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

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

The Ballards

The Ballard Brothers started out in California using different names than this and seeing action fro varied independents around the Los Angeles area. They were pushed by Ed Ahrens and the AIWA as well as other offices.

It was when they decided to use the collective name of the Ballard Brothers and become villainous hockey player types entering a wrestling ring like something out of Slap Shot hat they were caught on.

Ed Ahrens continued to push them in the AIWA, while adding their local phenomenon, Luscious Laura, as their manager.

Other promotional groups picked them up and the pair saw  themselves being booked regularly all over.

The Navajo Warrior had some wild battles withe the pair in California and saw them as a top drawing possibility in Arizona. Thus he brought them in as a tag team when he was running his own shows, bringing them to Phoenix and other areas.

As in California, they took Arizona by storm.

"Few other tag teams ever generated such heat in the independent world," commented wrestler Stinky The Garbage Man. "The Comancheros, Sergeant Shultz 1&2 and The Lumberjacks maybe, but no one else. They were just so over. I mean they were fucking hot!"

The Ballards have not been back top Phoenix in a while and seem to have been sticking to raising chaos in their California homeland, but who knows. maybe one day they will return.

Gargoyles Night Club

Gargoyles Night Club in Tucson was one of the places where promoter Ron Sutherland held varied shows in the 1990s, prior to the place closing down, which ended the wrestling there. For a time though, they had some hectic hardcore matches and generated quite a bit of press. The big Phoenix New Times even did a feature on them.

Sutherland headlined several of his cards as Section 8.

Others who appeared at this venue include CC Starr, Dave Garcia, The Klansman, Bladerunner, The Navajo Warrior, Billy Scream, Lance Ferraro, The Time Traveler (my favorite), Rainbow, Morgan "Deathdealer"' Wormwood, Bonecrusher and others.

One of the wildest of matches seen there was a Texas Tornado Match with all four men in the ring. partners Lance Ferrarro and Bladerunner took on the unlikely pairing of Section 8 with rival, The Time Traveler, in a match with weapons cluttered all over the place. In the end Traveler and Ferrarro turned on their respective partners, made a tag team of their own and destroyed their original associates.

The Klansman was undoubtedly the top villain for this promotion. A masked man who made his political and racial views quiet obvious, while claiming to be from the fictional Burning, Mississippi, he provoked the crowd to a near riot on more than one evening.

One particular match he had with The Navajo Warrior stands out as a classic.

A local talent and Sutherland protege, Billy Scream, also provoked to be loved by the fans. Though big and somewhat clumsy, he did much with what ability he had. The fans supported him with a fever pitch and thus his shortcomings were overlooked..

Not to be at a loss when Gargoyles closed, Sutherland simply took his show on the road and went to other venues. The same feuds continued with the same wrestlers.

The odd part about the Gargoyles shows was the matches were not held in a  ring, but in a cage, giving substance to the title of Rage In The Cage promotions.

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.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Maestro

He calls himself The Stro now and from his base in North Carolina he works a number of independent shows per month, while taking an occasional acting spot or doing autograph signings at conventions. He has done some training of other wrestlers and has a variety of itnerests awau from the ring, including biblical studies, music and film. He is presently in a relationship with girl wrestler Kristy Kiss, He has a web page for himself, merchandise available; and a Face Book page.

Way back when, he passed through Arizona, but was never a regular there, being seen in Phoenix when WCW drifted into the area as part of their tour

Back then, he was known as The Maestro, much like today but with some slight variations. A wrestler who happened to think himself a psychotic composer. Okay, so Leopold he wasn't or Mozart. Well, mot
 exactly, but the role gained a lot of heat from the fans.

Thanks to his real life love of music, it was likewise easy to dive into the character. In truth he was not Rob (his real first name) playign a character, but Rob playing an extended version of himself.  

When he drifted through cactus country it was at the height of an elongated feud with the popular Norman   Smiley, who won most of the traveling encounters they had with each other.

As far as anyone knwos, eh has not been back since, but havign him on a card in the Phoenix or Tucson area would be a welcome change for any independent. he is available for bookings and reportedly reasonable.

I for one think he would be a draw out west. Many disagree with me, but I see a slight resemblance in the face to the late Ron Dupree, a name which would bring nightmares to older fans.

You can find loads of info on him by searching The Stro-Wrestler online or even communicate with him direct on his Web Page or Face Book link.

The Rose Garden/Main Event Arena

 The Rose Garden was called such by those involved. as an inside joke for David and then wife Gayle Rose ran shows in this arena for some time in 1980-1981.  Once located at 3rd street in downtown Phoenix, the irony was the wrestlers "built: the interior themselves by knocking down walls, constructing bleachers and blocking off a dressing room.

To the general public, the building was known as the more serious Main Event Arena.

I had some of my early matches as manager here.

The arena vibrated some press too as it was  covered in both New Times and the Arizona Republic.

One of the main feuds saw David Rose facing one Mr Southern Comfort (and he lived up to his alias also) who came down to Pheonix after a stint for Bill Ash on Indy cards in Wyoming.The two faced each other numerous times with their final confrontation taking place in a bloody cage match.

Another long feud saw Gayle Rose (as Mrs Wrestling) feuding with the veteran Marilyn Bender,

Some of the people who appeared here are sadly gone, like the arena itself. Referee Bob Sallee woukld shoot himself for some reason known only to him. Refs Ron Lindsey and Russ Barker are also gone, as is retired wrestler Tona Tomah who sometimes worked the gate. Maniac Mike Gordon also passed away from a heart attack up in Canada a while ago.Cowboy Bob Yuma died as well, after years facing respiration problems.

Other regulars on the cards were The Lumberjacks, Pedro El Grande,The Golden Eagle, John Ringer, Danny Snyder, Masked Frankenstein, Tom Ramirez and occasional luchadores from Mexico. Ringo Rodriguez of Juarez was one of them.

 Week after week, the wrestlers always gave their all. 

Aside from holding house shows, the building also served as a full time training facility where many of the veterans worked out alongside the rookies. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Count Billy Varga

Count Billy Varga is still alive in California as of this writing, but he has been in poor health for years. For a man born way back in 1918, however, one has to hand it to him.

Though not the biggest of men, Varga was a tremendous physical specimen and lightning fast in the ring. He also broke into the movie world where he played many parts. he was often seen as a referee in wrestling or boxing  films and television roles. He also, predictably, received many film roles as a wrestler.

While much if his career was spent operating from a California home base, he naturally made it to Arizona numerous times in the 1950s.

Several period wrestling magazines covered Varga's Arizona exploits and one columnist noted he was second only to one in popularity in the Pheonix/Tucson area.

Oddly enough,  the most popular wrestler there at the time, according to the magazines, was Fred Blassie!

Truth is stranger than fiction,

Though a scientific wrestler of great capability, Varga was capable of wild brawling when provoked. There were times when chairs or even the steps at ringside entered into his battles and were hurled about like paper airplanes. 

The Christy brothers, Warren Bockwinkel, Broadway Venus  and Don Arnold were just some of his opponents in Arizona rings.

Varga also rose in the ranks to win the World Junior Heavyweight Title

Friday, February 10, 2012

See Me In 2012

There is a chance I might be back in Arizona in late 2012 for a brief stay. It is not confirmed, but possible. I have wanted to make a return to Pheonix for a while now, but have constantly been sidetracked.

In the meantime I am still managing regularly in Ohio at age 53 for MCW. They have info at  Here I manage under my real name.

On other places I will be doing my better known Time Traveler role. This includes a new promotion set to start in the summer in the Cambridge (Ohio) area. I also intend on some Cleveland area shows.

Possible spot shows come summer and fall in Pennsylvania, North Carolina,  Tennessee, Iowa,  Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin as well.  This, however, remains to be seen as in Indy wrestling things seldom pan out as planned.

Dr. Thom Parks

Dr. Thom Parks was born Tim Hicks in Virginia and it is his real Hicks name he has gone back to using as he has left wrestling except for contact with wrestlers at his church or old time reunions. He has instead been devoting time to political and religious issues, as well as book publishing.

Hicks became involved with wrestling by publishing a news sheet, then started work as a photograph and finally, adapting to the new Parks name, became a referee and occasional wrestler.

In the early 1990s, he moved to Arizona, where he saw action as a photographer. He was eventually roped into some referee work by RC Preston and other promoters for shows in the Phoenix area.

In the late 1990s, he became a manager, again under the Thom Parks name and generated a great deal of heat  from the crowd during his brief run.

Hicks/Parks  also founded the popular Arizona Wrestling Legends web site and was involved with the Arizona Old Timer Reunions along with the late Cowboy Bob Yuma.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tor Johnson

Tor Johnson would best be known for his role as the lumbering lab assistant in Bride Of The Monster and as the police inspector turned into a  zombie in Plan 9 From Outer Space. In truth, he had parts in a number of films  prior r meeting Ed Wood and remained active after these two projects.

Johnson also did in fact wrestle, as implied in the Tim Burton film, Ed Wood, where another wrestler of similar style and look, George Steele, played him,

Johnson wrestled for several years as The Super Swedish Angel, as a mainstay in the California circuit.

Like many working the Hollywood, Los Angeles, San Diego offices, he also made an occasional trip into Arizona, though not with the consistency of others such as Mike Mazurki, Billy Varga and Warren  Bockwinkel from the same era.

Long after retirement form the ring and film, Johnson made the fan fest circuits, though he grew back his hair which he had shaved off beforehand and on occasion spouted a beard.

There is a fine bio, death notice and burial information for him at the page,

Outside the ring, Johnson was involved in a number of social and charitable functions,. He was a prominent member of the Masons and his ground level grave marker carries the  square and compass of the fraternity.