Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The El Norteno

The El Norteno was not a wrestling arena, but a building where Tito Montez ran some shows before moving into the Phoenix Madison Square Garden in 1977. The El Norteno  was in fact, a Mexican bar and restaurant.

As promoter, Tito found a need to always be on top. One of his biggest feuds at this venue was with The Spoiler. This was not the legendary Dan Jardine, but a Midwestern grappler by the name of Mac McFarland, Though perhaps not the real deal per se, McFarland was nonetheless an outstanding heel with a muscular body, sinister black hood and an odd/unique neck breaker for a finisher.

Another main eventer at the time on these cards was Tony Hernandez, who held the Arizona State Title at the time. Though he had spent most of his Arizona run as a fan favorite in the past decade, facing the likes of Don Fargo, Don Arnold, The Comancheros, Eddie Sullivan and Jody Arnold, he made the transition to villain at this time. He was quite a good one.

Hernandez ran over and mauled the bulk of the competition thrown against him at the Norteno. He would  follow through with this trend when Montez moved into the Garden.

Others who were seen at this venue include Maniac Mike Gordon, Chuck Hondo, Tom Ramirez, Benny Mendeblis, Cowboy Bob Yuma, The Viking, Eddie Lopez, Nano Ortega and Hercules Stevenson. 

This building might not have been the classiest place to hold wrestling in Pheonix, but it enabled a location for some fine matches as Montez built is promotion.

It also provided a stomping ground so to speak, for Tony Hernandez (Pictured below) to break from his many years as a fan favorite and conifer the crowd he was really a bad man at heart.

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