Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ali Bey

Ali "Terrible Turk" Bey drifted into Arizona in 1972 and stayed for a time. He looked menacing enough with a shaved head and slight tassel of hair dropping down from the center of his bald skull. He had this gap in his teeth that made him look like a jack o lantern when he smiled. He did a prayer ritual like The Sheik, where he faced Mecca and pawed the ground. He had all the pose of a super villain, but in truth seldom won his matches.

Usually placed  on the undercard, where he faced Jimmy Valentine, Sergio Saravia, Chief Big Heart, Paul Harvey and Danny Johnson, he invariably ended up pinned.

No one seems certain what his finisher hold was in retrospect, as he never got to use one.

Though he always came out on the losing end, the odd thing was the people never stopped hating him. Each week, they jeered him with renewed gusto and loved it when his losing streak was kept alive.

One of Bey's better matches was a twenty minute opener at the  Phoenix Madison Square Garden in which he held his own. He even had the poplar masked Mexican down for a few two counts and seemed close to winning when the luchador made a comeback. Bey was pinned when Flama Roja did a Mil mascaras type of dive off the top rope and brought things to a close.

Sinister in appearance, but a lovable loser in the ring, Ali Bey remains one of the most oddball characters out of many to ever drift into Arizona.

Siete Vidas

Siete Vidas moved to Pheonix from Aguascalientes, Mexico in 1988 and lives there to this date, though he has long since retired.

During the early 1990s, this masked wrestler was a popular draw, feuding with The Black Mamba, Sergeant Shultz, Bronco Lazar  and Bonecrusher. A stocky individual who was not as prone to the fancy lucha moves as his smaller counterparts, he was more apt to brawling and doing solid feet on the ground wrestling.

Siete  and Black Mamba had a series of wild matches in Pheonix and environs, thought he feud was never pushed like it could have or should have been. More often than not, Mamba ended up winning which sent the people home mad and had them coming back for the rematch.

 In recent years, he has not been seen at matches, even as a spectator, but he has shown up at a couple of the annual old timer reunions held in Phoenix each January.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mona Lisa

If the famous Mona Lisa painting would have come to life, the woman who wrestler briefly under this name in Phoenix in 1982 could have passed for her.

Hyped as a new female sensation, she did not last long in the actual ring. A couple of matches with The Angels Of darkness did her in.

I was not that she was untalented, but found promoter Barry Bernsten impossible to get along with, as did many during his run in Phoenix. Likewise, when she found out "student wrestlers" were not getting paid for their initial matches, she figured the wrestling world was not what she thought it was and took a hike, never to return.

After Bensten left the picture and other promoters came into being, she was seen in the audience on occasion, but kept a very low profile. Though she spoke of giving it a whirl under better working conditions, she always balked at the last minute and never stepped into the squared circle again.

This is a pity as she might have really gone someplace had she extended the effort and not become so jaded.

Cowboy Bob Ellis

Rumors of his death have circulated, been discounted and recirculated for nearly two decades but as of right now, Bob Ellis is still alive and well in   Oklahoma.

Throughout the 1960s and into the early 1970s, this charismatic cowboy wrestler remained one of the most popular stars to ever come into Arizona. He appeared all over the world, working most of the USA as well as Canada, Japan and other foreign countries during his long career, but seemed to forever be back in the Phoenix/Tucson area for programs.

While as a single, or tag teaming with the likes of Ray Gordon, Tito Montez or Luis Martinez, Cowboy Bob Ellis was always over big with the Arizona. He also held their regional version of the "world" title for a time.

Ellis was known for a bulldog headlock to win most of his matches and also developed a reputation for starting off scientific, getting bloodied up, losing his cool and turning matches into brawls where he gave the rule breakers a dose of their own medicine. Sometimes his grudge bouts reached insane lengths as one match with Jody Arnold where the stipulation was for the winner to don spurs and ride the other around the ring like a horse. So help me, I am not making this up.

The feud with Jody Arnold was a long and violent one, with Ellis aging at the time and Arnold as a muscular young upstart claiming to be a "nephew" to the hated Don Arnold.

Others Ellis faced in Arizona for either one time shots or for long feuds include Don Arnold, The Comancheros, Woody Farmer, Jack Ringer, Henry Pulusso, Chuck Karbo, The Vulture, Don Kent, Spike Jones, Charlie Carr, John Shane, Eddie Sullivan, Gypsy Biviano, Bearcat Wright, Jerry Graham, Killer Kane, Sputnik Monroe and Blas Corona. He wrestled his last Arizona match in 1973.

Ellis was known for bloody matches in other parts of the Untied States as well, including feuds with The Blackjacks, Dick The Bruiser, Bobby Heenan. Brute Bernard and Bob Geigel. One of his greatest victories came when he reversed the Indian Death Lock on Buddy Rogers and forced him into submission.

Unlike many of the stars of today, Ellis was always willing to mingle with fans, sign autographs, pose for pictures and give interviews for free.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, there was a woman wrestler using the name of Ellie Elliot and claiming to be his sister, but she was evidently not a relation.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The One & Only

The One & Only has emerged on cable television after a lengthy absence. Originally released in the 1970s with Henry Winkler of Happy Days as a failed actor who finds his calling in pro wrestling.The movie is set in New York, but was actually filmed for the most part in California.

Several familiar faces from Arizona appear in this. Most notably is Chavo Guerrero Sr as Injun Joe.

One also sees Count Billy Varga, once one of Arizona's top draws, as a referee in the grand finale/main event of the movie.

To an extent the film spoofs the emergence of Gorgeous George on the wrestling scene, with Winkler  going through a variety of characters before finding his fortune as The Lover, again a George ripoff.

Not a bad movie. Very underrated.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Burton Barf

There is bit much to say about Burton Barf as he did not last long in wrestling. Few people will even remember him as he did not wrestle, manage, referee or promote. His distinction, brief as it was, was that of ring announcer.

The name itself was a spin off with a punk rocker twist, derived from an unpopular Arizona politician by the name of Burton Barr.

The name should have made him more endearing within wrestling cycles than it did.

Sadly, he did not give himself time to catch on, for when he found out how abysmal pay could be at the Indy levels, he returned to his position of radio disc jockey under his own name in short order.

Thus came and went Burton Barf.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wrestling Then & Now:The DVD

Dwayne Walker has produced a number of interesting features in the past, mainly emphasizing atheism and taking shots at religion. Ge did a number on the Catholics with Catholic School Girl Cat Fight, starring wrestler Bryan Walsh as a kinky priest. He did the same for the Evangelicals with Bible Madness making two street preachers look like hell.

Wrestling Then & Now takes a different approach. Aided by sheet writer, Evan Ginzburg, who operated the Wrestling Then & Now newsletter for over twenty years,. the DVD puts many of the people written about in is sheet on film.

Killer Kowalski, Mambo King and others appear, but for Arizona fans it would be more interesting to see retired great Don Arnold on the screen.

Arnold has been noted in numerous blogs already here. After all, he was a mainstay for two decades in Arizona facing Cowboy Bob Ellis, Tito Montez, Les Thatcher, Andre Drapp, Alberto Torres, Ramon Torres, Tony Hernandez, Luis Martinez, Les Thatcher, Phil Melby, Jim Wright. George Drake, Ian Campbell, Bruce Kirk, Gory Guerrero, Eddie Lopez, Frankie Cain, Jose Lothario, Frank Zomar, John Tolos, Armin Hussein, Billy Varga, Ted Christy, Pancho Pico, Ray McClarity, Bobby Pico, Gorgeous George, Bobby Graham, Rick Waldo, Lou Thesz, Dick Hutton and many more.

Sadly, Arnold says nothing about his many years in and out of Arizona, but speaks only of wrestling in general and his segments seem way too short. For his age, psychically he looks magnificent in his scenes. He would
have had to have been around 80 at the time. 

Still it is good to see him in this, which may well have been his last stand. Shortly afterward. he showed signs of Alzheimer which has since overrun him. As of now he is still alive, but plagued with memory loss most of the time.

In all, this is a DVD far different from the norm or the WWE fare. Worth owning.

The New York Assassin

Dave Gordon lived in New Mexico, but took the name of the New York Assassin as this was where he was born. A big, bearded man with a powerful build, he was a magnificent heel, thoguh usually seen on  the undercard   when booked in Arizona. From 1981 to 1983, he saw varied matches in Phoenix and environs.

The New York Assassin had some turbulent matches with Cowboy Bob Yuma and Pedro El Grande for the Barry Bernsten promotion, He also received a shot at the US title as held by Jody Arnold, but failed to win.

Among his finisher holds were a flying elbow smash and a power slam.

The New York Assassin likewise worked for an Albuquerque based promotion operated by one Bob Dean, who wrestled as Farmer Jones.

Jones and the Assassin had some hectic matches in New Mexico,. The bearded villain also faced Cowboy Cook in a feud.

The Assassin stopped coming to Arizona when he felt he was not getting paid what he was worth, sticking to his New Mexico home base until finally retiring.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sweet Daddy Watts

This rotund black grappler might have been better fit for Sanford and Son or something than in the ring, as with his 400 pounds of girth and high=pitched voice it was somewhat hard to take him seriously. In the ring, in spite of his appearance, he generated a good deal of heat in Arizona in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Watts did one of the strangest "turns" in history when he came on the air on tv and asked Bearcat Wright how to apply his devastating claw hold. Wright, always the maniac in Arizona, clamped it down on him and poured the coal to it, which turned Watts againsr him.

The accusations the two made against each other on promos afterward were laughable, with Watts going as far as to say he followed Wright to South Phoenix and saw him taking part in a voodoo ritual.

Wright eventually vanquished Watts, who headed to the Kentucky area and resumed work as a heel. He continued to do so into the early 1980s, but after that no one seems sure what became of him.

Watts did have a good run in Arizona, on both sides of the fence, but never came back after his feud with Wright ended.

A short time after Watts was sent packing, Bearcat would also be sent on his way after losing a series of matches to Tito Montez. He would head southward himself and also show up in the Ohio area as a fan favorite working for varied offices there..

Thursday, December 8, 2011

J,J, Bear

J.J. Bear was a big bodybuilder from out of Scottsdale, Arizona who had the strength, the looks and the charisma to make it as a wretsler, though he only stuck around from 1986 to 1988. Trained  rather hastily in order to be thrown into he ring as soon as possible due to his size, he sometimes had a difficult time with the veterans.

A few of the wrestlers he faced in the Phoenix area included Eddie Sullivan, Tom Ramirez and The Grim Reaper.

One of the high points of his short career came in a main event tag team match in Sierra Vista, Arizona, where he and Reggie Parks took on Tony Hernandez and The Mongolian Stomper, scoring an important win.

Bear could have gone farther in wrestling, but received the lucrative opportunity of working in the oil industry in Alaska, so off he went.

Nothing more was heard of him in the ring.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

From A Dark & Murky Place

From A Dark & Murky Place is another of my horror story combinations on Lulu, available in book and e book form. It is again nothing fancy, but provides some chills in a set of short horror stories all combined into one central theme like in those old Hammer horror movies, such as The House That Dripped Blood or The Uncanny.

You have vampires running a church and looking for recruits tot heir "faith" apart from the norm, a demon tattoo that comes to life, a haunted house, a man possessed by a dead Jack the Ripper type killer and my obligatory wrestling story, migrating between Ohio and Arizona which are my two favorite wrestling spots.

In The House With The Black Carpet, a supposed wrestler uses a line to pick up ring rats and lure them to his home, where he kills them. There is a reason for the black carpet.

Killer wrestlers in real life have sometimes gone beyond their nickname. Killer Kowalski, Killer Kane and Killer Brooks never killed anyone in the ring. However, a former carnival wrestler named Spinelli evidently did or at least had it done. Once she left the carnival circuits as a woman grappler, she started her own miniature mafia in California. She eventually went to the gas chamber. Look for a blog on her some other time.

My killer wrestler in this book is purely the work of fiction and base don no real life personality. He is, however, a total dick.

Orders at http://www.lulu.com/content/4904503

Susan Green

Susan Green made various appearance sin Arizona in the 1970s, both when Kurt Von Steiger was running at the Immaculate Heart Gym in Phoenix and when The Sheik tried to move into Arizona in 1973.

Susan was never a regular in Arizona, as she operated out of South Carolina for years both for Moolah's booking system and later on her own. She spent much of her career down south, but also made it to Japan on a number of occasions and appeared all over the USA.

In Arizona and other places, Green usually feuded with a notorious rulebreaker named Paula Kaye, who fought quite frankly, like a man. Kaye would brawl, sue foreign objects and hit opponents with chairs when most of her female counterparts stuck to plain old wrestling.

In Arizona, as elsewhere, the Green vs Kaye match ups were spectacular in an era where most female matches were routine.

Green also teamed with Sandy Parker to feud with Donna Christanello and Lily Thomas on several occasions both in Arizona and elsewhere.

Upon her retirement from ring activity, she established a wrestling school to train other people.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tim Patterson

Tim Patterson started in California, but drifted into Arizona for the Phoenix indies in 1988, where he engage din some wild matches with Louie Spicolli and Billy Anderson. His feud with Anderson was particularly bloody and ended when Anderson defeated him in a savage chain match in Phoenix.

The WWF matches done for televised tapings that took place in Phoenix around the same time span that Patterson appeared on did not go so well, as he ended up continually on the losing end in the fed.

On the Indy scene, however, his run was short yet spectacular. The Arizona fans hated him with an absolute passion.

Back in California, Patterson remained a mainstay for several years among the varied groups. He also donned a mask and becme one of Los Mercenarios, touring both the southwestern USA and Mexico in the main events.

He also amde quite a side career doing standup comedy in clubs.

He is retired and presently lives in Florida.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Miss Champagne

Miss Champagne was one of those hyped up people who came and went as far as Arizona wrestling is concerned, but what do you expect from a waitress promoter bill Johnson thought would make a good wrestler and propositioned to train. She was a tall blond with some looks, but nothing to set the world on fire. She also had a drinking problem.

Champagne had one memorable bout with Josie Navarro at the old soccer stadium in the Maryvale Mall in Phoenix, circa 1986. Navarro won and carried her most of the way.

So far, so good...

Then came the infamous tour in the northern part of Arizona that Bill Johnson booked. A case of beer was in  the locker room shower area for the wrestlers after their matches. Champagne got into it and drank it all befiore the show. Thus she entered the ring entirely trashed. Draw your own conclusions.

Fortunately for her, she was wrestling another rapidly-trained and inexperienced girl. Had she been in the ring with a seasoned veteran any of a number of vets would have killed her.

After that  she faded from view.

No big loss.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ludwig The Hun

You won't read much about Ludwig The Hun ebcause he did not last long in wrestling. In the early 1980s, when promoter Barry Bernsten started using his martial arts students as undercard wrestlers for economical measures on his cards, this fellow was one of them.

Tossed into the ring withotu proper training, he became not a vehicle for main events, but cannon fodder to convince people that wrestling was real. In one of his first matches he received a major injury while working with another opponent who, hastily trained as well, did not have a clue.

After the match, he complained of chest pains that grew so intense he went to the emergency room. In the hospital he was given an operation to remove a damaged spleen.

The Hun showed up after his release from the hospital and proudly showed off his surgical scar to any fans who were curious, but his career was done before it even got off the ground.

For a while he worked security at the wrestling shows and then faded into oblivion.

Gory Guerrero

Salvador "Gory"Guerrero is considered to be one of the finest of Mexican wrestlers, though he was born in the mining town of Ray, Arizona. He started out in Mexico, however, where he grew up and become a major draw in Guadalajara. Originally intending to wrestle as a villain, he considered using the name of Joe Morgan to capitalize on his American heritage, but nixed the idea early on. Instead, he shifted to the role of fan favorite and became a big hit.

He adapted the nickname of Gory because his matches were usually bloody. Though he could show scientific skill equal to any rival, he was not above brawling or slamming people into the front row of chairs.

In Mexico, Guerrero ebcame a major force and starred in several films, as well as the ring. He faced all the top stars, teamed with several others and became friends with the legendary El Santo.

His finishing move was a form of camel clutch that forced opponents into submission.

He later relocated to the El Paso/Juarez area where he was occupied with promotion of the sport as well as working on his owns cards until he caught up with him. He was also active in real estate after retirement and in various civic organizations,. He was likewise heavily involved in the area Masonic lodge.

Guerrero likewise trained his sons and several others to wrestle.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Guerrero made numerous appearances in Arizona where he was launched into the main events. As was par for the course, he feuded with the top villain, Don Arnold. As par for the course, these matches escalated into brawls and bloodbaths,. Usually, Guerrero did mosr of the bleeding, before making a  comeback when just ion the verge of a victory, Arnold would do something dirty to win.

The feud went over so well, Guerrero brought Arnold to Texas, along with Blas Corona, Tito Montez and Brute Bemis. He likewise sent Pancho Pico, El Mustang and others to Phoenix.

Other wrestlers he faced off with in his Arizona trips over the years included The Hood, Gypsy Biviano, Don Kent, Chuck Karbo, Tony Barbetta and Juan Humberto.

Years after the fact, he remains remembered. A New Times article on lucha libre in Phoenix in 2010 mentioned Guerrero at length. He likewise has bios in my books, The Garden Will Not Die, The Last Bell Call and A Parade Of Famous Masons. Several internet bios are also available.

Guerrero died in 1990.

The Corona Family

The Corona family out of Phoenix owned the old Palace Theater, as well as a dance hall and a rodeo ring. They were betetr known for running concert sand bloodless bullfights with bullfighters from Mexico, facing real fighting  bulls that were not killed. They did, however, make varied ventures into wrestling at their venues.Their success was not always great and their overhead often kileld them when it came to bringing in Mexican stars rather  than just using Arizona people..

Various wrestlers who appeared for them at their dance hall, rodeo ring or theater include Centella Negra, Rip Tyler, Eddie Sullivan, the Lumberjacks, Tony Hernandez, Jack Kessig, Freddie Gomez, Los Toros Bravos, Cerberus, Fishman, Super Argo, Chanoc, Eddie Lopez, Atlantis, Burton Barf, Indio Seri, Indio Salvaje, Zombie Palacio, Lizmark, Carlos El Malo, Samurai Kung Chang, Nano Ortega, Tom Ramirez, Super Aero, Tamba    and El Nazi.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Tragedy For David Rose

Condolences to David Rose, longtime Arizona mainstay in pro wrestling, who lost his wife Sunday after an extended illness.

A very short blog. What else can be said?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pistol Pere

Coming from Douglas, Arizona, Pistol Pete (Martinez in Arizona and Marquis in California) was a regular for a time at the Phoenix Madison Square Garden in the early 1970s. Some of the people he faced included Chuck Hondo, Billy Anderson, John Shane and Tony Hernandez.

Arizona served as  a training ground for Pistol Pete more than anything else, for as a younger wrestler new to the game, he was able to perfect his skills, then move onward.

In the late 1970s, he would move to California and get in on the last days of Mike Labell's promotion at the Olympic Auditorium.

After Labell closed, Pete continued for several years working with a number of California promotions. he also teamed for a long while with a huge black wrestler called Buddha Khan,  whom he met while working for Labell. 

He also entered the world of acting,

As of this writing Pete still lives in California and stays in touch with varied wrestlers, friends and fans online,

Johnny Kostas

Johnny Kostas was an international star who wrestled throughout Europe, the Orient, Canada, Latin America and the USA. Coming from Greece, he was trained as a "master shooter" and could tie people in knots in a heartbeat.

More often than not, Kostas wrestled in his bare feet and dropkicked the hell out of his opponents.

Arizona became a place where he was seen regularly late in his career, as he decided to look to eventual retirement  there and buy a  house in Tucson.

From the late 1960s into the early 1970s, when he decided to call ti quits, he was a regular in Phoenix. One of his biggest feuds was with the then upcoming Jody Arnold. The two of them met in many savage bouts in Tucson, Phoenix and Casa Grande.

Other people he faced on a regular basis included Kurt & Karl Von Steiger, Chuck Karbo, Don Arnold, Don Kent, Kiko Torres and Spike Jones.

At one point when his feud with the Von Steigers became intense, he imported a "cousin" under a mask by the name of Edmundo Manuel to help him fend off the German invasion.

After retiring,. Kostas would live in Tucson for many years. When his health started to falter, he made a trip back to his native Greece. Upon his death, his cremated remains were scattered on the Greek coast.He was in his 80s.

The Black Mamba

The Black Mamba first emerged on the Arizona scene in 1986 when promoter Barry Bernsten made a failed attempt to revive his old promotion. Within a year, however, he had improved so much he was main eventing for  a different promotion operating out of the same area and continued to work for a number of years for others which came along.

Aside from wrestling, he remains to this day a talented singer and gourmet cook.

Though usually hated by the fans, Mamba was sometimes cheered when fighting other rule breakers such as The Lumberjacks, The Beast and Sergeant Shultz.

Others he faced over the years included Bull Zambrano, The Ripper, JT Law, Louie Spicolli, Steve Gatorwolf, David Rose, John Ringer and more.

Of all the people Mamba feuded with in Arizona, his longest and greatest feud would have been with Thrillseeker Terry Zeller. The two met in just about every type of match known to man, when to the surprise of all, they stopped fighting each other in the middle of a Texas Death Match, deciding it was more logical to team up than feud. So they formed a tag team, won a version of the Western States Tag Team title, but dissolved it and ended up fighting each other again.

Though more often than not active as a wrestler, he became a manager of sorts at the same time, via the formation of his Mamba Inc, where he assembled a whole throng of villains to help him in his evil ways.

Mamba also made it to Mexico for varied matches. He was seen in San Luis Rio Colorado, Nogales, Hermosillo and other places.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Toolie's Nightclub

Where they were not running at Graham, Central Station, Mike Esparza and Bill Johnson were busy running at Toolie's Night Club in Phoenix on McDowell Road.

Louie Spicolli had many of his early matches here and came into his own facing the likes of Sergeant Schultz, Krusher Krugnov and Eruption.

Others seen for this promotion included The Beast, Miss Vicious, The Black Mamba, Dr Skin, Thrillseeker Terry Zeller, Justuin Powers, The Lumberjacks, Tom Ramirez, The Grim Reaper, Crazy Horse,  Steve Dezire, CC Starr, The Ranger, Renegado, Orcida, Orca, Silver Fox, Flama Negra, Tim Tall Tree, Stephen De Leon and more.

Many of these matches, complete with commentary, were taped and still circulate among fans.

Of the varied wrestlers, Spicolli and De Leon would meet tragic ends. Spicolli would die from a bad mixture of pills and alcohol, while De Leon would be killed in a motorcycle crash.

Among some of the most memorable incidents were those provided by arch villain Steve Dezire,  especially when he came into the ring and insulted The lack mamba into a match, by wearing a hubcap over his neck and insisting mamba would be on his way to steal it, being he could not resist temptation and all. He then produced a black baby doll, squeezed it and insisted it was saying "Mamba. Mamba."


Ray Gordon

Born in New Zealand to either Yugoslavian or Hungarian parents, as there are versions of the tale that conflict, Ray Gordon became a popular wrestler in the "Down Under" area before becoming an international star. He worked for many of the old territories and was always regarded as a top hand.

Gordon likewise trained many wrestlers, such as the mufti-time World titleholder, Harley Race. in Arizona, Gordon was likewise partly responsible for the training of the then young Jody Arnold.

"He was just SO tough," Arnold would later remark. "He was like a freak of nature. I was more muscular than him. There were a lot of people more muscular than him. The only thing was, he would fool you by looking at him. He was superhuman when it came to strength. I have never seen anyone that strong. In a ring workout he could push and move anyone tryout to stand still, but when he stood his ground you could not move him. He was just so tough."

During the 1960s, Gordon had many matches in Arizona, facing the likes of Don Arnold, The Comancheros, Don Kent, George Drake and Spike Jones. His matches with Chuck Karbo were exceptionally wild and spanned several years.


This feud reached its peak in 1968, during a televised match where Gordon was facing Henry Pulusso. All of a sudden John Shane and Karbo charged the ring and helped Henry beat the hell out of Gordon. Cowboy Bob Ellis and Tito Montez charged in to make a save, which of course set up a six man tag feud.

In spite of this happening, Gordon and Karbo also continued to meet in a number of single matches that usually evolved into bloody brawls. More often than not, Gordon's airplane spin or Boston crab would win out over Karbo's backbreaker.

Gordon retired in 1971 and moved to Canada, where he died some years later.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fred Blassie

Though he was known as a rulebreaker who liked to bite open the heads of those he faced in most places, Blassie was popular  with the people during his Arizona run in the 1950s. In fact, one of the period magazines of the time stated he was second in popularity only to the famed Count Billy Varga in the Pheonix area.

Facing the likes of Jim Wright, Gorgeous George and Don Arnold surely added to the reason why fans loved him,

By the 1960s, Blassie just stopped coming to Arizona, having found a far better living for himself by going  between Japan and Los Angeles..

In California he wrestled first  as a villain, then went to become one of the most cheered stars of all time, following a major feud with John Tolos.

In his WWF stints, however, he was back to villainy, first in an unsuccessful bid to wrestle the World title from Pedro Morales and then or a far longer run as a manager. 

When with the WWF, Blassie made various appearances in Arizona in the manager role and also did some work as a public relations man, speaking at business conventions and seminars for cable TV.

He wrote his autobiography shortly before his death. An outstanding last feat for a man who lived to be in his 80s.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Graham Central Station

Incredibly for a promotion with no television, the UWF of Bill Johnson and Mike Esparza drew audiences of 1,000 to 2,000 in Phoenix at Graham Central Station during their run.

Aside from a host of local wrestlers such as Mike Contreras, Special Forces, The Sicilian Slammer, Miss Vicious, Irish Mist, Black Mamba and John Ringer, several wrestlers were brought in from both Mexico and California for the cards.

Billy Anderson, Louie Spicolli and some others were among the Californians, while Mando & Eddie Guerrero were booked from Juarez.


Sergeant Shultz remained the key villain and brought in his "brothers" for a number of wild tag team matches. The Neo-Nazis remained one of the most hated tag teams in the history of Arizona wrestling, surpassed perhaps only by the Lumberjacks and Chris Colt/Ron Dupree.

Billy Anderson had an exceptionally bloody chain match in Phoenix which saw both men covered with blood.

Others who appeared at this venue included myself as manager, plus a host of other wrestlers.

The Pale Riders, Danny Medina, Russian bear, Mike Contreras, Two-Hyped, The Ripper, Bill Luegar, Colonel Natasha, Bayou Blossom and Sicilian Slammer were a few of them.




Wild Red Berry

Ralph "Wild Red" Berry was a colorful wrestler and a holder of the World Jr. Heavyweight title a number of times. Since he operated out of Hollywood during these many reigns, he was likewise a regular in Arizona during the 1940s, with special emphasis on the Phoenix Madison Square Garden.

One of Berry's main Phoenix opponents was Gorilla Ramos out of Juarez, with whom he swapped the belt numerous times. He and Ramos had some bloody brawls that got so out of hand, some fans actually left the building sick to their stomachs from the gore.

Berry knew how to irritate a crowd. Even before the days of television boom, he was able to milk an audience with radio interviews and talks with newspaper reporters. The same held true for actions on the mike at the  shows. Using mufti-syllable words that only a college professor could understand, he slammed everyone in sight. At times he would quote Shakespeare, Dante or even from the Bible to make a point. Articulate far beyond most of his audience, they listeners were not always sure of what he was saying, but knew whatever it was, they didn't like it.

After retiring as a wrestler, Berry became a prominent manager, handling The Kangaroos, Gorilla Monsoon Hans & Max Mortier and others.

When he quit doing that also, he settled down in his native Kansas, where he became prominent in area politics and in the Masons.

He died after a round of golf, when he sat on his porch drinking milk.  .

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kamala

Kamala-The Ugandan Giant, was  bot really from Uganda, as was and is often the case in wrestling,  with people taking colorful identifications and nationalities. He is in fact one James Harris.

In the 1980s, Kamala toured the United States and as part of the circuit was seen live in Arizona varied times, as well as on the downpour of television tapes.

Posing as a cannibal with war paint and looking like something right out of Trader Horn, he stunned fans both in appearance and with his agility for such a tall and obese grappler..

Arizona wrestler CC Starr was one of the locals who experienced Kamala's leap off the top rope when he did TV taping matches in Phoenix for the WWF.

Perhaps one of his greatest feuds would be with The Undertaker in the WWF.  On a lesser scale, when he first started doing the Kamala routine, he had a wild and bloody feud with Jerry Lawler for the Memphis  office.

In his day he was amazing, but all things come to an end. He retired form active wrestling but continued to make the conventions and autograph signing events  .

Sadly, his blood pressure and diabetic condition raged out of control to the point where in 2011, he had to have a foot surgically removed.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Colorado Kid

Eli Corella was as capable a wrestler as anyone. Short and stocky, he was trained by David Rose and arrived on the Arizona scene in the late 1970s. He continued to wrestle until 1985.

Originally, he was an "Indian" as JR Youngblood, but this was later changed to match his  Hispanic heritage as The Colorado Kid.

The grappler usually was seen on the undercard, but had his share of wins, usually with an airplane spin to help him gain a victory.

I recall wrestling him once and losing to him with that airplane spin of his alright. I am just not sure of the date. I think in 1980. A win over me would be no big deal to brag on as  always considered myself a far better manager than a wrestler.

Other people he faced and I am not sure what the won or loss record would be include Maniac Mike Gordon, The Lumberjacks, John Ringer, Ringo Rodriguez, Mr. X and The Golden Eagle.

One of the bloodiest matches he ever engaged in was one on one with Lumberjack #1 in Phoenix, where he was turned into a bloody mess for the first time ever. Seeing him bloodied pushed the crowd to a riot pitch  and several fans were thrown out for trying to rush the ring as just when The Colorado Kid started his comeback, Lumberjack #2 interfered.

Sergeant Shultz

A vile and muscular Neo Nazi, Sergeant Schultz first emerged in the Arizona rings in the late 1990s, mauling and brawling his way to the top. While he never held a title in Arizona, he was the first to claim he didn't need one.

"I don't want to be God damned champion," he claimed in all too fluid English in one 1990 interview.

In singles matches he stormed over just about everyone in his path, Billy Anderson, Louie Spicolli, Thrillseeker Terry Zeller, The Ranger, The Mercenary, lance Ferraro, The Black Mamba, The Ripper, El Principal, Flyboy , Amadeus, Silver Shadow, Eli Hernandez, Danny Medina, CC Starr  and  Mike Contreras were some of those he faced.

One of the gigantic villain;s most devastating moves was a wicked flyign elbow smash that he named "The Medina" after taking out Danny Medina with a series of them in a Phoenix bout that required the Hispanic wrestler to be helped from the ring with cracked ribs.

Shultz also squared off with Eddie Guerrero in a tag match and Mil Mascaras in a singles matches in Phoenix, with slightly less successful results.  One cannot win them all, you have to suppose, but he came close.

As if trouble needed a double, let alone a triple, a Sergeant Schultz 2 and 3, "brothers" to the original, also emerged on the scene.

Shultz also became a big draw,  particularly in the Juarez area of Mexico under the name of Commando Nazi.

In Juarez, his manhandling of varied opponents caused more than one rift, with fans throwing chairs and other debris into the ring.


Shultz eventually retired from the ring to enjoy cigars, motorcycles, Coors beer  and a someone less riotous  life.

Zombie Palacio

Since Gory Guerrero was big in Arizona (in fact he was not born in Mexico as many believe, but int he small mining town of Ray, Arizona)m he would take many Arizona wretslers to the El Paso/Juarez area where he later promoted. He would also send his crew to Phoenix at various intervals, making an exchange program of benefit to all.

Zombie Palacio was one of the students Gory Guerrero trained and was pushed heavily in the Mexican border towns.

He wore a monster mask and sometimes wrapped himself in mummy tape rather than wrestlign gear, but no matter what uniform he chose to wear, he was always uncanny in appearance.

"I swear the morons in the crowd thoguht he was a real monster," Mike Gordon used to laugh when reflecting on this grappler's style and routine. :He would come out of the locker room and you knwo how you would have people hanging around taking hpotos or wanting autographs? Well, propel would get one look at him and run. like "Oh shit, here he comes." He would eat thsi up and sometimes chase after them. It was hilarious."

Palacio made only a handful of Arizona appearances in his career. In the 1980s, Super Argo had spoken of bringing him in, but ran out of funds and closed down his shows which were being held at St. Mary's Gym in Phoenix, before the monster man could make a showing.

"I think he could have cared less about Texas, New Mexico and Arizona," commented  one Indy wrestler, Red Star,  "He was so big in Mexico and especially Juarez that he really did not need to travel outward or fo through the hassle of getting work permits in America. The funny thing is now no modern fans remember him, but in his prime hew as such a big ward and I mean BIG."

Masked Frankenstein

In 1978, Masked Frankenstein made his way into he ring in Phoenix and the crowd was not sure what to think. A lumbering wrestler in a monster mask, brought in with chains and led out with a fiery torch like something from a Karloff movie, seemed a bit far fetched at first. If the crowd laughed in the beginning, however, they were not laughing when he demolished Mike Gordon in his debut and continued to bloody up then beat a host of opponents before winning a big battle royal.

The story Tom Ramirez initiated as a spokesman for this lurching hulk was that he had been a popular wrestler in Mexico and had been in a bad car wreck in Toluca. besides physical scars, the story said he had lost his mind and believed himself to literally be the Frankenstein Monster.

Be that as it may, Ramirez also used this opportunity to launch his son into the wrestling realm as a manager for Masked Frankenstein calling himself The Keeper.

The masked villain received a major push and was thrown into a feud with Mr.Wrestling (David Rose) when he suddenly received a chance to tour Mexico, then onward to Los Angeles to work for Labell,. The evil <asked Frankenstein was out of Phoenix faster than someone could say "Growl" in search of bigger bookings.

The Los Angeles run saw Masked Frankenstein's name changed to The Monster, where he again gained ground and received a big push. He ended up leaving Los Angeles, however, when he and Andre The Giant became engaged in the fight to end all fights, with both men injuring each other, If anyone doubted the masked  man's toughness, one need only consider this match where he came closer to handing Andre the greatest legitimate beating of his life than anyone. the Giant won out,. but it was not pretty. Several bookers were perturbed at both men, for both reportedly missed bookings due to injuries they gave each other.

In 1981, The Monster was back circulating between Arizona and Mexico, but with his more familiar alias as Frankenstein. He ended up facing his old nemesis, David Rose and others. The Lumberjacks, Pedro El Grande and Jody Arnold had their hands full with him too.

Masked Frankenstein called it quits or was perhaps disassembled in 1989.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Maniac Mike Gordon! One Year Later!

November marks the sad passing and one year anniversary of the death of Gordon Michael Voris, otherwise known as Maniac Mike Gordon. Though never a famous name, he gave his all for wrestling and frankly, put in more than he received back from it.

He died from a heart attack in front of his wife in his apartment outside Toronto.

Gordon spent several years in Arizona, though his best run was in the 1970s decade, where he faced Tito Montez, David Rose, Tony Hernandez, Super Argo, Chuck Hondo, Eddie Sullivan, Cowboy Bob Yuma, Woody Farmer and others.

Rest well, Mike. Rest well.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mitsu Arakawa

An effective tag team wrestler, Mitsu Arakawa held the AWA and WWWF tag team titles during his long career, but was better known as a singles attraction. His judo chops, throwing salt in the eyes of opponents and breaking the rules made him a hated heel among fans in the 1950s through the 1970s, who still remembered World War II all too vividly.

In the late 1950s, Arakawa had an Arizona run as he migrated between there, Texas and California.

Yuma was one of the areas where he was seen with some consistency. He also appeared in Casa Grande, Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff.

Atakawa died in 2000.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Charro Azteca

Charro Aztecawas not typical of Mexican wrestlers, for he did not wear a mask. He, however, did do the  sensational flying leaps, dropkicks and moves that dazzled his opponents in true luchador style.

While this grappler was seen in numerous parts of the United States, he remained a major draw in Arizona in the 1950s where he was a perennial fan favorite.

Charro had several bloody matches with Arizona's key villain, Don Arnold. They met in Phoenix, Tucson, Casa  Grande and other locations with mixed results. more often than not, Arnold would pull some dirty tactics just when the Mexican was about to win and score an underachieved victory.

Charro also faced Brute Bemis, the Christy brothers and El Diablo on a continual basis.

Charro occasionally teamed with Gory Guerrero and a young Tito Montez.

The popular wrestler retired and passed away long ago.

Bobby Heenan

Bobby Heenan was a veteran when he first drifted into Arizona in 1984, when Gagne made a failed attempt to open up the state to his brand of wrestling, The fact the AWA did not last in Phoenix had nothing to do with the performance of the wrestlers or in the case of Heenan, a manager, but the overhead Gagne was incorrect in  calculating, He spent more money than he made in trying or run the area. As such he lost his ass.

The television tapes and live shows, for what little time they lasted, did help Heenan to get his name known in the area where before, he was familiar only to fans who read the magazines.

In the past, Arizona had a reputation for riotous fans and a sometimes dangerous area for managers. In the past I recall causing a riot or two myself. Sam Bass, Johnny Mann, Ron Dupree and The Mortician did the same. Heenan seemed to know this or was perhaps warned for in his AWA run he would not get anywhere near the fans. Whenever he left the locker room and was not at ringside, he stood in a darkened corner of the arena, nervously smoking and studying the onlookers form the distance. Security was always close at hand when he was out in front of the audience and there was always someone watching  his back.

Heenan of course generated a great eal of heat from the audience. He was one of the most controversial figures and a top draw for the AWA in their Arizona stay. He may well have overshadowed the actual wrestlers on the cards.

During his WCW and WWF runs, Heenan would return to Arizona as a manager or as a commentator, but not with the consistency of before. Even though the nature of the game had changed, he was still very wary of  the audience or so it seemed. He seldom got close to fans or autograph seekers and rarely attended after parties or the hotel bar.

In latter years, Heenan would fight and beat throat cancer. He would also write a book about his exploits.

Bobby Heenan remains one of the all-time greats among wrestling managers and this no one will deny.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Andres Carpentier

Though he was not as bad as Tony Santos or Jack Peffer in the eastern states, who made a fortune by using wrestlers with sound alike names such as BUMMY Rogers, Bruno SaNMartino and HOBO Brazil, Ernie Muhammad would use in now and again for either humor or to try to boost the gate.

Late in his run, Ernie had a Gene Viniski and a Jack Frisco to simulate a Kiniski and a Brisco.

Earlier in his promotional efforts in the 1960s, he brought in one Andres Carpentier, as a cousin to the more famous Ed Carpentier.

Andres was no relation to Ed Carpentier. In fact Ed Carpentier was not a Carpentier himself, as this was a false name too.

Like his more famous "cousin" who had made a name for himself feuding around the globe with Killer  Kowalski and Hans Schmidt, this member of the "family" did the expected dropkicks and high-flying moves the fans expected from someone from that bloodline. They, of course, never questioend anything.

Andres stayed until he grew stale with the public and moved on.

I have no idea who he really was.

Dory Funk Sr.

Dory Funk Sr. made his first run through Arizona in the late 1950s as he migrated between Texas and other states. Some of the people he met in Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma or in smaller spot towns were Don Curtis, El Diablo, Rip Rogers (Eddie Graham), Juan Humberto, Don Arnold and Brute Bemis.

Even in this part of his career, he was already known for the development of the spinning toe hold, which forced many into submission. His sons Terry and Dory Jr. would also use the hold as part of a family tradition, the latter of whom forced Gene  Kiniski into submission to win the World title.

While Dory St, remained part of the NWA office for years, from his Amarillo however, he never won their World championship, though Terry and Dory both did.

Dory Sr. didn't win any major titles in his Arizona run, though he had shots at the North American and Arizona crowns.

Back in Amarillo, however, he did lay claim to a bizarre title of sorts when he was branded the World Texas Death Match Championship for his reputed survival of over 200 such anything goes/marathon matches. 

This led to his final Arizona run in 1971, when Rod Fenton started promoting shows (also the aging Fenton's  last hurray).

In February of 1972, he faced rival Ciclon Negro in a grueling Texas Death Match in Phoenix at the Travel Lodge (later Celebrity) Theater. Dory retained his "title" so to speak, by eventually defeating the Venezuelan villain. The two traded numerous falls and were both covered with blood before the thing ended, Funk was the last man standing and declared the winner, with Negro sprawled out on the arena floor, unable to go on.

A few years after that, Funk died from a sudden heart attack on his ranch.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Terry Funk

Terry Funk first made regular runs into  Arizona in the 1970s when Rod Fenton was working in onjunction with the Arizona office and even when he was not booked on actual cards, he became a familiar face due to Fenton's use of Amarillo television tapes.

Funk returned to Phoenix when The Sheik ran a set of shows in 1973. He saw himself in an odd combo of events, teaming with Fred Curry to take on Kurt Von Hess and Karl Von Shotz.

Funk likewise saw action in Arizoan during his stint as a rulebreaker for the WWF.

Amazingly, it was his father Dory and his brother Dory Jr who proved to be bigger attractions in Arizona, as well as more regular visitors.

Dory Sr. had a lengthy Arizoan run in the late 1950s and returned for Fenton in 1971-1972. Dory Jr was a regular both for Fenton and The Sheik, as well as other promtoers. It might be kinder NOT the dwell upon his WWF run as Hoss Funk.

The whole sitaution seems more peculiar for in the mainstream, in all other parts of the world, Terry's name and reputation domiante, but in Arizona he was overshadowed by his other family members.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Charlie Kalani

Early in his career, a happy Hawaiian wrestler had various matches in Arizona, facing the likes of Don Arnold, John Tolos and Brute Bemis. He would later establish a home base in California, change his name and become the terror of the ring, without giving Arizona much more notice.

The popular Hawaiian would change his nationality to Japanese, give an evil leer, throw salt in the eyes of his opponents and take the world by storm.

He would hold part of the World Tag Team title in the WWF.

He would feud with Pedro Morales, Gorilla Monsoon, Bruno Sammartino and others.

He would appear in other parts oft he United States and become a top drawing card.

Prior to retirement, he would become a regular on the California cards. In fact, he would be regarded as a California institution.

He would also play in several movies.

He passed away in 2000.

Who was this man who went from being a mid-card wrestler as a Hawaiian fan favorite in Arizona to a jeered, but prosperous villain elsewhere?

Charlie Kalani in Arizona would ebcome the dreaded Professor Toru Tanaka everypalce else.

And now you know the scope of the tale.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This Saturday Night At The Akron Armory

Like my book on Lulu dealing with the Phoenix Madison Square Garden, my This Saturday Night At The Akron Armory deals with another fallen arena, this one in Akron, Ohio. The book is also available at Lulu publishing via http://www.lulu.com/content/5132784 for orders.

Though not fancy, the book tells a story no one else has bothered with and I think does the trick.

Many of the people who appeared in Akron and are mentioned in bios in this book also appeared in Arizona, including The Sheik, Don Arnold, Buddy Rogers, Lou Thesz, Ben Justice, Killer Brooks, Chris Colt, Sue Green, Primo Carnera, Haystacks Calhoun, Luis Martinez, Fred Curry, the Poffos, Cowboy Bob Ellis, Paula Kaye, Bobo Brazil, Bearcat Wright, Tony Marino, John Tolos, Lou Albano, Don Fargo, George Steele, Kurt Von Hess, Don Kent, Jerry Graham and more.

The book also offers bios fo many people who for whatever reasonm never mad eit to Arizona, but were regualrs in the oHio territory such as Johnny Powers, Tiger Jeet, Eric The Red, The Love Borthers and Gentleman Saul Weigneroff.

Rip Rogers

There was a Hustler Rip Rogers active in the 1980s and fairly over with the public, both in ICW and NWA promotions.

Long before, there was another Rip Rogers in Arizona, active in the late 1950s.

This Rip Rogers also had dyed blond hair and a strutting manner, but unlike the one from the 1980s, he didn't hustle, I suppose.

He had matches with Don Curtis, Dory Funk Sr. and others. While he was not a bad wrestler though, there was something truly exciting about him. There was a spark that was missing.

This Rip Rogers was there to fill out a space on the cards and little else.

Later, he would find that missing spark with a mere name change.

The Rip Rogers in Arizona in the 1950s was really one Eddie Gossett under a fake name.

He would adapt yet another fake name, which would stick throughout a long and glorious career.

He would become Eddie Graham.

Now you know the rest of the story.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Comancheros

Though they were known as "brothers" Ron & Paul Dupree in the Midwest as The Hell's Angels, they were better known as The Comancheros in Arizona, first as the Duprees and later as Chris Colt & Ron Dupree. In both areas they were phenomenal hits and held versions of the World tag team title. Their real names were Russ Grobes and Charles Harris.

The pair first drifted into Arizona on a whim in the  1960s and ended up loving the area due to the mild winters.  This led to extended stays and long running feuds with area grapplers.

Tito Montez was their main challenger, taking them on with a variety of tag team partners  Others also came and went,. with this ultra-dirty tag team constantly cheating to bloody win after bloody win. Some of the combinations they faced included Tito Montez & Armon Hussein, Tito Montez & Cowboy Bob Ellis, Cowboy Bob Ellis & Luis Martinez, Tito Montez & Jerry Miller, Sako San & Fuji San, Eddie Lopez & Kiko Torres, Bob Lueck & Ron Pritchard and The Hornets.

The wildest feud of all would be that of Ben Justice and Pancho Pico, with Justice coming in from Michigan to seek revenge ont hem for a partner they were said to have brutalized. One contest between them in September of 1970 ended with all four men covered with blood and a riot breaking out, with massive fights among fans.

Even the likes of Don Kent, Don Arnold and Woody Farmer became temporary fan favorites when facing them.

In late 1970, The Comancheros disappeared, with Ron Dupree"s encouragement with heart trouble at at least for the moment, placed him at ringside as a manager rather than a wrestler . It was then, when traveling eastward, they became Chris Colt & Ron Dupree, with "Colt" doing the wrestling. The name was reportedly taken from a 1970s era gay magazine (Yes, they were...)

As a singles attraction, Colt faced Kurt Von Steiger, Logger Larson, Tito Montez, Al Madril, Billy Anderson, Jimmy Valentine and Donny Anderson, but eventually ended up teaming with Ron Dupree to reform The Comancheros again.

Then the unthinkable happened , The two split up and ended up fighting each other. These battles of super villains were epic contests with very little scientific action to be had. The fans went with Ron Dupree.

It was shortly afterward they both headed for Washington and the Dean Silverstone promotion where tragedy woudl strike. Ron Dupree would die from a  heart attack in the ring where already sick, he had been forced to take on the role of announcer.

Devastated as an eye witness to the event, Chris Colt would never be the same. He would wrestle for several more years on his own or with other partners, but physically his addictions to alcohol and substances started to overwhelm him. He died in 1996 due to the effects of AIDS. 

Before his death, he had reportedly become a born again Christian and was wanting to write his life story. A nephew found his notes and draft's years afterward and may eventually get these turned into print. We can onyl hope so. He had also reportedly recanted the lifestyle that led to his health situation. Too little, too late perhaps, but his legend in wrestling still lives on regardless.

Some Hells Angels footage exists on You Tube including a bout with them taking on Arnold Skoaland and a very young James Dillon. There are some matches with Chris Colt wrestling on his own as well, but as of yet no Comancheros  footage has surfaced from Arizona.

Eddie Sullivan

Eddie Sullivan started wrestling in the 1960s, first under his real name of Ruben Huizar, then under the alias for which he would be better known. Trained by Tona Tomah, he would only stay in Arizona for short stints before heading southward for promotional groups such as those run by the Fields family or Nick Gulas

During his early Arizona days, he feuded with Cowboy Bob Ellis and Tony Hernandez, but always seemed to migrate back toward Florida, Alabama or Tennessee. In these areas he had wild feuds with Dick Dunn, Armon Hussein, Tommy Rich and others. He would form a tag team under a hood with Frank Morell as The Mighty Yankees and without a mask with Rip Tyler to again have brutal bouts. He and Tyler also made varied trips to Japan.

In the southern states, Eddie also had some bloody matches with Cowboy Bob Kelly. Years later, however, they would make a low budget short film together titled Gunfight In Tombstone, shot at the defunct Apacheland Movie Ranch where among other things, Charro with Elvis was filmed. 

Sullivan likewise made it to Texas where he faced Dick Murdoch, an aging Bull Curry and more.

He was also a mainstay for the Dean Silverstone promotion operating in Washignton in the 1970s, utilizing Luke Graham, Chris Colt, Tito Montez, David Rose, Logger Larson, Jay Clintstock, Ron Dupree and Rick  Renaldo.

By 1978, Eddie had tired of the road. He moved back to Mesa, Arizona, devoted more time to his tiling business and only wrestled on occasion. He had a number of Phoenix bouts with Jody Arnold, The Lumberjacks, Nano Ortega, Reggie Parks, Ken Lucas, The Detroit Mauler Tito Montez, Chuck Hondo, John Ringer, Billy Anderson and old rival, Tony Hernandez, before calling it quits. He also ran an occasional show as promoter.

In 1996, Eddie was instrumental in organizing the first Arizona Old-Timer Reunion with msyelf and Jody Arnold. We continued to run these until 1998, when I moved from Arizona and Eddie's health started to fail.

From the late 1980s onward, his health had taken some really bad turns. A heart attack, a stroke a bizarre foot injury where he stepped on a sewing needle embedded in his carpet that broke off in his heel and needed to be surgically removed, a case of Valley Fever (a respiratory infection Arizonans are prone to due to the sand and dust from the desert air) and rampant diabetes all took their toll on him. A second stroke finally ended things for good.

Oddly enough, Eddie was buried neither in Arizona nor Florida where he owned property, but in South Dakota where he had a plot. His second wife, Barbara, would join him there some time afterward when her own out of control diabetes overcame her.

Over the years, Eddie was instrumental in training many Indy wretslers including Baron Brubaker, Killer Jack Kessig, Moses Morales and J.J. Bear. I heard he was instrumental in helping Marcel Pringle and Bob Holly, but do not hold me to that.

I learned quite a lot from Eddie, though I had already started before we met for the first time in 1981.

I miss Eddie Sullivan. I really do.

The best of wrestlers and the best of friends.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Union Brotherhood

The Union Brotherhood had potential as a tag team, but did not last long.  The problem was they were two big guys who were more into amateur wrestling, being high school coaches on the east side of Phoenix, they didn't find a good deal of time to devote the pro ranks.

Known as Dino and Tank, rather than the more predictable Brother 1 or 2 as one would have thought they would have utilized, seemed a bit odd also.

Another problem was, according to some accounts, a conflict with other older wrestlers due to the attitudes these guys had as amateurs or "real" wrestlers. The older guys more likely than not, would have cleaned their clocks if provoked. The thing the pair didn't realize was in amateur wrestling the goal is to simply pin an opponent, but in pro "shooting" the goal is to truly hurt someone.

While the tag team had potential, they only stuck around for about a year at best, circa 1986.

They then faded into history.

Museo Taurino

Museo Taurino doesn't have a damned thing to do with wrestling, but if anyone wants to see me more or less rehashing my Time Traveler role as a lunatic in this no budget DVD then feel free to do so. Ordering data at the producer's email at Jstollphotographer1@neo.rr.com

The film is based on one of my short stories from my old horror novel, Bullring, though there are drastic variations in the text.

Rod Steiger I am not.

How I got sucked into acting in this still boggles my mind.

In any case, the story of Museo Taurino involves a man driven and after the death of his bullfighter son in Spain and his wife;s suicide. Left alone and out of his head, he strikes out to kill those he blames who, aside from the bull, are responsible for his son's death.

One can find added info at http://www.myspace.com/museotaurino thought he company has not updated the page as often a sit should.

Museo Taurino, by the way, translates as Bullfighting Museum.

If it is of interest to you check it out.

If not, don't.

Haystacks Calhoun

A massibe man billed at around 600 pounds, Haystacks Calhoun dressed in overalls and gave off the illusion of being a gigantic farmer. In the early days, before he was Haystacks, however, he was Country Boy Calhoun and this was how he toured Arizona.

There were times he carried a horseshoe chain around his neck and when provoked, would clunk the bad guys with it, to the delight of the crowd.

Yuma was an area where he served as a big draw, though he was seen in Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Globe and other areas in the late 1950s.

It was not in Arizona that he reached his greatest high points. In the 1960s he was big in Japan, Washignton/Oregon and the eastern USA. Bruno Sammartino likewise gained fame by being the first man to lift him off his feet in the ring.

On the 1970s, Calhoun was big in the Michigan/Ohio area feuding with Killer Brooks, Sheik and Bill Miller.

Sadly, the very weight and appetite that made him such a draw contributed greatly to his declining health. Out of control diabetes did him in. He eventually passed away due to complications from the condition.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ken Lucas

Ken Lucas started out in Arizona in the late 1950s and was known as a rambunctious heel who produced a lot of heat. Either on his own or teaming with fellow rule breakers like Hans Steiner and Fidel Grimo, he was a great drawing card. He and Steiner held the Western States Tag Team title. for a spell, while feuding with Jerry Miller and Tito Montez.

The Mesa native virtually walked into wrestling by befriending a number of pros at a local YMCA workout room and learning from them. He picked things up quickly and this natural talent enabled him to go far.

Lucas eventually drifted into the Tennessee/Alabama/Florida area and stayed for years, feuding with all the top stars. Sometimes cheered and sometimes booed, some of the people he squared off with included Eddie Sullivan, Rip Tyler, The Gibsons, Armon Hussein, The Medics, Sweet Daddy Banks, Johnny Eagles and even Jerry Lawler, with whom he had a bloody feud.

Lucas likewise main-evented in Oklahoma, Texas and other states where again, he was recognized as a top hand.

Though Lucas could be a brawler of incredible capacity, he also knew and used scientific moves. He often finished his matches with a sleeper.

Lucas returned to Arizona in the 1980s and wrestled for varied promotions, facing Reggie Parks and others. He also had a brief stint doing AWA television tapes in Nevada.

By this time, Lucas was more focused on his business as a kiosk operator, going to fairs, festivals and happenings. He contended he made more money  as a hot dog vendor and it was a lot easier than getting slammed..

Lucas eventually moved to Pensacola, Florida and called it quits to wrestling.

Bobby Anderson

Bobby Anderson got into wrestling easier than anyone in the history of the profession if the story is true and not urban legend.

It seems Harvey Kramer/Paul Harvey picked him up hitchhiking on the way to a wrestling show he was promoting and being short on the card, asked if he wanted to wrestle. Thus, he was thrown into the ring and learned as he went along.

Whether true or not, Anderson became a decent wrestler.

Par for the course in either case, Kramer's booking left to be a little to be desired as he never could make up his mind as to whether or not Bobby Anderson was supposed to be a "cousin" or "brother' to Billy Anderson, a regional star being pushed by his office.

Anderson had some good matches with Mikko Mongol and Tony Bernardi. He also faced Kramer a handful of times, as well as The Warlock, The Ripper and the original Buddy Rose. 

Anderson retired in 1977, but made a brief comeback in the 1980s. After that he retired for good..

Monday, October 24, 2011

Don Curtis

Don Curtis wrestled around the world as a single and teaming with Mark Lewin. After retirement he settle din Florida and sold real estate, passing away from a stroke a few years back He died in 2008 at the age of 80..

In 1957-1958, Curtis spent some time in Arizona, seeing action in Tucson, Yuma and Phoenix, as well as other locations.

Some of the notables he faced included Juan Humberto, Dory Funk Sr., Rip Rogers, El Diablo, Larry Henning and Bob Giegel just to name a few of his challengers.

More often than not, he prevailed with a sleeper hold.

Throughout his long career, Curtis was the subject of many magazine articles and write ups. A few of his interviews done after retirement may still be found by searching the net.

It was outside Arizona, however, that Curtis really came into the limelight along with Lewin as they faced Jerry and Eddie Graham in a lengthy, savage feud.


Curtis started pro wrestling in 1952 following an outstanding school career as an amateur wrestler and football player. Aside from the previously mentioned feuds, he had notable matches with the Fabulous Kangaroos, The Zebra Kid, Jim Wright, Tokyo Joe   and more. He wrestled in Japan, Canada and Australia as well as throughout the USA. For a time he also promoted wrestling at the Coliseum in Jacksonville, Florida.

He was born Donald Bestleman,. but legally changes his name to Don Curtis.

Woody Farmer

Woody Farmer was a powerhouse of a man, over big in the 1960s as a frequent tag team partner to Reggie Parks and on his own. He frequently used strong arm tactics to win his matches, such as a bear hug or his stomping headlock which was an offshoot of the famed Strangler Lewis finishing hold.

Farmer first showed up in Phoenix in the late 1960s as a rule breaker, but did a brief turn and teamed with former enemy Cowboy Bob Ellis to face The Comancheros and others. In the end, Farmer turned bad once more and double crossed his partner. This of course made for a whole new set of matches between Ellis and Farmer that were more intense than those before.

In 1976, Farmer was back in Phoenix and still breaking the rules, though in Texas and other parts of the USA he had been a fan favorite. This time he launched into a feud with Tito Montez that woudl span several different forms of match. They met in cage matches, strap matches and lumberjack matches, with Farmer always finding a way to escape and head for the hills when the going got rough. He even got out of the cage bout by climbing over the top and running (in Arizona you always pinned your man to win a cage match). Ar long last, Montez beat Farmer in a match where they were handcuffed together, which did not leave much room for action. In one of the dullest, though bloodiest matches in Phoenix history, Tito gained the win.

A few months later, Farmer ended up being cheered when his partner Jody Arnold turned on him, double crossing him as he had done to Bob Ellis a decade before.

This of course led into a series of matches with Arnold and Farmer facing each other.

The feud lasted until Farmer finally beat Arnold. He then went to California to focus on other business interests. For a time he also tried running wrestling in the Oakland area.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

As Charro

During the 1970s, As Charro was a popular drawing card in his native Mexico. Wearing masks with aces on them (the name translates loosely as Cowboy Ace) to emphasize his point, he was eagerly received by the public and considered a colorful grappler.

As Charro, like many of his countrymen, was used so often and kept so much in the limelight at home he did not consider making long trips to the USA.

When they attempted to bring lucha libre wrestling to Arizona during their short-lived 1979 run, the Coruna family booked him for some shows. The problem was most of the Phoenix audience had no idea who hew as or cared as they would have had he been booked in say Nogales, Tijuana or Guadalajara.  Through he gave great matches, the expenses to fly him in from Mexico City did not match what he pulled at the gate in Arizona.

Super Argo was intents on bringing As Charro back to Phoenix in the early 1980s when he attemtped to do lucha shows as well, but for whatever reason no financial agreement was reached.

As Charro never returned to Arizona after the 1970s.

Super Serial Killer

Ron Sutherland out of Tucson introduced some bizarre contributions to wrestling in the 1990s, such as his Rage In The Cage shows that consisted of nothing but hardcore brawls within a cage (the cage door was never  locked, continually allowing wrestlers to spill out into the aisle and brawl). He also trained a host of wrestlers for his cards.

One of them was his own monster heel, The Super Serial Killer.

As an obvious spoof of the horror movies of the past few decades such as Jason, Freddy and Michael Meyers, this wrestler acted like a total loco in the ring and of course embodied that hardcore brawling style Sutherland developed a taste for.

The Super Serial Killer had some big victories over the undercard people, then went into a feud with his mentor. In a hardcore match with loads of weapons in the ring, Sutherland prevailed, sending this psycho back down in the ranks to destroy the undercard crew again.

He even gained some magazine coverage and several sheet write ups. 

According to gossip, he retired due to injuries sustained during his short career. Too many wild brawls and too much "extreme" wrestling in too fast a time period.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Don Kent

Don Kent was a villain of international reputation, having wrestled throughout the USA, Australia, Japan and other places. He was mouthy and obnoxious in his interviews. He was vile and underhanded in the ring. He was everything a bad guy could be and then some.

Midwestern states served for his greatest run, where throughout the 1970s he was a major draw. He and Al Costello held the World Tag team title as The Fabulous Kangaroos, while on his won he had bloody feuds with Jay Strongbow, Domenic Denucci and Captain Ed George. 

Glimpses of him may be seen in the documentary, I Like To Hurt People.

Arizona also served as one of Kent's literal stomping grounds in the 1960s, where he usually came to escape the rough Michigan winters.

As was usually the case, Kent feuded with Tito Montez. Everyone feuded with Tito when they came in. Tito was the man to beat. The Montez vs. Kent feud, however, was especially brutal.

"For nine weeks in a row we feuded throughout Arizona and filled the arenas," Montez would later remark. "He always was able to slip by me and  until I finally beat him in a cage match. Up to that, the houses were full every week, but when I beat him the people finally got to go home happy and the next week the house was way down."

Kent also feuded with Luis Martinez, Pancho Pico, Frankie Cain, Cowboy Bob Ellis and Phil Melby.

Though predominately in singles matches, Kent likewise teamed with varied wrestlers. Among the best in the area were Pat Patterson, Jim Osborne, Blas Corona and Gypsy Biviano.

Kent's longstanding feud with Frankie Canon (The Great Maphisto in other places later on) was likewise a major draw. As with Montez, they met in cage matches, stretcher matches and chain matches before packed buildings.

Long after Kent left Arizona for the final time, his name was still talked about. A newcomer using the name of Jimmy Kent and claiming to be a "brother" to Don Kent though apparently no relation, used this last name to launch a feud with Montez himself in the 1970s.

"I beat your brother in a cage match here," Tito shouted into the television cameras as the Jimmy Kent feud was wrapping up.

He continued onward in full fury.

"I ran Don Kent out of Arizona. When I get you n the cage this Friday I plan to do the same to you."

Which he did.

Jimmy Kent headed for Memphis and wrestled for several years, before becoming a manager.

Whether the two "brothers" ever met up is anyone's guess.

Other people Don Kent faced during his varied trips into Arizona included Wally Steele, Eddie Lopez, Dick Cheney (NOT the former Vice President), Juan Garcia, Tony Marino, Ken Lucas and Kiko Torres.

Don Kent died from leukemia in 1991 and was laid to rest in Battlecreek, Michigan under his real name of Leo Smith. An obituary and cemetery info may be found in The Last Bell Call  book and e book dealt with in a past blog.

There is also a Face Book group devoted to him. 

Vern Gagne

Vern Gagne first appeared in Arizona in 1971 when he was brought in to defend his World Jr.Heavyweight title against a variety of opponents including Monte Ladue, who was being pushed heavily in the Phoenix/Tucson area.

Ladue and the other challengers did not win.

In the years to come, Gagne would break with the NWA and start his own AWA promotion centered in Minnesota, but entertaining fans in a number of states.

In the 1970s, Gagne tried to bring the AWA to Tucson using himself, Crusher, Larry Hennig, Lord Alfred Hayes, Herb Gallant, Reggie Parks and others, but did not last ling. The overhead was too great for him

Not being one to learn his lesson, he was back in Arizona in the early 1980s and again bent on crushing the Independents with his big it time show. While he had far bigger names on his cards and a televised program , he again overshot his budget and lasted only a few months.

Gagne himself would be crushed later on by the WWF who invaded his territory and took most of his talent, including Hulk Hogan.

During his final AWA run in Arizona, Vern did not wrestle himself but operated only as a promoter. David Shultz, Steve O.The Blackjacks, Bobby Heenan, Jerry Blackwell, Ken Patera, Baron Von Raschke, Steve Regal, Bobby Heenan, Chris Markoff , Crusher and others were on the cards.

Gagne met a sad end. He is still alive as of now, but his latter years proved tragic.

Apparently out of his head with Alzheimer, he made the news one final time a while ago when he got involved in an altercation with another patient at the rest home where he was confined. Not even realizing what he was doing he killed this patience with a wrestling hold.