Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Joe Gollob and the Midget Wrestlers: Classic Photo



Taking a break so will leave with one of my favorite Roger Baker photos. Ref Joe Gollob with Little Brutus, Sky Low Low, Little Beaver, and Jamaica Kid. Believe this is 1966 Roger can correct if so.

The midgets were a regular presence on MLG cards through the 1950's and 1960's, a huge crowd favorite. With all the shenanigans they pulled on the refs it's fitting to have Gollob in there. He was a tough as nails former boxer who would take a lot of bumps from the wrestlers, both small and large. Ahead of his time he even ran a heel ref gimmick on a couple of occasions on the circuit.

Roger talked to me about Joe some time back

"Joe Gollob was my favorite Ref., he had both the size and strength to handle the mat action that he would handle as the third man in the ring. Joe befriended me in the early sixties, and as a result many great opportunities to get interesting wrestling pictures became available to me. We would often make plans to meet on the road and travel out of Toronto to the smaller towns were Joe was to handle the officiating duties.

Joe was a very active man, he used to work at The Globe And Mail in dispatch, as well at one period of time during our friendship he managed a tavern on Dundas St. East in Toronto. He promoted me as the taverns photographer at large, and encouraged me to take pictures of the patrons for the purpose of making a sale to those who would want a picture of their visit to the tavern.

Joe was a great story teller, and he would often regale me with wrestling stories that he knew I would enjoy to hear.

I will relate one human interest story that he and I both enjoyed together, this was probably around 1961, Joe and myself drove to the town of Uxbridge, which is Northeast of Toronto. There was wrestling card that evening that was to take place in the local arena. Joe was to handle the officiating duties that night. 

The main event was Hans Schmidt v.s. Billy Red Lyons, Schmidt was at his most violent self, and was kicking Lyons, as well as pounding on him with his fists, suddenly at the point where the match was out of control, 'The Little Flower of Uxbridge' Bert Maxwell climbed up and into the ring and ordered Schmidt to cease and desist, Maxwell was out of shape, however he could raise his voice at Schmidt and the nasty villain finally backed off, the local crowd went wild, and cheered Maxwell for well over five minutes.

At the time of this event Bert Maxwell had not been a wrestling wrestling referee for some time, of course Hans Schmidt recognized Maxwell and that's why he was not roughed up. Afterward during our drive back home, Joe remarked to me, 'do you know what that meant to Maxwell, being back in a wrestling ring, being the savior referee in front of his home town wrestling fans?', I emphatically nodded in the affirmative."


Thanks to Roger Baker


Masked Men in Toronto - Part 2

This is the second part of a look at Masked Men in Toronto
Part 1 is here Masked Men in Toronto- Part 1

Whipper Watson closed out the 1950's by unmasking the Great Bolo in 1959 to reveal Al Lovelock under the mask. That marked the 4th mask Whipper had collected so far in Toronto. In 1961 he would add to that total unmasking the Black Terror with Laverne Baxter underneath. Baxter had wrestled here briefly in the early 1950's as Vern Baxter and had arrived on the scene as Black Terror in March 1961.

Kudo 1962
In 1962 there was The Great Kudo with veteran Red Garner under the mask. He had ran his own promotion the CCWA for many years in the smaller towns mostly North of Toronto. As Kudo he had a feud with Bruno Sammartino and after Bruno had left and won the WWWF Title Kudo was his first title defense back in Toronto in 1964. Kudo was handled by a 'Sam Sullivan' and Garner would run the gimmick on his circuit shows around the area.

In June 1966 a new masked man appeared on the scene, the first of the Destroyer's. In Jan 1964 he was finally unmasked by Johnny Valentine to reveal Joe Christie. Christie had worked around the territories both as the Destroyer and as a Masked Marvel. He appeared in Toronto prior as Christie and again after he was unmasked.

Valentine would collect another mask in May 1964 from the Mighty Hercules. The bout with special ref Bobby Bruns ended when Valentine had Hercules caught up in the ropes and ripped his mask off before applying a brainbuster and then pinning him. Hercules said that because he wasn't pinned first as per the terms of the contract he was under no obligation to identify himself. Fans were calling him Bobby Graham while Bruns said he would have guessed it was Hans Schnabel but then remarked 'But no, Schnabel would be about my (Bruns) age,'
Yankees

Of the many unmaskings at MLG this was the only one not officially named but was likely Graham who plied his trade all over the wrestling world under several different names including Mighty Hercules.

Whipper was back at it in 1966, this time with his former rival, now tag partner Bulldog Brower. They were feuding with a masked team the Masked Yankees and the bout was a Survivor match with no countouts or dq's and falls count anywhere. Added stipulation was that if Whip and Brower lost Whipper would retire. If the Yankees lost they would unmask.

The good guys prevailed and unmasked after Whip had pinned one of the Yankees and he didn't get back up after the one minute count afforded between falls. The card was held at the outdoor Maple Leaf Stadium with the ring over home plate where they said 'the baseball catchers regularly unmask.'

Bob Stanlee and Moose Evans were under the masks. Stanlee had been here as 'Big Bob Stanlee', he was a 'wrestling brother' to 'Mr America' Steve Stanlee who was a popular star here in the 1950's and early 1960's. Moose Evans had never wrestled here before coming in as a Yankee. The two teams would have a re-match and the team now dubbed 'Unmasked Yankees' was to leave the area if they lost. They did and disappeared from the scene.

1966 saw the Caped Crusader hit the area and sometimes accompanied by Wonder Boy. This was the Batman gimmick taking advantage of the success of the TV show. They dressed as Batman and Robin but were billed as Caped Crusader and Wonder Boy perhaps to get around the legalities. Tony Marino was the Crusader and used the same gimmick in the US as Battman, two t's. Assume he was also the 'Masked Crusader' just after the pair departed. John Foti was the Wonder Boy. He had wrestled here as far back as 1956 while Marino debuted here in 1960.

The Assassin appeared on the scene in 1967. He was later joined by another for a short time, billed as  'Assassins' I and II or the Masked Assassins.

Assassin vs Brower 1968
The Assassin was a mainstay on the scene for the next several years. In 1971 he met The Sheik in the middle of Sheik's five year unbeaten streak and was unmasked. Under the mask was Guy Mitchell, a graduate of the Hamilton scene and Spittles and Wentworth's gyms. Mitchell was an 'Assassin' prior in the WWA and would later be known as 'Gentleman' Jerry Valiant. The feud he had with Sheik was a heel-heel and after the unmasking Mitchell would stay on as 'The Stomper' or Guy 'The Stomper' Mitchell. After a prolonged absence he came back as Valiant in the WWF days.

The Assassin gimmick returned in the early 1980's on Dave McKigney's circuit with various wrestlers under the mask. Tunney regulars Brian 'Silent' Macnee and Tim Gerrard were two of them.

The Executioner was a regular in the early 1970's. He was never unmasked but was likely mostly Ernie Moore under the mask. Another Hamilton area star, he saw success in the Buffalo/Cleveland based NWF in the early 1970's. As 'Ernie Moore' he wrestled mostly on the smaller circuit cards around Southern Ontario.

Crusader Robertson
Later in the Sheik Streak 'The Crusader' showed up for his try and after losing was unmasked as Dewey Robertson. Dewey was another homegrown star who at one time was primed by Whipper to be the next big star. He had wrestled here regularly since 1967 before becoming The Crusader in 1974. Once unmasked he would sometimes go by 'Crusader' Robertson and soon teamed with Billy Red Lyons as 'The Crusaders.'

The Crusaders would dominate the tag scene for a time with a long feud with the Love Brothers. The fans knew who they were and they were often billed with their regular names and wrestled unmasked as well. Another frequent tag rival the Kelly Twins Pat and Mike would later don masks on McKigney's circuit in 82-83 as 'The Destroyers.'

Around the same time we saw the masked El Santos I and El Santos II. Checkerboard white and black masks and outfits mostly played by Terry Yorkston and Duncan McTavish but others used the gimmick here and elsewhere. They occasionally used the El Santos gimmick on McKigney's circuit in the early 80's as well.
Super D II with Hayes

When Tunney was using the AWA stars in 1977-78 we had the Super Destroyers I and II both as a team and solo. Under the masks were Don Jardine and a pre-Sgt Bob Slaughter. Jardine had wrestled here early in his career as Don 'Babyface' Jardine, another of Whipper Watson's prospects. He had later become The Spoiler but never used that masked persona here. Slaughter was Super Destroyer II and they were accompanied by manager Lord Alfred Hayes. They had a good creepy look going, kind of like the villain in the Scream movies.

One of the best wrestlers of the Mid Atlantic era was the Masked Superstar. He was a regular here from 1980 - 1983 as Superstar and had appeared here previously as part of the Mongol's team (not masked). He returned in the WWF days as part of Demolition (makeup no masks) and appeared in the Frank Tunney Tag Tournament they held in 1987.

For a time in 1980 he was joined by Masked Superstar II. He would lose his mask to Blackjack Mulligan revealing John Studd. Studd had wrestled as the masked Executioner in the WWWF but not here. He would stay on to feud with Blackjack over the next several years and would hold our Canadian Title in 1981

When Dick Beyer returned in 1979 after a long absence (last wrestled here in 1961) as The Destroyer, he added 'Original, Sensational, Intelligent..' to the name. Not to be confused with the previous versions. He was here regularly through the M-A era.

Near the end of the NWA days we had the Assassins. They had been huge stars in the U.S. with original members Jody Hamilkton and Tom Renesto. By this time Hamilton had been teaming with various others after Renesto had retired. In a hair vs mask bout Jimmy Valiant won over the Assassin and he was unmasked as Ray 'Hercules' Hernandez. Around the same time there was the 'Grapplers' Len Denton and Tony Anthony. Denton also wrestled as 'Denton'.

Thanks to Gary Will

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Masked Yankees 1965: Classic Photo



Working on ''The Masked Men in Toronto Part 2' . This shot of the Masked Yankees from 1966 is a Tunney promo, publicity shot given out by the office. 

"Whipper and Bulldog Brower were feuding with a masked team the Masked Yankees and the bout was a Survivor match with no countouts or dq's and falls count anywhere. Added stipulation was that if Whip and Brower lost Whipper would retire. If the Yankees lost they would unmask. 

The good guys prevailed and unmasked after Whip had pinned one of the Yankees and he didn't get back up after the one minute count afforded between falls. The card was held at the outdoor Maple Leaf Stadium with the ring over home plate where they said 'the baseball catchers regularly unmask.' 

Bob Stanlee and Moose Evans were under the masks. Stanlee had been here as 'Big Bob Stanlee', he was a 'wrestling brother' to 'Mr America' Steve Stanlee who was a popular star here in the 1950's and early 1960's. Moose Evans had never wrestled here before coming in as a Yankee. The two teams would have a re-match and the team now dubbed 'Unmasked Yankees' was to leave the area if they lost. They did and disapeared from the scene. "



Monday, May 28, 2018

Oshawa Group Shot 1952: Classic Photo



Another item moved over from the Oshawa site, a great photo featuring the major players in Oshawa Wrestling and Sports circa 1952

l. to r. Ferenz (Jimmy) Szikszay, Billy Stack, Ref (?), Promoter Pat Milosh, Unknown , Oshawa Sports Editor George H Campbell

Thanks to Alex Milosh


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Repost: N. Falls Posters

Repost for a Sunday , some very cool posters from 1953-54 Niagara Falls - not mine ! 
post was from a few years back

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A great selection of Niagara Falls Posters recently offered on E-Bay. The one below (GG) from 1953 fetched $462. The others are all from 1953 and 1954.
















Friday, May 25, 2018

Whipper, Pat, Bunny 1943



Three of the longest serving of the MLW regulars pictured in 1943. Just counting their service under Corcoran and Tunney, over 100 years combined.

  • Al 'Bunny' Dunlop wrestled from about 1932 and then refereed through to 1971 - 39 years
  • Whipper Watson wrestled 1940-1971 and around occasionally to late 1970s - 31+ years
  • Pat Flanagan wrestled 1942 to 1968 and referred to about 1978 - 36 years

This show, just over 75 years ago this May,  was for the 'Fresh Air Fund' which helps kids get out of the city in the summer and enjoy some country life, still going strong today.



Pedro Martinez took on Ed 'Strangler' Lewis. He didn't 'murder the Strangler' but went down to a headlock then body press in losing the bout. Martinez was a regular here before he branched out and promoted Buffalo. The whole Toronto crew were frequent visitors to Buffalo.

May 13 1943 Maple Leaf Gardens 
The Red Shadow pinned Whipper Watson 39:09
Ed 'Strangler' Lewis pinned Pedro Martinez 8:27 
Fank Sexton defeated Jack Claybourne  15:02
Al 'Bunny' Dunlop beat Jack Wentworth 16:53
Pat Flanagan pinned Jan Gotch 16:16 
Referee: Ernie Powers

Thursday, May 24, 2018

External Link- Mid-Atlantic Gateway: It's All in the Family for "Nature Boy" Ric Flair

Mid-Atlantic Gateway: It's All in the Family for "Nature Boy" Ric Flair: by Dick Bourne Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Chances are you already visit the M-A Gateway but in case ...

Love the family tree for Ric Flair , they looked at the family prior also- see link below
And you thought your family was tough!

Mid-Atlantic Gatewey: Blood is Thicker Than Water

Ric Flair 1981: Classic Photo



NWA champ Ric Flair gets help down the ramp from Mike Davis and Johnny Weaver on Nov 15 1981. Flair had just won his bout against Harley Race. Doesn't look like it but he did!

I was off to the right just outside the scope of this photo. This was the 50th Anniversary card - we looked at it in a Sunday Night: Nov 15 1981




Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Montreal 1983: Classic Clippings

More Montreal clippings, this time 1983. We would have been lucky to have this quality of cards in Toronto by this time. We did get the International Wrestling show so we were able to tune into the great wrestling going on just up the road. There are some duplicates, slightly different ads for the same cards. Again, dates in pen were when they were pulled from the paper.