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Wrestling News! Apr 20 ...
New entry on the Maple Leaf Blog has a look at the 1938 visit from Bob Gregory and his Princess, also a look at a series of 1972 Ontario Place Forum shows...
Still working on a Fritz Von Erich in Toronto feature among other new planned entries...in the meantime a great photo of Fritz vs Whip behind the fence in 1960 right below...
the Mid Atlantic Gateway has a new entry for 1980 in their M-A Gateway Alamanac entry
Check it out! we will have our own 1980 up soon and we are also going to do a couple for years in the 1950's and 60's.
Classic Photo: Fritz vs Whipper 1960
In front of our feature on Fritz Von Erich we have this great photo of Fritz vs Whipper Watson in a wire fence bout.
Whip has his Canuck Commando sleeper hold on his long time rival and looks to have the win in hand.
Back before cage matches they had this wire fence bout to keep the wrestlers in, and others out. It didn't always work that way, as on this night.
Fritz was nearing his end of his 4 year run as one of Toronto's top villains and while he would come back for a brief time in 1965 he mostly stayed near his Texas home for the rest of his career.
The Canadian Open Tag Titles - Trophy
From 1952 to 1961 we had the Canadian Open Tag Team Titles. Tag Titles were a fairly new thing in the early 1950's and instead of belts, most promotions awarded a trophy to the champs.
In Toronto we had the Calvert Trophy. Calvert Distillery sponsored many sports and had a syndicated column in the papers. Another noteworthy Calvert Trophy had been awarded to hockey great Maurice Richard in 1951, ours was presented in August 1952.
The first holders of the titles were Whipper Watson and Pat Flanagan. They defeated Lord Layton and Hans Hermann in a tournament final to gain the honors.
Pages from the scrapbook: 1953 Whipper & Robert
Another feature from the Scrapbooks, This time the Canadian Dream Team !
Whipper Watson and Yvon Robert were the 1-2 punch in Canadian Wrestling during the 1940's and 1950's.
Whipper ruled Toronto while Robert ruled Montreal and over the years the two had quite a rivalry going.
After many tough battles here and in Quebec, the two would finally team up to create a dream team of the era. It wouldn't take long for the two to lift the Canadian Open Tag Titles from Dick Raines and Lou Plummer.
Classic Photo: The Mulligans 1982
From February 1982 Blackjack Jr. helps poppa Mulligan after another tough bout vs Big John Studd.
Sr. and Studd had many tough battles here with most turning into bloodbaths.
This one had Jr. coming in to help Sr. after Studd attacked Sr. after the bell. This card also marked the debut of Jr. who took on Austin Idol in a good bout.
Even at this early point you could tell Jr. was going to be a star, the fans were already solidly behind him.
Both Mulligans would continue in Toronto after the WWF came in, Jr. as Barry Windham. Sr.'s Toronto career went back to 1971 when he faced Lou Klein in his debut at MLG.
Classic Photo: Dick Hutton 1958
NWA champ Dick Hutton is carried off after a tough bout vs Whipper Watson 1958 Hutton will be forever linked to Toronto after winning the title here in Nov 1957 by beating Lou Thesz.
He debuted here in April 1956 and soon started his $1000 challenge to anyone who could pin him in under 20 minutes. This bout, 2 months after Hutton had won the title ended when Watson appeared to pin Hutton but the champ had his foot on the ropes.
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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All time appearances... often get asked who was the most prolific wrestler in terms of bouts in the Toronto area. There's no doubt on number 1...Whipper Watson appeared at MLG somewhere around 850 times, about 600 of those in the main event. Add in the circuit towns and a career that went from about 1936 to 1971 and it would be up around 1200-1500 based on an un-scientific count! ....Next up would have to be Pat Flanagan and Fred Atkins. Pat went from about 1937-1968 and Fred from 1949-1969, both over 800 but likely closer to 1000-1200 in the area and that's not counting the many years they both refereed after their careers were done... So who's next...Lord Layton....The Sheik....Billy Red Lyons....Yukon Eric....Lee Henning...Ivan Kalmikoff....Bulldog Brower would round out the top 10... A top 20 (again un-scientific count!) would include Tony Parisi, Sweet Daddy Siki, Tiger Jeet Singh, Bobo Brazil, Chris Tolos, Dewey Robertson, Gene Kiniski, Johnny Valentine, Angelo Mosca, and Fritz Von Erich...