Sunday, December 23, 2012

Death Of Rip Hawk

Famed wrestler Rio Hawk has passed away. He did, however, live to see his 80s.

Hawk had several matches in Arizona early in his career, where he was seen as a heel in Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma and Globe. He was better known for his tag team combo with Swede Hanson, especially in the southern states.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Tragedy For El Sol De Oriente

Tragedy has struck the popular luchador from Nogales, who lives in Tucson and uses the name of El Sol De Oriente as he has lost his brother. Details are not available yet.

Especially tragic to see this happen over the holidays.

QEPD


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Johnny Ramon

 Johnny Ramon was a stumpy little guy who sometimes had a mouth too big for his body which led to confrontations with other wrestlers, but overall, he was respected and liked in the game. He tried a brief stint at wrestling, but learned quickly that the referee's job was more of a calling.

In the 1980s and 1990s, he was active for numerous promotions in Phoenix and the surrounding area as the valuable arbitrator in the squared circle.

For whatever reason the variosu luchadores such as Flama Negra, Eruption, Super Argo, Indio Seri and Caballero Rojo all prefered him to be in the ring during their matches. They often requested him when there was more than one referee working the card.

Awhile back, there was gossip he died in Phoenix, whcih ahs been refuted, thoguh he seemed to drop out of sight a few years ago. His health though,, is said to not be the greatest, but without many details offered.

Arizona saw a share of great referees in the past. Russ Barker, Bill Hargus, Firpo Zybysco...and Johnny Ramon.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Golden Eagle Is In Bad Shape

Keep Jim McFarland, who wrestled for many years as The Golden Eagle in your prayers or thoughts . He is in the hospital and has been for several weeks, with a multitude of ailments. It frankly does not look good.

The Golden Eagle's longest run came in the Phoenix/Tucson area in the 1980s where he had feuds with David Rose, Pedro El Grande and Danny Snyder. For a time, eh held a version of the Arizona State title.

Updates will come as we get them.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Death Of Brad Armstrong

There is not much to post right now as it evidently just happened and news is sparse, but Brad Armstrong passed away just a short time ago. The only thing certain is it is confirmed.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Death Of Stan Pulaski

Stan Pulaski passed away from natural causes a few weeks ago.

He wrestled in Arizona in the late 1950s and early 1960s under various Russian routines.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

George Temple

George Temple was the actual brother of famed childhood actress Shirley Temple. While he never matched her fame, he won plenty of recognition on his own within his own realm, as a star oft he squared circle.

Throughout the  late 1940s into the 1950s, Temple wrestled around the United States, though most of his actions were in the California area, where he lived.

Due to the proximity to Los Angeles and a convenient drive by car, Temple made b numerous Arizona appearances.

One his his greatest Arizona encounters is said to ahve been a 2/3 fall match with on again/off again World Jr,. Heavyweight champion, Gorilla Ramos. This took place in Tucson on April 11, 1951 at the Arizona Sports Center arena. The building was sold out.

Temple also had matches in Yuma, Pheonix, Casa Grande, Mesa and Superior.

While he tended to wrestle as a baby face or fan favorite in California, he took on the role as heel, breaking the rules in his Arizona matches. It was in this function that he offered his classic encounter with Ramos in Tucson.

El Estudiante

There have been various wrestlers in Mexico using the name of El Estudiante or "The Student" and as inside humor, George Steele did this routine under a hood, calling himself The Student in Detroit, while teaching  school by day

Arizona also had an Estudiante for a while and this was established area grappler,  Paco Nunez, wearing a red mask and hood. They called him El Estudiante because it seemed as good as anything else.

Under the masked role, Nunez had some exceptional matches with Tony Hernandez in Phoenix, when Barry Bernsten was running in the early 1980s. If memory serves right, he lost to Hernandez in these encoutners.

As he did before donning the hood, Nunez eventually unmasked and continued as himself, unhooded. El Estudiante was clearly not meant to be a lasting thing.

Museo Taurino

It is all but obligatory for wrestlers to at least make one bad movie if opportunistic to do so. Lanny Poffo as in a really horrible werewolf movie a few years back and Tor Johnson did those films for Ed Wood.  Primo Carnera was in Hercules Unchained and Kiwi Kingston was in The Evil Of Frankenstein. Me.Insanity was in The Dead Don't Stay That Way.Then we have Hulk Hogan. Do we even want to go there.......

I did my part a few years back under the name of Mr. ??? in Museo Taurino for Blue Kat Barnyard films of Canton. Essentially, I did little more than do my nut role like in wrestling.

To see trailers simply go to You Tube and log in Museo Taurino film in search.

The movie may still be rogered on Amazon. Again simply go to any search and log in Museo Taurino DVD plus Amazon.com and links will come up for this.

The story has me as Don Guillermo Monclova and the plot concerns this man, driven insane, with a bizarre revenge plan agaisnt a writer named Carlos Sanchez. It is not a wrestling film, but a bullfight film on the surface and a horror film throughout. The bullfight, for those in the know, is one of my other loves.

There are some similarities, as the movie notes. As in wrestling, the bullfight world is full of corruption behind the scenes, which the fans seldom see. In this case, Don Guillermo becomes a crusader against the wickedness in this realm, striking down those he deems worthy of his attention. He goes more and more crazy as he builds plans to trap his next victim and one wonders if he will even be able to pull it off.

He does.

The movie was shot on a budget making the late ed Wood look like Tim Burton. It is what it is.

On the tradition of Hogan, Carnera, Johnson, Poffo and others I  feel like I did my part to play in a low budget movie.

Check it out.

If you desire.....
'
Or don't.




Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Exorcist Dies

Dick Cole who worked as The Exorcist in the early 1980s passed away early in 2012, with news just now starting to spread in the wrestling world.

Usually wrestling as a fan favorite who claimed to take the name of The Exorcist because he intended to run the forces of evil out of the sport, Cole was charismatic as a performer.

Arizona feuds included bloody matches with John Ringer, Mad Dog Marcial Bovee, The Lumberjacks and Maniac Mike Gordon.

The Death Of Bobby Mayne

Bobby Mayne/Jaggers has passed away in Kansas at the age of 64 from what appears to have been a heart attack.

In the 1970s, Bobby was a mainstay in Arizona, teaming with Jay Dillon, Chris Colt and Jody Arnold. he also had many wild and bloody singles matches feuds.

Among his matches at the Phoenix Madison Square Garden were encounters with Ron Dupree, Flama Roja, Sergio Saravia, Chief Big Heart and Jimmy Valentine.

His most notable feud was with Tito Montez, whom he defeated while covered with blood in a Loser Leave Town Match.

He and Jody Arnold also did the unthinkable in turning hated "Nazi" wrestler Kurt Von Steiger into an instant fan favorite when they doublecrossed him.

Mayne and Von Steiger met in a lengthy set of matches including a Hair vs Hair Match (which Jaggers lost after being tricked into signing a contract for any type of match Steiger wished....interesting as Steiger was bald already). a German Death Bout and Taped Fist Match. Most fo their encounters were bloody.

Mayne would leave Arizona and return briefly when Larry Hennig attempted to run, this time using the Bobby Jaggers name for which he became more famous. His last two Az. matches were a Phoenix encounter with Moose Morowski and a tag team match in Tempe where he and Ray Stevens took on Dory Funk Jr. and Chris Taylor.



Thursday, September 20, 2012

Guzmania

I do not know a great deal about him except I assume his last name is Guzman and hence the Guzmania thing.

A rotund Hispanic grappler, he may well remind older fans of the retired Eli Hernandez. Though he had been around beforehand, Guzmania started making wave sin about 2010 and continues to do so at this writing.

Sometimes cheered and sometimes booed, he seems more comfortable in a  heel role, in the shade of the late Playboy Buddy Rose, where he places overemphasis on his supposedly tremendous physical condition, when he is in fact quite overweight.

Don't let the "fat" thing fool you though, as he also has legitimate upper body power and can go long matches in spite of what his appearance might imply..

Several Guzmania matches may be found on you tube now.

This includes one of his best encounters with High Alert Cody Baker.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Peggy Connors

Peggy Connors was one of several wrestlers who happened to drift through Arizona, but did not stay long. Her name crops up in results data for different areas, but she only had a  short Arizona stint before moving on.

In 1976, she had a feud with Marilyn Bender, the top female heel in the area at the time. Bender was as underhanded as they come and frankly, brawled like a man. She was also overbearing and annoying on the microphone with an arrogance few women could match.

Bender stayed in Arizona and New Mexico for quite a while, extending throughout the mid-1970s into the early 1980s, acing a number of female competitors such as Daisy Mae, Ann Casey and Mrs. Wrestling. Connors was one of the others to come through, lose to her in a short feud and depart.

Connors was billed a being from California and was the exact opposite of the hated Bender. She posed for photos  signed autographs and was loved by the fans during her Arizona stay, which saw her facing Bender in casa Grande, Yuma, Tucson, Phoenix and other areas under the promotional hand of Paul Harvey.

One of the reasons she might not have stayed would have been the Paul Harvey pay offs, which were usually rock bottom.

Even though she and Bender had exemplary matches, Connors more likely than not saw a bad deal and headed for greener pastures.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What A Pain

When I first started throwing things together I thought it would be easy to compose a results book for Arizona wrestling. Not so.

Oh, the book will be out on Lulu okay, but I am not sure if it will be this month as planned.

The thing is it has not been so hard to find results from the 1960s-1970s or even older stuff from the 1920s-1950s.

What is hard is finding stuff from my era, say 1979-1990s.

It seems none of us bothered to keep the old programs, ads and the like for cards we were on.

Oh, I remember deign several shows, but as far as exact dates and complete results, forget it.

Well, there has to be some egomaniac who roked Arizona in my era with a bunch of stuff lying around.

Maybe it will turn up.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Death Of John Ringer

John Ringer, real name John Wall, active in Arizona 1976-1993 then back as a manager briefly in the 2000s, has passed away. He should not be confused with Jack Ringer, real name John Lee, who worked the same area in 1971 and is still alive.

Ringer evidently passed away from cancer and had kept this secret from most of his wrestling associates, on August 22, 2012.

One of the high points of his career came when he teamed with Superstar Billy Graham to face Pedro El Grande & Jody Arnold for indies in Phoenix.

Other notable feuds were with Benny Mendeblis, David Rose, Danny Snyder, Billy Anderson and Section 8.



Sunday, August 19, 2012

El Capitan

He may have been a Latino ring star brought in or merely some wrestler on the lineup donning a mask and doing double duty. With the passing of time, no one seems sure. In the early 1950s, El Capitan or The Captain as it translates, showed up in Arizona, lasted a while and left as silently as he came.

He appeared in Tucson, Phoenix, Casa Grande, Globe, Mesa and across the border in Nogales, Mexico, usually losing or being used as what the modern WWE would call "enhancement talent" to lose and make the other wretslers look stronger.

Bill Williamson, The Blue Terror,  Mike London and Monte Ladue. Since he usually appeared on the undercard this leads to suspicion he may have been someone just donning a mask, passing off as Hispanic and doing the fore-noted double duty.

There seems to be no account of him ever winning a match in Arizona. .

Red Bastein Dies

He started out with the carnival circuits and moved up the ranks to become a celebrated wrestler. Though most often a baby face or fan favorite, he was known to show a brutal and brawling style when needed. He  also incorporated sensational flying moves now commonplace, but unparallelled at the time he was in his prime.

Though effective in singles competition, Bastien was also accomplished in tag team action, holding titles with Hercules Cortez, The Crusher and Billy Red Lyons. The Cortez & Bastein team came to a sad end when Cortez was killed in a car crash.

In his last years of professional activity, Bastein was a trainer of other wrestlers and a road agent for the WWF. 

Bastein died this August,. He was in his 80s.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hardcore Before Hardcore

ECW might have coined the phrases Hardcore Wrestling and Extreme Wrestling, but the style was around long before them.

Case in point was the feud between Buddy Rogers and Fritz Von Goring in Arizona in the late 1950s, in which the generally unpopular Rogers actually heard cheers due to his opponent being so hated.

A standout incident would have been one of their Yuma encounters which saw them brawling outside the ring, up the aisle, out the door and into the parking lot before being pulled apart.

This would lead to a large crowd the following week, watching Rogers as he squared off in a rematch with Von Goring ina match with the ring surrounded by a chickenwire cage.

In this bloody match, Rogers won and ended the feud.

In this set of matches, Roegrs likewise proved his ability as a savage, chair-swiniging brawler when the need arose.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

An Arizona Results Book

I am gathering the data for a new book on Lulu that will again not be fancy, but contain a ton of information on Arizona historic grappling  in the form of a results book. Look for this in October if all goes right. I plan to put it out on Lulu.

The concept is for nothing but results from 1880 to 2012.

Special Forces, Gorgeous George, Tito Montez, Bill Anderson, Jody Arnold, Don Arnold, Sergeant Shultz, Cody Baker, CC Starr, Sergio Camacho, Hawaiian Lion, Navajo Warrior, Tony Hernandez, Arizona Red, Maniac Mike Gordon, Eddie Sullivan, John Ringer,  Jim Londos, Cowboy Bob Ellis, Nano Ortega, Chief Attacullaculla,  The Lumberjacks, The Comancheros, Mike Mazurki, the Torres family, the Guerreros, Phil Melby, Sheik, the Funks, Bonecrusher, Section 8, Bubba Storm, Haystacks Calhoun, Nelson Royal, Bladerunner, Lois Martinez, Loy Thesz, Danny Medina, Eruption, Louie Spicolli, Bayou Blossom, Gorgeous George, Monte Ladue, Judo Jack Terry, Killer Brooks, Ben Justice, Pancho Pico, Killer Kane,  Stan Hansen, Cowboy Claw, The Black Mamba, Eddie Sullivan, Charlie The Choker, Crazy Horse, Judy Grable, Jane Sherill, Sting, Randy Savage, Len Rossi,  Steve Vega, Thrillseeker Terry Zeller, Don Kent, Tito Copa, Ciclon Negro, Don Curtis, Eddie Lopez, Bobby Mayne (Jaggers), Jack Brisco, Eli Hernandez, Undertaker, George Cannon, The Mad Russian, Rod Fenton, Joe Turco, Charlie Carr, Chuck Karbo, Bambi Ball, Moose Morowski, Pal Song, Ron Pritchard, The Blackjacks, and so many more..... 

Phoenix, Casa Grande, Mesa, Tempe, Glendale, Yuma, Prescott, Globe, Morenci, Tucson, Florence.....

Info soon.

The Mysterious Bill Graham

Everyone knows of Superstar Billy Graham from Paradise Valley, Arizona. That is pretty much a given. In the mid-1960s, however, there was another Billy Graham going simply ad Bill Graham in the Phoenix area.

More than a few people think this is in fact Superstar early in his career, but not true, Billy Graham started out as a protege of Jerry Graham, as noted in his book, Tangled Ropes, but then headed out to California after only one or two Arizona matches and the rest is history.

So who was this Bill Graham?

Evidently it was Paul Christy out of the Midwest.

Why he took or the office gave him the Graham name has been lost to history. The office, already on the outs with Dr, Jerry Graham, who was nothing but trouble for them, may have ordered Christy to become a "Graham" as a slight to the Dr...

In any case, Christy stuck around for a bit, dropped the Bill Graham thing and headed back to St Louis where he received a good deal more respect.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Desperadoes

The Desperadoes were a team of Californians and it was in the Los Angeles area these two men spent most of their careers, though they occasionally came inward into Arizona. Cowboy Mark Kissell, the more athletic of the two and Bubba Storm, a rotund whale of a man who wad perfect as a heel, made up this team, with the occasional manager in the form of Johnny Legend.

One of the teams they feuded with the most was that of Los Latinos, made up of Tormenta Blanca and El Medico (Alex Knight) with the two pairs havign many wild matches.

Kissell and Storm were both successful singles wrestlers also.They were most active in the early 1990s.

At yhe present, Kissell is retired and still in California, while Storm lives in Manila with his Filipino wife and family.

Johnny Legend is active in the rockabilly trade and should not be confused with the modern singer of the same name.

Eddie Lopez Dies

Longtime Arizona wrestler, Eddie Lopez, real name Al Romero, died in Phoenix yesterday.

During a long career, Lopez held a version of tithe Western States tag title with Kurt Von Steiger and held the Arizona title at varied times.

Among his notable feuds were brawls with Paul Harvey, Jody Arnold, Tony Hernandez, Chuck Karbo, Special Forces, The Black Mamba, The Lumberjacks, Bobby Mayne (Jaggers)  and The Comancheros.




Sunday, July 22, 2012

Give Crusher A Visit

Crusher, real name Reginald Lisowski, was seen in Arizona at varied intervals, when Gagne made his disastrous efforts to invade Phoenix and Tucson, bucking the Indies who had far less an overhead and could withstand hsi short-lived war by waiting him out. The AWA tried in Tucson in the 1970s and again in Phoenix in the 1980s, only to lose too much money and throw in the towel when they selected massive venues too large to maintain.

In his Arizona showings, Crusher proved to be a big draw, though it was in other parts of the USA that he was much more famous. Rumor has it Gagne told the brawling Crusher to "tone down" his style in Arizona, where ironically, blood and brawls were what the people wanted.

Crusher died from a brain tumor some years back. He is buried at the Holy Sepulcher cemetery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 









Give The Sheik A Visit

The Sheik did not make it to Arizona often, but when eh did, the action was wild and bloody. Tito Copa, Tito Montez, Luis Martinez, Bobo Brazil, Dory Funk Jr and others could attest to this.

A stroke and other health problems eventually took Sheik from us, but one may still visit his grave, under his real name of Ed Farhat, at the Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Williamston, Michigan.

Alex Medina

Alex Medina was a popular Hispanic star who was seen in many part of the country and known for a style mixing power moves with sensational flying antics uncharacteristic of someone of his build. A flying  body block, for example, was a key action in his arsenal.

Sadly, Medina's career did not last as long as it should have due to heart trouble. A heart attack ended his life at a relativity young age.

During the 1960s, Medina was a beloved figure in Arizona, facing  Mark Starr, Juan Sebastian,  Jim Osborne and others in the area at the time.

In 1965, he had a bitter feud with Don Arnold and a set of Phoenix matches that usually saw the hated villain pulling some form of cheap move to win just when he seemed to be going down to defeat. One of Arnold's favorite stunts was to pull a roll of pennies from somewhere or another and smash Medina with them when the ref was distracted, knocking him out for a controversial win.

Once Medina finally gained revenge on Arnold, there was another prime villain waiting in the wings to enter into a feud with him. Thus came Don Kent, where the same process started all over again. The two met in a number of brawls that saw one or both men bleeding.

Again, Medina was a star who died too soon.


Rocky Smith

Rocky  Smith made a trip into Arizona in the 1960s and stayed for a spell before moving onward. He was not a bad wrestler, but nothing to set the world on fire by remaining accounts of his career.

Smith had a run in Arizona in 1963, both as a single and teaming with Oscar Salazar.

Some of the people he faced included Ham Lee, Blas Corona, Hans Steiner, The Mad Mongol and Don Arnold.

Smith saw action at the Phoenix Madison Square Garden and Tuscon Garden, as well as within other venues on the circuit,

Smith;s main claim to fame where he was launched into a handful of main events and semi-main actions came during a feud with John Shane. This led into a follow-up tag team feud with Smith and Salazar facing Shane and Jim Osborn.

Friday, July 20, 2012

You Won't Find These Graves

Some of our pieces on burial sites have proven to be extremely popular. For more info on the burial sites of pro wrestlers try the book, The Last bell call mentioned in a blog some months ago or go to http://www.findagrave.com for some burial info on name guys.

There are some propel you will not find burial info on as their cremated remains were kept by the family or the ashes symbiotically scattered.

These include:

The Mighty Igor
Johnny Valentine
Kurt Von Hess
Lou Thesz
Don Vitelli
Maniac Mike Gordon
Wahoo McDaniel
JT Lightning'
Johnny Kostas
Playboy Buddy Rose


The Thesz case is particularly fitting perhaps, as his ashes were scattered on the banks of the Merrimack River in his beloved Missouri.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wrestling In Akron

I have just signed a deal for Wrestling In Akron with Arcadia Publishing, which if all goes well will be out in ealry 2013.

Going through negatives and adding photos now.

Arcadia is the house that publishes all those photographic books on Americana.

Many of the wrestlers in territorial days (as well as those with the WWF/WWE or AWA) who appeared in Akron were also seen in Arizona. This includes the Hell's Angels (Comancheros), Ben Justice, Sheik, Don Kent, Killer Brooks, Cowboy Bob Ellis, Buddy Rogers, Hans Schmidt, Tony Marino, Jerry Graham, Ron Pritchard, Chris Markoff, Argentina Rocca, Dick Hutton, the Funks, the Poffos, Rod Fenton, Monte Ladue, Ripper Collins, Phil Watson, Bobo Brazil, Luis Martinez, Tor Johnson, Kurt Von Hess, Don Arnold, Pat Patterson, Gorgeous George, Wild Red Berry, John Tolos, Mike Gordon, Dizzy Davis and more.

Updates to follow.




Cowboy Carlson

Cowboy Carlson was a popular draw in Arizona in the 1950s, perhaps at one point even more popular than Cowboy Bob Ellis. He was working the Tucson/Phoenix circuit in 1951 or so, before Ellis arrived. He was there for a long while too.

Carlson was usually seen as a single, but occasionally hooked up with Sandor Kovacs as one of his favorite tag team partners. Together, among the list of challangers, they turned back Gorgeous George and Bobby Pico in a 1957 Tucson bout, when the villaisn were disqualified. This turned into a six man rematch with Carlson, Kovacs and Jim Wright taking on George, Pico and Crusher Jefferies. 

Carlson, like all fan favorite, also had the obligatory feud with Don Arnold.

Other people Carlson faced over the years included the Smith brothers (later converted to Russians as the Gorky brothers), Brute Bemis, Howard Cantonwine, Lord Carlton, Monte Ladue  and Kenny Mayne.

Carlson wrestled in many other parts of the USA and was likewise considered a big draw in Texas.

Carlson made varied retirements and comebacks, where he evidently still tried to wrestle in the early 1970s.

He died in 1998.



Cowboy Carlson's real name was Orville Carlson and he was, as his nickname implied, a real cowboy. He was married to a Native American woman and raised cattle in Montana.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Cloud

The Cloud seems like an oddball name. In any case, in spite of the silliness, he was over big in the 1940s in the west. He was a masked man who was pushed into main events at the Phoenix Madison Square Garden, as well as other spot shows, while migrating between Arizona, California and Washington.

He usually broke the rules, but was occasionally cheered when matched with another villain.

In spite of the weird sound of his name, he was certainly a top draw and this cannot be overemphasized.

Eventullay, the hood came off and he was revealed to be one Tex Porter.

So much for that.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bill Anderson

Bill Anderson started out in Arizona as a student of Kurt Von Steiger and the original Buddy Rose.  (There was another in the late 1960s/early 1970s before Playboy Buddy Rose). Presented as a teenage sensation, he was launched into a number of feuds and carried his own, squaring off with Jody Arnold, David Rose, The Warlock and more. 

Though he would leave Arizona in the many years to follow, he would always seem to return, even after a long stint in California where he and Red Bastein, followed later by Jesse Hernandez,  operated a busy wrestling school. Among the graduates were Sting, Magnificent Mimi, Louie Spicolli  and The Ultimate Warrior.

Anderson was also seen on frequent WWF television tapings , plus amde tours of Mexico, Venezuela, Japan and Egypt.

Ever since 1996, after finding "salvation" while doing a play called The Empty Ring with Jake Roberts and Superstar Billy Graham , he has been continually active with Christian affairs. The play was revolutionary in the fact they held the extravaganza within a large church and drew in the thousands.   He is a member of Athletes International, a Christian pro athletic organization based in Phoenix that has international ties.

Though retired from active wrestling, Anderson is still a regular attendee at Phoenix wrestling matches. He recently wrote a book, consisting mainly of photographs, about his ventures in wrestling and on people he helped train.

Opponents Anderson has faced either within Arizona or elsewhere include Paul Orndorff, Adrian Adonis, Tiniemblas, Anibal, Tim Patterson, The Beast, John Ringer, The Lumberjacks, Mr Southern Comfort, Paul Harvey, Sergeant Shultz, John Tolos, Chris Colt, Don Fargo, Jackie Fargo, The Ripper, Rough House Sonny Fargo, Benny Mendeblis, Chuck Hondo, Chuck Karbo, Randy Savage, Jake Roberts, Eddie Sullivan and more.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Give George A Visit

Gorgeous George was a strutting peacock of a man and a master showboater, but a Bohemian lifestyle took its toll on him,. His heart gave out at a relativity young age,

One can still pay him a visit though. If in California, head for the Pierce Brothers Valhalla Cemetery in North Hollywood.

The marker, however, is not very imposing.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Bisbee

Not much happens in Bisbee. In the early 1880s, the town made national news as a flawed payroll robbery led to a shootout in the street and varied people dying. The culprits were later tracked down, caught and hanged in Tombstone, while the supposed gang leader, John Heath, was lynched from a telegraph pole. Since then, life in Bisbee has been rather dull.

It is odd how way back when, Bisbee was a bustling place for pro wrestling.

One of the first attempts at presenting shows offered miners being paid money to fight each other in a roped off area, while bets were laid on the side. Sometimes a work and soemtimes a shoot, these wrestling contests often escalated into savage brawls with serious injuries that were undeniably real.

Traveling carnivals often came through the area as well, with their tough man taking on all comers.

By World War II, the wrestling was all but dead in Bisbee. The Tucson office would occasionally do a spot show, sending in Don Arnold, Brute Bemis, The Gorky Brothers, Chief Shoulderblades, Juan Garcia, Kangaroo Karson, Kenny Mayne, Monte Ladue, Johnny James or others off their established wheel.

Fans wanting wrestling who lived in Bisbee and the surroundings just found it easier to go up to Tucson or across the border in Agua Prieta..

In Wild West times, Bisbee had an interesting wrestling era. 

Now, nada! It doesn't look like much will change either.




Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blindfold Matches

No one seems sure where the idea of blindfold matches started. Some have credited this to Ed Francis in Honolulu, who may have come up with the first blindfold battle royal, but most surely the concept goes back further.

Phoenix had it's share of blindfold matches in order to keep people from cheating or to just add a novel twist. Invariably, the bad guys always lifted the blindfold to gain a dishonest advantage anyway.

There was at least one blindfolded battle royal held in Phoenix in 1982, where David Rose promoted, wrestled and won the event. Others taking part were The Lumberjacks, The Golden Eagle, Ringo Rodriguez, myself, Cowboy Bob Yuma, Pedro El Grande, Mike Gordon and Danny Snyder.

In the early 1970s, Tito Montez and Ron Dupree did a blindfold tag match with Chuck Karbo and Freddie Gomez, but Karbo screwed them over by lifting the blindfold, breaking the rules and gaining a pin.

Silly? Perhaps. Still an interesting tidbit within wrestling history.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thanks To Gerald Thurman

Finding photos of the exterior Pheonix Madison Square Garden in all its glory is next to impossible as no one seemed to ever bother taking a shot of the outside. The focus was always action within and everyone  seemed to think the place would be around forever rather than torn down.

As luck would have it this fellow just happened to be shooting historic buildings and take some stills of the Garden just before it was torn down. Thus at least some shots are preserved and a few appear at varied places here.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Morenci

Morenci was a big mining boom town, It is not as buzzing as it once was. Likewise, no one seems to hold  wrestling here any more.

From the 1940s to the 1960s Morenci was a stop off for varied offices, but never a part of a regular circuit. The town was used  for a spot show a few times per year.

Even that doesn't happen any longer, as indications show the last time Morenci housed wrestling was a card   in the late 1990s by Steve Gator Wolf. He drew a very large crowd with Mike Knox as a key draw.

People seen in the past there included Charro Azteca, Kenny Mayne,  Don Arnold, Rick Waldo, Tito Montez,  Carlos El Malo, Phil Sapien, George Drake, The Gorky Brothers, Golden Hawk, Wally Steele, Sugi Yamamoto, Kung Chang, Maniac Mike Gordon, Rudy Lopez, Toro Bravo 1 &2, Eddie Lopez, Chief  Big Heart, Jerry Graham, Charlie Carr,  Cerberus, Dick Trout, Rudy Navarro and Dr. X.  

Now, nothing....

Maybe some Indy promoter will take note.





Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Phoenix Madison Square Garden Museum Blog

A new blog related to "weird things" titled Weird America has an article up now at http://www.stuffweird71.blog.com on the museum for the the Phoenix Madison Square Garden on the premises of the office complex where the arena once stood.






New Covers For Books On Lulu

This weekend I will be working to add some nicer covers to the original generic ones for some of my books on Lulu, most notably MEWL, The Last Bell Call, A Parade Of Famous Masons, Masters Of The Weird and This Saturday Night At The  Akron Armory.

One problem was getting photos to scan with high enough resolution to work on Lulu's format.

A Parade Of Famous Masons (with wrestler bios) at http://www.lulu.com/content/9091275

Masters Of The Weird at http://www.lulu.com/content/1264461

MEWL at http://www.lulu.com/content/5577832

Crusher Gary Key

Crusher Gary Key had the knack for being a heel, as a throwback to the days of Buddy Rogers, Baron  Leone and Don Arnold. In fact, he may have very slightly resembled Leone in mannerisms, with a long cape and glowing hair.

Coming from California where he was trained by Jesse Hernandez and Billy Anderson, his first wrestling-connected activity in Phoenix was not an actual show. He came in with a crew to help take part in The Empty Ring play in Phoenix, which Superstar Billy Graham and Jake Roberts did in a church. He played a ":fan: sitting in the "stands" as Jake Roberts demolished Anderson and then went about to proclaim the joys of Christianity  during this 1996 extravaganza, The stage play, actually held in one of the area mega-churches with a ring set up on the altar, drew some 6,000 people. This, however, is the topic for another blog on another day.

Key was back a few months later while making an appearance for AAA  promotional efforts. He was seen on the opener in a big show held at the Phoenix Colosseum, Though he was the first match on the lineup, his was one of the better showings of the day.

Key would make other appearances in Arizona in the 1990s  for varied groups, but the bulk of his showings were in California instead, where he received a bigger push and could unveil his talents as a villain

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Mighty Avengers

Various Assassins, Avengers, Mr Wrestlings and Mongols came through Arizona over the decades. The Mighty Avengers mentioned here worked the Arizona circuit in 1975 and were not around for long, unless of course, they took off their hoods and continued under other names which remains probable.

These Avengers feuded with a wrestler known simply as Apache Joe and a a variety of tag team partners in  the border triangle of Arizona, California and Mexico. They were main-eventers in Yuma and across the line in San Luis Rio Colorado.

Again,. not too much else remains on these particular Avengers or their opponent, Apache Joe.

All of those involved with this feud either faded into history or went on under different names.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Wasp

The Wasp was a rulebreaking masked man who came unto the Arizona scene in the early 1960s and though he may have been originally intended to be a job guy who would lose to big stars, he gained so much heat he was given an actual push by the varied Arizona bookers.

The Wasp made appearances in all the big and small Arizona towns, including Phoenix, Tucson, Casa Grande, Flagstaff, Yuma, Globe, Douglas, Prescott and Benson.

He was handily defeated by Lou Thesz during a big match with him,. but everyone lost to Thesz. In other cases, this human insect frequently  came out on top.

One of his biggest victories over a major star was a win in Yuma over Lou Plummer.

The Wasp also had a run with the Arizona State title, which isn't bad for a man originally designed to perform on the undercard.

Eventually, things came to an end when The Wasp was unmasked to be Dave Ruhl, who had wrestled under this name beforehand in the 1950s in the very same area,

There is also a great deal that may be said about Dave Ruhl without the mask, but that will be a subject for another time and blog.



Joe Costello

Joe Costello came into Arizona from Salina, Kansas in 1960 and though he was relative unknown, proved to be extremely popular with the fans. Prior to his arrival, he had been active in Topeka and other towns on the Midwestern circuit.

Though he was usually active as a single in the Yuma, Casa Grande, Tucson area, he also teamed on occasional cards with Indio Bravo.

During his southwestern stint, he likewise found bookings in California, New Mexico and across the border in Mexico itself.

Some opponents he faced included Don Arnold, Enrique Mendoza and Farmer Cox, though his main rival, with whom he had a short feud was one Tarzan Tourvelle, who later became notorious as Tarzan Tyler.

Costello evidently died at the height of his rising success, though I cannot find a cause for his demise. He passed away on October 30, 1961, evidently  at the age of 30.

Juan Sebastian

I heard tell Juan Sebastian was married to female wrestler, Belle Starr, but do not know much more about that one. I do know, however, eh was quiet impressive for a smaller guy and used a wicked knee lift on his opponents.

The first time this man really started to gain ground was in the late 1950s, where he received a reasonable push in Ohio. In 1958 he and one Cyclone Hess held the regional tag team title together for a short spell.

Also in 1958, he held a version of the Michigan championship in that state by defeating Dick Garza, who would later become more famous as The Mighty Igor.

Possibly to get away from the hard Midwestern winters, Juan Sebastian drifted into Arizona both before and after his Ohio run, where he again found moderate success. Though cheered in an obligatory set of matches with Don Arnold, he was booed as a ruklebreaker against the likes of Alberto Torres and Jesse James

He also had some stints in the Toronto area, including some hectic matches there with Sam Steamboat and bookings throughout the south..

Though never a star of international fame, he remained a capable journeyman throughout his career, who was welcomed in several territories.



Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Nelson Royal

Anoither wrestler known mainly for a long career in the southern states, Nelson Royal did travel around. A charismatic man with a sleeper for a finisher, he was usualkly well-liked in the locker room and beloved by the fans. Few people, if any, recall anything bad ever being said about him in the past or now, some years following his death.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Royal did do some matches in Arizona, most notably in the Yuma and Tucson areas. The year of 1960 itself was one that saw him having some truly outstanding matches in the territory. At this time, he had two wild feuds with Charro Azteca and Wild Red Donavan. Though he usually faced one or the other in singles comepotitioon, he also teamed with El Gran Lotherio for a set of tag team confronattions against this pair. For a short spell, Lotahrio and Royal were holders of the Western States tag team belts.

In the same time span, Royal was also afforded the obligatory feud with the legendary master villain of the area, Don Arnold. Nothing new here though as everyone feuded with Arnold from the early 1950s into the 1970s.

Royal also won and for a brief stint, maintained the Western States singles championship crown.

He never stayed long in the west, in spite of his success. North & South Carolina were his areas of chocie and that was where he always returned.

After his retirement, Royal did well with a store selling Wild West boots, clothing and range gear.

He died from a heart attack following a church service in 2002. he was 66 years old.

Meet Me Tonight In Dover

Meet Me Tonight at the Dover Library in Dover, Ohio as I take part in a writing seminar and book signing, held in the basement meeting rooms at 6:30 p.m. until 8 in the evening. The event is free with myself and others sponsored by the Not in Our Write Minds (love the play on words) writing group out of Canton.

Some of my past books such as Matadores Latinos and the like are still available in the book stores or from http://www.floricantopress.com but the bulk of my newer wrestling books are ordered only online, at wrestling shows or at signing sessions like this one.

Some of these books include:

Dale's Tales http://www.lulu.com/content/8243544

Whispers Among The Tombstones http://www.lulu.com/7155196

The Garden Will Not Die http://www.lulu.com/content/4928869 

A Parade Of Famous Masons http://www.lulu.com/content/9091275

MEWL http://www.lulu.com/content/5577832

Copies of these will be at the library for the lecture/sale.

The library is located across from the high school in downtown Dover. Dover is roughly 20 minutes south of  Canton on I-77.


Rip Hawk

Rip Hawk, like Dick Dunn Len Rossi, Rip Tyler and others who drifted into Arizona, was recognized especially as a southern wrestler. He is remembered in the archives for his longstanding tag team with the late Swede Hanson and for his work as a heel with dyed blond hair.

Early in his career, he spent some time in Arizona, while working for Rod Fenton out of Tucson, as well as other area promtoers. In these matches, he was on the undercard and still quite green, but picked up a load of tips that clearly helped him down the road.

One of his defining moments came in Yuma in October of 1957, when he held Bob Geigel to a draw.

When Hawk returned to the Carolinas fresh off his trip into the Will West, there was a notable difference. He was a far more confident heel and much better at working up a crowd.  His eventual pairing with Swede Hanson would secure his place forever in the history books,

The Hawk &  Swede connection would tag their way through many bloody brawls with Sam Steamboat & Mr.. Wrestling, The Anderson Brothers, Johnny Weaver & George Becker and Brute Bernard & Skull  Murphy  in particular,

As with many in his profession, he went from a nervous guy in the openers to one of the sport;s greatest performers.

Hawk conditioned to wrestle into the late 1970s, even after a heart attack momentarily sidelined him. More incredibly, in his final days of activity, he converted to the role of fan favorite.

While Swede Hanson passed away a while ago, Rip Hawk is still alive and doing as well as a man born as one Harvey Evers in 1921 might be expected.




Cometa

Cometa was a small man as far as wretslers went in the USA, though big enough for the lucha libre across the border from Arizona, where he practiced his trade. For all practical purposes, he was the typical luchador with the mask, fast moves and muscled, but thin frame.

The perky little grappler was a bigger draw within northern Mexico in the 1970s and 1980s, making appearances  within Sonora, Chihuahua and Baja California. Ge was occasionally seen in Arizona when varied lucha libre promotions ran, but was never in for long, due to immigration status.

:What a lot of guys back then would do, at least as far as I was told in locker room talk form some of the veterans who worked that area in territorial days, was this,": commented Ohio-based wrestler and manager Richard Friar. :They would get permits to cross the border as a tourist or visitor and wear their gear under their clothes or at least wear their boots when driving across the border station or walking across where someone in America would be waiting for them. When asked their purpose for their visit they would come up with some crap like "Oh, I'm gonna visit my grandmother in Tucson" or :I'm going shopping for three days in Texas" and that was it. They just wouldn't bother with the more lengthy process of getting work permits and since many promotions back then paid in cash under the table, it was no big deal to do it this way. They didn't stay as illegal aliens, but took the money and ran.  This would have been before the September 11th attacks and all the more stringent border security u that followed. It was a different and easier ball game back then.

Cometa reportedly came from Benjamin Hill, a small town between Nogales and Sonora and was trained by the late Pedro Gonzalez and his crew.Ge was sometimes the victim fo jokes abotu his home town by other wrestlers, because it was so much smaller than the major cities on the Mexican circuits.

Dick Dunn

Dick Dunn would mainly be known as a wrestler in the southern states such as Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida, but he did show up in Arizona in the early 1960s, perhaps looking for a change in pace, where he tried out the dry climate.

A heavy set bruiser of a man, Dunn would have had the making of a great heel for the Phoenix/Tucson/Yuma circuit, but was booked instead as a scientific fan favorite.

From the onset, Dunn was paired to feud with Hans Steiner and together they had some wild matches.

Dunn also teamed with Tito Montez for a short spell, but was more effective in signals competition.

Others he squared off with included Sir Percival Pringle (Not to be confused with Bill Moody/Percy Pringle /Paul Bearer), Ed Sharpe and Ken Lucas.

Rumor has it he even considered moving into Phoenix for a time, but this idea was nixed and he returned southward. He did make it back from time to time, but only at brief intervals.

At one point, he was instrumental in bringing Len Rossi, a major star in the Kentucky/Tennessee area, but then a complete unknown out west, into the Pheonix wrestling circuit.

Like Dunn, Rossi would prove an instant hit with Arizona fans, but would not stay, preferring the Nashville area instead.

Back in his southern home grounds, Dunn wad extremely successful. While working in law enforcement by day, he wrestled by night, holding the Gulf Coast  championship and Southern States tag team title  multiple times.

Dunn died in June of 1995.

His real name was Richard Demenbreun







Monday, June 4, 2012

Suzie Starr

Suzie Starr had only a short career. Originally pushed when the AIWA out of California had a brief Arizona run, she was designed as a tough blond who would wrestle men.

For whatever reason, she did not last long.

Coming out of Parker, Arizona, she had a handful of matches in the smaller towns, which reached a head in a 1997 main event match with her facing male counterpart, Cowboy Mark Kissell.

In this match, she pinned Kissell and looked to be moving upward, but then she just dropped out of sight.

With the passing of time her name has become so obscure it is an impossibility to find photos of her, though in the late 1990s some of her matches, specifically the one with Kissell, were in fact circulating among tape traders.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tito Copa

Tito Copa was an ugly little guy built like a troll. He had a shaved head and more body hair than an ape. Gad he been round in thsi day and age he would have been considered far too short to make the grade and laughed out of the arena, but in the 1950s and 1960s he was a top draw.

His forbearance was obvious to all who saw him in action.

His appearance alone was what made him rather than breaking him. He looked and acted like a psychotic leprechaun which had him jeered right off the bat. Though he could be considered a comedic wrestler under some circumstances, he was more often than not a rough and mauling heel. Though small, he was extremely powerful and had no trouble making the fans believe this.

Copa had long stints in Arizona where he was usually booed by the fans, but he did have at least a few brief moments in the sun as a hero.

One such example came in the Mid-01960s when the infamous Sheik was traveling from California to Texas and stopped in Arizona to take two bookings for easy money. He accepted contracts in Tucson and Casa Grande,m facing Tito Montez and Tito Copa.

The Sheik's reputation preceded him and when pitted against Copa, the little bald heel became an instant fan favorite. Their match was a bloodbath and though the crafty Arab came out on top, he was given a dose of his own medicine by the stocky bald man.  The two fought in the ring, up the aisles and at one point even under the ring,

The Sheik encounter was not the only time Copa heard cheers. Earlier in his career, he received applause when facing Don Arnold in a brutal feud and during a brief spell teaming with Tito Montez. 

It was as a villain, however, that he truly excelled. He was the Mighty Mite of pro wrestling. Among other bloody Arizona feuds was a set of brawls with the ever-popular Pancho Pico. In these, there wad no doubt Copa was the heel.

On occasion Copa was also billed as Tito Kopa.

Tito Copa died from a heart attack in July of 2004...

His real name was Jacobo Secherizberg 




Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hans Schmidt Dies

The sad death parade for May of 2012 marches onward with the passing of international star, Hans Schmidt, this weekend.

From the 1950s into the 1970s, Schmidt traveled all corners of the USA as a smirking Nazi from Berlin.

In truth, he was a Canadian named Guy Larose.

Aside from his savage antics in the ring, Schmidt was a confirmed outdoorsman  as well as an accomplished swimmer. He was likewise into deep sea diving. 

Unlike others who have passed this month, Schmidt made in to his late 80s.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

David Rose

David Rose drifted into Arizona in the 1970s and became a regular there for decades, working with a cowboy hat and appearing as a villain before turning into a fan favorite.

He would also travel outward under a mask, which is another story all together and his life as "David" is the focal point here.

Rose would become a mainstay at the Phoenix Madison Square Garden until it closed to wrestling in 1979. He appeared many times there as well as other places on the Arizona circuit.

People he would face in this time span in the area included Chuck Karbo, Chuck Hondo, Billy Anderson, Benny Mendeblis, Jody Arnold, Freddie Gomez, Hercules Stevenson, Jimmy Kent, Paul Harvey , Masked Frankenstein, The Golden Eagle, The Warlock, Mike Gordon, John Ringer, Eddie Sullivan, The Viking, The Lumberjacks, Nano Ortega and many others.

During the 1980s, Rose promoted his own shows as well as wrestled, both with and without his mask, depending on when and where. His feud with the two Lumberjacks continued, as did his battles with Ringer.

At this time he held the North American Jr Hwy. title.

Rose eventually moved to Kansas, but found hismelf back in Phoenix a few years ago, where he again became invovled with trainign and promoting.

One of his most celebrated ventures, dealt with in an earlier blog, remains talked about by older fans to this day, relating to his suicidal leap from the balcony to the arena floor to hit the ring and make a save.

David has also been a regular at the annual Arizona Old Timer wrestling reunions held each January in Phoenix.




Sunday, May 20, 2012

Death Of Lumberjack #1


Following up on a blog posted a few days ago, Russ Walters, otherwise known a Lumberjack #1 or The Lumberjacks 1&2 tag team passed away in the hospital. He managed to hang on until his son arrived and expired.


During a career expanded from 1977 into the 1990s, Walters was successful both as a tag team champion and as a singles combatant. He was known for exceptionally bloody matches long before ":hardcore wrestling: was a word.

A long and  certainly incomplete list of people he faced in Arizona included Bill Anderson, Louie Spicolli, Tim  Patterson, John Ringer, Jody Arnold, CC Starr, The Ranger, Thrillseeker, Bonecrusher, Bull Zambrano, JT Law, Flama Azul, Mercenary, Pedro El Grande, Silver Bullet, JJ Bear, Eli Hernandez, Mike Contreras, David Rose, Tito Montez, Cowboy Bob Yuma, Danny Medina, Crazy Horse, Phil Melby, Eddie Sullivan, Nano Ortega, Super Argo, Ed Blair, Woody Farmer, Mike Gordon, Tony Hernandez, Chuck Hondo and Steve GatorWolf.

A memorial service was well-attended by many wrestlers from his era. Several of these individuals were also present at the hospital at the time of his death.

Big Rob Long

Arizona is not unique in having many wrestlers who did not last long, regardless of the reason. Other states may say the same thing,.

Sweet Daddy Slime, Mean Joe, Little Mamba (Black mamba;s long forgotten "brother" who lasted all of 3 matches or so), Storm Rider, Curly Joe, Hardrock Kimball, The Gravedigger. The list goes on and on.

Big Rob Long started in Tucson in the late 1980s as a protege of Ron Sutherland. he had a couple matches with his trainer and then slipped out of the spotlight.

In the 1990s he re-emerged for Rage In The Cage  promotions as a "bodyguard" for Sutherland, who had since changed his ring name and was going as Section 8.

Long had a long enough run, to make a play on words, where he could claim invovlement in  wrestling before callign it quits.

He still makes his home in Tucson and follows wrestling as a fan,.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lumberjack #1 Gravely Ill

Russ Walters, Lumberjack #1 of the Lumberjacks #1&#2 tag team is gravely ill with severe respiratory trouble at this time. He is presently in Intensive Care at Phoenix Baptist Hospital.

Longtime friend and opponent David Rose commented yesterday that he seemed to be improving, though unable to talk due to a respirator affixed to his mouth. There are   several tubes attatched his body and not being a doctor I have no idea what these do.  He could nod a yes or a no to questions and that was it.

According to Rose, however, he took another turn for the worst last night.

Details as they come.

The Death Of Gorgeous George Jr.

On may 12, 2012, Gorgeous George Jr passed away. In truth he was not related to Gorgeous George and was even sued by the widow of the real one in order to prevent him from wrestling in California under that name. In other lcoations, however, he was quite successful as the supposed offspring of the "Human Orchid."

His real last name was Phelps and he was trained by Ted Dibiase, making his pro debut in 1960.

The odd part was though his career was based on a sham, he was actually quite capable in the ring and especially talented on the microphone.

Gorgeous George Jr had a run in Arizona in the mid-1960s, capitalizing on the fame of his supposed "father" in decades past. He had several hair-raising and violent matches at the Phoenix Madison Square Garden.

Goerge was also big in Texas and Oklahoma, but was fired in Tennessee when in full character, he made a fatal slip on live television and called George Gulas a "sniveling little shit."

When he was not actively wrestling hismelf.Jr. worked as a manager, most notably for The Mongolian Stomper, where again, his skill as a "talker" came through.

After retirement from wrestling, Jr. saw varied lines of work, including a role as a traveling evangelist.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Happy Birthday, Nano

On May 5, 2012, Nano Ortega celebrated his 70th birthday at Encanto Park in Phoenix with a fancy party, surrounded by family and friends.

Wrestlers in attendence included the retired Billy Anderson, Tony Hernandez and Eddie Lopez.

Nano was a mainstay in Arizona wrestling during the 1970s and 1980s both under that name and other aliases taken while wearing a mask. 

Over the years, people he faced included Eddie Sullivan, The Comancheros, Jody Arnold,  Chuck Karbo, Chuck Hondo, Chief Attacullaculla, Kiko Torres, Hercules Stevenson, Afa Anoai, Chuck Hondo and many more.

He retired in 1995.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Benny Mendeblis Dies

Benny Mendeblis passed away Sunday after a long battle with cancer.

Though a smaller man, Mendeblis was amazingly popular with the Arizona crowd and held the Arizona Jr. Hwy. Title several times.

His real name was Ventura Mendeblis.

He was a regular at the Phoenix Madison Square Garden from 1974 until the arena closed in 1978. Afterward,. he conditioned to wrestle for a number of promotions in the Tucson./Phoenix area, plus occasional appearances in Nevada and in Mexico.

Mendeblis might be best remembered by Phoenix fans for his lengthy feud with John Ringer and the number of bloody battles they had with each other.

Others he wrestled consistantly included David Rose, Chuck Karbo, Maniac Mike Gordon, Freddie Gomez, Eddie Sullivan, Hercules Stevenson, Billy Tipton, Jimmy Kent and  The Lumberjacks.

Mendeblis retired from the ring in 1985.

He will be missed.



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lucha Libre In Glendale

Former lucha libre promoter Tony Martin has emerged once again in Arizona, running wrestling at the Glendale 9 Drive In Theater and swap meet on Saturdays.

Piranha has become the main attraction on his cards and has a following already built in, due to being seen for other promotional groups in the area in the past few years.

CC Starr also made a comeback after one of his many retirements, to appear for this office. So much for his quitting as he has done this son many times no oen takes his farewells seriously.

Martin has a pipeline into Mexico, as he ran wrestling for several years down there in the 1990s, operating in both Nogales and Hermosillo.

Martin also ran lucha libre cards in the 1990s and 2000s in the Phoenix and Tucson areas.

Hopefully the new group will make a go of it.



Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ian Campbell

Ian "Big Scott" Campbell was the stereotyped Scottish wrestler long before Roddy Piper, coming to the ring with the cap, kilt and occasionally a set of bagpipes.

Sometimes he was cheered and sometimes booed, depending on who he faced in the ring.

A muscular star, Campbell utilized a number of power moves to finish his matches, including a back breaker, a bear hug and even a routine body slam.

During visits in and out of Arizona in the 1950s, some of the people he faced included Ricky Waldo, George Drake, Juan Humberto, El Diablo, Brute Bemis, Bobby Graham,  and Bobby Pico.

The unavoidable feud with Don Arnold also came to pass, for Arnold remained the man to beat throughout he 1950s and 1960s. In most of the encounters, Arnold, as the villain, came out the winner.

Where Campbell was cheered against Arnold, he was booed in a subsequent feud with Phil Melby.

Arizona was just one of the stops this wretsler made in a career that spanned two decades and the entire globe. He also proved to be a major draw in most of the European circuits.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Howard Stein

Several wrestlers who appeared regularly or on rare occasions in Arizona decided to punch their own ticket out of life. Bob Sallee, Mike Awesome, Morbus, George Drake, Tojo Yamamoto, Ripper Collins....

Howard Stein was another part of Arizona wrestling who died in a such a tragic fashion.

While working at a print shop with bis parents, hew as a regualr at the Phoenix Madison Square garden and at the Bernsten shows, where he was forever heckling the villains from a ringside seat.  He was not, however, a wrestler.

The closest he came to any physical contact with a wrestler was during an Eddie Sullivan match when, feeling bored, he shouted "I want some fucking action." Keep in mind this was 1981 or so, before  profanity became the norm from fans or wrestlers. Hearing this, Sullivan lost his cool, stepped out of the ring and strutted over to Stein.

"You looking for some action?" Sullivan asked. :Give me some." He then slapped the cigar out of Stein's mouth and motioned him to get up.

Stein wisely did not, though the next week he was on Eddie's case more than ever, minus the request for "fucking action."

A year later, he mysteriously stopped showing up at the matches..

It seems for reasons no one knew, he went to Las Vegas to party it up, lost a load of money in the celebration and  seeming in a  good mood, returned to Vegas where he shot himself. Evidently, the spree and ending were thought out in advance.

George Drake

Claiming to be from Catalina Island, George Drake was a popular grappler in the 1950s who toured the USA. Handsome, muscular and charismatic, though a bit small for a wrestler, he was nonetheless a top draw in whatever territory he appeared.Though not overly tall, he was quite muscular..

Among his favorite moves were an airplane spin, a Boston crab and the arm drag.

Drake made various trips into Arizona, where he was always cheered by the crowd. Tucson, Phoenix and Yuma were some of the areas where he was a regular.

As with most incoming fan favorites, Drake was matched up with mainstay villain Don Arnold for an intense feud. Arnold usually won these encounters, which would set up for an unending series of rematches and keep the crowd coming back for more.

Other people Drake faced included Tito Copa, Brute Bemis, Farmer Palmer, Duke Keomuka and the Garcias.

After retirement, Drake evidently found the quiet life too much to cope with and committed suicide in 1967.

His real name was an unflattering Roland Hogg. 

Sandy Barr

Oregon and Washington would be the main stomping ground for Sandy Barr. A prominent wrestler, promoter and father of Art and Jesse Barr. Ge also ran a huge swap meet for years in Portland, where he shifted a wrestling school to and actual promotional effort in the 1990s.  

Wrestlers on the swap meet cards he ran in his latter years included Dane Rush, Rambo, Buddy Wayne and his son, Jesse Barr/Jimmy Jack Funk.


When he was younger, Barr had a stint in the Phoenix/Tucson in the late 1950s.

One of his main routines in Arizona was to wrestle in his bare feet rather than with the traditional boots. He would thus dropkick the hell out of people.

Don Arnold, Dr, Jerry Graham and El Diablo were some of the people he squared off with in Arizona.

He died a few years back from a  heart attack.






CAC

The Cauliflower Alley Club is meeting this month in Las Vegas for their annual convention, as they do every year. It is amazing how far they have come from a modest weekly gathering of retired wrestlers in Los Angeles years ago, headed by the late Mike Mazurki, to this. Mazurki is gone, but his dream lives on.

One can find information by just logging Cauliflower Alley Club into search and finding their web page.

A modest $25 a year for US members (higher for overseas) gets you a fine quarterly magazine/newsletter, entitlement to attend the conventions and other benefits. There is also a benevolence fund for members set up to  aid wrestlers in financial or medical need.

Present members who were or still are seen in Arizona include Billy Anderson, Tito Montez, Tito Carreon, Phil Melby, CC Starr, Red Bastien, Nick Bockwinkel, Ann Casey, Pat Patterson, myself and more. When one looks at the entire roster, the list is astronomical and still growing.

Worth considering,

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Renaldo

Rick Renaldo wrestled mainly in the Pacific Northwest and Deep South. A muscular Italian-American with a love for cigars and weightlifting, though this might seem a contradiction, he was also one of wretsling;s legitimately toughest individuals.

Anyone doubting his toughness need only hear of a real-life Renaldo heroic, where he and Ray Stevens decked a bank robber making his getaway out the doors of a bank he just robbed,

Renaldo never wrestled regularly in Arizona, but drifted through the territory from time to time.

Renaldo's longest run was in the winter of 1979-1980 when matches were held at the Immaculate Heart Gym in Pheonix, in which he had a feud with Eddie Sullivan, These two had wrestled each other elsewhere before, several times and it was logical to bring them together on these cards, Sadly, this promotion did not last long and Renaldo went elsewhere.

Usually, Renaldo wretsled as a rulebreaker, butt here were times when he turned into a fan favorite, as seen in his southern run. When he faced Sullivan in Arizona, he was also utilized as the proverbial good guy.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Miss Vicious

Miss Vicious started out in Arizona in 1988, both as a manager and as a female wrestler, with her first big feuds being with Thunder Mamma and The Apache Princess.

Later down the road, she gained a great deal of respect for more intense feuds with Irish Miss and the crafty veteran, Josie Navarro.

She likewise became an important part of Mamba Incorporated, working as a manager for The Black Mamba, Bonecrusher and Illustrated Vic Capone.

One of her greatest matches came in Phoenix in front of 2,000 people in 1991, an amazing feat for an independent group and NOT exaggerated card at Graham Central Station. Copies of the bout still float around among tape traders, proving the size of the audience and the intensity of the match up was not a stretch of the imagination.

She eventually retired from the ring, though there has been talk of her making a comeback as a manager again. Time will tell, one supposes.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lellani Kai

Kai made various appearance sin Phoenix at the height of her WWF run, as well as a few other stops in smaller towns in Arizona. Outside of that, she was never a regular in the western areas, as she was booked more regularly in the south where she lived and started out.

For the most part, Kai was matched against Wendi Richter, with whom she had a long standing feud in the WWF and had wrestled several times beforehand for other promotional offices. Both before, during and after Kai's title run for the WWF as their Women's World champ, she and Richter would be paired off.

After all is said and done, Kai will undoubtedly be considered one of the best women wrestlers in history.

Arizona served as a witness to this during her brief run there.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Masters Of The Weird

My new book, Masters Of The Weird, is out on Lulu now and designed mainly to sell at my lectures or horror fests.

Info at http://www.lulu.com/content/12694461

The book has a decent amount of wrestling material, including a profile or Vince McMahon.

There are also lengthy bios of Mike Mazurki and Tor Johnson, who were seen in Arizona in the 1940s.

On a lesser scale, CC Starr is dealt with and his work in some low budget Indy dvds.

There is also a section on Eddie Sullivan and the making of Gunfight In Tombstone.

The Ed Wood movie is dealt with at length and naturally offers a piece on George Steele.

The Missing Link

Dewey Robertson was a popular  wrestler in Canada and the Midwest under this name, while also donning a mask for various gigs as The Crusader. Under the hood he engaged in a lengthy feud with Hank James, that included one particularly grueling Lumberjack Match at The Akron Armory in Akron, Ohio.

Other people he faced with the mask or as himself without it included The Sheik, The Mongols, Frenchy Martin, Bulldog Bower, Don Kent and George Steele, just to name a few.

It was when   he signed on with the WWF that  he really developed a new routine, wearing green greasepaint, a new hairdo and becoming an eye-roiling maniac in the tradition of the people he used to battle, such as Sheik and Brower.

Many do not realize, however, he had developed this routine before coming to the "Fed" and it was his brainstorm, not theirs.

Though intended to be a villain, he proved so popular the office turned him"good", which left people to shout "Bang your head" at him and roar approvingly when he pounded his skull against a ringpost.

It was during his WWF run that he made some shows in Phoenix and Tucson.

The Missing Link routine proved to be a hit with desert fans..

Robertson went into semi-retirement at a nudist colony in Canada and occasionally promoted matches there, where the wrestlers fought naked.

He later developed prostate cancer, seemed to be beating it, then died from the disease.

The Gorgeous George Book

Gorgeous George by John Capouya is a wonderful book that  captures both the light-hearted and the darker side oft hsi revolutionary showman.

The book also mentions some of the appearances of this late star in Phoenix, where he was a mainstay.

One section tells of how George was talked into having an injured knee numbed up by Rod Fenton and going out to do a match, only to have the thing turn twice as bad the next morning, when the medication wore off. He evidently called Fenton on the phone and tore him apart with every profanity known to man.

There is another tale of how George and traveling companion, Howard Cantonwine, got into a  roadside fist fight when both left the arena thinking the other had collected their pay off for the night.

A great book and a close up look at a controversial man who was certainly far from flawless, but nonetheless a magnificent showman.

"I wrestled Gorgeous George three times and he was drunk all three times," Tito Montez explained to me in a phone conversation once a few years back. By what is presented in this book, such is no surprise.

Don Arnold also told me about  wrestling George when the latter was blitzed and literally holding him up in the corner as he pummeled him, while trying to keep him from passing out.

Again, the George described to me by those who knew him seems clearly to be the one presented in this book.


Worth reading.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Daniel "Sergio" Camacho

Camacho is the son of a martial arts master and a friend to The Hawaiian Lion, so he grew up understanding self-defense from an early age and was able to walk into pro wrestling with relative ease.

In 2010, Camacho rocketed onto the scene in Phoenix, where he was declared the RDPW "Rookie Of the Year" following several harrowing matches for this promotion.

Just as he was really picking up steam, however, a torn Achilles tendon sidelined him for months.

He is now back in  action and appearing for a number of different promotional offices n Arizona.

With some luck, bookings will pick up in surrounding states and he will really get the recognition he deserves.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Death Of Woody Farmer

Woody farmer passed away last week without a lot of publicity. Though known predominately in Texas, Oklahoma, California and the south, he also made varied trips into Arizona in the 1960s and 1970s.

For the most part, Farmer wrestled as a villain, using an unorthodox stomping headlock to force people into submission or a crushing bearhug to do the same. Some of the people he faced included Cowboy Bob Ellis, Cowboy bob Yuma, Nano Ortega, Greg Campbell, Kiko Torres and Eddie Lopez, though he really reached his height in a  feud with Tito Montez.

In 1977, Montez and Farmer met several weeks straight at the Phoenix Madison Square  Garden, facing each other  in all types of matches before Tito was able to finally gain the conclusive win.

During his last days in Arizona, Farmer became a fan favorite, after a split between his partner Jody Arnold and himself in a tag match. The two then ended up facing each other as well, in a series of hectic matches, until Woody finally gained the upper hand.

Always a tremendous physical specimen, Farmer would often perform feats of strength or in a straight shoot, allow fans from the audience to try to hurt him by punching him in his stomach. When he tightened his stomach muscles many fans found it was like hitting a brick wall.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bob Kelly

Cowboy Bob Kelly was a top draw in Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and Louisiana in the 1960s and 1970s. The odd part is as a wrestler he never appeared in Arizona as far as I know.

This seems a bit odd, for in the south he feuded with many Arizona mainstays such as Bearcat Wright, Eddie Sullivan, Ken Lucas and Dick Dunn.

The strangest part is Kelly DID show up ion Arizona to meet with Eddie Sullivan and others, but not in the ring.

Kelly came in to shoot a movie in Apache Junction titled Gunfight In Tombstone, about the gunfight at the OK  Corral. Kelly became Wyatt Earp and Eddie Sullivan made an unconvincing Doc Holiday as someone way too big for a man supposed to be dying from TB.

It is strange Kelly never bothered with this neck of the woods when active as a wrestler as he could have gone over big.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mr Insanity

Mr. Insanity is primarily known for working eastern states from his Ohio home base,  though he has made it as far as Japan.

He has become recognized for ultra violent hard core matches with Necro Butcher, Ian Decay, Brain Damage and  Jebediah.

Injuries have taken their toll on him and for the moment he seems to be calling ti quits or at least taking a rest. No one believes he will be out for good.

Few people remember in 1999, when Jerry Gray was running a set of spot shows in Arizona and Utah, using his crew from the south along with some people from the west.

Mr Insanity made the circuit, engaging in a brief feud with Navajo Warrior, an Arizona mainstay and one of the best grapplers to come out of Phoenix in the 1990s. Their matches were not mega brawls like those that would earmark Mr Insanity's later style, but were nonetheless exciting.

Will he be back in Aruizona one day?

Time will tell,

No one, after all, is taking his retirement seriously.

Keep In Mind Those In Poor Health

Please keep in mind those who appeared in Arizona in the past w ho are having varied health issues. This is just a collective listing and not goign into specifics for each individual, but they could definitely use some good vibes.

Red Bastien
Don Arnold
Tito Montez
David Rose
Pedro El Grande
Len Rossi
Lex Lugar
Jay Strongbow
Moose Morowski
Count Billy Varga
Lumberjack 1
Gangsta Man
Morgan "Death Dealer" Wormwood
Barry Windham
Cowboy Claw
Cowboy Bob Ellis
Ken Lucas
Billy Graham
Luis Martinez (there have been rumors of his death, but not confirmed)
Tony Marino
Carlos El Malo
Sheik Abdul
Enigma

Plus the grandson of Pistol Pete  is an infant fighting cancer......... .. ..
.