Wednesday, July 22, 2020

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, some of which have been compiled here. I usually found that the best wrestlers to interact with 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 a few 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 


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?

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