Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Ivan Koloff's WWWF Championship Matches

Fifty one years ago today the "Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff ended the near 8 year reign of the legendary Bruno Sammartino in a stunned Madison Square Garden.  Koloff, one of the all time greats in wrestling, was just 29 years old and had been wrestling for 10 years at the time he won the championship.  He wrestled regularly for the next 21 years and then sporadically having his last match in 2013.  

He would hold numerous singles and tag team championships in his career, but these 21 days in 1971 would be his only recognized singles World Championship.  I knew about his match where he defeated Sammartino and when he lost the title to Pedro Morales, however until I researched it I never knew if had any other title defenses.  

Koloff would wrestle several matches in the territories loop in singles and tag matches before dropping the title to Morales.  Sammartino did not get a rematch with Koloff after losing the title.  He did defeated Koloff on February 12, 1971 in Pittsburgh by disqualification, after Koloff had dropped the title to Morales.    

January 18, 1971 Madison Square Garden
Ivan Koloff pinned WWWF World Champion Bruno Sammartino to win the championship

January 20, 1971 Hammonton, New Jersey 
WWWF World Champion: Ivan Koloff defeated Tony Marino

January 22, 1971 Cherry Hill, New Jersey 
WWWF World Champion: Ivan Koloff defeated Manuel Soto

January 27, 1971 Hammonton, New Jersey 
WWWF World Champion: Ivan Koloff & the Black Demon defeated Gorilla Monsoon & Manuel Soto via count-out

January 28, 1971 Washington DC
WWWF World Champion: Ivan Koloff defeated Jean DuBois

January 29, 1971 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
WWWF World Champion: Ivan Koloff & WWWF International Tag Team Champions: The Mongols: Geeto & Bolo Mongol fought Gorilla Monsoon, Pedro Morales, & Chief Jay Strongbow to a no contest in a Best 3 out of 5 falls Match

January 30, 1971 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
WWWF World Champion: Ivan Koloff defeated Gorilla Monsoon via count-out

February 1, 1971 Allentown, Pennsylvania
WWWF World Champion: Ivan Koloff defeated Chief Jay Strongbow via count-out

February 2, 1971 Scranton, Pennsylvania
WWWF World Champion: Ivan Koloff defeated Chief Jay Strongbow via count-out 

February 3, 1971 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
WWWF World Champion: Ivan Koloff defeated Lee Wong

February 5, 1971 North Attleboro, Massachusetts
WWWF World Champion: Ivan Koloff fought Chief Jay Strongbow to a double disqualification

February 6, 1971 Boston, Massachusetts - Boston Garden
WWWF World Champion: Ivan Koloff defeated Jean Dubois

February 8, 1971 Madison Square Garden
US Champion: Pedro Morales pinned WWWF World Champion: Ivan Koloff to win the title at 23:18 to win the championship

The only footage I'm aware of that shows Koloff as Champion is the match where he defeated Sammartino and the match when he lost the title to Morales.  

Thank you for reading, please leave a comment, check out my other posts, and if you want like my blogs Facebook page.  You can also head over to Amazon and pick up a copy of my new book Limitless Wrestling: The First Five Years, or any of my other books as well.  

Until next time!

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Ricky Morton and The T-Shirt (A Wrestlecade Story)

Everyone always remembers their first live wrestling event. It's a place where the magic we see on TV comes to life and the invisible wall between us dissolves. It's a place where you can see the pain, anguish, frustration, and joy on our favorite wrestlers faces up close and then get a chance to meet them and shake their hands.

I was lucky, my wife had never been to wrestling show before nor had she watched it on TV until she met me. Being the good sport that she is, she agreed just three months after we began dating, to accompany me to the 2019 NWA Crockett Cup, which turned out to be a wonderful show and a great introduction to the world of professional wrestling. Now we watched AEW weekly together and have attended seven live events since we've been together.

However, that first night at The Crockett Cup, she spent most of the night looking like this:

Her fear and concern about the wrestling crowd was quickly supplanted by her enjoyment of the spectacle that unfolded over the course of the night. And like many women before her, the first team to really capture her attention was The Rock N Roll Express.

The Rock N Roll Express were entered in the Crockett Cup and in some ways stole the show. It was an incredible night of bumping, Canadian Destroyers, and blood and my poor wife watching the ultimate babyface Ricky Morton being beaten to a pulp by The Briscoes. 

Now, there is something I must tell you about my wife. She’s the most wrestling fashion observant person I’ve ever met. I kid you not, when I say, she will notice small color changes or new outfits before big matches and call title changes based on them with a high accuracy. Every week, we watch AEW and she points out new boots, logos, pants, tops, under garments, pads, and so forth. It’s changed the way I watch wrestling, because well… I never really paid attention to any of that.

This obsession with wrestling fashion originated during The Crockett Cup, specifically when Ricky Morton made his way to the ring sporting a glittery School of Morton t-shirt. 

My wife, who was hesitant on attending the wrestling event in the first place, immediately said, “I love that shirt! I need one of those shirts!” Being the proud guy that I was, I told her with confidence we’d hop on Ricky Morton’s website or ProWrestlingTees and order her one after the show.

Sadly, despite all the amazing Rock N Roll Express shirts and School of Morton shirts available, this particular design was not. I couldn’t find it anywhere online. I sent emails and Tweets, and I got no where. I spent hours scouring the web trying to find just one shirt to buy, but it was just not available anywhere.

For the next two years, I’d periodically check and see if the t-shirt had become available for order, which it did not. Brandy began inquiring about reaching out to maybe a t-shirt designer to see if we could replicate it, because she really loved it so much. Not only was the design quirky and fun, it was a symbol of her first positive wrestling memory, the moment her love of wrestling blossomed and so in a strange way it was more than a t-shirt.

In November 2021, we attended Wrestlecade. It was her first wrestling convention and The Rock N Roll Express were featured guests. We knew it was a long shot they’d have any glittery School of Morton shirts on hand, but Brandy joked that she was going to give Ricky Morton a piece of her mind and let him know how hard she’s tried to get that shirt.

We walked up to the table and as usual, The Rock N Roll Express were incredibly kind and accommodating. She began telling Ricky about the t-shirt hunt and he stopped her mid sentence.

“So, you want a t-shirt like this one?” as Ricky pointed to the sparkly School of Morton shirt he was wearing.

“Because there is only one person in the world who makes this shirt and I don’t sell them. But I’ll tell you what, what color do you want? I’m going to order you one. Not only that I’m going to give you one.”

And right there, in a sea of hundreds of wrestling fans, Ricky Morton pulled out his cell phone and called his personal t-shirt printer and ordered the size and color Brandy wanted. No hesitation, no big hoorah, it was like he was ordering a pizza. He mentioned to his son Kerry that he was doing it and to get our address, because he was sending it to us for free.

Okay, just to recap: WWE Hall of Famer and one half of arguably the greatest tag team of all-time pulled out his cell phone at a convention and called his personal t-shirt printer and ordered a t-shirt for a fan he had just met minutes before and didn’t ask for a dime. He wouldn’t even accept our offers to pay for shipping.

Yea… WOW. Just friggin WOW.

Stunned, blown away, and on cloud nine, we took our photo with The Rock N Roll Express, bought one of their new t-shirts, and went about our convention attending noting that this was the highlight of the convention and an unbelievable moment that neither one of us would ever forget.

 Yesterday, a package arrived at our house and well... I think her face tells the whole story:

I think sometimes we underestimate how impactful wrestling fashion and t-shirts are on our fandom. They connect us to the wrestlers, the story-lines, and moments in our lives. It’s one way for us adults to both support our favorite wrestlers and honor them all in the same. This t-shirt and gesture from Ricky Morton has forever connected us to this moment in both of our wrestling fandoms and is one of the reasons I love what pro wrestling does to people. It connects us.

We are forever grateful to Ricky and Kerry Morton. Kerry was instrumental in making sure we got the t-shirt and even sent a video of them packing it up and mailing it out. If you haven’t had a chance to see Kerry wrestle yet, I think you’re in for a surprise. He’s talented and you can tell the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Hopefully, I can update this post later this year with a new photo of us with The Rock N Roll Express or Kerry with Brandy wearing her new favorite t-shirt. The Rock N Roll Express begin their Farewell Tour on January 22nd, so if you’ve never seen them live before, now is the time to do it!

Saturday, January 8, 2022

My 2021 In Wrestling

Hello everyone!  

Pandemic wise, 2021 sucked, but my family and I really worked hard to make the best of it with in State outdoor adventures, camping, and really enjoying each other's company.  On the wrestling side of things, I gotta say it was a pretty fantastic year for me.  

My biggest moment, without a doubt, was the release of my book Limitless Wrestling: The First Five Years.  This was a passion project like you wouldn't believe and it was much more successful than I could have imagine.  I mean for two days it was the Number 3 best selling book in the wrestling category on Amazon!

I can't thank Limitless Wrestling and Randy Carver enough for their support with this project and of course everyone around the work that bought one.   There will be future versions of this book, you'll have to wait and see what they look like.

After only attending four live wrestling events in 2020, however, I rebounded in 2021 and made it to 20 shows!  The majority of these shows, fourteen of them, were Limitless based beginning with the Limitless Dojo Student Showcase shows in February, leading to the return of a full Limitless shows with fans in June.  

The other promotions whose shows I attended included, the NAWA (2), Vacationland Pro Wrestling (2), and the premier show of Pine State Pro Wrestling.  The other show I went to is also the only out of State event I went to, AEW in Boston!   All twenty shows totaled 165 matches!

There were two very strong moments at Limitless Shows that struck me hard.  The first was at Patience is a Virtue, June 26, 2021 the first show Limitless show back with full fans.

It was the end of an era, the end of the Maine State Posse as we know it when Alexander Lee, Aiden Aggro, and Danger Kid teamed up one last time to take on Prestigious.  Sadly the Posse came up short when Lee took their assisted doomsday device finish.  The real story was Aggro and Kid "giving" the Maine State Posse gimmick back to Lee draping him with their plaid & MSP flag.  I'm not going to lie, it got me all emotional.

During the Limitless Dojo showcase shows Aggro and Kid official began calling themselves MSP, and adopted new ring hear, music, and personas.  I thought it was odd that they had reverted back to the old gimmick, but it made sense by the end of the show. 

Another huge moment was July 31st at Limitless Wrestling Undeniable, when AG made his surprise return to Limitless after his WWE release.  It was his first post WWE appearance anywhere as well.  It was the loudest pop I have ever heard at an Indie show in Maine when AG came out.  You can see on the video he was taken back by the fans reactions getting emotional before pulling himself together.

My only out of State show this year was AEW in Boston!  Our show was originally scheduled for April 2020 and we finally got it in October 2021.  Before the show outside Mikey and I got selfies with Dragon and we bought meet and greet tickets for FTR with Tully Blanchard!  Well worth the cash money no doubt!  The other meet and greets was Sammy and Nyla Rose & Vickie Guerrero.  I sorta regret not buying one with Nyla and Vickie.

The show was outstanding as we got Dark Elevation taping featuring matches with  FTR & Tully Blanchard, Tay Conti, Best Friends, Kris Statlander and more.  Live AEW Dynamite with  CM Punk vs. Bobby Fish, Hikaru Shida vs. Serena Deeb, Moxley and a huge Main Event match of the Dark Order vs. The Elite.  The night finished with a Rampage Taping featuring Bryan Danielson vs. Eddie Kingston and more.  I cannot wait to go back to another AEW show.

Vacationland Pro Wrestling bought in the Mortons: Ricky & Kerry.  It was an awesome mark out night for me as they wrestled Luke & Moment.  Ricky threw a drop kick and even dedicated it to me.  You can read all about that show here.  
I'm not exactly sure what wrestling is going to bring me in 2022, my first show in January is a Limitless show that looks killer.  Aside from monthly Limitless shows and the returning Let's Wrestle I'm hoping AEW comes back to Boston.  In June I'd like to go to Expo Lucha at the old ECW Arena, I've always wanted to go to a show at that venue.  

I watched a lot of wrestling on TV, getting together with my buddies for the AEW PPV's and a few WWE PPV's, now know as Premier Events.  Almost every Wednesday Cousin Paul came over to watch AEW Dynamite which was awesome.  Also my buddy Brandon and I text through out the show is he's watching live.

That's what I like most about wrestling, the friends I have made from watching this great sport.

Thank you for reading, please leave a comment, check out my other posts, and if you want like my blogs Facebook page.  You can also head over to Amazon and pick up a copy of my new book Limitless Wrestling: The First Five Years, or any of my other books as well.  

Until next time!