Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Niagara Falls Ontario Posters


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
















Toronto - the Program List


A list of all the Toronto Programs that have been found so far. Lots more out there. If you can add to the list please do.

I also have some Oshawa and other towns but will leave this list for Toronto and Strangleholds. Still, if you have other cities please send. Always great to see more

If you have any of the missing dates from the later years please contact me
There's lots of Programs around the site at tag-   MLW.com: Programs
_______________________________________________________

1929 ? Arena Gardens generic

1930 Jul 10 Arena Gardens Siki vs Komar

1933 Apr 20 Savoldi vs Stein
1933 Aug 24 Savoldi vs Kirelenko
1933 Sept 28 Zarynoff vs Dusek
1933 Oct 10 Sonnenburg vs Stasiak

1935 Aug 8 O'Mahoney vs Browning

1940 May 2 Longson vs Johnson
1940 Jul 24 Watson vs Kenneth

1941 Apr 17 Masked Wolf vs Sammy Stein

1947 May/June? Thesz cover
1947 ? Mike Sharpe cover
1947 Dec 11 Watson/Flanagan vs Hi Lee/Marvel
1948 May 13 Watson vs Singh

1949 Sept 22 Watson/Flanagan vs Atkins/Henry

1952 Aug 21 Tag Team Tourney

1955 Feb 10 Kalmikoffs vs Mills Brothers
1955 Jun 9 Watson vs McLarity

1957 Aug 15 Watson/Eric vs Miller Bros
1957 Sept 5 Watson/O'Connor vs Kiniski/Von Erich

1961 Aug 24 Brower vs Layton
1961 Sept 7 Watson vs Brower

1963 May 9 Lorenzo Parente vs Killer Kowalski
1963 May 16 Valentine vs Watson
1963 May 23 Thesz vs Brower
1963 Jun 13 Brower vs Beast
1963 Jul 18 Valentine vs Watson
1963 Aug 1 Valentine vs Henning
1963 Aug 29 Valentine vs Thomas

1964 Jan 9 Watson vs Kiniski
1964 Feb 13 Baba/Atkins vs Watson/Valentine
1964 Feb 27 Bruno vs Brower
1964 May 6 Valentine vs Mighty Hercules
1964 Jul 23 Hiro vs Valentine
1964 Aug 6 Hiro vs Valentine
1964 Aug 27 Valentine vs Hiro
1964 Sep 3 Hiro vs Valentine
1964 Sep 10 Hillbillies vs Brower/Beast
1964 Oct 22 Valentine vs Hiro
1964 Dec 17 Hiro vs Watson

1965 Jan 17 Valentine vs Sheik
1965 Mar 7 Watson vs Kiniski
1965 Mar 18 Powers vs Siki
1965 Mar 28 Valentine/Watson vs Kiniski/Von Erich
1965 Apr 4 Brower vs Sammartino
1965 Jun 17 Watson vs Powers
1965 Sept 2 Watson vs Kiniski
1965 Sep 9 Watson vs Hiro

1977 Summer July generic Andre on cover

1978-1979 - Nothing found

Not known if printed
1980 Jun 15 (POSSIBLY 1ST STRANGLEHOLD)
1980 Jun 29
1980 Jul 20
1980 Aug 10
1980 Aug 24
1980 Sept 6
1980 Sept 27
Everything below accounted for EXCEPT for MISSSING dates
1980 Oct 19 - Oldest found after 1977 - says #8
1980 Nov 2
1980 Nov 16
MISSING 1980 Dec 7
MISSING 1980 Dec 28
MISSING 1981 Jan 11
MISSING 1981 Feb 1
1981 Feb 22
1981 Mar 8
1981 Mar 29
1981 Apr 12
1981 May 3
1981 May 24
MISSING 1981 Jun 14
1981 Jun 28
1981 Jul 12
1981 Jul 26
1981 Aug 9
1981 Aug 30
1981 Sept 20
MISSING 1981 Oct 4
MISSING 1981 Oct 18
MISSING 1981 Nov 1
1981 Nov 15
1981 Nov 30
1981 Dec 27
1982 Jan 17
1982 Jan 31 (issued-cancelled Caddy Tourny)
1982 Feb 21
1982 Mar 7 (issued-rescheduled Caddy Tourny)
1982 Mar 21
1982 Apr 4
1982 Apr 25
1982 May 16
1982 Jun 6
1982 Jun 27
1982 Jul 11
1982 Jul 25
1982 Aug 8
1982 Aug 22
1982 Oct 3
1982 Oct 17
1982 Oct 31
1982 Dec 12
1982 Dec 26
1983 Jan 9
1983 Jan 23
1983 Feb 20
1983 Mar 6
1983 Mar 27
1983 Apr 10
1983 May 15
1983 May 29
1983 Jun 12
1983 Jul 10
1983 Jul 24
1983 Aug 7
1983 Aug 28
1983 Sept 18
1983 Oct 16
1983 Oct 30
1983 Nov 13
1983 Dec 4
1983 Dec 26
1984 Jan 8
1984 Jan 22
1984 Feb 12
1984 Apr 1
1984 Apr 15
1984 Apr 29
1984 May 13
1984 May 27
1984 Jun 10
1984 Jun 24
NON-MAPLE LEAF GARDENS STRANGLEHOLD PROGRAMS:
1983 Nov 30 KITCHENER
1984 May 14, ST. CATHERINES
1984 May 15 GENERIC (LOCATION UNKNOWN)

North American Heavyweight Title: Title Histories

North American Heavyweight Title: Big Bear - Ontario


Archie Gouldie1974/05
Holds Calgary version, also billed as champion in London, ON.
Luis Martinez1974/05/29?London, ON?
Archie Gouldie [2]1974/06/09Sarnia, ON
Vic Rossatani1974/07 //
Sometime after 74/06/26.
Archie Gouldie [3]1974/07/10?London, ON?
Bobo Brazil1974/08/21?London, ON?
Still champion as of 74/10/13.
[...]
Stan Stasiak1974/12/21 //
[...]
Tony Parisi1975/07/25 //
Billed as champion at start of season; still champion as of 75/08/22
[...]
Waldo Won Erich1976/05
Billed as champion at start of season.
Billy Red Lyons1976
Chris Colt1976/08/17Simcoe, ON
Billy Red Lyons [2]1976/08/24Simcoe, ON
[...]
Geeto Mongol1977/06/15 //
Billed as champion at start of season; inactive until 82
[...]
Whipper Watson Jr.1982/07
Billed as champion at start of season.
Chris Colt [2]1982/07/04Scarborough, ON
Canadian Wildman (Dave McKigney)1982/07
Chris Colt [3]1982/08/01Scarborough, ON
Whipper Watson Jr. [2]1982/08
[...]
Chris Colt [4]1983/08
Billed as champion after the start of season.
Johnny Valiant1983/08Cornwall, ON
Title inactive 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Smiling John: The forgotten Tunney: Gary Will's TWH

Smiling John: The forgotten Tunney


Frank Tunney was Toronto's greatest wrestling promoter and one of the most successful and respected promoters in the world.

But if it hadn't been for a fluke illness, he may never have had the chance to rise to that level. When Tunney took over the wrestling operations of the Queensbury Athletic Club -- the main Toronto booking office -- from Jack Corcoran in 1939, he was the junior member of the new promoting team. The head matchmaker was his older brother, John Tunney.

It isn't clear exactly when the Tunneys started to work for Corcoran. Frank would say in later interviews that he was working in the office as a teenager at the time of the first Maple Leaf Gardens show in 1931. A story in the Star at the time said the Tunneys became involved in 1933. But whatever the date was, John and Frank spent years helping Corcoran behind the scenes.

Corcoran was reported to have caught pneumonia in March 1939, and Toots Mondt -- who was or had been a partner in the Toronto office (more about that another time) -- came up to run the Gardens show on March 16, which featured a world title bout between Jim Londos and local star Vic Christie.

 The following week, it was announced that John Tunney had become the head matchmaker. Attendance through the rest of 1939 averaged 3,000-4,000 per show, and John brought in Wild Bill Longson (an immediate hit), Bronko Nagurski, Frank Sexton, and Lou Thesz for their Toronto debuts in the fall of that year.

According to the attendance figures in the Globe, John Tunney's biggest show was on Thursday January 12, 1940. The main event was Longson vs Jumping Joe Savoldi with Gus Sonnenberg on the undercard. It drew 6,000. It would also be John's final show at the Gardens.

He started feeling sick the next day, but -- against the advice of friends -- decided to work through what seemed to be a bad cold. On Monday, he made the drive to Ottawa to oversee a show there. "Upon his return, he was ordered to bed by the family physician and his condition was not considered even remotely serious," reported the Globe.

Tunney remained at home -- his house was near Danforth and Woodbine -- but things took a sharp turn for the worse on Thursdsay, the day of his next scheduled Gardens show. He died early that morning at age 32. The Star said it was influenza and the Globe added that he had suffered a heart attack. The Gardens show that night was cancelled.

"The entire sports community is prostrated by this blow which took away one of its youngest, most pleasant and most promising promoters," wrote the Star.

Tunney's wife had given birth two weeks earlier to their fourth child and was herself in the hospital suffering from complications. Among the couple's other three children was their oldest son, Jackie.

John Tunney was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery. Frank immediately became Toronto's head promoter. John's son, Jack Tunney, would go on to work for his uncle Frank starting in the early 1950s and took over the business with Frank's son Eddie Tunney after Frank's death in 1983.

-by Gary Will


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Make Believe Gardens Classic Matchup: Bravo vs Valentine 1979


We are back to visit Barry Hatchet's fine Make Believe Gardens for a classic bout from 1979. Dino Bravo and Greg 'Hammer' Valentine had some great bouts in Toronto over our Canadian Heavyweight Title. This could be any one of 3 where Bravo was champ at introductions. Valentine would eventually beat Bravo for the title in April but would lose it back in June.

Bravo had recently turned back the challenge of Ric Flair and had tagged with Ricky Steamboat against the team of Flair and Valentine before starting this series.

Both Valentine and Bravo's careers had a lot of parallels. Singles titles (but not the big one), great tag teams - and titles, and a similar style. Valentine, while not as popular as Flair was becoming, was still a 'favorite heel' for many, and Bravo was at the height of his popularity here. Their bouts at MLG were tough and scientific and bloody all at the same time.

Thanks again to Barry "Kicking ass is my business...and business is good!" Hatchet for this classic bout !







The Fabulous Kangaroos at CHCH TV Taping: Classic Photo



Another fabulous Roger Baker photo of Lord Layton interviewing the Fabulous Kangaroos in Hamilton early 1970's.  Al Costello is talking while new partner Don Kent looks on. Layton as usual impeccably dressed, likely by George Richards Big and Tall.


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Masked Men in Toronto - Part 1

1938
Masked wrestlers have been around since the beginning of pro wrestling and Toronto had it's fair share of them (plus a couple of masked managers) over the years.

Sometimes the fans knew or had a good idea who was under the mask. In Toronto more often than not the fans would find out after they had lost their masks in the ring at Maple Leaf Gardens.

We will take a general look at some of the masked wrestlers who were unmasked - and some that weren't - and the men who unmasked them over the 50 years. Not a definitive listing as there were likely 100's of different masked persona's around the region.
_______________________________________________________

One of the first of note to be unmasked was 'The Unknown' in 1936. Billed as a 'masked mystery man of the sport' he would lose his mask to reveal Jim McMillen. Hal Rumberg unmasked McMillen who was a noted ex footballer that played for the Bears before a successful wrestling career

The 'Masked Marvel' is probably one of the earliest and plentiful masked gimmicks. We had a few at different times both at Maple Leaf Gardens and the many towns on the circuits around Ontario.

Whipper trying to unmask Marvel 1949
Jack Dempsey looks on 
First on the scene in 1932 a Masked Marvel was said to be a different person than the one who had been unmasked in New York as Mike Romano. Promoter Jack Corcoran claimed ours was a 24 year old youngster who did not want to reveal his identity until 'he makes good.'

He never did (reveal his identity) but it was said to be Al Getzewich/Al Getz who was unmasked later that year in Ottawa by Ed 'Strangler' Lewis. Getzewich was born in 1907 making him around 24 years old in 1932 and wrestled around the area under his own name in the early 1940's.
            
Another Marvel in 1938 was our World Champion (Toronto version) for a time. He lost the title and was unmasked to uncover Ted Cox. Also known as 'King Kong' Cox he would wrestle as the Masked Marvel in other areas and lose the mask several times in other cities.

Cox was unmasked here by Mayes McClain. Mayes was another ex footballer who turned to wrestling and had a long and successful career across North America. Mayes held the World title for a couple of months before losing it back to Cox, who may be the only man to hold a World Title both masked and unmasked.

At the time of Marvel/Cox in 1938 promoter Jack Corcoran entered a dog in the Toronto Star's 'Dog Derby. 'The Masked Marvel II' with a photo in the paper of a masked dog and his 'Masked Manager' presumed to be Corcoran with his ever present pipe in his mouth. The dog had his own pipe.

Cox had his own 'Masked Manager' as well. In a rematch with McClain after losing the title the manager was to unmask if Cox had lost to McClain. The Masked Manager routine would resurface later.

In 1949 our British Empire champion Whipper Watson would meet another Marvel in a series and eventually unmask him to reveal Lew Reynheer. The bout had been advertised as a with a clause that Whipper would retire if he lost. Former World champ Strangler Lewis was the special referee for the unmasking bout. Jack Dempsey had refereed an earlier bout which is pictured here.

When Whipper unmasked Lew, he was said to be the 'original' Masked Marvel, obviously not the first Marvel to appear here and he would not be the last.

By 1951 another Marvel was on the scene (sometimes billed as 'The Mask/Mask') and he also had a 'Masked Manager.' They would have an all masked series with another masked man 'The Zebra.'

The Masked Manager would lose his mask to Watson who beat him in Feb 1951 to reveal non other than -Mayes McClain. It went full circle since the 1930's with McClain now being the unmasked. McClain would hang around for a bit as the 'Unmasked Manager.'

Thesz stares down Hefner after unmasking him
Ref 'Bunny' Dunlop looks on  
Soon it was Marvel's turn and it would be the masked Zebra that would claim the mask revealing 'Shoulders' Lou Newman. 'Shoulders' also worked as a masked Mr X elsewhere in his career.

The Zebra, sometimes billed as 'Zebra Kid'  would get his due when he faced Whipper in a feud that would see Whipper collect another mask. Boxing champ Jack Dempsey served as a special referee and would help Watson forcibly remove the mask after a double count-out at MLG. Under that one was George Bollas who would hang around a bit as 'George Bollas' or sometimes 'the unmasked Zebra.'

Bollas was famous all over the wrestling world both here and overseas as the Zebra/Zebra Kid. In late 1951 after being unmasked he attempted to re-don the mask for a bout in Niagara Falls but was ordered by promoter Sam Sobel to remove it before wrestling.

In those years there were a bunch of other masked wrestlers, some who got unmasked, among them Red Shadow (Leo Numa), Masked Wolf (John Grandovich), The Czar (Dick Lever), The Mummy (Pedro Martinez), and the simple Mr X (none other than Earl McCready). Both the Mummy and Mr X were actually unmasked by the masked Marvel/Lew Reynheer.

Yet another Masked Marvel came along in 1952 and was unmasked to reveal Frank Valois. The man who unmasked him? Another masked wrestler named Red Mask.                 

By 1953 there were several Red Mask's active both on the major MLG circuit and on the smaller independent shows in and around Toronto. The MLG one got a shot at NWA champ Lou Thesz who unmasked him to reveal Dutch Hefner. There was even a Red Mask on the small auto racing circuit here taking advantage of the Red Mask angles on the various shows at the time.

Others active on the circuit from the 1930's to the 1950's included Purple Mask (said to be 'Wild' Bill Longson) , The Red Demon (unmasked in Oshawa in 1947 as 'Red' O'Malley), another Unknown (unmasked in Oshawa in 1950 as Hamiltonian Abe Zvonkin), Red Devil, The Hooded Mask, more Masked Marvels, and several Mr X's .

In 1955 a Mr X was wrestling in Red Garner's Richmond Hill/Thornhill (just North of Toronto) based CCWA. One bout offered the fans a chance to predict who was under the mask (if he lost) to win $10 and a season pass to the wrestling events held at the Thornhill Market that year. He kept it but lost it in a later bout to reveal Harry Szaley.

Pat Flanagan vs The Zebra
in Oshawa 1951
The Great Bolo was another that saw action in many areas. We had one in 1959 unmasked by Whipper Watson to reveal Al Lovelock. The most well known of the 'Bolo's' Lovelock would work the  gimmick all over the territories during his career. There were other Bolo's around the region too in that era.

Whipper made a career out of collecting masks. In addition to the ones already mentioned he would continue to add to the collection right into the 1960's. We will look at those and others up to the 1980's in Part 2 of our look at masked men in Toronto.
.

Thanks to Roger Baker and Gary Will
See also Gary Will's TWH: Unmasked! -- Wrestlers who lost their masks in Toronto

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Our favorite classic wrestling website! Spend some time over there -you will love it !

A recent Toronto related post ....
The Mid-Atlantic Gateway: Blooper from Toronto!

Other Toronto related on The Mid Atlantic Gateway
The Mid-Atlantic Gateway: Toronto

Main Site
The Mid-Atlantic Gateway




Thursday, April 18, 2019

Memories of Toronto with Roger Baker; Remembering the Miller Brothers

We are very fortunate to have Roger Baker contributing his vast knowledge and memories of Toronto wrestling to this site. 
This time, the MIller Brothers and Chis Colt ! 

It would be mid 1972 this reporter was in one of the wrestlers dressing rooms at MLG it was on this occasion that I had the opportunity to meet both Bill and Dan Miller. Bill was sharing the room that he was in with Hans Schmidt, and the wild man of the Pampas Pampero Firpo. 

Miller and I were sharing some recent wrestling coverage in some of the wrestling mags, and he showed me that he had a keen sense of humor. I mentioned that I was doing a story on The Fabulous Kangaroos, and now found myself in a situation where the team had split up. As a result All Costello had just taken on a new partner in Don Kent. I told Miller that all the work that I had put into doing the original story was now dead in the water. Miller gave me a big smile and said that all I had to do was just write half of a new story and that would solve my problem.

Bill Miller with Hans Scmidt and Pampero Firpo
Chris Colt and Danny Miller

Danny and Bill Miller enjoy dinner at Bassels restaurant

I had the opportunity to visit another locker room and met Danny Miller and Chris Colt as well. Danny invited me to join both older brother Bill and himself for something to eat at Bassels restaurant which was just a couple of blocks south from Church  and Carlton.This famous eatery was a mainstay at Yonge and Gerrard for many years, and was very popular with the wrestlers that appeared at MLG.


The Millers boot hapless opponents at MLG. Ref is George Kanelis

Having met Chris Colt payed off with an invite to spend a weekend with both himself and Ron Dupree a month later in Omaha Nebraska where they would be wrestling as two wild biker types. As it later turned out this would prove to be the best wrestling layout that I had ever done.

Regards Roger


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Gorgeous George is Coming ! 1948

The Gorgeous one wrestled in Toronto quite a few times from his first appearance here in 1948 to his last in 1961, including the famous Retirement (Whipper Watson) vs Hair (George) bout in 1959.

On his first appearance at MLG in 1948 there was quite a bit of anticipation for his bout against Larry Moquin.



In a sidebar in the Sports pages it mentioned Frank Tunney sidekick and Promoter Sammy Sobel saying about George 'He's completely marvelous, in 40 years around wrestling mats I ain't seen anything like him' to which Tunney replied 'Wait until he taps you for 30% of the gross and see if you still consider him marvelous' to which the author adds 'Sammy fainted and was borne away by grinning servitors'

9,000 fans came out to see him beat Moquin and Tunney announced he would 'take a chance' by matching George against his top man Whipper.

A week later he would meet Whipper for the first time. Attendance wasn't listed but this time George was on the losing end. Whipper wins the bout with a backslam off the ropes at just over 11 minutes into the bout.

















Saturday, April 13, 2019

Bulldog Brower: Home of the Bulldog

Dick 'Bulldog' Brower had quite a notable and lengthy career in the squared circle. Though perhaps best known for his time in the WWWF in the 1970's, earlier in his career he was once the star villain in Toronto. His debut at Maple Leaf Gardens in June 1961 came with heavy fanfare. He was said to have been working for Stu Hart in the West and was coming East to wreak havoc.
Toronto Debut 1961

His first appearance at MLG came unannounced on June 15 1961 when he came out to the ring just as a bout between Tony Monous and Sailor Clarke was about to start. Brower attacked Monous then Clarke leaving them both on the mat. When other wrestlers came he left them in a heap too before departing down the ramp to the back. The bout eventually went on with Manous defeating Clarke but Brower had left an impression.

They played it up well. "Fresh from Western Canada and word has just trickled in from the few survivors that the Bulldog should be given a rabies shot before being allowed to enter the ring. He has one obsession. He doesn't like to leave anything upright."

Wrestling Reporter and Photographer Roger Baker who spent quite a bit of time covering Brower for a lengthy article for the magazines of the day recollects

'Bulldog Brower was with out a doubt one of the greatest and most violent of all the 'Heels' that ever appeared in the Toronto region. He first appeared in MLG in the early sixties, and then the carnage began in earnest, in his initial matches he savaged his opponents with such brutality that he was soon the top dog in the feeding chain at MLG.'

Tunney set the Bulldog up to make his actual Wrestling debut on the following card against the very large Man Mountain Campbell. The papers meanwhile described Brower as (also) "large, not tall, just large in every other way. Weighs about 270 pounds with biceps larger around than Yukon Eric's". Campbell was a huge guy billed at 6'5 340lbs but could not stop the Bulldog. In the results the next day it proclaimed 'Bulldog turns Man Mountain into a Molehill" after Brower handily beat Campbell and finished him off with a back-breaker no less.

As the bouts went on Brower variously described as 'one of the most crushing ringsters seen here in a long time" and the 'Yankee Madman' first beat Ilio DiPaolo and then took on favorite Frank 'Farmer Boy' Townshend who didn't fare much better.

The bout vs Townshend lasted but 6 minutes and nine seconds. Sports writer Joe Perlove dryly remarked it an "unprecedented total of 20 minutes and 14 and 4.5 seconds for his three matches at the Gardens. Give or take a tick." When the bout spilled out on the floor and the fans crowded around Brower, he charged and they scattered. Upon (the fans) helping Farmer back into the ring, Perlove adds "What for? Whose side are they on?" while the Bulldog promptly threw him back out again on his head.

After meting out more destruction, including Brower using the stairs from the ramp to hit his opponent, he finished off Townshend quickly. Tony Marino and Hercules Romero then charged out to the ring in order to save the the poor Farmer. Perlove remarked that Bulldog was "leaving as frothing a crowd as has been seen there since Nanjo Singh". Quite high praise indeed.

Bulldog's next bout against Nikita Kalmikoff ended again by submission with the back-breaker and he was then matched against Nikita's 'brother' Ivan. For the first time in Ivan's career the fans were on his side, 4,000 cheering for the Russian villain to beat Brower but it was not to be. Kalmikoff did put up a better fight than any of the previous victims lasting 12 minutes before Brower leaped off the ropes and got the win with a press.

The wins continued, some fair some not, and 'without resorting to a wrestling hold worth a quarter' the Bulldog mowed down opponent after opponent.

Hercules Romero the 306 pounder would fall next as would Tony Marino and then the giant German villain Hans Hermann. Next up was the equally large Gino Marella. The future 'Gorilla Monsoon' would fall as those before him had. Brower would further earn the fans wrath by defeating his 300lb opponent with an illegal move - the banned piledriver. After pinning the prone Marella, Referee Tiger Tasker let the win stand electing not to enrage the now very un-predictable and violent Bulldog.
Yelling at the fans 1961

After another win over fan-favorite Lord Layton, Tunney would match Brower up with the number 1 man in town - Whipper Watson - for a bout on Sept 7 1961. The card also would feature NWA Champ Buddy Rogers defending the belt vs Townshend but the Brower-Whip match-up would get top billing.

Forecasting 10,000 fans for the card it did draw 9.500 only to see Watson end up on the 'VODBB (Victims of Dick Bulldog Brower) chart.' Whipper would get counted out and get a re-match with Brower while Buddy Rogers finished off Townshend on the under-card. .

Their next match-up would see the same finish with Watson counted out after Brower again would use the ramps stairs as a weapon and the Bulldog would remain un-beatable.

In his next match vs the equally villainous Killer Kowalski, Bulldog would continue his use of the ringside furniture by tossing Kowalski out of the ring and using a 4 set of seats to hammer his opponent. Kowalski would put up a good fight but in a leap off the top rope he would twist his ankle and after Bulldog started working it over, the Killer laying prone on the mat, was ruled unable to continue.

The Sept 28 Card put Brower against Gene Kiniski in what was billed as Match Of The Year. The two would end up in a bloody brawl and when ref Tasker was tossed to the floor and a fan kicked him, other wrestlers would come out to stop the melee. The two would keep brawling until replacement referee Sam Gotter called it a night while Kiniski would later need 11 stitches in his head.

Roger Baker remembers this night well.

'First out was Kiniski he bounded along the ramp through the ropes and into the ring, Kiniski was in the north west corner of the ring and was busy signing autographs for a group of fans. suddenly Brower comes flying into the ring brandishing a huge ash stand overhead, he rushed Kiniski from behind and relentlessly battered Gene's head with the ashstand, as a result there was blood, sand, and smoker's butts all falling onto the mat below.'

'Kiniski had to be helped back to the infirmary for diagnosis, about five minutes later he made his way back into the ring to once again do battle with Brower, Kiniski's head was wrapped in a large swath of white gauze, he wanted to battle but Brower would not let up, the gauze did not hold, and Kiniski was bleeding a lot, the referee called the bout a no contest, and these two opponents would go on to a rematch several weeks later at MLG.'

For the re-match vs Kiniski, Tunney would appoint Farmer Townshend to be the special referee for the bout. Townshend would proclaim "Brower will have to play this one straight. I won't stand for him using strange objects such as microphones, stairs, or ash-stands, to batter on Kiniski's head."

Townshend would prove to be right in that Brower left the furniture alone this time out, but it didn't stop the two from having another violent bout that ended with both wrestlers covered in blood and the Bulldog the winner yet again. This time Bulldog got a clean pin after he raised his shoulders off the mat a split second before Kiniski who thought he had won after all.

Brower was proving to be a huge draw at MLG. His unpredictable behavior along with the ease in which he was dispatching a steady parade of the biggest and best of the Wrestling world was endearing him to the fans, if not for his manners, then his steamrolling style.


Brower was also very tuned in to the business side of the sport as Roger Baker elaborates

'Brower was able to promote himself as few other wrestlers of his era could, namely because of his size, power and his ability to turn into a fearsome and dangerous individual momentarily as he saw fit. An example of how he would self promote was in evidence after our steak dinner at his downtown apartment, he must have made five or six long distance phone calls to wrestling promoters around the U.S. as well as Canada and Australia.'

'He took great pleasure in telling these promoters about how well he was doing in Toronto, and about all the great copy that he was receiving as a result of his ability to generate big houses in all the venue's that he headlined, no doubt he was trying to impress myself as well, since I was working on a photo story on him at the time.'

Another big crowd of 7,000 would come to see him take on Yukon Eric, another large customer and a long time area favorite. Brower would continue his winning streak by count out. In their re-match a few weeks later they would draw 10,000 to see the same mis-fortune befall Eric. In between Bulldog continued to beat the biggest and baddest with a win over Stan Stasiak and a wild double count out against the Whip with special ref Gino Marella attempting to keep the peace.

In addition to his self promoting skills Brower also took the sport - and himself - very seriously as Roger Baker adds

'On another occasion during a wild exchange with Yukon Eric at The Hamilton Forum Brower sustained a nasty and painful head laceration, Brower related that he was so miserable as a result the ensuing headache that when he got back home that night that he put his fist through the drywall in a couple of rooms in his apt. He claimed that it was not just the pain he was in, but the fact that his arch rival Yukon Eric had got the best of him that night.'

Roger mentions he could also earn the wrath of the other wrestlers due to his all-out style.

'Brower called me at home one night to let me know, that the night before in Kitchener On. he smashed an ash stand over wrestler Paul Demarco's head and caused Demarco to lose a lot of blood, he told me that the other wrestlers that were on the card did not want to even talk to him afterwards.'

The bouts would go on and Bulldog would form a team with Taro Sakuro to take on Whipper and Yukon Eric. Their bout ended with Brower un-intentionally belting his partner and causing their loss. After the bout the two villains would get in an argument and set up for a bout against each other on the following card.

Again a hated heel that was used to hearing the boos would become the favorite vs Brower. Sakuro playing the good guy for a change would fare no better than the previous victims though, losing via count-out after but four minutes of action.

The Bulldog would finally see a loss, somewhat, when he was disqualified against Bill 'Brute' Soloweyko on the first card on 1962. Another loss later in the month vs the 'Wrestling Rabbi' Raphael Halpern and Brower was starting to show some vulnerability -finally.

As Roger Baker remembers, the Soloweyko bout was a turning point for both the 'Brute' and the Bulldog.

'Several months went by with Brower beating all who were matched against him, that is until the night at the Gardens when Bill 'The Brute Soloweyko' was in the house, this reporter was standing directly behind The Brute in the alleyway that the wrestlers walk from the dressing rooms on up to the ramp, and then into the ring.'

'Brower had just beaten down another opponent and was ranting around in the ring, meanwhile Soloweyko was staring intently at Brower who was biting the ring ropes, and doing his trademark head snap, Soloweyko at this point rushed into the ring and nailed Brower with as hard an elbow as I've ever seen a wrestler throw, Brower went down and out, he lay stretched out on the canvas for a good five minutes, before he was able to leave the ring. The appearance by The Brute gained him a main event against Brower in the next headliner at MLG. as well this catapulted Brower into dozens of main events to follow.'
On the same side as Siki 1962

In February Brower would defeat Tom 'Emperor' Jones with the winner getting a shot at NWA champ Buddy Rogers. The following week the Bulldog would receive his first World Title bout against Rogers and appeared to win the belt after pinning Rogers. Brower would put on the belt and celebrate his win much to the dismay of the crowd.

Rogers meanwhile protested that his feet were in fact on the ropes during the pin. Referee Joe Gollub would hear nothing of it until Jim Hady came out and showed Gollub exactly what had transpired. Brower was halfway down the ramp with the belt when Gollub ordered the bout re-started and thus would quickly count him out depriving him of his new found title status.

It was a good enough showing that he received a re-match a week later. With Jersey Joe Walcott as special referee Rogers would manage the win via dq and hold onto his title yet again. After a grudge about with Hady, Brower would get yet another shot at Rogers with Walcott as ref but again fail in his bid to become NWA champ when Rogers won by dq again after 9 minutes.

The following week, with yet another shot at Rogers on the line, Brower took on 'Gentleman' Jim Hady with Lord Layton appointed as special referee. The 'Gentleman' was no match for the Bulldog however and Brower would earn an unprecedented 3rd shot over four cards at the World champ. The Bulldogs temper would again earn him the defeat at the hands of the 'Nature Boy'.

The Bulldog would then get a new partner in crime on March 1962 when Sweet Daddy Siki would interfere to help Brower win his bout against Rafael Halpern. The new team of Brower and Siki would challenge the International Tag Champs Whipper Watson and Billy Red Lyons and beat them in their first bout in April. Despite two referees to watch the action Bulldog and Siki would shadily beat the favorites and become the new champs.

The two would continue to wrestle solo and as a team, holding the belts until Sept 1962 when they were defeated by the team of Whipper and new sensation Bruno Sammartino. Bruno, fresh off bouts vs NWA champ Rogers would then try his hand with the Bulldog in a singles match and come out victorious when Brower was disqualified.

In late 1962 Brower would continue to cause trouble even when not wrestling when he came out after a bout between Bruno and Johnny Valentine. Bruno had just pinned Valentine to win the U.S. Title when Brower came out to tell the ref Bunny Dunlop that Valentines feet were on the ropes. Dunlop declared the title held up pending a decision from the NWA. Valentine and Brower would challenge Tag champs Whipper and Bruno a couple of weeks later. NWA rep Bobby Bruns announce before the bout that Sammartino is the rightful U.S champ after all. The champs go on to defeat the villains but Valentine gets his revenge beating Bruno to take the belt back on the Dec 14 show.
Saving Siki from Yukon Eric 1962

In addition to the trouble he was causing in the ring, the Bulldog was an imposing force out of the ring as well.
While Roger Baker was traveling with the Bulldog he would experience this firsthand !

'Brower and myself drove to Guelph Ont. He was wrestling a seasoned veteran in the main event by the name of John Paul Henning. Brower won the match after repeatedly fouling his opponent. Afterwards on the way back, we stopped at a diner to pick up some cold soda, Brower put some coins in a vending machine to pay for the pop, however the machine would not vend out the beverages, Brower then started to yank the machine in a fit of anger and several other patrons at the diner became quite uneasy with all the commotion that Brower was creating, they all looked to me as if to say 'what gives with your buddy?'

'Brower would not let go, he went into the diner and demanded that the girl behind the counter get him the beverages, she did and he gave her a hundred dollar to pay for the pop, when she told him that she did not have change for that large a bill, at this point Brower went on another rant and scared the frightened girl almost to the point of tears. T his reporter was very happy when at long last I got back home that long ago evening.'

'Brower would relate to, how years earlier back home in Wilmington Delaware, of many of the fights that he had with different dockworkers on the weekends. He explained to me how after spending a couple of hours lifting weights at a gym, he would then go out and imbibe himself with a few cold ones, then he was ready to go out looking for trouble, and to pick fights. This often resulted in him having to call his dad to come bail him out, he told me that his dad knew that when the phone would ring after ten on a Friday it would be his son who needed to be released for getting into another fight."

Roger Baker remembers another 'incident of unbridled violence' that took place in Sutton Ontario
On the ramp 1963

'One summers evening at the local arena, the turnout was very high as the area had a lot of visitors on the summer weekends. Brower and his partner Sweet Daddy Siki were to wrestle Ilio Dipaolo and John Paul Henning. The match was barely on for a minute, when suddenly Siki for whatever reason threw an uppercut into Brower's jaw, all hell broke loose, Dipaolo and Henning got out of the ring, Siki and Brower battled all over the arena, Brower went nuts and ran outside of the arena, a moment later he reappeared brandishing a huge wheel barrow overhead, he was screaming and his eyes were bulging, he flung that object at Siki, who backpedaled to avoid getting hit. When that didn't work for Brower he tried to dislodge a supporting beam from the arena floor. After about ten minutes of this madness one lone cop and other wrestlers were able to get Brower back to the dressing room, but not before Brower cut his own mouth by raking his teeth over protective wire near the dressing rooms.'

In what was to become a familiar scenario Brower would alternately feud with Siki and then team with him, a role he played out with most of his partners during his Toronto years.

Then as with Siki before, for no other reason than they were both the most hated heels in the city, Brower would take on Valentine for his U.S. belt. The tag partners would slug it out in a manner usually reserved for hated enemies before both being disqualified. A month later they would be back teaming again no worse for wear and would go on to defeat Whipper and Bruno to claim the Tag Titles on Feb 28 1963. They would continue to run roughshod over all competition and Brower would again get a shot at the World Title. This time vs Lou Thesz.

As Roger Baker relates

'As tough a man as Brower was, this reporter once saw The Bulldog in a match that he was not so confident as he always was in his other encounters.

'He was facing none other then Lou Thesz in the main event at MLG. Both men were facing one another, and the referee was giving them instructions prior to the start of the match, being right at the edge of the ring apron I was able to see and hear all that was happening in the ring. Brower was trembling, and Thesz asked him what was wrong, Brower replied that he was very nervous as well as fearful to be in the ring with him, Thesz told him to relax and that they should have a good match.'

Brower would not change his style for the respected NWA champ. In fact he was at his memorable best in choking, dragging, and otherwise pummeling the reigning world champ. Thesz countered with his repertoire of head scissors, headlocks, and elbow smashes until Brower finally flipped and tried to strangle the champ. As was now par for the course referee Tiger Tasker would have enough and disqualify the Bulldog.

In July 1963 Brower and Valentine would lose the belts to Art Thomas and JP Henning though Valentine would continue to hold the U.S. Title even beating both Thomas and Henning in single bouts on successive cards in August. .

The Bulldog meanwhile would find a new partner in Dr. Jerry Graham and with the good Dr they would defeat Thomas and Henning to take the tag belts in mid October.

Brower would then earn another shot at Thesz losing via count-out before he and Graham would lose the tag belts to Jim Hady and his partner, the newly loved in Toronto (after a feud with The Beast) - Johnny Valentine.

1964 would see Brower facing old nemesis - and new WWWF champ - Bruno Sammartino in a losing cause, before going on to face former partners Siki and Valentine in an extended program. Continuing his path of destruction (but not seeing as many wins) through the city battling Whipper and with Bruno coming in to defend the title keeps Brower busy through the year and into the next.

In May 1966 after a five year run as one of the most hated wrestlers to ever appear in Toronto, fans were shocked to see the Bulldog switch sides and become a hero after helping Whipper in a match with Masked Yankee 2. After Masked Yankee 1 interfered and Whipper was awarded the win, both masked villains would attack Watson. From the back Brower would run in and to the amazement of both the Whip and the fans, would chase the Yankees away.

The two would team up to take on the Masked duo (now International Tag champs) only to lose by dq with the papers proclaiming: "Playing the good guy is too much for the Bulldog". The feud with The Yankees would continue with fence matches leading into a big stipulation bout. Along with the belts at stake Whipper would put up his career against the Yankees unmasking should they lose. The good guys got the win and the titles, and the Yankees un-masked as Bob Stanlee and Mosse Evans. It wouldn't end there though, Stanlee and Evans now wrestling as the 'Unmasked Yankees' would enter into another fence match. This time if they lost they would be forced to leave the area. Brower and Whip prevailed again driving the former masked team into the great beyond.

Brower and Whip would go on to lose the belts to Fred Atkins and new protege Tiger Jeet Singh but would continue to team until late 1966 when Brower would once again go back to dis-pleasing the fans. But not for long and he would be back teaming with Whipper again, this time in a handicap bout with the two taking on a challenge to the loud talking World champ Gene Kiniski.

The last years of the 1960's would see Brower continue to dominate the local scene, taking on heroes and villains alike while continuing to team on and off with Watson. In all they would hold the tag belts for a total of 2 reigns. The Bulldog would enter into extended feuds with The Assassin and then Ivan Koloff along with his manager Tony Angelo.
vs Ivan Koloff 1968 

In 1969 The Sheik had started his stranglehold on the local scene and Brower would get a shot in front of 10,000 strong only to become #3 in the Sheik's long un-beaten streak. More tags continued with Watson until 1971. Brower was Whippers partner for his last bout on Nov 28 1971. Two days later Watson would get hit by a car and his career was over.

Brower would form new teams with Dewey Robertson and others, while continuing to wrestle solo including shots at The Sheik and becoming another statistic in 'The Streak' but his time in the spotlight was at an end. Through the mid 1970's he would turn up on the Wildman's circuit back as a hated heel taking on Luis Martinez and Carlos Belafonte (Colon) in the small towns around Toronto.

He would still show up at MLG through 1974 before facing The Sheik for his final appearance in Toronto on Sept 22 1974

All photos by -and thanks! -to Roger Baker