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Oshawa Wrestling History

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NWA Title in Toronto
WWWF Title in Toronto
Promoters in Ontario
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Referees of MLW
Jack Corcoran - The Queensbury King
Frank Tunney - The Early Years
Red Garner - The Pride Of Langstaff
Nanjo vs Whipper - A Feud For The Ages
Pat Flanagan - The Irish Tornado
Fred Atkins - Ferocious Fred
Yukon Eric - The Sampson Of The North
Lou Thesz vs Red Mask 1953
Doug Hepburn - Worlds Strongest Man
Gene Kiniski: Have no fear Kiniski is here
Whipper vs Kiniski - Genesis of a Feud
Bulldog Brower in Toronto
Thesz vs Rocca 1962
The Tolos Brothers
John Paul Henning 1963
Carpentier vs Stasiak 1966
Singh vs Valentine 1967
Carlos Rocha In Toronto
Johnny & Greg Valentine
◾ Mid Atlantic Era
Ric Flair in Toronto
Almanac 1981
Almanac 1982

Title History/Results
Toronto Wrestling Results
North American Title History
Canadian Middleweight Title History
History of the CCWA
Dave McKigney Career Record
History of Oshawa

Site Map
Pic Of The Month


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See Also
Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Legacy of Wrestling
Slam Wrestling

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Wrestling News! ....RIP George Steele...He was a regular on the Wildman's circuit in 1981-82 and was a great addition to the shows. His debut at MLG came late, at the second WWF show in 1984 though he was a regular in Detroit for many years....obit on Slam at George Steele RIP
...RIP Ivan Koloff...Koloff was a favorite during the Mid-Atlantic era here but had debuted at MLG back in 1968. One of the all-time Canadian greats for sure...obit on Slam at Ivan Koloff RIP


We continue the Almanac, this time looking at the year in Maple Leaf Wrestling 1981. It was a landmark year for the promotion with more overall shows around the region and increased attendance over the previous years.

One of the biggest shows of the era was held in recognition of Toronto's 50th Anniversary of Wrestling at Maple Leaf Gardens and saw the triumphant return of favorite Ric Flair as the new NWA World champ.

Angelo Mosca would continue his success as the new local hero and holder of our Canadian heavyweight title. He would see challenges from Jimmy Snuka and Roddy Piper as well as earning a title shot vs NWA champ Harley Race, and would also find time to lose the Canadian belt twice.

Piper would become one of the most popular (hated) regulars, and we would see the only Canadian NWA Title defense of Dusty Rhodes in a bout here in September in a busy year for the local fans.

Click to read Almanac 1981


Gene Kiniski in Toronto: Have no fear Kiniski is here
'Big Thunder' Gene Kiniski earned his nickname the honest way.

When he came into Toronto in 1956, it was with a thunderous entrance and the storm stuck around for a long time. On and off for 27 years in fact, much of those in the midst of the action at the top of the cards here.

His first appearance here came in the opening bout on the November 8 1956 card which saw a main event of then NWA champ Whipper Watson vs Mr Moto. Kiniski beat Ken Kenneth in the curtain raiser and the Whip beat Moto in the main.

Click to read Gene Kiniski in Toronto: Have no fear Kiniski is here


Classic Photo: Ric Flair vs Harley Race
These two met 6 times here between 1980-1984 over the NWA World title. Every bout was non-stop action in the ring, out of the ring, and on the ramp.

They would trade off those slow hold-in-the-air suplexes on the canvas and on the hard wooden ramp. It was always 110% when these two met.

Flair had his figure-four and Race had those falling head butts which would leave Flair a bloody mess. While Race was slow and methodical where every move counted, Flair who could do no wrong here was fast and hyper.

Click to see Ric Flair vs Harley Race


Johnny & Greg: The Valentines
There were quite a few Father-Son combinations that appeared in Toronto over the years though not always at the same time.

There were a few that worked here in different eras, Warren and Nick Bockwinkel, Brother and Don Leo Jonathon, Bruno Sr and Bruno Jr (later David) Sammartino, and Bob Sr. and Bob Jr. Orton.

Others overlapped and worked on the same card at least once include Angelo Sr. and Angelo Jr. Mosca, Whipper and Whipper (Phil) Jr., Blackjack Sr. and Blackjack Jr. (later Barry Windham) Mulligan, Gene and Kelly (and Nick different era) Kiniski, Angelo and Randy and Lanny Poffo, and Johnny and Greg Valentine.

Over the course of their careers in Toronto the most successful of these father-son combo's as far as both careers standing on their own would have to be Johnny and Greg.

Click to read Johnny & Greg: The Valentines


Genesis of a Feud: Whipper vs Kiniski
By the time Gene Kiniski burst onto the Toronto scene in November 1956 Whipper Watson was well into his 16th year as the reigning king of the ring at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Kiniski, billed as a 'footballer of note' made an instant impact on the fans in Toronto. They hated him right away.

Publicity man Frank Ayerst remarked that Kiniski was 'sometimes referred to as Genial Gene, because he smiled once when an opponent was being carried out of the ring.' Adding that he 'is such a rugged ring operator that getting a match with him is gaily alluded to as The Point of No Return.'

Click to read Whipper vs Kiniski - Genesis of a Feud


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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Maple Leaf Blog
Oshawa Wrestling History

Classic Photos
Kowalski vs Schmidt 1953
Whipper vs The Mills Bros. 1955
Whipper vs Schmidt 1955
Layton vs Kalmikoff 1955
Whipper vs Haggerty 1956
Whipper vs Buddy 1956
Kiniski vs Eric 1957
Whipper vs Kiniski 1957
The Lisowski's 1958
Fritz & Hans 1958
Whipper vs Don Leo 1959
DiPaolo vs Don Leo 1959
Joe Greenfield 1950's
Fred Atkins 1950's
Jim Hady 1961
Muchnick & Watson 1965
Assassin vs Chief White Owl 1967
Garvin Brothers 1967
Adonis & Ventura 1982
Ivan Koloff 1982
Ric Flair vs Harley Race 1982
Destroyer vs Billy Red Lyons 1983

Misc. Pictorial
The Canadian Title Belt
The N.A Title Belt
MLG 2012

Pages from the Scrapbook
1957 The Fabulous Kangaroos
1959 O'Connor vs Thesz

Contributions on Slam!
Dave McKigney: 25 years later
Billy Stack
Pat Milosh HOF
Tim Gerrard HOF


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Fun Facts ......Frank Tunney had a similar career as Jim Crockett Sr who ran the Carolinas and area for many years...And their promotions were somewhat aligned long before they actually worked together in 1978... They were born 3 years apart...Jim started in 1935 while Frank officially took over in 1939...neither was a pro wrestler...Both promoted other sports...Both were close to Sam Muchnick and served in official capacities for the NWA... Both had sons named after them...Both had family in the office, Jim eventually turned it over to son Jim Jr. while Frank let nephew Jack take control and Frank's son Eddie was also involved....Both were associated with tag wrestling being a big part of the promotion... Both later had a Tag Tournament held in their honor... Long time Crockett booker George Scott got his start in Toronto and area and later partnered up with Tunney and Jim Jr....