Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Signed Trading Cards: Anthony Greene

Friday July 27th Limitless Wrestling presented The 2018 Vacationland Cup that featured a main event steel cage match pitting Anthony Greene vs. Ace Romero.  There was a bit of a mishap in the early stages of the match where the cage broke and it took several fans holding the cage up for the match to continue.  I unfortunately missed the match, damn work got in the way of wrestling once again.

I however my buddy Roy did me a solid and picked up my set of Anthony Greene trading cards.  I had contacted Greene earlier in the week and paid for my set which at $10 for the set is a great deal.

To get your own set contact Anthony Greene on his many social media platforms:
Twitter: @retroag Instagram: retroag_ Facebook: Anthony Greene

The cards were made by Todd Graham of Proving Ground Brand where you to can get your own custom trading cards made.  Following the link above of catch him on Facebook.

There are nine cards in the set measuring the standard 2.5 x 3.5 inches and the design is based on the 1991 Impel WCW trading cards.  The cards are printed on a thick wax card stock.

Each cards has a different photo on the front and the back the cards are numbered, feature a short biography that is the same on each, and a cropped version of the front photo. 

Here are the other 8 cards:

As a signed card collector I think it would be great if other independent wrestlers added cards like this and of this quality to there merchandise.  

To get your own set contact Anthony Greene on his many social media platforms:
Twitter: @retroag Instagram: retroag_ Facebook: Anthony Greene

The cards were made by Todd Graham of Proving Ground Brand where you to can get your own custom trading cards made.  Following the link above of catch him on Facebook

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast Podcast of 1,000 Holds on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Later Readers!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Signed Trading Cards: Colin Delaney, The Patriot, Bruce Tharpe

The post celebrates a few through the mail successes I've had as of late.

Colin Delaney

This card is a 2008 Lamicard released in Germany I believe.  I mailed this card to Delaney's new business Pop Roc in New York.  He also sent me a nice note back answering my questions and thanking me as I sent him a card to keep. 

The Patriot

The card on the left is from 1996 and was released by BBM in Japan when The Patriot was with All Japan Pro Wrestling.  The card on the right is a 1995 Cardz WCW Main Event card of Stars and Stripes the Patriot and Marcus Alexander Bagwell team.  The Patriot signed this card on the back as Bagwell has taken up all of the front when he signed it. 

Bruce Tharpe
This card is a 2015 King of Pro Wrestling game card released in Japan.  I believe this is card is actually a Rob Conway card as Tharpe was his manager in New Japan, as well as being the NWA Owner at that time.

Jerry Sags of The Nasty Boys

These two cards I mailed to Sags and he signed them Nasty Boy Jerry Sags leaving little to no room for Brian Knobs to sign them later.  The card on the left was released in 1991 by Merlin for the WWF and the card on the right was released in 2010 by TriStar for TNA  now IMPACT wrestling during the failed Hulk Hogan experiment.  The card below was released in 1995 Cardz WCW Main Event card and this one I got signed back in 2012 at Legends of the Ring in Monroe, New Jersey.

In the future I need to make sure that I ask them to leave room on the card for their partner to sign it.

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast Podcast of 1,000 Holds on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Later Readers!

Monday, July 23, 2018

1993 WWF Women's Championship Tournament

***Updated August 21, 2018***

***Updated May 5, 2021***

In December 1993 the WWF announced a tournament would take place to crown a new Women's Champion.  The title had been inactive since February 21, 1990 when then champion Rockin' Robin was stripped of the title.  She hadn't defended it since June 25, 1989 in Wheeling, West Virginia against Judy Martin.

I had heard about this tournament happening for years but all I even knew where the finals where Alundra Blayze defeated Heidi Lee Morgan to win, but who did they beat to get to the finals.

I think most of us know about Madusa aka Alundra Blayze so let's take a look at the other competitors involved in the tournament.

Heidi Lee Morgan

A second generation wrestler Morgan began her in ring career in 1987 and was quickly embroiled in a feud in the National Wrestling Federation with Women's Champion Wendi Richter that resulted in the first ever women's cage match on June 20, 1987.

Morgan would wrestle matches in NWA, AWA, WCW, and was a co-holder of the LPWA Tag Team Championships with Misty Blue Simmes.  A back injury ended her career in 1997 however she did wrestle on match in 1999.  She is currently a competitive bodybuilder.

Black Venus

Jean Kirkland was trained by the Fabulous Moolah debuting in 1985.  She wrestled in the WWE, All Japan Women's Wrestling, NWA, AWA, and later the LPWA from 1990 - 1994.  Rumor is that she was in negotiations to be the manager of Harlem Heat in WCW when she passed away.  Kirkland died September 30, 1995.

Rusty Thomas

Also knows as Rusty Foxx I can't find a lot of information on her but this is what I have.  She debuted in 1988 and wrestled for the WWE, WWWA, and several independent promotions. She held a few indy Women's Championships including National Wrestling League, Mid-Eastern Championship Wrestling and others.

I saw her wrestle live once in Livermore Falls, Maine on November 13, 1998 for Eastern Wrestling Alliance.  She battled Malia Hosaka to a no contest when they both brawled in and out of the ring and the referee threw the match out.

Angie Marino

I cannot find any information about Marino, in fact this is the only match I can find on record for her anywhere on the internet.

Update 5/5/2021 - Angie Marino wrestled under the name "Nasty Angel" Angie Marino, she was trained by "Iron" Mike Sharpe and also credits Misty Blue Simmes for shaping her in wrestling.  She is a former Pennsylvania based World Wide Wrestling Alliance Ladies Champion holding the title in 1996.  I show records of matches she had from 1993 - 1997, with this tournament match being one of her first.  

The Tournament

November 29, 1993 Memphis, Tennessee Mid-South Coliseum
USWA - Tournament Match for the WWF Women's Championship
Madusa defeated Alison Royal

November 30, 1993 Springfield, Massachusetts
Dark Matches - First Round
Heidi Lee Morgan defeated Black Venus
Rusty Thomas defeated Angie Marino

December 1, 1993 Utica, New York
Dark Match - Semi Final
Heidi Lee Morgan defeated Rusty Thomas

December 13, 1993 Poughkeepsie, New York
All American Wrestling taping aired December 26, 1993
Alundra Blayze defeated Heidi Lee Morgan with a German Suplex to win the championship

Originally it appeared as though the tournament took place over three nights with Blayze getting a bye to the finals of the tournament.  Heidi Lee Morgan had to win two matches on consecutive nights to advance to the finals.  Now it appears that Blayze, under the name Madusa, wrestled and opening round match in the USWA.  That still leaves her either getting a first or sound round bye to the finals. 

It surprises me that four of the five matches were dark matches and even the final wasn't aired live on Raw but instead on the B weekend show All American Wrestling.  You would think if they really wanted to build the division it would have been more prominent. 

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast Podcast of 1,000 Holds on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Later Readers!

Friday, July 20, 2018

The Abysmal WWF Run of "Dr. Death" Steve Williams

When I was a kid I was big fan of "Dr. Death" Steve Williams.  Admittedly it was initially probably his moniker that made me pay attention to him.  Ultimately it was his in ring work that made me a fan.

I first saw him in Jim Crockett Promotions as a member of the Varsity Club and he was such a monster I just couldn't get enough.  When he returned in 1992 with Terry Gordy as the Miracle Violence Connection dominating the tag team division eventually becoming the NWA/WCW Unified Tag Team Champions.  Their 30 minute time limit draw with the Steiner Brothers at Beach Blast 1992 was tremendous!

Today wrestling from around the world is a lot more accessible than in the 1980's & 90's, so when Williams had that tremendous run in All Japan I was relegated to reading about it in the magazines and through the occasional tape I was able to get my hands on.

When it was announced that he had signed with the WWE I couldn't have been more excited.  He had a dark match in April of 1998 but his in ring debuted didn't until July and it wasn't in a wrestling match but in infamous Brawl for All where in the second round he was knock out by Bart Gunn and in the progress tore his hamstring and other injuries that kept him out of action for months. 

He returned in January 1999 defeated Bob Holly in a dark match.  We next saw him on television dressed in kabuki outfit with a mask.  It was Raw that aired February 22, 1999, taped on the 16th, when during a hardcore match between Bart Gunn and Bob Holly when Kabuki ran out throwing Gunn off the stage through a table.  

Jim Ross suffered a Bells Palsy attack that took him off air.  When he returned he was a disgruntled heel that was bitter about losing his spot and he began acting as a manger for Doctor Death upon his return from injury.

On the March 14th episode of Sunday Night Heat Tiger Ali Singh brought a fan into the ring to do an imitation of Ross.  Ross and Williams came down the ring and Williams and suplex the fan on the back of his head.  

Ironically the fan was WWE writer Ed Ferrara who would go onto the WCW later in 1999 and play a character named Oklahoma that spoofed Jim Ross and acted the manger of Williams during his abysmal WCW run in 1999.

Williams with Ferrara as Oklahoma
Williams would wrestle in only three matches in March of 1999 before being released in mid April.  In his year in the WWE Williams wrestled five matches and competed in two Brawl for All bouts.  He was involved in a couple minor feuds with Tiger Ali Singh, Bob Holly and Al Snow but he made no impact at all in the WWE.  

As a fan I was disappointed and I have to imagine that Dr. Death was as well.  He would return to the WWE in late May 2003 wrestling two house shows against Lance Storm in Louisiana.

April 28, 1998 Dark Match Richmond, Virginia
Williams pinned Too Cold Scorpio with a back drop driver

July 14, 1998 RAW Birmingham, New York
Brawl 4 All: Williams defeated Pierre Carl Ouellet by decision in three rounds

July 27, 1998 RAW Anaheim, California
Brawl 4 All: Bart Gunn knocked out Williams in the third round

Janury 12, 1999 Dark Match Beaumont, Texas
Williams defeated Bob Holly

March 15, 1999 Sunday Night Heat San Jose, California
Williams defeated Matt & Jeff Hardy in a handicapped match with an Oklahoma Stampede on Matt

March 29, 1999 RAW East Rutherford, New Jersey
Hardcore Holly defeated Williams after Al Snow interfered to retain his Hardcore Championship

March 30, 1999 Sunday Night Heat Nassau Coliseum
Williams defeated Tiger Ali Singh

May 23, 2003 House Show Bossier City, Louisiana
Williams defeats Lance Storm

May 24, 2003 House Show Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Lance Storm defeated Williams

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast Podcast of 1,000 Holds on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Later Readers!

Monday, July 16, 2018

WWE Smackdown Live Report 7/9/2018

Monday night July 9th my son, cousin, and I attended the WWE Smackdown Live house show in Augusta, Maine.  The reason for the lateness of this report was that the following morning we headed out of town for the rest of the week camping and I'm just now getting some internet to write this.

The Augusta Civic Center was not sold out but there was a few thousand people in attendance.  My wrestling friends Roy, Cheryl, Phil, and Alex also went to the show, I'm sure there were a bunch of other people that I know from wrestling that were also there.

Let's get to the matches:

Triple Threat Match
United States Champion: Jeff Hardy defeated Samoa Joe & The Miz

The Miz did his beast Rick Rude impersonation calling us Augusta sweathogs and asking us to keep the noise down while he took off his robe.  Solid opening match that saw Hardy get the pin after a twist of fate and a standing splash on Miz.

Andrade "Cien" Almas with Zelina Vega pinned Sin Cara

Photo credit Philster
This match was great!  They gave us a good lucha style match with fast paced action and Sin Cara displaying some impressive aerial offense with a few dives to the floor.  This was probably the best match of the night!  I haven't thought much of Sin Cara but if he was given to chance to have longer matches like this many people would think differently of him.  Almas got the pin with his DDT finisher.

Photo credit Philster
Nikki Cross & Becky Lynch defeated The IIconics: Billy Kaye & Peyton Royce

Photo credit Philster
Cross was a surprise as she hasn't officially been called up yet to the main roster from NXT.  The IIconics came out and insulted us all before making their way to the ring.  Decent match where Nikki took the majority of the heat before making the hot tag to Becky.  Finish came when Becky submitted Peyton with the disarmer

Rusev with Aiden English submitted Tye Dillinger

Dillinger was a surprise and had he not been facing Rusev I think he would have been tremendously over.  He was getting some good "10" chants until Rusev came out.  Short solid match with Rusev winning with the Accolade.

Photo credit Philster
Six Man Tag
New Day: Big E, Xavier Woods, & Kofi Kingston defeated Sanity: Eric Young, Killian Dain, & Alexander Wolfe

I was excited to see this as a six man.  It was a good match, with expected New Day antics and comedy spots.  Canaan wanted to see a Trouble in Paradise badly, and he got one post match.

Tag Team Champions: Bludgeon Brothers: Haper & Rowan defeated The Club: Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows

This was the first match after intermission and it was bad.  Rowan worked most of the match for his team and he's just not that good.  Anderson took the fall for his team.

Women's Champion: Carmella pinned Naomi

Just terrible

Photo credit Philster
No Disqualification
WWE Champion: AJ Styles pinned Shinsuke Nakamura

This was a great match and I'm so happy that I got to see these two wrestle each other live.  It was no five star classic but they worked hard and it was extremely entertaining.  This was also the match I finally found the right setting to get okay pictures on my phone.

They used the standard house show weapons, table, chairs, and kendo stick.  Styles got the pin after a phenomenal forearm.

All in all this was a decent show with the top two matches being Almas vs. Sin Cara and AJ vs. Nakamura and the worst matches being the Tag Team and Women's title matches.  One thing that bothers me the most about house show title defenses is that I know I'm not going to see one so the finish of the match becomes a non-factor.

In the case of the AJ vs. Nakamura match it was exceptionally annoying, being a No Disqualification match the only possible outcome is AJ defeating Nakamura by pinfall or submission.

One of the coolest things for me was there were several wrestlers I had never seen wrestle in person before.

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast Podcast of 1,000 Holds on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Later Readers!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Oddjob Was a Wrestler

In 1964, Sean Connery returned to iconic role as James Bond for the third time in what many consider his best Bond film. The series learned from the seriousness of Dr. No and the slow build of From Russia With Love and it seemed as if the producers had finally found a formula to keep the action tight and the story memorable. One of the ways they accomplished this was by introducing villains for Bond to face off against that were his equal or better. In Goldfinger, Bond’s primary adversary was Auric Goldfinger, but it was his henchmen Oddjob who Bond truly feared. The stoic muscle of Goldfinger was an intimidating presence that physically was more powerful than 007. What I didn’t know until recently is that Oddjob, who was portrayed by Harold Sakata (born: Toshiyuki Sakata) was also known by his professional wrestling name Tosh Togo. 

Harold Sakata was born on July 1st, 1920 in Holualo, Hawaii to Japanese-Americans who operated a Hawaiian coffee farm. At the age of eighteen he was a meager 5’8” and weighed 113 lbs. Harold was upset that he was so much smaller than the other boys his age, and decided to take up weight lifting in order to increase his build. He was a natural and became so good at lifting that after his time in the Army, during World War II, Harold continued training and managed to win the Light-heavyweight silver medal in the 1948 Olympics for the United States.

Following his Olympic medal win, Mr. Sakata began professional wrestling in 1949. He was trained by Tetsuro "Rubberman" Higami and Ben Sherman. He was given the name Tosh Togo and was billed as the brother of the Great Togo (Kazuo Okamura). Other members of the Togo family included Mas Togo (Masutatsu Oyama) and Ko Togo (Kokichi Endo).

Between 1950 and 1964, Sakata wrestled for the Tri-State Sports, Pacific Northwest, Japan Wrestling Alliance, Mid-Pacific, and various NWA affiliates such as NWA Los Angeles, NWA Montreal, NWA Texas, and others. He held several championships during this time including:

-NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team with Tojo Yamamoto (1952-1953) x2

-NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team with Glen Detton (1953)

-NWA Canadian Open Tag Team Champion with Great Togo (1954)

-WWA World Tag Team Champion with The Great Togo (1955)

-NWA Hawaii Heavyweight Champion (1956)

-NWA World Tag Team Champion with The Great Sasaki (1957) x2

-NAWA International Television Tag Team Champion with Red Berry (1958) x2

-NWA Los Angeles World Tag Team Champion with Red Berry (1958)

-NWA Texas Heavyweight Champion (1958)

-NWA Gulf Coast Southern Tag Team Champion with John Smith (1959)

-NWA Mid-America Southern Tag Team Champion with John Smith (1959)

-NWA Mid-Atlantic Southern Tag Team Champion with Ike Eakins (1960)

-NWA Hawaii Tag Team Champion with Curtis Iaukea (1963)

Sakata was part of the traveling wrestling troupe that helped bring professional wrestling to Japan. He was so dedicated to helping solidify the sport in Japan that he moved to Japan in the late 1950’s, where he raised his family. He trained the man known as “The Father of Puroresu” Rikidozan who went on to become one of the most influential men in professional wrestling history. 

(Note: In 2004, a South-Korean Japanese film that focused on the life of Rikiodzan and professional wrestling in Japan in the 1950’s was released. Harold Sakata was portrayed by none other than “The Great Muta” Keiji Mutoh.)

After he and his wife divorced, Sakata began traveling again and ended up in Britain where he was ultimately cast as the menacing man we all know. Bond producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli noticed Harold because of his heavy build. The scrawny 5’8” 113 lbs. eighteen year old was now forty years old and 5’10” and 284 lbs. His intimidating gaze really sold the producers on casting Sakata despite having no prior acting experience.

There was a little controversy before the casting though. Indian actor/wrestler Milton Reid (The Mighty Chang) also auditioned for the role of Oddjob and he challenged Sakata to a wrestling match with the winner receiving the role. However, Reid had previously been cast in Dr. No and his character was killed off, so Sakata got the role and the wrestling match never took place. However, Reid would find himself in another Bond film in 1977 when he faced off against Roger Moore in the roof top fight scene in The Spy Who Loved Me.

Following the success of Goldfinger, Harold occasionally used the name Oddjob and was even billed in several movies as Harold “Oddjob” Sakata. He also appeared as the Oddjob character in a series of Vicks cough syrup commercials in the 1970s and even had a famous spot parodying the commercials on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

In 1974, Harold portrayed Oddjob in Verne Gagne’s film The Wrestler.

(Note: if you haven’t seen The Wrestler, it’s worth tracking down just to see all the great stars in this film. Sadly, the plot and the movie itself is quite horrible and a slog to get through. It's one of the worst movies I've ever seen.)

Sakata continued wrestling following his Goldfinger success, and found himself in Portland, Big Time Wrestling, Championship Wrestling from Florida, Stampede, AWA, and even New Japan Pro Wrestling. Sometimes he wrestled as Tosh Togo, other times Oddjob, and then sometimes he went by Harold Sakata.

I found an article from 1965, where Sakata made an appearance as Oddjob at the Loughborough Town Hall in England. He appearance complete in costume and his bowler hat was hung from the ring post. During the second round of the match, there was a scuffle over the hat and his opponent cut his hand on the razor sharp brim of the hat which got Oddjob disqualified. I have a feeling this sort of thing played out quite a bit throughout different promotions.

Sakata won his final title eleven years after his role in Goldfinger in 1975 when he captured the WWC Puerto Rican Championship. Three years later, Sakata would wrestle his final match which he lost via count out to Rocky Tomayo during a Big Time Wrestling event in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Oddjob truly was an influential person in the history of professional wrestling. He was a decorated champion who was a legit Olympic medalist. He helped develop professional wrestling in Japan and ended up training the man who became a national hero put pro wrestling on the map in the country.

Harold Sakata passed away on July 29th, 1982.