Sammartino. He would face Bruno twice in 1965 and again in 1976 at MLG. Those two would battle all over WWWF proper over the years, Waldo the perfect ethnic monster heel type they would match up against Bruno.

In 1965 Waldo would team with Gene Kiniski. Big Gene had previously teamed with Fritz here in 1957 creating a monster tag that caused havoc all over the area. The new tag of Waldo and Gene would feud with Whipper Watson and Johnny Valentine.

He would take an extended absence through the early 1970's as he traveled the world before returning here to appear both at MLG and the outer circuit alongside the WWA/McKigney stars. As well in those days the 'Lake circuit' that included Cleveland, Buffalo, and Detroit, had a busy schedule for our local guys.

He stayed a regular here though Mar 4 1979 when he wrestled his last bout at the Gardens against Johnny Yachetti (The Beast)

I also met Waldo some years back and he was a very nice and gracious guy, not at all like his wrestling persona. The pic below by Roger taken in the Buffalo dressing room reflects that.

Photos- and thanks! - to Roger Baker

For more on the CCWA do a search at right or click on tags including Red Garner, CCWA, etc

Pensive in Buffalo 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Hossein vs Flair Nov 2 1980: Sunday Night





'Sunday Night' takes a look at Nov 2 1980.

The feature singles bout was to be Ric Flair challenging Canadian heavyweight champ Hossein The Arab/The Iron Sheik. The feud had planted it's roots earlier in the year when Greg Valentine had turned on the Nature Boy during a Mid Atlantic area match with Hossein and Jimmy Snuka and their manager Gene Anderson. Flair had been beaten bloody and suffered a legit broken nose when Valentine hit him with Anderson's cane.


Flair had previously earned the fans respect (if not actual cheers) during his feud with Ricky Steamboat and had become a popular fan-favorite while gaining revenge against Valentine at MLG.

The buildup had Flair the former U.S Champ, proclaiming he would 'try his best to dethrone the Iron Sheik and send him back to Iran where he belongs.'

Hossein/Iron Sheik was into his second reign here with the Canadian Title. This run, much like his previous with the title would be remembered for constant manager interference and cheating his way to victory. Hossein actually held the M-A title at the same time but lost it to Ricky Steamboat the night before this card.

The two would go after each other before the bell was rung and at one point the hated Arab had Flair in his dreaded camel-clutch hold. Flair fought back and managed to break the hold and go on the offensive.

The future World Champ would batter Hossein with his trademark chops and elbow smashes and looked to be on the verge of winning the title as the match wore on. Hossein in turn would use his curled toe boots to choke Flair in the corner while the fans screamed at the ref to break it.

Flair would earn some revenge but not the title after Hossein retreated to the safety of the dressing room and was counted out.

Hossein would only manage one more defense before losing the belt back to Angelo Mosca at the end of the year. Flair meanwhile would begin the climb to the NWA World Title with a challenge to Harley Race on the next MLG card. Race would eventually lose the belt to Dusty Rhodes in turn losing to Flair who would make a triumphant return on the 50th Anniversary show in Nov 1981.

Gene Anderson's other charges Ray Stevens and Jimmy Snuka defended their NWA Tag belts against
The Masked Superstar and Paul Jones in the last match of the card that ended in a curfew draw.



Other Bouts

New M-A TV Champ Roddy Piper beat veteran Frankie Laine
- This was the first appearance of Piper who had won the title the previous night in Richmond, Virginia. He played his bagpipes prior to the bout earning a healthy round of un-applause from the fans. Much like Flair the fans loved him anyways, an exciting performer who was always a welcome addition to any Toronto card.

Former Canadian Champion Dewey Robertson beat Ben Alexander
The Destroyer beat John Bonello
Tony Parisi beat Bob Marcus in the opener

Also notable was the day prior a note in the business section of the Star listed the new corporation consisting of Frank Tunney Sports Ltd, Jim Crockett Promotions Inc, and 410430 Ontario Ltd (George Scott) combining to to create a new business called Frank Tunney Sports Promotion, 'to stage wrestling events at Maple Leaf Gardens and, in the summer months at other Ontario locations.'

This was the legal culmination of the agreement between Tunney and Crockett that had been in effect since Oct 1978.

The next night Nov 3 Flair teamed with Masked Superstar in Kitchener, ON to beat Snuka and Stevens. Piper and Paul Jones also stayed on while Hossein, Parisi, Marcus, and Frankie Laine filled out the circuit card.




Saturday, May 12, 2018

Joe Perlove and 'Perlovese'

Pic is circa 1940 from Maple Leaf Gardens book by Stan Obodiac 1981
l. to r. Ralph Allen, Johnny Fitzgerald, French Angel, Joe Perlove, and Hal Walker. Frank Tunney is at far right.

In Toronto from the late 1930's through the early 1960's the wrestling coverage in the Star was mostly written by Star sports reporter Joe Perlove. He would rate high on a list of great Toronto sportswriters, of which we have had many notables.

His father had emigrated from Russia in 1902 and Joe was born in Toronto in 1905. He attended Jarvis Collegiate then the University of Toronto where he 'majored in squash and snooker.'

In 1937 he was hired by the Toronto Star. He would be known variously as 'The Colonel', 'Perly', or 'Pal Joey' and while his specialty was horse-racing he covered other sports including hockey, baseball, boxing, and wrestling. He had a rambling style that they called 'Perlovese'. He once told an editor 'Don't try to correct it. Because when it's wrong it's right.'

Over the years he wrote many of the wrestling recaps. Some nights he would be at a racetrack and file his story while someone else covered the bouts. Other times if he was off or on another assignment another would fill in or they would just do an abbreviated version.

His wrestling roundups were a thing of beauty, humorous but not deprecating, filled with 'Perlovese'. You could fill a book with them.

Some random outtakes of  'Perlovese' from over the years

'Should the good citizens of Montreal bump into Yvon Robert within the next couple of days they will probably notice that his left arm protrudes at least a foot out of the end of it's sleeve. Do not be alarmed messieurs, his sleeve hasn't shrunk. Neither is he having glandular trouble. It's just the result of his bone-bending encounter with Ed Don George at the Maple Leaf Gardens last night.
-1937

In the semi-final Juan Humberto scuffled quietly with Ed Don George for 30 minutes. The trouble with this bout was that there was too much wrestling. These fellows actually applied holds and things.'
-1940

Kirch(emeyer) pitched Thesz out of the ring and appeared to like the sound Thesz made landing on the cement. So he kicked him down again.'
-1942

'In the main heat of Frank Tunney's unrationed beef soiree at the Gardens'
-1943

'You would think that after seven years of viewing wrestling matches no matter how quizzically. I would have been a witness to every sort of windup even the most mentally acrobatic script writer or the most ingenious of grapplers could devise. You would think that. And so did I.
-1944

Schnozzie Durante always cries 'Ev'rybody wants to get into the act.' That's the way it was at the Gardens 'rassles' last night where the customers worked as hard as the participants, only without benefit of emolument, except in emotional factors.'
-1946

'Cowboy Hi Lee, a fair sort of rodeo performer without a horse, will have to admit that Whipper Billy Watson is the champion steer-bulldogger without a steer he ever did see.
-1949

The Masked Marvel is -uh- the Masked Marvel. Yeah, yeah, I know it was the final-final final between Whipper Billy Watson and the M.M., but the fact remains that the M.M. remains the M.M. For at least another week. Honest kids, the Whipper tried. Now, now, no tears. The Whipper didn't lost. It's just that he didn't winned. It was a tie. No screaming please. That's about all you get in the NHL nowadays. And at higher prices yet.'
-1951

'Always thought the only sport wherein the winner winds up flat on his nose is pole-vaulting. The Mills brothers, Al and Tiny put the lie to that week after week. Never saw a couple of guys wind up so often with their contours planted deep down in the canvas and still retain their laurels'
-1953

'Francis Martin Tunney, No. 1 boxing and wrestling promoter in these parts, and in some sections of London, is ordinarily a mild-mannered man. But last night at the rassles Frances Martin, demure in a brown Italian silk suit, had sparks shooting from his eyeballs and slight trace of flames coming out of his ears.'
-1956

'If you're a good guy fan in the rassling business you need 11 hearts to last through the evening.
-1958

Just before the main mat attraction at the Gardens last night was about to get off the pad, a dust covered weather beaten, storm-tossed wind whipped courier arrived in front of announcer Jerry Hiff and thrust him a missive. Hiff sniffed, appeared miffed. One whiff had told him this missive had been near the persons of Don Leo Jonathon and Big Ed Miller. He was right. It was a challenge from that gruesome twosome.'
-1960

'The fans saw more wrestling in the 40 minutes and 48 seconds the match lasted than they've seen in the last 3,207 tag team match combined. During the bout Frank Tunney had to telephone Lou Thesz 'for some new holds.' (on a Whipper-Rocca bout)
-1962

'Well that settles it. D Kenneth 'Tiger' Tasker, one-time wrestler and now a wrestling referee, is definitely blind-and also a little hard of hearing. It has been suspected in many circles that he is somewhat astigmatic with a touch of myopia. But after his performance last night when he counted out Johnny Valentine and presented victory to the Sheik, that is the cotton-pickin' end.'
-1964

He was close with Frank Tunney attending the 'clambakes' held at the King Edward hotel where much of the wrestling and boxing business went down. Tunney had a good relationship with many of the writers in the city, some of whom would be fixtures around the wrestling office. The sports coverage in those days was huge compared to later era's. Wrestling was covered daily in some form. Ads, writeups, photos, news, results.  Frank Ayerst who worked for the Star was Tunney's publicist for many years. The main photo above is all writers, save for Angel and Tunney.

There was also a crossover between Wrestling and horse-racing going back to pre-Tunney promoter Jack Corcoran who was heavy into the racing game. Others around the office including close friend to Perlove boxing promoter Jack 'Deacon' Allen, either owned horses or were frequently involved in some way.

His last wrestling recap was in Dec 1964, the occasion was Tunney's first Sunday card held during the Christmas break. 'Mainly Mr Tunney's humanitarianism emerges because he is getting many fathers out of the house. Ah there's the essence. A stroke of genius. Fathers by the hundreds, he hopes, will heap enconiums and other such like huzzas on his graying head. For after three straight days of home and mother and kids with noisy Christmas presents, father has to be tickled dizzy to flee into the night. Even to see the Sheik.'

When Perlove died in 1966 at the age of 60 the tributes poured in from all over the sporting world. Conn Smythe owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs said 'Joe was a great friend and a wonderful guy...The world was Joe Perlove's stage. He could have been a great actor. He was a ball of fun, always cheerful and anyone who knew him is a lot better off because of it.'

Milt Dunnell wrote 'Truthfully, Perlove disliked the actual pursuit of news while the betting windows were open. It interfered with more vital things. Before the races: Yes. After the races: Yes. During the races: No.'

Globe writer Scott Young (Neil's Dad) wrote that 'Any newspaperman would be proud to have said about him what was said about (Perlove) at his funeral at Beth Sholom Synagogue. But Joe would have led the laughing in some places because he never took himself that seriously.'

Jim Hunt remembered Perlove as 'one of the most entertaining writers ever to work in this town,” adding, “Wrestling gave him the chance to let his imagination run wild.'

They dedicated a journalism award and named the annual Jockey Club dinners in his name (ran to 1976) as well as a trophy for Canada's top jockey. The Joe Perlove scholarship is still awarded at Ryerson.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Fred Atkins: Classic Photo



May 14 2018 will mark the 30th anniversary of Fred Atkins death in 1988. Fred was one of the longest serving of Frank Tunney's inner circle working here as a wrestler, manager, and referee from 1948 (obit says 1950 but he debuted at MLG in Aug '48 vs Jack Moore)  into the early 1980's.

Photo is from Crystal Beach where Fred lived - and trained - for many years.

We looked at Fred at Fred Atkins-Ferocious Fred





Thursday, May 10, 2018

External Link- Mid-Atlantic Gateway: Race snares Flair in the Indian Deathlock at Toron...

Mid-Atlantic Gateway: Race snares Flair in the Indian Deathlock at Toron...: NWA Champion Harley Race applies the Indian Deathlock to Ric Flair in Toronto. MAPLE LEAF WRESTLING NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS Exhibition Stad...

Ted McKinley



As an addition to the post on the vibrant amateur scene in Toronto in the 1930's we will take a look at one Ted McKinley, a major presence in the amateur and pro ranks in the 1930's and 1940's.

Ted first shows up in 1931 wrestling as a Senior in the University of Toronto Inter-Faculty championships. He is listed as 'former intercollegiate wrestler, careful but quick to seize an advantage, good style at 125lbs.'

Over the next couple of years he is busy on the various cards held around Toronto, many that are run by Phil Lawson, noted amateur who later trained and managed Whipper Watson. Some of these touneys were held at the Mutual St Arena, where Ivan Mickailoff ran his pro cards. On many of those cards was Cliff Worthy in the heavyweight division, he would go on to a long tenure as a pro ref for Jack Corcroan and later Frank Tunney.

In July 1934 trials were held in Montreal for the upcoming British Empire Games to be held in England. Along with McKinley and Lawson as trainer for the wrestlers, they were accompanied by Ben Engbloom and Terry Evans

On July 20 they would all leave for England along with fellow wrestlers Pat Meehan, Joe Scleimer, Howard Thomas, Alex Watt, and Robert McNabb. A note in the Star mentions that as the families saw their loved ones off a '5 year old Arthur McKinley wept at the prospect of not seeing his uncle Ted, wrestling champion at 123 lbs.'

As of Aug 9 it was reported that the Canadians had won all 5 of their preliminary bouts at the Games.

All were said to be defending title won in Hamilton in 1930 though Ted would likely not have competed in those. Earl McCready had won Gold in the Heavyweight division in Hamilton, his last before turning pro.

It would prove to be a very successful games for the Canadians. Ted would win Silver in the Bantamweight division and the other 5 would all win medals as well. Final take was 3 Gold, 2 Silver, and 2 Bronze.

Upon return a card was held at the Central YMCA on Nov 7 featuring McKinley, Terry Evans, Joe Schleimer all receiving honor medals as Dominion champs. Another noted star Jimmy Allen would also appear though he doesn't show on the 1934 Games.

On May 3 1935 the Central Ontario Amateur Championships were held in Toronto, said to have a bearing on the 1936 Summer Olympics. McKinley at 123lbs won his first round bout.

At 174lbs Winnett Watson (later aka Pat Flanagan) won his bout as did Engbloom and Evans.Terry Evans actually won 3 championships, the Middle, Light, and Heavy (weight) divisions working above his weight. A week later Evans would win the 175lb YMCA International title in Pittsburgh against contestants from YMCA's around North America.

In Oct 1935 McKinley appeared on a card in Bowmanville vs The Red Devil. Lawson took on Dick Bishop while a young Bill Potts took on Soldier Crisp. Potts, of course would become Whipper Watson. These cards appear to be in the pro style but technically 'amateur cards' perhaps to get around the licenses and such and also to present it as 'real' and with the lighter talent that were not able to go up against the heavyweight pros.

In March 1936 McKinley won at 123lbs in a 2 day City Championships. In the final at 174lbs Terry Evans won over Watson (Flanagan) and the heavyweight final was Cliff Worthy over Ken Tasker (pre 'Tiger' days and both future MLG refs)

In June 1936 they began an elimination process with 44 top grapplers to determine who will represent central Ontario at the final Olympic trials in Montreal. They opened it up to allow anyone from any corner of the province and irrelevant of experience to enter to make sure they had the top tier. McKinley would make it and go to Montreal where he placed in the final four.

At the Olympics held in Berlin only Joe Schleimer won a medal, a bronze in Welterweight. Terry Evans was defeated and unsure at this point if McKinley made the trip and lost in his division.

In the months after the Olympics he would be called the 'Canadian Lightweight Champ' though it's hard to decipher as there were many different regional 'Canadian Titles' and many tourneys held across the country through these years.

In October 1937 Ted wrestled on a benefit card held at Mutual St Arena in support of Red Garner who had suffered a dislocation of a neck vertebrae in a previous bout. The main event that night was McKinley vs Ernie Hughson with others appearing included Sam Gotter, Eric Lake, Tim Timoskym and Earl Grant.

Gotter would also go on to be a long time MLG ref while Red Garner would promote his own shows North of the city for many years. Red was a lighter guy himself and would feature many of the former amateur stars on his pro cards in the '40's and '50's under the 'middleweight' banner.

Meanwhile Ted would continue to wrestle on the Coronation Club cards at Mutual St which featured a mix of talent and were promoted under the auspices of amateur style.

1947 Oshawa 
In the summer of 1939 Ted would travel to Montreal earning a win and a draw in a big amateur tournament. He would leave the scene for some years at this point when he joined the Army as part of the war effort, as several of the other wrestlers did.

He re-appeared on the scene in May 1947 in Oshawa, ON where he appears to have been promoting alongside Pat Farrell and Jimmy 'Ziggy' Szizksay. Jim Allen, Ernie Hughson, Red Garner, Harvey Stanfield were all there helping out. This is just prior to Pat Milosh taking over in August '47.

Ted would also show up on Al 'Bunny' Dunlop's pro cards held at Oakwood Stadium in the summer of '47. Dunlop, who had Tunney's blessings (Dunlop ran Tuesday while Tunney's cards were on Thursdays) would try his hand at promoting but it wouldn't pan out and he was soon back working on the Tunney shows. Alongside McKinley on these cards were pros Billy Stack, Sandor Kovacs, and Szikszay, as well as several other lightweight types that Ted would wrestle or team with.

He would wrestle less in the next few years, the last I note is 1954 on a Red Garner show at Lakeshore Arena taking on 'Tall' Tom Sullivan, one of Red's trainees

Lots of gaps in Ted's story , if you can add please contact me


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

REPOST: 'Wild Bill' Potts ! 1936 and the Amateur scene



So last entry was on Wild Bill Zim the colorful wrestler who worked around Ontario in the 1940's and '50s, this time we find none other than Wild Bill Potts. This is the only time I have seen that nickname for our future 'Whipper Watson.'

Young Bill had been wrestling around the area, starting on trainer Phil Lawson's frequent amateur meets and tournaments in Toronto and across Southern Ontario.  By 1935 Bill would start to move into the pro side of the sport. At that time there appears to be some grey area between the amateur and pro ranks. In addition to the strictly amateur contests some of the pro cards had the amateurs who would 'wrestle' but add some of the 'entertainment' aspects to the show.

We have featured Edwin 'Red' Garner on the site and here on the blog and his long running promotion around the north of Toronto. He was a standout amateur and would feature many of the amateur stars of that era on his shows, usually promoted as lightweights.

Many of the amateurs of the 1920's and 30s would go on to long careers both as wrestlers and referees. Jack Forbes, Cliff Worthy, Bert 'The Little Flower of Uxbridge' Maxwell, Al 'Krusher' Korman, Sam Gotter, Winnett (Pat Flanagan) Watson,  and Ken 'Tiger' Tasker were all notable amateurs on the Toronto scene first.

Some others that would go pro but were too light for the most part to work on the MLG cards would work on the many cards in around Toronto that featured the lightweights or pegged as middleweights. Jim Allen, Ernie Hughson, Harvey Stanfield, and Ted McKinley were some of those that were very successful in the amateur circles. McKinley is the reason I dug up this ad as I am working on a look at his career.

Which takes us back to "Wild Bill' Potts. The Wild Bill moniker went back many years and quite a few pro wrestlers used it, most notably Bill Longson, whom in 1947 (the then) Whipper Watson would beat for the NWA (Association) World Title. The fellow pictured could be any of the participants, it does look a bit like young Whipper. The others I don't have early photos of them to compare. Ted McKinley's grandson contacted me and we are awaiting to see if a photo of Ted can be found. Bert Maxwell, pre horticulturist days, is at that time 'Mighty' Maxwell and 'Krusher' Al is still just 'Al.'

The clip from Richmond Hill is May 25 1936 and below that just a regular 'Bill Potts' in Bowmanville Oct 18 1935. The Bowmanville is a strictly amateur show.






Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Montreal 1980: Classic Clippings

Along with the incredible Toronto scrapbooks we are featuring here, there will also be stuff from Quebec scrapbooks from different eras. It's much easier and faster to post at this blog than the web site so will be able to add a lot more nostalgia as it goes.

These are all 1980, dates written on in pen are when they were picked from the paper. Some big cards and stars, we will do 1983 on the next one.