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Pro Wrestling in Oshawa, Ontario
Classic Photo: Destroyer vs Billy Red Lyons 1983
There were other 'Destroyers' in the interim. The 60's saw Joe Christie as the 'Masked Destroyer' before he was unmasked by Johnny Valentine in 1964. There were versions on the smaller circuits and in the late '70's we had the AWA Super Destroyers I (Don Jardine) and II (Sgt Slaughter) hence when Beyer returned he demanded to be called the 'Original Sensational...'.
Classic Photo: Fritz & Hans 1958
The fans hopped into the fun and the two heels hightailed it under the ring -as many before had done- to escape the fans wrath. Joe Perlove wrote the next day that they were 'actually trespassing on the property of such as Wild Bill Longson and Nanjo Singh', both of whom spent a considerable time there usually after bouts with Whipper.
Pages from the Scrapbook: The Fabulous Kangaroos
In their debut in August 1957 they took out the team of Hard Boiled Haggerty and Lee Henning, and in their next bout in September beat the team of Fred Atkins and Tiger Tasker. They were due for some stiffer competition and would face it in the team of Ivan and Karol Kalmikoff on the Sept 19th card.
Frank Ayerst in his weekly column proclaimed Australia as the origin of tag-team wrestling and noted that the 'Roo's' had gained the fans support in their short time here, but were due for a tough bout with the hated Kalmikoff brothers.
Classic Photo The Lisowski's
Stan was actually Stan Holek while Reggie Lisowski would later become the world famous 'The Crusher'
Walcott was a semi regular ref here from 1957 - 1962 coming in for big bouts and also worked in Ottawa and other spots. Al 'Bunny' Dunlop is also in the shot at far right, there were usually 2 refs for the tag bouts in this era.
Classic Photo Ivan Koloff
The re-styled 'Boogie Woogie' Valiant was huge here at this time, the fans crazy for him. The bouts were short but at high excitement from the moment he bounced down the ramp.
Koloff, more of a traditional star was as hated as Valiant was loved. The 'Russian Bear' had a long history here going back to 1968, had challenged for both the NWA (Funk Jr.) and WWWF (Backlund) Titles at MLG, and was a big part of the M-A years here.
The two would feud for a few months before Valiant beat him in June at MLG to win the title. The feud would start again in October with them trading it again although the lineage here is different than in the Carolinas.
Pages from the Scrapbook O'Connor vs Thesz
The following night in St Louis Pat O'Connor takes the title from Hutton and the main in Toronto gets changed to O'Connor vs Thesz.
O'Connor returns to Toronto less than a week after his win to take on the then 2 time NWA (Alliance) champ and former 3 time NWA (Association) champ Thesz. The papers hype it as a bout that will have 'sharp, scientific wrestling, highlighted by speed and agility'.
Classic Photo Layton vs Kalmikoff
Layton was a beloved local star both as a wrestler and TV personality and later in his role with Bacardi in the Toronto area. It was said that his change from heel to fan favorite was precipitated by his kids being razzed about their fathers dastardly deeds at school.
Ref Bert Maxwell, officiating here was also a long time area star. A former wrestler he worked bouts at MLG and around the area from the mid 1940's into the early 1960's and also served as Head Gateman at MLG for over 25 years.
History of the CCWA
From his home turf in Langstaff, part of Richmond Hill, Red would put on weekly shows year round at the Richmond Hill Arena, Thornhill Farmers Market, Weston Arena, Lakeshore Arena, and across the region including Aurora, Newmarket, Stoufville, Guelph, and other towns.
Garner would train young amateur wrestlers to learn and work the pro circuit. He maintained a 'Middleweight' division with many of the stars in the under 180lb range. There were heavyweights too and many of the stars of the CWWA went on to long careers in other regions as well.
Some of Red's trainees or regulars such as Ed/Gori Mangotich found success in England wrestling the tough British style while others, most notably Baron Von Sieber (Waldo Von Erich, Jacques Dubois (Dave McKigney/The Canadian Wildman), and Mike Scicluna (Baron Mikel Scicluna) would go on to pave long careers across North America and abroad.
The NWA Title in Toronto
The AWA Title, though dating from 1960 only started appearing here in the late 1970's through 1982 (total of 16 appearances), while the WWWF Title made its first appearance in 1964 and would be a frequent visitor through 1983 with over 50 appearances.
With the possible exception of the very popular in Toronto Bruno Sammartino (28 total defenses in Toronto) a visit by a NWA champ was the prized must-see bout out of all the feds.
The NWA Title would make over 130 appearances here between 1949 -1984 including 4 title changes.
CCWA Canadian Middleweight Title
From 1951 to at least 1960 the main Title defended on these cards was the Canadian Middleweight Title. There were also Tag Titles, a Labbatt Tag Trophy, and at times the heavyweight Canadian Title but the most active during those years was the Middleweight Title.
This is a look at the lineage of that title, sourced from results. As with the North American Title lineage it is followed as best as we can with whats available. It will be ongoing as we source more results from the other towns on the circuit where some of the unknown changes took place.
THANKS TO ROGER BAKER for contributions to the MLWP. Many of the Classic photos come from Roger's collections from his many years as a fan and then Professional Photog shooting Wrestling & Boxing bouts at MLG and around Ontario. We are fortunate to have his contributions to the articles as he shares his memories from the classic days of Ontario Pro Wrestling. Roger wrote many great stories for the Wrestling mags of the day that featured his photos and time spent with many of the biggest stars ever to appear at Maple Leaf Gardens. Thank you Roger!
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Wrestling News!Lengthy interview with Ricky Steamboat over at the fine M-A Gateway site (external link opens in new window) ...Happy to have been a part of getting Billy Stack recognized for his contributions to Wrestling. On Oct 1 2106 Stack is to be inducted to the Clarington Sports Hall Of Fame (external link opens in a new window) - congrats to Billy's family and friends for this well-deserved honor
Sept 2016...Trying a new look for our 13th year online, hope you like it ! Will have some new stuff coming soon, a look at Whipper Watson's early days, a look at the WWWF/WWF Title in Toronto and more from the scrapbooks among other planned entries
Our latest Pic of the Month features Johnny Weaver and Lord Alfred Hayes waiting to do battle in the cage from January 1982
Our latest Blog entry is an a look at 'Wrestling Anniversary's'
The Blog now has over 165 entries covering over 70 years of Ontario and Canadian wrestling history
It Happened in September!... 1956 Billy Red Lyons debuts in Toronto... 1956 Dick Hutton & Hardboiled Haggarty beat the Brunetti Brothers to win the Canadian Open Tag Titles... 1962 Whipper Watson & Bruno Sammartino team to take the International Tag Titles from Brower & Siki... 1962 Johnny Valentine makes his Toronto debut... 1964 The Sheik makes his Toronto debut... 1971 Dave McKigney runs a card in opposition to Tunney at Varsity Arena, Tunney counters with a show at MLG the same night... 1974 NWA champ Jack Brisco takes on U.S. champ The Sheik (ddq) then successfully defends the World Title vs Billy Red later in the month... 1979 Dewey Robertson beats Greg Valentine in the finals of the tourney to become new Canadian champ... 1981 John Studd defeats Angelo Mosca to win the Canadian Title
Fun Facts Mr Fuji, who passed on recently, once held our Canadian Heavyweight Title. It was a bit of a stretch at the time to beat 'Big Nasty' Angelo Mosca even with all the dastardly cheating and stuff in that bout and the one prior but... It was referred to as 'Fuji's reign of terror' but it was hardly a reign, in fact it only lasted until the next card- 2 weeks later! There was a card in Buffalo in-between but I only have partial results. A Fuji photo with the belt has never surfaced so if you have one send it over!
1979 Sept 23: Cdn Champ Dewey Robertson beats AWA Champ by submission! only Dewey's title is at stake ...US Champ Jimmy Snuka defeats Ricky Steamboat...Andre over Patera...Morales and Youngblood beat Studd and Swede Hansen... Billy Red over Frank Marconi...Chris Tolos over Johnny Yachetti
1985: Duncan McTavish introduces The Sheik
to a table in Cornwall, Ontario