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 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.