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.