The Myth Of Whipper Watson

With Lawson, McCready 1942
  There is the other side of the conversation about Whipper Watson. Not the one that talks about the 'Pride of East York' as a humanitarian, or as the tireless crusader for children with disabilities, or of the man who places high on any list of great Canadians, wrestlers or otherwise. 

It's the one about his 'real' wrestling skills, his legacy as one of the greats among peers including Bill Longson, Gus Sonnenberg, and Lou Thesz. Or more accurately, the lack of a legacy amongst the talk of shooters and hookers and the like.

There are a few things to consider when looking at Whipper's career to be able to judge him fairly as a wrestler. His prime, shortened by injuries early in his career came mostly before the advent of TV. By the time Watson became the big Canadian star with CBC's TV Wrestling from Maple Leaf Gardens in the mid 1950's, his best years were mostly behind him.

While his prime athletically fell in the 1940's, his early years on the busy amateur circuit and his training under the watchful eye of Phil Lawson are worth a look to gain insight to his skills in the ring. 

  
 The Early Years 
Phil Lawson, notably known as Whipper's trainer and manager was a real powerhouse in the city running shows and training upstarts for many years. An accomplished amateur himself he had been both City and Ontario champion since starting at the YMCA as a kid around 1910. In 1921 he won the Provincial Light Heavyweight Title in boxing, and in 1926 the Canadian Lightweight Championship in Wrestling. 

1935
 Lawson took over training for the YMCA in 1926  and would start training Whipper around 1931. Officially he would become Whip's manager in 1940 but he had already being using his specialized training regimens from the time a teenaged Watson had first found the sport.  By the 1930's he was solidly entrenched in the sporting scene for both wrestling and boxing. Besides Watson, Lawson trained Billy Stack and worked with many others that frequented the MLG cards. Lawson was also very tight in the wrestling/boxing office of Jack Corcoran prior to- and after -the Tunney's taking over. He would later be described as 'the eyes, ears, and sometimes mind of Tunney' as they shaped and built a modest start in wrestling to one of the most successful on the continent.

 In the early 1930s Toronto was teeming with wrestling, both professional and amateur. Many of the country's top amateur stars were from here or based in the city. Watson, at that time was still East York boy Bill Potts, and was wrestling on amateur cards that included Fred Spittles -Al Hamilton/Al Spittles future trainer of stars, Al Korman - longtime fixture and future ref, and Ted McKinley - noted amateur/pro, won Silver in Wrestling at the 1934 British Empire Games. 

Others included Ben(gal) Engbloom -noted amateur here and overseas, the soon-to-be Pat Flanagan (Winnett Watson), and longtime wrestler and ref Cliff Worthy. Whipper would wrestle for the Scarboro wrestling club and work up to 190lbs.   
 
The time spent in Europe would hone the young Watson's skills. His success came fast once he returned from England and secured a spot on Tunney's cards. In his second pro bout at MLG, a 1940 contest vs Bobby Robert, Watson got the win and in a Joe Perlove recap 'seems headed for bigger things in the local mat scheme.' A week later Perlove wrote that Watson got the 'best hand of the night' after beating the aging Jerry Monahan in a 17 minute bout. 

Lawson & Whip 1945
 Local Hero   
By November Perlove was proclaiming Watson as a 'local hero' who 'bids fair to be white-haired Johnny of Ontario Wrestling rings.' Perlove did a small feature on Watson and recounted the much heard origin story of being introduced by brother George to Wrestling at All Hallows Church in Toronto. Further training under Lawson and then his trip England via Ireland and training under George de Relwyskow, a noted promoter in the British Isles. 

Some lesser know tidbits in the Perlove article include a mention of Whipper appearing in several movies, including one as a Detective, and wrestling Tiger Tasker in another  featuring George Formsby (likely 1937's boxing themed Keep Fit). Perloves says in another 1937 film 'The Rat' Whipper was doubling for star Anton Wallbrook. 

That film also had Bob Gregory who was one of Whipper's travelling partners while in the U.K. Gregory married a then member of British Royalty, the Princess of Sarawak and arrived here in 1938 for a memorable visit. Watson meanwhile was said to win the European Light-Heavyweight crown in his travels as well as meet and marry his wife Eileen, bringing her back to Canada. 

 Another variation on the origin story has Whipper answering an ad for wrestlers, hitchhiking to Montreal, and then heading to Wales, then on to England where he received 8 pounds sterling (about 13$) for his first bout. A note in the Star from 1936 supports the Perlove version, with Potts, Tasker, Korman, and Tommy Nelson (long time Tunney office guy/promoter), along with Harry Joyce as a manager sailing out from Montreal the week of June 8 1936. According to the blurb another group was scheduled to head out the following month. A subsequent trip would include the then Winnett Watson, soon to be renamed as Flanagan. 

Some programs from England 1936-37

Back in Toronto in 1940 Whipper soon faced George K.O. Koverly in a special one hour bout said to determine the next main eventer in Toronto. The bout ended badly for Watson but set the tone for the coming stardom for the young grappler. Watson ended up out cold on the floor after taking a beating from Koverly who had also knocked referee Bunny Dunlop to the mat. 

The fans unhappy with the result tried to get at Koverly as he made a hasty retreat to the dressing room. This was in the pre-ramp days and Koverly, despite the police presence, was attacked by fans. Once he had made his exit the fans went after Dunlop, and finally after the photogs who had vacated the press table during the melee. Some 200 fans wouldn't give up, even when ushered out of the Gardens, milling about until the ambulance came and took Watson away on a stretcher to St Michaels Hospital around the corner. The new crowd favorite was said to have taken a stiff punch on the chin while off-balance injuring his neck in the process. 

In 1941 before his first main event, again vs Koverly, Whipper was pictured in the Star sparring with soon to be World boxing featherweight champ Jack 'Spider' Armstrong. In the 1940's and 1950's they would keep the ring set up in the basement of the Gardens for the wrestlers to work out between cards. They would also set up the ring in its usual spot a day or two before a card if the arena was free and some of the stars would wrestle exhibitions in front of small crowds of reporters and other insiders. The stars Longson, Thesz, Watson, and their opponents or sparring partners including Dunlop, Ted Christie, Frank Hewitt, Billy Stack, Flanagan, and others. 

 In those early years Watson would take a lot of abuse in his bouts. He was a high flyer with a ton of energy. He was constantly going over the ropes to the floor and for a (rising) star of his stature would take a lot of stretcher exits from the floor at MLG. Some of these falls led to the injuries that hampered his style. He would start to suffer some serious neck and back injuries in the 1940's leading to a change in style as he progressed. Not as much as his doctors would have liked, those injuries continuing to pile up through the 1950s.

 Wild Bill
 A long and successful rivalry with Wild Bill Longson would span the 1940s and resulted in a World title win for Watson when he beat Longson in 1947. Wild Bill had held the title for 4 years and rarely lost.  He was close with Tunney and had helped the young promoter gain a foothold in the lean years prior to Whipper arriving on the scene. While Watson would only hold the title for a few months, he was soon firmly entrenched in the upper tier of the best wrestlers in the game. He and Longson would thrill the Toronto fans with tough and exciting bouts, the fans riled to riot on many occasions. Wild Bill would often have to flee under the ring until the cops could get him out- before the ramp. 

1954. By 1956 he had dropped 30lbs and was in the best shape of his life- weight wise

The Toronto papers reporting on Whippers win over Longson in St Louis proclaimed him 'wrestling's No. 1 box office attraction.' St Louis programs lauded Whippers speed and noted his popularity and exciting ring work. Longson was viewed as a legit type and many of those bouts would go 30-40-60 minutes of action and earn attention from all over the wrestling world. 

Wrestling was long past legit by the 1940's and Whipper didn't really beat Longson or Thesz, but he was good enough in the eyes of those who mattered to be able to hold the big title. In his later years Thesz (who was often brutally honest) was asked about Whipper and always answered amicably. That Watson was a 'fine wrestler,' and 'tough.'  Not to say Whipper was picked because of his skills. Of course Tunney's influence within the NWA would rate, and that he was trusted to return the title, but it was not a one-man vote. He had the respect of the top stars both in the ring and out of it. 

-AC




Jack & The Kangaroos 1967

 

   A classic photo from Roger Baker. Jack Tunney and the Fabulous Kangaroos Al Costello & Ray St. Clair. 

Taken in Detroit a couple of years prior to the Sheik streak in Toronto, Jack (and Uncle Frank with him) take in a Detroit show. This version of the Kangaroos also appeared in Toronto. The original team of Costello and Roy Heffernan appeared here back in 1957-58 and had even been special referees for a World title bout (Hutton vs Whipper in '58)- both of them. 

This version didn't last long, Costello (the nicest guy in wrestling as per Roger) would soon team with Don Kent, later Bulldog Don Kent around here. Jack on the other hand was busy involved in the day to day workings of the office, running TV and other areas as Frank was approaching his 30th year as promoter. 

-AC


Falls, Brawls and Town Halls: The History of Professional Wrestling in Northern Ireland

   In the past few years I have been enjoying learning about the vibrant wrestling scenes around the world. A new book: Falls, Brawls and Town Halls: The History of Professional Wrestling in Northern Ireland by Nick Campbell, is a welcome primer to the exciting history of wrestling from the Emerald Isle. 

Author Campbell traces the rich history of the area and complements his extensive research with reflections from many of the stars that appeared on the busy circuit. The title is apt and at over 400 pages it's packed with a ton of  info & stories covering 1932-2002. 

The early history of wrestling in Northern Ireland is a familiar tale. A similar path was carved out here in Toronto. Wrestling is added to Boxing cards (here they called it mit-mat) as the pro game evolves and gains popularity ,and eventually wrestling gains it own foothold. As it was here, an inner circle develops and many of the early names carry it forward through the decades. 

As expected, the U.K scene significantly impacts the development as the initial promoters try to gain popularity (here it was Toots Mondt and the U.S. influence) and they will soon forge a unique identity.

Dave Mack, Darkie Arnott, and the Finlay's (Dave Sr, Dave Jr, Fit) are recurring names throughout the story, which is augmented by informative and entertaining input from many wrestlers from the history. This element is very well utilized and carries the story forward with a lot of detail. 

In addition to the Irish, U.K., and European stars that populate the many halls in Northern Ireland, the early scene is rife with Canadians. 'Tiger' Tommy Nelson (Hell-Cat over there) was Toronto based but born in Gleneavy Northern Ireland. He had gone to the U.K. in 1936 and by 1938 had travelled back to his homeland. Nelson, later a long time associate of Frank Tunney, would enshrine himself in the area's history when he fought for the Light-Heavyweight championship of Europe. A triumphant homecoming for Nelson, who would return here to work alongside Tunney into the 1960s. 

Nelson of course had initially gone overseas alongside Bill Potts (Whipper Watson), Ken Tiger Tasker, and Al Krusher Korman. They had been wrestling on the amateur style cards at the old British Consols Stadium in Toronto (Greenwood Park now) with the initial trip set up by Harry Joyce, a British ex-pat who lived in Canada and would soon promote in Belfast. Young Bill Potts, now rechristened as Whipper, would also make it in to Northern Ireland to face a Masked Marvel. Whipper failed to un-mask his opponent but made up for it back here collecting a bag of masks in Toronto (including a Masked Marvel and his Masked Manager).

It was also interesting reading about the Irish Whipper Watson, a deaf wrestler who was a staple of the action in the 1950s. We had a pretty good deaf wrestler here, one Silent Brian MacNee. Bob Gregory also makes it in to the story with his wife Valerie Brooke, the Princess Baba. They show up in 1937 and with the publicity at the time (wrestler & royalty) they pull 6,000 fans in to see what the hoopla is all  about. Gregory & Brooke would have an eventful trip here a year later with mostly the same result. 

In addition to the rich written history, Campbell has populated the book with an abundance of great photos, posters, and ads, many from personal collections. At the close of the story there are updates on many of the names, as well as some recent photos. The book really takes the story full circle and while it winds down somewhat similar to Toronto (WWF machine etc.), the scene will soon revitalize and continues to the present day. 

Another great independently published book, we highly recommend Falls, Brawls and Town Halls: The History of Professional Wrestling in Northern Ireland. 👍👍

-AC


From the Amazon Book page
Extensively researched, the history of professional wrestling in Northern Ireland is detailed for the first time and with exclusive interviews from over 25 pro wrestling personalities including Darkie Arnott (the “Irish-Italian” shipyard worker whose first match was in 1950), Eddie Hamill (who as “The Amazing Kung Fu” thrilled on ITV’s World of Sport), Dave Finlay Senior (an inspirational pro wrestling promoter and amateur wrestling advocate) and Fit Finlay (one of Europe’s greatest ever grapplers and a world-renowned Superstar) plus many more. Year by year from it’s deceptive beginnings, through World War II, through the Troubles and into the new millennium, this is the story of the men and women who as wrestlers, referees and MCs entertained – not only in Ireland but around the world – for decades, from hundreds in the Ulster Hall in Belfast to thousands in a field in Fermanagh to millions watching on television - - - - - Features over 100 pictures.

Purchase at Amazon.ca and Worldwide
Nick is on Twitter at @TheWrestlingIRE
____

For more on Tommy Nelson see Tiger Tommy Nelson
For more on Gregory & the Princess see Bob Gregory and The Princess come to Toronto 1938

A look at Dick Hutton in Toronto

   

Tunney office promo 1958
    Dick Hutton another interesting and somewhat forgotten part of the Toronto history. He arrived April 1956 just after Whipper had won the World Title and business was booming. From the start he was unbeatable, usually ending the bouts with the Abdominal Stretch or the Atomic Drop. His first two bouts here he beat Donn Lewin then brother Mark on the next card. He also ran his $1000 challenge if anyone could beat him in under 20 minutes. In the papers he was pictured with a $1000 bill on his chest or sometimes a handful of bills. To kick off his challenge he beat two wrestlers in a row and the fans were impressed.

Tunney started to throw bigger names at him, a couple vs Pat O'Connor  and a few World Title bouts vs Whipper. Hutton would lose to Whip but not in under 20 min so kept his $$$.  

In early 1957 he came to the ring to aid Gene Kiniski during a battle with Whipper and found himself a like minded tag partner. They would start accompanying each other to the ring as 'seconds' and interfering on each others behalf. During a  wire fence (early cage bout) match between Whip & Kiniski with special ref Jersey Joe Walcott, Hutton and Kiniski laid a beatdown on the former boxing champ.  

Another bout at the East York Arena (used when MLG was unavailable) saw a full house of 2,500 with 1,000 turned away to see Hutton face Watson again. This time Whipper gets the win in under 20 minutes but Kiniski jumps in and tears up the cheque as it is being presented. What happened to the cash! Hutton & Kiniski proceed to take out their anger on ref Bunny Dunlop which spurs on the packed house to a full out riot.  

A week later at MLG Hutton & Kiniski brawl to a curfew draw with Whipper & Yukon Eric. It's also announced that Kiniski was fined and suspended for four weeks in Ontario by the Athletic Commission for his role in the East York riot. Hutton escaped any punishment. That episode led in to the provincial government here looking into Pro Wrestling. Interesting times, we covered that story for a piece on Slam Wrestling some years back.  

Hutton would also team with Hard Boiled Haggerty in a team the fans loved to hate and would vie for the Canadian Open Tag Titles. He would continue to have Kiniski around as a second while Whipper would bring O'Connor to cover his corner. That feud tore up the Southern Ontario circuit for months.  

In late 1957 they would start pushing Hutton. He took on both Tiger Tasker & Al Krusher Korman (both local wrestlers turned refs) under tag rules, one at a time and looked strong winning with the Abdominal Stretch. On the next card he faced tough Fred Atkins & Jan Gotch (Hamilton guy) forcing Gotch to loudly submit to the stretch. They then lined him up against the Kalmikoff's. Both of them. Lucky for them -or maybe Hutton- they no-showed. Hutton flattened sub Korman and kept the money. 


  In Nov 1957 Hutton beats Thesz at MLG to capture the World Title. Hutton had put up twice the usual money $2,000 and kept the cash & the title. But no belt. Dick Bourne looked at Hutton 'the champ without a belt' in his great Crown Jewel book. The papers said Hutton had been a last minute replacement for Whipper who was injured but it wasn't the case. Maybe making it seem like a fluke win after a sub.  


    He would return with the title to defend 9 times including four against Whipper. In one bout it appeared Whip had regained the title when he pinned Hutton. The ref ruled that Hutton's foot was on the ropes and it re-started. Whipper was incensed (he was pretty nasty at times) and threw Hutton hard over the ropes to the floor. Hutton was stretchered out. Not a good look for a champ. In an early 1958 defense vs Watson there were 2 special refs assigned. The Kangaroos, Costello & Heffernan, a popular tag in the city would handle the duties. Even the papers thought it was a strange idea, a tag team reffing a World Title bout. They drew at the 11pm curfew with Hutton using heel tactics throughout. Star sports guy Jim Proudfoot wasn't impressed. 'It’s the first time in recorded history that a National Wrestling Alliance titleholder has gone through a whole bout without wrestling.'

Hutton stretchered out at MLG Jan 1958

   Former World champ Bill Longson also earned a shot at Hutton by beating Lord Layton. He too fell to the stretch in a 15 minute bout in Longson's last World Title challenge here. That one drew only 4,500 fans to MLG, one of the lowest houses in years. A bout vs Thesz (usually a great draw) only brought in 6,000. They went again with Wilbur Snyder as ref and didn't do much better.  

In the recap for a Nov 1958 defense vs Hombre Montana (Whipper vs Fritz VE was the main) Steve York in the Globe wrote 'Dear Santa: Please ask Sam Muchnick, National Wrestling Alliance president, to make Lou Thesz champion again.'  When Pat O'Connor took the title and returned here as champ York wrote 'Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. How else can you account for O’Connor replacing Dick Hutton as NWA champion?  O’Connor bounces around, has more color and is more expressive than the phlegmatic, stolid Hutton, who does everything deliberately.  Besides which Pat is as good a wrestler as Hutton.'

Hutton would face champ O'Connor in his last challenge here losing by count out. He and Kiniski would continue to rack up the fines for their various misdeeds and later Hutton would face Whipper in a bout to decide the number one challenger. They drew. Hutton would also put up his money against the other unbeatable type Don Leo Jonathon and lose, but after 20 minutes. It must have been a bit of a smack to the face when Don Leo was given a shot vs O'Connor for his win over Hutton.

As Challenger to World Title (Toronto only, there were title defenses on the circuit too)  

56/07/05        Whipper Billy Watson WCOR Dick Hutton      
56/07/26        Whipper Billy Watson WCOR Dick Hutton
57/11/14        Dick Hutton W Lou Thesz, to win the title
59/03/05        Pat O'Connor WCOR Dick Hutton  

As World Champion (Toronto only, there were title defenses on the circuit too)

57/12/05        Dick Hutton W Yukon Eric      
58/01/16        Dick Hutton WDQ Whipper Billy Watson      
58/01/30        Dick Hutton D Whipper Billy Watson      
58/06/26        Dick Hutton W Wild Bill Longson      
58/08/14        Dick Hutton WDQ Lou Thesz      
58/08/21        Dick Hutton D Lou Thesz      
58/09/11        Dick Hutton D Whipper Billy Watson      
58/10/30        Dick Hutton WDQ Whipper Billy Watson      
58/11/27        Dick Hutton WCOR Hombre Montana  

-AC

Nostalgia from mapleleafwrestling.com collection
More info on Crown Jewel at The Mid Atlantic Gateway
Story on 1957 incident is at Slam Wrestling: 1957 Queens Park vs Pro ... 



Classic Photo: Tony Marino


    Had a nice visit with Roger and talked a bit about the recently deceased Tony Marino. Roger took lots of photos of Marino at MLG and around the area, this photo is one of my favorites. Marino with a hold of Chris Colt while Colt's partner Bulldog Lee Henning looks on in abject horror. Marino teaming with Bob Harmon at MLG Apr 1972, Ref Pat Flanagan looks on. 

Roger and his wife Gloria are also celebrating their 60th Anniversary! 
Happy Anniversary and may you have many more.

-AC
6/6/2021

Catch up on some previous posts



Taking a break, in the meantime enjoy some of our previous entries.
All active tags are listed at right, just scroll down a bit.

Our best wishes out to Roger. And to all the fans.
-AC 

Open Air Wrestling in Toronto   Outdoor cards over the years 
 

The Big Event 1986   Hulkamania takes over the CNE 


Rogers Corner: Keswick 1967  It's Roger vs Terrible Ted! 


Niagara Falls Posters    Some classics from 1953-54


Ontario 100 Years of History  Promoters, Venues, etc. 


Slaughter and that US title July 1982     The 'other' US title at MLG


Angelo Mosca in Toronto     Mean & Nasty...


Almanac 1956   The year in Maple Leaf


Bob Gregory and The Princess   Royalty & Wrestling


Ontario Venues   The Arenas and the Halls


Frank Ayerst: Matt Wise  Long time scribe and office man


Dave McKigney Career Record   From Dubois to Wildman


Red Garner: The Pride Of Langstaff   Story of Red & the CCWA 


Raphael Halpern: The Wrestling Rabbi   Comes to Toronto 


Flair vs Race   Photos from their Toronto bouts


Gorgeous George & Cherie Hair Bout II    Whipper saves the day


Whip and Togo set Oshawa on fire 1953     The feud heats up the region!









Flair vs Race: Photos


   During the Mid Atlantic era 1978 -1984 there were a few matchups that could pack the fans in at MLG. Flair vs Race would surely rank near the top. Their six bouts here, all over the NWA championship, are long remembered by the fans for both their science- and violence. 

  At the time of their first match-up in Nov 1980 Race was champ and Flair was arguably the most popular star in Toronto. He was coming off successful feuds against old tag partner Greg Valentine as well as Hossein the Arab/The Iron Sheik, whom he had just chased to the dressing rooms to end their recent blowoff bout. 

   Flair would win the title from Dusty Rhodes in Oct 1981 and appear as champ for the 50th Anniversary card held in November. They would pack 16.000 in for that one and the next time the two would match-up was another special card. A double World title card featuring both the NWA and AWA titles. AWA champ Nick Bockwinkel would defend against our Canadian champ Angelo Mosca while Flair and Race had another hard fought battle that was action from start to finish. 

    The main photos were taken at that bout. In the sequence the battle rages from the ring to the ramp and Race catches Flair with a piledriver after turning the tables on champ Flair, the last pic of the sequence shows Flair being restrained by Ron Ritchie and Johnny Weaver from going down the ramp after Race.


    In the summer of 1983 promoter Jack Tunney had recently taken over for Frank and took a risk promoting two big shows at Exhibition Stadium. They were packed with title bouts and topped by Race vs Flair. Both cards. 

   The last bout takes place in early 1984, just months before Jack would align with the WWF. That card would stand as the last great turnout of the NWA days.

11/16/1980 NWA Title - Harley Race D/COR Ric Flair est 14,000 not reported
11/15/1981 NWA Title - Ric Flair W Harley Race Att: 16,000
04/25/1982 NWA Title - Ric Flair D/COR Harley Race Att: 11,000
07/10/1983 NWA Title - Harley Race W/DQ Ric Flair Att: 20,000 est
07/24/1983 NWA Title - Harley Race W/DQ Ric Flair Att: 14,000 est
02/12/1984 NWA Title - Ric Flair W Harley Race Att:17,700

The 50th Anniversary card is at 50th Anniversary Card

The 83 Ex shows are covered a bit at Open Air Wrestling in Toronto

-AC and photos by...




Toronto Results Various to 1984

 

    This will just be some random or notable cards from the history, added as there is time. If you are looking for a specific card or wrestler please contact us. 

W=win        W/DQ=by dq      W/COR-by count-out       DDQ=double dq      NC=No contest=ref decides no winner   
W/DEC=win by ref decision    W/CNC=opponent could not continue    L= Loss by champion    D=Draw
    *most main bouts in the early days were 2 falls.



1908/05/16 Labor Temple, Toronto
Artie Edmunds D Young Muldoon 1hr 53 min (1 fall apiece)
*Police broke up the third fall as they had hit the 12 midnight curfew
Young Walker W Fred Daly
Bob McIntyre W Harry Raylot
Jack Edmunds W Bob Nash

1911/03/28 Agnes St Theatre, Toronto
Stanisłaus Zybysko W John Lemm 57 min (1-0 Lemm forfeits 2nd fall due to injury)
Herb Hughes W Sam Bain
*Before the bouts photos were shown of the Rogers-Hackenshmidt bout in London 3 years prior
as well as the Gotch-Hackenshmidt bout from Chicago 2 yrs prior

1924/05/16 Arena Gardens, Toronto
Stanisłaus Zybysko W George Walker (2-1)
Aug Jokennen W Matalon
Larry Ness W Jim Watson
*Walker is Canadian Champion
*Lou Marsh called the main 'Toronto's first taste of 'big league' wrestling

1935/04/25 MLG, Toronto
George Zaharias W Emil Dusek (2-1)
Al Mercier W Little Beaver
John Katan W Roy Shepek
Ernie Zeller W Jim Henry
*Henry pushed ref Phil Lawson and was fined 25$ by the commission

1939/11/30 MLG, Toronto
NBA World Title Bronko Nagurski W Ernie Dusek
Don Louis Thesz W Frank Sexton
Joe Savoldi W Pat Riley (The Angel)
Elmer Eastup W Jim Wright
*Lou Thesz had Toronto debut on 11/16 card)

1941/06/12 MLG, Toronto
Earl McCready W Whipper Watson 218
Bobby Bruns W Jerry Monohan
Billy Hanson W Jack Claybourne
Wallace Muscovich W Tiger Joe Marsh
George (K.O.) Koverly D Lee Henning
*Regina's Earl McCready was crowned Canadian wrestling champion after pinning Whipper Billy Watson of Toronto in the fifth round of their bout staged by the Queensbury A.C. at Maple Leaf Gardens last night before 2,000 fans. Working on a punishing toe-hold that had Watson limping during most of the fourth and fifth rounds. McCready set him up for a series of body slams that spelt finis at the 6:15 mark. On behalf of Promoter Frank Tunney, Controller Freddie Hamilton presented the winner with a belt emblematic of the championship.

1942/12/17 MLG, Toronto
'French Angel' Maurice Tillet W 'Swedish Angel' Olaf Swenson
Whipper Watson W Walter Sirois
Earl McCready W Andy Meixner
Nanjo Singh W Zimm
Pat Fraley D Pedro Martinez

1947/05/15 MLG, Toronto
World Title: Lou Thesz D Whipper Watson
Mike Sharpe W Wee Willie Davis
Bob Wagner W Bobby Bruns
Ben Sharpe W/DQ John Katan
Sky Hi Lee W Dick Bishop

1947/05/29 MLG, Toronto
World Title: Lou Thesz W/DQ Whipper Watson
Bob Wagner W Brother Jonathon
John Katan W Tom Collins
Ken Kenneth W/DQ Sky Hi Lee
Lou Newman vs Pat Flanagan

1947/06/05 MLG, Toronto
Whipper Watson W John Katan
Educational Feature : Tuffy Truesdale vs Rodney The Alligator
*Joe Perlove remarked 'Personally I didn't know any more when it was over except there must be easier ways of making a living than wrestling Alligators.'
Sky Hi Lee W Toar Morgan
Bob Wagner D Ken Kenneth
Bulldog Drummond D Tom Collins
Brother Jonathon W Dick Bishop

1947/06/12 MLG, Toronto
World Title: Lou Thesz W/DQ Sky Hi Lee
Mike Sharpe W Brother Jonathon
Ken Kenneth D John Katan
Ben Sharpe W Lou Newman
Dan O'Connor W Toar Morgan

1947/06/19 MLG, Toronto
Wild Bill Longson D Mike Sharpe
Handicap Bout: Sky Hi Lee W Brother Jonathon/Walter Sirois
*Joe Perlove remarked: 'A swift poll of the gathering at the gardens revealed the opponent they would like to see Lee in with next is Rodney The Alligator, or better still with a whole alligator farm of alligators.'

1949/08/04 East York Collegiate Memorial Stadium. Toronto
Whipper Watson W/CNC Sky Hi Lee
Wladek Kowalski W Abe Zvonkin
*'Kowalski, just. 22 6 foot 5. 265 pounds, all rock, rushed to his third consecutive rapid fire victory.
'This made a total of five minutes Kowalski has expended in three matches here. Nobody's had a good look at him yet, especially his opponents.'
Tom Rice vs Ben Sharpe
Al Korman vs Tom Collins
Jimmy Simms vs Red O'Malley
*Attendance was 5,000 (plus several hundred peering at the show free from their porches and bedroom windows)

1950/06/15 MLG, Toronto
Yvon Robert D Whipper Watson (curfew)
*Ref Ed 'Strangler' Lewis
Larry Moquin D Strangler Bob Wagner
Timothy Geohagen W Jim Henry

1950/11/30 MLG, Toronto
Yukon Eric W/DQ Whipper Watson
Lee Henning W Bobby Nelson
Pat Flanagan D Willie Davis
Les Ryan W Jack Moore
Dan O’Connor D George Scott
Main is face vs face

1952/10/30 MLG, Toronto
NWA Title: Lou Thesz D Whipper Watson (curfew)
Pat Flanagan D Lou Plummer - cut to allow the main to start at 10pm
Chief Big Heart W Tiger Tasker
Jack Pasek D Bull Montana
Dick Raines W Jim Coffield

1955/03/03 MLG, Toronto
Antonino Rocca D Whipper Watson (Rocca unable to continue, ref awarded the match to Watson, but he refused win)
Lord Athol Layton/Bill McDaniel W Timothy Geohagen/Tex McKenzie
Mike Paidousis W Pat Fraley
Ken Kenneth W Alan Garfield
Frank Marconi W Harry Lewis
*Rocca-Watson was a return bout, first meeting (and Rocca's Toronto debut) was a draw
Both fan favorites

1953/12/17 MLG, Toronto
The Mills Brothers W Fred Atkins/Lord Layton
Pat Flanagan W Larry Moquin
Yvon Robert W Mr Kato
(was the feature TV match)
Golden Hawk D Sky Hi Lee
Ilio DiPaolo W Firpo Zbyszko

1959/01/15 MLG, Toronto
NWA Title: Pat O’Connor W/COR Lou Thesz
Bobo Brazil W Hans Hermann
Ivan/Karol Kalmikoff) W Fred Atkins/Mike Valentino
Hans Schmidt W Al Korman
Wally Seiber W Tiger Tasker

1959/12/17 MLG, Toronto
Canadian Open Tag Team Title: Don Leo Jonathan/Gene Kiniski D Ilio DiPaolo/Whipper Watson - curfew
Sam Steamboat W Dan Miller
Hard Boiled Haggerty/Fritz Von Erich W/COR Bobo Brazil/Timothy Geohagen
Doc Gallagher W Cowboy Hughes
Ivan Kalmikoff D Ed Miller
Bud Cody D Yvon Losier

1961/11/30 MLG, Toronto
Bulldog Brower W Yukon Eric
(Lumberjack Bout - both wrestlers wear heavy high cut boots)
Hurricane Smith/Cyclone Smith D Chris Tolos/John Tolos
Gentleman Jim Hady W Chief Kit Fox
Taro Sakuro W Chief Lone Eagle
Antonios Kontellis D Timothy Geohagen

1962/04/26 East York Arena, Toronto
Sweet Daddy Siki W Tom Emperor Jones
Bruno Sammartino W Hurricane Smith
Frank Valois D Juan Sebastian
Billy Red Lyons W Donn Lewin
Sam Steamboat D Pat Flanagan

1962/12/14 MLG, Toronto
US Title: Johnny Valentine W Bruno Sammartino to win the title
Roger Littlebrook/Sonny Boy Cassidy W Sky Low Low/Irish Jackie
Yukon Eric W/DQ Taro Sakuro
Stan Stasiak D Sam Steamboat
Gino Marella W Ron Bull Johnson

1964/02/20 MLG, Toronto
Handicap Bout: The Beast/Martino Angelo W Whipper Billy Watson
Johnny Valentine W Hans Schmidt
WWWF Title: Bruno Sammartino W Great Kudo
Bulldog Brower/Fred Atkins D Erich Froelich/Jim Hady
Andreas Lambrakis W Great Mephisto

1964/12/17 MLG, Toronto
Whipper Billy Watson W Professor Hiro
(Fred Atkins handcuffed to Lord Layton)
Bulldog Brower W Sweet Daddy Siki
Billy Red Lyons/Andy Robin D Chris Tolos/John Tolos
The Sheik W Pat Flanagan
Michele Barone W Bob Leipler
Paul DeMarco D Alexander the Great

1966/02/27 MLG, Toronto
NWA Title: Gene Kiniski W/CNC Johnny Valentine
International Tag Titles: Masked Yankees W Seaman Art Thomas/Emile Dupre
Lord Athol Layton W Bob Leipler
Professor Hiro W Georgios Kanelis
Ernie Ladd W Joe Killer Christie
Tiger Jeet Singh WCOR Paul DeMarco

1967/12/17 MLG, Toronto
US Title: Tiger Jeet Singh D Edouard Carpentier
International Tag Titles: Whipper Billy Watson/Bulldog Brower W Fabulous Kangaroos
Little Beaver/Johnny Russell W Frenchy Lamont/Little Brutus
Assassin D Sweet Daddy Siki
Chief White Owl W Crybaby Cannon
Pat Flanagan W/DQ Hans Schmidt
Fred Atkins D Dewey Robertson

1969/10/05 MLG, Toronto
The Sheik W/COR Dominic Denucci
Lou Thesz W Magnificent Maurice
Fabulous Kangaroos: Al Costello/ Ray Kent W Bulldog Brower/Murray Cummings (2-1) 1
Whipper Billy Watson W Joe Killer Christie
Haystack Calhoun/Paul Diamond W Masked Assassin/Big Bill Terry (2-0)
Bobo Brazil W Mike Loren
Fred Atkins D Dewey Robertson
Lou Klein D Terry White

1969/11/30 MLG, Toronto
The Sheik W Giant Saka
(Saka managed by Cannon)
Bobo Brazil W Masked Assassin
Whipper Billy Watson/Bulldog Brower WDQ Fabulous Kangaroos: Al Costello/Ray Kent
Little Beaver W Frenchy Lamont
Haystack Calhoun/Mighty Igor WDQ Reginald Love/Hartford Love
Angelo Mosca W Mike Porky Loren
Dominic Denucci W Fred Atkins
Fred Curry W Ivan Kalmikoff

1972/02/20 MLG, Toronto
The Sheik W Carlos Rocha
Love Brothers D Bulldog Brower/Tex McKenzie
Johnny Valentine W Lee Henning
Pampero Firpo W Mighty Ursus
Fabulous Kangaroos W Mighty Igor/Ivan Kalmikoff
Ben Justice/Haystack Calhoun W Hans Schmidt/Killer Christie
Jacques Rougeau/Gino Brito W Masked Marvel/Man Mountain Cannon
Chris Tolos W Lou Klein,
Tony Marino W Baron Mikel Scicluna
Tony Parisi W Mike Loren

1972/12/17 MLG, Toronto
The Sheik NC Johnny Valentine
Tiger Jeet Singh W Lee Henning
Chief Jay Strongbow W Mike Loren
Pampero Firpo W Ivan Kalmikoff
The Beast/Sweet Daddy Siki W Hans Schmidt/Lou Klein
Lord Athol Layton/Dewey Robertson W Joe Killer Christie/Big Brutus
Tony Parisi/Mighty Igor W Killer Brooks/Dan Miller
Ben Justice/Haystack Calhoun D Kurt Von Hess/Karl Von Schotz
Tex McKenzie/Tony Marino D Love Brothers
Hayes/Louie W Lamont/Adams

1973/09/23 MLG, Toronto
NWA Title: Jack Brisco W Eric the Animal
The Sheik W Tony Marino
Ben Justice D Lee Henning
Pampero Firpo W Mike Loren
Executioner W/DQ The Beast
Hans Schmidt/Chris Tolos D Steve Bolus/Ron Doner
Mongols D Tex McKenzie/Billy Red Lyons
Bearcat Wright/Sonny King W J.B. Psycho/Pat Scott

1974/02/10 MLG, Toronto
The Sheik D/DQ Andre the Giant
Johnny Valentine W Masked Marvel
Tiger Jeet Singh W Big Brutus
Chief Jay Strongbow W Andy Marton, Jacques Rougeau D Hans Schmidt
Love Brothers D Dominic Denucci/Sweet Daddy Siki Billy Red Lyons D Chris Tolos
The Beast WDQ The Executioner
Lee Henning D Ron Doner

1975/11/30 MLG, Toronto
NWA Title: Jack Brisco L/DQ Spiros Arion
Stan Stasiak/Mark Lewin W The Sheik/Waldo Von Erich
The Beast W Mike Angelo
Edouard Carpentier W Lou Klein
Sweet Daddy Siki D El Brassero
Mongols W Dino Bravo/Nick DeCarlo
Crusaders W Don Kent/Kurt Von Brauner
Duncan McTavish/Lord Athol Layton D Chris Tolos/Wildman

1977/02/27 MLG, Toronto
US Title Spec Ref: Chris Tolos: The Sheik W Bobo Brazil to win the title
International Tag Titles: The Crusaders W Kelly Twins
Stan Stasiak/Chief Jay Strongbow W Ivan Koloff/Tarzan Tyler
Edouard Carpentier/Gino Brito WP Reginald Love/Lou Klein
Michele Barone W Terry Yorkston
Ken Patera W Steve Bolus
Sweet Daddy Siki D The Wolfman
Crazy Luke Graham D/DQ Tony Parisi

1978/12/17 MLG, Toronto
US Title: Ricky Steamboat W Ric Flair to win the title
Canadian Title: Dino Bravo W Gene Kiniski to win the vacant title
Tony Atlas/Jay Youngblood W Baron Von Raschke/Greg Valentine (nontitle)
Tiger Jeet Singh W Zimba Khan
Paul Jones W Gene Anderson
Jimmy Snuka W Swede Hansen
Johnny Weaver W Rudy Kay

1980/06/15 MLG, Toronto
Canadian Title: Great Hossein W Dewey Robertson
US Title: Ric Flair W Jimmy Snuka
Angelo Mosca W/DQ Ray Stevens
Tony Parisi W Tim Gerrard
Pedro Morales/Johnny Weaver W Doug Sommers/Steve Muslin
Bob Marcus W John Forsythe

1981/11/30 MLG, Toronto
Canadian Title: Big John Studd L/DQ Bad Leroy Brown
Ron Bass/Rick Steamboat W Greg Valentine/Ivan Koloff
Johnny Weaver W/COR Lord Alfred Hayes
Jay Youngblood W Ricky Harris
Tony Parisi W Frank Marconi
Steve Bolus W Tim Gerrard

1982/07/11 MLG, Toronto
WWF Title: Bobby Backlund W Greg Valentine
NWA US Title: Sgt. Slaughter W Wahoo McDaniel
Mid Atlantic Title: Jack Brisco W Roddy Piper
*Piper had actually won the title 7/7 in Charlotte, North Carolina but was not acknowledged here
Jimmy Valiant/Jake "The Snake" Roberts W Ivan Koloff/Ninja
Johnny Weaver W Tim Gerrard
Tony Parisi W Bob Marcus

1984/05/27 MLG, Toronto
NWA Title: Ric Flair W Dick Slater
Russian Chain Match: Angelo Mosca W Ivan Koloff
Angelo Mosca Jr. W Great Kabuki
Grapplers W Pez Whatley/Vinny Valentino
Buddy (Bret) Hart/Johnny Weaver W Leo Burke/Rudy Kay
Terry Kay W Don Kolov
Brian Adidas W Doug Vines
Tony Parisi WP Jeff Sword

-AC



Excerpt 'From Nanjo to The Sheik: Tales from Toronto Wrestling'

Excerpted from the latest 'MapleLeafWrestling.com presents'
From Nanjo to The Sheik: Tales from Toronto Wrestling 
Chapter: Have No Fear Kiniski Is Here 
Begins p 83 and ends p 85
Picks up with the Kiniski-Whipper feud in full swing 1957.

 ....That would set the feud in motion with Kiniski & Whipper going to battle on the next card and later with 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 other’s bouts.

The Fence match on Jan 24 ended in a wild finish with Kiniski and second Hutton going after Whip and ref Jersey Joe Walcott who was again part of the action. Kiniski had previously tried to interfere in the Hutton-Dick Beyer bout earlier in the night before being ejected by ref Bunny Dunlop.

A bout at East York Arena between Watson and Hutton the following week led to another incident involving Kiniski. In front of a standing room only crowd of 2,500 with 1000 turned away, 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. Then he and Hutton attacked ref Dunlop. Gene would also spend much of the bout inciting the fans who were now picking up chairs and swinging them over their heads.

The chairs started flying and Joe Perlove reported that Gene had to be 'the gamest and no doubt the craziest character in history - to pull that stuff in the Whipper's backyard.' Whipper of course lived in the area and was known as the Pride of East York. The riot ensued and Kiniski and Hutton were said to be 'fielding them (flying chairs) in the best Mickey Mantle style.' Dunlop and announcer Jerry Hiff escaped while the Miller Brothers Ed and Bill came out to aid police and ushers in restoring order. Both Kiniski and Hutton were cut and left bloody by the chairs they couldn't 'field.' This led to Kiniski being given a $500 fine by the OAC, said to be the steepest penalty handed down at the time. Kiniski was also given a 4 week suspension from wrestling in Metro Toronto.

Ontario Athletics Commissioner Merv McKenzie was also said to have curtailed the license of Tunney to promote at the East York Arena for 6 months. It was all likely legit as Tunney didn't return to East York until Oct 1957, though they only used it when the Gardens was not available. Les Lyman and others mostly ran the smaller Arena in that era. Tunney admitted fault saying 'I'm not apologizing for Kiniski. He was way out of line in engineering the rumpus. However we erred by not having the chairs anchored to the floor as required by the rules.'

World champ Kiniski on the mat with Carpentier MLG 1966

In a Milt Dunnell column in March 1957 he mentioned that Gene's admirers 'both of them -will welcome him back to the Gardens tonight.' 

Dunnell goes on to call Kiniski 'the hottest box-office item in Canadian sports, and that’s not excluding national heroes such as Jean Beliveau and Rocket Richard.' Kiniski himself brags 'Over in Buffalo they're gonna give me a pair of golden trunks for drawing more than 100,000 people to 10 wrestling shows. Those people who write to me may say I'm a jerk, but the bank manager addresses me as 'Mister.'



He was making money in Toronto too. The first 4 main events he was in drew more than 48,000 fans. He was the anti Whipper Watson and the crowds came out to see him. A note in 1965 quoted Kiniski as saying his best year (to date) was making $89,000 in 1957. It attributed his success not to gimmicks, trick holds, weird get-ups, or racial exploitation' (but that) 'In the ring he is simply a miserable so-and-so.'

After serving out his 4 week suspension he was back for the long awaited main event against Watson which ended with both wrestlers counted out while brawling on the floor. Kiniski had attacked Watson before he could enter the ring, Watson heaved Gene over the ropes and onto the announcers table. When Gene got back in Whip again heaved him out the other side. Ref Dunlop hadn't even made it to the ring yet. When announcer Jerry Hiff came in to make the introductions, Kiniski grew impatient with the pace and again ran at Watson who sidestepped and Kiniski flew between the ropes. He stamped up the corridor and waved his arms as if to say 'Get somebody else!' When he finally returned the two brawled it out for another 17 minutes. In the paper the next day it said that while the bout lasted 17 minutes Kiniski 'found a way to brawl through half an hour.'

© 2020 MapleLeafWrestling.com Presents. Independently published in Ontario, Canada
Black & White 240 pages with many photos by Roger Baker 16.99 CDN  Dec 2020
Available now in the mapleleafwrestling.com presents Bookshelf



Q&A Tim Gerrard -Part 1

Back in 2006 we did a feature on Tim that ran on Slam Wrestling. We spoke about his career in Toronto as a local fan turned wrestler at the height of the exciting Mid-Atlantic era. 

He later answered questions on the KM message board on a wide variety of subjects which have been compiled here. The best wrestlers to interact with there were the mid-stars, the enhancement talent, etc. They were more fan friendly and open. As you will read, Tim is very honest about his time in the business. The questions were posed by fans (names redacted) and in a few cases paraphrased. Note the answers are from several years ago when discussing 'current' wrestling.

Tim went from wrestling animal types to working with them.
Tim Girouard Behaviour Therapist/Master Trainer  
Thanks to Tim for his participation!
When you're done Part II is here 

-AC



PART 1

Q-When, where, & how did you get started in the business?

It’s a weird story about that.  Back a number of years ago, the CNE in Toronto was having their 100 year anniversary and they had a 'throwback' midway, old time things.  One was a Tough guy competition; basically "folks' from the crowd could come and 'challenge' the tough guy.  the 'guys challenging were set ups for the show. My dad, sister and I were there and the tough guy was a local Hamilton guy Bill Armstrong.  Dewey Robertson was actually running it.  

After the 'show' we spoke with Dewey and he said he ran a wrestling school at his gym in Burlington.  Fast forward say perhaps 10 years and I'm in my 3 year of university at U of T, and before an exam, I grabbed a coffee and a Toronto Sun and in a small box in the sports section, was an ad, 'Want to be a wrestler?'   I knew I wanted to try.  I didn't have the $1000 to do it so I had to borrow 1/2 the money from my parents but they made me finish the exams (I didn't want to ). Dewey said later that it was the only day he put the ad in the Sun and I took this as a sign. 

I went out there in May, paid and away we went.  I was on Television late August or early September at the Germania club in Hamilton.  I trained with 4 other guys, Big John Orleck, another fellow from Oakville who didn't last, and two fellows from Wallaceburg, Rick Bolton, and a 450lb fellow I remember as Kenny.  He wore overalls. 

We trained 3 nights a week at Dewey’s gym on Plains Rd and worked on the mat (yes a mat not a ring) with two local boys, Claude Dion and Bill Armstrong (yes that Bill Armstrong). The fellow who dropped out whose name I don't remember, could not 'sell'.  He needed to feel some pain, when he was hit, he just couldn't wrap his head around the fact that we weren't hurting each other. He was a guy with natural strength, and a decent physique.  John Orleck weighed about 380 lbs, Big Kenny as we called he, weighed as I said 450, so Rick Bolton and I took most of the backdrops and hip tosses.  

Rick Bolton, had broken his arm earlier in life and his left arm he could make look like it was broken when he straightened it out.  George Steele took him to New York TV not long after so when George put the standing hammerlock on Rick, Rick submitted and when George would drop him to the canvas, Rick would position his arm in such a way to look like it was broken so Vince McMahon doing the commentary could sell that George broke the guys arm.  It really got George over. 

My *first match was at the Germania club in Hamilton (on King Street).  Big Mac and I vs Jimmy Snuka.  When it came time to discuss the finish, Claude Dion, who was there, spoke up for me and told Jimmy that I was 'okay'.  This is how it was years ago.  Someone would vouch for your talent. This is where Big Mac knocked himself out landing w his butt on Snuka's bicep, doing a leg drop and snapped his head back, hitting the canvas.  I saw Mac just staring into the lights, I might have even seen a few small birds floating around his head,.  The finish was to be on me, I don't remember what, but Jimmy say that Mac was out cold, just picked up the limp dead weight Mac, slammed him as best he could and covered him.  I still rib Mac that I can say I wasn't pinned in my first match.  

This is also where the Charlotte guys were just starting to come in to TO and I was still green, a bit of a mark, and when the guys came in the back door to the basement of the Germania club where we all dressed in a big banquet room, I asked Dewey who was there, "Is this how it is?" and I remember him saying, "Keep your mouth shut and your eyes open!!"  This is how the learning went in those days.  Much was unspoken.   And I was on my way.......
*79/08/23 Germania Club, Hamilton,  TV Taping
Jimmy Snuka W Big Mac / Tim Gerrard
Jimmy Snuka W Tim Gerrard 

Q-Towards the end of the NWA in Toronto Tunney was obviously having trouble booking talent, any thoughts on why he never booked The Destroyer, Tiger Jeet Singh as both were legends. I asked The Destroyer the same question at the fan fest earlier this year in Toronto and he had no idea.

To answer this question you have to understand that the Tunney's didn't 'book talent'.  They always left the booking to others, like the Sheik so you get a lot of Detroit guys in the 70's.  When business went down, they changed the territory they would align with, like going with Verne for a while.  Again, Verne booked all the talent here.  All the Tunney's would do is fill the card with local boys (myself, the Marcus Brothers, Nick Decarlo, and Tony Parisi as it was his ring that was used for TV, John Bonello, etc )  When Frank died, Jack just kept up.  He continued with Charlotte until it started to drop.  When Frank passed, Jack took over and I know from hearing comments that he wasn't as well respected among the older boys.

Q-What are your thoughts on Crazy Chris Colt during his run with Dave? 

I liked Chris a lot. Like most guys he was very nice. And he took hellacious bumps and sold his brains out. It was in taking one of these big bumps that caused him to cut some tendons in his palm when Phil Watson hit him with a garbage can. There was a broken bottle in there and when Chris went down, his hand hit the bottle and he was out for a couple of months. This is where Phil talked Dave into he and I working under a hood with Chris as my manager so Chris could still get the heat as he was advertised. I worked Belleville (*where the Sheik threatened to stab me with scissors in the dressing room) Kingston, and twice in Scarborough.
*That story is in section II






Tim as Assassin with Chris Colt vs Whipper Jr Scarboro 1982



Q-Do you feel Toronto could have been a viable city for wrestling had Tunney not joined the WWF? Could he have booked talent from Memphis, World Class, AWA etc and made a run of it?  

NO

Q-Do you agree with Bobby Heenan's assessment from a few years ago that wrestling is dying and cannot come back? Can the fans be retaught after giving away all of the secrets? 

Wrestling used to be an art form.  Toying and playing with people's emotions.  Getting people so riled up that they literally wanted to hurt or see hurt the heels.  When I was a fan, I saw people hyper-ventilate, their adrenaline was so high.  Bobby is right.  Once you see behind the curtain, the magic is gone.  John Cena vs Alberto Del Rio.   Horse ---t.  It’s all gymnastics now, jumping, flipping, hopping.  Not making people believe.  I've seen some ungodly moves lately and the guy gets up like he's getting out of bed.   Either the guys are super human now, or the moves are so weak.   An abdominal stretch could win a match  before, Now the finish is so many spots that they have to get in the ring and practice during the day.  Not my cup of tea anymore.

Q- So towards the end of Maple Leaf Wrestling Johnny Weaver was booking The Grapplers from Central States, Brian Adidas from Texas, Pez Whately from Georgia, Cormiers from the Martimes ? etc.

Other than the Cormiers, the guys they sent up here were all working for a time in Charlotte.  Pez Whatley especially.   Some of them weren’t there long as Charlotte had a competitive territory and lots of guys.   Toronto was used sometimes as a stopover for guys.   Abby and Dory Funk worked MLG as they were coming through Toronto anyway and they could pick up a payday.  Only large events, like the Cadillac tournament would book some guys from other territories as it would give the event some gravitas.   Johnny booked the Cormiers, Leo, Terry and Rudy as he was friends with them from when he worked in the Maritimes each summer.  Think of Brian Adidas, The Grapplers, Pez Whatley, not exactly top shelf names.   Towards the end they were using whomever they could get.

Q-I remember going to plenty of MLG shows where guys did not show up, as a kid I always thought that the no shows were done intentionally.  My question is when you were there and guys no showed was it legit?

Famous no show! Piper vs Von Hess 
No shows were no shows.  Guys didn't or couldn't make it.  I recall the incident with Buzz Sawyer and he showed up at the airport in, shorts, a tank top, shower shoes, no ID and they wouldn't let him board.  Gene Anderson by that time had hurt his neck, you might remember him flicking his head like a twitch so he was basically forced to reduce his in ring activities and this is where he became more of a manager for guys to help get them over.  Gene actually worked in the office in Charlotte and during a match, Gene would walk out and when he put the pencil behind his ear, it was time to 'go home'.  The ref would watch and tell the guys to 'go home'.  Guys did get hurt and perhaps the Briscos were on their way out and didn't want to come to TO.  Kurt was a solid talent who could be depended upon to have a good match with anyone and that is a testament to his ability. Same with Dick Beyer.

Q-Tim what did you think of the Kays main eventing at this stage of their careers in Toronto? Personally I thought they should have been positioned in the lower half of the card.

I thought Burke had some good matches with Piper and Santana, however they were not stars at this stage of the game. Rudy and Terry were solid workers.  Unfortunately they didn't have the charisma to put asses in the seats.  Recall Terry would have a guitar with him during interviews.  In the Maritimes, they could play on their Maritime heritage to help get them over as 'local heroes.' Leo was always a solid heel.  He could work and be just sneaky enough to get heat without being over the top.  He was more of an 'intellectual heel' ala Nick Bockwinkel, the arrogance.   I liked Leo, great Maritimer.  As I said before, he and his brothers were great friends with Johnny Weaver so they were used here a lot.  One must never discount the booking of friends.   Once you became friends w people, you knew they could work and be depended upon and give good matches.

Q-What were some of your favorite matches?

One that always sticks in my mind is w Tarzan Tyler on TV, from Brantford.  Tarzan was a relatively larger man, over 300lbs. When we went through the finish in the dressing room, he, being the heel, said when he says go home, stop him, get over, pick him up and slam him, and in my head I went, "PICK YOU UP AND SLAM YOU ??"   I didn't want him to think I would question my ability to get him up but I did.  So the match went on and I hear 'go home'.  So, I reverse a turnbuckle throw,. and I'm thinking, "I’ve got to pick him up, so here goes!"  And he was such a veteran, that I'm starting to bend over to pick him up and it seemed all of a sudden he's on my shoulders. I remember thinking, "Holy S- - t"   He went up like a feather.  I slammed him and we went home.

I also liked working with Mosca as he would help and lead you through the match. I remember a TV match where we're getting instructions and he said, "Jump me from behind'.   So instructions over, he turned his back and I attacked him from behind as he walked to his corner.  I got some shots in and he turned me around and started to punch me,  After the second or third punch, and after each punch after that I hear 'Take a Walk', another punch, 'Take a walk', another punch, 'Take a walk' and I finally realized that he was telling me to get out of there, so I did.  I also remember my first match w Angelo and the finish was a sleeper.  I had never take a sleeper before so when he put it on, I flailed like you're supposed to, and I'm taller than Angelo so I hear whispered in my ear, 'Sit on my knee".  He positioned himself so his left leg was in front of his right and I could just lean back and basically sit on his knee. House shows were different than TV as in house shows, you were there to entertain people, on TV, you were there to put someone over.  

I remember working with Andre, a handicap match with John Forsythe (there's a name only real fans will remember).  Andre was doing basic 'strong man s- - t" as we called it;.  Double top wristlock, he throws us off, pull his arms apart and he bangs us into each other.  The finish was he head-butts me, I take a bump out to the floor, which I did, and I'm sitting on the floor beside the ring and I hear 2 maybe 3 big bumps, the bell and it was over. 

Stevens vs Parisi MLG 1982
I also loved to work with Tony Parisi.  We used the same finish wherever we went. I remember working in Rochester with him, and in Rochester for the then WWWF or New York as we called it, they put the main event on about 4th, some other matches on after and ended with a nothing match.  That was Tony and I.  I remember going to the ring and people were leaving to go home.  We stood in the ring, getting instructions, Tony looked at me and said, "Screw it', let’s just go home".  Which we did. Match was real short.

I also liked working, which I only did once in Buffalo, with Ray Stevens.  He was sooooo light a worker.  You barely knew he was there yet you thought he was killing you.  That is the mark of a great worker. 

*Swede Hanson and I worked Buffalo once and Swede had just switched in Charlotte to a baby face.  We're standing getting instructions and as the ref is going through the motions they did, spouting the gibberish they did, Swede looked at the ref, then at me and said with a straight face, "Aren't I the ugliest looking baby face you've ever seen in your life?"  Both the ref and I started to crack up and had to hide our faces.Swede was funny.  Again, real pro, worked light, don't recall if he chopped me or not....his knee drops were light, guys that were real pros could make it look authentic, painful but barely nothing.  That was the 'art' of wrestling.
*83/06/29 Buffalo, NY
Swede Hanson W Tim Gerrard
WWF Title Bob Backlund  vs Sgt. Slaughter in the main

Re: Buffalo… my first time in, there were not fans there yet and I walked out to see the arena as was blown away by it's size, and the colour of the seats.  Very, very colorful.  As well, for anyone who's been there, their tiers went up, not back like MLG so you got the impression of people being right on top of you.   My first time out, as I left the dressing room to go to the ring, 4 police w guns surrounded me to walk to the ring....I felt very brave

Tim and the others are in the etc. part
*My first Gardens match, vs Klondike Bill sticks in my mind as Bill found out I was new, my first big house show (it was the night of a Mulligan/Studd street fight match so there were probably 12,000 people or more) and he said to me, don't worry, just listen to me.  I had the opportunity to work with many, many great workers, the bigger they were, the nicer they were I found.
*80/03/09 Toronto Maple Leaf Gardens
Canadian Title: Dewey Robertson WDQ Greg Valentine
Jay Youngblood W Ray Stevens
Texas Death Match: Blackjack Mulligan W John Studd
Blue Demon/Destroyer W Pedro Morales/Don Kernodle
Klondike Bill W Tim Gerrard
Bob Marcus WP Bill White

Q- On Tarzan Tyler being picked as Mosca’s ‘Mystery Opponent’ in 1982

Here's my thoughts from the time.  If you recall, Mosca had worked with most of the Charlotte boys, some numerous times, and beat them and retained the title.  The Cdn Title to Charlotte really meant nothing.  It wasn't in Charlotte so it was localized for Canada.   Mosca was a big guy so they wanted big guys, and Canadian to boot, to work with Mosca.  Think of why they suddenly used Kiniski for a few shots.  He was on the downside of his career, but still a big enough name to draw.  Tyler was like Kiniski, without the name recognition so he would draw.  Wrestling always needed an 'angle' especially for continuity.  Easiest way to bring in Tyler, was to 'link' him to someone people knew (Studd) and have the surprise factor.  
Mosca vs Tyler 1982

If you think about it, Montreal guys worked a bunch of Toronto cards, Louis Laurence was here for 3 or 4 shots, including TV.  Other Montreal guys as well.  

Wrestling is always about 'new' guys.  My guess is that somebody in the Toronto office, knew about Tyler, got contacted or contacted them and this 'angle' was born.  Although Charlotte provided the booker, (towards the end it was Weaver) Frank and Jack booked all the local talent.  The booker just figured out how to use them.  When they ran out of guys for Mosca to beat, they stuck the strap on Iron Sheik as he was later called.   That's my opinion, based upon being there. As for Tyler, think of him as sort of a big punching bag for Mosca.  Big guy but not a threat really.  As for Tarzan as a person, he was the nicest guy, the most generous worker
*Great perspective. For me that was one of the biggest fails of the era. 

Q-Did you ever get the option to come down South & wrestle, or was that never something that you wanted to do. In other words, were you happy working up north?

I worked Charlotte for a  short time.  What I didn't really like is the motel rooms and the travel.  Wrestling was great, but long trips etc, staying in motels, the money wasn't great, livable, but not great so I was not too enticed to stay.  I could have worked for Charlotte if I wanted to.

vs Valentino in Charlotte, NC 1983


Q- What years were you in the business, & when did you get out of it?

Got in August of 79 and out early 85.  *My last match was tagging with Jerry Valiant vs The Wild Samoans for TV when WWF first was coming into Toronto.  I also worked with Gama Singh that night.  I worked just before that some western NY shows for WWWF.  That’s where I heard Backlund was going to drop the strap to Iron Sheik who was then going to drop it to Hogan.
* 84/07/10 Brantford, Civic Center TV Taping
Rocky Johnson W Tim Gerrard
Gama Singh W Tim Gerrard with the sleeper
The Wild Samoans W Jerry Valiant & Tim Gerrard . Afa pinned Gerrard with the Samoan Drop
Bob Marcus and Nick DeCarlo also on this one.

The first WWF card was held at MLG on July 22

Q- I always heard that Mosca was quite stiff, any truth to that?

Mosca could be stiff.  If he didn't respect you, or you were stiff first, if you potatoed him, he could work stiff. 

Q-  I also heard that Mulligan was tough and stiff as well - again, any truth?  

I worked with Bob once, *on TV of course and he was light. You must understand that on TV you would have to 'lay them in' to make it appear more authentic. Laying in and working 'stiff' are two different things.  In house shows, you could lighten up.
*80/02/11 Brantford, Ontario T.V. Taping 
Blackjack Mulligan W Frank Marconi & Tim Gerrard in a handicap match
Blackjack Mulligan/Dewey Robertson W Brute Bernard/Tim Gerrard
Dewey Robertson W Earl Pinnock & Tim Gerrard in a handicap match

Tim not having luck with any of his partners ! 

Q- I never knew you worked with Andre - what were your experiences.  Also if you have any good Andre stories from that time.

He was always reasonable with me, with him, in and out of the ring. Andre never tried to take advantage of the local guys. He knew they had jobs and places to go so his goal was to 'showcase' himself, not hurt anyone.  I've got one story about Andres, and my apologies to anyone whom I mentioned this to, at the Buffalo Hilton, before a show at the Aud, Andre was sitting eating with Jack Tunney and Norm Kimber.  I noticed that Andre had what I thought were 4 bottle of pop.  I was eating with Masked Superstar, Bill Eadie and a couple of others.  Later in the dressing room I mentioned to Norm Kimber that Andre must really like pop having drank so many before a match and Norm said it wasn't pop, it was wine.  Andre's hand was so big it made a wine bottle look like a pop bottle.  And 4 bottles before dinner.  Norm told me neither he or Jack drank.

Q- Did you have a lot of interaction with the TV announcers (Billy Red & John McGIlvray)?  What was John like, and have you any idea what he is doing now?  Also Thoughts about Norm Kimber?

Billy was a real character and really liked by all the boys. He had been in the business a long time and had lots of connections, and knew a lot of folks.  He had this ability to take his hand, put is to his mouth between the thumb and first finger, that soft piece of skin, blow hard and make the sound of the loudest, wet fart you've ever heard.  HE would go behind guys sometimes and do it a make them jump.  He had another phrase that I remember, “Dropping some mud".  If you asked where someone was, Billy wouldn't say in the can, he'd say 'he's dropping some mud".  Billy had a dedication to the business and he'd put guys over, even the mid or low carders.  

Haley Race & John McGilvery
John McGilvery wasn't around long.  I think he was probably a radio guy, they tried that awhile, remember Jason Roberts. John would know enough to just stand there and hold the mike.  He never or wasn't allowed to come in the dressing room. I remember they canned Jason Roberts because the guys were saying that he's knocking the business.  He didn’t treat it with the respect it needed to get over.  He kind of did things 'tongue in cheek', sort of a 'nudge, nudge, wink, wink' kind of approach.  He wasn't putting the guys over. 
*McGilvery was a sports radio announcer on CJCL-AM in Toronto now The Fan as well as other stations around the Toronto-Hamilton area... 

Norm Kimber was a real nice guy.  He was in charge of the promotional material. He put the ads in the various papers and he would phone in the results after each MLG show to the Toronto  Star for the paper the next day.   He also was the ring announcers and as I've said before, didn't want anyone to jump up and down in the ring while he’s announcing as it would cause him to bounce.  Funny thing is that he lived about 5 minutes from where I grew up in Mississauga.  I played hockey against one of his sons and I knew of his daughters.  When I got out of the business I lost track of Norm until one Sunday afternoon, after a mixed slo pitch game for a team I was on, we went back to our sponsors bar for some adult beverages.  The bar was close to where Norm lived.  Lo and behold, I enter and there’s' Norm.  we talk for a while and I remember he sounded a bit bitter as when Vince came in, if you recall the ring announcer changed to a younger guy, Jack became WWF 'President' and Norm's remark to me that I remember is he said Jack as WWF President.  WWF, you know what that stand for when it comes to Jack Tunney, 'Worlds Worst F - - k".  *He sounded bitter.  
*Norm had started in the office around 1948-49 and spent almost 40 years there. He was fired unceremoniously in 1986 and worked briefly for Angelo Mosca's Pro Wrestling Canada. He later said he was let go with no explanation or remuneration.

Norm is not enjoying the bounce. MLG 1982

Q- John Orleck and John Forsythe?  (Maple Leaf TV regulars)

Forsythe lived in an apartment on Jarvis.  He kept to himself.  I remember he took 'floppy' bumps.  Always looked like he was out of control. Not the most classic bump taker. 

John Orleck, as I say trained with me at Dewey's.  He, if I recall correctly, only worked for the Tunney's once, on TV where Mac and I got him the gig.  He would take those hellacious trips to Montreal to work for George Cannon. The incident I remember the most is when in Kitchener, (I apologize to those who know this story) they put him in with Mosca, 1st tape, 1st match.  Mac and I told him that if Mosca hits him, Jacks big, 380lbs, don’t go down right away.   Well, John took that a whole other way and the first time Angelo gave him a forearm on the ropes, Angelo stepped back, John Stood up and flexed in the classic arms up pose.  Both Mac and I were watching from the hallway and we both gasped as we knew nothing good would come.  We never thought he would do the, 'hit me harder' pose. Mosca was Canadian champ at the time,.  Angelo proceeded to beat the crap out of him.  No working here.  He banged John's head into the top turnbuckle, John slumped to the second, Angelo banged his head into that one and dragged him by the back of the hair, while John was on his knees trying to keep up, across the ring to bang his head into the middle turnbuckle on that side. It was not a pleasant sight.  I always thought that John, or Big Jack, as his friends called him, was a bit intimidated by working for the Tunneys.  Angelo told Jack when the match was over to never air the match and if he did, Angelo would quit.  The match never aired, they put some other taped match in its place. John never worked for the Tunney's again.  The unfortunate thing about John is he never was real athletic so he had trouble controlling his weight and things when working.  When working, the first thing you're taught is you control your body, you protect your body , making sure you bump properly.  Bumps should always be taken when you are 'in control';  You depend on the other guy, but you make sure you land flat.  

Q- Did you prefer to work single matches, or tag bouts? Favorite partners or opponents?

Assassin 1982
I preferred to get paid.  I didn't care where or who basically, I just wanted to make some money.  There were guys who didn't have the rep I did so they would work small, small, small shows just to work and the payoff might have been $10 or so.  AS for singles or tags, I got paid by the bout, didn't matter if it was 4 guys (a tag match) or 2 guys (a single match). money was the same.  On TV we'd get $25 per tape we were on so if it was a single, you would have to do all the 1/2 the work a tag meant you did 1/4 the work, for the same money.  I liked to work with Parisi a lot as we knew each other and he trusted me and as I said, the finish was the same.  I liked Rocky Johnson as he gave and was light.  There really wasn't anyone I didn't like to work with as the business was a fraternity that once you got out there, everyone worked together.  The only one that wasn't great to work with was Nick Bockwinkle as he worked real 'tight' and didn't give virtually anything.  I was told after that this was because he was champion and wanted to make sure, since he didn't know me, that I wasn't going to try to embarrass him or do something stupid.  I understand the rationale.
*Big bout for Tim! Hope this one shows up eventually

Q- You vs Jimmy Valiant in the 1982 Cadillac Tournament.  I think that was your first match with Valiant.  How was he and how did you feel about the 20 or so second match?  Also Adonis & Ventura came in for this and they were WWF guys at the time.  What were they like and how did the Mid Atlantic guys feel about working WWF guys? 

Easy payday! 1982
As I said previously, I got paid by the 'job' (what a pun).  Not by the hour.  The night of the tournament, there were 8 first round matches, most didn't go that long.  If the first round was 8 matches, the second was 4, the third would be 2, the last round 1, there would have been 15 matches. If they all went 10 minutes, it would have been 2 1/2 hours of wrestling without any intermissions.  Too long.  That is why there were some that got byes, some that both were counted out to shorten the evening. The night of the match, George Scott came to me and said I'm working with Valiant and they only had a minute on the TV tape so that's all we could go.  No problem for me.  I spoke w Jimmy, he said, get some heat, he'll stop me and we'll go home.  Easiest money of my life, $250 if I recall.  The most I made for the least amount of time in the ring.  I'd do it every night if I could.  One thing to understand to fully understand, is that among the boys there was no competition as to one territory vs another.   It would be like someone at Ford disliking someone working at Chrysler.   To the boys, it was such a brotherhood, such a closed society, that even today, years later, the bond / camaraderie is still there.   

When big 'tournaments' would happen, it appears to be 'bigger' if guys from other territories came in to try to win.   And in those days, the promoters weren't  foes, they were allies, allies so they could keep the boys under control.  if you got a bad rep in one territory, they could keep you out of another territory unless another promoter 'went rogue'/  I can't stress enough, the wrestling business in those days was such a closed, fraternal group, that's why even to get in needed you to be trained by a wrestler or someone had to 'speak' for you to tell the group that you were 'okay'.  Watch Donny Brasco, the movie, watch Dustin Hoffmans character w Johnny Depp, when Dustin says, 'I’ll speak for you, you're with me",   that is the kind of closed society wrestling was.  Remember there were secrets to be kept. Secrets that if they got out, would diminish the money you made.  So the secrets were kept tight.   Think of how fast you would have wanted to spend money if you knew the Sheik was a guy from Detroit, or Abdullah the Butcher was from Chatham,  or "Killer' Kowalski was a tee totaling, vegan from Boston, or German, Kurt Von Hess and Karl Von Shotz were Bill Terry and John Anson from Hamilton.  IT goes on and on.  You paid money for the illusion, the suspension of belief for that time.   That's what's missing today, the suspension of belief. The emotion.   Sorry for getting off on a rant.

Q- Austin Idol came in for the tournament, which I think was his first time in Toronto.  Did you talk with him and what was he like?  Also was he in fact afraid to fly? 

Can't answer to the flying thing.  I think he had his own mind and did what he wanted, when he wanted.  There were guys like that in the business and therefore they didn't stay too long in one territory.
*Can't answer re; fear of flying either but Idol was injured in the plane crash that killed Bobby Shane in 1975

Q- You & Alec Girard vs Valiant & Terry Kay.  Again, thoughts on this match and Valiant?  Also a strange pairing of Kay & Valiant, any comments?  
 
I like Jimmy and I know he liked me.  He liked the bumps and selling I could do that would make him look real good as I was as big or perhaps even a bit taller than him.  Alec had his own style.  Sort of bouncy, jumpy.   He was tough though.  The idea of TV in those days was to showcase the top or upper talent.  That is why so many pairings would take place.  It was easier to get 2 guys face time on TV in a tag that all singles. 

Q- Did you work on the shows at Dewey's gym? Was Chris Tolos as nice a guy as I've heard he was? Did you ever go to Martin's Steakhouse on Barton?

I never worked any shows at Dewey's as he had moved his gym to plains rd from his other location (which I don't even know where it was) and there was not even room for a ring in it. That's why I learned on a mat.  I only saw Chris Tolos once when he stopped by, he was a quiet unassuming man.  Never went to any *restaurants in Hamilton.  Before my time.  I started ‘79 and what you refer to I think was in the '70's.
*Martins Steakhouse was owned by area wrestler Martin Hutzler and had been a gathering place for wrestlers from the 1940s-1970s

Q- Tim, any Roddy Piper stories?  

Piper was a hoot.  He was a wild guy, loved to have fun.  The one story that always sticks in my mind is the night we were in Niagara Falls, and a couple of female fans were outside the heel dressing room and you could hear them, every time someone entered or left the room, in  higher pitched female voices, "OOOOH, Roddy Piper, where's Roddy Piper??'" Over and over. It became quite annoying..  Piper was sitting at the end of the dressing room, a hockey dressing room, behind the door so you couldn't see him.  Finally after time after time after time after time of this whaling outside, he got pissed and said, 'F  - -     k, them, they want Piper, I'll shut them up!"  He proceeded to pull his tights down to his knees exposing himself fully.  He went down, opened the door from behind and suddenly stepped into view, saying, '"Whatta ya want?" They started to get excited, after all Roddy Piper was standing in front of them but suddenly they realized that he was exposed to them.  They started to say things like, "OH that's disgusting.."  and Piper started to curse them out telling then to leave him the F - - k alone and get the hell out of there.  Everyone in the dressing room was killing themselves, especially the ones that could see their faces, but it was quiet after that.

I had to work with Piper once, in Guelph, as Big Mac and Dark Angel were late.  It was the first match, first tape and you were to be there an hour before show time but they got there 10 - 15 minutes.  George Scott asked me if I would work with Piper, who for getting dressed I was sitting beside, and I had no problem   Asked Piper what the finish was, he said a sleeper.  He said that he had to play his bagpipes to get 'heat' before the match.  We were to go 5 minutes and I said to Roddy, 'I've got to work 3 other tapes tonight so if you want to play then for 4 1/2 minutes and then go home, it's fine with me."  He laughed.  I then had to sneak out of the heel room, and if you don't know the old Guelph Auditorium, the fans walked right by the dressing room as they entered to get to their seats.  I put a towel over my head and hurried to the baby face room so I could come out from the baby face side.  Match went like a charm. 

Q- How long were you a fan, did you go to a lot of shows at MLG - as a fan who were your favorites, did you ever wrestle any of them later on

I first got interested in Wrestling back when Dusty Rhodes and Dick Murdoch were the Outlaws around here.   Watched religiously every Saturday and went to MLG on Special Occasions.  Not every show, when something big was to go on, usually 3-4 times a year, especially the big Boxing day cards.  I saw a lot of guys but never really had any favorites.  I later met a lot of the guys I watched, Kurt Von Hess, Sweet Daddy Siki, Haystacks Calhoun (worked w him on TV in Detroit for the Sheik)  and oh year, The Sheik.   The only one if I could say was a favorite was Dusty Rhodes, during the American Dream phase.   My family would go to Florida and we would make sure that we got to Tampa by Tuesday so we could go to the Fort Homer W Hesterly Armoury for the wrestling.  If you can remember the Hulk Hogan hysteria when he appeared on a show, Dusty created the same hysteria in this Armoury.  He could have a 10 minute, Lights out Match, Bunkhouse Match, Bull Rope Match and people would be stomping, screaming just like when Hogan makes his comeback.

Q- After you stopped wrestling did you go to any WWF shows or Wildman shows - again as a fan, what did you think of it if......and do you have any contact now with any of the wrestlers from the day

I left the business in early 85 and that was it for me. I would still watch every now and then but no chance of going to ta show.  By the later 80's Dave was already winding down a bit also. Competition was big.  Then his passing happened and it really wound down.  Feb 4th 1990 I attended my first show since I left.  I know the date because I got married on Feb 3 1990 and my Brother In law and nephew from up north were here and had to go the wrestling matches.  They even paid a scalper and the tickets were in the end above the glass.  I remember watching the fans, taking in the 'craziness' that was going on.  The wrestling wasn't interesting, As I 'got it' and it wasn't out yet so I knew it was a work.  I even watched Jose Luis Rivera work under the hood as the Conquistador and then after the intermission as himself. I never attended another show until I heard a local guy a here in Guelph, Jeff Black, was running a show a few years ago.  From the Titans in Toronto Dinners I was able to stay in touch with Mac and he told me he was running shows, renting his ring etc.  I went to check out this show on a Sunday afternoon, went around the back and they were finishing putting up the ring, asked one of the guys whose ring this is, was told 'Big Mac' and it turned out to be Mac's son Victor who I met years ago when he was much smaller.  Went in and Mac and I drank beer, talked about the old days and watched the show.  It was so much different.  I understand that today there is no place for guys to learn, as there are not shows all the time but I watched two guys go over their match, in the ring, even suplexing while the fans are around.  My head near exploded.  I have since attended a couple of local shows, for PWA from Kitchener.

Q- How about Nick DeCarlo and Bobby Bass?

BRL with Bobby Bass 1983
Nick DeCarlo had to have been the most laid back person I have met to this day.  Nothing rattled him, even keel all the time, with a real deep voice.  Bobby Bass was the opposite.  Real Nice guy, but a talker.   Quick Nick story.   We're going to Rochester to work for the WWF together. To know Nick you knew that he dressed impeccably.  Leather coat open, shirt, collar outside the coat, shirt opened to expose his chains.  We get to the Buffalo Border and I show my ID, fine.  Nick pulls out an Italian Birth Certificate as ID.  Nick looks like a casting out of the Sopranos and I'm thinking we're here a while.  Sent to secondary inspection and when they opened the trunk they say our bags and asked what they were and Nick said we were just working out and going across to have dinner.  They're welcome to look through the wet workout clothes.  We make it through.  As we're driving down the Expressway to Rochester, which is an hour from Buffalo, Nick tells me to look in the ash tray and there's a doob of weed. Enough for a few puffs.  He asks if in want to and I say sure.  He says to me, 'Don't you dare lay around tonight like a lazy slug in the ring" I told him I wouldn't. I didn’t' and we had a great match. (I think)

Q- Also, any opinions on the Marcus Brothers? Bob had a good run at Maple Leaf Gardens but once the WWF came on guys like him, Joe and Nick De Carlo got destroyed regularly. In another era Bob & Joe may have had a longer career.  

Bob would get put over guys in Toronto because he worked in Charlotte for a time.  Joe stayed close to home.  Bob came back because poor money, long trips and he realized it wasn't for him.  Joe never left.  When New York took over they used some local guys for a time but then phased them out and took their crews everywhere so the Marcus brothers, Nick Decarlo, Bobby Bass, slowly were forced into retirement

Q- They had a MLG show on June 29, 1980 which was broadcast in its entirety on Japan TV .  Were you at that show?  Did you get to meet Baba & Jumbo, and Brody?

I vaguely recall *Baba working a show in Toronto.  Perhaps it was a tag.  As I said before, guys would book a shot in Toronto if they could as they could make some money on their way to elsewhere.  Brody was a hoot.  I spent a week w him on the Trinidad tour I was on and a nicer guy you couldn't meet.  180 degree opposite from his gimmick.  I might tell you my Bruiser Brody in Trinidad story sometime.
*Baba returned for the first time since 1964 to tag with Tsuruta vs Brody & Irwin Jun 29 1980
Brody story below

Q- At the above show, Jim Crockett was there, and Frank Tunney read a proclamation - did you get to meet Jim Crockett?  Did he ever attend other shows?  

I met Jimmy Crockett many times in Toronto.  Got to the point he recognized me and would say Hi first.  If you didn't know he was the promoter you wouldn't know he was the promoter.  He always had good bookers working for him, Ole Anderson, Dory Funk Jr, Dusty etc...He relied on wresting bookers who were the ones who made the territory profitable or not in those day.

Q- After John McGilvary left, a new guy came on to do the TV with Billy...Mike McMann. ...any thoughts & memories of him?    

Unfortunately, never met him.  They would tape the few interviews they did, in a corner of the rink with the 2 piece background behind before the matches.  This would allow the guys like the Kay's to talk, and other local guys.  The Charlotte guys did all their promos in Charlotte for ALL THE TOWNS they were working.

Q-  In the last post you said you might tell a Brody story. Well this is a request for it please. 
 
I met  on my Trinidad tour for Tiger Jeet Singh and *Fazil Dean.  Tiger and Brody knew each other from Japan.   Frank was this big wild looking guy with the way out hair but quiet and soft spoken for real.  In Trinidad I, managed to secure some local ‘herb’ from a restaurant owner.  3 big large, round ones.  I got so drunk on “Old Oak’ Rum, 100 proof, that at 1 am after drinking since 10am in the morning, in a hotel room with Parisi, Hess,  Danny Johnson and I can’t remember who else, after much prodding from those guys, I allowed my head to be shaved bald.  I would only let Hess do it as I thought if anyone would do a safe job and if anyone knew what they were doing it would be a guy who did it for himself in the mirror each day.  Well, waking up w a hangover the next day, it was a true ‘what the hell have I done’ moment for me.  I saw Frank at the pool and when he saw me he started to laugh.  He said, ‘What does your head remind me of?” and he paused and then he said, “An Orbus’ so for Frank, the rest of the tour, I was Orbus. I said that  to say this.  Frank, who like  to get ‘herbed up’  found out that I had acquired some local ‘herb’ and at the show that night, he said to me, ‘Orbus, I hear you got some stuff, what room are you in?”  I said something like 712, but Frank was on it as he called bulls- - t, “There’s only 6 floors in this hotel. Orbus tell me what room you’re in or I’ll kick every door down looking for you” Needless to say I did, and we had a great time after the show that night in my room, with all the boys.  In fact, my head was shaved before our first show and I got a bit sunburned so someone suggested I asked the local doctor for something for the pain and the guy reaches into his bag, pulls out a handful of what I later found out was Valium so that night we had a great party. Frank found out about these too so I had to share.  Hope this makes sense.
*Fazil Dean (a relative of Jeet Singh) promoted some cards around southern Ontario in the early 80s

Stay Tuned for Part II !  Tim talks Wahoo, Valentine, Ole, The Sheik pulls scissors in Belleville! Bullwhip Johnson, George Cannon, Bookers, and more.

Pics and images mapleleafwrestling.com collection. 
The Piper-Von Hess from Griff's collection 
Tim as Assassin in Scarboro top two pics, and Assassin posed - Tim Gerrard collection
Tim as Assassin in Scarboro bottom two sent to me years ago, maybe my pal Scott, maybe Kevin Bazkur? Todd Cummer? If you did please drop me a note.

-AC

And thanks again to Tim Gerrard aka Killer Tim aka...
 Tim Girouard Behaviour Therapist and Master Trainer