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

From Nanjo to The Sheik: Tales from Toronto Wrestling 
Chapter: Lou Thesz and the NWA Title p 33-51
Excerpt begins page 38 and ends page 41
Picks up with Whipper defending against Hutton in 1956.

 ....Dick Hutton who had been offering $1000 to anyone who could pin him in less than 20 minutes would keep his money both times he faced Whip for the title. The first bout Whipper pinned him- but after the 20 minutes. In the second bout before 5,500 fans Hutton got back-dropped and flipped over the top rope to be counted out by ref Bert Maxwell. Steve York of the Globe asked 'do you suppose Hutton really has a $1,000 bill?' Hutton was frequently pictured in the papers with a bill stuck to his chest.

   In the Sat Nov 10 edition of the Star the byline reads 'St Louis, MO: Thesz grabs Whip's title in count out shemozzle.’ Whipper had lost the title to Thesz in a wild match and was coming home without the title belt.  Whipper was said to have had bouts set up in Florida which were cancelled but that was where he was anyways – to take a break after the title run. 

   Though Watson would only hold the title for 8 months, he defended it in his hometown 16 times between March and November 1956 before losing it back to Thesz. 

   Tunney was said to have offered Thesz $10k for the re-match to be held in Toronto while Whipper claimed he was robbed by the 20 count they used in St Louis as opposed to the 10 count used here.  The re-match at MLG on Nov 22 1956 went to curfew under the watchful eye of special ref Jack Sharkey to deny Whipper another run with the title. In front of 11,000 Watson had a claw hold on Thesz as time ran out on the bout after 42 minutes.

   Thesz would return in May 1957 to face Gene Kiniski. In front of 9,500 fans Thesz would hold Kiniski to a draw after 32:58 when the bout was called at the 11:15pm curfew. Kiniski would be the force in the bout however with his usual roughhouse tactics though the crowd would cheer on Thesz anytime he would get the upper hand. 

    When Lou returned again in Nov 1957 to face the 3 time NCAA champ Hutton, the Toronto fans would see another title change when Hutton beat Thesz after 35 minutes of action.

    Hutton had been enjoying a good run in Toronto since arriving here in April 1956. He had been un-beaten for a stretch while offering his $1000 challenge keeping his money against stars including O’Connor, Whipper, Ilio Dipaolo, and Dick Beyer (later aka The Destroyer).

    Hutton, on this night, pledged double his money against the champ, an extra thousand to charity if Thesz could beat him.  It was declared a no time-limit bout in which there had to be a winner. Either the title changed hands or Hutton’s $2,000, with Sam Muchnick holding onto the money.

Roger Remembers 
Dick Hutton, a powerhouse of a man, he was built like a tank, weighed around 260lbs. This Oklahoma bred mat man was all business in the ring and he could stay on his feet much to the consternation of many of his opponents. Hutton could also lay a sledgehammer elbow smash to an opponent that would knock the recipient senseless. He had a standing offer to any wrestler that could beat him in the ring in less than 20 minutes and would hand over a thousand dollars if he was pinned or submitted. During his time in Toronto Hutton spent about a month training and conditioning with Fred Atkins at his home in Crystal Beach Ont. Hutton was in training for a title match with Lou Thesz, and he went on to defeat Thesz for the World title.'

    The following day in the Star Joe Perlove described an exciting bout featuring the 'best assortment of scissors, toe holds, hammerlocks, armlocks, headlocks, and flying mares the fans had seen in a long time.’ There were 10,000 of them on hand to see ref Bert Maxwell raise Hutton's hand to declare a new NWA champ after he clamped on an abdominal stretch making Thesz concede. 

    One report said Hutton spent 8 weeks with Atkins. It was said that Atkins got Hutton's weight down through his extreme conditioning regiments. Atkins claimed Hutton was an 'alcoholic for cake' so he 'ran him through the sand until he dropped, then insulted him till he got up and ran some more.' Observers noted Hutton looked a lot trimmer than he had in some time when he met Thesz for the title. 

    Hutton would return 3 weeks later to defend against Yukon Eric in his first of 9 title defenses in Toronto. In addition to Yukon, Hutton would face Whipper (4 times), Wild Bill Longson, Thesz (2 times), and Hombre Montana. 

    Hutton would face Whipper in Jan 1958 with the bout ending in a dq win for Hutton in front of 8,000. Ref Dunlop disqualified Whipper after he had pinned Hutton and thought he had won the title. The lights went on and the crowd roared but Dunlop noticed Hutton's foot on the ropes and ruled the pin wasn't legal. Watson, incensed by the verdict threw Hutton over the ropes to the floor and lost the bout. Hutton (as happened several times in Toronto) would have to be stretchered out.

    The rematch 2 weeks later ended in a curfew draw after 36 minutes. 10,000 were on hand to see the bout described later by Jim Proudfoot as 'It’s the first time in recorded history that a National Wrestling Alliance titleholder has gone through a whole bout without wrestling.'

    For this one the Fabulous Kangaroos tag team was appointed as special referees. They called the bout fairly although Steve York of the Globe remarked 'And then there was that goofy business of making wrestlers Al Costello and Roy Heffernan referees. Whoever heard of two referees for a regularly scheduled championship bout?'

    Thesz would return in August 1958 for 2 straight weeks and challenge champ Hutton on consecutive cards. Thesz, cheered as he usually was -unless facing Whipper- would dropkick Hutton and when trying for a second one would connect with ref Bert Maxwell. Thesz would cover a prone Hutton and when Maxwell woke up and patted Thesz on the back the fans thought he was declaring Lou the winner. He was actually disqualifying Thesz for the hit. Thesz protested but to no avail. Watson was on hand to watch the bout after being off due to surgery and would watch as Hutton was stretchered out again. It said Whipper had been originally set to face Hutton but had to go in for minor surgery. Another article described the bout as a 'shooting match.'

    The second bout vs Thesz on Aug 21 ends in a curfew draw after '36 minutes of ‘skill, science and Hutton's canny rewrites of the NWA rule book, if there is one.’ Thesz would try to get an extra 5 minutes added while special ref Wilbur Snyder checked with Hutton who would have nothing to do with it. Snyder was said to have been mutually agreed upon by both participants.  Whipper, who was on hand again would challenge the winner of the bout beforehand but would have to wait as there was no winner......

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