Promoters - Ontario




A look at Ontario wrestling promoters1929-1984.
*Old piece, more info to add as there is time. An overview... not a definitive history. Roughly '29-'84, stops at 1984 for now. Some like Bob Lane may have been 'only' arena managers. In the earlier days it often listed the arena guys as the promoter of note but with Tunney or Corcoran or Mickailoff supplying the stars. 

In the early days Phil Lawson promoted amateur shows in Toronto as did Jack Daniels and his A-C Athletic Club. Others ran cards often using 'exhibition' in order to get around the licensing and such. The cost for a Wrestling license in the 1930's was 500$, a considerable amount at the time. Many of the amateur boxers, wrestlers, and refs moved onto the pro side to wrestle and ref, and promote, after pro wrestling took hold in the 1930's. 

Toronto circuit regulars John Katan, Joe Maich, Al Dunlop, Pat Milosh, Les Lyman, Red Garner, and others (listed below) went on to promote locally themselves. Sandor Kovacs ran in Rochester and later in Western Canada. U.S. based Toots Mondt and Paul Bowser also had an interest in the early Toronto scene.

Main pic: Paul Baillergeon, John Katan, Whipper Watson Toronto 1955

Ivan Mickailoff runs the first weekly pro cards and stays in the city to 1938 bringing in the top stars of the day. His first card May 4 1929 drew 500 fans to see the main event of Jack Taylor vs Jack Rogers. He grew it to include Hamilton, Brantford, Oshawa, and other towns on a circuit starting in late 1929. Mickailoff also promoted through Canada's west in the 1930's and ran shows in both Port Arthur and Fort William (Thunder Bay) On.
See Gary Will's TWH Ivan Mickailoff: "The man who made wrestling in Toronto"

Toronto businessman Jack Corcoran and his Queensbury Athletic Club started with boxing in the 1920's. He began promoting wrestling in Toronto in 1930. Corcoran was awarded the matchmaking duties for shows at the newly built Maple Leaf Gardens in 1931. The Queensbury Club covered the region with shows from Barrie to Mount Forest down to Hamilton and the Niagara region. Ottawa and Kingston and some spots in the east as well. He ran Timmins (way up there) for a couple of summers. Corcoran, while mostly forgotten had a pretty good career and he was the one who hired the Tunney brothers.
See   Jack Corcoran: The Queensbury King

John Tunney and Frank Tunney took over for Corcoran officially in 1939 for both Toronto and Ottawa. John's untimely death in 1940 pushed younger brother Frank to assume the office. Corcoran stayed around a bit and help Frank in those early years but mostly stayed out of the spotlight. Many of Frank's trusted inner circle (listed below) helped with the operation and were dutifully by his side until his death in 1983. Pat Flanagan & Fred Atkins notably, who don't get included here as promoters. Frank also had unique relationships with the the Toronto sportswriters which made for a lot of wrestling coverage and good press in those days

Tunney, after a slow start gained ground with the help of Bill Longson and the others, and then the emergence of Whipper Watson. He enjoyed the National TV exposure (after begrudgingly accepting it) from the onset of the popularity of television in the 1950's. Starting on CBC and later on CFTO and CHCH which was the home for the TV shows continuing into the 1980's. Frank later went in with Jim Crockett Jr and George Scott in 1978 (officially in 1980) to promote in Toronto for the final years of the NWA years.
See  Gary Will's TWH Smiling John, The Forgotten Tunney

John's son John Jr aka Jack Tunney joined his Uncle Frank in the office in the early 1950s and took over officially upon Frank's death in 1983. He ran TV and some of the outer towns, did some ring announcing, publicity, and other duties. Frank's son Eddie Tunney joined the office in the early 70s initially on the accounting side and later partnered with Jack.

Barrie saw its first pro card in 1935. Playfair Brown, matchmaker for the Shamrock AC in Toronto had ran some mit-mat (boxing & wrestling) shows in the early 1930's as was common in those days before pro wrestling became more popular. While billed as Professional Boxing & Wrestling, the wrestling was often closer to amateur style. Brown ran boxing in Toronto against Corcoran's club but the two were friends and occasionally teamed up. A 1935 show promoted by Jack Pearl and his Cadillac Wrestling Club of Toronto ran at Barrie Arena. Drawing 400 fans, the card featured Pearl, Walter Parnell, Johnny Gyroffy, Tom George, Bull Findlay, and the Masked Marvel. Deemed a success they ran again a couple of weeks later.

When Wrestling returned to Barrie in 1936 it was promoted by Ross Richardson. The army base at Camp Borden near Barrie was also the site of mit-mat cards in the early 1940s and featured exhibitions of pro wrestling but unsure of who promoted them. Max Hurley famous athlete and former part time wrestler ran some shows in partnership with Tunney in Barrie in 1952-1953. The 50's also saw shows by Tunney and associates as well as Kasaboski (listed below).

Oshawa 1950 Milosh
Oshawa presented its first pro card in October 1929 at the Oshawa Armouries featuring the stars of Mickailoff's Toronto shows. Stanislaus Zbyszko, Archie Jeanuette, Renato Gardini, Charlie Manogan, Cowboy Rogers, and Irish Ned McCarr all appear on that first card. In the early 1940's The Oshawa Wrestling Club with Pat Farrell and Jimmy Szikszay take over and runs shows until 1946. Amateur standout Ted McKinley may have also been involved. 

After a riot at the last card of 1946, a young boxer and wrestler named Pat Milosh takes over and continues promoting until the 1980's, and later in tandem with Jack Tunney. Shows take place at the Oshawa Arena and later at Kingsmen Stadium, Childrens Arena, and Civic Auditorium.

Milosh also promotes shows regularly in Whitby Arena, Bowmanville Arena, Port Perry Arena with occasional trips to Cobourg Arena and Peterborough Arena.

Milosh also ran Peterborough select years in the 1950's with a full schedule of weekly shows over the winter at Brock Arena using the Tunney stars. The stars were mainly what was big in Toronto but some homegrown talent including Billy Stack, Sandor Kovacs, and Jimmy Szikszay are favorites around the area. Milosh continues to promote locally after the WWF aligned with Jack Tunney in 1984, albeit with a lesser role, but was still involved to 1992. His last was promoting a WWF event at the Civic.
See  Pat Milosh The Casino Kid
And Oshawa Wrestling History 

Ottawa, like Toronto and other major cities got the large promotion treatment. The city has to be considered among the big three wrestling cities in the province, alongside Toronto and Hamilton or London. Jack Ganson then Montreal promoter also ran shows in the 1930's at the Ottawa Auditorium. Corcoran ran the city in the late 1930's with Tunney taking over in 1940.

Sammy Sobel becomes the promoter of record in the early 1940's, representing the Queensbury Club under Tunney. Many of the stars from Toronto occupy those shows, Whipper Watson, Pat Flanagan, Fred Atkins et al. Sobel wore many hats under Tunney and is included below for other areas. He also was the ring manager of Vic Christy in the late 1930's.

In 1939 new Montreal promoter Eddie Quinn takes over the city promoting shows at the Auditorium with stars such as Yvon Robert, Ray Eckert, Bobby Manganoff, Larry Moquin, Frank Valois, and all the major stars of the Montreal-Toronto corridor. It appears that Tunney kept a stake in Ottawa and reaped some of the profits from the Quinn shows.

In the mid 1950's as television took hold, the CBC affiliate CBOT broadcasts live from ringside. Alongside the Quebec stars, Tunney's stars continue to share the stage in Ottawa as the years progressed. Quinn also promoted some shows at Cornwall Arena in 1954-55. Howard Darwin steps in around 1961 to function as the local man for Quinn and just 2 years later Quinn passed away. Darwin continued through the 60's using a mix of Tunney's main stars and the Quebec regulars for shows at both the Coliseum at Lansdowne Park and the Civic Centre.

Starting around 1972 Grand Prix out of Montreal takes over the Civic Centre and on occasion Lansdowne Park for outdoor shows in the summer. Led by Paul Vachon the shows include Vachon, Jos Leduc, Don Leo Jonathon, Dino Bravo, Reggie Parks and all the stars of the very popular Grand Prix circuit. Not sure if they were taping TV in Ottawa at the time. Grand Prix reportedly gave Tunney 5% to run Ottawa and also run shows in the northern towns along the border with Quebec, spots including Haileybury and Temiskaming.

In 1980 AWA head Verne Gagne tries his hand in Ottawa after a two-year pseudo-partnership with Tunney in Toronto. Shows were at Ottawa Civic using Tunney's ex Canadian Champ Dino Bravo ,Gagne, Crusher Blackwell, Adrian Adonis & Jesse Ventura, Mad Dog Vachon, Lord Alfred Hayes, Steve Olsonoski, and Quebec stars Gino Brito and Pierre Lefebvre. Gagne had earlier promoted shows in Kenora, ON in 1973 featuring his AWA stars including a young Ric Flair. Fort William/Thunder Bay was also visited by the AWA over the years. The shows in Ottawa in 80-81 listed Ray Boucher as promoter and drew pretty good (first show 2500 2nd 5000) but deemed not well enough to continue. Ottawa a long way from Winnipeg. 

International Wrestling out of Quebec run by Gino Brito and Frank Valois staged some shows in Ottawa in 1981 and drew fairly well averaging 3500 fans for several cards with the International stars Dino Bravo, Mad Dog Vachon, Pierre Lefebvre, and others.

Mike Vachon, son of Mad Dog ran shows also in Ottawa, Brockville, Kingston, and Belleville in April/May 1981 using many of the Quebec stars and some of McKigney's crew. McKigney was promoting Mad Dog and Carpentier but neither was appearing much - or at all. Shows in Sudbury and and other spots in the east and along the Ontario Quebec border look to have some partnership between McKigney and Mike. 

Perhaps seeing the potential in the nations capital, Frank Tunney also promotes a series of shows at the Civic in 1981-1982 using the same stars at MLG at the time.

Just across the river in Hull Quebec, wrestling in the 1940's at Decosse Stadium and at Hull arena featured Quebec stars under Eddie Quinn. Quinn also extends further into Ontario as far over as Cornwall and Kingston on occasion.

Dave McKigney starts promoting his own shows in 1965 up to 1987 in Ontario. To say he was an innovator would be a huge understatement. The way he ran shows and procured talent, sometimes world class talent - is an anomaly in the wrestling business. Without TV, without a big budget, and often without the support of the powers that be, he managed to create a whole subsystem of wrestling, beyond what could be called an indy fed.

Running under various names including 'Big Bear' and 'Big Time' McKigney covers a lot of miles across the province. He also run shows in Toronto and area encroaching on Tunney turf on occasion. In 1971 he ran Varsity Arena the same night as a Tunney MLG card which drew about 5,000 compared to McKigney's 'less than a thousand'.

Lakeshore Arena, Scarborough Arena, The Concert Hall, Brampton Memorial Arena, Ted Reeve Arena, and Varsity Arena all see Big Bear shows. In the early days he ran with the blessing of Tunney using the MLG guys and running shows sometimes alongside Whipper Watson Sr in the nearby towns. If you look at a map of Southern Ontario you will be hard pressed to find a town that never saw one of Dave's shows. In the later mid 1970's and early 1980's he goes further out from the Southern hubs into Renfrew, Huntsville, Pembroke and Vanier Arena, as well as tours of the Maritimes.
See Dave McKigney: 25 years later - Slam Wrestling -External Link

Toronto 1961 Marmon
Gus Marmon promoted some shows in Toronto in 1961. As the 'Olympic Wrestling Club' it appears he went in with Red Garner, by then working under a mask as Great Kudo. Garner had started using the Olympic name for his Thornhill Market shows in 1960. Some of the stars appearing on the 1961 shows at the Lansdowne Theatre included Kudo, Aledo Orlando, Tony Manousas, Killer Joe Conroy, Wildcat Osborne, Billy Foster, the Brothers Jennings (incl Wilf),

Marmon also put on some shows at the Cobourg Arena in 1960 with some of the above plus Cowboy Carlson, Ali Pahsa and Danny Shane. There is also mention of a TV show on Channel 11 in Kingston in June 1960 featuring the above stars. As well in the Richmond Hill paper it mentions Red is a 'director' of the Olympic Club and the TV show will run on Kingston CKWS late at night and that they hope to run on CHCH 11 in Hamilton! I am unsure if the Kingston shows ran, if so it would be quite rare as TV exposure remained elusive to the small town promoters. At any rate it looks like Marmon bought Red out as Red wanted to retire to his family. 

Toar Morgan, a former wrestling star promotes Lindsay in the early 1950's. He also serves as the manager of Lindsay Arena for a time. Barry Lloyd Penhale, who was close to Morgan told me about the shows but have been unable to find ads as of yet.

Dewey Robertson opened gyms in Hamilton and Burlington in the mid 1970's and run cards out of them. Am unsure if he ran anywhere else but he was frequently on cards run by pals Parisi and McKigney so may have had some involvement.

The main name in the North was Larry Kasaboski starting in 1945 out of North Bay and extending out to Renfrew, Pembroke and area. Running under Northland Wrestling the circuit grew to include a weekly circuit including Sudbury Inco Club, Sault Ste Marie McMekeean Centre, North Bay Ferris Community Centre, Timmins MacIntyre Arena, and Noranda (Quebec) Rec Centre.

Other towns that saw regular shows include Smith Falls, Wawa, Sundridge, Bracebridge, and Huntsville, Elliott Lake, Blind River, and Bancroft among others. On occasion Kasaboski tried his hand closer to Toronto in Orillia, Lakefield, Perth, and Brockville. In 1954 he ran Barrie Arena and Alliston Arena and later went head to head with Tunney.

In the past Kasaboski had maintained a relationship with Tunney and often featured 'stars straight from Maple Leaf Gardens' at shows and on his TV tapings. In 1954 at the NWA Convention Frank Tunney complained about Kasaboski going into his towns and under-bidding him to promoters.

Still, his shows in Barrie in the mid to late 1950s were well received by fans and often outdrew Tunney shows in the area. Kasaboski enjoyed success through the 1960's but crowds were waning in the 1970's. The TV show based out of North Bay and Sudbury on CKSO and hosted by Barry Lloyd Penhale is said to be the first Studio Wrestling TV show in Canada. It was shown here in Toronto as of 1954, a year after CBLT went with Wrestling from MLG.

Huntsville saw some cards in 1931 put on by Muskoka native Conrad LaLone featuring LaLone, Alex Koski, Ali Hassan, Chief War Eagle, and Jack Thomas.

Around 1973 Quebec based Grand Prix extended outward for shows at the Renfrew Arena featuring Andre The Giant and other stars. They drew 1,000 fans for a show in Aug 1973.

In 1975 Renfrew Community Center hosted a few shows featuring Quebec stalwart Edouard Carpentier and other stars of the Quebec circuit under the banner Super Stars Of The Mat.

Dave McKigney also moved north starting in the summer of 1973 with shows at the Renfrew Armouries as part of his summer tour. His first show in June 1973 used his regular stars including McKigney (as The Beast), Angelo Mosca, Bulldog Brower, and the midget stars. Later with Mike Vachon. Kasaboski continued with shows on his own and co-promoted with Grand Prix at the Arena through 1975 and was done. 

For a good read seek out the book The Rassler From Renfrew by Gary Howard, it's an extensive look at Kasaboski and Northland and one of the best wrestling books out there. Very underrated territory that had Studio TV before most of the big cities. 

We looked a bit at Kasaboski and Barrie at The Wrestling Boom of the 1950's - Beyond Tunney

Grimsby 1960 Wentworth
Hamilton, just down the road from Toronto enjoyed a rich history alongside its larger neighbor. Some shows in the 1920's at the Barton St Arena and Grand Opera House were put on by Toronto based Mickailoff.

In the 1930's shows at the Municipal Pool began, put on by George Hills. Hills may have been involved as early as 1929 as he was a regular on Mickailoff shows in Toronto. Wrestlers used were mostly from the Detroit and Toledo offices including Jimmy Redd Simms (later promoter, below), Martin Blimp Levy, Rudy Epps, and Johnny Tipa, along with the Toronto guys.

Late in the decade Toronto based Corcoran saw the potential for Hamilton and started at the Municipal Pool as well as the Hamilton Ballpark using the Toronto stars. The city proved to be an important stop for the major stars coming into Toronto for big bouts. Lou Thesz, Joe Savoldi, John Katan, Danno Mahoney, as well as local boy Johnny Silvy were regulars over the early years. As with Ottawa and Niagara Falls, Sammy Sobel ran the shows for the office in the early 1940's.

John Katan the strongman from Palermo and Toronto star branched out around 1947 to promote shows in Hamilton at the Municipal Pool and The Forum. He had, and continued to work closely with the Toronto office presenting the stars of Toronto. The action mirrored the cards from MLG and was a regular stop with Toronto & Ottawa for the World champs. Running under Hamilton Sporting Club Katan continued up till 1958. Katan was an important member of the early group that supported Frank and remained one of Frank's most trusted allies.  

Jack Wentworth operated the Queenston Wrestling Club out of Hamilton. In addition to training many wrestlers and running shows at his gym in Hamilton he promoted some shows at the Simcoe Arena in the late 1950's and later at Grimsby Arena. Local guys like Martin Hutzler, Dick Caron, Ron Logue, Skull Nurenburg and Lloyd Morris all appear in the late 50's for Wentworth.

During the Mid-Atlantic era Tunney ran cards and TV tapings at the Forum, Convention Centre and the low ceilinged Germania Club.

Acton  1949 Maich
Brantford operated similar to the other towns as a circuit town run by Mickailoff and later Tunney By 1950 Brantford was seeing shows by former Olympic and pro, and stock car enthusiast Joe Maich and his brother Don Maich, as Maich Sports Enterprises. Don had been a fixture on the Toronto amateur boxing scene in the early 1930's. They had their own crew of mostly lighter grapplers but often used Tunney stars and ran shows at the Arctic Arena, Delhi Arena, Cockshutt Park, and the Brantford Armouries.

In the 1950's the circuit grew to include the Simcoe Armories, Preston Arena in Cambridge, Georgetown Arena, and Welland Arena. Jimmy 'Red' Simm/Simms also ran Welland arena in the early 1950s and later in Hamilton and other towns in the region. By the early 1960's the Maich brothers were running cards through Milton, Acton and area.

In 1960-1961 there were cards in Brantford at the College Theater with Bull Johnson, Red Mask, Terry Yorkston, Mickey & Robby McDonald, Ernie Moore, and Pat Murphy appearing. Johnson occasionally ran shows around Hamilton and area up to the early 1980's. In the late 1970's Bull and his son Danny Bullwhip Johnson ran cards at the Shamrock Club in Hamilton with Terry Yorkston, Bob Marcus, lady wrestler Jean Baxter, and others. 

In the late 1970's Tunney began taping TV shows at the Brantford Civic Arena for broadcast on channel 11 CHCH out of Hamilton and seen across the region. 

N Falls 1975 Parisi
Niagara Falls had Sammy Sobel at the helm as part of Corcoran's Queensbury Club in the 1930's. He was an early promoter of the area and as with the other circuit towns, the stars appearing in Toronto occupy the cards.  

Sobel continues to run the area in the 1950's , Toronto supplied the stars and let the local promoters run the shows with money getting kicked back to the office. It proved to be a huge boost as the smaller towns could see the TV stars and get big bouts including world title matches. When Sobel died in 1957 it said he had promoted wrestling for 30 years, the last 20 in Niagara Falls.

In the 1970's Tony Parisi promoted at the Memorial Arena using a mix of the Tunney stars and the crossover from McKigneys shows. Parisi also ran shows at the Skylon Tower, Oakes Park, and The Optimist Club using the same crews, many of them Tunney stars. He also ran Welland on a at least a couple of occasions. Parisi arranged shows during the annual CNE Exhibition as well as the CHIN Picnic in Toronto using mostly local stars or old friends including the Love Brothers, Dom Denucci, The Executioner (Don Lewin), and Dewey Robertson. 

Around 1980 when Tunney went back to a circuit type setup they ran at the Memorial Arena and occasionally do TV tapings there through 1982, with Parisi handling the local end.

St Catharines was promoted by George Bird in 1959.
-to add

Al 'Bunny' Dunlop a star of the pre war years and for many ears after his wrestling days a referee at MLG, also promoted some shows in Toronto in 1947 under the banner Atlas Athletic Club. He put on several shows at Oakwood Stadium featuring Dunlop, Joe Maich, Billy Stack, Ted McKinley, Jack Sipthorpe, Walter Allen, Bob Larsen, Joe Kayorie, Sandor Kovacs, and Frank Hewitt. Maich, who was to promote Brantford and area was also involved in the promotion side for these shows.
See   Al "Bunny" Dunlop: wrestler, referee, promoter: Gary Will's TWH

Stoufville 1954 Garner
Edwin 'Red' Garner, the Pride of Langstaff started promoting cards regularly around 1948 based around his home in Richmond Hill. In addition to the Richmond Hill Arena, Garner put on regular shows at the Newmarket Arena, Weston Arena in Toronto, as well as Scarborough Arena.

For several years in the mid '50's he ran the Thornhill Farmers Market every Tuesday. Red, running under the Canadian Wrestling Alliance (a Roy McMahon sometimes is listed as matchmaker) branched out to Stoufville Arena, Aurora Arena, Port Perry Arena, Keswick Arena, Cobourg Arena, Georgetown Arena, and Peterborough, Lindsay, and others occasionally.

Some of the stars over the years on Red's shows included Ed 'Gori' Mangotich, Stoney Brooks, Joe Greenfield, Harold Van Dyke, Ivan Klimenko, Jack Flicker, Tom Sullivan. Al Wallace, Wildcat Osborne, Billy Foster, and future stars Mike Scicluna (later Baron), Ron Doner the Newmarket Flash, Holland Landing's Wally Seiber (later Waldo Von Erich) and Jacques Dubois (McKigney)

In the late 1950's son in law Joe Greenfield was listed as Matchmaker and Promoter as well.

If there were an Ontario based Mt Rushmore of promoters Garner deserves a spot up with Tunney, Kasaboski, and McKigney etc. 

See Red Garner The Pride of Langstaff

Bob Lane promoted in Georgetown in 1951. He may have been working with Joe Maich, On those shows were Maich, Farmer Bill Jones, Chief War Eagle, Wild Bill Cody, The Great  (Sandor -Frank) Fozo, and Masked Marvel.

Gus Marker was a retired NHLer who promoted some shows in Kingston in the early 1950's at the Kingston Centre as an associate under Tunney. The cards were mostly Tunney stars with some local talent. They had a TV show with Marker doing the announcing for a short time, but not clear who appeared.

Earl 'Sully' Sullivan, owner of Sully's Gym in Toronto and noted trainer and good guy was said to have promoted some wrestling as well but unable to pinpoint any. Maybe within Sully's similar to Dewey at his gyms. Sully's regular Ron Hutchison told us no as far as wrestling cards. 

Frankie Laine promoted some shows around the London area in the late 70s early 80s including the main stop Centennial Hall in London in 1981. These shows were mostly the same guys from McKigney's cards including McKigney himself, Candi Divine, Sheik, George Steel and Whipper Jr., and padded out by Joe Cagle and Mike Vachon. Laine also put on indy type shows in the summers at the the London Fairgrounds featuring Tim Gerrard, Sheik Ali, and others into the early/mid 80's.

Tommy Nelson was another of Tunney's inner circle of former wrestlers who promoted shows in the nearby towns. Using Tunney's stars he ran the Barrie Arena and Collingwood Arena in the 1950's. He added regular shows at Stoufville Arena, Aurora Arena, Sutton Arena, and Bradford Arena in the early 1960's. He was also noted as promoter on a 1958 Scarboro card using Tunney stars for a charity night show. Interesting to note is that he was said to take over for Roy McMahon as matchmaker for Red Garner's CCWA in 1955. Nelson also ran Galt (Cambridge) and Kitchener until Johnny Powers bought Nelson and Tunney out around 1965. Powers later took over in Cleveland and ran opposition to the Crocketts in North Carolina in the later 1970's.
See   Tiger Tommy Nelson

Toronto 1954 Lyman
Les Lyman promoted shows around the Toronto area from the early 1950's into the early 1960's. Regular shows at East York Arena commenced in 1953-54. Worked similar to Red Garner, using many of the same stars and looked to have a working relationship with Red while both were putting on shows at the same arenas. East York the most common stop for Lyman along with Scarboro Arena.

Tunney himself also booked shows at East York and on occasion Scarboro Arena when MLG was unavailable. Lyman evidently had Tunney's blessing as Les occasionally wrestled on the MLG shows. Some of the stars on Lyman shows included Lyman, Jack Sibthorpe, Blackjack Richards, Kenny Evans, Paul Penchoff, Joe & Sandy Scott (yes that Sandy Scott. Joe is not George AFAIK - he was on the main circuit) , Al Kendall, George & Bob McKeague, Ivan Klimenko, Ronnie Kopac, Killer Jim Conroy (also wrestled at MLG), and future Tunney/McKigney ref Wilf  The Sudbury Wolf Jennings.

Roger Baker attended one of Lyman's shows at Scarboro Arena in the early 1950's and remembers Lyman working out at the YMHA gym at Bloor and Spadina and wrestling on the mats there. He was always a Canadian champion but not a great wrestler look. Still, Lyman an interesting name we will try to look at further...

Sam Yanaky promoted in Georgetown, Milton, and area in the 1950's and 1960's, sometimes with Bob Burke. He was known as Nanjo Singh's manager in Toronto and was close with Pat Flanagan. One item says he is Pat's father, maybe 'like a father' not sure what the relationship was. He owned a restaurant called The Corner Cupboard and used the Tunney stars in Georgetown in the late 1950's and early 1960's at Georgetown Park. The Milton Arena opened in 1950 and started running wrestling in July 1950 with a first card main of Whipper vs Sky Hi Lee. Yanaky may have gone further out too into some of the smaller towns in the southwest. 

Red Garner promoted shows every 2 weeks on his summer tour of 1955 at the Georgetown Arena using his regular crew including hometown boy Lacrosse star Billy Foster.

Sports writer Ross Pearon was listed as promoter for some shows at the Milton Arena in 1960 using mostly Tunney's guys.

The Love Brothers Hartford (Wes Hutchings) and Reggie (John Evans) promoted some shows in the early 1970's at Grimsby Arena, Oakville Arena, St Catharines Arena, and around the Hamilton area among others. Its hard to decipher their scope as it overlaps with both McKigney and Whipper Jr. as they all used the same guys for the most part and ran the same spots.

Windsor 1960 Robertson/Doyle/Barnett
Both Blake Robertson and Bill Thornton ran Windsor in the late 1940's just as Tunney stopped running the city. Tunney had run Wigle Park as well as the Arena through 1947. Robertson ran out of the Market Building, using Bert Rubi, Eddie Lee, Johnny Gates, Pierre LaSalle, and others. Robertson owned a barbershop in Windsor. 

Thornton, a former star and promoting in Windsor since the late 1930's ran out of the Arena using Stocky Kneilson, Whitey Wahlberg, Red Lyons (not BRL) , Rene LaBelle, The Great Mephisto, Frankie Hart, and Tommy Martindale. Thornton also promoted some cards using Tunneys stars with Tunney as co-promoter. Thornton also promoted other cities or was listed as matchmaker, Toledo for one.

Around 1960 Jim Barnett and Johnny Doyle along with Robertson ran shows at Windsor Arena and Cleary Arena featuring the Detroit stars, Dick The Bruiser, Wilbur Snyder, Mitsu Arakawa, Bobo Brazil etc. At the same time there were smaller shows at the Teutonia Club with Luis Martinzex, Divie Duncan, and others, not sure who promoted those. Robertson was a Windsor barber and also ran shows in some of the nearby towns including Leamington and Essex. 

In the 1970's Windsor was mostly served by the Detroit side, The Sheik as well as Dick The Bruiser ran shows alongside, and sometimes in co-operation with McKigney.

London could be considered the #4 behind Toronto, Ottawa, and Hamilton. In the 1920's and '30s' shows ran at Winter Gardens The 1950's and '60's saw cards at the Arena and the Gardens featuring the MLG stars mirroring the Toronto scene at the time. Tunney cards with Flanagan, Whipper, and others running them. 

Through the 1970's and early 1980's McKigney ran shows at Centennial Hall, the Arena, and the Fairgrounds, and in the early '80s facing competition from the Tunney's who ran the London Gardens on the same day or close to Dave's shows.

For a couple of years 1973 and '74 McKigney worked with the WWA out of Michigan and featured Bobby Heenan, Baron Von Raschke, Jimmy Valiant Cowboy Bob Ellis and others alongside McKigney's regulars in London, Windsor, and other towns along the Western side of Southern Ontario.

After a busy 1960's Tunney left the area on a regular basis not to return until 1978. He added London, along with Kitchener, Hamilton, Niagara Falls. Oshawa. others as regular stops the days before or after the usual Sunday MLG card. In 1980 -81 we saw 5 day circuit appear, with stops at the above cities in addition to one offs in Oshawa, Kingston, Guelph, Peterborough and other stops.

Cannon 1977
George Cannon brought the upstart Universal Wrestling to Ontario in 1975 Featuring Tony Marino, Ben Justice, Super Hawk, Sailor White, Lionel Robert, and Richard Charland he ran a show at the Riverside Arena in Windsor. The same group also invaded Toronto that summer aided by Kurt Von Hess, Karl Von Schotz, and Killer Tim Brooks for shows at both Mimico Arena and Scarboro Arena Gardens.

Cannon tried to take a serious run at Tunney in 1976 with a show at the Coliseum at Exhibition Stadium using Bull Curry, Luis Martinez, Eric The Red, Tony Parisi, Fred Curry, The Love Brothers, the McGuire Twins, Frenchy Martin, and others. Tunney responded by moving up a show at MLG to go head to head. Tunney won fairly easily despite Cannon using Lou Thesz, a staple of Tunney's cards (and the NWA) in the 1950's. Sandwiched around that show Cannon ran cards at Cobourg Arena and Ohsweken Memorial Center using mostly the same crew.

Cannon was also unique among indy promoters in that he had TV at several times in the 1970's and early 1980's. His Superstars Of Wrestling running on the Global network in Ontario was quite popular and reached across the province. Tapings took place at the Global studio in Don Mills and at the University of Windsor. He also later had a show on CITY TV Toronto and ran under several names including Contact Sports and Can-Am Promotions. He promoted shows in Windsor at the Elmwood Casino and Windsor Arena and branch out as far as Quebec and Newfoundland. Cannon used a mix of Ontario, Detroit, and Quebec stars including those usually found on Tunney shows including The Destroyer (Beyer), Bravo, Nick DeCarlo, and others.

In 1981 Cannon put on some shows in Detroit and around Michigan/Ohio said to be with the help of Tunney (blessings maybe) and Gino Brito. The cards did feature some of the then Mid Atlantic/Tunney guys including Sweet Ebony Diamond, Greg Valentine, and Swede Hansen in addition to those named above. Other local Ontario guys included Ricky Johnson and John Bonello as well as regular Cannon mainstays Sailor White and Luis Martinez. How much involvement Tunney had with Cannon is not clear, it was likely more of a 'let them go' type thing as the fall of Detroit under The Sheik opened up the area for others to try running cards. 

Phil "Whipper Jr" Watson along with father Whipper ran some shows in the early 70s as far as Huntsville using Sr , Jr, Dewey Robertson, Haystack Calhoun, and Red Pollard. Whipper Jr continued to promote some shows over the next few years with shows at the Aylmer Arena, Ajax Arena, Uxbridge Arena, Brampton Arena, Brooklin Arena, and Markham Arena using Jr, the Love Brothers, the McGuires, Executioner, Nick DeCarlo, Big Bad Coleman, Cheif White Eagle, and others. Some shows are hard to figure out as there is some overlap with McKigney shows and with the Love Brothers who ran at the same time with the same guys. Whipper Sr and Jr trained wrestlers in a barn in Keswick and many filled out the cards, mostly during the summertime months.

Whipper Sr. also ran shows as one of Tunney's most trusted pals, promoting cards around his home base of Keswick, Newmarket, Brampton, etc in the 1960's. Sr. also worked alongside McKigney in the late '60's and I was told that McKigney tried to get Whipper to work with him against Tunney but Sr. would not go against Frank. Whipper Sr. did have a part of Hamilton in the late '60's as well as some of the outlying towns at least through 1970. He also had interest in Seattle and St Louis and took the MLW stars to the Maritimes and NL regularly in the mid 50s though the mid 60s, usually in concert with the Easter Seals campaigns. Those would take him across the country to raise money and why not-wrestle too. 

Lars Anderson and his World Wrestling League ran a show in Terrace Bay in 1982 (and maybe also in 1979 or 1980), and probably in Thunder Bay featuring Anderson, Timmy Rich, Junkyard Dog (not that one), and other Pfefer like names.

Fort William, now part of Thunder Bay had regular shows in the 1950's. The later part of the decade at least and into the late 1960's was Laddie Simkanin in charge. Some of the Toronto guys appear alongside Al Kashay, Verne Gagne, and others. As noted previously Mickailoff was running Fort William and Port Arthur in the early 1930's.

__________________ To be continued.....ongoing

-AC