Thursday, June 27, 2019

MLG Footage 1948 Longson vs Whip

Whip, Phil, Bert, Bill
Thanks to Gary Will who posted this link on the MLW Archives page. Some of a 1948 Longson-Whipper bout from MLG.

Whipper's manager Phil Lawson is there in the opening frames. Ref is 'The Little Flower of Uxbridge' Bert Maxwell. Great find to go along with the 1957 Footage

MLW Archives - Facebook
Not quite as old as the Angel footage ( ed note: here - youtube 1940 footage ), but this is a rare look at Whipper Billy Watson in his prime, wrestling for the National Wrestling Association world title at the Gardens against champion Wild Bill Longson on April 22, 1948.  This drew a reported 11,000. Watson had been the champion the year before. 

The National Wrestling Alliance -- the one that we all came to know (there had been an earlier promotion with that name) -- was formed three months later but it would take almost another year-and-a-half before Tunney joined in late 1949. - Gary Will

Buyout Footage Historic Stock Footage Archive - 1948 Longson vs Whip

*Buyout Footage Historic Stock Footage Archive
-Wrestler Wild Bill Longson Retains Championship
Public Domain Stock Footage Wrestler Wild Bill Longson Retains Championship

Monday, June 24, 2019

1929 Ring Results: Gary Will's TWH

Some of the wrestlers making their Toronto debuts in 1929: Jim Londos, Gus Sonnenberg, Ed Strangler Lewis, Toots Mondt, Stanley Stasiak, and John Katan. All shows were held at Arena Gardens (later known as Mutual Street Arena) and all were promoted by Ivan Mickailoff.

29/05/04 Att: 500 Arena Gardens
Jack Taylor W Jack Rogers (2-0)
Wladek Zbyszko WDec Abe Kaplan, 45:00
Henri Deglane W Karl Oscard, 25:00

29/05/11 Att: 500 Arena Gardens
Jack Taylor W Pat McKay (2-0)
Renato Gardini W George Zaharias
Joe Toots Mondt D Matros Kirilenko, 45:00
Abe Kaplan W Karl Oscard, 19:00

29/05/18 Arena Gardens
Jack Taylor W Ned McCarr (2-0)
Joe Toots Mondt W Tony Rocco, 12:00
Wladek Zbyszko W Nick Volkoff, 15:00
Show is reorganized when wrestlers arrive late due to train troubles

29/05/23 Arena Gardens
Joe Toots Mondt W Ned McCarr (2-0)
Mondt subs for Renato Gardini
Jack Taylor W Wladek Zbyszko
Dan Koloff W Jack Rogers

29/05/30 Arena Gardens
Jack Taylor W Fred Grobmier (2-1)
Joe Toots Mondt WDec Tom Moore
Dan Koloff W Ned McCarr

29/06/06 Arena Gardens
Jim Londos W Tom Moore (2-0)
Fred Grobmier D Sam Rubin (Freddy Meyers), 45:00
Wladek Zbyszko WCOR Pat McKay, 13:00

29/06/13 Arena Gardens
Stanislaus Zbyszko W Fred Grobmier (2-0), 51:30
Jack Taylor WDec Gino Garibaldi, 45:00
Tom Moore WDQ Ned McCarr, 10:00

29/06/20 Arena Gardens
Jack Taylor W Tom Moore (2-0)
Scheduled to be Taylor vs Bill Nelson and Moore vs John Grandovich; Grandovich is prevented from entering Canada
Gino Garibaldi W Ned McCarr, 39:00
Ivan Mickailoff vs Bill Nelson, 30:00
Match is announced as an exhibition and no decision is given; this was promoter Mickailoff's only appearance as a wrestler on his Toronto shows

29/06/27 Arena Gardens
Stanislaus Zbyszko W Ivan Poduboff (2-0), 45:00
Ned McCarr W Fred Grobmier
Jack Taylor vs Yan Sokolsky is cancelled when Sokolosky is said to have been detained at the border

29/07/04 Arena Gardens
Renato Gardini W Frank Altman (2-1)
Jack Taylor D Stanislaus Zbyszko, 45:00
Jim Maloney W Ned McCarr

29/07/11 Arena Gardens
Stanislaus Zbyszko W Bobby Johnson (2-0), 27:40
Jack Taylor W Eugene Lamarque, 25:30
Subs for Frank Altman, who is at the show but has an injured eye
Henri Deglane WDec Ned McCarr, 30:00
Replaces Lamarque

29/07/18 Arena Gardens
Einar Johanneson W Clavio Massimo (2-0), 41:40
Jim Maloney WDec Wladek Zbyszko, 45:00
Jack Taylor WDec Abe Kaplan, 30:00

29/07/25 Arena Gardens
Einar Johanneson W Eugene Lamarque (2-0), 63:30
Jack Taylor D Renato Gardini, 45:00
Stanley Stasiak W Ned McCarr, 19:30
Abe Kaplan W Clavio Massimo, 16:30

29/08/01 Att: 5,000-Arena Gardens
DIAMOND BELT: Wladek Zbyszko W Jim Maloney (2-1), 41:00
Renato Gardini W Ali Hassan, 14:30
Stanley Stasiak WCNC Jack Taylor, 14:00
Taylor breaks his leg

29/08/08 Att: 5,000-Arena Gardens
Renato Gardini WCNC Wladek Zbyszko (1-1)
Stanley Stasiak D Karl Pospeshil, 45:00
Jackie Adams D Alex Kasaboski

29/08/15 Att: 6,000 Arena Gardens
Stanley Stasiak W Renato Gardini (2-1)
Karl Pospeshil W Frank Altman, 28:00
Einar Johanneson W Ali Hassan, 20:00

29/08/22 Att: 5,600 Arena Gardens
Jim Maloney WCNC Stanley Stasiak, 42:30
Renato Gardini W Al Thomas, 14:30
Frank Altman D Abe Kaplan, 30:00
Subs for Ned McCarr

29/08/29 Att: 6,500 Arena Gardens
Jim Maloney WCNC Renato Gardini (0-1)
Stanley Stasiak D Stanislaus Zbyszko, 45:00
Karl Pospeshil W Karl Vogel, 25:00

29/09/05 Arena Gardens
Stanley Stasiak W Jim Maloney (2-1)
Wladek Zbyszko WDec Frank Gaburenko, 45:00
Frank Judson W Ned McCarr, 23:00
Judson subs for Karl Vogel

29/09/12 Arena Gardens
Wladek Zbyszko W Stanley Stasiak (2-1), 38:14
Karl Posposhil W Pat McKay, 15:02
Frank Judson D Frank Gaburenko, 30:00

29/09/26 Arena Gardens
Karl Pospeshil W Einar Johanneson (2-1), 90:00
Jack Milo D Mike Nazarian
Chief War Eagle W Ali Hassan, 15:15
Scheduled bout between Wladek Zbyszko and Karl Vogel is scratched; Vogel said to have been in a train accident; Zbyszko suspended by the athletic commission for not reporting for medical inspection

29/10/03 Arena Gardens
Dan Koloff W Jim Maloney (2-1), 83:00
Koloff subs for Stanislaus Zbyszko
Renato Gardini W Jack Milo, 18:00
Bibber McCoy W Ned McCarr, 9:00

29/10/09 Arena Gardens
Dan Koloff W Stanley Stasiak (2-0), 51:00
Bibber McCoy D Karl Pospeshil, 30:00
Stanislaus Zbyszko D Jim Maloney, 45:00
Subs for Frank Altman

WORLD TITLE: Gus Sonnenberg W Dan Koloff (2-0), 47:00
Stanislaus Zbyszko W George Hills
Karl Pospeshil W Archie Jeannatte
Mike Nazarian W Charles Manugian

29/11/12 Att: 3,500 Arena Gardens
First show of the season
Wladek Zbyszko W George Hills (2-1)
Jack Taylor W Frank Altman, 25:00
Joe DeVito W Cowboy Jack Rogers
Stanley Stasiak was originally booked in Rogers's spot

29/11/25 Arena Gardens
Stanley Stasiak W Jack Taylor (2-1)
Karl Posposhil D George Hills, 45:00
John Katan D Karol Novina, 30:00

29/12/09 Att: 5,000 Arena Gardens
Ed Strangler Lewis W Dan Koloff (2-1), 51:37
George Hills W Joe Varga, 32:30
Count Karol Novina W Charlie Manugian, 10:55

-By Gary Will

MLG Footage - January 17, 1957

Thanks to Jon Boucher  Twitter @jon_boucher who scored a kinescope print reel on e-bay and converted it for all fans to share !

Billy Red Lyons vs Baron Gattoni
Bill & Ed Miller vs Pat Flanagan & Ken Kenneth
Edouard Carpentier vs Steve Stanlee
The tag bout in the middle and the main are not included.

Note from Roger Baker
Thanks for the wonderful wrestling memorabilia that took place at M.L.G. so long ago, I remember all of the participants.

Phil Lisner, refs Bert Maxwell, Cliff Worthy, Bunny Dunlop,and old friend Joe Gollub, how I remember sitting at times with announcer Jerry Hiff at the ring side table, however always keeping my eyes on what was going on and around ring side.

As for the wrestlers on this card, Carpentier, Billy Red Lyons, Baron Gattoni who I saw previously on t.v. from Buffalo, Ed and Bill Miller, Steve Stanlee, our own mule kicking Pat Flanagan.

I may very well have been in attendance for this show not sure, was probably a ticket holding fan, and possibly a year away from becoming a roaming wrestling reporter.

Roger Baker

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Canadian Heavyweight Title Project

We are excited to announce that a book on the history of the Canadian Title as defended in Toronto 1978-1984 is beginning to take shape. It will include both the champs and the bouts as well as the history of the belt alongside some features of the era.

Some friends and fellow fans will be contributing and we would love to feature other fan photos and memories of the Canadian Title and the M-A era here in general.

If you would like to contribute in any way to this project please contact me.

Thank you !

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Ron Hutchison: Pain Torture Agony!

Do yourself a favor and order the fantastic new book by Toronto's Ron Hutchison
Pain Torture Agony  Excerpts and available at

Ron is a local legend around here but he will be familiar to all wrestling fans as THE trainer of stars. There were many that would endure his regimens which he dubbed PTA -Pain Torture Agony - the title of his autobiography.

Christian, Edge, Trish Stratus, Gail Kim, Beth Phoenix, Johnny Swinger, Joe E. Legend, and many others passed through Ron's training in Toronto, and the telling of his life as he made his way through the wrestling world is truly a fascinating read.

As a local fan who grew up in Toronto watching the same stars, his tale of fan-to-wrestler is the ultimate wrestling fans dream. He takes you from his days as a fan and into Sully's Gym as he realizes his dream of being a pro wrestler- and wrestling at Maple Leaf Gardens!

It's evident from the first days hounding Powers & Siki to train him that there is no substitute for HEART, hard work, and a desire to succeed. That message is abundant throughout the book.

In addition to the very thorough narrative (almost 200 pages with smaller print) there are a ton of great photos from his personal collection scattered throughout with a full album at the back of the book.

There's lots of great stories. A mix of road and ring and a ton of info around the wrestling scene in the late 80's through the 90's, and beyond. The East Coast tours in particular for this Canadian fan, are both revealing as well as a source of some great road tales.

It's a super interesting look at what goes into training, getting work, running TV, promotion, and arranging shows. The chapters dealing with pro training are a virtual encyclopedia on a side of the sport we rarely see.

I really learned a lot, both about Ron and the inner workings of that era. As it turns out I had missed Ron's pro wrestling debut in Summer 1983 on a McKigney show by one week (tell me it isn't so re: payoff). Did recall his WWF TV bouts early in the WWF years here (covered with some great local recollections), and didn't realize I was at the very first Apocalypse Wrestling card in Scarborough in which he had a hand in (have my own Abdullah connection to that one).

In typical Canadian fashion he downplays the role he played in others successes but there are lots of tributes added in from others. It works very well in the context of the book, lots of positive messages, working back to where it all started -Toronto's iconic Sully's Gym -which is prominent throughout..

It's a very honest and revealing look at pro wrestling as it really was. From defending being a fan in schoolyards, rinks, etc (did that too) to dealing with all the issues that go with wrestling in Ontario, across Canada - and Worldwide (see India!).

Overall a very informative and fun read. I thoroughly enjoyed Ron's story and would recommend it for wrestling fans of all ages. A great book to take to the beach - in any weather.

Well done !

Ron Hutchison is on Twitter at @RonHutchison1
Excerpts and available at

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Whipper and Kiniski: The Feud

By the time Gene Kiniski burst onto the Toronto scene in November 1956 Whipper Watson was well into his 16th year as the reigning king of the ring at Maple Leaf Gardens. Kiniski, billed as a 'footballer of note' made an instant impact on the fans in Toronto. They hated him right away.

Publicity man Frank Ayerst remarked that Kiniski was 'sometimes referred to as Genial Gene, because he smiled once when an opponent was being carried out of the ring.' Adding that he 'is such a rugged ring operator that getting a match with him is gaily alluded to as The Point of No Return.'

1957 with Jersey Joe
He would take out a few of the smaller types early in the cards before suffering his first loss against Shaq Thomas. He actually beat Thomas in a mere 54 seconds but was disqualified when he wouldn't stop assaulting his opponent. He would finish out the year beating another newcomer Billy Red Lyons in December and next show up at MLG on Jan 3 1957.

This time Kiniski would trounce local favorite Pat Flanagan with his 'Prairie Paralyzer' and return to the ring for the main event between Whipper and Buddy Rogers. Kiniski, not known for his quiet demeanor, stepped into the ring before the introductions and challenged Whipper. Rogers backed him up declaring 'Kiniski will pick up the pieces after I've finished with you.'

Kiniski would exit but return to the ring when Whipper captured Rogers in his 'Canuck Commando' and the future looked bleak for the 'Nature Boy'. Kiniski attacked Watson and special ref 'Jersey' Joe Walcott took at swing at big Gene. Pat O'Connor, who had wrestled earlier in the card came to Whipper's rescue but Walcott wasn't sure and took a couple of swings at Pat before going at Kiniski again and then disqualifying Rogers for outside interference.

That would set up a tag bout for the next card with Whipper and O'Connor to face Kiniski and Rogers with Walcott and Bunny Dunlop as referees. The heroes won by dq in front of 14,000 fans when Kiniski took off under the ring a'la Nanjo Singh.

Joe Perlove in his recap the next day opined that 'he (Kiniski) had heard that Nanjo Singh had those nether regions fitted up with a bar and chintzy furniture.'

Perlove went on to describe the 'several hundred customers (that) wanted to make his (Kiniski) crew cut a little shorter. By maybe a foot.' When Kiniski failed to return Walcott gave the win to Watson and O'Connor. Kiniski still had to make his way through the fans to the safety of the dressing room having earned the fans ire previously shown to Nanjo and other enemies of the state - State Whipper.

1957 Jersey Joe again and Hutton outside the fence
That would set the feud in motion with the two going to battle on the next card at MLG and later a wire fence bout (early type cage match). Dick Hutton would side with Kiniski and draw himself into the bouts and team with Kiniski against Whipper and Yukon Eric on a subsequent card as well as interfere in each others bouts.

The Fence match on Jan 24 ended in a wild finish with Kiniski and Hutton going after Whip and ref 'Jersey Joe' who was again part of the action.

A bout at East York Arena between Watson and Hutton the following week led to another incident involving Kiniski. Watson beat Hutton to win the $1000 check that Hutton had been offering to anyone who could beat him within 20 minutes. Whipper would be the first in Toronto to beat Hutton, but after the bout Kiniski jumped in and tore up the check while he and Hutton attacked ref Bunny Dunlop.

This led to Kiniski being given a $500 fine, said to be the steepest penalty handed down at the time. Kiniski was also given a 4 week suspension from Metro Toronto. Commissioner Merv McKenzie also curtailed the license of Tunney to promote at the Arena for 6 months. MLG was not included !

It may have been legit as Tunney didn't return to East York until Oct 1957, though they only used it when the Gardens was not available anyways. Les Lyman and others ran the smaller Arena in that era also.

Genial Gene meanwhile offered this to the fans in response to the outrage over how he treated our fan-favorites. 'Tell them from me to go to hell too ! I'll fight in Maple Leaf Gardens whenever I like. Let those chicken bums stay home if they don't like me.'

Genial Gene orating while on suspension 1957
This was around the same time that Ontario MPP Arthur Child had leveled criticism at the antics of Wrestlers pushing the referee's around and called it a farce. It started a heated battle with debates over the OAC being associated with pro rasslin and involved Whipper and others around the scene. Ref Joe Gollob, no stranger to the rough stuff replied back that 'we don't need a Commission.' Whipper used his diplomacy to smooth things over in the end.

Kiniski meanwhile would show up at MLG in March and take to the ring before the main of The Miller Brothers vs Hard Boiled Haggerty and Hutton. In his usual quiet way Gene announced his suspension was now over and he would be back to destroy Whip.

They would continue through the year both in singles and tag bouts, Whipper with various partners and Kiniski with Hutton. Kiniski would go on to beat O'Connor for our British Empire Title and he would earn a bouts against NWA champ Lou Thesz at the Gardens.

They would do big business here with averages of 10,000 a card. With Whip and Kiniski on top for most of the year Tunney drew over 320,000 over 48 cards in 1957.

The feud would travel around the circuit here with some big bouts in London as well as in Buffalo, and then moving across the country with stops in Winnipeg, Calgary, and Vancouver with the fans following the feud on the CBC shows.

Gene would soon team with Fritz Von Erich to form a formidable tag and continue to battle Whipper and his partners through 1958 while the two would battle in singles bouts and trade the B-E Title into 1959. They would also battle with the Canadian Open Tag Titles at stake in the same time frame, both of them on top of the wrestling world here in Toronto.

The feud would periodically start up again and continue through the 1960's up to 1965.

MLG Photog and writer Roger Baker saw these two in action many times over the years and relates his memories

"Their matches will forever be a bench mark for both the length of time and many dozens of encounters that took place between these two great Canadian wrestlers. The only other feud that Watson had that could compare in number of years and brutality, would have been The Whipper's many grudge encounters with Nanjo Singh.

Kiniski was a very brash, in your face competitor, and he kept himself in excellent physical condition at all times. He belonged to be the headliner that he was, only the top wrestlers of his era could stay with him long enough to make for a good match, and at the same time walk out on their own two feet.

Whipper always gave Kiniski a battle whenever they met. Watson probably body slammed Kiniski at least eight to ten times in every encounter. To see Watson apply this slam was a thing of beauty. He would crotch Kiniski and lift him with his right arm and actually be able to raise him up to where Kiniski was a good foot above the Whipper's head, then Kiniski was slammed to the mat, or the wooden ramp with all of Watson's strength. This move always got the crowd excited, and had Kiniski crawling on his knees in a lot of pain.'

Kiniski employed many wrestling holds to his opponents that were at times crippling. An example would be his knee drop to his opponents upper chest, and sometimes to the exposed throat as well. He often delivered his big boots to their rib cage, this could result in a wrestler having many a recovery for bruised ribs."

Kiniski would have his run with the NWA Title and would defend here a total of 17 times including a 1966 bout against Whip. Their last bout at MLG would come in June 1967 with Kiniski taking on both Whipper and Bulldog Brower in a handicap bout. The NWA title was not at stake as Whipper and Brower, working in tag rules, beat Kiniski in front of 6,200.

Whipper's career ended in 1971 but that would not be the end of the feud. In 1978 Kiniski was set to battle Dino Bravo for the newly created Canadian Heavyweight Title. The night was also deemed 'Whipper Watson Appreciation Night.'

Frank Tunney was to honor Whipper by donating 1$ from each ticket to the Easter Seals 'Timmy Scholarship Fund ' and would acknowledge Whipper for all he had done for the sport and the charity work. Watson would also award the new championship belt to the winner of the bout.

Well, big Gene, still not a quiet guy by any means would start an argument with Whipper earning the wrath of the newer fans who would boo him mercilessly as he lost the bout to the now new champ Bravo. At that point Whip and Gene were at the 22 year mark of the feud.

Kiniski, in later years would talk very highly of Watson and of the money they made with each other, and he would be present at Whipper's funeral in 1990. The feud was finally over.

Photos by Burns and original clips and memories thanks to Roger Baker
For more on the MP's vs Wrestling incident see  1957: The year the Ontario government questioned pro wrestling's validity