Saturday, August 29, 2015

LOOK, UP IN THE SKY

The JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS heavens were filled with stars...

ROBERTO SOTO

SUSAN GREEN

KOA TIKI

SGT. JACQUES GOULET

RIC FLAIR knows it was a smart move coming to JCP.

BEARCAT WRIGHT

PAUL ORNDORF

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

STEINBORN BATTLES ROGERS FOR TITLE

September 15, 1956
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

59 Years Ago

Wrestling attendance may have been lagging a bit at the LEXINGTON YMCA in recent weeks, but it gets a major shot in the arm tonight with a double main event attraction that would grab notice in any arena in the nation.

Local sponsors of the grappling business are making plans to pull a big attendance for tonight's slate that includes tag team and singles action.

One of ringdom's most colorful individuals, "NATURE BOY" BUDDY ROGERS, a great (but disliked) WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION from the Northeast, makes his local debut for the main event. The strutting blonde-headed genius will have his hands full because he'll be opposing one of the fastest-rising young stars in the business, DICK STEINBORN.

This is a match that STEINBORN has been requesting since hearing the Champ was headed this way.

ROGERS' championship could seriously be challenged in this two-out-of-three falls title match.

Tonight's tag team match could well be one of the best-ever presented in the 4500 seat YMCA arena.

It's one the fans demanded themselves.

It sends the glamour gentlemen of the sport, GEORGE BECKER and JACK WITZIG against those roughest of mean men, KARL VON HESS and SKULL MURPHY. Fans have wanted to see BECKER and WITZIG get a chance to lamblast these villains, and tonight, it comes to fruition. They'll battle for the best-of-three falls.

The opener tonight should also be a corker, because it matches the explosive young LEN ROSSI against the stubborn Texan roughie, "LARRUPIN" LOU PLUMMER.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

BACK TO THE BALL PARK

DAVID CROCKETT tries his hand at pitching.

'Hands of Stone' RONNIE GARVIN anchors right field.

'Rock 'n' Roll'er RICKY MORTON at shortstop.

'Gorgeous' JIMMY GARVIN pitches as well.

A bit of offense from 'Rock 'n' Roll'er ROBERT GIBSON
---

On a summer afternoon in 1987, in Charlotte, North Carolina, CROCKETT PARK was the scene of one of the most fascinating sports competitions in the Tarheel state's history.

It wasn't Duke playing North Carolina, it wasn't the LA Dodgers against the SF Giants, not even the Boston Red Sox against the NY Yankees.

On this day, before the advent of the CHARLOTTE HORNETS, the CAROLINA PANTHERS or the CHARLOTTE BOBCATS, the professional wrestlers of JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS took on a team of employees of the Queen City's WSOC RADIO station for a softball charity fund raiser.

Oh yes, if you're interested, the boys of JCP won the game 4 - 0.

Friday, August 21, 2015

BECKER'S BACK IN LEXINGTON


May 6, 1961
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

P.Y. CHUNG *

GEORGE BECKER

BOB NANDOR

FRAN GRAVETTE

TERRY GARVIN


RITA CORTEZ
---
Fan favorite GEORGE BECKER will face the crafty Oriental bully, P.Y. CHUNG, in a special challenge match that headlines tonight's wrestling card at the LEXINGTON YMCA.

BECKER asked for the match himself after he and SANDY SCOTT defeated CHUNG and partner MIKE PAIDOUSIS in tag action last Saturday night.

Following last week's match, CHUNG rammed BECKER into the ring post, splitting his head open. GEORGE declared revenge and asked the promoter for a one-on-one contest with CHUNG.

The match has been signed and will be fought under two-out-of-three falls and one hour time limit stipulations.

A girls tag team match supports the main event with the diabolical duo of SLAVE GIRL MOOLAH and the lovely-but-deadly RITA CORTEZ meeting popular FRAN GRAVETTE and the amazing JUDY GRABLE.

Bullies KEN COOPER and JACK BENARD meet in one preliminary, and European champion BOB NANDOR squares off against tough TERRY GARVIN in the 8:15 opener.
---
P.Y. CHUNG wrestled in other territories as Tojo Yamamoto.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I WAS NEVER AN OPTIMIST

...however, I was indebted to the optimists, the SALISBURY, N.C. OPTIMIST CLUB, that is, because in the Spring and Summer of 1976, the club, to raise money for their projects, sponsored JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS / MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING in the city of Salisbury, N.C. (where I live).

Not once...not twice...but THREE times within a six month period.


ANGELO MOSCA

March 18, 1976 - SALISBURY POST

WAHOO MCDANIEL

A crowd nearing twelve hundred witnessed 'Chief' WAHOO MCDANIEL pin big ANGELO MOSCA in the main event last night at CATAWBA COLLEGE's GOODMAN GYMNASIUM. The professional wrestling show was sponsored by the SALISBURY OPTIMIST CLUB. Long-time favorite JOHNNY WEAVER and his partner TIGER CONWAY JR. topped JACK EVANS and BILL WHITE in the evening's tag team contest. GEORGE HARRIS, known as 'Two Ton', belly-splashed a much-smaller GREG PETERSON to win his match, and veteran SWEDE HANSON used a neck breaker to subdue BILL HOWARD. OPTIMIST CLUB officials announced they were very pleased with attendance and would be negotiating to bring wrestling back to SALISBURY very soon.


May 8, 1976 - SALISBURY POST

BLACKJACK MULLIGAN


May 9, 1976 - SALISBURY POST

AUGUST 3, 1976 - SALISBURY POST

August 4, 1976 - SALISBURY POST


May 6, 1976 - SALISBURY POST

The wrestler referred to as Red Bastian, was in fact, Red Bastien.

Three great evenings of JCP in my home town, and I had to drive only ten miles round trip for each show. Considering the many, many miles I drove throughout the years to see MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING, this was a welcome change.

And for the record, I was never an OPTIMIST. I was a CIVITAN. We sold fruitcake.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

NELSON ROYAL


Ricky Ferrara is at Nelson's mercy as Royal works on his opponent's arm.

A familiar sight in Virginia and the Carolinas...Nelson has his hand raised.

Cowboy Nelson Royal looks over his Mooresville, N.C. ranch.

Fellow wrestlers Tiger Conway Jr. and Ed Wiskowski (later Colonel DeBeers) enjoy one of the many charity rodeo events Nelson sponsored at his ranch.


He lived on a twenty acre tract of land in Mooresville, North Carolina and was one of the town's most outstanding citizens at the time.
He devoted countless hours of his life helping those less fortunate. He organized numerous benefit rodeo shows at his arena for many charitable organizations as well as putting together softball games and the like for community purposes.
Besides being a good citizen and a friend to many, the man in question was by profession a heavyweight wrestler named NELSON ROYAL.

Nelson began his in-ring career around 1961 and came to JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS a few years later. 'Nellie' actually wrestled as a heel upon his arrival (using the name SIR NELSON ROYAL) and often teamed with THE VIKING.

He soon 'switched' to babyface and his incredible JCP career took off. The front office teamed Nelson with the tall, lanky TEX McKENZIE, and they quickly became one of the territory's top 'good guy' teams, alongside BECKER & WEAVER and the FLYING SCOTTS.

After several years, TEX left the area, and ROYAL was then paired with JCP newcomer PAUL JONES. Nelson and Paul were as popular as Nelson and Tex, and the 'Royal Run' continued.

Later, Nelson teamed with greats such as Sandy Scott, Les Thatcher and The Amazing Zuma and worked as a single.

Royal 'feuded' with all of the 'heel' teams that made their way through JCP for nearly twenty years and was always a favorite of the fans, in and out of the ring.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A GREENVILLE BLOOD BATH

Many MID-ATLANTIC WRESTLING fans always loved to witness a BATTLE OF THE BULLIES match, in which two 'bad guy' teams faced each other instead of the usual 'babyface' versus 'heel' encounter.

I was one of those fans, and I was lucky enough to see quite a few.

One I didn't get to witness took place in 1972 in Greenville, South Carolina. And to make the match even better, it was wrestled under TEXAS DEATH MATCH rules, meaning falls didn't count towards deciding a victor. The two teams battled until one couldn't answer the bell for the next fall. No time limit and no disqualification stipulations were also in place.

On this night, the combatants were the teams of GENE ANDERSON and ART NELSON versus RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON.

Referee SAM 'LUCKY' ROBERTS was assigned to be the official. More likely than not, SAM was probably 'UNLUCKY' ROBERTS for this night.

RIP HAWK hammers away on GENE ANDERSON.

No participate left the ring unscathed that night in Greenville.

GENE GORDON witnessed the match and gave the following account..."I believe this TEXAS DEATH MATCH was the roughest, most vicious and bloody match I had seen in many years, and I go all the way back to the likes of COWBOY LUTTRELLDANNY MCSHANE and STRANGLER BOB WAGNER. There was not a lot of wrestling. It was more like something out of the days of the Roman gladiators who battled to the death. No one paid any attention to any of the normal rules. The referee was knocked down several times and thrown to the floor once. He wanted to stop the match but couldn't under the stipulations. All four wrestlers looked like they had been run through a sausage grinder. They were so exhausted they could hardly leave the ring at the end. I saw one woman faint and a few others left in disgust, unable to stand the brutality and gore. I know I'll never forget it."

For the record, the match was won by HAWK and HANSON, although they certainly didn't look like winners at the end.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

THE FLYING SCOTTS

Today I salute one of the top tag teams who ever worked for JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS. I refer to the fabulous GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT, known in the business as THE FLYING SCOTTS.

GEORGE slams BRONCHO LUBICH.

SANDY applies the 'abdominal stretch' to LUBICH.
It was a bad night for BRONCHO.

Here SANDY gives THE MISSOURI MAULER a free chiropractic adjustment.

At home, GEORGE poses with his son, GEORGE JR. and family pet Sam.
---
Next to BECKER and WEAVER, the SCOTTS were the top 'babyface' team in the MID-ATLANTIC WRESTLING area during the 1960s. In fact, GEORGE and SANDY were already world reknown before ever coming to JCP in 1957, nearly five years before George and Johnny ever got together.

In 1967, Gene Gordon said that 'the SCOTT brothers have done more for tag team wrestling than the Smith brothers have done for cough drops. Jumpin' GEORGE and Slammin' SANDY have been flattening the best in the business for the past ten years like a pair of Mack trucks driving over balloons.'

It was at Central High School in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, that the wrestling bug first bit GEORGE. Already an ice hockey and football player, he was asked to work out with the wrestling team one day, and that workout changed his life. He turned professional in 1949.

It wasn't until five years later, in 1954, that younger brother SANDY joined his brother in the wrestling ring. At this point, they began wrestling all over the world, holding tag team championships in numerous countries. Then in 1957, they landed in CROCKETT country for the first time.

GEORGE stated, in a 1967 interview, that LOU THESZ was the best he personally ever met in the ring, with GENE KINISKI a close second. In terms of tag teams, SANDY credits BRUTE BERNARD and SKULL MURPHY as the most rugged team he and GEORGE ever butted heads with, with ALDO BOGNI and BRONCHO LUBICH right behind.

Ironically, the very first live wrestling I ever attended at Charlotte's PARK CENTER (around 1965) was headlined with GEORGE and SANDY challenging BOGNI and LUBICH for the SOUTHERN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP, then held by the 'heels'.
The champions took the first fall, the challengers evened the match winning the second fall. The match ended in a sixty-minute Broadway.

Disappointed that the good guys did not win the titles that night, we consoled ourselves by making a stop on the way home at the KRISPY KREME on Independence Boulevard.


SANDY has BRONCHO LUBICH wishing he had stayed at home.

GEORGE acknowledges the crowd after an introduction.

One of wrestling's ALL-TIME great tag teams.

SANDY after hanging up his tights.