Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Last Match: Wrestling Promoters

Joe Blanchard
December 17, 1984 Southwest Championship Wrestling, San Antonio, Texas
was defeated by Johnny Boyd

Before entering wrestling Joe Blanchard played football in the Canadian Football League for the Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders.  Calgary is where he made his wrestling debut for Stampede Wrestling in 1953.  He traveled around the territories until 1978 when he founded Southwest Championship Wrestling in San Antonio Texas.

He would run the promotion until April 1985 selling it to Fred Behrend.  He became the president of the AWA in 1989 holding office until the promotion folded in 1991.  He is the father of the legendary Tully Blanchard and grandfather of Tessa Blanchard.  He died March 22, 2012 at the age of 83.

Bill Watts
August 17, 1986 Universal Wrestling Federation, Tulsa, Oklahoma
with "Dr Death" Steve Williams & Ted Dibiase battled The Fabulous Freebirds: Buddy Roberts, Michael Hayes, & Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy to a no contest

"Cowboy" Bill Watts debuted in 1962 traveling the territories and All Japan Pro Wrestling.  In 1965 he headlined three consecutive cards at Madison Square Garden against Champion Bruno Sammartino.

In 1979 Watts bought out Leroy McGuirk and began promoting Mid-South Wrestling based out of Oklahoma.  In March 1986 he rebranded the promotion the Universal Wrestling Federation when he attempted a to gain national exposure.  He sold the promotion to Jim Crockett in April 1987.  He became a Executive Vice-President of World Championship Wrestling for a short time in 1992 - 1993.  He wrote and excellent book "The Cowboy and the Cross" that I highly recommend.

Eddie Graham
January 21, 1980 Championship Wrestling from Florida, West Palm Beach, Florida
with Manny Fernandez & Mike Graham defeated Bugsy McGraw, Ernie Ladd, & Leroy Brown

Trained by Cowboy Luttrall Graham debuted in 1947 in Texas at the age of 17.  At one time he competed at Rip Rogers to "brother" of "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers.   He first headed to Florida in 1960 the promotion his trainer owned.  In 1970 he took over booking and promoting the Florida Territory.  Under Graham CWF became one of the most prominent territories of the NWA where he served as President from 1976 to 1978.  Tragically Graham committed suicide January 21, 1985 at the age of 55.

The Sheik, Ed Farhat
May 5, 1995 FMW, Kanagawa, Japan
defeated Damien

The Sheik began wrestling in 1949 in Chicago touring around the territories.  The Sheik was primarily a heel and was known for his dirty and wild man tactics, a forefather to the hardcore style that such promotions like ECW and FMW became known for.

He promoted NWA Detroit from 1964 - 1980 while still touring as a multi-time United States Champion, the top title in his promotion.  He died January 18, 2003 of heart failure he was 78 years old.

Dory Funk Sr. 
February 26, 1973, WWWF, Madison Square Garden
defeated by Victor Rivera

The father of NWA World Champions: Dory and Terry Funk Dory Sr the only brothers to ever hold the championship.  He debuted in 1943 and started running the Amarillo Territory in 1953 until he died April 26, 1973 from a heart attack at the age of 54.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Roy's Review: Top Rope Promotions Bridgewater Rumble April 22, 2017

Here is my review of Top Rope Promotions Bridgewater Rumble 2017 in Bridgewater, Massachusetts on April 22, 2017.

Match 1: Brian Milonas defeated Nico Silva
This was a solid match and a good opener. It was my first time seeing Nico Silva and I was impressed. He is a good athlete and was super over, he just seemed like he was still kinda new. They did a good big guy vs. small underdog story well in this match but in the end Silva lost to a catatonic.

Match 2: Nick Westgate defeated Kenway
Westgate dumped Kenway on his head multiple times with german suplexes. At one point Westgate blocked a hurricanrana into a sitout powerbomb but for some reason Kenway went for the pin.

Match 3: Ashley Vox defeated Delmi Exo w/Jawsolyn
I expected a much better match from these two than we got considering they have wrestled each other many times before.  I did get to see one of my favorite moves, the foot DDT.

In Ring: The Kool People come out and make fun of the crowd and then challenge the Devil's Doormen to a match. Brandon Webb then comes out and says that he is gonna kick their asses by himself.

Match 3: Brandon Webb & The Boogeyman defeated Kool People: DJ AC & Sammy Deleon
This started out as Webb vs. The Kool People. Webb got beat up for a few minutes until the Boogeyman came through the crowd and joined the match. They battled all over the building with Kool People getting wrecked the entire time. Boogeyman hit a double chokeslam for the win, then ate worms and spit a bunch of them on Kool People.

Match 4: Chuck O'Neil defeated Vinny Marseglia
This was the match of the night. Its really weird saying that because I'm not a fan of Marseglia. Good back and forth action with a bunch of ringside action as well. O'Neil is hated in Top Rope and he seems to enjoy it. Quite a few false finishes in this one. In the end O'Neil got the win after a suplex.

Match 5: Vinny Marseglia won a 20 Man Battle Royal
Except for Marseglia, Brian Milonas, Chuck O'Neil, Nico Silva and Nick Westgate, the rest of the field were either trainees or scrubs. The final four came down to Marseglia, Milonas, O'Neil and Silva. Silva eliminated Milonas which kinda surprised me. Then he went after O'Neil. Apparently these two have a very heated feud going on. While they were battling, Marseglia snuck in the back door and eliminated them both.

Match 6: TRP Champion: Teddy Goodz defeated Chris Escobar in a Tables Match with Roadwarrior Animal as Special Enforcer to retain
This one started out hot with battle going all over the building with Escobar getting wrecked. Once it got back into the ring it became really average. Escobar finally got the advantage and set up a table at ringside. Teddy then brought a table into the ring. Escobar regained the advantage and laid Teddy out on the table. As he went to jump off the top rope, Animal smashed a beer bottle over his head allowing Teddy to toss Escobar off the top and threw the table for the win. I have no idea why Animal did that.

In Ring: Teddy Goodz thanked everyone for coming and said he wanted to put someone through the table that was still set up at ringside. He teased a bunch of people at ringside but then the sound guy came out and Teddy wrecked him threw the table.

Overall this show scored a 40.75 out of 60 for a show score of 6.79. This was a solid show that I enjoyed. It was a pack house in a good venue. There were 3 good matches on this show but there were also some dumpy ones too. I could have done without the idiot in front of use who apparently knew nothing about wrestling as well as the drunk idiots behind us that wouldn't shut up the entire night. They even yelled some really bad stuff at Mike Gamble during the Battle Royal. Stuff that should have gotten then thrown out of the building. 

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

WCW Triple Threat Theater Series

The WCW Triple Threat Theater Series was three separate matches consisting of a Dungeon Match, Bunkhouse Match, and a Caged Heat steel cage match.  This series was originally designed to feature WCW United States Champion: Jeff Jarrett vs. Chris Benoit and take place at the pay-per-view event Souled Out January 16, 2000 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

On January 10, 2000 at WCW Monday Nitro in Buffalo, New York Jeff Jarrett was forced to compete in a Non-Title Triple Threat Theater Series with all his opponents to be mystery opponents chosen by commissioner Terry Funk.  Incidentally Chris Benoit served as special guest referee at each match.  So this was completely fair to heel Jeff Jarrett.

Bunkhouse Match: George "The Animal" Steele pinned Jeff Jarrett 

Steele brought the plunder with him and as Jarrett kept trying to get in the ring Steele would hit him in the head with an item or throw something at him.  Jarrett tried to walk out but he was prevented by Funk, Arn Anderson, Larry Zbyszko, & Paul Orndorff.

Steele was eating turnbuckle when Jarrett returned to the ring clobbering him with a guitar knocking the 63 year old man to the canvas.  Jarrett turned around and was scooped up by Anderson for a picture perfect spinebuster!  Benoit pulled Steele over Jarrett and administered a quick count.

This is George "The Animal" Steele's only appearance in WCW and from what I can find he never appeared in Jim Crockett Promotions either.  The crowd popped huge for Steele and everything he did.

Dungeon Match: Tito Santana pinned Jeff Jarrett

According to commentary a Dungeon Match is a no rope match that you can lose by pinfall, submission, or being thrown to the floor.  This match will be contested the same except the ropes will not be removed.

Jarrett came out and go into a verbal altercation with some Buffalo Bills football players at ringside, and even shoved Orndorff.  In the ring Jarrett jumped Santana who quickly made a comeback hitting his dropkick and flying forearm.  Then it got clustery.  Jarrett went for a pin, Benoit wouldn't count him down.  The Zbyszko and the Bill's football player got on the apron.  I think the only reason why Zbyszko jumped on the apron is because the the football player missed his cue.

The football player pushed Jarrett who turned into Orndorff who hit his patented piledriver on Jarrett, Santana covered him and a fast three count later Tito was declared the victor.   This is Santana's only match in WCW.  This crowd was insanely into match as well.

Caged Heat: Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka pinned Jeff Jarrett 

We see Snuka get out of a limo before the commercial break, when we come back we see Benoit has been laid out in the back and the cage is already down.  Mike Tenay mentions that this will not be the cage we see this Sunday at the PPV, that that cage will be bigger.  Jarrett gets in the ring and puts down the Buffalo Bills.  Snuka comes out to a decent ovation.

Jarrett jumps Snuka sending him into the cage three times.  Benoit comes out holding his head.  He tried to get in the cage and Jarrett knocks him down twice.  Benoit in the cage now and he chops Jarrett sends him into the steel and hits a snap suplex.  Jarrett brings the guitar into the ring and he is followed in by Zbyszko and Orndorf who tee off on Jarrett.

Snuka gets to his feet and sees a prone Jarrett in the center of the ring and then looks up.  The crowd explodes.  At 56 years old Snuka climbs to the stop of the cage, Benoit is on top of the cage in the other corner.  Snuka flys and it's all impact on Jarrett!  Benoit lands a diving headbutt then makes the three count.  Seriously go out of your way to see this!  This is Snuka's second appearance in WCW, the first was Slamboree 1993.

Again these three matches were to be precursor to the big PPV in just six days.  Well a lot happened in those six days.  Bret Hart was kicked in the head by Goldberg at Starrcade December 12, 1999 giving him a concussion.  He tried to battle through it and even competed in several more matches but post concussion syndrome would force him to retire and relinquish the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.

Hart was originally scheduled to defend against Sid Vicious, with Hart out WCW decided to put Benoit in his place and wrestle Sid for the vacant championship.  WCW claimed in a kayfabe injury that Jeff Jarrett has suffered a concussion from Benoit's diving headbutt off the top of the cage and was unable to compete, they even stripped him of the United States Championship.

Billy Kidman
WCW still decided to have the Triple Threat Theater so they took the angle of the six man tag between the Filthy Animals vs. The Revolution, who was supposed to have a mystery partner, and in the pre-show Revolution jumped Konan taking him out.  Rey Mysterio Jr was splashed through a table on Nitro so Billy Kidman was the only one left to take on The Revolution in the Triple Threat Theater series.

Catch as Catch Can: Billy Kidman defeated Dean Malenko

Instead of a no rope Dungeon Match Kidman took on Malenko in a Catch as Catch Can.  The rules were basically the same you can lose by pinfall, submission, and both feet touching the floor, just with the ring ropes.  After two and a half minutes of not much happening Malenko pulled the classic heel move of taking a powder to slow down the pace and lost the match.

It was awkward as Tony Schiavone said the match is over isn't it and the referee Charles Robinson was telling Malenko to get back in the ring.  Word must have gotten to Robinson in his ear piece as he quickly called for the bell.

Bunkhouse Match: Billy Kidman defeated Perry Saturn

So this is a an anything goes Bunkhouse match where historically weapons and plunder are used from the opening bell.  Or at the very least they have taped fists and are just laying into each other in rough fashion.  Well not in Bunkhouse match!  They came dressed to the ring in their regular gear and proceeded to have a wrestling match.

It went 10 minutes bell to bell, about six minutes in Saturn pulled out a table which Kidman then set up on the floor.  At about eight and a half minutes Saturn essentially back body dropped Kidman from in the ring through the table on the floor.  About 90 seconds later Kidman reversed a powerbomb into a facebuster and pinned Saturn.  The only other Bunkhouse-ish thing about this match was the two pinfall attempts that Saturn made on the floor.

Caged Heat: The Wall pinned Billy Kidman 

The Caged Heat steel cage is basically Hell in a Cell.  Kidman jumped the Wall before the got into the ring.  Kidman tossed him into the cage then beat him down with a few chair shots.  Wall recovered and took the action into the ring.  Pretty lackluster match with The Wall getting the pin in just over five minutes after a chokeslam.

That's what WCW decided, lets not put Kidman over lets beat him in match three in a cage we spent too much money on it's construction and setting up and have it barely used.  Nauseating.

Incidentally on Souled Out Kevin Nash defeated Terry Funk to win the commissionership of WCW and on Monday Nitro the next night he awarded Jeff Jarrett the United States Championship, talk about a fast recovery.

The Triple Threat Theater was good in concept when it was Jeff Jarrett vs. Chris Benoit, even the Nitro preview with Jarrett vs. Tito, Steele, & Snuka was entertaining for what it was.  However the bastardized version that we got on Souled Out with Kidman was ridiculous.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Roy's Review: Victory Championship Wrestling Results April 15, 2017

Here is my review of VCW's April Assault in Machias on April 15, 2017.

Ringside: Primer comes out and says that he is the new GM of VCW and he will also serve as the ring announcer for the night. He also said that there would be some different things going on tonight. He said that the tag team title match would be the new main event and that after every match he would be evaluating them.

Match 1: VCW Champion: Jason Rumble defeated Mr. Wrestling #9 w/2 masked guys to retain

Mr. Wrestling 9 was Dan Terry under a mask. The other 2 masked guys where Tim Lennox and Ike. Lennox was barefoot and wearing rolled up sweatpants. Ike's masked guy came out with a plastic wiffle bat and all three took turns hitting Rumble with it throughout the match. This match kinda sucked. Mainly because generic masked characters are terrible especially when it is more than obvious who they are. They did to a ridiculous lockup that went all over the building, to the back and even outside. Rumble got the win after a backstabber. This would have been a million times better if it were Rumble vs. Dan Terry.

Match 2: Eric Johnson defeated Alexander Lee

This was a solid match. The crowd was behind Eric the entire time. Good action throughout but in the end Eric got the win after a splash.

Match 3: Beau Douglas defeated Calvin Michael Strange

Beau did a good job playing the crowd. He came out with a can of febreze and was spraying the audience because they stunk. This match was kinda dumpy. Strange's comeback was terrible, after getting beat up for 4-5 minutes his comeback was to work the arm. Awful. I would have thought that Beau would have lead Strange much better than that.

Match 4: Cruiserweight Champion: Calvin Campbell defeated Dan Terry, Ike and Kenny Thunder in a Fatal 4 Way to retain

This was a decent and fun match. There was continuous action throughout. Calvin Campbell, Dan Terry and Ike are solid guys but Kenny Thunder seems to be green and does some really odd moves that made me wonder, what the fuck his he doing? Campbell got the cheating win with he feet on the ropes.

Match 5: Tag Team Champions: The Underground Anarchy: Tim Lennox & JP O'Reilly w/Ike defeated The Maine State Posse: Danger Kid and Aidan Aggro to retain

This was good tag match. They fought all over the building beating the hell out of each other. They even broke a chair during a flurry of suicide dives. The champs got the win when they wrecked Aggro with a title belt. O'Reilly and Lennox make a good team. I would like to see a rematch between these two teams.

In Ring: Ike goes in the ring and bites Aidan Aggro on the calf. He then gets wrecked for his trouble.

Overall the show scored a 23.5 out of 50 for an overall score of 47%. I enjoyed this show especially the main event. It was nice to see a small indy show in State and see a bunch of guys I don't normally see. The Ed Pellon Center was a great place to have wrestling. Its spacious and had high ceilings.

After the show Rumble said that the next time they come to Machias they will have a tables match, submission match, a strap match which is basically a fans revenge match as well as a fans bring the weapons match. I'll probably be going to the next show. 

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

WCW Hall of Fame

The WWE, then WWF, launched their Hall of Fame on the March 22, 1993 episode of Monday Night Raw.  The first and only inductee that year was the 8th Wonder of the World Andre the Giant who had passed away six weeks prior on January 27, 1993.

That same year on May 23, 1993 at the World Championship Wrestling Pay Per View Slamboree: A Legends Reunion WCW launched their own Hall of Fame.  Now I'm don't know if WCW already had this in the works before the WWE or if they followed suit.  Either way it's nice that for three years WCW honored the legends of wrestling with a ceremony at Slamboree.

Two of the biggest differences between the WCW and WWE Hall of Fame's is that WCW held theirs at a PPV event and those events featured matches pitting inductees and other legends against each other.

Slamboree: A Legends Reunion

May 23, 1993 The Omni, Atlanta, Georgia

Hall of Fame Inductees:

Lou Thesz, Verne Gagne, Mr. Wrestling II, and Eddie Graham

Gordon Solie was the master of ceremonies introducing the inductees into the Hall of Fame.  Gordon began the ceremony reading a list of those who are no longer with us:  Buddy Rogers, Andre the Giant, Pat O' Connor, Gene Anderson, Dick The Bruiser, and Wilbur Snyder.  I'm not sure why these five were announced, the died between 1990 - 1993.

Godon Solie
Gordon read a small bio of each inductee as a short video package with a mixture of newspaper clippings, still photos, and video clips played.  Each inductee was given a large plaque of their likeness.  Mike Graham accepted on behalf of his father Eddie Graham who had died in 1995.  The ceremony was held in the ring about 90 minutes into the show and lasted only about 10 minutes.

Legends Honored in Attendance:

The Fabulous Moolah, Bugsy McGraw, Red Bastien, "Dirty" Dick Murdoch, "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, "Magnificent" Don Muraco, "Chief" Wahoo McDaniel, BlackJack Mulligan, "Jumping" Jim Brunzell, The Assassin, Mad Dog Vachon, Johnny Valentine, Bob Geigle, Lord James Blears, John Tolos, The Crusher, Ox Baker, Dusty Rhodes, Stu Hart, and Magnum TA.

The show opened with many legends already in the ring none of them were introduced, then Maxx Payne came out played a guitar solo.  After a bit about a dozen men came out barefoot in small trunks carrying an enclosed Cleopatra style cart, when they set it down The Fabulous Moolah exited, she was given a full introduction.  Others were interviewed in between matches by either Missy Hyatt or Eric Bischoff.


"Dirty" Dick Murdoch, "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, & "Magnificent" Don Muraco wrestled "Chief" Wahoo McDaniel, Blackjack Mulligan, & Jim Brunzell to a no contest

I thought it was odd that they had Muraco and Snuka on the same team considering their past in the WWF.  They even referenced how they still seem to have bad blood.  Match wasn't overly exciting they kept it basic with a routine match.  Murdoch pulled off a flying head scissors that was shocking.  The match was thrown out in about 9 minutes when all the wrestlers were fighting in and around the ring.

Thunderbolt Patterson & Brad Armstrong defeated Ivan Koloff & Baron Von Raschke
Brad replaced his father "Bullet" Bob Armstrong in the match

Being an Atlanta native Thunderbolt Patterson got a tremendous pop.  Bullet Bob was supposed to be Patterson's partner but had to have surgery.  Brad Armstrong came out after Koloff & Raschke called all of the Armstrong's cowards.  Brad came to the ring in street clothes wrestling in jeans and sneakers.  This was a nice touch because it made it feel spontaneous.

The faces jumped the heels clearing them from the ring before the match settled down into a tag team match.  I was surprised to hear Tony Schiavone and Larry Zbyszko talk about how Koloff defeated Bruno Sammartino in Madison Square Garden, and then lose the title to Pedro Morales.  They never mentioned WWF by name but it's obvious what they were taking about.  The finish came at 4:39 seconds when Patterson pinned Raschke after a chop to the throat.

Dory Funk Jr with Gene Kiniski wrestled Nick Bockwinkel with Verne Gagne to a 15 minute time-limit draw

Johnny Valentine joined Tony and Larry on commentary.  This match was billed as NWA vs. AWA and this was a Dream Match from the 70's that never happened due to politics. Incidentally a simple google search proves this wrong.  These two men put on a pretty fantastic match.  They basically fit a 1 hour time limit draw into a 15 minute match.  The only black eye in the match was when there was 30 seconds left and Bockwinkel had a figure four on Gagne and Kiniski ran into the ring kicking Bockwinkel, the ref let it go.  They then did a series of pin fall attempts leading to the bell ringing.

Listening to the commentary there was an entire weekend of festivities including a banquet dinner called Slamfest, a Sunday morning breakfast and autograph signing.

May 22, 1994 The Civic Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Hall of Fame Inductees:

Harley Race, "The Big Cat" Ernie Ladd, The Crusher, Dick the Brusier, Ole Anderson, and The Masked Assassin Jody Hamilton

The ceremony was held in the ring and once again Gordon Solie was the master of ceremonies introducing the inductees with Lou Thesz handing out the plaques.  Similar to last year Gordon read a small bio of each inductee and a short video package was played.  Dick The Brusier had passed away in 1991, his daughter accepted on his behalf.

Legends Honored in Attendance:

Ole Anderson, The Assassin, Penny Banner, Red Bastien, Tully Blanchard, The Crusher, Don Curtis, Verne Gagne, Hard Boiled Haggerty, Larry "The Ax" Henning, Killer Kowalski, Ernie "The Big Cat" Ladd, Wahoo McDaniel, Angelo Mosca, Harley Race, Ray "The Crippler" Stevens, Lou Thesz, Johnny Weaver, Mr. Wrestling II, and Tommy Young.

The show opened with "Mean" Gene Okerlund announcing the legends listed above when they came out and a split screen showed a live shot on the left and vintage photo of the wrestler on the right.  Terry Funk was announced but did not come out.  The legends were interviewed in between matches.


Terry Funk wrestled Tully Blanchard to a double disqualification in just over 7 minutes

Gordon Solie called the action with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.  Blanchard got a tremendous pop when he came out from the Philadelphia crowd who broke out into a Blanchard chant.  I cannot say enough just how much I love this crazy ass match!  Funk also got a grand ovation and pyro!  An ECW chant broke out, hat guy from was sitting front row.

These two guys beat the absolute shit out of each other!  The match was on the floor, in the ring, on the walkway to the ring, plunder was used.  I mean Funk piledrove Blanchard three times!  The fans chanted we want blood and after Patrick threw the match out chanted bullshit.

Referee Nick Patrick had no hope in maintaining control of the match even admonishing Funk, "I will ring this bell right now, you don't go on the floor, and you don't bring any more furniture in this ring"

It was fantastic!

May 21, 1995 The Bayfront Arena St. Petersburg, Florida 

Hall of Fame Inductees: 

Wahoo McDaniel, Dusty Rhodes, Antonio Inoki, Angelo Poffo, Terry Funk, Big John Studd, and Gordon Solie

This years induction ceremony was held on the ramp at the entrance way and not in the ring.  Gordon Solie once again the master of ceremonies, he read a brief bio of each inductee and a very brief video package played.  This year instead of plaques the honorees with given a trophy that was handed to them by Gordon,  Also each inductee was given a few moments to say something.  Studd's son Robert John Minton accepted on his family's behalf.

Gordon accepting his honor, also a young Cody Rhodes is standing next to his father
Gordon didn't know he was being inducted.  After Dusty finished he said there was one more inductee into the Hall of Fame and Mean Gene walked out Solie thought it was him until Rhodes started talking about Solie.  His reaction was quite amazing as he seemed truly surprised.

The ceremony itself was longer this year than the previous years.  Although unlike the last two years no other legends were in attendance or acknowledged other than the Hall of Fame honorees.


"Chief" Wahoo McDaniel defeated "Dirty" Dick Murdoch

This match was shown in Black and White because people use to have black and white TV's, yup that's the reason.  Also no entrance music for either man and the action was called by Gordon Solie & Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.

Very slow and methodical match until the last minute or so where the pace picked up.  Finish came suddenly when Wahoo chopped Murdoch who was coming off the ropes and scored the pin after just over six minutes.  It was good for what it was.

In total WCW inducted 17 individuals into their Hall of Fame of those ten have been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.  Those who haven't: Mr. Wrestling II, The Crusher, Dick the Bruiser, Ole Anderson, Masked Assassin, Wahoo McDaniel, and Angelo Poffo.  Of those that haven't been I can really only see Wahoo McDaniel getting inducted in the future.  If Ole Anderson was going to go in I would assume it would have been when the Horsemen back in 2012.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Last Match: Wrestlers turned Manager

In this edition of The Last Match I take a look at a group of men who I first knew as successful managers that were wrestlers when they first broke into wrestling.

"Classy" Freddie Blassie
September 20, 1985 WWE House Show Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, NY
was defeated by "Captain" Lou Albano in a Steel Cage

The Hollywood Fashion Plate made his debut in 1935 before serving his country in World War II.  When the war was over he continued wrestling first making it big in California with the World Wrestling Association, spent some time in Georgia then returned to the WWA winning their version of the World Championship four times.

Traveling to Japan Blassie had a violent and bloody feud with Japanese legend Rikidozan.  Blassie would file his teeth during interview sharpening them then bite his opponents drawing blood reportedly causing viewers on Japanese TV to have heart attacks, some even died.

Blassie began managing in 1974 later becoming a full time manager in what is currently known as the WWE.  Even after is retirement from managing Blassie would continue to make appearances in the promotion even doing voice overs for promotion packages.  He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1994.  He died June 2, 2003 at the age of 85.

"Precious" Paul Ellering
November 7, 1998 WWE House Show Skydome, Toronto, Canada
with Skull defeated LOD 2000: Droz & Animal

Precious Paul was trained to wrestle by Verne Gagne and Eddie Sharkey debuting Christmas nigh 1977.  Traveling to Mid-South Wrestling he injured his knee in a match with Robert Gibson that essentially ended his full time in ring career.  Ole Anderson made him a manager based on his talking ability.

In early 1984 Ellering became the manager of The Road Warriors: Hawk & Animal and for the next 8 years the trio dominated the tag team division everywhere they went.  Georgia Championship Wrestling, the AWA, Japan, Jim Crockett Promotions, WCW, and the WWE.

Most recently Ellering returned to the WWE on NXT as the manager of current tag team champions the Authors of Pain.

"Captain" Lou Albano
June 7, 1997 PCW (Pennsylvania Championship Wrestling) Wind Gap, PA
was defeated by Judd the Stud

Albano debuted in 1953 in the New York area.  In 1961 he formed a tag team with Tony Altomare dubbing themselves The Sicilians complete with mafioso gimmick.  After ten years together, and at the urging of Bruno Sammartino & Vince McMahon Sr., Albano broke up the team and moved into managing becoming a top heel manager in the WWE for over 15 years.

Albano managed Ivan Koloff in his victory over Bruno for the championship.  He also managed Intercontinental champions Don Muraco & Greg "The Hammer" Valentine and fifteen different teams to the tag team championships earning him the nickname "The Guilding Light".

I also remember watching Albano play Mario Mario in the live action wrap arounds on the Super Mario Brother Super Show as well as providing the voice for his animated counterpart.

Albano died on October 14, 2009 at the age of 76.

"Mr. Number One" Paul Jones
June 21, 1991 SAPW Ricky Mount, North Carolina
defeated The Storm Trooper

Jones debuted in 1961 after being trained by Paul Boesch and Morris Sigel.  Jones toured the territories primarily staying in the Mid-Atlantic area.  He held several regional titles along the way.

In 1982 he became a manger forming Paul Jones Army in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling.  Leading such men as Ivan Koloff, The Warlord, Barbarian, Manny Fernandez, Rick Rude, and others.  He left the territory in 1989 and returned to wrestling on the independents until retiring in 1991.

Mr. Fuji
August 4, 2004 BWCW Chesaning, Michigan
with Demolition Krash was defeated by Timmy & Tommy Titus

Fuji debuted in December 1965 in his native Hawaii.  He toured the territories including Oregon, Georgia, Toronto, and several stints in the WWE.  During his multiple runs in the WWE he formed two formidable tag teams with Toru Tanaka and Mr. Saito for a combined five tag team championships holding the title a record combined 932 days.

 In 1985 Mr. Fuji became a heel manager in the WWF wrestling occasionally.  his three famous charges including Intercontinental Champion Magnificent Muraco, Tag Team Champions Demoltion, and World Champion Yokozuna.  He ended his career as a babyface managing now good guy Yokozua, Ahmed Johnson, & Jake "The Snake" Roberts in a losing effort against Vader, Owen Hart, & The British Bulldog.

At the time of his last match Fuji hadn't stepped in the ring in 12 years.  He died Augusta 28, 2016 at the age of 82.

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Many Champions of "Captain" Lou Albano

It has been debated for years as to who is the greatest wrestling manger of all time.  Both Jim Cornette and Paul Heyman, both outstanding managers themselves, have said that Bobby "The Brain" Heenan is.  And while I don't disagree with that sentiment however, an argument could be made that "Captain" Lou Albano is the greatest of all time.

Dubbed "The Guilding Light" Albano mentored thirteen different tag teams to a combined 15 WWWF/WWF Tag Team Championships.  He also was the man who brought Ivan Koloff in to challenge and defeat Bruno Sammartino for his WWWF World Championship ending Sammartino's near 8 year reign as champion.  Also he seconded both Magnificent Muraco and Greg "The Hammer" Valentine when they captured the WWF Intercontinental Championship.

Albano himself is a former WWWF United States Tag Team Champion winning the title on July 10, 1967 with partner Tony Altimore as The Sicilians.  It has been credited to Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon Sr for pushing Albano toward becoming a manager.  They both felt that his in ring work was lacking whereas his gift of gab made him stand out among his peers.

Let's breakdown who is chargers were and when they won the championship:

WWWF World Heavyweight Championship

Ivan Koloff
January 18, 1971 Madison Square Garden defeated Bruno Sammartino

WWF Intercontinental Championship

Magnificent Muraco
January 22, 1983 Madison Square Garden defeated Pedro Morales

Greg "The Hammer" Valentine
September 24, 1984 London, Ontario defeated Tito Santana

WWWF/WWF World Tag Team Championships

"Crazy" Luke Graham & Tarzan Tyler
June 3, 1971 New Orleans, LA defeated Dick The Bruiser & The Sheik in a tournament final to become the first ever champions

Baron Mike Scicluna & King Curtis Iaukea
February 1, 1972 Philadelpha, PA defeated Karl Gotch & Rene Goulet

The Valiant Brothers: Jimmy & Johnny
May 8, 1974 Hamburg, PA defeated Tony Garea & Dean Ho

The BlackJacks: BlackJack Lanza & BlackJack Mulligan
August 26, 1975 Philadelphia, PA defeated Dominic DeNucci & Pat Barrett

The Executioners: 1 & 2
May 11, 1976 Philadelphia, PA defeated Louis Cerdan & Tony Parisi

The Yukon Lumberjacks: Yukon Eric & Yukon Pierre
June 26, 1978 New York, NY defeated Dino Bravo & Dominic DeNucci

The Valiant Brothers: Jerry & Johnny
March 6, 1979 Allentown, PA defeatead Tony Garea & Larry Zbyszko

The Wild Samoans: Afa & Sika
April 12, 1980 Philadelphia, PA defeated Ivan Putski & Tito Santans
September 9, 1980 Philadelphia, PA defeated Tony Garea & Rene Goulet in tournament final

The Moondogs: King, Rex, & Spot
March 17, 1981 Allentown, PA defeated Tony Garea & Rick Martel
Rex & King won the titles 45 days into the reign Spot replaced King on the team as champion

Mr. Fuji & Mr. Saito
October 13, 1981 Allentown, PA defeated Tony Garea & Rick Martel

The Wild Samoans: Afa & Sika
March 8, 1983 Allentown, PA defeated Chief Jay & Jules Strongbow

The U.S. Express: Mike Rotundo & Barry Windham
January 21, 1985 Hartford, CT defeated The North-South Connection: Adrian Adonis & Dick Murdoch

The British Bulldogs: Dynamite Kid & Davey Boy Smith
April 7, 1986 WrestleMania 2 Rosemont, IL defeated The Dream Team: Brutus Beefcake & Greg "The Hammer" Valentine

The Headshrinkers: Samu & Fatu
April 26, 1994 Burlington, VT defeated The Quebecers: Pierre & Jacques

WWWF/WWF International Tag Team Championships

The Mongols: Bepo & Geeto
June 15, 1970 New York, NY defeated Bruno Sammartino & The Battman
Albano bought The Mongols contract from Tony Angelo after they had won the titles

Albano's resume of champions is extremely impressive and I believe that no other manger has managed so many different champions as the Captain.  Whether this qualifies him as the greatest of all time or not, I'm not sure, but you cannot overlook what an outstanding accomplishment this is.

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