Friday, May 4, 2018

Carpentier vs Stasiak 1966: Classic Photos

The high flying Edouard Carpentier was a frequent visitor to MLG and the Ontario scene the 1950's right up to the 1980's. Stan Stasiak was also a mainstay in these parts, beginning his career here in the early 60's as a regular on the weekly shows through the first half of the decade.

The two would meet up twice here in Oct/Nov 1966, the photos that accompany this article we believe are from the Nov 17 1966 card as MLG Photog Roger Baker remembers meeting Johnny Rougeau in the dressing room on the same night.

Both wrestlers would achieve great success throughout their careers, Carpentier being recognized as a World Champ in the 50's , while Stasiak would go on to be a bridge-type champ in the WWWF between the reigns of Pedro Morales and Bruno Sammartino in 1973 .

Stasiak who had borrowed his ring name from a 1920s era performer here, a Stanley Stasiak was a tough performer in the ring and would battle the heroes (and later villains) of the Toronto mat wars from 1961 through 1978.

In fact his last appearance at Maple Leaf Gardens on Feb 19th 1978 was also Carpentiers last battle at MLG.

Flashback to 1966 and both were in fine form for a bout at MLG. Photographer Baker captures the best of their battle where we see some of the classic maneuvers that Carpentier was known for. He was a skilled high flyer, always in great condition and with an encyclopedia of wrestling moves.

Against the larger Stasiak, the Flying Frenchman pulls out all the stops to beat the big man from Arvida Quebec and put on another entertaining bout for the fans.

Carpentier is rewarded with 2 straight shots at NWA champ Gene Kiniski on the next pair of successive cards, first one a loss then a draw vs the tough Canadian World champion.

In addition to battles with The Sheik in the '70's Carpentier would also face WWWF champ Superstar Graham - and AWA champ Nick Bockwinkel on two cards in a row in 1977. One of those cards featured Stasiak vs Superstar Graham for the WWWF belt in a 2 Title night.

Stasiak would disappear from the Toronto scene after this bout not to re-emerge until June 1974 but would have some big bouts himself at MLG battling NWA champs Jack Brisco (Mar 1975) and Terry Funk (Dec 1976), WWWF champ Graham (Nov 1977), and AWA champ Bockwinkel (Jan 1978) to be one of the few - along with Carpentier - who battled for all 3 major titles at the Gardens.

In addition to several bouts vs The Sheik in the main events at MLG Stasiak would also do well on Dave McKigney's circuit around Ontario holding that areas North American belt in 1974.

In 1977 Stasiak shocked local fans by teaming with Chief Jay Strongbow for a series of bouts  while at the same time a villain in the WWWF - not unlike Angelo Mosca a few years later.

There was a bit of a story in one of the magazines with Vince McMahon Sr commenting on the unusual Toronto only pairing of the 2 WWWF rivals. Stasiak would also wrestle solo vs the heels taking on Waldo Von Erich, Al Costello, and Geeto Mongol in his lead up to the WWWF title bout vs Graham.

Thanks to Roger Baker for the use of his fabulous photos from this classic bout