|Champ Red Garner|
Red famously trained many wrestlers and his cards were the proving ground for stars including Dave McKigney, Waldo Von Erich, Mike Scicluna, Ron Doner, as well as an assortment of light heavyweights who made their names across Ontario and throughout Quebec.
For most of the 1950's Red promoted Richmond Hill Arena and the Thornhill Market (sometimes known as the York Market) year round in addition to shows around Toronto and Southern Ontario. Red was a light heavyweight star in his early days and many of the wrestlers on his shows were in the -under 180lbs class- and called 'Middleweights'.
From 1951 to at least 1960 the main Title defended on these cards was the Canadian Middleweight Title. There were also Tag Titles, a Labbatt Tag Trophy, and at times the heavyweight Canadian Title but the most active during those years was the Middleweight Title.
This is a look at the lineage of that title, sourced from results. As with the North American Title lineage it is followed as best as we can with whats available. It will be ongoing as we source more results from the other towns on the circuit where some of the unknown changes took place.
1951/./. Jack Diamond - Hamilton
*appears on scene in mid 1952 with belt said to have brought from Quebec and defending it in Hamilton in 1951
*Diamond called 'The Hamilton Hood'
1952/09/16 Ed 'Gori' Mangotich - Richmond Hill Arena
*2/3 falls Mangotich wins 3rd fall with Indian Deathlock
*Mangotich is well known amateur and pro nicknamed 'Killer' and at times 'Mangler' and billed from Ryding, On, an area of Toronto
*Brother Doni also wrestles, sometimes as a brothers tag with Gori. Doni is known as the 'Ryding Roughneck'
In later years Gori sometimes called 'The Svengali of the mat' and would do a hypnotizing act on fans
A writeup for a Keswick card on Oct 21 has Diamond still as champ.
Mangotich is champ through 1953. In May/June he has a series of bouts with rookie Baron (Waldo) Von Seiber including bouts at Lakeshore Arena in Toronto and in Guelph. Seiber billed from Bradford debuted for Garner in 1951 and had been working his way up the cards.
1954/06/(09) Red Garner - Lakeshore Arena
*Mangotich was still champ as of Jun 8 and the two met at Lakeshore on Jun 9 with Garner winning. No mention of title change but was clean win
*June 24 writeup for July 1 Thornhill show says Garner won in Toronto and will make first defense Jul 1 in Richmond Hill
*Garner was previously billed as former Middleweight champ as he held titles in Toronto and Quebec in his early career in the late 1930s
In July there is a Tournament at Weston Arena in Toronto with winner to meet Garner
Contestants include Mangotich, Orlando, Osborne, Van Dyke, Dubois, Greenfield, Flicker, Parisi, Sullivan and others.
|Mangotich, Van Dyke, Orlando|
1954/11/30 Tom Sullivan - Thornhill Market
*Sullivan takes 2/3 falls , nearly 1,000 fans riot after bout
*'Tall Tom' or 'Honest Tom' from Brampton also has a brother Jerry that wrestles, both are Garner trainees
In late 1954 Les Lyman is being billed as Canadian Heavyweight Champion
Separate lineage, some of the lighter guys would move up over the years to compete.
Title makes sporadic appearances on Garner cards through the 1950s, Baron Von Sieber (Waldo) holds it later in the decade. Lyman also promotes his own cards around Toronto with his own crew and some crossover
1955/06/11 Stoney Brooks - Campbellford Arena
*Defeats Sullivan, Andy 'Stoney' Brooks is billed as being from Campbellford, sometimes called 'The Great Scot'
*He marries another of Red's daughters to become part of the extended Garner family
1955/../.. Al Orlando
*as of Nov 24 Al Orlando is champ
*Al(edo) Orlando billed from Malton, ON
1956/05/29 Jack Diamond (2) - Thornhill Market
*Diamond took 2/3 falls from Orlando, the two brawled out to the parking lot after the bout
1956/06/12 Al Orlando - Richmond Hill Arena
*Orlando takes 2 straight falls from Diamond
1956/09/18 Ed 'Gori' Mangotich (2) - Thornhill Market
1956/09/25 Harold Van Dyke - Thornhill Market
*beats Gori Mangotich 2/3 falls
*Van Dyke was subbing for injured Al Orlando
From Richmond Hill Van Dyke is another Garner trainee
1956/12/18 Ron 'Wildcat' Osborne - Thornhill Market
*Osborne won 3rd fall by submission from Van Dyke with a screw and twist hold
*Osborne billed alternately from Willowdale in Toronto and other times as the 'Stratford Streak'
1957/05/07 Stoney Brooks - Thornhill Market
1957/07/.. Ray Schrier - Guelph Memorial Gardens
*Brooks is still champ on Jul 19 - Schrier said to be from Fergus, other article calls him Carl Schrier of Fergus and Montreal
1957/11/05 Stoney Brooks (2) - Thornhill Market
*says he beats 'Carl' Schrier of Montreal - Carl/Ray
*Schrier had not defended the title since he won it from Brooks in July
*Brooks had beat Orlando on Oct 29 to become #1 contender
1957/11/19 Al Orlando (2) - Thornhill Market
*beats Brooks 2/3
1958 Jan 28 Stoney Brooks wins a tournament to meet World Middleweight Champ Rudy Valee
beats Billy Foster in Final, beat Al Orlando in first bout, bye for second round
*Tournament staged over 3 cards
Aledo is still Champ - keeps title despite loss in Tournament
1958/03/18 Juan Lopez - Thornhill Market
*Lopez beats Al Orlando when ref Chief Little Beaver stops bout as Orlando is cut
*Lopez had held the World Middleweight Title in 1938 and had met Red Garner at Mutual St Arena in Toronto for a bout
On Apr 4 the 'World's Middleweight Champion' Roger Vallee makes an appearance to take on Tourny winner Stoney Brooks. Said to be recognized by the Quebec Athletic Association, Maritime Wrestling Association, and the New England Wrestling Alliance. Vallee is billed from Montreal, PQ and Garner says 'he better be good, he's costing us enough money to be Lou Thesz.' Vallee was active on Sylvio Samson's Quebec circuit of which Garner, Mangotich, and the Siebers had wrestled on earlier in the decade. Vallee returns in March 1959 to meet then local champ Gideon Gideen and again in Feb 1960 to meet champ Al Orlando.
1958/Oct-Nov Jack Diamond (3)
*Nov 18 Card -Jack Diamond bout as champ , says he beat Lopez, Lopez still champ as of Oct 7
*unable to find bout
1959/03/10 Gideon Gideen - Thornhill Market
*Gideen beats Jack Diamond
1959/05/12 Billy Foster - Thornhill Market
*no results but Foster is champ on next card May 19 after bout against Gideen on 12th
1959/12/01 Al Orlando (3) - Thornhill Market
*Orlando beats Billy Foster
1960 as of Feb 16 Orlando still champ
*Mueller is champ as of Oct 6