Friday, May 25, 2018

Whipper, Pat, Bunny 1943

Three of the longest serving of the MLW regulars pictured in 1943. Just counting their service under Corcoran and Tunney, over 100 years combined.

  • Al 'Bunny' Dunlop wrestled from about 1932 and then refereed through to 1971 - 39 years
  • Whipper Watson wrestled 1940-1971 and around occasionally to late 1970s - 31+ years
  • Pat Flanagan wrestled 1942 to 1968 and referred to about 1975 - 33 years

This show, just over 70 years ago this May,  was for the 'Fresh Air Fund' which helps kids get out of the city in the summer and enjoy some country life, still going strong today.

Pedro Martinez took on Ed 'Strangler' Lewis. He didn't 'murder the Strangler' but went down to a headlock then body press in losing the bout. Martinez was a regular here before he branched out and promoted Buffalo. The whole Toronto crew were frequent visitors to Buffalo.

May 13 1943 Maple Leaf Gardens 
The Red Shadow pinned Whipper Watson 39:09
Ed 'Strangler' Lewis pinned Pedro Martinez 8:27 
Fank Sexton defeated Jack Claybourne  15:02
Al 'Bunny' Dunlop beat Jack Wentworth 16:53
Pat Flanagan pinned Jan Gotch 16:16 
Referee: Ernie Powers

Thursday, May 24, 2018

External Link- Mid-Atlantic Gateway: It's All in the Family for "Nature Boy" Ric Flair

Mid-Atlantic Gateway: It's All in the Family for "Nature Boy" Ric Flair: by Dick Bourne Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Chances are you already visit the M-A Gateway but in case ...

Love the family tree for Ric Flair , they looked at the family prior also- see link below
And you thought your family was tough!

Mid-Atlantic Gatewey: Blood is Thicker Than Water

Ric Flair 1981: Classic Photo

NWA champ Ric Flair gets help down the ramp from Mike Davis and Johnny Weaver on Nov 15 1981. Flair had just won his bout against Harley Race. Doesn't look like it but he did!

I was off to the right just outside the scope of this photo. This was the 50th Anniversary card - we looked at it in a Sunday Night: Nov 15 1981

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Montreal 1983: Classic Clippings

More Montreal clippings, this time 1983. We would have been lucky to have this quality of cards in Toronto by this time. We did get the International Wrestling show so we were able to tune into the great wrestling going on just up the road. There are some duplicates, slightly different ads for the same cards. Again, dates in pen were when they were pulled from the paper.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Sammy Berg, Don Leo, Dick Beyer, Mark Lewin....Earliest MLG debut for a living wrestler.

Earliest MLG debut for a living wrestler

  1. Sammy Berg 89 debut 1951
  2. Don Leo Jonathon 87 debut 1953
  3. Dick Beyer 86  debut 1956
  4. Mark Lewin 81 debut 1956
  5. Johnny Walker 83 debut 1957
  6. Tony Marino  87 debut 1960  
  7. Domenic Denucci 86 debut 1960
  8. Dino Bravo ?  debut 1960
  9. Sweet Daddy Siki 77 (reportedly) debut 1962
  10. Emile Dupree 81 debut in 1965
As of May 19 2018 - MLG Debut listed

Dick Beyer aka The Original Sensational Intelligent Destroyer as he was known here has the distinction of being one of the oldest living MLG regulars - who debuted the earliest.

He will be 87 years young on July 30 and debuted here on July 5 1956 as 'Dick Beyer' earning a draw with 'Mr Canada' Sammy (Samson) Berg.

Sammy Berg who is listed as 89 debuted here in September 1951 and appeared through 1957. He would top the list as it is currently. The earliest MLG debut for a living wrestler. He is also the oldest on the top 10 list.

Don Leo Jonathon just celebrated his 87th birthday. He debuted at MLG in 1953 appearing in the area through 1956 making him #2 ahead of Beyer. Beyer had a longer tenure, from 1956-1961 and then as The Destroyer from 1979-1984.

Mark Lewin is 81 and debuted here way back in 1956. Incredibly, as we saw him on the Wildman's circuit as late as 1986 and he was still in top shape. He appeared on the MLG cards through 1976.

Johnny 'Rubberman' Walker aka Mr Wrestling II is 83 and appeared here in 1957. But only once. Technically not a MLW regular.

Tony Marino is 87 and debuted here in 1960. He appeared at MLG through 1976 and for George Cannon about a year or two later than that.

Domenic Denucci is 86 and wrestled here as Domenic Bravo in 1960. He put in a full schedule in that year and later came back as Denucci. He wrestled here through 1982 and beyond that on the Wildman's circuit.

The original Dino Bravo- real name- who wrestled here from 1960-1961 and teamed with Beyer a time or two in addition to teaming with Domenic Denucci/Bravo as the Bravo Brothers was profiled a few years back , if still living likely in around the same age as Domenic.

Sweet Daddy Siki doesn't reveal his actual age. Wikipedia has him at 77 but he doesn't tell, likely close to that. He debuted here in 1962 and was a regular in the area on and off through 1986. He was teaming with Mark Lewin on the Wildman shows in 1986, another guy who didn't seem to age

Emile Dupree 81 debuted in 1965
Tiger Jeet Singh 74 debuted in 1965
Rocky Johnson 73 debuted in 1965
Jacques Rougeau Sr. 87 debuted 1967
Gino Brito 77 debuted in 1967
Paul Diamond 82 debuted in 1969
Angelo Mosca is 81 but he didn't debut at MLG until 1969
There may be others from the 1960's but couldn't find anyone prior to 1962 in front of Siki

There are many others who are over 70 but debuted here after 1970
Carlos Rocha would be the oldest at 91 but he debuted here in 1971
Pampero Firpo is 88, debuted in 1971
Danny Hodge is 86 he wrestled here only once, in 1972

If you can correct or add to this list please do

Friday, May 18, 2018

Ilio Dipaolo vs Don Leo Jonathon 1959: Classic Photo

Ilio DiPaolo shows his strength as he lifts Don Leo Jonathon up in a bout at MLG in 1959. Referee Billy Stack is watching on. Don Leo was in between feuding with Whipper Watson and teaming with Gene Kiniski as the Canadian Open Tag champs.

The bout ended in a curfew draw and Dipaolo would later team with Whip to try to pry the tag trophy from the big team of Jonathon and Kiniski. They would be successful a couple of months after this photo was taken.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Waldo Von Erich: Holland Marsh's gift to the wrestling fraternity

1965 Maple Leaf Gardens in front of 'the wall'

Over the course of his career Wally Sieber aka Waldo Von Erich used about 10 different names before making it big as 'Waldo Von Erich' wrestling brother of Fritz. His early career is mostly unknown or forgotten but he was a 'big star' on Red Garner's Toronto area circuit from 1950 through 1957 alongside other Garner regulars who went on to bigger things including early training partner Jacques Dubois (Dave McKigney), Mike Scicluna (later Baron Scicluna), Ron Doner, and Ron 'Bull' Johnson.

He appeared on a Garner Weston Arena card in November 1950 described as a crowd pleaser from Stuttgart, Germany. He shows up on more Weston arena cards through 1951 including the ad at right vs Gori 'Ed' Mangotich. Gori was a Toronto native and big star overseas who worked on Garner cards for many years.

 In July 1951 they played up his 'debut as a pro wrestler' in his hometown. At 200lbs in the Arena in the town of Bradford (within the Holland Marsh) billed as Baron Von Sieber- hometown boy he would spend the next 6-7 years wrestling for the Richmond Hill, ON based Central Canadian Wrestling Association (CCWA).

Right from the start they would play to his family heritage with the Baron part but in write-ups often just 'Wally Sieber -Holland Marsh's gift to the wrestling fraternity.'

He would hold the CCWA's Canadian heavyweight  title for a time and hone his craft on the competitive and fast paced circuit before the big league came calling.

In 1954 he was named as one of Canada's most promising wrestlers by Barry Lloyd Penhale in 'Wrestling As You Like It' magazine. He was named alongside Frank 'Scotty' Thompson, Ferenz (Jimmy) Sziksay, Bill Curry (Kasaboski star), Stan Holek (aka Stan Lisowski/Nielson), Tony Baillargeon, Sandy Scott, and Maurice 'Mad Dog' Vachon

In September 1957 he would appear on a Tunney associated card in Bradford (likely promoted by Tommy Nelson) in what was called his 'debut for the MLW troupe.' Now the 'German Oak' he would face tough Tiger Tasker and a month later he would walk the ramp at Maple Leaf Gardens to take on Dick Hutton. This was during Hutton's $1000 challenge and Seiber would fall, as many others had, to Hutton's abdominal stretch.

An added note to that 1957 Bradford card was that Fritz Von Erich was teamed with Dick Hutton vs The Fabulous Kangeroos. Fritz was a top heel here then and he and Wally would appear on many of the same cards over the next year.

Even at MLG his name continued to change, sometimes Baron Von Sieber, other times Waldo Von Sieber then sometimes just Wally or even Walter. The 'Von Erich' brotherhood would happen away from Toronto and when Wally returned in November 1964 as Waldo Von Erich, Fritz was long gone from here. The Von Erich 'brothers' would never team in this area though Waldo would remain Fritz's 'brother' in the stories in the mags up to the late 1970's and beyond.

Close up at MLG 

Roger Baker, whose photos are featured here remembers meeting Waldo during his time both as a fan in the early days and later as a wrestling photog and writer.

'This wrestling reporter can go all the way back to around 1955 when I first met Wally Sieber, it was the summer time, and the place was ''Sunny Side Beach'' we were both in our late teens, I recognized Wally as soon as saw him, he was tall, very muscular, and he may have had blond hair. 

Wally was with a buddy, and they were both having a great time by the huge swimming pool that was the hallmark of the beach area, we chatted for a while, and he told me that he appreciated when he was recognized out side of a wrestling ring, he was looking forward to his future as a wrestler  

Over the ensuing years we met on several more occasions, we met at a summer dance hall in Jacksons point, at a wrestling event in Detroit's Cobo Hall, as well an event at Buffalo's War Memorial Auditorium. As well Wally and The Fabulous Kangaroos Al Costello and Roy Saint Clair, and myself had a great dinning experience in a Lebanese restaurant in Detroit.

And there was the time when Wally literally got his hands on me, this happened in a dressing room at M.L.G. it was if memory serves me correct around 1964. I had popped in to see who was there, in the hopes of getting some dressing room candids. This can be tricky, as with anyone if you don't ask first it can result in a nasty incident, however Wally was in the room at the time and we got to talking about injuries from wrestling, as well as other sports.

There was a large adjustment table in the room, some of the other wrestlers who were there used the bench for abdominal crunches to warm up ahead of their up coming match. I mentioned to Wally that I had been in discomfort from a very stiff neck at the time. He offered to adjust my neck on the bench, so with some trepidation I got on the bench on my back and without the benefit of any pre-adjustment  loosening up, he applied what was best described as a full nelson on me, followed by a quite forceful backwards pull. I motioned to him that 'I give up' and he released me and told me I should feel better after a while.

While all this had been going on, little did I know that the boss himself, Frank Tunney, had come into the room while I was on the bench. Being some what embarrassed at the time I said hello to Tunney, who gave me a quizzical look. I got to be man handled by a 245lb. brute of a wrestler, and live to talk about it. '

MLG 1965 vs Bruno 

Waldo would earn his first major title bout locally in 1964 against WWWF champ Bruno Sammartino. He would face Bruno twice in 1965 and again in 1976 at MLG. Those two would battle all over WWWF proper over the years, Waldo the perfect ethnic monster heel type they would match up against Bruno.

In 1965 Waldo would team with Gene Kiniski. Big Gene had previously teamed with Fritz here in 1957 creating a monster tag that caused havoc all over the area. The new tag of Waldo and Gene would feud with Whipper Watson and Johnny Valentine.

He would take an extended absence through the early 1970's as he traveled the world before returning here to appear both at MLG and the outer circuit alongside the WWA/McKigney stars. As well in those days the 'Lake circuit' that included Cleveland, Buffalo, and Detroit, had a busy schedule for our local guys.

He stayed a regular here though Mar 4 1979 when he wrestled his last bout at the Gardens against Johnny Yachetti (The Beast)

I also met Waldo some years back and he was a very nice and gracious guy, not at all like his wrestling persona. The pic below by Roger taken in the Buffalo dressing room reflects that.

Photos- and thanks! - to Roger Baker

For more on the CCWA do a search at right or click on tags including Red Garner, CCWA, etc

Pensive in Buffalo