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

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.